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Riding the Waves

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Of course this would happen to him. Of course. Sure, Castiel was happy he got into college, and he was happy his risk had paid off and he'd gotten in off the wait-list. But why, oh why did they notify him so late ? Because of their odd rules, the university hadn't started admitting kids off the wait-list until mid-June, and they apparently didn't stop until the week classes began. So Castiel received notice of his official acceptance just one week before classes started. He barely got into just one class he wanted to take, the other three were just random core classes. He hoped that he could rearrange his schedule some during drop-add, but he wasn't so sure luck was on his side. 

To top all this off, Castiel had to wait for a dorm assignment until the first day of classes. Freshmen were required to stay on campus; it was university policy. But because he was a wait-list student, he hadn't registered for housing, so he had been stuck just waiting to see if a spot opened up. Unfortunately, a spot did not open up. 

"Don't worry, dear," the lady at the residential offices had told him, "we will find something by the end of the day."

It was the first day of classes; he was five hours from home, and he had no place to sleep tonight. Great. Just fucking great.

The lady had given him a day pass for the visitor deck so that he at least didn't have to pay for parking, but Castiel left her office more annoyed and frustrated than when he had walked in. 

He wondered if he should even bother going to class. He had no idea where the building was, what room it was in, and he honestly just felt like saying screw it and driving home. 

As he left the housing office, though, he collided with a short, dark haired girl, his anger and confusion blinding him to the world around him. He released a string of expletives that definitely would have earned him a whooping back home.

“Whoa, there, Clarence,” she said, her voice surprisingly deep and resonating for her stature.

"Jesus. Sorry, sorry," he said to her. "I wasn't paying attention."

She bent over to pick up some papers she'd dropped. "Don’t worry about it, man.” She straightened back up. Castiel noted how small she seemed. She was thin and short— well, compared to him, anyway. Her long dark hair drew out her brown eyes. Despite her otherwise demure stature, he was almost positive she would be able to kick his ass. “You look like you’re on a war path.”

Castiel huffed out a breath somewhat like a laugh. “No, no war path. Just dealing with the housing office is all.”

She nodded in understanding. “Ah, so basically, just dealing with Hell, huh?”

He snorted and shook his head.

“I’m Meg, by the way,” she said, holding out her hand. 

He reached out and shook it as he introduced himself. "I'm Castiel."

"That sounds… that’s an interesting name.”

"My parents are very religious,” he said as if that would explain it.

She just gave him a pitying look. “You a first year?”

He nodded.

“Me too.” She paused. “You got class today?”

He shifted. “Yeah, but… I don’t know where the hell I’m going.”

“Whoa,” she said, false shock on her face, “language, angel boy.”

Castiel frowned and tilted his head at her nickname. She just laughed. 

“Look, as much fun as this little encounter has turned out to be, I have class, so.”

She stepped around him and started heading off to her class. He stopped her. “Wait,” he said. She turned back. “You wouldn’t happen to know how to get to Park Hall, would you?”

“Heading there now. Walk with me?”

Castiel sent a silent thank you into the heavens and fell in step with Meg as they went off to class. 

“What class do you have?” she asked after a few moments of quiet.

“Um,” he scrambled to pull up his schedule on his phone. “It’s English Comp 2 with… Romero, I think?”

“Well how about that,” she said, cutting him a mischievous side look. “I got the same class.”

*****

Fucking hell. Shit. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. This was so not how Dean's senior year was supposed to go. No, it was supposed to be easy classes, crazy parties, and hot chicks. And a room to his goddamn self. But now ? Now, he had to share a room with a freakin' freshman of all people. He was the male RA of his dorm. He wasn't supposed to room with anyone. That was part of the deal. That was what got him interested in this job in the first place. Well, that and free housing. But no , no the housing office had to choose his dorm and his room for this kid and now he was stuck with a naive little—

"Fuck," Dean exhaled as he read the email from the housing office for the umpteenth time since he'd gotten it. He wanted to rant and complain about this to someone— anyone , but Sam would just tell him to get over it and be nice. Charlie would say, "what Sam said," and Benny… well, Benny would probably give him a pitying pat on the shoulder and say, "I feel ya, brother," but even that wasn't what he needed right now. 

Instead of going to one of his friends, he went to the housing office. He all but demanded to speak to his boss as soon as possible, and she let him through immediately. 

Jody Mills, director of undergraduate student housing, held up her hand before Dean even opened his mouth to speak. "I'm sorry, Dean. I know it's a tough break, but he filled out one of those compatibility surveys, and you were the only RA who even came close."

"Why does he have to stay with an RA at all?" Dean took a seat across from her desk.

"He just got in off the wait-list, and we're out of space. You know we're renovating one of the halls. Instead of overcrowding a two-person room, I decided to place him with the most compatible RA, and that just so happens to be you."

Dean sighed, some of his anger dissipating. “Fine,” he said. He twiddled his thumbs a few times before standing up to leave. “See you later, Jody.”

“Hey, Dean?”

He paused at the door and turned back to look at her. 

“Claire’s got that archery tournament in November—”

Dean held up a hand. “I know, I know. Don’t worry, I’ll be there,” he said with a little smile.

She flicked her chin towards him. “All right, had to remind you. Now, get. Try not to eat the freshman alive.”

He feigned hurt. “Me? Jody, come on.”

She just shook her head, and he left her office in better spirits. He was done with class for the day, so he headed back to his dorm. He had a lot to do. Later this afternoon, he and the other RA were throwing a dorm-wide social/meeting to break the ice and lay down some ground rules. He’d hit the jackpot as far as co-RA’s were concerned. He had convinced Jody to put Charlie in the same dorm as him, and they were luckily on the same page on a lot of things. Alcohol— don’t see it or smell it, and you’re good. Guests, same principal. Keep the noise down during the weekdays. And just be fucking nice, ya know? Last year, he’d worked with this guy who had a stick so far up his ass, he even reported Dean, an RA, for having beer in his room. Like seriously, who does that? After that disaster of a year, he’d told Jody he needed a better partner, and he was convincing enough to get her to assign Charlie to his dorm. It was a small dorm too, just four floors, two for boys and two for girls. It was the start of a good year.

He tried not to let the thought of having a roommate dampen his mood, and as he walked into the lobby of the dorm, his mood brightened easily.

“Hiya, Sammy.”

“Dean, seriously,” Sam moaned as he stood up. “I’m eighteen.”

“Mm, that you are,” he said, giving his brother a light punch on the arm as he fell in step with him. “You’ll always be Sammy, though, whether you like it or not.”

Sam rolled his eyes.

“So how was your first day, man?”

“Good, it was good.” Sam paused as they squeezed past someone else walking in the hall. “Only had two classes, so it was nice.”

“Sweet.” They made it to Dean’s room, so he stopped to unlock the door. He switched on the light, and they both dropped their bags and made themselves comfortable.

“I heard about the roommate,” Sam said.

Dean let out a groan. “Man, I’m so mad.” He shook his head and plopped down on his futon. He looked around the room, thinking about how small it would feel once another person moved in. “Jody said it’s because he’s fresh off the wait-list and we’re out of room, but I think she just wants to mess with me,” he joked.

Sam rolled his eyes. “Dude, it’ll be fine. I’m sure he’ll be nice.”

Dean shook his head. “Nah, man, don’t give me that. You remember my first roommate?” Sam winced from the memory. “Yeah. Now, granted, anyone will be better than that asshole, but is it really too much to ask to have a room to myself my last year of college?”

Sam shrugged. “Just think of the potential threesomes you could have,” he teased.

Dean threw a pillow at him, and he laughed. “Bitch.”

“Jerk,” Sam said through a fit of laughs. 

“Dean!” Charlie’s voice broke through their laughs. She stood in his doorway. “Stop messing around, we’ve got work to do for the meeting.”

“I tried to tell him, Charlie,” Sam claimed.

“You did no such thing!” Dean argued.

Charlie rolled her eyes. “I’ll let you boys figure it out amongst yourselves. Dean, meet me in my room in ten minutes!” With that, she left them be. 

Dean leaned his head back on the futon. “Ah, all right, Sammy, she’s right. I gotta work.”

Sam stood and grabbed his bag. “No problem, man. I’ll see you later.” He headed out the open door, but Dean called after him.

“Breakfast tomorrow?”

“Sure. See ya!” Sam said over his shoulder, and then he was gone, and Dean was left alone.

*****

Castiel wasn’t sure he liked Meg. She wasn’t mean or anything— well, not to him at least— but she was just… she seemed to be an acquired taste. After their class was over, she left him with a promise of seeing him in a couple days at the next class, and he waved her goodbye, but he was a little apprehensive of being friends with her.

Gotta start somewhere, he told himself. He started walking back to his car and checked his email to see if he’d gotten anything from the housing office. He released a sigh of relief when he saw the email with his dorm assignment. Finally . He just had to go by the housing office to get his keys, and he’d have a place to sleep tonight! He was so relieved. The thought of going home, almost admitting failure to his parents... just the thought made his stomach twist up in knots. 

He rushed to the housing office, got his keys and directions to the dorm, and he was off. He was assigned one of the smaller freshmen dorms on North Campus, which also gave him a sense of relief. He didn’t want to live in a high-rise with a thousand neighbors. When he pulled into the dorm’s small parking lot, he saw a group of people gathered on the quad across the way. He got out and walked around to the front of the dorm. The desk attendant looked up at his approach. 

“Hi, um, I’m moving in today,” he said. 

“Oh?” she asked. “Um, well, the RA’s are out on the quad for the social… You could go join them and move in after.”

“Oh, okay, I can do that.” The desk attendant offered him a smile as he turned to leave. His stomach twisted as he made his way to the quad where his dorm-mates were gathered. They were in a circle now, and two people (the RA’s he assumed) stood in the middle. The red-headed girl saw him approaching, and she smiled wide. 

“Hi! Are you in Morris?” He nodded. “Great! Come join us. We were just about to play a game.” 

A couple people made room for him in the circle, and the RA’s continued with their explanation of the rules.

“All right, as Charlie was saying, we’re going to play a game called Connection…” 

Castiel lost track of what he was saying, his voice deep and melodic. It was distracting. He was physically fit, broad shoulders and a pair of bow legs. His short-cropped hair was a bit militaristic, but he pulled it off easily. 

He shook himself out of it enough to catch a demonstration of the game. 

“So, it’d work kinda like this,” Charlie was saying. “I’m Charlie. I’m a fourth year computer science major, and I like Harry potter.”

“Connection!” The guy in the middle raised his hand. “I’m Dean, fourth year mechanical engineering major. My best friend likes Harry Potter—” he gave Charlie a wink, who rolled her eyes “—and I have a thing for frisky women. Now, you see—” Charlie gave him a whack on the arm.

“Do try to keep it appropriate ,” she said chastisingly, though her wide grin gave away her true feelings. 

“Or don’t,” Dean said. “Let’s have fun.”

“Dean!”

“Charlie!” he mocked her voice.

“You guys are all witnesses,” she said to the crowd around her. “This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Dean bear-hugged her and gave her a loud kiss on the cheek. “You love me anyway.” She shook her head and pulled out of the hug. 

“Let’s get the game started, shall we?”

With that, they joined the circle. “I’ll start,” Charlie said. There was a pause while she thought up something to say. “I play Dungeons and Dragons.”

And the game began. Numerous people raised their hands with connections to all sorts of stuff, some things Castiel had never even heard of. As time passed, fewer and fewer people were left without connections. 

At some point, there was a lull, and Dean looked around the circle and asked, “Okay, who hasn’t gone yet?” Castiel and a couple others raised their hands. “Last person said they were a swimmer, any connections to that?” One girl raised her hand, and the game moved on.

Castiel was the second to last to go. Dean still hadn’t gone yet for whatever reason. The person before Castiel ended with, “I once won a hot dog eating contest.”

Dean looked to Castiel to call out connection, but he didn’t have a connection to that, so he just shifted on his feet. He flicked his chin to him. “Hey, you.” Castiel frowned. “You ever eat a hot dog?” Castiel’s cheeks reddened as he shook his head. Dean’s shock registered on his face. “Okay… you ever seen one?” Castiel nodded. “Well, there ya go.”

“C-connection,” Castiel stuttered. “I have seen a hot dog before.” The statement got a few laughs from the crowd around him, but they were in good fun and didn’t bother him. “My name is Castiel, and I am…” he trailed off. He really didn’t want to say what his major was. “I do not have a major yet, I’m undecided.” He paused, trying to think of a fact about himself. “My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut.”

Dean’s eyes lit with excitement, and he raised his hand. “Connection!” he yelled exaggeratedly. “Now, granted, Charlie and I agreed that one of us would go first and one of us would go last, but I actually have a connection. Vonnegut is my favorite author too!” He paused. “Now, y’all already know about my weakness for frisky women, so what fun fact should I share with you now?” He looked around with a playful glint in his eye. “I love pie almost as much, possibly more than I love sex, which… well, that’s saying something.”

Charlie rolled her eyes for what seemed like the millionth time that day, but she was smiling at her coworker’s antics. “All right, why don’t we all take a seat? Dean and I have a few ground rules to go over for the year, and then you can all go back to doing whatever it was you were doing before we dragged you out here.”

They all sat down, but Dean remained standing, and he came to the middle of the circle once again. “All right,” he said, clasping his hands in front of him. “Charlie and I are pretty chill— or at least, we like to think so. So our rules are pretty chill. Alcohol is officially not allowed in the dorm.” This was said with an exaggerated wink. “Charlie and I have a don’t-see-don’t-smell-don’t-ask policy. Same goes for overnight guests.” The latter statement was followed with another wink, this time a suggestive one. “Basically, be courteous, be nice, don’t be a dick, and we won’t have a problem, okay?”

Castiel and his peers nodded.

“Okay, let’s have a good year! Dismissed!” 

With that, the group dispersed. Dean and Charlie hung back, chatting with each other and a few others who stopped to ask them questions. Eventually, Charlie headed off towards the dorm with a girl who was chatting her ear off, leaving Dean momentarily unoccupied. Castiel approached him. 

“Um, Dean?” 

Dean turned to him with raised eyebrows. Up close, Castiel noticed his eyes for the first time. They were a beautiful green color, and with the late-afternoon sun on its descent, the light hit them just enough to make them shine. Castiel’s stomach suddenly twisted up in tight, tight knots, and he was rendered speechless.

“Yes?” Dean asked when he didn’t continue. 

Castiel swallowed and looked away from Dean’s eyes. “I’m moving in today… The desk attendant told me to talk to you.”

Realization hit Dean’s face, and if Castiel wasn’t mistaken, it hardened him the slightest bit. “Oh. You must be the wait-lister.” Castiel nodded. Dean held out his hand. “Nice to meet you, roomie.”