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He's a (Zoo) Keeper

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There was a giraffe in Dean’s passenger seat.

It was only a small giraffe. Full of beans. It had soft, fat legs that splayed out on the leather, and its brown jersey-fabric hooves slid along the seat every time Dean made a turn. The giraffe’s nose rested down, its eyes staring at everything and nothing, pondering the day’s events in Dean’s stead, as Dean really needed to concentrate on the road.

Soon the car pulled up outside his and Castiel’s apartment. Lights gleamed from the second level of their whitewashed block, which meant Cas was awake but all their neighbours were asleep.

Mrs. Patel had left her car in the single driveway they shared, and Dean had no intention of getting up at four a.m. to move the Impala so she could get out, so he parked in the road. As the Impala ceased to purr, Dean pulled the keys from the ignition, then turned to his six-inch giraffe.

He could probably just return it to the zoo’s gift shop. It still had the price tag on its cardboard label.

Or he could give it to Cas.

Yeah. Cas liked crap like that.

With a small, sad smile, Dean picked up the giraffe, snapped off the price tag in a fist, and exited the car. The night was a hot one, simmering in the pan like a greasy leftover afternoon. Making his way to the metal staircase that led to his floor, Dean perched the plush giraffe on his shoulder, a pirate with a parrot. It stayed there obediently until he’d trotted up the fifteenth stair, and then it fell in a nose-dive into the potted shrub by the front door.

“Ah, come on,” Dean warned it, plucking it out, dusting off the woodchips. “You’re gonna need a bath by the time I get you in.” He put the toy back on his shoulder, waited with a steady hand until it remained, then he put his key in the door.

Hold on...

He needed a moment.

Just to breathe.

God, what a day. What a fucking day.

Finally, still upset but stable, he unlocked the door.

A comforting coolness hugged him hello as he stepped in. “Hey, Cas,” he called tiredly, squinting one eye until he got used to the golden glow. Nobody was in the kitchen. “You go to bed already?”

“I’m here,” Castiel called from the living room, past the cracked linoleum tiles in the kitchen, past the wooden pillar that separated the counters from the couch. Dean approached, finding Cas curled up around a cushion, sulking. Castiel set the cushion aside and put on a smile as Dean came close.

Dean stood before the L-shaped couch, seeing at once that Cas was more upset than he was. So he plopped the plushie giraffe down in Castiel’s lap.

“That oughta cheer you up,” he said, taking off his canvas jacket.

Castiel smiled, looking up with tears shimmering in his waterline. He moved a hand to take the giraffe. “Why are you giving me this?” he asked, thumbing at its soft jersey ears. “I thought he was a gift for Autumn.”

Dean sighed dismissively, sitting beside Cas on the couch, bending forward to unlace his boots. “Date didn’t go so well,” he said. He glanced at his friend, then nudged him with an elbow. “Looks like you had a worse day, though. What the hell’s got you so glum, huh?”

Castiel’s inhale sounded wet and wide, like he’d been crying. “The company beehives were shipped out tonight. They’re on their way to Texas.”

“Oof.” Dean pressed his lips together sympathetically. “That far. Sorry, man. Been a long time coming, though.”

“Yeah.” Castiel hung his head, looking into the black bobble eyes of his new soft toy. “Of course this also means I’m out of a job, unless I relocate.”

“And... are you moving?”

Castiel met his eyes swiftly. “Well, you’re not going anywhere. So, no.”

Trying not to look relieved, Dean reached to pat Castiel’s knee. “Beer?”

“Something stronger.”

“Oh, you said it, pal,” Dean said eagerly, launching himself off the couch and towards the kitchen. “You said it.” He washed his hands with soap, dried them on a dishtowel, then opened two cupboards: one for glasses, and one for whiskey.

He returned to the couch and offered Castiel his drink, both half-full glasses pinched at the rim. Castiel took his, and Dean flumped beside him, knees apart, shoulders deep in the back cushion. He sloshed his three fingers of whiskey down his throat, then looked solemnly at the giraffe, which Castiel played with, trying to make it stand up on his thigh.

“They didn’t want to go,” Castiel said, after a minute of drinking. “They’ll miss me, I know they will.”

“The bees?” Dean raised his eyebrows, but then lowered them, smiling. He knocked his right knee into Castiel. “Anyone would miss you, Cas. They’ll be fine. Got good people looking after them.”

“I know,” Castiel said sweetly. “It’s just... I’ll miss them too.”

Dean nodded.

Castiel drank a little more.

After half a minute, Dean got up, got the bottle, sat down, and poured them another finger each.

Then he said, “At least you still have your semi-legal killer bees out on the balcony. So you’re not totally alone.”

Castiel scoffed. “They’re not killer bees, they’re Africanised bees.”

“A.K.A. killer bees, who, as a species, have collectively murdered over a thousand people.”

“Be quiet, Dean, we’re not having this argument again.”

“And you keep them on our balcony.”

“They’re gentle.”

“They’re bees.”

“Do you want me to move to Texas?” Castiel snapped. “Because I will.”

Dean laughed softly, folding forward to stare into his drink. “You know I don’t.”

“Then drop it.”

Dean raised his hand and his drink. “Fine. Dropped.”

“Thank you.”

Dean tossed back his second glass, starting to feel a faint buzz in his chest. He knew it was too soon for the alcohol to hit him, but even a hint was emboldening. He licked his lips, twirling his glass so the last amber drop circled the crystal. “Cas, look... uhh... Somethin’ happened for me today too.”


“Um. Me and Autumn broke up.”

Castiel inhaled. “Oh.” He breathed out. “I’m sorry.” He looked down at his lap.

“Me too,” Dean admitted, holding out his glass as Castiel uncapped the whiskey and offered more. “Now her poor giraffe’s up for adoption.”

Castiel cracked a smile, hugging the toy under his chin. He gave Dean a look that said he’d decided to adopt it, thank you, no need to worry. Dean smirked back, clinking his glass to Castiel’s.

“What happened?” Castiel asked, looking carefully at Dean. “You and Autumn.”

Dean pushed a stiff smile up on one side of his lips. “Couldn’t tell ya.”


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”What kind of person do you see yourself marrying?”

Dean asked the question upside-down, lying with his head off the foot of Autumn’s bed. He’d watched her undress from her work clothes, and now, wrapped in her kimono, she reached up to unclip her hair. Straight black locks fell to her shoulders, kinked halfway down by the day-long pressure of the hairclip. She looked at Dean with a vaguely interested expression.

“Just wondering,” Dean grinned. “Not proposing or anything, I swear.”

“Good,” Autumn said, pacing to the bed and sitting by Dean’s head, bending to stroke his hair. “That’s good. Because I don’t really see... that. Me. Getting married. Or even having a relationship for that long. Kind of bothers me to think about it, in reality.”

“Yeah?” Dean propped himself on one elbow, torso turned to his girlfriend. “So... you’d wanna be ready to mingle forever? Or you don’t see the point?”

“Both. I just never wanted anything that long-term, and still don’t.”

“Right. Right... I mean... that’s cool, I guess. Makes sense.” Dean rolled to stare at the ceiling. “I’ve just been thinkin’ about it a lot recently. My friend Charlie’s getting gay-married, which is... awesome. She’s real happy. They’re going big, with the white dresses and the flowers and the fish-or-chicken-or-tofu dinners. Renting a ballroom or somethin’. I dunno. Not saying it’s the wedding I want, but... the relationship? Lasting, and – and solid, you know? Everything Charlie tells me just makes me want it more.” Dean glanced at Autumn. “But that’s not your scene, huh.”

Autumn shook her head. “It doesn’t worry you?” She grinned, then lowered her head to peel off her fake lashes, revealing the natural elegance of her Asian eyes. Her winged eyeliner was still perfect. “Kinda sounded like you were hoping you and me were building towards something.”

“Yeah, but,” Dean shrugged, “we can date and not get married.”

“Do you want to get married?” Autumn asked, moving to sit against the headboard with Dean, wriggling until they were comfortably wrapped in each other’s arms. Dean kissed Autumn’s chest, softly, as Autumn played with his hair. “Not to me, obviously. I mean... to someone.”

“Maybe?” Dean shrugged. He lifted his head, then said with pursed lips and a dipping nod, “Actually, yeah. Banked on it since I was a kid. Been saving up for a wedding for the last... ah, five years, give or take. Fifteen if you count all the savings I blew before that.”


“Super girly, I know,” Dean muttered. “No big whoop, though,” he smiled, returning to kissing Autumn’s shoulder, fingering her kimono aside so he could reach her neck. “Whatever, right? I’m not the one for you. But hey—” kiss, kiss, “at least we still get laid.”

Autumn’s laugh was blunt, but genuine. “Sure.”

Dean purred, tilting his head to tongue the side of Autumn’s neck, mouth open under her ear. “Hmmmm.”

“Dean?” Autumn placed a firm hand on Dean’s shoulder.

He responded by pulling back, smiling dopily at her. “Ye-huh?”

“I think – w-we should break up.”

Dean chuckled, rolling his eyes. “Uh-huh.” He snickered again as he got back to kissing.

“No, I mean it.” Autumn eased him away. “It’s been a good couple months. But I don’t think this is going to work anymore, going forward. You and I need to break up.”


·· · ·· ♡ ·· · ··


Dean shugged. “I dunno. She didn’t like the way I kissed her neck, or something.”

“What?” Castiel squinted. “Did you kiss her wrong?”

Dean spread his hands, accidentally slopping some whiskey onto the corner table of the L-shaped couch. He put his drink down there, then rubbed his palms together.

“I don’t understand your girlfriends,” Castiel said, with a perplexed sort of irritation. “They reject perfectly good band t-shirts, very nice little giraffes, good beer, the best vinyl pressings, fancy snack foods. They seem disappointed by your most creative date ideas. And they break up with you for the strangest reasons.”

“More for you, though,” Dean smiled.

Castiel grinned. “Yes.” He put his giraffe happily beside Dean’s unfinished whiskey. “I’m very lucky in that respect, it seems.”

Dean sighed. “Biggest downside to breaking up is now there’s no chance I’m gettin’ laid tonight. Too bad, huh.”

“Too bad,” Castiel agreed. He put his own drink down, then nudged his giraffe over so it could look out of the window at the town lights, white and sparkly against a black summer night.

An easy breeze came in through the top tilt of the window, sighing down onto Dean’s skin. It smelt like grass pollen, round and smooth and warm against the back of his tongue. Dean drew in a deep breath. “Maybe it was the stubble,” he pondered, fingers bristling through his facial hair. “Maybe I oughta grow the beard back.”

“Oh, no, I like the stubble,” Castiel complained.

Dean’s soul gave a surprised jump. “You do?!”

Castiel seemed to fluster. “Then again, I’m not being kissed by it, so I couldn’t give an opinion about that.”

Dean cackled and leaned closer, making kissy-noises as he neared Castiel’s neck – Castiel laughed and pushed him, but let him get closer, and Dean knocked his muzzle against Castiel’s jaw. Castiel yelped, laughing, head tipping back to expose his neck more. Dean giggled, putting a few squeaky kisses there, more noise than touch.

“Stop-stop-stohohop,” Castiel laughed, pushing Dean away by the face.

Dean sat up, heart aflutter, happier now. He and Castiel shared a playful grin.

“Honestly, Dean,” Castiel’s eyes dipped to Dean’s lips, “if you’re going to kiss me, do it properly.”

Dean cackled. “Properly?”

“Like you did with Autumn.” Castiel rolled a shoulder. “At least demonstrate what you did, and I can... I can tell you where you went wrong. I’m sure your neck kisses aren’t that bad.”

Dean scoffed, rolling his eyes.

“I’m being serious,” Castiel insisted. There was a hungry twinkle in his eyes as they lowered to Dean’s lips. “This has happened too many times with too many women, and I really can’t comprehend why. You must be doing something wrong.”

“You’d think so, right?” Dean spread his hands. Then he huffed. “You, uh... You really okay with that? You’re not pranking me or something.”

“I’m not pranking you.” Castiel glanced down, undid the top two buttons on his navy-blue cotton shirt, then rested back on the couch support, head on the palm-leaf poster tacked to the wall. He shut his eyes, then peered past his thick black lashes to wait for Dean.

“Okay...” Dean moved an inch closer. He licked his lips. Some foreign heat rose inside him, and he supposed he was too hot, so untucked his moss-green zookeeper’s shirt and wafted some air against his stomach. “You ready?”

“Mm-hm.” Castiel tilted his head to give Dean some kissing room.

“Right. Well... I was kinda... curled up with her... like this?” Dean lifted both legs onto the couch, bumping until he was as close to Cas as he could be, arms around his waist. “And...?” He hesitated, then bent his head to kiss Castiel’s collarbone. “Started...” He shut his eyes and kissed a few times, soft and nervous. Then he snorted and lifted his head. “Stop judging me.”

“I’m not judging you.”

“I can feel all the hair on the back of my neck standing up, which means you’re staring at me. I have a sixth sense for it.”

Castiel scowled softly. “I’m not judging you,” he smiled. “Just do what you did, I’ll tell you if it’s not right.”

“Okay, okay.” Dean lowered his lips back to Castiel’s clavicle, and opened his mouth there, wet, taking a soft bite with no teeth. “Mmm. Mm. Mwah.”

“Ah...?” Castiel breathed.

“Excuse me?” Dean murmured, smooching under Castiel’s shirt collar. “Problem?”

Castiel shook his head, jaw stubble touching Dean’s forehead. It was prickly but not unpleasant.

Dean put a hand on Castiel’s stomach, realising how strong he was; that was a solid middle. Dean moaned a little, squirming closer, letting a pulse of arousal catch him. He slowed his kisses, deepening them, tilting his head completely onto Castiel’s shoulder as he sucked his neck.

Uohh...! Dean...”

Dean’s body flushed hot as Castiel relaxed, head back, a weak hand touching and holding Dean’s bicep. “Still good?” Dean murmured against Castiel’s throat.

Castiel nodded. “F-Feels... nice. Very... very nice.”

“See?!” Dean yanked back, frustrated. “I’d wanna be kissed like that.”

“Sh-sh—” Castiel hushed, taking Dean’s head and pulling him back to his neck. “Continue your demonstration.”

Dean smooched and nuzzled a few more times, but then muttered, “Um. Cas?”


“About now was when she broke up with me.”

Castiel complained with a hum. “Well, she shouldn’t have.”

“Well, she did.” Dean shut his eyes and kissed a bit more, his chest snug against Castiel’s. He leaned closer to his friend, and they slowly fell to lie lengthways on the couch, socked feet by the corner table, Castiel’s neck on the padded armrest.

Dean lifted his head to check if this was okay, and saw Castiel had his eyes closed, his cheeks pinkened, his lips parted, wearing a tiny smile. Dean sucked his lower lip, stunned by the view.

Castiel realised the kisses had stopped, so fluttered open his eyes. His gaze was lust-dark, intense on Dean’s.

Dean tilted his head in a questioning way.

Castiel’s eyes darted away, a puff of breath escaping him. A flicker of a frown crossed his face... but then he looked back. Asking. Pleading. He wet his lips and stretched out his neck for more.

So, after a breath to steady himself, Dean shut his eyes and carried on.

Seeing Cas with his guard down was weirdly thrilling. It couldn’t hurt to comfort each other a bit... right? Just for a few minutes...

Castiel moaned, arranging his waist so he could part his legs around Dean’s, twining over them, feet stroking each other. Dean felt a spark run up his spine as he let tame kisses turn to sultry ones, wet, quiet...

They shared breaths, they touched each other, stretching out together and somehow holding hands, fingers spread, locking tight. Dean groaned – then recoiled sharply, astounded he’d dare make that noise in front of his best friend.

Castiel made soothing sounds, however, smiling, placing a hand on Dean’s jaw. “It’s okay,” Castiel whispered. “You can moan.”

Dean flashed him a pained smile. “What the hell are we doing, Cas?”

Castiel shifted a shoulder. “Might be best not to think about it.”

Hesitant, Dean kissed his neck a few more times, enjoying the darkness beside Cas’ head, where the ceiling lights couldn’t get to him. Dean realised he was half-hard in his jeans. He pushed himself to Castiel, unable to explain aloud, just wanting him to understand what was happening – only for Dean’s skin to sear with pleasure as he felt Castiel’s own erection though their jeans.

Pulling back, Dean panted, eyes looking frantically between Castiel’s.

Castiel gazed serenely back. He started to smile, and shut his eyes – why? why was he shutting his eyes? – leaning in... pulling Dean down... kissing him on the lips.

A beautiful flame shot up from Dean’s groin; he moaned involuntarily, surging into the kiss, frenzied by it. A thick utterance fell out of him and painted itself onto Castiel’s lips; “Ohh my God, kiss me.” Dean breathed out hard, grasping Cas as Cas grasped him; they messed up each other’s hair, called out into each other’s mouths; breathed hard, hard, hot on each other’s cheeks. They fumbled and grunted and undid each other’s shirts. Quick-quick-quick. Dean grinned and sat up to rip his shirt off at last, unbuckling his jeans while Castiel unbuckled his own.

“Uah— Cas—” Dean opened his fly and fell onto his friend, pushing his cock to Cas’ cock, forcing their bodies together. Castiel shuddered and his breath went ragged, flustered smiles curling his lips on every exhale. He looked blissful, desperate. Dean groaned under his breath, fucking into Cas so they thumped the couch rather than slid together, not even noticing the bite of two zippers pressed between their hips.

“Yeah. Yeah.” Dean nodded, gasping against Castiel’s neck, replacing old kisses with new ones. “Mm. Oh, that’s nice. That’s good, Cas. Oh, just there.”

Castiel nodded, mouth dry as he rasped out, “I— Auhh—? Aauhhhh...”

Dean laughed, and then Castiel laughed, and they held each other tight as they moved. Castiel started to wriggle, and Dean let him wriggle, until he realised Cas was trying to get his pants off completely. So Dean sat back, and they turned to sit side-by-side, both rushing to get naked.

Cas won the race, but rather than use his advantage to get in position, he sat by Dean, watching him wrestle with an uncooperative sock.

He then took Dean’s jaw in hand, and rounded on him to kiss him. First it was a hard kiss, which got his point across: he had plans. Then it was sweet, as he tilted his head, playing a little. Then it brought lava broiling up inside Dean, as Castiel kissed like there were secrets behind his teeth, and Dean couldn’t have them yet. Castiel’s kisses descended, jaw to throat to clavicle, and Dean leaned himself on the couch backrest, eyes shut, soft sounds of pleasure fleeing his throat as Castiel made his bold way to the jungle down below.

“Holy shit, Cas,” Dean huffed out, right hand on the back of Castiel’s shoulders as his warm, determined mouth took Dean’s erection and suckled it gently. “You’re really gonna—?” Dean looked down, awed to see his best friend bobbing his head, sucking, sucking, pausing to swallow. “Oh my God.”

Castiel shifted off the couch, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before kneeling at Dean’s feet, where Dean spread his legs around him. Castiel looked up – oh, blue, blue eyes – and gave Dean a darling smile before bowing to him, swallowing him down again.

Dean sobbed, whole body tensing as pleasure coursed through him, as his bowlegs wound their way over Castiel’s shoulders, crossed over his back. Now Dean had Cas in a thigh-lock, but didn’t squeeze; instead Dean writhed with delight, humping only a bit, panting and whining and nodding without thought.

Castiel’s hands grasped and stroked Dean’s outer thighs, soothing, holding him steady.

Dean watched with complete astonishment. He couldn’t believe Cas was sucking him off, for one thing, and for another, that he was this damn good at it. He had great rhythm, knew how to breathe, and every so often, tilted his eyes up to meet Dean’s, and gave him an eye-smile, which was near incendiary to Dean. All he could do in return was cry out and squirm for more, smiling open-mouthed all the while.

“Cas,” Dean breathed. “Cas, I wanna come. I wanna come.”

Castiel hummed, still sucking.

“Puh— Pull off,” Dean warned. “C’mon, I gotta— Hmmmm.” He threw his head back, legs squeezing Castiel’s shoulders. “Shit. Shit. Cas—”

Dean gasped as he climaxed, back arching, head dragged down the wall, pulling the poster down. It swashed past his ear, but he ignored it, frowning and gasping as his body stung lightning white, then – then – slowly settled with flashes of heat still pumping in his veins, spurts of fluid having gone God-only-knew-where.

After a few seconds of recovery, Dean lifted his head, half-blind eyes wandering the room before lowering to Cas, who knelt in Dean’s grip, contentment in his expression, semen striped down one cheek and under his lips. He tilted his head and rested his cheek on Dean’s inner thigh, both hands hugging both legs. He gazed at Dean for a while, then shut his eyes, smiling.

“Hm,” Dean said, tongue working to swallow so he’d have a voice again. “Was. Good.” He nodded a few times. “OhmyGod. OhmyGod.” He panted, head back on the wall again. “Shit.”

Castiel kissed Dean’s inner thigh, then ducked out of his thigh-lock, helping Dean lower his feet to the rug. He lifted a hand, about to touch the muck on his face, then thought better of it. He looked to Dean for instructions, or suggestions, or maybe comfort...

Dean slid off the couch and sat by him, biting his own lip in a grin. “You, uh,” Dean said, glancing down at Castiel’s full erection, “You want me to...?” Dean waggled a finger in a circle.

“Okay,” Castiel said. He shuffled to get comfortable, still kneeling. He knelt with his knees apart, cock jumping by itself as it waited for contact.

“Mm.” Dean got down onto his elbows, hips to the floor, and with Castiel’s hand in his hair for guidance, he approached, mouth open, ready—

Someone knocked on the apartment door, and Dean jumped. “Aw, come on!”

They knocked again, and Castiel looked over his shoulder too this time. “Sounds urgent.”

Dean pouted. “But I didn’t get my turn yet. Maybe if we stay quiet they’ll leave. Pretend we’re not in.”

There came a third knock, this one even louder and more urgent than before.

“Coming!” Castiel shouted, getting to his feet. “Coming, one moment please!” He soon added, quietly, “Ironic, I know,” as he hastily buttoned his shirt.

Dean huffed as he fought to get back into his clothes. He barely had a moment to breathe between buckling his belt and seeing Castiel sweep away, barefoot. Dean rushed after him, grabbing his arm. “Wait.”

Castiel eyed the door, clearly sensing the needs of the person on the other side. But he waited for a beat, waiting for Dean to speak.

Dean couldn’t find a single way to ask all the questions he had now. He had to let Castiel go, knowing they’d talk later. “Nothing,” Dean said. “Just. You got a little schmutz on your face. And a really obvious boner. I’ll get the door, you wash up and cool off.”

“Oh.” Castiel had covered his chin bashfully. “Thank you.”

He hurried for the bathroom, and Dean went to the apartment’s front door.

The moment the door opened, Charlie fell inside, her eyes red with tears and her jaw tight with fury. “The wedding’s off. Birdie and I broke up.”


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