Sam really did love San Francisco. Yeah, the hills were rough for his early morning runs, it was kinda expensive and there were a few oddballs around but, overall, it was a pretty nice place to live. The narrow street he and his brother Dean shared an apartment on was far out enough to not cost too much but still held the Queen Anne style charm of the tall slim houses that were so indicative of the city.
The building's large windows faced the apartment across the road almost directly but no one had lived there in a while. At least, Sam hadn't seen anyone in there for the last two years…until today. He watched a few guys move in boxes but only one stayed behind to unpack them.
The man wore a suit and tie, and some kind of brown overcoat, which he shrugged off and hung neatly by his door and looked as normal as anyone can look on the outside, he supposed.
Sam suddenly realised that he had been watching a stranger in their own apartment and forced himself to keep studying.
A couple of days—study, housework, working, repeat—passed and Sam was idly twirling a finger through his overlong bangs thinking about what to write next for his ethics essay when it happened. A light going on in the apartment across the street caught his attention as the occupant got home. The guy wandered around, dumping keys, bag, coat and kicked off his shoes while stretching sinuously. He continued to strip off his clothes and Sam assumed he would stop at his shirtsleeves but he didn't. He really, really didn't. He'd stripped to his boxers and had hooked his fingers in the waistband to pull them down before Sam was aware enough to look away. But then he risked a peek. The guy was completely nude but soon ducked into what Sam presumed to be the bathroom. Jesus, had the guy not heard of drapes?
While nudist neighbour was out, Sam nosily inspected his apartment. What? He gets bored studying all day! He could see the neat, basic furniture that came with the rental, a few photographs dotted around. The bedroom was pretty bohemian, considering the rest of the apartment, with wall hangings, lanterns and a mandala comforter. He noticed a pride flag hanging on his living room wall too. Obviously not a problem as, despite John Winchester's best efforts, Sam and his brother were firm allies.
When Sam wasn't perving on his neighbour’s interior design, he occasionally
procrastinated kept himself occupied by making up little theories about the guy. What was his job? Did he have siblings? Was he a cat person or a dog person? All harmless things one might find out in a casual conversation. What weren't harmless things one might find out in casual conversion were, what colour underwear did he wear and what sort of porn did he like? Unfortunately for Sam, he knew these things first.
The guy, henceforth known as The Nudist, really liked to be naked. Like, really, really liked to be naked. He rarely had clothes on past 6pm and often waited for the very last second before leaving the apartment to get dressed.
"This is getting ridiculous." He muttered to himself. Sam knew that it was the guy's right to be naked all the time and maybe he was kinda jealous that he lived with his brother so he couldn't do the same, but the guy has curtains for God's sake. Why the hell didn't he use them?
Largely though, Sam had gotten used to it. The guy never did weird shit like helicoptering or anything so the nudity just turned into background movement that Sam would occasionally glance at. Unfortunately that all changed on a dark, fall evening about half an hour after Nudist got home and Sam sensed a different kind of movement and risked a look. The guy was very close to the glass, close enough to rest his forearm on it above his head as he peered out at the street. Sam didn't look away quick enough when the man raised his head, immediately finding Sam in his window. Shit. Sam had no idea what to do, he cast around for a reason to be gazing out his window but apparently it was too late, the guy was staring intently and Sam was sure he was gonna at least get flipped off but the guy just smiled and stood up straighter, offering his hand up in a little wave. Sam raised his hand awkwardly but when the smile turned decidedly shark like, he shuffled hurriedly away from the window. What was that?!
On no less than three occasions, Sam had looked out his own damn window to see another man's erect penis. He was getting a bit sick of it to be honest, and had done everything in his power to dissuade the guy without being outright aggressive. Sam racked his brain trying to figure out what he had done to encourage him to exhibit himself but couldn't come up with anything. Had he inadvertently been staring at nothing in the wrong direction? He did zone out sometimes but surely that wasn't enough to elicit a private show everyday. Speak of the devil and he shall appear, bang on time and naked. Sam sighed and pointedly turned away.
It was getting worse. Sam had moved his desk away from the window but his room wasn't huge and his apartment ran the length of the building so the living area, galley kitchen and Dean's room all faced the same direction. It was inescapable! He couldn't just not look out his own window.
Three days later, the guy stood in his bedroom, back to the window, as steam billowed out of the ensuite. He'd thrown a look over his shoulder, straight at Sam then pulled off his sweater, swiftly followed by his shirt. It was when the guy began to slide his pants over his ass slowly that Sam had come to his senses and hidden.
What the actual fuck. Sam knew he had looked over at the apartment a few times (when you see movement it's only natural) but how on earth had he given a complete stranger the impression that he wanted to see more?
It got to the point where Sam would slam his eyes shut every time he saw flesh colored movement in the apartment across the way, which was every single time he looked out his own damn window. The latest 'show' involved the guy lying on his bed, which he had actually moved to be in full view of the window, working on his laptop thankfully fully clothed. Unfortunately, but deservedly, as Sam was trying to figure out what this guy's deal was, the man glanced over at Sam then stuck his hand down the front of his pants.
"Shit!" Sam hissed as he dropped to the floor below his window. Smooth.
He raised his head and peeked over the windowsill, quickly ducking again.
Sam army crawled out of his room keeping his head down til he got to his brothers door and he knocked at floor level.
"Dean! Pst." Sam nonsensically whisper yelled. "Dean, goddammit!" He must have grabbed another shift, Sam swivelled on his belly and crawled back to his room to lie on the floor and pretend windows didn't exist.
A few days later and the guy was back at the window. It was a Sunday so he was only casually nude today, same as usual but even messier hair and at least he wasn't touching himself this time. Dean was working his way through the Netflix queue so had planted himself on their shared sofa.
"Hey, you seen that guy over there?" Sam jabbed his thumb in the direction of the naturalist's apartment. Dean looked away from the soap opera he swore he never watched and looked out the window.
"No-one there, Sammy." Dean shrugged.
Sam looked again and had to agree that the apartment looked deserted now. Probably for the best as Dean would probably appreciate seeing a naked man even less than Sam did.
Sam knew he had to do something more extreme when the most recent occurrence was definitely not a coincidence. No matter how he had tried to spin it, this really was not as easily dismissed as an accident as the others. Sam's jaw dropped as the guy stood in the same position as when he had first waved, forearm pressed to the glass and his head down. This time though, he had a hand wrapped around himself. Down there.
Sam stepped back abruptly, tripping on his charger and pulling his phone off the bed to clatter loudly on his hardwood floor and half his bookshelf to collapse. Shit. Once he'd untangled himself and cleared up the destruction, he risked a peek at his neighbour. Who thankfully had gone. Sam shook his head and marched through the living room to his brother's door.
"Dean! Did you see him? What the hell is this guy's problem?" Sam banged on the door until Dean appeared fresh from a shower.
"What the hell, Sammy!?" Dean dried his hair absently with the towel slung over his shoulders. "Who?"
"The guy in the apartment over there." Sam insisted in a whisper "The naked one!"
Dean's eyes went wide and a blush grew quickly across his cheeks. Ah, he must have seen him.
"Uh, nope. I didn't see anyone. Naked or otherwise." Dean laughed awkwardly. "So, uh, if you don't mind…" and the door closed in Sam's face.
"Okay...bye then…" Sam said faintly. Jesus, he was surrounded by weirdos.
It had been about six weeks when the doorbell rang and Sam was confronted with his Naked Neighbour. Up close he could see that his hair wasn't actually black as he'd thought, but dark brown and he had vivid blue eyes.
"Yes?" Sam eventually managed to squeak.
"Sam? My name is Castiel. I live in the apartment across from you." He gestured to the windows on the far wall. "May I?"
Sam blinked. "What? Why?" he was beginning to panic. Why was this man here and how the hell did he know his name? Castiel tilted his head like a bird, considering Sam's words with a squint until Sam got so uncomfortable he stepped backwards, effectively inviting the weirdo in.
"Thank you, Sam." Castiel took off his jacket, then started on the zip of his hoodie. Sam threw up his hands and waved them wildly.
"No! What are you doing!? Look, I'm flattered…I guess…but I don't…I'm not…"
The guy tilted his head again. "It's warm in here, Sam. Are you alright?"
Oh. Sam felt his face grow hot. "Sorry, I'm just confused. What do you want?"
"I'm here to see Dean. He said he was home."
"Oh! He's probably got his headphones on. I'll…go get him. Have a seat."
Sam hurried to Dean's door, banging on it before barging in anyway. Dean lay on his bed, eyes closed and legs crossed at the ankle, nodding his head to the loud music playing through his huge headphones. Sam kicked him and he jumped.
"Dean. Why the fuck is our pervert neighbor here?" Sam hissed.
"Castiel? I think?" Sam said.
Dean grinned and jumped up.
"Cas!" He ran to the man still standing awkwardly in their living room and pulled him into a hug. "It's good to see you, man!"
Dean grabbed Castiel by the arm and dragged him into his room and closed the door. Sam stood staring at the wood for a moment before frowning and going to his own room. He supposed that could have been worse. Sam must have been mistaken or it's a huge coincidence. Either way, Sam intended to avoid the guy who he may or may not have seen naked so many times.
This was easier said than done as everytime Sam left his room Castiel was there. Laughing with Dean in the kitchen, kicking his ass at Mario Kart or watching a shitty western.
When Castiel wasn't in Sam's apartment he was in his own and thankfully he'd figured out how curtains worked. Mostly. Now and again, Sam would glance up from a book to find a fully naked Castiel stretching provocatively, or undressing slowly by his window. Sam would just ignore him.
Sam had just gone for a run in the early hours of Saturday morning and then stood in the corner of his dark kitchen, slinging back a bottle of water when he heard it. A bang and a squeak. It wasn't loud but it was an odd enough sound that it piqued his interest and he scanned the living area to try to see what it was. Nothing seemed out of place, he wandered into his own room…nothing there either. Dean surely wasn't actually awake right now? Sam grabbed a towel and headed to the bathroom, intending to peek in on Dean. Make sure he hadn't fallen out of bed in a hungover stupor or something. Although, Sam would be hard pressed to recall the last time he'd seen his brother get that kind of drunk.
He tapped lightly on Dean's door. "Hey, Dean?" He whispered. There was another squeak. "Dean?" Sam asked a little louder. "Are you okay?" he cracked the door silently. Sam really hadn't learned anything from walking in on Dean more than once when they first moved in together because he'd only gone and done it again. This time though, there wasn't some poor girl under him or obnoxiously loud porn emitting tinily from those ancient headphones, just Dean—bare assed—looking out the window and leaning on it like he wanted to fall through the glass. The cloud of condensation had a large smudged handprint in it which explained the thump-squeak.
As it came in very handy for college work and Where's Waldo pages, Sam had never cursed his ability to take in and memorize a whole bunch of information in one glance before, but now he wished he hadn't even come home after his run and just headed to work in his sweaty shorts. He shuddered and backed away, quickly but quietly closing the door behind him.
The brothers coincidentally had a few days off over the weekend and they spent some of it lurking around the apartment in their pjs. Sam didn't bring up Dean's weird window fetish and Dean obviously didn't bring it up either but it still hung about in the back of Sam's mind, festering.
"Hey, Sam?" Dean asked suddenly and Sam hummed. "What're you doing for Valentine's Day?"
"Gonna make Eileen dinner at her place. Why?" Sam narrowed his eyes at the side of Dean's face—the only bit he could see.
"Huh, home cooked meal, sounds nice." Dean said thoughtfully before leaving the sofa and taking his phone with him to his room. Guess that's it for the movie, Sam thought to himself as he watched Dean go. Valentine's Day was the following week and he had taken the day off to go grocery shopping and cook something fancy. He'd gotten the idea when he saw a mislabelled bottle of wine. Wine that was supposed to be $50, marked as $5? He couldn't pass it up and had stashed it in his room away from the resident, borderline alcoholic.
Sam didn't see Dean again before he went to bed and he didn't bother to glance out the window tonight as it was peak exhibit time across the street. Ablutions done, he crawled into bed and fitfully thought about his assignments until he fell asleep.
Five normal days passed. Five whole, uneventful days and Sam was looking forward to dinner later that night with his girlfriend. He drove straight to her house from the store and was twenty minutes into preparing a fresh paella when he realised he'd forgotten the damn wine. With a peck to Eileen's cheek and a promise from her that she'll do her best not to let anything burn, Sam drove back to his apartment.
He poked his head into Dean's room, which was empty and unchanged apart from his laptop lying open on the small desk by the window. Sam huffed, he knew Dean took Sam's superior computer when he was out and he just hoped there wasn't anything gross on it when he got it back this time. He didn't have time to bother with it and ran to his room for the wine. Which wasn't where he left it. Shit. Sam dragged out the clothes surrounding the hiding place in his closet but there was a definite wine shaped hole. He took a deep breath and let it out. Dean. That asshole. He pinched the bridge of his nose and paced the room, ending up at the window.
Glancing warily at the apartment across the street he noticed it looked like Castiel had a date! The lights were dim but Sam could see the small kitchen table made up with linens and candles and Cas swayed slowly as he stirred something in the stove. Glad that Cas wasn't naked and throwing suggestive glances his way, Sam pulled out his phone to call Dean. He watched Cas as it rang, saw him tidying away a few things and could imagine the music he might be listening to.
The call connected and Sam hit the ground running with a stream of abuse. "Dean? What in the actual fuck were you doing in my room? And why the hell did you take my damn wine?! You better not have used it for sangria or some shit because it's good stuff an-" Sam ran out of breath and Dean took the brief opportunity to interrupt.
"Jesus, Sam! The wine's in the kitchen! I went in your room to borrow a damn tie last week and I saw it. A) It was hot as balls in your closet and 2) You don't store wine upright, Sam! It woulda got all...musty."
"Oh." Sam was speechless beyond that.
"Yeah, oh." Dean sounded kinda defeated and Sam immediately felt bad. "Can I go now, bitch?"
"Yeah, Dean. Sorry, I…thanks."
"Yeah, fine. Enjoy your dinner." Dean hung up. Sam thumped his head against the window. Shit. He knew Dean was a bit sensitive about his… sensitivity and he wished he'd given him the benefit of the doubt about the wine.
A flurry of movement drew Sam's attention across the street. Castiel's guest had arrived and Sam could see their feet at the open front door and Castiel was bouncing on his toes, obviously excited for his date. The date that stepped forward revealing denim covered legs. Denim covered bow legs. Sam could have slapped himself. Goddamn it. Dean.
Now, no one could say that Sam was stupid but they would have very solid grounds to say he was the biggest idiot in California, maybe even in the entire United States. Sam flushed hot from head to toe, mortified that he'd assumed Castiel had been non consensually flashing him for weeks when the much more likely recipient was two rooms and three windows away. He was just as confused but not as weirded out now. Why was Dean encouraging their neighbour? Was this a date? Was Dean gay? Bi? Sam was a moron, a colossal heteronormative asshole. He palmed himself in the face, hard.
Sam couldn't tear his eyes away as Castiel did his hostly duties, taking Dean's coat, gushing about the flowers his surprisingly thoughtful brother had brought, dragging him into a deep—and very welcome, if Dean's body language was anything to go by—kiss. Woah. Okay. This should not have been as unexpected as it was. The kiss thankfully broke, because Sam was kinda fixated at this point, then Dean walked to the window, shit eating grin firmly in place, raised both his thumbs gleefully and pulled the drapes shut.
That fucking asshole.