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The Summer Holds A Song (We Might Sing Forever)

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The weathered boards of the veranda creak under Castiel’s feet as he steps outside with his morning mug of tea. It’s already hot in the shade, but the breeze coming off the ocean cuts through it, the scent of salt heavy in the air. The windchimes -- abalone shells and sea glass -- sing over the railing, mingling with the sound of the waves just down the white stretch of beach. Castiel curls his toes against the white-painted wood and thinks that today is a good day to grab his notebook, his favorite pen, and write in the shelter of the porch’s roof.

Castiel sits on the steps leading down to beach, knees and calves and feet in the sun. It makes the top of his feet feel hot and itchy, too dry, and he knows that if he stays there too long they’ll start to pink up like lobsters in a pot. He’ll have to cover himself in sunblock before he comes back out just to protect from the reflected light.

He’s just digging his toes into the sand when voices on the beach catch his attention and he looks up, sees a group of five children, teenagers really, coming toward his stretch of beach. Squinting at them, he follows their progress as they get closer; three boys, two girls. They’re older than he first thought, he can see. The nearest one, the tallest, is probably sixteen or seventeen. The others...Castiel tilts his head, watching them. The others are younger, he decides, crafting stories for them in his head. The two holding hands are dating, a summer romance they both hope will continue now that summer’s nearing its close. The others are single, none of them attached to each other or anyone else, though the boy, the boy hanging back might have something up his sleeve. The other girl, though, the one with the hair like straw, wishes the older boy would notice her, desperately wants his atten --

The boy turns away abruptly from the group, from the ocean, his eyes finding Castiel’s unerringly across the sand, and Castiel’s heart skips a beat in his chest.

Castiel stands and turns around, goes back up the steps, sand clinging to the bottom of his feet. He doesn’t want the attention, doesn’t want to make small talk with the local youth. He’s here to work, here to write. He came late in the season for a reason, and this is not it.

Finishing his tea quickly, he deposits the mug in the sink and heads upstairs to shower, hoping the kids will be gone by the time he’s ready to write.

The shower cubicle smells of the sea, the salt taste rising up with the steam as if it's gotten embedded already in Castiel's skin. Castiel breathes it in, every inhalation half spray, and tries to focus on his plans for the book. The water pressure isn't good, but Castiel doesn't mind; has always felt strangely capable, intellectually, while water sluices languidly over his skin, licking down his body and stimulating his thoughts. If the pressure is poor, it just means he has to take a little longer getting the shampoo out of his overlong hair -- due for a trim three weeks ago, at least -- and Castiel has always preferred long showers.

Through the condensation on the glass, the bathroom is an indistinct blur of grey-blue. Castiel studies it blankly and tries to think where to begin. There was a plan at some stage, but things have evolved since he first drew it up, and now perhaps he might want to switch things around a little, pick up the story in medias res instead of where he'd first thought. This is what he came out here for, to think things over and be productive, so it doesn't bother him too much that he's still debating the finer points. He has plenty of time, after all.

Even if it would be preferable all round if he could actually keep his mind on his own characters, instead of letting it drift sideways onto uninvited ones.

Since he was a child, he's always had a tendency to study people, make up whole worlds for them in his head as he eats a bagel in a sidewalk cafe or watches street traffic from the window of his office. Ordinarily, it isn't a problem, and it's even been of benefit more than once. It's just that he isn't sure this book actually needs an enigmatic teenage boy to saunter right into the middle of it and derail the plot entirely, as the figure taking shape in Castiel's head seems to want to do. The way the sun flashed on his hair, the narrowness of his hips -- anyone would be derailed by him. He shakes his head firmly to clear it, shoves his hair out of his face.

"Focus, Castiel," he tells himself under his breath.

It will be all right. Perhaps he'll start with the old man's death, and see where things go from there.

Castiel shuts the water off and reaches for a towel. Half-heartedly drying himself off, he pads into the bedroom, wrapping the towel around his waist. One of the windows is open from the night before, when Castiel had lain against the cool sheets and listened to the waves on the beach, their endless, rhythmic lapping. They’d lulled him into a deep sleep and pulled dreams of sea witches and foam from his unconscious, merpeople with no legs longing for land, reaching for him from the depths. He’d wanted to tell them it’s not good here, either, save yourselves, but he’d woken with a gasp, the sound of the waves and the windchimes down below ringing in his ears.

He’d slept without dreaming after that, slept until the sun had slipped over the horizon and into his eyes.

The sound of the water floats through the open window now, and Castiel finds himself calmed by it, the tension in his bones easing as the image of the boy on the beach is swept away, gone like a sandcastle built too close to the tide. Sliding a drawer open, he pulls out a pair of underwear, dropping the towel and balancing on one foot to pull them on. He’s just snapping the elastic around his waist when he hears laughter outside, mixing with gulls crying over the water. There’s a splash and a yell and when Castiel goes to the window and looks down, the group is still there, kicking up sand, bare, wet limbs flashing.

He frowns. It’s unfair, he thinks, to be stuck in doors on a day like today when the water is as blue as the sky above. He’d had plans and a place to execute them and now, now...

“Pull yourself together, Castiel,” he tells himself, watching the oldest boy bound through the white-tipped waves, shirtless and gleaming. “They’re nothing to be afraid of.”

Decision made, he finds the bottle of sunblock on his dresser and slathers his arms and legs with it, the tops of his feet and the back of his neck. He rubs it into his cheeks and forehead, the bridge of his nose, and then wipes his hands on the towel he discarded, picking it up and taking it back to the bathroom to dry on the towel rack. He gets dressed -- short-sleeve button-down, light, linen pants -- and grabs his notebook and pen before heading downstairs. He will not be dissuaded.

There's a table on the veranda in what might be called an inspiring place, facing right out to sea. Castiel has the feeling, though, that the owner of the house is not the sort of man to set much store by such things. It isn't that Castiel expects everyone he meets to be a novelist, but this would be an ideal location for writing postcards at, answering invitations, if the ungainly wobble of the table legs didn't make it abundantly clear that it has never been put to any such use. Castiel spares a moment in idle regret, mostly on the part of the table, and then starts casting around for something with which to prop it up.

A wodge of newspaper later, and Castiel has a passably flat surface to spread out on, a canvas for his pens and paperweight and the notebook he bought in Paris when he was in college. Its pages have long been filled, but even full lucky notebooks still make good writing surfaces, taking the impact of Castiel's words through an intervening layer of file paper. It's unnecessarily complicated, probably, in this day and age, but Castiel has always been a man of routine, dependent on his own little rituals.

Where the teenagers on the beach fit into Castiel's writing ritual, he isn't sure. His mind feels unpromisingly blank, but his usual counterattack of writing with his eyes closed proves effective when he tries it, half a page pouring out of him to the soundtrack of youthful yells and shrieks. He can't see them properly from here -- couldn't even with his eyes open -- but the low-level buzz of their humanity is heartening, gets him into his head-space like the inchoate tumult of a coffee shop or the outdoor sounds of a park. He's never been able to concentrate in libraries, his imagination dulled by all that silence. Perhaps these kids won't be such a nuisance after all, provided that they stay well out of speaking range.

The words come surprisingly easily, slipping from the tip of his pen and onto the off-white paper, dark ribbons of ink rolling across the page in loops and whorls as he describes the scene in his head. He doesn’t think about it, only writes, lets the words come to him as they will. Later he’ll look over it, read and re-read and decide if it’s worth keeping, if there’s something here that he can use or if it’s all just practice, the run-up before he dives in.

Castiel doesn’t know how long he writes, but when he looks up the day is brighter around him, sun high and reflecting off the water, turning the sand white. He squints into it and wishes he’d remembered to bring his sunglasses down. A breeze comes in off the water, ruffling the pages of his notebook, bringing with it a greater smell of salt, the sound of gulls, and Castiel realizes he doesn’t hear the kids anymore. He looks toward the water, finds the places where their youthful feet have churned the sand into chaos, a testimony to their presence on an otherwise flat and rolling stretch of beach. They aren’t there, though, or in the water. They aren’t anywhere in sight. Castiel sighs, attributing the strange sense of loss to the absence of other human voices. He’d been productive; they’d contributed to that on some level.

Standing, Castiel stretches -- his lower back is tight, especially over his right hip -- and packs up his things. He’ll come back out later, or maybe write at the desk in the living room, the one in the alcove that looks out over the dunes. First, though, he needs to eat.

Back inside, he deposits his things on the kitchen table. It’s cooler here, the refrigerator humming quietly in the corner. Castiel crosses to it, his bare feet hardly making a sound on the wood floors, and pulls it open, reaching inside for meats and cheeses he’d purchased the day before. Setting them on the counter, he turns for the bread, the cutting board. Assembles a sandwich methodically, distracted by thoughts of the words he’s written, the words he wants to write. He can feel them itching at the tips of his fingers, ready for pen and paper to bring them into existence.

Food, though. Food now and then back to work.

Grabbing his notebook, he sits down to read over it as he eats. It’s...surprising, what’s on the paper. Not what he was expecting at all considering he wrote it. He can practically smell the salt in the air when he reads the words on the page, completely separate from the real life smell around him. Can hear the gulls and the children and, mixed in, a slightly deeper voice, the voice of a young man rising above nature’s din, ringing clear and bright and --

Castiel frowns down at the paper, flicking crumbs away from it. He’s not sure how he feels about this development. Doesn’t like that this...this boy has snuck into his story, slinking in where he doesn’t belong. The words are good, he allows, the atmosphere compelling, but the boy --

Rubbing his fingers over the bridge of his nose, Castiel sighs and collects the pages, tucking them in the back of his notebook. He'll try again, inside this time where the sounds from the -- now deserted -- beach are muffled, and keep a closer eye on his prose.


The bed in the master bedroom sinks heavily when he climbs into it, setting his heart sinking with it in anticipation of horrors. Once he's fully ensconced between the sheets, though, the breeze from the window curling through his hair, it doesn't seem so bad. He's left the curtains open, never thought to close them, and now that he's here, the sea a dark expanse beyond the barrier of glass, he doesn't think he wants to. The sea looks alive, the rolling sound of it and the way the moonlight catches on the waves making it seem like some organism, a being not quite of this world. Possibly, Castiel will regret not closing the curtains when he wakes in the night to the fear of some dark intruder, some imagined face on the other side of the window. For now, though, he leaves it alone, and lets himself be lulled into sleep.

Morning catches him almost by surprise. Typically, he doesn't sleep well, but he wakes now to a room full of light. A glance at the clock tells him it's 7:30, and he remembers no interruptions between falling asleep and now, which is a minor miracle. Outside, the world looks freshly laundered, the waves crawling serenely up the beach, the pale sky fading to pink at the edges. Castiel feels refreshingly as if his mind has been laundered, too, all the cobwebs whisked away to leave only the hard, fierce core of intention. Today will be a better writing day, he is quite sure. A pot of coffee, some dry toast, and he'll be well on his way.

There's no need, really, to dress properly. The beach is deserted at this time in the morning, and Castiel often works in a uniform of hooded sweatshirts thrown over pajama pants, the hood pulled up around his ears on cold days. There's something comforting about it. Today, though, Castiel doesn't want to feel comfortable. He wants to feel rejuvenated, ready, and that means a change of scene, a change in himself. So he puts on actual pants and a shirt, although there's nobody to see him, and relocates onto the veranda with his coffee. Far out to sea, the gulls cry a greeting, two of them whirling up into the sky at his approach. Castiel smiles, spreads out his papers. He'll take that as a good omen.

He writes. The world falls away. It's a long time since that's happened so fully and intensely as it does now, everything going blank beyond the borders of the page, the words pouring out of him like water, as if someone had affixed a faucet to his mind and turned it full on. Castiel's fingers begin to cramp, but the words will not hold with him stopping, apparently, and it is Castiel, after all, who is their slave, and not the other way around, so he continues, pausing only to flex his hand occasionally and wish he had been born ambidextrous. By the time the faucet's flow slows to a dribble, brings him to a conclusion, there are thousands of words on paper, the morning late and golden. Castiel blinks, raising his head like a man awakening from a deep sleep. The sky is everywhere cornflower blue, the sand bathed pleasantly in warm summer light. Castiel sits back in his chair with a sigh, letting his legs fall loosely open. A glance at his watch tells him almost three hours have passed. His chest glows with the aftermath of productivity.

He's scanning the beach almost unconsciously when he spots him. That boy, unmistakable, shirtless by the shoreline. Castiel feels the glow in his chest slide abruptly into something else, uncertain and tight and hopeful, although hope is ridiculous. What is he hoping for, anyway? What can he be hoping for? He slumps back into the chair, sinks lower, as if to avoid being seen.

It's ridiculous. He's a grown man, not a child. Not some love-struck, starry-eyed teenager writing poetry in the margins of his notes. That thought is even more ridiculous; he’s seen the boy twice, always from a distance. There’s no reason his mind should immediately skip to adolescent declarations of love, to the midnight longing for skin against skin in lonely childhood bedrooms.

His eyes follow the perfect tan lines of the boy's back, the shift of muscle he can just barely see from here. Castiel knows he shouldn’t be looking, that he should look away to the gulls circling overhead or to the ridges of foamy white that cap each wave rolling in, but he can’t. There’s something about the fluid movement of this summer-born creature that draws Castiel’s attention and won’t let go. A silent siren drawing Castiel to his doom.

The boy runs a few paces along the waterline, feet leaving dimples in the wet sand, and then turns, jogs backwards, calling something Castiel can’t quite hear. A dog comes running up to him, sand flying up beneath its feet. It’s shaggy and golden and the boy laughs as it tries to play, jumping around him in a circle, tail wagging. Watching them from his vantage point on the porch, Castiel can practically feel the energy rolling off of them, the life and youth and carefree joy that Castiel only barely remembers from his younger years. His fingers twitch against his thighs, so Castiel curls one hand into a fist, reaches for his pen with the other.

Give me an occupation, he thinks, and drags his attention away from the boy on the beach, shifts his chair until his back is to the view and his paper is in front of him, ready and waiting for the words he’ll put down on it.

At first it isn’t easy, knowing the boy is behind him. Something about him draws Castiel’s eyes; the line of his shoulders, the strong curves of his arms, the glint of his hair in the sun. Like Apollo come down from Olympus. The fingers of Castiel’s free hand twitch, and his eyes long to turn and follow his progress along the water’s edge. Castiel forces them still and writes, focuses instead on the old man’s death, its aftermath. He wants to get this beginning down so he can introduce his protagonist today. Golden-limbed young men -- no, boys -- have no place here. This narrative is not theirs.

Eventually Castiel settles into a rhythm, writing until the sun starts to encroach on his shady table. Only then does he allow himself to look back at the ocean. He finds nothing but the expanse of sky and water, the boy’s footprints stretched across the shoreline, a dotted line leading to buried treasure.


After that, Castiel starts looking out for him. He knows he shouldn't, tries his damnedest not to, but it's no good: even when he's writing smoothly, there's a niggle at the base of his skull, wondering if the boy will be by this way soon, making his eyes flick up, from time to time, just to check.

Of course, it's when Castiel isn't looking that it happens, the sound of a dog's energetic barking cutting into the thick of his train of thought. One moment, he's frowning down at his last half-sentence, debating the position of the comma; the next, there's a wet, cold nose nudged up against the inside of his knee and a tail thumping against his calf. Castiel, to put it mildly, is taken by surprise.

"Oh," he says, nonplussed, "um."

The dog looks up at him with soulful eyes, yaps again and sits back on its hind legs, mouth open around a doggy grin. Castiel has seen this dog before, all lolling tongue and lolloping gait, and the memory of where makes his heart skip a beat, even as he raises his eyes to look.

His one hand settles of its own accord on the back of the dog's neck, and the dog seems content, even calm. Castiel, when he spots the longed-for figure a hundred yards away across the sands, feels no iota of calmness at all.

He's waving, Castiel realizes after a second -- waving at Castiel, because there's certainly nobody else around; waving at Castiel as if the two of them actually exist on the same physical plane, the boy no longer even potentially some figment of Castiel's imagination. He's too far away for anything he said to be audible, but the wide grin on his face and the frantic gestures of his arms tell an obvious story: Hey, thanks for catching my dog, mister. Send him back over this way, wouldja? Castiel can almost hear the voice in his head, young and light and full of summer.

Under his hands, the dog barks, and Castiel remembers himself, waves tentatively back and pats the dog encouragingly on the rump. "Go on," he says, giving it as firm a nudge as he dares. "Go on, your boy wants you, buddy."

God knows, if that boy wanted Castiel, he wouldn't hesitate a second. His mouth tugs wryly, resigned, at the thought; the dog licks at his hands, capers around for a minute, and then takes off, shooting across the sand towards the boy like a rocket. Clearly prepared, the boy drops into a crouch, holds out his arms for the dog to run into. Reunited with its master, the dog launches into a flurry of yaps, and Castiel bites his lip on a smile as he watches them straighten up and continue moving westward across the beach.

Out of the corner of his eye, he thinks he sees the boy turn around, look back at the house, but he might be mistaken. Peripheral vision is untrustworthy.


Castiel jumps when someone knocks on his door later that afternoon. The weathered wood of the stormdoor rattles in its frame and Castiel sighs at the ruckus, annoyed by the jarring quality of it, the way it’s disturbed the roll he was on. Tucking his pen into his notebook, Castiel sets his paperweight on top of all of it before standing and heading inside. From where he stands, he can see the silhouette of his visitor through the screen door at the front of the house. The person is distinctly male in shape, younger by the looks of him, lithe and lean and --


“Hey,” the boy says, and it is The Boy in all of his summer glory; shorts and flip-flops, a tank top. Hands deep in his pockets, he looks like underage sin. “I thought I’d check up on you, see how you were doing.”

“I --” Castiel shakes his head, staring at him through the screen. His face is smooth, unlined and unstubbled, and his eyes are a limpid green. They stare right back at Castiel; he can’t tell if it’s curiosity or confrontation. He fears it’s both even though his rational brain knows there’s no way this boy could have seen the way Castiel’s eyes follow him, no way he could know the thoughts that have made their way through Castiel’s mind, trickling in and out of his dreams.

He’s still standing there, staring at Castiel through the screen, his mouth half curling up in a smirk. Friendly, Castiel thinks, patient, but still a smirk. Castiel shakes himself. “Hello,” he says, finally. “Why are you here?”

The boy shrugs, a simple ripple of movement that makes Castiel’s mouth go dry. “Like I said, checking up on you. Dad wanted me to stop by, check the gas meters. Thought I should say hello and introduce myself so you don’t, I don’t know, grab a shotgun and point it at the trespassing hooligan.”

Castiel blinks at him. “Your father?”

“If you’d open the door, I could introduce myself properly. Everything will be clear then, I promise.” He winks, then, a gesture that makes Castiel’s heart stop in his chest. The boy knows, he must know. He knows and now he’s mocking Castiel, throwing it in his face.

“Of course,” Castiel says. “Come in.”

Hand sliding out of his pocket, the boy reaches for the door handle, pulls it open. He steps inside, right into Castiel’s personal space, and grins. They’re of a height, and Castiel can see now that the boy’s skin is dotted with freckles beneath the tan, trailing over the bridge of his nose and the tops of his cheeks. Castiel’s fingers itch to touch; he curls them into his palms.

“Hi,” the boy repeats.

Castiel swallows. “Hello.”

“I’m Dean,” he says, hand held out in the too-close space between them. “Dean Winchester. John’s my dad.”

Ah, Castiel thinks. It would be just his luck to have inappropriate fantasies about his landlord’s nubile young son. He stares at Dean’s hand outstretched between them, tries to convince himself it isn’t a viper waiting to strike. It isn’t until Dean’s fingers wiggle that Castiel remembers he’s meant to take it. For someone Dean’s age, his grip is surprisingly strong, distractingly firm. “Castiel Elkan.”

Dean grins at him, pumping his hand three times before letting go. “Nice to meet you, Castiel,” he says, hand disappearing back in his pocket and, Jesus, even his shoulders are freckled. There are roads Castiel’s mind wants to travel, trains of thought that lead him places where the only thing he can think of is all of Dean’s skin and whether or not those freckles...

Castiel shakes his head. Hopes he hasn’t been staring.

Dean doesn't seem perturbed, for what it's worth -- seems, rather, like the type of man it takes a lot to rattle, the set of his freckled shoulders betraying a level of self-assurance Castiel has never quite reached. A boy like Dean, though, must know how attractive he is, can't possibly not, and Castiel imagines the knowledge must have an effect on anyone's confidence.

Not that there's anything arrogant about Dean, as there could have been. When Castiel was in high school, he stared at boys like this one from his own side of the cafeteria, coveted their beauty but thought them self-centred and graceless. Maybe it's his damn romantic streak that insists there's nothing of that in Dean, but he doesn't think so. Dean smiles like he means it, this quirky sidelong thing, and his movements, when he gestures toward the front hall, are casual and unaffected. "Meter's in there -- that okay?"

"Oh." Castiel backs up hurriedly, feeling suddenly in the way. "Of course -- sorry."

"No worries." Dean flashes him a grin that makes him feel ridiculous, fourteen and nerdy. It's stupid, but it's better than feeling like a dirty old man, so Castiel goes with it, smiling back at Dean as they move into the hall.

"If he just needed the figures for the gas company, I could have phoned them in," Castiel says, as Dean pried open the front of the meter, peering in.

"Yeah, well," Dean shoots back, "maybe I wanted an excuse to meet the new guy, you ever think of that?" He's half bent over, his back a perfect curve, but he looks back at Castiel over his shoulder as he speaks, one eyebrow raised, conspiratorial. Castiel's fingers clench into his palms with the sudden urge to take hold of those narrow hips and bend Dean over the rest of the way, push him up against the wall right over the damn gas meter. He shakes himself, dislodging the thought before it takes root, but his cock is taking an interest already; he's relieved when Dean turns around again, fixing his attentions on the row of numbers on the LCD display.

"Want me to write that down for you?" Castiel offers, desperate for distraction and feeling obscurely as if he ought to make amends. As if Dean might already have been damaged somehow by Castiel's impure thoughts about his backside. Castiel has always been given to some degree of self-flagellation.

There's a notepad at hand on the kitchen table, and Castiel takes down the string of numbers as Dean dictates them, eyes fixed on the wall at some indeterminate point above Dean's head. When he's done, Dean backs out and straightens his back, spine popping ostentatiously as he presses his knuckles into it near the base, grinning apologetically at Castiel.

"Old bones," he says, and laughs. Castiel feels himself coloring, wondering how old Dean really is -- wondering if he can take this opportunity to find out without giving himself away as an idiot.

"Oh, sure," he says, going for nonchalance. "If yours are old, mine must be ready to disintegrate. You must be sixteen if you're a day."

"Seventeen," Dean corrects breezily, and Castiel feels his stomach dip, hot with the thrill and the horror of it. Seventeen, too young to join the Army or knock back a shot, but old enough, in this state, to fuck. Castiel shouldn't be thinking about that, but tearing his mind away from it is easier said than done.

“Ah, yes. Seventeen,” Castiel repeats, nodding. He slips his hands into his pockets, insurance against touch. “Then I may as well be mummified.”

Dean snorts, a strangely endearing noise that makes Castiel tilt his head at him. “Come on, you can’t be that old.” His eyes travel the length of Castiel’s body, down and then back up. His gaze does not linger, Castiel tells himself, even if the drag of Dean’s gaze back up seems to take longer. That’s only in Castiel’s head, a trick of his lonely, sex-starved mind.

“That’s kind of you, but everyone over twenty-one is ancient when you’re a teenager.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Dean says. He leans back against the wall, his body a long curve of sleek muscle and skin. In his pockets, Castiel curls his hands into fists, focuses on the bite of his fingernails into the palms of his hands. Hopes Dean doesn’t notice how interested he’s become. “You look pretty fit. Not ancient at all. Besides --” he shrugs, a perfect roll of muscle “-- I’ve always gotten along better with people you wouldn’t exactly call my, uh. Peers.”

If Castiel didn’t know better, he’d think Dean was flirting with him. But he knows the sort of people Dean’s peers are, the lithe grace of their young bodies, the tanned skin that can’t conceive of wrinkling or sagging or growing old. There is nothing Castiel can offer that might tempt Dean, nothing when Dean is accustomed to the god-like perfection of youth. Castiel isn’t old, not nearly, but he’s older; crow’s feet mark the skin at the corner of his eyes like the tracks of gulls out on the sand -- no wave or rising tide will ever erase these, though, they’re Castiel’s to keep -- and he’s had one or two or three strands of gray appear in the last couple of years.

He’s pale and worn around the edges, nothing compared to this boy’s sun-kissed hair and freckled skin, the marble-smooth curves of his muscles.

Castiel shakes himself, meets Dean’s look -- not speculative, merely curious beneath raised eyebrow -- and says, “I appreciate you coming out to take a look at this.”

“Sure, man.” Dean shrugs again, an apathetic gesture Castiel itches to reach out and stop. "When school's out, this is pretty much me. Dad's kept this place as long as I can remember, and it's been my job to check the meters, do minor maintenance, whatever, since as soon as I was old enough to handle it." He smiles, this sideways little quirk of his artful perfect mouth. "Dad believes in bringing up his boys to be --" he makes air quotes "-- independent."

Castiel smiles faintly, thinking he knows that tone. Dean is the eldest son, the dependable one who does as he's told and gets no credit for it, doesn't even believe he deserves any and doesn't know quite why he's discontent, way down deep. Castiel knows how that is. He says, "You don’t agree?"

Another shrug. It comes easily to Dean, this gesture, all the young muscle shifting in his shoulders, and Castiel could scream. He thinks, does not think, tries not to think of how that muscle would feel sliding under his hands, how it might give if he mouthed along the ridge of it, bit at the nape of Dean's neck. Sometimes, Castiel feels he is barely better at this, at controlling himself, than he was when he was Dean's age, his mind chaotic with questions. Not that there are questions now. Dean is beautiful; Castiel wants him. This is as clear to him as the fact that he cannot have him.

"I guess," Dean says slowly. He shifts his body, leans back against the wall. "Never really thought about it. I mean, I’m pretty independent. I don’t always live under my father’s --" Dean’s gaze drops from Castiel’s face to travel lazy and hot as a summer day down Castiel’s chest to stop in the vicinity of Castiel’s waist “-- thumb.” One of his hands comes up to rest at his own waist, thumb playing at the button on his shorts, flicking it back and forth hypnotically.

Castiel goes hot all over, sweat beading at his hairline at the thought of Dean under his thumb, himself under Dean’s. The movement of Dean’s fingers draws Castiel’s attention to the strip of skin revealed by his teasing and it’s all Castiel can do not to step forward and drop to his knees, feel that skin hot and firm and smooth beneath his mouth, Dean’s cock rising to meet him through the fabric of his --

Shaking himself, Castiel blinks rapidly several times only to find Dean’s pushed himself away from the wall and closed the distance between them himself. He’s close enough now that Castiel can smell him, a faint hint of salt and sweat. Heat comes off of him in subtle waves and it would be easy, so very easy to give into the temptation of Dean’s supple body and wicked mouth. There’s no way he’s reading this right, though, no way Dean can mean the things his body’s saying. No way Castiel has a chance. He licks his lips and ignores the way Dean’s eyes follow the tip of his tongue.

“I really appreciate you stopping by,” Castiel says, taking a step back and finding himself up against a wall. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, almost literally. He sidesteps down the hall, toward the door and away from Dean. “It’s good to know that I’m in capable hands while I’m here.”

Dean’s voice follows him down the hallway. “You’re in very capable hands.”

Castiel swallows hard, pretending he didn’t hear that. “I have a lot of work to do now, though, and I’d better get back to it.” He opens the screen door and holds it, turning to look at Dean, hoping that his words and his stance indicate how desperately he needs Dean to leave and not anything else, that all of the want and need roiling beneath his surface are hidden by the blank set of his features that he knows he’s good at.

Dean stares at him, his face masked by the dimness of the hallway in comparison to the light now sweeping across the floor through the open door. After a moment, he steps forward, feet quiet on the floorboards. “Sure thing, man. I didn’t mean to keep you.” He looks amused when he reaches Castiel, the corners of his mouth tilted upward, his eyes flashing bright and green. He pauses at the threshold. “I’ll stop by again, though. Take care of anything else that needs...taking care of.”

Nodding, Castiel watches Dean go and breathes a sigh of relief, shutting the door. He turns away and heads back into the recesses of the house, back toward the porch where he’s left his notebook and pen, his work. He’s halfway there when he stops, arrested by the cover Dean never got back on the meter, by the spot on the wall where he remembers Dean leaning only moments before, young and ripe for the taking, and suddenly it’s too much.

Groaning, fingers fumbling at the front of his pants, Castiel leans against the wall, slips his hand beneath the elastic of his underwear to wrap around the base of his cock. He wishes it was Dean’s fingers, Dean’s cock, but this will do for now. This will have to do.


By the time he sees Dean next (the following afternoon, waving from the beach as he jogs by with the dog) Castiel has already jerked off to four separate fantasies of those long legs bowed out around Castiel's hips; those green eyes, all pupil; the muscle of Dean's back shifting under Castiel's mouth. Perhaps he ought to feel worse about it than he does, but Castiel knows himself well enough, knows what his type is. Dean -- soft-mouthed, fine-featured Dean with his John Wayne gait -- flips practically every switch Castiel has. It stands to reason that he'd be attracted to him, and Castiel's far past the point of loathing his own sexuality, thank God. If that means he's also past the point in life when boys like Dean would look twice at him, well, so be it. A little fantasising never hurt anyone.

The thing is, if Castiel didn't know better, he'd say Dean was looking twice at him. Maybe thrice. And then again. One morning later in the week, Dean swings close by the house, without the dog or any ostensible excuse, and leans his elbows on the railing briefly to wish Castiel good morning. Castiel is still in the clothes he slept in, hair mussed, and Dean's eyes flick distinctly, unsubtly, over his bare shoulders under the straps of his wifebeater. The next day, half out of curiosity, Castiel makes sure to sit out on the veranda again while he does his morning writing, the sun warm on his naked arms, and sure enough Dean's back, smile soft, a suggestion of welcome in the languid incline of his body. He stays a little longer, asks about Castiel's writing, and Castiel has to cover the page with his forearm because the last thing he wants is for Dean to see how much of himself is coming out of Castiel's pen, how lovingly and explicitly he's described in Castiel's work. But when Dean prompts, "Come on, what are you writing about?" his smile is almost coy, and Castiel can't resist playing the game a little.

"Boys," he says, low and oblique, pleased embarrassment shocking through him as the word falls from his lips. He closes his notebook. "See you later, Dean." And, heart thundering, he picks up his things and goes inside without a backward glance.

It's not that he expects anything, not really. It's thrill enough to have this boy to flirt with and feel ninety-percent sure that he's actually flirting back, all effortless teenage sensuality. It never had to go anywhere. But when Castiel opens the door to Dean the following afternoon, there's a strange, thready pulse in his throat, the atmosphere thick and charged. It doesn't have to mean anything, necessarily, Castiel reminds himself; but then, Dean hasn't shown up on the doorstep like this since before this whole weird interaction started, and it's...suggestive. Castiel doesn't want to let his dick run away with his higher mental capacities, but Dean's smile is uncharacteristically shy, his lower lip pink as if he'd been biting it, and Castiel's only human.

"Hello," he says, his tone consciously formal as if that will keep him from remembering all the pornos he's seen that started like this. Dean laughs a little, one hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck in an awkward little gesture that shouldn't be as endearing as it is.

"Hey. I, uh. Listen, I had some time, and I thought I'd come over and sort out that leaky faucet in the kitchen, if that's okay with you." He shrugs, and there's tightness in his shoulders, echoing a tension Castiel can practically see thrumming through his body. It's as intriguing as the fact that he appears to be delivering a really unsubtle line.

"The faucet leaks?" It's evident from Dean's fidgety posture that he wants to come inside, and quickly, but Castiel's spent long enough being the one unnerved, unsure. Played with, if he isn't mistaken, which he might be, but oh, it's looking increasingly unlikely. He crosses his arms and looks at Dean intently. "I never noticed."

"It's always leaked," Dean insists, but his cheeks are pinkening, and Castiel begins to regret pushing him when he says, "But if it's -- if this is a bad time, don't worry about it, man, I'll -- I'll go, if you don't want --"

"No," Castiel interjects, something in him making him brave, insistent. It's fear, he realizes; fear of losing something and then never knowing whether it was actually offered in the first place. Castiel's a lot of things, but he isn't a masochist. That isn't a road he wants to take this time, not with the pace of his heartbeat lending him courage. "No, I -- I want." He feels himself color. "It's fine. Come on in. Thanks."

He leads Dean to the kitchen, aware at every step that Dean is only a couple of feet -- perhaps less -- behind him. Equally aware that Dean’s eyes are free to roam. Castiel wonders if they do, if even now Dean’s eyes are caught on the curve of Castiel’s ass, the hair he knows has become too long and is starting to curl gently at the nape of his neck. A glance over his shoulder at the entrance to the kitchen catches Dean’s eyes exactly where Castiel thought they’d be and he turns, smirking to himself. He hasn’t been wrong.

By the kitchen sink, they come to a halt. Castiel leans back against the table, its flat edge nudged up against his backside, and turns his eyes on Dean, one eyebrow raised as if to say, well? If Dean insists on pretending to have come here for a genuine, legitimate reason, then Castiel is not about to offer him an easy out. The faucet doesn't leak that Castiel has ever noticed. Some vicious, besotted little part of him wants to know how exactly Dean planned to cover for this fact.

Dean clears his throat, a hoarse little sound that tells as clearly as words that he's nervous. His hands are thrust into the pockets of his jeans, neat young body caught in the small space between Castiel and the sink, and the blood shows in his cheeks, lending contrast to his freckles. "Uh," he says, and then pauses. He's empty handed, obviously at a loss, and Castiel takes pity.

"Did you bring a wrench?" he asks, gently. "Or do you need me to find you one? I don't know if I have --"

"No," Dean cuts in, his voice high and hurried. The tee he's wearing is slashed in the middle of the collar, some bizarre fashion feature that shows off his collarbones and the sheen of sweat licking slow across them. His hand gropes for the countertop, the silver lip of the sink, and Castiel watches it, long fingers and tan knuckles whitening. "I, uh. I didn't bring one, but there's one in here somewhere. Not fair to leave you in here with the faucet like that."

Castiel doesn't mean to turn his eyes straight to the faucet, but he does it anyway. Beside him, he can feel Dean doing the same.

The faucet stares back at them silently, showing no evidence of a leak.

Castiel's heart is thumping in his throat. On the edge of the counter, Dean's grip is fierce, vise-like, and his pulse is quivering visibly in the soft space below his ear. Castiel doesn't mean to move forward -- is taken aback by his own motion -- but it's as if he's on autopilot, possessed. His fingers settle alongside Dean's on the countertop, thumb brushing Dean's knuckle as he says, "Not fair, huh?"

Dean looks at him. Dean has looked at him before, countless times. Dean has smiled at him, laughed, offered his idiosyncratic facial shrug, but he has never looked at Castiel like this, hardly a heated inch between their faces, and Castiel feels his breath catch. The long tendon in Dean's throat pulls as he swallows. "No," he says, and it's hoarse, low and hot and talking about something completely unrelated to the faucet's fantasy illness. "Not fair at all, Castiel."

Castiel has thought before that Dean has the perfect mouth. The soft bow of the upper lip, the swell of the lower; the way they sit parted in repose -- Dean's mouth has always been beautiful, but like this, shaping Castiel's name, it is more perfect yet. Still, he knows what could make it better. "Cas," he says, soft, and he finds that somehow he has leaned in far enough that their mouths almost brush as he speaks. "I'm Cas."

He doesn't know whether Dean leans up first, or if he leans down. All he knows is that, a second later, Dean's lips are yielding to the soft pressure of his own, Dean's thumb rubbing reflexively along the line of Castiel's jaw. The movement ignites something within Castiel, heat trailing in the wake of Dean’s fingers and the sweet press of his tongue. He groans, inching closer until their toes touch and the heat rolling off Dean in waves makes sweat bead at the line of Castiel’s hair. Castiel’s hand finds Dean’s where he’s gripping the counter and holds him there, the back of Dean’s hand cradled in the palm of Castiel’s. Tongue sliding over the full rise of Dean’s bottom lip, Castiel feels Dean’s fingers flex against the grain of the wood, his other fingers flexing against the grain of Castiel’s stubble.

Castiel pulls back, a slick sound passing between them, and Dean blinks at him with eyes gone hot and dark, heavy-lidded.

“Why’d you --” Dean stops to clear his throat, his voice rough as the sand that inches up Castiel’s back steps. The movement of his soft, pink lips is distracting. “Why’d you stop?”

It’s a question that doesn’t need answering, that isn’t really relevant at all because Castiel isn’t stopping, no. He takes a step back and drops to his knees, hand still covering Dean’s, the other finding balance at Dean’s hip. Dean’s hard already, his erection obvious, and Castiel can’t help but look up at Dean through his lashes and smile, predatory.

The jolt of heat that shoots through Dean when he realizes Castiel's intention is so palpable, Castiel fancies he can almost see the flash of it. "Oh," Dean breathes, and from here, Castiel can see the labored motions of his chest, the way his abdomen shifts with his breath. His free hand flutters over Castiel's face, hesitant, tracing the bones. "Cas..."

He's nervous, caught off guard, but Castiel doesn't think he's unsure. He leans in, eyes still fixed on Dean's, and presses his cheek gently to the stiff line of Dean's cock in his jeans, still swelling. "I want to taste you," Castiel tells him, thrum of his voice so low and firm he barely recognizes it, caught up in the certainty of the moment. "Is that okay?" He runs his thumb up the spine of Dean's cock, and Dean's breath catches.

"Yeah," he hisses, tilting his pelvis, grinding his cock against the rise of Castiel's cheekbone as if his cocky surety has been gifted back to him by Castiel's bluntness. "Yeah, 's good, s'long as you --" Dean bites his lip “-- fuck me after."

Castiel is in the process of slipping Dean's button through its hole, but that makes his breath stumble out of him on a low moan of want. "You want that?" He can't deny he's thought about it, this beautiful boy spread out for him, the smooth line of his spine and the dip at the base of it glistening with sweat and ready for Castiel's mouth and hands. But he never thought to expect it. Not, of course, that he ever expected this, either: Dean's cock, with its raw smell of sex, thrust out of the open vee of his jeans next to Castiel's face, leaking a damp spot on his underwear. And God, Castiel's wanted that, too, the fat weight of Dean's dick in his mouth, the taste of him.

Above him, Dean's tipped his head back, throat bared and sweat-shiny in its hollows, and the hand on Castiel's face finds his hair, takes hold. "Yeah," he insists, and he sounds so earnest already that Castiel can't resist pressing his mouth to the shaft of his cock through the underwear, just for the gasp it elicits. "Yeah, I -- been thinkin' about it -- oh, fuck, Cas, please."

The please does it. Some dark part of Castiel would happily have listened to Dean talk for minutes and minutes about how he'd been thinking about it, all the ways in which he's imagined himself all stuffed full with Castiel's cock. Teased him, drawn it out of him and refused to touch him until Dean had almost talked himself to orgasm. Castiel could have done it. Maybe he'll do it another time. But for now, his mouth is wet with want, saliva pooling under his tongue, and Dean's cock is right there, ready for him. He thumbs tentatively at the head, then curls his fingers under the waistband of Dean's shorts and shoves them down, dragging the jeans with them to the tops of his thighs.

Dean moans at the shock of air to his dick, but Castiel -- suddenly, it's as if he can barely hear him. Close and bare like this, Dean's visibly leaking, slick smeared all over the head of his dick, and Castiel feels his heart clench with the need to get his mouth on that, taste it, tongue all over it. God. It's been too long since he's had a dick in his mouth, and Dean's is as perfect as the rest of him, fat and straining. Castiel is almost on autopilot as he lets his jaw go wide, mouthing at Dean's shaft nearly sideways on as if to defer the pleasure of sucking him in properly, licking the sour-salt tang off of him.

Dean moans, hips lifting, and the hand in Castiel's hair fists and trembles. "Cas," he urges, and he's pushing the flat of himself against the slack wetness of Castiel's mouth, the heat of his parted lips, in jagged little pulses. "C'mon, man, please."

He sounds gorgeous like this, the twinge of desperation setting heat blooming in Castiel's belly, and Castiel's had enough of deferral. He's earned his pleasure, and he slides his mouth up slowly, curls his tongue leisurely around the wet tip of Dean before he takes him in.

The noise Dean makes is unholy, zinging through Castiel like lightning. Dean’s fingers tighten in Castiel’s hair as his hips push forward. Involuntarily, Castiel is sure because when he looks up, Dean’s eyes are screwed shut and his mouth is slack and open and Dean is lost on the waves of sensation, swept out to sea by the circle of Castiel’s lips and the lap of Castiel’s tongue.

Closing his own eyes, Castiel devotes himself to the task at hand, grasping Dean’s hips and holding him steady as he sucks him down. The taste of him floods Castiel’s mouth as the smell of him floods his nose. Dean’s harsh breaths fill his ears and Castiel is drowning, the world around him obscured by Dean. He bobs his head, looking for a rhythm that suits them both, a groove that makes Dean’s voice crack and Castiel’s own cock throb. He’s found it when Dean groans, gut-shot, and pulls at him. Unwilling to give this up so soon, Castiel resists. It makes Dean laugh, the sound breathless and young and intoxicating.

“Cas,” Dean sighs, the syllable tumbling out between hitches of breath. “Cas, please. I don’t--I don’t want to come yet. I want --” His hips jerk forward when Castiel twists his tongue just so, pulling a cry from Dean that garbles the rest of his sentence.

With a slick slip of sound, Castiel sits back, releasing his hold on one of Dean’s hips to wrap his hand around the base of Dean’s cock. Dean wobbles slightly in front of him and Castiel grins. “Yes?”

The pink tip of Dean’s tongue slides from his mouth to leave a glistening trail over the full rise of his bottom lip. Castiel watches those eyes blink open and Dean’s staring down at him, working rapidly beneath his t-shirt. “You’re -- You --”

Castiel quirks an eyebrow. He feels powerful, on his knees in front of this summer-gold god. The barest brush of his lips leaves Dean trembling, incoherent and clutching at Castiel like a lifeline.

“Say it, Dean.”

“Fuck me.” The words spin into the air, hitting their bull’s eye deep in Castiel’s gut. For a moment, Dean looks surprised that he’s gotten them out so easily, so forcefully, but then Castiel’s spinning Dean around, turning him until he’s facing the sink -- which still isn’t leaking -- and finding Dean’s hands. He presses them to the edge of the counter, curling his fingers around the wood in a silent direction to hold on.

Dean obeys and Castiel can’t help but think good boy, wondering in the back of his mind what else he might be able to get Dean to do, what other direction he might take. He’s distracted momentarily by the idea of Dean pinned and squirming, completely at the mercy of Castiel’s whims, begging for Castiel to -- but no. That can wait. That can come later.

He believes there will be a later now. Dean half-naked and panting in Castiel’s kitchen? Of course there will be a later. Now, though, now...

Castiel turns his attention to Dean and the light sheen of sweat that appears at the small of his back where his shirt has risen up, to the dimples above his ass. He’s thought on this ass a great deal since the first time Dean stopped by, provocative smile and lithe limbs. It’s as good as he thought it would be, smooth and firm and -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- only a couple of shades paler than the rest of the skin Castiel has seen. The image of Dean rising glistening and naked from the waves like Poseidon makes Castiel’s fingers itch for his pen and notebook, but he shakes himself out of it, fills his palms with Dean’s ass, busies his fingers.

The first touch of his tongue and Dean lets out a long, low moan. Out of the corner of his eye, Castiel can see Dean’s fingers flex against the counter. Beneath his own hands, Dean’s muscles tighten and relax, tighten and relax as Dean shifts, his breath coming faster. “Oh,” he sighs, “oh,” each exhalation stirring Castiel’s blood. His cock throbs in the confines of his pants, begging for attention, but Castiel ignores it in favor of licking long and slow at Dean. He delves deeper with the tip of his tongue, alternates with light laps that make Dean shiver and shake until it’s all Castiel can take. He needs to feel those tremors against his skin, Dean closing hot and tight around him.

With one last slide of tongue, Castiel sits back. He uses Dean’s hips to pull himself to his feet and then tucks himself behind Dean, chest to back and knees to knees, cock to ass. “I’m going to fuck you now,” he purrs, voice dipping low and rough in ways that have served him well in the past. Dean groans and Castiel nips at the back of his neck, moving lower to suck a kiss to the top knob of Dean’s spine as Dean bows his head in something that looks like prayer but isn’t, the act more profane than sacred.

The zipper of Castiel's pants is digging into the forceful shove of his cock, now, riding the edge of pain, and he breathes out long and low as he pops the button and frees himself. The sound must have some effect on Dean, because he echoes it, hips jerking, and that's -- God. It's a while since Castiel was as young as Dean is now, and he'd almost forgotten the level of responsiveness involved, the pure want. Not that Castiel feels capable of much beyond want himself as he dips his fingers -- two, without preamble -- into Dean where he's spit-slick and open, a final assessment before he splits Dean wider on his dick. "Okay?" He seeks out Dean's prostate, rubs over it slow and hard, and Dean jerks, makes a little wounded sound.

"Yes." Dean arches his spine, pushes back. "Do it."

And that's about the extent of what Castiel can endure. He's aching for contact, even the touch of his own hand making him hiss when he takes hold of his cock and pushes it at Dean's hole, smearing slick around the rim. This isn't going to last long. Castiel would be more distressed about this, were it not for the fact that he's half-certain Dean will come back. Castiel means to give him something to come back for.

As he pushes in, jagged little jerks of his pelvis carrying him deeper, he wonders for a second if Dean has ever done this before, opened up for someone; if his needy backward thrusts against Castiel speak of prior experience. Then Castiel pushes again, Dean bearing down onto him so he slides home, and Castiel stops thinking.

Dean's tight, God. Of course he is; they always are, but Castiel is still taken aback by it, the clutch of Dean's body around Castiel's swollen dick and the way he ducks his head and keens as if he's hurting and wants more of it.

"Fuck," Dean grinds out, voice dropped in register and ragged with the shortness of his breath. His knuckles whiten on the countertop. "Fuck, yes, do it. Move!"

It's not a request, but Castiel doesn't mind. Dean sounds as if he's riding the edge of desperation, and Castiel can't help but let himself roll into the wave of it, the heat in Dean's voice and the slutty tilt of his hips lighting Castiel up inside. He pulls out, slams back home, and the rhythm falls into place as natural as breathing, his cock making dirty-hot sounds as it pistons in and out of Dean. Castiel's skin is singing with how good it is, the thunder of climax gathering already in the pit of his stomach, eager to roll out of his body and into Dean's. Urgency makes him slip, speed his pace, and Dean cries out, pushes back, encouraging.

"You love this." Castiel's voice is half-wondering, but its true tone is blunted by lust as he slides an arm around Dean's waist and takes hold of his cock, wet from his own slick and Castiel's mouth. Dean whimpers, bucks into his hand, and Castiel feels his breath catch on a moan, redoubling his pace as he jacks Dean rough and tight. "Don't you?" he persists. Castiel has always had a tendency to do this, run his mouth while he's fucking someone, grinding himself deep, and Dean seems the sort to respond appropriately. God, Dean responds to everything, his dick leaking copious and wet over Castiel's knuckles as he rocks forward into his hand and then back onto his dick, pinned and writhing and perfect between the two.

"Yeah," Dean spits, and his voice is breaking, now, cock leaping in Castiel's fingers. "God, Cas, God, fuck." It's inane sex-blasphemy, nothing more, but Dean's ass is clenching around Castiel's dick and he's so close, so needy and gorgeous that Castiel can feel the first lightning-flashes of his own climax at the root of his cock, the pulses.

"Come on." He hardly recognises his own voice, the roughness, the command in it as he fucks in deep and twists, hipbones to Dean's ass, grinding against his prostate. "Dean --" and Dean's panting, whimpering, fucking fast and furious into Castiel's hand as Castiel pounds into him from behind, a perfect cyclical system of pleasure. "Come on, Dean. I want to see you."

The sound Dean makes at that is barely human, pure animal want and release as he tenses and rears and comes. He's shivering, every part of him shivering, and it's all Castiel can do to hold on as he fucks him through it, hand still milking Dean's cock as his thrusts begin to stutter.

"God, Cas," Dean's panting beneath him, the nape of his neck sweat-sticky and his freckled arms trembling. "Fuck, do it, come on; fill me up."

"Jesus!" The words take Castiel by surprise (Dean's done this before, then, definitely) and the surprise forces him over the edge, rhythm of his thrusts going all to hell as he slams deep, seizes, comes. And God, does he come: gut-wrenching, like it's pulled right out of his bones, and Dean beneath him all through it on his shaking arms, taking it. It's as much as Castiel can do to breathe.

After, he's gentle as he pulls out, feeling suddenly weak as a puppet with its strings cut. Stumbling backwards, he blindly finds one of the chairs at the kitchen table and pulls it out with a scrape. He drops on it like a stone, limbs heavy, body feeling used in all of the best ways. From the counter, Dean groans, his body slumping farther over until his forearms keep him up. The position thrusts his ass out and Castiel’s distracted by the curve of it glistening with sweat, the idea that between those cheeks he’ll find himself. It’s almost enough to put Castiel back on his knees.

“Fuck, Cas,” Dean says, voice thick and slightly muffled by the way his neck is bent forward. “That was...I...” He shakes his head, lifting it to turn his green-eyed gaze on Castiel where he slumps in his chair. Something hot flickers over Castiel’s nerves. “I should’ve come over to look at this faucet much sooner.”

A surprised laugh bubbles its way out of Castiel’s chest and he blushes, inordinately pleased he hasn’t disappointed Dean.

Over his shoulder, Dean grins and then turns, straightening. His fingers reach for the hem of his tee and he’s pulling it up and off, tossing it onto the floor in front of the refrigerator. Castiel watches the lithe stretch of muscle, finds his fingers and tongue aching to trace the shifting lines of Dean’s torso, his lips itching to suck at Dean’s tight nipples. Dean smirks when he catches Castiel looking and kicks off his flip-flops, shimmying until his pants are around his ankles so he can step out of them. He stands freckled and golden and naked before Castiel and for a second Castiel’s amazed, awed, almost forgets that only moments ago he fucked this god of a young man against his counter and tasted the sweat on his skin.

The evidence is there on the grain of the cabinets and hidden between Dean’s legs. Castiel swallows hard and looks up to meet Dean’s eyes. They’re heavy-lidded and dark and Castiel remembers what it was like to be his age, how intensely he’d felt everything, how much he’d wanted. Looking at Dean now, he can almost taste that youth.

“I think,” he begins, and then has to stop, clear his throat. “The faucet upstairs drips. You should come take a look.” He’s surprised by his own forwardness, but this house, this summer seems destined to push him into some new configuration. He’s rewarded with Dean’s laugh.

“Why don’t you show me?” Dean says and then he’s stepping forward, reaching for Castiel with graceful hands, pulling Castiel from his seat.