Castiel is standing out in the hall in all his pajama-clad glory, fuzzy slippers and all, locked out of his dorm room. Michael claims he warned Castiel about him sharing the room with his girlfriend the last night before Christmas break, but Castiel swears up and down that he said nothing of the sort.
“Michael,” Castiel bangs his fist on the door. He sighs and turns around when there’s no response. “This is unfair.”
He shuffles down the hallway, passing other students going to and coming from the bathrooms down the hall. Many of them, Castiel knows, will be leaving in the morning to spend the holiday season with their families. Castiel, on the other hand, will be staying in the dormitory.
The Novak’s have never been particularly close. On holidays that warranted church visits, Castiel would be dragged by his ear. Afterward, his parents couldn’t care less about what he did for the remainder of his time. They always worked, and to this day that still holds true.
So his parents are spending their holiday on a business trip, and Castiel will spend it with the school library and his Keurig.
But that’s tomorrow, and Castiel needs somewhere to sleep tonight. He shuffles himself down the hall, up the stairs, and all the way to dorm 205. He knocks quietly, just in case his friend is sleeping.
The door opens a few moments later, Dean appearing before him with squinty eyes and his hair sticking out in all directions. His sweatpants are hanging low on his hips and a thin stretch of skin peeks through. The sleeves of his henley -- probably the shirt he wore all day, knowing him, -- are bunched to his elbows. Castiel’s eyes are inadvertently fixed on the strip of bare skin. Only when Dean pulls his shirt down do his eyes look away.
“Good evening, Dean,” he says quietly, feeling blush begin to sting at his cheeks. He fiddles with the drawstring of his pajama pants and shifts his weight from one foot to the other. “I didn’t wake both of you, did I?”
“Huh?” His voice his heavy with sleep, a raspy sound that Castiel could listen to ad infinitum . “Oh, nah. Chuck left n’the afternoon.” Dean rubs a hand over his face and muffles a yawn in his palm.
“I’m sorry for waking you.”
“S’fine, Cas. What’s up?”
“Michael -” Castiel needn’t continue, because Dean rolls his eyes and steps back to give Cas room to come in. It’s an expected response, but it still makes him laugh.
Ever since the beginning of the year when he and Castiel weren’t granted approval of their request to room together, Dean has had a vendetta against Michael. He always says it’s because of the way Michael talks to Cas, but he doesn’t see it that way. Sure, Michael’s a bit of a dick sometimes, but that’s something Castiel quickly learned to get over.
It’s dark in the room, the only light being a few beams of light from the quad shining through the blinds. Dean’s room is just like any other, except it is meticulously clean with not even a pencil shaving on the desk. Most people are surprised by Dean’s need for order, and it still catches Castiel off guard, considering how Dean is perfectly fine with leaving his trash all over Castiel’s room.
This isn’t the first night Castiel has had to spend at Dean’s, and he has a small pillow and blanket tucked at the end of Dean’s bed just for these special occasions. The first time, Castiel insisted on sleeping on the floor, since Chuck was still in the room and he didn’t want to invade Dean’s personal space. Now Chuck isn’t here, and he and Dean are best friends. Maybe he’ll get the top bunk.
Nevertheless, Castiel scoops up his bundled blanket and pillow and sits on the floor with his back against Dean’s bed. His friend looks down at him and tilts his head.
“Chuck isn’t here, why don’t you just sleep up there?” Dean reaches out his hand to help Castiel up and he hesitantly takes it.
“He won’t mind?”
Dean shakes his head a places a hand on the curve of Castiel’s back, guiding him through the dark to the ladder. He drops the bunched blanket beside the ladder and climbs up, feeling Dean’s warm hand stay pressed to his back. When he’s up there, he shuffles around until he’s looking over the edge at the dark shadows on Dean’s face.
“G’night, Cas,” through the dark, Castiel can still see Dean’s smile, and he can’t help but return the gesture.
Sheets shuffle as they both get comfortable but silence soon falls over them and Castiel can feel himself drifting to sleep. That is, until Dean kicks the bottom of his bed.
He ignores it, knowing Dean is just doing this to annoy Castiel. He used to pull Castiel’s pillow out from under his head or yank the blankets away. This is just one step up, and a few literal steps too.
The blows continue, making it nearly impossible for Castiel to relax. He rolls to the edge and leans over, looking down only to be met by Dean, who’s already looking up. His smile is devious and Castiel is thinking about smashing his pillow in Dean’s face.
“Do you mind?”
“Nope!” Dean laughs and weak kick rocks the bed again. “You woke me up, I’m not gonna be able to sleep for a while now.”
“But I still want to sleep,” Castiel turns over and tugs the sheets up to his shoulders. Dean whines loudly, but doesn’t kick the mattress again. Instead, he talks.
“We don’t even have class in the morning. I’m not gonna see you for, like, three weeks!” He complains. “I don’t like reading your texts. I like hearing you talk”
Castiel’s eyes shoot open and he stares at the blank wall. Dean likes to hear Castiel talk? Maybe it’s just one of those things you say when you’re seriously tired -- every conversation always seems like a good idea to the exhausted.
It’s almost funny to Castiel because it just makes sense. Now that he’s thinking about it, at least. Dean always listens. Not once since they met freshman year has Dean spoke over Castiel, especially not when Cas is talking about anything he’s even remotely passionate about. Like bees. Dean always listens about bees.
So, Castiel talks.
“I’m not going home for Christmas,” is the first thing that pops into his head. “My parents are away on business.”
Silence, followed by the ruffle of sheets. Castiel looks over his shoulder to see Dean, standing on the ladder so he’s tall enough to lean over.
Castiel sits up, his head close to hitting the ceiling, and repeats himself. “I’m not going home. I’m staying on campus.”
“That ain’t right, Cas. That’s no way to spend Christmas,” Dean’s quiet voice sounds almost heartbroken. He takes a few more steps and Castiel wants to reach forward and keep him from bumping his head, but he skillfully avoids that as he sits on the edge.
“I have no other choice,” Castiel shrugs it off, even though he’s more than a little upset about the whole ordeal.
Dean doesn’t say anything. He just sits, looking down at the light blue sheets and folding them between his fingers. Castiel still can barely see, both due to the poor lighting and he left his glasses in his room.
It’s like a lightbulb turns on, because Dean’s face lights up and his hand shoots out to grab Castiel’s arm.
“Come home with me!” Dean excitedly scoots closer. “Sammy’ll be home, and you know my mom is, like, in love with you. C’mon, Cas.”
Castiel really doesn’t have to think about it, but the last thing he wants is to seem too eager, so he gives it a moment before he answers: “Okay.”
Dean breathes an excited yes! and climbs back down to grab his phone. Castiel assumes he sends a quick text to his parents before walking back to the railing, reaching up to grip the bars as Cas looks down at him.
“You’ll love Lawrence, Cas. Seriously,” Dean smiles up and Cas before swinging down to his bunk, the bed shaking with the sudden impact of his weight. “My Uncle Bobby’s coming this year. We usually go to him for New Years.”
Castiel laughs softly. He doesn’t see an end in sight to Dean’s blabbering.
“Oh! And there’s this awesome bakery with apple pie I’d take a bullet for. Homemade, too!”
“Dean,” he says. “Shh.”
“I can’t believe you’ve never been to my house before. My room’s mess, or at least I left it messy. Sometimes Mom cleans it up for me.”
“You can come to the New Year's Eve party! One of my high school friends throws one every year, it’s great, everyone goes. You’ll probably have to -”
Thoughtless, tired, and tuning out every word Dean says, Castiel sits up and throws his legs over the side of the bed, feeling for the steps of the ladder with his feet. There’s only so much of Dean’s excited voice that Cas can take, and there truly is no end to Dean’s incessant talking. So Castiel does the only thing his fatigued brain thinks to do.
It’s hard to see, but Castiel finds the edge of Dean’s mattress and sits down. His friend quiet for a second before picking up his words again.
“What, you couldn’t hear me or something?” He laughs. “Dude, this is honestly gonna be a great Christmas. You’ll -”
With zero hesitation, Castiel leans down, grabs Dean’s face in his hands, and kisses him point blank on the lips. It shuts him up real fast, but sirens of the capable brain cells are going off in Castiel’s head. His competent side is awakening and it’s telling, screaming at, Castiel to stop; but he can’t, he won’t, because Dean’s lips are sliding against his and this is not at all what Cas thought would happen.
Their mouths separate with a faint smack and they’re both incredibly still. Castiel can feel his hands begin to tremble and he does all in his power to keep them still. They’re still glued to Dean’s warm -- burning -- cheeks, and he doesn’t want to move them.
“I take it back,” Dean says breathlessly. “This is gonna be a fucking awesome Christmas.”