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Dreaming is Better Than Life

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If there’s one thing Dean Winchester is almost definitely sure of, it’s that it wasn’t love at first sight. Castiel Milton had always been rather ordinary. His body was scrawny, his face pale and his black hair messy and disheveled. The only sublime thing about him were his big, blue eyes that seemed to x-ray whoever he was talking to and his deep and raspy voice, which was so uncommon for a boy his age.

Sam and Dean Winchester met Castiel on a windy Thursday afternoon in late September. Their last year as seniors at Lawrence High had just begun and apart from having to deal with their obnoxious step-mom and asshole stepbrother life was pretty much okay at the time. Mary Winchester had lost her life in a house fire when Dean had been 3 years old and ever since it had been just the three of them, Dean, Sam and their Dad. But then – about 2 years ago – John had met Lilith Adams, a ruthless and thus successful lawyer and things had gone from just okay to bad. Lilith had just divorced her ex-husband and basically bled him dry, taking all his money and their son Michael with her. As time went by, Dean and Sam had realized that both Lilith and Michael were unpleasant at the very least and hence did their best to stay away from them. With somebody like Lilith, who’d never been a loving mother, Michael turned out as a spoiled brat, who threw money around and surrounded himself with the most influential and powerful people. It was one of those times when Michael had basically thrown Sam and Dean out of the house to do whatever he and his snob friends did, when they had met Castiel. Only just moved to Lawrence, Castiel didn’t really know anyone and was more than grateful to Sam when he approached him as Castiel sat on a swing at the local park. Dean had sat on a jungle gym, watching the two boys talking, only faintly interested. He’d just lit himself a cigarette and took the first deep breath of stinging smoke, when he heard the new kid laugh.

And yeah… now that he thinks back, it might have been love at first sight after all…

 

There was just a tiny, little problem in Dean’s plan of marrying Cas and living happily ever after. And – as almost everything that went wrong in Dean's life nowadays – it centered around Michael. Michael, who could be a charming, handsome bastard, if he really wanted something. And he wanted Cas. And Jesus fucking Christ, Cas wanted him, too. It had broken Dean’s heart, when they’d first met and he’d seen the look on Castiel’s face, when he saw Michael. One evening Michael had entered their shared room – without permission as usual – fully intending to throw his loser brothers and their friends out again and instead told Sam and Dean to get lost, to get to know their new friend without interruption. Goddamn Michael and his charm-on-demand…
They’ve been going out for almost a year now and Dean still doesn’t know how he can even deal with this, still being Cas’ friend, listening to him talking about his hated stepbrother like he was the most wonderful person in the world. He knew the answer, of course… it was simple: he’d do anything to be close to Cas, even if he had to bear him loving someone else. And everything was about to get even worse, since Sam, Dean and Cas would go to the same college Michael was already attending from this fall on…

***

Castiel had been absolutely fucking terrified of moving to a new town. He had left behind the few friends he’d managed to make, the house he grew up in, everything. Cas had been in the middle of pouting, sitting on a swing at the park down the street from where his parents had moved him, when he was approached by a tall, brown mop topped teen just a few years younger than himself. Trailing behind him at a distance was a shorter boy with golden tanned skin and short cropped brown hair, who seemed about his age, but smoked, so Cas thought maybe he was older at the time. That was how he met the Winchester brothers.
Both of them became his best friends, each with their own charm. Sweet, smart Sam and sarcastic, silly Dean made his move change from terrifying to tolerable, and the more they got to know one another, the more Cas was thankful that his parents had dragged him halfway across the country in the first place.
They had gone through their Senior year of High school together, and by the end of the year they were a tight knit little trio- namely because Castiel was always around, waiting for their older step-Brother to get home from his first year in college. Michael had been entrancing from the moment Cas saw him; he was like a golden haired Adonis, and Castiel had fallen hard and fast. He fell in love with him before he could stop himself, and it was far too late to back out by the time he realized that Michael was an athletic star, cocky and pompous. He could also be incredibly sweet though, especially when he wanted something. Castiel hadn’t been ready the first time they had sex, but Michael had sweet talked his way into it. The next day when Cas couldn’t sit down without wincing or crying out in pain, he began to realize that maybe Michael wasn’t the golden boy everyone thought he was. But Cas still loved him, and would do anything for him, including turning a blind eye whenever there were rumors of Michael fucking some cheerleader at his college. As long as Michael came home on his school breaks and on weekends to see Cas, he was happy.

The trio would be starting college together in just a few days, and they had rented an apartment on campus together, much to the Winchesters father’s dismay. “It’s a waste of money boys!” John had said. But Cas, Dean and Sam wanted out and away from their parents, so they went ahead and got a 3 bedroom flat near the college. They had needed John’s permission for Sam though, as he was only 17 when he graduated High School, while both Dean and Cas had been 19.
Dean had been held back a year in Elementary School because he was too stubborn to actually do the homework at the time, and Sam had been accelerated a year, because he was twice as determined as his brother was stubborn. Castiel still sometimes thought that they did it on purpose so they could be in the same grade in school; Sam because he wanted to hang out with his big brother, and Dean because he wanted to protect little Sammy.
Sammy wasn’t so little anymore though. Towering over both Dean and Castiel, even though they were 2 years older, he liked to joke about how the weather was down there, and occasionally used Cas’ head like an arm rest. Castiel didn’t mind though. He had his friends, his boyfriend, and a new place away from his parents. As far as he was concerned, his life couldn’t better.
And then college started, and things begin to go haywire.

***

As hard as it had been seeing Cas every day at school - it was nothing compared to sleeping in the same fucking apartment and basically hanging out all. the. time. He couldn’t tell anyone of course. Sam would be freaked out - Dean was sure he would be - and Cas, well… he couldn’t tell Cas too, for obvious reasons. His father could be also ruled out and he couldn’t even begin to express how ridiculous it’d be talking about this to Lilith or Michael. Of course Michael would kill him. Literally. Kill. Him. He and Cas were an item, inseparable since they’d met each other. Even though Dean had always had the feeling that it was mostly Cas, who’d fallen head over heels in love with his harsh stepbrother. Michael… well… Michael enjoyed being adored, worshiped even. He made Cas do things… started out with small favors like doing his homework - geek that Cas was - or lying for him… Dean had barely been able to look his friend in the eye, the morning after he and Michael had taken their relationship to the next level. And even though nobody could deny that Cas was in pain, the bright smile on his lips hadn’t seemed forced. And so Dean had tried, he really had, to be happy for him. It wasn’t like Cas forced them to talk about him and Michael. But the way he looked at him, whenever he was around, the way Cas would sigh and just stare at the sky and Dean would know that he was thinking of him - it broke his heart in the most painful ways.

Their first day at Kansas University was actually more laid back than Dean had imagined. They’d gotten their schedules and then separated to take their first courses. After two hours of introductory and discussing the syllabus, Dean left the lecture hall to meet up with Sam and Cas outside. They grabbed something to eat and headed back to Dean’s car, when a mocking “Wait up, losers” stops them. Dean doesn’t need to turn around. One look at Cas and he knows who’d been talking. As usual, Michael doesn’t pay much attention to Cas though, even though the younger boy had immediately moved over to stand next to his boyfriend.

“I still have no idea how scum like you made it into KU”, he snarled, pushing away Cas’ hand, as he tries to wrap an arm around the older boy’s waist.

He leans in closer though, when he’s sure nobody he knows sees, and whispers something into Cas’ ear; Dean and Sam couldn’t hear the exact words but they both knew it would end up being another sleepless night full of moans and vibrating walls.

***

Cas could feel his heart break every time it happened, every time Michael would mock him in front of his friends, shove him away, or just straight up ignore him. They’d only been at school for a week now, and Cas was already growing tired of it. Whenever he complained to Michael though, one of three things would happen. Michael would ignore the complaint, he would brush it off as Cas being too sensitive, or he would turn on the charm. The last time Cas had complained, Michael had wrapped his huge arms around Cas’ small waist and brought him in for a brutal but breath taking kiss.

“Cas, babe, I love you, you know that…”

What followed was as usual, a night of Michael using Cas in every way possible. As always Cas enjoyed it, crying out in pleasure and screaming Michael’s name into the pillow, but half the time it was from pain as well, No and Stop said just as many times as Yes, and the next morning was like so many before, Cas sitting in his room, alone, nursing a very sore backside.
Michael had left around 2am, saying that he had an early morning practice and that he couldn’t sleep over because Cas was ‘too clingy’ and it made it hard to sleep at night. When Cas had pouted and whined that Michael never spent the night anymore, and he never wanted to see Cas in public, he had received a glare so full of fury he had recoiled like Michael had actually hit him. Michael had then instantly smiled, his eyes turning with a snap back into the charming blue orbs they were when he was trying to get his way with something.

“Come on babe, don’t be like that…I’ll see you Sunday okay?”

“What about tomorrow Mikey?”

“…I have plans.”

And that was that. Cas sunk back down on the crumpled bed, bedsheet wrapped around his bruised waist, as Michael grabbed his stuff and left.
Cas didn’t sleep much that night, waking up now and then in pain, or in tears. By 8am he was up though, unable to just sit there anymore, alone, and was in the kitchen making pancakes and bacon by the time his roommates woke up.

***

Of course Dean hadn’t slept a wink either that night, trying his hardest to ignore Cas’ cries, not to think too much about if they meant pleasure or pain, and failed in the end, as he always did. He heard the door slamming around 2 am - like Michael would give a damn about other people trying to sleep - and then Cas had started sobbing. As usual he was trying to hide it, trying to stay calm, not to bother his roommates more than he already had, but Dean knew. More than once Dean had to restrain from getting up, storming over into Cas’ room and pull him into a hug, hold him and promise that everything would be alright. When he smelled breakfast around 8, he slowly got up and entered the kitchen hesitantly in boxers and a plain white shirt. Cas was standing at the stove, pan and spatula in hands, a plate full of pancakes and a bowl of fresh strawberries to his left. He smiled when he noticed Dean but Dean could tell that he’d cried and was still in pain from how he shifted while standing at the stove.

“Morning”, he said, returning the smile as warm and loving as he dared, walking over to stand next to his friend. “Pancakes… you’re awesome, Cas!”

***

“I know.”

Cas grins over his shoulder at Dean, happy that he could do something right. Dean and Sam always made him feel loved - they were his best friends, and had never made him feel less than or unappreciated. Not like Michael had, and currently was. Cas brushes the thought from his mind and finishes a pancake for Dean, shaped like a cat’s head, complete with whiskers and strawberries for eyes. Cas had always been a little weird, quirky even, and people who didn’t know him thought of him as ‘that weird kid who stared too much’. Those who did know him though knew he was just curious about everything in the world, loved nature, and was a generally creative person.
Cas looks up again as Sam wanders into the kitchen, yawning and rubbing his eyes sleepily.

“Mmm… mornin’ guys…”

He stops cold when the smell of bacon and pancakes and fresh coffee finally registers.

“Ohhhh… Cas… man you are just the best! ….I don’t need a girlfriend, I’m just going to keep you around forever.”

Sam ruffles Cas’ hair despite the protests from the smaller man, and helps himself to a plate.
Cas makes himself a plate as well and then joins the other two at the dining table, sitting down, but settling into the hard wooden chair carefully, biting the inside of his cheek to avoid making any sounds.

“So guys, plans for today?”

Cas asks around a mouthful of strawberries.

***

Dean swallows down a large bite of his pancake, before answering with an indecisive shrug.

“I was thinking we could go to the mall… Dad sent some money, you know, and Sammy here definitely needs some new clothes.”

Sam makes a disapproving sound but Dean just points at the way too short pajama pants, revealing more than just Sam’s ankles.
In the end Castiel joins them, what with Michael leaving him hanging for at least Saturday. They buy new clothes for both Sam and Dean and even though Cas protests vehemently, Dean insists on buying a bright blue shirt for him, as well. He says they still got money left and he would rather spend it on Cas then give it back to his dad - he doesn’t say he just wants to see Cas wearing it cause it’s exactly the color of Cas’ eyes, Dean’s favorite color by far. It’s afternoon and the mall is still crowded with people, when the trio stops at a small bistro, where Sam and Cas order sandwiches and salad, while Dean goes for the largest pizza available.

***

Cas eats slowly, absentmindedly picking at his salad with his fork. He misses Michael. Or rather…he misses the Michael he knew a year ago. The Michael was seemed as in love with him as Cas knew he was with Michael. The Michael who kissed him under the football goal at night and gave him his class ring. The Michael who would never be as cruel as he’s being now, nor as angry.

“Cas… hey, Cas!...”

Cas’ head snaps up as Sam shakes him by the arm.

“What?”

“Dude….. I’ve been talking to you for like a minute straight, where are you?”

Sam frowns, irritated that Cas wasn’t listening to him. Cas blushes and ducks his head.

“Sorry Sam… what were you saying?”

He pays rapt attention this time around, and the tension in his face seems to soften the more he and Sam banter back and forth. By the end of lunch they’d all agreed to going to a party at some Frat house later that night, if only to meet some new people, ‘AND GIRLS!’ Sam had chimed in, while both Dean and Cas rolled their eyes and groaned.

***

Dean feels bad for Sammy. Or he would, if he was actually paying attention to anything he was saying. It’s been like this for a while. Cas, absentmindedly musing about his and Michael’s ‘relationship’ while Dean tried to hide his affection towards Cas. Dean was pretty sure, though, that Sammy knew, even though he’d been discrete enough never to mention it or make Dean talk about it. The rest of the afternoon Dean spent with doing part of his homework - he didn’t want to blow this chance, what with finally having succeeded getting into college - and choosing the clothes he was gonna wear tonight. Ever since he met Cas, he started paying extra attention to colors and brands and styles. Michael was the ‘sporty elegant’ type, so Dean had tried to go that direction as well, without making himself almost Michael double, with a dash of classic Dean thrown in for taste. He still liked his tough leather boots, the worn out jeans and old leather jacket, his dad once gave him, but he didn’t wear them as often as he used to nowadays. He decided on a moss-green Lacoste polo, dark Levi’s and his beloved boots. It was still warm outside so there was no need for a jacket or coat. When he entered the kitchen, Cas and Sam were waiting, Sam leaning lazily against the counter.

“Ready folks?”, Dean grinned and his gaze automatically fell on Cas, who was smiling back at him out of wide blue eyes, perfectly matched by the new shirt Dean had bought him. Trying his hardest not to show how fucking happy it made him, Dean left the apartment first, leading his brother and best friend to his baby, his 1967 Chevy Impala.

***

Castiel found that the shirt Dean gave him had made him happy, even though he tried not to let it show. His closeness to Sam and Dean occasionally made Michael angry, and the sex was never as good, and always much more painful, whenever Michael thought that Cas was closer to his friends than his boyfriend.
It was hard not to want to be close to them though, as Dean and Sam were so much more than his friends. They were almost like brothers. At least Sam was. He felt like a little brother to Cas, and Cas constantly felt himself looking after Sam, even though he really didn't have to. Dean on the other hand, it was a completely different dynamic. Cas had tried denying it for a year, but couldn't any longer now that they lived together and saw each other almost 24/7. There was something about his best friend that he had always known, but hadn't been able to admit to himself before now.
Dean was incredibly attractive, to the point that Castiel felt insanely guilty for thinking about him in a way that was beyond friendly. But every time Dean walked down the hallway in nothing but a towel, or worked on the Impala and came inside sweaty and greasy in a soaking wife beater and torn up jeans- it made Cas go a little crazy. The kind of crazy where he had to spend some time in the shower cooling himself off under ice cold water.
Cas shook himself back to the present and adjusted his shirt, fingering the silky hem while they walked out to the car. Cas always got the back seat as Sam needed the room for his long fucking legs, but he never minded. He sat in the middle as always, looking out the front as Dean drove them over to the Frat house.
It was already a mess, drunken couples making out on the party cup littered front lawn, people dancing on the roof, and dance music pumping out of every open window.

***

Dean let Sam and Cas jump out of the car in front of the house and took off to park the Impala a few blocks away. He did not trust these drunken idiots around his baby… Making sure she was safe in a more quiet neighborhood, Dean walks back to the party, meeting up with Cas, as Sam had already gone inside to meet up with some friends. Dean smiles as he approaches his friend/crush and playfully puts an arm around his shoulders.

“So, how do you wanna start? Getting ridiculously drunk and embarrassing the shit out of yourself or joining those naked gentlemen on the roof?”

He chuckles at Cas blushing and starts saying something but gets interrupted by a snarling voice and a rough shove.

“Fuck off, loser”, Michael growls at Dean, who's now lying on the ground, next to a girl he had accidentally pulled down with him, booze from their plastic cups all over his shirt. Before he can say anything, Michael puts his arm around Cas’ waist and pulls him away from Dean, inside the crowd and out of reach. Dean groans and sits up, helping the girl get up as well. This is gonna be an awesome night, the thinks to himself.

-

“What the hell, babe?”

Michael’s pissed. He grabs Cas by his collar and shoves him into the nearest wall after carting him downstairs and out of sight, coming dangerously close as he keeps speaking with a quiet and threatening voice.

“I’m trying to understand, Cas, I really do… you’re living with those lowlifes, fine, okay, I can deal with it - but bringing them to a party? Letting that bastard touch you in front of everybody? Do you have any idea how pathetic you are?”

***

Cas had looked over his shoulder at Dean with a look that spoke 'SORRY!' as much as he could without speaking out loud. Once inside and taken into a surprisingly empty bathroom downstairs, Cas winces and looks up at Michael as the taller stronger man shoves him into a wall. The fear in his eyes is obvious.

“Mikey... you... you know they're my best friends. They're your step-Brothers too...”

He hated this side of Michael. The jealous, angry side that was becoming increasingly violent- these days he was lucky if he didn't have bruises after every round of sex.
Cas mumbles softly.

“....You said you had plans anyway... Why are you here?....”

He looks up into Michael's eyes, a tinge of anger in his own. Michael had no right to call Dean and Sam lowlifes, they were his best friends, and they were there because Cas wanted them to be. He hadn't even been expecting Michael to be at the party, he'd said he had plans so Cas had assumed he meant something school involved.

***

Michael smiles at that but it’s vicious, a pitying smile.

“My plans are none of your business”, he says and raises a hand to curl it around Castiel’s throat.

Leaning in he licks over his pulse point, up his neck and bites the soft flesh without even caring about Cas’ quiet, strangled wail. He pulls back and keeps Cas steadily pressed against the wall with one hand, as Cas to tries to follow him, to kiss him.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you here and it would be better if you would just leave. I don’t want you around here today.”

He pulls out twenty bucks and stuffs them inside Castiel’s shirt collar.

“Take a cab. I’ll call you tomorrow. And Cas?”

He leans back in until his lips are close to Castiel’s ear.

“Don’t let me see you with the Winchesters again tonight…”

***

There's only one way to describe how Cas feels after Michael gives him one final shove and then walks out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind him so Cas can't follow.

Like a prostitute.

The fresh twenty crinkles against his skin under the shirt Dean gave him, still smelling like the store they bought it from just hours earlier. Cas feels tears well up in his eyes and scrubs at his face furiously to wipe them away, quietly hissing to himself to 'stop crying, you fucking baby'... a phrase he'd heard more than once from Michael's lips.
He exits the bathroom quietly and leaves by the backdoor, hoping not to encounter Dean or Sam, but just his luck, he slams right into Sam in his hurry to leave.

“Woah!.... Cas?... Hey! Dean's been looking everywhere for you, you okay?”

Cas looks up at Sam and bites the inside of his cheeks hard, sharp pain shooting through his mouth, before he smiles and shakes his head.

“I'm sorry Sam... I uh-.. I have to go home, not feeling too great... Headache.”

He presses a hand to his temple and then walks on, not waiting for Sam's retort because he knows what it'll be. 'Let Dean drive you home'. But he can't, not with Michael's threatening words running through his head, so he leaves through the back gate and starts walking, the twenty crumpled in one angry fist. It's only 5 miles, and the air is cool but not cold... the walk will do him some good, Cas thinks.

***

Dean tries to forget about what just happened, walking over to the kitchen and getting a pepsi. He can deal with Michael pushing him around like he was nothing more than a dumb child - but he’d looked furious, when he’d pulled Cas with him and Dean just can’t bear the thought of Michael hurting Cas. Again. He tries spotting Cas through the crowd and stands on his toes, when he sees Michael’s blond shock of hair. Cas is nowhere to be seen though. At Michael’s side there’s some blonde chick with bare breasts and bikini bottoms, pressing her almost naked body against Dean’s stepbrother. For a moment he’s tempted to go over and smash Michael’s head into the nearest wall - then he feels a hand on his shoulder and turns round to meet his brother’s worried gaze.

“Cas just left”, Sam says and for a moment Dean just blinks at him in surprise.

“Wh- what? Why?”
Sam mumbles something about a headache and Cas leaving before Sam could say something else but Dean already shrugged his hand off, blazing a trail through the crowd of noisy people towards the exit Sam had pointed at. Once out he turns left, running down the pavement in the general direction of the campus, where Dean, Sam and Cas’ apartment was situated. It only takes him a few minutes to catch up with Cas. He stops right in front of him, breathing heavily, holding his chest before looking up into Cas’ surprised face.
“What the fuck, Cas?”, he gasps, a worried frown on his face “What’s wrong?”

***

“Dean wha-?... I.... I got a headache-... so I decided to leave...”

His fist clenches tighter around the twenty, hoping somehow for the crumpled bill to disappear. It was like if Cas could make the money go away, he could make the lump of guilt in the back of his throat for lying to his best friend go away as well.

“...You should go back, Sam is still there... Probably not wise to leave him there, ladies man our Sammy is.”

He smiles as he says this, but it doesn't reach his eyes, the dimples that show up when he's truly smiling aren't there as he looks into Dean's eyes.
Cas steps around Dean and keeps walking, shoving his hands into his front pockets, hiding the money there. He clenches his jaw, trying his hardest to keep everything calm on the outside while his mind was screaming on the inside.
It would be SO easy to confess it all to Dean, to just tell him how much he meant to him, and how unhappy he was with Michael so much of the time. But that meant risking their friendship, and risking Michael's wrath. And neither of those was worth the possibility of Dean liking him back- at least, that's what Cas kept telling himself as he kept walking towards their apartment.

***

Dean doesn’t even hesitate to follow Cas again, grabbing his arm and holding him back gently but decisive.

“That’s bullshit, Cas, and we both know it”, he says, his voice a lot more quiet and soothing than before.

He forces Castiel to stop, to turn around to face him, even though he’s still looking down at his feet. Dean puts a hand on Cas’ chin, tilting his face up gently, spotting the tiny, dark bruise on Castiel’s neck and wincing at the sight.

“He hurt you again?”, he says but it’s more of a statement rather than a question. He knows how cruel and unfair Michael could be…

“It’s my fault, Cas… I’m sorry…” he withdraws his hand, taking a step backwards, suddenly feeling uncomfortable and so incredibly guilty about being the reason why Cas had trouble with Michael.

He’s a bit indecisive for a moment, considering what to do. He could walk Cas home but then he’d only risk somebody seeing them together, telling Michael about it and getting Cas into even bigger trouble. But he couldn’t let him go alone… not at this time with him being in this vulnerable condition…

“Come on, Cas… you can’t walk home alone… let me at least find somebody to drive you, okay?”
Again he looks into Cas’ eyes, trying a small smile.

***

Cas had pulled his chin out of Dean's hand, looking away from his best friend. It wasn't easy holding back tears with Dean looking into his eyes, so he couldn't make eye contact for long. Hearing Dean's voice laced with guilt made him sick to his stomach. His best friend felt guilty because his boyfriend was a dick to him. That just wasn't right.

“Dean.. I'll be fine. Really.”

He steps away from Dean again, just one step and sighs.

“I really just want to walk... okay?... I need the air. I'll text you when I get there okay?”

He knows Dean, knows he worries about everyone close to him, and that without knowing Cas was home safe he would just worry the rest of the night and not be able to enjoy himself at the party at all. He returns the smile gently and reaches out to gently pat Dean's shoulder.

“Promise.”

***

In this moment all Dean wants is to grab Cas’ hand and pull him into a tight embrace. He doesn’t want him to go, not alone and hurt like this but he has no choice. Cas won’t let him take care of him, not with the constant fear of Michael seeing them and getting in a jealous rage again. So he just nods, averting his eyes from Castiel’s glazed blue orbs.

“You text me the moment you close the door, kay?”, he mumbles, biting his lip and trying to tell Cas without words how serious he is. Cas just smiles and nods, before turning around again and slowly walking away. Dean stands there for a whole five minutes, watching Cas disappear into the night, feeling nauseous for having to let this happen like this.

He returns to the party and finds Sam inside, having a drink with Jessica Moore, a girl from his literature class. She seems nice and introduces Dean to some of her friends, Joanne, Lisa and Cassie… Dean winces, when he hears a name so similar to Castiel’s and tries to fake a smile. They’re all very nice, not the usual half-naked whores one could find at this kind of party, but Dean’s not interested and they get that pretty quickly. So Dean spends the rest of the night talking to some guys he knows from school, his eyes filled with hate every time he sees Michael disappear behind a closed door, every time with a different girl…

It’s past 3 am when he and Sam get home, trying not to make too much noise. Sam falls into his bed without so much as an ‘ummph’ and Dean leaves his room, shaking his head. He stands in front of Cas’ bedroom door for a few minutes, wondering if he was still up. There’s no sound from inside, though, and Dean decides to go to bed - even though he’s pretty sure he won’t find any sleep tonight.

***

Cas watches from his bed, lying on his side breathless as he sees the shadow of someone walking in front of his door and just standing there. He gets up, absolutely silent, and walks to the door to listen to the person on the other side. It's Dean, he can tell from the soft sigh that escapes his chest when he gives up and walks away, the light filtering under the door and across Cas' bare feet dancing as Dean's shadow crosses and leaves.
Cas slides down to the wall to the floor, silent tears falling down his cheeks. More than anything in that moment he wants to leave his bedroom and crawl into bed with Dean; maybe with Dean's tanned arms wrapped around him he'd be able to sleep. Maybe he wouldn't have such a restless night like he always did when he slept alone, half fearing and half craving Michael showing up, drunk, at 4 in the morning.
Michael doesn't show up tonight though, and Cas eventually makes his way back to his own bed to sleep, his hand on the wall that separates his room from Dean's. It was a mere 6 inches of paint, plaster, insulation and framing that kept them apart physically, but it may as well have been the Grand Canyon from how far away from Dean he felt as he fell asleep. The last thought through Castiel's mind before everything goes black for the night is an image of Dean's soft smile, and then an image of Michael's feral grin. Thankfully, it's a dreamless sleep.

***

Dean wakes with a headache and a twisted stomach. He lies in bed, staring at the ceiling for a full 20 minutes, before getting up and walking into the kitchen. The apartment is quiet and the kitchen’s empty, so Dean decides to at least try to make up for what he did last night, by preparing breakfast. He’d heard that Cas would meet up with Michael today and even though he doesn’t know for sure if this arrangement still stands, he wants Cas to at least have one good thing on this Sunday. He sets the table with plates and bowls for him, Sam and Cas and just started to prepare PBJ sandwiches, when he hears silent footsteps - Cas’ footsteps - in the hallway. He doesn’t stop and he doesn’t look up, not sure if Cas wants to deal with having Dean looking at him like Dean knows he will look at him. It’s always awkward when Dean or Sam witnessed Michael being unkind or cruel towards Cas, but Dean knowing that he was the reason Michael had hurt Cas in the first place made it even worse…

***

Cas is dressed in a loose tank top, probably one of Michael's, and ankle length pajama pants with cartoon dinosaurs on them. He stops in the doorway and puts on a brave face, flashing a brilliant smile.

“You made breakfast...let me guess...ummm....Cookie dough and milk?”

He walks into the kitchen and grabs the orange juice from the fridge, shaking it to make sure the pulp is mixed in and not just sitting on the bottom- nothing worse than clumpy orange juice when you get to the last glass. The bruise on Cas' neck is worse today, purple and yellow, but it was one that would fade quickly from Cas' experience. 2 days or so and it would be almost gone, and until then he would just wear scarves. They were in vogue anyway, right?
Cas turns away from Dean to grab a glass from the cabinet and pours himself a full one of the OJ. He sets the carton back down on the counter and stands still for a moment, just seeming to breath like he had forgotten how to unless he was thinking about it.
Just a few minutes earlier he'd gotten a typo ridden text from Michael, who was obviously hung over. He had made up some excuse about why he wouldn't be over until after 10pm and that Cas should just stay inside and focus on his homework today.
The fury and sadness he felt about the night before and now this text this morning made it very hard to pretend everything was a-OK on the outside. But he didn't want Dean or Sam to worry anymore than they already did about him. So he put on a brave face, and smiled even though it hurt to.

***

Dean forced a smile and shook his head.

“Cas, you know I couldn’t cook or bake even if my life depended on it”, he says, chuckling quietly and sitting down at the table, motioning Cas to do the same.

Grabbing the carton out of Cas’ hands, he pours himself an empty coffee mug full of juice, before reaching back to get the plate with the prepared PBJ’s. He sets it down right in front of Cas and the smile on Cas’ face brightens up his day immediately.
They eat the sandwiches in silence, until Sam enters the kitchen about 10 minutes later, yawning and stretching his freakishly large body.

“Cas, you’re here”, he exclaims, slumping down on the chair to Cas’ right “I’m glad you’re okay, man… how’s your head?”

***

Cas' mind was on Michael, as always, when Sam walked in. He blinks and looks up, smiling gently at Sam.

“Hey Sam... Um, better today.. much better.”

He looks back down and catches eyes with Dean, the very slightest shake of his head to say 'please don't say anything to Sammy'. They finish their breakfast and Cas does dishes as usual, Sam's fumble fingers never managing to do them without breaking at least one glass or plate per load of dishes. Sam leaves the kitchen to shower, stating that the girl he met last night, Lisa, wanted to do a study session for their class today.

“Literature was it? So what.. you're going to read Shakespeare to each other?”

“Shut up Dean.”

They glare at one another for a minute before both cracking a smile and Dean slapping his brother on the shoulder. Sam leaves for upstairs and his shower, leaving Dean and Cas alone in the kitchen downstairs.
Cas is quiet for a minute before speaking.

“... Thanks....”

***

Dean smiles reluctantly and raises a hand to squeeze Castiel’s shoulder gently. He lets his hand linger as long as he dares to, before pulling it back and averting his eyes again.

“Don’t mention it…”

They stand in a somewhat awkward silence for a few breathless seconds, before Dean decides to make the best out of this situation.

“So, you wanna help me out with the Impala until Mike comes over?”

Of course they both know that the car is in a surprisingly good shape for its age, but Dean never gets tired to work on his baby, making the very best possible out of it.

***

Cas smiles up at Dean, glad that the tension was gone from the room.

“Sure.”

They both change into ratty old clothes, and after Cas checks his phone again to make sure Michael hadn't changed his plans, he leaves it inside to charge while they work in the garage.

“So, Mr. Winchester... what are we working on today? Oil Change? Tires rotated? Any of the belts worn?”

Cas steps out into the garage where Dean is already getting ready to work. He wears worn in jeans with holes in the knees, and an old shirt of Dean's that was too small for him, the AC/DC logo a faded red on the front of the gray shirt.

***

Dean grins at him, rubbing his hands, and walking over to get his toolbox.
They spend three hours in the garage and Dean notices - not for the first time - how well they work together. Cas doesn’t care about cars as much as Dean does, but he certainly likes the Impala and the way he keeps foreseeing which tools Dean needs and taking over some of the easier tasks makes Dean’s face light up with joy. When they go back inside from the garage, they’re greasy and dirty, Cas having left a large smear of oil on Dean’s forehead, and Dean basically pushes Cas into the bathroom to take a shower. He knows Michael would freak if Cas was still looking like this when he came over and Dean didn’t want to be the reason for yet another fight. While Cas showered, Dean returned to the kitchen, taking off his sweaty shirt and sitting down at the kitchen table, reaching for a cloth to clean his face from the grey substance.

***

Cas scrubs his body free of the oil and dirt, making sure to get it completely off his skin, and the smell of it too. Michael hated when he smelled like cars, said that it made him trashy, and that it meant he was spending more unnecessary time with Dean.
The fight they'd had when he told Michael he was moving in with Dean and Sam had been outrageous. They'd woken up John and Lilith, who both just ordered Cas to go home, and Michael to calm the hell down. Michael still carried that grudge though, that Castiel went against his wishes by moving in with the brothers. He didn't care that they were Cas' best friends; all he saw was Dean's eyes when he stared at Cas. He knew, it would be hard not to notice. You'd have to be oblivious not to see how Dean was around Castiel- and sadly that's exactly what Cas was. Oblivious.
The warm water pelted his freshly scrubbed skin, burning the new skin he'd uncovered, but not helping with his thoughts about Dean. Dean bending over to look under the hood, the curve of his ass so well defined in those jeans- Dean's hand touching his as Cas handed him a tool – Dean's smile as they both sang along to 'Highway to the Danger Zone' on the radio. Before Cas knew it he had a throbbing hard on to his thoughts of his best friend.

“Shit...”

Cas bites his lower lip and switches the water to freezing cold, yelping slightly when the icy streams hit his skin... It works though, and his erection quickly fades. He hops out of the shower and dries off, wrapping a towel around his waist to leave the bathroom and walk down the hall to his room.

***

He hears Cas leaving the bathroom and waits a moment until he's sure, the hallway is empty. He made the mistake of encountering Cas half naked and dripping wet more than once and he couldn't hope to stay resistant much longer at a sight like that. Eventually he gets up and leaves the kitchen, tiptoeing across the hall and slipping inside the bathroom. Exhaling audibly, he strips off his jeans and boxers and gets inside the shower.
Half an hour - and several thrusts and suppressed moans - later, Dean steps out of the shower and pulls a fresh pair of boxers out of the freshly laundered clothes in the laundry basket. He can hear loud voices from outside and hesitates a moment before opening the door and stepping outside. The hallway is empty and Dean knows immediately that Michael must be here - almost 4 hours early. He can hear his heated voice from inside Cas' room and for a moment he's tempted to kick the door in and punch this asshole in the face. But then the voices fade away slowly, Cas' frightened voice becoming silent, while Michael's is now more soothing than aggressive. Dean bites his lip and turns away, walking slowly to his room.

“Babe, the party was just lame… the booze was just gross and the music sucked - you would've bored yourself to death okay?”

Michael leans forward to nibble at Cas' earlobe, eliciting a small sigh from the younger boy.

“And now stop complaining and put your mouth to good use, will ya?”

***

Cas leans into the touch but it's quickly pulled away as Michael pushes Cas to his knees. Cas feels his heart clench, the word “prostitute‟ coming up again as Michael undoes his fly.
The sounds that come from Cas' bedroom that night are muffled. Cas knows Dean is home and awake, so he tries to be as quiet as possible, even when he feels Michael push inside of him roughly, over and over. He just buries his head into the pillow and thinks about Dean's smile, the pain fading slightly, replaced instead with guilt. He shouldn't be thinking about his boyfriend's step-brother, HIS best friend, while he's having sex with Michael. It just wasn't right, it was cheating, even just mentally, but it wasn't right. An hour later Michael is pulling on his clothes, and Cas is begging him to stay once again.

“Michael…you said-“

“Cas I have an early practice tomorrow, you know I can't sleep here-“

“But you NEVER sleep here anymore!”

Cas freezes, realizing he just yelled at Michael, one of the many things he isn't ever supposed to do. He's kneeling on the bed, one hand on Michael's wrist, tugging him towards the bed- or had been. He lets go of Michael's hand and backs away, scooting on his knees.

“Michael-.. I'm-.. I… I'm sorry…”

***

For a moment it's only silence and the quiet, quick breathing of Cas filling the small room, both men looking at each other with wide eyes from shock and surprise. Then - before Cas even has a chance to back away or protect himself - Michael reels back and his palm hits Castiel's cheek. The younger boy stumbles back, falling against the cushions on his bed, as Michael stands above him, the look on his face threatening and terrifying. He's breathing heavily, staring down at Cas, while the seconds tick by.

“This”, Michael finally says and his voice is trembling with anger “this is your fault.”

And that's all. He turns around, grabs his sports bag and leaves the bedroom without another word. He bumps into Dean in the hallway, simply shoving him out of his way, as he leaves the apartment in a hurry, not bothering to look back.

Dean leans against the wall for a second, and then pushes himself off it, shaking his head. Cas' bedroom door is open slightly and Dean considers just going to the bathroom, as he had intended to earlier - when he hears Castiel sobbing quietly. Without hesitation he pushes the door open all the way, staring down at the slumped, crying man on the bed in bewilderment. He's kneeling next to Cas in a split second, his hand carefully reaching out to touch his shaking arms.

“Cas… Cas, what's-…?”

***

Cas jumps at Dean's touch and then covers his face with his arms, burrowing further into the bed.

“Nothing Dean!... Just… go away please…”

The 'please' is a plead, desperate for Dean to just leave him alone, not wanting his best friend to see the red mark he's sure is on his face. Cas is also naked still, having not put on any clothes after Michael was done with him. His lower body is barely covered with the sheet and he fumbles to pull it around himself more in between soft sobs. Cas can't stop the tears though, try as he might. His head was throbbing from the slap- Michael was a linebacker, he was huge and his hands could easily palm a basketball. It had felt like getting hit with a sledgehammer.

***

But for once Dean doesn't listen to what Cas is saying. He stretches out his hands, pulling the sheet up and wrapping it around Castiel's shoulders, before leaning in to pull him into a tight embrace.

“What the fuck did he do, Cas?”, he whispers and his voice is shaking with despair “Why do you even put up with his shit? Cas, you're so much better than him, you deserve so much more!”

***

Cas can‟t even say anything he starts crying so hard. He wraps his arms around Dean's torso and tucks his head down, pushing it against Dean's warm chest. Dean lowers his head to kiss Cas' forehead firmly, arms holding him tight, one of his hands rubbing his best friend's back soothingly.
It takes a few minutes but Castiel does calm down, his breathing long and ragged, broken by the occasional shuddered breath as his body fights itself for control again. His head still hurts, but at least Dean is there, holding him. Dean is always there.

Before he knows what's happening his mind is running over all the times Michael's hurt him, lied to him, betrayed his trust or just straight up ignored him. Anger bubbles up inside of him and he sits up, his face bright red from the tears, a large swelling on one side of his face from where Michael hit him. Dean gasps, frowning in concern and anger, his face twisting as he reaches up to tenderly touch Cas' face. Cas winces and Dean echoes the sound and facial expression, eyes wandering over the other boy's face slowly.

Cas watches as his best friend frets over him, gently touching his face with the sweetest look of concern. He realizes that he's never seen a look like that on Michael's face - not in the entire year they've been together. Castiel feels something click inside of him, like someone turned on a light in a pitch black room, and he reaches up to touch Dean's face, the look of surprise at his caress bringing Dean's eyes to lock on his. Cas' expression doesn't change as he looks at Dean's mouth, then leans in and presses his lips to Dean's in a smooth, swift motion.

***

Dean's whole body tenses at Castiel's gentle touch and he opens his mouth to say something, anything… but then Cas' lips are on his and it's sucking the breath out of him and Dean is lost. His eyelids flutter as he closes them, a shaky breath coming over his lips and getting swallowed by Cas. He does think about this situation for a second. Cas is hurt, disappointed, alone - and Dean is here, he's available and would basically do anything for Cas. But then again it doesn't really matter… it doesn't matter if Cas is using him or if he really wants this, cause Dean had been thinking about doing this ever since he first saw the other boy.

His hands are still holding Castiel's face, his thumbs stroking softly over his cheeks as they keep kissing each other gently, carefully. Leaning in he opens his mouth slightly, tugging at Castiel's lower lip.

***

Castiel's entire body responds to Dean, his breath hitching when Dean opens his mouth. He wraps his arms around Dean's back, pulling himself into the other boy's lap. Cas' head is swimming with the taste of Dean, mint toothpaste and something else, something essentially Dean. He shivers when one of Dean's hands slides down his bare back, pulling his chest flush against Dean's clothed one. It was so intense, every feeling magnified by the pain throbbing in his head, such a contrast to the pleasure in his tingling lips. Small moans escape his lips as he tilts his head to deepen the kiss even more, the sheet sliding off of his body even more as he slides his legs on either side of Dean so he's straddling the taller boy's lap, pain flickering through him from his ass- Cas ignores it though, focusing on every part of his body that Dean was touching.

***

It's so surreal. A minute ago all Dean had wanted was to comfort Cas, to hold him until he stopped crying. And now their lips are locked and Castiel's naked body presses against Dean's and the only sounds filling the otherwise silent bedroom are heated gasps and small moans. Dean lets his hands roam over Castiel's body, down his back and back up to curl around his neck, as Dean slips his tongue into the other boy's mouth. His body jerks at the feeling of Cas' tongue against his and his embrace tightens, one of his hands sliding around Castiel's body to brush over his chest, his stomach and further down…

***

Cas gasps, his breath breaking over soft cries against Dean's lips as he feels Dean's fingers brush his cock.

“D… Dean.”

And that's it- it's like Cas' voice breaks whatever spell they were under, and their senses snap back into reality. The color drains from Castiel's face and he scrambles off of Dean's lap, pulling the sheet around himself to hide his very obvious hard-on. Cas can't bring himself to look at Dean, not after what he just did to his best friend.

“I…I'm sorry Dean.”

He bites his lower lip and pulls the sheet even tighter around his form as he turns away.

'So fucking stupid Cas…so stupid,' he thinks to himself.

He probably just ruined his relationship with one of his best friends, and-… if Michael finds out… oh... god… Cas feels sick to his stomach and wraps an arm around his torso to try to calm himself down.

***

It had to happen. Dean should've known… Cas' lips leave his, he turns away, averting his gaze in shame and Dean feels his heart break. There's nothing he could say or do to fix this. Dean gets up slowly, licking his lips and looking at Cas, who still got his back turned at him. He opens his mouth but the words just won't come. So he leaves, without saying another word, without reaching to touch Cas' shoulder, to assure him that he'll always be his friend, like he wants to so badly. He stumbles over to his room, pulling the door closed and letting himself fall on the bed, burying his head in his pillow. Cas had just kissed him. And Dean - despite his every instinct and his better knowledge of how stupid this was - had gone with it. He had taken advantage of Castiel's situation, had used him to satisfy his need of touching him, holding him, owning him, even if it was just for a while.

***

Cas spends the evening lying still on his bed, after getting up to shut the door just a few minutes after Dean left his room.
It had been completely selfish of him to do that. Kissing Dean had been more than what you could ask of a best friend when you're in pain- it had been too much, and now he would have to deal with the consequences. He would never tell Michael, no, that would just cause more problems, and the last thing he wanted was for Dean to get in trouble for what he did.
He would have to apologize again tomorrow to Dean, look him in the eyes and say he was sorry for using the moment when all Dean wanted to do was comfort him. He felt more guilty about hurting his friend than he did about cheating on Michael, and it bothered Cas. He should feel guilty for cheating on Michael, should care that Michael would be upset. But he also knows that Michael wouldn't care because Cas had betrayed him. He would care because Cas was HIS, and his alone, and Dean was a lowlife in Michael's eyes, and now Cas was tainted.
Cas just couldn't bring himself to care about Michael as he lay there- his only thoughts were on Dean, and if he had just lost his best friend with a kiss.

Chapter Text

Dean gets up early on Monday morning, when Sam and Cas are still asleep. He sneaks into Sam's bedroom, leaving the keys to the Impala on his pillow together with a note saying something about Dean having to take care of something before his lectures started and that Sam and Cas should take the Impala. He spends the day ignoring Sam's calls and texts, sitting in the last row of the lecture hall, staring down at his empty notebook. When he returns to the apartment it's past 10 and Sam is pissed.

“Fuck you, Dean!”, he snaps, once Dean enters the kitchen and gets up to stand right in front of his older but smaller brother

“What the fuck was this huh? I was fucking worried about you, you couldn't even take a single call!?”

***

Cas spent the entire day in classes as Monday was his busiest day at school. He gets home around 10, his last class finishing around 9pm, arms loaded with takeout Chinese food for dinner. It was one of Dean's favorites, and Cas figured it could be the start of his apology. He walks into the house to Sam yelling at Dean and stands in the entryway awkwardly, listening to the shouts coming from the kitchen that was around the corner.

Sam throws his hands up in the air and makes a rather angry sound that sounds a lot like “I GIVE UP‟ as Dean just stands there staring up at him with an impassive look on his face.
Sam turns around, but then turns again, spinning a whole 360 degrees to face his brother again before pointing a finger in his face.

“I don't know what the hell is wrong with you, but that's just fucked up man…you don't do that! What if something had happened to me? Or Cas? What if that phone call was me calling from the hospital huh?”

***

With every second of Sam yelling at him, Dean’s losing his patience - but he can’t be angry with Sam, Sam’s right. Of course the little fucker’s right…

“Well, you would’ve written that in one of the six texts you sent me, wouldn’t you?”, he says a bit cheeky but still quiet and for a moment he thinks Sam would punch him in the face.

Then the younger one just groans with annoyance and turns around once more, leaving the kitchen and Dean. With a sigh, Dean sinks down on one of the kitchen chairs, folding his hands and staring down at the faintly stained table surface.

***

Cas walks in quietly after Sam storms up the stairs to his room, obviously needing some time to cool off. He sets the Chinese down on the counter and looks up at Dean with a faint smile.

“Hey.”

A simple enough greeting, but the word speaks volumes about how nervous and anxious and scared Cas is. He'd been dreading this all day long, coming home and having to see his best friend, the man he'd kissed so passionately just the night before. It didn't help that Michael had been sending him texts all day with 'I'm sorry Baby' and 'I can't come over tonight but I promise I'll make it up to you'.
Yeah...sure, Cas had thought, before shoving his phone away. Every time it had buzzed he'd hoped it was Dean, which was a completely new sensation- he normally hoped with all his heart it was Michael.
In one night that had changed. Now all he could think about was Dean.

***

Dean freezes when he hears Cas’ voice and doesn’t look up from the table for another few seconds. Cas looks like he always does, although his hair’s probably a little more messy than usual and his eyes are not as warm and soothing as they used to be. There’s a sharp sting of guilt somewhere in Dean’s chest cause he knows it’s his fault, that Cas isn’t loose and comfortable around him anymore.

“Chinese?”, he asks with a look at the plastic bags and a small smile.

He loves Chinese and Cas knows and that somehow makes the situation a little less awful. He knows it’s stupid, knows he can’t put up with this for very long. But he decides to forget about what had happened yesterday, for Cas’ sake. He gets up to get the bags, opens them and sets them on the table, motioning Cas to sit down already.

“Thanks Cas, I’m starving.”

***

Cas nods and grabs them each a beer, opening them and sitting down at the table, putting Dean's in front of him.

“I know we're really not supposed to drink... but honestly it's delicious with Chinese.”

He shrugs and takes a long slow swallow of the beer, sighing softly as he puts it back down. Cas helps himself to the sweet and sour chicken and some chow mein, eating with chopsticks like a pro. He sits with one foot up on the chair, knee bent and pressed against his chest. It was an unconscious thing he'd always done whenever he was nervous or upset. He'd had it pointed out to him before by Sam, but had forgotten about it and was doing it again, trying to remain calm on the outside while he fought himself on the inside for the right words to say.

After what seemed like an hour of silence, in reality it was only a few minutes, Cas finally blurts out a fast flurry of words.

“Dean I'm really sorry I don't know what came over me I shouldn't have kissed you please don't be mad at me...”
He stares at his food for another second before looking up with terrified and hopeful eyes at his friend.

***

And there goes pretending nothing ever happened… Dean stills, swallowing down a mouthful of rice, before returning Cas’ look. He’d try to be nonchalant and easy about this but isn’t sure if it would work.
“Dude, I’m not mad”, he finally says, shrugging and even managing a small smile “So don’t beat yourself up over it, okay?”

He clears his throat and continues to eat, trying his hardest not to show how much his own words hurt himself.
-
On the staircase just outside the kitchen, Sam Winchester leans back against the wall, taking a deep breath. This was bad. Well, it had been pretty obvious to just about everyone how Dean thought about his ‘best friend’ from the very beginning. But this? Cas kissing him, even though he still was in a relationship with their asshole stepbrother? This couldn’t end well… after a moment Sam pushed himself away from the wall, taking the stairs up slowly and quietly again. This was something he had to think about. Something Dean and Cas had to sort out, before Sam would interfere…

***

Cas hesitates for a second, seeing something on Dean's face that wasn't anger, but he couldn't pinpoint just what it was... He lets out a sigh of relief and smiles as well, brushing the thought to the back of his mind.

“... that's good...”

He eats and the room is only slightly less tense, things still weird between the two. Cas knew that it would take some time for things to get back to normal between them. He also knew that he would probably never go back to normal himself; the memory of Dean's lips on his, his callused fingers tracing up his spine, they would be seared there in the back of his mind forever. Cas finishes his food quickly and then walks back into the kitchen to do his dishes, humming some Metallica song to himself and trying to remember if the essay for American History is due tomorrow or the next Tuesday.

***

Dean stays seated, absentmindedly watching Cas doing the dishes. He remembers touching that body, pressing it close to his own, kissing those chapped lips and he has to avert his gaze and force himself to stop thinking about last night. It was a one time thing, Dean tries telling himself, even though every word hurts like somebody stabbed him with a rusty knife and kept twisting it inside his body. He gets up eventually, when Cas is drying up his dishes and Dean puts his own in the sink to silently clean them. He asks about Castiel’s day, how he likes his lectures and professors and even makes some - admittedly bad - jokes about some of his own professors, but they both feel the awkward tension between them. Dean hopes, prays, that one day it’ll be like it had been before all this happened.

***

Cas says goodnight to Dean and is tempted to hug him like they do sometimes, but stops himself- it would probably be just a little awkward right now...
He goes upstairs and starts on his homework, but can't manage to concentrate, so lies awake in bed staring at the ceiling and running a million questions through his mind.

Why had he kissed Dean? Why had Dean kissed him back? What would he have done if Cas hadn't stopped them? Dean had said he wasn't mad, but was that him just being nice? No....

Cas rolls over on his side, biting his lower lip as he realizes something.

Dean could have stopped the kiss, or hell even pushed Cas away, but he hadn't... He'd kissed him back, and from the sounds that Cas remembers with a shiver up his spine- Dean had liked it.
Cas blushes at the thought, and shakes his head. No no no, there was no way. Dean's body just reacted, like most bodies do. Cas had been naked and Dean had been as vulnerable as Cas had been, trying to comfort his best friend... that's all it had been. Right?

For the first time in over a year Cas falls asleep without a single thought of Michael going through his head. He dreams of Dean, of kisses and caresses, soft moans and harsh cries in the night. Hands clasping over hips and fingers intertwining, hips and backs arching and thrusting to meet one another, Dean's amazing green eyes so vivid and his freckles so fucking close he could count them-

He wakes in the morning to discover in the night that his body fulfilled its desires to the thought of his best friend without any help from him.

'Great... now I have to wash the sheets again', Cas thinks, then buries his head back under his pillow, refusing to get up just yet.
-
At the same time that Cas is waking up, Sam is finally falling asleep after being awake all night and pacing his room back and forth, worrying about what to do with the situation. His older brother and their best friend. This just wasn't okay. Especially considering how FREAKED Michael would be if he found out- which he never could because Sam knew that he'd take it out on both Dean and Cas, but Cas was much less likely to defend himself, and Dean could probably beat Michael in a one on one fight, simply because he'd been wrestling with Sam their whole lives. Sam finally falls asleep once the sun rises, and he simply can't keep thinking anymore, his brain shutting down with one finally thought of, 'I hope whatever happens, that they're happy...'

***

That morning, Dean doesn’t flee when everyone else is still asleep. He sits at the kitchen table, eating his cereals and reading in a textbook for his literature class, when Sam and Castiel join him almost at the same time, both yawning and obviously still drowsy. They drive to university together as usual and agree on a meeting point and time, before splitting up to go to their classes.

Michael’s there, waiting for Cas in front of his American History lecture hall, and once the younger boy comes in sight, Michael takes a step towards him, grabbing his wrist and pulling him in a less frequented hallway.

“You didn’t return my calls”, he says quietly, still not letting go of Castiel’s arm.

***

Cas winces at the tight grip on his wrist but doesn't mention it, knowing that if he complains Michael is just more likely to tighten his grip even more.

“...I'm sorry, I had to write an essay for this class, I lost track of time Michael...”

He smiles, but it's half hearted, falters before it reaches it's normal brilliance.

“I have to go inside.... Class is starting soon... I'll call you later?”

Cas looks down at the hand still holding his wrist then back up at Michael, waiting for him to make the connection that he needs to let go in order for Cas to go into the classroom.

***

Michael doesn’t react immediately. He just keeps looking at Cas for a few, breathless seconds that seem to Castiel like minutes, hours even. He doesn’t let go of his wrist either, instead pushes Castiel back against the wall, gently but firmly and steps closer.

“I don’t like how you treat me these days, Castiel”, he finally says and it’s pretty obvious, that he’s more than pissed.

He never calls him by his full name. Never.

“You don’t look me in the eye anymore, you ignore my calls, my texts, you avoid me around here and you talk back. I’m curious… this has to have a reason, am I right?”

He pauses for a moment, finally letting go of Castiel’s wrist, but both of his hands stemmed against the wall next to Cas’ head instead.

“I want you to move out”, he then says and he’s pleased with Castiel’s reaction, all shock and fear, clearly visible on his face “The Winchesters obviously have a bad influence on you. I’ve tolerated your… dependence on them long enough but I’m tired of letting them ruin my sex life.”

Cas starts stuttering and Michael picks up something about where he should live but all he does is shrug, an annoyed look on his handsome face.

“I honestly don’t care. Get your stuff and leave. I don’t want you to see them anymore.”

And with that he turns around and walks down the hallway, leaving Castiel alone, frozen and shaking against the cold wall.

***

The rest of the day goes uneventfully for Cas, which is good because he's on the verge of tears from the moment Michael leaves until get gets home around 7pm that night. Sam isn't home, having left a note on the fridge saying he's off at Lisa's again. This is good because the minute he realizes he's alone, Cas crumples to the kitchen floor and starts crying, hot tears rolling quietly down his cheeks. He doesn't sob, just lets the tears come, knowing it's better to get them out now than break down in front of Dean and Sam later when he has to tell them that he's leaving.

He'd spent the day searching bulletin boards for a room to rent from someone else, and finally found one for twice the amount he was paying now further from campus. But it was a room to himself at least, and the roommates were all history majors, so at least they had that in common. He'd also found a replacement for himself in the house with Dean and Sam. He hadn't wanted to leave them high and dry for money for rent, and the guy was more than happy to have his own room for as little as Cas was paying.

Cas doesn't want to leave. He really doesn't, but when Michael had caught his eyes he'd seen something dangerous there behind the blue- a calm, quiet anger. That was even worse than when he yelled, because it meant he was planning something, and that almost always meant pain for Cas in one form or another. Cas didn't want to piss off Michael more than he already was, even though just the thought of the man he supposedly loved now made his stomach turn.

***

When Cas doesn't show up at the meeting point, Dean is worried. He and Sam wait for him half an hour, until Sam gets a short text, saying that Cas had to stay longer and would take a cab later. Still uncomfortable about leaving his friend behind, Dean gets in the car, driving them home. Sam leaves after an hour, saying something about study group at Lisa's but Dean's not really listening. He spends the afternoon in his bedroom, working on one of his essays, shutting out the whole world - until he hears the apartment door closing. He checks his watch. It's past 7. He waits a minute, five minutes, but there's no other sound. It can't be Sam, he said he'd be back around 9… but Cas would at least say hello, check if Dean was here, wouldn't he? Assuming the worst, Dean grabs a baseball bat from behind his door and slips out in the hallway, noticing the lights at the kitchen are turned on. His eyes scoot around the small room, finally spotting a familiar frame on the floor, leaning back against the fridge, eyes staring blankly into nothing.

“Jesus, Cas, you scared me-“, Dean starts, just as the other boy looks up, startled at the sudden sound.

Again there are tears on Castiel's cheeks and the baseball bat slips out of Dean's hands. Castiel keeps staring up at him, his face suddenly distorted with fear.

***

Cas' eyes flicker back down to the ground and he swallows, his throat thick from crying.

“S-sorry Dean…I didn't think you were home…”

He gets up slowly and brushes off his jeans, hoping the Dean wouldn't say anything, because if he did Cas might start crying again and he really doesn't want to. Not in front of Dean, not again. Cas turns away and clears his throat while opening the fridge door.

“Um… I was thinking about making myself a pizza… would you want half?”

He rummages in the freezer until he finds the pepperoni pizza he was looking for, pulling it out and turning around to face Dean with a smile plastered on his face, one that tries it's best, but doesn't reach Cas' blue eyes.

***

Dean's throat is dry, when he hears Castiel talking like this, his voice restrained and shaky. He doesn't say anything though… the last time he had tried to comfort Cas, they'd ended up making out and Dean had left his bedroom frustrated and confused. So he takes a step towards the kitchen table, sitting down as he nods his head “yes‟ at Castiel's question. The other boy puts the pizza on a tray and pushes it inside the oven, before turning around to sit down on the chair next to Dean, instead of the one opposite to him. Dean wants to reach out for him so badly, wants to ask why he's been crying, how he can help. But it's Cas' turn… it's Cas' decision whether he wanted to tell Dean or not and Dean had to live with whatever Castiel decided…

***

Castiel is quiet for a minute, just listening the oven warm up behind him in the kitchen, and Dean's steady but shallow breath. It's comforting, the silence, and when he finally feels calm enough, he speaks.

“…I'm moving out Friday…”

He doesn't look up though, stares at his hands instead, at the bit of dirt under the fingernails from working on the Impala with Dean, and the pen marks from taking notes in his last classes. His hands have always been daintier than he liked, and Michael would make fun of him, saying they were just like a woman's. But then again so was his mouth, full lips perfect for only a few things, according to Michael.

Cas' mind revolved around the things Michael said he was good at, and the things he said he sucked at, his heart just getting heavier with each thing he added to the “suck at‟ list. There were so many, according to his boyfriend. So many things he was bad at. He doesn't really have much time to think about it though, because he's snapped out of the thought process by Dean's reaction.

***

The words hit him like a sledgehammer. He spins around, staring at the other boy with disbelief.

“What?”

He reaches out, grabbing Cas' shoulder and shaking him, forcing him to look up and into Dean's eyes.

“Cas… Cas, no… we can work this out, I promise - I-… I told you I'm not mad… and if you are… Cas, please… this is my fault not yours, I shouldn't've… I should've left you alone… Cas, you can't go, please…”

He's babbling and he knows it but he's desperate and guilt boils up inside him, making him sick to his stomach. If Cas left because of that kiss, it would kill Dean…

***

Cas' eyes widen and his brow furrows, confused as hell about what Dean is babbling about- then it hits him. The kiss. Of COURSE Dean thought it was about the kiss. Cas lets out a sharp exhale of a laugh before shaking his head and placing his hands gently on Dean's cheeks, holding him still. He smiles softly and shakes his head gently as he speaks.

“Dean, that's not why I have to go…”

He lets go of Dean‟s face, his hands dropping into his lap, his gaze following them.

“….Michael wants me to move out. He doesn't want me to see you and Sammy anymore.”

His shoulders tense, waiting for the onslaught he knows is coming of “what the hell Cas we're your best friends?!‟ and “that sonofabitch!‟.

Dean was fairly predictable, it was one of the things Cas loved about him. You could always count on Dean to be there, to be stable and sure.

***

It's like somebody just emptied a bucket full of ice-cold water above his head.

Cas. Is leaving. Because Michael doesn't want him to be with Dean and Sam anymore.

He opens his mouth but not a word comes over his lips. He lowers his head, staring down at Castiel‟s shaking hands and reaching out to take them even before he can think about it. Squeezing them tightly, he raises his other hand to cup Cas' cheek, leaning in closely and looking him in the eye.

“Cas… you can't let him do this… you just… don't you see what he's doing to you?”

His voice is quiet but his quivering lips reveal how heart stricken he really is.

“He uses you Cas, you're nothing more than a toy to him - and you just let him do this, let him forbid you to have fun, to live with who YOU want to?”

He falls silent, shaking his head and biting his lip to keep himself from crying. Cas would move out. He would leave him, because his abomination of a boyfriend told him to.

***

Dean's words hurt and Cas' brow furrows as he pulls back from the hand on his cheek.

“I-…I'm more than a toy to him..”

He raises his chin in defiance, trying his hardest not to cry. Dean's words only hurt so much because somewhere inside he knows they're true, and he knows Dean is only saying them because he doesn't want to lose his best friend.

“…I can't stay here Dean. Michael loves me, and I want him to be happy. I don't want to upset him.”

He tilts his head to one side, speaking softly now.

“I'll still be able to see you and Sam now and then, okay?”

But he knows it's not okay. There's nothing about this situation that was OK… but Cas didn't want to make Michael mad. Risking himself and Dean and Sam because he couldn't follow a simple order was stupid- he wasn't going to do that. He couldn't risk getting Dean and Sam hurt like that, even if it meant not getting to live with them. Michael was dangerous, and he wouldn't put those he loved in danger just to stay with them. The thought of that made him shiver and he looked down, wondering how he got to this place, choosing a dangerous, violent man who he thought he loved over his best friends.

***

“That's bullshit and you know it!”

Dean doesn't even care that his voice is getting louder until he's practically yelling at Cas - something he never ever intended to do but has the feeling is the only thing that could work at this point…

“He's gonna make you quit college and stay inside and he's never gonna let you leave Cas! You let him decide this for you, you let him order you to do this and he's gonna take over your whole life!”

He falls silent again, his eyes searching Cas', begging, pleading for him to understand, to realize that Dean was right. But there's only fear and hurt and regret and it breaks Dean's heart all over again.

“He doesn't love you, Cas… not like we…”

Suddenly his mouth is dry… he can hear his blood rushing in his ears, his heart pounding against his ribcage. He's desperate. He'd do anything to make Cas understand, to make him stay…

“He could never love you as much as I do.”

Chapter Text

Castiel feels the world stop, the silence incredible as he stares into Dean's green eyes, wide with fear and worry. Everything seems slow and it's like someone pressed the mute button as all he can hear in the moment is Dean's voice echoing in his head.

‘He could never love you as much as I do.’

There's a flash of realization as the kiss replays in his head, Dean's hands on his body and the soft moans, the response to Cas' body pressed against his. That hadn't been just comforting touches, it was never just Dean being his best friend.

Suddenly Dean's lingering looks and soft touches on his lower back, Dean chasing him down at the party and the worried looks whenever Michael was cruel to him- everything clicked into place.

Dean loved him.

His best friend loved him.

Cas' heart beats double time as he stares at Dean, licking his lips as he tries to put his words into the right order. There's no way to phrase it though that expresses what he's feeling, what he's felt for months now…

“I…. Dean….”

The way he says Dean's name says it all though, everything Castiel can't put into words quite yet. The longing, the ache, the deep love and the sadness there, it's all wrapped up in the one word that falls from Cas' lips, his big blue eyes staring right back into Dean's, never wavering, never blinking.

Cas loved him too. He probably had for a while now, but couldn't let himself see it- Michael's violent shadow had hidden all possibilities of happiness and love outside of Michael- until Dean showed Cas to his face that he loved him.

Cas' lower lip quivers and he throws himself into Dean's arms, his own wrapping around Dean's back tight. There aren't tears this time though, just Cas' breath against his neck as he breathes in Dean's scent and instantly feels at home.

***

Cas sinks into his arms and Dean wraps his own around the lean body of the slightly smaller boy, pulling their chests flush against each other. One hand is curling around the back of Castiel's neck, fondling the dark, soft hair, while the other keeps stroking up and down his back.

“Cas… Cas, I love you… please don't leave me, not for him…”

His voice is barely more than a whisper, as he breathes the words against Castiel's throat, his racing pulse throbbing against his lips.

And then he pulls back just as much as he has to in order to look down in Castiel's eyes and what he sees reflected out of bright, blue orbs isn't guilt or fear but affection and trust and Dean can't hold back any longer.

He leans down to capture Castiel's lips once more with his own, kissing him with such fervor and desire that it takes Castiel's breath away…

***

Cas tightens his grip around Dean's neck, the kiss making him dizzy it was so good. He opens his mouth to Dean, inviting the other boy in with a flick of his tongue which makes Dean moan and grip Cas' back tight. They kiss like this, on the dining room floor wrapped in one another's arms for so long, just savoring the taste of each other's lips. They nip and lick, bite and suck until they're both breathless, panting as they back away from one another just enough to look each other in the face.

Cas is the first to smile, his bruised pink lips tilting upwards at Dean's own messy mouth.

“…You're so beautiful Dean…”

It's not the first time he's said it to Dean, but it's the first time there's no teasing attached, no mocking tone. Just affection, admiration, love. He cant believe this is actually happening, that something out of his wet dreams is really occurring here, in front of him. Dean's eyes are on his, so filled with lust that it almost scares Cas… but he knows better.

Dean would never hurt him. And that's the thought that goes through Cas' mind as he stands up and tugs Dean to his feet, leading them to Dean's bedroom.

***

Dean feels like he's dreaming. Cas reaches for his hand and Dean takes it without hesitation, following him down the hallway and into his own room. He presses the door shut behind him, locking it without averting his eyes from Cas'. There's no hurry and for a moment Dean wonders why exactly he's so calm, when he'd been waiting for this to happen for years. But maybe it's just that… he's waited so long… there was no need to rush this, Dean wanted to savor every second, every moment.

He steps closer to Castiel, raising his hands to cup his face and pushes a strand of dark hair out of his eyes. They just look at each other, marveling at the other, at the fact that they're here, that they're really doing this… Then Dean leans down to brush his lips against Cas for only a second, the touch as light as a feather, before his lips leave Castiel's to kiss his cheek, the swelling Michael's hand had caused, Castiel's throat and his collarbone. His hands are stroking over the other boy's back, tugging gently at the hem of his shirt, as his lips continue to cover every inch of naked skin with feathery kisses.

***

Cas' throat gets tight as tears threaten to fall again. Dean is so soft, so gentle, and Cas has never felt this before, this kind of care. Sex had always been rough, painful, the pain just as great if not more than the pleasure, and Michael had never truly cared if Cas had gotten off. With Dean though it was obvious that his first priority was making Cas feel- feel good, feel pleasure, feel loved.

Cas shuts his eyes and hums softly in the back of his throat, the feathery kisses making his body warm up even more than it already was. When Dean's fingers touch the bare skin on his flat stomach Cas gasps and jumps slightly, his hands that had been threading through Dean's short hair tightening slightly.

He backs away towards the bed, pulling Dean with him. Cas sits on the edge of the bed and reaches out to undo Dean's belt buckle. This was always how it started with Michael, it had become an automatic thing for Cas, something he was trained to do.
***

Dean feels Cas tensing and for just a moment he's scared of Cas telling him to stop, running away in fear of Michael or his own feelings. But Cas stays. Cas motions him over to the bed and Cas reaches to his belt, unbuckling it with swift and trained movements. Dean winces at the thought of Cas doing this to Michael, of Michael ordering him to do it and Cas obeying like a slave or a… he doesn't even want to think of how worthless Michael had treated this beautiful, flawless person, who had given him all his love since the very beginning and had received nothing but pain and hate in return.

Dean puts a hand on Castiel's busy fingers, stopping him from what he was doing, before kneeling down in front of Cas and kissing his fingertips, one by one. He pushes his hands away gently, when he's finished, parting Castiel's knees and moving closer between them, his fingers starting to unbutton and unzip Castiel's pants. He hooks his arms around the other man's calves, pulling Castiel towards himself, and causing him to fall back on the bed with a small sigh of surprise. Castiel's crotch is right in front of Dean now and he takes a deep, shuddering breath, as he tugs at his pants, pulling them off his thighs and down his legs in a swift motion. Leaning forward, he lets his lips brush over the thin fabric of Cas' shorts, leaving wet, open-mouthed kisses all over the growing bulge.

***

Cas blushes and sits up slightly on his elbows, a confused look on his face.

“D.. Dean what are you do- ahh?!”

He shudders as Dean kisses over his cock, the thin fabric of his boxer briefs the only thing separating Dean's perfectly shaped lips from the sudden throbbing Cas feels. This wasn't something he'd ever experienced- Michael had never, not even once, returned the favor. The idea that Dean was going to put Cas' cock inside his mouth made Cas shiver and blush even redder. He couldn't watch, but he couldn't stop himself either, his legs shaking as Dean's hands grip his thighs.

Soft moans escape Cas' plump lips, and his hips buck towards Dean once when a shock of pleasure runs over him as Dean gripping one of his hips tight.

***

The quiet sounds Castiel makes are like music to Dean. His hands continue to roam over every part of his body Dean can reach, while his lips keep pressing against his hard-on. Eventually Dean hooks his fingers into the hem of Castiel's shorts, pulling them down and off, tossing them somewhere out of sight, before turning around again. For a few seconds all he does is look. He still can't believe this is really happening, Cas is letting him do this - as often as Dean had dreamt of doing it, not once did he expect it ever to happen in real life… Licking his lips he looks up, his eyes meeting Castiel's, both clouded with lust and desire, and Dean gives him a small smile, before leaning in to lick along Castiel's half-hard cock.

***

Cas feels like he almost comes right then, just the sight of Dean's beautiful face, that fucking smile only for him just then. And then Dean licks his cock and he has to stop watching, his body shivering from the sensations, back arching up slightly in response to Dean's tongue, so hot and wet, trailing down his cock.

“F-fuck…Dean…”

His name is whined out of Cas' mouth, his voice wrecked from the feelings. It was amazing and Dean hadn't even really touched him that much, Cas was sure it was just because it was Dean doing it that he was so close to the edge, tottering back and forth as Dean licks him, his cock hardening under his touch so fast. Cas' toes curl and his stomach twitches as he sighs, moans, and gasps beneath Dean‟s hands and mouth.

***

He's heard Cas moaning, screaming and crying before. He's heard him begging, for more or to stop, he doesn't know… all he knows is that in all those months he had to listen to Michael taking, taking, taking, he's never heard Castiel like this. He's completely wrecked, coming undone beneath Dean and Dean has to suppress an outburst of happiness, in order to lean in closer and wrap his lips around Castiel's cock finally.

The other boy jerks in surprise at the sudden change but when Dean starts sucking, his tongue still circling around the tip of his cock, Castiel throws his head back again and writhes in ecstasy. He reaches around Castiel's body, pushing up his pelvis a bit and steadying it with both of his hands. When his lips leave Castiel's cock, the other boy groans with disapproval and disappointment but Dean doesn't give him the time to complain. His tongue rubs over Castiel's balls, stopping shortly to suckle at them, before moving further back and pressing his tongue carefully against his entrance.

***

The sensation is completely foreign to Cas and it scares him at first, his whole body going rigid. He quickly relaxes though and Dean squeezes his hands around Cas' hips, reassuring him that everything was okay. Cas blushes at the feeling, but shivers, his hips arching up to give Dean easier access. It was weird, Cas knew what Dean was doing, but had never had it done to himself. The feeling was new, but not bad, as Dean's tongue worked Cas found himself bucking his hips now and then, his legs pulled up until his knees were against his chest, ass bared towards Dean.

The position was embarrassing, but Cas did his best to hide the blush that washed over his pale face with a forearm thrown over his eyes. He didn't have to hide it for long though, as soon the soft moans and gentle gasps were back, Dean's talent at this obvious. Somewhere in the back of his head Cas wonders if he's done this before, and a spike of jealousy rises when he realizes that of course Dean isn't a virgin, he's probably been with a lot of people. Dean was gorgeous after all, a sensual creature from his lips to the very way he walked. Cas had started noticing that maybe 6 months ago, and hadn't stopped, the feelings of attraction for his best friend just increasing until they arrived here- with Cas pinned beneath Dean;s strong hands, and absolutely loving it.

***

Every breath, every sigh spurs Dean to press closer, to go further. He's lost in what he's doing, intent to bring Cas as much pleasure as he possibly can, making up for every harsh word, for every hit, for all the pain Michael had caused him. He leans back for a moment, just breathing and savoring the view of Castiel, looking completely ravished, as he's spread out completely naked on the rumpled bed sheet. He's got his eyes closed, his lips slightly parted, as he whispers Dean's name over and over and Dean feels like his chest is gonna explode with bliss.

“Cas”, he breathes against his inner thigh, kissing the sweaty skin there “Cas, look at me…”

And Cas does, he tries, his eyelids fluttering open, as his pupils try to focus on Dean. And Dean leans down to wrap his lips around his cock once more, his eyes never leaving Cas', telling him with each movement how much he loves him, wants him to enjoy this, to feel happy, loved… worshiped even.
***

It doesn't take long, his eyes locked on Dean's like this, watching Dean's cheeks hollow out as he sucks on his cock. Cas feels it building in his spine, that undeniable pressure and heat that seems to fuel the flurry of words that escape his lips as his hips buck up towards Dean's mouth.

“Oh.. god.. oh.. oh Dean I'm gonna– f… fuck!”

The orgasm hits hard, his hips arching up once more, legs twitching. Cas throws his head back and lets out a soft strangled cry as the pleasure washes over him, wave after wave of intense pleasure just rocking him to the core. Every part of him felt on fire, tingling with the afterglow of Dean's touches. Cas murmurs something soft under his breath that just sounds like Dean's name, said slow and lovingly.

***

Dean hears Cas stuttering, warning him, but he doesn't pull back. He wants to feel everything, experience everything, taste everything that is Cas. So when he feels the hot liquid spilling inside his mouth, he doesn't hesitate to swallow every last drop of what Cas is giving him. Cas is still shuddering, breathing out Dean's name incoherently, as Dean pulls back slowly, licking Castiel's cock completely clean before crawling up, sliding himself along Castiel's naked body and pressing his lips on his in a gentle but possessive kiss. Cas doesn't let him go until they both have to pull back in order to breathe and Dean lets his head sink down on Cas' shoulder, breathing him in and pressing soft kisses against the heated skin.

“I love you”, he whispers, again and again, as if the words alone could make everything right.

***

Cas can't help himself any longer, and hot tears fall from his eyes, a soft sob escaping from his throat.

“Dean.”

He pulls Dean back up for another kiss, the larger man hovering over him and brushing at the tears once the kiss is over, a confused and worried look on his face. Cas covers Dean's hand on his cheek with his own, holding it there so he can turn his face to gently kiss Dean's palm. He turns his head back to face Dean and smiles through the tears.

“I love you so damn much…”

***

Dean feels like someone sucked all air out of him. His heart skips a beat or two when the word ‘love’ escapes those perfect lips and he knows he’s staring, knows he must look absolutely ridiculous but he can’t quite comprehend what Cas is talking about for a good 30 seconds. He lets out a shaky breath and realizes he’s smiling too. His mind tells him to question his words, to doubt them, to blame them on Cas’ current state, his vulnerability. But his heart hushes all of his questions and once more he leans in to kiss him, every word, every emotion Cas had ever caused him to feel in this press of lips.

He flicks out his tongue to lick over his lips, sucks in his lower lip and bites down gently, before concentrating on the smooth touching of their tongues. His right hand is still on Castiel’s cheek, holding him like he was scared that Cas would leave him, once he let go of him. His other hand keeps stroking over Castiel’s upper body, his chest, the flat stomach, the slightly defined abs and his fingers curl into the short pubic hair, running down from his treasure trail towards his crotch.

***

Cas shivers and his hips arch up towards Dean again, but he reaches down to grab Dean's hand, stopping him from moving any further.

“Hey....”

He brings that hand back up, to his lips to gently kiss the fingertips and Dean's palm. He sighs gently and locks his eyes on Dean's, lips moving slowly as he speaks in a soft voice, the whisper husky and gravelly.

“My turn...”

Cas kisses Dean again, hungrily, pulling Dean's lower lip between his teeth gently. He flips them over, moving to straddle Dean, his hands on either side of Dean's face while he leans down to kiss over Dean's face slowly. Eyelids, cheeks, the tip of Dean's beautifully freckled nose.

“I'm going to make you feel good too...”

***

Dean shivers at Castiel’s quiet words, his soft touches and the piercing look out of feverish, blue eyes. He gulps and nods, unsure of what he just gave his consent to. When Cas presses his groin against Dean’s, a surprised moan escapes his throat and gets swallowed by Castiel’s hungry lips. Dean lets his hands wrap around the other boy’s body, gently tracing his shoulder blades and lower back, resting on his firm ass.

“Cas… you don’t have to”, he breathes out, despite of his throbbing hard-on.

He doesn’t want Cas to feel obliged to do anything, doesn’t want this - whatever this is - to be based on his experiences of the time with Michael.

***

Cas hums gently as he kisses down Dean's neck, and then his shoulder, down to his chest to gently lick circles around a nipple, then over to the other, nibbling gently, his nimble fingers having deftly unbuttoned Dean's shirt just seconds earlier. He throws the shirt all the way open and smiles at how beautiful the man lying beneath him is.

“I know Dean.... and that's one of the many reasons... Why I want to...”

He stops for a moment, then smiles gently and leans back down, unbuttoning Dean's pants while holding eye contact with him. The sound of the zipper sliding down is erotic and sends chills up Cas' spine, he tugs gently on Dean's pants, pulling them and his boxers down just far enough for his stiff cock to be released.

Cas kisses again, down further, nipping sharply at the skin over Dean's hipbone, licking a trail down until he's face to face with Dean's cock. He licks his lips and then looks up at Dean while he slowly slips his mouth around the head, and then further, further, until he has Dean's entire length deep inside his mouth and down his throat. Cas was indeed talented at this, and all Cas could hope was that the thought of Michael teaching him these things was far from Dean's mind.

***

There was not a single thought about Michael in Dean’s mind, at this moment. Actually, his mind was blank, one single word repeating itself over and over.

Cas.

Watching him going down on Dean, kissing, nibbling, teasing and finally feeling those sinful lips close around his erection. Dean throws his head back against the pillows, a needy groan dropping from his lips as Cas swallows him down completely. Dean’s hands fumble for support, clawing in the loose bed sheet beneath, as his mouth drops open to breathe, soft sighs escaping his throat with every second Cas is touching him like this.

***

Cas moans gently, the vibrations running through Dean's cock to the base. He slowly slides his mouth back, making sure to lick the underside of the head before swirling his tongue slowly around the tip. He slides his hands down Dean's torso, scratching gently, leaving white and red marks down his abs until he wraps on of his hands around the shaft of Dean's cock. He pulls his mouth off and smiles up at Dean, an intense amount of pride soaring through him at the way Dean is reacting... He wants this to last forever, so begins to slowly torture Dean with his tongue and mouth, his hand moving achingly slow along the shaft. With Michael, it was a matter of working as hard as he could to get him off... but with Dean, it was about pleasure...

Cas wanted to give Dean the ultimate pleasure, wanted to make him scream Cas' name, arch off the bed, and never come down from the high Cas gave him.

***

And Cas was on a damn good way of making Dean lose his mind and beg for more. He resists the temptation of thrusting his hips up, back inside the warmth of his mouth, but he keeps writhing beneath him, each gentle touch of Cas’ fingers on his cock sending waves of pleasure up and down his spine, making him arch his back in sheer ecstasy.

“Cas… oh God, Cas”, he gasps, raising his head just enough to see the other boy bending over his lower body, his whole attention directed on the hard piece of flesh in his hands.

This can’t be real, he tells himself for like the 20th time… he’s fallen asleep, experiencing one of his - admittedly very vivid - daydreams.

“I’m dreaming, aren’t I?”

***

Cas stops long enough to whisper one word against Dean's cock, chilling the saliva that was there.

“No.”

He deep throats him again, this time keeping his throat and mouth tight around Dean's cock, one hand steadying the base. Cas works his hands and tongue over Dean, watching Dean's reactions with his too blue eyes. Cas finds himself getting aroused again, which should be impossible, considering the amazing orgasm that Dean had just given him. But the idea of Dean shivering under his mouth, completely wrecked and panting, it was too much. It was the hottest thing he'd ever seen, and he moans softly as Dean says his name again, the word making him grip Dean's shaft just a little harder. He bobs his head up and down on Dean, burying his nose against Dean's stomach when he reaches the bottom.

***

It shouldn’t be embarrassing, it really shouldn’t. Dean had been waiting for this for so long, months, years, only to have all his wet dreams fulfilled at once. So yeah, it really shouldn’t be embarrassing how fast Dean comes, his hands reaching down, fingernails digging in Castiel’s shoulders, as his hips buckle and he feels his orgasm wash over him. His head drops back against the pillows as white explodes at the back of his eyelids and his mouth opens in what sounds like one sustained, breathless and barely human cry of pleasure and release. He lies completely still, only his legs still shaking from the intense sensations and for a minute he just breathes. His hands still hold Cas’ shoulders loosely and when he finally regains some of his strength, he tugs at the sweaty skin, motioning Cas to slide back up until Dean can pull him down into a sloppy but passionate kiss.

***

Castiel lets Dean guide him back up after swallowing everything and sliding his lips off of Dean, careful not to use too much pressure on the sensitive head. He lies on his side facing Dean and slinks one arm under Dean's body to pull himself as close as he could, his other arm wrapping around the other side of Dean, so that Cas could hug him as close as possible. He didn't want Dean to think twice about this, didn't want fear of Michael or second thoughts about ruining their friendship or any of that bullshit to get in the way of this.

This was perfect. Here, in this moment, everything was exactly as it should have always been- Dean and Cas were together, and everything made sense. All of their long talks that lasted until the sun came up over the summer, every petty fight over meaningless crap, every lingering smile from across the room at crowded parties. All of it. It all made sense now that he had himself wrapped around Dean, and Dean was holding him back, pressing kisses into Cas' hair.

“....I don't want to go Dean....”

The words are muffled against Dean's chest, laced with sadness and regret. Castiel had wasted an entire year with Michael, so much time and pain on someone that he now knew was so undeserving. Michael had been wrong about so many things. Someone else would love him, and take care of him, find him attractive and worthy and smart and beautiful. And that person was Dean, and Dean was worth so much more than Michael could ever possibly hope to be.

Dean was his best friend, and he loved him. And Cas loved him back. And everything was right... except for the fact that Cas didn't belong to Dean- he belonged to Michael. And Michael never shared his toys.

***

Cas is still in Dean’s arms, pressing himself against his body, skin on skin and they’re both silent for a few minutes. When the words leave Castiel’s lips, Dean tenses, subconsciously holding Cas even closer.

“Then don’t”, he whispers against his temple, kissing it and shifting to kiss his forehead, nose and lips “Don’t go… I’ll protect you… I won’t let him hurt you again, I promise…”

Again he leans in, kissing Castiel, as if to make sure the other boy understood just how serious Dean was, how he would do anything, how he would risk his own life to protect Castiel.

***

Castiel lets out a soft hm from the back of his throat and shuts his eyes as Dean kisses him again, reveling in the way he smells and how the skin brushes against his. Everything with Dean was different than it was with Michael, and so far that had been for the better. So much for the better, and Cas wanted to remember it all- terrified deep down that this couldn't possibly last, that he didn't deserve this kind of bliss.

Cas rubs one hand up and down Dean's back, letting them both come down from the high they just gave one another. He opens his eyes to look at Dean, once again having his breath taken away by just how beautiful Dean is- every freckle spoke to him to kiss them and his eyes reminded Cas of freshly cut grass and sun dappled leaves. Cas pulled one of his hands up to ghost his fingers over Dean's face, entranced in being able to do this and not being told to stop, or that it was weird between best friends. The idea that Dean loved him, wanted him, and had for a while just made Cas feel warm, safe, and loved more than he ever had.

“Dean.... what am I gonna do?”

His eyes search Dean's, fear clouding the vivid blue.

***

Dean keeps silent for a moment, his mind racing, searching for an answer which is not there. He closes his eyes and softly shakes his head, resting his hand on Castiel’s and guiding it down to his lips, kissing his palm gently.

“I don’t know”, he says slowly, quietly, because it’s the truth and he can’t lie to Cas, not anymore “But we’ll figure it out, Cas…”

They lie in silence for a while, just looking at one another, their fingers and legs intertwined, bodies pressed shut against each other, as their lips meet in gentle kisses every now and then. When Dean speaks it’s without a noticeable reason, his words soft and genuine.

“I fell in love with you the moment I first saw you…”

***

Cas blushes and looks up from where their fingers were intertwined

“....What?”

His eyes were as wide as they could be, and he furrowed his brow slightly in confusion, tightening his grip on Dean's hand.

“...I...You did...?”

He lies his head down on the bed and smiles, ducking his head down to hide the blush. It made the memory of the first time they met come rushing back- the playground, the awkward hello that he and Sam shared, and how Dean had been so standoffish at first. He had been so lovely that first day, Cas had wanted nothing more than to be his friend, guessing from his attitude that he certainly didn't want anything more than friendship from Cas- so he'd dropped any idea of ever having a relationship with Dean, and was happy to just be his friend. And then Michael had stepped into their circle, and Cas had been blown away by both how handsome he was, and how strong and tall and confident- but also by the fact that Michael wanted him, and didn't hide it. At least, not until they got to college. It was a complete 180 then.

Now Dean was being open and honest and telling him that he wanted him- and Michael was the one who was hiding it all in secret.

***

Seeing Castiel’s reaction, Dean too blushes and bites his lip a bit awkwardly.

“I-… I didn’t know back then… you know, I’ve never been… in love, I mean… I thought it was nothing, I thought it was just a phase…”

He clears his throat, lowering his head to press their foreheads together.

“But then he asked you out and… I was pissed because my stepbrother took another thing he knew I cared about… and then I saw you kissing him and I realized… well… I realized that I wanted to be him so bad…”

***

Cas smiles again softly and kisses Dean gently, a gentle kiss, just the press of lips together for a moment.

“If it makes you feel any better... I liked you too. I thought you were the most beautiful person I'd ever seen.... but you didn't know me, and I was just this weird kid sitting on a swing... by the time we actually started talking I just figured you were straight or at least had no interest in me beyond a friend...”

He sighs gently and unwraps himself from Dean to lie flat on his stomach, head on his crossed forearms, turned to look at Dean.

“And then Michael moved in.... Did I ever tell you why I fell for him in the first place?”

Cas knows the subject might not be a good one, but he has to tell Dean, has to let him know that Michael wasn't always this cruel, that Cas isn't a complete idiot for having loved him.

***

It feels good, hearing all of this, even though it hurts knowing that he could’ve had Cas… he could’ve spared him the pain and heartache and he could’ve loved him for so much longer. Dean winces at Cas’ last words, looking at him with a mixture of fear and interest. He’d always wondered how anyone could like Michael, could want to spend time with him and even love him… but he’s scared that talking about Michael will remind Cas of his most recent actions, of how he’s betraying his boyfriend with his hated stepbrother…

“No…”, he finally says, his throat a bit dry, as he tries to force a smile on his lips “No, you didn’t, actually…”

***

“....You and Sammy were my first real friends Dean....I grew up pretty alone, and I've always been a little awkward around most people. You and Sam were the first people to actually try to get to know me, and that made me relaxed. You wanted to know me, so I didn't have to try and impress either of you.”

He looks away from Dean, down at the bedspread in front of him.

“.... Michael was the first person to ever call me beautiful. He was the first person to tell me that they loved me, and that they wanted me... In the beginning, he was kind, Dean. He wasn't always like this. Something's changed.... about 8 months ago he really started shifting. I don't know what's going on but he's just gotten more and more controlling, and cruel... and-.. and violent.”

He bites his lower lip into his mouth to stop it from quivering, tears threatening again.

“... I don't love him like I used to... I.... He's so scary Dean...”

***

There’s a frown on Dean’s face, while he listens to Cas talking, feeling his chest tightening with every word. He was right. It fucking hurt hearing this. And he couldn’t take it much longer.

“Stop”, he says, maybe a bit too loud and turns his head away from Cas, staring at the ceiling instead for a few breathless seconds. “Just… I can’t… I know you think you belong to him but… Cas… I realize that what I said before hurt you - but I will say it again and again until you understand: Michael doesn’t love you. He uses you, he wants to own you, control you and he will destroy you, if he has to…”

He raises his hands to his face, covering his eyes as he feels angry tears welling up. Shit… shit, shit, shit!! He wants to grab Cas’ shoulders and shake him until he gets it, until he believes him…

***

Cas' cool hands rest on Dean's which cover his face, and Cas can tell that Dean is on the verge of tears.

“Dean....I'm sorry...”

Cas gently pulls his hands away from his face, leaning in to kiss at the slight wetness under each of Dean's eyes. His brow is furrowed again, concern and worry working their way over his face.

“I know.”

He's not stupid. Cas knows Michael has changed, and that in fact he may have never really loved Cas. Certainly not the way he deserved to be loved. Not the way Dean loved him.

“I'm sorry...”

He kisses Dean again, a soft kiss on the lips, gentle at first, then more passionate as Cas seeks to erase the pain from Dean's face. He did this, his words made Dean angry and upset and sad, and he would fix it. Cas brushes a hand over the back of Dean's neck, fingers raking through his hair slowly, just barely scratching over his scalp.

***

When Dean kisses him back, it’s tentative and slow and his lips are slightly shaking against Cas’. But then his hands are on his back, soothing strokes over naked skin and Dean gasps and sits up on his elbows. Before Cas knows what’s happening, Dean is spinning them around until Cas is lying on his back, Dean leaning right above him, kissing him fervently. He’s grinding down his pelvis, rubbing their cocks together in desperate need of touching Cas, feeling Cas, knowing that in this very moment he’s here, he’s with Dean.

“Cas… be mine… please be mine…”

***

Cas shivers, his hips arching up in time to meet Dean's urgent motions, his arms wrapping loosely around Dean's back. Blue eyes stare up into Dean's never breaking contact as he speaks, his lips wet from their kisses.

“.... then... make me yours Dean.... Please... Take me...”

He parts his legs, letting Dean's body slide in between them, and wraps them loosely around Dean's thighs. Cas could feel both of them hardening as Dean moved above him, and a soft gasp escapes his lips at the sensations that were starting to flow through him. He wanted Dean, and each sliding thrust of his cock against Dean's made the feeling grow.

Cas kisses Dean again, hunger fueling his lips, which open to let Dean inside, tongue parrying and thrusting with Dean's in a dance that made his cock jerk and harden even more. Cas arches his hips up towards Dean, making it obvious what he wants, what he needs.

***

Dean gasps at the whispered words and then Cas is pulling him closer, wrapping those perfect legs around his thighs. He doesn’t get the chance to say anything for the next few minutes, cause Cas is literally taking his breath away, kissing him with so much need and intent that it makes Dean shiver in excitement. Finally he breaks away long enough to lean back a few inches, staring down into Cas’ face, searching for something, an answer to his countless questions…

“Are you sure?”, he breathes out, not even certain he could stop, even if the answer was ‘no’.

But Cas doesn’t look like ‘no’… Cas had always been beautiful, gorgeous even, all big blue eyes, soft skin and full lips - but the look on him at this very moment can only be described as breathtakingly erotic.

***

Cas smiles slowly and he nods before saying just a few words, looking into Dean's eyes.

“I want this... I want you...”

He leans up and kisses Dean again, his eyes shut, the kiss deep and passionate, making his cock ache and throb with need.

“Take me Dean.... I need you..”

The deep voice is whispered against Dean's lips, the breath hot and vibrating against the thin skin there, sending chills down both their spines. Cas' fingers dig into the skin of Dean's back, leaving little half moons where the nails meet the soft flesh. Cas wants every part of him consumed by Dean, every piece of skin touched and caressed and licked, so that every trace of Michael is gone- in his mind he won't be clean, he'll be sullied and dirty by Michael's roughness, his tearing abuse, until Dean makes Cas his inside and out.

***

Castiel's whispered words are all it takes for Dean to succumb. He leans down, pressing his lips on Castiel’s, kissing him hungrily, their tongues dancing and fighting for dominance until Dean pulls back with a small smile. He lowers his head, kissing down Castiel’s neck, his throat and collarbone, stops at his chest, wrapping his lips around his nipples and sucking on them until they’re tight and flush.

His hands reach under Castiel’s body, settling on his hips and pulling his lower body up on his lap. He lets one hand travel down Castiel’s leg, kissing the insides of it softly, teasingly, moving up, up, until he’s kissing his inner thighs, the sharp of his hipbones, his bellybutton - leaving out the center of Castiel’s body deliberately.

***

Cas can't take it- he's never had this done before. Michael was sweet at first, but he was never this attentive, never this involved or explorative with Castiel's body. His toes curl at the kisses that Dean leaves down his body, his cock jerking slightly whenever a shiver of pleasure slithers up his spine from where Dean's hands of lips touch him. It was exquisite torture, and Cas wondered absentmindedly who else Dean had done this to. It wasn't the time or place to think about that though, so he turned his attention to the task at hand, and blushed as Dean's eyes met his.

“D-Dean..... Ah... do you ..h-have...”

He can't even finish the sentence as his hips buck when Dean viciously bites his inner thigh, growling teasingly at Cas, who yelps and then moans softly.

***

Dean licks the same spot apologetically, sucking at the reddened skin until Cas sighs softly. Instead of answering, his hands leave Castiel’s body only for a few seconds, reaching - with the position they’re in a bit awkwardly - for the nightstand and pulling out a pack of condoms and lube, carefully stuffed there since forever. He hadn’t had sex in months, actually since he started noticing how Michael had changed, had started to treat Castiel more and more like his sex doll and less like a human being.

He couldn’t say if he had been optimistic that this right here would happen any time soon but it was better to be prepared than having to stop making out… He pops open the bottle and coats two of his fingers in the cool gel, drawing them down and teasing just above Castiel’s entrance, before slipping in the tip of his first finger gently.

***

Cas shivers and arches his hips up, moaning softly. It was a rare treat to him to have this kind of gentleness happen before the actual intercourse, and Cas was going to enjoy it to the fullest. He gasps softly as Dean continues, sliding the finger further inside of Cas. His hands slide up into Dean's hair, gripping it in fistfuls.

Somewhere inside he knows this is wrong- they shouldn't be doing this while Cas is still dating Michael. Cas didn't want to pay attention to that voice, he wanted to indulge in this right now, this moment with Dean.

And tomorrow, he would make that moment turn into a million more. And a million after that. He would make this dream, this fantasy they were living in a reality. He would make himself Dean's, and make Dean his. All he had to do was work up the courage to face Michael.

So Cas lets go off all the worries he would face tomorrow and focuses in on nothing but the gorgeous green eyes above him, and the soft smile that was beneath it.

***

Dean watches Castiel attentively, while he works him open gently. The small moans coming over the other boy’s lips are endearing and oh-so-sweet, Dean could come from the sound alone. The view is not any less arousing, Castiel’s cheeks flushed, beads of sweat running down his forehead, his eyes clouded with desire and his lips slightly parted. Dean leans in to kiss him once more, slow and loving, and carefully slides in his second finger, swallowing Castiel’s gasp and whispering quiet words of affection against his trembling lips. After pushing in and pulling out a few times, Dean spreads his fingers, scissoring them to loosen Castiel up even more.

***

By now Castiel is thrusting his hips down against Dean's fingers, moaning with his head arched back. He had been trained to like this, probably more than most, his pain tolerance incredibly high now so that most pain he felt was almost always able to be interpreted as pleasure.

Castiel's hands slide along Dean's body, touching every muscle he can. He opens his eyes and grabs the back of Dean's head, pulling him down for another hungry kiss, wanting to give Dean as much pleasure as he can. His other hand slides down Dean's torso until he reaches Dean's cock, wrapping his fingers around the shaft.

“Dean... please....”

He squeezes his fingers tighter and slides them down to the bottom and back up, ghosting his fingers around the tip.

***

Dean gasps when Castiel’s fingers brush over his cock and he stills for a moment, crooking his fingers one more time, before pulling them out. They kiss for a few breathless seconds and Dean presses into Castiel’s touch desperately. Then he leans back, just slightly, reaching for the lube and condom and giving both to Cas, and even though his eyes are saying loud and clear what he would like Cas to do, he can’t hold back a deep, needy moan.

***

Cas sits up and tears open the condom packet with practiced skill. He rolls it onto Dean's cock with one quick movement, stroking the entire length a few times while drizzling a small amount of the lube onto the tip, then spreading it down with another stroke of his hand. He scoots his body closer to Dean and then lies back down, his arms above his head, back arched slightly. Watching Dean hovering above him, Cas feels a little breathless.

***

He needs a moment to take in the beauty of this view, Castiel all stretched out, naked, sweaty, offering himself to Dean without even the slightest bit of shame or hesitation. For a second Dean thinks that this is Michaels doing, that Michael made him expect to be violated, to be taken, and he would try to stop, if the look on Castiel’s face wasn’t as soft and loving as it was right now…

He leans in once more, to kiss him, his tongue licking over the roof of his mouth and he whispers a heartfelt ‘I love you, Cas’, as he pushes forward slowly, the tip of his cock breaching Castiel’s hole.

***

Cas gasps, his body reacting and stiffening slightly, but then relaxing quickly, and Dean finds that he slides inside Cas without needing to try very hard. Cas pulls him in with his legs and arms, wrapping his arms around Dean's back slowly until they're close enough for Cas to kiss him. His lips tremble as he presses them to Dean's, his nervousness in this betrayed, he didn't want to screw this up anymore than Dean did.

“I love you Dean.... so much...”

He moans slightly, gasping as he feels Dean stretch him even more. He pushes his forehead against Dean's, eyes shutting, and stills for a moment.

“... It's okay.... you can move....”

Cas rolls his hips up and feels Dean shift inside him, hitting that sweet spot deep inside of Cas, causing him to cry out and whimper slightly.

***

It’s literally mind-blowing. Dean had had sex, of course… but never before had it been like this. Cas was so tight and hot and he took all of Dean without even a hint of pain and seeing him writhe and gasp and moan beneath him, made Dean shiver with excitement, with desire. He steadied himself on his hands on the mattress next to Castiel’s head, before slowly starting to move his hips, pressing inside Cas as far as possible, before pulling out again with a strained groan. The friction was breathtaking, the fact that it was Cas, that he was inside of him, taking him, owning him almost drives Dean crazy.

“Oh… god… Cas…”, he gasps out, biting his lip and lowering his head to look down on him, taking in the sight of the other boy, moaning and moving beneath him.

***

Cas shudders, his skin rippling with goosebumps at Dean's movements and words. He kisses Dean's lips hungrily, wanting to devour Dean whole, take everything that he is in and hold it tight. Every time Dean slides home inside of him it feels perfect, the stretch and pleasure and pain mixing in the exact right way to drive Cas up the steep hill towards orgasm. Each thrust spikes something deep inside of himself and he gasps and moans and whimpers, his fingernails digging into Dean's arms where he had moved his hands.

“D....Dean... o...oh god- it...so good...”

***

Cas’ words make Dean smile against his lips and he thrusts in again and again, lost in the steady rhythm. Time flies as they kiss and touch and move, their moans filling the otherwise quiet apartment. Dean feels he’s close - it’s impossible to last long with a sight like this - and he quickly slides his hand down Castiel’s body, wrapping it around his achingly hard cock, stroking it in time with his thrusts.

Soon Cas doesn’t even seem to know what to do, push back to meet Dean’s cock thrusting in and out of him or lean in the tight grip of Dean’s hand on his erection. Dean is close but Cas is the first to let go, coming all over Dean’s hand and stomach, pushing Dean off the cliff only seconds after.

He sinks down, carefully not to jam Castiel beneath him, as his softening cock slips out of the warm body. He’s breathing hard, rolling on his side next to Cas and taking his time to come down from his high. When he opens his eyes, Cas is lying still, his eyes opened, staring at the ceiling, only his chest heaving with deep breaths. Dean snuggles closed, taking his hand and intertwining their fingers, still unable to talk.

***

Cas thinks his heart is going to break. This can't be real, it's just too fucking perfect. First, the mind blowing, world shattering sex they just shared, topped off by Dean actually reaching down and carefully bringing Cas to an orgasm, rather than just grunting for Cas to do it himself if he 'wants to get off'.

And now.. now they were cuddling. Actually cuddling. Sweaty and breathless and exhausted- but cuddling.

He tightens his grip around Dean's hand and then rolls so he can bury his face against Dean's chest, soft sobs breaking out. He knows immediately that Dean is going to think something is wrong so he untangles his fingers from Dean's and reaches up to grab the other boy's face with both of his hands. Castiel kisses Dean, hiccuping slightly as he tries to calm himself enough to talk.

“I-.... I'm sorry Dean... I'm so happy... You- have no idea...”

He smiles and then kisses Dean again, wrapping his arms around him and rolling slightly so Dean is more on top of him now, one hand in Dean's hair.

“I can't stop crying but I'm not sad, I promise...”

He smiles and sniffles at the same time, the effect strange and slightly comical.
It was sad though, that Cas was so moved by the simple act of cuddling after sex, of the intimacy two partners could share once the actual act was over.
Michael hadn't afforded him that in some time.

***

Of course Dean is worried. He’s fucking terrified when Cas starts crying and guilt hits him before Cas can say or do anything. Did it hurt? Did Cas just endure this to please him, to not make him mad?

When Cas whispers quiet words against his lips, Dean relaxes a bit, wrapping his arms around the shaking body and holding him loosely, stroking his back and the back of his neck gently. He tries to calm Cas down, breathing soothing words into his ear but just like he’d said, Cas can’t stop crying.

They lie like that for an eternity, limbs entangled, fingertips and lips ghosting over each others bodies, touching, caressing, loving. Dean glances up at the alarm clock across the room and thinks that Sam must’ve been back for a while, but the thought just crosses his mind and doesn’t really terrify him. Sam never said it but he always knew that Dean had more than friendly feelings towards Cas… but then Dean thinks of what he should tell Sam and the mellow bliss he’d been feeling makes way for something different, something dark.

What were they supposed to do? What would Cas decide to do? There’s a lump in Dean’s throat as he realizes that Cas can’t just go and dump Michael… that guy was downright dangerous and Dean was not willing to let him hurt Cas ever again… He closes his eyes and presses closer to Cas, kissing his forehead gently. It’s late… and he’s exhausted… and he needs to think about this, needs to work something out… but he can’t stop himself from slowly drifting off to sleep, his whole body vibrating with warmth and happiness and love…

Chapter Text

Cas falls asleep as well, wrapped in Dean's warm, strong arms, you'd think he would sleep well. He doesn't. Cas has nightmares that are filled with Michael's twisted angry face, and before the sun even rises the next morning he's disentangled himself from Dean's arms and snuck out of his room. He showers quickly and dresses in a long sleeve button up with a high collar to hide the hickeys criss crossing his neck, throwing on a scarf for good measure despite the moderate weather. He leaves Dean a note on his pillow and kisses him softly on the forehead, smiling to himself when Dean smirks gently in his sleep- ever the cocky one, his Dean.

His Dean. The thought carries him like he's floating on air to school and through the hallways to Michael's dorm room. It's only 8am when he knocks, but Michael should be awake- he has practice at 8:30 normally. Cas stands up straight as he waits for the door to open, bolstered by the memory of smiling green eyes and whispered words of genuine cherish in Dean's voice from the night before.

He could do this. He could leave Michael, and he could be happy and safe and loved.

***

Michael’s pissed. Okay, understatement: he’s furious. So he’s been taking steroids, so what? His coach had been the one who’d basically forced him to do so by expecting more commitment and better performances every day. And Michael had, he had done what the coach had demanded. And now that piece of shit has the audacity to kick him off the team? HIM who’d always been devoted to the team, to winning, to giving everything and more for this bunch of pathetic losers? He’s already demolished half of his bedroom, plus some of the stuff of his roommate - who the fuck even cares - when he hears a reluctant knock on the door.

“What?”, he barks and crosses the room, dropping a broken CD carelessly on to the ground, before opening the door.

Cas looks uncomfortable but Michael doesn’t even notice. He grabs his arm, pulling him inside and shutting and locking the door.

“Jesus fucking Christ, what do you want?”

***

Cas' heart speeds up as he's yanked inside of Michael's dorm room. He looks around, eyes widening even more as he takes in the chaos that is the room.

'Shit...', he thinks, '...bad timing...'

Something bad was definitely going on, and this was probably not the best time to be breaking up with a hot head like Michael. So Cas clears his throat and goes another route, trying to get Michael to calm down.

“Um...sorry, I just wanted to come say hi..... Are you okay, Michael?”

Cas hasn't called Michael by his full name in private for over a year, and the minute he says it out loud he realizes his mistake, cussing himself out in his head. He just hopes that Michael doesn't notice.

***

Cas saying his name surprises Michael and he cocks an eyebrow at him, eyeing him suspiciously. There are more pressing matters right now though, so he decides not to dwell on it.

“Okay?”, he spats, huffing out a bitter laugh “I’m fucking awesome, Cas!”

The sarcasm in his voice is so blatant that Cas couldn’t miss it, even if he wanted to, and Michael takes another step towards the other boy, wrapping his hand around the back of Castiel’s neck and yanking him forward into a fierce violating kiss. When he pulls back from licking and sucking and biting, Castiel’s lower lip’s bleeding and the look of absolute terror on his pale face sends shivers over Michael’s spine.

“Just stop talking… I seriously need some distraction…”

He doesn’t wait for Castiel to work his jeans open, pops the button and unzips his pants, pushing Castiel down on his knees with grim forcefulness.

***

Cas winces as he's forced onto his knees on the dirty floor, eyes widening with terror as Michael holds him in place with one hand.

'Oh god oh god oh god....'

Suddenly everything that has gone on between them seemed so much darker, more sinister. This wasn't new, this is how it always was. Michael was just a little more forceful than usual, and because this time around Cas didn't want it- at all – it was no longer even remotely okay. This time Cas didn't feel like a prostitute, he felt like a scared child whose power had been stripped away from him.
He turns his head away from Michael, speaking as clearly and loudly as he can, but it still comes out a whisper.

“Stop Michael. This isn't why I came here.”

***

Michael tightens his grip on Castiel’s shoulder, staring down at the other boy completely dumbstruck. His fingernails dig into the soft flesh as he slowly and painfully pulls Castiel back up, leaning in to snarl in his ear.

“I thought I told you how I hate you talking back, Castiel.”

***

Castiel winces at the pain shooting through his shoulder and keeps his head turned away as Michael growls in his ear. His stomach is in knots from the fear flowing through him, but he knows he has to do this.

“.... I'm done Michael... we're through.... You need to let me go now.”

His hands tremble as he reaches up to push Michael off of him, but of course he can't even budge the other man.

***

For a few breathless seconds, the words cut into his skin like razorblades, hurting more than he could’ve imagined. Then that bitter smile is back on his lips, his face contorted with wrath.

“You’re leaving”, he says, his voice dangerously quiet “You… are leaving me?!”

Without any warning he bolts forward, grabs Castiel’s throat and shoves him into the wall behind him. He doesn’t give Cas a chance to react, his hand lunging out and colliding with Castiel’s jaw roughly. He hits him, again and again, wild rage in his eyes. This fucking bastard of coach ruined his career and now this pathetic piece of shit thought he could just leave him? He stops for a moment, Cas having become completely rigid in his grip, raising his hands to protect his already beaten and bloody face.

“ I don't think you understand… you can’t just back out, Castiel - you’re mine.”

-

When Dean wakes, it takes him a moment to remember why he feels so comfortably exhausted and utterly happy. He licks his lips, Cas’ taste still faintly on them, and turns his head - but the bed is empty. He sits up, a look of confusion and worry on his face. Did Cas decide that this had been a mistake? Did he leave him, so that he wouldn’t have to face Dean when he told him? Dean’s chest tightens, as he slides his legs over the edge of the bed, ready to stand up - when his eyes fall on the pillow. The small yellow post-it is an obvious contrast to the white bedclothes and Dean quickly leans down to collect the note.

‘I’m going to end things with Michael. I love you.’

Dean’s heart skips a beat as he reads the narrow writing and for a moment he can feel his cheeks flush and there’s a smile on his face. He’s out of the bed the next second, dressing himself quickly and rushing to the door. Cas went to see Michael. Alone. His body’s filled with fear as he runs down the hallway, bumping into Sam, who just looks at him both relieved and worried.

“Dean, what’s going on?”

“Cas-… I need to find Cas!”

And without waiting for a response, Dean is out the door, jumping in the Impala and racing to the campus…

***

Castiel is crying silently, not able to reach full sobs because every time he lets out even the tiniest sound Michael hits him again. And when he's not hitting him, he's biting him or roughly grabbing him, using Castiel's body as a punching bag for his frustrations and anger.

Cas' mind is stuck on the same phrase over and over – 'just take it, Dean is waiting'.

Each punch feels harder than the last, and just when he thinks it can't get any worse Michael tears him away from the door and into a vicious kiss, his own teeth cutting the inside of his lip as Michael crushes their faces together. Cas sobs and rakes his hand down the side of Michael's face, clawing away skin and causing the larger man to cry out in pain and anger.

“YOU LITTLE FUCK!!!”

Cas yelps as Michael grabs him and throws him onto the bed, Cas bouncing, his head smacking into the wall. All he sees is stars, his head pounding with a hard throbbing rhythm that he realizes somewhere inside is his heart beat. He feels Michael tearing at his clothes, hears him screaming obscenities and threats, but he can't move, his body refusing to cooperate even though his heart is telling him 'NO NO NO NO!!!'.

He feels the scrape against his skin as Michael rips his jeans down, and the surge of pain when he flips him over onto his stomach is enough to make Cas want to vomit, his head swimming, his vision blurred with reds and blacks. Distantly Cas can hear Michael's voice, echoing in his head.

“Teach you to fucking leave me... slut...”

Cas feels a hand on his hip and another gripping an asscheek violently, and he finally is able to piece together what's happening, what's going to happen if he can't stop it, and Cas summons all his strength but all he can manage is a scream that isn't even remotely ear piercing, but is still loud enough to be heard down the halls. Michael punches the back of Cas' head, Cas slumps forward, seeing more stars and feeling an explosion of pain somewhere in his brain that travels the rest of his body, highlighting each are that Michael had abused. Michael grins and with a sick satisfaction positions himself to reclaim what is his.

***

Dean doesn’t lock the doors of the Impala, doesn’t even pull off the car keys, as he stumbles outside, shoving people out of his way, running, flying over the campus, to the dormitory Michael lives in. He takes the stairs, trips over half of them before he’s pushing open the staircase doors on the third floor.

There’s a small group of three people in the hallway, not far from him and he feels his heart stopping as he realizes they’re standing just in front of Michael’s room. He tumbles towards the nearest boy, grabbing his lapels and gasping out “What’s going on?” The boy looks at him in confusion, before nodding at the closed door and explaining.

“We heard noises… someone’s screaming - already gave the campus security a holler but they sure are taking their time-“

Dean doesn’t wait for him to continue. He pushes away the few people right in front of the door, yelling “CAS!” and lunging forward, his shoulder colliding with the door, only taking two hard hits before the wood of the door frame splinters, the door popping open and revealing the terrible view. Michael is on the bed, leaning over Cas and spreading his legs and… Cas is crying. Screaming. Bleeding. There’s so much blood and for a moment Dean is speechless, breathless, his whole body trembling with shock and disgust and hate, so much hate…

His throat is dry, so dry, he can’t speak, so he rushes inside, tackling Michael, pulling him off of Castiel, throwing him on the ground and slamming his fist into his face, his stomach, everywhere he can reach. Nothing more than a pained cry escapes his lips, as he keeps hitting the slightly surprised boy over and over again.

The students in front of the room have retreated, running down the hall and calling for help but Dean doesn’t notice. Tears start blurring his vision and then Michael grabs his hair, yanking him backwards and off of him, shoving him against the door, pushing it closed again. Dean can hear Castiel crying, gasping for air, and Michael groaning and growling, something wooden sliding over the linoleum floor and then there’s a sharp, an overwhelming pain and his vision goes black.

He sinks back on the ground, feeling so helpless, so useless, as warm blood runs over the side of his face and he hears Castiel shouting his name in terror…

***

Michael stands over Dean, coughing up blood and grinning to himself that he finally got the better of that fucking Winchester- he doesn't see the bat until it's too late. With a sickening -CRACK!- the wooden bat connects with Michael's head, the sound of bones breaking reminiscent of snapping a large branch under one's foot.

The sound of fury and anguish, pain and effort that came along with the swing of the bat is lost to Michael's ears, but Cas hears it, distantly, even though it's his own throat that releases the sound as he swings the bat for all he's worth.

Michael crumples like a rag doll, worn out and played with one too many times. Cas watches him as if in slow motion, feeling nothing but a grim satisfaction at finally hitting Michael back. He doesn't even flinch when Michael doesn't move, and a pool of blood starts forming around his head. The only thing on Cas' mind is Dean.

His Dean.

Cas drops the bat, the clatter it makes when it hits the floor the only sound until Cas registers his own voice, broken and pleading as he cradles Dean in his lap.

“No no no no no... Dean please... no... oh god.. please you can't go baby... please... please Dean... Don't leave me!”

Sobs echo in the room as campus security and paradmedics storm down the hallway, but all Castiel can see through the tears in his reddened vision is Dean's motionless body and blood covered face.

***

He can’t move.

He can’t speak.

He can hear the blood rushing in his ears and his heartbeat, steady but slow, getting weaker with every second.

And Cas’ voice.

He can hear Cas’ voice.

Saying his name, crying, begging.

Dean wants to soothe him, wants to pull him down, hug him tight, make him forget all his worries.

He wants to tell him that everything’s gonna be alright now. Michael will be punished. They will be together. Finally.

He opens his lips but nothing but a choked gasp escapes his bone-dry throat.

His eyelids flutter open and through a veil of blood and tears he can see Cas.

His Cas.

Beaten and bloody, his face contorted with pain and regret and worry and fear.

He wants to see those beautiful, blue eyes shining again, he wants him to smile, enchanting everyone around him like he enchanted Dean ever since he first saw him.

He wants to tell him that he loves him, more than anything else in this world.

But there’s no strength left.

So Dean lets go…….

***

6 months later

“Look... fireflies...”

Cas blinks at the voice in his ears, the warm breath puffing there tickling the fine hairs on his neck. He smiles and looks up, seeing that the voice was right- there were fireflies just starting to come out. He cranes his neck to look over his shoulder and the man sitting right behind him, strong arms wrapped around his waist, his blue eyes meeting grass green, surrounded by a halo of freckles. Cas smiles and leans his head back against a sturdy shoulder.

“Yeah... fireflies.”

Dean smiles and leans down to kiss Castiel's forehead, tightening his arms around Cas, his hands holding onto Cas', layering arms around the smaller man's torso. Cas hums a soft sound of pleasure in the back of his throat, the warm arms around him cradling him safe and sound. He could hear Dean's heartbeat in his ear, steady and loud, pulsing out a joyful rhythm. Cas smiles and looks out at the horizon, the sunset oranges and golds, hot pink against the puffy clouds that were still lazing in the sky.

Sitting up on a hill against a huge old oak tree, surrounded by miles of gently waving gold and green grasses, Cas couldn't think of a better ending to this perfect day- nothing could ruin this for him.
He looks up at Dean, noticing the scars on his head from where Michael had hit him almost healed, barely noticeable even this close. A soft smile breaks over his face and he opens his mouth to speak when there's a flash of light, and then the crackle of thunder.

Cas freezes and turns away, looking back out over the horizon- but nothing had changed from just seconds early.

“Dean, did you-”

Another flash of light, but this time the world shifts as well, not just a flash of white but a second longer, revealing what is almost like a daydream, showing Cas a room, a white room with mattress like walls and floor- and before he can look around it's gone again.

“Cas? What's wrong?”

“Dean!....I- ...I don't know.....s-...something's happening...”

Another flash, a longer view, the daydream showing Cas a view of a padded cell, 10x10', a single window high on the wall with bars covering it, showing a pitch black sky outside, and then another cracker, light flashing, the crackle of thunder jolting Cas, and he's back- the daydream gone once again.

“Cas?! What's going on?!”

The arms around him are tighter than before, but they feel rough and scratchy, not warm and soft like flesh.

Cas' breath catches and he stills, the world before him just like it should be, waving grass and breath taking sunset- and then another flash, and the world is gone.

Cas is sitting in the padded room, breathing hard, eyes wide.

He looks around, and finds that he's sitting on the floor, alone, his own arms wrapped around himself, stuck in a straight jacket, the rough material rubbing against his skin as he strug gles to sit up all the way, voice breaking out in a terrified cry just as another flash of lightening happens outside the tiny window so high above.

A thunderstorm- the rain pelts against the window, the lightening flashes, lighting up the otherwise dimly lit room, and the thunder crackles, setting his teeth on edge.

“No... NO NO NOOOOOOO!!!!”

The door to the room is flung open and two large men, both dressed in white nurse's uniforms, walk in quickly. They hold Cas down and one slides a syringe into his arm, despite Castiel's outraged screams that they let him go.

“NOOOOO!!! I HAVE TO SEE DEAN! STOP!!!!”

The world swims as the drug takes affect, there's a blur of white and beige as the men leave, the door creaks shut.

Castiel barely has time to take a shuddering breath and there's another flash of light- a pause in time where nothing happens, nothing but white before his eyes, and then he blinks and he's back... back in the world of the soft sunset, the warm weather and the waving grasses.

“Cas?”

The voice startles him and he turns his head to the left- Dean. Dean is lying beside him in the grass, a soft look on his face.

“Hey baby... where'd you go?”

Cas is breathless for a minute before he smiles and shrugs, rolling onto his side and laughing gently.

“I don't know Dean....”

“...Mmm... suppose it doesn't matter.... you're here now.”

Castiel smiles again and can't help the giggle that escapes his lips.

“Yeah... here now...”

Dean reaches out and strokes a hand down Cas' cheek, Cas shuts his eyes and leans into the warm touch.

“Stay here with me Cas?”

“.....Okay Dean.... I'll stay here...”

The wind moves softly through the grasses, and the sunset lasts and lasts, never really going down.

Here, the sunset will last forever, the wind is always gentle and warm, and Castiel gets to have Dean hold him, strong arms wrapped around his frame, forever.

Tomorrow, Sam will visit Cas, and try to break through once again, as he has once a week for 6 months now.

He'll beg with the shell of the man that was his best friend once, beg him to come back, to be there with Sam.

But Cas won't hear. Doesn't want to hear. Can't hear.

Because here, in this world of the ever lasting sunset, Dean is alive, and Cas is safe, and loved.