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Dean has done a lot of dumb shit in his life.

Dean has also imbibed more alcohol this week alone than most can claim in a single lifetime.

And the thing about the one is that it directly affects the other.

An alarm blares him out of the deep recesses of his hangover-induced coma, but it’s not his. 

Dean has never woken up to an actual alarm clock in his life.

Fuck, what did he do last night?

He sits up and knows well enough by the fabric softener in the sheets that he’s nowhere near the tangled mess of blankets he left in his motel. The air around him smells sterile, which would be disconcerting if it wasn’t actually helping him from going full-on Linda Blair.

He cracks an eye open and swings around his hand, looking to douse the source of the racket.

An actual alarm clock, with bells and everything.

Dean shuts it off, and for good measure throws the damn thing on the floor.

“Piece of shit,” he grunts and rubs at his face.

“Dean?” there comes a knock at the door.

That’s right, he’s at Sammy’s place.

“Dean, come on,” Sam knocks again.

“I’m up!” he calls back. “Fuck me, a guy can’t get a goddamn moment of peace?”

There’s a brief pause before Sam asks, “Did you throw Cas’ alarm clock?”

“No,” Dean huffs. “But come on, who the fuck still uses an alarm clock? It’s the twenty-first fuckin’ century, Jesus.”

“He’s a weird guy, Dean,” Sam says through the door. “But he pays rent and keeps to himself, and if people don’t break his shit, he will keep doing those two very essential things.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Dean mutters and slips out of the bed he’s been loaned for the night. The flannel sheets were a welcome change to the usual motel duds he’s become so accustomed to. 

The room is impeccably kept. He has a feeling that he should make the bed, just to be polite. Then again, he has every intention of bailing long before this Cas guy gets back and he hates making beds.

He pads out of the bedroom, the one Sam had been so desperate to fill back in July when he’d first committed to signing the lease on this place. He’d been relieved beyond all reason when this Cas guy turned up.

School, work, paying rent… It’s all so tedious, Dean doesn’t know how Sam does it.

Then again, he’s been on the other end of that conversation with Sam more times than he can count. Motel hopping, playing cards, hustling pool… Sam insists that it sounds exhausting, but Dean insists that it beats the hell out of being back in Lawrence.

There are too many memories there. He tried to do the normal thing once Sam left for school, had an apartment and a job at a local garage. It lasted a hot minute before he started making a mess out of it.

Fired and evicted within six hours of each other. That had to have been some sort of record.

At least that’s one thing no one has ever had to question: Dean Winchester is definitely his father’s son.

“Man,” Dean rolls his shoulders. “The fuck is that guy sleeping on in there?”

“Don’t know, never asked,” Sam replies absently, feet kicked up on the coffee table in front of the couch. He’s in his PJs still, with a big bowl of cereal in his hands and a thick textbook propped open on his lap.

Dean’s stomach churns.

“Fuck, you got any coffee?” he asks, and Sam points vaguely back at the kitchen cupboards. Dean opens the nearest to him and wrinkles his nose.

“What the fuck is a flax seed and why does it go in cereal?” he peers disdainfully at the box closest to his nose until Sam turns around and rolls his eyes.

“That’s Cas’ cupboard,” he says. “Mine’s under that one. Coffee’s right up front.”

Dean shuts the cupboard and pulls the coffee out of Sam’s. Like everything in his cupboard, it’s a can of cheap, store brand stuff. Not that Dean minds, coffee is coffee, and they’ve spent most of their lives on store brand anyway.

He catches a glimpse of organic, fair trade coffee grounds by the coffee pot, though, and he crosses his arms over his chest.

“Real alarm clock, flax seed, organic,” he lists. “Your roommate’s fuckin’ weird as shit, man.”

“I know, Dean, thank you,” Sam's tone goes flat. “Like I said, pays rent and keeps to himself.”

“Where is he, anyway?” Dean opens the fridge and pulls out a carton of orange juice that says “SAM” in big, sharpie letters that are definitely not written in Sam’s handwriting.

“Sister’s getting married or something,” Sam turns back just as Dean points out the name on the carton. Sam gives a resigned sigh. “I know. He’s got something going on upstairs, though, so I just let him be. Plus, grad students are kinda weird anyway, so it’s not like I was surprised.”

“Dude, how old is this guy?” Dean pushes through more of the contents of the fridge. Along with an even split down the middle of all the shelves, each food item is explicitly tagged.

“That’s just plain freaky,” Dean shakes his head.

“Hey, I’ll take having an older roommate who’s a little crazy over someone who’s gonna hustle pool games in a bar all night and make me come pick them up at four in the morning.”

Dean pauses before observing, “Was that a veiled jab at me?”

“Hallelujah,” Sam comes back, “He can be taught,” and Dean snorts.

Dean flips him off and manages to yawn without yacking up into the sink.

“Man, you got a shower or something?” 

“No, Dean,” Sam sighs. “I managed to find an apartment with a washer and dryer on the property and no shower.”

“All right, no need to get snippy, princess,” Dean rubs at his eyes. The coffee percolates in silence so unsettling that Dean has to drum on the counter to keep himself from going insane.

“Dean, I gotta finish this before I leave for work,” Sam turns. “Would you mind not being a royal pain in my ass for five minutes?”

Dean raises his eyebrows, and Sam lets out a breath.

“Sorry,” he mumbles.

“No,” Dean shakes his head. “You got shit to do, I won’t bother you.”

He pours himself a cup of coffee and leans against the counter. Had he been in his right state of mind last night, he wouldn’t have even called Sam in the first place. He comes through Palo Alto every once in a while to check up on his little brother, but usually has the good sense to leave before he gets into any real trouble.

They may talk fairly regularly, but it’s been upwards of a year since they’ve actually seen each other.

Dean downs his coffee at a rate alarming even to him.

“I’m gonna hop in the shower, then,” he says, and does just that. Well, halfway does that, before Sam knocks on the door.

“Dude, what?” Dean asks.

“You need soap, I keep it in my room,” Sam explains. Dean sighs and cups himself in one hand, and opens the door with the other. Sam hands him a bottle of shampoo, a bar of soap, and a towel.

“There should be an extra tooth brush in the cabinet above the sink,” Sam says, and at Dean’s absent look explains with the utmost concern, “Please… please brush your teeth.”

Dean rolls his eyes and shuts the door.

“Listen, I’m gonna head to work in a few,” he hears Sam call over the weak spray of the shower. “So just, uh. Make yourself at home. And don’t touch my laptop. I’ll be back around 6, okay? We can go get a beer or something.”

Dean’s chest constricts, but he shouts out, “Sure thing, man”, like it’s the idea of the year.

Because yeah, he and Sam get along for the most part, but they don’t have all that much in common except where they come from.

That’s at least enough to get them through a few rounds at a bar on a Saturday night, anyway.

He dries himself off after his shower and wraps his towel around his waist. His clean clothes are out in a duffel bag in the Impala.

Son of a bitch, he let Sammy drive the Impala back here last night.

He pulls on his dirty clothes from last night and props the apartment door open with one of his boots before he races down to the parking garage. The Impala is parked in one of the guest spaces, and Dean goes over every last inch of it with a sharp eye.

Not a scratch.

Good.

He grabs his duffle out of the trunk and slings it over his shoulder. The garage leads through the lobby of the building, where rows upon rows of brass mailboxes line the far wall.

A man with dark hair and a long coat rummages through Apartment 207’s box, tossing sheets of coupons into the trash can beside him. Dean folds his arms and clears his throat, causing the man to jump and whip around.

His hair sticks up every which way, his jaw laden with scruff, his eyes shadowy and tired behind a thick pair of glasses.

“Who are you?” he asks, and Dean squares his shoulders.

“I could ask you the same thing,” he says. “Why’re you going through my brother’s mailbox?”

The man cocks his head to the side, but that’s the only clue as to his confusion before he replies, very frankly, “This is my mailbox.”

Dean’s shoulders sag, and he nods his understanding.

“You’re Cas,” he says.

Cas’ eyebrows furrow, and he presses his glasses up his nose.

“Do I know you?”

“Ah, sorry,” Dean shakes himself out of it. “Dean Winchester, Sam’s older brother.”

Cas looks at the hand Dean offers him to shake. It takes him a moment before he processes the gesture, and shakes his hand back.

“I’m Castiel. Novak.”

He doesn’t look Dean in the eye as he says so.

“Good to meet you,” Dean nods and adjusts the strap on his shoulder. “You go by Cas or Castiel?”

“Cas is fine.”

Dean lets out a breath. He doesn’t know that he’s ever been part of such an awkward conversation that didn’t involve sneaking out of a one night stand’s apartment at four in the morning.

“You, uh,” Dean jabs his thumb toward the stairwell. “Heading up?”

“Sam didn’t say that you would be here,” is all Castiel says in response.

“Yeah, it was kind of a last minute thing,” Dean shifts.

“Sam knows he’s supposed to inform me of visitors,” Castiel shuts the mailbox and tucks the remainder of the mail into his bag. He moves toward the stairs before he stops and turns back around. “I—that was rude, wasn’t it?”

Dean’s mouth quirks up into half a smile.

“Kinda, yeah,” he nods.

“I apologize,” Castiel’s voice doesn’t waver. “I didn’t mean any offense.”

Dean quirks up his eyebrows. On his right hand, Dean can see Cas methodically tapping the pads of his fingers to his thumb.

He doesn’t say anything, though, just turns and walks up the steps.

Dean shakes his head.

Sam was right, this guy is downright bizarre.

oo

“Dean, don’t laugh at the word Asperger’s.”

“I’m not!” Dean insists, unable to keep his laughter at bay. “Ass burgers… awesome.”

Sam refuses to say anything more about it until Dean decides to be mature about it.

“Fuck, man, you’re twenty-six, not sixteen,” Sam chastises. “Look, just don’t tell him I told you, all right? It’s none of my business. He’s a nice guy and a good roommate, just… odd.”

“Whatever you say, man,” Dean chuckles.

They finish their beers and order another round. By the time they’re halfway through the next, they’ve abandoned all talk of Castiel, of Sam’s school and Dean’s credit card debt. Sometimes it’s just like this between them, fun and easy.

Sam pretends not to know Dean as he jock rocks along to Jukebox Hero; Dean hustles some asshole Sam knows out of twenty bucks. It’s not perfect, but it’s theirs, and right now Dean is glad to have it.

They needed this.

So naturally it means it would have to end.

Sam checks the text on his phone and sighs.

“Sorry to do this, man,” he says. “It’s Jess, I gotta go.”

“Everything okay?” Dean asks.

“Yeah, should be fine,” Sam nods. “I’ll see you later, okay?”

Dean nods as he watches Sam leave the bar.

Sam’s girlfriend, his school, his work—these things mean something to him, enough to keep him from his fuck up brother.

It’s probably a good thing. No one ever wanted Sam to end up like their dad, or like him. Dean rubs at his eyes and moves up to the bar. He orders three fingers of whiskey, neat, and decides he may as well scope the bar for someone to take his mind off the whole thing.

“Hello, Dean.”

“Jesus Christ!” Dean nearly drops his glass of whiskey. Cas is right beside him, not sitting, not drinking, just staring.

“Cas, what the hell?”

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” he says. “I haven’t been standing here long, I promise.”

“What are you doing here?” Dean’s heart still pounds. “You follow us?”

“No,” Castiel simply supplies.

There’s another moment of Castiel’s steely blue eyes boring into him before he snaps back into himself and sits on the stool beside him.

“I didn’t follow you intentionally, anyway,” he explains. “I come here sometimes to meet with students on the weekends. Informal office hours, of sorts. Students are actually more willing to converse when they’re in a more laid back setting. Plus, not everyone can make my regular hours on campus. It’s kind of sketchy and I don’t get paid for it, but—”

“Cas,” Dean interjects, and Castiel pulls back, eyes wide. Dean huffs into his whiskey, “Would you just order a damn drink already? You’re makin’ me nervous just sitting there.”

Castiel pushes his glasses up his face with all the grace of a drunken toddler, and flags down the bartender.

“Can I get a gin and tonic, please?”

Dean pulls a face. “What are you, eighty?”

Cas stares blankly back at him, wheels turning behind his eyes.

Dean sees the comment register, and chuckles when Castiel makes a face back at him.

“I am perfectly content in my choice of libation, thank you,” he comments lightly. He laughs when Dean laughs, though it doesn’t appear to be the easy, amused laugh Dean would expect out of the situation. It’s strained, sputtering.

Nervous.

“You okay?” Dean asks.

Castiel licks his lips and looks straight ahead at the wall behind the bar.

“I just don’t do this very often,” he supplies. “Normally after I’m done meeting with students, I go back to my apartment, make myself dinner, and work until I go to bed. Bedtime ten-thirty, wake up at six-thirty. Shower, get dressed, make myself breakfast. This is boring, I’m sorry,” he interrupts himself and pushes his fingers up under his glasses.

“No need to be sorry,” Dean shrugs, and realizes he hasn’t stopped looking at Cas from the moment he sat down. Fuck, this can’t be happening, not again. Not now.

It comes in waves. Ninety-nine out of a hundred women turn his head, which means every once in a while, if he’s not careful, some fucker with a scruffy jaw and a bangin’ ass slips through the cracks.

Fuck.

Castiel gets his gin and tonic and takes a tentative sip. The two of them sit in silence for a few moments, Castiel staring intently at his drink and Dean staring intently at the way Castiel’s thick fingers curl around the glass in his hands.

“Do you like Palo Alto?” Cas finally asks, and Dean looks at him. For a second their eyes meet, and then Cas looks away again.

“Uh, yeah,” Dean nods. “It’s nice. Good weather for this time of year, nice not to be balls deep in snow.”

Cas’ mouth quirks up, and he pulls purposefully at a thread coming off the sleeve of his sweater.

“Dude, you look like you’re about to have an aneurysm,” says Dean.

“It’s, uh,” Cas blinks. “It’s very loud in here.”

“Well, come on, we don’t have to stay here,” Dean grabs his wallet. He throws down some cash on the bar top and tosses back the rest of his whiskey. “Wanna finish yours?”

Castiel holds up a finger and downs the entire drink in one go.

“All right man, come on,” Dean claps him on the back, only a second before he realizes that that may have been a wrong move. Castiel doesn’t say anything, though, just stuffs his hands inside his sweater pockets and stalks out of the bar without another word.

He remains silent until they’re back in the apartment, blocks away from the bar. And even then, he doesn’t say a thing before he barricades himself in his room.

“Cas, you okay?” Dean asks, but there’s no answer.

“Well, that was just fuckin’ rude,” Dean mutters.

He could go out again, he figures, but something tells him not to leave Castiel alone. Instead, he sits on the couch and flips on the TV. He finds a Top Gear marathon and settles in, kicking his shoes off onto the floor and stretching out on the lumpy couch.

When he wakes up, it’s still dark out. All the lights in the apartment are on, and there’s Cas, sitting on the floor in front of his book case, surrounded by more books than Dean can count.

“What are you doing?” asks Dean, but it doesn’t appear that Castiel can hear him. He’s in a soft-looking cotton shirt now and flannel pajama bottoms, dark hair still in disarray and glasses sliding down his nose.

“Castiel,” Dean says, louder this time, and Cas jumps.

“Oh, you’re awake,” Cas pushes his glasses up his nose. Dean is still just buzzed enough to wonder how scruff would feel against the pads of his fingers.

“Yeah,” Dean sits up. “Yeah, I’m awake.”

“I came out to apologize for my earlier behavior,” Cas clears his throat and looks down. “I may have gotten a bit sidetracked.” 

 “What is all this?” Dean asks.

“It’s,” Castiel looks down at the book in his hands. “I’ve been meaning to organize them for a while, I just haven’t had time.”

Dean looks down at the clock below the TV.

“And three o'clock in the morning seemed like as good a time as any?” Dean clears the rest of the sleep out of his voice.

Castiel shrugs.

“I know it’s odd, but I couldn’t sleep,” he says. “So I came out to see if you were awake, and when you weren’t I turned off the TV, and then I went to grab a book so I could read until you woke up and I could talk to you. Then I realized that Hitchhiker’s Guide was in my fantasy section when it should be in my sci-fi section, but nothing there was in order either and now I appear to have made myself a hamlet, and I don’t know how to get out.”

Dean is also just buzzed enough to ask, “Is this that ass burgers thing Sammy was talking about?”

Castiel’s face doesn’t change, though his tone does as he remarks, “Yes, unfortunately this is an obsessive-compulsive behavior related to my Asperger’s.”

He enunciates the word, and immediately Dean feels about ten different shades of asshole for laughing about it earlier.

“Sorry,” Dean grabs the back of his neck.

“It’s not a secret,” says Castiel. “I’ve known for a long time. My family put me in with the best therapists available, made sure I had all the social training I needed, put me on all the proper medications, but,” he runs his fingers over the worn spine of the book in his hands. “It’s a process.”

Dean nods.

“If you don’t mind, I’d rather not discuss it anymore,” Castiel murmurs. “I do apologize for earlier, though.”

“Why?”

Castiel looks at the ceiling above them and admits, “I’m not sure. I assume I offend most people, so I tend to apologize every so often just as a precaution. So if I did offend you would you please tell me what I did?”

“I’m not offended,” Dean eyes Cas warily. “I’m just not sure what the hell this is. I mean, I’ve been around, man. I’ve dealt with meth-heads, drunks, gamblers, gang members, a couple of guys I’m pretty sure were working for the mafia, but I’ve never met someone with a, uh. What is it, exactly?”

Castiel looks at him then, actually looks him in the eye, and cocks his head to the side.

“It’s an autism spectrum disorder,” says Cas. “I-I’m 'high functioning', or so they tell me. Which is bothersome in and of itself to presume that functionality can or has to be measured.”

“Yeah, you may have to pretend I don’t know what any of that means,” Dean offers him a smile.

“Dean, I told you I’d rather not discuss it,” Castiel insists. “I-I’ve already said too much, and I really should get back to fixing my books.”

“You mind if I watch TV?” Dean grabs the remote, but Castiel quickly informs him, “I need the quiet.”

“Cool,” Dean nods and sets the remote back down. He fully intends on grabbing Sam’s laptop and indulging in some wifi. The porn you get in hotel rooms is all right, but it’s nothing compared to having the entire internet at one’s disposal. Plus, he could do without the desire to crawl across the floor and lick that creamy patch of skin just below Castiel’s earlobe.

Forget the internet, he may need a cold shower.

He watches as Cas files the books with careful precision, unable to look away from the concentrated brow and the way his tongue pokes out between his lips as he makes sure all of the spines are aligned to his liking.

The clock now reads quarter after four.

This time when Castiel looks at Dean, he smiles. No teeth, just an upward quirk of the lips, but it makes Dean’s gut go all fucked all the same.

“Do you live in Kansas?” asks Castiel, and Dean sits up.

“What?”

“Sam is from Kansas,” Castiel reasons. “Being that you’re brothers, I assume you’re both from the same place. Do you still live there?”

“Oh,” Dean folds his arms over his chest. “No, I don’t live there. Truth be told, I don’t live much of anywhere anymore.”

Castiel cocks his head, “What do you mean by that?”

“Uh,” Dean lets the air out of his lungs. “I’m a vagrant, I guess. No home. Homeless, I guess you could say.”

“I would say, since you don’t have a home,” Castiel reasons. “Why is it you don’t have a home?”

Dean shifts and runs his fingers through his hair. Of all the Saturday nights he could have had, he had to have this one.

“I… don’t really wanna talk about that either, Cas,” he settles on admitting, and Castiel nods.

“Fair enough,” he concedes. “Would you like to watch a movie?”

“I thought you needed the quiet,” says Dean. “Or… sleep? Do you need sleep?”

Castiel shakes his head and stands. A strip of skin shows just above the top of his pants as he stretches, revealing a dark trail of hair that disappears into his pjs.

“I have all the Star Wars movies, all of Lord of the Rings,” he lists, “All Harry Potters, I have the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, I have—wait,” he pauses then. “Do you need sleep? Or the quiet?”

Dean lets out a laugh and shakes his head, “I staunchly oppose both.”

Castiel catches the joke quicker this time and nods.

From his room he retrieves a CD case carrier with all of his movies. It doesn’t surprise Dean that they’re all organized to a fault.

“You own the fucking original Cat People?” Dean laughs. “Holy shit, that is awesome.”

“Yeah?” Castiel piggybacks on Dean’s enthusiasm. “I watched it once in a class I took about sexuality in film, found it cheap on the internet the next day.”

The thought of Castiel having anything to do with sexuality, even if it was just for some nerdy class about movies, makes Dean’s heart pick up its pace. Castiel is so close to him now. He can smell his soap, his laundry detergent, and the faint hint of skin that makes Dean’s lips dry.

Castiel doesn’t seem to notice, though. He pops the DVD into the player and then sits back down on the couch beside Dean. Does he know he’s sitting a little too close? Does he know that Dean is now very self conscious of the way his arm is draped over the back of the couch?

What’s the coolest way to play this off, without arousing too much suspicion?

Fuck, he would get himself into watching a movie about a chick that turns into a fucking panther every time she gets turned on, when he can’t even control himself.

They get about half way through the movie before Dean’s arm un-petrifies, and he shifts so that his hands are in his lap.

Castiel looks over at him, black and white reflecting off the lenses of his glasses as he glances down and back up.

“Dean,” he begins. “Are my instincts correct in gathering that you’re attracted to me?”

“What?” Dean laughs, too forced to be real. He’s so tired. He should have just left Castiel to organize his books and gone to surf porn on Sam’s computer until he fell asleep.

“I’m attracted to you,” says Cas. “And with the way I’ve caught you looking at me, I think you might feel the same. Do you?”

Dean swallows.

This night keeps getting stranger and stranger.

“I don’t,” Dean gulps. “I don’t make it a habit of sleeping with guys.”

Castiel blinks.

“I don’t think that’s what I asked,” he replies.

Dean licks his lips. Castiel’s body shakes as he looks him in the eye. It’s one of the most intense moments Dean can recall having.

“Are you attracted to me?” Castiel asks again, and Dean rubs his face with his hands.

“Yes,” he finally admits.

“Can I kiss you?”

Dean must have said yes. He can’t hear himself over the blood rushing in his ears, because Jesus Christ, he’s actually going to do it. He’s going to let a guy kiss him.

Castiel tips his chin up and locks eyes with him again. The smile he gives Dean looks a little forced, but the kiss.

The kiss isn’t.

Castiel’s lips are soft between his. The facial hair is definitely a curve ball, but it’s—it’s nice. Maybe he’s just really tired, maybe the alcohol in his system is still clouding his better judgment.

Or maybe there is a man on this planet that Dean likes kissing.

It’s hazy, like something out of a dream. Every part of Dean pulses with nerves as Castiel crawls up into his lap, tugging his head back to get a better angle into his mouth, over his jaw and his throat.

And god help him, something about the low reverberation of Cas’ moans go straight to his cock. Fuck, he’s a grown-ass man and this guy in his lap is making him pop a stiffy like a goddamn teenager again.

“Have you ever done anything with a man before?” Cas pulls away, lips rosy red and pupils blown wide.

It’s one of the most erotic things Dean has ever seen.

He gulps and shakes his head.

“Okay,” Cas nods. “What do you want to do?”

Dean laughs, nerves gripping him hard. “I don’t know.”

This time when Cas smiles, it appears to be genuine. His eyes crinkle up at the corners and his teeth show past his lips.

Dean comes up to kiss him again, but Cas pushes him back.

“Are you okay with this?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Dean nods. The lack of flow should give him pause, but it doesn’t.

In fact, it’s even better when Cas leans down and asks, “You want me to suck you off?”

“Yes please,” Dean nods again, more vigorously this time, and Cas smiles again.

Except then he almost falls over when he slides to the floor, and catches himself just before disaster strikes.

Dean laughs, and Castiel stares back at him.

“Oh, come on,” Dean says. “That was pretty funny.”

“Why?” Cas asks.

“Cause,” Dean shrugs. “You’re kind of a spaz.”

“A spaz?” Castiel enunciates as he settles between Dean’s legs. “I don’t think anyone has called me a spaz since I was fifteen.”

“Obviously not to your face,” Dean jests back, and Cas squeezes his eyes shut.

“Maybe just don’t talk,” he says. “For a minute. I need to concentrate.”

“Don’t blow a gasket,” Dean shoots back. For one foolish moment he thinks that he may have the upper hand, but Castiel raises his dark eyebrows and runs his palms up the insides of Dean’s thighs.

Nope, never mind.

Castiel’s fingers fumble over Dean’s fly, undoing it as though he’d never seen one before.

“Wait, have you ever done anything?” Dean finds himself asking. “With anyone?”

“I have,” Castiel eyes him. “Do you want me to stop?”

“No,” Dean shakes his head. “I was just curious.”

“Oh,” Castiel just says as he slips his hand into Dean’s pants. He presses his palm against his erection and asks, “Can you be curious later?”

“Fuck, you are killing me, man,” Dean runs a hand through Cas’ hair. It’s soft, just like Dean thought it would be.

Castiel smiles at that.

“What?” asks Dean.

“You’re cute,” is all Castiel says.

Dean doesn’t have time to question such a notion, nor openly dispute it. Cas peels back his jeans and his boxers and pulls out his erection.

He’s so hard for this it’s almost embarrassing.

Castiel’s lips kiss the very tip of his cock, and Dean can’t look away. It’s one of the single sexiest things he’s ever seen go down between his legs. Cas takes him in inch by inch, like he’s got no damn gag reflex or something, and when he can’t take any more his hand makes up for what his mouth can’t get.

It’s only a handful of minutes before Dean’s toes start curling in his socks.  He grabs Castiel’s hair by the handful, because Cas moans when he does that and bobs his head even faster.

The muscles in his legs tense, the pull in his stomach sends him reeling.

He doesn’t warn Cas before he comes, which ends in Cas sort of… choking.

A lot.

“Shit,” Dean sits up, still hazy as fuck. “Cas are you okay?”

“Fine,” Cas croaks, and clears his throat. He looks like he wants to say something more, but he refrains. Instead, he wipes the come from his chin and rolls to his feet to wash his hands.

"Holy shit, Cas," Dean pants and sinks back into the couch. Castiel reappears, toweling off his hand with a rag from the kitchen. Dean knows the look he has on his face, and the fuck if he cares. He sits back up and reaches out for Castiel, who takes a hesitant step forward.

Dean rests his hands on Cas' hips. They don't slope out from his waist, they just sort of taper down. The sweet smell of girl is replaced by something sharper, something masculine that makes Dean's fingers itch.

He's going to do this.

He's actually going to do it.

Dean pushes his hands up Cas' shirt and pulls him forward. He pushes kisses into Castiel's stomach, smiling when Cas' breath hitches.

It fires off something in his brain, something familiar and good. Cas breathes Dean's name, and it's honest to god one of the nicest things he's ever heard.

"Dean, stop," Cas says then, and Dean pulls away.

"What's up?" Dean swallows hard. If he doesn't do this now, what if he never does? The stars are aligned, the moment is ripe. The universe has pulled together and made him actually want to reach into a guy's pants and wrap his hand around his dick.

"I don't want you to touch me," Cas says very simply, and then like he realizes this is too forthright, reels back. "I'm sorry."

"Oh," Dean sags. His junk is still hanging out of his pants, and he's about six inches away from another guy's stiffy that he can't touch.

Well, he is just a prize jackass now, isn't he?

"Shit, man," Dean tucks himself back into his pants and zips up. "Sorry, I uh. I guess I shouldn't have assumed. You sure you don't want me to take care of that?"

Cas' erection is obvious through his pajamas, but even so he still shakes his head and takes a step back.

"I should get some sleep," he simply says. "Goodnight, Dean."

oo 

"Man, what's up with you? You look like you've seen a ghost."

Dean snaps his attention from zipping up his duffel up to Sam.

"Nothin'," Dean shakes his head. "Came to check up on my little brother, now I know you're okay it's time for me to move on."

Sam rolls his eyes.

"You know, this whole wandering vagrant thing is getting really tired," he says. "I don't wanna have to worry about you not having a roof over your head."

Dean shrugs, "So don't worry about it."

Sam lets out an incredulous laugh and runs his hands through his hair.

"What a fucking affirmation," he groans. "Don't worry about it, how about that!"

"Hey, can we skip the Sam Winchester theater, please?" Dean gives him a tired look. "I can't leave with you bein' pissed at me, okay?"

"You're leaving?"

Dean and Sam both turn to see Castiel standing in the doorway of his room. Shit, Dean had been hoping to do this before he had to face him again. It's not the first time he's taken a blowjob and run, and it certainly won't be the last.

"Yeah," Dean stuffs his hands in his jacket pockets. "Hittin' the road. Got, y'know... Stuff to do."

"You don't have to go," Cas says then, and Sam raises an eyebrow.

"Ah, yeah," Dean shifts. "I think I do."

"Why?" Castiel asks.

Dean looks to Sam for back-up, only to find Sam waiting expectantly for whatever he has to say. That is the smug look of amusement on that little bastard's face, and Dean will not be having any of it.

But what is he supposed to say? He doesn't think he can lie to Cas.

He also doesn't think he can cop to being embarrassed about getting head from a dude in front of his little brother.

"Just," Dean shrugs. "Gotta go."

And while this answer baffles Castiel, it seems to speak volumes to Sam. He crosses his arms over his chest and asks, "Just what happened while I was gone last night?"

"Don't worry about it," says Dean at the exact same time Castiel replies, "I sucked your brother's dick."

Fucking Cas.

"Wow," Sam stares at Dean.

"Yeah, I'm out of here," Dean just says. "Cas, nice meeting you--"

"I'll bet," Sam doesn't even try to hide his grin.

"Great," Dean nods. "I'm just gonna go fuck myself. See you guys later."

Dean barely gets down the hall of the apartment building before he feels a hand on his shoulder. It's Cas, because of course it's Cas, and of course Dean stops instead of walking on down the hall like he damn well should.

"Did I do something?" Castiel asks.

"Uh," Dean's brows pinch together. "You kinda blew me last night."

"Besides that," Cas dismisses with a wave of his hand. "Dean, I apologize if I said something, or did something that made you want to leave, but I won't know unless you tell me."

"Are you kidding?" Dean laughs, and clears his throat when one of the neighbors comes out of her apartment to grab the morning paper. She sees Castiel and purposefully averts her gaze.

"Dean, I don't understand why you're leaving," Cas explains. "I don't want you to go."

"Look, Cas," Dean hangs his head. "I'm not really into guys, generally."

"Oh," Cas says, and then looks at him. "Generally?"

"Yeah," Dean shifts. "But I'm... kinda into you. And I made an epic dick out of myself last night."

"You didn't," Castiel attempts to be reassuring, and places a tentative hand on Dean's arm. "Dean, you don't have to leave because of me, or what we did. That's actually the reason I'd rather you stayed. I liked last night. Did you not?"

Dean scrubs his face with his hands and exclaims, "Yes! I did, okay? But you cut out so fast I thought I fucked up."

Castiel scrunches his eyes shut and grabs at his messy hair.

"That's me," he groans. "That's me, I know it's me, you didn't fuck up. I fucked up, I'm the fuck up, I can't fucking--fuck."

He drops his hands, and starts doing that thing with his fingers again. Dean waits patiently until Cas has calmed enough to take a breath and speak again. 

"Do you want to go?" 

And even though 'yes' is on the tip of his tongue, even though he's one word away from the open road and a string of nameless one night stands, Dean pauses. 

Because no, he doesn't really want to go. 

He had fun last night. 

Despite what he may tell others (or himself), he misses Sam. Hell, after dad kacked it, they're all the other has as far as blood goes. Yeah, he's still got Bobby and Ellen and Jo, and yeah, he could go back to them if he really wanted, but he doesn't want to.  

He wants to hang out with Sam.

He wants to meet his friends and stir up some shit while he's here.

And maybe he wants to see what else he can get up to with Cas. 

"Dean?" Castiel prods, and Dean lets out a groan. 

"No," he says. "I don't wanna go."

Castiel's strange phantom smile ghosts back across his face.  

"Do you want breakfast?" he asks then, and Dean smiles back.

"Breakfast sounds awesome, man."

oo

It's a common misconception that neuroatypicals don't like sex.

The thing is, while he doesn't quite get sex one hundred percent of the time, he still likes it. Castiel has always been profoundly interested in the human form, and he's always been profoundly gay. It took him a little while to realize, but once he did he threw himself into it, because that's what was good for him. You don't learn how to deal with social situations unless you actually put yourself in them.

Plus, he found out that he really likes sucking dick.

And that he's really good at it.

He stopped liking certain parts of sex, maybe, but that's not for not liking sex as much as it is for not liking people.

He likes Dean, though.

It was a staggering realization, perhaps because it happened so fast, but he really, really does like him. 

There are people he's known for his entire life, his own flesh and blood, he's still warming up to. Twenty-nine years he's known his mother, he can't even talk to her without succumbing to a fit; twenty-nine hours he's known Dean Winchester and this is now the second time he's had this guy's cock in his mouth. 

He made sure Dean said yes, really said yes.

Dean lasts longer than he did last night, too. Cas had been so sure he’d done something wrong that he called Gabriel this morning and made sure he hadn’t.

He’d kind of gotten an earful because of that.

“Shit, Cas,” he hears Dean hiccup. Dean grabs his hair and thrusts into his mouth, and Castiel hums his appreciation. He loves the way Dean feels on his tongue, the way he tastes. He doesn’t mind that he chokes a little or that his knees start to ache. In fact, he sort of enjoys the musky smell of Dean’s skin and the wiry brush of pubic hair against his hand as he tries to get Dean to come into his mouth.

And when he finally gets it, it’s the most blissful thing on the planet. Dean even warns him this time so he can swallow it all down.

Dean tastes so good, he was upset to lose so much of him down his face last night.

He reaches up and takes Dean’s face into his hands, fumbling as he pulls him down into a kiss. Dean’s tongue is so hot and slick, and it laps up the remnants of his come with zeal. 

Maybe Dean is as much of a slut as he is.

Dean kisses down Castiel’s neck, grazes his teeth over the stubble on Castiel’s jaw. He bites a hickey into Castiel’s collar bone, and Castiel takes a sharp breath. Dean somehow gets him on the floor, coarse fibers of the carpet scratching against Castiel’s skin as he undulates up into him.

The smell of Dean’s come on their breath is intoxicating, the solid press of Dean’s leg against his groin and the feel of his flannel pajama bottoms against his skin is almost too much to take.

When Dean’s palm presses against his erection, it is too much. His heart starts pounding and his breath escapes him. The rolls of his hips turn into thrashes as he tries to get out from under Dean. He has to say something, he knows he does, but what?

“Dean,” he finally manages. “Dean, stop.”

Dean pulls back, thankfully, big square hands held up beside his head in surrender.

Castiel sits up and taps his fingers on the carpet. He thinks he might be playing Rhapsody in Blue into the carpet. That’s the only thing all those piano lessons are good for anymore: stimming.

“Okay, what’s the deal?” asks Dean. Castiel can’t match the tone with the face, can’t tell which he should be paying attention to. He just knows that that particular phrase is something that people will say when they’re annoyed, and of course. Of course Dean is annoyed with him.

For whatever reason, sex partners want to touch him too, even though he’s a fucking mess.

“I-I don’t understand,” he replies truthfully. That’s the best course of action, he finds, and it’s something he’s rehearsed enough to know that it’s relatively non-threatening.

Dean sits back against the bed and tucks himself back into his jeans.

If he was mad, he would have stormed off by now, right? And if he hadn’t wanted to do this again, he would have told Castiel to knock it off before it had gone too far.

Right?

“I wanna touch you,” Dean says.

Castiel’s nose wrinkles of its own volition.

“Come on, dude,” Dean gives him this look that Castiel has only ever seen in movies, one he doesn’t quite get. “You don’t think you’re good-lookin’ enough or something?”

Castiel just stares at him, because god, that’s all he can do.

Dean sighs, and his shoulders drop.

“Man, I’m just trying to understand,” he explains, tone softer.

Something in Castiel’s mind registers that this isn’t anger. He sits up and stares harder at Dean’s face, trying to gather what it is that’s clouding it so.

It’s such a nice face, too.

“You seem,” Castiel tries to puzzle it out. “Confused.”

Confused.

Confused is part of… surprised, he thinks.

Wait, surprised? How is this surprising? Surprises are things you aren’t expecting, like getting a milkshake instead of a Coke, or actually getting something you want on your birthday or Christmas.

Why is it surprising that Castiel doesn’t like people touching him?

“Dude, you’re staring,” Dean informs him, and Castiel shakes himself out of it.

“I apologize,” he says. “I just don’t understand why it’s so surprising that I don’t like to be touched.”

The confusion only grows on Dean’s face, and Castiel feels himself flush.

“’cause being touched is awesome,” Dean laughs then, and again his words and his face and his tone are all mixed up. Castiel pulls back when Dean leans forward on his elbows.

“Cas,” Dean continues. “Have you ever…”

He makes this move with his body that Castiel can’t decipher.

God, he hasn’t been this bad in years.

As much as he likes Dean, he makes him so anxious that he can barely function.

“If you don’t mind, I’d rather be alone for a little while,” Castiel just says. He can’t bring himself to look Dean in the eye.

Thankfully, Dean doesn’t question it, just slips out of Castiel’s room with barely a sound.

Castiel gasps out a breath, like he’s just broken the surface of the Arctic sea. His lungs won’t fill like they’re supposed to, and every breath hurts more than the last.

A panic attack.

Lovely.

He tries to shake it out of his hands, but it’s not working as well as it should.

Fuck this. Fuck all of it. How is it that a guy like Dean Winchester is into him anyway? Everything that Sam has ever said about him just oozes neurotypical heterosexual cool guy. Last time he got involved with one of those, it did not end well.

But Dean doesn’t seem to be any of those things. Neurotypical, maybe, but he’s obviously not heterosexual, and truth be told, he’s kind of a dork. He doesn’t have a home, he lives out of a bag and a car, hopping from city to city, like someone who doesn’t fit into the cookie cutter structure society has set up for people.

Castiel doesn’t fit in either.

He manages to calm down long enough to push himself to his feet and grab his phone off his desk. He opens up recent contacts and finds it immediately.

ICE- Gabriel Novak.

He dials.

The phone rings three times before he gets a groggy, “Caspie the Friendly Ghost.”

“Were you asleep?” Castiel paces the length of his room.

“At two in the afternoon on a Sunday, are you crazy?” There’s a lot of shifting on the other end of the phone, “Of course I was. What’s up now, kid?”

“I’m having an issue,” Castiel replies.

“Well,” Gabe yawns. “Tell your brother where the bad feelings touched you.”

“This is serious, Gabriel,” Castiel insists.

“Like it was serious at seven o’clock this morning?”

“I already apologized for that,” Castiel reminds him. “I did what you said. I tried again.”

“Oh?”

“It happened again,” Castiel lowers his voice, “Worse this time.”

Gabriel sighs into the receiver.

“You eating?"

“Yes.”

“Sleeping?”

“Kind of?”

“Son of a bitch,” Gabriel sighs again. “What about your meds?” 

Castiel goes silent.

“… Cas.”

“I didn’t want to take them anymore, okay?” Cas explains.

“God damn it, Cas!”

Uh-oh.

“You’re calling me about your freak outs and you haven’t been taking your meds?”

“I was doing fine without them,” Castiel attempts to defend himself.

“They make you feel better,” Gabriel reasons, “And they keep you from doing stupid shit like rearranging your bookcase at three in the morning, or carving up your goddamn legs because you can’t fucking help it.”

The words sting. Gabriel has always been the person most patient with him. If Gabe gets on his case, it generally means he fucked up real good.

“Castiel,” Gabriel commands.

“I’m here.”

“I know you’re fucking there, Vader. Go take your goddamn meds before I drive down to Palo fucking Alto and shove them into your face.”

Castiel groans and wrenches open his desk drawer. He pulls out the bottle of SSRIs and takes off the cap.

“Do you have anything but this kid’s load in your stomach?” Gabriel asks then.

Castiel doesn’t respond.

So they didn’t really get around to breakfast.

“Christ, would you go eat something before you keel over?”

Castiel pops his dosage into his mouth and swallows dry.

“He’s out there,” he says, as though it’s a valid excuse, to which Gabriel replies, “I don’t give a baker’s fuck. Go eat something before I brain you.”

Silence.

“Cas,” Gabe comes back, softer this time.

Castiel hums.

“Sorry for yelling.”

Castiel hums again.

“I love you.”

And because he knows he’s supposed to say it, “I love you too.”

He does love Gabriel, more than he loves just about anyone. No matter how many times he says it, it will always sound strange coming off of his tongue.

“Eat, you’ll feel better.”

And then Gabriel hangs up.

Castiel flops back on his bed and perches his glasses on top of his head. So he hasn’t been taking care of himself lately. He’s been busy. And yes, the only reason Gabe even let him out of his sight was because he knew he’d have a roommate. At the very least a roommate will at least smell your starved, rotting corpse before anyone else does.

Sam is a good roommate. If he hasn’t seen Castiel that day, or knows he’s neck deep in school work, he’ll knock on the door and ask if he wants pizza, or sandwiches, or sometimes even if he wants to go out and grab a bite.

Sam is like Gabriel, if a little more reserved and polite. He doesn’t treat Castiel any differently because he’s not "normal".

Dean doesn’t either.

The Winchesters are good people, Castiel thinks, and soon after manages to shut his eyes and wait for sleep to take hold.

oo

It starts raining halfway through the afternoon, so Dean picks up Sam from work.

The ride back to the apartment is plagued by a long, unholy silence that either of them refuses to break. Dean grips the steering wheel tight in his hand, and rubs the tension out of his temple with the other. 

Sam shifts beside him, and Dean immediately snaps his focus to him.

He’s chuckling.

“What the hell is so funny?”

Sam glances over at Dean and tries to bite back his smug fucking college boy smile.

Why is he—oh, god damn it 

“We’re not talking about this, Sammy.”

“About what, Dean?”

“You know goddamn well what,” Dean scowls and keeps his eyes fixed dead on the road ahead of them.

He doesn’t want to talk about this with anyone, let alone his kid brother. Sam’s got those weird touchy feely emotions, the kind that Dean has worked so hard to keep himself from having. He’ll ask Dean all sorts of shit that he doesn’t want to answer—if he’s ever thought about guys this way before, if he’s ever done anything with guys before.

Well, before last night, anyway.

“Come on, man,” Sam laughs. “Lighten up.”

Dean pffts at that. “I am the lightest person you know, dick,” he insists. “I am lightened.”

“Yeah,” Sam pulls his phone out of his pocket. “In the loafers, maybe.”

Dean rolls to a stop at the light and promptly reaches over to punch Sam in the thigh.

“Ow!” Sam returns, and socks Dean in the shoulder.

It devolves into an ugly, petty smack-fight soon after, which they only break up when the car behind them honks to indicate that the light has turned. Dean drives forward, though not before getting in the last hit.

“What the hell is the big deal?” Sam asks, rubbing the sore spot on his jaw. “You like guys, so what? Not like you’re ordering a mass genocide. Sexuality’s a continuum, everyone’s got at least one person they’d go gay for.”

“Good god, what has this place done to you,” Dean shakes his head. “We gotta get you back to the heartland.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem,” Sam nods, sarcasm oozing off of every word.

“I’m fine with not,” Dean can barely finish the thought, much less the sentence. “Being straight has always worked fine for me.”

“You’re in your twenties and homeless, Dean,” Sam points out. “What exactly is your definition of not-fine?”

Dean exhales sharply through his nostrils and focuses back on the road.

“Did you like it?”

Sam.”

“Oh, that’s the guiltiest fucking ‘yes’ face I’ve ever seen,” Sam laughs.

“It’s not funny!” Dean insists.

Sam snorts.

“It’s a little funny.”

Dean’s face falls flat.

“And if you need a bright side,” Sam finishes his text. “You not only just put me in a good position, you also no-homoed Jo out of twenty bucks.”

“You sons-a-bitches have been taking bets?!” Dean shouts.

“Calm down, man!” Sam uses his arm to shield from Dean’s attempted hits. “Just me and Jo. She didn’t think you’d work as hard to overcompensate as you do.”

Dean frowns, and Sam rephrases, “She thought that if you were into dudes, you’d be more open about it.”

His frown lines deepen, because is that supposed to be a compliment, or an insult?

“Man,” Sam shakes his head. “You’re somethin’ else.”

“What?” Dean exclaims. “I’m just supposed to suspect that I like dick? That’s on me now?”

Sam looks a little stunned at the open confession, and Dean has to say he’s a little stunned himself. He hasn’t even touched a dick yet and he already presumes to know that about himself?

“Well,” Sam shifts. “You suspected you liked boobs, didn’t you? And, y’know… girls.”

Dean raises his eyebrow. “Pussy, Sam?”

“Yeah,” Sam rolls his eyes and settles back into his seat. “I mean, I get it. Dad always told you you were a lady killer—”

“His exact words were pussy hound, I believe,” Dean recalls, if not fondly then at least with some bitter amusement.

“Whatever, he thought it was great you were a—”

“If you say ‘stud’, so help me god I will drive you back to the bay and make you hitchhike home.”

“Well, he did,” Sam argues back. “And I’m sure anything else was easy to ignore because of how much you like women.”

“It wasn’t easy,” Dean scowls. “Just possible.”

Sam’s eyebrows knit together at that, but Dean stops him before he can even start.

They ride in silence for a few more minutes before Sam pipes up, “I think it’s good.”

“Great.”

Shit.

Dean’s shoulders drop and he says, “Sorry. Thanks, Sammy.”

oo

Castiel doesn't remember a lot of his teenage years, opting instead to log them away and block them from interfering with his day-to-day life. However, some things he just can't shake, and his first (and last) boyfriend Josh is one of those things.

Josh was pretty. He made Castiel laugh and liked kissing. He was smart, too, and didn't seem to mind that Castiel was stranger than most.

It wasn't entirely his fault, what had happened. Castiel doesn't like pointing out that he's different anyway, and back when he was a kid he had no idea just how the hell to bring it up.

It didn't get to be a problem until they were tangled together in Josh's bed, when Castiel was naked and writhing with a cock in his ass and a boy who thought he was just playing it up for kicks.

For some reason, when he said 'stop', it didn't sound like 'stop'. For some reason, Josh thought it was a game, maybe because Josh was pretty and had boys before him who liked to play like that.

"Why aren't you hard anymore?" the words still burn in Castiel's ears.

He'd tried to get him back up, with his hands and with his mouth, but nothing worked. The only thing Castiel could think to accurately describe it later was that it was like his blood had been replaced by engine grease.

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

Castiel couldn't answer.

"Just come like a normal person, Jesus!"

Which was how Gabriel had found out about the whole fiasco in the first place. He'd called Gabriel to come pick him up, red in the face and hysterically crying. Gabriel didn't even hesitate.

It was one of the single most humiliating things Castiel can recall experiencing.

"I stopped wanting to as soon as he touched me," Castiel finally admitted as they drove up to their house. Gabriel pulled off to the side of the road and put his hazards on, even though no one used the road up to the house at this time of night.

"Did you tell him that?"

"No," Castiel mumbled.

"Did he hurt you?"

"A little."

"That little fucker."

It took a lot of convincing to make sure Gabriel wouldn't turn right around and go cave Josh's face in. He managed to remind Gabriel that he was nineteen, and would be tried as an adult if he murdered anyone.

So, Gabriel did the next best thing he could think of. He locked the doors and proceeded to rattle off what Castiel is sure to this day is still the longest sex talk in existence.

It helped, though, to know that there wasn't anything wrong with him for wanting to stop. Gabriel was the one who told him he always had to be one-hundred percent sure that people wanted to have sex before he did anything, that everyone had to do that, not just him, or people like him.

To this day, Castiel still doesn't like people touching him. They don't get it, that Castiel experiences sex on a different level than many. Sex doesn't equate to love to him. Sex is a basic instinct, a sweaty, hairy, sticky, absolutely exhilarating basic instinct.

He's only had it with one person where it didn't suck too bad, and that was with his roommate in freshman year of college--blessedly another raging homosexual and the biggest bottom Castiel had ever met.

Even if he got too caught up to come while he was inside him, he always let Castiel pull out and finish himself off on his stomach.

It had been a very messy year.

"So you've never come with another person before," Dean tries to puzzle out.

They're sitting on the apartment floor in front of an open box of pizza. Castiel knew it was a mistake to talk about this, but he did it anyway. He did it because his meds break down his filter and make him think it's okay to share, when really people just want him to shut up.

He remembers Michael threatening to use force on several occasions if he didn't stop talking about Star Wars.

"I've come with other people," Castiel grabs his third slice of pizza out of the box. "Just... not with them touching me."

Dean can't seem to get over this.

"Dude, having someone touch your junk is one of the finer things in life," he says.

"Not for me," Castiel mumbles through his food.

"What about it don't you like?" asks Dean. Castiel looks up at him, really looks. Dean's eyes are green and beautiful, and they look back into Castiel's in a way that both thrills him and makes him want to kick a hole in a wall.

It's mostly the latter, but that he hasn't yet, and keeps looking at Dean, speaks volumes.

Dr. Barnes would be proud of him.

"I-I don't know, entirely," Castiel looks down at his pizza then. "It's not for a lack of trying, I just have never liked being touched, really."

"You let me kiss you," Dean points out.

"I believe I initiated that, Dean," Castiel says.

"And give you those hickeys," Dean grins.

Castiel's hand comes up to cover the hickeys and he shifts.

Dean flashes him this smile that makes Castiel’s gut stir, because even he can’t deny that this man is damn sexy even just sitting there.

Castiel looks down at where Dean’s hands rest between his legs. Dean is large and stocky, with powerful arms and good, good hands. Castiel’s only let them touch him a few times, yes, but it’s been more than enough to gather that.

And Dean stops when he tells him to.

Castiel tosses his pizza crust back into the box and crawls over it. He perches himself in Dean’s lap and runs his fingers through Dean’s impossibly soft brown hair. That’s Sam’s soap on his neck, but it's his sweat and his skin and hair that make him smell so damn good.

“Is this okay?” Castiel asks, because that is the most important thing to establish.

“Yeah, man,” Dean grins. “Yeah, it’s fine.”

Castiel nods and comes forward to kiss him. This may even become habitual if he’s not careful, this kissing Dean thing.

They shift, and Dean accidentally loses his balance and lands hard on the floor. Castiel shushes him when he starts laughing, trying to keep his own laughter to himself. Sam is already asleep, because he has early morning classes, and since Sam respects Castiel, Castiel makes it a point to make sure he respects Sam back.

Dean pulls him in for another kiss, and Castiel’s palms catch against the carpet.

He pulls back.

“My room,” he says. “Carpet’s too scratchy.”

Dean doesn’t question him, just follows. He lets Castiel pin him against the door and push his hands up his shirt. Dean’s torso is so nice and smooth, velvety soft skin over hard muscle.

He has to taste him.

But before Castiel can unbutton the front of his jeans, Dean grabs his wrist.

Castiel looks up at him.

“Let me,” he says, and hooks his fingers into Castiel’s belt loops.

Oh wow.

“Okay?” Dean asks.

Castiel takes a shaky breath and nods.

“Hey,” Dean presses a kiss to his lips, one that’s oddly tender for the moment. “It’s supposed to be fun, okay? The second you stop having fun, you tell me and we’ll think of something else.”

Castiel nods, “Okay.”

Dean grins and kisses him again, with more force this time, and yes, that is what Castiel is talking about. Urgency, need, unbridled lust—this is what he loves. He barely even notices Dean guide him back toward the bed or press him down into it. When Dean undoes the front of his pants, he makes himself push through the anxiety, because he’s okay. He will be okay.

“So,” Dean boxes Castiel in with his limbs and gives him another searing kiss, one that goes straight to his cock. “What do you like?”

“Uh,” Castiel ponders, brain already starting to short out as he shifts against his soft down comforter.

“Want a handjob?” asks Dean, and yes, a handjob. That sounds nice. Hopefully it’s not just nice because it’s the first thing Dean said.

He’s not all that hard yet. Even with kisses and the taste of Dean’s tongue in his mouth, he can’t get past someone actually there, with him, wanting to make him come.

“Okay?” Dean asks again.

“Your face is unsettling,” Castiel replies all too truthfully, and then swears. “I didn’t mean that negatively. It’s so nice it’s making me anxious.”

Dean laughs into his neck, which soon turns into more languid kisses and hickeys. That helps get him going a little bit.

“Close your eyes,” Dean murmurs into his skin. “Maybe it’ll help.”

Castiel doesn’t like not being able to see people.

But something about Dean makes him feel like it might be okay.

He takes his glasses off and shuts his eyes.

Deans lips and teeth move over his skin. They smell like pizza, garlicy and greasy, and it lingers on Castiel's neck where Dean's mouth has been.

Then the cool air of the apartment hits Castiel's torso, and he opens his eyes. Dean looks back at him, lips parted, and asks again, "Still okay?"

Castiel nods and lets Dean ruck his shirt up under his arms. Dean's thick hands draw up his sides and over his ribs, igniting every last one of Castiel's nerves. His erection presses uncomfortably against his jeans. When he tries to unbutton his pants, Dean catches his wrist and pins it back against the bed.

"Fuck," he mutters. "De-Dean, don't do that."

"Oh," Dean lets go of Castiel's wrist. "Sorry."

"You can undo my pants," Castiel suggests, and Dean smiles.

He pops the button of Castiel's jeans and drags the zipper down nice and slow, so Castiel can feel every catch of the teeth.

Dean's palm presses against Castiel's erection, and this time he is not going to run. He isn't going to stop, because he wants Dean to touch him. Even if he doesn't come, he'll still get to feel Dean's hand wrapped around him.

"Shit," says Dean, and Castiel's heart nearly stutters to a halt. What if Dean wants to stop?

"What is it?" asks Castiel.

"Nothin'," Dean chuckles, scrubbing a hand over his face. "Just surreal is all."

"Oh."

Dean kisses him again, hot and hard and god, Castiel just wants to be lost in it. He rolls his hips against Dean's hand.

And then Dean shifts and slips his hand into Castiel's  underwear, and wow.

Wow, Dean's hand is just--wow.

He squeezes his eyes shut and, okay, maybe makes some sounds that he shouldn't with Sam right in the next room. He grips the comforter hard in his hands and tries to focus the sensations elsewhere.

Dean's hand moves slowly over him, with just the right pressure and Castiel's breath starts coming harder, faster. He writhes underneath the touch, and even he's not sure if he's trying to get away from it or get more of it.

God, he can't take it anymore. He bats Dean's hand away and takes over himself. He sets a faster pace than Dean had. The tension builds low in his belly, the weight of Dean on top of him makes him dizzy.

Dean leans down and kisses him, and it's a slick, hot tangle of tongues and lips and teeth that puts Castiel over the edge.

He comes all over himself, panting and moaning into Dean's mouth. There's come on his hand and on his stomach, and even a little on the hem of his shirt.

When he opens his eyes, he's met with the sight of Dean all kiss-bruised and lust-filled.

"Whoa," is all he manages to say.

oo

For the next week, Dean takes the sex as it comes. It's mostly still Castiel getting him off, and then getting himself off. Unorthodox, maybe, but Castiel coming is about one of the finest things Dean has ever seen.

Castiel seems to enjoy it too, he thinks.

Except, whenever Dean tries to give him a smile in the morning before he leaves, or rests a hand on his shoulder, the affection is never returned.

Even when they're just watching TV or sitting on the couch, Dean will drape an arm around his shoulders or over the back of the couch, and Castiel will lean right out of it like he doesn't even know it's happening.

And then for all of that, Cas will still pull Dean into his room at night and swallow his cock. He'll tell Dean how hard he makes him, how good he feels when he takes them both in his hand and jerks them off.

That's the closest Cas gets to coming with Dean touching him, and Dean is okay with that.

He didn't know guys could feel so good.

He didn't know he could want to reach up and kiss a guy, or hold him, or, fuck, be inside him.

That's a topic they haven't breeched yet, and to be honest Dean doesn't know if he can bring it up without making a complete dick of himself.

It's not like they're cuddly or close anyway. Whenever they finish fooling around, Castiel cleans them up and tells Dean that he has to work, or read, or sleep. Dean knows what it's like to need space--he wouldn't be alone on the road by himself for so long if he didn't--but maybe it's because he is alone so much that he just wants to be around Cas.

They don't have to talk. Dean will just read some of Cas' comics, or surf the internet on Sam's laptop.

Sometimes all he needs is to be close to someone.

Castiel does not appear to have that defect.

Dean sits on the couch after Castiel says he needs a nap and tries not to feel like a pathetic asshole as he channel surfs.

Then Sam comes home with a box and drops it onto the couch beside Dean.

It's an air mattress.

"What the hell?"

"Mazel tov, don't say I never gave you anything."

"No, Sammy, I mean what the hell?" Dean peers at the happy family on the box.

"Thought you might be tired of sleeping on the couch," says Sam. "It's Jess' so don't bust it or anything. We use it when we go camping."

"You go camping?" Dean grimaces, and Sam rolls his eyes.

"Cas is cool with it, so I figured you may as well sleep on something a little nice while you're here."

Cas is cool with it.

 What kind of bullshit is that?

"And, y'know, if you wanna stay here," Sam pulls the lid off of a container of yogurt. "Like, really stay here... we could all talk about it."

For whatever reason, just hearing this makes Dean's guts coil.

Sam doesn't let him think on it too much, though. He helps him set up the mattress, at least for now, and makes a nice little setup for him at the corner of the living room, right next to Cas' bookcase.

Before he barricades himself in his room to study, Sam comes out to where Dean sits on the air mattress and hands him his laptop.

"Just as insurance," he says. "I gotta finish this chapter."

Dean takes it from him.

"Do not use it for porn," Sam issues a final warning before disappearing into his room.

Dean clicks a few of the sites Sam has bookmarked. Most of them are kind of boring, some are pretty dumb. He does spam Sam's Facebook feed with the lyrics to Tom Sawyer, and changes Sam's favorite movie to Howard the Duck before he's decided he's had his fun.

He takes the opportunity instead to do a little research.

And while he's at it, figures he'll change Sam's desktop from a picture of him and Jess in front of the Golden Gate Bridge (ugh, so gay) to a picture of two hulking dudes trapped in a rather aggressive 69.

"We could always try that, you know."

"Jesus Christ, Cas!" Dean smacks the laptop shut. Castiel stares back at him with calculating eyes, and Dean lets out a breath.

"Yeah?"

"Yes."

Dean wets his lips and shifts up. "Thing is," he strokes Castiel's cheek, unable to look away from his mouth, "I've never blown a guy before. And I don't know if I wanna commit to what those fine gentlemen were doing until I've at least gotten there."

Castiel stares for a moment before he smiles.

Maybe he's starting to catch onto Dean's hints after all.

Dean edges him over toward the couch and sits him down, making quick work of getting his pants down over his hips and on the floor. He has nice legs, and Dean presses kisses to every spot he can get to.

The hair was a little strange to get used to at first, and even now from this angle, Dean's mind can't quite wrap itself around how it got here.

He grabs Cas' hard-on in his hand and wets his lips again. It's now or never, he figures, and dips down to suck Castiel into his mouth.

Oh, it's weird. It's a weird taste, a weird texture, a weird thing he has to do with his mouth that he has not had to do before. But it's also fucking exhilarating, because he likes it.

Fuck, he really likes it.

Twenty-six years of his life he's spent not sucking dick.

He never thought he'd say this, but that's a fucking tragedy right there.

It takes a bit to work up to a good pace. His teeth catch on Cas a few times, but not enough that Cas makes him stop. Apparently Cas is getting more and more comfortable with Dean touching him, even if he fucks up now and again.

Precome oozes into Dean's mouth and he laps it up. He's tasted Castiel before, though not so directly. He hums his contentment, and Castiel whimpers above him.

Dean sucks harder, goes down a little further, and Castiel lets out a sharp yelp.

"Stop for a second," Cas breathes, and Dean obliges. Cas' face is bright pink, his eyes almost completely black. Dean can't keep his mouth off of him, so he presses hot, open-mouthed kisses to his thighs as Cas starts jerking himself off.

Precome leaks out of Cas' slit and down his cock, occasionally getting swept up by his hand.

Dean leans forward and sweeps his tongue through the shiny slick.  

"Shit," Cas' voice goes tight as Dean sucks the tip of his cock back between his lips. He cups Cas' balls in his hand, like Cas does to himself when he's close. "Dean!" Castiel exclaims, too late to be a warning. He looks up just in time for Cas to come all over his lips and chin.

"Fuck," Dean breathes. 

The only time he's ever been as satisfied with making someone come was with that waitress in Louisiana who squirted like no tomorrow.

"Indeed," Castiel agrees, and looks down at Dean's face.

He laughs.

"You look like a walking wet dream right now," he says, and Dean barks out a laugh.   

"Guys," comes Sam's irritated tone from his room. "I don't care if you two fuck, but keep it down."

The door flies open, and immediately Sam stumbles back.

"God damn it, I thought you guys were in Cas' room," he presses his hands over his eyes. "This is a communal space, dickbags! Dean, would you wash your face?"

"Is my face a communal space?" Dean asks.

"From what I've heard of you, yes," Castiel replies.

It's too good of a burn for Dean not to laugh. Sam, meanwhile, lets out a frustrated groan and slams his bedroom door shut. Castiel has already put his pants back on, and stands when Dean reaches for the box of tissues by the couch.

"Where're you going?" asks Dean.

"I have to meet with a student," Castiel pulls his sweatshirt into order. "Plus, I think we may have upset Sam."

"May have?" Dean laughs. "We definitely did. He'll get over it."

"I can hear you," Sam calls through the wall.

"Congratulations!" Dean shouts back. "20/20 hearing, good for you."

"Not as good as your 20/20 dick mouth, apparently."

"Hey!" Dean shouts and leaps to his feet. He tries to throw Sam's door open, but it's locked.

"If you Incredibly Gay Hulk my door I am going to be righteously pissed off."

The sound of the front door shutting cuts Dean off.

He's alone again, without so much as a goodbye.  

oo

Dean is gone when Castiel comes back to the apartment.

Strange, but Castiel doesn’t think too much of it. He has work to do, and it will be nice to be able to get it done without Dean distracting him.

The stranger part is that he’s also missing when Castiel wakes up.

Sam eats a bowl of cereal over his book, and Castiel asks, “Where’s Dean?”

Sam looks up at him and frowns.

“I thought he was with you.”

“Why would he be with me?” Castiel asks, and Sam’s eyebrows go up.

“Because you guys are sleeping together?”

“No we’re not,” Castiel frowns. “We’re having sex.”

Sam sighs, “Euphemism, Cas.”

“Oh, right,” Castiel’s brows hitch.

He looks over at the corner and sees that all of Dean’s things are gone, the air mattress packed away in the box.

Dean is gone.

“Ah, shit,” Sam mutters and dashes out the front door. Castiel walks over and inspects the air mattress box. There’s a note on the top that reads, “Thanks for the hospitality.”

Castiel reads over the note numerous times before Sam comes back up.

“The Impala’s gone,” he says. “That fucking shithead.”

Castiel sets the note back on the box and sighs. It figures he would meet someone he genuinely enjoyed only to have them leave as soon as it was convenient.

Sam leaves Dean a scathing voicemail on the other side of the room, while Castiel clicks his fingernails together, staring at the empty space Dean left behind.

His phone buzzes in his pocket, and he sees a text from Gabriel.

“Take your meds, buckaroo.”

Castiel ignores it.

oo

The majority of Castiel’s day is spent doing as much research as he can manage. He goes to the library and hunkers down under a mountain of books, reading until his eyes burn and scribbling notes until his wrist aches. He has to silence his phone after a while, because Gabriel will not stop texting him. 

He gets a fair amount done, at least.

It’s dark when he leaves the library and catches a bus back home. He accidentally walks right into a woman on the street, but even that doesn’t pull him out of this trance-like state.

Out here it’s cold, and it smells like nighttime. He wants to be in his bed, where it’s warm and it still smells like Dean.

Castiel takes the stairs up to the apartment and halts the moment he rounds the corner into his hallway.

Gabriel looks over at him at the same time, rocking back and forth on his feet.

“Candy run?” he suggests.

Which is how two grown men end up spending thirty dollars on candy at the nearest 7-11.

Castiel almost forgot they used to do this. Living in their house, it was easy to get over-stimulated. Being that Gabriel and Anna were the only people who really took Castiel into consideration, they often did what they could to make sure Castiel was out of the line of fire.

One of their favorite ways to do this was of Gabriel’s mind: take all of the money they had and line their pockets with candy.

Now it’s only Gabriel and Castiel, parked on some side street, eating as much candy as they can before they have to talk.

That’s the worst part of candy runs: the talking.

“What the hell did you even get?” asks Gabriel, and Castiel looks into his bag.

“Sour worms, Starburst, Mike & Ikes—”

“What’s that one in your hand?”

Castiel looks at the very plain checkered packaging.

“Is that a fucking Abba-Zaba?”

Castiel scowls then and takes a defiant bite.

“Whatever, man,” Gabriel sighs and tips back a mouthful of M&Ms. “You like weird shit.”

“Did you drive down all the way from Napa just to ridicule my taste in candy?”

Gabriel snorts, “No, just one of the many perks of paying you a visit.” He looks over at Castiel and asks, “Had to come down here and make sure you were still alive.”

Castiel thuds his head back against the headrest.

“I know, I know I’m supposed to respect your privacy now that you’re on your own, but you can’t just not answer your phone for three days—”

“A day, Gabriel,” Castiel corrects, and Gabriel gives him a look.

“Look at your phone, kiddo,” he says.

Castiel pulls out his phone and checks the date.

“It’s Wednesday,” he realizes. “When did it turn into Wednesday?”

“After Tuesday, I imagine,” Gabriel opens up a pack of twinkies. “Sam said he’s barely seen you, figured I better pay you a visit before you vanished into thin air.”

Castiel doesn’t say anything, so Gabriel continues, “I should’ve known something was up at the wedding, I’m sorry.”

“Gabriel, I don’t want to talk about this,” Castiel groans.

“Yeah, well tough titties,” Gabriel comes back through a mouthful of spongy yellow cake. “You dropped off of the face of the fucking earth, pal. I was about to round up a posse."

“Gabriel, I can’t be expected to function if you keep infantilizing me,” Castiel points out very calmly.

Gabriel laughs even though nothing about this is funny.

“You didn’t even know what day it was,” he says. “Man, I know you can do fine on your own, okay? I’ve seen it. But when you need help, you’ve gotta remember to ask for help.”

“This conversation is verging on ableist—”

“Bullshit,” Gabriel tosses back. “I’d tell you that even if you were the most neurotypical bastard on the face of the planet, because everyone needs help once in a while. How many times did I have to ask you to come pick me up because I was too lit to drive?”

Castiel may not remember a lot, but he definitely recalls many a Friday night of his teenage years sneaking Gabriel back into the house in the wee small hours

“Kiddo,you don’t even question it when I need help,” Gabriel says. “We all need it once in a while. Look, you’ve been out here on your own for how long?”

Castiel shifts.

“Six months.”

“You sure as shit blew dad’s expectations out of the water,” Gabriel gives him a pat on the shoulder. “Mom’s too. Everyone’s, really. Except mine, of course. I’ve always had faith in you.”

Castiel flips him off.

“Oh, feisty,” Gabriel grins. “This Dean guy must’ve rubbed off on you.”

Castiel’s cheeks flush of their own accord.

Damn it.

“Look at you!” Gabriel laughs. “This is fucking precious.”

“He left,” Castiel just says, and takes another bite of his taffy. At least with this in his mouth he won’t have to talk for a few minutes.

Except Gabriel keeps looking at him.

“What?”

“You really liked him, huh?”

“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” Castiel mutters. “I don’t understand why he left. I thought we were having fun.”

“Cas, you gotta remember,” Gabriel stashes his bag down by his feet. “Your neurotypicals need affection. Fed, watered, walked, loved—they’re like any common house pet.”

Castiel snorts. 

“Sometimes you gotta throw ‘em a bone,” Gabriel shrugs. “You like him?”

“We’ve established that, Gabriel.”

“Ever tell him that?”

“Why would I be having sex with him if I didn’t like him?” Castiel throws his hands up. Fuck, he’s doing the flapping. He hasn’t done the flapping since he was a kid. Promptly, he sits on his hands.

He taps his toes inside his shoes.

“Man, believe me, that’s not always the case with my kind,” Gabriel shakes his head. “Unfortunately, these days it’s not enough to simply put your mouth on a fellow human’s genitals and expect them to know you like them. Sometimes we have to have conversations.”

Castiel groans and squeezes his eyes shut.

“That is terrible and I don’t want any part in it,” he says.

“Yeah, well,” Gabriel turns on the car engine. “That’s too bad, because that’s exactly what you’re going to go do.”

oo

It's nice to sleep in a bed again, even if the sheets smell like industrial bleach.

The last few days have been kind of a haze, but at least he's hustled enough bright-eyed college kids out of their parents' money to put him up in a motel for a few days while he scrounges around for gas money.

The sooner he gets out of here, the better.

The sooner it's just him, on his own, on the open road, out of reach of the people he loves, the sooner everyone can get back to their nice fucking lives without him.

Sam went as far west as he could in the lower forty-eight just to get the hell away from him, from their shitty life in Lawrence. He remembers the look on Sam's face when he got his acceptance into Stanford--that look of abject relief that very plainly said, 'I never have to come back here again.'

Dad hadn't been too thrilled, and so neither had Dean. Except while dad told him (after, admittedly, he'd tied on more than a few) if he was going to get gone he should stay gone, Dean's always had a soft spot for the kid.

Sam's his little brother, for fuck's sake. He'll always look after him.

Except, it doesn't seem like Sam needs looking after anymore. He's an adult, he pays bills and goes to school and has a job and a girlfriend.

And he lives with a damn gorgeous man who likes Star Wars and shitty horror movies, who kisses Dean like he's the only person that's ever existed, and then turns right around and brushes him off.

He fucked up, coming here.

Righteously. Fucked. Up.

Sam keeps calling, but Dean refuses to answer. He'll just try to get Dean to come back and talk and talk to him, or talk to Cas, and that's not going to fucking happen. It's better for everyone if this just last week just stays athing that happened and that they never ever have to talk about it, ever.

And being that Dean doesn't want to talk about it ever, of course Sam would come pounding on his motel door.

"Man, what the hell?" Dean opens the door, and Sam blows inside right past him. "How'd you even find me?"

"How many black '67 Impalas do you think there are in this town?" Sam asks. "What the fuck, Dean?"

"Whoa, man, nice to see you too," Dean scowls and locks the door behind him.

"Cut the bullshit," Sam snaps. "That was fucked up and you know it."

Dean lets out a tired sigh and scrubs his face with his hands.

So much for not talking about this.

"Sam, this is better for everyone, all right?" he explains.

"Oh, don't pull that," Sam rolls his eyes. "You think I don't know every fucking line you're gonna lay on me? I'm immune to your pity party bullshit, all right, now let's get in the car and get back. You're talking to Cas."

"Hey!" Dean snaps, and Sam's eyebrows go up. "I don't wanna go back and talk to either of you, so fuck off."

"Dean, I am so beyond the point of caring," Sam iterates very clearly for him. "You're going to nut the hell up and come with me, because I'm tired of this shit."

Dean groans and grabs the back of his neck with both hands. 

"You really think it's better for everyone that you're not around?" Sam asks. "Cas has been catatonic for three days and I've been beating myself over the head wondering if you're okay."

Dean folds his arms over his chest, but doesn't say anything.

"Dean, come on," Sam sighs.

"No, Sam," Dean argues. "I don't belong here, you know that."

"The hell you don't," Sam comes back. "Dean, you're my brother. I love you, okay? People belong where they're loved. That includes you."

God, it burns. Every fiber of his being tells him to make a break for it, to leap out the window, hop in the Impala and never look back.  

"Dean, come on," Sam returns. "You know I love you."

"I know!"

"And you know you love me, right?"

"I know!" Dean exclaims. "Fuck, we're square, I get it. Doesn't mean you have to put me up in your fucking apartment."

"Fine," Sam surrenders. "You don't have to live with me and Cas. Great. You do have to talk to Cas, though."

Dean raises an eyebrow at that, "Why don't you fucking make me, college boy."

oo

Castiel jumps when the door to his room opens. Sam is on the other side, Dean in tow. Gabriel looks up from his phone and lets out a low whistle.

"You always did like 'em butch, Cassie."

"Who the fuck is this guy?" Dean asks.

Dean's face is red, and like Castiel looks less than pleased with the situation.

"You kids obviously have a lot to talk about," Gabriel sniffs and tucks his phone away.

"I'm being held forcibly against my will," says Dean. "He hunted me down and kidnapped me."

"Please," Sam rolls his eyes. "If you really didn't  want to be found, I wouldn't have been able to find you."

Castiel frowns.

Maybe that's just one of those things he'll never understand.

"So, you two talk," Gabriel gestures to the room. "Sam and I will be right outside, so please no bloody murders or screaming orgies."

"Please," Sam reiterates.

They shut the door behind them, and then it's just Castiel and Dean.

Dean and Castiel.

Their names click nicely together, Castiel thinks.

"Look," Dean grabs the back of his neck. "I'm sorry I took off, all right?"

"I like you, Dean," Castiel replies. "I thought you knew that, but you didn't, and that's not your fault it's mine."

Dean shifts where he stands, and asks, "For real?"

"Is what for real?"

"That you like me," Dean leans against the door.

"Yes, Dean, that's what I just said," Castiel stands. "I don't say things that I don't mean. That would be stupid."

Dean looks down at that.

"Yeah, well, not everyone's that forward," he says. "Me included, actually."

"Well, life would be much easier if they were," Castiel reasons.

"You're right," Dean nods.

They stand in silence for a few minutes. Castiel's heart thumps hard at the thought that he may have to continue this conversation, because where are they supposed to go from here?

 "I don't like a lot of people, Cas," Dean confesses then, taking a step forward to Castiel. "But I--I can't explain it, but I like you a lot." 

Castiel doesn't back away, though his breath does quicken at Dean's proximity.

"I don't like a lot of people either," he agrees. "Maybe that's why we like each other."  

Dean smiles.

"Yeah, maybe."

There's a knock on the door, followed by Gabriel's very insistent, "Now kiss!"

"Shut up, Gabriel," Castiel warns, but then Dean comes forward and presses their lips together and okay.

Maybe Gabriel has had worse ideas.

oo

Sam doesn't say anything when Dean starts washing dishes at a local 24-hour joint, though his face says 'I'm proud of you' for at least a month.

He doesn't say anything when, after two months of crashing on an air mattress on their floor, Castiel finally lets Dean start sleeping in his bed.

He can't keep the smug fucking smile off his face when six months after that Dean finally empties out the last of his dufflebag into Castiel's dresser drawers, though.

"What?" Dean asks, eyebrows pinched and mouth fixed in a firm line as Castiel re-folds all of his shirts. He mumbles, "Dude, what are you doing?"

"You're making a mess," Castiel frowns back at him. 

"It's my mess," Dean insists and looks back over at Sam. "Seriously, what?"

Sam just shrugs.

"Glad you decided to stay, is all."