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Substitute Me for a Monster

Chapter Text

Moonlight bled through the cracks of the cottage's walls and trickled onto the ground. Dust particles glinted in the light as they swarmed around a shelved metal cart. Covering the cart was a blue paper sheet that had been torn at the edges. A tall, freckle-skinned man paced around it, cracking the joints in his shoulders to loosen them. His hands were stained with blood, and chunks of skin were gathered beneath his fingernails. 

In the corner of his eye, he could see his captive stirring into consciousness. He lifted his heavy head and peered up at the captor through his lashes. He croaked as he tried to catch his breath.

"Please," he begged between pants, "just let me go." The captor grabbed the cloth off of the metal cart's handle and wiped his knuckles, wincing as the rough fabric scratched the sore skin. His black T-shirt clinging to his chest, he peeled back the papery sheet, revealing an assortment of knives, scissors, hammers, string, and a .22 caliber Revolver. 

"Look, just tell me where the boy is, and I'll walk away."

"I told you, I don't know."

The captor skimmed his fingers over his tools until they stopped on a meat tenderizer. He had borrowed it from the old lady who lived next door to him, told her he was going to make himself a nice steak. He picked it up and twirled it in his fingers like a baton, sauntering towards his battered captive.

"We can do this all day."

"I don't. Fucking. Know!" the other man growled through bloodied, gritted teeth. The captor clenched his jaw and strode over to the man in the chair, his hand so tight around the handle his knuckles turned white and his nails bit into his palm. The battered man yelped as he felt his hand being yanked forward. The captor drew the meat tenderizer back and thrashed the other man's fingers. The prisoner threw his head back and screamed as he heard his bones crack. The captor could see the tears sheening his victim's eyes.

"Where's Castiel?"

The prisoner writhed in pain and panted.

"I don't...I don't know."

Dean smashed the man's fingers, this time harder.

"Where is he?!"

He pounded the man's fingers, denting and breaking his skin, cracking the bone with each strike. 

"WHERE IS CASTIEL? WHERE IS CASTIEL? WHERE IS HE?!"

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6 MONTHS AGO

Castiel sat in the back of the classroom, his earplugs stuck in his ear, skimming through the last page of Chapter 16. The chapter wasn't assigned; he decided to do some extra reading to avoid the other kids in the hallway, and he didn't feel like just sitting in the classroom looking stupid.

Miss Milton was out, probably using the bathroom as far as he knew.

The warning bell rang. Castiel looked up from his textbook and watched as students trickled into the classroom with their backpacks slung on their shoulders, jabbering about God-knows-who-gives-a-shit.

Balthazar shoved a couple of kids out of the way and made a beeline towards the desk next to him, ignoring the kids' disgruntled cries. Balthazar was fairly handsome, his eyes big and blue and his hair all messy and curly. His English accent helped. Almost every straight girl in the school swooned over him; Castiel found it so annoying. The v-neck of his shirt dipped down to reveal his sharp collarbone, defined pecs, and parts of his areolae. If he were a girl, he would immediately be flagged down for a dress code violation.

"You know, life would be so much easier if Mrs. Patterson would just get laid already."

"What happened?" Castiel asked, looking back down at his textbook. Balthazar huffed and rolled his eyes.

"Bitch fucking stopped me in the hall all because I had a piece of gum in my mouth."

"You shouldn't be chewing gum in the hallways, anyway. It's dangerous."

Balthazar snorted.

"I'm pretty sure people are more likely to die in school shootings than freak gum accidents." Balthazar unzipped his backpack and pulled out his binder, his folder, and his pencil case.

Fergus McLeod—or Crowley, as he preferred to be called—took his usual place directly in front of Castiel. He turned and gave him a flirty grin that made his skin crawl and his stomach turn.

"Hey there, angel."

Balthazar snickered. Castiel turned to glare at him. Balt's smile faded. He busied himself with the school supplies on his desk. Cas rolled his eyes and turned back to Crowley.

"What do you want this time, Crowley?"

"Homecoming's this Friday."

"I'm aware."

"I'm looking for a date."

"Nope. Ask someone else."

Castiel looked back down at his textbook and pretended to focus on his reading. He could feel the other boy's eyes lingering on him.

"C'mon, Cassie, be polite."

Castiel huffed and looked back up from his textbook.

"Crowley, for the last time, I don't like you, so why don't you take your—"

The bell rang before he could finish his sentence.

Principal Robert Singer stepped to the front of the classroom, followed by a younger-looking man in a well-fitted vest and pinstripe pants. Castiel couldn't stop staring at the man.

It was no secret that Castiel was gay. No one really made a big deal about sexual orientation at Tokahontas County High; it was a fairly progressive school where people cared more about whether you were a Trump supporter or not than if you liked girls or guys, if you wanted a penis or a vagina, or if you identified with a gender or not.

The principal's beady brown eyes scanned the room as he waited patiently for everyone to settle down. Once everybody finally shut up, he cleared his throat and pushed his hands into his pockets.

"Good afternoon, class."

Silence. Principal Singer cleared his throat and licked his lips. "I'm afraid your teacher, Miss Milton, will be absent for the rest of the semester. She needs to resolve some…personal issues. So, we have a new teacher here today." He gestured towards the man standing next to him, who lifted his chin to identify himself. "This is Mr. Winchester. He'll be your teacher for the remainder of this semester. Miss Milton will return next semester. Until then, I expect you all to treat Mr. Winchester here with the utmost respect." He bowed his head and turned to leave the poor substitute alone with the twenty-something students.

"Good afternoon, class. My name is Mr. Winchester. And as all of you have just heard, I'll be your teacher for the remainder of this semester. Kinda sprang this on y'all, am I right?" He chuckled nervously. The class remained silent.

Balthazar snickered again.

"Embarrassing."

"Excuse me, sir."

Balthazar looked up at him, smirking.

"What's your name?"

"The name's Balthazar. But you can call me Balty, sweetheart."

Castiel snorted and shook his head at him.

"Well, Balthazar, you're a pretty girl, but you might wanna cover up," Mr. Winchester deadpanned.

The class exploded with laughter, some of them glancing back at Balthazar.

"And you, sir," Mr. Winchester continued. Castiel looked back to the front of the class and noticed Mr. Winchester's eyes were on him. He could feel the heat creeping to his cheeks.

"Y-yeah?"

"What's your name?" Castiel glanced around the classroom and noticed a few people looking over it at him. He blushed.

"C-castiel?"

"Are you asking me or telling me?"

"It's Castiel, sir."

"What are you listening to, Cas?" A few of his classmates snickered. Castiel was pretty sure his face was as red as Balt's at this point.

"G-george Carlin's 1992 HBO Special, sir."

"You like comedy?"

He nodded his head and bit his lip.

"Yeah, I do."

"What bit are you on?"

"The public sucks."

Mr. Winchester leaned against the marker tray and chuckled.

"Love that bit."

Castiel laughed along with him.

"Yeah. Did you hear his Complaints & Grievances album?"

"Yeah. But as much as I love Carlin and Pryor and all those other comedians, I'm gonna need you to turn that off, please. Class is in session." Castiel paused the YouTube video and pulled his earplugs out of his ear, wrapping it around the iPhone before shoving it into his desk.

"Now," Mr. Winchester continues, pushing himself off of the board, "you guys are learning about the Cold War, right?"

Chapter Text

Mr. Winchester paced the front of the classroom, explaining in great depth how the ideologies of the Eastern Bloc contrasted with those of the Western Bloc. What captivated the class was not just the volume of his voice or his dramatic hand gestures; it was how his eyes grew lustrous with passion, especially when he started to discuss the wave of dictatorships throughout South America in result of the dispute between the East and the West.

Castiel could never receive this much passion from any of his other teachers during their lessons; they usually either intoned facts that were already in the textbook or handed out large packets for the students to work on (or pretend to work on) for the remainder of class, and they didn't even grade it.

Class finally ended. Students bustled out of the room before the closing announcements even started. Castiel had stayed out of the way, not in the mood to be trampled by twenty-something students. Mr. Winchester was gathering papers at his desk when Castiel approached him, his backpack slung on his shoulder.

What the hell am I gonna say to the man?

Up close, Mr. Winchester was beautiful. His long curled lashes framed his piercing green eyes, and his lips were full and plump and pink. Castiel immediately pushed aside thoughts of how soft the man's lips would be against his own. He gulped and cleared his throat.

"Hey."

"Hey is for horses, Cas."

"Sorry." His cheeks turned hot. This was ridiculous. Why was he here? Mr. Winchester looked up at him, his deep green eyes meeting his blue ones. Castiel could feel all of the breath slipping out of his lungs. It's as though someone had just jabbed their fist into his stomach.

"Um…you did great today, I guess." Castiel rubbed the back of his neck. When he wasn't in front of the class teaching, the man made him tremble in ways that he couldn't understand. Up close, he smelled sweet, like a concoction of cologne, leather, and aftershave. Castiel found himself wanting to get drunk on the smell, taste it on his tongue.

"You guess?" Mr. Winchester cocked a neat eyebrow at him.

Castiel ran a tongue over his dry lip, and he swore he saw the older man's eyes flickering down to it. He looked down at his feet and huffed.

"What I meant to say was, the lesson was interesting, and I was…." His voice was starting to waver. He cleared his throat and parted his lips to to apologize, but then Mr. Winchester barked a chuckle. Castiel frowned.

"Relax, Cas. I was just messin' with you."

Castiel nervously chuckled.

"Oh. Um…well…bye." He ducked away and ran out of the classroom.

----------------------

Tears were streaming out of Balthazar's eyes, and his shoulders were shaking. He was leaning against the brick wall, laughing and clapping his hands like a seal. Castiel glanced over his shoulder in hopes that no one would notice before turning back to him and hissing, "Will you shut up?"

"I can't stop!" The fucking Brit doubled over in laughter. The dark-haired boy scowled at him, his arms folded across his chest.

"Well, try."

He felt someone's arm wrap around his shoulders and pull him closer. The person pulled him closer and pressed a big, wet kiss to the side of his face. Castiel shoved them away.

"Gabriel!"

The boy laughed. Castiel wiped the spit off of his cheek with the back of his hand, glaring at his older brother.

"I haven't seen you in a minute, lil' bro!" He ruffled his little brother's hair. The other boy shoved his hand away.

"C'mon, stop!" He quickly brought his hands up to fix his hair. While he was fixing his hair, he heard his brother ask Balthazar what he was laughing about.

"Please, don't," he whined as the Brit recounted how he made a fool of himself in front of the "uber-hot substitute" and then ran out of the room "like a little bitch."

"Were you tryna ask him out?" Gabriel asked through his laughter.

"No, I was…just trying to tell him…he was a good teacher."

"And that you wanted to fuck him?" Balthazar snorted. Castiel punched Balthazar, who was now laughing along with Gabriel. He rolled his eyes and marched away.

"Cas! We were just messin' with you!" Gabriel called after him. "C'mon!"

Their voices became muted by the growing distance as he moved further away from them, disappearing into the crowd behind him. He pushed through the crush of bodies towards Bus 239.

Suddenly, he felt someone grab him by his arm and spin him around. Castiel huffed.

Great.

Castiel tried to turn away from him, but Crowley's grip was too strong. He let out a resigned sigh.

"What'd you want?"

"A date with you to homecoming."

"Never gonna happen, Fergus."

"It's Crowley."

"Fergus, Crowley, Satan, whatever your name is, I'm not going to homecoming with you. Forget it."

He turned and tried to head towards the bus, but then Crowley caught his arm again. And at that moment, the three front buses—bus 239 being one of them—hissed as the doors were pulled closed. Castiel yanked harder, trying to get from Point A to Point B. The three buses in the front pulled away from the curb and drove off.

Terrific.

Chapter Text

Only a handful of students straggled on the sidewalk. Some were pulling out their phone, asking their friends or whoever to pick them up. Meanwhile, Castiel was being manhandled by a seventeen-year-old football quarterback.

"Let me go!" he growled out, twisting away from him. The athlete only smiled and tightened his grip.

"You're not getting away from me again, sweetheart." A couple of kids were glancing back at them, some of them whispering to one another and pointing. He turned back to the quarterback.

"Get off. Now!"

"Oh, I'll get off alright, beautiful." He grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him in for a kiss. Castiel pushed at him.

"Hey!" A deep voice barked behind him. He turned his head and saw Mr. Winchester stalking towards them, his fleece trench coat blowing behind him. "Let him go!"

Crowley held his grip on Castiel's wrist. The substitute stopped in front of them and glowered down at the taller boy, pushing his hands into his pockets.

"I'm not gonna ask you again."

The sixteen-year-old looked back at the quarterback who was now sneering at the substitute. Reluctantly, he released the smaller boy. Castiel snatched his hand away and began rolling his wrist, glaring at Crowley.

The other boy backed away from him, his eyes lingering on him. He turned his back to the both of them and retreated to the parking lot where his green Jeep SUV was parked. Castiel looked back down at his wrist, which now had light purple bruises blossoming on it. Castiel huffed.

"Great. Fuckin' asshole bruised my arm."

"Language, young man."

He looked up at the substitute apologetically.

"Sorry, I'm just…" he looks back down at his wrist, "not having a very good day."

"I see," the man mused, nodding at Crowley.

"That kid harasses you?"

"All the time."

He watched as the football player climbed into his Jeep and slammed the door behind him.
"He was trying to ask me to the dance."

"Wasn't very gentle, was he?"

"Let's just say he was…very determined." He looked back up at the teacher, who was now shooting green daggers at the older kid. Mr. Winchester huffed some air through his nostrils and looked back down at Castiel.

"You got a ride home?"

"Um..."

The teen lifted himself on the balls of his feet and peered over the man's broad shoulder, searching for any sign of Gabriel or Balthazar. The spot where they had hung out at earlier was now vacant. They probably went back to Balt's place. Balt was closer with Gabriel than he was with Castiel.

He huffed a sigh and looked back at Mr. Winchester.

"Apparently, not."

"How about I give you a ride?"

--------------------------

The inside of the 1967 Chevy Impala was filled with the sweet, fake green forest smell. He pushed aside a box of Casette tapes as the older man climbed into the driver's seat.

"Where'd you live?"

"11227 Chestnut Rd."

"I live near that street."

Castiel furrowed his brow and looked up at the substitute.

"Really?"

Mr. Winchester nodded and licked his lips.

"Yeah, I live right up on...Nutcracker Avenue."

"Holy shit." He clamped a hand over his mouth.

"Sorry, Mr. Winchester."

Mr. Winchester chuckled.

"Well, doesn't matter anymore now that we're off school grounds. Oh, and uh, call me Dean."

Chapter Text

The ride was silent for the first few minutes until Mr. Winchester—Dean—decided to turn on some music. It was an old rock song that sounded like it was from the seventies. Castiel bobbed his head to the music.

"What song is this?"

"This? This is 'Who Are You' by the Who."

The teen nodded.

"Sounds like it was written in the seventies."

"It was. Written in 1978. Funny thing, the lyrics in the song were actually inspired by an incident Pete Townshend experienced."

"What happened?"

"Well, a policeman stopped him after he had gone out drinking with Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols. The song talked about the bond that had formed between the three after that night."

"So, this song is about three rock stars becoming friends?"

Dean chuckled.

"Pretty much." As Mr. Winchester rambled on about the history of the song, Castiel found himself enchanted by the man, how passionate he was about the music he was listening to. The luster in his eyes returned, and the crow's feet deepened in the corners of his eyes as the corners lips turned up into a smile. His voice got higher as he spoke faster. Castiel loved how the man could not just shut up for a second. Every song they ever listened to, Dean explained the history of the song, what guitar was used in it, what accolades the song received, etcetera.

Once they finally reached Carver's Lake, Dean finally shut up. Castiel was both relieved and disappointed. He drove straight for about four minutes before turning into Herbs and Spices Avenue. Castiel looked up at the street sign and snorted.

"Who came up with the names here?"

"I don't know. Still can't believe I live in Nutcracker Avenue." They laughed.

"We used to live over on Nutcracker Street back in Shenandoah County a couple years back and then we moved here to Chestnut," Castiel explained.

"Why'd you move?"

"Mom said something about this, uh, serial killer or something living there."

"Who was the serial killer?"

"It was, uh, Jason or Jensen or something?"

Castiel noticed how Dean tensed next to him.

"You okay?"

Dean looked at Castiel next to him.

"Huh? I'm fine, Cas. Just, uh..."

He made a left turn into Chestnut Drive and began scanning the house numbers. All of the houses on either side of the street were made of limestone. Some of them had grey doors while others had cherry wood doors. There was only one other car crawling in front of him. He continued scanning the house numbers until he stopped in front of one house—a house with a set of white oak doors. The rose bushes in the yard were well-kept, its edges trimmed and even. Dean pulled up to the curb and cut the engine off.

"Well, this is you."

Castiel pushed the door open and waved at him before sliding out of the passenger's seat.

"Thank you."

Dean smiled and waved.

"Don't thank me, Cas. Just get home safely."

The teen smiled before pushing the door closed and running up the driveway. He grabbed his house key out of his pocket and poised it over the keyhole, just about to open the door when he noticed that Dean was still there, watching him. He turned over his shoulder and waved again before unlocking the door and stepping inside. He locked the door behind him and watched through the door window as the Impala 67 pulled away from the curb.

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Sitting on the toilet, his pants around his ankles, Castiel thought about all of the things he had to do. He had to finish working on the essay for his science class. He had only gotten two paragraphs out of the way, and the assignment was due tomorrow. Mr. Marvin, or Booger as Gabriel called him, required of them seven paragraphs about cold fusion. After that, he had to read two more chapters of "Call of the Wild" for his English class even though he hated the book, almost as much as he hated Mr. Cherub (he was such a pushover, and he had the worst taste in books).

Just then, the door flew open, and a bright light flashed in his eye. His forearms flew over his eyes.

"Goddammit, Gabriel!"

He pulled his pants up and charged out of the bathroom, leaving the toilet un-flushed. Gabriel ran towards the kitchen, his camera dangling from one hand. They played cat and mouse for a full minute before Castiel decided to block his way to the stairs and tackle him to the ground. They rolled around on the floor, Castiel wrestling the camera out of Gabriel's hand, before he realized that he had forgotten to flush the toilet. He got up and ran back to the bathroom to wipe his ass and flush the toilet. Gabriel came up behind him as he washed his hands.

"Hey, uh, Raphael's borrowing your phone charger, and he says he's not giving it back."

Castiel rolled his eyes as he shook the water off of his hand.

"Of course."

He went over to the decorative towel hanging on the towel ring to dry his hands on it.

"You're gonna get in trouble for that," Gabriel said.

"Yeah? Well, mom's not here."

He pushed past Gabriel and headed to the kitchen.

"What'd you want me to tell Raphael?"

"Tell him that he can bite me."

"Oh, really?" Castiel looked up and saw the darker and taller teen appear behind Gabriel, who dropped his head and sighed. Castiel glared at his older brother, still gripping the towel.

Chapter Text

Raphael and Castiel stood in the downstairs hallway bathroom, brown eyes boring into blue. Gabriel stepped to the side rubbing the back of his neck; he never liked getting in between the two. The dark-skinned teen folded his arms over his chest.

"Well in that case, I'm definitely not giving you your charger back. I was gonna give it back out of courtesy, but...I guess you changed my mind for me."

"What's the problem? Raphy got his feelings hurt?"

Gabriel snickered, earning himself a glare from Raphael. He closed his mouth almost immediately.

"I'm just gonna..." He trailed off and retreated to the staircase, pressing his lips together to suppress laughter.

"So," Raphael continued, "I hear you're applying to Yale."

Shit.

Gabriel had promised him after he had snooped around in his backpack and found a copy of his college application that he wouldn't tell Raphael. If he found out, he would be sure to try and apply as well.

Since the incident with Meg all those years ago, Raphael made it his mission to compete with Castiel at everything, and it wasn't your typical sibling rivalry; it was a fight to the death. Before Raphael transferred to Kripke's Catholic School, he would always send his friends to go beat Castiel up just to sabotage any of his chances at winning the football games. Eventually, Castiel got kicked off of the football team. Raphael had more hatred towards his brother than he had school spirit. Their parents never really intervened; their mom was too busy running the Whole Foods company while their dad was all the way in Japan, so they were left to their own devices pretty much most of the time.

"That's right," Castiel said, his eyes never leaving Raphael's. The older boy smirked at him and chuckled.

"Don't worry. I have no interest. While you're attending that pathetic excuse of an Ivy League school, I'll be getting into Harvard"

"That's if you get in, dumbass."

I have a GPA of 4.0 at one of the best schools on the coast, and I have the second-highest senior ranking, which is not too bad for a 'dumbass' as you so kindly put it."

"Whatever, Raphael." He shoved his brother out of the way and stalked towards the stairway.

"You know, Castiel, jealousy is an ugly color." He paused and opened his mouth to say something, but then decided against it, continuing upstairs.

-----------

He had gotten through half a chapter of "Call of the Wild" and three paragraphs of his science paper when he decided to take a break. It was past midnight, and everyone had gone to sleep. Feeling a dull throbbing behind his eyes, he rubbed at the inner corners, letting out an exhausted sigh. He thought about going to bed, but he was still buzzing from all the coffee he had drunk earlier. His eyes flicked from the screen of his laptop to the phone. He stared at it for a while, internally debating whether he should call her or not. It was midnight; she was probably asleep.

"Screw it," he muttered as he snatched the phone off the charger and dialed the number. He got up and walked out into the hallway, meandering towards the bathroom. The phone rang thrice.

"Hello?" he heard her say, her voice thick with sleep. He glanced out the hallway and lowered himself onto the toilet lid before shutting the door softly.

"Hey, Meg."

"Clarence, why're you calling me? It's midnight." He pulled the door open and peeped through the crack, looking for signs of anyone awake at the moment. He shut the door again and whispered,

"I know, I know, but I was just...thinking about...what happened."

"I don't wanna talk about it."

"I know, but...we need to."

"Good night, Clarence."

She hung up.

Chapter Text

"You called Meg Masters?!"

Gabriel stirred the pancake batter while Castiel poured egg yolk into the frying pan.

"I had to! She wasn't speaking to me!"

"After what you and Raphael did to her, hell, I wouldn't be speaking to you either!"

"After what me and Castiel did to who?" Raphael walked into the kitchen. Castiel clenched his jaw at the sound of his brother's voice and huffed through his nostrils.

"Nothing. We were just talking."

"About me." Gabriel opened his mouth and then closed it. Raphael looked between the both of them. The crackle and popping from the pool of oil beneath the egg grew louder, penetrating the thick silence, hot bubbles of grease popping and spitting onto Castiel's hand. He hissed and snatched his hand back. Raphael let out a resigned sigh.

"Fine. Don't tell me." He adjusted the strap of his backpack and turned to leave. Castiel looked up and watched the teen become smaller as the distance between them grew. Castiel wanted nothing more than to grab the hot frying pan and strike him in the back of his head with it.

"Will you two let it go already?" Gabriel whined once they finally heard the door slam shut. Castiel shook his head and grabbed the turner.

"I'll let it go when he does."

"I don't wanna be in the middle of this feud between the two of you, alright?"

"He started it." He walked over to the cabinet and pulled it open. Gabriel poured pancake batter into the frying pan next to the eggs.

"It was a stupid bet. When are you two gonna make nice?"

Castiel ignored him, setting the plate on the counter next to the stove. The doorbell rang. Castiel sighed and pulled his apron off before tossing it onto the back of one of the chairs and walking to the door, kicking aside a pair of shoes that must've been Gabriel's. He pulled it open.

"Mr. Winchester? What are you doing here?" He looked down at his hand and noticed a small package in his hand.

"Our mail got mixed up apparently?"

He gave the box a questioning look, turning it in his hand. He looked more relaxed in a black t-shirt that hugged his hard chest and a grey and white hoodie over it. Castiel's eyes roved over his form. His head was starting to spin. The hoodie fit well around his broad shoulders and swollen biceps. It wasn't until the older man cleared his throat that he noticed he had been staring.

"It's rude to stare, you know."

"Oh, um…" He coughed, "Sorry." He reached out and grabbed the package from the man's outstretched hand. Dean gave him an amused smile and chuckled.

"You gonna get to school alright?"

"Oh, uh, yeah. It's fine."

He nodded as he grabbed the door handle. Dean smiled at him.

"Well, I, uh, better head back. Get ready for class. You're going right?"

Castiel laughed.

"Of course, Mr. Winchester. Wouldn't miss your lessons for the world." Dean saluted him and backed away. Just then, his foot slipped over a tread, and his ankle rolled sideways, sending him to the ground flat on his ass.

"AH!"

"DEAN!"

Castiel ran over to his side and grabbed his arm. Mr. Winchester winced and hissed as he snatched his arm away to inspect it. Blood was oozing from the abrasion, and some skin had peeled back to reveal something white and translucent. Castiel gingerly reached out and grabbed Dean's underarm. Gabriel appeared on Dean's other side and helped hoist the man to his feet.

"Ah—ah—ah!"

He shifted his weight to his unwounded foot.

"Why don't you come inside?" Gabriel offered. "We'll take a look of that for you."

-----------

They had elevated his foot on a couch cushion and wrapped a plastic bag of ice in a sheet of paper towel before placing it on the side of his ankle. Castiel was in the kitchen, fixing Dean a plate of bacon, pancakes and eggs. Gabriel had already went out to his car, promising Castiel he'd pick him up during his lunch shift.

"Cas, get to class," Dean said, grunting as he shifted around on the couch, "I'll be fine."

"It's fine. Besides, I don't feel like dealing with Crowley again, anyway."

He delivered the plate of eggs and bacon to Mr. Winchester and set it down on the side table behind him

"Thanks."

Dean grunted softly as he sat up and turned to grab the plate and fork. Castiel sat on the floor next to him.

"How's your ankle?"

The man cut off a piece of his pancake with his fork and stuck it in his mouth.

"Getting better," he said around a mouthful. He moaned and pointed down at the pancake with his fork.

"Did you make this?"

Castiel blushed.

"Well, Gabriel made the pancakes, actually. I made the eggs."

"You guys cook breakfast?"

"All the time. Our mom isn't around to cook most of the time; she's usually traveling around, trying to establish stores in different states and whatnot."

"What company does she work for?"

"Whole Foods."

Dean's eyebrows shot up.

"The Whole Foods?"

"Yeah."

Dean hummed.

"Interesting."

He takes another bite.

"And your dad?"

Castiel picked at his toes.

"He's in Japan. He's in the Army. Works as a communications officer."

"Ah. So you guys are alone here most of the time?"

"Pretty much."

Metal scraped against glass as Dean scooped up a forkful of eggs. Castiel could hear the saliva popping in his mouth as he chewed. He continued picking at his toes, staring at the television screen.

"These eggs are fucking delicious," Dean said around a mouthful.

"Language, Mr. Winchester."

Dean sputtered out in laughter, spit and chunks of egg flying out of his mouth. Castiel giggled and looked up at the teacher who was now grabbing a napkin behind him and dabbing the corners of his mouth. He was taken by how absolutely beautiful the man was, especially when he smiled. His heart flitted in his chest, almost as though it had lost its rhythm, that calm and steady tempo that it always maintained. He was scared for a moment, unsure of what it was that he felt every time he was around Mr. Winchester. Every time the man smiled, every time he raved about something, be it the Cold War or The Who, be it South America or AC/DC.

The man was expressive. Passionate. Human in ways no one else around him was.

Chapter Text

Gabriel had picked Dean and Castiel up for their last two periods of the day, much to their dismay. They were caught up in a heated debate exploring how the famine in the USSR differentiated from the one in China before Gabriel decided to honk his horn.

They turned into Rosewood Drive and passed McDonald's. Castiel skimmed through the last page of "Call of the Wild."

"So, what the hell were you two talking so excitedly about?" Gabriel asked them, his eyes flickering between the two.

"Just history and music," Dean said absentmindedly. The younger teen's eyes darted to the rearview mirror. Dean was sprawled across the backseat, his foot elevated on Castiel's bunched up hoodie, staring out the window, deep in thought. Castiel wanted desperately to know what the man was thinking. In the moments when he wasn't talking his head off, he was quiet, deep in thought. It made him wonder what was brewing behind those green eyes of his. What it was that made him tense. What it was that paralyzed him so much.

"Staring's rude, Cas."

He looked away almost immediately.

"Sorry."

Gabriel made a right turn onto Colt Avenue.

"We're here," he sang, semi-quoting the girl from the Poltergeist as he pulled up to the entrance of the school.

A handful of students, as well as a couple of faculty members, strolled down the sidewalk, talking amongst each other as they headed towards the parking lot. Once the Corvette finally slowed to a complete stop, Dean and Castiel pushed the car doors open and climbing out of the car before stepping around the back. Gabriel pulled away and steered towards the parking lot.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Castiel glanced down at Dean's ankle.

"Cas, I told I'm fine. Alright? I rolled my ankle hours ago and then laid on your couch like a sack of potatoes. I'm fine."

Castiel jogged up the stairs, Dean limping at his heels.

"What class do you have before mine?"

Castiel thought for a minute.

"Gym."

-----------------------

"Another day, another fuck I don't care to give."

Balthazar adjusted his backpack strap.

"So, Gabriel told me you stayed home earlier to take care of Mr. Winchester after he broke his ankle on your porch?"

"He didn't break it; he rolled it."

"For old people, rolling is breaking."

"No, it's not, and he's not old!"

Balthazar held his hands up defensively.

"Okay, okay. Sorry for dissing your boyfriend." Castiel rolled his eyes and shook his head, moistening his lips as he continued down the steps. "So why was he at your house, anyway?"

"Our mail got mixed up. He was dropping mine off."

"He could've done that during class, or after."

"Yeah, well, we live near each other, so..."

"Or maybe it's 'cause he's got a crush on you."

"Balthazar..."

"Maybe he woke up with a boner, thinking about how pretty you looked a nightgown."

"Oh, fuck off already."

Balthazar giggled. Next to the steps, Crowley was leaning against the brick wall, a cigarette pinched between his lips. He leered at Castiel, making the sixteen-year-old's stomach turn.

"Your boyfriend's here," Balthazar teased.

"You're a dumbass," Castiel grumbled, his eyes dropping to his feet.

"So, you gonna ride with us or are you gonna miss the bus just to hitch another ride with your daddy-o?" Balthazar snickered, earning himself a punch in the arm. He glanced over at Crowley.

"It looks like I'll riding home with you idiots this afternoon. Better than another run-in with him"

-----------------

Castiel stood beneath the hot spray, languidly lathering his hair with shampoo. Balthazar had gone out to see "Justice League" with Raphael and Gabriel, leaving him to his own devices. He let his mind wander to his conversation with Balthazar earlier. The possibility that Dean might actually be attracted to him, the idea that someone that handsome could actually look at him that way, made him giddy. He never saw himself as an attractive person. Smart, maybe, but never attractive. Of course he did have big blue eyes, dark hair, and pale skin, but that didn't make him beautiful. If anything, it made him look like a character out of one of those emo vampire books or something, and not in a good way, either. Apparently, Crowley thought differently, what with the way he's been flirting with him constantly.

His dick twitched as he imagined that it were Dean hitting on him instead. Lusting after him. He reached down and palmed at his cock as he thought of Dean's eyes darkened with lust, his plump and smooth lips curled into a smirk, and his husky voice saying all sorts of his filthy things to him. Castiel wraps his hand around his fully hard dick as the image becomes clearer to him.

Everyone else sits at their desks, watching in awe as Dean inches towards Castiel, his lips curled into a predatory smile. Castiel inhales the sharp, sweet scent of the other man's aftershave.

He stroked himself slowly, moaning at the friction against his tingling shaft.

Dean's close to him, so close he feels a thin line of heat separating their chests. Minty breath tickles his lips.

Castiel increased his speed.

The older man brushes his lips against his own.

He shuddered as he ghosted his other soap-covered hand against his erect nipple. He pinches and rolls the nub between his fingers.

Castiel pulls him in and deepens the kiss, feeling Dean's teeth clack against his own. Dean brings his hands to the teen's waist and pulls him in so that their bodies are flush against one another's. Castiel feels himself being pushed against the desk, the edge biting into his back. He hops up and wraps his legs around the older man's waist. He feels Dean's hard cock against his own. Dean breaks the kiss and sets him down before reaching down between them to unbutton his own pants. Castiel watches with anticipation, saliva thickening in his mouth, as the man pulls the waistband of his underwear down to reveal his flushed and engorged member.

He pumped faster, keening as he feels the tingling heat wrapped around his dick. White plumes of steam rose from the ground, curling before his eyes, breathing against his skin, adding onto the pressure on his sensitive cock. He threw his head back and grunted, letting his eyes flutter closed.

Dean is now rubbing their cocks together while the students watched. Sweat forms at Castiel's hairline. He pants and grips Dean's broad shoulders, his fingers now beneath the cotton fabric of his button-down, as he thrust into Dean's hands. His nails bite into the other man's skin, almost deep enough to draw blood. Dean is looking into Castiel's eyes through his long eyelashes.

His cheeks flushed and his mouth dry, he pumped harder, his cock now throbbing in his fist. He felt a bead of cum oozing from the slit and trickling down the slope of the engorged, purplish head. He whimpered.

Dean thrusts faster, harder, rubbing himself against him.

"Dean," he whines.

"What do you want, my pretty angel?"

"Wanna...cum."

"Then cum, precious. Cum."

He cried out as he spilled all over his hand. He slumped against the tiled wall, feeling the curdled white fluid dribble all over his fingers. 

Chapter Text

Mr. Winchester wasn't in class today. Principal Singer had announced to the class that he had come down with the stomach flu. It had been going around for the past six weeks, now. Castiel wasn't convinced for whatever reason. The substitute for him was a man by the name of Mr. Dobesh, a six-foot-three man with a thick midsection and long wavy hair pulled into a ponytail. His slanted jawline was buried beneath long and curly greyish brown hairs. Whenever you got close enough to him, you could get a whiff of the dirt that's collected on body from going a long period of time without bathing. He paced around the classroom, the textbook open in his hands, his glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, stammering passages from one of the pages.

Castiel could almost hear the boredom from the teenagers surrounding him. Some were hunched over their phones, scrolling and texting while others were doodling on the covers of their notebooks. Balthazar tapped his pencil against the desk, bouncing his leg to keep himself awake. He sighed.

"This is a fucking joke, right?"

"What?" Castiel asked his friend absentmindedly, his eyes skittering to the door. He waited for Mr. Winchester to walk through the door. He could just picture the man in another one of his well-fitted suits, his hair gelled and swept back, striding into the classroom.

His phone vibrated against his thigh, pulling him from his thoughts. He glanced up at the teacher, whose nose was still buried in the volume, his jaw flapping up and down as he droned on. He discreetly fished his phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. It was a text from Meg.

Where are you?

He snuck another glance at Mr. Dobesh before unlocking his phone and shooting her a quick text.

I'm in Room 312.

He stared at his phone and tapped his foot as he waited for a response.

Listen, there's something I need to tell you.

He frowned.

What is it?

Nothing. He drummed his thumb against the edges of his screen and chewed at his lower lip. The small print on the bottom indicated that his message had been read, yet he still didn't receive a text from her.

"Young man?"

Castiel looked up from his screen. He jumped when he noticed Mr. Dobesh standing directly in front of him, his hand outstretched

Shit.

"I was just..."

"Give me the phone."

The teacher wiggled his fingers impatiently, greedily. Castiel hesitantly dropped his phone into the substitute's hand. The man paced down the aisle to the front of the class, holding Castiel's phone up.

"You're in class, people. We don't text here." He shook the phone in the air, his eyes sweeping the room. "Let this be a lesson for you all. Use your phone during class, it gets taken away." He pocketed it before continuing with his droning. Castiel noticed Balthazar laughing into his hand, his face red.

"Shut up."

Balthazar wiped the corners of his eyes and sniffled, scrubbing his hand over his face, still giggling. Castiel shook his head.

"You're an asshole," he grumbled. "A fucking asshole."

"Who was texting you?"

Castiel licked his lips and looked up at Mr. Dobesh's pocket.

"Meg."

"What'd she want?"

He shook his head.

"I don't know. Said she wanted to talk about something."

"What?"

"How should I know? He took my phone away." Castiel hissed, gesturing at the teacher.

"I got you." Balthazar straightened himself in his seat.

"What are you doing?"

"Just relax, alright?"

He cleared his throat loud enough to get the substitute's attention.

"Excuse me, Mr. Dobesh."

Mr. Dobesh looked up from the textbook.

"Is there a problem, young man?"

"There's a huge problem, actually. I don't understand why you took my friend's phone and not everyone else's."

"Well, I saw him texting on it."

"So? So was everyone else. Why don't you take their phones?"

"Sir, you are disrupting the class."

"Like you disrupted your own riveting lesson to take his phone away."

A couple kids snickered.

"Look here, young man, if you have a problem with my methods, you can head to the principal's office. right now."

Balthazar stood.

"Very well then. I'll be sure to give him a full report."

The class erupted with laughter, Castiel included.

"I'm sure Principal Singer would love to hear your jokes, as well." Balthazar started to walk out, bumping into Mr. Dobesh and muttering an apology, when he stopped in his tracks and threw his head back in a huff.

"Forgot my backpack."

He turned around and walked back to the back of the room to scoop his backpack off the ground. Castiel saw him slide his phone across the floor. He quickly caught it under his foot and slid it towards himself. Mr. Dobesh's eyes were still on Balthazar, so Castiel made sure to move it as slowly as possible. His friend winked at him before hoisting his backpack onto his shoulder and heading out the door. As Mr. Dobesh stood at the front of the classroom, his eyes lingering on Balthazar, Castiel checked his phone discreetly, glancing up at Mr. Dobesh every few seconds. He shot Meg another text.

About what?

He waited, his eyes flickering between the screen and the substitute.

Meet me at the parking lot after school.

----------------------

He leaned against the bumper of a Black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, his earplugs in his ears, watching as cars coast past him. He rolled a dollar bill in his pocket between his fingers as he scanned the parking lot for Meg. He had been waiting for approximately an hour now, figuring she probably decided at the last minute that she still didn't want to see him. He sighed as pushed himself off of the bumper and walked to the middle of the parking lot. The air reeked of motor oil and fried food. The smell made him hungry. He crossed the parking lot, heading towards the Chick Fil-A across the street.

Suddenly, he felt himself being yanked back, his back slamming into someone's hard chest. His arms were being pinned behind his back, the joints in his shoulders popping. "Hey!" He twisted and wriggled away. A hard fist crashed into the area above his stomach. His lungs felt as though they had deflated, oxygen expelling from his lips. His head swimming, he looked up and saw Crowley stepping in front of him, smirking and waving a phone in the air, a phone he recognized as Meg's with its rubber black cover with tiny red skull and crossbones decorating the edges.

"You should've said yes to me, beautiful."

He dropped the phone on the ground and kicked it to the side before driving another punch into Castiel's ribcage. Pairs of hands shoved him to the ground. Next thing he knew, feet were swinging at him at high momentum in all directions, jabbing into his sides. He could make out some of their faces—Jason Asmodeus, middle linebacker for the Cougars, Craig Belial, weakside linebacker, and Sheldon Mason, kicker. Tasting metal in his mouth, he gurgled and coughed blood onto the floor. The pairs of feet surrounding him slapped the ground as they skittered away, leaving him in the middle of the blacktop, his entire body on fire, the edges of his eyes blacking.

Chapter Text

The ground quaked beneath him. He heard a low rumble in the distance. Warm, moist air prickled against his lips, and sharp edges bit into the skin around his mouth. The skin on his lips feel tight and cracked. Something hissed next to him. He winced as something sharp pricked his inner elbow. His heart hummed in his throat.

"What's happening?"

His eyes darted around the room, taking in the metal walls around him.

"I'm gonna need you to remain calm, young man," a disembodied said. He wriggled away from the restraints, tugging at the chords attached to him. Men clamored all around him, sprouting into his frame of vision, their hands appearing on his arms and shoulders. He squirmed beneath them. They pushed him back down.

"What's happening? WHAT'S HAPPENING?! WHAT'S HAPPENING?!"

----------------

Two voices conversed next to him, both female. Pale light percolated through his lashes as his eyes fluttered open, creating floating white strings of light. The smell around him was pungent like the smell of ammonia. The tiled ceiling swam above him, lights glaring into his eyes like pale yellow eyes. He winced and blinked, slowly turning his head his left. A clear tube disappeared below his inner elbow.

"Where am I?" he croaked, his voice hoarse from a lot of disuse.

"You're at Tokahantas County Hospital," a female voice next to him said. He turned to look at her. She was beautiful, her eyes the color of champagne and her pristine blonde hair pulled behind her raindrop face.

"How are you feeling, hun?" She asked him, barely looking up from the IV bag she was adjusting.

"Fine I guess," he muttered as he counted the teddy bears spotting her starched white uniform shirt.

"We're still running some blood and urine tests," the other nurse tells him as she pours more of the clear liquid into the IV bag. "Your vitals are good so far, but we're gonna have to keep you here for a couple more days just to be safe."

"How long have I been out?"

"A couple like you got into a pretty bad fight. Got a couple fractured ribs, some contusions around your abdominal area, and a head wound. We had to stitch it. You were losin' a lot of blood, it looked like."

"Cassie?"

He snapped his head up and saw Gabriel walking towards his bedside.

"Cassie, thank god you're alright!"

He grabbed his hand and massaged the back of it with his thumb. His eyes were rimmed with tears. He sniffled and wiped his nose with the back of his hand.

"How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine," Castiel reassured him.

"You were knocked out for days. They say you have a couple broken ribs and a gash in your head."

"Yeah, I heard."

"We're gonna have to change the dressing again in a few hours," the nurse spoke. "We already put in some stitches."

"Alright, thanks."

"Mm-hmm."

She smiled at him before turning to walk out, taking the other nurse with her. Castiel watched as the nurses grew smaller with distance. As soon as the door was shut, he turned over to his brother.

"It wasn't Meg who texted me. It was—"

"Crowley, I know. His punk ass."

Castiel looked around the room.

"Where's Raphael? 'S he here?"

"He's not. He's over at a friend's house."

Castiel sat up slightly.

"What about mom? Did she come?"

Gabriel shook his head

"No. She had some board meeting or something. I dunno."

Castiel sighed as he sunk back into the mattress and looked over at Gabriel.

"Thanks for being here. It means a lot, really."

"Oh, don't get all sappy on me, lil' bro."

"I'm sorry, which one of us was was crying earlier?"

Gabriel scoffed.

"Whatever, asshole."

Castiel giggled. Gabriel snickered and darted his tongue over his lips as he glanced out through the window at the nurses and doctors passing through the hallway. Castiel watched his older brother's face as his eyes jumped over each nurse, the corners of his lips turning up in a smirk every time he noticed someone attractive.

"Where's my phone?" Gabriel didn't answer, continuing to check out all of the attractive nurses. Castiel smacked his arm. Gabriel snapped his head around.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Where is my phone?" he spoke slowly.

"Oh, it broke when you fell. Dad said he'll send you a new one soon." Castiel huffed and drummed his hands against his thighs.

"What happened to Crowley? Is he at school?"

"You ask a lot of questions."

"Dude, where is he? I'm gonna find him and rip his heart out for this."

"Dunno. Son of a bitch didn't come to school today. That asshole." Castiel furrowed his brow and sat up.

"He didn't come to school today?"

"Yeah, he's been blowing it off for the past couple of days. Motherfucker beats up my lil' brother and decides to hide off like some punk."

"Did you check his Facebook page? Usually when he blows off school, he puts it on his Facebook."

Gabriel quirked a messy eyebrow at him.

"You follow him on Facebook?"

"Don't get all judgmental. I know you follow him, too."

Gabriel slid his hands into his pockets and glanced back out the window.

"Yeah, um. No he hasn't posted anything. Why?"

Castiel shook his head. He couldn't put his finger on it. He couldn't identify what it was that rattled and twisted his nerves into knots. He swallowed as he looked up at his older brother, who had pulled out his phone and started scrolling through it.

Chapter Text

The sky grew dark above him. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Castiel distinctly remembered the weatherman on Channel 9 reporting that there was going to be a thunder storm. He kicked himself for forgetting his umbrella at home. His fist hovering the door, he peered through the alabaster door window, watching as Mr. Winchester's shadow passed him. He had snuck out of the house as soon as Gabriel left for basketball practice. Raphael was in in the living room, watching a recording of last night's episode of Empire, as he usually would on a Thursday afternoon whenever MUN was cancelled. After spending two weeks cooped up in the house, lying in his mattress while heavy bags of ice cubes rested on his stomach, Castiel decided he was done reading the same book and watching the same news channels.

Cars purred behind him as they drove by. He drew in a deep breath as he brought his knuckle to the door and knocked. He immediately snatched it back and stepped away, prepared to bolt. He had convinced himself that the only reason why he was here was because he wanted to be courteous, check on his teacher because of his stomach flu. Balthazar had reported to him—no, complained to him—that Mr. Dobesh had taken over for him for the past two weeks.

Through the pane, he could see a shadow enlarging as Dean approached the door. He drew out a breath. The door yawned open. Dean Winchester stood before him, dressed in a worn black tee and a pair of grey sweatpants.

"Cas? How did you find me here?"

Castiel looked down and picked at his fingernails, his teeth scraping his lower lip.

"I, um…I found you on WhitePages Premium."

The older man folded his arms across his chest.

"How'd you pay for it?"

Castiel shook his head and shrugged.

"Used my dad's credit card."

"Ah. So, what brings you here? You're supposed to be resting."

"Resting?"

"After that kid beat you up?"

"How did you…?"

"Word travels."

"Ah."

"What are you doing here?

"I wanted to see if you were.., cool."

"I'm always cool."

"No, I mean," he squinted as he tried to remember what he was going to say, "I mean, you said you had the stomach flu. I was just wondering if you were okay."

"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?" He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder. "Would you like to come inside?" He stepped aside, allowing Castiel to brush past him. The foyer was huge. His eyes traveled across the polished cherry wood floors and up the carpeted white treads. He unbuttoned his coat and handed it to Mr. Winchester, who was shutting the door behind them. The walls were painted a soft yellow, like the color of a banana once you peeled off the skin. He ventured into the hallway that led to a kitchen. The kitchen was even more beautiful—chrome and glass cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a black granite counter, and a round kitchen table with a glass tabletop and a vase of daisies as its centerpiece.

"Nice place you got here."

"Thanks. Make yourself at home."

Castiel sat in one of the kitchen chairs and turned to look around the kitchen again. Dean took a seat next to him and pointed over Castiel's shoulder at the living room.

"You know, you should probably rest on the couch over there, considering your ribs are still healing."

Castiel shook his head.

"Nah. I needed to walk around for a little bit. Can't be lying in bed for two weeks."

Dean shrugged.

"Whatever, man." He got up and walked over to the fridge. Castiel noted how tight his pants fit around his ass. He could feel his blood migrating south. He pushed his legs together and gulped as his teacher leaned into the fridge, the cotton fabric stretching over his toned ass and thighs.

"Want something to drink, Cas?"

"Huh?"

His face felt flushed, and his throat felt drier than the Sahara Desert. Yeah, he definitely needed a drink.

"Oh, um..." He scratched his head. "Just some water."

"Okay."

His teacher pulled out a pitcher of water and a jar of pickles.

"Sorry, I was hungry. You eat anything?"

He set down both objects. His muscles rippled under his short sleeves as he unscrewed the lid of the pickle jar. Castiel gulped and looked down at the floor. This wasn't right. This was his teacher. He couldn't be feeling like this. He took a deep breath, inhaling the lemon-scented air, before looking back up at his teacher who was now walking over to him, glass of water in one hand and an open jar of pickles in the other.

"You okay?"

"What?" He inspected himself quickly. "Oh, no, I'm fine."

Dean quirked an eyebrow.

"You sure?" He sat down across from Castiel. "You look a little flushed." Castiel took the glass from him and sipped. The drink soothed the dryness in his throat for the most part. He took a long pull, chugging it until the glass was empty before setting it down on the table.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

Dean stared at him warily.

"Okay, then."

He pulled a pickle out and took a bite out of it. Castiel glanced out through the double-paned window above Dean's head. Raindrops started to patter against it. He swirled his finger around the rim of the glass. The air was thick with silence. He could hear the pickle rolling and crunching between Dean's teeth.

"I'm being rude. Are you hungry?"

Chapter Text

They ate their PB&Js in silence as "Dexter" played on the television. Castiel did not know how he got here, eating a sandwich on his teacher's couch and binge-watching Netflix with him. They sat close together, separated by only a sliver of space. He could feel the heat from Dean's body stretching towards him, striking his skin like tiny bolts of lightning, paralyzing him, drawing him towards the other man.

In the corner of his eye, he watched as Dean took a bite of his sandwich and caught a falling crumb with his tongue. He followed the tongue with his eyes, imagining how it would feel against his cock, swirling around the engorged head and gliding over the slit before dragging up the underside of the shaft to his base. His dick twitched in his pants. He swallowed.

"So, Cas."

His head snapped up.

"Hmm?"

"How did it happen? Your fight with Crowley." He sucked crumbs from his teeth. Castiel shrugged.

"Oh. He beat me up 'cause I refused to go to homecoming with him. Wanted to make sure I missed it."

"Wow. That's terrible."

The teen nodded, still staring at the screen. He pulled his feet up and tucked them under his lap. Michael C. Hall was delivering yet another one of his monotonous soliloquies about being a psychopath and wearing mask.

"Say, can we watch the news?"

Dean looked at him.

"Why? You don't wanna watch Netflix?"

Castiel shook his head.

"I just haven't heard the news in a while and I like knowing what's going on in the world."

Suddenly, he heard a crash from downstairs in the basement. The walls shook, and the plates in the sink rattled. His head snapped up.

"What was that?"

He swerved around, searching for the source of the noise. Dean shrugged.

"Probably just some boxes that fell."

Castiel snorted

"Those are some pretty big boxes."

Dean swallowed.

"Yeah. I just moved here a while ago, and I still haven't finished unpacking." He tossed the remote into Castiel's lap. "You change to whatever you like, I'll go check downstairs." He side-stepped the couch. Castiel watched the man's buns flex in his pants as he jogged towards the basement. His jeans started to feel tight around his crotch. He needed to take a long walk. Or a cold shower. He sighed and and looked back at the screen. It took a while for him to navigate his way out of Netflix, but he eventually managed to get back to FiOs TV. Once he finally landed on ABC 7, he watched for a while as the anchorman continued giving updates on the polls regarding which candidate was most likely to win. He hated politics, if anything. To him, politicians were just a bunch of pretentious cocksuckers who lied and talked in circles in attempt to garner support from constituents who were stupid enough to listen to them. He switched to WUSA 9. It was mainly local news—a couple teenaged morons breaking into some old lady's house, a man robbing a convenience store nearby, and an opioid addiction epidemic in a school over in the next county.

About an hour passed.

Dean still hadn't come back from upstairs yet. Castiel grew worried. He started to wonder exactly what was going on. What he was doing. He didn't understand his obsession with the man. His need to be near the man. He didn't understand what it was that made this man different. An anomaly. He stuffed the strip of crust into his mouth and chewed as he stared at the pie chart in the middle of the screen. He didn't even know what the reports were about anymore; he tuned it out after the report of the opioid epidemic in one of the high schools. He got up and walked into the kitchen to get himself a snack.

The pantry was located on the west side of the kitchen. He slid the doors open and skimmed through the array of foods—corn starch, Jasmine rice, Thin Mints, soup, Mini Wheats, and dried mangoes. He finally stopped on a box of Cookies n' Cream pop tarts after a whole minute of browsing. He grabbed one out of the box and tore the silver wrapping open as he walked back into the living room. He heard the name Fergus McLeod being mentioned.

Crowley?

He half-jogged into the living room. His jaw almost dropped.

On the screen was a picture of Crowley smiling into the camera. Typed below it in bold white letter were the words:

17-YEAR-OLD FERGUS MCLEOD MISSING.

Chapter Text

He refreshed Crowley's Facebook page for the seventeenth time that night, the edges of his 13-inch MacBook Air denting the skin on his thighs. Crowley hadn't updated his page in the last three weeks. Castiel huffed as he slammed his laptop shut. His anxiety was kicking in at full speed, his heart bouncing between his chest and throat. He looked out the window and watched his profile dance against the dark night sky over the dark green foliage.

Gabriel and Raphael were downstairs, watching reruns of Star Trek. Through the thinly-carpeted floor separating the second level from the first level, he could hear the telltale rumble of ships exploding and cinematic music through the surround-sound speakers.

He drummed his tattered fingernails against the top of his laptop and looked back down at his lap. He didn't know what to think. Crowley could be playing a stunt of some sort. Perhaps he was just being a coward, knowing damn well Gabriel would beat him shitless for what he did. Hell, the kid deserved it. Castiel blew a raspberry as he sunk into the pile of decorative pillows and stared up at the popcorn ceiling. His stomach rumbled with hunger. He hadn't eaten since he got back from Dean's house four hours ago. He thought about what to eat, wondering whether he should have his leftover cheeseburger from last night or his half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich from breakfast this morning. His abdomen still throbbed from the tedious journey home. He had to walk up the sloped wandering path, turn corner after corner, walk up this hill and that hill, cross this street and that street, and dodge neighbors walking their dogs, kids on bikes, joggers in their bright athletic togs, strollers, and toddlers in Fisher-Price carts all while tugging his hood over his disheveled hair. His phone hummed into the rustic oak surface of his nightstand. He reached out and grabbed it, feeling his shoulder being stretched like a rubber band being pulled 'til it was taut.

He checked his screen. Dean's name danced before his eyes, its small and broken-cocaine-line body pulsating behind the film of plastic. He tapped the green button below and pressed the iPhone to his ear.

"Hello?"

"Hey, um…I almost forgot to ask if you made it home safe."

The very sound of his voice relaxed him like the hum of a saxophone, deep and sultry, its music wrapping around his body like a thick fleece blanket.

"Um...fine, I guess," he stammered.

He vised his lower lip with his teeth as he awaited a response. Dean cleared his throat.

"What are you doing tomorrow? I wanna take you to lunch."

"You know, lying around, missing your history lessons and all."

Dean chuckled.

"Maybe I could give you a history lesson or two. We moved on to Latin America. We're discussing the impacts of the Cold War on that region. The wave of dictatorships and all."

Castiel had already read ahead and watched a series of documentaries, but he loved hearing Dean speak; the mere sound of his voice brought color to the stories that not even Kenneth Branagh could bring.

"Yeah, sure. Definitely."

-------------------------------

The Roadhouse Diner was packed, bodies practically crushed together shoulder-to-shoulder, back-to-back, and face-to-face. Chatter rumbled around Castiel and Deal like a dull peal of thunder. Castiel could almost feel the sound particles traveling through the medium that is his body, its vibrations rattling his bones. Dean was pressed behind him. He could smell the sweet musk of his cologne. They pushed through a crush of patrons standing about, looking down at their menus, towards the host's stand. The smell of syrup and pancakes and eggs and gravy and biscuits and bacon and coffee diffused into the air, thickening the saliva in Castiel's mouth. Hunger tumbled in his stomach. In front of them an elderly interracial couple argued with the hostess. Castiel rose to the balls of his feet to talk in Dean's ear.

"Maybe we should go somewhere else."

"No. This is a great place," Dean said into his ear. Castiel almost shivered as he felt the other man's warm breath caressing his ear. He gulped back the pulsing excitement rising to the back of his throat. Before Castiel could say anything, Dean pulled him in tow towards the back of the restaurant, weaving around disgruntled customers until he reached an empty booth. Castiel looked over his shoulder.

"Are you sure we're allowed to do this?" he yelled. He looked back at Dean, who was chuckling, as the teen could tell in the way his chest bounced subtly and his lips twitched. Though he didn't hear his voice, he could see him mouth 'Just sit down.'" He took his seat at the booth. Dean slid across from him.

"Why did you pass all those people?" he shouted at Dean. "They were waiting for a table!"

"What?" Dean pushed his ear in his direction. Castiel cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted,

"Why did you pass all those people? They were waiting for a table!"

"Because people—" Dean huffed sharply and shook his head, grumbling to himself as he moved to seat himself next to the student. He leaned in.

"People know me here. And besides, nobody sits at this table but me."

Castiel quirked his brow. They had to wait forty-five minutes for a waitress to approach the table. Castiel found himself hating her, the way she tossed her hair and smiled at him in such a coquettish nature, batting her eyes so much that he found himself wishing they would just fall out of their sockets. Dean gave her a warm and charming smile, the kind of smile that was a flame's caress for you could feel the heat ghosting over your skin. It relaxed you. It made you want to curl yourself into a ball and cozy up against it. It was addictive, sweet, gentle, lively and encapsulating all at once.

The waitress, Mindy, reached out and brushed her hand over his shoulder. Castiel swallowed and looked away, feeling his insides tense. He blinked, hoping that eventually she would disappear if he opened his eyes again. Once she finally turned her attention to him, he told her he wasn't hungry.

"What's the problem?" Dean asked as soon as she left. The teenager shook his head.

"Nothing. My stomach just hurts. It's probably the pain meds I'm on."

Chapter Text

After spending two hours at the Roadhouse Diner talking and laughing with Mr. Winchester—Dean, as the older man insisted—Castiel decided it was time they head back to Dean's place. He didn't want to go home; his mother had decided to stop by the house, and he'd honestly rather chew his own foot off than to listen to any more of her criticism.

Castiel lowered the peppermint tea bag into his mug. The news played in the background. The anchorwoman was delivering an update on Crowley's whereabouts. They said that he was last seen sneaking into a bar with a fake identification card.

Of course he was.

The kid almost always posted some selfie of himself and a couple linebackers in front of some tavern. It was a different tavern every week. Castiel dumped a spoonful of sugar into his cup and stirred. Dean was downstairs moving boxes around. He heard some thumping, popping, and a few grunts. He sighed and went over to the living room with his cup of tea. One of the linebackers, the coach was standing in front of the camera, crying a snot-nosed cry, his lips quivering and all, as he went on to describe Crowley as the best quarterback he's had on the team in his twenty years of working there.


The anchorwoman proceeded to show a picture of a young Crowley holding his little brother, Gavin. Anyone at that school knew better. He used to beat the shit out of Gavin and torment him pretty much all the time.

Castiel sunk into the three-seater and sipped his tea. He heard Dean jogging up the steps. He turned and saw the man wiping his knuckles off with a towel.

"Hey."

His sweat-drenched shirt clung to his hard chest, and his forehead glistened under the halogen light. Castiel watched as he moved to sit next to him.

"So, how's it goin' down there?"

Dean plopped down next to him with a sigh.

"Uh, it's goin'."

Dean grabbed the remote off of the coffee table and changed it to a reality show. Castiel looked up at him.

"Why'd you change the channel?"

"Meh. The news is depressing."

They watched a show about some tattooed bikers for a little while before Castiel decided to switch the television off. He huffed. "Dude, that was boring."
"It's rude to turn a show off when someone's watching something."

Castiel looked at Dean incredulously.

"You changed the channel while I was watching the news."

"That's different. I'm older."

Castiel scoffed and sprung off the couch.

"God, you sound like my dad!" He headed into the kitchen and grabbed the box of tea bags from the side of the stove. "Which tea do you want?" He asked Dean as he popped the lid open. Dean's bared feet beat against the hardwood as he padded into the kitchen.

"Whichever is fine."

He grabbed a random teabag and dumped it into the second mug of hot water. He asked Dean if he wanted sugar or honey.

"Neither," Dean responded as he grabbed the piping hot cup off the counter. Castiel reached for the handle at the same time. The older man's fingers grazed against the back of his hand. His breath hitched in his throat, and he could feel a line of heat where his fingers traced. He looked up and met green eyes that smoldered with an unbridled passion. A passion that seemed foreign yet native. It pinned him to the edge of the counter. Sent his heart into quivers. His face grew hot. He realized the heat was from Dean's breath. Their faces were drifting closer until a minute pinch of air separated the tips of their noses. The air stilled around them. All sound faded. It was just Dean and Castiel, two bodies devoid of the barrier that is space.

A loud crash sounded from the basement, followed by a scream. Castiel frowned.

"What the hell was that?"

He looked back at Dean, who appeared suspiciously nonchalant. The man shrugged.

"Nothing."

Before Castiel knew it, he was pushing past Dean, abandoning Dean and his mug of hot water.

"Cas? Shit. Cas!"

Dean was hot on his heels as Castiel jogged down the stairs and turned a corner, eyes sweeping over the stacks of boxes that bestrew the room.

"Cas, get out of the basement!"

A muscular hand gripped his elbow and pulled him back.

"Dean, get off of me!" Castiel growled out, attempting to snatch his arm away. Dean, however, was stronger. They struggled for a moment before Castiel finally yanked out of his teacher's grip and stumbled backwards, knocking over some boxes. His abdomen throbbed. He winced as he arched and writhed in pain. As he rolled into a fetal position, he caught a glimpse of a figure in the corner of the room. They appeared to be crouching and struggling with something.

"Who's that?" he croaked.

Dean, who was trying to lift him off the ground, paused to look up at the corner of the room. Castiel didn't see much, but he caught a glimpse of red. Like a design on a jacket or something.

"Come on, Cas. Let's get you upstairs."

Chapter Text

-SIX YEARS AGO-

The weekends were the perfect time to wreak havoc. Raphael and his girlfriend, Meg, would invite Gabriel, Castiel and, sometimes, Balthazar to go on outings with them. They were anywhere and everywhere every weekend. The boys' parents were almost never present, and they didn't find too many of their classmates interesting enough to hang out with so they were bored in the house most of the time.  So they chose to let Meg drag them into whatever it was she wanted to drag them into. People often gave them questioning looks because of their small forms and cherubic faces. It made sense, though; the boys were only in the seventh grade, and Meg was an eighth-grader (she was supposed to go into the ninth grade but got held back because she kept ditching). It didn't matter; Meg loved the thrills, and the boys were exhilarated by the danger and rush of adrenaline. Sometimes, Meg stole things for them. She was good at it too. None of the boys knew how, but they were too scared to ask. She would steal candy for them, liquor, shoes, and money. She was a master pick-pocket and a virtuoso in the art of conning foolish adults. Castiel would joke that she would grow up to be a female Christophe Rocuncourt or someone of the sorts.  Once, Meg stole some liquor for them on the way to the square and snuck them into a Rated-R horror film through the back of the theatre. They sat hidden away in the back and watched the movie while passing the bottle back and forth. They got caught and almost got arrested, but Meg got them out of trouble. Nobody knew exactly what she told the cops, but they didn't seem to care. 

That Saturday night was no different—well, at least not until it happened. This week, they decided to hit Lucille’s Garden Square. The town was lively at this time of the day. People were shopping, heading to bars to get drunk before hitting the nightclub or watching live performances. There were vendors on almost every corner, selling interesting trinkets, artwork and knockoff designer bags. Sometimes there were even people who came to do face-painting for the kids. The lamposts flanking the pathways breathed out hazy, orange halos of light that sent bright, wiry rays into the air. Groups of chattering people trickle up and down the street, lapping at their ice cream cones and nursing their disposable cups. Castiel could feel the resonance of the loud chatter and loud music in his bones as he trailed behind Meg and his two brothers with his hands shoved in his pockets. He didn't know what they were planning on doing. The thought made him anxious.

Meg and Raphael sauntered in front of the other two, whispering and snickering about something as they walked into a department store that had a pretentious French name none of them cared to pronounce. The place was quite fancy—polished ceramic floor, sleek chrome racks with  pressed four-figure-priced suits and dresses on fancy wooden hangers. The shelves against the walls were neatly organized, assortments of sandals and dress shoes lined up on each tray. The mirrors were strategically located and angled for everyone to see, and they barely had any smudges. A couple people—upper-middle-class-looking people—dawdled about, browsing and sifting through clothes and shoes and accessories and perfumes. Meg wandered away from Raphael and smirked at him as she headed towards the perfume section. Raphael smiled at her before going over to the nearest sales associate, to distract her, Castiel assumed. Castiel looked up and saw a security camera to his right, pointing in Meg's direction. Gabriel nudged him. When Castiel shot him an angry glare, he noticed his brother nodding his head towards the left side. Castiel looked up and saw the security camera pointing directly at them. Gabriel waved at the camera, signaling to Castiel that he had a chance to warn Meg.

"There's a security camera," he hissed in Meg's ear. Meg shushed him. 

"Relax, Clarence. I know what I'm doing."

He rolled his eyes and started to look back at the camera when Meg smacked his stomach. When he met her eye, she was giving him a 'What the fuck are you doing, you moron!' look. He sighed heavily and watched as she peeled the price sticker off almost flawlessly and tore the plastic wrap off the box. Castiel tried not to look too anxious. They've stolen before and have almost never gotten caught, but Castiel always felt his anxiety spike whenever they were on their impromptu "heists." Plus there were security cameras. He looked took a few steps back and started pretending to look at perfumes. Unfortunately, he felt no confidence in his performance whatsoever. She unzipped her purse and slipped the perfume inside. 

"Come on." 

She tapped his shoulder and nodded towards the exit. Castiel's heart thrumming in his throat, he followed her to the exit. He didn't know exactly when Raphael or Gabriel rejoined them. He startled when he felt the heat of their bodies against his back. Just as they passed through the sensors, the machines started to beep and blink red. Castiel froze. '

'It was one bottle of perfume' he tried to convince himself.  'Sometimes these things are faulty. You don't need to worry. You're fine. You're all fine.' Those thoughts melted away when the security guard approached them. 

"You four, come with me."

-FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS AGO-

A sharp sweetness filled his nostrils as he breathed in. Soft and fuzzy material laid sprawled over his body, cocooning him in warm softness. Castiel peeled his eyes open only to be greeted with darkness. The fan whirred above him as it gyrated, its blades circulating the cold air in the room. Linen sheets spilled onto his lap as he pushed himself upright, wincing at the sharp throb of pain in his abdomen.

“Dean?” His voice was hoarse, probably from disuse. He rolled his neck a little and blinked until shapes started to form in his field of vision. Light bled through the crack under the door. Confused as to where he was, he looked around the room, trying to remember the last thing that happened. The mattress felt strangely soft; he’s pretty sure this wasn’t his room. Castiel had a firm, queen-sized mattress, and although he was generally the more responsible sibling in the house, he had a habit of neglecting to do his own laundry. For his own punishment, he was stuck with stiff and musty sheets. 

He reached to the side and felt for a lamp. Click! The light flickered on, illuminating the mahogany and deep Burgundy furniture with elaborate golden floral patterns. The décor was effeminate, almost matronly. He spotted his phone next to the lamp on the nightstand and grabbed it. 

"Fuck!"

It was a half-hour past midnight. He had been out of the house since the afternoon having lunch with Dean and then hanging out at his house. Now here he was in a bed. Was it...Dean's bed? It could not have been; the room looked like it belonged to an older woman. Castiel pushed his ridiculous thoughts aside as he slid off the bed. He winced again as his abdomen throbbed in protest. His head hurt too. Not too badly, but it was sore, especially when he grimaced. He grasped the edge of the bed to steady himself and then walked—no, limped—towards the door. 

"Dean!" He called out, pulling the door open. He walked down the stairs to the familiar foyer, gripping the banister and grunting rather loudly. He heard footsteps to his left. Dean approached the foot of the steps, wearing the same thing he was wearing earlier.

"Cas, buddy. What're you doing out of bed? You should be resting." The teenager tried to ignore the pang in his chest from being called "buddy" as he limped towards the kitchen.

"I need to head home. Gabriel must be worried about me." He looked around for his sweatshirt. 

"Shouldn't you at least eat or something? I mean, you've been out for hours!"

"Yeah. Thanks to you, asshole!" He almost winced at the harshness in his tone, but Dean deserved it. His teacher practically attacked him trying to hide something—or someone—in his basement. It was probably nothing, but there was something about the whole thing that bothered him. But why? It's not like he was entitled to know. Castiel had his own secrets. But this just..didn't feel right to him. Dean clapped a broad hand around his bicep and tugged him back. Castiel whipped his head around.

"What?"

The man had a pleading look in his eye. He opened his mouth to say something but then clamped it shut. Frustrated, Castiel snatched his arms out of the man's grip and marched into the kitchen. Once he spotted his jacket on the chair, he snatched up and made a beeline for the door, leaving Dean standing in the middle of the foyer with a dejected expression. He slammed the door behind him.