The music is loud and absolutely terrible and Dean wonders for what must be the hundredth time this evening why on earth he let Charlie talk him into this.
Right now, he would much rather be at home, sprawled out across the couch in front of the TV, watching horror movie after horror movie, while stuffing his face with pizza and Sam's Halloween candy.
But of course, he can't ever say no to Charlie, which is why he's here now.
At least his Batman costume is badass.
He lets his eyes search the crowd and takes a swig of his beer.
As expected, Charlie is chatting with Gilda, her girl crush since forever, who is dressed as a fairy and looks absolutely stunning.
If Dean were standing next to them, he'd tell Charlie to pick up her jaw from the floor, but he's gonna play it nice today, even though she would absolutely deserve that embarrassment for keeping him from his couch.
He's on his way over to Benny instead (whose vampire costume was clearly created with minimal effort).
His friend is standing in the kitchen, but upon walking closer, Dean notices Andrea by his side and retreats back to the living room.
Since both people he'd usually hang out with at parties are busy courting their potential girlfriends, he scans the crowd for familiar faces to talk to.
There are a bunch of people he knows, might even call friends, but all of them seem pretty occupied.
He spots Garth and his girlfriend Bess - dressed in matching werewolf costumes - and sees Jesse and Cesar who can't seem to take their eyes off of each other.
Jesus, when exactly did Halloween become couple's season?
Steadily sipping from his drink, he continues his journey through the giant house.
He can see Meg and Balthazar, dressed as Joker and Harley Quinn - in that order - knocking back shots, and next to them sits Castiel, who already looks a little out of it, even though there are only two empty beer bottles in front of him and he isn't participating in their game.
His smile is wide, and he looks happier and more at ease than Dean has ever seen him, and if his slightly red cheeks are any indication, his friends have gotten him at least a little drunk.
It's a good look on him, the happiness.
For a moment Dean considers walking over to him, but they don't really talk outside of the few classes they share, so it would probably be awkward.
Not that aimlessly walking around a party is not awkward, but he doubts Castiel even remembers his name, so he quickly lets go of the idea of joining him and his friends.
When he finally spots Jo and Ash sitting outside, the relief flooding him is almost embarrassing.
Somehow, they have managed to hoard a fuckton of booze and candy, and Dean has never been as thankful for his friends as he is now.
He opens the glass door, steps outside, and walks towards the bench the two of them are occupying.
The fall air feels cool on his skin and is a welcome change to the heat inside the house, the unavoidable by-product of so many people sharing so little space.
It smells fresh and clean, and Dean takes in a deep breath. For a moment he allows himself to close his eyes and just enjoy the healing feeling that this time of the year holds to him.
Then he pulls the door shut behind him, blocking out all the noise from unintelligible conversations being screamed over the terrible music.
He automatically feels himself relax when he joins his friends, and the smiles they greet him with mirror his own.
Jo is dressed as Black Canary and gives him an approving grin.
"Nice costume, Winchester. Glad to see that some people still make an effort on Halloween," she turns to glare at Ash, who shrugs and pops a marshmallow into his mouth.
"Same for you, Harvelle," Dean says and sits down on the other side of the table.
Ash hands him a bottle of who knows what, and before he even knows it, the three of them are immersed in conversation.
Bottle after bottle is emptied, and candy wrappers pile up on the table.
Dean is just the right amount of drunk. He feels the buzz of the alcohol taking away any discomfort, and he can't stop smiling for the life of him.
Jo looks the same, her long blond hair windswept, and there's a rosy glow on her cheeks.
Ash next to her is all lazy smiles, until his gaze lands on his watch, and he nearly falls off the bench.
"Fuck man," he curses, and Dean can't help but laugh at the look of distress on his face.
Ash is the calmest person on the planet, and to see him in a state other than deep relaxation is just too weird to not be funny.
Jo is giggling as well but stops when Ash grabs her arm to pull her up from her seat.
"Hey!" she exclaims, trying to swat his hands away, but she's a little unsteady on her feet, so her success is limited to Ash rolling his eyes.
"I promised Ellen to have her home by midnight, man," Ash manages to look miserable and terrified at the same time and because it's not Dean's ass on the line for a change, that makes him laugh even harder.
"Dude," he grins when he looks down at his own watch, "it's half past twelve already. Ellen's gonna kill you!"
"Tell me about it," is all Dean hears before Ash drags a tipsy Jo through the door, who waves at him, completely unbothered by Ash's panic.
With his friends gone, Dean decides to pick up after them and go back inside. It's probably a good time to make an exit himself.
If he's lucky, he might still catch the end of whatever All Saints' Day movie is currently on.
He's about to start looking for Charlie to say his goodbyes when he sees Cas on the couch, clearly having crossed the line from tipsy to full on drunk.
He is still smiling, but his eyelids are drooping, and he looks like he's about to pass out.
Dean searches the room for Meg and Balthazar, but they are nowhere to be seen.
They are probably just in the kitchen, getting Castiel some water, but he doesn't want to leave him alone as long as he doesn't know for sure.
So he carefully approaches the boy, who is almost asleep.
"Hey Constantine," he calls out and lets himself fall on the couch next to Castiel, who startles and stares at him with wide eyes.
So Cas does know his name, and he says it in a sleepy, rough voice that sends a shiver down Dean's spine.
"Heya Cas, where did you leave the inseparable dream team?"
Cas blinks, clearly not getting who Dean is talking about.
"I meant Meg and Balthazar."
"Oh," Cas says very slowly. He is slurring the words a bit, making his intoxicated state even more obvious.
"They left some time ago." With a dramatic sigh, Cas slumps against Dean's shoulder who is trying not to react to the contact.
"They left," he parrots, trying not to concentrate on the feeling of Cas's cheek against his arm,
"why would they leave?"
Cas shrugs, and the uncoordinated movement brings him even closer to Dean.
"They asked if I wanted to go and I said no and so they left."
Cas pauses and chuckles.
He sounds so delighted that Dean can't help but smile as well.
Then he realizes what Cas just said.
"You mean, they ditched you?"
He feels anger flaring in his gut.
"You're drunk and they left you alone? What the hell kinda friends are they?"
Cas, completely unfazed by Dean's outburst, starts humming out of tune.
Then he looks Dean straight in the eye with a startling intensity.
God his eyes are blue.
And when did the distance between them become so small?
Dean swallows dryly but he cannot find it in himself to break eye contact.
Gradually, Cas moves closer, and Dean's gaze falls to his lips.
When Dean looks up at Cas's eyes again, their noses are almost touching.
He licks his lips and is about to say whatever his empty excuse of a brain is able to come up with, when Cas loses balance and face-plants into his lap.
With the spell broken, Dean throws his head back with laughter, unable to keep it together.
The ridiculousness of both the situation and the idea that Cas could have wanted to kiss him bring tears to his eyes, and he laughs until his stomach hurts.
When he finally calms down, Cas has turned around so he's lying on his back and he looks up at Dean with an expression that Dean's stupid, inebriated brain wants to describe as awe.
"I didn't drink that much. They thought I'd be fine," Cas belatedly replies, and his words have the sobering effect of a bucket of ice water.
Dean shakes his head a little, forcing his thoughts away from whatever the hell that was he just thought, and plasters a lazy smile on his face.
He nudges Cas playfully to show him, he's only teasing, and then Cas smiles back, and his eyes light up, and why does this feel like an accomplishment?
"Jus' a little," Cas slurs. His head still rests in Dean's lap, and he does not look like he wants change that any time soon. Dean knows he should get up and get Cas some water, but he can't bring himself to interrupt the moment.
It's Halloween, November is approaching with lightning speed - technically it's already there - and that means the next weeks are probably gonna be hell, but right now, in this very moment, all Dean feels is happiness.
It's the middle of the night, people are beginning to leave, and Dean sits unmoving on the couch with his heart so full, it should be bursting.
Because there's a boy half asleep in his lap.
Because the boy is Cas.
Because Cas knows his name.
And because all of this is really happening to him, just like that.
Dean does not dare to move because he knows the bubble will burst as soon as he does so much as breathe too hard.
So he just sits there, stiff as a board, willing his fingers to resist the urge of brushing away a strand of hair that is clinging to Cas's forehead.
"What's wrong?" Cas asks in what is probably an attempt to whisper and reaches up to poke Dean's cheek. He lets out a delighted chuckle when the soft flesh gives in and turns white under his touch.
"Nothing," Dean whispers back, and all of a sudden, he's touching Cas's hair and doing exactly what he vowed not to do moments ago, and how weird does this make him look?
Then again, Cas is the one who is literally lying on Dean, the one who is still touching his face.
But Cas has the excuse of being drunk - a sleepy drunk that is - while Dean is about as sober by now as he was when the party started.
How do they appear to bystanders, Dean asks himself.
Dean is petting Cas's hair, and Cas is lying in his lap with his hand still on Dean's cheek, even though his eyes are closed now.
He looks peaceful and relaxed, and it makes Dean's heart hurt a little because Cas is always so laser focused in class that he sometimes seems to forget to take time for himself and have fun every now and then.
Which might be why he is so out of it now.
If Dean had to take a guess, he'd say that this is the first time in over half a year that Cas has gone out.
He overheard Meg complaining about Cas's notorious studying and how he never had time for his friends anymore.
And great friends they are, leaving him alone as drunk as he is.
Dean knows they didn't do it on purpose. Balthazar and Meg probably overestimated Cas's drinking abilities, since their own are quite impressive.
Cas is gonna have one hell of a hangover and probably won't remember any of this tomorrow.
Or maybe he will, enough to be embarrassed about it.
Dean doesn't know what would be worse, but the thoughts alone make him lift Cas off his lap and stand up. Cas makes a sound of protest but still doesn't open his eyes, he just proceeds to snuggle into the couch cushions.
"I'm gonna get you some water, alright?" Dean says. "Don't go anywhere."
He's pretty sure Cas won't move anytime soon, but he'd rather not risk it. Walking to the kitchen which has already emptied quite a bit, he realizes that he has to figure out a way to get Castiel home.
Dean walked to the party, and even if he had a car, he wouldn't be fit to drive despite having sobered up a lot.
He could call a cab for Cas, but that's damn expensive, and he doesn't have any money on him.
Dean sighs and grabs a bottle of water from the fridge.
He sincerely hopes Cas lives within walking distance.
Dean is still thinking about it when he returns to Cas, who is drooling on the couch by now.
Correction: He sincerely hopes that Cas lives next door, because otherwise he's in for a real treat.
"Come on, Cas," he kneels beside the other boy and carefully shakes his shoulder, "hey buddy, wake up!"
When Cas finally opens his eyes, Dean is once again taken aback by their startling blue color.
"You are sooo pretty," Cas tells him with the blatant honesty only drunk people and children can get away with.
"Yeah, alright, you certainly had more than enough tonight," Dean deflects while heaving Cas into a sitting position. He opens the water bottle and hands it to Cas, who takes it into both hands and chugs half of it in one go. Normally, Dean would tell him to take it easy, but he's just thankful that he doesn't have to fight Cas on this one.
By now, he's more than ready for bed and feels about as tired as Cas looks.
Finally, Cas finishes the water bottle and then looks Dean straight in the eyes and repeats:
"I mean it. You have an astonishing physique."
His words come out a little clearer than before, and Dean laughs at his words.
"You're not so bad yourself."
He pulls Cas up from the sofa and starts walking towards the door.
"Let's get you home."
He turns around to make sure Cas follows, and suddenly their faces are only inches apart.
His voice is rough and disbelieving, and the words hang heavy in the air between them.
And then Cas's hand is on his cheek again, and his face is being tilted downwards, and their eyes are still locked until Cas's flutter shut and he pulls Dean close.
Their lips meet, and for a moment all of Dean's thoughts leave his brain.
Cas's lips are warm, and he tastes like disgustingly sweet liquor, and it's perfect.
Perfect until Dean realizes what's happening and abruptly pulls away.
Cas stares at him with hurt in his eyes, and it takes all of Dean's willpower to not pull him close again and kiss the frown off his face.
"You're drunk," he says instead and Cas pouts.
It's so adorable that Dean almost regrets his decision, but he manoeuvres Cas towards the exit.
"I won't take advantage of you like this."
"I'm aware of what I'm doing, Dean," Cas protests, but he's blinking rapidly as if he's about to fall asleep again, and his words are still not as clear as Dean would need them to be to believe him.
"Liquor courage," Dean says and puts his arm around Cas's waist who promptly slumps against him, proving his point.
"I don't want you to do anything you'll regret tomorrow."
When he's answered with silence, he asks:
"Now... where do you live?"
"Just a few houses down the street", Cas replies, and Dean breathes out a sigh of relief.
And so they walk. Cas leans heavily against Dean's side and stumbles over his own feet multiple times, but somehow they make it to the front porch of Cas's house.
Dean feels shy all of a sudden.
This is it.
This is where the night ends, where their ways part, and where it's up to Cas if they go back to the way things were before or if something new will happen.
He rubs the back of his neck as he watches Cas fumble with his keys.
"So this is goodbye, I guess," he says and is about to turn away when Cas speaks up again.
"Thank you. For everything."
His oh so blue eyes are watching him and Dean smiles at Cas, because how could he not.
"You're welcome," he says.
Cas finally manages to open the door and goes inside, and Dean thinks that is it when Cas looks at him again.
"See you in school," Cas says, and it sounds like a promise.
Dean smiles all the way home.