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The Third Time

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Dean straightened his tie. Today was the day, his first as a professor. Sam had been nagging him about leaving his stressful job for years. Dean loved what he did before, he really did. But the long hours, demanding clients and shitty CEO had really run his morale into the ground. He had steadily put in time to earn his PhD in Engineering. While this job was a bit of a pay cut, there was no denying that his hours would be a lot better. Plus, he was able to work in the same city as his brother.

Dean smiled, thinking about how he could spend weekends with Sam, Jess, and little Mary. He loved his niece and had hated how little he got to see her before. Now that was all about to change.

He glanced at his watch and cursed. If he didn’t get a move on, he was going to be late for the new faculty orientation.

After getting caught by red light after red light, Dean swung into the faculty parking lot closest to campus. “Please, for the love of God, let there be a spot,” he said.

Whipping his car down one of the lanes, Dean saw a gap in the cars. He gunned it and barely made it before an old Lincoln Continental could get the space. The messy-haired guy behind the wheel glared at Dean before driving out of the lot. 

“Sucks to suck, pimpmobile,” Dean crowed to himself, before walking onto campus.



Dean saw the guy from the pimpmobile try to sneak into the conference hall. Unfortunately for him, the door slammed behind him.

“Nice to see you arrived, Dr. Novak,” Vice Chancellor Adler snidely said. “Now, as I was saying.”

Dean rolled his eyes as he tuned Adler out. Sam had already given him the rundown and said that Adler was just full of hot air and loved to talk to hear himself talk. Plus, if rumor was to be believed, he wouldn’t be at the university that much longer.

The guy, Dr. Novak, sank into a seat at the end of Dean’s row. Once everyone’s attention was firmly back on Adler, the dark-haired man glanced around the room. When he looked to his right and caught sight of Dean, a scowl marred his features.

What a shame, Dean thought. But even scowling he still looks kinda hot.

Dean froze at the errant thought. Dean, what the hell. You don’t need to immediately start thinking of your colleagues like that, plus the guy clearly hates you for embarrassing him.

Shaking his head, Dean turned to see Novak still looking at him, but now out of confusion rather than anger.  Crap, I probably looked stupid or something. Crap, crap, crap.

The rest of the orientation passed in a blur and, before Dean could even attempt to introduce himself to Novak, the other man sprinted out of the room.

 

The next time Dean saw Novak was too late. Dean was racing across campus, trying to make it to his class after a meeting with the head of the engineering department ran long. He whipped around a corner only to crash headfirst into someone else. Papers flew through the air and a pained groan filled the air.

“Oh shit, I’m sorry,” Dean hurriedly said, trying to gather as many papers as he could.

“Of course it’s you,” a voice grumbled.

Dean’s eyes shot up and, of course, it was Novak. Shit , Dean thought.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he blurted out, hands loosely gripping the papers he had picked up.

“I’ve only had two bad things happen since I started this job and both have involved you. Seems to be a pattern, correct?”

Temper flared, Dean shoved the papers at Novak. “Ya know, I was going to help you gather all your papers even though I’m already late for class but I’d probably cause another bad thing to happen. So here.” Dean spun on his heel and headed to class, thoughts racing. He was so distracted that he ended up dismissing his class halfway through the period. 

“Just read the chapter guys and I’ll load the PowerPoint with notes tonight,” Dean grumbled, running a hand through his hair. “We’ll pick this up next week.”

 

Over the next few days, Dean noticed Novak in some of Dean’s usual haunts. He had to use every bit of stealth he possessed to avoid the man. No matter how hot he was, Dean couldn’t stand the man’s attitude. It also didn’t help that Sam couldn’t shut up about him. Apparently, Novak was a genius in the botany and melittology fields.

The last straw, however, came when Dean walked into his favorite cafe on cherry pie day and saw Novak sitting at the corner table that Jo had started saving for Dean. “What the actual fuck?” he mumbled under his breath.

Stalking over, Dean slammed his hands on the table. “What’s your deal, man? I thought I was bad luck and now it’s like you’re stalking me.”

A blush stained Novak’s cheeks. “Uh, I guess you could call it that. I spoke with the other Dr. Winchester, Sam, and he told me some of the places you like to go. I wanted to apologize.”

Dean crossed his arms in front of him. He was already trying to decide how he would get revenge on Sammy when Novak’s words clicked. “Apologize?”

“I’ve been a bit of an assbutt,” Novak started. Dean snorted. “And,” Novak leaned forward, “I wanted to apologize for it. It was bad timing and I thought that maybe a third meeting might end better especially if it started with an apology.”

“Third time’s the charm?” Dean drawled, barely managing not to wink.

Novak blushed again. “Also, Sam mentioned how much you love your car and I found this and wanted to offer it as an apology present.” He pushed a small bag toward Dean.

Dean flipped open the small card attached. To Dr. Dean Winchester. From Dr. Castiel Novak.

Castiel, Dean thought. It certainly matches him . Reaching into the bag, he pulled out a small ornament shaped like a black Chevy Impala, almost identical to the very vehicle sitting outside of the cafe.

“Woah,” Dean mumbled. “This is epic.”

Castiel smiled. “I hoped you would like it. Would you also like to join me for lunch? I hear the cherry pie is fantastic.”

Dean grinned. “Hell yeah, Cas.” He winked at the other man. “I guess third time really was the charm, wasn’t it?”

Cas gave Dean a gummy smile. “And I’m glad it was.”