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Sirius is a place on earth

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Mondays sucked. No one could tell him they didn’t. On a scale from one to suck, Mondays had been firmly stuck at the end of the scale ever since he had started school. It’s not like he hated school. He liked most subjects just fine and most of the teachers were OK, and he liked the chance to see his friends every day. But Mondays meant the end of the weekend, his favorite time of the week, when he could spend many hours annoying the shit out of Sammy, his little brother and absolutely favorite person, or bake - and subsequently eat - pie with his mum, or learn how to care for dad’s ‘67 Impala with his old man.

Playing video games late into the night with Charlie instead of going straight to bed like he had promised his parents they would do hadn’t been the smartest of ideas either. Waking up and getting their asses out of bed had been like pulling teeth. But even without that, that morning would have still freaking sucked because it was still freaking Monday.

It wasn’t helping that Gabriel whatshisname was being his obnoxiously loud self, as per usual. Granted, the kid was alright, all in all, definitely one of the good guys. He was a junior like himself, they even shared a couple of classes, and Dean honestly thought they could have been friends if the guy hadn’t lost his dictionary before having a chance to learn the definition of the word ‘boundary’. Case in point, he was now acting like a buffoon just to make his twin sister and her friends laugh, completely oblivious to - or uninterested in - the impact his antics were having on the ears of all the other kids so early in the morning. On a Monday morning to boot. Dean had honestly no idea how poor Anael had survived spending every day of her life with Gabriel, and was pretty sure he had started annoying her in the womb. But blood is thicker than water and all that and she was now smiling fondly at him, resigned to the fact that only Gabriel knew how to switch Gabriel off, and the only way out of this was clearly through. For their part, the rest of the girls seemed to find whatever anecdote he was retelling hilarious, and they were all laughing loudly, throwing their heads back, clutching at their bellies, and using their hands or sleeves to dry the tears threatening to fall from their eyes.

Well, the girls and one boy. 

Was he a new kid? Dean had never seen him before, so he must be. Not that he was exactly observant, he could admit that to himself. He was absolutely disinterested in drama and gossip and who was dating who after breaking up with who. Plus, between Sammy (“Sam, Dean, it’s SAM, not Sammy, not Snotface, not Dude. JUST SAM”), mum, dad, homework, his friends and hobbies, he didn’t usually have much time or energy left to take stock of the world around. But he would have at least spotted this boy before, if he had been attending the same school for years, right? Right.

Especially as the boy was honestly hard to miss. Those big, blue eyes, that untamable black hair, those lips, so naturally pink, plump and soft looking, and that rich, happy, boisterous laugh that made his whole face, his whole body, light up and his eyes shine with unshed tears were quite frankly impossible to ignore. 

As was the fact that he seemed to find the hem of his pretty badass hoodie incredibly interesting all of a sudden or the blush that seemed to instantly spread across his cheeks as soon as he realized Dean was staring at him. 

Wait, why was Dean staring at him? Why was he suddenly wishing he could join his group and see those eyes from up close and try and make him laugh like that again?

Who was this guy?

Just then a couple of fingers were snapped in front of his face. 

“Dude, is your system shutting down? You need me to reboot it?”

Ah, the joy of having a computer genius slash game nerd slash fandom addict for a best friend.

“No, Charlie, not this time. Thanks for offering though.” 

“No problem. Seriously though, what were you staring at? I’ve been trying to get you to listen to me forever. Are you crushing on one of Anael’s friends? Abby and Jo are cute, but you know Meg is off limits. She’s totally gonna be my girlfriend, my prom date and the love of my life. I’m working on finding the guts to ask her out. Almost there. It’s gonna be any day now.”

“Who’s the boy?”

“What boy? Gabriel? He’s had that locker right in front of yours for months now, Dean. Months

“No, the other kid. The one who’s been staring at the floor for five minutes straight now.”

“Oh, Castiel.”

“Castiel? What kind of name is that?” 

“His? Anyway, what about him?”

“Is he new?” 

A few seconds and one ‘you’re shitting me’ expression later, Charlie replied with the same patience and condescending tone usually reserved for explaining obvious concepts to children who somehow seemed to find them impossible to process.

“Dean, he’s a sophomore. Hence, he’s been studying here for almost two years. You really need to work on starting to consider the rest of the world as, you know, relevant and stop ignoring anything and anyone outside of your bubble.”

Damn, she had a point. Not that he was ever going to admit it out loud. But damn, two years? That beautiful laugh had been walking around this school for two years and he was just now hearing it? And what was that was making him ache to go talk to the owner of said laugh all of a sudden, so he could hear it again? Why was he having a reaction to seeing this particular boy like he had never had before?

Dean would sure as shit find out. 

***** 

Castiel loved Mondays. After two whole days spent taking care of his seven year old sister Claire almost full time, Mondays meant going back to being a teenager like everyone else. Go to school, attend classes, do homework, see his friends. 

His parents had died in a car crash three years before and his then seventeen year old brother Balthazar had stepped up, worked his ass off to get emancipated and become their legal guardian, and it had been the three of them ever since. They were doing good, but money was tight, as the hand-me-down hoodie he was wearing, with the logo of a very old TV series Balthazar loved and Castiel simply didn’t have time to watch, demonstrated, and they just couldn’t spare any for a baby sitter. So while his brother worked full time seven days a week, Castiel was left to taking his sister to school and picking her up during the week and taking care of her during the evenings and over the weekend. Not that he minded. He loved Claire immensely and was fiercely protective of her. And he knew they had been lucky. His brother’s taking responsibility for them had meant he hadn’t been separated from his siblings at a time when they needed one another the most, so they could grieve the loss of their parents together and lean on each other to recover and keep going. And that they had never really been part of the system. The very little time he had spent in a foster home while Balthazar got all the paperwork sorted out showed him that would have been a way more gloomy destiny. 

But he was an orphan. A fifteen year old orphan raising a 7 year old girl. He was different, and felt different most of the times. But not on Monday mornings. On Monday mornings, he got to be like anyone else. Go to school, attend classes, do homework, see his friends. 

And today was already shaping up to be a great Monday, with Gabe laser focused on using his, admittedly considerable, theatrical skills to make their whole group laugh till they were crying. 

Gabe was one year his senior, like his twin sister Anael, who was the very reason why he had started hanging out with this group of people at the beginning of this year. He had met her in one of his advanced classes and she had immediately taken a shine to him, and slowly started worming her way behind his walls and into his life, until he found himself spending time with her, and then her brother, and then her friends, every day. That had certainly meant his sophomore year had so far been way less dull than his freshman year, during which he hadn’t exactly spent any time with friends. Last year his time and energies had been equally split between taking care of Claire and surviving his first year of high school. 

And thinking about Dean Winchester.

Dean Winchester was, plain and simple, the most attractive boy on the planet. In the galaxy. The universe. In this dimension and any other alternative reality - past, present and future. 

He also didn’t have a clue Castiel even existed.

Not that he was a popular idiot that ignored anyone not important enough to have a pedestal at least as high as his, no. Which was exactly what made him so irresistible in Castiel’s eyes. Well, that and the fact that his face seemed to have been painted by Caravaggio and carved by Michelangelo.

Dean was... Dean. He was an all-around nice guy, always kind with anyone who crossed his path, but completely focused on school, his friends and his interests. When he wasn’t hanging out with his best friends Charlie - who Castiel had met in another of his AP classes - or Benny, he was attending classes, or doodling whatever caught his attention in the moment, or listening to music: his pencil was basically the fifth of his limbs, and his iPod the sixth. Anything else seemed to completely escape his notice, including how most of the girls, and more than one boy, couldn’t help but be blinded by his beauty and his smile and turned into babbling idiots whenever he was within a 45 miles radius; or how he was the main source of the school’s gossip for weeks at a time whenever he dated some girl but then didn’t suggest going out for a second date, which the girls complained about to no end, together with the fact that he had also been “infuriatingly respectful” during those first dates. Whatever that even meant. 

Not that he was constantly dating girls either. Castiel only knew of Cassie, Rhonda and Lisa, and he doubted there had been many more since he had started high school last year. But knowing about those three girls made a sour piece of truth undeniable: Dean Winchester wasn’t interested in anything serious during high school and he was unmistakably straight.

Which Castiel clearly wasn’t.

In fact, it had been the feeling that the world had abandoned its axis altogether and gone for a walk in a different solar system when he first laid eyes on Dean last year that made him realize that. Before that he hadn’t, in all honesty, spent too much time thinking about his sexuality. He had lost his parents when he was twelve, when most kids start giving the subject some serious thought, and hadn’t exactly been in a place to be interested in much outside mourning them, pulling his weight with Claire and surviving another day.

But when he saw Dean Winchester on the second day of his freshman year, he suddenly understood why, while appreciating spending time with girls at school, he had never been interested in anything more. Because no girl, or boy for that matter, had ever made Castiel feel what Dean had made him feel that day and any other day in the last two years when he summoned enough courage to look at him for more than a moment while he was, as per usual, lost in his world and Castiel could look his fill without fear of being caught while filing away every small detail to think about again later.

Of course, Castiel had never even entertained the idea of introducing himself to Dean and try to get to know him. That was simply ridiculous. Dean was older, attractive in a way that was probably illegal in most states and, Castiel was half-convinced, was not of this world, and Castiel was.... Castiel. Different, socially awkward, mostly because he didn’t have the time to watch or listen to stuff every other kid knew about and he couldn’t get most references, and he wasn’t certainly easy on the eye. His face was anything but classically symmetrical, certainly not like Dean’s, his hair was a lost cause and he was absolutely scrawny. And, to top it off, he even had braces. He had them put on the week before the accident, his mum had taken him, and had felt even more self-conscious ever since. That was actually the only reason why Anael would sometimes gently reproach him, saying he did have a beautiful smile and he should smile more often.

Yeah, right. 

So, smiling or outright laughing like he was doing now was an absolutely rare occurrence for Castiel, but the weekend had been particularly taxing and Gabe was particularly hilarious this morning, so it felt good, felt normal, to just let it go and join his friends in laughing without a care in the world.

Or it had until he felt a pair of eyes on him.

Dean Winchester was staring at him. 

Why was Dean-I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on-around-me-Winchester staring at him? The devastatingly beautiful and kind Dean Winchester staring at the devastatingly awkward Castiel Novak?

Then he realized what that meant and felt his face catch fire. He clamped his mouth shut right away and started playing with the hem of his hoodie while trying to will what he was sure was a flashing crimson blush away.

He had been told repeatedly that his voice was unexpectedly gravelly for someone so young and small and he knew his laugh was deep and raucous. So raucous that it had been apparently able to pull even Dean out of his head. And so Dean now knew he existed. 

And had seen him, and his braces, in all their shining glory.

It’s not like he ever really thought he had a chance with him. He was a firm believer that daydreaming about it could only bring to false hope and heartache. So he wouldn’t exactly daydream about Dean. He would rather recall how good he looked in that absolutely ugly orange sweater which “Sammy bought it for me for Christmas, Charlie, but joke’s on him because it’s the softest shit I’ever ever had and I’m gonna wear it till kingdom come.” Unsurprisingly, the pang he had felt when he had overheard him say that had abated considerably a couple of days later when he heard him - he wasn’t eavesdropping, okay, he was just passing by - tell Benny that his little brother had been bitching about him calling him “Sammy” again.

Or how incredible he looked sitting in what Castiel had come to realize was Dean’s favorite spot outside school to draw and his hair caught the afternoon light just right.

But it was kind of comforting, on those rare occasions when exhaustion caught up with him and soured his mood, or he felt particularly lonely and his willpower would wane, to know he could dream of himself and Dean meeting by chance and finding out they had more in common than he thought and that maybe Dean didn’t want anything long term with any girl because he was actually waiting for Castiel to come along.

And until Dean kept ignoring his existence, that was actually possible. Castiel could make up Dean’s reaction in his mind all he wanted, because there wasn’t an actual, real, tangible reaction that could contradict his daydreaming. When you don’t know for sure, anything is possible. Including Dean Winchester suddenly turning gay and falling head over heels for you.

But now he had seen that actual, real, tangible reaction. The barely there frown on his face while he kept staring at the inappropriate kid who was laughing too loud and being a buffoon along with Gabriel and didn’t have, apparently, any qualms about showing the world the hundreds of pounds of stainless steel fashionably adorning his charming smile. 

God, he was hopeless. Now he wouldn’t even be able to dream about Dean talking to him without seeing the “what the fuck?” written all over his face.

Oh well, it’s not like Dean Winchester was ever gonna talk to him anyway.

*****

“So that’s where you have been all this time. Sirius.” 

Maybe surprising the boy (Cas, Dean, his name is Cas. Better still, Castiel, you don’t even know whether your tendency to shorten everyone’s name is OK with him) at his locker hadn’t been the brightest idea he’d had in...ever? The guy whipped around so fast Dean was sure he had made himself dizzy and was now looking at Dean with his mouth hanging open and wide, blue, so so blue eyes. He then closed his mouth so hard and fast Dean could actually hear his teeth clashing and turned around. Satisfied they were truly alone (he’s not embarrassed to be seen with you, is he?) he looked at Dean again and a slight frown appeared on his face. He then tilted his head (and when have head tilts become cuter than a litter of chubby Aussie puppies rolling all over each other?!?) and said “I don’t understand that reference.”

Aaaaaand Dean apparently had a voice kink, how about that, because the deep growl the boy (Cas, Dean, Cas!) apparently thought was OK to use as his everyday voice had actually made his breath hitch a little.

Also, he was totally lost in the woods after his reply. Like, about to be eaten by the big, bad wolf lost in the woods.

 “V? Your hoodie?”

“Oh. That’s, uhm, a present. From my brother. I haven’t actually watched the series myself.”

“Oh. OK. Well, you totally should, it’s a classic. And totally badass too.” 

Five seconds of silence.

“OK.”

More silence. 

This was clearly going spectacularly well. 

“If your brother doesn’t have them, I actually have the DVDs. Well, I don’t, but Charlie does. She’s my best friend.”

“I know.”

Did he?

“Do you?” 

And, yep, embarrassed was a pretty good look on Cas. “Yes, uhm, we share a class. And I know her. A bit. Not that we are friends. We just talked. A couple of times. In class. The class that we share.”

Dean couldn’t have fought the smile that started spreading across his face in reaction to Cas’s babbling to save his life. Sammy’s maybe, but certainly not his. Especially not when the damn blush he had seen at the beginning of the day returned to Cas’s face when he noticed Dean was smiling.

“That’s great. So you know what a huge nerd she is. I could borrow the DVDs from her and we could watch the series together?”

“Together?” 

“Yes.”

“The series? Watch the series together. You and me.” 

The acoustic wasn’t that bad in this corridor, was it?

“Yes, you and I could watch V together. I love sci-fi. Unless, of course, you’d rather not.”

“I. I’d love too, but, uhm, I have lots of homework to do, and... and you’re always busy with your friends and, and drawing. So, maybe, yes. We could maybe reconsider in a couple of weeks? I have to go now. To, uh, class. I have to go to class. Bye Dean.”

Dean was actually surprised Cas didn’t leave a flame trail behind, Willy Coyote-style, when he practically bolted out of there. 

But rather than feeling disappointment or rejection, he felt a smile return to his face in full force. 

Cas knew his name. And that he liked drawing. And that he was friends with Charlie. Apparently, while Dean was too busy being an oblivious idiot, someone else had been doing their homework instead.

That certainly meant he was interested, right? People don’t take notice of things like other people’s hobbies if they aren’t at least a little bit interested, right?

Admittedly, Dean had no idea if Cas was even into boys. Hell, Dean had no idea if Dean was into boys. But the otherwise inexplicable pull he felt toward Cas seemed to point to the fact that, yes, Dean was at least a little bit into boys. Or into this particular boy. And all the little things Castiel had clearly taken the time to learn about Dean, coupled with the ever present blush on his face when Dean’s attention was on him for more than three seconds, also had to mean something, right?

Only one way to find out. 

***** 

Dean was everywhere. 

After that disastrous first interaction, not a single one of the last ten days had passed that Dean hadn’t made his presence known one way or another. 

Castiel still had nightmares about that first interaction, and they only got worse every time he thought about it. Because he had been so utterly, unjustifiably, unforgivably stupid. He had been so caught off guard by Dean silently approaching him and speaking with him for the first time that his brain had shut down completely for a few seconds. He had almost jumped out of his skin, giving himself whiplash in the process, and kept gaping at Dean like a brainless fish - yes, with his stunning braces in full view again - for an eternity before remembering he had, in fact, perfectly working jaws and deciding to save Dean from the stainless steel exhibition he was subjecting him to. Then a thought had occurred to him and he felt like he wanted to dig himself a hole and go live there for the next 20-30 years or so. Maybe Dean had actually been talking to someone else? But when a quick look around proved they were alone, he cautiously replied and that’s when the most horrific interaction in the history of humankind started. Castiel had stuttered, babbled, blushed like a 5 year old kid, and totally confessed he knew things about Dean people just don’t know about people they don’t think about every day.

He was so rattled from the whole thing he actually skipped class for the first time in his life and went to hide in the library, where he felt safe, and knew he’d have the isolation he needed to think about what had just happened. The question he kept asking himself was Why??!? Why had Dean approached him? Why was he even there, when juniors’ lockers were in a completely different part of the school? Why had he talked to him? Why had he offered to watch a TV series together?! That’s not something you suggest to a stranger, right? Castiel wasn’t exactly an expert in what kids usually do, but that couldn’t possibly be normal.

And that’s when he realized.

It couldn’t be normal because it wasn’t normal. There had to be some other explanation. It just wasn’t possible that he had passed from being inexistent to being the object of Dean’s attention in the space of a couple of hours.

Maybe it was a prank? Or Dean had lost a bet? Even though he was actually doing his best not to watch him after realizing Dean had seen him laugh with his friends earlier that morning, he had noticed Dean speaking with Charlie while both were watching Castiel, and that couldn’t be a coincidence, could it? Charlie, or Dean for that matter, had never seemed to him like the kind of person to do something like that, but what did he really know about them? Nothing, that’s what. And it was the only rational explanation. Someone like Dean simply didn’t approach someone like him. 

His suspicions only grew with each passing day. 

The day after what he now termed as ‘the horror show’ in his mind, Dean passed him by and proceeded to a) squeeze his shoulder lightly, b) greet him by his name (“Heya Cas”... Cas? Was that a shortened version of his name? And when had Dean even learned his name?!) while smiling his signature Dean Winchester smile, and c) wink at him.

Wink at him.

Dean Winchester had winked at Castiel Novak. And had touched his shoulder.

And Castiel Novak hadn’t spontaneously combusted.

He did, however, stand there speechless, with his mouth hanging open again, and watched Dean walk away. There he stood, until Anael came looking for him to walk to class together. A class he still couldn’t recall much about.

But then it got worse.

The flirtations started.

Outright, unmistakable flirtations, that not even Castiel could fail to recognize as such.

A couple of days after winking day - yes, he might have started thinking of the 4th of February as winking day, so what? - Castiel was dragging his feet toward the exit at the end of very, very, very long day when he heard Dean’s voice saying “I see you find it difficult to walk. Well, I’m not surprised, it must still hurt.” 

Again after making sure Dean was actually talking to him, Castiel replied, more than a little baffled, “Hurt? Why should I be hurting?”

“Because you fell.”

Fell?

“I... didn’t”

“Sure did. From heaven. It must have hurt. It clearly still does.” 

Castiel hadn’t fallen from heaven though. He hadn’t fallen from anywhere.

Oh. Oh.

Dean clearly waited for realization to dawn on Castiel’s face and he was just as clearly relieved when it finally did. And then, once again, he just smiled, winked at him, told him “see you tomorrow, Cas” and, for the second time in 48 hours, left a gobsmacked Castiel to stand there, rooted to the spot like a complete idiot, almost expecting to be turned into a pillar of salt for being unable to stop staring at the embodiment of all sins - at least, of all the sins Castiel simply couldn’t help thinking about in that moment - that Dean Winchester clearly was. 

Then it was the cafeteria gift day.

On Fridays Castiel usually had lunch with Anael, as the rest of their friends had a different lunch period. When he got to the cafeteria he spotted her at their usual table welcoming him with a pleased smile he couldn’t quite understand at first. Until he saw there was something on the table in front of her.

“What’s that?”

“I don’t know, it was already here when I arrived. There’s a note with your name on it though.” 

A note with his name on it?

Sure enough, there was a folded piece of paper perched on whatever was underneath with ‘Cas’ written on it. A mixture of dread and excitement filled him. Only one person called him ‘Cas’.

He took the note with slightly shaking hands and read ‘The Mediterranean Sea got poured into your eyes, so I hope this will give you a taste of home. Enjoy :-)’

Looking down, he finally saw what had been under the note: Greek yogurt and honey. Which was actually one of his favorite foods. Truth be told, he liked anything containing honey. It was a miraculous product made by miraculous little creatures he found extremely fascinating. 

But... how did Dean know what foods he liked? It had to be a coincidence. And why hadn’t he signed the note? In different circumstances he would have thought it was one of Gabe’s pranks. Except, he had told no one about Dean’s nickname for him and no one else called him that - Gabe somehow thought that “Cassie Darling” was the “perfect” name for him from day one. So why not sign? To keep him on edge? To leave him wondering? Or because he simply took it for granted that no one had ever shown any sign of interest in Castiel so he would have no other choice but to conclude, and depressingly so, that it was from Dean? 

And the note itself? ‘The Mediterranean poured into his eyes’? What did that even mean?? It simply wasn’t physically possible! “A taste of home”?? Did Dean think he was Greek??! Castiel wasn’t Greek!

Then it clicked. It was another flirtation, like the falling from heaven one a couple of days prior. His eyes were blue, the Mediterranean Sea is blue, Greece is in the Mediterranean basin. It was... it was a metaphor.

And it was just as lame as the other one. Even Castiel could see that. 

Which couldn’t but solidify the idea that this was all some kind of joke. If Dean was really flirting with him, he would put a little bit more effort into it, wouldn’t he? He would have signed the note, to make sure Castiel knew the gift was from him and he wasn’t left with so many questions. Plus Dean was very smart, he couldn’t possibly think such overly exploited metaphors would work with him, or anyone for that matter, could he? That Castiel had replayed the falling from heaven conversation in his mind for days and was now experiencing a strangely warm feeling at the idea of Dean buying him one of his favorite foods and complimenting his blue eyes was a completely different story. Totally unrelated.

And the idea that Charlie was in on it too got also solidified not much later. When she literally squealed “I’ll work with Castiel” as soon as the teacher said they should choose a partner for the rest of the class to complete the assignment by the end of the hour and then spent the allotted time waxing poetry about what a great person Dean was, what a great big brother, what a great friend, what a respectful dating partner.

Until that day, they had chatted a few times before or after class, and never about anything specific, so why would she think Castiel cared about any of that? Why would she think spending almost an hour speaking a mile a minute about how absolutely perfect her best friend was was something Castiel wanted her to do? Because she was trying to convince him that Dean was “such an all around good guy, Cas”, and Castiel should totally drop his guard around him, that’s why.

But the absolute worst thing was when people started to notice. Whenever Dean said hello, smiled or waved at him in the corridors someone would inevitably turn to look at him, almost offended, trying to figure out how Castiel Novak had manage to blackmail Dean Winchester into acknowledging his presence. Because that had to be the reason, of course. It’s not like Dean could simply notice him, right?

Even all of his friends, with the exception of Anael, had made some kind of remark about Dean’s interest in him. Gabe had, unsurprisingly, been the most vocal about it, saying he couldn’t understand why Dean seemed to be all over Cassie all of a sudden and that he was ready to go demand answers and make “our poster boy” face the music in case his motives were anything but virtuous. And if Castiel had to be honest with himself, his irritation with the mere idea Dean might be using him for some kind of prank or bet was strong enough that he had been more than a little tempted to take what Gabe was offering. But Castiel was also aware that Gabe didn’t exactly know the meaning of the word ‘boundary’, so he didn’t think he would ever be able to just sic the king of pranks on Dean. Not unless he had solid proof Dean deserved it. 

*****

Things weren’t going as planned.

Dean had pulled all the stops - the winning smile, the winking, the pick up lines, even the buying him his favorite food because it’s not like he could buy a boy flowers, right? Cas had never showed any sign of wanting to move things along though. But the blush and the stunned expressions when Dean talked to him were still there, every time. So Cas had to be interested, right? Then why hadn’t he ever made that interest crystal clear, like Dean had been doing? Charlie had also told him she had suggested that she could give Cas Dean’s number more than once during their convo, but Cas hadn’t picked up on that either. Dean was growing increasingly frustrated and increasingly desperate and had come to the conclusion that subtlety simply wasn’t Cas’s style.

It made perfect sense then that he was now waiting outside the gym at the end of Cas’s PE class.

Because he had to know for sure, or he’d go crazy. And because he just couldn’t stop thinking about him. About that laugh, and that blush, and those eyes, and those lips, and that voice, and that deer caught in headlights expression he got whenever Dean so much as waved at him.

And if the last ten days had taught him anything, it was that he was definitely interested in boys too. Or at least, in that one boy. The one he couldn’t help thinking about - it’s not like he ever fought the impulse either - whenever he wanted or needed to rub one out these days and that he knew was the reason he had watched gay porn for the first time in his life. And boy, had that given him ideas. About all the things he wanted to do to Cas. And all the things he wanted Cas to do to him. And also about a few things he’d rather unsee and never planned on doing or having done.

Problem was, everyone seemed to be leaving the gym but Cas. Could he have skipped class? No. That wasn’t his style, since, on top of everything else, he was apparently also a genius and super responsible too, or so Charlie had told him. And he was in school today, Dean had checked, like he had done every day in the last ten days.

So when more than five minutes had gone by after the last students had left the gym and there was still no sign of Cas, Dean decided he just couldn’t wait any longer and entered the gym. After quickly scanning the place and finding it deserted, he concluded that Cas was probably still in the locker room.

And he was not prepared for what was waiting for him there.

Cas had his back to him and was rummaging through his locker. His hair was still damp and a few drops of water would fall on his shoulder whenever he moved.

His very naked shoulders.

Cas had clearly just stepped out of the shower and was only wearing a towel around his waist. And Dean felt like he couldn’t breathe for a second. That was one fine back and, even through the towel, one mighty fine ass.

Cas was smaller than him, shorter and leaner, and hadn’t filled out yet. He clearly still had some growing up to do and Dean honestly found that hot as fuck. He loved the idea of being bigger than Cas, of being able to lift him up and manhandle him like he wanted. Of being able to engulf him and protect him with a hug.

And, yep, his thoughts were clearly getting away from him. He needed to talk with the guy, not jump his bones without even saying a word to him first.

“Hey.”

Castiel turned around right away and, once he realized Dean was actually there and they were alone, he narrowed his eyes. In the meantime, Dean didn’t have to fight the urge to stare at his chest. No, nope, absolutely not. Shut up.

“Dean. What are you doing here?” 

“I wanted to talk with you.”

“Talk. Of course. And you obviously needed for me to be alone and naked in the locker room to do that.” 

“What? No! I was waiting for you outside but you never showed up and I was getting restless. I- ... I really, really need to talk to you.”

“So here it is.”

Here it is?

“Here is what?”

“The grand finale. This is when you tell me you are hopelessly in love with me and I fall on my knees for you and all of your friends suddenly appear from behind that door to laugh at me, isn’t it?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh, c’mon, Dean. I might be naive, but I am not stupid. Someone like you cannot seriously be interested in someone like me. And your poor attempts at courtship weren’t super convincing either. So, what’s the truth, eh? Is it a bet? Or a prank? You just want to mock the poor braces-wearing nerd for lack of anything better to do?”

Poor attempts? Dean had put a lot of efforts into those “poor attempts”, thank you very, very, very much.

Wait.

Bet? Prank? Mock the poor braces-wearing nerd??? 

“Mock the poor...?! Is that what you think, you idiot?! I don’t give a fuck about your braces!!” 

“Yeah, right”, spat Cas before starting to turn around. 

Dean’s hand shot to the other boy’s shoulder to stop him before he could even register what he was doing.

He needed Cas to see him, and understand.

“What I care about is the fact that your smile is shy and reserved but your eyes shine on the rare occasions you do smile, that you give people your undivided attention whenever you talk with them, like nothing else exist in the world, that you use air quotes way more than people usually do and I must have developed some kind of fixation with your fingers as a result,”

Cas’s eyes couldn’t get much bigger than that, could they?

“That I understand even from across the room if you find something confusing because of that damn head tilt you do and that I have been trying not to find adorable for ten days now, that I can’t seem to stop drawing your face and your eyes, that you seem to be so tired some days, and I want to know why and I want to help if I can. THAT’s what I care about, not the damn braces!” 

Damn, but Dean was furious. He had never planned to say - to yell - all those things to Cas’s face, but the very idea that Cas might have seriously thought Dean was trying to make him the butt of the joke was beyond infuriating. Cas’s comically wide eyes, dropped jaw, adorable blush and stunned expression did a lot to help him get himself back under control though.

Breathe. Dean needed to breathe and calm down. And talk with Cas.

“Oh.”

“Yeah.” 

“So, you... like me?”

“Yes, Sherlock, I do.”

Not that damn head tilt again, Dean needed to stay focused! 

“It’s just a phrase, Cas. Yes, yes I do. Like you.”

“Oh.” 

“Can you say something else, please?”

“I, uhm, I am sorry for accusing you of being pranking me.” 

“And I am sorry for not making my intentions clearer, which I obviously didn’t manage to do. I honestly didn’t even know what the fuck I was doing, I have never tried to ‘court’ anyone” (fuck, the air quotes ended up rubbing off on you, didn’t they?), “let alone another boy. And I am really, really sorry for calling you an idiot. I shouldn’t have said that, even if I was mad.”

“Well, I kind of deserve that, I’m afraid. I don’t always get the hint.”

“You don’t say.”

Dean smiled then, which caused that shy, reserved smile to also appear on Cas’s lips, and if Dean thought that was more than enough to make his heart start beating a little faster, he had never considered what that smile combined with his adorable blush could do to him.

“It’s OK, Cas. We’re all made the way we are made. But, if you’ll let me - “

it was impossible for Dean to stop taking steps toward Cas now

“ - I’d like to get to know how to talk with you in a way that’s not confusing. So that I’ll never cause you to doubt again. And I’d like for you to give me the chance to show you that I am really, truly, very interested in you.” 

Dean couldn’t have looked away from Cas’s eyes if he tried. They were so wide, so unsure and hopeful at the same time. That small, shy smile was tugging at Cas’s lips, making the Mediterranean blue of his eyes sparkle even more.

“Can I kiss you, Cas? Please? I’ve been kinda dying to kiss you.”

“I’ve never kissed anybody.” 

“That a no?”

“That a ‘I don’t know how to kiss’”

 Christ on a cracker, now the air quotes too? Was Cas trying to kill him?

“It’s OK, Cas. You just follow my lead and tell me if we do anything you don’t like, or if you want to stop.”

“OK.”

Dean felt like he was in a trance, getting closer and closer to Cas. He was very aware that Cas was basically naked while he himself was fully clothed, and that was turning him on to no end. But Cas had just outright told him this would be his first kiss, so Dean was determined to making it good for him, giving him the full experience, without pushing too much. So he got so close to Cas there was barely any space between them, put his right hand on his neck, which was damp, and warm, and soft, and amazing, and used his left hand to caress Cas’s cheek and tilt his head slightly upward. Cas’s eyes were wide, his beautiful, plush lips slightly parted and his hands were still by his sides, he still hadn’t made a move to touch Dean. He was still a bit unsure, a bit scared. Dean wanted to punch everything and everyone that had made Cas feel so insecure. So unable to see how incredible he clearly was. It didn’t matter that he was still uncertain though. Dean would prove to him there was no reason for him not to feel safe and taken care of. Dean was planning on making Cas feel as cherished as he deserved. And that would start now, with this first kiss. The first of many, if Dean had any say in the matter. So he used his thumb to slightly pull on Cas’s bottom lip and then looked into his eyes, a silent request for further confirmation, and when Cas nodded ever so slightly, he put his own lips on Cas’s.

Softeness. That’s all Dean could feel in that moment. Cas’s lips were so plump, so soft, and he couldn’t believe he was finally, finally getting to taste them. He stood there, unmoving, with his eyes closed for a few seconds, afraid to break the spell and cause Cas to withdraw. But then he felt Cas’s hands touch his sides and he relaxed a bit, because Cas was finally starting to relax too. Emboldened, he cupped Cas’s face with both hands and started slowly moving his head this way and that, all the while leaving small but firm closed mouthed kisses on those amazing, addictive lips. Impossibly, he stepped even closer to him, until their chests were flushed against each other, and the heat radiating from Cas’s naked chest did things to him. Clearly Cas felt the same way, because he gasped and that was when Dean couldn’t help but sneak his tongue into the other boy’s mouth. He really, truly wanted to be a gentlemen and go slow, but this boy was impossible to resist, he was so beautiful, so pliant, and even though Dean had always considered himself to be a pretty giving partner, right now he couldn’t help but take, at least a bit. Dean felt Cas tense slightly and, even though he kept his own eyes closed, he did feel Cas’s eyes open, and he could just imagine the slight frown on the other boy’s beautiful face, which made him smile a bit into the kiss. He still didn’t open his though, and he didn’t stop licking into Cas’s mouth. He just kept going, waiting for Cas to take the hint and start copying what he was doing. He had told Cas to follow his lead after all, and Cas had been quite good at doing just that so far.

And wasn’t that a thought.

So he wasn’t surprised when he felt Cas start responding, his tongue shyly, tentatively tangling with his own. And then Cas seemed to light up with his whole body, because his tongue pressed more insistently into Dean’s mouth, he moved his hands from Dean’s side to his back and squeezed Dean against himself and held tight, and he started making these little, soft sounds of pleasure.

And Dean was only human, ok? He was a good person, or so he liked to think, his mum and dad had taught him to always be respectful of the girls he would date and it wasn’t hard for him to assume that also extended to any boy he might date. And he really, truly wanted to be a gentlemen and to go slow. But Cas was finally on board, really, truly onboard, and he was soft, and warm, and pliant, and on board, so Dean couldn’t help but push him against the lockers and literally drape himself over him, head to toes. Cas did gasp when he felt himself make contact with the lockers, but he didn’t relent, he didn’t stop kissing Dean, he didn’t release his hold on his back, if nothing else he tightened it.

And that’s when Dean felt it. They were both hard. Just from kissing.

To be perfectly honest he had never even entertained the idea of one day feeling another boy’s hard-on against his own, but past Dean was obviously an idiot because present Dean could clearly feel that was amazing. His hands started having a mind of their own, moving to touch the soft hair at the nape of Cas’s neck first and his shoulders then. And then his chest, his soft, lean chest and, when one of Dean’s fingers brushed Cas’s nipple, he moaned and broke the kiss only to look at Dean with such an intensity that Dean actually felt his knees go a little weak. ‘What was that? Give me more of that’ was what that look said, or so Dean thought. But he wouldn’t make assumptions, not anymore. He wouldn’t make the same mistakes twice.

“Can I touch you, Cas? Please? I just want to touch you so bad. I promise it’ll feel good. And, and I’ll stop at any moment, you just say the word and I’ll stop right away.”

Cas had been nodding all along and the only thing he said in reply was “Please”.

Ok, so Cas had decided to kill Dean after all. 

And wow. Holy shit. They were really doing this. Dean had a moment of panic thinking how huge this was. How significant (pull yourself together, Winchester. You’ve done this to yourself a million times. How much different can it be to do this for someone else? Right. Keep telling yourself that until you actually believe it.)

All through his little freak out, he had never stopped staring at Cas’s eyes. Things were just now starting between them, but Dean knew he was already a little bit in love with those eyes, with how big, and blue, and expressive they were. How they were able to ground him, to calm his racing mind and remind him that this, all of this, was about Cas, not himself. About showing the other boy how very much into him Dean was. About making him feel safe. About making him feel all the pleasure he deserved to feel (just go slow. Don’t rush, don’t spook him. Hell, don’t spook yourself. Go slow. This is a first for both of you, after all.)

So he stepped closer again, looking down at Cas’s lips. Dean was pretty sure staring a Cas’s lips would become a permanent feature of his life, if Cas gave him a chance. He kissed those lips. Because he wanted to. And because he could. And kept kissing them. Slow. One small kiss after the other. 

It had occurred to Dean that they had no lube and so he thought the best way to go about this was to turn Cas on as much as he could, and use his precum as lube.

His mouth started traveling downward, once he’d had his fill of those incredible lips. He kissed his cheek, his jaw, even nipped at his earlobe and then started kissing his neck. Cas definitely liked that. He gasped when Dean kissed his neck for the first time, put both of his hands on Dean’s biceps and squeezed. Bingo, Dean thought. He laser focused on Cas’s neck then, kissing every inch of it, trying to find and catalogue all the spots that made Cas lose it. That knowledge might come in handy from now on. All the while, his hands wandered. He was stroking Cas’s back with his left hand, while his right hand touched him basically everywhere else. His neck, his shoulder, his arm. It went so far as to interlace their fingers together and pin their joint hands on the locker next to Cas’s face. Dean stopped for a moment then, and looked at Cas. Really looked at Cas. At his fuck up hair (well, more fucked up than usual, anyway), his big eyes, his ever present blush, his lips, swollen and red, so swollen and so red because of Dean, of all the kisses Dean had given him and Cas had gladly accepted. He was beautiful. And, if Dean played his cards right, he was Dean’s. He moved his right hand to Cas’s neck again, but Cas left his own hand where it was. Dean’s brain just about short circuited then. Cas was the picture of pliantness, waiting for Dean to do whatever he wanted. And Dean wanted. But he wouldn’t lose it, no. This was about Cas, not Dean.

He went back to kissing him and slowly started moving his hand downward, making sure that his thumb would brush his nipple just as his mouth attacked his neck again. And Cas shivered. He fucking shivered. Dean felt so strong, so powerful, so in control, light headed with the very notion that he was doing this to Cas, was freaking making him shiver in pleasure. His hand got to the hem of the towel then, and Dean stopped again, to check in that Cas was still sure that’s where he wanted to go. No sooner had Cas nodded that the towel started sliding to the floor. Dean wanted to look down, he really wanted to. But he was afraid of breaking the spell that was keeping their eyes locked together. And so he didn’t. He kept looking at Cas. 

He did grab a handful of that perfect ass with his left hand though, and circled Cas’s cock with his right.

The heat was what almost sucker-punched him. He had never paused to think how warm his own cock was when he took himself in hand. But that’s all he could think about now. Cas was so warm. And silky. And hard. So, so hard. All because of Dean. All for Dean. 

That’s when Dean tightened his fist around Cas and started stroking him, while going back to kissing his neck, open mouthed and possessive. He couldn’t help but bite him gently too. He wished he could mark him so bad. He knew it was too soon for that. That it would be too much. But the idea that the whole school would see his marks on Cas, know he was taken, turned him on so much he moaned at the very thought and bit him a little harder. Cas was obviously OK with everything they were doing, seen as he was steadily leaking all the precum Dean needed to make the slide easier, just like he had hoped.

Dean was stroking him slowly. Trying to understand what Cas liked, what made him clutch at Dean’s arm with both hands, made his breathing ragged, made those delicious sounds come out of those delicious lips, made him start chanting “Dean”, “please”, “so good”. And Dean was honestly trying to also understand how he himself felt, giving another boy a handjob for the first time. The first of many, if he was lucky, Dean concluded. But then Cas said “Please, Dean, don’t stop. Please, harder. Please. Please, faster”, and every last shred of coherent thought left Dean in a swoosh. No time to focus on himself. There was his boy to take care of.

That’s when he realized what he suspected might be a constant from now on. He was unable to tell Cas no. So he captured his lips again as he started giving him what he needed. He poured all his feelings - his desperation, his want, his elation, his lust, his relief - in that kiss, hoping, knowing, Cas would feel them too. He moved his other hand around Cas’s waist and held him tight against himself. He needed to feel him. His beating heart, his labored breath, his body heat, his smooth skin, still smelling of something citrusy, probably the bodywash he had used in the shower, his lean, firm muscles. And he swallowed all of Cas’s noises with that kiss, he couldn’t let any of them escape, they were his noises, they belonged to him. He was causing them.

Then Cas tensed, tightened the hands he had put around Dean’s neck and freed himself from Dean’s mouth only to bury his face in Dean’s chest and come with a muffled cry.

The sound of both of their breathing was the only thing that could he heard. Dean moved his left arm from Cas’s waist to the back of his neck, to keep him there, close to his chest, while their breathing slowed down. Other than that, they didn’t move. They stayed like that, Dean’s right hand, now coated in Cas’s come, still around his cock. Cas’s hands still around Dean’s neck. 

Then Cas took a deep breath and started stroking the hair at the nape of Dean’s neck with his fingers. But he didn’t look up. He kept his head planted against Dean’s sternum and didn’t seem intent on moving any time soon. 

“Cas?”

“Mmh?”

“Are you, uhm, okay?”

“I’m fantastic.”

“Will you look at me, then, please?”

Something that sounded like “no” but could have also been “glow” or “snow” for how incomprehensible it was was all Dean got as a reply, and that’s when he started feeling a little panicked. 

“Did I... do something wrong?” 

Now that got a reaction from Cas. He looked up immediately, his signature frown on that beautiful face.

“What?! No!” 

“Then why wouldn’t you look at me?”

Cas’s fingers went back to stroking Dean’s hair and he looked down again.

“I was afraid.”

Afraid? 

“Of what?”

“That if I moved, it would be all over. I-, I’ve never done anything like this before. And, you’re straight, right? So, I guess, this was you experimenting. And you might have your answer now, and it might be that you didn’t like it, that girls are better, and you’ll tell me this was a one time thing, after all. And, and. And it will all be over.” 

His voice was so low, and he looked so small, when he said the last part that Dean wanted to punch himself and then punch himself some more for good measure.

It would have probably been a good idea to talk about all those things before going ahead and having sex with the guy. Also because that was the original plan, wasn’t it? To talk? But then Cas’s accusations about Dean pranking him blindsided him and all his planning went out of the window.

So Cas now knew he was not a prank. But he thought he was an experiment (fucking great. Congratulations on the biggest screw up that ever screwed up, Winchester.) 

He sighed, bent down to retrieve the towel from the floor to clean his hand and then put his other hand at the side of Cas neck, to tilt his head up and make sure he would look at him.

“This is not the end, Cas. This, us, if you want, this is the beginning. I’m not experimenting. I-, I actually came here to tell you, to make it crystal clear, that I’m into you and to ask you if you’d like to go on a date with me. Things didn’t go as planned, obviously.”

There it was again. That pleased smile. And that blush. Cas was literally naked and had just come by Dean’s hand not five minutes ago. Yet, what made him drop his gaze and blush again was Dean asking him out. This boy was something else.

Dean was so screwed.

“You mean that?”, asked Cas looking up.

“Yeah, Cas, I really, really do. How about you clean up and get dressed and we go somewhere to grab a bite and talk? There’s clearly a lot we need to talk about.”

“But... you didn’t..... I mean, uhm, I believe I should.... return the favor? Reciprocate? You didn’t get anything out of this...” 

Dean was seriously concerned Cas’s face might catch fire with how red it was now.

“Believe me, Cas, I did get a lot out of this. Plus, this wasn’t about me. So, what do you say? Come sit and talk with me?”

“I, uhm, I need to go pick up my sister from school, and then cook dinner and make sure she brushes her teeth before bed.”

Why did Cas have to do all that? What about his parents? 

They definitely had a lot to talk about. 

“How about... how about you come to my place after she is down for the night. Do you think you can do that? Or, or, we can talk at school tomorrow if you can’t tonight. If you’ll still want to talk, that is.” 

Yeah, no, that wouldn’t do. Cas clearly still needed reassurance, and he needed it now, today, waiting until tomorrow was not a good idea. His parents were never thrilled to let him go out on a school night, but he supposed he could tell them a little lie just this once and ask Charlie to cover for him. They wouldn’t find it strange if he told them he’d crash at her place. They constantly did that with each other. 

“Just give me your address and I’ll be there. Nine ok? Or later?” 

“Nine is perfect.”

Dean swore in that moment he’d always do anything in his power to keep that pleased smile on his boy’s lips.

***** 

They were on Cas’s bed which Dean simply loved because “I have memory foam too, Cas. Best invention after pie, burgers, art and classic rock!”

They couldn’t stop pecking each other’s lips, looking into each other’s eyes, nuzzling each other's face, stroking each other's hair, and touching each other’s neck, shoulders, arms, chest. 

“I can’t believe this is happening. Never in a million years did I think I would get to have this. Have you. I certainly wasn’t expecting this when I saw you in the locker room.”

Dean chuckled then. What a glorious sound.

“Yeah, I know. I wasn’t expecting that either, to be honest. I don’t know what came over me. I had never had sex before, only briefly got to second base with Rhonda. But, uhm, you didn’t believe I was interested in you, and I was desperate, okay? I wanted you so bad. I did everything I could to make you realize that. I got Charlie on board-“

“I knew it!”

“ - and went as far as getting Anael to tell me about your favorite food, after I made a complete ass of myself and totally confessed how hard I was crushing on you.”

Anael?!! Castiel needed to have a talk with his dear friend, apparently.

“And that note, Jesus, I didn’t even sign it. You must have thought I was a grade A douche. I guess I was so obsessed with you I must have assumed you would just KNOW it was me. Anyway, the point is, I couldn’t keep you out of my head and you were there, with those eyes, and those lips, and I just lost it.”

“Dean, it’s okay. I mean, I’m fine with second base, even third, but can we maybe wait to score a goal?”

Why was Dean chuckling again?

“We need to work on your sports metaphors, babe,” (“babe”? That was new. And...nice), “that’s soccer, not baseball. But yeah, we are definitely gonna wait until we are both ready for more.”

“Ok, but we’ll keep kissing, right? Now that I’ve had a taste -“ (Ah! That was a joke, yes?) “- I don’t want to give it up.”

“Cas, did you just make a joke?!”

Dean Winchester’s smile was the most beautiful thing on earth. In the galaxy. The universe. In this dimension and any other alternative reality - past, present and future.

“No worries, not even reptilian harvesters could keep me away from those lips.” 

Reptilian harvesters? What did reptilian harvesters have to do with making out? Was that a reference to...something? But Dean was laughing, and he seemed so happy, so Castiel didn’t exactly mind he was clearly missing something here. 

“We also need to work on your pop culture, babe. The reptilian harvesters from V? We are so watching that series together.”

Oh, right. Well, yes, Castiel supposed they could do that now, there was nothing stopping them.

“And, just so you know, when you do that damn head tilt I cannot be held responsible for my actions, okay?”

Oh yeah? Good to know.