Title: Slow Moving Cars
Word Count: 7,673
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this fanfiction.
Summary: Written for zombie_oak who won me in the helpthesouth auction. She asked for a Dean/Cas college AU involving Dean being an ass at first and then having to make it up to Cas. I hope this is good enough.
Slow Moving Cars
Dean’s having the worst day of his life thus far.
Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration. The day his mom died was the worst day of his life. But this one is coming in a close second.
He woke up to the power cut off in his apartment and after an hour of yelling at his roommate, Ash, about the bill he finally found out that Ash hadn’t been paying it.
Or any of their bills, actually, so now Dean needs a new roommate.
Plus cable, power, gas, and food.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he checks the mail only to discover that the financial aid office is cutting his payout for the summer session. So now Dean will have to work three jobs just to stay afloat and pick up a new roommate.
He got an email from his English professor warning him that he’s close to dropping below midline putting him at risk of messing up his GPA. He’s going to have to get a tutor and he has no idea how he’s going to pay for it.
He’s late to work at the campus bookstore. His manager gives him a ration of shit for it. Then she tells him she changed the schedule for next week and cut his hours back.
Dean’s so pissed he would quit if he could. But he’s hungry, broke, and is absolutely not going to call his dad to ask for money only to hear the ‘I told you to go into a trade’ talk again.
So by two hours into his shift Dean’s in a foul-ass mood and he’s looking to take it out on anyone stupid enough to get within choking range. Most people know to give him a wide berth. Dean’s moods are pretty obvious; he wears them right on his face.
Clearly, the guy clearing his throat at the register where Dean is stationed doesn’t read people well.
“Can I help you?” Dean says flatly as he turns around from where he’s been texting his asshole of a soon to be ex-roommate, telling Ash to hurry up and get the fuck out before he comes home tonight.
“I need to return these,” the guy announces as he pushes a stack of art supplies across the counter toward Dean.
Dean shoves them right back at the guy, probably a little harder than he really needs too. “Too bad,” he says. “You can’t.”
“What do you mean?” the guy asks with this weird cock of his head. “I purchased them here. I should be able to return them. I have the receipt.”
He holds up said receipt and waves it a little bit.
For some unknown reason it’s like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull.
“Look, buddy,” Dean snaps as he leans across the counter grinding his teeth. “I don’t care if you have a receipt or not. Art supplies aren’t returnable. Whoever sold them to you should have told you that. So I hate to tell you, but you’re stuck with them.”
“But…what am I going to do with these items if you won’t take them back?” the guy sputters.
“Learn to draw,” Dean snorts.
The guy recoils like Dean slapped him. “I don’t understand why you’re so rude. I’ve done nothing to you.”
And okay, he’s right. Dean doesn’t even know this guy. But he’s too far gone now to stop himself. The other man clearly thinks Dean is asshole and Dean’s never been the kind of person to not live up to expectations.
“If you don’t like the service,” he comments with a forced grin he knows looks cruel, “then you can get the hell out.”
He sees hurt flash across the guy's face. In that instant it occurs to Dean how attractive the other man is: bright blue eyes framed in ruffled, wild dark brown hair. He’s thin, toned, maybe a runner. Dean’s type, actually. So Dean feels even more like an asshole when the blue eyes narrow and the attractive young man’s lips thin out into a scowl.
“I’d like to speak to your manager,” the hot guy says as his voice drops into this gravelly octave than gives Dean a totally inappropriate erection.
And he’s knows he’s fucked as he walks away from the desk.
He goes home that night with no power, no food, no cable, and no job at the campus bookstore.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Dean can’t get the blue-eyed hot guy out of his head. He feels like shit for acting like such a jerk.
Dean toys for a while with the idea of trying to track the guy down to apologize, but he never even got his name.
“I’m looking for….” Dean checks the scrap of paper in his hand. “Castiel Novak?”
“He’s in the third door office on your left down the hall,” the secretary says with a flirty smile that Dean returns easily.
So he’s gay, doesn’t mean flirting is dead.
He wanders down the hallway with his bag of supplies on his shoulder. It’s been a month since his fat mouth and bad attitude lost him his job. Since then, he’s had no luck on the roommate front.
They’ve either been too needy or too crazy.
But he has managed to make a little bit of a name for himself helping out the art students that are struggling with their classes. Ironically, Dean’s great at art. Pencils and charcoal are his medium but he can work a brush too. So he’s managed to scrape in enough cash to keep his place and get the lights turned back on with a payment plan.
He got an email from this Novak guy claiming that he’s been struggling with art all semester but this mid-term project is going to do him in. He’s a little weird, honestly. Very formal in his emails, but Dean needs the money so he’s willing to take on anyone at this point. The guy said he worked at the graduate office as an assistant. Dean’s meeting him here after his work shift so they can use one of the empty offices.
He knocks on the third door on the left and then stands frozen in shock as the hot blue-eyed guy from the bookstore opens it.
“Can I help you?” the guy says flatly in what Dean thinks is a pretty good imitation of the first time they met.
“Castiel Novak?” Dean asks with a raise of his eyebrows.
“You…are not Dean Winchester,” Castiel blurts.
“I’m afraid I am,” Dean shrugs. “Sounds like you need some help with your art class.”
“Yes,” Castiel says without moving to let Dean into the office. “Someone suggested I learn to draw in order to make use of my art supplies.”
“How’s that been going?” he asks.
“Poorly,” Castiel sighs, finally stepping back to allow Dean into the room. “I’m finding art to be something I do not excel in.”
“Sort of like me and being a decent human being,” Dean nods as he steps around Castiel and pushes the door shut behind them.
Castiel blinks, “Excuse me?”
“I…owe you an apology,” Dean offers as he shifts his bag off his shoulder and places it on the table. “I would have tracked you down sooner, but I had no idea who you were.”
“Because you were too rude to care,” Castiel says as he crosses his arms and leans back against the door.
“Touché,” Dean says as he waves his hands in front of his chest. “I deserved that. I know. I was a total dick and you have every right to punch me in the face or whatever. But look, I really am sorry, I got fired because of the way I acted that day, and I’m honestly really good at art. So can we call it even and maybe you can give me a shot at making it up to you by helping you pass the class?”
Dean has to give this guy credit; he actually has to think about it.
“You were fired?” Castiel finally asks as he steps closer to the table and pulls back a chair to take a seat.
“Yeah,” Dean nods as he follows his lead and sits down. “I was having a really crappy day. I’m not trying to make excuses but, trust me; it was kind of the end of the second worst day of my life. Not your fault or your problem.”
“I’m sorry,” Castiel offers as his long, slender fingers dance along the desk’s top. “I meant for you to be reprimanded. If I had known my complaint was going to cost you your employment I would have thought more about it beforehand.”
Dean’s a little surprised by his comment. He’s not really sure how to react to it. Just being around Castiel is enough to ruffle Dean’s feathers. After all, he’s been using the guy as his jerk off fantasy for a month now. So having him be…nice isn’t going to help Dean’s crush any.
“So,” he manages to choke out as he squirms in his chair. “Show me what you’ve got.”
Castiel looks confused for a minute until Dean points to his portfolio.
The stuff inside his folder is…rough. Though, Dean’s grateful it’s not like kindergartner bad. He turns the papers around trying to get a feel for perspective while Castiel watches him with this totally expressionless look on his face.
“You’re not so bad,” Dean finally says with a smile. “I mean, I can tell you’re new at this but your plants look like plants and your books look like books. The perspective is a little weak but I can teach you about that.”
“Thank you,” Castiel murmurs before he sits a little straighter in his chair and asks, “I don’t mean to be offensive, you came well recommended. However, my GPA is dependent on me passing this class with no less than an A. May I see some of your work?”
“You want to check me out and see if I’m full of shit,” Dean says knowingly. When Castiel has the grace to blush as he nods Dean shrugs, “It’s okay, not the first time someone wanted me to put my money where my mouth is.”
Dean’s portfolio is deceptive. It starts off with muscle cars in pencil and hubcaps in charcoal. The first few pages are enough to satisfy most people so Dean never bothers to remove the more personal work in the back. But Castiel silently considers each of Dean’s works. Every page he flips is given his full attention. By the time he’s passing through Dean’s sketches of his long dead mother into the nudes he keeps at the very back of the pile, Dean’s starting to sweat a little bit.
It’s the nudes that get a reaction. Not the one that Dean had suspected, though. Castiel raises his eyebrows and cocks his head to the left just a little bit while Dean watches his eyes trace the figure on the page.
“You sketch very well,” Castiel murmurs. “But only male models?”
“Women don’t usually want to sit for a guy on their own,” Dean automatically responds. It’s his stock answer for when anyone brings up his taste in the human form. But for some reason he can’t stop himself from adding, “Besides, most of those are of my ex-boyfriend.”
He wants to bang his head on the table after it comes out. What the hell is wrong with him?
“You must have cared for him very much,” Castiel says softly as he closes the portfolio and touches his fingertips to the cover of his own works. “There is love in the lines on the page.”
Dean’s not really sure how to respond to that. He opens his suddenly dry mouth, but nothing comes out.
“My professor says I lack passion,” Castiel continues as if they’re talking about the weather. “She says that’s why I’m not excelling in the class. She’s encouraging me to seek inspiration that makes me feel…something.”
“Not having any luck with that?” Dean asks. He’s confused by the problem.
Castiel’s eyes narrow as he regards Dean with an intense stare. “I’m not prone to emotional outbursts. I suppose you could say I lack fire. It’s never been a problem before this experience.”
“Okay,” Dean says slowly. “So we just need to find out what turns you on.” He winces at his own wording. “Let’s start with something easy. When was the last time you were angry?”
“The day I met you,” Castiel answers immediately.
“Great,” Dean sighs. “Okay, when was the last time you were really upset?”
“The day I met you,” Castiel says without hesitation.
“How do you feel now?” Dean asks out of desperation. This isn’t really going the way he planned.
“Confused,” Castiel says after a moment. Dean looks at him and waves his hand in a sign asking for more information. “I don’t want to like you, Dean. I’ve spent the last month fairly bitter about our previous interaction and blaming all my failures in this class on the fact that you wouldn’t help me return the overly expensive materials.”
Castiel sighs as though he’s disgusted. “Now to have to ask for your help to pass this class…it’s upsetting.”
Dean nods. “Okay, I get it. Look, I know some people. I could ask one of them to tutor you. It doesn’t have to be me.” He digs in his pocket for his phone and tries to ignore the ache in his chest that he fucked up everything between them so badly before even knowing that he wanted to get to know the guy better.
“I don’t want someone else,” Castiel blurts.
Dean stops scrolling through his contact list and says, “Huh?”
“You’re not an asshole,” Castiel sighs. “And you’re very good at art. I need the help. So, while it would be easier on my world view for you to stay a big jerk, you have something I need.”
“My artistic skills?” Dean questions.
“Passion,” Castiel corrects him with what Dean suspects might be the beginnings of a smile. “You can teach me about passion.”
Two weeks later and Dean’s not really sure what to call their relationship.
Not that it’s really a relationship or anything.
Hell, half the time he’s pretty sure Castiel has decided to go ahead and hate him. The other half of the time Dean just wants to drop everything and kiss the guy until Castiel’s rigid posture melts and Dean gets to find out what he’s like under all those horrible button up shirts he wears all the time.
They’re spending a lot of time together, though, and Dean figures it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. Castiel’s technical skills are improving a lot; even his professor has commented on his lines and shadows. But he wasn’t kidding when he said he lacked passion.
Nothing turns the guy on.
“Okay,” Dean sighs after another two hours of sketching on his apartments front steps next to his mostly silent companion. “Are you clinically depressed or what, dude? Cuz we can get you some medication that will help clear that shit up. Maybe you should talk to someone?”
To his surprise, Castiel throw his head back with abandon and laughs. He’s got a really nice laugh.
“I’m not depressed,” he finally manages once he’s gotten himself together enough to wipe at the moisture gathered in the corner of his eyes. “My life’s been…complicated recently and I’m…numb, I guess.”
“Oh,” Dean nods. “You want to talk about it?”
He’s not sure why he asks. He’s probably the last person Castiel wants to talk to about anything personal. But he wants to know the answer; he wants Castiel to trust him.
He wants to prove he’s not a bad guy.
He wants a chance.
“My father died last summer,” Castiel says after a pause so long Dean was sure he had overstepped his boundaries. “We weren’t close. I don’t know why, I guess now I never will. When we lost him, my brothers and I sort of scattered to the four winds. It’s like I don’t have a home or a family anymore. I don’t think I realized how lonely I was until I started taking this class. I draw, but when I do I hurt inside. The more I draw, the more it hurts. I don’t want to hurt anymore.”
“I’m sorry,” Dean offers quietly. And he is. He thinks about losing his mom and how much that hurt. He still has Sammy and Dad even though Dad doesn’t always like his choices. It’s hard to think about having to go through that alone.
Castiel seems to shrink in on himself and Dean flounders. Emotions aren’t really his strong point. When he has them they just sort of pour out everywhere and then he tries to never go back and look at the mess he’s made.
Castiel doesn’t notice Dean picking up their supplies and placing them carefully out of the way just inside his apartment door. He doesn’t react when a few minutes later Dean slips a can of soda out of his backpack and shakes it.
But he does jerk back to life when Dean sprays him all over with the ice-cold drink.
“What the fuck?!” Castiel bellows as he glares at Dean with soda dripping all over his face and soaking his shirt.
Dean smiles, “Bet you’re feeling something other than hurt right now, aren’t you?”
He turns and runs across the street to the campus park beside his apartment as fast as he can. Castiel is hard on his heels through the park, back and forth, and Dean's laughing so hard his chest hurts. Finally he has to slow down to catch his breath. He’s leaned against a tree trying to be quiet when Castiel barrels into him from behind, knocking them both into the dirt.
He’s half afraid that Castiel’s going to choke him. But the other guy is laughing as he rolls off Dean onto his back on the ground.
“You are a really shitty friend,” Castiel gasps out as he points at Dean with one long finger. “I’m over there, opening my heart to you, and you spray me with soda.”
Dean starts laughing again, he can’t help it. “Made you smile,” he manages to get out unrepentantly.
He looks over at Castiel sprawled on his back in the grass. He’s smiling, sunlight shining off his damp hair. Dean pushes himself up off his stomach and turns to shove him a little, playfully, his hand splayed across the center of Castiel’s chest.
He’s surprised when Castiel quickly covers it with his own and presses Dean’s hand harder against his chest. Heat pools in Dean’s gut and groin and for just a moment his reality blurs with very vivid fantasies.
Dean drifts forward like he’s in a dream, unconsciously leaning down toward Castiel like he’s going to kiss him. He wants to kiss him so badly.
But then his eyes move up from where they’ve been focused on Castiel’s lips to his eyes and Castiel looks….afraid.
Dean snaps back into reality so hard it makes something in his chest hurt. “Come on,” he offers briskly. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”
He’s so distracted by how strong his attraction suddenly seems that it takes Dean a minute to realize that Castiel doesn’t let go of his hand for the first few steps.
When he does let go, Dean shivers at how alone he feels without Castiel’s touch.
“You live here alone?” Castiel asks as he comes out of the bathroom wearing a too big pair of Dean’s jeans and nothing else. Dean absentmindedly notes that his friend has cute feet.
“Um, yeah,” Dean shrugs. “Not that I want to, but it’s been hell finding a roommate. My last one wasn’t paying the bills and I had to kick him out.”
“I’m having little luck on the roommate front myself,” Castiel comments as he slides down to sit on Dean’s beat-to-hell couch.
“Really?” Dean perks up. This could be a good thing for him.
“Yes,” Castiel sighs like he’s particularly put out. “Living in the dorms is unbearable. My roommate makes these horrible messes. He never washes his clothing. He sleeps odd hours and there are people constantly in our room at night. It’s exhausting, but I don’t know many people here that I would consider to be potential roommate material.”
“What about me?” Dean blurts, and God, he sounds so needy he cringes.
“You?” Castiel sounds it out like he’s tasting the word. “And me?”
“Why not?” Dean presses; he’s got nothing to lose now. “Look around, I’ve been living here on my own for like two months now. I’m neat, I’m hardly ever here, I work two jobs, side line as an art tutor, and take a full class load. So you’d basically have the apartment to yourself. That and come on, we’ve already had our first fight!”
Castiel blinks at him like he’s lost his mind, but then a slow smile spreads over his face. Dean’s heart skips a beat; he’s excited. The first part of their friendship had been rocky but they actually get along really well. This could be awesome.
“Alright,” Castiel says with a hesitant nod. “What are the specific costs?”
They spend the rest of the night working out the details. Dean’s relieved to find out that Castiel can easily afford his portion of the bills and is willing to move out of his dorm immediately since his roommate has a friend that wants to switch rooms. Castiel doesn’t have any furniture or anything but they can make it work. They get it all settled, and he ends up sleeping on the couch that night, under Dean’s heavy fleece blanket, still wearing Dean’s pants.
If Dean sneaks back out of his room in the middle of the night to sketch Castiel while he sleeps….well, no one needs to know.
He’s not stalking the guy or anything, he’s just so damned beautiful.
Something about the way the moonlight moves across his face makes Dean feel inspired in a way he hasn’t felt since his relationship with Andy ended.
He ends up stuffing the sketch in the back of his portfolio and crawling into to bed to steal two hours of sleep before having to go to class in the morning.
Castiel scrapes by on his midterm project; they celebrate by getting drunk off cheap wine in plastic disposable cups while they watch old movies On Demand. It’s a fun night, so fun that Dean forgets he’s got work in the morning and wakes up tangled up in bed with Castiel.
Thankfully they both have all their clothes on. He would have hated to not remember that particular event.
He’s rushing as he washes his mouth out and throws on his deodorant and clean clothes, headed for the front door as Castiel shuffles blearily down the hall behind him looking for coffee.
Dean’s turning to wave at his roommate, to tell him that he’ll text him later or something like that, when he steps out into the street in front of their apartment. His job’s at the dining hall on campus, it wouldn’t make any sense to drive.
He doesn’t think to look for cars.
Dean hears honking, then feels something slam into his side so hard the world goes dark.
He comes back to the land of the living what can only be a few minutes later. He’s still in the street, Castiel bent over him, his hair sticking up in all different directions while he cups Dean’s face.
“Cas?” he chokes out, and then lets out an animal noise of pain when he tries to move. Everything from his shoulders down hurts like hell.
“Don’t move,” Castiel commands in a voice that doesn’t leave Dean room to do anything but obey. “They’re coming. Just hang on.”
“Who?” Dean manages to get out. His chest feels so tight it’s hard to breathe.
“Dean!” He hears Castiel call out, but it sounds so far away. “Dean!”
When he wakes up later he’s in the hospital’s emergency room with Castiel standing protectively beside his bed. “What happened?” he croaks out.
“You forgot to look both ways,” Castiel says softly, but the way his hand is gripping the metal support bar of Dean’s bed makes the comment seriously not funny.
“How bad?” Dean asks as a sick feeling swells in his chest.
“It’s not bad,” Castiel assures him, meeting his gaze evenly. Dean can tell he’s not lying. “Your hip is bruised and there’s a hair line fracture there. You don’t need a cast. Your ribs are bruised on your left side and two of them are broken but they say you will heal with little trouble. You have a concussion, but the impact to your head wasn’t severe. There’s no internal bleeding. Your father is on his way.”
“So I’m okay?” Dean just can’t believe it.
“Yes,” Castiel answers in this weird, strangled voice Dean’s never heard him use before. “You’re very lucky, Dean. The driver wasn’t going the speed limit; she was looking for a parking space.”
Dean watches with his chest tight as Castiel eyes well up with tears. His roommate wipes at his face with the back of his hand before murmuring, “I’m sorry, you don’t need this right now.”
Castiel turns like he’s going to go somewhere, and Dean can’t let that happen, doesn’t want to be alone. “Cas!” he gasps and is relieved beyond words when his friend stays. “Don’t leave me.”
Dean fades in and out of sleep as they wait for his father to come. Castiel remains a steady presence at his side throughout the morning. When John Winchester comes barreling into the emergency room several hours later Castiel leaps in front of Dean’s prone form like he’s going to protect him somehow. Dean watches, stunned, as his father actually hesitates before shoving his way past Castiel’s smaller frame.
“Dad,” he manages by way of greeting and leans into the affectionate touch of his father’s hand ruffling his hair. “You didn’t have to come all the way out here.”
“Don’t be stupid,” John answers. It’s the last thing he says to Dean for a while as he hammers Castiel with question after questions about Dean’s condition.
“What was he doing? Why was he in the street? Who was the driver? Where is she now? Why didn’t you stop him? Did you move him? You aren’t supposed to move someone after an accident, did you know that? What’s the nature of your relationship with my son? How long have you known him?”
It’s the last two questions that make Castiel hesitate. But he finally offers, “I’m Dean’s new roommate. We met a few months ago after Ash left.”
Dean exhales a huge sigh of relief until he looks up at his dad’s face and sees that look that John gets when he doesn’t buy in to someone’s bullshit. “His roommate? That’s it?”
“He’s a close friend,” Castiel replies but then he bites his lip and Dean’s eyes widen. Castiel bites his lip when he’s lying. Dean’s only seen him do it a couple of times.
Once was to fake out their landlord when Dean’s paycheck came late and the rent was overdue. The second time was on the phone with one of his older brothers as he was explaining why he didn’t want to come home over spring break.
“Just friends?” John presses as he narrows his eyes.
Castiel turns to Dean with this helpless expression on his face. “What more would we be?” he asks.
“He knows, Cas,” Dean assures him.
“Oh,” Castiel exhales before turning back to Dean’s father and saying sternly, “We are not romantically involved.”
“Oh,” John backs off immediately. “Okay, then.”
It’s one of the weirder conversations Dean’s ever witnessed. But that might be because of the drugs.
Two days later his father’s on his way back home, leaving Dean in Castiel’s more than capable hands.
He hurts like hell, but he’s not actually crippled or anything. He doesn’t even need crutches, but Castiel is insistent that Dean take it easy.
“Both of your managers were more than willing to give you time off to heal,” Castiel tells him over their dinner of reheated pizza.
“Good to know,” Dean snorts as he tries to cover for the huge surge of relief rushing through him. He needs those jobs or he can forget all about school.
“I’m paying the rent this month,” Castiel announces after a few moments of silence
“No way, Cas,” Dean argues. “The deal was I pay the rent and you cover the utilities.”
“Deals change,” Castiel shrugs as he picks up their plates.
“When?” Dean snaps.
“When my closest friend rolls out of bed with me in the morning and gets run down by a car!” Castiel blurts. He’s not shouting, but his voice is louder than Dean’s used to Castiel’s being.
“I’m sorry,” Dean offers immediately as he drops his gaze to his hands. He shifts on the couch and winces. His hip still hurts and because his hip hurts, his back aches. He has a headache.
Dean just wants to go back to bed.
“Do you want some medication?” Castiel asks softly.
“No,” Dean refuses quickly. “It makes me feel weird. I don’t like it.”
Castiel doesn’t argue, but Dean can tell by the way he sighs that his friend wishes he would just take the pills. He groans as he turns to stretch out on the couch. Once he stops moving he pretty much stops hurting and he throws an arm over his face to block out the light. Dean could go back to his room, but he doesn’t want to.
He wants to be near Cas.
He must have fallen asleep, because when he opens his eyes and moves his arm off his face, the evening sunlight has completely faded into night and Castiel has turned on the floor lamp in the corner.
And he’s sitting on the floor directly under it.
“What are you doing?” Dean asks groggily.
“Sketching you,” Castiel answers with a shrug. “My project for finals is to sketch something I feel passionately about.”
“So you’re sketching me?” Dean questions as he slowly, carefully, works his way into a sitting position. “You must really be pissed at me for getting hit by that car, Cas.”
“I’m not angry with you,” Castiel corrects him gently.
“Then what are you feeling so passionate about?” Dean chuckles until he sees the flush creeping up his roommates cheeks.
“The same thing that makes you sketch me while I sleep,” Castiel answers as he puts the pad down and crawls over to where Dean is sitting on the couch.
“How do you know about that?” Dean whispers as he watches Castiel crawl closer until he’s kneeling at Dean’s feet.
“I was looking for something in your portfolio one day when you were at work,” Castiel begins, but then he looks to the side like he’s reconsidering something and adds, “That’s not entirely true. I wanted to look at your nudes again. They’re…amazing. And then while I was looking, the sketches of me were at the back.”
“I…don’t know what to say,” Dean murmurs as Castiel reaches out to rub his palms over Dean’s knees. His hands are so warm, they feel so good; Dean shifts on the couch and spreads his legs a little wider. He’s not entirely sure what’s going on between them, but inviting Castiel to get a little closer isn’t ever going to be a bad thing to Dean.
“They’re very detailed,” Castiel says softly. “You put a great deal of care into them.”
“I’m sorry, Cas,” Dean offers, floundering. “I know I shouldn’t have. Or I should have told you, or something...”
“You make me feel,” Castiel interrupts him. “You make me feel so many things. I was so angry with you when we met, and then confused that day in the office. I’ve been happy here with you, becoming your friend. Then so afraid when you had the accident. I never want to see you hurt again, Dean.”
Dean reaches up and runs his fingers through Castiel’s dark hair. His friend leans into the touch with a pleased hum. “I want you,” Castiel says in this voice that is two octaves lower than where his tones usually are. “I want to touch you, taste you, make you come apart and swallow you down. Will you let me do that? Can I have you, Dean?”
It’s on the tip of Dean’s tongue to blurt, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ but he manages to keep it together enough to nod and whisper, “Yes.”
Then he’s tugging on Castiel’s hair until the other man is draped across his lap, leaning most of his body weight on his arms pressed in tight against Dean’s sides. Their noses bump, and then rub slowly against each other. Dean smiles and Castiel returns his grin with one of his own.
It turns out that making out with a hair-line fracture of you hip bone is unpleasant…and sex is pretty much impossible.
Needless to say it leaves Dean and Castiel fairly frustrated for a couple of weeks.
But it offers Dean something he’s never really had before, a chance to be intimate without the focus being on sex.
They spend lazy afternoons snuggled up in Dean’s bed, the sheets and blanket pulled up high while they spoon in close together or Dean dozes with his head pillowed on Castiel’s chest while his friend gently rubs the back of his neck with one hand.
“I thought you were hot that day in the bookstore,” Dean blurts for no real reason as he kisses his way slowly across Castiel’s chest and up his shoulder.
“I thought you were the devil,” Castiel replies and then laughs along with Dean when Dean slaps him playfully on the chest.
“I did!” Castiel exclaims. “And then I opened that office door and there you were. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to punch you, choke you, slam the door in your face….I don’t know. I was just glad you never noticed my erection.”
“What?” Dean gasps. “No way.”
“Dean,” Castiel runs his fingers over the side of his face gently before tugging his head close and stealing a kiss. “I saw those nudes, you told me they were of your ex-boyfriend, and I almost came in my pants. You’re very attractive.”
“So this has all been a plot to get into my pants?” Dean questions with a wink and a flick of his finger over Castiel’s nipple, making him gasp.
“Yes,” Castiel says teasingly. “I paid that woman to hit you with her car so I could take care of you.”
“Not funny, Cas!” Dean accuses.
Castiel smiles. “Yes it was.”
He wants to argue - Dean’s still a little sensitive about the incident, especially since Sam sent him a detailed DVD about sidewalk safety and how to cross the street on the buddy system. His brother is a real bitch sometimes - but then Castiel is kissing him again and Dean forgets about everything but the warmth of his body pressed in tight against Dean’s and how soft his lips are.
Castiel murmurs, “I really like you, Dean.”
He can feel the blush spreading all over his body and hides his face in Castiel’s neck as he replies, “I really like you too, Cas.”
Tomorrow, Dean’s going to have to get up in the morning and head back to work. Life will go pretty much back to normal for him with his messed up schedule and job juggling, but it will be so much better than it has ever been before, because Castiel will be with him.
He won’t be alone.
“What is it?” Dean asks as he turns the canvas over and around in his hands.
“It’s my final project,” Castiel beams. “I got an A! I passed art!”
Dean takes a break from looking at the odd little canvas long enough to kiss his boyfriend. “I’ve just never seen you do anything like this, Cas. It’s beautiful.”
It’s is, really. Dean’s never seen anything like it. There’s no form on the page, just colors. A black background with splotches of grey around the outside, muted, blended so that you almost can’t see them. Then just streaks of color moving toward the center, reds and yellows bursting through the darkness followed further in by greens, then oranges, finally blues and purples, working their way into a clearer center, a space not marred by the darkness of the rest of the canvas, where the colors brighten and swirl together moving into something abstract, like looking at the sun.
It makes Dean feel warm inside.
“It’s how you make me feel,” Castiel murmurs as he looks at the canvas over Dean’s shoulder.
He points to the outer edge of the blackness and murmurs, “That’s me, before us. Everything was muted and flat.” He moves his fingertips over the red lines and adds, “This is when we met.”
Dean can’t help but chuckle. “Red equals angry, I get it.”
Castiel’s fingers trail over the greens, “This is when you showed me your portfolio.”
“Jealousy?” Dean guess and he’s shocked when Castiel nods.
“I’m used to things going well for me academically,” Castiel shrugs. “You had such raw talent and you seemed so nonchalant about it. I wanted to be like that.”
Then he touches the blues and purples. “I liked you,” Castiel says softly. “I was attracted to you, that’s the orange. But I was afraid you didn’t see me that way, and it made me uncertain.”
“And the center?” Dean asks as he touches the swirl of bright color on the canvas.
“I love you,” Castiel answers without hesitation. “That’s me in love.”
“I think this is the best day of my life,” he blurts. Castiel laughs behind him, a high, happy sound with just a tinge of nervousness about it.
“Can I count that as an ‘I love you, too?’ Castiel asks.
“Oh,” Dean smiles as he turns around and wraps himself around his friend’s frame. “I love you. I love everything about you.”
He puts the small canvas carefully on the coffee table before he picks up Castiel’s smaller frame and walks him to the bedroom while Castiel tries his best to suck a hicky on the side of Dean’s neck. They bump into the doorframe and Castiel groans as it scraps across the small over his back but he clings to Dean tighter, like he’s afraid Dean’s going to put him down and walk off somewhere.
“Not leaving,” Dean breathes into his skin next to his mouth. “Staying right here with you.”
They flop on the bed with Castiel pinned in on the bottom. It doesn’t seem to matter since he’s immediately groaning and grinding himself up against Dean’s hips. They struggle out of their shirts and Dean moves down to suck and lick up against Castiel’s nipples. Castiel’s clinging to him, panting above him as Dean drags his mouth teasingly from one to other.
“I love your nipples,” Dean murmurs and Castiel lets out a strangled chuckle. “I do,” Dean repeats. “You’re so sensitive.”
“Tease,” Castiel gasps before Dean slips off the bed onto his knees and starts to undo Castiel’s pants.
Dean chuckles when Castiel scrambles to help. “You’re making this harder,” he comments.
“You love it,” Castiel chuckles as he finally drags his pants and boxers off his hips for Dean to remove them totally. Then he freezes as Dean nuzzles, then licks, along his dick.
“Gonna suck you off,” Dean murmurs as he strokes Castiel lightly. “Then I’m going to fuck you.”
Castiel’s hips jerk up uncontrollably and pre-come blurts out of his dick as he mewls and rakes his hands through Dean’s short hair. “Guess you like that idea,” Dean comments as he leans forward and takes Castiel into his mouth.
He never gets tired of the way he tastes. Musky and rich with just a hint of the soap Castiel uses, a little hint of coffee maybe, but that could just be Dean’s imagination. It’s so good.
Castiel must agree because he’s moaning loud as hell, like he usually does, which is funny for someone who’s pretty quiet normally. His hips are rocking in tiny circles and Dean knows he wants to thrust up into his mouth but is hanging onto the last of his control as hard as he can.
He loves Castiel for that, loves that underneath all his button-up shirts and stern looks he’s able to just throw his head back and let everything go.
He trusts Dean to take care of him.
Dean’s never been able to really do that with anyone before. Andy was the closest, and Andy…hurt him.
“Dean!” Castiel gasps and it snaps Dean back into the present. Castiel’s close, his fingers are starting to tug on Dean’s hair instead of slipping through it, and that’s a sure sign he’s going to come soon.
That, and the frequent calling out of his name, which Dean has to admit it hot as hell even though the next door neighbors sometimes see him in the parking lot now and chant “Dean, Dean, Dean,” at him.
Then Castiel’s back arches and Dean swallows as his boyfriend comes in his mouth. It’s so good, and the steady ache in his gut from wanting to come builds even higher at the taste.
God bless him, Castiel’s already rolling over onto his stomach and pleading for Dean to fuck him. It’s too tempting, his hands shake as he drags the lube out of the night stand and he’s got two fingers inside easily. Dean’s never really cared who bottomed in his relationships but Castiel loves having Dean inside him and Dean’s certainly not going to complain. He reaches for the condoms and tries to fumble it on one-handed so he doesn’t have to stop touching Castiel for a second.
When he slides his dick inside Castiel exhales and totally relaxes like that’s what he’s been waiting for to feel complete. It gives Dean the chills and he presses sweet, tender kisses up Castiel’s spine before he starts thrusting slowly.
“Let it go,” Castiel murmurs and so help him, it’s all the permission Dean needs to grab his hips and slam in an out of him roughly until he comes. Castiel groans and squirms as Dean orgasms and Dean knows that means Castiel’s going to want to do this again in few hours.
Dean admires his stamina; he’s ready for a nap.
“I love you,” Castiel groans as he stretches and smiles up at Dean.
“I love you too, Cas,” Dean replies, before slipping off to the bathroom to clean himself up and then bring a warm rag back to take care of Castiel, too.
“So,” John Winchester comments as he helps load Dean’s couch into the back of the truck to move it to their new, cheaper, one-bedroom apartment. “I thought you said you weren’t romantically involved with my son.”
Dean makes a noise like a small animal getting squeezed too hard.
“We weren’t involved at the time,” Castiel replies coolly. “That happened after you went home.”
“Oh,” John says with a nod. “Well…okay then.”
“That’s it?” Dean gasps. “When I brought home Andy you grilled him for four hours until he was almost in tears. Cas gets ‘Okay then?”
“I didn’t like Andy,” his dad replies as he goes around to the driver's side of the tuck after strapping down their couch. “I like Cas.”
Dean’s mouth hangs open in shock. Castiel grins like the cat that ate the canary.
“He likes me,” Castiel comments as he gets into the Impala beside Dean.
“I guess so,” Dean murmurs.
“Does that bother you?” Castiel questions as he wrinkles up his brow.
“NO!” Dean blurts then sighs and adds more calmly, “I’m thrilled, I’m just…shocked. My father’s never like anyone I brought home before.”
“Technically, you’ve never brought me home,” Castiel corrects with a grin.
“Smart ass,” Dean snorts.
They laugh and Dean sighs as Castiel tangles their fingers together across the seat.
“It’s going to be weird not to have to work so much,” Dean comments as they round the corner into the driveway of their new place. It’s a block farther from campus but at half the cost of their old apartment it means Dean can quit one of his jobs and stop obsessing about his financial aid so much.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” Castiel says softly. “I’ll have so much more time with you.”
Hours later, when Sam and his dad are asleep in the living room and he and Castiel are crawling into bed, Dean comments, “We should take a class or something together.”
“I’ve signed us up for a beginner's course at the local art gallery already,” Castiel says coyly.
“Art?” Dean snorts. “I thought you were done with art.”
“My professor suggested that perhaps sketching wasn’t my medium,” Castiel shrugs before turning off the light on the bedside table. “She thought I would do better with something more hands on.”
“Like what?” Dean says suspiciously. He just knows this is going somewhere.
“Like Sculpting,” Castiel comments, and Dean can hear him struggling to hold back a laugh.
Dean thinks of the mess and groans.