i'll probably love you if you talk to me so you should talk to me
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Title: A Very Cliched Romantic Comedy: The Dean Winchester Story
Word Count: 8,176.
Summary: Dean Winchester is determined to not fall in love with his college roommate to avoid another big cliche in his life. Of course, Castiel Novak makes it anything but easy.
Notes: This was supposed to be short and sweet - like, a thousand words or less - but it got way out of control and…this happened. I hope you enjoy it. It’s very rom-comish and feel-good and I just needed fluff after the pain. Also, this isn’t beta’d, so any mistakes are my own.
Dean Winchester is so over clichés.
His whole God damned life is a cliché, if he’s being completely and brutally honest. He was born to the perfect mother and father with the perfect white-picket fenced house; he’s the older brother who watches over the younger brother protectively and fiercely, feeling it his responsibility since he was merely four years of age; he was the quarterback of the football team, dated the head cheerleader for a while, was an asshole all four years of high school until a life-changing experience opened his eyes and his heart and all of that bullshit.
Basically, when Dean Winchester looks back at his life, he doesn’t know at what point it turned into the perfect set-up for a romantic comedy.
And that, there, that’s what has gotten him here. Out of all the futures he filed out in his head that could lead to the most cliché-induced scenario, going to college seemed to have the least open possibility. He was convinced that, with enough dubiousness, he could get through college without completely turning his life into a romantic comedy. Simple, right? Apply for The University of Oklahoma, study engineering, breeze through his classes and finish his degree and do something or the other with his life, whatever.
But then Castiel Novak happened, and that little nerdy, ruffled idiot fucked it all up for him.
Even though he’s comfortable with his bi-sexuality (it’s not like he announces it, either, because it’s no one’s fucking business, not really) , he tends to lean more towards girls, and that’s only because he’s been so used to dating girls his entire life he’s not sure how to approach men. All he’s ever actually done to confirm he has an attraction to males, actually, is jack off to several copies of his Sports Illustrated issues in private with his door locked. He’s browsed through some gay porn too, and man, that’ll get you there. His favorites, however, are the videos in which the men are softer with each other, handling one another with so much care Dean feels as if he’s interrupting an extremely private moment. Those are rare, but it’s worth the endless amount of penises he searches through to find them, he thinks.
So he’s bi-sexual. And before you ask, yes, he did realize before this could have posed a problem for his Erase-All-Possibility-Of-A-Life-Resembling-A-Romantic-Comedy plan, but he truly didn’t think his luck was seriously so shitty he’d end up with an attractive roommate. Much less an attractive and very much gay roommate.
Because that’s the first thing Castiel wants to clarify when Dean meets him. Once he finally manages to close his mouth and stop staring at his roommate’s ass, Dean manages to catch something that sounds like, “And I don’t wish to inconvenience you or make you feel uncomfortable, Dean, but I am gay. If this presents a problem, I will be more than happy to request a change?”
And Dean should say yes, he really, really should, and it’s so fucking tempting but then he gets distracted with the way Castiel licks his bottom lip nervously and the way it shines afterwards for only a second, because damn, his lips are dry, but they’re the good kind of dry, the kind of dry that are begging to be kissed and taken care of, slowly and sensually and…
Well, Dean’s not really thinking straight (yeah, okay) when he says, “Nah, man, I’m okay if you’re okay.”
Castiel’s responding smile is breathtaking and fuck, Dean is so, so screwed.
That night, Castiel excuses himself to “finish up some paperwork” and Dean waves him off without a concern because he refuses to spend all of his time wondering where his roommate is headed every time he walks out the door. The minute Castiel is gone Dean is up, walking towards his desk and opening his laptop, fighting his way through all of the start-up pop-ups of all the things Sammy installed before he left because Dean, you have to be sure no viruses screw up your homework now that you’re in college, and God knows you need protection with all the porn you watch and he finally finds the desktop shortcut to the Skype program Sam also installed for him.
It makes some weird sounds and manages to freak him out for a second before it finally opens, the window staring at him with large “Welcome Back!” letters and some offers to learn more and buy other shit. He ignores it in favor of clicking on one of the only two contacts he has on the damn thing, ‘Sam Winchester’, and he supposes the green filled check-mark means his brother’s online. That, and the fact that he’d promised Dean he’s always be online because ‘he already missed him’. He almost smiles at the dramatics his brother manages to pull off.
He blinks at the empty chat screen for a moment, wondering how to start a call, before jumping suddenly at the strange music coming from his laptop speakers and then he realizes that it must be the ringtone, because there’s a smaller screen popping up in front of him telling him he has an incoming call from Sammy himself and, well, his brother knows him all too well, doesn’t he?
Dean accepts the call and watches Sam’s webcam pop up, along with the kid’s floppy head and his tidy, way-too-clean-to-be-comfortable room as a background. Dean can’t help but grin at the image of his little brother, and Sam grins right back.
“Dean!” he exclaims, waving excitedly at him, and damn if that doesn’t warm Dean’s heart to the core.
“Hey, squirt,” Dean greets, waving once. “How’re things on your end?”
“Boring,” Sam confirms Dean’s suspicions, because a clichéd life does get boring fast and Sam’s life is a total cliché in a completely different way Dean’s is, but he seems to be handling better than Dean ever did. Because, really, who runs to college when they find out their life is practically a movie? Morons, those are who. “How’s college?” Sam’s eyes brighten at the question, the excitable tone in his voice helping Dean’s ego swell. Sam was ecstatic when Dean announced he was planning on applying to college on something other than a football scholarship. In fact, he’s pretty sure he was happier than his own dad.
Sam’s always believed in him. Which is why, even though he’s only fifteen years old and barely joining the realms of high school, Dean feels confident enough to talk about his issues with his brother. They’ve carried this sort of relationship ever since he can remember – there’s no rational way to explain it other than Sam’s family, and Dean’s been taught that family always comes first.
Fuck, his life is such a fucking cliché.
“Well, considering I only arrived a couple of hours ago,” he teases, and Sam rolls his eyes promptly. Dean shrugs. “Can’t complain. Campus is nice. Hot girls.” Dean grins.
Sam sighs, managing to make the sound condescending. “Dean,” he pouts, and Dean rolls his eyes at his brother’s pretentiousness.
“You’re fifteen years old,” he accuses. “You’re supposed to be with me on this, loser.”
“I’m not a pervert like you, Dean. Some people actually have some sort of human decency.” Sam says as shakes his head and speaks slowly, as if trying to get through to a five year old and well, hell if it isn’t the most refreshing tone he’s heard all day (considering he’s mostly hear a rougher, deeper, gut-wrenching, crotch-tickling, hello-Dean-junior kind of tone) and Dean can’t help but grin cockily at his younger brother.
“What can I say? I can’t be tamed,” he jokes, and Sam sighs loudly once again. Dean rolls his eyes. “You’re gonna be out of breath by the time we end this call.”
“Impossible,” Sam mutters, seemingly typing something on his end furiously, his brows furrowing slightly. Dean drums his fingers against his desk noisily, waiting for Sam to finish whatever the hell he needs to finish, and pointedly thinks about trivial things like food and sleep and anything other than the blue eyed, nice-ass roommate that could walk in at any second.
Dean jumps, blinking back to reality and first seeing his brother throwing him one of his famous bitch faces. Dean grins sheepishly. “Sorry. Just thinkin’.”
“About?” Sam raises an eyebrow. “I know there’s a reason you took the time to find Skype on your computer. Something’s bugging you.” He pauses, his expression contorting into something sad and distant. Dean’s heart falls. “Is it—“
“No,” Dean says firmly. “It’s not.” He leaves it at that, and the brothers are silent for about a minute before Dean finally decides to speak up again. “Actually, I do have something to tell you,” he speaks warily, but a lot more light-hearted than before, and Sam perks up at this.
“Oh, what’s up?” he asks. Dean fidgets for a moment before he finally gives in to his brother’s curious expression, burning a hole in him even from miles away.
“Remember the Erase-All-Possibility-Of-My-Life-Resembling-A-Romantic-Comedy plan I told you about a while back?” Dean starts, and Sam rolls his eyes once again (little fucker’s eyes are gonna get stuck to the back of his head if he keeps doing that, Dean swears) and he nods.
“Yeah, Dean,” Sam replies, his tone flat. “And I told you how I felt about it.”
Dean recalls something along the lines of “just an excuse to have an excuse to go to college without feeling like you’re actually doing something for yourself”, but he’s pretty sure he ignored it then and he ignores it now. “Well, it’s about to be royally fucked up.”
Seemingly against his will, Sam actually appears to be curious about this fact. “Oh?”
“Yep,” Dean nods. “I have a – an, uhm, interesting roommate, if you catch my drift.”
Sam blinks. “No.” he deadpans. “I don’t.”
Dean glares at him from his small room in Oklahoma, hoping the intensity of it travels all those miles to Lawrence and kicks him in the face. “Interesting, Sammy. The type of interesting that you find in your PlayBoy magazines.”
Sam turns beat red at that, spluttering something about Dean shutting up and how he’d promised to not bring that up, but Dean ignores him and actually starts listening again when Sam’s back to the subject at hand. “So you mean you like him?”
“He’s good looking.”
Sam blinks. “You’ve known him for, what, like, eight hours? How do you even know he can mess with your plan, Dean?”
The matter-of-fact tone he uses is actually really annoying, but Dean’s not mentioning it. He sighs, frustrated. “That’s the thing, Sam. I know because he’s handsome and he’s gay and I can possibly, slightly, maybe have a chance with him. But,” he says, holding up a hand to stop Sam from saying whatever other fifteen-year-old-logic he was about to spring on Dean. “Say I do end up having a chance with him. Say he likes me, I like him, we date, we fall in love, we get married, we live happily ever after. That,” he says, slapping his hand on the desk. “That would ruin the plan, because how cliché is it to fall in love with your roommate?”
Sam blinks at Dean once again, dumbstruck. “You’ve really thought this through, huh?” he asks, then shakes his head. “Dean, you’re being ridiculous. You’re already thinking about the possibility of falling in love with this guy but all you know about him is that he’s good looking. Forgive me for saying this but you sound like every single girl at my school.”
And, well, yeah, that’s probably true, but he has to take precautions. Still, this eases some of Dean’s worry by a reasonable amount. Sammy’s right. He barely knows anything about Castiel. He could end up being some stuck-up, pretentious, know-it-all douchebag with a stick so far up his ass he can’t even handle one drink or a horror movie. Yeah, Dean thinks, leaning back on his computer chair unconsciously. Castiel’s probably an asshole, and he doesn’t even need to worry.
Except he is completely not.
In the next couple of weeks, Dean learns Castiel is anything but pretentious or stuck-up or a know-it-all douchebag. He ends up being one of the most modest and reasonably intelligent people Dean’s ever met, along with being completely okay with alcohol and horror movies. Not only that, Castiel loves Vonnegut as much as Dean does and he’s comfortable discussing Slaughterhouse Five for hours on end, always adding his point of view and he finds Dean smart, for God’s sake, and whenever Dean needs help studying for one of the stupid basic courses Dean can’t stand Castiel is more than happy to cancel his plans for the night and help him and he also loves cheeseburgers and can eat almost as much as Dean in one sitting and he’s kind to strangers and he volunteers at a fucking animal shelter on his days off and he doesn’t mind when Dean starts mindlessly calling him ‘Cas’ one day and Dean is so, so, so in trouble.
Dean’s plan is quickly going downhill and the only way he can get it back on track is by introducing a new plan to his agenda, one that stems from his original one and is appropriately titled ‘Dean Winchester’s Ten-Step Plan to Avoid Falling in Love With Castiel Novak’.
It goes a little like this:
- See less of Cas
- Find new friends
- Date (preferably girls)
- Find a study group
- Join a fucking club or something
- Stop jacking off to blue-eyed, lithe and ruffled boys in the shower
- Establish some in-house rules to get Cas to dislike you a bit
- Start getting laid again because your hand just isn’t doing it anymore
- Avoid being in the room altogether until it is too late to have an actual conversation
- Stop finding things in common
Okay, so it’s fucking stupid and it’s more of a list than it is a plan, but it’s something to go off of and he completely refuses to fall for his stupid roommate, even though he’s already kind of one of his best friends, if not his only friend and that’s just fucking sad.
He decides to start immediately.
Of course, nothing ever goes his way so easily.
Seeing less of Cas becomes increasingly difficult when he realizes Cas is everywhere.
He’s at the common area when Dean decides he wants to watch television in public, just sitting in one of those stupidly small wooden desks with his stupid nerdy glasses reading a stupidly big book, and he looks stupidly cute with his brows furrowed in concentration and especially so when his head snaps up, as if he feels Dean’s presence, and smiles at him slightly, waving in that adorable way of his. And Dean finds himself waving back, and, fuck, he needs out of there.
And when he decides that maybe he should spend some time at the rec center, it’s just his luck that Castiel decides to start maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. And Dean’s already signed in for an hour of work-out, so he spends the next hour trying his hardest to not stare at how amazing Cas’s ass looks in the shorts he’s wearing or how the sweat manages to make Cas look a lot more attractive than he usually looks and well, Dean should have known he had a sweat kink, what with all that jacking off to his Sports Illustrated, but he never imagined Cas would be one to sweat so easily and attractively.
Castiel makes his way to Dean when he finally realizes he’s also in the gym, smiling that small smile of his and nodding at him. “Hello, Dean.” He greets, and Dean swallows.
“Hey, Cas,” he greets, grateful his voice is at least steady enough to pass as normal and not completely-turned-on. “Didn’t take you for a health nut.” He manages a steady, easy-going grin, and he’s so fucking grateful he’s managed not to get a boner in front of the entire center.
Cas’s lips twitch in amusement. “I’m usually not,” he admits quietly. “But it appears my older brother is worried about my health due to the surprisingly large amount of burgers I eat in a week,” he explains, and hell if Dean doesn’t know that himself. “So I’ve decided to give this lifestyle a try. If only to humor him for a while.”
“Good brother,” Dean manages, smiling. He doesn’t specify who’s the good brother, mostly because he thinks if he speaks out loud again he won’t be able to sound as composed because Cas has absolutely no sense of personal space and he’s sweating and his shorts are really tight and Dean thinks he’s about to give the whole charade up right then and there but thankfully, Cas steps back and tilts his head.
“I suppose,” he muses, his voice thoughtful. “It seems my time on the elliptical is up, however, so I must leave you,” he says, and thank God, oh, the universe likes him a little, at least. “I’ll see you back at the dorm?”
“Yeah,” Dean breathes, and Castiel seems satisfied enough with this response because all he does is smile and walk out of the gym and good Lord almighty, he needs to find a restroom, and he needs to find it now.
The first item on the list/plan is failing epically, but at least the second item is running a little smoother and actually helping the first item a lot.
He meets Jo Harvelle first, this badass blonde who likes engineering as much as Dean does and has a lot in common with Dean. They hit it off almost instantly, and Dean finds himself spending more and more time with Jo and, alongside Jo, her friends Ash, Chuck, Anna, Meg and Kevin.
Ash is this Computer Science genius with a mullet that makes Dean laugh way too much, Chuck is this nervous Lit major who only speaks when spoken to unless he’s drunk, in which case the guy’s a riot (unintentionally, obviously, most of what he says actually makes no sense), Anna is a hot red-head who’s an art major and is really smart and reminds him way too much of Cas so Dean tries not to look at her much, Meg is a brunette bitch that, even though Dean respects her attitude, he can barely stand, and Kevin is way too smart to be somewhere like the University of Oklahoma, but there he is anyway, and he’s double majoring and he’s funny and nice and Dean likes Kevin, he thinks Sam would like him a lot, too.
Sam would also like Castiel, but he tries not to think about that.
In all, he makes a lot of new friends, and tries his damned best to be out with them most of the day in order to avoid Castiel. It works for a while; he comes back to the dorm too late for Castiel to keep up an actual conversation and leaves too early for him to be up yet. It’s taking a whole lot of his energy and will power, but he thinks it’s worth it when he doesn’t think about Castiel as much as he used to.
And then he comes back to the dorm earlier than usual one day, because he forgot his stupid jacket and it’s starting to get cold outside, and he finds Castiel sitting on his bed, eyes and nose red and Dean’s heart clenches involuntarily.
Castiel averts his eyes and turns his face away, seemingly swallows and speaks. “Hello, Dean,” his usual greeting isn’t as comforting as it usually is, because this time it’s shaky and trying too hard to sound normal and Dean can’t believe how much the sight is hurting him.
“What’s wrong?” Dean asks, closing the door behind him, jacket and lunch with friends forgotten, because damn it, Cas is his friend too, his first friend in a strange state and he can’t stand seeing him this way. He walks up to his bed and sits beside him, but still, Castiel refuses to look at him. “Cas,” he says, his voice full of the gentle demand he usually reserves for Sam.
Castiel’s hand reaches up to his own face, wiping away tears Dean can’t see, and his face turns, dangerously close to Dean’s. “Nothing,” he assures, but of course Dean doesn’t believe him and it must show in his expression, because Cas sighs and shakes his head again. “I was only remembering.”
Dean nods. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” he tells his friend quietly, and Cas says nothing, does nothing, and for a moment Dean thinks that’s the end of the conversation until Castiel decides to speak again.
“Two years ago,” he begins, and already Dean can hear the utter pain and desperation in his tone. “My brother, Michael, passed away.”
And shit, Dean wouldn’t know what to do if Sammy ever died on him. Not function, maybe. Stop believing. Trying. “Shit,” he voices the word, quietly, seeing how his breath tickles the end of Castiel’s messy hair. “I’m sorry, Cas.”
“You have nothing to apologize for,” and this time Cas’s voice is firm. “It was inevitable. Michael was very cocky, you see. He had a tendency of talking himself up with the wrong people, and soon enough, he was found dead. In a ditch. Thrown away as if he’d been merely a piece of a lost puzzle.”
Dean swallows, nodding along to Cas’s story, because what else can he do?
“Sometimes it hits me again,” Cas explains. “The pain. The images of his dead body. The absolute horror of losing a brother.” The breath he exhales is shaky, but Castiel never loses his composure. “But sometimes I think of angels,” he says slowly. “My mother always said Michael was now in the arms of the angels and that…soothed me, somehow.” He pauses. “Usually it’s easy to forget about it, though,” he explains, turning to Dean and smiling slightly. “You’ve always been a good distraction, Dean. A good friend.”
And Dean feels like an ass, because Dean has been deliberately avoiding Cas and Cas likes spending time with Dean, hell, it sounds as if he needs it, and he’s openly telling him how he feels and, well, fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Dean doesn’t know what he’s thinking when his arm reaches around Cas’s shoulder to pull him into a one-armed hug, that could possibly be awkward but Dean doesn’t pay much mind to it. Instead, he pays attention to how nice it feels to have Cas’s body so close to his, his outline fitting perfectly into Dean’s own, and the way Cas stiffens for only a second before letting himself be comforted.
“I’m sorry,” he says quietly, but if Castiel hears him, he doesn’t say anything.
So the whole “avoiding Cas” thing doesn’t work out and, well, it’s not as bad as it used to be.
Except it totally is, but he can’t really see it as a bad thing when he’s with Castiel. Because when he’s with Cas, everything else kind of just…goes away. The bad things, the stress, the worries, finals…it all just takes a back seat for a moment and he just thinks about how much Cas makes him laugh unintentionally or how smart he is or how good he makes Dean feel.
Dean doesn’t shy away from his new group of friends, but he also gives them some breathing room now that he’s not deliberately spending time avoiding Castiel. He gets to the dorm room earlier and when Cas has had enough of studying they play a movie on Dean’s laptop and lie close together on Dean’s bed, really close, close enough to feel Cas’s shiver at some increasingly disturbing parts or his jumps at the pop-ups or his hand when it grabs Dean’s thigh in surprise before he retrieves it quickly with a quiet “my apologies”.
When they’re not watching horror movies, they’re watching Dr. Sexy, because Dean refuses to let Cas live life without actually have seen that show and even though Castiel refuses to admit it, Dean can see Cas really enjoys it and that warms Dean disgustingly up inside and it sucks because that’s what he’s been avoiding but, again, it feels way too good to feel bad.
And then he realizes he’s hiding Castiel from his friends as if he were some dirty little secret (hah, he wishes) and then he realizes he should introduce them, because Castiel is sort of his best friend now and he talks about him all the time and they keep insisting and well, what’s the harm, right?
The harm, as it turns out, is Meg.
She is fucking devouring him with her gaze when Dean first leads Castiel into the coffee shop and no, that is not okay, the bitch can go fuck someone else’s roommate because Cas is off limits, and he makes sure she knows that by the way he stands really, really, impossibly close to Castiel.
(And maybe it should be a warning sign to him that Cas doesn’t even flinch at his proximity, is it because he’s so used to it he doesn’t question it anymore?)
When they finally reach the group’s table and get over the impossible introductions (he rushes through Meg’s and it doesn’t go unnoticed by the bitch, if her icy glare is anything to go by) they finally settle and everyone gets along surprisingly well. Jo likes Castiel instantly because Jo is awesome and can definitely tell Dean’s got a big fat gay crush on Cas but she never mentions it, Ash thinks his dry humor rivals his own, Chuck is so interested in his view of various works of modern literature that he breaks out of his shell without having to get drunk this time, Anna mostly watches but Dean can see a sort of fondness growing in her eyes, Kevin enjoys Cas’s rivaling intelligence and Meg, well, is Meg.
In all, it’s a successful night, except it feels like he just introduced his boyfriend to his friends and they liked him and Dean hates the small feeling of sweet victory that brings him.
As they’re walking back to the dorm, Castiel looks up at the sky and he’s got this small, secret smile on his face and Dean doesn’t know what it’s about but suddenly he has this terrible urge to just kiss it, but he can’t, because that’s not right and they’re friends and can he please just avoid the cliches for once in his life? Kissing under the stars in the middle of the night? It’s like they’re chasing him.
“I had fun,” Castiel suddenly says, and Dean looks at him in surprise, unaware he was going to say anything at all.
“Really?” Dean doesn’t mean for it to sound so hopeful, but it comes out that way anyway, and it seems to amuse Castiel.
“It’s not like I hate people, Dean,” he says, and Dean does his very best to hide the blush from Cas, shaking his head.
“It’s not that, it’s—” he pauses. “I don’t know. I guess I kind of liked keeping you to myself, y’know?” And then he realizes that sounds way too dirty and a whole lot possessive, so he says instead, “I just really like being your friend.” He doesn’t mean to emphasize the word friend, but he does so anyway, and he kind of feels like an ass for it.
Castiel, on the other hands, seems pleased by this comment. “I really like being your friend as well, Dean,” he says, and the utter and complete open honesty on Cas’s face breaks him because he’s so far gone on this guy it physically hurts. “You’ve been nothing but kind to me when most people would have turned me away the moment I uttered my sexuality to them. You’re a good man.”
And he just keeps complimenting him and he doesn’t deserve it, he doesn’t deserve any of it, because what if he were to say I only said yes to you staying because you were hot but I regret it because I’m trying to deviate away from a romantic comedy situation and I know you think it sounds silly but it’s a long story and you wouldn’t understand? Castiel would turn him away, he’s sure, he’d tell him to fuck up, shove it up his ass, something or the other, he’d request a transfer and leave Dean stranded with all of these unsorted feeling he refuses to sort through.
He thinks all of this in the span of a second and ends up replying, “You’re a better one.”
And that seems to shock Cas into silence.
Number three on the list is dating, but Dean can’t find it in himself to date anyone, not when he’s so hung up on Cas. The thing is, he’s not supposed to be hung up on Cas, and even though it feels really nice when he’s near Cas, it feels terrible when he’s not, because he remembers the plan, and the plan is starting to slip right through his fingers.
So, trying to remember what it means to be an actual player, he talks up several girls throughout the next month of November, and instead of completing the ‘dating’ task he more or less changes it to ‘whoring around’, which is nothing new to him. It actually brings back a lot of high school memories along with enormous amounts of guilt, but he pushes it down and doesn’t let it bother him. He’s killing two birds with one stone – number three and number eight.
It’s nice. For the entire month he starts seeing less of Cas and more of random one night stands. The only rule he has is that they can never go back to his dorm – it’s either theirs or it’s not happening. He doesn’t like the idea of Cas walking in on him pounding it to a girl (while thinking, in the depths of his terrible mind, it’s him, he’s fucking Cas, and that usually gets him off nowadays and isn’t that just sad?) so he decides to stay away mostly.
They still have their nightly movie marathons but Castiel doesn’t seem as into them as before – he doesn’t sit as close to Dean and when he jumps, he never looks to Dean for comfort anymore. It makes Dean feel a bit empty inside. In some places. Whatever.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s December when Castiel finally tells Dean what’s up, and it’s completely unexpected.
He’s walking inside the dorm room, planning on taking a nap before his last class when Castiel suddenly says, from the bathroom, “Dean, you should really stop being so promiscuous.”
And that stops Dean in his tracks and his stomach turns and he’s like, “What?” because what else can he say to such a random comment?
Castiel comes out of the bathroom and fuck, his hair is freshly wet and he’s shirtless and no, no, no, he can’t have this conversation with Castiel shirtless, flaunting the outline of his lithe body at Dean, the way a drop of water falls from his hair and rolls down his neck and he suddenly wants to lick it, shit, and Cas is saying something but Dean’s not listening because Cas is so fucking beautiful it makes him want to puke.
“Dean,” Cas sounds irritated, and it’s such a foreign concept to Dean that he snaps his eyes back to Castiel’s own. “Are you even listening to me?”
Castiel glares at him. Dean sighs.
Cas sighs in frustration and walks towards his drawer to finally put a shirt on, and Dean feels like he can finally breathe again as he sits on his bed and tries to steady his rapidly beating heart and breathing.
“Do you realize how frustrating it is to have someone different come up to me every day in class and ask me either about your latest conquest or if they can have your number?” There’s something else Dean can’t place in Cas’s tone, something he’s never heard before but really doesn’t want to spend time analyzing. “I am not opposed to you exploring your sexuality. I understand that we are in college and this is typical of young straight males, but I do have to wonder why you’re so adamant on letting the world know what you’re doing.”
He blinks at Cas and he realizes, after a moment, that Cas thinks he’s straight. He almost completely forgot. He still doesn’t have a chance with Cas because, like it or not, Cas is pretty sure Dean’s all for boobs and vaginas and recoils at the thought of dicks or whatever. And that’s supposed to be a small victory, somehow, according to his plan, but somehow it feels as if he’s been lying to Cas all this time.
“I’m…sorry?” he tries, because he’s not sure if he should be or not. He’s pretty confused at the moment, what with going from feeling aroused to feeling utterly guilty in a moment’s notice. That’s what Castiel did to him, always; made his emotions ride him like a roller coaster – he would never know which way was up or which way was down or what would come after the next one.
Cas sighs and sits next to Dean. “I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” he says, sounding very uncomfortable himself. “I just feel like this was very…sudden. Is there something bothering you, Dean?”
And yeah, yeah there’s something bothering him. He’s falling in love with his fucking roommate even though he’s trying so hard not to and he’s kind of glad he’s not actually fully there yet and he also is starting to resemble his old high school self which sucks ass because he’d promised himself he never would, not again.
So he turns to Castiel and he tells him.
Not about the whole ‘hey Cas, I’m falling in love with you’ thing, but about his high school life and experience. About how he had it all, about how he was a huge player and how his mother hated who he’d become during those years. Sleeping around, staying out late – he never once disrespected his mother, and he tried hard not to, but the line between disrespecting and disappointing started to blur somewhere in his junior year. No one could get through to him – he was just happy being the way he was.
Last year, his mother passed away. Drunk driver. And the drunk driver happened to be one of Dean’s asshole teammates. And he changed, completely. Some say for the better, others for the worst. Dean decided to let his old life go – the life his mother so completely disapproved of. He applied for college, he applied for scholarships, and he’s tried to help his father out – even though he’s doing a great job at keeping it together, surprisingly.
Dean doesn’t cry as he tells Castiel about his mom, mostly because he’s sure he’s run out of tears for her after her funeral and he remembers one night, when he was about seven, Dean had asked Mary what would happen if she died. And Mary had replied, simply, soothingly, “Don’t cry for me.”
That’s it, and that was her only request and Dean vowed to try and keep it as much as he could.
Castiel’s hand is wrapped up in his own and oh, when did that happen? Not that it matters, because he’s really comforted, and he really likes the feeling of Cas’s hand in his. He loves the warmth and the comfort it brings him and the way it causes his heart to skip a beat (cliché, cliché, cliché) and the way Dean’s thumb automatically begins to stroke the back of Cas’s hand, almost in a silent thank you. Castiel is looking straight at him but, bless him, there is absolutely no pity in his gaze. Simple wonder – the kind of wonder Dean’s always thought makes Castiel look absolutely beautiful.
“You do not need to sleep with multiple women to be worthy of something, Dean,” Castiel says quietly, and Dean is surprised for how much the simple statement hits home. And suddenly he’s got both of his arms wrapped around Castiel and that catches the brunette off guard, but he recovers quickly, wrapping his arms around Dean right back.
For a moment, just a moment, everything’s okay. He doesn’t care about cliches or romantic comedies or anything other than Cas’s arms wrapped around him, the way Cas smells, the way his body feels against Dean’s.
For a moment, he is completely and inevitably in love with Castiel Novak.
Then the moment is over and it’s Christmas vacation and Dean doesn’t want to go back home. It’s not like he doesn’t want to see Sammy, but when he called, Sam and dad were actually getting along really well and Dean has a feeling his going back home would strain that, if only because John tends to see Dean as a perfect soldier and if Dean’s the perfect soldier, then Sam’s the complete opposite.
Plus, plane tickets are expensive as fuck this time of year and neither of them have that type of money.
He asks Castiel what he’s going to do for Christmas vacation and all he says is “nothing” and that kind of makes Dean feel really bad, because here he has an actual family to go to which he’s choosing not to visit and Castiel just doesn’t seem to have an opinion whatsoever. So they both decide to stay on campus, spend Christmas together.
He sees Jo off the airport with a hug and a “have a safe flight” and Jo promises to call, but she doesn’t leave before she says, “Oh, Dean?” and Dean answers with a vague “Hmm?” And all she says is “Tell him soon, okay?” with a glint in her eye before she runs off to her entrance and she leaves Dean dumbstruck.
Castiel’s in the shower one day and Dean’s staring down at the list he wrote and he wonders if he’s even trying to follow it anymore. There are days when he truly just wants to give into the life that was set up for him in this stupid romantically comedic way for him, but there are others who just doesn’t feel like he deserves it, doesn’t feel like he should have it, doesn’t feel like he can put up with it anymore. He needs to take control of his life, and falling for Cas? That feels a lot like losing control.
Dean doesn’t know what to think anymore.
He places the list back inside his drawer and wraps a blanket around himself, looking out the window and wondering just when his life lost all control and just when he decided that was a bad thing. The thing about the cliché is it’s not always good. He fears his cliches because his mother dying was one, he just fears that maybe if he lets them win, he’ll never have another happy thing in his life again. And if he lets himself feel whatever the hell he’s feeling for Cas, he’ll lose him soon enough too, because romantic comedies are fine and all, but how come no one ever talks about what happens afterwards?
Castiel comes out dressed and showered from the bathroom and Dean’s so used to his reaction (‘holy fuck, Cas is beautiful, woe is me, etc. etc.’) that he doesn’t even question it anymore. He is surprised, however, when Cas hands him a jacket.
“Where are we going?” Dean asks, standing up anyway and shrugging on the jacket.
“Animal shelter,” Cas says, and Dean feels like Cas hasn’t gone to the animal shelter in years but fuck, that’s true, they’re not always together, even if sometimes it feels that way. But—
“Why am I coming with?”
Castiel looks at him and he feels so judged all of a sudden it shouldn’t surprise him when all Cas says is, “Don’t ask stupid questions.”
Forget what Dean previously said. Castiel is at his most beautiful when working with animals.
When he’s confronted with animals, he’s suddenly let down all of the walls and fronts he usually puts up around people and he lets himself be read, openly, easily, as if he’s placing all of his trusts on these little things with four legs, and if Dean had the option of staying and watching Castiel interact with animals for the rest of his life, he’d take it in a heartbeat.
Castiel waves him to the back of the shelter and Dean follows (and it’s kind of pathetic how he will always follow) and Castiel leads him to the far left corner of the animal shelter, where it’s completely empty.
Dean looks down at the cage Cas is suddenly kneeling in front of and he mimics his motion. He’s suddenly face with a very large dog with extremely green eyes.
“Oh,” Dean says, and the dog pants happily. Cas puts out his hand and pets the dog through the cage, a strange sort of glow lighting up his face.
“His name is French,” he tells Dean. “He’s been here longer than any of the other dogs. He’s ten years old and rather large, so no one feels incline to adopt him,” he explains, and as Dean watches the way French lights up when Castiel talks directly to him or when he pets him, he can see why Castiel loves coming to the shelter so much. “They’ve been talking about putting him down for a while, but I keep putting my foot down,” he tells Dean quietly, and he can almost feel the dejectedness radiating from Cas. “I keep saying to give him a chance. I think they see how much I love him, so they’re humoring me, but I have a feeling the moment I turn my back, they’ll…”
He trails off, petting French lightly. Dean carefully puts his hand through the bars of the cage and begins to pet French as well. He feels it, feels all the love this dog has to give as soon as he touches him, and he wonders how someone could see him and not instantly fall in love with him. He feels connected to this dog, somehow, someway, and he can tell Cas does too, and when their hands suddenly tangle together and their fingers intertwine atop French’s head, he thinks that maybe the dog is still there for an entirely different reason.
Christmas Day comes round and Dean realizes he almost not-too-accidentally bought Castiel a present.
It’s nothing special, not really, but it feels intimate, as if he shouldn’t be giving him such a personal gift because only lovers do that, but Castiel is his best friend and best friends are allowed to do something like this, aren’t they?
It’s also incredibly stupid but he’s not going to mention it.
It’s morning and they decide, silently, to exchange presents right away. Dean hands his to Cas and Cas hands his to Dean and they open their presents at the same time.
Dean’s heart almost sinks completely at the sight of a perfect drawing – it’s honestly, so God damned perfect, and it’s of him, for God’s sake, but it’s a simple sketch and there’s no color except for his eyes, his eyes are the brightest green and everything else is simply black and white and shit, it’s amazing, it’s so beautiful, and he sees everything he’s ever felt in the eyes of this sketch and he wonders, oh, is this what I look like to Cas?
And then he’s about to ask Cas if he actually drew this when he stops in his track because Cas is holding his present in his hands with an awed look on his face and a blush suddenly overwhelms Dean’s face.
“Dean,” Cas says, still looking at the hand-made picture frame in his hand. It’s nothing special – not really, it’s made out of the wood he could afford with his shitty on-campus job and holds the only picture they’ve ever taken together (that night he introduced Cas to his friends, and he doesn’t tell him he has a copy in his wallet because that’s just weird) and the designs around it are, well, they’re small angels.
“You told me a while back that when you thought of angels, you thought of how Michael was in their arms now,” he shifts on the bed uncomfortably. “And I’m not all that big on faith, but I know how much they mean to you.”
And Castiel’s eyes are burning, Dean can tell, and no, this isn’t good, because Dean’s heart is squeezing and he’s afraid that he’s falling deeper and deeper into this and it’s not good, it’s not good at all because this is just one huge downfall on whatever he’d been planning before.
Castiel stands and Dean stands too and then Cas is hugging Dean, tighter than ever before and Dean can feel Cas’s shaky breaths against his neck and Dean shiver involuntarily and Cas whispers, “Thank you, Dean. For everything.”
And then Dean fucks everything – the stupid cliches, the stupid plan, the stupid plan/list, the stupid romantic comedy, the fear, the feelings that he’s been trying to hide – throws them all into oblivion as he pulls away and presses his lips to Cas’s.
There’s a terrifying moment in which he thinks he’s royally fucked up and has completely misinterpreted this, but then Castiel is kissing back, slowly, deeply, and it’s like everything is okay in the world.
Because the shape of Castiel’s lips fit perfectly with his own and the curve of his body fits with his like a puzzle piece and his heart stops for about .5 seconds and there are fireworks, there are choruses, there is every single cliché ever when he’s kissing Castiel and he doesn’t fucking care because he’s managed to fall in love with his roommate, his best friend, and when Dean tangles a hand in Castiel’s hair to pull him closer, Cas comes without a question.
It’s New Year’s Eve and Castiel and Dean are sitting on a bench outside, watching the small portion of the student body that stayed home for the holidays get wasted in front of them and wait for the countdown.
Their hands are gripping each other’s tightly, almost like a lifeline, as if one of them were to let go the whole illusion, this perfect moment, would shatter forever. And, knowing Dean’s luck, it probably would.
Cas’s head is resting on Dean’s shoulder and no one gives a shit, and even if they did Dean wouldn’t, because he’s so happy he’s pissing rainbows and he hardly cares what anyone has to say about it. He still has to tell Sam, he still has to tell Dad, but for now, he’s terribly happy.
“You want to know something funny?” Dean mutters into Castiel’s hair, and Cas hums in assent, and suddenly Dean is telling him everything.
From his first stupid plan to the day he met Cas to the list tucked away in his drawer to his stupid attempts at trying to not fall in love with Cas and how that’s obviously failed, and Cas is laughing and staring up at Dean in wonder.
By the time he’s finished, the countdown’s started, and Dean and Cas have eyes for nothing but each other.
“I want to get a place off campus with you,” Cas says suddenly, and whoa, too fast. Cas probably sees the alarm on Dean’s face and he laughs. “As roommates, I mean. We already are and I know that you probably think this is crazy, but I am in love with you, Dean Winchester.”
In the distance, Dean can hear the faint “Nine, eight!”
“I want to get a place with you.”
“I want to make love to you every night.”
“I want to adopt French before they put him down.”
“I want to be able to meet your family.”
“I want you to meet mine.”
“I want to learn every single part of you, inside and out.”
“I want to be your cliché, Dean.”
“I love you.”
Happy New Year!
And he’s kissing Cas and everything is okay and it doesn’t matter if this is basically the ending of every romantic comedy he’s ever had to sit through with Sam, it doesn’t matter if his life has seriously just become another string upon strings of clichés, it doesn’t fucking matter because he’s got Castiel, he’s got his best friend, he’s got his roommate, he’s got the man he’s in love with and in the end, maybe living a cliché isn’t so bad after all.
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