goodness gracious;

claudia;;

i'll probably love you if you talk to me so you should talk to me

and i would give all this and heaven too i would give it all if only for a moment that i could just understand the meaning of the word you see;

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Title: With Hospitals Come Hospitables
Word Count: 11,893.
Rating: R.
Summary: Dean is a doctor at the local hospital. Castiel comes round one day and decides he’ll visit the patients without visitors. Then Dean and Castiel go to lunch, start a routine, and the rest is history.
Notes: I don’t think I meant for this story to be so long and have a plot and I just couldn’t stop, I’m sorry. I would like to say that I have absolutely no idea how the medical field works so if I said something that makes absolutely no sense, it’s probably b/c I pulled it out of my ass. Un-beta’d, fluffy, sigh. Hate me, love me, please. Warnings for mentions of suicide attempts.

The reason Dean Winchester became a doctor was simple: he wanted to save people.

In high school, many didn’t see him as a hero. Hell, they didn’t even see him as someone who could put together a math equation, much less solve one. He never looked like he cared about what he did, when he did it, or why he did it. In fact, everyone thought all he cared about was how many conquests he could willingly take in in less than a week. No one paid much attention to him – what was behind the façade, who Dean Winchester truly was behind the faux cockiness and smirks. They didn’t scrutinize his grades, nor did they care whether or not he was excelling in all his classes; they cared about what sort of man-boy miracle he’d pull next.

And maybe that’s what got him through high school, in the end. Having people think he was some sort of Greek God while being able to secretly do better than anyone in his classes worked well enough for him. Sam, of course, did much better than he did (and his class seemed to be a lot smarter than Dean’s, arguably), so they pegged him as the smarter brother. And, yeah, maybe he was – but that didn’t mean Dean was outright stupid. He was good with his hands, good with his math, his science; don’t make him recite the greatest American poets, though, because maybe that’s what killed him for the Valedictorian position his senior year. All in all, Dean had the power to get into mostly every school he wanted. That he stayed in Lawrence was purely his decision; KU isn’t a terrible school, by any means, and he could study engineering, just like he’d wanted.

Except that, within the first year, his interests drifted from mechanical engineering to medicine. Why? Who could know? Maybe he’d slept with a medicine student or maybe he simply watched way too much Dr. Sexy for his own good – either way, he switched his major, eager to learn more about how to save people’s lives. Because in the end, even though he never really truly admitted to it, that’s all that every truly motivated him.

It was a long and admittedly tiring process – many times Dean wanted to quit right where he was standing, unable to take one more second of recessive genes and respiratory infections – but he pulled through, in the end. He finished, after eight entire years in school, with a doctorate degree and managed to find a job at the nearest hospital.

He still remembers the way his mom’s eyes shone with pride and his dad beamed at the diploma in his hand and, shit, it felt really, really good. Because Dean had never believed in himself, not really – sure, he knew his intelligence could make way for awesome things, but he never really thought he’d have the means, balls, or energy to get there. When he did, when he managed to not only make his parents but his brother proud, well, that is seriously the number one best day of his entire life.

And then he started working, and, well, that’s a different story.

It’s not that Dean doesn’t like his job – sure, there are several broken bones and fish hooks torn through ligaments, but that doesn’t truly make him squirm. He’s seen a lot in his day, Dean, and something as small as that can’t affect him as easily today as it could, say, twenty years ago.

But the fact of the matter is, being a doctor at a hospital in which you’re loved for not only your charming personality but your incessant knowledge of this and that and the other can take its toll on a man’s personal life. As in, he hasn’t had sex with anyone since he started working at the hospital – that’s over a year already.

And, Jesus, you’d think jacking off would do the trick alright, but it doesn’t, not really. He’s tired of coming to the image of some chick theatrically humping some guy in jock shorts or some dude pounding into a twink and just – it’s not working out for him, not really. He wants to be able to have sex again, just sex, just once, and maybe later he’ll think about a relationship and settling down and all that crap, just like his mom keeps insisting he do.

But for now, a one night stand sounds like the best thing in the entire fucking world, and it’s not happening because when he’s not at the hospital, he’s face-down on his bed, dreaming away his inevitable boner.

It’s the highly depressing fact of working at a hospital: your personal life gets tossed aside, and the people who are there are usually married, single but worried about their family member or assholes in general. You’d think being bisexual would give Dean a larger range to choose from and an even bigger chance with the people who frequent the place, but you’d be wrong, because that’s just not how it works, apparently.

So, yeah, Dean’s having that kind of day, in which the greatest emergency they’ve had is a little girl with a broken foot because of her own father running over it with his car, and the only reason he’s not out yet is because Ms. Angelo in Ward C, Room 190 is under suicide watch and even though he’s technically not in charge of that, he likes to be there for his patients when they’re having an off-day because, well, Dean can relate.

It’s kind of sad, too. Ms. Angelo just lost her husband about a month ago and tried killing herself by drowning herself in a bottle of Advil. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t get rid of her life or her headache, and now she’s stuck in a hospital where no one but Dean and some nurses visit her daily. No kids, she tells Dean. No kids, no siblings, no parents, obviously. It’s just her and why would they put her through this if they know that?

And Dean doesn’t know what to tell her, doesn’t know how to tell her to keep fighting, because she could still do a lot with her life.

So Dean’s walking to her room, clipboard in hand, ready to force a conversation out of her when he’s stopped dead in his tracks and finds some dude in a trenchcoat already there, sitting beside her, a flower pot in his hand and Ms. Angelo speaking animatedly to him.

Dean blinks. No, it can’t be one of her relatives, because it’s been said countless of times she doesn’t have any. So then Dean can’t think of anyone else who’d visit her this far along in the game – he decides he probably won’t find out by simply standing and staring at the man’s back, so instead he makes his way inside and smiles brightly at Ms. Angelo, who stops talking and smiles kindly in greeting.

“How’re you doing today, Ms. Angelo?” Dean asks, and the man seems to snap out of whatever state he was in and turns around, catching Dean’s gaze in the process.

And he’s…well. He’s pretty fucking gorgeous (Dean might even say beautiful if, you know, he didn’t have a dick) for someone rocking the Constantine kind of look. His hair is all over the place, not starting at one point and not ending at another, and his eyes are this sort of blue that aren’t all that blue but they’re blue enough, and then he’s got this slight stubble and this jaw and these lips, man…

And he thanks every single one of his lucky stars that he’d taught himself how to not get hard in the middle of work a long time ago, because otherwise he’d been sporting a chubby the rest of his shift.

Ms. Angelo, of course, is completely oblivious to whatever just happened between the two men, who, if Dean has anything to say about it, have total immediate sexual tension that he’d like to get rid of as soon as possible, thank you very much. His gaydar never lies to him – that man wants him just as much as Dean wants him, and they should probably fuck already.

Okay, so maybe that’s horny Dean talking. Horny Dean being the Dean that hasn’t gotten laid in a year and who is really looking for any excuse to jump at the next body that’s willing to fuck and run afterwards.

“I’m great!” Ms. Angelo replies, and oh, it’s only been like, a second. “This young gentleman took the time to visit me today,” he gestures towards Constantine, and Dean smiles slightly at him. “He even brought me this wonderful flower, isn’t that nice?”

“That’s very nice,” Dean says, with as much enthusiasm as he can muster to hide the intense arousal threatening to come to light. “You sure you haven’t been feeling any dizziness? Stomach pains?”

Ms. Angelo rolls her eyes and looks back to the man. “He’s always asking questions like this, you know,” she tells him. “Let me tell you, it’s been two weeks since I took those pills. He’s talking like their ghosts are gonna come back and haunt me, he is,”

The man smiles kindly at her, placing his hand over hers. “I’m sure it’s just procedure, Ms. Angelo,” And holy shit, all of Dean’s intense breathing exercises and mental pictures of dead bodies are almost not enough to prevent the boner threatening to expose him after hearing his voice, fuck, it’s gravelly and low and he was not expecting that, not even a little bit.

Ms. Angelo rolls her eyes. “Yes, yes,” she waves him off, turning back to Dean. “I’m fine, doctor.”

Shit, yeah, he’s got a patient, a patient he should really be paying attention to rather than be checking out the man he doesn’t know sitting right beside her. He looks back at Ms. Angelo, nodding. “That’s great!” Dean says, and fuck if his voice isn’t wavering. “How’re you liking the food?”

Conversation. Conversation’s good. Conversation’s distracting. Ms. Angelo makes a face. “It’s terrible,” she says. “My Harold cooked a thousand times better.”

Dean nods. “I believe you. Between you and me, I think the chefs here don’t know a pan from a pot.”

Ms. Angelo chuckles, and so does the man beside her. He really needs to stop…being there. At all. Whatsoever. Dean nods once. “It’s a good thing you’re fine,” Dean says. He doesn’t really need to check anything, he just came to see if she was doing fine, and she is, and the man next to her clearly thinks so, so he should probably go.

“I’ll be back tomorrow to run through the usual,” Dean warns. “Don’t you go running away from me now.”

Ms. Angelo sighs dramatically. “I won’t.”

Dean nods in the mystery man’s direction and walks out of the room, trying to catch his breath for a second or two. Okay, he’s fine. He’s definitely fine. He’s not sweating, he doesn’t smell, and he’s not panting. He looks down at his crotch and nods to himself. He still carries the wonderful ability of not getting hard at work. Good. He’s fine, he’s all in check, and he’s about ready to walk away and find another patient, when he hears the same voice from before behind him saying, “Doctor?”

Oh, God, there are literally chills running down his spine right now and about ten different Dr. Sexy scenes (that could be counted as fantasies, really) run through his head as he turns to lock his own eyes with blue ones. He offers him an easy grin, to which the man responds with a hesitant uplift of the corners of his lips. “What’s up?” Dean offers.

The man shifts from left to right before speaking. “I was wondering – what other patients are not frequently visited?”

Dean blinks. “What?” he asks, genuinely confused.

The man sighs. “I’m simply asking because I’ve decided to come visit those who are never or barely visited. I feel everyone needs a little company when interned in such a terrible place,” He pauses, eyes widening. “Not that – of course, there is nothing wrong with this place, or your profession, of course not, it’s only that – I only meant – ”

Dean laughs and holds up his hands, stopping the man from further embarrassing himself. “I know what you meant, man,” he soothes. “It’s okay. I get it. A hospital isn’t the best place to be, and that’s a fact.” He’s cute. He just babbled and how often do you see a grown man just babble like that?

The man nods, but is flushing red. Dean keeps up his easy grin and walks towards him, telling himself he can totally be just a little closer to the man without actually attacking him. “Are you seriously just gonna…walk around all day and talk to people you don’t know?”

The man looks offended. “You make it sounds as if that’s a crime.”

Maybe it is, but hell if Dean knows. Sammy’s the one studying law, after all. “Don’t think so. I think we’ve had a couple of volunteers do the same thing, but they’re mostly always high school students and they do it for community service hours. No one’s actually gone and done it willingly,” he explains. “So – if you don’t mind my asking – why?”

The man pauses, as if trying to think of a suitable answer, and Dean takes this time to scrutinize every single detail of his face (like the crinkle in his eye, the furrow of his brow, the wrinkles aging his skin…) until he finally replies. “I don’t know,” the man says, and he sounds so completely raw and genuine that Dean doesn’t for a second think about not believing him.

“Guess you’re just nice,” Dean shrugs, and the man smiles slightly, the action lighting up his entire face anyway.

“I suppose so.”

“Let me just grab the visitor’s roster and see who I can direct you to,” Dean said, nodding. He walks past the man and thinks he knows well enough to follow him, but when he turns around to check, the man is standing motionless right where Dean left him. Dean stops, turns, stares. “Uhm.” The man blinks at him. “You comin’, or?”

The man’s lips part (and Dean seriously doesn’t need that, damn) and he looks like he’s about to object, but seems to think better of it and nods, walking towards Dean.

The trenchcoat flaps behind him and well, he looks pretty damn hot right now. Except Dean really shouldn’t be thinking that, so instead he asks, “So what’s your name, Superman?”

The man looks surprised at the nickname, but if it bothers him, he doesn’t say anything. “Castiel.” He says, and okay, weird name, but Dean can work with that when he’s jacking off tonight.

Dean grins at him. “Cool name,” he says. “I’m Dean. Dean Winchester.” He begins to walk again, Castiel falling into step easily beside him. “Just, you know, in case you were planning on calling me ‘doctor’ the rest of your life.” And then Dean realizes he just implied they’d know each other for the rest of Castiel’s life, and maybe that came off a bit too creepy.

But no, it didn’t, apparently, because Castiel only smiles. “I think Dean suits you better, yes.”

Dean beams.

Dean ends up giving Castiel the name of a good load of patients, along with their room numbers and health status. He did forbid Castiel to visit about five of them, and two of the others were in quarantine, and even then Castiel seemed a little bummed out about it. Nevertheless, he took what Dean offered him with gratitude, sincerely pleased about being able to do this without being charged with felonies. Dean had nodded and wished him luck, and then, after a pause, said thank you.

Castiel’s expression had softened then, and the look had haunted Dean the rest of his shift.

The thing about not being able to ask Castiel to fuck was this: now he had to go home and jack off to his mere memory, which was just as bad – if not worse – than doing so to porn. Then there was the fact that now that he knew Castiel was such a – well, such a saint, to say the least, he couldn’t just as well go offer him the fuck buddy status, that’s just stupid. And Dean Winchester is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.

So he settles for the jacking off that night, coming with a whispered and strangled Cas, which is probably the result of the name being a complete and total mouthful and the fact that he didn’t have much time to say it all when he has come all over his hand and his back is arching, aching for more than the dull touch of his own fingers.

And what’s worse? Is that Castiel decided he wanted to visit at least three days of the week.

Fanfuckingtastic.

Here’s the thing about Dean Winchester: he doesn’t crush. He feels attracted to, he fantasizes about, but he does not, under any circumstances, crush on anyone.

And yet, for all intents and purposes, that’s exactly what’s happening with Castiel. Because every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, he walks into the hospital, manages to pinpoint Dean and say hello before his daily rounds around the hospital and that leaves Dean feeling as giddy as a twelve year old girl  with a crush. Then there are the times Castiel happens to be in the same room as Dean’s next check-up, and somehow he manages to make his patients laugh and smile, even though he barely talks and seems so…rigid.

Case in point, Dean has never felt so many God damn butterflies flying around in his stomach since he was about twelve years old and Jamie Gurley got boobs. And the craziest part, the absolute craziest part, is that they haven’t really talked all that much outside of the casual hellos, how are yous, and can you believe what the patient in ward D room 240 said todays.

It’s insane, but it’s also safe, and Dean thinks maybe if it stays this way, he can get over whatever kind of feeling this is and get rid of it as quickly as it came.

It seems, however, that the world likes to kick him in the ass and prove him wrong all at the same time.

Dean ends up having his lunch hour at the same time Castiel’s leaving the hospital, so there’s an awkward, oh you’re riding down to the lobby too? moment where they smile awkwardly at each other and stay quiet the entire elevator ride. Dean’s toes curl inward and he wonders if he’s truly okay with his relationship with Cas being doomed to this in-work only kind of thing, and he’s about to convince himself that yes, he is, when Cas surprises him once more.

“Would you like to have lunch with me?” He asks, and Dean’s so shocked that for a moment all he does is gape at the other man. Castiel seems embarrassed all of a sudden, if the sudden flush of his face is anything to go by, and Dean’s pretty sure he’s about to take the offer back; something that Dean doesn’t want, not at all, so he quickly speaks.

“Yeah,” he blurts, and Castiel looks surprised. “Yeah, yeah. I’d like that.” He says, and Castiel smiles.

“Okay,” he says, and Dean grins.

“Okay.”

So they have lunch.

Castiel suggests the Italian place around the corner, but Dean tells him he doesn’t need to fancy it up for him. Castiel seems to find that amusing, but agrees to a lesser establishment nevertheless, and they end up eating at the nearest Burger King. It’s not Dean’s favorite fast food place, not by a long shot, but it’s still something, and he’s with Cas, so in essence, it’s a lot better than all of his previous trips to the place.

Castiel orders a Whopper and so does Dean and they’re eating in comfortable silence for a while until finally Dean grows the balls to say something. “So how are the visits going?”

Castiel’s eyes immediately light up at the question, and he launches into a long and admittedly interesting explanation about all of them, how he’s learned so much of them and from them, and how much he’s grown fond of Ms. Angelo in particular. Dean grins, nodding his agreement.

“Yeah, she’s a keeper,” He admits, and Castiel nods enthusiastically.

“She is,” he agrees. “She’s actually really lovely. Though – she seems to still want to give up,” Castiel says sadly. “I don’t know what else I can say to her. I’ve recited every single over-used and under-rated inspirational quote to her and still she refuses to listen.”

Dean shrugs. “She lost the love of her life, dude,” he says, and Castiel looks at him. “I mean, don’t you think it’d be hard to live every day with the knowledge that there’s no one waiting for you after years of them always being there?”

Castiel seems to ponder this for a moment, then, as if thinking about his words very carefully, he says, “It’d be hard,” he admits. “But I think that my significant other would like for me to live what little or lot of life I had left.” He nods towards Dean. “At least, that’s what I would want my significant other to do if I passed away. Wouldn’t you?”

And Dean suddenly feels selfish, because he thinks, yeah, logically, that’s what he should want to happen, but what he actually wants is to keep whoever he’s going to end up falling in love with forever – including in death. And it’s a little morbid, and a whole lot creepy, so instead he says, “Yeah,” and leaves it at that.

Castiel seems pleased enough with his answer, anyway, and takes the last large bite out of his burger. It leaves a mustard stain on the corner of his lip, and Dean doesn’t even think twice about leaning forward and wiping it clean with his own thumb.

Castiel looks shocked and Dean freezes for a moment before making a hasty decision and pulling his hand back and acting like nothing just happened, this is normal, he does this all the time. He grabs another fry and pops it in his mouth, chewing slowly and meeting Castiel’s puzzled expression evenly. “What?” he says, with a mouthful of fry and heart traitorously pounding against his chest.

Castiel shakes his head, visibly trying to compose himself. “Nothing,” he says, though his voice sounds several octaves lower, so much so it hits Dean straight in the crotch.

Ah, Jesus, and he was doing so well with the whole no-boner thing.

He shifts his weight to the side, uncomfortably palming himself through his very white, very transparent and easily-dirtied pants, trying to think of the ugliest images he can come up with right then and there. Castiel looks at him curiously, but if he suspects what Dean is doing, he doesn’t say anything.

Dean clears his throat and waves lamely towards the bathroom. “I’ve gotta, uhm, yeah.” He nods and stands quickly, making his way to the bathroom and running into the stall, closing it quickly. He swallows hard and quickly pulls down his pants plus briefs, hurriedly grabbing his dick and stroking it. He grunts in both frustration and anticipation, along with the feeling of complete and other humiliation. It’s one thing to hide a boner, another to blatantly display it while standing up under the pretense of having to pee.

“Cas,” he says, and it’s angry at first, but then he strokes faster, palm squeezing tighter, and his eyes flutter closed and it suddenly turns into a very aroused “Cas”. And then he’s thinking of Castiel’s hand on his cock, the way those wonderful hands would slowly wrap around him, would stroke slowly, because Castiel would tease, he would – he’d simply hold on to Dean while kissing his neck, biting down and sucking in order to mark his territory. He’d grind against Dean, making Dean hiss and moan and plead, and he’d start off with slow strokes, strokes that Dean would barely be able to feel, but then he’d quicken his pace and he’d kiss Dean hungrily and it’d be all teeth and tongue and Cas’s erection would press against his thigh and Dean would moan while he stroked faster and faster until—

He comes all over his hand with a silent cry, sweat breaking on his brow and head hitting harshly against the tiled wall. He swallows hard and judges himself harshly – he is so, so screwed, and not in the good way, either.

He cleans himself up and walks out of the bathroom as if nothing had happened.

Castiel looks up at him, raises an eyebrow, but says nothing as Dean sits across from him, and all Dean says is, “I guess my body wanted to go number two instead.”

And then Castiel chokes on his soda due to his laughter and everything’s okay for now.

So then they settle on a routine, in which every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they’d go out to lunch after Cas’s rounds and during Dean’s lunchtime, sometimes compromising both of their schedules but hey, it’s totally worth it.

Dean learns Cas’s last name is Shurley, and he’s actually a dentist with his own private practice but the reason he’s had so much time off lately is because his dental assistant has been wanting some training and so he’s given her the chance to take over the slower days. Weekends are still his, of course, as that’s usually when most people show up, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are surprisingly popular in the dentistry business.

Dean’s so fascinated by everything Cas says and does – for example, he’s got about five brothers and sisters and he’s closest to Gabriel, who owns a large chain of candy shops across the country. Dean’s heard of it – actually passed out in one of his shops, actually – and congratulates Cas on the irony. Castiel looks confused until Dean explains that he finds it funny Cas is a dentist and Gabriel basically lives to give kids cavity, which makes Castiel laugh, which makes Dean happy.

Castiel also has this tendency of eating all of his side orders only after he eats the main entre, and this is fascinating to Dean, who just eats everything at once and quickly, since he has to get back to work soon and doesn’t have time to enjoy it.

They talk about Ms. Angelo a lot, about how even though she hasn’t attempted suicide again, she seems to have given up anyway. They haven’t been able to release her from suicide watch, not yet.

Castiel is truly worried and doesn’t know what to say, and Dean’s not much help either. So instead they talk about how lovely she looked that morning, or how much better she’s eating, and point out all of the good things, focus on them, putting all of the negatives aside.

They don’t mention her the day she tries again.

It’s only a matter of time before Dean’s crush completely turns into I totally really like this guy, and that time happens to be three months into their weird routine. Dean knows a lot about Castiel now and vise versa, but Dean still doesn’t know if he’s gay. He’s never mentioned a love life at all – no wife, no ex-girlfriend, or ex-boyfriend, at that. He’s confused, so he talks to the only person who will relentlessly tease him about this but will give him the sanest advice.

Jo’s been a nurse at the hospital as long as Dean’s been a doctor, and they hit it off pretty quickly. Dean might have thought at some point they could have had something, but he figured, no, not really, because first of all, they work together, and second of all, he’s begun to see Jo as the little sister he never wanted. So it’s easy to talk to her about anything – and this includes his love life.

“I have a dilemma,” he says one day without preamble, simply walking up to her behind her desk. The blonde looks up, furrows her brows, then breaks out into a grin.

“It’s Castiel, isn’t it?” she asks, and fuck, so he hasn’t been as subtle as he’d previously thought. Jo raises an eyebrow and Dean flushes red, proving Jo’s point.

“Aha!” She claps her hands together. “I figured. You like him. No, no, you don’t just like him, you’re head over heels in love with him!”

Dean bristles. “Don’t – I’m not in love with him, I just like him, stop skipping steps here.” He scolds, and Jo rolls her eyes.

“Okay, fine. So what exactly is the dilemma here?” Jo asks, and Dean gapes at her. As if it isn’t obvious enough, what with the whole pining after a may-or-may-not-be-gay man like a fucking puppy, what with the missing him when he’s not at work thing and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, what with the slow downward spiral into heartbreak state in infinitely horny town population: him.

“I want to ask him out,” Dean says slowly. “But I don’t know if he’s gay.”

Jo snorts. “I thought you had the best gaydar around or something and – what was it you said the last time? Oh, right – you could smell a gay from a mile away!” She grins. “Wasn’t it your motto for a while.”

“Shut up,” Dean growls, then sighs. “I just don’t want to mess this up with him. Whatever – whatever this is, I just. I want. I want to be able to still see him without it being weird in case he’s not, you know? Or he just – he just maybe doesn’t want to.”

Jo stares at him for a long moment, long enough to worry Dean, before her hand comes up and hits him in the back of his head. Dean hisses and backs away, eyes accusing as he looks at his friend. “What the hell was that for?”

“For a doctor, you’re God damn thick, Dean Winchester,” she says. “Castiel is gay. Mind you, even if he weren’t, he’s still totally into you. You’ll ask him out; he’ll say yes, case closed. You’ll live happily ever after with your medicine fields and adopt ten babies and have a dog named Bones. It’ll be grand.”

“Grand.” Dean deadpans, and Jo nods.

“’S what Brits say.” Jo explains unnecessarily.

Dean stares at her. Well, there’s a reason why he came to Jo, anyway. She hasn’t let him down so far, so he might as well give it a go, right? Nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing.

But a friendship and a man miles too good for him.

But nothing much.

Dean’s almost shaking when he sees Castiel approaching that Wednesday.

The man offers him a smile and he walks towards him and Dean does his best to smile back, but he’s too nervous to actually move any muscles, and that includes the ones in his face. So he simply looks at Castiel and forces himself to calm down, willing his body to stop looking like a dog who was just bathed.

Castiel looks worried by the time he reaches Dean, looking him up and down. “Dean?” he blinks up at him and Dean’s heart seizes to exist. “Dean, are you – ”

“Go out with me,” Dean blurts, and fuck, that totally ruined the smooth, ongoing plan he’d had planned. You know, talk him up, flirt with him a little bit, open him up to the idea of a date with a male, just in case he’s not gay. But instead, Dean acts like the twelve year old he actually is, and blurts out the question he was planning on building up to.

Castiel stares at him. “What?” he asks, and he looks genuinely surprised, though Dean can’t imagine why – it’s not like he’s been subtle about whatever the hell he’s been feeling for Cas.

“Go out with me,” he says again. “On a date.” He decides to clarify, in case Castiel ends up being thicker than Dean, which is, of course, impossible.

Castiel blinks for a long, long time, and Dean thinks that’s his way of saying no and can feel himself deflate, when all of a sudden, the other man breaks out in a slow, yet completely blinding, grin.

“I would like that very much,” he says, and Dean’s entire everything lights the fuck up like a Christmas tree.

“Oh,” he breathes. “Okay.”

And okay. They have a date.

Oh, fuck.

They agree on Sunday, which is the only day the both of them have off. Eight o’ clock, dinner and a movie. It’s nothing fancy, but then again, they’re never been anything fancy. They eat burgers most of the time and talk about the disgusting things they see at work – they’re Dean and Castiel, and that’s the way they work, really.

And yet, Dean’s standing in his apartment on Sunday, freaking the fuck out.

He’s on the phone with Jo and feels like a total girl, but at the moment, he finds himself unable to care due to the fact that he will most like, probably fuck everything up tonight, because that’s the Dean Winchester way. Well, okay, not with everything else – he doesn’t fuck things up in consultation or anything, he’s good at his job, but – with his love life, okay? He can’t do shit right with his love life.

“You’re such a girl,” Jo repeats for the umpteenth time, and Dean ignores her this time.

“What if he wears, like, a suit or something, and I fuck up and wear jeans and a T-Shirt? What kind of message would that send, anyway? ‘I just want to fuck you, I’m not really that into you’?” Dean acknowledges he’s being ridiculous, thank you very much, but he can’t exactly care, can he? He’s got a date in an hour.

“Uhm, then every single person who met on the street would be sending that message,” Jo settles on saying. “I really doubt he’ll be wearing a suit to the movie theater, Dean. Just wear whatever makes you comfortable. He’s so used to seeing you in your white get-up you’ll look better whatever you wear.”

And, okay, she’s got a point, but still—“What if he’s just pitying me?”

Jo groans. “Shut up, Dean,” she snaps, and Dean shuts up. “He likes you, you like him. You’ll be fine, alright? Both of you, you’ll be fine. Go, have fun, have sex. Take it like the bisexual man you are. And by that, I mean up the ass.”

Jo is snickering and Dean makes a rude sound before hanging up on her.

Jeans and a T-Shirt. Sounds about right.

He spends more time on his hair than he cares remembering, but by the time it’s time to pick Castiel up, he’s about ready to go. He’s proud of himself for that, but he still feels nervous when he’s inside his baby – a 1967 Chevy Impala, thank you very much – and he remembers how long it’s been since he’s done something like this. It’s been a really, really long time – forget about the sex, it’s been longer than the sex (or lack thereof, more like). It’s been years, about five or six years since he’s let himself date, and now he’s jumping in again with absolutely no idea or remembrance on how to do it.

Jo had told him to wing it, because she’s a bitch, but for some reason, he’s not sure that’ll work too well with Castiel.

He hasn’t ever been to wherever Castiel’s house is, much less Castiel’s actual house, so he’s feeling a little nervous. He’s not sure whether or not Cas will invite him inside after the date or not, and he feels like it’s a little too early to be worrying about that, but he doesn’t care because he has the right to be nervous, okay? He likes Castiel and he’s about to go on a date with him, something so foreign to Dean it might as well be non-existent at this point.

He finds his way to Cas’s house easily enough, since, you know, they’re all fucking huge. He’s not even sure how Castiel can afford such a house and in a neighborhood like this and then he thinks, oh, right, dentist, and then he thinks, oh, well, he could afford one just as easily if he wanted to. But he doesn’t. He’s content with his apartment near his parents’ place, thank you very much.

Though he has to admit, by the way they look from the outside, it’s tempting to try to buy one. He doesn’t put much thought into it, however, and finds Castiel’s house at the end of the loop. It’s a nice house, smaller than the others, but not by much. It’s got a fence and perfectly green-cut grass and the whole I-Have-A-Family vibe going for it, even though Dean knows for a fact Cas lives alone.

He parks outside and doesn’t know whether he should knock or honk or what, but Castiel seems to answer that question for him when he walks outside and locks the door behind him. Dean breathes in relief at the sight, then breathes in a completely different way at how – well, wonderfully different and yet the same Cas looks.

He’s got black jeans on that hug his, well, his ass quite nicely, if Dean does say so himself, and a simply long-sleeve shirt to shield him from the slight fall breeze. It’s gray and he looks wonderful and the gray does wonders to bring out his eye color, he notes as Castiel climbs in the car.

“This is a lovely car” is the first thing Cas says, and yeah, Dean is so far gone on this guy it’s not even funny.

Dean smiles. “Thanks,” he says sincerely. “It’s my baby.” He pets the steering wheel a tad. “It’s too bad I can’t take her out for more drives – too much work,” he sighs, and Castiel nods sympathetically.

“I understand completely. It’s hard to have much personal time when one works almost every day of every week,” Castiel looks at Dean. “Though sometimes you find something worthwhile to do with it that doesn’t involve spending such time alone.”

Dean can’t help the grin that overtakes his lips. “I couldn’t agree more, Cas,” he says, and suddenly he’s completely and totally relaxed.

And then they’re inside the movie theater and it gets a little harder to be relaxed when he’s extremely aware of Castiel’s presence beside him at all times.

He’s not even sure what they’re watching, all he knows is that it’s noisy and there are way too many teenagers in the theater with them, but Castiel seems to be enthralled by it. Which is fine by Dean, because that means he gets to stare a lot more at Cas, and the way his eyes light up with the screen, along with the rest of him. Dean’s arm is the one on the arm rest and he doesn’t know whether or not he should offer it to Castiel, although he looks comfortable with his hands resting on his lap. He balls his hands into fists way too many times for his own good, trying to control himself, trying to avoid reaching out and grabbing Cas’s hand.

As it happens, he doesn’t need to worry, because somewhere between the scene in which the house blows up and the guy gets the girl, Castiel reaches out and twines their fingers, and it just feels absolutely right.

They leave the theater with their hands still gripping each other’s tightly, and Dean feels a lot more relaxed than he did before. “So,” he starts, and Castiel’s lips twitch.

“So,” he replies. Dean offers his hand a squeeze, which he receives in return.

“Where do you want to go for dinner?” Dean asks, and Castiel seems to contemplate all the possibilities ever. If Dean didn’t know any better, he’d say he was literally surveying the area, thinking up reviews for every restaurant in the city and trying to find the one they’d best be suited for.

But that’s ridiculous, because Castiel isn’t an iPhone, he’s Castiel.

“How about,” Castiel starts slowly, almost hesitantly, as if Dean will deny him what he wants, which is a crazy idea, because at this point Castiel could suggest they eat dog shit and he’d go along with it as long as he got to be with Cas. “We go back to my place?”

And whoa, that was fast. Faster than Dean had expected, anyway.

“I mean,” Castiel says quickly. “I can cook. If you’d like.” He’s blushing slightly, and damn it, how Dean loves it when he blushes. Honestly, he goes from exceedingly hot to unbearably adorable in less than a second and he can see how he can treat both children and adults in his office. Dean would definitely choose him as his regular dentist, that’s for sure.

So Dean presses closer to Castiel, fingers still intertwined, and he nods. “Okay,” he agrees. “Let’s see what you can do, Julia Child.”

He guesses he deserves the punch in the arm.

Castiel’s house is much more beautiful on the inside than it is on the outside.

It’s literally a monster – much too big for someone living on their own, but still, beautiful in its own way. The staircase seems to go on forever in a spiral to the upper level, and the kitchen itself looks like it belongs in a cooking show. The living room, from what he could see walking past, anyway, was large enough for an entire family of more than twenty, for sure, and the couches looked comfortable enough. The dining room was just as large, just as spacy, just as wonderful.

He feels at home, and yet completely empty at the same time – at home because Castiel makes him feel that way, and empty because he can feel Castiel’s loneliness linger around him, even though it’s not present right at this moment, but he can sense it’s present all the same.

There are pictures of his family, however – he wasn’t joking when he said he had a big family. There’s him and a pretty redhead on a roller coaster, then him and a shorter man embracing on what he presumes is Castiel’s graduation night, then there’s him and an older, scruffier man in a robe grinning beside each other, the man’s hand in his hair, effectively messing it up a lot more than it already was previously, he’s sure.

He looks happy in all of the pictures. Which is why he finds it so fascinating that, when he could leave his office for three days, he spends them with people he doesn’t truly know rather than with his own family. And maybe that’s why Dean is so sure Castiel is much too good for him – but that doesn’t stop him from being selfish, from wanting him so badly all he can do to not push him against the wall and kiss him senseless right at this moment is offering to help with dinner.

“Don’t be silly,” Castiel says, rolling his eyes and he rolls up his sleeves. “You’re the guest.”

And, well, okay, fair point, but still. “I want to help.” He insists, and Castiel sighs, looking both frustrated and fond at the same time, and Dean suddenly feels all bubbly and happy inside.

“Okay,” Castiel agrees. “You can peel the potatoes.” Castiel points somewhere next to him, where the potatoes are already beside the peeler and ready for Dean to lead them to their ultimate nakedness. Dean grins. Easy enough – he can do that, even though he can do a lot more, and Castiel knows that very well. Dean learned how to cook when he was younger, but he doesn’t complain when he begins to peel the potatoes.

They’re working in comfortable silence when he feels a warm presence in back of him, warm breath prickling his neck, teasing. Dean stiffens slightly, momentarily distracted from the peeling, but composes himself quickly and continues doing as he was. He can still feel Castiel behind him, looking at what he’s doing, and Dean’s doing his absolute best to not fucking lose it right then and there.

“You’re actually good at this,” Castiel sounds pleasantly surprised and Dean laughs.

“I told you,” he says. “Don’t mess with the real culinary master, man. You’ll always lose.”

He turns around in a momentary lapse of reason and faces Castiel. Their noses are mere inches apart, lips only slightly more. Dean swallows hard and he sees Castiel mimic the motion, his eyes flicking to Dean’s lips. Dean licks them unconsciously, and Cas’s eyes snap back to Dean’s own.

They stare at each other for a long time before Dean doesn’t know what else to do and simply wraps a finger around Castiel’s belt loop, keeping it there. And then Castiel relaxes against his touch, hesitantly placing his own hand against Dean’s hip, and they’re standing there, slightly touching each other but not nearly enough, not really.

Dean takes a step forward and rests his forehead against Castiel’s, and he feels Cas’s breath, warm and raw on his lips. Dean’s hand rises to meet the side of Castiel’s face, his thumb stroking his cheek, and he watches how Cas’s eyes flutter with absolutely no control. Dean smiles a small smile, enough so that Castiel knows he is, and Castiel returns it with one of his own. He then raises his hand and rests it on the side of Dean’s face as well, and they’re simply standing, two men, holding each other’s faces, foreheads pressed against the other’s, eyes locked in something new but also entirely familiar.

“I should get back to the sauce,” Castiel murmurs, and he’s so close, Dean just shakes his head.

“Or you could stay here,” he says quietly, hand sliding further to tangle in his hair. He watches Cas’s Adam’s apple bob up and down and he smirks slightly, intensely proud that he’s having such an effect on the other man. “With me,” he adds, eyes flicking from Cas’s eyes to his lips. “Doing this.”

And that’s it. He simply leans forwards and presses his lips to Castiel’s, and they fall into each other like two pieces of a puzzle, meant to fit together.

Castiel’s arms are suddenly around Dean and Dean grips the back of Castiel’s head tightly, pressing him closer to him, unable to be satisfied, hungrily kissing him. Castiel kisses back like he means it, in steps, much like he does everything else, with a routine, a purpose, a muse. And the wild part of it is that Dean feels happy, because he believes he is that muse. He really, truly believes it.

The potatoes Dean spent so much time peeling are suddenly on the floor when he turns Cas over and pushes him on top of the counter. Cas’s legs instantly wrap around Dean’s waist and pull him closer, Dean easily letting himself be pulled. They break away from each other for a moment to gasp for breath before they’re diving in again, drowning in each other’s taste, each other’s smell, each other.

There’s the notable press of an erection against Dean’s own all of a sudden and he groans, helplessly arching up into the feeling, unintentionally grinding against Cas and the other man moans with him, tugging at Dean’s shirt irritably. Dean pulls away to quickly rid of the thin fabric, watching as Castiel does the same to his own, and their shirts are suddenly on the floor next to the forgotten potatoes, their bare chests pressed so tightly against one another that it’s hard to tell they’re two different bodies, different entities, as for the moment they’re just one, one in the same, and they’re kissing and grinding and touching as much as they can when suddenly—

Fire detector. The fire detector’s gone off. They pay no mind to it for a little longer, still kissing, all teeth and tongue and—

It’s louder now, and Castiel groans in frustration as he pulls away from Dean, trying to make his way down, but Dean refuses to give in, his lips just finding haven in Castiel’s bare neck, shoulder, arm…

“Dean,” Castiel breathes, and he can’t tell if it’s in desire or frustration, but either way, Dean doesn’t stop as his kisses start spanning lower, now trailing down Cas’s bare chest, and God, he’s so fucking beautiful it hurts to look at him.

Cas tugs at Dean’s shoulder and finally Dean gives in, pulling back and sighing in defeat. Castiel gives him what can only be described as an empathetic look as he makes his way to the stove and curses, turning it off and getting rid of the pot that was supposed to be boiling sauce and placing it on a safe plate beside the stove. He sighs and grabs a mitten, waving it over the stove in order to disperse the smoke, effectively shutting the fire detector up.

Dean decides he should probably help, no matter how awkward things could get, and walks towards the kitchen window (shirtless and all) in order to push it open.

Figures the first time he might have sex in a year he’d be cockblocked by God damned spaghetti sauce.

He turns around to find Castiel looking at him, almost sheepishly, and Dean smiles soothingly. Castiel hesitantly smiles back, and it’s so wonderful that Dean walks over to Castiel and presses a chaste kiss to the man’s lips.

He pulls back but Castiel just comes with him, lips still pressed firmly against Dean’s own, and Dean’s hand cups the back of Cas’s neck and they’re kissing again but this time it’s softer, innocent, as if this was their first time doing this.

Dean finally pulls away and they’re both gasping for air as an after effect to what they’d been previously doing, but they don’t seem to mind. They’re smiling at each other, grinning, actually, and Dean’s pretty sure his expression is just as radiant as Cas’s right now.

“Hi,” Dean breathes, and Castiel laughs once.

“Hello.” He greets.

They don’t end up having sex that night, but they don’t have dinner, either. Instead, they spend the rest of the night cleaning up the kitchen, shirtless, talking endlessly about pointless things, and then making their way upstairs to watch television in the theater room, huddled together on the couch before they fall asleep against each other.

Dean’s woken up the next morning by the loud, incessant ringing of a cell phone and he jumps, startled. It takes a moment for him to register where he is and why exactly he’s so fucking sore, but then he looks at Cas shifting on the couch beside him and he remembers with a fond smile. The cell phone’s still ringing when Dean presses a small kiss to Castiel’s forehead, before grabbing his phone from his pocket and making his way downstairs to answer the phone.

“Hello?” he rasps.

“Dean!” He hears Sam’s voice at the end of the line and he immediately breaks out in a grin, glad to hear from his brother all the way in California.

“Sammy!” He says, even though he knows Sam hates it when he calls him that nowadays. “What’s with the very much unscheduled call?”

He says this seriously, by the way. Sam schedules every single one of their phone calls nowadays, and with good reason, too. He’s a busy man and Sam’s busy with school and it’s hard to find days when they can actually sit down and have an actual conversation through the phone.

He can practically feel Sam’s shrug all the way in California. “Just missed you,” he says, and Dean rolls his eyes.

“You’re a grown-ass man, Sam, don’t you think it’s a little silly to be missing your brother?” And that’s really Dean’s way of saying he’s missed Sam, too, but he doesn’t say that out loud, but Sam knows, he always know.

Doesn’t mean he doesn’t find it annoying, though. “Oh, shove it,” he says. “Actually, I wanted to ask you something.”

Dean nods, knowing there had to be a reason for the unexpected call. “Yeah, okay, shoot.”

“I think – I think I’m gonna ask Jess to marry me.”

And, okay, yes, finally. Dean breaks out in a grin and nods excitedly, completely forgetting for the moment Sam can’t see him. “Of course, dude!” he says. “Yes, jeez, of course! I’m so happy for you two.”

Dean really is, as Jess has been Sam’s girlfriend for four years now, and they’re practically hand-made for each other. Just as tall, just as smart, just as stubborn. Except maybe Jess is funnier, and way out of Sam’s league, as he usually jokes, and he can’t think of a better addition to their family.

Except, maybe, well.

His gaze drifts upwards, and he wonders vaguely if Castiel is up yet, before he’s brought back to reality by the loud voice of his brother. “So, yeah, just – I mean, dinner would be nice, all of us. On Friday.”

Dean nods. “Yeah, definitely, dinner on Friday, sounds great, man,” he says offhandedly. Sam seems to sigh in relief.

“Great! It’s gonna be at mom and dad’s place and I just – don’t mess this up for me, okay?” he threatens, and Dean laughs, because that’s usually what Sam says when he has no idea what to say next. It hurts, only a tiny bit, but Dean usually pushes it aside because he can and because Sam doesn’t mean it, not really, and Dean knows as much.

“Yeah, yeah, Sasquatch,” Dean says. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” He pauses, then, hesitantly, adds, “Hey, Sammy?”

“Yeah?” Sam asks.

“Is it okay if I bring Cas?”

There’s a pause. “Cas?”

“He’s my – he’s, my, uh…friend. Maybe more. I don’t know.”

Dean can feel Sam’s smugness through the phone, but also the sheer happiness. “Dude, yes, by all means. Do it. I can’t believe you managed to find someone with your crazy schedule.” The idiot almost sounds proud, and Dean rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, go call mom or something,” he says, and Sam makes a noise before they say their goodbyes and hang up. Dean stares at his cell phone for a very long time after that, wondering what he’d just done.

Okay, he’d just asked if he could bring Castiel to something of a family affair. Not only that, but a night in which Sam was going to propose to his girlfriend. The shit was serious and – and he’d just invited Castiel, with no second thought, no doubt, other than the hesitance of maybe his brother not being happy about it, but there he was, supportive as ever.

And if he doesn’t think that’s enough of a clue, when Castiel comes downstairs, all groggy and rubbing his eyes sleepily and yawning, when he offers Dean a smile and a good morning kiss, when he makes him coffee and breakfast and it feels so good, he knows for a fact he is way too far gone on this man.

He tells Cas about Friday later that day, when they’re both getting ready to head to the hospital.

“It’s just – I mean, don’t feel obligated to go, but I feel you’d like my brother, and – shit, it’s too soon, isn’t it? It’s been like four months and we just did whatever this is and – and you’re right, you shouldn’t, unless you want to, of course, but you shouldn’t if you don’t want to, and I don’t want you to feel like –”

Castiel shuts him up with a kiss. “I want to,” is all he says, and they leave it at that. Dean simply grins and holds Cas’s hand all the way to the hospital.

So they do this thing the rest of the week where they dance around each other at the hospital but completely let it go when they’re at lunch, touching everywhere and sitting next to each other in booths and holding hands or playing footsies under the table like teenagers.

Dean doesn’t say so, but he likes the way Cas’s hand feels wrapped around his own, almost like he’d been waiting for the day someone’s fingers fit so nicely around his, so beautifully even though they’re mostly tangled and they’re just skin, just bones, if you think about it, and they’re so insignificant but they help with the touching, the carrying, the feeling, and suddenly he’s grateful for his hands because without them, he wouldn’t know how well him and Cas fit together, wouldn’t know how nice Castiel feels when he’s shivering under his touch.

Hands are his favorite parts of the body. Yes, even more than…that.

They dispatch Ms. Angelo on Thursday. Dean feels like it’s not entirely right, but she merely smiles brightly at Dean. “Now don’t be so paranoid, dear,” she tells him, patting his cheek teasingly. “I’ll be just fine.”

Castiel takes the day off work to say goodbye and promises to call, and when she’s being helped into the cab, he takes Dean’s hand nervously, grips it like a lifeline and squeezes tighter and tighter and tighter, until all Dean feels is Cas’s hand and not his own.

And it’s okay, he tells himself, he tells Cas.

She’ll be fine.

It’s Friday, and Castiel is a nervous wreck.

Dean laughs at him mostly while he’s trying to find something to wear and Castiel seems resentful for it, but Dean can’t help it, he’s just so God damned cute when he’s nervous.

“Would this be suitable?” Castiel asks for the tenth time, holding up the same suit he held up nine tries ago.

“Cas,” Dean says soothingly, standing from where he’s sitting on Castiel’s bed. “Don’t worry about it, okay? It’s not some sort of court date or interrogation or anything. You don’t have to make this fancy or nothin’.”

Castiel looks affronted. “But I do,” he insists. “I’m going to meet your family, who, as you’ve mentioned before, is the most important aspect of your life,” he says. “If they don’t like me, then I lose you, and I refuse to let that be even the slightest possibility. Plus,” Castiel adds, as if he needed another reason to make Dean even crazier for him. “Your brother is going to propose. It’s only proper to wear something celebrating the occasion, isn’t it?”

Dean just stares at Cas and then he kisses him, just kisses the hell out of him, and when he pulls away he whispers, “Maybe we can pick clothes later, yeah?”

Castiel’s eyes sparkle.

They haven’t gone all the way to actual penetration yet, but they’ve done enough to hold Dean over, and really, it’s enough because it’s Castiel, and he just really likes Castiel, okay?

It’s enough to hold Dean over for tonight, anyway, as they pull up to Dean’s old house. It’s not as big as Castiel’s, by any means, but it’s his house, and it feels like home more than any place in the world. He looks over at Castiel and grins at the sight of the brunette completely freaked the fuck out.

Dean reaches over and squeezes Castiel’s hand. “It’s okay,” he promises, and Castiel exhales nervously, but nods tightly. “It’s okay.” Dean repeats, more firmly, and Castiel finally meets his eyes with a whole new resolve. He squeezes Dean’s hand back and they’re out of the car and walking to the front door in a matter of seconds. Dean can tell that Cas is still nervous, and when he knocks on the door, Castiel retrieves his hand from Dean’s. He feels suddenly empty, but he understands.

His mom opens the door and her eyes dance with delight as they lock with Dean’s. “Dean, honey,” she coos, embracing him like a mother does. Dean grins and hugs her back, his chin aligned with her eyes.

“Hi there, mom,” he greets, pulling back. “Mom, this is Cas. Cas, this is mom.”

Castiel holds out his hand politely, just like always, but Mary apparently isn’t having any of that. She pulls him in for a hug as if they’ve known each other for years, and Dean laughs at Castiel’s look of astonishment.

“You’re fine,” Dean murmurs as his mom pulls away.

“Come on in!” Mary invites, stepping aside. “Sam and Jess are already here. Sam’s helping with the table, though,  so I’m afraid that means Dean helps too,” she teases.

Dean rolls his eyes, looking over at Cas. “She’s got crazy rules, man,” he whispers loudly. “She hasn’t changed a bit. She’s a maniac.”

“I heard that!” Mary yells from further inside the house, and Dean merely grins at Castiel. Castiel smiles back tentatively, and Dean can’t help but press his lips softly against Castiel’s.

Cas looks surprised. “But your parents—”

Dean furrows his brows. “What about them?”

Castiel stares. “Aren’t they…do they know?” he whispers.

Dean laughs. “Of course they do. And I’m pretty sure they know what you are to me, Cas,” he says, lacing their fingers together once more. “So I suggest you stop implying I’m a closeted asshole, because we are way too old for this.”

And Castiel’s grin is so radiant that even Mary, Dean can tell when they reach the kitchen, is already far gone on Castiel.

John comes down a couple of minutes later, after everyone’s settled down at the table, and he looks like he just woke up from a nap. Which, knowing his dad, he just did.

“’Bout time,” Dean grunts, and John glares at him. Dean merely grins, standing to give his dad a hug.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t let my necessary rest stop y’all from eating dinner,” he mutters as they pull away, sitting back down. His gaze lands on Castiel, and he feels Castiel tense beside him. Dean places a hand on his thigh, and he nods once.

“You Cas?” John asks, and Castiel nods.

“Yes,” he replies. John grins.

“Nice to meet you,” he says, and Dean can feel Castiel relax beside him.

“Nice to meet you, as well,” Castiel replies, and it’s all okay.

Castiel ends up having more in common with Sam than Sam has with Jess or Dean has with Cas, and it would be cute if it wasn’t so annoying at some point. They keep nerding out to whatever latest technology NASA’s come up with and something or the other about contemporary literature and his mom joins in at some point.

Jess, Dean and John all talk about different things, like sports and cars and things normal people actually discuss, thank you very much.

All in all it’s a very peaceful dinner, and Castiel’s hit it off with his entire family (and yes, he’s including Jess, because why not?) and Sam’s proposal is nervous and jumbled and a disaster but Jess loves it anyway (if her crying is anything to go by) and she says yes, and his little brother’s engaged just like that.

And he looks around as they’re hugging in congratulations, Castiel examining Jess’s ring and Jess animatedly telling Cas about the meaning behind it, and sees his mother beside Castiel listening as well while John talks to Sam on the side, both their expressions peaceful for once and he thinks, yeah, he could get used to this.

He takes Castiel to his apartment that night and they don’t do anything other than make out and fall asleep tangled in each other’s arms, and he can’t remember how it felt to sleep without Cas by his side.

He’s woken up at three in the morning by his pager, and Cas groans next to him. Dean mutters something unintelligible to him as he picks it up, looks at it.

He sits up quickly.

Castiel notices the change, obviously, and stares at Dean intently, rubbing his eyes. “What’s wrong?” he rasps, and Dean’s throat closes as he glances at Castiel.

“Ms. Angelo,” is all he says, and Castiel is up before Dean can truly process this.

She tried committing suicide again, but this time she was a little more efficient.

She stabbed herself, and even though she didn’t succeed in killing herself, she did succeed in cutting through some major arteries, effectively making her lose a lot of blood and, as it stands, she’s barely hanging on.

And it’s not fair – Dean knows they should just let her go, because she wants to and she has no one, but Dean feels as if he’s not doing his job if he does such a thing. He wants her to hang on, wants her to find a reason to live, but he feels so useless.

He sits beside her, her face pale white and barely breathing, and Castiel’s beside Dean, hands clasped together.

Castiel’s head rests on Dean’s shoulder. “She’s gonna be alright,” Cas murmurs.

Dean doesn’t answer.

She wakes up the next day, and Dean is the only one there to see it, as Cas had to go back to work.

“Ms. Angelo,” He says brightly. “I bet you’re happy to see me, eh?”

Ms. Angelo glares at him. Dean nods. “I thought as much.”

“Why can’t God just take me already?” her voice is rough, maybe from not being used as much as usual, but the determined factor that makes her her isn’t gone. “I’m so done with this life.”

And here’s Dean, unsure of what to say again, of how to convince her that maybe there are things to hang on to for.

And then he thinks about Castiel, and about how he’s everything he might want to hang around for. Hang around to see if this will last, hang around to get a place with him, kids, a whole entire family – to make Castiel’s house an actual home, with him, make breakfast every morning, sleep tangled up in each other every night and damn it, there are so many beautiful reasons as to why maybe it’s a good idea to stay alive.

Dean sits beside Ms. Angelo and takes her hand in his. She looks surprised. “Ms. Angelo,” he says. “I know I haven’t said much to you to encourage you, but I…” he hesitates. “You should try and stick around a little bit longer.”

Ms. Angelo stares at him. “Why?” She doesn’t sound sardonic nor resentful – she sounds tired, curious.

Dean smiles shakily. “Because I used to think that maybe – maybe it wasn’t a good idea to, either,” he admits. “I mean, I was happy enough, but. There were times I thought that my entire life was this. My work. That I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. And then, I met someone, and they just – they turned my whole world around,” Dean laughs once. “They’re miles too good for me, Ms. Angelo. They’re kind, and forgiving, and smart, and wonderful and beautiful – and they – he – he still chose me. And if someone like him could choose me,” he says slowly. “Then why can’t I choose me?”

Ms. Angelo simply keeps looking at him, her expression soft. “He told me once that he thinks your husband would have wanted you to live. I didn’t agree,” he remembers. “I thought I’d be selfish and want to take whomever I fell for with me. But I understand now,” he says. “What he meant. I know. I know that no matter what, when the person you love is left behind, you want the best for them, no matter what.

“Your husband would want you alive, Ms. Angelo. Your husband would want you to fight. Maybe it’s not God, like you say, holding you back. Maybe it’s him.”

Ms. Angelo’s eyes have started filling with tears, and Dean’s heart squeezes.

“I have no one,” she gasps, the tears finally falling freely down her face. “No one left. No one to care for me.”

“That’s not true,” Dean whispers. “You’ll always have me.” He pauses. “You’ll always have Castiel. And you’ll always have your husband,” he adds tentatively.

And then she smiles, smiles like Dean’s never seen her smile before, and squeezes his hand.

“I’m holding you to that, son.”

Dean knows where Castiel’s office is, but he’s never been to it before.

He walks inside and it’s fairly big in size, people in the waiting area, reading up-to-date magazine and eating hot dogs. Dean grins. Castiel would want to make his patients as comfortable and entertained as possible, if the large televisions on either sides of the waiting room are anything to go by.

He walks to the front desk and taps on the glass window. “Is Cas in?” he asks the girl, and the girl grins and nods.

“You must be Dean!” she says excitedly. Dean blinks. “Oh, I’ve been dying to meet you. Mr. Shurley’s eyes always light up when he talks about you, and I just knew you’d be handsome, and ah, you’re wonderful, you really are, would you like to come inside?”

She speaks a mile a minute, but Dean agrees, walks inside through the door. Becky, as she introduces herself on the way there, leads him through the hallway, opens the door to an examination room. Dean walks in she asks him to wait, Castiel will be right with him. Dean thanks her earnestly.

He waits for what must be fifteen minutes before Castiel opens the door, in his dentist gear-up, looking professional and serious as he stares down at his clipboard. “Okay, Mr. Smith, what can I do for you today?”

“You could kiss me, for one.”

Castiel’s head snaps up and he breaks out into a grin. “Dean,” he says, his voice filled with happiness, and Dean stands from the uncomfortable chair he’d been sitting in in order to greet Cas with a soft kiss.

“Hi there,” he says, and Cas smiles.

“Hello, Dean.”

“I just came to tell you that I think I’m falling in love with you,” he says, and Castiel looks taken aback. Dean doesn’t give him a chance to answer. “And Ms. Angelo is okay and she’ll be doing her best to hang on, as long as we’re there for her. Together.”

He takes Castiel’s hand. “We will be there for her, right?” he asks, his voice quiet and unsure. “Together?”

Castiel smiles, places his hand on Dean’s cheek. Dean leans into the touch.

“Yes,” he says quietly.

Dean smiles.

“I’m holding you to that.”

And they kiss, and there might be a future here, a big one, with kids and dogs and a white-picket fence, with weekly visits to Ms. Angelo and Saturdays at his family’s and monthly visits to Sam and Jess and meeting Castiel’s family and being uncles and living together and making love to each other and growing old together;

There might be an entire future, but for now they stand here, they kiss, and they’re Dean and Castiel, doctor and dentist, hospital and hospitable, and they’re making it up as they go.

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