The first time Dean sees him, he’s sitting in the Impala outside the Lawrence Public Library, waiting for Sam to get off work. It’s nine o’clock and his baby purrs as she idles, a soothing backdrop against the Metallica in the tape deck. Finally, the lights that light up the inside of the stuffy building fade off, and Sam and a few of his coworkers shuffle out of the building.
Sam jogs to the Impala and slides into the passenger side, but Dean’s too busy watching one guy, dressed head-to-toe in what can only be described as nerdy chic (minus the chic - dude’s wearing a friggin’ trenchcoat) walking down the long sidewalk that leads to the bus station. Dean can’t even see him that well; the parking lot lighting sucks and the trench coat does nothing to accentuate what he assumes is a slight, pale figure, and the way he walks screams tight-ass but something about the man fascinates him.
He’s not sure why.
"Who’s that?" he mumbles, interrupting Sam’s story about how some kids totally tore apart the fiction section or whatever nerdy stories librarians tell when they get off work. Dean stopped listening years ago.
“Castiel?" he repeats incredulously, rolling the foreign name around his tongue. He almost feels sorry for the dude.
Sam laughs. “He works in the reference section. Why?”
He shrugs perhaps too nonchalantly and revs up his baby. “Just curious.”
He ignores the look Sam shoots him.
Three weeks pass and Dean still hasn’t worked up the courage to talk to the guy. He’s seen him plenty of times; every time he goes to pick up Sam he keeps an eye out for him, watching him make the same trek to the bus stop every night, still wearing that god-awful trench coat. One day he even brought Sam lunch just so he could sneak a peek at him, to his brother’s astonished amusement, but Castiel hadn’t been working that day. He knows it’s a little weird but it’s totally not stalking if he doesn’t follow the guy to his house. Which he hasn’t.
He doesn’t put it past himself.
He can’t even figure out why he’s so obsessed with the dude (obsessed, not infatuated, Sammy, though he’s not sure that’s any better). He’s totally not Dean’s type at all; he prefers a man’s-man, dirt and oil and sweat and musk and muscle - he’ll even take the occasional boobs-and-ass - but Castiel (Cas, Dean always shortens in his mind) is neither of those things, so really, Dean has no fucking clue why he can’t get the poor dude out of his head.
It’s kind of starting to drive him insane.
But today Dean’s finally worked up the courage to actually talk to the guy. He’s at the library an hour early, leaning against the desk skimming the latest edition of Hot Rod, and it doesn’t take very long for Castiel to approach him and ask him if he needs any help.
The first thing Dean notices is his eyes. They’re blue. Like, really fucking blue. And creepily intense. They stare curiously into Dean, tilting slightly as Castiel tilts his head, brows knitting together.
And then realizes that Castiel asked him a question.
"Can I assist you with anything?" he repeats and Dean stammers, his brain stuttering into meltdown and it figures that this is his first impression on Castiel because he’s obviously smart and serious and uptight
and attractive in a dorky sort of way and Dean is just standing there like a stupid hick, mouth agape, unable to string two syllables together.
"I’m - I’m good," he manages finally, breathing a sigh of relief as he taps the magazine. "Just waiting for my brother to get off."
"Who is your brother?" Castiel asks quietly, head tilting again and fuck that’s kind of cute. Like a little lost puppy.
"Sam. Sam Winchester." He holds out his hand. "I’m Dean."
Castiel stares intently at his hand then back up at Dean, not setting aside books in his hand.
"It’s Tuesday," he informs him.
"Sam doesn’t work on Tuesdays."
Wide-eyed, Dean peeks at his watch and sure enough, TUE glares up at him from the face, mocking him. In fact, now that he thinks about it, Sam was sitting on the couch when he left, waggling his eyebrows and muttering ‘Good luck’. He remembers flipping him off as he slammed the door shut.
He wonders if there’s any way to inconspicuously melt into the floor, or if maybe he can just die from straight-up embarrassment. His face is red, fuck it’s probably a goddamn tomato right now and Cas is still staring at him like he’s the bacteria growing on aspirin in science lab.
This can’t possibly get any worse.
But then it does, because instead of staring at him, Castiel goes back to alphabetizing the books in his hands, a clear dismissal.
"Well, I’m just gonna…" he mutters awkwardly, trailing off as he points in some direction that is anywhere but here and promptly trips over his own feet in his rush to leave.
He curses loudly, scaring the kids at the table studying and slams the door open.
Sam is so dead.
Dean refuses to pick Sam up from work for at least a week. In fact, he tells him in no uncertain terms that he can ride the bus from now on, bitch, and yeah, it makes him feel a little better but it doesn’t change the fact Dean acted like an idiot and Cas totally rejected him.
Dean mopes around for a few days while Sam shakes his head and calls him an idiot.
"Did you actually ask him out?" Sam asks for the third time in as many days, even though he knows what the answer is. And yeah, maybe he has a point, but honestly, after the royal screw-up Dean had been, he didn’t need to ask him to know the answer.
But by Saturday night he’s over it (well, he says he’s over it but that’s a bald-faced lie), and he heads out to the bar to drink and pick up anyone who doesn’t have piercing blue eyes and a bad case of bed-head hair.
Sam informs him that he’s invited someone over for dinner and Dean gives him his famous old-brother wink. Sam bitch-faces in return.
"Dude, it’s not like that."
"Sure it’s not," he replies with a grin. "So who is it? Jess again? Gabriel?"
His little brother huffs, rolling his eyes and pursing his lips. He’s really good at that. “Jess and I broke up six weeks ago, thanks for noticing. And Gabriel and I are just friends. Just all you can think about is sex, doesn’t mean that’s all other people think about.”
"Well where’s the fun in that?" Dean whines, shrugging on his leather jacket. "Whatever. As long is it’s not that Ruby chick, I don’t give a crap."
"It’s not Ruby."
"Don’t forget to use a condom," he says as he walks out the door.
Sam’s shoe barely misses him.
By the time Dean gets home he’s drunk and sexually frustrated. No one at the bar interested him and he has a good idea why. It’s so stupid and he’s such a girl and really it’s time for him to get over this whole thing because it’s totally screwing up his mojo. He resolves that tomorrow he will be over Castiel. Just like that. No more thinking about him, no more pining over him. Nothing. He’ll drop Sam off at work every day and will not strain to catch a glimpse of a dirty trench coat walking towards the bus station.
This. Has. To. Stop.
There are soft voices coming from the living room as he sneaks in, though it’s only 11 o’clock and really too early to be sneaking in. But he doesn’t want Sam to make fun of him for coming home empty-handed so he sneaks. He starts heading down the hallway to his bedroom to flop onto his bed and rub out a quick, angry, unsatisfactory orgasm before passing out, but curiosity gets the better of him (he just can’t place the voice conversing with his brother) and he tip-toes through the kitchen, straining to catch a glimpse of Sam’s mystery date.
Sam’s sitting on the couch, his back to him, and across from him, moving a chess piece across the antique wooden board Sam insisted they buy even though Dean thought it was a huge waste of money is -
Sam’s on a date with Castiel.
Dean’s jaw clenches tight in anger and he must’ve made some sort of noise because they both look over at him at the same time and Sam is off the sofa in a flash, a concerned “Dean…” falling from his lips. But Dean storms out of the kitchen, not wanting to be force-fed any of his touchy-feel-y yoga bullshit right now and slams the door to his room shut, locking it before Sam can barge his way in.
The younger Winchester pounds on the door, shaking the hinges like he’s the Incredible-fucking-Hulk and yells through the thin wood. “C’mon, Dean, open up! Let’s talk about this!”
"Nothin’ to talk about, Sam," he shoots back.
"You’re acting like a twelve-year-old girl! You need - "
But exactly what Dean needs he doesn’t find out, because he chooses that moment to blast AC/DC from his stereo, effectively drowning out his brother for the rest of the night.
Sam and Dean don’t speak the next day or the day after. Not that Sam doesn’t try at breakfast, but Dean side-steps him neatly, skipping the pancakes his brother had laid out as a peace offering, arriving at the garage an hour early. If his boss Bobby Singer notices anything unusual about him showing up so early, he doesn’t mention it.
Eventually Dean’s thoughts become lost in the humming and clanking that filled the garage as he throws himself into his work. He is half-way through tuning up a Ford Focus when Bobby signals him into the office.
"I need ya to grab a manual from the library for me."
Dean’s stomach drops. “Can’t Ellen do it?”
Ellen, Bobby’s wife, was the receptionist at the shop.
"What, you think that just ‘cuz she sits behind a desk all day, she don’t got stuff to do?"
Dean stammers, trying to find a valid reason why he shouldn’t go to the library. Ever. “No, sir, I just - “
"Damn straight you don’t. Idjit." He hands him a slip of paper with the title of the book scrawled on it in smudged ink and motor oil and thwaps him on the side of his head. "Now get lost."
Dean ducks out of the office quickly and against his better judgment, heads towards the library, contemplating if getting in an accident and screwing his baby all to hell is worth the embarrassment he’ll save.
By the time he reaches the library, he still doesn’t have a definite answer.
He ducks his head as he returns, keeping a low profile and praying to God that Castiel is not working today and that if he is, he doesn’t see him.
He turns the corner and runs straight into Castiel.
"God is dead," he moans.
"We’ll have to agree to disagree."
Dean stares at him and Castiel stares back and there is a whole lot of awkward between them, so he coughs and mutters “Look, I’m sorry about the other night. I was kinda drunk.”
Castiel nods in affirmation. “Yes, Sam told me.”
The awkwardness returns again and Dean rubs the back of his neck to keep from fidgeting. Castiel does not seem to get the idea that Dean doesn’t want to talk to him ever again. He just stands there calmly with a slight aura of curiosity and, if Dean’s not mistaken, a trace of amusement. Which really pisses him off.
"Okay. Well…" he says in clipped tones. "I gotta go…find a book. So."
He brushes past Castiel but suddenly he feels strong, slender fingers grasp his wrist, holding him in place. A sudden jolt of electricity shoots through his body at the skin-on-skin contact and despite himself, his breath stutters.
Castiel’s hands are soft and smooth, such a contrast from Dean’s own calloused palms, but despite his size, Cas’ grip is strong and sure, commanding yet still gentle and unassuming. It’s so completely and wholly Castiel that Dean can’t help but be stopped by it.
Castiel doesn’t answer right away, and it makes Dean uncomfortable. For the first time since their meeting, his eyes drop from Dean’s face and he shifts nervously, like he is trying to find the right words to say.
Add this to the list of Things That Confuse the Fuck Out of Dean Winchester.
"Cas, are you okay?"
The nickname slips out unexpectedly and by the time he realizes it, he wants to slap himself. But the sound of it seems to jerk Castiel back to reality and his creepily intense blue eyes stare up at Dean quizzically.
"You…called me Cas."
He winces. “Sorry. It slipped.”
"No, no," Castiel says quickly. "I like it."
"You gonna let go of me now?"
Castiel doesn’t. Instead, he takes a step towards Dean, fracturing the bubble of personal space he likes to keep around himself. His breath hitches in his throat and he wills himself to not be affected by the close proximity. Castiel looks up at him through long lashes. “I wished - ” he hesitates, “to inform you that I do not intend on having sexual relations with your brother.”
Dean’s shocked into silence. Though whether that’s because of the statement or Cas’ vocabulary choices, he’s not sure. “I understand,” Castiel continued, “that what you witnessed may have seemed…intimate to some, but rest assured, Sam and I are merely friends.”
There is a weird emotion in his voice that Dean can’t place.
"Well, buddy, you might want to tell Sam that, cuz I don’t think he got the message."
"Sam is aware of my feelings regarding him. I was the one who suggested our impromptu gathering. Do you wish to know why?"
Dean’s really starting to feel frustrated; Castiel is speaking so goddamn cryptically and he’s not sure there’s even a point to this story but he can’t seem to tear himself away. Castiel is mesmerizing and fascinating, like an otherworldly creature. He’s like an alien; he looks human and seems human enough on the outside, but the way he speaks and acts is totally foreign.
"I’ll bite; why?"
And then Castiel says those three words that change everything.
"Because of you."
Dean’s too dumbfounded to speak. “Huh?”
Castiel licks his chapped lips and Dean’s green eyes stare at the soft rose flesh as he speaks.
"I have noticed you for some time, Dean Winchester. You frequent the pie shop near my residence. You always sit outside. Many times I have wished to speak with you, but…" Castiel trails off for a moment. "Then you came into the library that afternoon and I apologize if I seemed rude, but I was nervous and I feared my tongue would betray me. But since you had revealed that you were Sam’s brother, I realized I had an opportunity to properly meet you. Sam did not inform me until after I had arrived that you had gone out. I apologize for causing you distress."
Dean really can’t believe that he’s hearing this. That all the while Dean was stalking Castiel, he had been stalking him too. It’s mind-blowing and freaky and yeah, they probably are both a little mentally unstable and yeah, they probably should be locked up in a friggin’ psych hospital, but really, he’s okay with that as long as they get to share a room.
Castiel is still talking, explaining himself with nervousness he’s never seen on the guy before. And it’s kind of, if not completely endearing and with a smirk, he leans down and lets their lips meet.
His mouth is soft and wet and salty and sweet and a million other things that Dean’s brain can’t process, will probably take weeks to process, but it feels so right and he deepens the kiss, his free hand threading through his soft, unruly brown hair, pulling him closer.
When they finally pull apart, Dean begins to laugh. Soft at first, then growing louder the incredulity of this whole thing. Castiel shakes his head in confusion.
"What is so amusing?"
"We’re the two worst stalkers ever."
Dean smiles. “I’ll explain later.”