But I can't get past...
Cas being a high-end kept boy for various politicians and businessmen, always involved in some high-stakes relationship or other in the D.C. area. His whole life is built on secrecy, it has to be. His lovers don’t know about him beyond the walls of their high-end apartments and expensive hotel suites; his family doesn’t know him past his seat at the dinner table; he doesn’t really have friends because he doesn’t have the time. He constantly lives in this gulf, stuck in between his reality and his current lover’s fantasy, balancing the two.
He’s never alone for very long between men, because as soon as one ends, another is approaching. Despite his young age, only twenty-four, Cas is experienced enough to know how the game works. So when a young woman named Charlie approaches him with an offer on behalf of her employer, he doesn’t hesitate to accept. He lays down his boundaries, she lays down her employer’s, and then he signs on the dotted line. Same as always.
It’s not until after he’s signed that he discovers who his new bedmate is, and he’s actually slightly surprised.
Dean is running for his second term as senator, and he’s a shoo-in for the spot. He’s a legacy; his father served in the Senate for years. He has his perfect family—his supportive wife Lydia and four-year-old daughter Emma. He makes all the right stands and lobbies for all the right petitions. He’s the golden boy of government, and there’s already talk of his running for the presidency someday.
Cas has heard of him, of course; young, handsome up-and-comers always get their fair share of attention. But Cas hadn’t even suspected that this man was gay, which is unusual. From the start, it’s made clear that this is Dean’s game. He controls everything.
The first time they meet at the condo, Dean acts cordial, friendly even. Dean further explains some of his personal stipulations that had been too personal to share through Charlie. Cas is pleasantly surprised when he doesn’t demand monogamy, like most of Cas’s other lovers have. Usually, they like to play house, pretend that their twisted relationship with Cas is somehow normal. And Cas usually goes along because they pay oh so well.
But Dean doesn’t expect any of that. He just asks that Cas be available when he needs him, and that appeals to Cas. He won’t have to morph his reality again to fit this new lover’s fantasy. He’ll just be there when Dean calls, and he can be his own person otherwise.
The first time they fuck, it’s strictly business. There’s no kissing, little foreplay. Dean lets Cas get off first, Cas returns the favor, and then while they’re still catching their breath, Dean says, “You can go now.” And Cas dresses and leaves. He doesn’t let himself think about the fact that he actually enjoyed that one, unlike most of his others.
It goes on like this for months. Dean will call Cas, they’ll meet at the condo, fuck, and then Cas will leave before Dean’s even down from the high. No kissing, no touching beyond what’s necessary. Strictly business. But Cas begins to realize that even strictly business, it’s still the most fulfilling relationship he’s ever had.
And then it changes on a rainy afternoon in October. Cas finishes Dean off with his mouth that time, his heart aching a little bit as he says, “I’ll go now.” But when he moves to leave the bed, Dean grabs him by the arm.
“Stay?” He whispers, his green eyes soft in the dim light. “Just for a few minutes?”
And Cas, he knows that this isn’t Dean actually wanting to cuddle him, it’s Dean needing human touch. Dean doesn’t need him specifically; he just needs someone. But Cas still agrees. And as he curls against Dean’s side and places his ear over Dean’s still-hammering heart, he can feel the senator release the tiniest of contented sighs, and he can’t help but match it with one of his own.
They still don’t kiss, still don’t touch much beforehand. But after, Cas will linger and lay quietly with Dean as they catch their breaths and steady their hearts. They don’t talk much; when they do, it’s inane stuff about their favorite movies or food. They never talk about anything personal.
The first time Dean sees Cas outside the confines of the condo, he’s obviously shocked. Cas is at one of his father’s boring fundraisers, wearing a boring tux with an equally boring date on his arm. The guy’s an accountant for some firm that Michael represents, and Cas can’t even remember his name, but the guy’s also clean looking and just what the former-Virginia-governor’s gay son should date.
Cas sees Dean, of course, and even smiles kindly at Lydia when Bartholomew introduces everybody. He’s definitely not jealous of the way she gets to hold Dean’s hand and smile lovingly up at her husband, who she’ll go home with afterwards. Of course not. Cas is never jealous. So he just clings to his date’s arm and smiles broadly until the awkward interaction passes.
He doesn’t seek Dean out; he knows that’s not how this goes. So he’s shocked when Dean actually trails him to the bathroom and locks them both inside.
“You’re Bartholomew’s son?” He hisses, and Cas shrugs. He can tell Dean’s angry, but what did Dean expect? He’s never asked, so Cas has never offered the information. That’s just how he works.
“Yeah, I guess,” Cas replies, attempting to sound bored and disinterested, when in reality his heart is hammering in his chest. The way Dean’s pressing into him at the counter definitely isn’t the closest they’ve been; Dean’s been inside of him, for fuck’s sake. But the way he’s looking at Cas…it’s heady, like a drug that Cas needs more of.
“You guess?” Dean growls.
“Look, I know we haven’t talked about anything personal up to this point, and let’s just keep it that way, okay?” Cas suggests. “Yes, Bart is my father, but barely so. The only reason he claims me at all is so he can get the gay votes.” Cas doesn’t mention that now that Bart’s not running for office any longer, it’ll only be a matter of time before he cuts Cas off completely.
“I just…I can’t seem to reconcile…” Dean finally admits with a gesture of his hand, the air deflating from him, and Cas smirks.
“Dean, how do you think I got into doing this in the first place? Actually…” He glances around the bathroom, “I think it was in this very room.” He sighs dramatically. “Had to get Bart that last vote for the energy bill.” He can tell by Dean’s stunned expression that the senator realizes the full implications of what he’s said.
When Dean says nothing, Cas pushes him away. “Now, I still have to go pee, so you’re going to leave now, okay? Call me when you need me.” He pats Dean on the cheek twice, dismissing him.
He almost expects Dean to stop calling after that. He expects his next contact to be Charlie terminating the contract. So he’s shocked when Dean texts the very next day.
When Cas arrives at the condo, he expects to get right to business like usual. He’s about to strip when Dean’s question halts him.
“Who was that guy you were with?”
Cas glances up from where his fingers are frozen on the button of his slacks. “What guy?”
“The guy you were at the benefit with,” Dean clarifies, flushing softly.
“Oh, some guy Michael hooked me up with,” Cas shrugs like it’s no big deal. “He keeps setting me up on dates with upstanding men, probably to get me to settle down.”
“Settle down?” Dean wonders. “Don’t they know…” He trails off, but Cas knows how the sentence ends. *Don’t they know that you’re a whore?*
Cas shakes his head. “Nope. They don’t know about this part of my life, just like you don’t know about that part of my life.”
Dean stares at him, perplexed. “So, they don’t really know the real you. And I don’t really know the real you. So who knows the real you?”
Cas shoots him an annoyed glance. “Me. I know who I really am.”
But even as he says the words, he knows they’re not true. Cas has lied about his life for so long, he can’t really discern the truth anymore. Like here and now. The truth of the matter is that he’s an easy lay, a convenient fuck, a sex toy for Dean. But he could swear, with the way that Dean’s looking at him, the senator actually has feelings for him, that he’s actually concerned about this easy lay.
And that’s nothing but a lie from the pit, the worst kind of blasphemy. Because Cas has been at this long enough to know that these men don’t love him. Hell, they barely like him. They keep him around because they need him. And Dean is just like the rest of them. So to focus himself back on what’s really happening here, he asks, “We gonna fuck or not?”
So they do. Cas climbs up onto the bed, presenting his ass for the senator, unwilling to watch the gorgeous green-eyed man as they fuck. But Dean…Dean has other plans. He flips Cas over onto his back so that Cas has no choice but to stare at Dean as he takes him long and slow and deep, just like Cas likes it.
And when they’re finished, when Dean has collapsed onto Cas, his breaths harsh and heavy in Cas’s ear, he presses a gentle kiss to Cas’s temple. Cas can’t tell if it’s an admission or an apology, but he doesn’t ask. He almost prefers not to know.
And then Dean asks, “Did you fuck him?”
Cas stares up at the ceiling, refuses to meet his eyes as he admits, “I tried.”
“What does that mean?” Dean pries, and Cas suddenly finds tears pricking at the corner of his eyes as he whispers, “He wasn’t…” He barely stops himself from saying the damning words: he wasn’t you. But Dean seems to know, even without the words. He presses another kiss to Cas’s hair, and Cas can feel his heart breaking that Dean won’t actually kiss him. So he gets dressed and leaves.
The next time they meet, neither of them mention it. But Cas finds himself fantasizing more and more about what it would feel like to have Dean’s lips on his, which is ridiculous. He’s acting like some blushing schoolgirl with her first crush, not a wizened sex companion. But every time Dean’s mouth almost touches his, Cas feels his heart explode inside.
The first time they kiss isn’t anything like Cas fantasizes; it’s not before sex, or even after it. It’s nowhere near the condo. No, the first time they kiss, they’re huddled in a secluded corner of the governor’s mansion. Dean’s hands are resting against the wall behind Cas’s head, caging him in when all Cas wants is escape.
He’d already tried to run when he fled from the crowded ballroom, unable to bear another moment of Dean and Lydia smiling so warmly, so knowingly at each other, like husbands and wives do. Just like the last time, Cas hadn’t expected Dean to follow him; that’s not how these things were supposed to go. But he had, and now he has Cas trapped in with nowhere to go.
“Please,” Cas whispers shakily, tears staining his cheeks. He’s not sure what he’s asking for, whether it’s for Dean to let him go or to draw him in. He can’t figure up from down anymore, but Dean can. He stares at Cas intently, his green eyes fiery and determined.
The crowd in the room next door is still counting the new year in when their lips first brush.
And Cas knows that Dean’s wife is probably looking for him; he knows that he’s stealing this first kiss of the new year from her, just like he’s stealing her husband’s affections. Because neither of them can deny it anymore; they’re falling, hard.
Dean texts Cas multiple times a week now, and no matter what he’s doing, Cas drops everything and runs to him. He doesn’t sleep with anyone else; he hasn’t since the failure with the accountant that one night.
He’s Dean’s, body and heart and mind and soul. He doesn’t care that it’ll always have to be a secret between them; he can deal with it. He’s lived a life of secrecy, so this is nothing new. He’ll spend all eternity in the shadow as long as that shadow belongs to Dean. And he knows that Dean feels the same for him. Even without the kissing, their sex has grown more and more desperate, Dean eager to leave his bruises on Cas’s hips and neck and Cas eager to accept them.
And now, now that they have kissed, they’re barely through the front door before they’re crashing together, their mouths harsh and demanding against the other’s, their hands rough and claiming. And afterwards, they spend hours talking, about themselves, their families, their hopes, their fears.
Cas admits one night that he’s scared of this, scared of how powerful it is, how out of control he feels.
“I’ve never been this open with anyone,” he whispers shakily into the dark room. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone.”
Dean pulls him in for a soft kiss, his lips gentle against Cas’s as he replies, “Me neither.”
They’re spiraling, upward or downward Cas can’t tell; all he knows is that it’s a beautiful spiral.
And then it all comes crashing to a halt. The article appears in the paper on Tuesday morning. There aren’t any pictures; it’s all ‘hearsay’ at this point that the golden boy senator is a closeted homosexual. Dean’s team goes into witch-hunt mode, trying to figure out who the mole was. None of them suspect until she steps forward to claim responsibility.
Turns out Dean’s wife has known from the start, but she hadn’t cared at first. Dean got to have his fun and she got to keep her rising star of a husband. But now, now that Dean’s so obviously in love with this whore…it has to end. So when Dean calls Cas to the condo on Tuesday afternoon, he doesn’t expect to find her there with him, waiting to pounce. She doesn’t cry, doesn’t scream at him, doesn’t show any emotion of any kind.
She sits on the plush couch with Dean, one long leg crossed casually over the other, a pale, slender hand resting possessively on Dean’s knee, while Cas is left to sit alone the armchair. Cas can feel the distance between him and Dean, the inches turning into miles with each moment. He can feel Dean drawing into himself as Lydia explains what’s going to happen:
“You and Dean are done. I’ll appear with him publicly and denounce these claims as libelous rumors. We will say that you were obsessed with him and kept trying to push yourself onto him. He’ll file a restraining order against you—for appearance’s sake, you understand—and then we’ll keep moving forward with our political career, and you’ll disappear.”
Cas looks over to Dean, only to find his face an unreadable mask, but in his eyes…he sees it. Dean is going right along with this plan. And Cas didn’t think he would ever get to keep Dean, but he also didn’t count on the end shattering him quite so effectively.
He clears his throat and murmurs, “I understand. I’ll accept full responsibility.” He stands, not meeting either of their gazes. “I’ll burn the contract.”
“That might be best, dear,” Lydia agrees condescendingly.
Because what else is he supposed to do? He can’t have Dean; but he can’t hurt him either. That’s not how Cas does things. He can’t hurt someone he’s so desperately in love with. He flees the condo, leaving Dean and Lydia staring at each other with stony faces.
After that, he doesn’t leave his apartment for a week. He ignores the sudden influx of phone calls and emails. He doesn’t respond to his father’s angry texts about disgrace on the family name. He doesn’t deny his brothers’ jibes about his pointless feelings. The only one who doesn’t mock him is Gabe, who’s had his fair share of heartbreaks.
One of his father’s attorneys contacts him to prepare a statement to release to the press in retaliation to the shit storm that’s about to rise. According to Zachariah, the best thing would be to go public with the affair before Dean and Lydia get the chance to attack him and his reputation. Cas refuses. He’s already decided that he’s not going to hurt Dean, already given him his word that he’ll take the fall. He won’t go back on that.
Now all that’s left to do is wait for Dean to make the actual announcement. He doesn’t want to watch, and he determines not to. But then on the day of the press conference, he finds himself turning on the television. It’s like he has to hear the words that will end him, since he’s apparently some kind of masochist.
But when Dean steps up to the podium, his wife and child standing just behind him in a show of solidarity, he shocks everyone (except his wife, who he probably warned beforehand) by admitting to the affair. And even more, he announces his homosexuality…on national television. He admits that he won’t hide anymore, and he won’t keep “the man he loves” a secret anymore.
And Cas is astounded. He never imagined that it would happen like this. He never thought that he would ever get to see Dean again, but from the way Dean’s talking, Cas will not only get to see Dean again, he’ll actually get to keep him.
He’s still in shock when Dean ends the press conference, still numb when Dean texts him to meet. But he’s anything but numb and shocked when Dean steps through his front door with a dozen roses in hand. Cas flings himself at Dean, crushing the bouquet between them as he presses his mouth to the senator’s.
When they finally part, Dean admits that it was watching Cas walk out the condo door, broken and hurt, that changed his mind. He realized that he couldn’t do what Lydia wanted.
He warns Cas that it won’t be easy; there’ll still be the divorce and custody hearings for Emma, who Cas will finally get to meet. Dean doesn’t know if he’ll even keep his spot on the senate. But he knows that he wants Cas there by his side.
As he nuzzles their noses together, his mouth so close to Cas’s, he whispers, “Forgive me?”
Cas nods, tears clouding his vision as he replies, “Already done.”
Dean ducks in to claim a kiss, smiling against Cas’s mouth as he says, “I love you.”
“Love you back,” Cas promises.
“You’re mine now, Cas. No more contracts, no more boring accountants, no more hidden condos. We’re going to live out in the open, where everyone can see.”
He says it like a warning, like it’ll somehow scare Cas away after everything they’ve been through. But Cas can’t think of anything better.
The divorce gets settled quickly. The custody hearings take a little longer, but they work it out in the end. Cas loves little Emma, loves the weeks they get her in their home. It’s what prompts them to adopt their other three children in the years after Dean finishes his term.
Eventually Cas’s family accepts him back, and even Lydia and her new husband and two children become regular additions to their family gatherings. And those days, when they’re surrounded by this mish-mash of jumbled pieces that have assembled to become their family, that’s when Cas and Dean are the happiest.
It’s not always easy or simple, and there are still days that it feels like an uphill battle, but Cas and Dean are right there together for every step of the way up.