Read now on Ao3
He’s not sure what he’s doing here, pressed against a crowd of barely-clad bodies, but Dean knows it’s definitely Jo’s fault. He’s got smudges of multi-colored paint on his arms and more glitter than a kindergarten all over his everything. The crowd cheers as another group marches by, singing songs and throwing gummy dicks and boobs into the crowd. Jo catches one and pops it in her mouth, turning back briefly to grin at Dean before leaning forward again to lose herself in the crowd pressing against the barriers and the back of the cute redhead she’s been chatting with since they got there. Eva? Anna? Whatever. Jo’s the one who got CPO Walker to grant them leave from base today along with a handful of other sailors just assigned to Kitsap. He and Jo had served together when they first enlisted, down in San Diego, but had been assigned to different ships for the past few years. It’d been a shock to see her cross the mess at Kitsap, but Dean would be lying if it wasn’t damn good to see her. She’d introduced him to Adam, who’d served with her at their last base in Yokosuka. And today she’d roped both of them and a kid named Kevin into coming down with her. “You can’t miss your first Pride in Seattle!” she’d said across the table one morning. Dean had been too tired to argue, so here he is in a colorful, sweaty mass of people covered in rainbow paraphernalia.
Despite the abundance of naked, painted chests around him, Dean can’t help but be glad for the fitted white tee Jo let him wear. She’d also insisted on the pair of jeans that “make your ass look amazing, jerkwad,” which he’s regretting if only because of the heat. There have been enough appreciative looks that he can’t be too mad. He grins as Jo sways further into the red-head, letting himself get caught up in the noise. He whistles as the Gay Men’s Chorus tromps by, singing “We Are Young” and accepts a fabric lei and a kiss of the cheek from a troupe of drag queens with coconut bras. Marriage equality is a thing and he’s going to enjoy the hell out of being surrounded by people as thrilled and relieved as he is. The crowd surges and knocks him off balance and into a solid chest. Grimacing, Dean looks back, apology half out of his mouth, only to see the most striking man he’s ever seen. Dark hair spiked with sweat, piercing blue eyes and a kind smile—and he’s shirtless, of course, exposing broad shoulders and firm arms. “No worries,” he says, squeezing Dean’s hips –how did he miss those hands—before stepping back again. Dean can’t help but smile back at him before turning back around.
This time, though, he’s aware of the presence behind him. Tall-Dark-and-Studly stays close, obviously so if they weren’t in the middle of the heart of Pride. The crowd shifts enough that Dean finds him more to his side than at his back, darts sideways glances to see the joy on the man’s face as he whoops at a passing float. A redhead throws her arm around his shoulder and screams, “That’s my girl!” and the woman in massive sequined wings at the top of the float grins and waves at them. The redhead whoops again and the man laughs. Dean can’t help but stare as the sound reaches him, snapping out of it when he realizes the redhead is grinning at him. She winks before turning back to the parade.
He blushes and ducks his head only to find Jo staring at him too. He rolls his eyes and she sticks her tongue out at him before waggling her eyebrows in the universal “tap that” signal.
Ignoring the signals from both of the girls, Dean tries to focus on the parade again. It’s a river of sequins and spandex in every color possible, on every body possible. It’s beautiful. As he sees a couple of men crying as they kiss, he finds himself aching for the kid he used to be who had no concept of Pride or that he was anything other than broken or wrong. Shaking his head, Dean looks back to find Tall-Dark-and –Studly looking at him seriously. Dean shakes his head and smiles, but the man says “Do you need water?”
“Uh,” Dean stutters, blindsided by the simple question. But it’s hot and now that he’s mentioned it, Dean is getting overheated. “Yeah,” he says, ducking his head in thanks.
“C’mon,” the other man says, grabbing Dean’s wrist and leading him out of the crowd.
“Whoa, wait a sec,” Dean sputters. “I have-“ he says before realizing that Jo has the bag with their water bottles and she’s now a crowd of people away.
“Here,” T-D-&-S says, handing him an ice cold bottle. He’s already handing the vendor a five before Dean can catch up with what’s happening, cracking open a bottle of his own. “Hydrate or die.”
Dean barks a laugh and takes a deep gulp of water before saying, “Thanks. You didn’t need to do that.”
“Probably not,” TD&S says. “But, now I get to talk to you. So, I’m taking that as a win.”
“Uh,” Dean chokes, turning red.
Grinning the other man holds out his hand, “Castiel Novak, Medical Student. Very concerned with the hydration of the cute man in front of him at Pride.”
“Dean Winchester, IP1, Navy. Thankful for medical students concerned with hydration.”
“Ah,” Dean swallows. “Information Professional, Petty Officer First Class.” He winks. “At your service.”
Throwing his head back, Cas laughs. “Are you now? Well, I have some strategies we could go over. At my place?”
Licking his lower lip, Dean says, “I think I can help you out, Doc. Least I can do after you came to my rescue.” He shakes the now-empty water bottle before grabbing Castiel’s and tossing them into the nearby recycling bin. They walk down the street, smiling at the crowd and handing out high fives to those that ask.
As they turn off the main street, Castiel says, “Call me Cas.”
“Sir?” Cas pauses midstride to look at Dean.
Dean winks, “Medical personnel are commissioned officers—above my rate.”
“Interesting. And do you take orders well?” Castiel leans close, crowding Dean against the parked car behind him.
“I guess you’ll find out.” Dean smirks and Castiel all but growls.
Yeah, Dean’s not sure how Jo got them there, but he’s damn sure he came. Best Pride ever.