There’s No Going Back [3k words] by catchclaw
Rating: Mature
Relationships: Endverse Castiel/Dean Smith
Tags: First Time, Angst, Domestic Fluff, Summer Vacation, Semi-Public Sex
Series: Part 15 of Destiel Smut Brigade Summer Challenge

Some of the things you find on vacation are hard to bring home.

In the photo, Cas has his hip to the railing. He’s turned to his side, facing Dean, Dean who’s dressed in the button-down that was his uniform that summer. His pleated shorts. His loafers. His tan. They’re staring at each other, intense even with the casual curve of Cas’ spine, the soft expression that Dean doesn’t recognize on his own face. Cas is wearing an old undershirt, faded and full of holes. Denim shorts that may once have been jeans. His feet are out of the picture, so it’s a toss up as to whether he’s wearing shoes. Dean likes to think that he isn’t. They’re not touching, in this photo, but they might as well be; there’s an intimacy in their body language that says they’ve spent a lot of time touching, before. And probably will be again, just after the camera’s lens moves on.

There is so much of that summer in this image that it hurts Dean, most days, to look.

As y’all know from my rampant fangirling, catchclaw​‘s fics skillfully extract my heart from between my ribs on the regular, and this one is no exception—it’s so utterly bittersweet and poignantly end-of-summer, fragile and tough, deceptively simple without pulling a single punch (“his monastic commitment to being unhappy”), so lush yet unflinchingly grown-up that I’m convinced everything in it is real, and that if I roadtripped to Currituck and hit up that bar, I’d find Cas sitting in Dean’s lap laughing, “inebriated and gorgeous and flush on [his] affection.” There’s a sentence about a goddamned strawberry that will never leave me, a scruffy kitten named Iolanthe, and an ending that appears like grace, in that none of us deserve such endings; but often we get them; and I hope catchclaw finds hers and then some. You should read this.

PS for extra affect, play this acoustic version of “Photograph” as you read:

we keep this love in a photograph
we made these memories for ourselves
where our eyes are never closing
our hearts were never broken
and time’s forever frozen still

so you can keep me
inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
holding me closer till our eyes meet
you won’t ever be alone
wait for me to come home