Destiel AU: Dean Winchester leaves Lawrence on a whim to go to visit his childhood best friend, Castiel Novak, at Stanford. He breaks in, intending to make this a surprise visit. but things don’t quite go as planned when Castiel initially mistakes him for an intruder. [read the ficlet on ao3]
didn’t know what possessed him to get in the Impala and drive across the
country. Or maybe he did, but he was too much of a chickenshit to admit it. It
certainly hadn’t been an easy trip. Stanford was thousands of miles away from
Lawrence. Twenty-six hours of drive-time if you followed the speed limit (which
he didn’t). So like it or not, ending up five states away at his best friend’s
doorstep at 1am was not something he could brush off as an accident, and that
It scared him that Cas might look at his
presence and know exactly what Dean was scared to say.
was a good thing he had a lot of practice ignoring his own feelings, because if
he’d really let himself appreciate the gravity of what he was doing, he
probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of the car. He made his way to the
front door, double checking the address on his phone. He could feel his heart
rate speeding up in anxious anticipation. He couldn’t believe it had been
months since they’d seen each other without the aid of computer screens.
Thinking about the last
time he’d seen Cas wasn’t really something he liked to do. He knew he had no
one but himself to blame for that day Cas had driven off, his long suffering
Pimpmobile full to bursting with clothes and furniture for his new apartment.They’d exchanged goodbyes on the sidewalk. Dean
had so many things he wanted to say but he’d swallowed them down so Cas
wouldn’t hear the lump that was stuck in his throat.
“I’ll see you at
Christmas,” Cas had said, trying to smile at him.
wanted to remind him that he could call anytime he wanted, that they would
Facebook message every day, that Dean would be thinking about him…but instead
all he’d done was nod solemnly. Cas grinned at him like he understood and
opened his arms for a hug.
Dean was usually the one
who held back from physical contact but this time he’d surprised himself,
pulling Cas in tight, breathing him in for what promised to be the last time in
a long time. He’d patted Cas’s back, instead of burying his head against Cas’s
shoulder the way he wanted.
After a moment they’d
pulled away and Cas had given Dean that look he reserved for the times when he
knew Dean wanted to say something but wouldn’t. That look that
promised not to judge him, if Dean could only lend himself the same courtesy.
But Dean wasn’t that much of a dick. He might have been in love with his best
friend, and sure, he might not have admitted it to himself until the worst
possible moment, but he certainly wasn’t going to ruin this day for Cas. His
friend had a long day of driving ahead of him today, and yet another one
tomorrow. He didn’t need to spend it thinking about how Dean was a giant cry
baby who didn’t want him to leave. Cas had great opportunities waiting for him
at Stanford, with even greater people, of this Dean was sure.
So after they’d said
their goodbyes, as Cas was getting into his car, Dean had dropped his hand on
Cas’s shoulder. For a moment he searched for the right words that would
encompass everything he wanted to tell him.
That Cas was the best
friend he’d ever had. That Dean was proud of him. That he was loved. There was
nothing that could quite do the job, or at least nothing he could let himself say.
But Cas was looking up at him with those big guileless blue eyes and Dean had
to say something.
“Don’t ever change,” Dean
told him, annoyed by the way his voice grew rough with emotion.
He’d thought about that moment a million times
in the months that followed, going over it again and again and wishing he’d
done it differently. But now was not the time to dwell on the past, now was the
time to remember everything he’d ever read about picking locks.
“I’m sorry, Dean,” Cas extended out his hand. It wasn’t the first time Cas tried to return a gift when they fought. It’s not like they fought often, but sometimes the life got in the way like it had today, sending Dean packing to his room and Cas with nothing to do but go to apologize. It’s his fault, really. Dumbass should’ve answered his phone.
“It’s a gift. You keep those.” They’d done this before, but Dean wasn’t that pissed to ignore the fact that Cas was still in his room trying. He usually just waited around outside like a lost puppy.
Castiel shifted his feet, unsure of what to do. “I should’ve ––”
“Damn right you should’ve.” Dean looked at the angel in the eye, not daring to hide the anger and pain he felt. “You go dark like that right now? I thought the worst, man. The worst.” Dammit voice for breaking at the last word. He was not gonna get emotional.
For what it was worth, it seemed to stop Cas. “There is no excuse,” he moved to sit down on Dean’s bed. Dean tracked Castiel the entire time, his jaw clenched as he waited for Cas to continue. “I-I’m sorry, Dean. There is nothing I can say…”
If he didn’t look like a lost puppy then, man did he look that way now. Dean felt himself soften even though the anger was still there. He thought back to the entire year Cas has had, between Lucifer and losing Kelly and Dagon…
“It’s been a rough year for you. I mean I’m pissed, but I get it.” Dean shifted so that they were facing each other, knees knocking together. Castiel wouldn’t meet his eyes in the slightest, but if Dean was going to say what he was about to say it was probably better that way.
“Look,” he sighed before he moved to prod Castiel’s hand so that it opened up for him. “I called you god knows how many times. I thought Dagon had gotten to you or something or worse. Then when we found her and Kelly and there was no sign of you I thought something else must’ve gotten you. I never once thought you were ignoring us…” he felt that anger again, but he steeled himself. “But you can’t do that, okay? Just, not to me.”
Castiel squeezed Dean’s hand, grounding them both. “I need a win, Dean. I need to win one for you. For myself.”
“I get it man, but you’re not the only one throwing snake eyes here.” Dean moved to grab Castiel’s other hand, the movement causing for both their heads to inadvertently move forward so that they were nearly touching foreheads. “You and me…” He almost added and Sam, but that was not the point right now. “Face it, we’re just better together. And we’ll get that win. Together.”
Castiel moved forward so that they foreheads touched fully, nothing more to be said. Dean knew if he said anything more he might ruin it, ruin what they have right now.
“Together,” Castiel whispered. It was enough to calm Dean down fully.
They remained that way for a while before Sam called Dean back to the bunker. The hunter squeezed the angel’s hands once more before resting his lips on the angel’s forehead for one moment. When Sam called again twice is when Dean reluctantly moved and left Castiel in his room.
For his part, Castiel then spent the next ten minutes fighting with himself over what he was about to do. Dean would kill him, or worse, if he did what he was about to do, but if it was to keep those hands from hurting an innocent soul than Castiel would move Heaven and Hell for Dean. Dean was Castiel’s reason for living, even after the hell of a year he has had. He wasn’t going to let that soul be tarnished further with this burden. The choice had been made, even if Castiel’s being didn’t know if it was right.
With tears in his eyes, Castiel grabbed the colt and left his heart in Dean’s room.
Dean sees them on his way to grab a sandwich at the campus café, eye-catching flyers all crammed on a bulletin board with dozens of staples and edges overlapped. Some are for stuff he doesn’t care about, like thesis defenses for esoteric topics, but then his gaze wanders to the dollar signs and he takes a step forward to read more closely.
Paid Research Opportunity
The Love Lab in the Department of Psychology needs participants for a study on romantic relationships. To be eligible, participants must be over the age of 18; have been dating monogamously for at least six months; and currently living together. The study involves weekly interviews where both participants are present. Compensation is contingent upon satisfactory participation and each couple will receive $75 per interview.
Dean lifts an eyebrow. Seventy-five dollars for every hour or two of sitting and talking? The flyer doesn’t specify the number of interviews, but even if he blows the first one, which is probably impossible, that’s still a minimum of seventy-five dollars to put toward something other than rent.
The flyer is cut into strips at the bottom, each printed with the lab’s email and phone number. Dean takes out his phone instead of ripping one off to snap a photo of the entire page. He then stands there, sandwich forgotten, as he sends a quick email to the lab telling them that, yes, he’s interested. And once that’s done, he attaches the photo he just took to a text that reads, ‘Signed us up.’
He finds his roommate brewing tea in the kitchen when he gets home that afternoon. He lets his backpack drop to the floor as he saunters over to join him.
“Drinking your mulch again?” he teases gently, heading to the fridge and poking inside. He grabs a beer because he isn’t a hippie, thank you, and pops it open on the countertop.
“Drinking your empty calories again?” Castiel quips, curling his hand around the ceramic mug. It was a present from Sam and has the molecular structure for caffeine drawn on one side because they’re both nerds who clearly enjoy chemistry paraphernalia.
“You call it empty calories. I call it better taste.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” Cas quirks his lips, amusement in his eyes. “Also, I got your text. You may have missed a little detail there.”
“What detail?” Dean frowns a little, eyeing Cas over the rim of his bottle. “We get free money for interviewing. Sounds like all the details I need to know.”
If a tree’s roots die, the tree dies. The only problem is that because roots are hidden underground you don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late; the tree gets uprooted and taken out just like that –– a snap in the wind as it’s hollowed out from the inside.
That’s how Castiel felt. That’s exactly what he felt when Dean’s mind no longer spoke to him.