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.”
fingertips; we were always at the tips of each others fingers, soft touches but still just out of reach. it felt forbidden, but in reality it was just uncharted territory. scars; he saw the darkest parts of me and did his best to turn them into the brightest. he knew i was a monster and he made me human. he made my scars feel human. war; fire that once spread through our veins now blazed across the earth. struck fear in both of us, scared one of us would come home and the other would be gone. (words.)