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Fic: And Yet, By Heaven 1/2

wingcas
Title: And Yet, By Heaven
Fandom: SPN
Author:liadan14
Rating: Mature
Characters/Ships: Dean/Castiel, minor Jo/Victor
Spoilers: None I can think of
Warnings: AU, obviously
Word Count: 11,875
Summary: The one where Cas is a Religious Studies professor and Dean’s the department secretary.
Notes: As per usual, epic thanks to ellanorelle for proofreading and listening to me complain. For the backtoschool fest. Available as an ebook here

Dean never really expected to end up here.

He’s worked more than a few part-time jobs in his life, and sure, some of them involved paper-pushing, but this.

He’d just finished his BA, at twenty-six—not, thank you very much, due to his own ineptitude, rather due to the fact that the first four years after he finished high school, he stayed at home, working in Dad’s garage and part-timing wherever else he could to help Dad pay the bills on the house.

But anyway, here he is, in a decent school in downtown Philly, having gotten an honest-to-god degree. He double majored, actually, one of the majors being in Religious Studies, which is still kind of a mystery, and now he's sitting in Professor Novak’s office, talking about his future.

Prof Novak’s a decent guy, a bit of a geek, but then, most professors seem to be. He kind of has a reputation among the students, because he’s pretty young (only thirty) and pretty damn good-looking. Dean enjoyed his classes over the last four years (he’d taken the first one on a whim his freshman year, and just kept on the next semester, and the one after that, and so one and so forth), he’s a good teacher, plus he has a little tiny streak of humor that’s so dry the Sahara would look like an ocean next to it.

Seriously, it’s the kind of quality humor you don’t even get in the movies anymore, and what makes it better is that he doesn’t even seem to realize other people think it’s funny too, until the students start laughing at something and he looks up with this part-pleased, part-surprised expression.

But anyway.

Professor Novak wants to talk to him. About the possibility of going for a Masters. Or maybe even a PhD. The thought alone sends helpless shivers of academic-ineptitude-dread down Dean’s spine. He’s never really been the brainy one, that’s Sam. And God only knows he and Sam are probably first-generation college-goers, because Mom and Dad never did, and no one talks about The Grandparents.

Dean is trying to come up with a friendly way to say, “I’m sorry, Prof, you’re a great guy, but you must be deranged, because I am in no way smart enough to do any of that shit”, when the pile of paper he’s been watching teeter for the last ten minutes or so gives in and falls to the ground.

The Prof lets out a tiny angry noise, like the ‘oh’ in ‘oh, shit’, and then gets up to deal with it.

Dean surveys the mess around them and decides that this is what hell looks like if you have OCD.

“Prof, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened to your office?”

The Prof looks up over his slightly askew glasses. “Hmm? Is there something wrong with it?”

“Well,” Dean says, “The last time I was here for office hours, I could actually see your desk under the paper.”

The Prof sighs. “The department secretary was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer,” he says. “And had to leave short notice. We’ve had a few candidates, but no one who would work out. It’s getting a bit desperate.”

“No one who would work out?” Dean asks, surreptitiously sifting through a pile of papers.

“It’s a difficult position,” the Prof says carefully.

He’s not kidding. Professor Novak has all the cool points in the Religious Studies faculty. It’s not that big a school, so it’s just three professors for the whole field, and everyone’s terrified of Zachariah Dogson, the professor who focuses more on origins and history of religion.

He’s a creepy SOB.

Also, he gives awful grades, boring lectures, and to date, doesn’t seem to like anyone except perhaps his TA Uriel James, but mostly, he’s a creepy SOB.

And then there’s the other guy.

He has a last name, Dean remembers. Graw…no, Grayson. Gabriel Grayson. Who introduces himself with “Call me Gabe!” in every single class.

According to Dean’s friends, he takes months grading exams, gets a bit sloppy with preparation for finals, has a wicked streak of humor and also a wicked streak of plain old wicked. He’s not the most reliable character, or the most attractive, due to aforementioned personality traits, and the fact that he’s kind of short, but somehow, Dean’s female friends who took his classes bitched and bitched about him, only to end with, “I wish I weren’t so attracted to him.”

Dean doesn’t get it.

He does, however, get how that would be hard to fill the secretarial position. Even if people actually wanted the job, finding someone with the patience to deal with Gabriel and the stubbornness to not let Zachariah intimidate them would be difficult.

“Prof, do you have any idea of how to organize this stuff?” Dean asks, looking through a pile of about ten different documents, half of which are signed, and none of which have much of anything to do with each other.

Professor Novak sits down, and Dean notices that his hair is sticking up even more than usual, and he has rings under his eyes. “Not really,” he admits.

“Okay,” Dean says. “Do you want me to help you?”

“God, yes,” The Prof says, and Dean knows it’s serious. People try not to use the G-word too much in any religion-based field of study.

“Okay, then,” Dean says, and starts taking all the piles of crap off the desk and dropping them on the floor.

“Stop!” The Prof says hastily, clutching his stack of papers to his chest. “What are you doing?”

“Cleaning,” Dean tells him, continuing.

Professor Novak looks like Dean just stepped on his teddy bear.

“Prof, you have enough dead trees on your desk to make a rainforest, and I can tell they aren’t at all organized. The only way to make order out of a mess is to make it more messy first. Gimme those papers.”

In the end, it takes Dean a quarter of an hour to convince the Prof he really does know what he’s doing, and even then, he watches Dean with a sort of panicked, wide-eyed what-are-you-doing look that Dean ends up saying, “Look, dude, my room, unlike yours, doesn’t looks like there might be cockroaches under the bookshelves. Go out and get a coffee if it’s too much for you.”

If he hadn’t already gotten his BA, he’d be in so much trouble.

Thankfully, the Prof takes his advice and leaves.

“Oh, while you’re out, pick me up some of those plastic Inbox-Outbox things, yeah?” Dean calls, and the Prof grunts something like ‘alright’ and scrams. Maybe it’s because he’s not actually much younger than the Prof, maybe it’s because he’s not getting graded anymore, but either way, Dean’s amused by how easy it is to intimidate Novak.

It takes Dean about two hours to sift through the mess, but when the Prof gets back, he has four neat stacks of papers and a lot of suddenly, magnificently free desk space.

Dean gives the Prof a thorough explanation, along with a foolproof introduction to the Inbox-Outbox phenomenon in which you don’t put shit you’ve already finished on the same pile as shit you’re still shitting.

It’s a pretty simple concept.

Professor Novak, endlessly cool as he is, kind of has that absent-minded Professor thing going for him, which may explain how it passed him by.

Dean then moves on to explaining which stack of paper means what: the Student Inbox and Outbox, the administrative Inbox and Outbox, how the requests for materials and money need to be stamped and sent out, how the really overdue stuff for students can just be arranged as a pick-up-your-file-and-vamoose thing, because if the Prof had to talk to all of them he’d never sleep.

When he’s done, the Prof is looking at him like he’s a rare version of the Kabbalah.

“Mr. Winchester,” he asks, “I take it you have prior experience?”

Dean shrugs. “You could say that,” he says.

Dean spent roughly half his life spent ironing out Dad’s business because he never was much good with the details and tended to spend money on impulse.. He sometimes wonders how the business hasn’t crashed and burned since he left. Or hell, maybe it has. He and Dad haven’t exactly been on the best terms, communication is not so much a two-way street as a roadblock.

But anyway, Professor Novak gets an unholy gleam in his unnaturally blue eyes, and a long and tedious story involving interviews and paperwork later, Dean finds himself as the new administrative assistant in the Religious Studies department.

He really doesn’t know how he ended up here, because he never even once pictured himself being a secretary, but it’s okay, as jobs go, and it earns him money.

“Thank fuckin’ Christ,” Victor says when he comes home with the news. “That mean you’re finally gonna start paying rent again?”

He doesn’t mean it. Victor and Dean have been friends since…well, longer ago than Dean can really remember, and no one was more psyched than Victor when Dean finally decided to say “Fuck you” to Lawrence and go to college. The fact that he chose to go to school in the same place Victor lives is just the icing on the cake.

Of course, that said, Victor was probably the only person who was psyched about Dean leaving home, including Dean.

Dean’s been living with Victor for two years, ever since he and his friend Jo decided to give up on student housing ever getting better, and the three of them started renting a sizeable apartment together.

Victor’s a policeman, got promoted to Inspector last year. He’s young, sure, but his college degree and his determined, relentless dedication earned him the position. Jo graduated the same time as Dean, and she’s just started as an officer in Victor’s department.

Despite the fact that they work together now, Dean is the one who introduced them, because he and Victor needed a third roommate to afford the place, and Dean had a hunch Jo would be perfect.

Sadly, he was right. Between the two of them, Dean hardly gets away with sleeping in on Sundays.

Then again, the only reason Dean doesn’t have a record for shoplifting is Victor’s overblown sense of what’s right, and what isn’t. Also his mother’s charity.

Whatever happened in the past, Dean is now a law-abiding citizen with a college degree, a job, and health insurance. Victor says he might just cry, he’s so happy, when Dean comes back with the news about his new job.

This is a lie, because Victor does stoic like Jo does scary, and Dean’s never seen him cry. This is pretty fucking embarrassing, because Victor’s seen him cry more than once.

It’s also a lie because he spends about half an hour teasing Dean about being a secretary.

In the long run, though, this is good. It means Dean can stay in Philly and not go back to Kansas, and it means he can stop mooching off his roommates. He does have some savings, but Dad spent most of the stuff they had put aside for college on the shop, and Dean spent most of what he saved up himself on college. He’d been working odd jobs in local auto and coffee shops to cover the apartment and textbooks, but this…

This is probably the best-paying job Dean’s ever had. And he actually likes it.

Their apartment is far enough in town that Dean can get to the university by foot. It’s a lucky coincidence, given that Victor and Jo share the only car they have and bitch about who gets it when they have different shifts.

Despite having worked in auto shops on and off for pretty much his entire life, Dean can’t buy a car. He doesn’t have much money, but a cheap used car would be easy enough to fix up.

It’s more that he can’t bring himself to buy a car. It would be like cheating.

Dean’s only ever been meant to have one car, and she’s still wasting away in Lawrence. Even if Dean were, by some unlikely circumstance, to find another ’67 Chevy Impala, she wouldn’t be the right one. She wouldn’t have a dinosaur sticker on the back left inside door handle that Sammy put there when he was five. She wouldn’t still bear a tiny nick in the upholstery from Dean scrubbing her viciously inside and out the day after he lost his virginity in the back seat.

Any other car wouldn’t sound quite right, the specific engine purr born from many years of first Dad and then Dean tinkering and fixing, until she’s more than just a car, she’s a work of art.

So Dean walks.

He’s mostly gotten over it by now, and anyway, Philadelphia has a public transportation system, and if he needs a car desperately, he can ask his roommates very, very nicely.

The half hour of exercise in the morning does Dean good, anyway, now he’s stuck with a desk job.

It’s a pretty cool desk job, as they go. He spends most of his time with Professor Novak on the job – Castiel, as he insists on being called now.

Zachariah has some allegedly important research project he’s always off working on, and when he is there, he tends to stay in his office and email roughly ten million things he wants Dean to do – put up bulletins, get the Ten Commandments laminated, organize funding for the Very Important Project.

Dean’s never been the type to bend over and take it, unless he’s having sex or it’s for his family. He’s seen the way Zachariah gets in Castiel’s face and tells him what to do, even though technically, Castiel (a) earns more money, and (b) has more students. He doesn’t really take much of Zachariah’s shit, and he certainly won’t ever make Zachariah coffee.

As the only administrative staff in the faculty, Dean has to sit in all the committees, and it hasn’t passed him by that Zachariah tends to raise points like How To Get More Money For Less Work and How To Make Life Even Harder For The Students.

Gabriel tends to miss most committee meetings. He also doesn’t ask much of Dean.

Dean, after two weeks, picks the lock to his office while he’s out and takes a look at the wastelands of incomplete paperwork on his desk. He takes the stuff that should have been given to him from the start, and organizes the rest. Gabriel later acknowledges this with a salute. This becomes their main source of interaction.

In a way, Dean’s glad. Gabriel’s a womanizing, irritating asshole nine times out of ten. In high school, Dean was exactly the same. The difference being that Dean gave up on pretending to be someone else, and Gabriel obviously hasn’t.

Castiel is a whole other kettle of fish. He wasn’t ever like Dean or Gabriel, he was probably a complete dweeb in high school, but Dean can’t see him ever even noticing that, because he’s so often lost inside his own mind.

It’s an amazing mind. Dean’s done his research, he knows Cas is a big name in his field.

You wouldn’t think it to hear him talk, though. He’s…well, at first Dean thinks he might be a bit distant, but he quickly realizes Castiel is just…awkward. And when he finally gets over himself enough to come to Dean’s office to chat, he turns out to be excellent company. Dean feels validated that his insane want to impress Castiel over the last years as his student was founded in the actual fact that Castiel is completely awesome.

Dean takes to bringing him lunch in his office from the deli across the street just to hear him talk.

“I really don’t know what they’re thinking sometimes,” he says, honest bafflement written all over his face. “This paper is so utterly atrocious…”

Dean usually starts laughing around then, and it only gets worse when he sees the look of abject horror on Castiel’s face when students stalk him out outside of office hours.

“She’s been to my office three times this week,” he says. “How am I ever supposed to get anything done?"

…yeah, it’s safe to say university life amuses the hell out of Dean.

A few weeks after he starts working there, Castiel comes into his office and says, “Are you free tonight?”

“Yeah,” Dean says. “Why, you need me to work late or something?” Not that it can’t get really late in those stupid committees, if Zachariah gets his man-panties in a twist about something.

“No,” Castiel says. “I wanted to ask you out for dinner.”

“Okay, sure,” Dean says, and only thinks to ask, “wait, what?” when Castiel has already left.

Dean hasn’t dated in a while. His past boyfriends have all been short flings and one-night-stands, and to tell the truth, he’s not sure that’s a bad thing, even before college. Especially before college. There were reasons.

Obviously, with his less than stellar track record, Dean freaks out. He calls Victor’s cell.
“This’d better be good, Winchester,” Victor growls down the phone line.

“I think Castiel just asked me out,” he says.

Victor groans. “Dean, I just worked a long ass double shift. It was at night. I don’t give a shit about your boy trouble. Fuck off.”

“But Victor,” Dean whines, “He’s, like, my boss.”

“And you’ve been talking about him for weeks.”

Dean drops the pen he was doodling with. “I have?”

“Like a fourteen-year-old girl,” Victor confirms. “Oh, Professor Novak is so smart! He wrote a book when he was twenty-two! And he’s real pretty. I wish he’d take me to the dance.”

“Shut up,” Dean says. “I hate you.”

“No you don’t,” Victor says, as cheerfully as a guy who’s been up all night can be. “Look, maybe it’s just some weird university ritual. They take grad students out to eat. Just ask him.”

“Awkward,” Dean objects.

“Suck it up. I’mma sleep. Call me again and die.”

“Thanks, dude.”

“Anytime.”

So about an hour after Victor hangs up, when Dean’s had time to freak out and not accomplish any work, Dean goes over to Cas’s office, knocks, and asks, “Hey, so, this dinner, is it like a date or like a weird professor university courtesy thing?”

Cas looks up, a bit wide-eyed. He has amazing eyes. “More the second thing, I think,” he says.

“Oh, okay,” Dean says, a bit relieved and a bit disappointed.

“You were freaking out about this, weren’t you?” Castiel asks.

“A bit, yeah,” Dean says.

“We don’t have to go, if it’s too uncomfortable-“

“No, it’s fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Dude,” Dean says, “I said yes when I thought it might be a date. We’re cool. Well, you’re cool. I’m embarrassed.”

It turns out that dinner with Castiel is roughly five hundred times less awkward than it could be.

They have more in common than Dean would have thought – they both watch Dr. Sexy, MD, for one thing, and Religious Studies is a field that offers a lot of conversation.

It’s not actually Dean’s calling, so to speak. His other major was engineering, and he enjoys that more, but he did about equally well in both fields. On an undergraduate level, that is – Dean’s just not made for more than that.

“I feel awful about myself,” Castiel admits over a post-dinner coffee. “I roped you into working for us, and you’ve been my student for four years, but I don’t really know anything about you.”

Dean kind of wants to laugh. It’s the kind of nicety people don’t usually direct at him. “I’m pretty boring,” he says, stamping down the urge to fidget.

Castiel smiles.

Alright.

Dean’s being perfectly honest here.

He has a bit of a crush on Castiel. He has ever since the first class he had with the guy. The excessive literalism, the amazing brain, the dry-as-bones sense of humor, and the fact that he’s downright gorgeous, especially on days he forgets to shave, makes him endlessly attractive.

That definitely does not mean Dean melts a little inside when Cas smiles at him.

It does, apparently, mean that he ends up telling Cas all about growing up in Lawrence, skirting the uncomfortable edges, all about Victor and Jo. And Sam.

He doesn’t talk about Sam much, mostly because he also doesn’t talk to Sam much these days.

They talk a lot about work. Castiel explains his current research project, all about religion for the young generation, which involves a lot of interviews and sitting in on school classes and Sunday schools and counting heads at churches and mosques.

It’s a great project, especially for the students involved, because it’s something that affects and interests them , but Dean has an inkling that this is exactly the kind of research Castiel is not ideally suited for.

It’s hard to describe why. It’s not a bad thing, not at all, but Castiel tends to forget that not everyone is as smart as him, that not everyone can see the world the way he sees it.

It makes him, in Dean’s opinion, one of the nicest people in existence, because the idea of talking down on anybody never even occurs to him, but it also makes him highly awkward.

By the time they leave the restaurant, it’s ten at night, and Dean doesn’t just want to kiss Castiel, he wants to, like, cuddle and shit.

“Are you parked near here?” Castiel asks, and Dean starts from his daydream about Castiel’s lips.

“Hm? Oh, I don’t have a car.”

“You don’t have a car?” Castiel asks, aghast. “Oh no. You’re going to guilt trip me about the environment, aren’t you?”

Dean laughs. “No, dude. I just…don’t have a car.” It’s a story for another day.

“Well, then I’ll drive you home,” Castiel says.

“I can take the bus,” Dean starts, but Castiel won’t have it.

Castiel drives a sensible, small, dark green car. She’s not exactly what Dean would call a beauty, but she’s alright. Cas is even scruffier this late, and the play of shadows defines his features even more sharply. Dean has no idea what he’s getting into, here.

They drive in silence, except for the directions Dean gives Cas to his house.

This gives Dean way too much time to overthink, unfortunately. He's not really a stereotypical gay man, he's always known that much. He's into muscle cars and working out for the heck of working out. He's epically bad at talking about his feelings and he wouldn't know designer jeans from overalls without Jo there to help him out.

He has no gaydar to speak of.

There are a million and ten good reasons not to attempt kissing Castiel. Thankfully, Dean's always been good at doing the most stupid thing possible.

When Castiel pulls up in front of the house, Dean takes his face between his hands and kisses him for all he's worth.

He's not a slut or anything. Normal non-academics would call what they just did a date. That's Dean's story and he's sticking to it.

Castiel makes a surprised noise in his mouth, and then, to Dean's utter delight, kisses back. His lips are chapped and he's seriously unshaven, but Dean, who's always had girly lips and little stubble, delights in it and pulls away to mouth along Castiel's jawbone.

The sound Castiel makes when Dean nips on his neck is fucking criminal.

"Been wanting to do that for a long time," Dean admits, after a peck on the lips.

"Really?" Castiel asks.

He actually sounds surprised.

"Yeah," Dean says. "You're...really, really...yeah, since about the first class I had with you."

"That was four years ago."

"You were my professor."

"Now I'm your boss."

"Nah," Dean grins. "The university employs and pays me. I'm just your bitch."

"Oh," Castiel says, a hint of a smile beginning to play around his lips. "Well, in that case, would you like to go out again on Friday?"

"I thought you said this wasn't a date."

"Well..." Castiel trails off. "Maybe an unintentional one."

"Uh-huh," Dean says, not buying it. "You accidentally asked me out."

"It happens," Castiel says. "Going out for a meal and getting to know a new coworker really is polite in my circle."

"Should I be jealous?" Dean's basically just teasing now. Castiel is even cuter when he gets flustered.

Castiel gives him a Look. "Normally, it would be the faculty going out together, Zachariah, Gabriel, myself and you."

Dean shudders at the mere thought.

"I...forgot to invite them," Castiel adds.

Dean grins. "It was a date."

"It was an accident!"

"It was a date-shaped accident. You asked me out! You—"

Castiel interrupts him. With his lips. He's really a very good kisser, and for a guy who Dean swore lived mostly in his mind, that's kind of surprising. In an excellent way.

"I don't put out on the first date," Castiel murmurs against his lips, startling a laugh out of Dean.

"Me neither," Dean says, not stopping the kissing. It's not totally a lie - when he's actually dating someone he takes it slow. When he's just fucking around he doesn't.

There's no way he'll just fuck around with the guy he's been crushing on for four years.

"So, Friday," Castiel says, managing to disentangle himself completely.

"Friday," Dean confirms. "Where?"

"I'll pick you up at seven," Castiel says, and after two more kisses, Dean finally manages to get out of the car.

It's around ten thirty, but Victor just got off the late shift, so Dean's not surprised to see both him and Jo waiting for him in the living room.

"You're home late," Victor says.

"Don't pay attention to him," Jo advises. "Was it a date?" The eager gleam in her eyes worries Dean. A lot.

"Um," he says. "You told her?"

"Any chance to ridicule you," Victor says smugly.

"It was," Dean says, blushing scarlet. Damn his complexion.

Jo squeals. "I can't believe he asked you out!"

"He didn't really," Dean admits. "It was a university thing that sort of turned into a date."

"That...doesn't make sense," Victor says.

"You kinda had to be there."

"So glad I wasn't."

"Shut up."

"Fuck you."

Jo holds up a small, manicured hand. "Hold it on the manly trash-talking. Are you going out again?"

Dean nods wordlessly.

"Did he kiss you?"

Dean nods again.

"Good," Jo says.

Sometimes Dean is a little bit scared of her. Right now is not really one of those times.

Work in the morning is a bit awkward. By unspoken agreement, neither Dean nor Castiel is talking about what happened last night, both because it's nobody's business and because nobody in their right mind wants either Zachariah or Gabriel to know too much about their private life. Work itself is pretty much the same as always, and Castiel has always been a great guy to work with. When he walks in to find Dean playing Spider Solitaire instead of working he just grins and shows him a possible move.

It's just that now, Dean doesn't have to bother pretending he doesn't stare at Castiel, and when it's just the two of them, which is fairly often, because Zachariah has his Research Project of Doom, and Gabriel tends to bail around noon, they flirt like horny teenagers.

There's no making out at the university, that would be unprofessional and kind of weird (at least, Dean's perverted brain supplies, until they've been dating a little longer and can get into the kinkier stuff), but Castiel will call him over with a computer problem or a pile of forms to be filled (the man is useless at beaurocracy. Dean has to teach him everything) and Castiel will purposefully bend over to show him the problem or Dean will lean over him to point out where he needs to sign a form.

Dean's kind of giddy by the time the day is over, and things just get worse as the week progresses.

On Friday evening, he's so useless he has to ask Jo to help him pick out an outfit. Granted, this is also because he would pick jeans and flannel every time if he had to pick his own clothes.

"What kind of place are you going?" She asks.

Dean picks at his fingernail. "I don't know," he says.

"You don't know?"

Dean shrugs. "He didn't say. Just that he was picking me up at seven."

"That's half an hour from now!" Jo says.

"Yeah, and?"

Jo sighs, and shakes her head. This is what she gets for living with two men, Dean thinks. Nonexistance of company that behaves suitably girly.

Then again, Jo is one of the least girly girls Dean knows, in a good way. She kind of reminds him of his mom, she's hardened around the edges, but so obviously sweet on the inside.

"Okay," she says, "Then we'll go for a sort of casual-formal mix. Where're your jeans?"

"I'm wearing jeans," Dean points out.

"I mean your nice jeans." She means the ones she picked out, that cost twice as much as normal-person jeans, and admittedly look pretty good on Dean's ass. It's still ridiculous to pay that much for a pair of pants.

Dean gets them out of the back of his closet, along with a belt, but Jo stops him.
"Not that belt," she says.

"What's wrong with this belt?" he asks, looking at it. It's his favorite. The buckle says KANSAS in big letters.

Jo sighs. "I don't understand how Victor is ten times as straight as you are and yet has so much better taste."

"Don't stereotype me," Dean says. "Help me."

"On it," Jo says. "Take this." She gives him a simple belt, one that is not at all showy and, all things considered, pretty damn boring, and then she hands him a green dress shirt.

"Go, go," she says, shooing him to the bathroom. "Be pretty. Make me proud."

Sometimes Dean wonders why he lives with people who like to mock him.

She's right, though. He looks good, even if he does say so himself. He doesn't put much product in his hair, just enough to get it to stay just the way he likes it, and he puts in his contacts, and he thinks he's pretty much ready for anything.

He's not quite ready for Castiel, though.

Castiel has always been a good-looking guy. Dean thinks he's mentioned this a few (hundred) times before. But he usually just wears jeans and t-shirts to teach in, which, yes, suit him extremely well, especially the Blue Sun shirt that not only verifies Castiel's extreme geekiness but also makes his eyes even bluer.

This evening, he's wearing slacks, a light blue dress shirt, a jacket and a dark blue tie.

Dean thinks he might spontaneously combust before the evening is halfway over.

"Dean," Castiel says. "You look..." he stops, his eyes running over Dean's body in an extremely gratifying way.

"Cas," Dean says. "You too."

"Yes," Jo says, who has decided to obnoxiously stand around, watching them. "You're both gorgeous. Now please leave. We have plans."

Dean shudders. Victor and Jo having plans is almost never good.

He and Castiel leave in Castiel's car, and end up at a Thai place Dean's never even seen before. He's usually more of a burgers-and-fries guy, although living with two Healthy Eaters has made him fractionally more aware of the evils of McDonalds.

The food is good, though, a little spicy and not quite what Dean is used to.

"I...don't really know what to talk about," Castiel admits after a while.

"Are you nervous too?" Dean asks.

Castiel nods.

"Um," Dean says. "We could...talk about it?" He never makes that offer. He isn't that guy. Only apparently, for Cas, he is.

"It's just...I don't date often," Castiel says. "I'm not good at people."

"You're better than you think," Dean says. "Why do you think the students love you?"

Castiel snorts. "Because unlike my colleagues, I'm neither a megalomaniac nor a Hugh Hefner wannabe."

Dean laughs. Nobody gives Castiel's sense of humor enough credit. "It's more than that, dude. You're a great teacher. You love your topic and you love teaching it. You're funny and smart and cute, too. People do kinda like you."

Castiel smiles a little, and Dean nearly liquefies in his seat. It's a little shy smile, just barely showing, and Dean wants to see that smile all the time.

"I...my last real relationship ended maybe six years ago," Castiel says, "And I've been avoiding this sort of thing ever since."

"Six years is a long time."

"So is four years," Castiel says, looking straight at him. Dean flushes.

"You know, the first time you came into my lecture hall I prayed you weren't actually a student because I didn't know how to grade you when all I wanted to do was kiss you?"

Dean looks up at him in surprise. "Really?" he asks.

Castiel nods. "I think this has been a long time coming, don't you?"

Smiling, Dean agrees.

"Why are you nervous?" Castiel asks.

Dean shrugs uncomfortably. "I'm not sure I've ever really been in a relationship," he says.

"Where I grew up...it was difficult. And while I was in college...it never really clicked that way, y'know?"

Castiel nods. He has a sip of his drink, and then asks, curiously, "Do we click that way?"

What kills Dean is that, coming from anyone else, this would be a come-on, a way of asking for a relationship, or just plain old innuendo. Castiel actually doesn't seem to realize he's asking that question, he's just genuinely curious about how Dean feels.

This is part of the reason Dean says, "Yeah, I really think we do."

They talk more, with less and less focus, over the course of the evening. Cas is the kind of guy who will talk about anything, but is just as happy being quiet, and Dean is almost scared of how fast they're connecting. He's still trying to come up with a way to ask Cas whether he puts out on the second date without seeming too tacky or like he's just in this for sex—he's not, but he's pretty sure he'll go crazy if they have another week of tense, repressed flirting and long conversations like this without getting his hands on the man.

They haven't kissed in three days.

That is way too long.

Thankfully, Castiel circumvents all these problems by looking Dean straight in the eye just before they pull out of the parking lot and asking, "Do you want to go home or do you want to come to my place?"

Dean swallows around a lump in his throat and says, "Your place."

He pretends not to notice how far over the speed limit Castiel drives.


Part two

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
azurelunatic
Jul. 15th, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
Someone on Twitter said that this fic would be the cause of a too-late bedtime. I concur!
ru_salki99
Jul. 15th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Just about to go read part two, but I have to say before I forget... BLU SUN FTW!!!
chibikameai
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Started off with a bad morning but this is making me giddy. Totally reading part to. God. This is awesome!
starsoblivion
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
I love this.

"It was a date-shaped accident. You asked me out! You—"

and

He pretends not to notice how far over the speed limit Castiel drives.

Absolutely wonderful!
mulder200
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Wow! This is so funny and cute! I love how awkward and shy and incredibly hot these two are.

And Victor and Jo are a trip!
reddevilpoes
Feb. 6th, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
I asked a spn fangirl about cas/dean recs and she guided me here...I love her, I love you and I especially loved this:
There are a million and ten good reasons not to attempt kissing Castiel. Thankfully, Dean's always been good at doing the most stupid thing possible.
kittyblackcat
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Hello!

I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love this fic. It's definitively going on my list of favourite Supernatural fics. I love the plot and how the characters act. I think you write Castiel perfectly and I loved Victor. You did an amazing job on this!
sadrobotinahat
Mar. 3rd, 2012 07:05 am (UTC)
This is just giving me all of the warm fuzzies.

It's also great to see an AU that still keeps the characters really consistent and canon in the right ways.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )