Title: O were my love yon Lilac fair
Word Count: 1333
Warnings/Tags: Long-Distance Relationship, Appalachia, Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Yenta Dean, Country Doctor Castiel, Law Student Sam
Notes: Originally posted for femmechester and spnspringfling 2015 on lj.
The walk to his practice is long and wet, predawn gloom barely given way to the timorous light of morning. The sky produces a thin, miserable drizzle from the time he wakes up to when he locks his door to the moment he reaches the stoop of the old house they've converted into offices, and only then, as Castiel is fumbling with the latch, his thermos and the closing of his umbrella, does it deign to rain in earnest. The winter-bare branches above the house are no protection.
The wind propels him and a small deluge through the door and into the waiting room, where Claire is about to hang up the phone. "Hang on," she says into the receiver. "He just came in. Hey, Uncle Cas?"
"Yes?" He pushes the door shut and scuffs his feet on the rug before starting across the room. "A patient already?"
"Your favorite," she says with an impressive amount of sarcasm. Her soaked bookbag is propped against the filing cabinet where records G through Ki reside, a puddle growing underneath it on the glossy wood floor. "Here."
She hands him the phone over the desk, and Castiel sets his thermos next to her keyboard so he can bring it to his ear. "This is Dr. Novak."
"Hey, Cas," Dean croaks into his ear, followed by a full thirty seconds of coughing so violent Castiel leans away from the receiver with a wince. Behind the desk, Claire has appropriated his thermos and wastes no time in pouring herself a generous mugful.
"I see," he says, once he thinks Dean can hear him again.
"Yeah," Dean says raggedly. "Think you can fit me in, doc?"
"That depends. Are you able to come to the office?" Castiel angles the phone away for a moment to speak to Claire. "While you're drinking my coffee, would you mind checking this morning's schedule?"
"This wouldn't be a problem if you got us a Keurig," she mutters, typing with one hand and holding her mug to her face with the other. "Ummm, the ten o'clock cancelled, so you're free until that woman at two."
"'That woman at two' had better have a patient number attached," Castiel warns her, and swipes back his thermos before returning his attention to the phone.
"I don't think I can make it," Dean is admitting in his ear. "I'm feeling pretty bad. Chills, and stuff. I'm kind of lightheaded, too."
Castiel frowns. "Have you been keeping hydrated?"
"Does Nyquil count?" Dean asks wryly, then breaks off into another coughing jag.
"As it happens, I'm free this morning," Castiel says, glancing towards the rain-streaked window. "I can be there in twenty minutes?"
"Great," Dean says, sounding relieved. "Thanks a million, Cas. Garage code hasn't changed."
"Drink a full glass of water and get back in bed," Castiel orders.
"Sir yes sir," Dean says, and the phone goes dead.
Castiel sighs, and sets the phone next to Claire's elbow. "I'll be—"
"Out, yeah," Claire says without taking her eyes from the screen. "Bye."
"Lock up if I'm not back before you leave for class, please."
Castiel tries to give her a disapproving look, but it's difficult to impress his mood on someone giving him exactly zero percent of their attention. In the end, he just sighs again and readies his umbrella for another go at the dreary morning outside.
The walk back to his apartment is even more long and wet than the walk in. The drive to the Winchester house is less wet but made longer by the treacherous switchbacks that take him up into the hills, all the more dangerous for the slick asphalt and dimmed light through the trees. The views from the road are a certain kind of picturesque, town below made gothic in the lashing rain, dense forest climbing up the steep sides of the valley and interspersed with fallow farmland.
He's surprised to pull up to darkened windows and, when he dashes through the rain and hastily jabs in Mary's birthday, an empty garage. Giving the empty stall a perplexed look, Castiel feels along the middle shelf until he finds the spare housekey and lets himself into the mudroom. "Dean?" he calls, bending to pull off his shoes. His coat, now quite damp, he hangs over a kitchen chair as he walks through the room to the rest of the house. "Dean, are you home?"
The den is vacant, with old pizza boxes stacked on the table and cans of cola left scattered across various flat surfaces. Castiel gives the mess an uncertain glance as he passes through. Dean, confirmed bachelor though he may be, almost never leaves a room untidy. That was always Castiel, throughout college and increasing exponentially whenever Sam came to visit. They used to drive him crazy.
When he comes on the suitcase abandoned by the stairs, Castiel blinks down at it, then up towards the second floor. All the doorways hang open and dark, except for one. It's not Dean's bedroom door, but the guest room further along the hallway.
"Oh," Castiel says, staring up at it. "No, he wouldn't have—"
Dean would, and he did, and when Castiel takes the steps two at a time and pushes in the door, hardly daring to believe it, it's Sam passed out crosswise on the too-small bed. Jeans and a ratty Stanford t-shirt lie where they were dropped on the floor, and the plain white sheets are pushed down low on his stomach. His hair is long, even longer than the last stolen weekend he'd spent away from school, and as Castiel watches a thin snore issues from his open mouth.
"Dean Winchester, I will kill you," Castiel murmurs, but he's smiling when he crosses the room and slowly sits on the edge of the bed. Sam's face is angled away from him, but not enough to stop Castiel from brushing his hair back from his face.
"Mmph," Sam comments, scowling in his sleep.
Castiel laughs softly in the dim room, and braces a hand next to Sam's shoulder to lean down and press a kiss to his hairline. He lingers over it, the soft skin against his lips and the sleep-warm body under his arm, until Sam begins to stir.
"Wha?" he mumbles. "Dean, th' fuck."
"Good morning, Sam," Castiel says from just a few inches away, and Sam's eyes pop open wide. It's quite amusing. "Your brother was deathly ill when he called the office this morning. I gather there was some exaggeration?"
"What the— wait, he did what?" Sam rubs at his eyes. Castiel eases back a bit, but can't make himself move too far. Sam has a few days' worth of stubble and his hair is verging on lank, but he's still one of the most beautiful things Castiel has ever seen. "Oh, God, seriously? This was supposed to be a surprise!"
"Consider me astonished," Castiel says, lifting a hand to cup Sam's face. He strokes one prominent cheekbone with a thumb. "He coughed like he was going to bring up a lung."
"Sounds like drama queen Dean," Sam grumbles, letting his hands fall. "Well. Hey."
"Hello," Castiel responds, and Sam starts to smile.
"Hey," he says again, and then his arms are coming up and Castiel is relaxing into a warm, hard hug, Sam's rough cheek scratching his, his palms hot and firm against his back. "Missed you so goddamn much."
"Likewise," Castiel returns, and lets a breathless laugh go as Sam rolls them, sheets and limbs in a tangle across the bed. It's a miracle they don't fall off the mattress completely.
"While I've got you here, Dr. Novak," Sam says with a boyish grin, propping himself up on an elbow, "I've been meaning to schedule my yearly physical."
"Oh, well," Castiel says on another laugh, tipping his head back, pleased when Sam takes the invitation to start sucking a bruise high on his throat. "An ounce of prevention— mmm, do that again."