AN: Guys, this is it. This is the last chapter. I'm super stoked I made it this far and also extremely surprised it took this long. Honestly, my original intention was for a oneshot. And then I realized I wanted a bit more of the hazing stuff and was like man, I should probably make this two chapters. And then what always happens happens and we're like 40,000 words later. Whoops?
This was actually a hard chapter to write because, well, sex is easy, but emotions? Ick. That's tricky, and so is wrapping up everything in a satisfying way. So I really meant to get this chapter out earlier, but had delays trying to piece it all together.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who read and reviewed, for those of you who gave suggestions about different ways the boys could be hazed (I'm very disappointed I couldn't incorporate more of them, tbh), and for those of you who somehow tricked me into agreeing to continue this verse. I'm still a bit confused on how that happened, but I've got like two or three later installments sorta planned. New installments are tentatively called "Date Night," "Sophomore Slump," and there's a third yet to be named one.
Also, apologies that I didn't get to run through this last chapter for errors, typos, etc - I have to leave in like five minutes for a game and I've got a rowdy ten month old crawling into my lap.
Castiel didn't realize how poorly he'd been sleeping this past week until he wakes up fully rested Saturday morning. There's not an ounce of tension is his body. No cricks in his neck, no stiffness in his muscles. Just the type of sleepy comfort that makes you want to curl into the blankets and sleep all day.
Part of him knows that he'll certainly feel some discomfort when he starts moving. His own limited experiences with sex and dildos may have helped last night, but there's no way he won't be feeling the after effects today. But that's a problem for later. Right now he's simply enjoying that half-awake half-asleep state that's better than being buzzed.
As he wakes up more and more, he becomes aware of the warm body tangled with his own. His own legs are sleep heavy, pinned down and wrapped around another pair. One arm is thrown over Dean's waist while the other is pressed against his chest. Numb fingers twitch and graze the chest hair there. His face is buried in the crook of Dean's neck, each inhale bringing in his scent. Dean has an arm draped over his shoulders, the hand sneaking up to cradle the back of his head and fingers woven through his hair.
Cas has never slept next to someone like this, so intertwined that he can barely tell who's who, and it gives him a little pang to realize how much he likes this. He likes Dean. A lot. More than just for the sex stuff. And maybe Dean would be interested in... Well, who knows?
Aaron's warning sits uncomfortably in his gut, that Dean's not out yet and is hiding what they're doing because of it. He doesn't like the idea of being his dirty little secret or another gay experiment, hates the idea that Dean might be ashamed of what's going on between them. And okay, maybe Castiel hasn't given up on the idea of a relationship with Dean. So it would sting pretty bad if Dean's not out, because that would kill the chances of that happening.
His body has tensed up as he thinks about it. Dean's unconscious form reacts to the stiffness and rolls onto his back. Limbs no longer wound together, Cas gets up enough to rest his head in his hand. He watches Dean yawn and blink a few times before giving him a lop-sided grin made even more adorable as he rubs the sleep out of his eyes.
And determined though he might have been not to ruin the mood, the first thing out of his mouth is, "Dean, are you out?"
"Huh?" His squints in a mix of general confusion and grogginess. "Outta what?"
Cas rolls his eyes. "The closet."
"Whadda mean?" He yawns a jaw popping kind of yawn and stretches a bit. He looks at Cas and he can pinpoint the exact second when the question clicks. "Out of the closet- Uh, yeah? I mean, I don't go around broadcasting it or anything, but I've told my family I'm bi. And I'm, like, pretty sure Benny and Aaron and Victor and a bunch of the other brothers know. Why?" He frowns, expression tightening ever so slightly. "Are you?"
"Me? Yeah, I've been out since I kissed my neighbor during our choir recital in the fifth grade." Maybe it should've embarrassed him more to have kissed Balthazar on stage in front of the whole school and their families, but honestly at the time all he could think of was how beautiful his voice sounded (and how nice his lips looked).
"That-" Dean laughs and grins at him. "That sounds pretty fucking cute, actually."
If Dean's friends and family know he's into guys, then... there's a chance, right? They could-
His mouth starts running away with him in excitement. "So, Dean would you like to-"
There are two loud knocks on the door and then it's swung open before either can reply. "Winchester! Oh, hi, Castiel. Sorry didn't mean to uh... interrupt." Victor didn't actually look particulary sorry or surprised to find Dean and Castiel naked in bed together, but he gave a placating smile. "We need a ride to pick up the stuff for the ceremony."
"Now? This can't wait?"
"The place closes at noon on the weekend, so unless you're gonna let one of us drive your car-"
"Stay the fuck away from my car. I'll be down in five."
"Make it fifteen. Take a shower, you smell like sex." And then Victor's gone, door closed behind him. Two seconds later, the door reopens. Victor reaches in and jiggles the door knob on the inside, confirming that it's locked. Or well, supposed to be. "Dude, fix this shit. What if I'd walked in on something?"
"That's why you're supposed to fucking wait after you knock, you dick!"
But Victor has already disappeared again, door closing behind him.
"Dammit, I gotta- fuck." Dean jumps out of the bed and scrambles around for some clothes. "I gotta go."
Cas sighs, resigned to putting off this talk until later. Hopefully. "It's alright, Dean. I'll see you this afternoon."
"Course. Wouldn't miss you gettin officially inducted." There's something playful about the way he says it that makes Cas' heart sing. Dean grabs a towel and looks at him, still wrapped up in his blankets and leaning against the head board. "I'd invite you to shower with me, but apparently I'm on a time crunch and I'm pretty sure you and me showering together is an hour long event." He wiggles his eyebrows and Cas can't help but chuckle at the enthusiasm.
"Rain check, then."
"I'm gonna hold you to that, Cas. Don't make promises you can't keep."
"No, sir," he teases. A hard look crosses Dean's face, his entire countenance affected by it.
"Right." And the playfulness is gone, completely evaporated. "I'll uh, I guess I'll see you this afternoon."
Castiel is left flustered and a bit confused once Dean slips out of the room. That was strange, right? With a sigh, he leaves the security of the blankets and starts poking around for something to wear. He does a full body stretch before getting dressed, taking stock of each ache and pain. There's ibuprofen waiting for him in his dorm room (honestly, there's probably some here, but he doesn't want to root through Dean's stuff and he has this strange feeling he's overstayed his welcome), so once he looks half decent he's out of there.
The sound of the shower turns off just as Cas passes by the bathroom. His steps falter for a second - how could they not, knowing Dean is naked and wet just a few feet away? - but he keeps going. It's his first walk of shame, and he's determined not to actually feel ashamed. Even if Crowley spots him making his escape down the stairs and gives him a salacious wink accompanied by a rude hand gesture.
His roommate takes one look at him when he walks in and breaks out in a shit eating grin. "Somebody got lucky last night."
He plays with the idea of denying it, but it's useless. "What gave it away?" he sighs, shoulders slumped in defeat.
"Uh, I don't know? The sex hair? The clothes you wore yesterday? The stench of sex all over you? The way you're walking? Take your pick, man."
Cas grumbles out something unintelligible as he grabs some clean clothes and goes to take a shower. Once the hot water hits him and he gives into the heat, he feels all the tension he's carried with him from the frat house. He's wound up like a cord about to snap at any moment and he's not sure what to do about it.
He'd been willing to take the chance and ask Dean out, but then he'd gone all cold and it's thrown him off. Pledge week is over, technically. Maybe Dean always assumed this was a one week deal, remembered what day it was, and is slowly making his retreat. Which would suck, but for the millionth time Castiel reiterates that he's fine with it. He's been planning on that eventuality from the beginning.
The water goes cold before he actually manages to convince himself he's okay with it.
He fills the empty time between now and his next stop by the frat house with homework. He's a bit on edge, so he ignores the more tedious assignments and jumps into the assigned novel for his English class. It's pretty good, far off the beaten path of standard literary texts one comes to expect in intro college classes, and for that he's grateful. Enthralled in Janie Crawford's life, he barely notices the time pass.
A notification on his phone tells him he needs to start getting ready. Annoyed (and okay, a bit worried), he puts the book aside and starts getting ready.
There's a ceremony at the frat house later to officially welcome them as full members of Sigma Sigma Beta. Assuming their pledge brother vouches for them. It's a formality, at least that's what he's been told, and very few pledges are ever turned away. In fact, they should've already talked to anyone they felt wouldn't fit in (something Castiel had initially worried about, but it's been days since he's considered the possibility he wouldn't be inducted into the fraternity).
It's not a formal event or anything, but he's got a suspicion that even if suit and tie aren't required, the expectation is for them to dress up a little. With that in mind, Cas takes the time to pick out a nice button down shirt (the one his mother says brings out his eyes) and his best pair of khakis. He even goes so far as to forego his boat shoes for shoes with actual laces. Puts on a pair of socks and everything. Hell, his belt even matches his shoes.
And yeah, if he'd walked downstairs at his house dressed like this, Gabriel would've given him shit for it. Castiel is by no means a slob - hell, he's been known to wear nice button ups to school on numerous occasions - but the whole ensemble is just a tad too put together. He can see his brother eyeing him suspiciously and demanding to know the name of the whoever it is that got his baby bro to look presentable for once.
His roommate doesn't know him that well, though. Just gives him a thumbs up of approval when he asks how he looks. "If I were gay, I'd totally bang you."
Cas' cheeks color slightly but he shrugs indifferently. "Well, that's not exactly what I was going for-"
"If I were gay, I'd totally date you." Inias sounds completely sincere as he says it, which somehow makes it worse.
Cas doesn't comment on how spot on that is. Instead he puts on a fake smile and waves good-bye.
It's that transition between late afternoon and early evening when he arrives. There are some people mulling about the front yard, mostly other pledges (equally dressed up, Castiel notices with relief) but a few strangers. He's halfway across the lawn to talk to Kevin and Jamie when a red-head steps in his path.
"Yeah- Oh, I remember you from Thursday."
"Charlie." She offers him her hand, then shakes his enthusiastically. "And yeah, I was here with my roomie Jo to watch you fine young men prove your masculinity by wrestling in jello in nothing but your underpants."
He raises an eyebrow. "I thought it was more about embarrassing us and trying to strip us of our masculinity."
Charlie smiles brightly at him. "I can see why Dean likes you."
His heart beats erratically at hearing that, but for his own sanity he ignores the comment. "Are you hear for the induction...?"
"Yeppers. SKU sororities and frats have a governing body of students, i.e. the presidents of each Greek house. We have a code of conduct, do events together, negotiate turf wars if separate events interfere, blah blah blah. One of the duties is that we attend the initiations of all new brothers and sisters. I am an honorary guest at the banquet you guys are throwing tonight."
He frowns at the way she says SKU. Instead of saying each letter S K U, she blends them together into a word that sounds strangely French. It takes him a minute to work past the strange pronunciation and pick up on what she's saying.
"Anything especially demeaning in store for us tonight?"
Charlie giggles and Cas is surprised by how infectious her amusement is. She punches him in the arm, "You wish! No, it's all prime and proper from here on out. Just some pageantry, boring ol' oaths in Greek that no one understands - except yours truly since I'm kind of a language geek - and getting pinned by the frat brothers. And not in the fun wrestling way. There is literally a pin that they give each of you guys. It's super dorky and kind of adorable because half these guys can't pin the damn things without poking themselves."
"Ah." And fuck, he is marginally disappointed that the hazing stuff is over. That one final piece that guaranteed Dean's attention continues to slip away. He plays if off because he's not going to let his time in Sigma Sigma Beta be tainted by what if's. "So is this a classy type of cocktail party or will it devolve into the usual kegger?"
"Classy cocktail party with champagne and everything... that will gradually devolve into a kegger once they run out of wine. So you know, about an hour after you guys get your pins."
They chat for a little more, mostly about Sigma Sigma Beta and Charlie's Beta Zeta Gamma sorority. The hazing traditions at the sorority are both fiercer and tamer than the ones he's endured. Nothing about crossdressing or anything overtly sexual, but some seriously aggressive physical challenges that put the earlier boot camp and wrestling he endured to shame.
"If the guys weren't so fucking into proving how manly they are, they'd probably steer into the more interesting traditions we've pioneered. But decades of enforced hetereonormativity will do that to a bunch of guys living together in one house." She looks at him with a hint of challenge.
"I'm pan, by the way."
He'll never forget the way her eyes light up. "Oh my god, that's just too fucking perfect." Before he can ask what the hell that's supposed to mean, she's nearly jumping up and down. "Gay. I mean, I'm gay. You should come join the Gay Straight Alliance! Obviously any orientation is welcome, but we can only fit so many letters in the abbreviation. It's always great to have more guys from the fraternity show up. We're trying to create a culture of inclusion, and sure Sigma Sigma Beta's really good about it, but it'd be a good example for some of the other frats."
It takes another five minutes for her to talk him into it (really, he would've agreed immediately if she'd calmed down enough to let him get a word in - it was more he had to wait that long for her to calm down and let him get out a proper answer). By then there's a whistle blowing and all the soon to be new brothers are ushered inside and then out onto the back porch.
The lights from yesterday's party haven't been taken down yet (if anything, there might even be more). All the other party gear has been cleared out, replaced with round tables with pristine white table cloths and silverware laid out. There's an actual catering staff off to the side keeping trays of food warm. The back tables are filled with current members. There are a couple tables off to the side that are now being seated with the guests from other frats and sororities. The five remaining tables are empty, waiting no doubt for the five pledge groups to take over.
The ceremony isn't particularly long or arduous. It consists of Benny giving a speech, congratulating them on surviving Hell Week and talking about how they'll make fine new additions etc. etc. etc. Then they recite the fraternity's Greek oath (in Greek, just like Charlie warned). They no doubt butcher it, but at the end they receive some encouraging claps for making it through. Then Victor, Aaron, Dean, Crowley, and Gordon go up one at a time to pin their pledges and introduce them to the frat as new brothers.
Dean remains stoic throughout the whole thing, standing at attention to the side of the porch until it's his turn to fumble with the pins. His deft fingers have no problems with Jamie, Samandriel, Alex, Matthew, or Kevin. Castiel waits patiently at the end of the line, watches Dean pin the Greek letters to each boy's shirt, shake their hand while whispering something, and then move on. When he stands in front of Cas, he seems in control and it's no different than with the five other boys.
Until he looks up. They stare at each other long enough that he hears Kevin cough in warning. Dean nods, swallows thickly, and brings up trembling hands to do the pin. He ends up stabbing himself with the pointed end and dropping it. Hissing out a curse, he quickly picks it up and finishes attacking the damn thing before turning back to introduce them by name.
Throughout the week, Cas has thought there was nothing more adorable than a flustered Dean Winchester. Now, as he listens to thunderous applause and tries not to tear up as he panics.
Things are going to be awkward now. We can't be friends. He can't even stand to be near me, how could I have fucked up so badly? Fuckfuckfuckfuck-
His internal downward spiral is put on hold as they move offstage. Dinner's served buffet style, most of the brothers racing to get in line. Servers come around with trays of wine (and he wonders vaguely how much they were bribed to look the other way at all these clearly underage kids drinking). No longer hungry, Cas grabs the first glass of wine he can get his hands on and shuffles away from the crowd.
He weighs the pros and cons of the previous week's decisions as he quietly broods in the shade of the solitary tree in the backyard.
Pro: Made a lot of new friends. Con: Not being able to be friends with Dean.
There's the sound of someone walking over, and he internally groans at having to deal with either Kevin or Charlie.
Pro: Best sex of his life. Con: Not being able to have be with Dean.
Too annoyed to fake being nice just yet, he's already got an excuse ready to go for whoever it might be. Cas finishes off his drink (no doubt the first of many tonight) and turns around to shoo them away.
Pro: Learned a lot about what he enjoys sexually. Con: Not sure if he likes those things by themselves or because of who they were with.
"Look, I'm not-"
Dean freezes, looking almost pained, but starts to back away. "Sorry, I uh-"
"Wait!" Cas' hand darts forward and grabs the sleeve of Dean's polo. "Sorry, I... was expecting someone else."
Although he looks about two seconds from pulling away, Dean stays where he is. He licks his lips before asking, "Who?"
"Uh... anyone but you?"
Dean frowns. "What?"
"I don't know, I just got the impression this morning that... You know what, never mind." He finally lets go of Dean's shirt, straightens it out and then drops his hand awkwardly.
"Okay." Dean kicks at he ground just to have something to do, somewhere to divert his eyes. "So uh, congrats."
Castiel watches as the older boy continues to push around a tuft of grass he's knocked loose. And this is it. This is the awkwardness he knew was coming, that will continue to be the way their relationship goes from here on out. This is what a foundation of casual sex between near strangers gets you. Great chemistry that fizzles out once the sex is over.
He sighs in resignation and decides he should let Dean off the hook. Explain how it was fun and he appreciates it or whatever, but they don't have to force small talk or anything. "Listen, Dean-"
"Hey Cas," Dean interrupts. He finally looks up, steel in his gaze. Cas is a little taken aback, so much so that his jaw snaps shut and he allows Dean to continue. "Look, this week has been great. Like, really really great."
"Dean, you don't have to-"
"Cas," he pleads, then goes back to his firm resolve to finish this speech. "I, uh, I didn't want to ask before cuz I guess I was worried you maybe were just into the... the sex stuff." Dean honest to god blushes as he says the word sex like he's some kid in junior high. "But I, uh... I kinda like you. And not just for the sex stuff... which is great! I mean, I like that, it's not... fuck- I mean, I like you, with or without the sex, and I was wondering if maybe you'd like to go out for dinner with me sometime." He pauses and coughs a bit, then adds, "On a date," as if it isn't already painfully clear.
Likes me back, check and mate.
Cas doesn't mean to be cruel, to drag out the silence between Dean's babbled confession and his response, but he takes a second to replay the whole thing in his head. And maybe to subtly pinch his leg and bite the inside of his cheek to make sure he's not dreaming. The hope starts to drain from Dean's eyes, the way he physically and emotionally starts to close himself off.
"Sorry, that was stupid-"
He winces and stops trying to sneak away. He looks like a kicked puppy, but he holds his head up high.
"You free now?"
It takes a beat or two before Dean understands what Cas is asking. Then he's rushing to cross the few feet between them, throwing his arms around Cas to pull him in for a kiss. One quick, chaste little kiss and then he pulls away a few inches. "That okay?"
Cas practically growls as he lunges forward to kiss him again, nothing chaste about the way he devours Dean's mouth. They only break apart when they're interrupted by cheers of approval from the entire fraternity. They graciously wave and ignore the muttered agreement of "Finally" and "About damn time" and "Took all fucking week."
"Did everyone know?" Dean sighs.
"Apparently." He leans forward to whisper in his ear. "So let's get out of here, yeah?"
AN: This is a fashion PSA to remind everyone that you technically are not supposed to wear boat shoes with socks (that's why I made a point of saying Cas actually was wearing socks for once - that loser). If you do so, I will sit back and quietly judge you (although imo you get like a million bonus points for wearing point shoes in the first place so I generally let it slide lol).