General AN: This is just a little PSA/note to anyone who follows my writing in general on ff dot net. My frustrations with some aspects of the site are causing me to switch permanently to ao3 as a means of publishing fics. I won't be publishing any new works on this site, so if you're interested in continuing to read my stuff, you'll have to switch over to my tumblr (jhoomwrites) or ao3 (jhoom) accounts. HOWEVER, because I have a number of unfinished WIPs and series on this site, I will continue to update those until they're complete. That means that the following stories/series WILL continue to be updated on ff dot net: The Mark; Academy Blues; love to hate; What's in a Name?; any fics related to Welcome to SKU. Anything new that I post that is NOT related to those stories will NOT be published here.
AN: Note that this is the THIRD installment in a SERIES. Please be sure to check out "Welcome to SKU" and "Date Night" first to be able to better understand what's happening here.
I FEEL TERRIBLE FOR NOT GETTING TO THIS IN THE SUMMER AGGGGH! I've seriously had this planned and outlined for weeks and weeks (months and months at this point…) but kept pushing it aside for other things. So I said NOPE NO MORE and sat down to work on it today lol.
Note the tags, please! Even though they don't pertain to this chapter, they detail what you can expect in this story. It's not the carefree PWP of the previous two installments, but some actual emotional stuff that I felt I needed to address since these two goofballs kinda fell into a sub/dom relationship without knowing what they were doing. It seemed like this would be a likely outcome of that scenario.
Freshman year goes by in a blur of classes scattered throughout his days and nights spent in Dean's bed. Castiel finishes his last exams on a Wednesday and hopefully (assuming the Chem TA's are merciful to him) he'll have another 4.0 under his belt. All in all, it has probably been the best year of his life.
He walks out of the lecture hall with an extra half hour to spare on his exam, so he decides to head back to the Sigma Sigma Beta house to help Dean pack. Although Dean could stay at the frat house for his senior year, the older boy had received a summer internship with one of the professors in the engineering department. Frat houses are closed during the summer, so he'd needed to find a new place to stay.
Dean spent weeks scouring the local neighborhoods for a place until he found one that suited his needs. Although he has a roommate ("Pssh big deal, I've shared a house with like a dozen other dudes for two years, I think I can handle one other guy."), his bedroom is nearly double the size of his current room. He'd even sprung for a double bed, waggling his eyebrows suggestively as he'd told Cas about it earlier that week. ("Pssh big deal, Dean. I've shared a twin size bed with a 6 foot 180 pound Kansas boy. I think I can handle a cramped bed.")
Today is the big move. Though Dean brushed off Cas' offers to help, insisting he needed to focus on studying, there's no point in not doing so now that he's done.
The main floor and stairway are filled with the bustle of activity as the various frat brothers pack up and start loading their cars. Cas weaves his way through them, nodding in greeting but not stopping to chat as he makes his way to Dean's room. The door is open so he doesn't knock before coming in. Not that he's bothered with knocking for some time now, but still.
The man in question is bent over his his bed as he untucks the sheets. Not a bad view, but he stands up and winks at Cas. Tossing the bedding aside, he gestures for him to come closer.
"Hey, if it isn't my cute sophomore boyfriend. C'mere!"
Rolling his eyes, he moves into Dean's open arms. "I won't be a sophomore until August, Dean."
"You finish your last exam?"
"Then technically, you're a sophomore." Dean gives him a quick hug and peck on the cheek. "You here to help?"
He wants to argue the point further, but knows there's no point. Especially not if Dean's finally going to let him contribute to the move. "Of course. Tell me what to do."
"Kinky, but that should probably wait until we're breaking in my new bed."
After a playful swat at Dean, the two finish packing and load up the Impala. Dean's been making trips over throughout the week, so there's really not much left but the essentials.
Cas stands in the doorway with the last box, looking at an empty room that's still filled with so many memories. With a heavy heart, he closes the door and heads outside. Sure, he'll be living there himself in a few months, but something about it being Dean's room is something he doesn't know how to give up.
Outside the house, he finds Dean chatting with Benny, twirling his keys around one finger and laughing.
"Sure we can't convince you to stay next year, brother?"
"Nah, I already gave my room to Cas. Besides, I was kinda liking the idea of having a place off campus to get some actual studying done without you assholes interrupting me."
"Don't pretend you don't like it." Benny steps aside so Cas can load the trunk. "You make sure Deano visits us on the regular."
"I doubt that'll be a problem." He throws a salacious wink Dean's way (which is met with a beautifully rosy blush) before heading to the passenger seat.
The first stop to the apartment is quick. After unloading the car, they head to Cas' dorm. The plan is for Cas to unofficially stay in Dean's room for the first half of summer break. While Dean's doing his internship, Castiel is doing some summer courses. Normally he's not so academically motivated, but between Dean staying at school and Cas' own family being away (his brother now lives in New York and his parents are off on a cruise), it was hardly a difficult decision.
Cas doesn't have a lot, mostly just clothes and books, so it's a much shorter trip.
They pick up dinner on the way back - thai food and some ice cream - chat with Dean's new roommate for a bit, then disappear to his room. And if they don't reappear until the next day, well, who could blame them?
There's a whole week reprieve before his summer class starts. By then they've mostly developed a routine. Dean gets up early and disappears for most of the day for his internship. Cas gets up an hour or so later and goes for a run, then dicks around on the computer. They maybe get lunch together, maybe not, but they always cook dinner together while watching Netflix.
Occasionally Dean's roommate Bartholomew will join in, more often than not he's there to sleep or take over the living room. Not that it matters to Cas and Dean. As far as they're concerned, Bartholomew can have the whole damn apartment, they're really much more interested in their bed.
("Admit it, Cas. The memory foam and the double mattress were a good idea."
"I admit nothing. And on an unrelated note, I am not getting out of this bed ever.")
So having to go to class again is something of a shock to his system. He gets up late because he's so used to ignoring the alarm. Then he has to rush through his morning routine and skip his run, putting him in a blah mood. Never mind that it's a class he's not really looking forward to. As soon as he walks into the lecture hall, a profound sense of boredom overcomes him.
It's an Intro Econ class for Business students. Cas hasn't even picked a major yet, but his parents are leaning heavily on him to do Business. Since they're footing the bill for his tuition, he took the class to appease them. One look at the textbook had made him want to drop the class and immediately enroll in something else, but his brother and Dean both encouraged him to stick it out.
At least for one class, he silently added to the end of every promise to try.
And as the cherry on top of his astoundingly bad mad, in walks none other than Gordon Walker just as the professor's settling in to begin the class.
After the incident in the hallway during Pledge Week (and Dean's subsequent punching of Gordon as retribution), they'd been on uneasy terms. Gordon never really apologized for what happened (just an awkward pat on the back and a tentative "We cool?"), but after the initial awkwardness, he became friendlier. Ish? He'd pat Cas too hard on the back and wink at him at odd times, tease him in a way that was probably meant to be part of the 'bro culture' he worked so hard to establish at the frat house but that often fell flat or was borderline dickish.
It's not that Castiel dislikes Gordon. He has every reason to, but he much prefers to forgive and forget rather than carry around the burden of anger. It's more that he doesn't like him, a feeling just shy of indifference. All in all, Cas finds he'd rather ignore Gordon than deal with the complication of making small talk or trying to befriend him.
Which is why he does his best to avert his eyes when Gordon scours the room for a seat. And maybe he tries to hunch into himself and disappear into the crowded (but nearly crowded enough) lecture hall.
Fate, however, has other plans.
Gordon spots him and makes a beeline straight for his row. Castiel holds out hope up until the very last second when Gordon sits down next to him.
"Sup dude. Glad to see a friendly face in here." Then he holds out his fist expectantly. After a beat longer than is socially acceptable, Castiel returns the fist bump and does his best not to show too much disdain for the whole situation.
Ugh, this isn't going to be a pleasant class.
To Castiel's surprise, Gordon's presence turns out to be not entirely awful.
Dean laughs when he hears that. "'Not entirely awful'? You do realize if that were like a movie or restaurant review, no one would ever go, right?"
"Fine," he grumbles. "It's nice having a familiar face." His boyfriend raises his eyebrows, a slight hand gesture prompting him to continue. "And it's nice having someone who understands the material even less than I do."
At that, Dean absolutely cackles. "And there it is," he says once the worst of his giggles have calmed down.
He pouts and crosses his arms in front of his chest defensively. While Castiel might like seeing Dean laugh, he doesn't appreciate it when it's at his expense. "I thought you of all people would be less thrilled about all this."
"Hey, baby, c'mon." Cas finds himself pulled into a bear hug. "Don't be like that. I'm on your side here."
"So you're not upset that I'm hanging out with him?" The question remains unspoken, but there's an understood Are you still mad at him?
"Cas," he rolls his eyes and reaches over for more parmesean cheese. "Hang out with whoever you want. It's not like you need my approval. And I mean, Gordon ain't all bad. He gets ahead of himself sometimes and doesn't realize how bad he comes off to people."
When Cas gives him nothing but a pointed look, Dean shrugs. "Look, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the guy after what he did to you. But we hashed it out and I'm over it. Don't get me wrong, he does it again - to you or anybody - and I will punch the living snot out of him, but I doubt he will.
"I've known the dude like two years. He's a hothead and kind of out of touch during Pledge Week. It totally goes to his head and sometimes one of us has to knock him down a peg or two to remind him of that. But he ain't exactly the worst guy in the world. I have been known to enjoy hanging out with him on multiple occasions. I was even sober a couple of those times. So if you like hanging out with him in Econ, I say go for it."
It's like a weight off his shoulders, Dean telling him it's okay to find Gordon's company enjoyable. Because he's right. Gordon, for all his faults, is a decent person underneath the gruff exterior. He keeps a running commentary all throughout class on the professor and TA's, making up this wild story where there's a love triangle between them. It's almost as ridiculous as the plotlines of Doctor Sexy, and Castiel can't deny he finds a certain amount of amusement in them.
"Oh damn, Prof broke out the bow tie and suspenders for class today. He's trying to get blonde TA to finally dump muscular TA for him."
"Look at blonde TA bending over like that to hand out papers. She is totally doing it on purpose."
"No TA's today, wonder if they're making out in a broom closet or something."
"Maybe the muscular one is sick and the blonde one is taking care of him," Castiel offers. It's the first time he's joined in, and Gordon beams at him.
"Maybe. We'll have to look out for that when they're back."
All in all, it's not a terrible way to pass the time. Especially in a class where he can't quite wrap his head around the subject matter. Or feign enough interest about it to sound excited when he talks to his parents each week.
Though… Cas sometimes winces when hears him overtly flirting with some of the other students in a style far too aggressive to be appealing. But if Gordon catches his eye afterwards, he looks sheepish. And while Castiel might prefer he not engage in such behavior to begin with, his chagrin is at least a step in the right direction.