Instructions for Dancing

This is a vignette set in the Strange Angels' verse, written in response to the Connect challenge at the spn-het-love community on Livejournal. The piece does read better with knowledge of the 'verse under your belt. However, I was asked by misskatieleigh (my fellow spn-het-love community owner) to write the challenge in that 'verse from Sam's POV; she asked so prettily, I couldn't refuse.

Disclaimer: The Winchester boys aren't mine. The Colt isn't mine. Wish the car was mine. But I can only blame myself for the Circle of Enoch.

Rating: PG

Pairings (Overall): Dean/OFC

She never touched people.

Sam would watch her sometimes, how she kept her elbows close to her body when they were in a crowd or the way Charlotte would jam her hands into her cardigan pockets when meeting new people; a friendly nod of the head instead of a handshake. Charlotte had mastered the art of giving physical comfort through the illusion of contact – brushing hair with fingers but never the scalp, catching a sleeve instead of your arm and leaning in to kiss the air right next to your cheek.

He never said anything that revealed how he felt.

It annoyed the hell out of Sam, the way that Dean learned how to mask the spaces between them – all the words they should have said but never uttered – with a wink and a smile. The grin was better than silence and Sam understood Dean well enough to recognize glimmers of what he was feeling, deep-seated anger and loss when he thought Sam wasn't looking or the way Dean's eyes softened whenever a child was involved. Sam had learned to see through the cracks as a matter of survival.

They fell without even realizing it, betrayed by quiet moments with Sam as their only witness. The first morning Charlotte smiled at Dean and handed him a Ding Dong, Sam kept his eyes closed and clutched his armful of research notes hoping they wouldn't see the smile twitch on his face. Dean sliding her a slice of toast covered with too much butter and strawberry jam in some dive they found for breakfast made her lower her eyes before she ripped off a piece of toast and popped it into her mouth, cheeks going red and Dean giving a grin when she popped the second piece into his.

Their only declaration was a kiss, the flicker of Dean's fingers in her hair and Charlotte's arm tight around his waist as she clung to him. Without a word, their dance became slow smiles and stolen kisses in the Impala when they thought he wasn't looking. Sam wondered when it was going to end the morning they showed up together in Missouri's kitchen, lazy-eyed and laughing. What was coming could break them all, not caring about the way their bodies fit together when Dean hugged her from behind and Charlotte reached up to touch his cheek.

They weren't supposed to get the happy ending.

But they made a promise together all the same – with Sam as their only witness, a bowl of popcorn in his hands as he stumbled back into Missouri's living room. Charlotte was curled up in the corner of the couch and Dean knelt in front of her, flipping up her pajama top and planting a raspberry right on top of the knot of scars on her stomach. They stared at each other, Dean grinning sheepishly until Charlotte called him a goober and leaned down to kiss him.

They were still kissing when Sam started the movie.

The title is a lyric from the song "Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel. It was actually inspired by carocali, who once commented that Charlotte and Dean's relationship was like a dance each one taking turns with the lead. I liked the analogy.