'Hey beautiful, haven't seen you around.' Dean winks at the man in the tuxedo.
'This isn't funny Dean.' Castiel reties his tie for the fiftieth time. 'Is it straight?'
'Yes Cas, it's still perfectly vertical – can we go? Prom waits for no man.'
'and neither does Anna, I know.' Castiel tugs at his hair, ridiculously bed headed even with about an hour of preening. His blue eyes almost cross trying to see the fluffed up peaks that shadow his forehead.
'oh for the love of...you're gorgeous Cassie, let's GO!'
Prom is going to be good. Dean has a hip flask and a passing grade in every subject that say so. Anna's as beautiful as always, waiting for him to pick her up in the car, of course Cas is coming too, dateless or not. Best friends do not abandon each other on the biggest night of the school year.
Dean leads Anna to the passenger seat like some kind of suburban princess, Castiel waiting in the back seat. At the high school a valet takes over the impala, leaving Dean with the feeling that he's just trusted his right arm to a possible cannibal. He's distracted by the gym, hung with crepe and lights to match the balloons and table cloths. Garden themed as voted by Anna's prom committee.
Castiel smiles, ducking off into the crowd to fade against the wall like he does at all the formals. Dean lets him go, leading Anna to be photographed against an unrealistic grassy knoll.
They dance, they drink punch which has been spiked three separate times with vodka, whiskey and gin and so tastes foul but lights everyone up like nothing else. Michael and Lucy win Prom King and Queen respectively. Anna complains that her new shoes are blistering her feet and takes to a table to gossip with Ruby and Lisa.
Dean listens to the opening bars of 'Ever fallen in love (with someone you shouldn't've)' knocks back another glass of paint stripper/punch and looks up at the strings of lights, tonight is going to be good.
Fifteen Years Later
Tonight is going to be awful.
Dean walks into the gallery, surrounded on all sides by pristine white walls and carefully hung blocks of colour. There are people milling around, dressed in the ubiquitous black of artists and their hangers on. He helps himself to a flute of Champagne.
What the hell is he even doing here?
'Hey, Cas? You coming back to mine?' Dean spots his friend at the end of the hallway, talking to Chuck and holding a mostly full glass of punch. 'The post-prom remember?'
Castiel hovers in indecision, he hates wild parties, never feels at home and never gets drunk, which doesn't make him easy to mix with.
'Please?' Dean bits his lip, eyebrows crooked in expectation.
'Ok, yes.' Castiel smiles slightly. 'but please don't try to get me hammered like last time.'
'Gabriel, not me.' Dean raises his hands 'and it's your fault for thinking it was actual jello' Castiel looks green at the memory.
Prom peters out after the king and queen announcements, so Dean and Anna find Castiel and drive over to Dean's deserted house. No parents and no Sam for once. The rest of their class (class of '95 Woooo! Dean adds mentally) arrive by the car load, Dean hands off drinks and dodges through crowds making nice. He isn't popular, but he's a friendly sonofabitch with a lot of charm when he cares to use it, even if he says so himself. Everyone seems to be having a good time, he's buzzed and Anna's already dragged him outside for a make out session.
Life is Good.
7 minutes in heaven...is very bad.
They start playing at the suggestion of Meg, who thinks it's a cute teenager activity they should enjoy before they get too old. Whatever, most of them are too drunk to argue. The guests slowly get divvied up with the aid of a bowl of names on bits of paper.
Chuck and Becky (Lots of whistling and blushing)
Lisa and Crowley (Lots of warning looks from her friends)
Jo and Ash (Jo complains loudly and Ash spits out his beer)
Anna and Ruby (Dean just about holds it together but the visual his brain provides is awesome)
Dean and Castiel
He shrugs, drags his friend into the coat closet and lets the door bang shut, outside he hears muffled whispers and catcalls and shouts to 'get on with it'. Three inches from his chest Castiel is breathing shakily, or maybe he just thinks it's loud because of the tiny space.
"Some night huh?" Dean hisses. He feels warm, gloriously buzzed and about five seconds from shouting 'Good will to all men!'
"Yeah" Castiel's eyes are sleepy, drunk on punch and the heavily spiked drinks Gabriel's been foisting on him by way of getting Bella to bring them over. Castiel is four seconds from kissing him, he's had a crush on Dean for over three years and he's finally drunk enough to do something about it. To do anything that'll get Dean to look at him, just once, as more than his clueless friend.
He's mid lunge when Dean pushes him back against the wall.
"The hell dude?"
"I don't know" Castiel's whisper is thick and strained. "I don't...Dean" he closes his eyes. "I've wanted to do this for a while."
"You're drunk Cas" Dean says both truthfully and charitably in his opinion.
"I'm not that drunk" Castiel's hand touches his face and Dean doesn't brush it away. He lets Castiel inch him forwards, till he can feel his breath on his face. "I know. Exactly. What. I'm..."
Dean's mouth hits his, cutting off the words as their lips meet. He presses Castiel into the wall and feels his body, warm and strong beneath his suit, pressed against his own. His knee falls between Castiel's legs, earning a small sound of approval and the start of a fierce grinding session that leaves them both panting against the wall.
Dean looks down at his friend's wide eyes and feels excited, terrified and freakily turned on. He has no idea what to do with this.
He kisses Castiel again.
Fifteen Years Later
The gallery fills up with people and chatter. Dean's a little self conscious about his suit (rented) and his size (broad to the point of terrifying) but no one's even looking at him. He helps himself to some of the fancy sushi at the bar.
The crowds buzz of chatter intensifies as the artist arrives.
Balthazar Reynolds, blond, slim and purring thanks with his smooth British accent.
Dean feels like more of an ass now that he's actually seen the guy. Celebrated artist and all around awesome guy, with a penthouse in every major capital across Europe, more money than God and a brilliant career. The only thing missing is the perfect guy on his...
The voice comes from behind him at the bar, deeper than he remembers, sharp with surprise that isn't entirely pleasant.
He turns around
"Cas?" Dean manages to gasp, which isn't easy with someone's hand down his pants, stroking him with maddening ease even while he's close to being totally drunk. Dean's own hands are buried in Castiel's hair and boxers respectively. They're rubbing each other in a tangled frenzy of arms and fingers, mouths meeting in open mouthed desperate kisses. "Cas...I..."
"What?" he's panting too, breath trembling through his lungs as he arches away from the closet wall.
"I love you man" It's a fierce, drunken declaration, and he's a knifes breadth from coming. But he means it, he loves Castiel right now, more than he loved him as a friend.
Their allotted time has already passed, not that either of them is thinking about that. Everyone outside the closet has been distracted by the revelation that Jo slept with Crowley the previous summer, so they've forgotten the game.
Or at least they had.
If Dean and Castiel had been less intoxicated they might have remembered that the closet wasn't locked.
Lisa remembers the duo and tugs the door open.
Jo gets let of the hook as quickly as she was placed on it.
The two guys still have their hands on each other, dishevelled, red faced and damp with sweat. Dean leaps away from Castiel as if scalded.
The onlookers have gone silent.
"Dean...what the hell?" Anna's voice is quiet but deafening in the tomb like stillness of the room.
"I'm..." Dean looks at the crowd, friends, strangers, classmates...then back at Castiel who looks just as shell shocked but also waiting, waiting to see what he'll say.
Dean runs, shoving through the crowd, out of the room, out of the house. Never mind that it's his home, that he has nowhere else to go. He runs for it.
Leaving Castiel to face the music.
Fifteen Years Later
Castiel has changed in the intervening time. Obviously, it's been fifteen years and the last time Dean saw him he'd still been a teenager. He's gained height since then, and filled out enough to lose the deer like fragility he used to have. His hair is cut better, still completely black, but now an artistic bedhead tangle. His eyes are still as blue as they used to be, his face having gained a few lines and stubble. He's wearing a suit, black and expensive, with a white shirt left open at the collar.
He looks amazing and Dean can't stop staring.
"What...why are you here?" he asks uncertainly."God it's been..."
"A long time." Dean feels his smile come in to play, then waver with nerves. "How've you been?"
"Good...this is unbelievable." Castiel still looks more stunned than happy. "You're the last person I expected to see, here, of all places."
Dean looks sheepish.
"This isn't an accidental meeting, is it?" Castiel's voice goes toneless as he takes in Dean's expression.
"No I...I saw your picture in the paper."
"And you decided to come here...why?" He's guarded, eyes hardened and distant. Dean realises how badly he's handling this.
"I wanted to see you." He sighs. "Cas..."
"Please don't call me that." Castiel says quietly. "I haven't been 'Cas' in years." He's avoiding Dean's eyes.
"Castiel" Dean's voice is quiet, earnest. "I wanted to see you, to tell you..."
"Sweetheart" Balthazar wraps an arm around Castiel's waist and presses a sweet kiss to his cheek. "You made it." Dean has to admit they look good side by side, healthy and well dressed. Balthazar tanned and blond, Castiel pale and dark. Night and day. Exuberance and introverted grace. Dean wants to walk away but he can't.
"Of course I did." Castiel replies neutrally.
"And you brought..."
"This is Dean. We knew each other in high school."
"Oh? I thought I knew all your friends from St. James's?" Polite curiosity, the guy didn't have a suspicion in his head, and why should he? It's not like Dean could pose a threat.
"My first high school. In Lawrence."
"Oh then I'll leave you to it" Balthazar presses a glass of champagne into Castiel's hand and kisses him properly on the mouth. Castiel's eyes flutter closed and he accepts the kiss. "I'll see you later Baby." Balthazar strides back into the crowd.
"I think you should go, Dean." Castiel looks down at his glass. "I have nothing to say to you."
Dean's left watching Castiel's slim, dark suited back retreat through the crowd, towards the glass doors that lead to the balcony.
"Fuck!" Dean punches the tree again. "Oh my...Fuck!" His knuckles are bloody and his face is burning with exertion. He's just thrown Castiel to the wolves, lost his girlfriend, his reputation, his life...
He's left Castiel behind.
The first guy he's touched, has been touched by. Someone he just might love, as far as you can love at his age.
His friend for years. He's left him behind.
Castiel leaves the party as soon as he can. Anna's shouting, Lisa's trying to ask him if he's ok, Crowley's making innuendos, Gabriel's trying to get an arm around him and lead him away, everyone else is chattering, clamouring.
It's too much.
Gabriel gets him to the door, but he shakes him off, tells him he wants to be left alone. He walks in the direction home in a daze of horror.
He's lost everything. His few friends, his life, Dean. He will never, never live this down.
"It's over" he says aloud. Then, "It's, fucking, over." His eyes burn and he curses himself for being such an idiot. The unfamiliar swear words grate at his chest and he wants to shout them, anything to get the lead weight out of his stomach and the pressure from his heart.
That's when he turns a corner on the dark street and see's Dean.
He's sitting at the base of a tree, hands over his face, legs sprawled on the damp grass. Castiel freezes, but he hasn't been walking that quietly and Dean looks up, face pale and twisted with misery. His hands are bloody. Castiel forces himself to move towards the crouching figure of his friend. Dean just watches him numbly.
"Dean...I'm sorry." He says, when he's only a few feet away. It's quite cold and he can feel the tenseness of his repressed shivers warring with the tightness in his chest. "I didn't think...I just..."
"Cas can you...can you leave me alone?"
"Just...stay away from me." He glares across the small space between them, eyes begging and warning. "I mean it, Cas."
"I'm sorry Dean" he says again, turning away.
He doesn't reply.
The next day Castiel begs his parents for a transfer. He moves to St. James's high school for his final year, avoiding the scandal at his own school. He cuts all ties with his former friends and attempts to make new ones. It isn't easy, even changing schools hasn't let him off the hook, gossip carries and at a catholic school, no one wants to associate with a boy who's rumoured to fool around with other boys.
He tries to forget Dean, which is made easier when the other boy doesn't call, or email or try to see him.
He breaks once, his first Christmas back in Lawrence, gets to the end of Dean's street before he realises that he's making a mistake. He spends the next holidays at his home, not going out in case he sees one of the old crowd.
Dean endures his final year of high school, abandoned by everyone for either groping Castiel or running out on him. Crowley and Alistair torment him, emptying his locker and trashing the contents, leaving porn there instead, blocking him from the shower after gym. The girls whisper about him, people call him a fag, or an asshole. Gabriel ignores him because he hurt Cas, made him leave town. Anna gathers her hurt around her and refuses to speak to him, Lisa too out of deference to her friend. He takes the silence, the stares, the abuse and the occasional beating behind the gym, because he feels guilty and this helps a little, being punished.
It still gets to him though, the constant mockery and sideways looks grinding him down. He stays in his room at home, not wanting to go out, to do anything. Sometimes he wishes it could just be over, that he didn't have to live with it anymore.
Sam is his only friend for a good long time, even once he finally gets out of Laurence and gets into The University of Kansas. He does his mechanics degree with a series of one night stands on the side, all women. Now that he's out of high school he feels better, gains some perspective. What happened with Castiel was over a year ago, both of them have left school, both of them have moved on.
It was a teenage friendship that ended badly – not something to ruin his life over.
Although relationships are beyond him, and it's not because of the fact he kissed Castiel, one drunken fumble in a closet isn't going to turn him gay or scar him for life, he's adamant. It's because he doesn't want to share his space, his life, with some one, not now and probably not ever. Because he lost Castiel as a friend the night he gained (and lost) him as something else.
He can't do that again, let someone in and get to know them, only to lose them.
He leaves the university with a second rate degree and no plans. Ends up in California working for a moderately sized garage and earning decent pay. He dates semi-seriously, usually ending things when it looks like he's going to have to make a commitment. He has his apartment, his weekends off and his car. He loves watching football at the college or playing pool with his work buddies. His life is just full enough to be entertaining, just empty enough to be casual.
At one point he gets engaged to a girl named Cassie. She's nice and fun and they get along, but in the end he cuts her loose two months before the wedding. It's an ugly encounter that leaves him wary of offering too much, in case he fails to deliver again. He tries to ignore the fact that the years are trundling by, that more often than not he spends the holidays and his birthday either trying to get laid or alone in his apartment.
He's forgotten about Castiel for the most part, he remembers him as an event, a stage in his high school experience. He feels guilty about never making it right with him, but only in the way you'd feel guilty about not seeing a relative who then died unexpectedly. Pointless, useless to regret something that can't be changed.
He wishes he had the kind of friends he forgot how to make a long time ago. The kind of friends you do more than drink and josh around with. Friends who're like your second family.
Castiel leaves St. James High and goes to college in New York. He majors in Literature with a minor in Fine Art and that's where he meets Balthazar. Clever, articulate and charming Balthazar is the first person to show any interest in him at all. Castiel flourishes in it.
He graduates with honours and a steady relationship. He takes a job at a publishing house whilst Balthazar works on his paintings and they get along just fine. He never suggests that they live together, despite the expense of keeping two apartments, and Balthazar doesn't push it, he knows Castiel likes his space.
So he goes to all the important art events. They go on private dates and do things at the holidays. They know all the things about each other that they're supposed to know – favourite foods, phobias, and embarrassing memories, preferences in music, books, clothing and sex.
Castiel never mentions Dean. He can't bring himself to open that particular wound. On the surface the incident was nothing, but underneath, underneath what actually happened is the knowledge that he lost his first love, his best friend, and his whole high school existence in one night. That he was sent away from the one boy he'd ever expressed interest in.
He has no idea how to explain that.
Their relationship is casual, they socialise and date and sleep together. He's with Balthazar for ten years, then more. They aren't really committed, but they have fun, they're sweet to each other and Castiel can't think what more he wants.
He rarely thinks about Dean, seeing him more as a crush that he's never spoken of and now can't see the point in revealing. Balthazar wouldn't be interested except in a polite, sharing past experiences way. And Dean is more than a past experience. He's a lost opportunity, a missed chance.
Dean sees the news paper article a week before the exhibition.
It shows a picture of Balthazar standing next to Castiel, who Dean recognises but still checks the legend underneath, just to be sure.
Balthazar Reynolds and his partner Castiel Novak.
Uncharacteristically, Dean's been thinking about Castiel a lot, he avoided it once he was free of the incident itself, but Castiel has snuck back into his mind. It started with a nightmare about being back in high school, and it left him thinking about that last year, how different it might have been if he'd stood up for himself that night, taken Castiel to one side and told him...
Told him what?
That they were friends. That in that one moment he realised Castiel was going to kiss him he saw that change. Saw what they could have and wanted it. Allowed it to happen because he wanted to see them on the other side, together in a way that wasn't friendship, but more intimate, something exclusive and private.
That he wanted the chance to fall in love with him, because it would be so easy, so pleasant to do.
So why the hell hadn't he?
The years behind him. Fifteen years of women, some who stayed around a while, some he skipped out on before the sun came up. Fifteen years of living alone and working, aging without a plan, without a warm thought to tether him to the future.
He'd lost his best friend. And ok, they were strangers now, but he was still living like an outcast, like a refugee from a scandal over ten years old.
And he owed Castiel an apology.
Fifteen Years Later
Dean let himself out through the glass doors.
The balcony was deserted, save for the figure of Castiel, leaning on the railing at the far corner. The balcony spanned the entire side of the gallery, leaving Dean with a long walk towards the back of a man he hadn't seen in so long, and didn't really know anymore.
He doesn't even look up. There's a crystal tumbler of scotch on the railing beside him and he's staring out at the city, lit up beneath them.
"Please leave me alone Dean." His voice is calm and tight.
"I flew down here from California." Dean says, gently, standing at the railing a few feet from the other man. "I came to apologise."
"I'm sorry you've wasted your time." Castiel takes a sip from his glass. "I've long since stopped caring about it."
About YOU is what Dean hears.
"I haven't" He says defiantly.
"Well there isn't much I can do about that." Castiel's voice is still blank, like they're talking at some banal event.
"No, but I can still apologise. I've spent all this time regretting what I did, even when I was trying to forget everything I left in Lawrence...I still regret leaving you."
Castiel's shoulders are tight, his profile stiff and dark.
"I don't know what would have happened." Dean continues, trying to find something, anything to explain how he feels. Because it was fifteen years ago and he feels ludicrous, but it means something. It's not like it changed his life, but it could have done. "I might have had you for a few more years, Cas...I missed out on that, on you. That night was...it was new, but we were friends for a long time and it was a fucking lousy thing to do."
"So why'd you do it?" Castiel's voice is sharp, cool shell breaking open even though his back is still turned.
"I freaked out." Is Dean's simple answer. "Everyone was there, I was drunk and scared..."
"And I wasn't scared?" Castiel turns around and looks at him, eyes narrowed in disbelief. "Dean, I was terrified. I'd just made a move on my best friend. My MALE friend, and most of our classmates saw me do it...and you left, me."
Dean can't look him in the eye.
"You left me there with Crowley and Ruby, Alistair." The names of their cruellest peers. "Anna was there, remember?"
"I know, and I'm sorry." He can't just take this. "but I was there for the next year, when you left."
"You expected me to stay, after that?" His voice is painfully low. "Catholic school was not the soft option, it was the only school that would take me at short notice. Like I could stay in Lawrence with them, once they all knew?"
"Congratulations. Clearly you're made of stronger stuff." His voice crackles with anger. "Now that we understand that, perhaps you'd like to leave."
"I stayed for you." Dean manages, calmly. Castiel just looks at him. "I wanted...I thought, when school started we'd have had a chance to talk...that I could make it right." He winces. "You were gone Cas, I didn't find out until weeks after the party...and I figured you had to come home sometime...maybe Christmas or Easter...but you didn't." Dean's never said this aloud before. "and I kept thinking, maybe next time he'll come back, but you never did. I could have called or I don't know, written to you...but I thought you'd just ignore it unless...I was right in front of you."
Castiel just looks at him.
Dean can feel it coming back, those last few years of his teenage life, so long ago. Alternately waiting for Castiel and trying to forget him, waiting to make things right before he finally accepted that he'd never get the chance. That Castiel would never want to see him.
"You know...I came to see you."Castiel says, finally. "First Christmas home and I got to the end of your street before I lost my nerve." He looks younger than he should, seventeen again instead of over thirty. "I thought you didn't want me."
"I was seventeen Cas" Dean sighs "I didn't know what I wanted, I didn't have the time to decide, it all happened...it was one night! I needed more time."
"Well you've been lucky. Fifteen years? That is a long time, by anyone's standards." Castiel's brow is furrowed again. "And now you decide you want to apologise?"
"I know, and you're with...Balthazar and this is unfair, and stupid and...and I don't know why I came here." Dean shifts awkwardly. "But...I was with Anna, and we were stupid and neither of us, knew what we were doing...so I thought I'd chance it...seeing you again...just to say sorry."
Castiel looks at him, looks into him. The breeze circling them and the sounds of the party sounding fragile and brittle through the glass doors.
"Would it make you feel better?"
"That's not the point." Dean shakes his head. What he realises, and what Castiel must notice in his eyes and face is that he means, yes, it would.
"Apology accepted." Castiel doesn't move or even flicker. Then he sighs. "Fifteen years is a long time...and I regret not seeing you." He adds quietly "You were my best friend...I'm sorry, for ruining that." Dean moves closer, along the railing, till they're standing side by side .Hesitantly he raises his hand to Castiel's shoulder. He turns to look at him and Dean remembers how it felt to have Castiel look at him like that, like a friend, like he was worth something.
"I've missed you" he says, quietly, as if surprised by the strength of such an unexpected feeling. Dean feels a smile, a genuine smile, tease the edges of his mouth.
"I missed you too Cas."
"No one's called me Cas in...God, years. Not since you." Castiel frowns. "Feels like a long time ago."
"Yeah" Dean swallows, trying not to feel what he's feeling, finding it impossible.
"It's been a long time Dean." Castiel repeats, their faces millimetres from touching. Castiel's hand traces from the railing to Dean's face, cool and soft.
The kiss is a barely there brush of Castiel's lips against his own, but Dean feels it everywhere, an awareness of its importance, of how much he's wanted this. Castiel pulls away almost immediately. Finger's still on Dean's cheek. There's a pause in which neither of them breathe, and then Dean kisses him back. Castiel's hand moves to the back of his head, twining in his short hair as best it can, Dean presses him into the railing and feels the dry passes of their lips become wet and warm, then hot and slow. Castiel makes a small sound in his throat, hands dropping to Dean's shoulders and then lower, drifting down his back to his waist, tugging him closer.
A couple of minutes of messy, deep kisses are interrupted by a cheer from inside as Balthazar's latest painting is unveiled. That's all it takes to remind them that they aren't seventeen, and they aren't young infatuated kids anymore. They're adults, with a history that's been blank since high school, and one of them has a partner, a real relationship.
"I shouldn't be doing this." Castel murmurs, hand mapping the contours of Dean's throat and chest as he regains his breath.
"This isn't why I came here...I don't want you to think..."
"I know" Castiel stiffens "I shouldn't have, I'm sorry." He goes to pull away but Dean holds him back.
"I meant that I wasn't expecting anything" he explains. "Didn't say I wanted to stop."
"What are we doing?" Castiel looks up at him, body tight with confusion.
"I don't know" is Dean's automatic response. "I want..." there are so many ways to end that sentence. "I want this to be ok."
"And it's not, is it?" Castiel sighs. "Balthazar...Dean, you're not..." he looks at him in sudden horror. "You're not married are you?"
"You think I'd do this if I was?" He's a little offended. "No Cas, not married, not anything to anyone."
"But I am." Castiel looks back at the doors that separate them from the gilded party. "I've been with Balthazar for a long time Dean...I can't believe I'm doing this." He looks stricken, and Dean has to admit it's taken him by surprise, one minute he barely knows Castiel, he's just trying to say sorry, the next they're all over each other.
"Cas, calm down. We're..." he takes a deep breath. "We're just old friends who lost contact, bringing up all that stuff...feelings running a little high. It's not a problem."
Castiel cups his jaw and kisses him, deeply, thoroughly, pulling back with swollen lips tinged red with the blood rushing to the surface.
"That's a problem." He says numbly.
"Cas..." Castiel kisses him again, dragging him down with a hungry sound scratching at his throat. Mouth moving raw and desperate. "Cas, you don't want to do this..."
"I know, exactly, what I want." He stresses, kissing him again, bodies pressed firmly together, his long fingers wrapped in Dean's collar. "I'm thirty-two Dean... and I want you." His fingers slide down his chest and under Dean's shirt, then just under the waistband of his slacks, tracing the inch of skin beneath it. "I want you." His voice is rougher, he presses his mouth along Dean's jaw and Dean feels the practiced lover in him, lending its polish to the sentiments he's been carrying since he was a teenager. Castiel is beyond tempting, he feels amazing, and he's looking at him through half lidded eyes, worry and indecision warring with arousal and love frozen in adolescent obsession.
Dean can feel the same things burning in his gut.
He drags Castiel into an embrace, arms wrapping around him, face pressed into his neck. It's awkward but Castiel returns it, gripping him back with bruising force. Dean pulls away for long enough to kiss him, then steps backwards and stuffs his hands into his pockets.
"We should...this is too much to deal with, not here." Dean rubs a hand against his forehead. "Can I...Can I give you my number, Castiel?" he says formally.
"I'd like that." The other man hands him his cell phone, silver and modern. Dean punches in his number and returns it.
"So...call me. Any time." He says, gruffly.
"I will." Castiel sounds like he means it, and Dean believes him totally. "I don't want to lose you again, Dean."
"Ok...then I guess I'll see you around." Dean smiles to himself. "And...I should probably leave you to it...this kind of thing...not really where I belong."
"I'm glad you came." Castiel's eyes don't leave his.
Dean smiles again before walking slowly back to the doors, through the gallery and out onto the darkened street. He heads back to his motel with a tightness in his chest that has nothing to do with regret, and everything to do with anticipation.