This is based on...well, me. This mirrors and takes poetic licence with, a relationship I had when I was nine, with my best friend at the time. It definitely didn't end this way, but it started off in exactly the same way and its how I found out that I was gay.

It starts out like most of these things do. In fact, most people have an experience like it, how they first came to feel that glorious ache, that compulsive want that drove over their first abyss into climax. Early puberty is awash with such incidents, half remembered and half dreamed.

For Castiel and Dean, it began slightly earlier.

Dean was nine when he first saw the movie. He couldn't tell you with one it was, and it had no real characteristics. He didn't watch the whole thing, just caught a five minute flash of it on TV when his (mostly Sam's) baby sitter had abandoned the set to phone her boyfriend. It didn't have a high rating, perhaps a fifteen at most – but the man and the woman on screen, decorously hidden by sheets, were...moving. He knew about sex in the abstract, soap opera jokes and vague notions from other, more appropriate films. But he had never seen the act, never seen, even through the smoky mirror of acting, the ecstasy this naked rubbing could produce.

He forgot about it for a while, lost it to the influx of new information and new games to play, new things to be preoccupied with. But always it remained, like a set of teeth marks on his mind, sore and forceful and undeniable.

At the time his best friend was Castiel from three streets away. Castiel was the same age as him, quiet and smaller, making him the ideal accomplice, the perfect follower. Dean led him on crusades through the woods on their side of town, on bike rides and games on land and in the public pool. Castiel followed dutifully, quietly and with a slight smile of rapt enjoyment. Carrying his stick sword or wheeling his rusted red bicycled in Dean's wake.

Dean's parents thought him shy and easily bullied, perhaps a little odd in the head, but nice and polite enough. Being four years older than Sam he was an excellent playmate for their son, and neither of them saw any reason why, even such a strange child, would be a bad influence.

But that seed of knowledge had already landed in Dean, and it was growing without even his knowledge. Bad influences weren't really a question, eventually an 'influence' will always find you, no matter how well you are protected. Whether it's bad or not depends on how you react to it, and whilst Castiel wasn't the influence, he was certainly its catalyst.

Aside from their many games and activities, Dean sometimes had Castiel over in the evenings, they'd watch cartoons on Dean's bed, and Castiel had stayed over a handful of times. On one night such as that, the seed of Dean's newfound curiosity produced a fine and tenacious root.

Lying next to Castiel on the single bed, with its batman cover, in his blue pyjamas which looked so odd against Castiel's grey flannel ones, printed as they were with clouds and getting too small. Dean turned over and looked at his eyes where they glinted slightly in the dark.

"What do you think its like?" he whispers, "Being married?" Because Dean is still naive enough to think that all couples who lie in beds naked together would be married. He has yet to even consider that 'sex' might be done in other places besides bed. To him it is indivisible from his parents bed – marriage and sleep and sex are all bound up in that one solid mattress.

"I don't know." Castiel whispers back, not in the least confused by the odd question. "What do you think?"

"No idea." Dean feels himself smile and frowns, ignorance is not amusing. "I saw..."

Castiel leans up on his elbow. "What?"

"On tv, a man and a woman, in bed..." He blushes, though it isn't his fault he saw it, it was just there.

"Doing sex?" Castiel surmises sleepily, vocabulary as yet still immature.

"Yeah." Dean rubs his thumbs into the worn sheet. "I don't know why though...but that's not's..." he frowns, trying to think. "It's meant to nice? But...I don't know how it would be."

Castiel shrugs in a 'why do adults do anything' gesture. "I haven't seen it Dean, you did. Did it look fun?"

Dean thinks back to the snatched moment of illumination.

"Maybe." He hedges. "It just looked like...lying on top of a girl and..."

"Wriggling." Castiel's small laugh bubbles out of the darkness.

"No." Dean admonishes. "More like...sliding?"

Castiel's leg nudges his shin. "Show me."

This is the all important fire curtain of innocence. In a boy of even thirteen, perhaps less, there would be a whiff of desire to the offer. There would be a heaviness to the air as they arranged their limbs, caught breath, a hidden sigh and a bitten lip. The slight press of a half swollen erection as two youngsters explored what has awoken in them.

But Dean and Castiel are only nine. Neither of them has much understanding of the act they are about to imitate, only that it's something grownups do, something that's meant to be fun for parents to do – something secret and maybe a little dirty, given the importance pressed on them of keeping their private parts just that, private. It's an odd little joke then, to make this pantomime of it, to try and pierce the mystery with experimentation. Not to discover themselves, but to discover what the mysterious 'others' do.

Dean and Castiel remove their pyjamas carefully, lowering them out of the bed before rolling together, a cluster of thin, soft limbs and undeveloped torsos. Dean hovers over Castiel, pressing down a little and moving. It's a mutual understanding here that has Castiel in the role of the woman, he is, after all, the follower.

They move, stifling giggles and feeling their flesh drag together, warm, comforting but not overly interesting. It's like a sort of hug, or a particularly dull fight – except they're naked. There's no sensational feeling of niceness, nothing but their naked bodies, which they've both seen before anyway, at the pool and in the locker room at school. After a few minutes Dean stops moving and looks up at Castiel's face.

"See, there's nothing happening." He moves to the side. "But that's what they were doing."

"But I'm not a girl." Castiel points out. "Maybe it would be different."

"Maybe." Dean concedes. "Maybe we're doing it wrong."

They fall asleep soon after, neglecting to put their pyjamas back on. The touch of skin on skin is comforting, infantile in its base emotions. Dean has an arm over Castiel, his head on his chest. The bed is furnace warm and his cheek is flushed with the heat.

The next day they ride over to the creek and argue for five minutes about whether newts are more like frogs or fish.

They move on.

This is not to say that they stop.

Every month or so they sleepover at Dean's or Castiel's house, and on those nights, sleeping next to each other in their familiar beds, smelling of each other's frequently visited homes, they adopt the new practice of nakedness. They have an odd ceremony, much like two girls playing house, only markedly more sophisticated.

They tidy away the games they've been playing, then they brush their teeth together in the bathroom. Then they don their pyjamas (for they must be worn in order to be removed once they've climbed into bed - it's part of the odd attraction of it) Dean buttons Castiel's and Castiel returns the favour. They climb into bed, kiss, shyly and then turn out the lamp. Then they cast off their pyjamas and link together, Castiel on the bottom, Dean lying on top of him, enjoying the closeness more than the contact.

It's only after a few months of this that it shows signs that it might be getting out of control. Castiel's parents invite Dean along to lunch at a restaurant just outside of the suburbs. Castiel and Dean run riot around the spacious garden, somewhere along the line their games shifted from leader and follower to a primitive 'husband' and 'wife' relationship. Dean looks out for Castiel, provides for him on a basic level with comic books and cookies stolen from home. Castiel is the one who hugs Dean the most, showing affection and becoming weirdly sensitive to his emotional state. While the adults drink wine on a bench outside, Dean tugs on Castiel's hand and, with a kind of awkwardness that comes from not wanting to think about or phrase a request, guides him to the bathroom.

He's started to want that closeness all the time, and Castiel is always willing to oblige him. They crowd into one stall, drawing the bolt and tugging at their clothes until, with shirts unbuttoned and pants lowered, they can press against each other and up against the wall. Castiel 'mmm's' softly against Dean's clavicle as the other boy strokes his back. They stay like that for a while, Castiel pressing small, closed mouth kisses to Dean's chest, ignorant of any sexual custom but finding that Dean relaxes under them.

They start to take their opportunities whenever possible. Sleepovers, in each other's bathrooms during the day, out in the garage – somewhere in all the sneaking around they begin to understand that secrecy is essential. They go from innocent touching to realising that they are somewhat abnormal. But it doesn't stop them.

They continue in this vein until they turn thirteen. That strange age of the withdrawing layer of innocence. Both of them are muddling into the territory of sex and arousal, though neither of them have yet to experience anything more than a slight twinge of want.

Dean's first erection happens when he's on top of Castiel, lax penis dragging in the hollow of his hip as the other boy lies still on the bed, eyes half closed and a lazy expression of contentment spanning his features. When Dean feels the tug of arousal, low and powerful as a kick, he almost grimaces. It's like a wall coming down all in a rush, he's hardening, growing longer and thicker, and the rubbing...holy God the rubbing feels so good...his hips rock of their own accord, thick shaft stroking back and forth on Castiel's hip and groin.

" good..." he says out loud, voice cracked and soft. Castiel makes a small sound of confusion and pleasure, his eyes opening as he looks up at Dean's face, his breath coming in short, ragged, bursts to match Dean's own. Castiel opens his legs wider at Dean's urging, feeling the thick line of Dean's penis as it's thrust between his legs, rubbing his tender flesh and sending small spikes of arousal through him, intense and new.

Dean feels Castiel start to harden against him, but he's helpless to stop or slow down. He can't wait, he can't think – just rubs his aching, throbbing flesh into Castiel's creamy skin. Choking out 'Oh God' and 'oh-uh...' and finally just 'yes' and 'please, Cas' over and over as he comes in a single, broken spasm, the first shot of thick white fluid painting across Castiel's hardening cock like a baptism.

Dean lies on top of Castiel like a dead thing, body heavy and satisfied, brain swimming with endorphins and eyes half closed.

"Oh God..." he groans softly. "That was good, that was..." he shifts a little to look at Castiel's face, feeling the tremble to the smaller boys frame and the stubborn, blood filled protrusion that prods his stomach. "You...have to feel this." He whispers, and when Castiel doesn't stop him, he cups his friend's penis in his hand, fingering the softness of its outer covering, feeling the plump core – it's not like any other part of anyone's body, it's unique to Castiel, as Dean has yet to touch his own hardness. He lacks any kind of technique, rubbing his palm up and down like he's petting an animal, then fingering the head lightly and working the fascinating stickiness back down the drier skin.

Castiel's writhes nervously towards his climax, short birdlike cries issuing from his throat. But when he goes suddenly still, hips canted upwards and streams of sticky fluid spurting from the tip of him, his grip on Dean's arm is strong – stronger than he thought Castiel was capable of.

They lie down, completed and satisfied, naked and comfortable.

"That was new." Dean murmurs, and Castiel kisses his neck gently, skin warm and a little sweaty.

"It was nice." Castiel whispers. "Could it again? Soon." He says, embarrassedly.

"Yeah...God yes." Dean smiles against his hair. "That was...awesome."

They work this newfound sensory experience into every gathering. Their occasional sleepovers, homework sessions and time spent hanging out in each other's rooms. Where ever there are a few moments spare they fall on each other, shyly, friends in search of ways to make each other and themselves feel good. They become intimately acquainted with each other's cocks, good at working each other with ease and enjoyment.

Dean has some excellent dreams about Castiel's face on the brink of orgasm, he might wake hard, but he rarely touches himself when he's alone. Why bother? When Castiel does it so much better, stroking him with a gentle hand, his forehead pressed tight to Dean's chest as he squirms in pleasure.

One night, Castiel kisses the back of Dean's neck as he sleeps and feels his heart grow tight with something greater than friendly adoration.

Half drunk on the feeling of rubbing Castiel into the mattress underneath him, facedown and writhing as Dean ruts into the soft swell of his ass, Dean pants 'I love you so fucking much' into the curve of Castiel's neck. Castiel holds onto those words for days.

They're fifteen and attending the same school, where Dean is slowly dating his way through all the girls in their year. Moving restlessly from one to the other when he doesn't feel more than the basest, semi-present interest in sex. He doesn't want their faces with their too soft eyes and their soft voices. He is loath to commit himself to a soft, undulating body of curves and powdery scents. He barely thinks about the pubis, the slit as described in graffiti and shown in porn. He watches it at night on his new laptop, tries to feel something for the shaved and bronzed flesh that parts, pink and wet with a new kind of fluid, the round and slackened hole prepared to be filled with a waxed cock.

It doesn't work.

He finds that, for all that Castiel seems feminine, wide pouting lips and delicate features aside, he had the steeliest eyes Dean had ever seen, and his body had sharpened as he grew, into a thing of angles and protruding bones with pale flesh covering them, rich as cream.

Dean ploughs through files of internet sleaze. He watches women at every possible angle, abandoning the shaved mounds and bleached blonds of conventional soft core pornography for the more exotic, the more erotic. Anything that will strike a nerve cluster in his brain and perk his dick up into arousal. His small solace is that he finds the men, with typically shovel like faces and blemished skin, only present from the waist down, even less attractive than the women.

He finally comes undone when browsing half heartedly for something new, something that will trigger a dormant sex impulse. He clicks links at random and somehow ends up with 'twinks'. And there it is, the soft skin, the delicacy and the keen boyishness that speaks strongly of Castiel. He can see him in the curve of a spine, the puckering of a mouth, he can imagine Castiel...

His cock is a hard weight in his jeans, pained and ridged with engorged veins as blood thunders through his body. He barely holds himself together long enough to open his fly, he comes like a wave of infection – so fucking hot it's almost painful.

After that the flood gates are open, he can't get enough of Castiel. Castiel who rubs against him and pets his sweat damp hair and comes across his stomach with a quiet moan, unable to keep from thrashing and convulsing at the sharpness of the sensations Dean heaps on him. But in every touch the 'I love you' the silent plea for more from him, of Castiel's need to be loved back, catches at Dean like a white hot fish hook to the gut.

One night, as he's getting up from Castiel's bed, semen already consigned to a crumpled tissue, the dark haired boy looks up at him.

"You're dating Anna now?"

Dean struggles with his shirt, or at least, pretends to, so that the cotton blots out Castiel's face.


"You know she hates me." Castiel says as if Dean had no idea. "She's telling everyone that I'm queer." Castiel looks down at his bare knees, draws them up to his chest.

"She's right." Dean points out. Because somehow the understanding has been reached that Dean is straight and Castiel is gay – that this is just a thing they do together, like running or playing tennis. A release of tension.

"She doesn't have to say." Castiel says quietly.

"Do you have a problem with me dating her?" Dean says, more angrily than he'd intended.

Castiel looks at him with his unflinching blue eyes.

"I thought I meant more to you." He says finally, looking down. "That's all."

Dean watches his friend wilt like an orchid in a bucket of water, sodden with misery. He strips off his shirt again and half crawls, half scoots up the bed, naked and slightly chilled.

"Lie back." He says, pushing lightly at Castiel's chest. "And tell me when you're going to come."

They've never done oral before, too intimate, too off putting with what they both know of the consistency and scent of semen. The head of Castiel's prick is already secreting a thin precursor to the thicker, pearly fluid of release, as Dean strokes it carefully to hardness, the shaft and head pinkening and reddening with blood. As he slides it into his mouth he tastes the droplets of fluid, salty and slightly sour, like sea water heavy with iodine or the scent of fish stock. He gets past the taste after a moment, feeling the velvet flesh on his tongue and the slight shift of him as Castiel's hips move uncertainly. Dean can feel the pulse of his friend's blood, feel his own saliva slicking the skin under his lips, dripping down his chin as he bobs experimentally, releasing and reclaiming the length of Castiel in uneven strokes.

Castiel whines and then groans, a curiously adult noise, filthy and wrecked. His fingers clench in Dean's hair, nails raking his scalp, his unsecured hips press up, almost chocking Dean with a mouthful of blood drunk flesh and the salt taste of quickening come. He forces Castiel back down with a hand on the sharp jut of bone, and Castiel cries out, stomach muscles cramping up, legs pulling away on either side of Dean, knees bent as Castiel jerks once and spends, heavily.

Dean chokes on the thick fluid, turning and spitting unceremoniously onto his crumpled T-shirt. It still coats his mouth, like hot, sour wax. He coughs, grimaces and returns his attention to Castiel's bared body, crawling up the bed to drag his naked limbs against his own. He covers them with the comforter and jerks his own surprising erection erratically, coming in a long, hot stripe up Castiel's wriggling back. Castiel makes a small, sated sound as semen paints the ridges of his spine, Dean lays an arm over his waist and falls asleep, cotton-brained head resting between Castiel's shoulder blades.

Dean breaks it off with Anna.

She doesn't take it well, and in addition to proclaiming Castiel's predilection for cock, she turns on Dean, citing their close relationship as evidence of a strange arrangement of fucking and friendship.

She's not wrong. But Dean riles against it as if it's the most heinous lie – because it feels like a lie. He doesn't feel like... one of them, a fag or a queer, it's a slur, an ugly spike of consonants and insinuating vowels.

He feels like...he feels like a bag of blood and skin and bone. A brain with autonomy and a heart with feeling for his brother and his parents, his chest that tenses when he hears his favourite songs at pounding volume, his mind which whirrs over his favourite novels and his body which, when he's around Castiel...

When he's around Castiel he feels it all, and better. He feels like he's had a worrisome pain all day and it's just disappeared, leaving him tired but happy and comfortable. He feels like he wants to rip his skin off, just to get Castiel to touch a little deeper. Like the damp cavern of his mouth is the only place he ever wants to taste, and Castiel's moans are the last things he wants to hear.

He wants and he takes and Castiel lets him.

He gives and Castiel takes what he offers without a word.

He listens to Castiel whisper, 'I love you' against the soft hair at the back of his neck, when Castiel thinks he's asleep.

He says it back, in breath shared and hours spent sleeping beside him. He can't say the words, but he means them, which is better than the other way around.

But he isn't a faggot or a queer. He isn't.

He fucking isn't, ok? He feels like shouting back at Anna, at the people at school who look at him and Castiel together as if they're naked and smeared in telling traces of sweat and come. He wants to whisper it to the mirror in his bathroom, slow and quiet as he snaps the glass into pieces so he can't see his eyes anymore.

Because that's where all the proof of the lie is. The lie he desperately wants to cling to.

That he is exactly what they say he is.

It's the wrong word, an ugly, awful word. But it's descriptive, it's evocative of his mouth against Castiel's trembling stomach, of their dicks sliding together through his fist, of the scent of Vaseline and baby lotion and whatever else he's covered their cocks in, of the first burst of saline on his tongue, the look in Castiel's eyes when Dean lies down next to him.

He's lying if he says he's not a fag – because, cruel as it sounds, he is one. He's gay.

And he thinks he's known since he was nine.

He thinks he's known since Castiel looked up at him and wondered aloud if perhaps 'doing sex' would work properly if he was a girl.

Because, lying naked on top of his friend, their pyjamas cooling on the floor, Dean had thought,

No, it wouldn't.

Maybe that's what love comes from, knowing that it couldn't go better with anyone else.

Dean thinks all of this in the corner of a biology classroom on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. They're being kept inside and Castiel is waiting for him to make his move at pocket chess, which Dean hates but which Castiel insists is good for his brain.

Anna and her friends are staring at them, not just staring daggers, but staring hatchets and crows and wolves. Angry stares that wish him torn to pieces, eaten up and lost under a dark cloud. The rest of the room is otherwise occupied with people who aren't looking at them...but Dean knows that all it will take is a word...maybe four, for Anna to stir them up and get them on her side for the next hour, to manufacture hell in the damp aired classroom.

He turns to Castiel.

"Cas...I love you." He says, as Castiel worries his lip and looks at his bishop. His blue eyes widen and his white teeth drop his lip with a soft sound.

Anna and the other girls stare biliously, nervously uttering insults and disbelief to each other. The rest of the room is captivated now, four words, and Dean has them.

"I love you too." Castiel says softly, disbelievingly.

Eight words, and everything's different.

Castiel leans forwards over the board, slowly, carefully, as if in a dream. Because he has dreamt this, once or twice. Dean mirrors him and kisses him chastely on the mouth. As he pulls away Anna squawks a half hearted epithet.

Someone shushes her.

Gradually the sounds build around them, as people go back to their entertainments.

Dean moves his knight.

Castiel captures it.