Castiel sighed as his key stuck in the lock of the security door. Again. This happened every time he tried to get through the door to his apartment building. He tried turning the key firmly but stopped at the resistance, worried that if he tried to turn the damn thing too fiercely, it would end up broken off in the lock. And that would just be too perfect.
"Key stuck again, huh, Cas?
Castiel's stomach flip-flopped at the sound of that low, smiling voice. For reasons he couldn't quite figure out, his neighbour, Dean, had this uncanny power over him. Dean had the ability to turn Castiel's legs to jelly with a look. He didn't need to say anything. Sometimes, he didn't even need to be present. Just the thought of his lips, curved into a smile, or his shoulders, broad and bare in the basketball top he went running in…
Castiel yanked his wandering imagination back to the present and turned to face the very solid object of his desire.
"Guess this door is taking its job a little too seriously," Dean said meaningfully.
Castiel didn't get it. He tilted his head and furrowed his brow, blue eyes belying his confusion.
"I don't understand that reference," he said.
Dean tried again, "Get it? Cos it's a security door?"
Castiel's looked from the door to Dean's face, saying nothing. Dean flushed a little, nodding awkwardly and lifting his hands, as if the gestures would explain.
Castiel wished he got it. Wished he could say something witty back. Castiel felt a heightened awkwardness around Dean. And when he played their conversations back in his head, Castiel felt like he was watching them in super slow-motion 'awkward action-replay.' Castiel's defence against this was silence. Sometimes he would say nothing, and just look at Dean, trying to understand him. Willing Dean to understand him in return.
Much of the time, Castiel just felt foolish and ridiculously vulnerable around Dean. Like one cold word or dismissive look from him would work on Castiel like a bucket of cold water over the Wicked Witch of the West. Who, a certain musical would have him believe, wasn't really so wicked after all. Just misunderstood.
Castiel usually held his own in other parts of his life, at work, with his overbearing family, so it annoyed the hell out of him that he caved to his hormones when it came to his seriously hot neighbour.
Castiel smiled briefly at Dean, who must have just come from work. Dean worked as a consultant in the city. Castiel always thought Dean must have wielded a lot of power there because he usually went into work in jeans and a t-shirt. But today, Dean was wearing a suit, beautifully fitted and hand-stitched. Castiel didn't know much about clothes but he knew what he liked. The dark grey wool fit so well Dean could hardly have looked better stark naked. His shirt was unbuttoned at the throat, revealing a wedge of golden skin. In his imagination, Castiel followed it all the way down to its logical conclusion. Clamping his lips together to stop from grinning like an idiot, Castiel turned back to the door.
"Do you want me to have a go?" Dean asked from behind him.
'Good god, do I!' Castiel thought, but out loud all he said was "That's ok, almost got it," and thankfully the key turned in the lock.
Castiel pushed the door open, stepping in and holding it open for Dean.
"Thanks," Dean smiled at him and gestured for Castiel to precede him up the stairs to the second floor. Castiel hesitated for a second. The stairs were narrow; they would have to walk up single-file. Dean lifted an eyebrow at him, "If you're not feeling up to it, Cas, I could always carry you up."
Castiel was horrified. He knew Dean was joking, but the idea of his hands on Castiel was frightening.
Castiel cleared his throat, "Even with all those hours at the gym, you couldn't lift me, pretty boy," Castiel was aiming for nonchalance, but he had no idea where the fuck those words had come from.
Dean put a hand over his heart, looking wounded, "Pretty boy? Is that what you think of me?"
Castiel lifted an eyebrow and shrugged his shoulders. He felt bolder now, flirting with Dean a little.
Dean went on, "Unless you have a ton of bricks in that satchel, I would have no trouble hoisting you up over my shoulder and getting you up those stairs. No trouble at all." He lifted one corner of his mouth and glanced at Castiel cheekily from under his lashes. Oh crap. Was Dean actually flirting back? Castiel refused to believe it.
"Very funny," Castiel growled and he gestured for Dean to walk up.
Dean feigned a frown, "Usually I would argue with you until I won, but it's clear you want to check out how pretty this boy is from behind." And with that, Dean walked up the stairs and out of sight.
Dean didn't look back to see if Castiel had followed him up the stairs. In part, he didn't want to look too eager but he also felt like he'd acted like a dick. Out of character for him. He hadn't always acted that way around Castiel. When Dean had first moved in Castiel had stuck his head out of his own door to say hello and let him know about bin night, the temperamental washing machines in the basement and the crazy cat lady on the first floor. They had struck up a friendship based on that and a mutual appreciation of tequila and double-bacon cheeseburgers. They had chatted enough for Dean to ascertain that Castiel worked for an ad agency, had more brothers than you could count on one hand and blushed when admitting that he hadn't been in a relationship for a 'long time.'
They had a very comfortable, neighbourly relationship and Dean liked to think that they counted each other as friends. In fact, the more Dean got to know him, the more Dean wondered how Cas could possibly be single. Cas was a modest guy, but he was funny and wonderfully intelligent. Objectively, Dean could even admit Castiel would be attractive to women. Dean could think of a few who would love to be introduced to a slightly geeky guy with dark tousled hair and piercing blue eyes. When Dean broached the issue of dating, Castiel mumbled something about never really being any good at that sort of thing. He dressed awkwardly and his hair stuck up at angles most of the time. Dean thought that Castiel had given up. That Castiel didn't consider himself attractive enough. Dean had given up hinting that Castiel could snag any woman he wanted. Even though Dean never stopped believing it. Because, to be honest with himself, Dean thought Castiel was beautiful.
And it kind of freaked him out.
It had started about six months ago. Dean had never thought of Castiel as anything but a friend, and he was pretty sure that was how Castiel thought of him. But one night they were hanging out at Dean's, watching Terminator 2 and basking in the afterglow of cheeseburgers, when Dean looked over at Cas, curled up on his couch in jeans and a t-shirt, lips curved into a faint smile at Arnie's stilted attempts to act human and Cas looked beautiful. There was no other word for it. Castiel didn't have an ounce of awareness of how gorgeous he looked.
Dean was suddenly very aware of how soft Castiel's full lips looked and how enticingly his shoulders filled out the worn cotton of his t-shirt. Dean imagined pulling Castiel across the couch and on to his lap. Holding Cas against him, nipples flourishing to buds against his own, his legs pressing against that most intimate spot between Castiel's legs. Castiel's mouth on his. Warm, hungry kisses, Dean's hands on Castiel's arse, pulling him up towards his quickly hardening cock.
Dean swallowed and flicked his gaze back to the television, feeling around nonchalantly for a cushion to rest on his lap. He kept his eyes trained on the television for the rest of Castiel's visit. Dean was mortified at himself for thinking that way about his neighbour, but also struggling not to look at him again. Finally, the movie ended and Castiel got up to leave.
"Thank you for tonight, Dean," he said, rather formally, "but I should go, early start tomorrow."
Dean just smiled and said his goodbye from the couch.