Title: Wickéd – The Zen Tribal Musical
Author: HigherMagic
Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Dean/Michael, Castiel/OMC (non-con), Sam/Gabriel, Ruby/OMCs
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: WIP
character death, child abuse, domestic violence and bullying, total butchery of the arts, cliché, angst, language, musicals, and sexual situations including minors and scenes of incest.
Notes: Dean's songs are all Skillet songs. If you want to know the specific tracks, lemme know and I'll sort them out for you. This may give you images associated with the songs you don't want. Lord knows I'll never be able to sing them in church the same way again. I've made Sam and Dean closer in age to suit the story; Sam's 16, Dean's 17. Gabriel's 17 and Michael's 19, Ruby's 15 and Castiel's 17. Every pairing up there except for Ruby's and Sam/Gabriel is graphically portrayed. Fair warning.
Summary: It's Castiel's senior year. One year before he can finally be free from his violent and abusive father, and he's ready to go through it nice and quiet and leave with as much going for him as he can to get into a good college. That is until 'Zen', the quirky and arguably insane dramatic arts professor, decides he would be perfect to play 'Elfabio', the leading role in 'Wickéd – The Zen Tribal Musical'. The other (very male) lead is Dean Winchester and, despite all of his attempts to avoid it, Castiel finds himself growing attached to the charming junior. Even more so when he finds out that Dean's got some skeletons of his own.


The soft utterance of his name is accompanied by a gentle touch on his shoulder, slim fingers just digging in slightly, and Dean starts awake, blinking open bleary eyes and turning over in his bed. The room is lit well by the light of the waxing gibbous moon outside (or something, Sam had mentioned it but Dean pointedly tunes out Sam when he goes into 'super geek' mode) and Dean can easily see the silhouette of his younger brother's body, bent over his bed, expression set tight into concern.

"What is it, Sam?" Dean murmurs, but is cut off when Sam shushes him, putting a finger to his own mouth. His eyes dart back to his own bed and Dean follows his gaze, to where the sheets are tightly entwined around a small figure. A large halo of raven black hair fans out behind a small face, Ruby's fearful and too-knowing eyes gazing at the two brothers as they stare back at her.

"Rubles was havin' nightmares," Sam says, half apologetic, half explanatory. One shoulder lifts in a half-shrug when the fifteen-year-old girl pulls the blankets around herself even tighter, burrowing her face so that most of her body, apart from her eyes, is hidden, so she can still see and watch. "Can I share with you tonight?"

Dean blinks at his little brother for a moment, to the earnest face mostly hidden by shower-damp brown hair, and then their little sister, still curled up protectively against the cold and her nightmares, and quietly acquiesces, moving to one side on his bed (which is hardly big enough to fit him on anymore, let alone Sam as well) so that Sam can join him under the covers. Sam shoots him a grateful smile, lifting the sheet and thick duvet and burrowing in comfortably into Dean's bed. He immediately steals the better pillow, like he used to when they were little, and Dean smirks softly to himself, affection and amused exasperation welling up in him.

He throws an arm around Sam's waist because that is the only way that they will be able to sleep comfortably, the bed being as small as it is, and he lifts his head to peek at Ruby over Sam's shoulder. "You okay over there, Rubles?"

He can see the girl shift slightly, her thighs curling up to her stomach and there is a rise under the sheets that is her arm wrapping around her shins, protecting her belly, and she nods slightly – just a little twitch of her head. Dean sighs, satisfied with that, and settles back down to let himself drift off again.

It has been a few good months since Ruby had to sneak into Sam and Dean's room because of her nightmares, but it is easy to slip back into the habit of waiting until both his siblings' – Sam's and their adopted sister's – breathing evens out in peaceful, untroubled sleep. He takes comfort in the scent of Sam's shampoo and the light, even snores of his little brother, almost completely asleep when Ruby's small voice drifts over him from the other bed, across the room.


Immediately he is awake again, and he lifts his head to look over at her. "Yeah, sweetheart?"

The girl shifts again, rolling over in Sam's bed to face the window, then back. "I can't sleep."

Dean presses his lips together, before he pushes himself upright with his free hand. Looking at the clock on his nightstand, he sees that it is almost four in the morning, and wonders just how bad Ruby's nightmares had gotten before she had snuck into their room. It makes Dean feel good that she trusts them enough to come to them when she is afraid, but at the same time, he just wishes she would be able to have one good night, sleeping peacefully without any of the nightmares that have plagued her for the two years that she has lived with the Winchesters.

He carefully extricates himself from Sam, which isn't difficult because once his baby brother is out, only an earthquake would wake him, and even then it's touch and go. His bare feet land on the cool hardwood of his floor and he shivers when the night-cool air brushes over his skin, and pulls on a t-shirt because he doesn't want to scare Ruby. Then, he goes over to her bed and sits on the floor beside the bed, leaning back against Sam's nightstand and letting himself take up as little space as possible. Soon enough, the girl's head peaks over the edge of the bed, her fingers curled tightly in her sheets so they stay firmly wrapped around her shoulders, and she watches him with dark brown eyes.

He wants to know what she dreamt about, but he probably knows the answer and doesn't want to make her talk about it if she doesn't want to. It is not his place. "You excited for school next week?" he asks, looking up at her with a small smile – she will be due to start high school with him and Sam in the new year. She is a little young still, but she was born a late baby and she tested higher than the other kids in her class, so was able to move up a grade and join them. It was pretty awesome, and Dean is looking forward to being able to keep an eye on her and protect her while she is at school as well as at home. He feels like he should – anything to make himself a little bit better, to help a little bit more.

She gives a one shouldered shrug, but the corner of her mouth quirks up slightly. "Nervous," she confesses, burying her face into the undoubtedly Sam-scented pillow for a moment, and Dean smiles at her. "I mean…all the other kids…there'll be so many of them and…what if I don't make any friends?"

It almost makes Dean laugh, the idea that anyone wouldn't immediately love Ruby. "Of course you'll make friends," he says reassuringly, reaching a hand up to rest against the side of the mattress, for her to take or leave as she pleases. The girl's eyes zero in on his hand and, after a moment of hesitation, she reaches out and twines her small fingers with his. "Who wouldn't want to be your friend? And if anyone gives you trouble, you let me know, okay?" She grins slightly, blushing, and nods. "I'm serious, Rubles."

The pet name makes her nose wrinkle adorably, Dean's grin widening when he sees the flash of exasperation in her eyes. It was Sam's idea, that nickname, and too adorably geeky for Dean to refuse. Just as Sam is Sammy, Ruby is Rubles and that is the way it is between them.

"I don't know what to do, or where to go or anything," Ruby confesses, blinking down at where their fingers are interlaced and tightening her grip slightly, biting her lower lip. "And I won't see you or Sam all day and…"

"We'll be there for lunch," Dean promises with a smile, cocking his head to one side. "And there are loads of clubs for freshmen which I'm sure you can join." He pauses, smile turning a little sly. "And the school play. You should totally try out."

Ruby blushes harder. "Don't they do musicals?" she mumbles, her other hand coming forward to idly play with Dean's fingers, moving up to drag the pads of her fingers over his palm, her eyes following the flex of his hand and the thin, fragile-feeling veins on the back of his hand, touching the calluses on his fingertips from his guitar before she moves up to his wrist, her fingertips tracing the line of his tendon and the bulge of his vein. "I can't really sing all that well…or act…"

Dean snorts softly in derision. "Ruby, you have a voice like an Angel," he argues, and she smiles a little, eyes flashing to his face to check for sincerity before dipping down and away again, back to where she is watching her fingers trace and memorize his hand – it is something Dean learned quickly that calms her down. She likes being able to touch, to go slowly and memorize every small detail and imperfection on a person's skin, in their bones. He's sure that she will become a doctor or surgeon or something when she grows up.

"Did Cas like the song?" she asks after a long while, Dean just sitting and letting her trace his hand and arm, moving his other hand up when she held out her own, demanding he give it to her, and watching her with an indulgent, affectionate smile.

Dean falters for a moment, long enough for her eyes to meet his. "I don't know yet," he says honestly, shrugging a little and curling his knees up towards his stomach, so he can sit up straight and towards the bed, more closely to her. "He never gets on when it's the weekends anyway." He tries not to let show how much that disappoints him. "'Sides, it'll be, like, eight o'clock on a Monday where he is. Or nine. He'll be at his job or something."

She sighs. "Okay." Then, she lets go of Dean's hands, scooting back a little in the bed. "Will you stay with me?" she asks, her fingers curling back into the sheets where they had fallen around her body, hiding her skinny torso which, despite the heat that Sam's super-thick duvet generates, is still covered with one of Dean's old t-shirts that swamp her slight frame and practically drown her.

Again, Dean hesitates. "I don't want you to be scared when you wake up," he says. He knows if she wakes up next to a practically fully-grown man, it won't help her nightmares any, but she is also like Sam – she likes sharing beds with people, likes the feeling of someone wrapping their arms around her. They are both very physically affectionate and Dean likes being able to provide, but he doesn't want to scare her.

She shakes her head, raven hair falling around her face. "You won't," she insists; "I always know when it's you anyway."

After another moment, Dean sighs, smiling a little, and moves around to the other side of the bed so that he can slide in, though he leaves the sheet under him, only using Sam's duvet as a cover so that there are still barriers between them and she won't feel quite so claustrophobic or…close. She smiles over her shoulder at him, hooking her hair close to her body so he doesn't accidentally lay on it and trap her, and he smiles, petting a hand through her hair and placing a light kiss to her cheek before settling down next to her.

It takes little more than ten minutes for her breathing to even out in a nice, untroubled sleep, and Dean follows on soon after.

Nothing much has been unpacked yet. They've just moved in, after all, and the house is still quiet and full of half-empty boxes littered pretty much everywhere. It is far too much space for just the two of them, him and his father, and it makes him wonder just why they ever needed to move over here, into a house they clearly cannot afford, when they were getting by perfectly fine back home.

But, of course, he kind of knows already, even if he doesn't want to think that his father could be that cruel.

His father is asleep, the man's loud and raucous snores echoing down the otherwise eerily silent house, and Castiel Novak gently closes his father's bedroom door behind him, wincing when even the gentle click seems deafening. It hurts a little to walk and he knows in the morning he is going to be crusting and chafing in unmentionable places, but the sound of the shower will wake his father up, undoubtedly, and he doesn't really feel up for a round two.

"Just a few more months," he whispers to himself, padding on bare feet down to his own room and carefully slipping inside. His room isn't much – there's a bed that should really only be referred to as a cot – there is better living space in prison –, a desk, and a large window that long ago was boarded up so no sun or moonlight could peak through. It is very dark but Castiel knows his room well enough by now to go by feel. Besides, there isn't that much yet to trip up over.

He winces when he heads over to the built-in closet, pretty much the only advantage to this room at all. When his father is at work, he will tear off the boards covering the windows and start trying to put a little bit of cheer and personality into the room, but really he is just counting down the days until he gets to flee this godforsaken hellhole. There is only so long Castiel will put up with this once he turns eighteen, and graduates high school. After that it's free sailin'. He has enough money stored away to buy him a cheap plane ticket out of here and set himself up somewhere for a few months, where he can then hopefully find a job and keep moving on, heading up his undoubtedly long ladder to the top of life. He is not going to end up like his parents, stuck in a one-horse town where everyone knows everyone and nothing is a secret.

It's actually kind of sickening to him.

The closet has a detached, rotten-away floorboard – great, just what they need; termites – and it is a small matter to pull the thing out and reveal a decent sized hole beneath it where the bottom panel had lifted the wardrobe a little off the floor. It is about half a foot deep and two wide, and it is the perfect size for Castiel to stash the laptop and charger that his father doesn't technically know he has. They have a main home computer and the wifi guy is coming tomorrow, so Castiel won't be without his access to his future once they have settled a little more.

Apart from his bed and his laptop hideaway, Castiel has only unpacked one other thing – it is a calendar for this year and the next, two of them he stuck together. May 20th is circled in bright red Sharpie on the second calendar – Lawrence High School graduation. The date that he finally becomes free. He will be eighteen by then, and able to live on his own, and he will fly far, far away from here and never have to deal with his alcoholic father ever again, or have the stench of tequila and sex in his nose, or limp away from a bedroom towards a cold, unwelcoming bed that prison would reject for being inhumane.

He sighs, turning away from the calendar that he'd nailed into the wall beside his wardrobe. Not long now.

He pulls out his laptop, firing it up. It was the quietest model they had but they'd forgotten to mention that the fan's a piece of shit and would need to be replaced within six months – the thing sounds like a fucking jet plane now and Castiel's very aware of the snores in the room down the hall, waiting for them to come to an abrupt end when his father's stupor wears off. His jaw hurts, and he rubs at it absently as the computer loads all his programs, ending with MSN Messenger.

The wifi, of course, is not installed yet, so he cannot get online and let Dean know what he thought of his song. He cannot reach anyone online. So, at a loss of anything else to do (because the dull throbbing of his body won't let him sleep now and he won't risk sneaking downstairs to the painkillers because it might wake his father up) he fires up iTunes, plugs in his headphones, and listens to Dean's newest song again, adding to the notes he'd created and tweaking the improvements he'd suggested to it.

"The girl's new," he mutters to himself, almost absently twirling the excess of the headphones around one finger and chewing on his lower lip. "Where'd you find her, hmm?"

Suddenly Castiel's head snaps up, hearing the floorboards creak just outside his room. He hurriedly closes his laptop, yanking his headphones out and shoves the lot under the wardrobe floorboard, replaces it, and dives into bed again. As soon as he gets in under the covers, still fully clothed, he holds his breath and listens. His father's snores still echo down the hallway, but he isn't used to this house yet and he's not taking a fucking chance with anything.

Castiel sighs, rolling onto his back, and resigns himself to a few more paranoid months before he gets used to the new locale and stops jumping at shadows.

"See you later, mom!" Dean calls, hefting his and Sam's heavy guitars over one shoulder, the other carrying his backpack as he gives his mother a smile into her side-view mirror. She grins back, waving at him, the lights in the back of her car blinking out as she speeds away. Dean shifts, readjusting his grip on the guitar cases, and walks with Ruby into the church.

It's not much – only built for a hundred people, max – but Dean thinks it's the perfect size. He and Sam grew up here and they know practically everyone through either church or school – his mother and father are active members in the congregation, always willing to volunteer extra hands to the Potlucks and charity events that they put on every third Sunday of the month.

Ruby gets the doors for him and he shoots her a grateful smile as they enter the church proper. Sam is already there, along with the other two members of the youth choir – Michael and Gabriel Milton. The three of them are laughing, piles of paper scattered around them and Gabriel seems to have already managed to beat up the drum set enough that the whole thing is a few inches' more spread out than it usually is. Dean smiles more widely, heading down the middle aisle towards the slightly raised platform, where the altar is and off to one side there are two pews for the 'choir'. Well, there had been – the church had them removed once they downsized, making way for Gabriel's drum set and the more modern amps and electric sound system.

"Don't help or anything," he calls out, dumping his backpack on the front pew and grinning at the three other boys as he sets the guitars down with a lot more care, "it's not like they're heavy."

"Gotta get a workout sometime, Dean-o," Gabriel retorts, grinning just as widely. "You're getting heavy, man – need to cut the carbs before Thanksgiving." Then, true to form, he beats at the snare drum and the cymbals, signaling his own joke. Dean rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, I'll get right on that."

Michael snorts, one side of his mouth curling up higher than the other as he looks at his younger brother. "Says the man with a sweet tooth that would kill gluttony itself," he says, his voice low and smooth and echoing over the sound system, since he's leaning on the microphone stand and talking directly into the mic. Dean's eyes flash up towards Michael, a small blush starting on his cheeks when the older boy winks at him.

Dean doesn't hear Gabriel's retort as Sam comes forward, the both of them dragging their respective guitars apart and unzipping the thin fabric casing. Sam's guitar is a plain black electric, one of the most inexpensive for the kind of sound it makes. Sam's not really that much into the music so he'd insisted that their parents not splurge for an instrument for him – Sammy's gonna grow up to be a lawyer or doctor or something, Dean's sure of it.

Dean, though…his instrument is beautiful. It's a Gibson, a Les Paul Gold Top. He'd looked up prices once after his parents had given it to him for his sixteenth birthday – he'd just been playing old dollar-store guitars before then – and the cheapest one he'd found had been well over a thousand dollars. Of course, price doesn't necessarily equate to quality, but in this case it is definitely so. Dean's fingers close around the neck almost reverently, as he hefts the guitar up and slings the strap around his neck and shoulders, letting it settle comfortably on him.

He'd made sure it was tuned before he and Ruby had left the house, but now he plucks over the strings again, making sure that they not only are correct, but match what Sam's own instrument is producing too, and then again with the Clavinova sitting almost completely unplayed in the corner of the church.

Dean turns around, satisfied with the instruments and ready to begin, to find Michael fixing his sky-blue eyes on Ruby. The girl is shifting nervously from foot to foot, fidgeting, her slim, tan fingers curling into her dark hair, and Dean almost instinctively makes a move to stand between them. "You ready?" he asks Michael, the older teen's eyes snapping up to his face. The look almost makes him want to back off immediately, a slow shiver rolling up his spine from the look in the youth's eyes, but then Michael straightens, smiles, showing too many teeth, and breaks gazes from him.

Sam shrugs his own guitar on, seemingly oblivious to the exchange, and then moves to stand behind the second microphone, leaving Dean to the third. Dean reaches over to grab the leads for the two guitars, knowing Michael has already readied his bass, and then sends an encouraging smile to Ruby.

"You wanna go over to the piano, Rubles?" he asks, smiling to the girl he considers to be as much of his family as Sam is, and she blushes, biting her lower lip, and trips over to the piano, her fingers curling nervously into the loose fabric of her hoodie – one of Sam's old ones, given to her.

Gabriel makes a curious sound, the heads of his drum sticks lightly pattering on the snare drum. Dean turns to Michael, still smiling. "Got an idea a few nights ago, was hoping to run it by you," he says, pretending not to notice the way Michael's dark eyes flash between him and Ruby, the teenager's mouth pressed together into a thin, dissatisfied line. Then, he shrugs, lifting a shoulder, and steps back from the mic, gesturing for Dean to begin.

"Feel free to join in, Sammy, I know you know it," he says to his little brother, then nods at Gabriel, letting him know the sentiment is the same, and then towards Michael, though he's fairly certain the older boy won't join in. He had hoped Michael would warm up to Ruby eventually, but he's not disheartened; he just has to try harder.

The part that will become Sam's guitar part, Ruby covers on the Clavinova. Sam likes to do all the fancy crap too when they sing for the services. Sure enough, as Dean starts the main chord progression, Gabriel starts to tap the gentle base rhythm on the drums. Ruby shoots him a soft smile over the top of the Clavinova and Dean grins back, before he starts the second verse of the song;

"I see you walking by, your hair always hiding your face…" He takes a step back, checking that Sam's following; "I wonder why you've been hurting, I wish I had something to say." Sam grins when he gets it, starting on the lower harmony as they both look towards their younger sister. Ruby's biting her lower lip, looking down at the keys so that she doesn't mess up, and Sam and Dean share a smile, and Gabriel starts to take up a more confident rhythm on the guitar, the four of them joining, for a brief second, in Dean's half-formed song.

He looks back towards Michael, those dark blue calculating eyes fixed on Dean's hands, the chords he's playing, before those too-seeing eyes look up to watch Dean's face. For a second, Dean stutters over the words, feeling the weight of Michael's gaze, and then, mercifully, the older teen releases him, finding the base notes on his own instrument and lazily plucking a soft under-melody for the song.

Dean sighs in relief, finishing the part of the song he'd written and letting the rest tail off. "It's still a work in progress," he explains, blushing a little, and Sam grins.

"I like it," he announces.

"Yeah, me too," Gabriel adds, stepping down on the base drum pedal, once. He purses his lips in thought. "It's very…" He trails off, waving his hand vaguely in the air… "Wholesome."

Sam bursts out laughing at that, and even Ruby joins in, a little nervously. "Only you would say that like it's a bad thing," the younger Winchester teases gently, grinning large enough to show dimples, as Dean walks over to the side of the piano and puts a hand on Ruby's shoulder.

"You're doin' good, Rubles," he says, squeezing her shoulder a little, and she nods, blushing and biting her lower lip.

"Michael's not very friendly," she says, fisting her hands in her hoodie pocket nervously as she looks down, her short legs kicking at the bottom of the piano.

Dean chuckles, raising a shoulder in a shrug. "To be honest, he's kind of an ass to everyone, but he'll warm up to you, promise."

Ruby looks up, shocked, her wide eyes on Dean's face. "Dean! You can't swear!" She then lowers her voice, stage whispering earnestly; "We're in a church."

"I'm sure Jesus had his fair share of cusses too, Rubles," Dean replies good-naturedly, but releases her shoulder. "Alright guys, let's say we get the boring crap outta the way and then we can move to the fun stuff?"

"Sounds good," Gabriel says, stretching out his legs as he stands and moves away from the drum kit. "Move over, kiddo." He nudges gently at the still-blushing Ruby, taking up the second half of the piano bench as he sits next to her. "Only problem with hymns," he complains, reaching under the piano and fishing out 'Songs of Faith and Praise, Piano Edition, Volume II', "we're not allowed drums. Just boring piano and synths and a bit of guitar if Father doesn't flip his sh…lid."

Ruby giggles a little when Gabriel quickly covers up his swear, for her sake, and then her eyes are fixed on the piano music when he opens the book, flipping to a seemingly random page. "'Christ be our light?'" she questions, looking over to Sam and Dean who, she's noticed, have gotten their own music stands and are flicking through matching books, these ones for guitar.

Dean shrugs. "Coming up to advent and all that – all the songs will be about the coming of Jesus and his birth and saving us all. Classic gig."

Ruby's family hadn't been religious. At all. But she's been coming to service every Sunday for the past two years since the Winchesters adopted her, saving her from several years in Foster care and other homes. She asks questions and Dean and Sam never hesitate to share aspects of their faith with her, so that she can learn. She's scheduled to take her First Communion in February next year, if her classes keep going well.

The girl nods her understanding, looking back to the music when Gabriel begins to play. Dean gently strums out the guitar chords, following the music with his quickly-darting eyes while Sam picks out a pretty melody over it. They start the song, and yeah, it's pretty, but Ruby sees what Dean meant by 'boring'. It seems almost like a march, like a chant. She understands that it's so that the masses would be able to learn and sing along with the songs, but she has to admit, listening to the boys finish the first verse and move into the chorus, that she likes the original songs that Dean sings to her late at night to lull her back to sleep.

They practice for a good three hours, until Dean's fingers hurt when they press against the strings and his throat is sore from singing, and they finally call it a day and agree to reconvene and practice some more on Thursday. No one says a thing when Dean and Michael stay behind while the rest of them pack up and leave, turning off the sound system on their way out. The figure the two older members of the band have more song lyrics to go over, since Dean and Michael usually write all of their original songs.

Dean's busy fiddling with the zip of his guitar case when Michael comes forward, placing a hand on his shoulder. "You sounded good today, Dean," he murmurs, leaning down so his warm breath skates across Dean's neck, making the younger teen shiver, his fingers tightening on the side and edge of the pew.

"Th-Thanks," he replies, turning his head just slightly so he feels the gentle press of Michael's nose against his cheek, the older teen's vivid eyes half-lidded and watching him like a lazy predator. Michael's fingers tighten in Dean's sensitive neck, making the teen hiss. "So did you."

"Hmm." Michael tilts his head to one side, pressing his lips against Dean's cheek, and the teen's eyes fall closed. "Come with me."

Dean swallows, nodding and follows Michael when the older teen moves away from him, back towards the Annex and then further, into the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The room is small, intimate, made to hold maybe a dozen people at a stretch, and Dean's cheeks burn when he feels the heavy eyes of the large Virgin Mary statue staring down at him from one corner of the room, her Son looking from another, and the giant cross mounted on the wall behind the altar.

There are three pews, made to sit two or three people, on either side, braced against the wall and forming a central aisle, a small altar at the front, and Dean moves under Michael's watchful gaze to stand in front of it, turning around when he senses the taller boy behind him.

Michael's hand comes up, gently raising Dean's chin with his knuckle, his expression carefully neutral. "I don't like it when you bring that girl here, Dean," he murmurs, his other hand brushing up Dean's flank, gentling the sting in his words, and Dean bites his lip, looking away. "She has a demon taint on her."

"Ruby's a good person," Dean argues quietly, but not daring to meet Michael's eyes. His hands reach back, finding the cold, hard edge of the altar, and he braces his hands against it hard enough that his aching fingertips burn on the contact. "She's not evil."

Michael pauses, his hand still gently brushing against Dean's face, lulling him into a sense of peace that he always gets when he steps into the church, into the Chapel here, where they are now – like everything he's feeling is nothing compared to the weight He felt, and Dean's problems and worries are only as big as he lets them be. He flinches, startled, when Michael leans forward and kisses him, soft, warm lips molding against his own.

The older teen steps closer, knowing in where his hands land on Dean's body because this is not their first time doing this – not even close. "I have given you so much, Dean," Michael intones, his voice heavy and full of the voice of God, and Dean shudders again, his heart jumping in fear, "yet you still question me. Why?"

Dean's breath hitches when Michael kisses him again, deeper this time, more urgent and impatient as he presses with his hard athlete's body, trapping Dean between his flesh and the altar. The boy scrambles back, trying to free himself, one arm going around Michael's shoulders, the other still bracing himself against the altar, trying to lift himself up so the pressure is alleviated somewhat, but it's no use – Michael's hand finds his wrist and pushes back so Dean has to fall backwards against the altar, the hard edge digging into his back and eliciting a soft gasp from him.

"I'm sorry," Dean murmurs, his eyes falling closed as Michael kisses him again, drives him back with the press of teeth and tongue and a low, inhuman-sounding snarl. Dean shivers, able to feel the rough burn of electricity as he imagines Michael's power rolling in the room, his Angel's wings arching high in dominance and the wrath of God. "I'm sorry, Michael. Forgive me." The plea is cut off abruptly in a harsh cry, wrenched from a sore throat, as Dean throws his head back, his fingers tightening in Michael's shirt as the older teen weaves a hand between them, palming Dean's sensitive flesh. "Please. Forgive me."

"Hmm." Michael forsakes his mouth, then, listening to the younger boy's breathy gasps and low, bitten-back whimpers in the otherwise silent room, his harsh fingers pulling Dean close to his body and then forcing him down with a hand in his hair. "Kneel for me, Dean," he whispers, smiling in pleasure when the younger boy gracefully sinks to his knees, staring up at Michael with an expression just short of adoration. "You are unclean for once again inviting that taint into your house, for letting it live there."

Dean swallows again, his eyes shining brightly with fear – scared that Michael will cast him aside. Again. He had done so when Dean's family had first adopted Ruby into their home, and Dean had had to spend many hours on his knees in prayer to earn his Angel's love back.

It's worth it to keep Ruby safe and happy.

Michael breaks the silence again with a low moan when Dean takes him into his mouth, the teen sucking him down with the ease of many months' practice. The curl of Dean's tongue and the tight, wet warmth of his mouth earn a low growl from Michael, a clenching of pale fingers in Dean's hair. Dean mewls softly around the flesh in his mouth, his hand circling what he has yet to reach, coaxing his Angel further into experiencing pleasure at his hand – if Dean continues to do this, Michael promises salvation for Ruby, and for himself.

Every touch, every drive of Michael's hips inside of his body, every taste of semen and sweat he gets, he gets a little closer to absolving his family's sins. Dean truly believes this, believes it when Michael tells him this, and so he doesn't fight when Michael's cock, engorged with blood and burning hot inside of Dean's mouth, thrusts a little deeper than he's used to, hitting the back of Dean's throat and then a little further until the younger boy gags, tears welling up in his grass-colored eyes and making them shine even more brightly.

Michael comes with a low groan into Dean's mouth, pulling out almost all of the way until just the head is wrapped in Dean's kiss-swollen, reddened lips. The taste of Michael's seed on his tongue is like a benediction to Dean and he moans quietly, sucking at Michael's cock and milking him for every last drop. Then, the older teen's soft flesh falls from his mouth and Michael pulls him back to his feet.

Dean goes, swaying slightly from the head rush, his body greedily inhaling oxygen so that he can get his heart rate back down to normal. Michael holds him steady as Dean presses his forehead against the older teen's shoulder, his fingers weakly clutching at the teen's loose-fitting shirt as he gets his breath back.

He feels Michael's lips press against his neck, and lifts his head to meet Michael, but the Angel turns him away. "No, Dean," he murmurs, his thumb gently pressing against Dean's jaw so the younger teen's head returns to resting on his shoulder. "Not right now."

Dean makes a soft sound of distress, knowing it's because he still has Michael's taste on his tongue, and works to swallow, to rid himself of it and take Michael's purity into his body, so that the Angel can share more with him. He pulls himself more tightly to Michael, the tension only leaving his shoulders when Michael's arm wraps around his waist, one hand lightly resting at the small of his back.

"Can Ruby stay?" Dean asks, his voice low and hesitant – he knows, even limited as he is, Michael would be able to make life a living hell for not only Dean, but Ruby and Sam too if he decided that he didn't want her around anymore. Especially with Ruby joining them all in school now – Michael has graduated but now works as a part-time Religious Education tutor, part time Phys-Ed, two classes that Ruby will have to take in her first and second year and that Dean won't be able to protect her for.

He hears Michael sigh heavily and leans back, looking up with earnest eyes. "Please, Michael – I'll do anything you ask of me. I won't question anymore, or argue. I just want to show you how good she is." He bites his lower lip, the dull throb enhanced by the pressure of his own teeth for a moment, before he blinks, casting his eyes down and submissively away from Michael's when the older teen stares him down. "Please."

The older teen hums again, his nails digging into Dean's shoulders as he turns him, pushing down on the center of Dean's back so the younger boy goes, bending gracefully over the altar, the edge jutting harshly against his hipbones. Michael's fingers feel like they're burning when they dip under Dean's t- and over-shirt, guitar-calloused fingers skating over bare, warm skin. Dean shivers, reaching forward and wrapping his fingers over the opposite edge of the altar, bracing himself with his legs spread as he bows his head, resting his forehead against the cool cloth covering the altar so that he doesn't have to stare at the cross, and Mary and Jesus gazing back down at him.

"Sing that song you wrote for me," Michael demands, his nimble, knowing touch gradually dipping lower, across the scar on Dean's lower back from where a beam had fallen on him when he was four years old, in a house fire that had almost ripped his mother and little brother from him. "I want to hear you."

Dean gasps, hips jolting, pleasure lighting up inside of his body, warm like the first flow of alcohol or a drag of a cigarette, that Michael would ask him to sing for the Angel – that an Angel, with possibly the most beautiful voice Dean's ever heard, would find pleasure in his song…

"Forgive me now, 'cause I have been…unfaithful…" Dean's breath hitches when Michael shoves his jeans and underwear down, baring his too-warm skin to the relatively cool air in the Chapel. It's so quiet aside from their muted breaths, harsh pants against skin and altar as Michael's fingers retrace the lines of Dean's body that he knows so well, and Dean trembles and bends his body in worship to the Angel. "Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know…"

He gasps again, losing his train of thought when Michael presses one spit-slick finger into him, shoving deep without any warning. Dean's body tightens around the intrusion, his shoulders tensing up, fingers gripping harsh enough for his nails to dig into the cloth and leave small indents behind.

"More, Dean," Michael whispers, pressing teeth into Dean's lower back and eliciting a whine out of the boy, as he shoves deeper with a second finger.

"So many times I've tried, but was unable," a pause, a hitch of breath, a tightening of Dean's velvety inner walls around Michael's fingers, "this heart belongs to you alone." Michael smiles in victory, reaching up to fist his hand in Dean's collar, pulling back and withdrawing his fingers in an almost practiced move. Dean chokes briefly when Michael arches his back, jerks his hips forward and sinks the first slow inch into Dean's tight, burning-hot body. "Now I'm in a…secret place, alone in your embrace…" He cries out, pitching forward again when Michael thrusts, hands scrabbling at the altar cloth and mussing the sheet in his desperate bid for purchase, as Michael's hands land on his hips and he uses the hold to sink more deeply into Dean's willing body. "Where all my wrongs have been erased, you have forgiven."

"Michael -." Dean cries out, body seizing as Michael thrusts a little more deeply, his revived cock sliding deeply into Dean's sensitive body. Michael shudders, still over-sensitive from his recent orgasm, and the tight, needy clench of Dean's body is threatening to send him over the edge again already. "Michael, please -."

"The bridge, Dean," Michael demands harshly, fingers digging more tightly, palming the spurs of Dean's hipbones. "Keep going for me, baby, almost there."

"I…" Dean whimpers, shoulders pulling up tight, hips driving back onto Michael's forward thrusts, needing more of that inside of him, needing more force, to milk the Angel's purity and keep his little sister safe for another couple of days. "I get down on my knees; feel your love wash over me." Michael growls, moving one hand up to his shoulder, pulling him back, making his body arch to the Angel. "T…There will never be another; you're the only one forever. And you know I'm yours alone."

"That's it," Michael whispers, slamming into Dean one more time and stilling as he comes. Dean whines, his body clenching with a flutter around Michael as the older teen empties inside of Dean, but he doesn't come – can't, won't soil such a holy place with his own seed. He will have to wait, until Michael drives him home, and maybe the Angel will let him come in his car, sucking him down between those full, perfect lips and into his wet, warm mouth, or Dean will have to wait for a shower and his own hand to take the edge off. Maybe he'll be forced to walk home. He knows he is not welcome to soil Michael's gift with his own release, and so he breathes, fingers flexing, stretching his body under Michael's hands, and waits for his guardian Angel to finish.

Michael pulls out after several moments with a sigh, and Dean trembles minutely under his touch when he pulls Dean's jeans and underwear back up, fingers sluggish with orgasm refastening Dean's jeans and pulling his shirt back down so he at least looks like a presentable human being.

After Michael tucks himself back in, zipping his jeans back up, he tugs on Dean's shoulder and turns the younger boy around. Dean's eyes are glazed over and unfocused with unsatisfied lust, his muscles trembling and jumping under Michael's hands, and the teen pulls him close, pressing a chaste, light kiss to the corner of Dean's mouth.

"Go home, Dean," Michael whispers, running a hand through Dean's sweat-damp hair. "I shall see you Thursday."

Dean makes it home after he collects himself – his house isn't actually that far from the church, but his mother disapproves of Ruby walking alone and Dean had had to bring both his and Sam's guitars with him. Alone, with his own instrument and backpack, he makes the twenty-minute trek back to his house. The walk has managed to calm his arousal down to a dull, background throb, but the walk had also encouraged the sweat already marring his brow to increase, so he drops his stuff by the door and quickly runs upstairs, claiming the shower as his own for the next few minutes. The water is a little cooler than he'd like it – Sam must have taken the rest of the hot water, the giant girl – but it does the job of getting him clean. He gets off quickly and without ceremony, pushing two fingers into his still-loose hole and feeling Michael's come in there. He closes his eyes, tilting his head back as the water rushes down his body, cleansing him just as surely as Michael had, blessing his family for another few days from Ruby's 'taint'. He doesn't think Ruby is evil – her parents were. That doesn't mean she is.

When he has finished, he shoves at the shower handle until the water stops, the constant 'drip, drip' reminding him to tell Dad that he still needs to fix that, and he quickly towels off. It's late afternoon now. Cas should be online.

He and Dean have been conversing for several months – Dean had uploaded a crappy version of one of his first songs onto Youtube and had piqued the man's attention. At least, Dean assumes he's a man – he keeps talking about recording companies and has a lot of (mostly) helpful criticism for Dean's music, so the teen can only assume he's some kind of record dealer, looking out for new sounds. It's flattering, and the man himself is charming and, hey, it's not like having such a contact could be a bad thing, when and if Dean ever tries to launch himself into the music business for real.

Charming might be a stretch, actually, when Dean thinks about it, dressing in a t-shirt and jeans and firing up his computer. He's actually kind of an ass sometimes, but he's an interesting one. Seems he knows a little bit of something about everything – he introduced Dean to so many things in the short time they've known each other. Dean enjoys talking to him.

Cas is online when Dean signs onto MSN Messenger, and he's already smiling as he types his greeting;

Highway to Hell: Hey, Cas.
CNNetwork: Hello, Dean.
Highway to Hell: You listen to the song yet?
CNNetwork: I have. It's interesting. Who's the girl?
Highway to Hell: Little adopted sister, Ruby. Tryin to get her to come out of her shell and everything and she seemed like the perfect person to sing this song with me and Sam.
CNNetwork: This song is about her? Has to do with her on a personal level?
Highway to Hell: Yeah, essentially.
CNNetwork: Ah. I suppose that explains why she sounded close to tears throughout the entire thing. Her voice was a little weak – perhaps try and encourage her to sing more loudly. She does have a nice voice though – full of potential, I should think.
Highway to Hell: So you like her?
CNNetwork: On some level, yes. Not on others. I understand that it's a personal song, but I really don't hear it, coming from you. Her, yes, she's got a lot of emotion in her voice but that makes her uncontrolled. She should either refine her voice to your level or you should come down to hers.

Dean frowns at that. Like mentioned – Cas is kind of an ass most of the time.

Highway to Hell: You don't think we should sing together? She has an awesome voice – better than mine, at least.
CNNetwork: Clearer, yes. I am merely suggesting that she practice a little more. It sounds too raw and untried for you to have sent me this version. However, the addition of Ruby into the song has given you an original element to it. This is good – I had feared, after your last two, that you were beginning to fall into a pattern. She adds a little…something. With more work this could be a whole new level, Dean. You should be proud.

And Dean's smile widens a little – maybe he is blushing, what does it matter what some random guy on the internet thought of him? Screw it. He sighs, rubbing over his face with one hand, and then types back;

Highway to Hell: So was this some really roundabout way of saying you liked it?
CNNetwork: In so many words? Sure.
Highway to Hell: Eesh, Cas, sometimes I swear you TRY and make me run in circles to figure out what you're saying.
CNNetwork: Without people like me, Dean, people like you would get very bored very quickly. A straightforward talker is only nice when it's to do with sex and business. Everything else is too confrontational, they say.

Dean laughs at that, rolling his eyes though he knows Cas can't see him. They talk about many things after that – Ruby finally coming to school with Sam and Dean, Cas' new move and how they're now in the same time zone – Dean doesn't know where Cas had lived before, but he would go to bed several hours before Dean so Dean assumes he used to live much further East. Cas leaves him with a request that Dean finishes another song within a couple of weeks – Cas wants to hear emotion, now. Ruby's voice has intrigued him and he wants to hear Dean try and achieve that same raw-refined sound. How in the world he's meant to do that, Dean has no idea, but it's Cas, so he's gotta try.

"Castiel!" The teen jumps when he hears his father's loud call echo through the house, accompanied with a door slamming overly violently shut.

"Shit," he mutters, hurriedly swiping his headphones from his ears and unplugging them, muting his computer as he quickly slides off his bed. He closes the lid quickly, ending any more conversation with Dean very abruptly – though it's not something he hasn't needed to do before – and runs over to his wardrobe, yanking out the floorboard and shoving his laptop, charger and headphones underneath it. He can hear his father's heavy footsteps thunking up the stairs, hear his name being called again and again, and he swears once more, shoving the floorboard back into place, closing his wardrobe doors, and straightens up, brushing himself down.

Once he's sure he looks presentable – hoodie up tight against his neck to hide the marks, hair hurriedly combed through with his fingers to make a slightly more presentable look out of his usual unruly, bed-mussed mess, a couple deep breaths taken to calm himself down – he goes to his door, fingers trembling slightly around the door handle, but when he opens the door and steps out into the hall, no fear or dread shows on his face.

He's a better actor than that.

Castiel looks over to the top of the stairs in time for his father to reach the top step. The way their house is angled, he sees the back of the man before his father sees him, and it's enough time to pull his bedroom door fully closed, with a final 'snick', and lean against it.

"Yeah?" he asks when the man turns around. "What d'you need?"

Castiel has time, as his father approaches him, to gauge the man's mood. Castiel inherited his eye color from his mother, the deep, bright blue shining out beneath a fringe of black hair, but he knows when people see him and his father, they see people who are almost twins. Sure, his father is bigger – more muscle on him from working pretty much any and every factory or security job he can get – but they have the same jaw, the same face. Castiel's features are a little more delicate, his stature shorter, his body thinner, but he knows he may very well be looking into a mirror one day and find his father's face staring back at him.

He dreads that day as much as he looks forward to May 20th.

Dark brown eyes watch him as the man approaches, unusually sharp and sober, and Castiel straightens, realizing that he might actually be talking to his dad – not the drunk who knocks on his bedroom door almost every night. He bites his lip, folding his arms across his chest in defense, fingernails digging into the soft, fleecy material of his hoodie.

"School starts in a coupl'a days," his father says, the slur of a Boston accent that Castiel thinks he'll never be rid of in his voice. He cocks his head to one side, staring down the several inches' height difference they have to his son's face. "Wanted to make sure you had everything you needed – if not, I'm about to head out to the stretch so…"

"I have almost everything," Castiel says after a moment's thought, biting his lip again with his eyes flashing downwards. "Um…maybe a new calculator – mine's pretty much busted after Bal got to it." There's a flash of mirth in his eyes, remembering his oldest and pretty much only childhood friend. They'd left Bal behind in the move.

His mild nostalgia passes just as swiftly as it had come, when he looks back up into his father's eyes again, finding a mirroring, fond smile on his face. "Maybe some more pens and stuff too. Just…you know, school stuff."

"School stuff," his father repeats, nodding slightly, lips pursed in thought. Then, he smiles, and reaches forward to gently muss Castiel's hair. The teen smiles at him, shoving him away halfheartedly, and bids his father a safe drive when the man turns back around to go downstairs. As soon as he hears the door close, his smile falls and he takes a deep breath, willing his heart rate to return to normal.

"Too fucking close," he mutters to himself – shouldn't have had the headphones in. He would have heard the piece of shit car coming a mile away if he hadn't been listening to Dean's music. He shoves at his bedroom door with a low, self-frustrated growl, running a hand through his mussed hair. "Don't fuckin' slip up like that again, you hear me?"

He doesn't know who he's talking to, he realizes as he pulls up short in the middle of his small room. He casts his eyes to the window – he has managed, so far, to retrieve the hammer from his father's tool box and undo the nails holding half of the boards on the window. His fingers are sore and reddened from blood, shed when he had tried to yank the boards off by hand and earned himself several splinters in his nails and palms. However, he's managed to loosen them enough that at least some natural light peaks through now, and a few more tugs of the hammer should release the rest. He'll store them all in his wardrobe when he's finished.

At a loss of anything else to do, Castiel unpacks. Four boxes. That's all he has to his name but it's all he needs, plus the small suitcase that he'd packed in case the movers lost their stuff en-route – he's not paranoid, he's prepared.

The first box, when opened, reveals school books and other non-fiction. Castiel's not much for the trips into the fanciful; what point is there in getting invested in the emotions of other characters, when he barely has enough time and patience for real people? Besides, characters seem so…one-dimensional to him at the best of times. The only piece of fiction he owns are copies of texts that he'd had to read for English class, and even then most of them are covered on the inside in his untidy scrawl, black ink pointing and dissecting each individual flaw in plot, character, or logic.

Not to say Castiel lacks imagination or the ability to appreciate a good piece of work. He just doesn't find that work in literature – he prefers music. Music, like art, like words, is mechanical; there are patterns, emotional swells accompanying each different cadence and chord progression. It's all emotional manipulation but Castiel finds a three minute song a damn sight better than a fifty-thousand word novel.

Maybe that's just him, though.

Castiel presses his lips together, sifting through his old textbooks and creating a pile of those he won't need anymore, those that are from last year or the year before. He finds his notebooks – some of them barely touched – and creates another pile with those. There is one, dog-eared and red, right at the bottom of the box, and he pauses over it, his fingers curling just slightly over the edges of the box. He stares at the unoffending little notebook for a moment, the 'five star' logo peering back at him from underneath a mass of scrawl, scratches and dust, before, with shaking fingers, he reaches down and hooks his finger in the spiral spine, and lifts it out.

It's light and thin, many pages ripped out so the original hundred is down to perhaps thirty. He sits back on his heels, staring down at the thing and, after another long moment, puts it in the 'keep' pile. After another second he rearranges the pile so that it's right in the middle, covered but not flattened and stifled.

He'll need it one day.

The second box is full of clothes, which he pulls out and sets into the wardrobe, hanging everything up on thin metal wires because he still doesn't have a set of drawers. His underwear and socks stay in the box and he shoves it into one corner. He thinks, with a bitter kind of smile and a small snort into dust-mote-ridden air, that he may as well get rid of all his underwear because it's not like he's needed them for the past few years.

He knows the humor would fall flat and stale on outside ears, and the knowledge makes him sober up as soon as the box is settled in place. The third is also packed with clothes and books, and he unpacks those the same way.

The fourth one, he leaves unopened. It's not worth it yet.

That evening brings a lot of laughter in the Winchester household – it's Dean's turn to help Mom in the kitchen, and while Dean's not exactly a bad cook, he is a messy one. He's the kind of person to leave things half-finished because he can come back to them later, without any kind of process or time-keeping in mind. Still, the cottage pie and Caesar salad come out quickly and smelling delicious, filling the house with the scent of meat, potatoes and vegetables.

"Food!" he yells up the stairs, carrying out the large bowl of salad to the dining table, his other hand cradling his mother's favorite placemats and cutlery to his chest. He sets the bowl down and lays out the table like his mother always insists on; forks to the left, knives to the right, spoons on top and glasses at the knife-spoon corner – before he heads back into the kitchen to help his mother with the salad dressing and the cottage pie.

Sam comes thundering down the stairs, almost colliding with their father as he emerges out of his study. John laughs, catching Sam by the head and steering him back on course when the teen had been threatening to careen right into the front door.

"Easy now, Sammy," he says, laughing and walking over to Mary, giving her a kiss on the cheek and taking the pie from her hands to set it on the table himself. Sam sticks his tongue out at his father's back before he heads into the kitchen to grab three Cokes, and then takes his place at the table, opposite Ruby, setting the other two drinks down for her and Dean, who sits at his father's right-hand side, opposite his mother.

"It smells so good," he groans, the sound damn near pornographic as Mary, John and Dean take their seats, and there is a laugh shared by the family until they realize that Ruby is not with them.

"She came home with you, didn't she, Sam?" Mary asks, a small wrinkle marring her brow as she looks up and over her youngest son's head, through the large door and towards the staircase as though expecting the little girl to just appear. "Where'd she go?"

"Music room, I think," Sam says, worrying his lower lip in concern and then pushing himself to his feet, mirroring Dean, who had already been getting up. "We'll go find her."

"Hurry up, boys, before it gets cold," John says, opening his can of beer and pouring the glass, and the two nod, mirroring 'Yes, Sir's falling from their mouths as they hurry out of the room and up the stairs.

The music room used to be the attic, and now it is the home base for everything even remotely related to music in the Winchester household – the attic is large, covering the main pair of the house, and renovated to look like a modern loft, with wooden floors and sloping ceilings devoid of cobwebs. John had removed the pull-down stairs and added a staircase at the end of the second floor hall so that things like pianos and guitars and amps wouldn't have to risk the treacherous journey up the ladder and could be carried properly, so that there was less chance of anyone getting injured.

The attic is also completely soundproof.

As soon as Dean opens the door to the music room, the soft click-tap-ring of a piano reaches them, and he smiles as he and Sam walk up the few stairs to the attic. Immediately, as Sam shuts the door behind them, they are enveloped in the warmth of the loft and in Ruby's music, a soft tune being played out by her quick, nimble fingers.

Before Ruby had come to live with them, the piano had been virtually untouched except for the few instances when Gabriel came over – she had, however, immediately fallen in love with their beaten-up straight-back, which is the most hideous color Dean thinks he's ever seen, and had taken up lessons almost immediately. Sam and Dean are no strangers to finding her up here, wringing the prettiest melodies out of the old, weedy-sounding instrument.

She's humming something as well, and looks up when Dean and Sam enter, the soft 'snick' and the creaking of the steps alerting her to their presence, but she doesn't stop playing. "Hey, guys," she says, smiling a little at them, and then turns back to the piano, her right hand reaching out to tap out a high note before coming back to the center for the main melody. "Dinner time already?"

"We were just coming to get you," Sam says, walking over and flopping himself down on the floor next to her, and Dean smirks when he sees that, even with the difference of the piano bench, Sam's head is just about level with the piano. Kid's a fuckin' weed. "What'cha playin'?"

She shrugs. "Just somethin'," she mutters in reply, her fingers stilling on the keys for a second before she removes them, letting them die away with a sigh. "Michael doesn't like me."

Dean shoots a look over her head to Sam, seeing his little brother's brow furrow in concern, and Dean kneels down, crouching on the balls of his feet and bracing one hand against the end of the piano bench, despite the uncomfortable shot of pain it shoots around his ass and thighs. "Why do you think that?" he asks, cocking his head to one side, feigning ignorance.

Ruby gives his look, then rolls her mud-brown eyes. "C'mon, Dean, I'm not an idiot," she mumbles. "He looked like he wanted me to burst into flame or something." She bites her lip, turning back to the piano, fingers nervously tapping on the keys, light enough that no sound is played. "Did I do something wrong? I don't want him to hate me."

"He doesn't hate you," Sam says, quick to take up the slack in the conversation when Dean can only guiltily bite his lip and avert his eyes – he hopes, after today, that Michael will see that he treats Ruby with a little more civility, or Dean will just have to work harder, offer more. He's sure he can do it – anything to make his little sister happy and feel loved. "He just doesn't know how to handle you. I'm pretty sure he's estrogen-deprived." He wrinkles his nose.

Dean snorts at the same time Ruby covers her mouth, stifling a giggle. "What?"

"Well," Sam shrugs, "all he's got is brothers and, I mean, none of them are dating any girls that I know of. And their mother's not really around, or their dad. And Michael's dating you." He gestures to Dean, who blushes slightly and looks to the piano keys. "It's not like he's got a plethora of girls just hanging around. Probably wouldn't know what a vagina was if he fell balls deep -."

"Sam!" Dean leans forward, swatting the back of his brother's head, hard enough to hurt and severely mess up his hair – which would probably be more annoying to Sam, the girl – and grins at the satisfying yelp he receives for it. "Language. Don't let momma hear you talkin' like that."

"I was just sayin'," Sam replies defensively, pouting as he rubs the back of his head, and then gets to his feet. "It'll be okay, Rubles," he says, smiling and holding out his hand for Ruby to take, and she does, rising from the piano and gently resettling the lid over the keys. "He'll warm up to ya, or Dean'll just have to get down on his knees a little more often."

"Sam, I mean it!" Dean growls, half embarrassed, half annoyed at his brother's too-accurate description towards him. Maybe he isn't being as subtle as he'd though about who wears the pants in their relationship. Not that he minds taking it for Michael, because the dude's a badass and well worth Dean's while to bend over for, but it's the principle of the thing – he's meant to be the awesome, kick-ass older brother, not the submissive twink.

They all thunder back downstairs, Dean smiling in victory when his parents look up and see Ruby trailing along behind them. "There you are," Mary says, reaching out to settle a hand through Ruby's hair when her adoptive daughter sits down next to her, the boys reseating themselves in their places.

"Let's eat!" Sam says, rubbing his hands together eagerly and reaching for the large spoon half-dug into the cottage pie, but Mary swats his hand with a look.

"Grace first," she reminds them, and Sam rolls his eyes, settling back with a small huff, but still holds his hands out, taking Ruby's in one and Dean's in the other as the family join their hands around the table. "John," Mary prompts.

They all bow their heads, eyes falling closed as John waits until the family settles. "Dear Lord," he says, voice low and deep as the rest of them fall silent, Mary's and Dean's hands tightening a little around their respective partners as John says Grace. "Thank you for our family, for this lovely meal my wife and son have prepared, and thank you so much for the blessings you have bestowed on each and every one of us. Amen."

"Amen," they chorus, sitting back, and Dean lets out a breath, squeezing his father and brother's hand once before sitting back in his seat.

"Now?" Sam gripes, impatient as always, and Dean laughs, recovering and reaching for Sam's plate, already grabbing the spoon with the other.

"Yeah, yeah, sasquatch, I gotcha," he teases gently, scooping out a hearty portion of pie onto Sam's plate, with an equally large serving of salad to match – Sam actually likes salad, what the hell – before setting his plate down and reaching for Ruby's.

"That house a few doors down from us finally got bought," Mary says as Dean busies himself ladling out servings for everyone and Sam and Ruby tuck into their meals. "The boarded up one that we would have bought if this one hadn't come on the market. You remember, John?"

"Yeah, sweetheart, I do," John replies, nodding and accepting his plate from his son with another small smile. "Thanks, Dean. It smells really good."

Dean flushes in embarrassed pleasure at that, ducking his head. "No problem, Dad."

"Anyway," Mary mutters impatiently, her hand fluttering over John's arm to regain his attention, "some people just bought it. I saw the moving vans yesterday morning. A father and his boy, about your age, Dean, I think. Single father, too, from the looks of it."

Her voice grows sad at that, just for a moment, and John squeezes her hand just softly before she brightens again. "You already plannin' flower baskets and welcome cards?" he teases gently, knowing his wife's penchant for meeting and greeting practically every new neighbor that comes around.

"It's the least we could do," Mary replies a little defensively, though there's a small smile curving her mouth and it makes the children smirk as well, also knowing John's attitude towards going out of the way to welcome new neighbors – they are few and far between, so it's not like it's a constant event or welcome party, but still. "Imagine, just two men in a house like that, without a wife or mother or anyone to keep them company. And the boy coming here without any friends. Must be lonely."

"You have no idea whether there's a woman in there or not," John reminds her, amusement lacing his voice. "I swear, Mary, you're just like a mother hen sometimes."

"You say that like it's a bad thing," she quips, finally picking up her fork and starting to eat.

There are a few moments of silence. "We might see them at church," Dean suggests, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "Might be religious folks an' all that. Or I'm sure Sam, Ruby and me'll see him at school."

"Sam, Ruby and I – ow!" Sam grumbles, rubbing his sore, throbbing arm.

"When school's started, I'll talk right then," Dean snaps to him, smirking a little at Sam's pout, and then, for good measure and because he needs to reaffirm Sam's place as the bratty little brother, he reaches over to muss Sam's hair. That'll put him back into 'big brother' position like nobody's business.

John chuckles, gently nudging his knee to Dean's leg to tell him to stop, and the family goes back to eating for a few more moments. "You looking forward to school, Ruby?" John asks after another second, lifting his napkin to wipe a small piece of pie from his beard.

The girl flushes bright red, as she always does when addressed directly at the table – Dean doesn't think she'll ever get used to actually being talked to. "Um…" She fidgets nervously, biting her lip and digging her nail into the soft fabric napkin. "Yeah. I mean, I am excited. And nervous. And…" She hesitates once again. "I was thinking I'd try out for the school play." Her eyes flash over to Dean's for a moment and he smiles at her. "But only if Dean and Sam will too."

Immediately Dean chuckles, followed quickly by Sam as the younger boy starts coughing on the salad in his mouth, hurriedly lifting his napkin to his mouth to cover the sound while Dean beats at his back – maybe a little too hard, but who's taking notes?

"Um…I don't know," Sam murmurs, face going bright red as he struggles to get his breath back. "I think it's going to be, like, one of the newer ones. Wicked or something. That's a little out of my league." He gestures vaguely above his head.

"How do you know that?" Dean asks, handing Sam his Coke to try and wash down whatever bits of food are still stuck in his throat.

"Heard from Gabe who heard it from Pam," Sam answers, like that puts everything to rest, and it kind of does – Pamela's so far up the Principle's ass that she kind of knows everything about everything going on in the school. And she's Zen's BFF, so she would already know everything and most likely, already know who is going to be cast, since Zen thinks most auditions are kind of bogus and basically, if he picks you, you have to do it.

It has been working pretty well so far. Zen is kind of crazy though.

"I don't know Wicked," Dean says thoughtfully, returning to his food.

Sam gapes at him. "You don't know…?" He shakes his head, eyes wide in disbelief. "How can you not know? 'Defying Gravity'? Like, the Oz as it should have been? The whole story from the witch's point of view?"

"Dude, your gay is showing," Dean snaps, amused at Sam's complete shock over his total lack of knowledge over everything glitzy and musical. Just because he likes taking it up the ass does not mean he knows every Broadway show by heart, or even by name. Sam just glares at him and Dean smirks, counting it as a win, and goes back to eating.

"So, Dean?" Ruby's voice startles him out of his thoughts. "Will you audition with me? You sing really well and, well, you kind of already know the teachers and everything…"

Dean thinks about it for a moment, looking into his sister's hopeful eyes. Then, he smiles. "Sure thing, Rubles," he says, raising his fork in a makeshift toast. "Hell, you're practically a shoe-in for a part. I know Zen'll love you. And maybe I'll get an extra or something." He shrugs.

"You'd be perfect for a munchkin," Sam snickers, laughing harder when Dean elbows him.


"Not everyone can be a Gigantor like you," he mutters.

"Boys," comes Mary's warning voice before Sam can retort, and Dean counts that as a win too, because technically he had the last word. The family returns to eating, more laughter and casual banter shared between them as the conversation steers back to the new family in town, upcoming church functions, and how Dean and Sam's songs are coming along.

Castiel hates it when his father starts early.

The slow, unsteady thud-thud-thudding of his footsteps as he stumble-trips down the hallway. How he keeps managing to not kill himself on the stairs, Castiel will never know. He opens his eyes quickly – he has been a hair-trigger sleeper ever since it became just the two of them, and he sits up in bed, holding his breath while he listens to his father's footsteps coming closer.

It's barely light outside. Maybe he hasn't even gone to bed yet.

Castiel rises, pulling a t-shirt over his head and slipping his pajama pants a little higher on his hips, not that it'll do much good if his father is in that kind of a mood. Usually the morning is just a blowjob. If morning incest is ever usual.

There is another heavy thud when Castiel's father lands against the door, giant hand fumbling with the handle, and Castiel winces when he hears a loud, frustrated growl, before the door finally swings open, his father's heavy body stumbling inside.

He hurries forward to catch him, hands flattening out over his shoulders to steady the man. His eyes are wild, dark brown flashing in alcohol-fueled anger and lust and the man growls, straightening up and fisting a hand in Castiel's hair. The grip is tight and it hurts like a bitch but Castiel forces his face to remain impassive, stares up into his father's eyes with no fear even though his heart is thudding a mile a minute, stuck in his throat.

Then, his father shoves him away. "On your fucking knees, boy," he snaps, thick and clumsy fingers fumbling at his belt and the jean zip and button underneath, and Castiel shivers, eyes closing for the briefest second as he sinks slowly, practiced, graceful, to his knees. The hard, cold floor of his bedroom is like a shock to him when he kneels, but he knows he has to get used to it because this is not going to be quick.

His father rarely is.

"Come on," he demands, brown eyes flashing in malice as he finally gets his cock out, the flesh thick and hard and already drooling precome, and he fists it in a sweat-damp hand, sliding his hand up once to produce more precome and slick his thumb with it, guiding it back down. "Get to it."

"Yes, James," Castiel replies, crawling forward to kneel between his father's legs. At his height, it's perfect for him to lean forward and cradle the flushed, red head of his father's cock in the bow of his lips, and he looks up, knowing his bright, sky-blue eyes are making him look more like his mother through the haze of lust and booze permeating his father's brain.

It is only at times like this when he will stomach saying his father's name.

He opens his mouth, palms flattening over his father's thighs as he takes the head between his lips, tongue curling, cradling the head and flattening over the small bundle of nerves just underneath. Already his father is shuddering, eyes half-lidded, hand moving to Castiel's hair to fist tight enough that it earns a soft whimper from the teenager. Castiel closes his eyes and leans forward to take him deeper.

Just a few more months.

He won't remember this after he passes out and wakes up again. Castiel's father never does – and if he does, it doesn't stop him, so it's not like it changes anything for Castiel. The teen swallows when he gets halfway down his father's cock, feeling the mushroom head hitting the back of his throat, and his father pushes forward, forcing him to swallow past his gag reflex and take him all. It makes a small amount of moisture gather in the corner of Castiel's eyes but he deals with it, blinks it away, nostrils flared to inhale as much air as he can when his throat is clogged.

It's not like he's a stranger to this.

He hums, sealing his lips tight around his father's cock, tongue working to stroke up and down the thick, blood-swollen vein, knowing all the tricks to bring his father to orgasm as quickly as possible. Still, even with all his tricks, his jaw is cramping and his mouth is going dry by the time his father begins to shake with the first dregs of orgasm. Castiel tilts his head, rearing back so just the head is in his mouth, and sucks with all his might.

The first bitter touch of his father's seed on his tongue always gets him. It feels like, maybe, he can pretend until that first drop hits him – then is when he realizes, when it really slams into him hard, that this is his father, that he's sucking his father's cock. It makes it just that much harder to swallow.

Honestly, he kind of prefers when his father fucks him. At least he doesn't have to look the bastard in the face, knows his father can't see his. His fingers tighten in his father's thighs, holding the man up while he empties himself into Castiel's mouth with a low groan, the tugs in his hair matching the rhythm of the squirts in his mouth until his head is aching and it hurts to swallow any more.

Finally, his father pulls away and Castiel collapses onto his hands and knees with a gasp. "Good boy," he growls, leaning down and cupping Castiel's chin, tight enough to force him up onto his knees again. His father smirks, petting down the side of Castiel's face. "Even better than your mother did it."

It makes the teenager want to spit the lingering semen still sitting, heady and rancid, in the back of his throat, but he swallows and forces himself not to rise, not to respond to his father's blatant goading. It makes the smirk on the older man's face grow wider. "Like mother, like son, I suppose."

He's calling Castiel a whore – him and his mother. Castiel knows this, in the back of his mind, and he knows that this man wants to see the words hurt. They don't – not really. It's more about survival, of course, than anything else, but Castiel is a good actor. His eyes flash brightly with the tears and he takes in a deep breath, averting his eyes, ducking his head down and away so that the tight clench of his father's fingers dig into his jowls painfully hard.

The man chuckles and lets him go. "That's better," he says, before he stands upright and leaves Castiel to remain kneeling. His knees ache from the wooden floor and, when Castiel digs his nails into the slight grooves between the laminates, he can peel back a few splinters and knows if he's not careful he could get them embedded in his palms or his sensitive feet when he wakes up one morning, if he doesn't mind his step or take care of the problem.

It occurs to Castiel, then, that they are still in his room, and he closes his eyes, shoulders slumping in defeat. "Damn it," he whispers, wiping at his mouth with the back of his forearm and pushing himself to his feet. His father is standing in the middle of the room, looking towards the half-boarded window, and Castiel thanks his own logic that he left his computer in the wardrobe cubby hole, 'cause who knows what would happen should his father find it?

The floorboards creak when the man takes a step forward, his body still swaying in a drunken stupor and made worse by his orgasm, and Castiel turns around, rolling so that he's sitting, leaning back so his splinter-marred fingernails dig into the crappy laminate flooring, and he watches with baited breath as his father approaches his half-unboarded window, brow furrowed and eyes dilated against the bright mid-afternoon sunlight.

Castiel jumps, startled, when the doorbell rings, just then. The sound is loud and raucous, the thing obviously unused to being pressed, and he bites his lip, shoulders tense when his father whirls around and walks unsteadily out of his bedroom. Castiel pushes himself to his feet and hurries along behind.

It's around eleven in the morning right now, he notices as he passes the one nice piece of furniture they own – a large grandfather clock that sits at the opposite end of the hall from his father's bedroom. He guesses it had taken a couple of hours to get his father to come, and he swallows – he's losing his edge. Used to be able to make the bastard pass out in less than twenty minutes.

"You get it," his father says, disregarding the stairs entirely and waving a disgusted hand in the front door's direction. "I'm going to sleep."

Yeah, you do that, Castiel thinks with no small amount of venom, as he does an about-face and hurries to his room, swapping his pajama pants for jeans and sliding a too-large hoodie over his head. A quick glance at himself in the bathroom mirror shows that, aside from the bags under his eyes and his sex-mussed hair, he looks fairly presentable, and it's not like they'll draw any conclusions from that alone.

Hell, knowing his luck, it'll just be the cable guy or something.

He runs downstairs, not wanting the bell to ring a second time and wake his father up, and hurries to the door.

Castiel stops outside the door, seeing two vague silhouettes on the other side, and takes a moment to compose himself. Then, his hand reaches forward, fingers curling loosely around the cheap plastic doorknob, and he opens the door, and his gaze locks with the most intense, vivid pair of green eyes he thinks he's ever seen in his life.

The boy – Castiel calls him a boy because there is a youth and innocence and prettiness about his features that can't lend him to anything else – is slightly taller than him, hair that is more dirty than blonde cropped short to his head except for the top, where it has been gelled into a scruffy, just-rolled-out-of-being-fucked kind of look. He has strong, striking features, his lips full and just pink enough to look like he's been kissed recently without making him appear too feminine. His shoulders are broad, his waist narrow, and the bare skin of his arms is stretched tight over just the right amount of muscle. Castiel lets his gaze travel downwards, to the jeans slung low on his hips and baring just the tiniest bit of skin and a happy trail between the jeans and the kid's black wife beater, to where his jeans are clinging to the slightly outward curve of his bowlegs.

He swallows, his mouth suddenly gone dry when his eyes travel up, back to the kid's face, to find that he's blushing a little now, a light, pretty stain on the rise of his cheekbones, and dipping his eyes submissively, coyly, white teeth sinking into the full flesh of his lower lip.

Ah, Castiel thinks, cocking his head to one side; that's why it's so red.

It's then that his attention is drawn by the woman standing at the boy's side. He assumes that she's the boy's mother, simply because they share the same feminine, innocent prettiness. Her blonde hair falls in soft, almost fake-looking waves behind her shoulders, though Castiel thinks that from the way her eyes crinkle with crow's feet at the corners and there's a touch of grey in her hair now, she probably wouldn't waste time in such a beauty ritual as that. There's a natural, contented age about her – something that puts him at ease, makes him open the door a little wider, rest his weight on one foot instead of the balls of both, ready to bolt.

"Hello, there," she says, in the voice of all mothers when confronted with new children. Castiel's eyes drift down to her hands – she's carrying a large basket of what looks like blueberry muffins, and unbidden Castiel licks his lips, realizing he hadn't eaten much of anything in the past day or so – Dad kept forgetting to go grocery shopping. "My name's Mary, and this is my son, Dean – we're a few doors' down from you and we wanted to be the first to bid you welcome to the neighborhood."

He takes the proffered baked goods, still a little stunned, and looks up at Mary, then Dean. He should probably say something. "Thanks," he settles on, because it's polite and pretty much all he can think to say at that moment.

"Is your father home?" Mary asks, her brow furrowed very slightly in concern, as though a teenager Castiel's age shouldn't be left home alone. Even as she speaks, a slender, pale hand comes out to rest on Dean's shoulder as she peers into the house over Castiel's shoulder. "We were hoping to invite you both over to dinner tonight."

Castiel coughs slightly, the snarky reply on the tip of his tongue, but he swallows it back – she's just trying to be nice. "He's sleeping," he says, truthfully. "Jetlag."

Which, again, isn't necessarily a lie. It's probably why his father started so early this morning. Castiel's throat hurts, and he swallows, rubbing slightly. Mary's eyes, naturally, zero in on the movement.

"Are you feeling alright?" she asks, immediately reaching forward and pressing the back of her hand against Castiel's forehead. "You don't seem to have a fever…come on, let's get inside and I'll make some soup." Without waiting for Castiel's permission, she takes the muffin basket from his hands and shoulders her way in, kitten heels clacking on the laminate floor as she heads towards the kitchen. Castiel watches her go, more bemused than anything else – he supposes she might just be that kind of woman.

"Don't mind my mom," Dean says suddenly, drawing Castiel's attention again, and Christ, the boy is beautiful. He finds himself thinking of the other Dean he knows – the one with the skill at guitar and a voice that just…reaches Castiel, somehow. He could spend forever listening to Dean's music, sometimes.

The boy gives a one-shouldered shrug, and then cocks his head to one side. "Can I come in?" he asks, at least showing more courtesy than his mother, and Castiel ducks his head, standing back from the door and pulling it further open so that Dean can enter. "Thanks." He comes in, looking around the rather unimpressive and still depressingly bare foyer, and gives a low whistle. "S'bigger than our house."

"Not like we need the space," Castiel replies, closing the door gently behind him but making no move to go into the kitchen. Dean's still standing pretty close, and he smells like…like many things. The smell of leather and car and oil – a distinct kind of ruggedness that makes Castiel wonder just what Dean does in his spare time, makes him wonder if Dean has a job – maybe a mechanic, there's a fuckton of those around – and if he likes cars or if he's just doing it for the extra money. He wonders if Dean can sing, what he sounds like when he screams…

He coughs, cutting his own thoughts off, and carefully controls his blush when Dean turns back to look at him. There's a refreshing kind of affection and innocence in the boy's eyes, something Castiel knows he lost from his own a long time ago. Strange though it is, it makes him hate Dean, just a little – he clearly has a caring mother and must come from a loving home, and Castiel hates him; his gut burns with jealousy.

"What's your name?" Dean asks after a moment, where they just stare at each with only Mary's gentle humming from the kitchen to break the silence.

Castiel licks his lips, his arms folding across his chest, and he digs his nails into the bare skin of his arms. "James," he says, even though the name tastes like bile on his tongue – he doesn't want this kid – this perfect, happy boy – to know his real name. Only certain people get to know it anyway.

Dean blinks, accepting it. "Can I call you Jimmy?"

"Why would you call me Jimmy?" Castiel retorts with a small frown, voice a little tighter than he'd meant it to be. His nails dig a little deeper into his skin.

Dean just shrugs, the naïve bastard. "I give all my friends nicknames," he says by way of explanation, and the fact that he can just presume to include Castiel in his circle of friends kind of annoys the older teen – he'd been willing to accept Mary's pushiness because she was a mother and it was understandable, but in a teenage boy it's downright intolerable and Castiel does not like it.

"You think I want or need your friendship?" Castiel snaps, not raising his voice but putting enough venom in it that Dean pauses.

However, surprising Castiel, it doesn't seem to phase the teen all that much; he shoots Castiel a heart-warming, adorable smile, and against his will Castiel finds his flash of anger cooling down already in the force of that smile; "Look, man, if I don't give you a nickname first, someone else will. You might end up with something like 'J-dawg' or 'Jee-dizzle' or something. Jimmy, I think, is a fair compromise."

Castiel blinks. Dean's trying to win him over. Trying to placate a perfectly irrational outburst on Castiel's part when he technically hasn't done anything wrong.

No one is that nice.

"Jimmy will do," he concedes, earning the brightest smile he thinks he's ever seen from anyone in his life, and the way it makes Dean's eyes glow with warmth, dimples standing out in his cheeks and small crinkles just starting around his eyes…it's adorable. It's so fucking innocent.

Castiel kind of wants to punch him as much as he wants to smile back.

"Boys! Come on in!" Mary calls, as though she was in her own home and Castiel was the visitor. It makes the teen feel a little off balance, more of a stranger in his own home than he feels already, and he tightens the clutch of his own arms across his chest, nails digging in slightly more, shoulders hunched, as he follows Dean towards his mother.

The kitchen smells amazing, the scent of fresh potato and lentil soup filling the air and Castiel greedily inhales. He hasn't had a good home cooked meal since the move – he hasn't quite figured out how the temperamental electric stove works, and his father, when he doesn't drink his calories, usually eats at the job or gets take-out.

"So, you joining Lawrence High this year?" Dean asks, taking a spot at one of the bar stools framing the kitchen island and waiting patiently while Mary ladles a hearty serving of soup into a bowl – Castiel has no idea where she got the ingredients from or how she managed to find the dishes and silverware so quickly, and he's not sure what to make of the fact that Mary and Dean seem so comfortable just insinuating themselves so casually into someone's home – maybe that's just Kansas lifestyle here.

Castiel presses his lips together and takes another bar stool, two down from Dean so he's not sitting right next to the attractive teenager, and can still see the door and the other two occupants of the room from his spot. "Yeah," he says, eyes moving to his own bowl when Mary puts one in front of him, and he sends her a grateful smile, because the food does smell pretty fucking fantastic and he's not going to complain, really, if it ends up tasting as good as it smells. "First day's tomorrow, right?"

Dean nods, rolling his eyes a little as he shovels the first spoonful of soup into his mouth. "Yeah. Man, I don't think I can get used to getting up before the clock hits double digits. 'S just not right."

Despite himself, Castiel finds a small smile coming to his face. He distracts himself by spooning a small amount of soup onto his soup and taking a sip of it. It tastes salty, sharp, and very good. He gives an appreciative sound. "This is excellent," he says, feeling a little off-balance again – he doesn't want to address Mary by her first name because that's rude, but then again, he doesn't know her last. "Mrs…?" He trails off, letting her fill in the blanks.

"Please," she says, smiling and putting a hand to her chest, "just call me Mary. It's very nice to meet you…?" Castiel finds himself smiling a little more when she uses his same trick, and instead looks down to take another bite of soup.

"James. Jimmy. Whichever," Dean supplies for him with a one-shouldered shrug.

"Well, James, Jimmy, or Whichever," Mary says with a smile, "I was hoping your father and you would be willing to grace us with your company tonight. It's a potluck at the church and it's a great way to meet the community when you're new in town."

Castiel tenses a little, looking up. "My family's not religious," he says shortly, pressing his lips together.

Mary just blinks at him before she shrugs. "You don't have to be religious to belong somewhere," is all she says with the same one-shouldered shrug Dean has – he must have picked it up from her – before she absently stirs what remains of the soup and then turns off the stove. "I'm going to put this in some Tupperware for your father and he can have some, too."

"Thank you," Castiel says, making a move to get off the bar stool, "but I can do it. You sit." He doesn't feel like she should nanny him, or go more out of her way than she already has – reaching out and feeding him, he feels very much like an ungrateful homeless person or something.

But she swats his hands away with her free hand. "Nonsense, Jimmy, you just sit down with Dean, here, and I'll sort this out. Don't want your soup getting cold."

Before Castiel reminds her that there are such things as microwaves and, despite his apparent uselessness with the stove, he at least knows how to work that, but Mary turns away from him, somehow managing to pick the precise cupboard where the Tupperware had been unpacked into, and starts humming a song under her breath. Castiel vaguely recognizes it.

"Anyway," Dean's voice comes, snapping Castiel out of his thoughts and turning his attention back to the younger teen, "I was gonna ask if you wanted a ride."

"A…ride?" Castiel repeats, cocking his head to one side.

He can't help smirking a little when Dean immediately blushes, the already light stain on his cheeks turning darker and taking up more of his face, as he smiles a little and ducks his head down. Some of his fringe falls into his face and he bites his lower lip, looking so fucking adorable that Castiel can't help but think that he would look great in a twink porn shooting or something – because Castiel is at that stage in life where a lot of things come back to porn.

"I meant a lift. To school, you know…It's a ways away and when it gets winter here it's pretty cold so…" He's blushing harder, fidgeting under Castiel's unblinking gaze and, for a moment, Castiel lets himself have this – have the little power thrill of someone getting so flustered because of him, before he chuckles and looks away.

"Thank you for the offer, Dean," he says, taking another bite of soup. It really is good – he'll have to ask Mary for the recipe. "It's very kind of you."

Dean can hear the rejection in his words, surely, and the teen frowns a little, before shrugging his shoulders. "Gotta help the environment and all that jazz," he says. "I'm already driving my little brother and sister to the same place so thought I'd offer."

It's cute, how aloof he's pretending to be, and Castiel perks up at the mention of other passengers in the car besides himself – he's always been a little wary of cars, never quite trusted anyone controlling whether he lives or dies like that in such an accident-magnet. He sighs, and relents, because the walk would take him maybe forty-five minutes on a good day and he has no idea what Kansas weather turns into in the winter-time. "Sure, Dean, I'd appreciate a lift."

Dean blushes again, but his smile makes Castiel smile back, so he figures that the comment is okay. Castiel finds himself relaxing, just a little – he hasn't felt this, well, safe since they were back in Boston and he'd had Bal by his side. Even with his father snoring upstairs, Castiel feels…pretty damn good, all things considered. The soup had managed to soothe his throat and he feels a lot better with the warm food filling up his belly.

He thinks, maybe, barring any unforeseen circumstances, he might go to this 'potluck'. Meet the neighbors.

Get a feel for the place where he's going to be spending his last few months of Hell.

"Hey, Dean! That new song was great – one of yours?"

Dean turns around, a wide grin spreading out on his face when he sees Jo, and embraces her in a tight hug. "Yeah, Ruby and I wrote it together. You liked it?" he asks, smiling and walking over with her to the large table heavily laden with giant piles of food – a potluck is held once a month by the church community and, religious or not, practically everyone has made it to at least one. They feed an army all by themselves and have enough leftovers to donate a week's worth to the various homeless shelters and soup kitchens around.

"It was so emotional, I loved it," she replies, smiling and tossing some of her blonde hair away from her face as she reaches forward to grab a large spoonful of mashed potatoes, dumping it onto her plate. Dean grins when some of her hair falls forward anyway – she's got more mane than a lion – and he pushes it back for her to avoid it trailing through the gravy in front of the potatoes. She shoots him a grateful smile and then proceeds to cover the potatoes in the gravy, licking her thumb when some spills over. "I think it's great that she can…talk about stuff like that, to you guys."

Dean's smile softens, sobering up as he gives a slight nod. "When I found out about the kind of stuff she'd been through…I mean, I'm amazed she is as happy as she is, that she pulled through." He takes a deep breath, distracting himself with slices of honey-roast ham. "She's very strong."

"Your whole family is," Jo replies just as softly, her eyes large and warm as she looks at Dean's face. The teen gives a one-shouldered shrug.

"I guess." He clears his throat, straightening up and making room for more people to get at the food, and Jo follows him to one of the small, comfortable, well-worn green couches in the room. He sits on the larger cushion while she perches on the arm, smiling down at him and playing with her food with her fork. "I'm just glad she sang it with me. Meant more, I think."

"Fit the sermon today really well, too," Jo adds, nodding. "About redemption and support and stuff."

"Yeah." Dean swallows, feeling a small pang of something lie regret in his chest – he knows that the teen hadn't shown any interest in joining them for church, but he kind of wishes that Jimmy and his father had given the place a chance. He can't fight the feeling that Jimmy needs support and friendship as well – his friends would say that's the Mary in him talking, but he can't help it; he sees an injured or closed-off soul and he just wants to help.

Out of the crowd emerges Ruby and Sam, and the girl smiles a little, blushing as she takes her seat at Dean's side, flattening herself to his flank with her own pile of food and Sam sprawls, all gangly-limbed and weedy, over the other cushion. His plate's full of salad and bread and Dean wrinkles his nose, rolling his eyes with a snort.

"Sammy, if you don't start eating real food I'm gonna start force-feedin' it to ya while you sleep," he teases, reaching across Ruby's shoulders to flick his younger brother's shaggy head.

Sam makes an indignant sound, his retort cut off by the fact that his mouth is still full of salad, and settles for glaring instead, back at Dean. Ruby giggles, curling her legs up to her chest and continues to eat, shoveling a forkful of ham into her mouth. Dean smiles, feeling proud that Ruby is taking after his carnivore side and not Sam's weird rabbit food fetish.

He's distracted by Jo giving a low wolf whistle. "Look alive, Winchester, there's new meat," she says with a sly kind of smile, and Dean looks up at her, wondering what she could be talking about – and to remind her that she better not let her momma be sayin' that sort of thing – before his eyes follow her line of sight, and he takes in a short, sharp breath.

Dean had thought that perhaps it was just the fact that Jimmy was a fresh face that had made him so attractive to Dean. Looking at him now, though, there's no doubt that he's an attractive man – and he is a man. He's got that kind of look about him, like he's been around the world and seen everything there is to see.

His eyes are the brightest, purest blue Dean thinks he has ever seen, and when coupled with his jet black hair and pale skin, he looks more exotic than any of the other 'brown eyes blonde hair green eyes brown hair' combos that are in this town so far. He's shorter than Dean and slender, built like a runner more than any contact-sport athlete, or the kind of guy that stays in front of his computer all day and maybe gets all his exercise just from running away from bullies.

Except Dean doubts Jimmy's ever had a problem with that. He has a kind of 'No Shit' attitude about him that gets beaten out of you when you've got bullies on your back. Dean watches as the teenager enters through the small swinging door to the Pavilion, dark blue eyes casting around in a calm, short sort of survey of the room, like he's marking all the exits, taking note of all the faces. Dean tenses up a little when those too-blue eyes land on him, change in recognition, and Jimmy gives a short, sharp nod in his direction. It seems like he stares at Dean for a long time, giving that same kind of soul-deep once-over that Dean has come to expect even though he's only met the teenager one other time, and Dean shivers when those eyes drop from him, moving on towards the rest of the room.

Jo, of course, catches it. "Ooh, Dean, you interested in the boy next door?" she teases gently, resting her hand on Dean's hair and ruffling it slightly.

"Easy on the merchandise," he snaps, batting her hands away. Sam and Ruby, though, catch her words, and follow to where the two were staring, to where Jimmy has been joined by his father. Their eyes widen.

"That's the new neighbor?" Sam asks.

"He's the spitting image, isn't he?" Ruby notes, and Dean can't help but nod.

Jimmy and his father look the same. Like, almost clones of each other, with the same dark hair and pale skin and general build, though his father's a little taller, a little bigger and more muscled and, of course, older, though it's hard to tell from this far away how much older he is. The older man's eyes, though, are not the same bright blue as his son's, and Dean finds himself wondering for the first time just where Jimmy's mother is, and what she might have looked like.

"He lives down the road from you guys?" Jo asks, looking back towards Sam, who nods. She gives another low whistle. "Damn. I'm jealous," she says, pouting a little.

Dean chuckles at her. "Easy, sweetheart, you don't even know his name," he says, tugging on a strand of her hair and she huffs, getting to her feet and hands her empty plate to Dean, who takes it.

"Whatever. He's probably more your type anyway," she says with a shrug, "all broody and shit." Dean laughs, rolling his eyes at Jo, and moves to stand so that she can have his place when he throws away the paper plates, which he is pretty damn sure was her intention anyway – and sure enough she slides right into her spot when he gets out of the way – "Seriously, Dean, you should hit that. I saw the way he looked at you."

"You're imaginin' things," Dean says with another roll of his eyes, though he can't stop the blush rising on his cheeks. "'Sides, I'm with Michael, Jo, you know that."

Jo gives a snort, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, but the sooner you guys go off again the sooner you can get on pretty-blue-eyes over there," she points out with an arched eyebrow, making Dean blush a little more. There's a pause. "Oh, shit."

Dean turns around, his eyes immediately going over to where Jimmy and his father are because he knows, instinctively, that Jo is still talking about them. His eyes widen when, speak of the Devil, he sees Michael talking to Jimmy. Jimmy and Michael, alone, because Jimmy's father has gone off somewhere and Michael isn't exactly friendly at the best of times.

Jo suddenly stands, taking the plates from Dean. "Go," she urges, nudging him with her elbow, "play White Knight."

Castiel tenses up when he feels the sharp, light blue eyes land on him, coming from a teenager, taller and older than him, from the other side of the room. He's surrounded by a group of people who kind of look like him – a shorter teen with the same honey-blonde hair, a taller one with the same bright blue eyes. A family.

He sees the middle one, the oldest, he guesses, from the way the others look up to him, give a shake of his head, lips curling up in a light sneer, before possibly the fakest, most plastic smile is plastered across his face and he's walking over to Castiel and his father.

"Heads up," Castiel warns his father, turning slightly away from the older man to address the approaching teenager.

He matches the fake curl of lips with one of his own when the teen stops in front of them. "Hey there, you must be the new family in town," he says, cocking his head to one side and holding his hand out to shake. Castiel's father obliges and the teen lets his hand drop without even acknowledging Castiel. "My name's Michael Santos – my dad's one of the ministers here."

"Nice to meet you, Michael," Castiel's father says, nodding once in greeting. He digs his fingers into his front pockets and Castiel ducks his head too, feeling his father's reticence himself – he's suddenly very glad that he didn't try and go off on his own. Already he feels like he wants to punch Michael.

There's a reassuring hand on his shoulder – a sober hand, not meant to hurt or demean – and it gives a soft squeeze. "I'm gonna go grab some food and mingle a bit," Castiel father says, pressing his lips together, and the teen nods. Michael's light, sky-blue eyes feel like a predator's on their faces. "You go…socialize, Cas, I'll be back."

"'Cas'?" Michael asks, his lips curling up slightly in a smirk when Castiel's father retreats, leaving the two teens in relative solitude, and Castiel raises his chin, defiant, and answers with a smirk of his own.

"Middle name," he says, eyes flashing. "Slavic. From Casimir. The destroyer." He sticks his hand out sharply, ready to shake. "James," he says.

Michael's smile becomes oily. "Nice to meet you," he says, shaking Castiel's hand a little too hard. "So, Cas," he says with a bite to his voice, and Castiel just feels his false smile grow wider, "where's your mother? Got any siblings?"

"I'm a bastard child, Michael," Castiel replies strongly – he has no illusions about either of his parents; they were young, and stupid, but his mother was smart enough to get out of dodge before his father could propose and make the whole damn thing legal. Castiel doesn't hate her for leaving him behind – if that is what she did, his father doesn't really talk about it – he would have probably done the same thing. A baby slows down a young single woman with no steady income and nowhere to go. "And no, but I see there's quite a Santos clan over there." He jerks his head, eyes flashing briefly to the other teenagers, who seems to have formed a group with three other teenagers on an ugly green couch – the one Dean had previously been sitting on. He's nowhere to be found.

Michael's smile turns genuine, just for a second, full of pride when he looks back over towards his brothers, before his gaze turns back to Castiel and his entire expression goes oily again. "My little brothers, Gabriel and Lucifer."

Castiel raises a brow at the names. "Angels," he says, shifting his weight to one foot as he crosses his arms over his chest, nails biting into the soft fabric of his hoodie, and Michael nods, smirking a little to himself.

"Archangels," he corrects.

"Before one of them fell," Castiel says, cocking his head to one side, "Lucifer was called Sammael. If you want to go by Jewish tradition. Although…" He trails off, cocking his head the other way. "Jews have no concept of the Devil, I believe."

Michael's eyes flashed. "We're not Jewish," is all he says in reply, shrugging slightly, and Castiel just smiles at him. "Didn't see you in church today," he says, changing the subject.

"Oh, my family's not religious," Castiel says with a quirk of his lips. "Obviously."

"Obviously," Michael repeats, nodding to himself.

There is another very long, very awkward pause, both teens just staring each other down – Castiel isn't quite sure why, but Michael is very hostile towards him. Granted, it could just be that Castiel's feel the hostility right back so no big, but it seems like it comes down to more than just a religious predisposition or sense of superiority.

The answer comes when they're interrupted.

"Hey, guys," Dean says, coming up behind Michael and putting a hand on the older teen's shoulders, pushing him back slightly and breaking the staring match between the two. He smiles over at Castiel, situating himself between the two teens equally, obviously not trying to show some kind of loyalty towards either of them. Castiel finds his efforts endearing. "Thought you weren't gonna show up, man, s'good to see you again."

"Dean," Castiel concedes, a little surprised when Dean chooses to wrap him up into a casual one-armed hug, that ends almost as quickly as it had began but still manages to give Castiel that off-balance thing again. He supposes he should get used to that from Dean. "Well, your mother mentioned all the food and, well." He shrugs, smiling slightly.

Dean laughs. "Yeah, there's enough to feed an army so…" He trails off, looking between Michael and Castiel. He looks like he's trying a little too hard to be light about the conversation. "What're you guys talkin' about?"

"Just getting to know each other," Michael replies, voice smooth enough to remind Castiel of a snake in the garden and he finds that just a little bit ironic. Makes him smile. Then, Michael casually, without taking his eyes off Castiel, reaches out to wrap a hand around Dean's waist – the movement is slow enough to make sure Castiel knows exactly what he's doing, deliberate and meant to get a rise out of him, and Castiel realizes, then, what must have Michael so riled up against him.

He takes all his self control not to smirk when the older teen pulls Dean against him, ducking down and presses a harsh, dirty, claiming kiss to the boy's full, pink mouth. He makes it last just too long to be normal, long enough to let the sight sink in, and Castiel's eyes flash, knowing that Dean and Michael are obviously together, because Dean's not pushing Michael away in the slightest. In fact, his cheeks are flushed and his eyes are bright with happiness when Michael pulls away, his hand flattened over the older teen's chest and fisted in his shirt.

"I'm gonna go see if my dad needs help with the Collection," Michael whispers into Dean's ear, his hand moving down to grab at Dean's ass through his jeans, hard enough to make the teen squeak and blush harder, before he walks away, leaving Dean and Castiel alone.

Castiel clears his throat after a moment, absently looking down and pretending to wipe some dust off his jeans. "Didn't know you were so kinky, Dean," he notes, making the teen whirl on him, his blush darkening further.


"I think I got some splash-back when he peed all over you to mark his territory," Castiel says with a slight smirk, earning an even darker blush from Dean, the teen fidgeting slightly with his emerald green button-down – must have dressed nice for church.

"Oh. Well, I mean…He…" Dean trails off, blushing again, looking down at his hands. "It's not like that." Castiel cocks his head to one side, shifting his weight to his other leg. "I mean…we've been going out for a while but he can't…keep an eye out on me or anything."

"You're saying 'attentive', I'm hearing 'stalker'," Castiel says dryly, shrugging a little.

Dean frowns a little. "It's not like that," he says, a little more sharply, and Castiel raises his hands, uncrossing his arms and holding his palms towards Dean in a gesture of surrender. He even goes so far to take a step back until he sees the tenseness in Dean's shoulders go away.

After another moment, the frown lifts from Dean's features as well, and Castiel likes that, for a reason he does not and cannot name. He changes the subject, less likely to get a personal rise out of Dean; "I thought religious people were meant to be against gays," he says instead, raising a brow.

Dean cocks his head to one side at Castiel, brow furrowing, though it's not anger this time that clouds his eyes and makes them darker, but confusion; "Have you heard of the story of King David and Jonathan?" he asks, and Castiel blinks, shaking his head. "You should read it – I mean, people are saying it was just 'platonic' love but, if you give bare your body and give your clothes to a man, if you tell him to hide because otherwise he'll die, if you cry for him and kiss him and 'love him as himself', then that's a soul-deep thing. That's not something anyone can ever be against."

"Soul mates?" Castiel asks in a derisive tone, shaking his head.

Dean looks down shyly, biting his lower lip. "If straight people can have them, why can't we?"

Castiel blinks at that, staring at Dean for a moment. It must click to Dean what he said before Castiel can make a comment, because he blushes harder and looks down at the cheap linoleum floor between their feet. "Not to say that you are 'cause I don't know and of course I would never assume that, but, I mean…I didn't meant it like that and -."

"I'll save you the aneurism, kid," Castiel replies with a wave of his hand, a rare grin coming to his face, wide enough to flash teeth. Bright, embarrassed eyes lock with his. "I am."

Dean licks his lips, nodding a little, and smiles to himself. "Okay. Yeah. I didn't want to make an assumption or -."

"Hey, Dean, you done flirtin' yet?" Sam chooses that moment to intervene, Ruby slung over his back because Sam's tall enough and she's slender enough that he can pretty much carry her everywhere despite the fact that she is fifteen years' old. He puts her down immediately and Dean flushes more, chuffing Sam on the back of the head for the comment.

"Go screw yourself, Sasquatch," he retorts.

"But I wanna meet the new guy!" Sam replies, fixing Dean with the biggest pair of puppy eyes he can muster, making the older teen roll his eyes.

"Jesus," he mutters, looking away for a moment, before straightening and slinging an arm over Sam's ridiculously high shoulder, forcing his little brother to duck down – an action that he of course over-dramatizes, crouching down way more than necessary. "Jimmy, this is my little brother Sam, and my little sister, Ruby." He gestures to each of them in turn.

There is something refreshing about Sam's wide, adorable smile – complete with dimples – and the almost shy way that Ruby won't meet his eyes but still holds her hand out to shake anyway. He smiles at both of them, shaking Sam's hand, and takes Ruby's to kiss the back of her slender fingers, earning a giggle and blush. "Nice to meet the pair of you," he says, noting Sam and how he is similar to Dean – Dean clearly takes after his mother more, Sam his father, although he has never met the man and he can see some features of Mary in the younger boy. Sam is clearly in the 'rebel against the haircut' phase, with his floppy, shoulder-length brown hair, and his clothes are getting a little small for him, so he is in the middle of a growth spurt. His already stands an inch above Dean and Castiel spares a moment to wonder how much taller he will grow.

Ruby, however, shares none of her features with either of them. Her nose is longer and less broad than theirs, her dark brown eyes and raven hair speaking of Hispanic descent. She is a good deal shorter than both of the boys and, while due for a growth spurt soon, is not likely to get higher than five-six. Her skin is darker than both Sam and Dean's.

And yet Dean calls her his sister.


"Nice to meet you, too, Jimmy," Sam says, grinning from ear to ear wide enough that Castiel wonders if his face might split in two – it's refreshing after seeing the cold, plastic smile of Michael Santos. Castiel thinks, for a passing moment, that maybe it's just the family – already Sam, Dean and Mary have made Castiel smile more in one day than he has in years. "You going to the high school this year or are you already graduated?"

Castiel smiles. "Yes, I'll be a senior. Last year."

"So…where'd you move from?"

"Sam," Dean warns, shooting his brother a look, but Castiel waves the warning away lightly.

"I don't mind answering," he says with a slight smile. He pauses, then, thinking up his back story – his father probably won't give anything away about the past, but Castiel doesn't want anyone knowing anything about him – if someone is curious enough, they can dig up things that are best left dead and buried. "My dad and I moved here from…Washington State," he says after a moment, nodding his head. "It's a lot warmer here."

Sam grins. "Yeah, I bet! And less rainy." Castiel smiles again, nodding and conceding the point. "But Washington's pretty cool, too, right? You miss it?"

Castiel gives a one-shouldered shrug, realizing too late that he is copying Dean and Mary's mannerisms, and folds his arms across his chest. "A little, I guess. I'm just kind of waiting to get out and be on my own. There's a good part about every place."

They all pause, nodding to themselves, before Ruby presses her lips together and looks up to Castiel's face. "Where's your mom?" she asks softly, and Dean and Sam tense up a moment, eyeing Castiel warily as though expecting him to explode at her.

And Castiel can understand that reaction – it just is not something you ask people. But she's young and definitely not like Michael, and he sighs a little, shrugging once more. "No idea. My mom and dad weren't, ah, really together when I was born," he says with a slight smile, shrugging yet again. "Just one of those things, I suppose."

"I'm sorry," Ruby says, pressing her lips together again and looking up with dark, caring eyes. "My mom wasn't around much either. I was raised by my dad and…but then Mary and John adopted me and things have been great. Quantity isn't what matters in life."

For one brief, terrifying second, Castiel thinks she might see. Thinks she might smell the scent of his father's breath on his clothes or be able to sense the bruises under his t-shirt and on his thighs. Knows she must be able to taste the flavor of semen in the air. But she's just a little girl – she cannot possibly know. She's just trying to console.

Castiel smiles down at her. "My father loves me very much," he whispers, the words tasting sour and bitter on his tongue. "I have all I need in life."

"I'm glad," she says, and then smiles, turning around to go get some more food from the large table, which is looking significantly less heavily laden now that everyone has started to eat their fill, and things are getting packed away.

Dean chuckles, a little nervously, rubbing his palm against a silver ring that is on the third finger of his right hand. Castiel hadn't noticed that before. He wonders if it's significant, before he catches himself, realizing that wanting to know someone's back story, getting interested, getting attached, just leads to bad things, and he forces himself to take a mental step back.

"Sorry about her," Dean says, pulling Castiel out of his thoughts, and the older teen smiles and shrugs.

"I get it," he replies, shifting his weight, and spies movement over Dean's shoulder. Michael's back and heading towards the two of them, a look of intent in his eyes that Castiel definitely recognizes – different eyes, different man, same Goddamn look. He takes another step back before looking back to Dean. "Lover boy's arrived," he says with a smirk. "I'll stay out of the splash zone this time."

Dean opens his mouth to reply, small frown furrowing his brow, but then Michael's arms are around him from behind, pulling him back to a firm, broad chest, and Dean turns his head, immediately relaxing and smiling when he sees that it is Michael holding him. The older teen smiles, pressing a kiss to Dean's cheek, and then Dean looks back to Castiel.

"I'll see you around," he says, recognizing Michael's hold and knowing that the older teen is about three seconds away from pulling him along by his hair. "Tomorrow morning, seven-thirty, you better be ready!"

Castiel smiles, nodding, before Dean is dragged away and he is left with Dean's little brother.

Sam's mouth is twisted slightly as he watches the two go. "I hope they don't go to the Impala," he says, nose wrinkling in disgust. Castiel has no idea what an 'Impala' is, but he guesses, in his head, some kind of hangout or club. Either way, it doesn't concern him what Dean and Michael do, or where they do it.

Or how often they do it.

Or how long they've been doing it for.

And certainly not if he could do it better.

It actually hurts when Michael turns Dean around, slamming him up against the side of the church's graveyard warehouse, the heavy iron studs of the door digging into his back hard enough to hurt. Dean moans softly in pain, the sound swallowed by Michael's demanding mouth, his fingers curling sharply in Dean's thighs as he lifts the teen up, making Dean wrap his legs around him.

"Michael -." Whatever he is going to say is cut off when Michael fumbles for the thick iron ring that undoes the latch in the door, pushing it up and using their weights to shift the door open and let them inside. He slams Dean back against the door again, closing it firmly shut behind them.

The shed isn't large and is does not have a light, but there are windows with no curtains and they let in enough natural daylight that they can easily see where things are, like shovels and wheelbarrows and gravestones that have yet to be carved. The floor is cold and made of cement and it is here, in the open space, where Michael presses Dean down, forces the teen onto the hard, unforgiving ground, his mouth still pressing sharp kisses against Dean's lips and jaw and neck, his fingers blindly, savagely, tearing open his clothes and getting Dean naked as swiftly as possible.

"I don't like him," he mutters, laying a mark to Dean's collarbone as he shoves the legs of Dean's jeans and pants down far enough past his knees that he can reach between the teen's thighs, dry fingers prodding at Dean's hole and one finger dipping inside – they don't have lube so he will have to go slower and more gently than usual, but that won't stop him getting his point across. "He reeks of sin. Like Ruby does. I don't like him, Dean."

Dean gasps, arching his back as much as he can in the limited position, with Michael's knees on his clothes, hobbling him and restricting his movement, to try and get the older boy to go deeper inside of him. "Michael -." He's cut off by another demanding, savage kiss, this one tainted with the taste of blood and Dean wonders if it's Michael's or his own. His hands fist in the teen's honey-colored hair, moaning softly when a second finger joins the first, stretching him too much too fast. It hurts. He wants to tell his Angel to stop but he's not sure if he should.

Michael asks so little of him.

He does not want to cut Jimmy out of his life – he doesn't see evil in Jimmy, just as he doesn't in Ruby. But Michael…does not like him. Calls him sin. And Dean can't just not talk to Jimmy but if Michael finds out then he'll be angry.

He will be very angry.

"I…" He trails off, swallowing when Michael adds another finger inside of him, and it really hurts now – it burns more than anything and Dean grits his teeth, pressing his soft groan into Michael's cheekbone and tries to breathe past the pain. "I don't know if -." He cries out, eyes clenching shut when Michael's fingers curl, scissor and stretch him further, a brutal jab to his prostate making lust rise up, hot and thick, inside of him. "I offered to give him rides to school and stuff. I can't just never talk to him again."

Michael pauses, then, for a moment, withdrawing and bracing himself up on one elbow so he can see Dean's face. "Do you want me to leave you, Dean?" he asks, cocking his head to one side, and Dean whines when his other hand withdraws as well, leaving Dean feeling empty and sore. "Have you outgrown me? Do you think you don't need my guidance and protection anymore?"

"…What?" Dean's eyes widen in horror, and he tries to sit up. Michael lets him, moving off his body to let the younger teen stand, and Dean manages to get to his knees, his jeans half-pulled up around his thighs. A look from Michael tells him to stay there. "No. Never. I…" He pauses, reaching forward, imploring. "Michael, no, I'd never want you to leave."

"Then why are you questioning me?" the older teen demands, whirling on Dean. He takes a step over, kneeling down in front of the other teenager, and takes Dean's face in his hands. "Didn't you promise not to question me?" he asks, voice turning gentle, adoring, his sky-blue eyes wide and full of love and affection. He leans forward, pressing a soft kiss to Dean's mouth when the younger boy's eyes fall closed. "Why are you doing it now? What makes him so special?"

"I…" Dean can't finish the sentence – he can't, because he doesn't know how. Instead he swallows, fighting back the lump in his throat and the burn of tears behind his eyes. He takes Michael's wrists, fingers wrapping loosely around them, thumbs finding the bone, and leans forward to rest their foreheads together. "Please."

Michael sighs, softly, his warm breath washing over Dean's face. His thumbs brush over Dean's cheekbones and he leans in for another kiss, biting softly and tugging at Dean's lower lip to grant his access to the warm wetness of Dean's mouth. The younger teen makes a soft sound in his throat, moving his hands to Michael's soft hair, too short and nowhere near unkempt enough, and his fingers curl around the curve of the teen's skull, resting on the back of his neck.

Michael parts with a soft sigh, brushing a hand down the side of Dean's face. "I'll see you later, Dean," he says, and then gets to his feet.

"I'm sorry," Dean whispers, looking down and feeling incredibly cold and alone without his Angel there to hold him, and Michael looks back over his shoulder at the teen, before he smiles and lets himself out of the shed. Within a moment Dean gathers himself, wiping the back of his hand across his face and pulling his jeans up, getting to his feet and heading out and back to the Pavilion.

He finds Sam and Ruby on the couch, talking quietly. Jimmy and his father are nowhere to be seen.

"Hey, guys," he says, looking around. "Mom and Dad about ready to go?"

"That was quick," Sam notes, standing up, and Dean swallows back the sharp feeling in his chest. He takes a breath, lets it out, and smirks in time for Sam to push his ridiculously floppy hair out of his eyes to watch Dean's face.

"I'm just that good, Sammy," he says, grinning, and wraps an arm around Sam's shoulder, hauling him to the kitchen where he finds his mom and dad helping to pack away everything for people to take home and washing the few actual dishes that had been used. He casually volunteers Sam to help do dishes and grins when his mother summons him for food-packing duty. If he slips a few mouthfuls of ham and potatoes and cheesecake while he does it, well, that's just perks of being the big brother who gets the better clean-up job.

Castiel had long ago figured out the combination in the old-ass security lock his father had put on the garden shed. This is where he keeps all his expensive shit, and he's feeling in desperate need of a drink. He would just stay inside and down some of the cheaper booze that sits, unpacked and the first thing people notice in the dining room – hell, they haven't even really assembled the fucking bar cabinet, just the booze – but to do that he has to go down the squeaky, creaky stairs and he doesn't want to risk his father waking up.

His hands are shaking and it is hard to breathe – the night is relatively warm, warmer than Boston nights in September anyway, but it is also pretty dark and he has to get up early tomorrow, and he's tired. His entire body aches.

He should have known better than to bring his father to a fucking church. Knew the bastard would hit the liquor extra heavy on their return. Castiel's father is more than just 'not religious' – he's pretty much so against religion as to openly reject any form of it. And that's when he's sober.

He hates Castiel. Hates the name, hates his son, hates the mother – Castiel knows this, presses his lips together when he thinks about the outright rage in his father's eyes when he'd summoned Castiel to his bedroom that night. It's almost one in the morning and they started at seven thirty. He remembers the touches, the bruises pressed into his skin with rough fingers and grabbing hands.

"Fuck," he mutters when his shaking hands let go of the damn lock, yet again – he's too messed up to see the numbers right and he can't remember how far he got or where it originally was so that he can reset it when he's done. "God fucking damn it!"

It hasn't affected him this badly in a while – not since they left Bal behind and Castiel had known there was no one to run to now. No one that he could stay with, that could shelter him when he just couldn't, on nights when he wanted to fall asleep and not have to listen for footsteps or fear for his safety, or feel a touch he didn't want and hear the harsh breaths being panted in his ear to accompany the rough, dirty pounding inside of his body.

Finally his fumbling hands manage to undo the lock, and the chains around the shed door fall loose and open. He breathes a sigh of relief, wiping the back of his grease-dirty hand across his eyes, and steps inside. It hurts to walk, hurts to really do anything and he wants, so badly, to feel the warmth of alcohol in his gut.

There are rows and rows of bottles, here – like if they were stacking up for nuclear winter or the zombie apocalypse or something and could survive on just booze. Castiel reaches for the first thing he finds – an unopened bottle of Jameson, the imported crap – and tips it up. It burns going down his throat but really, what else is new, and he drinks and drinks until he feels like he has to breathe. Coughing, muffling his noises with his hand, he blinks back the tears building up in his eyes and pins them shut to avoid them tearing over.

Just a few more months, he thinks to himself, finally pulling his hand away when he feels like he can breathe without choking. The alcohol has started to settle, warming up his chest and stomach, and he feels a little better. He hasn't eaten anything in a while so the alcohol is going straight to his head, but he can't find it in him to care.

It has been a while since Castiel has touched any booze. He tells himself that it's a slippery slope, that he doesn't want to become his father and he's a better person and he doesn't need it. On nights like this, though, all those reasons fly out of the window and he just needs it. Needs it because nothing else will give him even a small measure of happiness that the oblivion of drinking-induced unconsciousness will.

He takes another deep swallow of the whiskey, gasping at the burn, and then replaces the cap on the bottle. He can't drink it all, but in the morning before school he'll run it down the stairs and put it with the rest of the half-empty bottles. His dad will never know the difference.

"You're okay," he whispers to himself, padding back up to the house. His feet are bare, long legs of his pajama pants trailing in the dirt and grass as he carefully tries to avoid any stray sticks or rocks. He stumbles a little and hisses when he ends up almost collapsing on the back porch. "Get a fucking grip, man."

He manages to make it back to his room by climbing up the old fire-escape stairs that half-line the back of the house. They don't make as much noise and they are as far from his father's room as the house can be. From there, he manages to make it to his bedroom without disturbing the heavy snores coming from the half-open door.

He feels dirty; his feet are covered in God knows what and he can feel the sick, sticky crispness of come on his thighs and ass, saliva running down his back and God knows what else from lube and bites and whatever was on his father's hands when he first grabbed him. Castiel shudders, running a hand through his sweat-matted hair, a twist to his mouth. He'll wait a few more hours and then he'll be able to take a shower. His father is due for work early in the morning, before Castiel even needs to think about getting up for school.

School. Dean. He's getting a lift from Dean.

With alcohol easing his mind and knowing he won't be getting to sleep for at least another few minutes, Castiel allows himself to think of the younger man. Allows his mind to linger on the full, flush lips and the blushing cheeks in a way his eyes can't. Allows himself to remember the muscles of Dean's arms and admire the flatness of his stomach and the curve of his bow-legs, and lets himself think of those legs spreading, wrapping around him, those strong arms tight around his shoulders and those long, calloused fingers digging into his back.

The slow burn of arousal in Castiel makes his body twinge, muscles spasming and then protesting their earlier trial. As though his body is reminding him that what he wants, he can't have – Dean is in Lawrence, and when Castiel graduates he is going to leave this place and get as far away as possible. He will never see Dean or his family again and that is the way it should be – he will be the guy who forms no bonds with people because he will always have to leave them behind. Like Bal.

Like everyone.

Castiel sighs, laying down on his cot, and looks back towards his half-boarded window. Well, he's already dirty. He rises again, going over to the rotting pieces of wood, and pulls. Hard. Hard enough that, with a protesting groan and a soft creak, the wood comes free, and he snarls in victory. The second one comes off as well, and Castiel is getting splinters in his hands but he can't find it in himself to feel the sharp prick of the wood fighting back.

It is almost two in the morning when he finally clears his window and stores the planks of wood in one side of his wardrobe. The moon is full and bright, peering down at him with her cold, unfeeling white glow. For a long second, he stares back up at her, and then out towards the new angle of the street he can see.

From this side of the house, he can see the corner of his next-door neighbor, though most of it is hidden by the autumn-colored tree. He can see across the street if he leans out slightly, and two houses down on the opposite side of the street.

He wonders which one Dean lives in. And then he catches himself thinking that and turns away, shutting the window but still letting the light in. There are no curtains in his room yet and he knows he'll have to ask his sober dad to go get him some.

Exhausted, sore and dirty, Castiel finally collapses back on the cot. His hands throb and he knows the half-a-bottle of whiskey will bite him in the ass in the morning, but right now he just can't care. He dreams about bright green eyes and a smile that makes him want to smile back.

There is one thing to say about the shower pressure in their house – it's a hell of a lot better than what they had back in Boston. The water is almost boiling hot and beats down on Castiel in a way that relaxes his tight muscles and washes away all the aches of yesterday night. He slicks back his hair, just letting the water wash over him for a long while as his skin turns pink and the mirror fogs up from the heat.

He had dreamed about Dean last night. In a way that was definitely not cool for someone who is not only taken, but completely off-limits regardless. Dean is a fucking choir boy, from a wholesome family and a nice guy and Castiel is the drifter who takes it up the ass for his father and is going to get the hell out of dodge as soon as the calendar reads March 20th.

He licks his lips, squirting out a thick dollop of shampoo onto his palm before lathering it into his hair.

He's not even sure why Dean has managed to get to him so fast – he's barely known the kid a day. Except it feels a hell of a lot longer than that. And Dean…Dean makes him smile. If Castiel were sentimental like that, it would mean a lot.

But not only is Dean with Michael – a self-righteous ass if Castiel has ever met one – he also is young, a family man – will probably stay in this tiny town for the rest of his life and never want for anything. He'll own a mechanic shop with his brother and go to New York only to get a civil partnership with Michael, or settle down with some other nice young optimistic thing – not Castiel. Not that he cares, because he doesn't – unattached, uncaring, that's him.

The scent of the shampoo helps to center and steady his thoughts as Castiel quickly but thoroughly washes it from his hair, reaching for the body wash as well. He has bruises up his forearms and on the insides of his thighs, and although it's not quite cold enough to warrant a hoodie over the course of the day, he knows he will have no other choice. There is a dark hickey on his neck that nothing but a small, close hood will hide, and there is a friction burn on each of his forearms that he will have to hide.

It was easier to justify in Boston.

He scrubs hard at his skin, hissing a little as his splinter-marred fingers throb with every tight curl around the washcloth when he presses with almost vehement harshness at his stained thighs. One of these days maybe the son of a bitch will be courteous to use a fucking condom so Castiel doesn't have to deal with the clean-up later.

The very thought makes him laugh; a dark, bitter sound.

When he is finished, he shuts the water off and towels himself dry efficiently, trying not to think about going to school or what he is going to have to do to get to school. The thought that getting a lift with Dean makes him nervous would make him laugh – the very idea that he could be nervous about anything anymore…Bal would be proud of him. Showing emotion and all that.

He rushes to his room and pulls on a clean pair of jeans and a thin t-shirt, his old grey Boston hoodie slipping on over that. The hoodie has been well-used, almost worn through and fraying at the sleeves so it won't be that warm should the Kansas sun come out and greet him.

He checks the large clock at the end of the hall – seven twenty. He has ten minutes. Castiel goes downstairs, searching in vain for any food that might not take forever to make, and finds some leftovers of Mary's soup. The taste of it with the after burn of whiskey and the mint of his toothpaste is an odd combination but doesn't take away from the lovely flavors in the soup and he practically inhales it, wanting to be done by the time Dean arrives to pick him up.

God, he feels worse than a girl getting picked up for her first date. Get a fucking grip, man.

When everything is done and the house is left in a semi-decent state – enough that he can come home and clean up before his father gets back without any trouble – he heads for the door, black satchel slung over one shoulder.

The door shuts behind him with an audible 'click', and when he turns around to lock it, he hears a loud engine rumbling his way. Instead of passing right on by, the engine just gets louder and comes to a stop what sounds like directly behind Castiel, the engine idling as the car is put into park.

He turns back around.

At the end of the very short driveway is a…a monster car. A real muscle 'I am a man who likes sex with women because my car is a woman and oil and leather and mustaches' kind of car. Dean is sitting in the front seat, looking his way, and gives a slight wave and a smile.

"You comin'?" he shouts over the idling of the engine, and Castiel just manages to snap himself out of the shock in time to walk up to the car and slide into the passenger seat. Sam and Ruby are in the back seat and give him welcoming smiles when he settles in.

"Nice car," he notes, leaning forward to brush a hand over her dash, and Dean grins. Castiel imagines he can hear the boy preening. "What model is she?"

"'67 Chevy Impala," Dean answers proudly, and Castiel's eyes flash over to Sam when he remembers the younger brother's comment about the Impala. The car smells clean, feels warm and comfortable as he settles into the sun-warmed leather seats, curling his hoodie more tightly around himself. "Dad was gonna give me her for my eighteenth but then he got his truck so I got her early." Castiel can't help but smile at the outright pride in Dean's voice over this car – and really, she is a beautiful machine, all sleek cut lines and shiny paint job and smooth acceleration. It feels like riding on a gently rumbling cloud.

He hums gently in agreement, and Dean settles back down, seemingly content with not speaking while he drives. Castiel is grateful for that – it makes him feel like Dean is paying attention, won't let anyone in this car or the car itself get hurt by reckless driving – makes him relax into the seat and enjoy the scenery as it steadily scrolls past.

After a minute or so, Dean leans forward to flip the radio station on. It's a religious station – 'Easy Listening, For The Little Ears In The Back Seat' – but when the presenter's voice comes on, Castiel's brow furrows, because he recognizes it from the potluck yesterday.

"I've heard this woman before," he notes, frowning down at the radio as though it will give him the answers.

Dean smiles. "Jo Harvelle. She's my dad's friend's daughter – you may have seen her at the potluck. Tall, thin, blonde hair with her roots died. Pretty." Castiel just shrugs a shoulder – that can pretty much sum up anyone in this town. "Anyway, she kind of does the early morning local broadcast – the school announcements and stuff."

"I didn't know Lawrence was big enough for a radio station," Castiel says quietly, not sure if what he's just said will be taken offensively.

Dean just shrugs and laughs. It makes teeth flash in his smile, the long line of his throat exposed when he throws his head back. "Well, her brother Ash is a huge computer nerd – he can make anything into anything and I don't think anything is impossible for that guy. He hooked the school up and it's managed to do wonders for organizing events and getting the word out for little things that are happening around."

"And that was the weather. Now we've got a couple songs lined up – the first by our own local band – 'Whispers in the Dark'…"

Her voice fades out as a few melancholic piano notes begin to drift through on the radio. At once Dean's shoulders tense up slightly, a small furrow coming between his brows. Castiel cocks his head to one side, seeing the reaction, and turns his attention back to the song;

A voice he vaguely recognizes come over the soft piano; "Despite the lies that you're makin', your love is mine for the takin'." The voice is echoic, the sound of stilted drumming and palm muted strums coming up behind the voice. "My love is just waitin' to turn your tears to roses."

It hits him within the second part of the verse. "Is this Michael Santos?" he asks, looking over to Dean and then towards Sam and Ruby.

The guitar, the voice…it all sounds awfully, horribly familiar, and for one dreadful second Castiel's brain gives him an answer – that Michael might be the kid he's been talking to on the internet for so long, the one in Kansas with little siblings and had used his boyfriend's name as a pseudonym.

Sam nods, leaning forward and bracing his chin over his folded arms on the front seat. "Yeah. He occasionally writes songs for the band."

The guitar comes in, strong and almost startling after the relative silence of the first part; "I will be the one that's gonna hold you, I will be the one that you run to. My love is a burnin', consumin' fire." The song sounds…violent, so dreadfully familiar also, in a way that most of 'Dean's songs are not. The words have a back-up harmony and Castiel thinks he might recognize that part too.

It's then that a voice sings the chorus – a different one. One that he definitely knows. Knows because he listens to it late at night when he can't sleep, and sends to a man he doesn't know the last name of and knows will be able to take him to a record dealer when he gets out of town, ready to make his own way.


"No! You'll never be alone – when darkness comes I'll light the night with stars -." Dean abruptly leans forward again, shutting the radio off and casting the car into silence. Sam, Ruby and Castiel all cast him worried looks – his shoulders are hunched slightly and he refuses steadfastly to look at either of them, an ugly, hurt expression on his face, as he licks his lips and takes a deep breath.

"I don't want to listen to Michael right now," he says, eyes flashing just briefly to see Castiel out of the corner of his eye. "We, ah, kind of had a fight. My fault. Just need to simmer a bit."

For a second, Dean's words don't sink in, because Castiel is still reeling – Dean is…is Dean. The Dean – his Dean. And those thoughts…those thoughts are bad. Wrong. Irresponsible. Castiel forces his face to remain impassive as he looks out of his window, towards the houses they're driving past, and doesn't think about it. Okay, so there is just another thing on the list of things that makes Dean totally unattainable. No big deal.

Then, what Dean's just said hits home. A fight. They had a fight…must have had it last night. After Castiel came in and ruffled some feathers because Michael sure as hell hadn't minded practically molesting Dean in full view of everyone before their conversation. Maybe…maybe Michael had told Dean to stay away from him. Maybe Dean had refused.

Stop it, he thinks to himself, rolling his eyes at his own thoughts. It is stupid and conceited of him to think that a couple who have been together for long enough would fight about anything to do with him, when it could be something as mundane as…as something that people in relationships fight about.

Castiel has that going for him, he supposes. He and his father, fucked up though they are, never fight. About anything. Ever. It's…kind of refreshing to know that nothing else is absolutely perfect either.

"That's bull." Sam's words pull him out of his thoughts. The younger boy looks angry when he's staring at Dean, brows pulled together. "He has no right to get so Goddamn possessive of -."

"Sam, shut up," Dean warns, eyes flashing to the rear view mirror. They seem brighter than normal. He takes another deep breath and leans forward again, flipping on the radio just in time to be able to catch the tail end of the song that had started the drama in the first place.

Jo's cheery voice pipes in the few seconds between the songs; "And that was Michael and Dean, as you all know – like I have to explain it! Later we have another one from Winchester and Co. – a new one, though not so new for those attending the service last night…starring Ruby, who I must say, has a voice like an Angel. We'll be playing that one at the start of lunch – don't you dare miss it!"

A new one? Castiel quickly looks down at the radio station, memorizing the number, and makes a mental note to listen. Dean Winchester. He's sitting in a car with Dean Winchester – his Dean who he's been talking to for months, making his music good enough that people will want to listen to it, when the boy's been doing it on his own already. Or maybe he's using Castiel's tips and altered tracks and putting those up.

He doesn't know.

Dean, it seems, is a host of unanswered questions.