Title: Little talks
Word Count: 8000
Characters/pairings: Sam/Castiel, Dean, mentions of past Jessica/Sam
Spoilers/Warnings: m/m, language, PTSD, Human AU
Summery: After surviving a fire, the death of his girlfriend and an injury leaves Sam unable to continue working with his brother. Early retirement is not something he enjoys, so Dean pulls in a few favours and has his friend Castiel help Sam recover. Castiel, with the help of some therapeutic methods, helps Sam enjoy life again.
Notes: Written for the Sassy week over on tumblr. Enjoy!
"Are you sure you're going to be okay?"
Sam wanted to silence Dean with a withering look, but could only muster a tired sigh. "Look, we've been over this. You have to get back to work sooner or later. I'll be fine."
Dean didn't look convinced. "Are you sure? It might get lonely out here. And what if you fall and there isn't anyone here–"
"Dude, enough. Go. I'll be fine 'til Sunday. I'll call if I need anything."
He knew that Dean still wanted to protest, but Sam ended all discussion by getting up and making his way to the door. It was painstakingly slow; he had yet to adjust to moving about with a cane. Dean followed, keeping his mouth shut for what must have been the first time in his life. Sam guessed it had something to do with having to watch his fully grown brother struggling to walk, but dismissed the thought. He couldn't afford to think like that right now.
They reached the door, and Sam held it open for Dean. "I'll see you soon, yeah?"
"Be careful. I'll call you when I get hit the motel, okay?"
"Sure," he agreed easily, knowing that Dean would forget.
"Cas' in town, I'll send him to check on you this evening."
"Dean, there really is no need–"
"Bullshit, Sammy. No arguments. He's promised to help you out a little. Just try and be nice to him, yeah? He's not big on people."
Sam waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, I get the deal. See ya' on Sunday."
They didn't hug. Chronically injured or not, Dean stuck firm to his rule: no chick flick moments. They did, however, share a look, before Dean started inching closer to the Impala. Sam smiled and lifted his hand in an half-wave.
It wasn't until Dean had driven out of sight that he slammed the door shut and sunk into a heap on the floor, shoulders hunched and staring impassively ahead. He'd have liked to stay there all day, but it only took minutes before his leg started throbbing in protest. God, he couldn't even sulk properly any more.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Sam had been a student at Stanford, living happily with his girlfriend Jessica. If Sam had been able to have it his way, they would have stayed like that for another year or two. Then, he would have proposed. They'd get married, maybe have a child and start a family of their own. A bit boring for some, but after travelling all his life, Sam had longed to settle down.
Technically, his dream had come true. Five weeks ago, some kid had set fire to their dorm. Sam had cut it close, nearly getting crushed by a beam of wood and burnt to death, but he made it out alive.
Jessica hadn't. She had died screaming, only a few feet from where Sam had been pinned to the ground.
Dean, who had been there for a short visit, had rushed in and had got to Sam in time to limit his injuries to a fractured pelvic bone, moderate burns and enough emotional scarring to leave him a complete wreck.
After some time in hospital, Sam's leg had begun to lock and spasm at regular intervals, making it impossible to walk. Femoral nerve dysfunction caused by the broken pelvic bone, they'd told him. Usually, it would have been possible to fix, but due to the extent of the damage, they weren't even sure if he'd be able to walk without aid again.
Sam had refused to return to Stanford. Dean had argued, but their dad had initially taken Sam's side. When it was found that Sam wouldn't be able to join the family business though, their dad had lost interest and suggested they stick him in a house somewhere to recover. It wasn't ideal, but it was all they could do, at least for the time being.
With some effort, Sam made his way to the living room, were he huddled up on the couch and zoned out, forcing his brain to stay blank.
Sam awoke with a scream in his throat, nearly falling of the coach. His pulse was sky high and it took him several moments to realise where he was.
Another knock on the door indicated why Sam had woken up in the first place. Still shaky from his nightmare, he allowed himself a moment to breathe before making his way to the door.
There was another round of insistent knocking.
"On my way!" Sam yelled, hoping that whomever it was on the other side could hear him. "Jeez, impatient mu– oh, hello, Castiel." The man looked up at him impassively. He was immaculately dressed as usual; pressed trousers, shirt, tie, jacket and trench coat. Self-consciously, Sam started flattening out the creases of his sweatpants. "Dean said you wouldn't be round 'til this evening."
"It is now twelve past six. One usually qualifies evenings as the time from six pm. until bedtime, therefore I am not early," Castiel told him flatly.
"May I come in?"
"Yes, yes, of course. Sorry." Sam moved aside, clumsily pressing himself against the wall to give room for Castiel, who was carrying a large duffel bag.
"Everything okay?" asked Sam once they'd sat themselves down in the kitchen, mostly just to have something to say. Despite the nap, he was still exhausted, and really didn't feel like socialising.
"Um, what's the bag for?" asked Sam, gesturing said bag, which was placed at the foot of Castiel's chair.
"It contains clothing, books and basic toiletries."
"Great... why, exactly?"
"Dean did not tell you?" Castiel frowned. "I am to stay here in order to monitor your physical and mental health."
Sam rose his eyebrows. "He sent you to babysit me?"
"Dean used the term 'keep an eye on'."
Sam burred his head in his hands.
It was easy enough to adjusting to having someone else living with him; the only problem was Castiel's observational skills. He'd only been there a single day when he started nagging Sam about his sleeping habits.
"You have not slept," Castiel said the next morning, whilst awkwardly pouring himself a glass of orange juice.
"I have," Sam replied defensively. His eyes narrowed at the carton in Castiel's hand. Where the hell had he found that? Sam never bought orange.
"There is no need to lie to me."
Sam gave him a half-hearted glare, but said nothing, busying himself by making himself a bowl of cereal. He wasn't hungry, not really, but if Castiel was reporting back to Dean, he didn't want to add a loss of apatite to the list of reasons why Sam was a fucked up. "I slept during the day," Sam said, feeling the need to defend himself.
"Only because you don't sleep at night. You stay awake for as long as you can, though you tend to near collapse sometime during the afternoon."
"Whatever." Sam shoved a spoonful of his cereal in his mouth.
"If you feel the need to discuss your reasons for insomnia, I am available to talk."
Sam nearly chocked on his food. "There's really... no. I'm fine."
Castiel's expression did not change. "If that is what you wish to proceed."
They co-existed in relative calm; Castiel spending his day with a book and Sam pretending to be engaged with his laptop. They remained that way for most of the day, until Sam started to get drowsy. Castiel offered (read: forced) Sam to take a nap whilst he cooked dinner.
Sam's sleep was light but dreamless and he was only vaguely aware of what Castiel was doing as he moved about the kitchen. That was, until he breathed in the slight scent of cooking meat. His perception shifted, the darkness surrounding him becoming omnius and threatening. He couldn't move. Jessica was screaming, but he couldn't get to her. Sam cried out, trying to reassure her, but his screams morphed into shouts of anguish and terror as he became overwhelmed with the smell of burning flesh, Jessica's flesh. Oh God. No, no, no–
Sam started awake, shoving, desperately trying to break free. He knew he was awake, that he was safe, but the smell remained. He gagged, and was rewarded with a trash can being shoved under his face.
"If you are going to vomit, please do so in this."
The voice helped drag him back into the now. "Cas," he breathed. He wrinkled his nose. "The smell... something is burning."
"I am cooking. That is the smell of steak. "
"Oh..." Sam did not think he could handle anything at the moment, least of all anything with that smell. "I'm not really... I mean–"
"I did not realise the scent would trigger a flashback. I'm sorry. I shall make you something else," said Castiel, his expression softening just a fraction.
Sam smiled in relief. "Thanks."
Castiel ended up making them some sort of vegetarian curry. God knows how he managed to scrape together enough ingredients from Sam's poorly stocked kitchen, but it tastes good, much better than anything Sam's ever made, and he even managed to finish his portion. For the first time, Sam found himself grateful for Castiel's help.
Problems didn't start arising until later that week. Sam had barely been able to sleep all week, to afraid of what he'd see if he closed his eyes. This led to him only being able to wander about the house in a dreamy haze, only bothering to move at all to keep Castiel pleased. He didn't do much, mainly just watched TV or pretended to read, but he thought it was enough.
If Castiel's disapproving stare was anything to go by though, Sam wasn't as good an actor as he had thought.
"What?" he said, feigning ignorance when Castiel confronted him about it.
"I have told you countless times, do not lie to me. You never do anything, Sam. You do not sleep and you have never left the house in the whole time I have been here."
"Well, I can't really walk very far, can I?" he snapped.
"You are perfectly capable of movement. In fact, Dean has informed me that light usage could improve the function of your limb."
"I'm tired, Cas, so just drop it."
"That would be because you don't sleep."
Sam tugged his own hair in frustration. "That's because I can't!"
"Please shut up."
"Which is why I am now offering you my help."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Really? Look, I appreciate it, but I really doubt there is anything you could do."
"Do not underestimate me."
Sam lacked the energy to argue. "Whatever, give it a shot, just... can we stop talking? I need some silence."
"You spend most of your days in silence."
"Maybe it helps me think."
"Or maybe you hope that if you stay silent, your mind will do the same."
Rather than reply, Sam amped up the volume of the TV and hoped that would be enough to keep Castiel's voice at bay.
That evening, Sam found himself with Castiel sitting in his bed. Sam had offered to bring him a chair or something, but Castiel had turned his offers down. Sam had patiently tried to explain that it wasn't really a question and that he didn't want a man with a trench coat (did he ever take that thing off?) in bed with him. Castiel had given him an odd look at that, and Sam eventually gave up.
"You need to relax," Castiel said sternly.
"Easier said than done when you have a stranger in your bed," Sam grumbled, adjusting himself under the blanket. Castiel looked stung by the comment and Sam wanted to apologise, but by the time he found his voice, the moment had passed.
Gently, Castiel started rubbing circles along his scalp. Unprepared, Sam jumped at the contact, only to lean into it as the strokes became more pleasurable. "What're you doin'?"
"It is a comforting gesture used to relax people who are unable to do so themselves. My brothers used to do this to me when I was little and could not sleep."
Sam didn't reply to this, he had no idea what he was supposed to say. He closed his eyes, letting out a sigh as Castiel's fingertips brushed along his forehead.
Soon, Sam slipped of to sleep.
Sam awoke next morning with a gasp. He hitched himself up on his elbows, trying to blink through the lingering of Jess' scream.
A quick glance to the clock on his bedside table told him that he'd slept through the night. He stretched, letting out a low groan as he did so. His leg was cramping up from being in the same position for such a long night. Painkillers first then.
He made to move, only to find that something was holding him pressed to the bed by his hips. Looking down, Sam realised it was Castiel, who was fast asleep.
Sam didn't know why the sight of Castiel sleeping surprised him as much as it did. Of course he slept, he was a human being for gods sake! His face was open, though even in sleep it lacked much vulnerability. His trench coat was removed, folded up and used as a pillow. Apart from that, we was still fully clothed, though Sam still felt like he was looking at something he shouldn't.
The bed creaked as he tried to wiggle his way out, but there was no chance of escape. Sam didn't want to wake Castiel, but he'd rather that than lay there in agony all morning. Trying to be gentle, he shifted his uninjured leg. "Hey, Cas?"
His eyes opened in an instant, but he didn't look startled. "Hmm?"
"I kind of need my legs back."
"You still have full use of one leg and moderate use of the other."
Deep breaths, Sam reminded himself. He kicked up with the leg which he still has 'full use' of, nearly pushing Castiel of the bed. "Move."
The man obliged, standing up. He brushed down his clothes, trying and failing to straighten them, before he pulled on the trench coat again.
Sam watched, torn between amusement and disbelief. "Dude, really? Don't you wanna change and shower?"
"No. I will do so later." His eyes narrowed. "You are in pain."
"Yes," Sam agreed, gritting his teeth and forcing a smile. "I was just fixing that."
Wordlessly, Castiel passed him his cane and allowed him a few moments to get to his feet, before leading the way to the kitchen.
Sam made a quick grab for the painkillers. They where strong, much more so than anything Sam had ever had as a child, but anything other than these did nothing but take the slightest edge off. The recommended dosage was 1-2 every six hours. Sam popped the bottle open, poured out four, and swallowed them dry, two at a time.
Castiel stared at him in obvious disapproval. "That was more than the recommended amount."
"It could cause extensive damage to your liver," he frowned, snatching the bottle from him and putting it in the pocket of his trench coat.
Sam glared. "Look, I'm in a lot of pain here, and I kind of like being able to function. Without the pills, I can't do anything."
"You never do anything regardless," Castiel snapped. "All you do is sit around and mope."
"I don't mope," Sam spat, silently wondering if Castiel even knew the proper meaning of the word.
"When was the last time you left the house?"
Sam paled "Well..."
"Or the last time you did anything productive?"
"Look, if I needed someone to bitch at me, I'd give give Dean a call." He'd had enough and made to storm out in a dramatic fashion, but his leg had other ideas, locking painfully as he turned. Sam, caught unprepared and off balance, stuttered to the floor. He gasped in pain, eyes watering. He swore under his breath, trying to get himself under control.
"Sam?" Strong arms gripped his shoulders. Sam looked up, coming face to face with Castiel. His eyes were wide with open concern. "Are you okay?"
"Obviously not," he said through gritted teeth, but accepted Castiel's help up. He leaned against him, trying not to do so to heavily for fear of crushing the much shorter man.
"Where do you want to go?"
Castiel obliged, leading him down the hall and lowering him on to the seat. Once Sam was seated, he went into the kitchen to retrieve Sam's cane, and came back to find the man massaging circles against his knee.
"Is there anything I can do to alleviate the pain?" Castiel asked after a moment of observation.
"Not really. Pills 'll kick in in a minute." Sam kept his eyes strained down, focusing on getting his leg to relax without putting enough pressure on to hurt. Humiliation burned hot at his cheeks; he was still embarrassed at his absolute failure of a dramatic exit.
Castiel hovered in the room for a few moments longer, unsure if Sam would need help with anything. When no such request came, he finally walked away to the kitchen, leaving Sam to it.
"Dean, how long did you order Castiel to stay here?"
There was a brief silence on the other end of the phone. "... I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Dean," Sam said, his tone warning.
"I did tell you he'd swing by."
"Dude, it's been two weeks. You're the one who never bothered to come round last Sunday. I shouldn't have to deal with your paranoia!"
"Sammy, I was busy, I wanted to come –"
"Yeah, I know. I just don't think you should force your friend to spy on me when he's obviously bored out of his mind."
"What's so funny?"
"Oh, nothin'. Cas likes you though."
"All he ever does is stare at me and point out inconsistencies in my logic."
"Yup, that sounds like Cas."
There was a crash from the living area. Sam sighed. "Look, I have to go. I think Cas just fell through a window."
"Good luck with that."
"You'll be here next week?"
"I promise Sammy. If something comes up, I'll put Bobby on it, okay?"
Sam smiled. "Okay."
"Take care of yourself."
Dean hung up before Sam could say anything sappy in return.
After a few moments of hiding behind the door, Sam plucked up enough courage to see what on earth Castiel was up to. He eyed the man, who seemed to have fallen over, and was surrounded various objects. "Is that paint?" Sam asked, squinting down at the mess.
"Yes. I come bearing gifts," Castiel ignored Sam's snort, "I hope that they will aid you in your recovery."
"My what now?"
"Sam, you are obviously suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress disorder."
He flinched. "Look, I just need some time to deal–"
Castiel looked like he was trying not to get angry. "You do not eat enough, sleep enough or leave the house. You sit around and do nothing all day. Every time I do something, I keep thinking I might trigger a flashback again You don't talk–"
"Neither do you," Sam couldn't help but butt in.
"I have always been quiet," Castiel said. "You, on the other hand, used to talk all the time. Since you refuse to talk to me or a trained professional, I have been forced to use other methods."
"That's what this is about?" Sam rubbed his forehead in exasperation. "What do you want me to do with all this arty stuff?"
"Use it. Research has shown that trauma victims can be aided in their recovery by expressing their feelings in the form of painting, music or writing."
"You do realise that I can barely draw stick figures, right?" Castiel deflated slightly, and Sam was struck with a pang of guilt. "I guess I could give it a try. When do you want to start?"
As it turned out, Sam's drawing skills had not improved in the slightest; by the looks of things, Sam's drawing skills had stopped developing before Sam had reached the age of ten. Castiel had given him a charcoal-something and some expensive looking paper, but despite using professional art supplies, he couldn't produce anything better than something found in a pre-school.
"What is that?" Castiel had asked, eyeing Sam's paper as if it held the answer to the problems of the universe.
"I do not have three arms."
"That isn't an arm, it's the strap of your trench coat," Sam explained.
"Oh. What is that?" Castiel pointed at a smudge in the corner of the picture.
"... the sun."
"Is that a visual representation of an infection?"
"That's your stubble," Sam muttered, scrunching his paper into a ball and throwing it to the other end of the room. "You've been drawing to right? Let me have a look."
Castiel handed him the paper. "It is still a work in progress."
Sam looked down, and couldn't help but let out a gasp. It was a sketch of him. It was little blurred in a few places, the charcoal having smudges around the eyes, but apart from that, it was photo perfect. Feeling suitably inadequate, he handed it back. "'s pretty good."
Castiel seemed to sense that something was off. "Maybe your artistic skills lay elsewhere."
Sam snorted, but accepted a box of acrylics and a canvas. He didn't really have anything in particular in mind, just pulled out the blacks and reds and oranges and started to use it. It was liberating in a way that the charcoal wasn't, he didn't have to bother with getting all the lines right.
All he had to do was allow himself to feel what to do.
"That is quite impressive."
Sam started, unaware that Castiel had been directly inside his personal bubble. He blinked, having lost himself for a moment, and actually looked at what he had produced. It wasn't perfect, far from it. The brush strokes where all over the place and the blend of the colours obviously lacked professionalism, but there was something about the rawness of it all which enhanced what was being portrayed; fire, red and hungry, devouring everything but the black void which remained on the canvas.
Sam shivered. "Not the happiest of paintings."
Castiel considered this. "I think you should paint another."
Sam did paint more. Not immediately, but he took to the paint set a few hours every day. He couldn't put a name to the transformation he underwent when he poured himself into his work, but it helped. It was freeing, allowed him to think in colours rather than words, and left him with a concrete reward for his labours at the end.
Not that the paintings where nice to look at. They where dark, horrific things, both in the sense of their content and quality.
Dean had told him as much when he'd come to visit and found a stack of canvases next to the couch. "Dude, this looks like something the Chapman brothers would paint if they were on drugs."
Sam wanted to make a snappish remark, but he was to stunned by the fact that Dean even knew who the Chapman brothers were. "It was Cas' idea."
"Cas suggested you paint the apocalypse?"
Sam punches him in the arm. "He suggested I paint. Gives me something to do during the day."
Dean gave him an odd look, but shrugged. "Might have been a good idea. You seem... better."
Sam knew Dean didn't want to linger on the topic of his mental instability, so he gave him a quick smile and changed subject. "So, how did the hunt with Bobby go?"
That wasn't to say that everything was suddenly fine. The night after Dean left, Sam found himself lying awake in bed in a state of panic. Logically, Sam knew everything was fine, but his mind had refused to shut up ever since he'd been roused from a nightmare, leaving his body to start every time his ears picked up a sound it perceived as danger.
There was a creek from just outside his bedroom. Sam held his breath, suddenly sure that someone was outside, ready to attack. His hand twitched for his cane. He may not be agile, but at least he'd be able to defend himself.
The door opened. Sam trembled at the sight of the dark figure in the doorway, unable to make out it's features. Oh god, he was a sitting duck. Should he call for Cas, or swing his makeshift weapon and hope for the best?
Sam made up his mind and started swinging just as the figure hit the light switch.
He tried, but was unable, to stop the cane in its track towards Castiel's stomach.
"Ouff!" Castiel staggered back, clutching his belly.
Sam looked horrified. "Jesus man, I'm sorry! I thought you where an intruder. Are you okay?"
"I do not believe I sustained any injuries," Castiel told Sam, though he looked more than a little bit pissed at being assaulted with a stick which, yeah, was kind of understandable.
Sam made to get up. "Do you want me to get you anything? Ice, painkillers, argh, shit." His leg locked again and Sam urgently started rubbing circles at the muscle to ease the pressure.
He almost jumped out of his skin when another hand joins him. "C-cas?"
"This helps, yes?"
Sam knew he should protest, should shove Cas away, but the guy must have been a trained masseur or something, because it actually felt nice and Sam found himself relaxing under the touch. "'s good," he muttered, allowing himself to stay under just long enough for his leg so start acting like a semi-normal limb again. Sam finally pulled away, flushing slightly. "Thanks."
"It was no trouble." Castiel frowned. "Apart from you hitting me."
Sam winced. "Yeah, I'm real sorry 'bout that."
"The blame isn't entirely yours, Sam," Castiel told him. "I knew you where awake, I could hear you moving around the bed. I came to see if I something was wrong."
Sam hesitated. "It's not just the nightmares. I can't relax. At all. I'm not settling. Here, in this house."
"You where expecting to spend the rest of your life with Jessica."
A lump formed in his throat at the mention of her name, and he forced himself to swallow it down. "Yes, I did," he hesitated briefly, before continuing, "Even if collage and Jess hadn't worked out, I always had Dad and Dean to fall back on." As a child, Sam had resented his father for pulling him into the family business. There wasn't really a name for what they did, some sort of combination between spies, detectives and hunters. It meant moving around and quite a lot of injuries, but it saved lives, and despite his anger towards his father, he could respect that. Sam let out a dry chuckle. "Now look at me. Can't even lie in bed without freaking out."
Castiel looked unhappy. "Don't talk about yourself like that, Sam."
"Cas, I just can't..." he gestured wildly, hoping to convey all of the things that he simply couldn't. "Even the fucking house bothers me. The windows creek. It keeps me awake at night."
Castiel looked troubled and Sam felt guilty for burdening him with his worries. He was about to apologise, when Castiel got up and dimmed the lights, before kneeling down by the head of Sam's bead. "You hear that?"
With the room cast in darkness, Sam's other senses became stronger. He could hear it; there was a creek coming six feet from his right, where the window was located. It was creaked again, the noise sounding eerily like that of the burning beam of the roof had before it had pinned him to the ground. "Mmhm."
"That's the sound the bothers you?"
Sam nodded, but realised that Castiel couldn't see him in the dark. "Yes."
"It's nothing to be afraid of."
"It sounds like... like the house did when it started collapsing," he chocked on the words.
"Your mind is playing tricks on you, Sam. It's just the house telling you to close your eyes." The sound of Castiel's voice was accompanied by gentle touches along his forehead. Sam exhaled, squinting through his eyelashes. He was only just able to make out the comforting image of Castiel leaning over him.
"Cas..." Sam wasn't sure what he wanted to say. Castiel never gave him the chance to finish.
"Hush... close your eyes."
Sam drifted of with the image of Castiel's face burned into his mind.
After that, a shift occurred in their relationship. They did not speak of it, but Castiel took to sleeping in Sam's bedroom. They shared a bed; Sam sleeping beneath the covers and Castiel above. Castiel always made sure that Sam was able to get at least a little bit of sleep, and helped him snap back to reality when the nightmares took over.
Although it puzzled him, Sam was happy with the arrangement.
A week and a half after they started sharing a bed, Sam came to the earth shattering realisation that he was crushing on Castiel. He was drinking a glass of milk at the time, and nearly ended up coughing the drink up on said man.
"Is everything okay?" Castiel asked, eyes conveying genuine concern
Shit. Fuck. Stay calm. "Yup," Sam said, moving to smooth out his shirt, but forgot about the glass in his hand and ended up spilling its content. Sam squealed in surprise as the cold liquid took him by surprise, then slammed a hand over his mouth as he realised what an indignant noise he'd uttered.
It was not one of his brightest moments. "Fuck!"
Castiel stared at him with wide, wide eyes. "Do you wish for me to call Dean?"
"NO! No, It's fine. I'll go and, um, change 'n stuff." Sam quickly limped from the kitchen to the bathroom. Once the door was safely locked, he put his head in his hands, forcefully restraining himself by his hair to resist the urge to bash his head repeatedly into the wall.
Things got a bit weird after that. Sam didn't avoid Castiel, that would be impossible in a living situation such as theirs.
He didn't act out on his crush either. First off, he wasn't gay. He just thought that Castiel had an ability to... draw him in. Second, as far as Sam knew, Castiel was pretty much aromantic. Third, he was Dean's best friend, and Sam didn't feel comfortable straying into that kind of territory. Fourth, and most importantly, he wasn't ready. Jess had only been dead for a few months, and Sam was nowhere near over it.
At least, that was what Sam told himself when he caught himself checking out Castiel's ass. Damn, he needed to sort himself out.
Sam sighed, returning his attention to the painting at hand and frowned. Since when had Sam added blue into the mix? Granted, it only seemed to bring out the intensity of the fiery reds and oranges, but the fact that any cool colour had even made it to the canvas caught him by surprise.
"Your technique is improving."
Sam jumped. "Shit Cas, stop sneaking up on me!"
"I was merely examining your work," said Castiel, eyes wide and innocent.
Sam didn't trust him for a minute. Acting before thinking, he dipped his hand into the blue paint and proceeded to make a long smudge along Castiel's face. "There," Sam said, his voice bright. "We're even."
Castiel looked at Sam's smirking face. He lifted a hand and brushed it against the line of paint. His expression did not change, and for a moment, Sam thought that maybe he'd upset the other man. Well, until Castiel reached for the paint. Before Sam had time to react, Castiel swiped him along the cheekbone, undoubtedly leaving a trail of red paint behind.
Sam reached for the tube of pink. "Oh, this means war! I'm takin' you down, Cas!"
Amusement glinted in Castiel's eyes. "I'd like to see you try."
Forty five minutes later found the boys in a heap on the floor. Sam was shaking with silent laughter, limbs weak with exhaustion. He turned his head and caught a glimpse of Castiel. The sight of his smiling, paint streaked face was enough to send Sam into stronger fit of manly giggles.
Vaguely, Sam was aware that he hadn't laughed this much since Jess was alive.
"You have some, ah, paint on your coat," Sam managed, eyeing the violet stains.
Castiel looked down, surveying the damage. It didn't look like it would ever go back to its original state again. He looked up at Sam. "Your hair is blue," he announced.
Sam felt his hair and was indeed met with a sticky mess. "Maybe we should get cleaned up now," he suggested.
"That might be a good idea. After that, we should do something about the room."
"Pfft, it's not to bad," said Sam, deliberately ignoring the magenta hand prints on the furniture.
"I believe you are underestimating the extent of theOuff."
Sam gave him a shove. "C'mon, don't ruin the moment. Here, help me up."
Castiel obliged and they hobbled along to the bathroom. Sam went straight for the sink. "I call first," he said, and immediately started scrubbing at his hands. The paint remained. "...um."
"Is something wrong."
"The paint isn't coming off."
"I believe you need something other than water to dissolve it. Remove your shirt and sit down on the toilet seat."
"I'm sorry?"Sam spluttered.
"I said that something other than water is needed–"
"I heard you."
"Then why did you ask me to repeat myself?"
"Never mind." Sam hesitated. "Look, you go and wait outside and I'll get cleaned up."
"But you have paint in places you won't be able to reach. Some of it slipped down your back."
Sam bit his lip, stalling for time. He didn't really want to turn the request down, but the fire had left him with some pretty nasty marks and he didn't want Castiel to see something that would make him uncomfortable. "There's some, uh, scarring," he said, hesitantly gesturing over his chest.
Castiel frowned. "Yes, that is to be expected after getting injured in a fire."
"Look, it's kind of gross and I'm totally cool if it would freak you out, so you can just step outside for a bit."
"Sam, I hardly think some traces of injury is going to cause me any fear," said Castiel, catching on.
Sam hesitated for another moment, then pulled the ruined t-shirt over his head. He waited for a gasp of disgust or a comment of sorts, but when no such thing came, Sam turned to meet Castiel's eyes.
The man stared back. "I am still waiting for you to get seated."
Sam relaxed, Castiel really didn't care.
The cleaning itself went much smother than Sam expected. He'd thought he would end up stuttering and blushing, but Castiel was quick to scrub of the paint, using shower gel and a sponge. Once it was done, they switched places, and Castiel handed Sam his cane.
"You got paint on it!" Sam exclaimed, eyeing the smudges. Yellow, pink and blue. It looked like he'd given it to a child to decorate.
Castiel looked at the object. "I find it to be an improvement," he told Sam. "It looks more amusing now."
"Yeah, yeah," Sam scoffed. "Your turn. Strip."
For some reason, Sam hadn't been prepared for Castiel to go any further than removing his trench coat, but soon he was loosening his tie and undoing the buttons of his shirt. Sam kept his eyes strained on his face, wishing he could do something to control he way his body suddenly felt much to hot.
At least Castiel didn't have to much paint on him, just a bit on his collarbone from where the paint had dripped and gone through the fabric (Sam was not checking Cas out as he cleaned him up. Nope. Definitely not).
Once it was done, Castiel picked up his coat and stared at it mournfully. "I believe it will never be the same."
"We'll think of something," said Sam a little awkwardly. "Look, I still have paint in my hair, so do you mind if I take a shower?"
Castiel shook his head. "I shall go and change, then commence with the cleaning of the living room." With that, he turned, leaving Sam alone to get himself sorted.
It was with the shower on and shampoo in his hair that Sam had an epiphany. He'd buy Cas a new trench coat!
Castiel had eyed Sam suspiciously as he started putting on his trainers and a worn coat.
"What are you doing?"
"I am going out," Sam said, smiling brightly.
"You never leave the house voluntarily."
"I am now."
Castiel didn't protest, but still looked unsure. "Where are you going?"
"I was thinking a quick walk to the shops. There's a few books I'd like to pick up. Wanna come?" It was a rhetorical, there was no way Castiel would let him wonder about by himself, at least not yet, but he looked pleased.
Once they arrived in town, Sam feigned fatigue. "Would you mind heading over to the book store for me? Get me something good, anything by Stephan King published after 2001. I'll wait by this bench."
Once Castiel was out of sight, Sam walked, as quickly as he could manage, to one of the towns fancier clothing shops. He didn't usually have much money to spare, but a life in relative isolation had left him with a bit extra.
"Can I help you with anything?" The shop assistant asked. She was short, with dark hair and hazel eyes. Sam would have considered her attractive if it weren't for the very of putting fact that she kept glancing between his eyes and his leg.
"Yeah, I'm looking for a trench coat. High quality, preferably in beige."
Staring at his leg. "I don't think..." Staring at his eyes. "we have them in in your size..." Staring at his leg. "Sorry Sir."
Sam forced a smile. Surely, it wasn't that unusual for people do have a bad leg? It didn't draw that much attention to him. Sure, he was a bit younger than most people with a cane, but she could at least try to be polite. "It's not for me, it's for a friend."
The assistant was helpful enough though, and directed Sam to a coat that fit the description nicely. He paid and hurried up outside, to find Castiel stalking around the square.
"Cas, over here!"
The man looked up. His eyes narrowed and he hurried up to Sam, circling him once to make sure he is in one piece, before stopping in front, looking up at him with an intimidating glare. "You where not where you told me you would be!"
Sam shrank back. "I, er, went to get you something."
"You bought me a gift?"
He said nothing, but passed over the bag. Castiel peered inside, pulling out the trench coat. "I thought you could do with a new one, after what we did to yours." He scratched his neck self-consciously.
"I sent my other coat to a dry cleaner."
Sam's face fell. "Oh. Oh, of course. Should have known. Here, I still have the recite, I can stake it back." He reached to take it off Castiel, but the man pulled away.
"No, I like it."
"But it's not the same as your trench coat, and you're really attached to it–"
"This one is a gift from Sam. Therefore, it is the superior coat." He put it on. It was a little lighter than the other one, possibly due to being cleaner, but as it turned out, it fit him rather nicely. "If it's okay with you, I would like to keep it."
Sam unable to suppress his grin. "Okay," he said, accepting the bag of books from Castiel. "Sorry for disappearing off earlier." Sam was smiling all the way back and Castiel, unused to seeing him so happy, did the same.
"No, no, no... JESS!"
Sam started awake, almost crashing into Castiel. His skin was slick with sweat and his breathing was completely out of control. It took Sam several moments to realise where he was. "...Shit," he muttered, sinking back into the bed.
Castiel rubbed Sam's forehead, not commenting when hot tears started rolling down his cheeks.
"This is so fucked up," Sam muttered. "I'm sick of it. I wish it could just stop."
Castiel wasn't the best at comforting words, but he knew how to get Sam to relax. Gentle fingers continued to work away at Sam's heated skin and he couldn't help the way his breath hitched as they brushed against the hollow of his collarbone. Sam thought it had been accidental, but after a few moments, they returned to that spot, brushing again. This time, Sam had to bite back a moan. His eyes sought out Castiel's, the question hanging unspoken between them.
Something new was hanging in the air between them, and by the keen interest in Castiel's eyes, he was aware of it too.
Slowly, Castiel leaned forward. Sam froze. It took a moment for him to realise what was happening, that Cas was kissing him and oh God, it felt so good–
In an instant, Castiel pulled away, looking very flustered. "I'm sorry," he said. "I misread the situation."
Castiel had taken Sam's lack of response as disinterest. Well, that sucked.
Castiel made to move away. Sam reached forward, snatching him by the tie and pulling him close again. There was no way he was letting him get away. "Can't believe you sleep in the tie," Sam breathed, before closing the distance between their lips.
It wasn't as soft this time. Sam was pushing, an insistent desperation behind his movement, prying Castiel's lips open and mentally smirking in satisfaction as he was able to entice the other man to moan. Castiel was hardly submissive though, one hand tugging at Sam's hair and the other at his back, trying to forcefully pull him closer.
Eventually, they had to break apart for air. The room was silent, save the two men's heavy breathing.
"That was... pleasant," Castiel said finally. "I never knew kissing would be such a pleasurable experience."
"That was your first kiss? How did you even know what to do?" Sam probably would have phrased that more delicately, but his mind was elsewhere at the moment.
"I learnt it from a pizza guy."
"From one of Dean's DVD's," Castiel added, and Sam grimaced.
"Don't wanna know," he muttered. "'m tired. Can we talk about this in the morning?" He wasn't actually all that tired, but he did want to discuss this before they went any further, and now wasn't the time.
"Okay." Castiel lowered him back down and snuggled up next to him, burying his head in the crook of Sam's neck.
Having Castiel beneath the blankets rather than on top of them was a completely different experience. It was comforting, and Sam fell asleep much quicker than he thought he would.
Sam's paintings got much brighter after that. As time went on, the hot reds and oranges diminished in surface area, leaving way for cooler greens and blues, until it reached the point when what little of the reds and oranges remained only seemed to make the cool colours stand out even more.
Sam was sure there was a metaphor buried in there somewhere, but he didn't care to analyse it further.
"Sam, Dean will be here soon. You may wish to start tidying up."
Sadly, Castiel had yet to learn that creeping up on him like that made him jump out of his skin. He started, hand slipping, a bright green smearing across the canvas. "CAS!"
Castiel, driven by survival instinct, promptly vanished from the room. Huh, he really needed to find out how Cas did that.
Sighing in reignition, Sam started putting his things away. To be honest, he was nervous about Dean's visit. As it turned out, Cas had been crushing on him just as bad and they had started a tentative relationship. It was still in its early days and they where taking it slow, but Sam wasn't sure what to do about Dean. He didn't want to actively hide things from him, but he wasn't sure how he should go about bringing it up either.
Castiel on the other hand, didn't see why it would be a problem. Sometimes, Sam wished he could share his social oblivion.
There was a sound from outside the house. Sam limped over to the kitchen and, glancing out the window, spotted Dean's car.
"Dean has arrived now."
"Really?" Sam scoffed lightly, before leaning down and giving Cas a quick kiss on the lips. "Just don't mention us yet, okay? I'd like to talk to him about it first."
"If that is what you want."
There was a knock on the door and Castiel went to answer it. Sam went ahead to the living room, grinning as he heard Dean and Castiel's light banter from the hall.
"Over here, Dean!" Sam called. The two of them came to join him, Dean taking the seat opposite him whilst Castiel came to sit by his side. Sam scooted over to give him room, flashing Dean a smile. His brother was looking between him and Castiel suspiciously. He couldn't know... could he?
"I like what you've done with the furniture," said Dean.
"I believe Dean is referring to the hand print on the couch," Castiel said, gesturing to the bright stain on the armrest.
"Ah." Sam smiled at the memory. "Got a bit out of hand when I was painting."
"'s that a new one?" Dean asked, gesturing to Sam's painting from earlier. The one which Castiel had ruined.
Sam shrugged self-consciously. "Yeah, messed it up a bit. Haven't had time to fix it yet, not sure if I'll be able to–"
"I like it," Dean told him.
"It's brighter, more colourful. What is it though?"
Sam hesitated, not sure if Dean would get it. "It's a park."
Dean squints at the mess of blue, green, beige and yellow. "A park?"
"It's what a park feels like. There's one just round the corner from here, me and Cas go there sometimes." He awaited the casual mocking, but it never came. Instead, Dean surprised him him by humming in understanding.
"Aha. And the fuzzy pink part near that black and beige figure?" The tone of Dean's voice started Sam. He knew that voice well enough; he'd figured it out.
"Cas? Could you go and get some drinks? And maybe some sandwiches?"
Castiel wordlessly obeyed the request. Sam waited until he was out of earshot before he leaned over closer to Dean, who smirked at him openly now. "So, when were you gonna tell me that you two are fucking?"
"What gave it away?" asked Sam, face to hot to correct Dean about the exact nature of their relationship. Not a discussion he wanted to have with his brother.
"The painting. Only you would go so fuzzy with love that you started painting how it feels to be in a park with Cas."
"Really? You guessed that from the painting?"
Dean gave him a playful shove. "No you idiot, I saw you kissing in the window."
Sam hadn't thought it possible, but he flushed even darker. "Eh... oh. You don't mind, do you?"
Dean gave him a sigh. "No, Sammy. You're seem happy again. I was really worried about you. With Cas around, I don't think I have to be."
"Thanks, Dean," Sam smiled.
"Just keep the PDA to a minimum, yeah?"
Sam gave him a not-so-gentle shove, but his smile remained. Maybe, Sam thought, things could work out after all.