Disclaimer: Not mine.


Chapter Seventeen

Week 8, Day +15

Dean wakes up aching in weird places – his thighs, for example; all the muscles in his stomach; his upper arms and shoulders, as well – and, even weirder still, he wakes up with his cheek smushed into Castiel's chest. Bare chest. Castiel is naked. This revelation is followed by the revelation that Dean is also naked. Together, they're sticky and excessively warm and they are what Dean would reluctantly call cuddling.


Blinking blearily, Dean peels his face away from Castiel's skin, and the overall weirdness of the situation is just starting to sink in – they're pressed together almost from head to toe, legs all tangled up, arms thrown haphazardly all over each other – when Castiel's eyes slowly open.

Castiel's nose scrunches up at the end in confusion, and it's so hopeless and silly that all the weirdness dissipates instantly, and Dean leans forwards to kiss him. It turns out, however, that Castiel is not a morning person; he makes a low grumble against Dean's mouth, just barely tolerating the kiss until it's over, when he can curl back into Dean and fall asleep again.

"Come on," Dean whispers to the tightly-curled bundle of sweat and snuggles who is currently trying to burrow into his chest. "We've gotta get up... ugh. What time even is it?"

As Castiel makes a bizarre yowling noise of complaint against the floor, Dean stretches past him to find his backpack, where he'd stashed his watch last night. Unfortunately, at some point, the contents of Dean's bag have been scattered everywhere, so it takes him a good few minutes to locate the watch before he can see the time – eight-thirty A.M.

"Shit!" He sits upright, shoving at Castiel's shoulder. "Jesus, Cas, get up – it's eight-thirty!"

Castiel rolls over, his face screwing up as he tries to comprehend what's happening. "That's impossible," he slurs, rubbing his knuckles against his eyes. "I set the alarm for seven, like we said..."

Dean strains past Castiel to hurriedly try and gather up his clothes to get dressed. The elevens are all leaving Camp Chiquita on the shuttle-bus at twelve, and for that they have to have had lunch and be ready and packed by eleven-thirty, and for that they have be back at camp by nine – and the whole plan seems to be whirling down the toilet right now. Dean and Castiel have overslept and Chuck is probably still passed out drunk in his tent somewhere and oh, Jesus Christ, this is bad.

"Well, I hate to break this to you, buddy, but you failed us all," Dean says, wriggling back into his underwear and uniform khaki shorts. He yanks his crumpled red polo shirt from underneath Castiel – and that's when he discovers, to his absolute horror, that one sleeve is crusted in jizz. "Oh, shit."

"What?" Castiel mumbles, sitting up and sleepily fumbling for his clothes.

"You came on my freaking shirt, that's what!" Dean hisses, brandishing the shirt and waving it in Castiel's face in outrage. "Jesus, what am I gonna – okay – uh, I'm gonna see if this comes out – you get your clothes on and start waking up the Humpties and Dumpties."

Castiel grumbles a little but obediently starts dressing as Dean toes into his sneakers and tears out of the tent, bare-chested, in the direction of the water pump where they'd been washing dishes the night before. He glances back in the direction of the other tents, where some kids are chattering quietly, but, for the most part, where all is peaceful; he then gets to furtively trying to scrub the semen out of his godamn clothing. Who the fuck decided that losing their virginity in a tent was a good idea? Ugh.

It's sort of coming out, aside from a really gross mucus-y film, but Dean wipes it against a tree, covering it instead in tree sap to hide it, and decides that it's a good enough job for now. He wriggles back into his shirt, turns around – and nearly jumps ten feet in the air when he sees Albert Oiseau standing just behind him, eyes narrowed.

"Morning, Albert!" Dean says brightly, trying to will down the heat in his face, because going bright red is really not going to help right now. Maybe Albert didn't see anything. Maybe Albert doesn't even know what that means yet. Maybe Albert's parents don't love him and never gave him The Talk – they sent him away on summer camp for two weeks, so they can't love him that much – it's possible, Dean thinks. He grins with false enthusiasm. "How're you?"

Sulky as ever, Albert does not answer. His jaw outs moodily and he glares as he pushes past Dean in order to get to the portable toilets. It's only once Dean hears the bathroom door click shut and lock that he lets himself breathe again. Maybe, if he's lucky, they've got away with it. He doesn't wait to find out; he shakes some of the water out of his shirt and pulls it on, ignoring the cold of the damp, and he hurries back to where Castiel is starting to get all the kids up and tidy the campsite.

Without further ado, Dean rushes straight over and tugs at the hem of Castiel's sleeve. "Cas, I think Albert might know."

Castiel frowns. "Know what?"

Dean rolls his eyes, sighing heavily. "Know the location of the Holy freaking Grail, Cas – what do you think?!" he says in an undertone. "He was giving me some seriously weird looks and I just – Jesus, I don't know."

"Well, if it's any consolation," Castiel says sourly, leaning closer so that he can lower his voice, "at least you haven't got to work around any soreness."

Blinking a little, confused, Dean takes in what Castiel is saying – and takes in his stiff posture, the uncomfortable way that he's holding himself – and he bursts out laughing. This only serves to deepen Castiel's frown; a pink flush rises in his cheeks.

"Sorry, man," Dean says, biting his bottom lip to try and keep his laughter under control. He would kiss Castiel, then, or at the very least smush his face, but there's no room for that here, so instead Dean reaches a hand out to shove playfully at his shoulder, his smile all lit up warm. Castiel is still glowering, but his lips reluctantly twist at the corners, so that's okay. "We'll be fine," Dean promises. "I was probably just over-thinking things."

Fear of reprimand helps them to tidy up the campsite in record time – they manage to be all cleared away no later than nine-thirty, which is still behind schedule, but overall not too bad considering that only an hour ago Dean and Castiel were still plastered all over each other naked. They get everything packed away, and do one last sweep of the campsite to check that they haven't left any litter or personal belongings before shouldering their backpacks and heading up the narrow path back to parking lot where the shuttle-bus was abandoned overnight.

Chuck trails along at the back of the line, gripping his head as though he could by some magic massage his hangover away, and his face only crumples further when he realises that he has to be responsible and actually drive the kids back to Camp Chiquita. He bangs his head on the side of the bus as he gets into the drivers' seat; Dean and Castiel exchange a worried glance at Chuck's evidently poor hand-eye coordination, and try not to think too hard about the fact that they may well die on the way back.

Aside from one time where Chuck seems to fall asleep at the wheel and starts to swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic before Dean yells at him, the eleven-year-olds, plus chaperones, make it back to camp without incident.

Of course, there is still the probably of Missouri waiting for them outside the lobby when they return, arms folded across her chest and glowering like she's attempted to kick-start the human combustion process – starting with Dean and Castiel.

"You're late," she says decisively as soon as they step off the bus, their hands held high in surrender. She uncrosses her arms and jabs one finger in their direction. "I swear to you now, if any of those kids miss their ride home, I'll be selling you two into white slavery to pay for the next plane. You hear me?"

"Yes, ma'am," Dean and Castiel chorus obediently, all smiles and sweetness. No-one has to know a thing.

They hurry the elevens back to their respective cabins and tell them all that they have just under forty minutes to tidy up and pack away all their things. From there, things lapse into chaos. All the other kids, of all ages and sizes, are currently running around like headless chickens gathering up their belongings from other people's cabins or the lockers in the communal bathrooms. It's almost impossible to find any other supervisors, let alone any one specific kid; Dean can only hope that none of them die or go missing or anything.

Dean supervises for only twenty minutes or so before he gets bored and tries to drag Castiel away to look for Jo and Victor. Of course, Castiel is being very diligent, helping everyone who so much as frowns at their suitcase, and insists on doing his job properly. "Suit yourself," Dean laughs, waving as he heads off.

Jo and Victor aren't far; he finds them sitting cross-legged on the grass near the kids' cabins, Victor eating a sloppy chicken taco and Jo laughing at one little boy who has yet to carry a single item out of his room without tripping on the steps. They flail their arms wildly to attract his attention when they see him, and call him over.

"Hey, Casanova," Jo says when Dean sits down, and she grins slyly. "How was your romantic weekend retreat?"

"It was good." Dean folds his legs beneath him, lies back to prop himself on his hands. "This one kid sprained his ankle falling over a tree root and I think The Bearded Wonder's liver is officially shot all to hell, but it was alright. Fun, you know." He gives a non-committal shrug.

"Uh-huh." Victor raises his eyebrows, pulls a face like sure, I believe you.

Jo nudges Dean in the stomach with one pointy elbow. "So – on a scale of one to Mountain, how Brokeback was it?"

Dean rolls his eyes. "Jesus, are we really starting this already?" he complains, but he can already feel heat starting to creep up his neck. No matter how cool he plays it, it's going to be hard to deny anything if he turns bright red.

"C'mon." Jo smirks. "You mean to tell me nothing happened? Tents, moonlight, solitude – and nothing? Not even a little horizontal mambo?"

"Leave me alone."

"You know," Victor says, slowly, contemplatively, as he chews on the last of his taco, "that doesn't sound like a denial to me."

Jo's face melts into an expression of shock, her mouth opening wide. "Oh my god," she exclaims. She presses a hand over her mouth to try and hold in the first breathy gasps of giggles. "I can't believe it – you actually did, didn't you?"

At this point, there is no hiding from it. Dean's face is roughly the temperature of the sun, burning so red that it's actually painful. He sits up properly, shifts in his seat, and very determinedly does not make eye contact. "Shut up, Jo."

Victor chuckles, shaking his head as he scrunches up his taco wrapper. "Man, what happened to your innocence?" he teases.

"Gosh," Jo chides, folding her arms across her head and playing at being disappointed, "and to think that Victor and I were actually hard at work over here while you were out deflowering Castiel in the wilderness!"

Victor nods gravely. "There are a great many flowers to be found in the Texan woodlands," he starts in the tone of a news commentator, "but Castiel Novak's flower is not one of them."

"That rare, delicate rose is nowhere to be seen," Jo joins in, solemn. "Rumours have it that it was last seen impaled on Dean's dick."

"Oh my god, seriously?" Dean drops his face into his hands, as though he can somehow burrow bodily into them and disappear forever. "Seriously."

"Bumping uglies... shaking the third hand..." Jo chimes, still grinning like an idiot. "I can't believe it. Dean and Castiel officially went and bust the walnut."

Dean lifts his head to stare incredulously at her, spluttering, "Bust the—are you making these up?"

Jo side-eyes him, smirking. "Did he stuff your turkey?"

On an impulse, Dean decides the only thing to do is beat her at her own game. He tilts his head towards her, almost conspiratorially, and tells her in a matter-of-fact tone, "Actually, I stuffed his turkey. Vigorously. With gravy."

Jo lets out a loud squawk, throwing up her hands either in triumph or dismay at the overload of information; Victor, certainly, gives a loud groan and drops heavily to lie back on the grass, covering his face with his hands and exclaiming "brain bleach, brain bleach". Dean just grins embarrassedly.

Then it gets worse, because at precisely that moment, Castiel, having sent the kids off to lunch before the shuttle bus, wanders over – walking gingerly – and asks what they're all laughing at.

Jo takes one look at Castiel's awkward attempt at sitting down on the grass, his face screwing up a little in discomfort as he does, and bursts out laughing again. Victor, for whom all this second-hand embarrassment is just too painful, takes one for the team and answers Castiel: "Turkeys. Don't worry about it."

Castiel frowns.

By this stage, Jo is struggling to breathe, and has to excuse herself to go and calm down before she pees her pants. It's not rocket science to work out that Victor is not telling the whole truth.

It's only a few seconds before he gives a long sigh, and leans over to Dean. "They know, don't they?"

Dean looks sideways to meet Castiel's eyes, and gives a cringing half-smile. "Yeah..."

Castiel exhales heavily, his mouth twisting in a well, what can you do? kind of gesture. Then his brow creases up again with confusion. "Wait – turkeys?"

A short laugh bursts out of Dean. "Don't ask."

They fall into silence as they all fight desperately to think of any conversation topic that isn't Dean and Castiel's sex life. Jo makes some facile comment on the weather; Castiel points out a one-legged pigeon and they all laugh nervously at it. Thankfully, they are saved by Victor pointing out that it's nearing eleven and that they should go around making sure that all the cabins are packed up, cleared out, and that the kids are all in the cafeteria having their last shitty Chiquita lunch – a task that they throw themselves into with great enthusiasm, as long as it means that they don't have to think too much about gay tent-sex.

Aside from one nine-year-old girl crying because she's going to miss her new friends, there is no-one to be found hiding away in the cabins. They head back up to the cafeteria just as the now-fed kids are swarming out to collect their suitcases and start boarding the shuttle-bus.

"Come on, boys and girls, don't be shy!" Missouri shouts, tapping one foot impatiently as she stands waiting by the first bus. "We gotta hit the road in a half hour. Let's go!"

Jo sucks in a deep breath and settles into what Dean has called her drill-sergeant voice as she starts yelling for the kids to move it, organising them by airport departure time. Dean isn't particularly sentimentally attached to any of the kids leaving today – to be honest, he's quite glad to be rid of most of them – and so he helps load the buses but otherwise just smiles and waves at the flocks at emotional children piling into their seats. There is only one exception.

Albert Oiseau looks no happier by the end of the two weeks than he did the day he arrived, sullen-faced and obnoxious to those around him.

As Albert approaches the bus, Dean plasters on his biggest, sugariest smile and ducks down, hands resting on his knees, to give him a sarcastically cheerful farewell. "See you around, buddy!" he says brightly. "It's been a joy to be acquainted with you and I wish you every success in the rest of your long, happy life from the bottom of my heart."

Albert looks up at Dean with narrowed eyes. "Same to you," he says coldly. He pauses to throw his bags into the back of the bus, and then turns back to Dean and, almost as an afterthought, adds, "Thanks for a really great night's sleep."

Bewildered, Dean frowns – and then he remembers. He feels icy dread spread its fingers through his blood, and for a few seconds he has absolutely no idea what to say. He can't act ashamed, or grovel that he hasn't told anyone, or threaten him. There's nothing for it; he beams even more broadly. "No problem!"

An ever-faithful asshole to his final moments, Albert doesn't stoop to the level of answering Dean. He just keeps on fixing him with the same glare, throwing the last of his bags into the back, and then lifts his eyebrows cockily at Dean, like he knows something Dean doesn't, before he climbs up the steps onto the bus out of sight.

Dean can't shake the cold feeling of unease creeping up his spine and lifting goosebumps on the back of his neck until all the kids are stowed away in their respective seats and the buses pulling away for the airport. Even then, although he can no longer feel Albert's judgemental eyes on him, the mere thought of it leaves a sour, fearful aftertaste in Dean's mouth. He guesses this is what it means to give a shit about someone other than himself, and to be blunt, he doesn't really like it.

For the sake of not worrying him needlessly, Dean decides not to tell Castiel, and his mind is soon enough taken off the matter by the prospect of the rest of changeover day - hours and hours ahead of them, of nothing but sun, sea, sand, and stupidity, in most cases.

Not a minute is wasted before all the volunteers are taking their leave from their duties and running down to the beach, shrieking and whooping all the way. The afternoon is hot on their faces, the glare of the Gulf bright in their eyes, and everything is cast glittering in the harsh light. This time is precious, and they don't intend to let a second slip by.

There are two weeks left.