Title: Stage Lights
Genre: Romance / AU
Pairings: Destiel (Dean/Castiel), Sabriel (Sam/Gabriel), eventual Michifer (Michael/Lucifer)
Warnings: Eventual mature adult sexual content, strong language.
Summary: Castiel Novak is cast as the lead role in a musical - a one night only benefit performance. What starts out as a routine job turns into something Castiel could never have dreamed of when he meets Dean Winchester, a man who changes everything he's ever known.
Author's Notes: Well hello there! My name is Jay, and I'll be the one editing the chapters on the fanfiction account and posting them. My lovely friend Leigh and I decided to write fanfiction together, so I remade my account to host our new collaboration - Stage Lights! We're die-hard Supernatural fans, and this story literally just came right out of us. We'll be posting in a 100% regular schedule of every weekend, most often Friday nights. We'll be working on several chapters in advance so that we don't fail you guys when it comes to a regular posting schedule. But the most important thing - please review! We've enabled anonymous reviews; every review counts! It's what keeps us going. Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter One: Who's That Boy
The alarm blared loudly, and Castiel Novak groaned from under his thick comforter, reaching out to his nightstand and smacking his hand down to make the blasted intrusion stop. Well, that was his plan, except in his state of half-awakeness he missed the snooze button and wound up knocking the alarm clock right off the nightstand and onto his bedroom carpet.
"Fuck," he whined, burying his head underneath his pillow in a halfhearted attempt to drown out the offending noise. After ten futile seconds of this, Castiel gave up, throwing the pillow and bedsheets off of his barely clothed body and leaning as far off of his queen-sized bed as possible without falling off to grab the alarm clock and brutally slam it back onto his nightstand, pressing the snooze button. He sat up on the edge of his bed, running his hands through his dark, thick hair as he examined the time on the alarm clock: 5:30.
"This is my freaking life..." Castiel complained to himself. Waking up this early wasn't exactly normal for the twenty-three year old stage actor, but he had an early meeting for a one night only benefit show that was being put on for a special charity organization. He had volunteered his time and expertise to play the lead in the show, and as such, he didn't really have room to complain when he needed to wake up at the just about dawn to get ready for a meeting.
Castiel padded across the soft blue carpet to his bathroom in just his boxers, closed the door, and removed the one shred of clothing he wore to sleep. He turned the shower on to full blast, stepping in as the frigid water warmed up in order to fully wake himself up. By the time he finished his shower, shaved, and dressed in appropriate attire for the brisk October air, nearly an hour had passed. Grabbing his key and small black messenger bag from the table in the cramped living room of his apartment, Castiel left, heading down the street to his favorite Starbucks on the corner.
No sooner had he walked in and inhaled the delicious aroma of caffeine than a steaming white cup was placed in front of him on the counter. He glanced up in surprise as the girl who served him laughed, her platinum blonde locks bouncing in mirth. Castiel smiled. "Good morning, Jo," he greeted, taking the cup from where she had placed it and breathing in the smell of his favorite blend, a double skim cinnamon hazelnut latte with extra whipped cream.
Jo's eyes twinkled. "Heya, Cas," she replied. "I figured I'd prepare your usual and put it on your tab, because I remembered you telling me about your unusual early start this morning."
Castiel sighed in relief, sipping the delicious, scalding beverage. "Thanks, Jo, you're an absolute lifesaver. I would drop dead if I had to wake up at the asscrack of dawn and then wait on line for coffee."
Jo giggled, waving him out the door as she began to walk back to the other side of the counter where a few customers had gathered during the exchange. "Yeah, yeah, I know I'm great. Get outta here!"
"Tell Adam I said hi," Cas finished, smiling and carrying his coffee out of the store like it was his firstborn child, turning the corner and walking down the block in the direction of the studio where the meeting was to be held.
Castiel and Jo had been friends since Cas had moved into his apartment two years past, and had begun visiting the busy Starbucks on the corner sometimes multiple times per day. Jo was the manager of that particular store, which seemed to be a rare phenomenon seeing as how she had just passed her twenty-first birthday, but she was incredibly responsible and efficient, so Castiel had no doubt that she was given her position because she was by far the best person for the job. Jo had picked up his "usual" within the first three days, and they first hit it off as friends on the first day she prepared his drink without him even needing to ask. She was a great friend, and sometimes a personal confidante, often taking a break during the midday rush to talk with Cas over his two o'clock cup.
Castiel's appreciation of his friend was interrupted while he crossed the street, when an obnoxious taxi driver had ignored the stop sign at that corner and nearly ran him over as he strode over the crosswalk. He jumped to the side to avoid being hit, nearly spilling his coffee on the side of the road as he flipped off the cab driver before continuing his stroll.
He arrived at the studio about fifteen minutes early. The small building would not be where the show was rehearsed and performed; it was just where the initial meetings took place. After turning several corners to find his way to the meeting room, Castiel was greeted by Crowley, the director.
"Ah, Castiel! I should have figured you'd be early," Crowley told him, smiling. "Here, have a script." Cas took the book from his outstretched hand and slid into a chair at the meeting room table, opening the book as he sipped his coffee. "It'll be a while yet, we're still waiting for the other performers," Crowley informed him. Cas simply nodded, rubbing his eyes and yawning. He wasn't quite one for many words that early in the morning. Crowley smirked in understanding and left the room.
By the time early afternoon rolled around, the entire cast had completed the first readthrough, along with discussions about character development and relationships, and a listen to the preliminary soundtrack. It was a great show, and if the benefit show went well, they might get investors interested and possibly bring the show to a regular venue, which would be a dream come true for the producer. Castiel and the rest of the cast were informed that rehearsals would start in three days, and their lines were to be memorized by then. A three day deadline was something Cas wasn't quite used to, and it was asking a lot of the actors, but it was asked if any of the actors had a problem with it, and Castiel was confident that he could memorize his substantial amount of lines in three days. When the meeting was called to a close, it was almost 2:30.
Castiel yawned, putting his script in his messenger bag and throwing out his long-empty coffee cup as he left the room. He figured he was long overdue for another cup, and, well, his favorite Starbucks was on the way to the theater that he was going to visit, where the rehearsals and performance would take place. Needless to say, another gloriously hot cinnamon hazelnut latte was halfway gone by the time he made it to the theater.
It was his last stop of the day, and honestly, all he wanted to do was get back to his apartment, learn some lines, and pass out, but he figured it would be a good idea to see the space and get acquainted with the building. While he looked around, past the spacious stage and well-lit dressing rooms, he happened to pass by the main crew room, where the members of the stage crew were already hard at work putting together the set. Normally, cast isn't allowed anywhere in the crew room areas, so Castiel had to settle for a glance inside, as he caught a brief glimpse of a built figure in a black t-shirt bent close to a set of instructions on one of the work tables. Cas shrugged to himself, internally admitting that the view wasn't that bad, before moving on and heading back to his apartment.
The next day, Castiel decided that he really liked the theater, mainly for the way its backstage area was veritably labyrinthine in its construction. He was especially fond of this one particular hallway, in fact, as it was far enough away from the stage that it was nearly silent, and far enough from the crew areas to prevent him from incurring the wrath of the stage manager. It was apparently unused, though it appeared to cut indirectly through from the stage to the crew room, so he had chosen it as his memorization area. He seated himself on the floor as he slipped on his black-framed reading glasses, legs stretched out and back against the wall as he read to himself, his lips curving around the words.
He didn't hear the footsteps when they came, so he was shocked out of his concentration when someone tripped over his legs and let out a loud, harsh, "Son of a bitch!" accompanied by a heavy thud. It took a moment before Castiel could get a good look at the guy, and he took in quite a sight.
The guy was wearing paint-splattered jeans and a black tee, and his hands were clamped around the edges of a door. He had brown hair – almost caramel-coloured – and it was cropped short. On closer inspection, Castiel noted the small pendant on a black cord hanging around his neck.
The guy got to his feet, the door clattering entirely to the floor, as their eyes meet for the first time. He had green eyes, and long lashes, and there's a long moment of silence.
Then the guy's eyes widened. "Wait, you're – you're Castiel Novak, right?"
Cas nodded, his mouth dry. The guy had this kind of rough, Midwestern accent, and Cas could feel his knees weakening as he shoved his glasses higher on his nose. "Uh, yeah."
"Dean Winchester." This smile cut at the edges of his – Dean Winchester's, God, he's even got a cowboy kind of name – mouth (and what a pretty mouth it was, at that), and Castiel wasn't really sure how to respond. Offstage and apart from people he already knew (like Gabe, or Jo), he was pretty much absolutely awful at social interaction.
But Dean Winchester extended a hand to him, and, wonder of wonders, he remembered to shake it. Then Dean spoke again: "I, uh, I'm kind of a fan of your work."
"Oh," Cas mumbled as he looked down at the floor, hoping he wasn't blushing. "Thank you."
The silence this time was awkward rather than revelatory, as Cas looked up at Dean through his lenses.
"Dammit - wish I had something for you to sign," Dean finally muttered, shifting from one foot to the other just once.
Castiel stood there silent for a moment, then offered, "I have a Sharpie..." He had signed people before, of course - there'd been that one girl who'd almost flashed him when she offered her chest for him to sign. He remembered the dirty look her girlfriend gave him and almost shuddered even now, over a year after the event.
Dean seemed to understand, though, and he was quiet, and nervous, and strangely gentle as he rolled up his left sleeve.
Castiel, in a moment of brazenness (and possibly utter idiocy), entered Dean's personal space. He took Dean's bicep in his hand and pulled the Sharpie from his pocket. When they touched, Castiel swore he could feel sparks between their skin, but he hid the idea away immediately, because that doesn't happen – he knows that too well. It just couldn't happen. He signed his name, Castiel J. Novak, and paused for a moment, attempting to ignore the rush that the feel of the hard, bulging muscle underneath the palm of his hand gave him - and was Dean flexing? After a few seconds, he reluctantly let go of Dean's arm.
They parted slowly, and Castiel could not meet Dean's eyes. He thought he might say something stupid if he does.
"Hey, uh," Dean says, breaking the silence. "Thanks."
Castiel told his common sense to, to use colloquialisms, go fuck itself, and looked up as he replied, "You're welcome."
Dean smiled, just the edge of a smile, and it was rather beautiful enough to take Castiel's breath away. Dean didn't really back away, though there was maybe a foot of space between them at best. "I'll have to bring a playbill or something, if I see you again."
"Uh, certainly. Sharpie washes off." It was an inane comment, but it was all Castiel had.
Dean laughed. Beautifully. "Yeah. Anybody who's ever done an oral report knows that."
The word "oral" coming from that pretty mouth did things to Castiel's insides, but he was fairly certain that it didn't show on his face. He'd spent years learning to control his expressions – it's part of the job, after all. After a moment, he smiled back and nodded.
They stood there like that for another long moment, and then Dean suddenly looked down at the door on the floor behind them, as if its existence had completely gone out of his mind. "Dammit. Gotta get that back to Props."
"I'm sorry," Castiel said, stricken with guilt.
"No, no, it's fine. It won't take long to fix, and I should've been paying attention." Dean smiled again, reassuring, and bent to pick up the door. Castiel's mind registered a brief moment of recognition at the bent over form, but didn't think much of it as Dean lifted the cumbersome object to shoulder height, hoisting it over his shoulder as his arm muscles bulged. He smiled and, in what seemed to be an almost last-minute gesture, winked at Castiel before turning completely around and heading down the hallway.
Cas watched him walk away, and realized belatedly that this was the man whose ass he'd been ogling from outside the crew room yesterday. His face immediately flushed, and he was grateful to high heaven that Dean wasn't still there to see it.
Well, that's just awkward.
As he leaned back against the wall, the image of Dean's smile and wink in his mind, the beautiful smile that nearly took his breath away just minutes earler, and the wink with those long-lashed, gorgeous green eyes, caused him to sink down to the floor half-dazed.
"What the hell just happened?" Cas asked himself in flushed exasperation. He shrugged off the entire situation and adjusted his reading glasses on the bridge of his nose as he once again picked up his script.
Dean splashed his face with ice cold water after his daily morning shave, looking in the mirror and sighing at the tired expression and dark circles marring his admittedly attractive visage. No, he wasn't vain, he was just honest. He was damn good looking, and he knew it. Twisting the nozzle of the sink to the off position, he grabbed a small hand towel off the rack and dried his face. As he looked down at his arm, he noticed Castiel's signature still in place on his bicep, if a bit faded from his earlier shower. He smirked to himself. That man was definitely something.
As he walked back into his bedroom, a figure stirred underneath the sheets. "Dean?" asked the tan-skinned, black haired boy from last night. Dean sighed. He was hoping that he would be able to leave for work before the guy woke up. One night stands just didn't understand that they were one night stands sometimes. The kid was a good fuck, but didn't mean anything more than that. Dean had way too much weighing down on his shoulders lately to worry about who exactly it was who was helping him relieve some tension every once in a while, and all that he could remember was that the guy was almost four years younger than him.
He pointed to the nightstand, where a ten dollar bill rested on top of a piece of paper with a hastily scrawled note on it from when Dean had just woken up earler. "There's enough for cab fare there; I have to get to work."
At the guy's indignant expression, Dean lost his patience. "I'm not paying you for the god damn sex, I was just being a gentleman and making sure you had a way home. Jesus Christ!" Ignoring the kid's shocked and slightly hurt expression, Dean left the room, grabbing his backpack and phone before taking his leave from the apartment.
As he walked down the street, he remembered that he had wanted to get something for Castiel to sign the next time they met. He sighed in frustration before realizing that he could just have Castiel sign his binder. He took that thing everywhere, seeing as how it had all of the blueprints and plans for whatever needed to be built by the stage crew, and he figured that was a better thing than any to get signed by his favorite stage actor. He had seen Cas in a few productions, though not as a lead, and he always stood out to Dean as a great actor and a phenomenal singer.
Their conversation the day before brought a smirk to Dean's face. Castiel seemed a bit nervous for some reason, even though he obviously had no idea that Dean was quite starstruck. It was adorable. The image of Cas looking up at him with those bright blue eyes through those fuckhot glasses flashed through his mind, and Dean's stomach fluttered at the memory of the slight flush on the man's face. Completely disregarding the butterflies, Dean shook his head, heading into the back door to the main stage crew room. Even though he felt like fireworks were exploding at their point of skin contact when Castiel had grabbed Dean's arm to sign his shoulder, he refused to believe that anything would come of it. In his experience, things like that were simply unrealistic to hope for.
Dean was quite the important person when it came to stage crew with this particular organization, seeing as his expertise and efficiency had gotten him promoted to crew chief within a year of his first job. He directed a few crew members who were early birds like him to get started on cutting plywood for a house set that needed to be built, as he threw himself into his work, all thoughts of the rather entrancing blue-eyed actor out of his head.
Within a few hours, enough had been done that Dean was rather satisfied with the stagecrew, so he gave them an hour-long lunchbreak as a reward. While the crew members celebrated and began to trickle out, Dean meandered through the twisting maze of backstage hallways to find the door that led to the small yard in the back of the theater. As he opened the door and stepped out, the cool breeze flooded across his body, and he inhaled deeply and sighed. The smell of nature combined with the stench of New York City smelled like home, which was why he loved it at the back of the theater.
He started to sit down at the wall of the building when a voice drifted in on the breeze. It was a male voice, and it was singing. It was possibly one of the most beautiful things Dean had ever heard. He didn't recognize the song, but the soft, sad tone of the voice nearly brought a tear to Dean's eye right then. He followed the sound until he came upon the edge of a small glade of trees farther back in the yard of the theater. Peeking from behind a tall oak, he saw Castiel Novak standing near a tree, arm outstretched, as a bluejay perched on his hand. It was the most fascinating thing: the bluejay seemed to be staring intently at the actor as he sang, like it was paying attention.
The song rose to a climax as Castiel's voice flooded through Dean, making his pulse quicken and his throat constrict. As Castiel's voice trickled off to nothing, he smiled sadly, a tear running down his cheek as he lifted his arm slightly so that the bluejay would take flight, apparently having lost interest. He walked closer to the tree he was standing near, turning around and sliding down to the ground and taking his script in hand, and Dean figured he was probably memorizing his lines again.
In order to not disturb the man, Dean quietly vacated the area, entering the theater once again to sink to the floor against the wall in the daze. Cas's voice… he sounded so lost, and broken, and all Dean wanted to do was take him in his arms and put him back together.
He shivered at the feeling that was running through his veins before standing up and shaking it off immediately. No. Things like that just didn't happen for Dean Winchester. He knew from experience that all caring did was get you hurt.