Hi! This is the prologue (chapter one) of my newest project on here, so I hope it gets you interested. I absolutely love getting feedback, so don't hesitate to send comments, questions, suggestions, whatever, and feel free to let me know if you want me to continue!

This story will focus on Sam and Dean's brotherly relationship, but the romantic pairing is Sam/Cas. They will hopefully feature equally as the story goes on.

OVERALL WARNINGS: slash, childhood sexual abuse (not explicit), physical abuse, mentions of homophobia, language, violence

I will be doing individual warnings for chapters as well.

CHAPTER WARNINGS: language (maybe?), slash, mentions of physical abuse

I hope you guys like it!

John Winchester stumbled through the front door of the small apartment and dropped his overnight bags on the kitchen table, sinking into a chair gratefully. He rubbed his tired eyes and sighed softly, listening for movement within the tiny apartment.

He glanced up when heavy footsteps plodded from the bedroom and came to a stop right next to him. He took the offered two pills of Advil from Dean's palm and swallowed them without waiting for Dean to get him a glass of water. His head was pounding.

"Thanks, Dean," John sighed and leaned back in the chair, arching and cracking his back. "Long trip."

"I know," Dean raised his eyebrows and took a seat across from John, his voice low and gruff. John rubbed the back of his neck, rolling his shoulders, and took a moment to examine his eldest son. Dean had filled out almost completely at eighteen years old; he was broad-shouldered and well-muscled. Probably a hit with the girls at school, John mused, his eyes flickering from Dean's bright green eyes to the dusting of freckles on his nose.

John blinked and pulled himself out of his musings when he realized Dean was still speaking, "You missed Sammy's first soccer game."

"Dean, don't start with me," John snapped, sensing where this was going. He wasn't ready to argue with Dean about Sam and his stupid abandonment issues. John kept him clothed and fed, put a roof over his head; it's not like he didn't love the kid. It wasn't his fault he had to travel for work and miss a few soccer games here and there. "I had to go on this trip. It took longer than I expected. It's not my fault."

"You're the one who made him try out in the first place," Dean continued, pursing his lips and rubbing the bridge of his nose irritably. "He hates it, he can't stand his coach. He's just doing it to make you happy."

"He needs to learn to follow orders, and if I can't teach him, Lester Prose can," John retorted sharply, his tone indicating he wasn't going to continue this conversation. "Bobby and him go way back, he puts a lot of stock in the guy's methods and opinions, and that's good enough for me."

Dean humph-ed discontentedly, but didn't say anything else. He rested his chin in his hands and gazed out the window blankly, kicking his feet back and forth under the table absentmindedly, scuffing them against the peeling linoleum floor.

"Where's Sam?" John suddenly realized he didn't hear Sam moving around in the bedroom or bathroom; the rest of the apartment was completely silent.

"He went out," Dean replied, tensing almost imperceptibly. He stopped swinging his feet and his hands clenched into fists for a moment before he forced them to relax again, hoping John hadn't noticed.

He had. John raised an eyebrow and smirked softly. "Since when does Sam 'go out' on Saturday nights?"

"He's sixteen," Dean shrugged, leaning back on two legs of his chair. John shot him with a warning look and Dean rolled his eyes before dropping all four chair legs back to the floor again. "It's only ten o' clock. He just went to the library with Cas to study. They've got some big History test tomorrow."

"Cas?" John repeated, pursing his lips and twitching his eyebrows with distaste. "The kid who lives out in the woods with the thirteen siblings?"

"Cas, my best friend, Cas," Dean snapped irritably. John had never liked Cas; he'd always thought Cas was a freak because of his siblings (who were notorious in town for being strictly religious and constantly arguing with each other in public). John wasn't even around enough to ever have really gotten to know Cas, even though Cas had been practically living at their house since he and Dean were seven years old. Dean hated when John pretended that Cas wasn't the best and only friend Dean ever had, after all the years Cas had been there for both Dean and Sam.

"When will Sam be home?" John demanded, his headache throbbing more painfully. He rubbed his temples and winced slightly. "I want to talk to him before he goes to bed."

"Should be any minute," Dean replied, standing up and stretching. He glanced at the clock, desperate to get John out of the kitchen before Sam came home. The window had a perfect view of the parking lot, and he didn't want John to see Cas drop Sam off. "Hey, can you come help me with-?"

John held up a hand to shush him when the sound of the engine of Castiel's clunky, beat up pickup truck came into the parking lot and drifted in through the half-open window. John moved to look out over the parking lot as Sam climbed out of the passenger's side of the truck. Cas slipped out of his truck and met Sam around the front of the hood. They spoke softly for a few moments, too softly for John to make out the words. He took the time to look Sam over, evaluating how Sam had physically changed in the past month. Sam had grown another two inches or so since John had gone away. He was wearing hand me down jeans that used to be John's and he fit into them well, testifying to how much he'd grown. His hair flopped into his wide eyes as he talked to Castiel, and he had a small, genuine smile on his face. His hands dug deep into his pockets and he leaned one hip on the hood of the truck.

Sam looked like his mother. Same eyes, same waves in his hair, same soft smile. It hurt John to look at him sometimes; all he could see was Mary.

John's eyes narrowed when Castiel's hand strayed to Sam's waist and curled around his hip. He expected Sam to bat him off, but instead, Sam shifted closer to Castiel, his smile widening a little.

"Dean," John said lowly, beckoning Dean over to the window. Dean stood by his shoulder and peered around him to see the parking lot from the window. "Is there something you and Sam wanted to tell me?"

"What?" Dean asked innocently, looking for all the world like he had no idea what his father was talking about. Cas's hand could be dismissed as a friendly gesture, so long as he didn't do anything else.

Dean prayed that Cas and Sam, just this one time, wouldn't kiss goodnight like they always did, even if they had no way of knowing John had gotten home early. Maybe, just maybe, they could keep this from their Dad for just a little longer.

Sam laughed at something Cas said and Cas smiled up at him for a moment before pulling Sam close by his hips and pressing their lips together. Sam automatically leaned down so Cas didn't have to be on tiptoe to reach his lips, and slipped his arms around Cas's waist.

The kiss wasn't anything explicit, it was actually perfectly gentle and chaste, but judging by the noise that came out of John's mouth, they might as well have been going at it in the parking lot.

Sam and Cas drew apart, smiling goofily at each other. Cas brushed a strand of Sam's hair out of his eyes and said one more thing before Sam turned and headed towards the door to the apartment building. Cas leaned against the hood of his truck and watched Sam walk away, making sure he got inside okay. He crossed his arms over his chest and as his pale eyes followed Sam's progress across the parking lot, smiling softly to himself and touching his fingers to his bottom lip.

John shoved Dean out of the way and stormed over to the door of the apartment, crossing his arms and standing in the small foyer to block any chance of escape when Sam stepped inside.

Dean tugged on John's sleeve, desperate to get John to calm down marginally before he unleashed his wrath on Sam. Sam had been terrified of Dad finding out since he and Cas had started dating; he'd had nightmares about what Dad would say, what he would do, and they left Sam shaking and in tears at the thought of their father hating him. Dean could barely console him some nights. "Dad, c'mon, don't be mad. He was afraid of what you'd say, he didn't do it to—"

"Let me handle this, Dean," John said calmly, brushing Dean away easily and keeping his eyes on the door. "Go sit down in the living room."

Dean hesitated, looking his father over evaluatingly. John seemed suddenly collected and calm, his hands relaxed from where they'd been clenched into fists when he'd seen Cas kiss Sam. There was no way for Dean to stop this conversation from happening. The only thing he could do now was help Sam recover from their dad's disapproving words as best he could. "Dad, just…don't be too hard on him. He can't help it."

"I will take care of it, Dean," John said tersely, not looking back as Dean followed his order to go to the living room, confident his son would obey him. The lock turned in the door and Sam pushed it open without noticing his dad's looming frame in the front hall. He stepped inside, locked the door behind him, and turned to walk into the apartment, but stopped short when he came face to face with John.

Sam broke out into a smile when he saw John was home early. "Hi, Dad. I didn't think you'd be home until tomorrow." He was actually glad to see his dad. He'd called last week to tell them he was going to be gone longer than he thought originally, and Sam had felt disappointed, though he'd never say it out loud. He missed Dad when he was gone, he couldn't help it, and he knew it took a lot of pressure off Dean to take care of him when Dad was around.

"Good thing I came home early, or I wouldn't have found out about your little boyfriend," John said coolly, frowning at Sam, deep lines forming around his mouth. Sam's eyes widened and he went pale. He opened his mouth like he was going to speak, but no sound came out. John sighed and motioned to the kitchen table. "Sit down a minute, Sam."

He guided Sam over to the kitchen chair and pushed him down into it with a firm hand on his shoulder. He moved to stand on the other side of the table and crossed his arms, fixing Sam with a steady gaze. Sam shifted uncomfortably, wringing his hands in his lap and ducking his head so his hair fell into his eyes.

"I need you to listen to me without interrupting, Sam," John began quietly, keeping his voice low and calm. He had to get it through Sam's head that he wasn't mad at him, just concerned. He held up his hand when Sam opened his mouth to say something, cutting him off before the words could escape his lips. "I'm not mad. I'm just concerned, and a little disappointed."

"Disappointed?" Sam asked softly, hurt flashing through his dark eyes. "Dad, I—"

"Sam, I'm not finished," John snapped harshly, slamming hands on to tabletop in a moment of anger. Sam flinched and scooted his chair away from the table, tightening his arms around himself and regarding John with wide, nervous eyes. John let out a long breath and uncurled his fists, forcing himself to calm down when he saw the look in Sam's eyes; they were identical to Mary's, and the last thing John had ever wanted her to feel around him was fear. Sam deserved the same courtesy. "I'm sorry. I just want you to realize what you're setting yourself up for. People will treat you badly, they'll make fun of you, they'll try to hurt you for this. I can't protect you forever. You're making life more difficult for yourself."

"I know," Sam muttered, his hazel eyes flickering away from John and his hands clenching together tightly as he twisted his fingers together. "I know it won't be easy for us, but I…I care about him. I like him. A lot. I want to be with him."

John chewed on the inside of his cheek and nodded slowly, watching Sam fidget in the wooden chair. He pursed his lips and sighed, running a hand through his thick, short hair. "Okay. Don't come crying to me when he breaks your heart, Sam."

"He won't," Sam raised an eyebrow at John curiously, like he didn't understand how John could suggest anything like that. John felt a bitter smile tug at his lips, recalling the time when he'd thought loving Mary would never break his heart.

Honestly, John was praying this was just a phase Sam was going through, that he would move on from this guy as soon as possible. The last thing he needed was to be strung along by a mega religious freak who was probably having a sexuality crisis of his own.

"How long has this been going on?" John asked, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

Sam shrugged and chewed on his bottom lip. "A year or so."

John's jaw literally dropped with shock. A year? His baby had been in a relationship with another guy for a whole year and John hadn't noticed? Had he been away that much lately?

Sam looked up when John didn't say anything to gauge his reaction, uncertain of what John would do. "I…I wanted tell you. But I wasn't…I was…"

"I get it," John cut him off, rubbing his temples hard, trying to will away his pounding headache. "I think you need to maybe spend some time away from him to sort yourself out, decide if this is really what you want. Hopefully soccer will give you something to do besides think all the time."

Sam's lip curled at the mention of soccer, but John ignored it and pressed on. "This sport'll be good for you. It'll be good for you to make some new friends, meet some new people, find some kind of outlet."

Sam looked like he wanted to argue, but didn't speak up. His fingers dug into the hem of his jacket as he clutched the fabric in his hands. John pressed his lips together and sighed, rubbing his eyes. "I'm going to bed. Night, Sammy."

John plodded out of the kitchen and into the living room. Sam heard him and Dean exchange a few words, but didn't bother trying to listen in. He felt a confusing mixture of emotions in his chest; relief that he didn't have to hide this from his dad any more, and a horrible empty feeling at Dad's lack of a strong reaction. He hadn't been angry, he hadn't kicked Sam out, and Sam was grateful for that. But he hadn't really made Sam feel like he accepted it.

Please, Sam chastised himself, you sound like a brat. If Cas's family found out about me, they'd beat him half to death and disown him. Just because Dad didn't hug him and tell him it was okay, that he still loved him, that he was accepted…

Sam let out a small sound between a laugh and a sob. Since when had Dad ever told Sam he loved him? Maybe when Sam was little, before Mom had died in the fire. Dad would never say anything like that, neither would Dean; they were too strong, too obsessed with being stoic and "manly"…

Sam hadn't heard it from anyone since he was a baby until Cas had said it to him a month ago.

"C'mon, Cas, he didn't mean to," Sam held the now complacent cat in his arms and stroked his soft fur, grinning at Castiel's indignant expression. They'd been walking home when a cat had come flying out of nowhere and landed on Cas's back, dragging its claws down the back of Cas's worn flannel and leaving thin tears down the fabric.

Sam shifted the cat in his arms and slipped an arm around Cas's waist, squeezing Cas gently. "He was just scared." Sam could hear the deep barking of a dog from the other side of the old, crooked fence. He held the cat to him and rubbed its side with his thumb, trying to calm him down.

Cas put a hand to his chest and shook his head, rubbing the spot over his heart like he was trying to calm his racing heartbeat. "I…I was not expecting that."

"I don't think he was either," Sam removed his arm from Cas's waist so he was able to pet the cat easily. The cat slowly relaxed in Sam's arms and nuzzled against his chest. Sam smiled at him and rubbed his ears. "I know, you were just trying to get away. It's alright, Cas is just being mean, he doesn't mind. That dog can't get you now."

The cat licked Sam's fingers and wiggled out of his arms, landing on the sidewalk and arching his back. The cat casually strolled away down the street, the episode with the dog seemingly completely forgotten. Sam shrugged and returned his attention to Cas, who had slipped his flannel off to examine the damage.

There were fresh welts on Cas's arms, running up and down his forearms and disappearing under the sleeves of his loose t-shirt. His right wrist was rubbed raw from where he'd been handcuffed to the radiator by Michael for staying out past his curfew last week when he and Sam had been forced to wait out the rain at the library before he could walk home.

Seeing Cas's injuries always made Sam pissed beyond belief, but he usually choked it down so Cas didn't think Sam was pissed at him. He forced himself to do that now, and placed a gentle hand on the small of Cas's back.

"Michael's going to kill me," Cas fingered the tears in the shirt and examined them, pursing his lips.

"Here," Sam slipped off his own jacket and held it out without hesitation. "He won't even notice."

"You'll freeze, Sam," Cas tried to push it back into Sam's hands, red creeping up his neck. Sam was too good to him, treated him much better than anyone else in his life had, and sometimes Cas's didn't know how to react to the loving treatment. "I'll be fine."

Sam rolled his eyes and draped the jacket over Cas's shoulders, wrapping it around Cas's smaller frame tightly and keeping his arms around Cas's chest, hugging him closely. Cas's body relaxed against Sam's and his thin fingers tugged the jacket closed across his chest gratefully. He felt warm and safe wrapped in Sam's arms, in a way that he'd never felt with anyone else; his brother, Gabriel, tried to comfort him when he was upset sometimes, but he was awkward and rushed, desperate to get away from his arguing siblings.

Cas turned around in Sam's arms and went up on his toes to press his lips to Sam's. "Thank you."

"What, for saving you from that cat?" Sam laughed softly and brushed his fingers down the side of Cas's face tenderly. His breath puffed against Cas's cheek, a warm contrast to the freezing air. "I'm hardly your knight in shining armor."

Cas blinked up at him and cocked his head to the side, his penetrating blue gaze wandering over Sam's face, taking in Sam's dark, earnest eyes and soft smile, reveling in the feel of Sam's arms around him and Sam's body pressed against his, the familiar rise and fall of Sam's chest against his own comforting and soothing. Cas's eyebrows drew together when he felt the now familiar warm feeling pool in his chest and stomach as he met Sam's gaze, and he let words slip through his chapped lips without thinking. "I love you."

Sam's eyes widened and Cas realized what he'd said. He blinked and drew back a little bit from Sam, afraid he'd made the younger boy uncomfortable. "Sam, I…you don't have to say it back if you're not ready. I was just…"

"No, Cas, I…I do," Sam cut him off before Cas could finish, shaking his head and pulling Cas closer again, holding his tightly. "I do. Love you, I mean."

Cas smiled and tilted his head up to kiss Sam again, and Sam leaned down to meet him halfway. Cas smiled against Sam's lips, unable to hold it back, and Sam felt a warm, content feeling spread through his chest and seep all the way down to his toes.

"Sammy," Dean shook Sam's shoulder, trying to get Sam's attention. He'd hunched over in his chair and buried his face in his hands, his thick hair obscuring his face. "Sam, c'mon, look at me."

Sam rubbed his eyes roughly and sat up, turning his face away from Dean. Dean kept a hand on his shoulder and rubbed Sam's collarbone gently with his thumb. He wasn't sure what to say to make Sam feel better about their dad's under-reaction to something Sam had been fucking terrified to admit to him for over a year. He settled for something simple. "You should get some sleep. You've got a game at eight tomorrow morning."

Sam groaned softly and dropped his head onto Dean's hand, nuzzling his forehead into Dean's palm. "I don't want to play."

"It's only a couple months, Sammy," Dean tongued the inside of his cheek, pursing his lips, and gripped Sam's bicep to help pull him to his feet. He slung an arm around his baby brother's shoulders and walked to their shared bedroom with him, ruffling Sam's hair (Sam batted his hands away irritably, just like Dean knew he would). "You'll make it."

So this is just kind of a prologue, of sorts. It will pick up! I just wanted to see if people were interested! Leave me a review to let me know if you want me to keep going. I was planning on making this fic heavy of Dean and Sam (brother) relationship and Sam/Cas (romantic) relationship, and how the events that go on in the story effect them.

Review if you have a minute! Thanks for reading!