Part I


Castiel drew away from the microscope that had been keeping his attention for the past few hours. He was analyzing a series of samples taken from the boot imprint left at a kidnapping crime scene. The precinct was riding Castiel hard to find a clue that might point them in the right direction to locate the missing girl. The first twenty-four hours were always stressful as everyone worked around the clock on any and all potential leads. Castiel particularly hated the cases involving children. Sometimes he felt useless sitting in the lab all day analyzing evidence, but at the same time he was glad he wasn't one of the detectives that often had to deal more closely with the victims and perpetrators.

Even if Castiel preferred to keep a sense of distance from the people involved, he still wanted to help as much as he could. He'd skipped lunch today just to keep testing samples and comparing slides, which lead to the reason why Charlie - his long time friend and co-worker (the precinct's tech analyst) - was sitting in his work lab and munching on deli sandwich overflowing with alfalfa sprouts.

He'd promised her last week he would do lunch with her, but had called off considering the new case load on his desk, and as retaliation Charlie had showed up to spend lunch with him anyway. She was a good friend, and they had known each other long enough that Castiel's constant social faux pas didn't bother her. She wasn't the most socially graceful either, as she was pretty direct in her opinion.

"I bet you he's a total gym rat." Case in point.

Curiosity perked, Castiel rolled his stool around to view what Charlie was spying through the horizontal blinds. Outside, where the detectives kept their desks, Castiel could see there was a small gathering collecting in the middle of the room. Ellen Harvelle, their chief, was out there which lead Castiel to believe one of the higher ups had dropped by and the necessary ass kissing was commencing.

"Do you think he goes to a salon to get that tan?"

Sam, one of their resident detectives, stepped aside allowing Castiel his first glimpse at the newcomer. Instantly Castiel felt his scalp prickle and the tips of his ears burn when the first thing to pop in his mind was a single word: handsome. Charlie's jests weren't wrong. The man standing opposite of Sam and Ellen was nicely trimmed. The definition of muscles was lost under the layers of clothes, but the way the suit jacket set on the man's broad shoulders – the way the white dress shirt and tie followed a chest tapering into a narrow waist. Yeah, the guy probably did frequent the gym.

As for the bronze tone of the man's skin, "I think it might be natural.."

"No way," Charlie argued with a smile. "Totally spray-on tan."

"It is my understanding that people who use that method of tanning would resemble an oompa loompa as a consequence."

"With that kind of logic, it's a wonder you never became a detective."

Castiel grimaced, giving Charlie a grudging look. He knew she was teasing him. At least she had skipped the cultural reference he wouldn't be able to understand given the only channel he watched was National Geographic. Every blue moon he found himself dragged to the movie theater by a friend that claimed he needed to get out and socialize, but heck if Castiel could remember the names of the actors in the movies or even what the plot of the movie had been about. To him it seemed movies were one big long car chase scene with pyrotechnics and an intermission of sex scene somewhere in the middle. Altogether it didn't really interest him.

"I like things that make sense," Castiel lazily stated. "The samples I test don't lie, I don't have to figure them out. It's all very straight forward. I don't like dealing with people - they don't make any sort of logical sense."

Charlie smiled, like she always did, and no doubt she was making 'adorable' comments in her head about him. Castiel glowered at her a second longer - he wasn't cute - then turned his attention back to the mingling officers. Ellen had retreated back to her office and Sam and the new man had moved over to Sam's desk. The man, honey haired and rocking one hell of a charmer's smile, was moving to sit the desk opposite of Sam. Castiel felt his brows lift in mild surprise, "It's Sam's new partner."

"Oooh," Charlie pursed her lips as her own eyes widened. The next moment she leaned in toward Castiel with an expression the forensic specialist had labeled as her 'gossip face'. "I guess they finally decided that giving him a female partner was a bad idea."

Castiel frowned. He didn't think poorly of Sam. The man was pleasant, hard-working, and dedicated to the job. Yet he seemed to have a problem keeping the bedroom and work separate. There had been rumors that Sam had been intimate with his last two partners. It was just hearsay, but Castiel found it hard to argue against when he had witnessed plenty of tender exchanges between the detectives. First there had been Jess, a pretty blonde with an easy smile - she had died in a fire while trying to reach a trapped Sam. Then there had been Ruby, a cocky brunette with lips that had bothered Castiel because of their puffiness. She had been shot a few months back when she had followed Sam into a unsecure scenario. The wound had been fatal.

It almost made Castiel feel inclined to worry for the newcomer.

The other detectives were wandering over to greet Mr. Crest Award Winning Smile. Senior Detective Bobby Singer was there, hands in his pockets and giving the two younger officers the typical stare down to establish who was in charge. A display of dominance, much like the ones Castiel had seen between animals on tv. Bobby was like the old silver back gorilla that had been the alpha male for years. Age gave him experience, and the rest of the troop trusted him, and no one ever stepped up to challenge him more than the occasional shouting match.

Enter the young, fertile female gorilla...

Castiel's head canted as he watched Jo (Joanna) arrive and stick out her hand to the new detective. The smiles, and the slight wandering of eyes, shared between to the two were obvious signs of interest. Castiel inwardly winced and snuck a side-long glance at Charlie. His friend was frowning but said nothing. Castiel knew that lunch was not the only reason Charlie visited him. He'd noticed his friend's wayward glances at the Jo from time to time, but from what he could tell Jo was strictly heterosexual.

"Jo has someone new to make eyes at.. "

Charlie flinched.

"Sorry," Castiel spoke with his chin tucking in toward his chest. "I know you–"

"It's fine," Charlie turned away from the window with a nonchalant shrug. "I once asked her if she wanted to marathon Lord of the Rings with me and... yeah. I don't think I need to tell you how awful that went."

Castiel, too, shifted away from the window. He had a single brow arched at his friend, "You didn't tell me you tried asking her out."

"Well I didn't exactly want to re-live my epic fail. I'm sure you can relate to that."

Sadly he could, one too many times to count. His lastest failure in life had come when he tried to ask their ADA (Assistant District Attorney) Balthazar, out for drinks. He actually hadn't gotten as far as asking the man out. He had awkwardly stumbled over his words trying to say something witty about the origin of the man's name. Castiel still wasn't even sure what he had said that day, only that Balthazar had given him an amused smile - said 'aren't you a dear' in that wonderful British accent that had the power to make Castiel melt - and had walked away.

"Hey," Charlie's foot nudged the leg of his stool. "Speaking of movies, you and me, this weekend."

Castiel barely held back on the groan, "I don't know–"

"Oh come on! Don't give me that 'I'm busy with work' excuse. You ditched me the last two times and do I need to remind you what happened the last time I went alone?"

No, Castiel thought to himself, but knew Charlie was going to elaborate regardless.

"Ten freaking guys, Castiel. Ten guys, and not even good looking guys, hit on me before I even got in the theater. I swear a couple of them were trying to follow me after the movie was over. So come with me, let them think you're my boyfriend and let's see a movie."

She hadn't broken out the begging 'please' yet, so Castiel stubbornly held out for the time being. He knew he should get out more, but being out among people made his skin crawl after days of staring at evidence that helped track down murderers. He began to look at everyone as if they were potential suspects and hell, he was only the forensics guy, not a detective. Castiel didn't need that kind of paranoia in his life. Yet it had crept over his life all the same. Ever so slowly he became more of a recluse that was hyper aware, and thus paranoid, of his surroundings.

One day he had woken up to realize he constantly peeked out his window to monitor the activities in his neighborhood.

"And this is Castiel Novak, one of our forensic analysts."

Castiel felt his stomach backflip before belly-flopping somewhere near his toes. His blue eyes shifted just enough to look back out the blinds to affirm his growing fear. It had sounded like Sam's voice speaking the introduction, and sure enough the two desks the detectives had been sitting at were empty. Castiel straightened his posture before slowly spinning to face the men in the door. He didn't attempt to speak, not when new detective had that dazzling smile directed at him. The world around Castiel faded until he was only aware of the dusting of scruff along the man's jaw, the full lips, and eyes that were amazing - green; the color was sea-green.

Despite Castiel's staring, Sam continued the introduction tour. "And this is Charlie Bradbury, our tech specialist."

"Yo," Charlie raised a hand in greeting.

Castiel still had yet to figure out how to form a word as simple as a hi.

"So these are the lab rats, eh?" The man jested, his smile shifting into a crocked grin as he looked over at Sam, obviously thinking what he said had been funny.

Sam gave a thin smile before gesturing toward chucklehead, "This is Dean Winchester, my new partner."

Castiel felt his little high crash and burn when it fully sunk in that Dean had just made a joke at his and Charlie's expensive without even bothering to introduce himself. It was always the guys with the good looks that turned out to be total jerks. Castiel didn't bother to give the name acknowledgement. He turned his seat back toward Charlie, dismissing the two in the doorway to continue his conversation with his friend.

"You were saying something about going out this weekend?"

Charlie's brows shot up in surprise, "You're in?"

Castiel nodded his final answer. His decision may have something to do with wanting to show the man in the door that he wasn't a loser, or just some lab rat. He was cool. You know, went out with people and did stuff.

"I always love when two nerds find each other," Dean mused.

Castiel's confidence sank, but he did well not to show it. He settled an irritated look on Sam. It was the same look he settled on the detective when he was bogged down with work and the man tried to pop in to ask a quick favor. Castiel did not have time to halt his mountain of work to keep doing quickies for the young detective. He would have to submit it and wait for results like everyone else. It had taken a while for that particular look to have the desired effect. It was working now, as Sam spared an apologetic smile before gently easing Dean out of the doorway.

"I'll show you to the rest of the team."

Once they were gone, Charlie broke the silence. "I really don't like men sometimes - no offense."

"None taken," Castiel replied flatly and returned to his microscope to hide the defeated look he knew to be hinting in his eyes. He heard Charlie standing and rolling her chair under the table but didn't grace her with a look. When she voiced that she was leaving and she'd give him a call tomorrow, Castiel hummed in acknowledgment.

He did glance up to watch, through the blinds, as she walked out of the precinct - giving a small wave at Jo before she left. He glanced at the new detective, Dean Winchester, as him and his partner Sam settled back at their desks to discuss whatever it was that detectives chattered about - it certainly wasn't conversation about the dirt and plant slides Castiel was currently laboring over.

Green eyes turned, chancing to meet Castiel's staring gaze. A flush began to creep up Castiel's neck as he realized that he had been staring at length at the new comer. He reached forward and abruptly shut the blinds so he could no longer see the milling detectives. He needed to concentrate on his work.

Things to Know:
1.) Sam and Dean are not brothers in this fic, but being detective partners is close enough.
2.) I wanted to shake up the usual pairings a bit, thus we have Charlie (season 7) as Castiel's good friend.
3.) Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or the characters.

A/N: This story will be much more relaxed on the plot than my other story, A Mask Like Any Other. More fun, silly, and destiely with a side of my favorite plot device, Lucifer. Later there is even a kitten, what more could a story need? Ahem. This is my third attempt at posting this story. Fanfiction likes to eat it for some reason and I've already lost 3 reviews and 2 follows because of this problem. Let's hope third time is a charm.