Every time I go to update, I'm paranoid that something will go wrong. This chapter apparently disappeared. How Lovely.
"Does cologne go bad?"
Dean forced his eyes open, schooling his face into the best 'I'm totally in control' expression he could muster and turned his head to peer at Castiel seated next to him. Castiel had the aisle while Dean had the window, and despite the plane still being very much on the ground, Dean had already pushed down the shade to block the view. His eyes flicked from Castiel's curious blues to the people still maneuvering to their purchased seats. The question lacked context, and Dean was still waiting for Castiel to ask about his married status. The other man had been unnervingly silent since Dean had blurted out the truth about his estranged wife.
"I don't think so, why-" He lowered his voice to an amused whisper, "-get a big whiff of the axe effect?"
"Is that a brand?"
"Yeah," Dean eyed a potential teenager that might have over-dosed on the deodorant spray.
"Are you wearing it?"
Dean choked and slowly leaned away from Castiel as he was reminded of his air freshener rub down. He slumped into his seat while picking at shirt. "Uh, no. I uhm... haven't done laundry in a while.. this shirt is just… dirty."
"It smells awful."
"Yes!" Dean blurted as his hands shot upward. A few patrons glanced his way and Dean shrank back down. "Yes, I know, I stink. You have permission to throw me in the ocean when we land."
Ten minutes passed without any further conversation. The rapid tapping of Dean's fingertips against the armrest kept time as passengers found their seats. The stewardess walked the aisle and when the seatbelt sign went on, Dean was quick to cinch it tight around his waist. The laminated safety guide tucked in the back of the seat in front of him caught his attention. His eyes swept over the beginning phrase of 'In case of..' before his stomach twisted unpleasantly. He looked away.
"So," He needed something, anything, to occupy his mind from the upcoming flight. "You haven't said anything about it... "
Castiel spared him an inquisitive glance.
"About me being married."
Castiel looked away, but Dean could see the way his jaw tightened. He wetted his lips before speaking evenly, "I don't know how you expect me to respond to that."
"For starters, be angry." Dean's attempt at a smile was weak.
"I am angry - at myself."
"Cas," Dean sighed while he leaned toward the other man. "Don't blame yourself, be angry at me for not telling you sooner."
"I thought you wanted to start something new with me. Admitting that you are married suggest this is just a lapse in your vows, a fling-"
"Whoa, hold up," Dean lifted his hands in defense. "Lisa and I, we're basically separated. It's just been complicated because of our son."
Castiel's head rolled back as the man sagged dejectedly against his seat.
"Right. Fuck - let me start from the beginning?" Dean waited until Castiel acknowledged him with a look before continuing. "Lisa and I hooked up Senior year in High School. We weren't even dating. It was just a casual fling. Anyway, it only lasted a week, but a month later she comes up to me and tells me she's missed her period. I thought she meant she had missed class, so me being the idiot I am, told her she could probably get notes from this buddy of mine. So she grabs my arm, gets this scary look on her face and tells me 'No, Dean, I'm late. I missed my period.'"
Dean rubbed ruefully at his jaw, "I was so scared. The rest of the day passed in a blur. When I got home, my dad asked me what was wrong and I just blurted it out. 'Lisa's pregnant.'. My dad was.. livid. He gave me this long speech about how I was going to step up and take responsibility for my actions, or so help him god he was going to shove his foot so far up my ass that I'd be tongue-tying his shoelaces.
"So I thought it was only right that we get married and... it was hell, Cas. I tried, I really did, but nothing I did was ever good enough. At one point my CO switched me to the late shift and Lisa instantly started accusing me of cheating when I started coming home late. No amount of explaining would calm her, it's like she just wanted to find a reason to be angry at me. And for a long time I accepted that. I mean it was partially my fault that I had.. ruined her life."
It was stupid, he told himself, but he still felt guilty about how the way things had played out. If only he had the sensibility to use protection all the times they had been together, none of it would have happened. On the other hand, he loved Ben. Children were this magical part of life - so young, pure, and Dean couldn't help but feel he wanted to do anything and everything to make sure his son had the best in life. His own life may have gotten screwed up, but.. he wanted to do right by Ben.
Instead he'd been stupid - again.
"After a while, years really, I kind of had a break down and I did end up cheating on her as petty revenge."
Castiel patiently listened while wearing a pensive frown.
"In the end we finally agreed that it wasn't meant to be.. but, she's worried about how Ben will take it. She thinks that he'll blame himself for us splitting apart so we've been kinda.. pretending everything is alright. I didn't push it because I just wanted to get out of there. I wanted to ignore it, thinking it would just go away. And in a way it did, I buried myself so deep into my work that I never had time to think about it."
Dean swallowed, "Yeah, until now."
"It's not fair for me to judge you for your... baggage. You already know a great deal of my own, and I know it hasn't been easy for you to come to terms with it."
Dean wasn't sure how to translate Castiel's response. On one had it sounded like Castiel was judging him, but trying to do the noble thing by turning the other cheek. Lucifer had mentioned something about Castiel being a very forgiving person. Dean decided it was best not to argue against it, because in the end he really did want a chance to prove himself to the man seated next to him. Castiel gave him the reason for him to finalize the separation with Lisa. The marriage, even if a farce, had been the buffer Dean needed to keep himself from getting serious with another person. He wanted to change - he didn't want to be that person anymore.
"Actually," Dean shifted in his seat, leaning toward Castiel and dropping his voice to ensure the privacy of their conversation. "There still is one thing about your past that bothers me."
Castiel bite down on the inside of his lower lip.
"Your criminal record."
Castiel's gaze darted away, "What about it?"
"Isn't that considered a good thing?"
"Yeah," Dean acceded with a nod, "But it's really strange."
"In what way, exactly."
"How does a guy be involved with a criminal like Lucifer, for over a decade, and not have a rapsheet? You told me before, when I was bringing you in, that it wasn't your first time in handcuffs."
"That is a conundrum," Castiel murmured while avoiding Dean's gaze.
It was a wonder how Castiel ever managed to keep a secret. His guilty conscious was written plainly in his body language. The Feds would have been all over Castiel in a heartbeat if this were an interrogation. Yet taking into consideration that charges had never been filed against Castiel, at least until recently due to Dean, suggested the spot light had never landed on Castiel. It was inconsistent with the way these investigations worked. The bureau knew about Castiel all this time, but somehow - wait. "Did Michael keep your record clean?"
"Michael?" Castiel showed the first signs of life at the mention of his brother's name. "As if he would do something like that and compromise his precious career. "
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," Dean distinctly remembered Michael's subtle hints about making evidence mysteriously disappear.
"Besides," Castiel pinned him with a puzzled expression before sighing, " He wasn't even in the bureau when I first got in trouble with Lucifer. It wasn't Michael."
"So someone did take a sponge to it." Seeing the way Castiel nervously glance around the plane, Dean chuckled. "Considering what Lucifer has done-"
"-already, keeping your record clean comes as no big surprise."
"It wasn't him."
Dean slowly blinked, his attention honing sharply onto Castiel. "I'm sorry, what?"
Castiel closed his eyes as her carefully repeated himself, "It wasn't him."
"You can go ahead and tell me who then, it's not likely to surprise me."
Dean noted Castiel's annoyed glare, but stubbornly refused to let the topic drop. If he could sit there and re-live the tragic tale of his young love, then Castiel could admit to one little crime. Castiel maintained the serious look as his tone dropped in volume, increasing the graveled quality much to Dean's chagrin. The guy had such a phone sex voice and didn't even realize it. "This has to remain off record, Agent Winchester."
Grinning, Dean arched a brow before lifting up his shirt to expose his bare torso. "I'm not wearing a wire, Cas."
Blue eyes dropped to Dean's chest, and for a moment the former agent was certain he had completely derailed the man's train of thought. It took an extended moment before Castiel again spoke, "Charlie did it."
"And who's he?"
"She, Dean. Charlie is a she."
"Alright so who is-" When it clicked, Dean's eyes widened. "The tech girl, your friend, that Charlie?"
"We met in college. When she got the job here, she wanted me to apply... and stupidly I hadn't realized until that point that it was unlikely I would ever be hired by a department because, yes, I have been in handcuffs before because of Lucifer's dealings. I confessed as much to her and... she said she would help me."
"I'll be damned..."
"You can't say anything. "
Dean lifted his hands to show his sincerity, "I won't, Cas, I promise. She seems like a good friend to you."
"She threw a latte in my face in your honor." Dean was certain he saw Castiel smile.
Of course - and by that Dean meant he felt that his life was always doomed to a rough and bumpy road because whenever things felt like they were smoothing out, his life swung around a hairpin turn or hit an unnoticed speed bump - of course right as Dean's lips pulled into a mirroring smile and he thought things were finally settling between Castiel and himself, the airplane began to move.
His fingers dug into the armrests and he shoved his body against the seat cushion. His anxiety only worsened as the jet prepared for takeoff. The engines were roaring and Dean attempted to hum loudly to himself to drown out the sound. Having watched his fair share of television and the latest movies, Dean's imagination had a plethora of fuel to keep supplying him with images of the engine catching fire, or another plane cutting off one of the wings, or just a hole tearing open in the cabin and sucking out people as they clung uselessly to their seats.
Castiel was trying to coax him into a conversation, but all Dean can do his jerk his head side to side and mutter about being fine. Obviously the cold sweat that was starting to drench his shirt said otherwise. When the plane hit a bit of turbulence, Dean's jaw began to quiver as it became an effort to keep himself fully silent.
Then there were lips.
Dean's eyes shot open to find that Castiel was unbuckled and had leaned over to softly kiss the side of his neck, "Cas?"
"There you are," Castiel's breath was warm against Dean's neck, and the ex-agent felt a hand curling over the one he had death gripping the armrest. "You weren't responding to your name, I thought this approach would yield better results."
"You have my attention," Dean murmured. He swallowed thickly when he again felt the feather-light brush of Castiel's lips against his skin. Quite suddenly the images of plane wrecks was replaced with heated images of pressing Castiel against the nearest solid object. His hand released the abused armrest and settled instead on Castiel's thigh. He brushed his fingers along the inside seam of Castiel's pants, but before his touch could wander too far, Castiel pushed his hand away.
Dean chuckled, "You ever hear of the mile-high club?"
"No, what are the benefits?"
"It's uh... " Again he laughed as his body further relaxed. "Nevermind, but if anyone else offers to show you, you say no, capiche?"
"Is it a scam?"
Dean's green eyes shimmered with repressed mirth as he took in Castiel's oblivious expression. It was too freaking adorable, and damn if it didn't fill Dean with such a happy-go-lucky feeling. He captured Castiel's lips in a quick kiss, "It's just not something you want to do without me."
The rest of the flight went by more smoothly. Whenever Dean became anxious, Castiel would soothe his frazzled nerves with a well placed touch. Conversation was kept simple. Dean couldn't really focus on any one topic while cruising at 40,000 feet. His train of thought kept derailing with images of immediate doom via engine failure followed by a fatal nose dive during which he'd spend screaming his head off.
Dean had never been so happy to see the inside of another airport.
Wisely he refrained from throwing himself on the floor and kissing the tight weave carpet.
He was riding on cloud nine all the way out on to the warm streets. Dean spread his arms wide to the sun and slowly spun in a circle.
Castiel made a choking sound, grabbed Dean's wrist and gently forced him to lower his arm. Apparently his body odor was reaching horrific levels. It wasn't twenty minutes later that Dean was swapping shirts with one he bought from a street vendor. The second priority (and it was only by Castiel's insistence that the shirt was the first problem in need of fixing) was a long distance phone call back to the states.
"Dean? Wow, I didn't think I'd be hearing from you again. Why are you calling me collect?"
"Yeah, about that, I'm kinda... away."
"Away... on a case?"
"Yes - no, I mean no. Do you think you could do me a favor?"
"... I guess, what's up?"
"I left my car parked at the airport... actually it's probably been towed by now. If I over night you the keys, do you think you could go pick it up for me - I'll pay you back."
"Sure, need an address?"
"Yeah, uh... " Dean turned away from the keypad to look for Castiel. He stood just a few feet away, furrowed brow pouring over a map he'd purchased when Dean had gotten the shirt. He looked passed the point of lost, he was even more out of place wearing that silly trench coat in the heat. Dean chuckled, "You are so frick'n adorable."
"... uh, thanks, I guess."
"Not you, Sam," Dean felt his cheeks burn as he frantically snapped his fingers at Castiel in order to get the guy's attention. Castiel looked at him, confused, and drew near. In one swift motion, Dean grabbed the lapel of Castiel's coat and tugged him to fit in the tight space between him and the pay phone. He gave no form of explanation, enjoying the fluster and confusion mixing in Castiel's expression. Dean pushed a little closer, wedging a leg in between Castiel's, and forcing the smaller man back far enough that the keypad was caught a couple of times - serenading both Dean and Sam's ear with horrible dial-tone screeches.
"Sorry about that, Sammy," Dean slipped a hand into Castiel's trench, dug a hand into the breast pocket and pulled out a pen. He tapped the end off of Castiel's nose with a smirk. "What's the address?"
As Sam relayed the numbers, Dean loosened Castiel's tie and casually popped the top button of his dress shirt.
"Dean, what are you-"
The pen was pushed to Castiel's lips to silence him, "Sorry Sam, could you repeat that?"
Dean carefully wrote the address over Castiel's collar bone. Castiel glared at him the whole while, which Dean found far too cute. "Thanks Sam, you're like a brother. I'll owe you big for this."
He hung up, which left Castiel momentarily tangled in the cord. He ended up knocking the phone off the hook in his attempt to escape while also trying to fix his shirt. He tried to glance at what was written on his skin, "Was that entirely necessary?"
"Absolutely," Dean casually twirled the pen between his fingers. "So where to next, you want to hit up the beach?"
Castiel glanced toward the horizon, "I don't think that would be a wise decision."
"Are you telling me you don't want me strip you naked?"
The sight of Castiel gaping at him was priceless.
It took a moment for Castiel to recovered. He cleared his throat before gesturing toward the horizon. Dean turned just in time to see lightning flash over the ocean. The dark clouds moving in toward land certainly put a damper on any beach plans. It didn't stop Dean from grinning ear-to-ear. "So, how about that place you mentioned where we'll be staying?"
A minor update with a dash of fluffiness before a final chapter. Dean did mention he was married earlier in the story, but it's been a while and thus easily forgotten. Yes, I did say a final chapter was coming. It wouldn't be difficult to keep the story going on and on, but I feel this story has run its course. There are more stories out there to be written - cast your vote now if you have a suggestion for me to write?