The first time Castiel had a dream about Dean, it was short and confusing. He'd been an angel. Of course, he hadn't been able to see himself so he couldn't say he'd looked like anything other than himself. The dream had been chaotic and Cas' heart rate had soared sky high. He remembered flashes of the dream. A red, blistering handprint, seemingly endless chains and hooks in flesh. He remembered blood, and screaming, and Dean.
And that was it. That was the first dream. There had been no talking and no hint at a storyline. Cas woke up, groggy and a bit dizzy. He remembered every detail at first, but as he staggered out into the hallway, everything just slipped away.
"Wow Cas, I didn't think you existed before nine am," Balthazar laughed and punched Castiel's shoulder as he walked off towards the stairs.
By this time, Cas could only remember parts of the dream. He was utterly perplexed as to why he was dreaming of someone he'd only met once… And it hadn't even been a nice once.
Cas had knocked into Dean on his way to class and sent a pile of… things clashing to the ground. Dean had shouted at Castiel, picked his things up and shoved past angrily. That was it. That was the day Castiel had met Dean Winchester.
"You okay?" Balthazar stopped and turned around, raising an eyebrow.
"Of course," Cas mumbled. "I just had a weird dream."
Balthazar nodded and headed off again.
Cas rubbed at his eyes and went back into his room. He flopped down onto the bed and let his eyes droop shut.
Castiel woke up later on, at a more decent time (eleven am was a much more Castiely weekend wakeup time), in desperate need of caffeine.
He walked off campus and down the street without really realising where he was headed, but there he was, standing outside a small, white building, the words 'Instant Ambition' painted on the front window in swirly writing.
"Morning, Anna!" Cas called as he stalked up to the counter of his favourite little coffee shop.
"You want the usual?" Anna grinned, knowing the answer would be yes, and set about getting Castiel's coffee.
Cas dug his hands deep into the pockets of his coat and sat in one of the stools. There was a soft tinkling of bells as the door opened and voices were soon booming around the small shop, pulling Cas from his thoughts. Cas rolled his eyes. Great. Now he couldn't even hear himself think.
The chattering voices moved up to Castiel's right, but he didn't turn or move away. He pulled a notepad and a pen from his pocket. He stared down at the blank page in front of him and put the pen in his mouth, chewing on it as he always did.
There was a roar of laughter right next to his ear and he spun around. "Can you please be quiet?" He shouted and the laughing stopped almost instantly.
Dean was glaring down at him. "You got a problem buddy?" He asked, smirking and adjusting the collar of his leather jacket.
Cas stared right back. "I can't hear myself think in here," he mumbled, grabbed the coffee that Anna was holding out to him and stalked over into the corner.
"Sorry, dude!" Dean called out and turned back to have a rather more hushed conversation with his pals.
Cas still couldn't think properly. His eyes kept flickering in Dean's direction, because although he hadn't made the best first impression, there was something about him that captured Castiel's attention entirely. Maybe it was the dream. Cas didn't usually dream about people he didn't know. And he didn't know Dean. Not at all. He wouldn't even know his name if he hadn't overheard his friends chatting away the day after his first Winchester encounter.
That night, Castiel had another dream. Cas had walked rather epically into a falling apart barn. Dean had been standing there. He'd struck out at Cas, but the knife didn't hurt him. And that was all he could remember. It bothered Cas, only being able to remember little bits of his dreams. He supposed it wasn't not remembering…. It was forgetting…. If that made any sense at all.
Cas tugged on his tan trench coat and once again staggered out into the hallway. It was the coat that he always wore in his dreams. It was the coat that had once belonged to his father. There's was no echoing of Balthazar's English accent to greet Cas that morning, and Castiel was glad for the absence of his booming voice.
He hadn't planned on skipping class, but somehow Cas found his feet carrying him farther and farther away from campus. He was headed for the park. It was usually quiet at this time of day, and Cas loved the peace. He couldn't write in the overcrowded café.
"Hey, Cas," Anna sat down on the bench next to him and tried to sneak a peek at his notepad.
He twisted away from her and grinned as she pulled her best wounded puppy face.
"Fine then, grumpy," she laughed and leaned back, resting her hands behind her head.
Cas rolled his eyes and crossed out what he'd been writing. It didn't sound right anymore. With Anna whistling softly beside him, Cas switched to doodling in the back of the note book. Just as he got a human head shape scribbled down, the book was sent flying out of his hands and a heaving, panting mass of fluff leaped onto his lap.
The dog barked loudly and Cas cringed back into the park bench.
Anna cracked up laughing.
Castiel scowled at her as he pushed the dog off of him.
"Sorry dude, he's overly friendly sometimes.. and he seems to enjoy irritating people who are deep in thought…"
Cas looked up.
A hand was sticking out, Castiel's note book waving in front of his face. When Cas didn't take it from him, Dean let it fall into the man's lap.
"I'm not a big fan of animals," Cas mumbled, smoothing out the crinkled pages.
"How is that even possible?" Dean asked grabbing hold of his dog's collar and hauling him back.
Cas shrugged, but didn't say anything.
Dean raised his eyebrows and shuffled his feet uncomfortably. "His name's Bones," he said in an obvious attempt to keep the conversation going.
"And what is your name?" Cas asked though he knew already. It felt only right to have the man introduce himself properly rather than letting him think he was some sort of stalker.
"I'm Dean." He huffed and the dog tried to pull him back. It was surprising that someone so muscled and strong-looking could be overpowered by a fluffy golden dog.
Castiel nodded. "Animals are messy. They're loud and they empty their bowels all over the place."
"So I don't get to know your name? That's nice…"
"Cas!" Anna butted in, reaching out a hand to stroke the dog. "His name's Cas."
Dean raised his eyebrow and rocked back on his heels slightly. "Nice to meet you too," he said to Anna, who then introduced herself.
Cas kept sketching away, trying to ignore the big dog that was sniffing his foot.
"Castiel," he corrected him.
"Right… Whatever, Cas," he smiled smugly and walked off again, letting the golden retriever shoot out in front of him.
Anna sighed. "He's cute," she said nudging Cas playfully.
Cas rolled his eyes. "Not my type," he said and continued the picture he'd been drawing before. Dean seemed as straight as... well, something very straight.
Anna leaned over his shoulder annoyingly. "You know… That kind of looks like him… only…. More sad…"
Cas held the page in front of him and blushed when he noticed the resemblance. He did look sad…
"You going to go to class any point today?" she stuck her tongue out and hauled him to his feet.
Castiel yelped in surprise and stumbled around a bit. "I wasn't planning on it…"
"What were you going to do? Sit in the park all day and bump into more random and attractive men?" Anna ran a hand through her long red hair as Cas rubbed at the back of his neck in that way he did when he was embarrassed.
"Leave me alone," he huffed, dug his hands deep into the trench coat pockets and stalked back towards campus.
Every night since that second dream, Castiel had laid down his note book and a pen on his bedside table. He didn't want to forget the dreams. They seemed so complicated and interesting. Three days passed without another of those curious dreams and Cas let thoughts of Dean wash away, getting replaced by poems, scribbles and essays. He almost forgot that Dean existed. That was, until he walked straight into a pole on his way to Anna at the café.
He'd been focussing on a small twig caught in his shoe laces and when he'd looked up, it had been too late. Cas walked into the metal pole, a searing pain spreading through his forehead as he wobbled and crashed to the ground.
"That was impressive," Dean was leaning against a wall, arms folded in front of his chest.
"I'm glad you think so," Castiel muttered and struggled back to his feet, head spinning. He dusted off his pants and frowned at a small graze on his hand. The dreams came flooding back in a hurry and Cas found himself blushing.
"You okay? Umm…it's Cas, right?" Dean pushed off from the wall and came a bit closer.
"Castiel." The nickname was for friends and Dean wasn't a friend yet.
"Where are you headed?"
"Anna works at that little café…"
"I was going there too!" Dean grinned a cheesy grin and hopped lightly down the steps.
Cas followed behind in silence. "You know, you were not very nice to me when we first met…"
Dean looked over his shoulder curiously. "I didn't mean for the dog to.."
"No, not then. I bumped into you last week… knocked some bits of metal out of your hand…"
Dean nodded. "Car parts," he said. "No one gets between me and fixing my baby."
"How is a car even remotely like a baby?"
Dean snorted into a short burst of laughter, soft lines streaking away from the corner of his eyes.
Cas cocked his head to the side. He didn't understand what was so funny.
Dean's laugh became a little more breathless. "You're serious?"
Cas shrugged and picked up his pace. "We going to get coffee, or not?"
"Are you asking me out? I mean… you seem like a nice guy and all but I don't…" Dean lost it again. Was everything funny to this man?
Cas rolled his eyes and Dean continued to laugh at him. This guy was cheesy and fake. It didn't seem to Castiel that there was anything real about him except maybe the love he had for his car.
Cas entered the café in front of Dean, and received an excited shout from Anna who immediately began preparing his order. "Wait," Cas said as he reached the counter.
Anna looked up in surprise.
"Get him whatever he's having too, would you?" Cas jerked his thumb behind him and the bell tinkled and Dean came in.
When Anna stood on her toes and asked Dean what he wanted, he just shrugged. "Surprise me. Anything with caffeine will do."
Anna nodded and continued with the task at hand.
Castiel paid and sat in the far corner of the room, almost wishing that Dean would stay away.
No such luck. Dean sighed as he sat down opposite Cas. He began tapping out a rhythm on his knees and yawned loudly.
Cas clenched his jaw and focussed on the wall just to the side of Dean's head. "So… Where's the dog today?"
"Who, Bones? He's my little brothers," Dean smiled. "Sam couldn't take care of him and I said I'd look after him."
Cas nodded as the uncomfortable silence encompassed him. The quiet was deafening. He wished that there was someone else in the café. Anyone, who would relieve the awkwardness of the situation.
Dean rubbed a hand over his mouth and smiled to himself absent-mindedly.
Cas watched him curiously. His brown hair was cut short and gelled up slightly, but not too much. His black t shirt was tight (Castiel could see the network of muscles beneath it) and he had a strange golden necklace hanging from a black string around his neck. Cas blushed and averted his eyes, suddenly all too aware of his own appearance. He was sitting there with his trench coat too big and the blue button-up shirt beneath it felt strangely too formal. He scratched at the back of his neck then and nearly exploded with relief as Anna came over balancing three cups of coffee on a tray.
She set them down and dragged a chair over so that she could sit down too.
"Thanks, Anna," Cas smiled and took a sip of the smooth, milky brown beverage.
"No one else is in here and I think I deserve a bit of a break!" She announced and she grabbed her own coffee.
"I didn't think you were allowed to do that…" Castiel mumbled quietly.
Anna snorted. "I'm not! But it's a stupid rule!"
Cas sighed. Anna seemed intent on breaking every rule set before her that she deemed 'stupid'. She did hardly any of her class work (just enough to scrape through) and spat in the drinks of people she didn't like. She just had a problem with being told what she could and couldn't do.
"So, Dean, where are you from?" Anna asked and fluttered her pretty hazel eyes at the man.
Cas' insides twinged. There was no way that Dean wouldn't fall for those eyes. Cas frowned slightly, the smallest of creases forming between his eyebrows. Why did her care?
"Lawrence, Kansas," one side of Dean's mouth stretched upwards, almost leaving the other side behind completely as his tongue poked out from between his teeth.
Cas looked down at his coffee. It was ridiculous how complicated that smile was. Cas frowned again and wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. He didn't entirely understand why he was suddenly so nervous.
"So, where'd the name Castiel come from?" Dean asked.
When Cas finally looked up, he found Dean leaning over the table slightly, as if he were at the edge of his seat in excitement.
Anna was gone. She'd left Cas to deal with this by himself. This was exactly the type of situation that he usually avoided. At all costs.
"Um… I… uhhh…. Castiel is the name of an angel….. The angel of Thursdays," Cas said, trying to sound confident as his eyes flickered around the room, panicked.
"What's so special about Thursdays?" He was doing that funny half smile again and when Castiel opened his mouth to speak, he found nothing coming out.
He coughed and cleared his throat. "Nothing really… I actually hate Thursdays."
Dean looked at him quizzically.
"You go to bed that night, with the realisation that you still have one more day before the weekend. It's like Thursday is just teasing you about it by throwing another whole day in the mix." Cas somehow found himself staring straight into Dean's eyes. They were a mesmerizing hazel green, though when the sunlight came in through the window, Castiel could swear he saw an odd flash of blue.
Dean chuckled and played with the packet of sugar that was now, nearly destroyed, but unused.
Cas couldn't help but smile. "I know, it's ridiculous."
Dean shook his head. "It actually makes perfect sense," he seemed to take an almost shaky breath as he rested his elbows on the polished, marble-looking table.
After a long, peaceful moment of silence (in which Cas found himself unable to tear his gaze from Dean's face), Anna came back. She was grumpy now, as she always was when someone told her to do something.
Both men jumped as she sat down in the chair and Anna smiled guiltily, as if she felt bad for interrupting their silence.
Cas yawned. "I better get going…."
Dean looked confused.
"I have class," he said and scraped his chair back to stand.
Dean's face fell slightly. "Oh…."
"Don't you have class Dean?" Anna asked cheerfully, eyes sparkling.
"No uhh…. I don't actually… umm….. I dropped out of school… years ago. I'm only here because Sammy's here."
Castiel assumed that Sammy was Dean's little brother and nodded in understanding. He left then, without a word, turning around momentarily at the doorway to smile and wave a hand lazily before he headed out into the cold.
He couldn't concentrate in class. His favourite teacher's words were going in one ear and out the other. Every time he closed his eyes he saw the grinning, sparkly eyed man he'd been thinking about so much lately.