Little AU thing I've been wanting to write for Sam and Cas, where Castiel is a professor and Sam has a young son from a previous relationship. Also, Dean plays matchmaker. It's 98% fluff, though it got ridiculously long, though.


Sam knows the campus forward and back. He ought to, after four years of undergrad and four years of law school, not to mention his six months as an assistant law professor. He loves the bold strokes of Stanford, the huge columns and arches, the murals, the fountains, the great white tower. He loves the sunny classrooms and the beautiful quads. He's been all over in the eight and a half years since he arrived on the front lawn a wide-eyed freshman, gripping his full-ride acceptance letter with terrified hands. Since then, he's gained a lot of confidence. But somehow he's nervous all over again as he walks down a long white corridor and stops in front of the door marked "Prof. Castiel Novak, Theology."

He knocks a quick staccato. A low voice says something indistinct from inside. Sam hesitates for a second, then pushes the door open slowly, plenty of time to shoo him away if that's what it was.

"Um, Professor Novak?"

Sharp blue eyes glance up at Sam over the frames of reading glasses. Sam sort of gulps. There's no missing how intelligent those eyes are, and they're sort of striking, set in the serious lines of his face. Plus the man's a lot younger than he expected - Sam's twenty-seven, and there's no way Professor Novak is over thirty. Somehow he doesn't feel any more at ease as the man removes his glasses and lets them dangle from one hand, studying Sam like he's a particularly confounding puzzle.

"I prefer Castiel," he says, and it takes Sam a second to realize he's talking about his name. Sam swallows a little harder than he means to.

"Professor Castiel?" he asks, wishing his voice wasn't sort of squeaky.

Castiel sort-of-almost smiles. "Just Castiel," he says. Then, "Did we have an appointment? I'm afraid I was caught up in something."

"Uh… sort of," Sam says. "We exchanged emails? I'm working on a comprehensive analysis of religious law, and you offered to help me with the theological side of it? You said to come by during office hours?"

Sam hates that his voice goes up at the end of every sentence, and can't figure out why he's like a jumpy freshman all over again. He hopes it not because of the little leap his heart takes when Castiel's eyebrows draw together.

"You're a student?" he asks.

"Assistant professor," Sam stumbles out. "I'm working on my post-doctorate."

"Ah." Castiel considers him for a moment, his expression giving nothing away as he scours Sam's face. Then he pushes out the second chair with the tip of one black Oxford. "Well, what can I help you with…"

"Sam," Sam says, and wishes it didn't come out quite so eager. "I'm Sam." He extends his hand awkwardly over the scatter of papers on Castiel's desk.

Castiel wraps both of his hands over Sam's. They're so warm they sort of make him shiver.


Sam may or may not develop half a crush on Castiel over the next two weeks. It's not a big deal. He was kind of dreading the religious aspect of his comparative thesis, but it turns out to be a lot more fun than he expected, in part because Castiel knows everything, or at least it feels that way to Sam. Not just theology - Castiel knows his history, comparative literature and classical languages, and not a little about law, too. Sam finds out pretty fast that he loves talking to him. Sam loves his son, and he loves his brother, but neither of them are really great conversationalists, and he can't help getting lost in this; pretty soon he's smiling every time Castiel opens his mouth. Castiel has a wonderful voice for a professor, low and calm, and Sam finds himself drinking it in, wishing he was half that impressive to his pre-law students.

He was hoping to finish the research portion of his thesis within a week, but when it stretches into two and then three, Sam can't bring himself to care. Not when he's watching those sharp eyes dart back and forth over his notes with amazing speed.

"Castiel," he says one day, out of the blue. Castiel looks up at him, and Sam swallows, like he does every time those eyes lock on his. Maybe he likes Castiel's eyes a little more than he should. "It's a pretty unique name," he says.

Castiel sits back in his chair with a small smile, mostly introspective. "It's the name of an angel. The angel of Thursday. My parents are very devout, so all of my siblings have similar names."

It's entirely too easy for Sam to picture this man as an angel. "They must be happy that you went into theology," he says, trying not to think about the knockdown-dragout he had with his own father when he decided to go to college instead of taking over the family business. But Dean is way better with cars than he'd ever been, anyway.

Castiel sort of laughs, just a huff of sound. Sam definitely doesn't catch his breath hearing that sound for the first time. "Not as happy as you'd think. They'd prefer I accepted their religion on its face rather than questioning it, or treating it as a matter for study."

Sam bites his lip. "Sorry," he says. "For bringing it up."

Castiel just gives him a look. "Sam," he says. And somehow Sam gets the sense that he's forgiven entirely, just from that one little word. He can't quite clamp down fast enough on the thought that he'd like his name said like that more often. Especially by Castiel. Or Cas, as the other man lets him call him.

Sam thinks it might be his new favorite one-syllable word.


Sam is in way too deep. He decides this in week four, when Castiel smiles at him and he actually has to fight down a blush. He doesn't think he's blushed since he was in seventh grade. He ducks over his work and lets his long hair swing forward to hide his face and hopes that Castiel won't notice.

"Is this your son?"

Sam looks up from digging through his briefcase, helter-skelter piles of paper spread out over Castiel's desk, and finds Castiel holding up a wallet photo, a little boy in duck pajamas with floppy black curls. Sam wonders how that got into the mess of papers. He smiles anyway.

"Yeah. That's Matthew."

Castiel looks up and locks eyes with him, and Sam feels that wonderful shiver down his back, like a spark jumping between them. Castiel slides his thumb across the picture.

"It's a lovely name."

It's sort of a weird thing to say, because who says lovely about a boy's name, but it's such a Castiel thing to say that Sam can't help smiling anyway, brushing his hair back behind his ear.

"Yeah. It's his mom's dad's name, and…" Sam almost makes a joke about it being his favorite gospel, but he can't bring himself to do it, not staring into those amazing blue eyes. Castiel tips his head.

"You and your wife must be very happy."

"Oh, no, I'm not…" Sam breaks off and presses his lips together, trying to find an explanation that leaves out all the false hope and heartbreak and holding his baby to his chest and watching out a rainy window as the taillights of a Jetta disappeared into the storm. "We sort of… after Matthew was born, she and I… it didn't work out. It's just Matthew and me," he says at last, and wishes he'd just said that in the first place.

Castiel watches him for a moment without speaking, those incredible blue eyes somehow so gentle all of a sudden. "I'm sorry," he says.

Sam shakes his head. "It was a long time ago. And we're happy, so…"

Castiel nods. He looks down at the picture again, tilts his head as if pondering Matthew's blue-and-yellow pajamas, and Sam carefully doesn't say that he has a matching pair that he puts on when they curl up together in front of Sesame Street. Then Castiel smiles, just a little, and lifts his arm to hand the picture back.

"He seems very sweet."

All of a sudden Sam's wishing so hard that Castiel would meet his two-year-old, and the offer is on the tip of his tongue, something about coming with them to the park down the road from Sam's townhouse, helping him and Matthew build sandcastles that are more like sand lumps in the sandbox. But he can't think of a way to say it that doesn't sound weird, so in the end he just smiles and reaches for the picture.

"Yeah. He's a great kid."

Their fingers brush on the back of the picture. Sam freezes. If Castiel's eyes were a spark, his touch is like a lightning rod - all of a sudden Sam can't breathe, can't move, can't even think just from those fingertips brushing his knuckles. Castiel doesn't move, either, just watches him for a minute in that inscrutable way he has - then he slides his hand down and cups Sam's fingers in his palm, and squeezes. Sam thinks he narrowly avoids passing out.

"It's gotten late," Castiel says, studying Sam's face. "Could I offer you dinner, as an apology for keeping you so long?"

Sam's brain is hammering yes yes yes inside his skull. But Castiel's words manage to break through his static-shock-induced fog, and he blinks, glancing around for a clock. "Wait, what time is it?"

"It's after six," Castiel says.

The bottom drops out of Sam's stomach. Suddenly the chorus of yes turns into crap crap crap as he digs through his pockets for his cell phone, realizing only now that he forgot to turn the ringer on after class today. There are about a hundred texts from the babysitter, asking if he's going to be back soon or if she should call Dean. Sam squeezes his eyes shut.

"Oh, shit. I was supposed to be home an hour ago."

Castiel frowns. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize."

"No, it's not your fault. I…"

Sam's hands are shaking as he tries to collect all of his papers; he's glad when Castiel starts gathering them up, too, because his mind is racing a million miles an hour, berating him for letting something so important slip out of his head because he was having a good time. He's tried to be so on top of things with Matthew, because he doesn't want to give his baby boy any more problems than he'll already have, being raised by a single father who works like a million hours a day and has no clue how to be a parent even though he loves his son more than the whole world and everything in it.

Sam isn't quite sure how they get to the door of the office, his briefcase in one hand while Castiel helps him pull his coat on, working around the cell phone he's still clutching in one fist. He's not really sure of anything except that he's a horrible dad, until all of a sudden there's a pressure on his wrist, and he turns to find Castiel holding his arm just above the cuff, looking up at him with uncertainty in those brilliant blue eyes.


Sam blinks, trying to focus on the man behind him instead of the tidal wave of guilt in his head. "Yeah?"

Castiel looks at him with an expression Sam's caught in the mirror once or twice, when he was thinking about this blue-eyed, black-haired man in a tan overcoat. Tell me this isn't just me. "Would you like to… have coffee with me, some other time?" he asks.

Sam's heart leaps into his throat. Absolutely is on the tip of his tongue. But the cell phone is still in his hand, and all of a sudden this is just way too real, and he has no idea what he's been thinking, daydreaming about a colleague, a professor, when he's in the middle of his post-doc and struggling to raise a two-year-old by himself and screwing that up even without trying to keep a relationship going. His heart sinks back down, all the way into his stomach, and he steels himself for something he does really well. Retreating.

"Cas, I… I don't think that's a good idea," he says.

Castiel drops his hand in an instant. Sam wishes he didn't feel like that girl in Titanic, watching the love of her life sink into the Atlantic.

"I understand," Castiel says. He doesn't drop his eyes, keeps them on Sam's face, but Sam can see the walls coming up, the uncertainty in his expression disappearing back into neutral. Sam promises himself he won't cry about this until he's at home, in his shower. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have… drive safely, Sam," Castiel says, sliding his hand down into his pocket. Then he turns and disappears back into his office.

Sam takes off running so he doesn't have to hear the door click shut.


Sam is not in a funk for the next week and a half. He definitely doesn't do any moping on the couch or stare at a piece of junk mail for like fifteen minutes because it's the same amazing blue as Castiel's eyes. He takes care of Matthew. He works on his thesis. He sort of wishes he had an excuse to go back down to that perfectly neat office in the theology building, even though he doesn't know what he'd say - but he realizes almost immediately that he and Castiel covered everything he'd need for his thesis weeks ago. That definitely doesn't depress him either.

Matthew is wonderful, because he's into everything, and Sam forgets about his self-inflicted broken heart when he's trying to get Cheerios into his baby or playing with him in the bubble bath - but eventually Matthew's asleep in his crib in the nursery, and then Sam has nothing to do but stare at the ceiling and try to fight off the certainty that his life sucks. He reminds himself that he made his choice for a reason, but that usually just depresses him more. Then he tells himself that it probably wouldn't have worked out anyway, and that's the most depressing of all.

Ten days into this, Dean's had enough.

"Dude, I can't take any more of your pining. Your sappy girl vibes are making my ice cream sour."

Sam looks over at his brother, lounging on the couch with a pint of cookie dough, and is sorely tempted to remind Dean that that's his ice cream, thanks, and he can do what he wants with it. He settles for denial instead.

"I'm not pining."

Dean rolls his eyes. "Man, I can hear you sighing over the TV. And I'm watching Die Hard, so that's just wrong."

"You're watching Die Hard with my two-year-old?" Sam asks, peeking into the living room to verify that Matthew's eyes are, in fact, glued to the gunfire and explosions. Yeah, he's the worst parent ever.

"It's educational," Dean says. He takes a slurpy gulp of ice cream and then waves the spoon around. "And no changing the subject. I'm sick of you. Just call Caspar and tell him you want to jump his bones already."

Sam crosses his arms over his chest. "It's Castiel."

Dean rolls his eyes. "Castiel. My bad. But I stand by the jumping thing."

Dean's reaction to his brother's story, which he had wheedled out of Sam when he came over to make pancakes that morning, was a slow blink and dude, I thought you were straight, while he hefted Matthew into the air for Exhibit A. He recovered remarkably fast, though, with a trademark grin and whatever, I always knew you were a girl before rolling a whole pancake up like a taco and stuffing it in his mouth. Sam's glad for the support, maybe.

"It's not that easy," Sam says. He's had a lot of practice saying it, because he's been telling himself that every night when he lies awake listening to the baby monitor. "I'm still in school, Dean, and I'm barely around enough for Matthew as it is, and I don't even know if -"

"Blah blah blah," Dean cuts him off. "Whatever, dude. I didn't want the whole sob story again. Fine - you know what? Do whatever you want. But for now, we gotta get out of here. Let's go to the mall. I'll buy you a new dress or something."

"Screw you," Sam says. But he heads into the bedroom to change out of his Saturday morning clothes, because what the hell - Matthew needs some new things anyway, since he grows out of all his clothes in about a day (Sam wonders if he's going to be enormous, too), and Dean's got money to throw around from his job repairing specialized and custom cars. Dean's turned that into a booming business the way John Winchester never could.

By the time he comes out of the bedroom, Sam's thinking more fondly of his brother, and he only rolls his eyes a little when Dean insists they take Sam's Subaru because "the Impala doesn't do car seats, Sammy. That's for moms like you."

Sam loves him anyway, most of the time.


The mall is perfect, right up until it isn't. Matthew's in a good mood, marching on his own and holding onto Sam's hand, Dean's talking about whatever hot girl he's crashing with this week, and Sam's feeling good - really good - just being out and doing something again. Until he takes a corner too fast and almost smashes right into the blue eyes he's been thinking about for ten days. Sam wheels left into the wall and Castiel takes a step back.


It seems crazy with all the pining he's been doing, but Sam doesn't think he realized until this moment exactly how much he's missed Castiel - even just as a friend, as anything. There's a weirdness between them now, ten days of Sam not coming to office hours and Cas not calling or emailing, not even bumping into each other on campus. Sam's heart thumps in his chest as he struggles for something to say. I'm sorry? I take it back? Oh God just kiss me? Maybe he should just grab Matthew and run. But there's no escape - not with Dean behind him.

"Hey, Sam, introduce me to your friend."

Sam manages to dig up his tongue from somewhere in the pit of his stomach. "Uh… Dean, this is Castiel. Castiel, this is my brother, Dean."

"Oh, so this is Castiel," Dean says, grinning like a shark.

Castiel's eyes flicker over to Dean, and then back to Sam, and Sam almost swallows his tongue again as they find his. Then Castiel looks down, and a small smile comes over his face. "And this must be Matthew," he says.

"Oh - yeah." Sam reaches down and lifts his son into his arms, wishing his heart wasn't beating so loud the people in the food court can probably hear it. "Say hi, Matthew."

"Hello," Castiel says, leaning in slightly to peer into his baby's eyes. Matthew reaches for him. Sam's a little too wowed by that to remember that his son's been greeting everybody with kisses recently until it's too late, until there's a great big, sloppy Orange Julius baby kiss sticking to Castiel's cheek. Castiel raises a hand to the spot and Sam flaps his mouth like a fish.

"Oh, Cas - I'm sorry. Um - here, I have a napkin somewhere…" Sam digs in the diaper bag like a manic soccer mom, but he stops when Castiel's fingers flicker against the back of his hand.

"Sam. It's all right."

Sam freezes at the touch, all of his nerves suddenly firing at once - but it only lasts a second before Castiel remembers himself and pulls back, tucking his hands in his pockets. Sam looks into resigned blue eyes and dies all over again.

"Well," Castiel says, awkwardly and too soon. "It was nice to see you, Sam."

For some reason Sam's nodding, like he doesn't know that that's a goodbye. Maybe the last goodbye. But what's he supposed to do, standing there holding his baby with one hand stuck in his huge diaper bag, his heart in his throat? Love is supposed to be so much simpler than this - not stupid and complicated like everything in his life. This probably isn't meant to be, anyway.

"Hey, hold up a sec."

Sam turns to look at his brother, and so does Castiel. Dean has that stupid grin on his face, just like he does every time he's about to screw Sam over.

"Why don't you walk around with us for a while?" Dean says, shrugging like he's not an evil mastermind. "We're on a mission to buy some toddler clothes that make the kid look like a chick magnet, instead of this frilly mess." Dean picks at Matthew's green teddy bear shirt with two fingers. "Sam and I never agree on anything - we could use a tie breaker."

"Dean," Sam admonishes. But then he's looking at Castiel again, and trying hard not to blush. "I'm sure he has more important things to do."

Dean rolls his eyes. "It's a mall, Sam - no one has important things to do here. So how 'bout it?" he asks Castiel, who shifts a little, glancing between the two of them like he's trying to decide if he's really invited or not.

"I don't want to intrude," Castiel says.

Dean shakes his head. "Intrude on what? I'm sick of Sam's company already. Tell you what - I'll talk to the little man, and you can talk to Sam. Better for everyone."

Castiel looks at them for a long moment, at Sam for longer. Then he gives that tiny smile, and Sam sort of falls in love all over again as those sharp blue eyes fix on his.

"Then I'd be honored," Castiel says.

"Honored? It's a mall," Dean gripes. Then he leans up and whispers, "You two are perfect for each other" into Sam's ear.

Sam knows Dean means it as an insult, but his heart leaps up all the same.


"You're an idiot."

This is what Dean says two hours later, when Sam's strapping Matthew back into the car seat. Matthew's talking nonsense, and Sam bops his nose with one finger before ducking carefully out of the back seat and blinking at his brother.

"What? Why?"

"Castiel," Dean says, sweeping his hand back toward the mall, like that explains everything. "You can make googly eyes at him for two hours while we walk the mall, but you can't man up and ask him out?"

"Dean," Sam says. He can't keep the smile off his face at the memory of walking with Castiel, though, catching those amazing blue eyes through racks of baby clothes and sunglasses. His brother waves him off and climbs into the passenger seat.

"Whatever, man. He's gonna ask you out, anyway, so I guess it's all good. You get to be the girl in the end."

Sam can't even hear the insult over the pounding of his heart in his ears as he folds himself into the driver's seat. "What makes you say that?" he says. He shoots for casual but his voice kind of cracks in the middle, and Dean laughs, playing with the rainbow slinky he bought for himself.

"'Cause I told him to. And I told him you'd say yes this time, so you better not make me a liar."

Sam sort of chokes, his hand hesitating on the gear shift. "When did you tell him that?" he asks.

"While you were changing Matthew."

Sam reflects that it was probably a bad move, leaving his older brother outside the men's room to accost the guy of his dreams. He'll have to apologize for that later - if there's a later. Sam rubs a hand across his forehead and backs out of the parking spot.


"Sam - I mean it. Get over yourself already," Dean tells him, suddenly in serious-older-brother mode. "You're crazy about this guy, and news flash - he likes you, too. Likes you enough that he hung out with me for five minutes while you were in the bathroom changing your two-year-old. What does that tell you?" Dean lets that sink in for a minute, then says, "So give me a head's up, and I'll watch Matthew for you anytime. Just don't give up on this before you've even tried, okay? You've been pretty happy these last few weeks, and if that's got something to do with him, well…" Dean shrugs and leaves the rest unsaid.

Sam wrestles with himself for a minute, fighting back against all the little internal voices that like to say no no matter what. He glances at his baby in the back seat. He thinks about Castiel's fingertips on his hand, even that little bit of contact driving him crazy. Then he smiles.

"Thanks, Dean."

"Shut up," Dean says, and turns on the radio.


Fate catches up with Sam in the faculty parking lot two days later. He's standing next to his car with his arms full of boxes, lecture notes and his undergrad's papers, and staring into the back seat wondering how he's gotten so scatterbrained that he locked his keys in the car, wondering if Dean would leave work to bring him his spares, when he hears familiar footfalls behind him.

"Hello, Sam."

Sam turns around so fast he almost loses the top box. "Cas," he says. He wants to sound calm and cool and possibly irresistibly attractive, but he sort of croaks instead. Castiel gives him a little smile anyway.

"Is something wrong?"

God, this is not who Sam wants Castiel to think he is. He wants Cas to think he's wonderful and amazing and has it all together, just like Cas does - not that he's a nervous wreck stranded in a parking lot. If his hands were free, he'd wipe his sweaty palms on his slacks. "Um…" Sam licks his lips. "I sort of locked my keys in the car. I have a spare, but it's at home, so…"

Castiel tips his head to one side. "I can give you a ride."

"Cas…" Sam's sort of breathless at the offer, but he tries to swallow it down. "You don't have to do that. It's sort of a long drive. And I can call Dean, and… he gets off work in, like, two hours, so I can just wait…"

"Sam," Castiel says. Sam stops talking. Instead he just stares back at Castiel, right into those mind-blowing blue eyes, and wonders how Castiel can do that - say his name like he's accepting all of Sam, every screwed-up part of him, with that one little word. Sam looks down at the boxes in his arms, and suddenly he's smiling so hard that his dimples ache and his mouth feels like it's never going to go back to normal. Then he raises his head and lets Castiel see that smile.

"That would be amazing, Cas," he says.

Castiel smiles back. "My car is over here," he says, nodding toward the far end of the lot.

Sam swallows hard. His throat feels thick, but he pushes past it, taking a hesitant step after this man who carved his name into Sam's heart the first time he touched his hand.

"Um, Castiel?"

Castiel stops, glancing back over his shoulder. "Yes?"

Sam takes a deep breath. "Would you… do you want to get lunch sometime?"

Castiel takes his face apart, one piece at a time. Then the lines around his eyes crinkle, the smallest of smiles. "I would like that very much, Sam."

Sam swears he could leap from Hoover Tower and fly right now.


So they get lunch. And then dinner. And then dinner again. In between, they meet for coffee at the campus hub and the coffee shop near Sam's house and the coffee cart in the park, and Castiel sits with Sam as Matthew makes his sandcastles, and does his best to understand the baby talk. Sam's thesis adviser raises an eyebrow when she sees them together in the law faculty lounge, but Sam doesn't even care, because Castiel's hand has drifted onto his knee and he's not moving for anything right now. Castiel takes it slow, walks him to the door of the townhouse every time but doesn't even lean in to kiss him until the fifth date - but Sam decides it was worth the wait, when those chapped lips first touch his and a nuclear bomb goes off inside his chest, and by the time Castiel pulls away Sam can barely stand, melting back against the door and grinning after Castiel until he climbs into his car and drives away. Sam stands at the door with his hand up in a wave for another minute or so.

It's two weeks after this when Sam finally finds himself being pressed back into the curve of his couch, fireworks going off under his skin as Castiel cradles his head in one hand and molds their mouths together, barely parting long enough to let him breathe. Sam's head falls back and Castiel kisses down his neck, nudges at the collar of his shirt with his nose, and whispers "Sam" against his skin. Sam's definitely going to dream about that tonight.

"Castiel…" Sam's not really thinking about it as he tangles one hand in the shorter man's hair, pulls him closer, arches up to meet the lips that are setting fire to his skin - but Castiel pauses, draws back just a little, far enough to lock eyes with Sam. Far enough for Sam to take stock of their bodies tangled together, Castiel's knee pressing down between his thighs, his left hand inching up under the lip of Castiel's white button-down. Far enough to realize that he's about to take this to a whole new level, if he doesn't pull back right now.

"Sam," Castiel says. A question. Maybe an offer. Sam stares up into those waiting blue eyes and tries to remember that Dean's bringing Matthew back in forty-five minutes.

"Um," Sam says.

Castiel breathes out. Then he dips down and kisses Sam, all sweetness and softness, their noses brushing, before he pulls back and pushes himself to his feet. Sam feels like half his organs have been ripped out at the same time.

"I should go," Castiel says, glancing at the wall clock. "I meant to leave you after dinner. I hope I didn't stay too late."

"Oh - no," Sam says, pushing himself up into a sitting position. He runs a hand back through his hair, straightens his shirt - tries to look like he wasn't making out on the couch like a teenager for the last half hour. At least Castiel looks a little ruffled, too. "No, um - it's fine. I had a really good time tonight, Cas."

Castiel's eyes are locked on his, but Sam swears he can feel that stare all over his body, making him shiver just like the first day they met. "I did as well," Castiel says. Then he smiles, just a little, and picks up his coat. "Coffee tomorrow morning?"

Sam walks him to the door in a blur. His head is still spinning when Castiel slips a hand behind his neck and pulls him down for a goodnight kiss, still spinning as he watches Castiel walk down his front steps, fishing for his keys. Then he races into the kitchen and grabs his cell phone, hitting the speed dial.

"Yeah?" Dean says. His voice is muffled, like he's speaking through a mouthful of popcorn.

"Dean." Sam's panting into the phone, his heartbeat hammering in his ears. "Can you keep Matthew overnight?"

Dean's answer is an earsplitting whistle. "Whoohoo! Go get 'im, tiger!"

Sam hangs up without saying goodbye, rips the front door open, stumbles out onto the cold cement in his socks.


Castiel stops at the bottom of the steps, and turns around, finds Sam with those incredible blue eyes. Eyes that Sam wants to see half-lidded, hovering over him, heavy with intention. Eyes that Sam wants to stare into as he comes undone. Sam swallows against his dry mouth.

"I… Cas, um…"

Castiel raises an eyebrow. Sam runs a trembling hand through his hair.

"Do you want to stay tonight?"

Castiel's mouth falls open, just a little. He looks at Sam for a long time - God, it must be years - standing there in the open doorway with his shirt untucked and his face flushed and his hair all over the place and his threadbare socks; Castiel looks at him and Sam wonders if that expression on Castiel's face can possibly be for him, all that awe, and disbelief, and sweet, aching want. Castiel wets his lips and turns back to face the house.

"Are you sure, Sam?" he asks.

Sam walks to the top of the steps and reaches out his hand, and pulls Castiel back up to his level, so that they're standing toe to toe. He feels Castiel's breath on his face and smiles.

"I've never been so sure about anything in my life."

Castiel smiles, too. Then he lifts his free hand and brushes the backs of his fingers against Sam's cheek, and Sam leans into the touch, savoring the sparks that shoot through his skin.

"Then I would be honored," Castiel says.

Sam thinks honored isn't really the right word here, either. But he doesn't care anymore as soon as they're inside and his whole world is Castiel, hands and lips and trembling breaths in the darkness, a voice whispering his name against the shell of his ear, and stars behind his eyes.

They still have coffee in the morning. Sam doesn't have enough creamer but Castiel takes it black, and kisses his bare shoulder, and Sam couldn't get the smile off his face even if he wanted to. Then he and Castiel meet Dean and Matthew for pancakes at IHOP - and when Matthew leans up out of his booster seat and plants a sticky syrup kiss on Castiel's cheek, Sam decides his life might not be so screwed up after all.