Destiel high school AU. Dean is dared to ask Castiel to the prom. He tries to seduce him but ends up getting more than he bargained for when their worlds come crumbling down and they only have each other for support.

"Hey, Cas," said Dean, grinning flirtatiously at the other boy. Dean knew he was attractive; any girl in the school, and possibly some of the guys, would agree, so he was using that to his advantage. Right now, he was leaning against the lockers facing Cas. It was the first day of the dare, and Dean was determined to makes this work. He didn't think it would be that hard. Everyone picked on Cas and he was a bit of a loner, so undoubtedly the attention would be really flattering to him. Dean glanced to the side and winked subtly at his friends, who were watching the scene from down the hall.

Castiel almost jumped out of his skin when Dean spoke to him. No one spoke to him, if they did they were asking for his lunch money. He turned to see who Dean was talking to but he genuinely seemed to be talking to him. This caused him to frown slightly; he must want something, alternative motives and such. "Sorry, I don't have time to do your homework," he said, pulling the books from his locker.

Dean tried not to roll his eyes; of course that's what Cas would think. Instead, he laughed and shook his head. "I don't want you to do my homework, Cas! Do you really think I would do that?"

"Yes," Cas said immediately, looking over at Dean with a look that said 'I'm not an idiot'. He closed his locker and juggled his books until he could hold them all comfortably. "What do you want then?" he asked curiously.

Dean was feeling a little lost; apparently his physical charm wasn't working as well as he'd hoped it would. He had to try another tactic. Softening his tone he said "I saw what those guys did to you yesterday and I felt bad about it. I wanted to make it up to you." Yesterday he'd watched a group of guys; some of them were his friends actually, knocking Cas down. Causing his books and everything to go flying everywhere, where they were quickly trampled. Yesterday, Dean wouldn't have cared, in fact he may have even participated, but he was down the hall talking to some girls when it happened.

Castiel's face dropped slightly, letting his defences ease a little. "Why?" he asked curiously. Why would he want to make it up to him? He hadn't been the one jumping on his books; he'd been too busy chatting to the most popular girls in school to care. Castiel wished he could talk to people that easily. Though he doubted anyone at this school was nice enough to let him try.

Dean shrugged and looked down, trying to appear sensitive and emotional. "I dunno. I just… it wasn't fair. There were three of them and one of you… I actually saw it happen," he admitted. "I should have done something, but I didn't. Let me make it up to you." He looked back up into Cas' eyes earnestly.

"I wouldn't worry about it. Those girls seemed to need more attention," Cas remarked. He looked at Dean staring back at him. He swallowed hard; he had amazing eyes, even if he was a first class dick. "I have to go," he excused himself, and began walking down the corridor.

Oh hell no. Dean was not going to let him walk away now. He'd barely even started. Dean stepped after him quickly and caught his arm. "Wait, you have chemistry next right?" he asked.

Castiel almost dropped his books when Dean took his arm. He was ready to pull into his defensive position, just like every other day, but stopped when Dean spoke. "I… yeah. So?" he asked defensively.

"Can I walk with you? I'm actually headed that direction too," Dean said openly, looking at Cas. He was still lightly touching Cas' arm, and he hoped it was having the effect of gaining Cas' trust like he wanted it to.

"I guess," Cas shrugged, still not quite sure why Dean was being so nice. He'd never talked to him before, why the change?

"Thanks," Dean said with a smile, falling into step beside the other boy as they made their way to the science rooms. He looked over his shoulder at his friends who were still watching, gave them a sly thumbs up and wiggled his eyebrows a few times.

Castiel clutched his books as he walked into the science room, sitting at the back in the corner and placing his stuff down. He tried to ignore Dean, thinking he'd pretend not to know him once they entered the classroom.

Dean stood in the doorway of the classroom for a moment, debating his options. He didn't want to freak Cas out too much, since his friendship was clearly unexpected and possibly even unwelcome. He could sit where he usually did, in the opposite back corner to Cas, he could sit right next to him, but that would be weird, so instead he waited for a few more to be filled in and then casually walked over to the desk right in front of Cas, which was still empty by the time a few more people had entered the room.

Castiel groaned and thumped his head on the desk, crossing his arms around his head to cover his face. Why? Why was he being tormented like this? Had he done something wrong? Now he had to look at that gorgeous dick for the rest of the class. This wasn't happening, he told himself. Instead he busied himself with his books and concentrated on today's experiment.

"Okay class, today we are going to be doing something very dangerous, so I want you all to pay attention,' the teacher, Mr Singer, announced. "I know some of you idjits are gonna screw this up, so I'm going to explain the directions very clearly. But first, I need everyone to find a partner." Dean internally celebrated; this was his chance. He didn't have any friends in this class anyway, he usually just partnered whichever hot girl was most convenient, or when his grade was failing he claimed a nerd to be his partner. Nobody ever denied him. Today was different however. He looked around the room as if weighing up his options, and then looked hopefully at Cas. "Uh, you have a partner?" he asked awkwardly. He should get an award for his acting skills.

Castiel always worked alone, he was clever and he got the work done so Mr Singer never made it an issue. If he anything he pitied the kid so just let him get on with it. Castiel bit his lip, he could deny Dean but then again he might have a chance to actually teach him something and look at those beautiful green ey- STOP IT. Castiel shook his head. This was insane. "I think I'll be okay thanks. You're needed elsewhere." He nodded over to one of the popular girls without a partner who was looking at Dean with a grin and a twirl of her hair.

Dean stared at Cas in confusion before looking to where he was pointing and seeing Jo Harvelle, the hottest girl in school, looking at him expectantly. It was tempting definitely, but Dean was on a mission. He forced himself to shake his head at her with an apologetic smile, before quickly turning back to Cas. "To be honest, I don't really trust myself with chemicals and I need some… guidance," he said, smiling at Cas shyly.

Damn that infernal smile of his. Castiel sighed in defeat. "I suppose for that reason it would be acceptable," he muttered. He made his disinterested, keeping the excitement out of it. It wouldn't do for Dean to think he actually liked the guy. He was supposed to be the bully, the dick that ran the school. Castiel wasn't supposed to like him. He doubted Dean was even interested in him. Something was definitely up with him today.

Dean grinned happily at him and turned to face Mr Singer, who was talking again. "Listen up, kids. You're gonna be using acids and a bunch of other crap that can burn your eyeballs out, so you need to wear safety goggles for this one. No excuses. We don't need a repeat of last time," he said, looking pointedly at Dean.

Castiel had turned a little red; everyone was looking at Dean and could see that he'd moved places. They might not know why but it made Castiel feel paranoid and uncomfortable. He busied his mind with the books in front of him, three steps ahead of Mr Singer.

Dean grinned a little, not as cocky as he usually was, because he didn't want to seem like a total dick today. He even managed to blush and sink down a little in his seat. It earned him a few strange looks, especially since he was sitting far from his normal desk. Dean tried not to draw attention to himself, because he was aware that by doing so he would draw attention to Cas, and Cas had to trust him for this whole pretend seduction thing to work.

Mr Singer drawled on about the experiment and gave looks to Dean every now and then when explaining the health and safety parts. By the time he'd finished talking and everyone got their partners and began the experiment, Castiel had written up everything about the experiment, apart from the results, and set up some of the equipment.

"Geez, you're fast!" Dean exclaimed, eyeing Cas in surprise. He'd known the kid was smart, but he wasn't expecting this. "Have you done this before or something?"

"No," Cas said simply, placing the acid in the correct beakers, not waiting for Dean. He was used to working on his own so forgot to make sure that Dean was watching. He doubted Dean would mind him doing all the work though, probably the reason he wanted to pair with him. He handed a pair of goggles to Dean. "Here."

"Thanks," Dean said, automatically taking them and putting them on. He'd forgotten to get his own, again. Mr Singer probably hated him. No, he definitely hated him. Dean watched as Castiel poured chemicals and mixed things and he was quickly lost. "Do you want me to do anything? I feel bad that you're… doing everything," he said lamely.

"It's fine. I want to get this done right," Castiel muttered. He looked over his shoulder at Dean "That's fine right? You can just copy my work." He shrugged, assuming that was why Dean was here anyway. Any other reason well… Castiel would just be kidding himself if he thought Dean was actually there to be his friend.

Dean frowned. "No, dude. I'm not gonna copy your work that's low. Let me help," he said, stepping forwards so he was right behind Cas and looking over his shoulder. It was a tactic he'd planned carefully, and he was proud of himself that he did it so smoothly too.

Castiel froze for a moment, he could feel Dean's breath against his ear. He almost spilt the acidic liquid because of it. He shook his head and kept the liquid level. "I guess you could take over, just hold this steady as you pour it," he said, indicating what he wanted Dean to do. He was sort of surprised that he actually wanted to help.

Dean leaned closer, watching the experiment intently, but really he was focusing on Cas' reaction. The guy seemed a bit surprised, but didn't shove him away, so he stayed there. He used one hand to support himself on the table on one side of Cas and the other hand to take the beaker from him, making sure their fingers brushed briefly. Cas was basically boxed in against the lab table now, caged in by Dean's arms, but Dean tried not to appear threatening. He lifted the beaker to eye level. "How much am I supposed to pour in?" he asked nervously, "I don't wanna explode anything."

Castiel was about to move away when Dean placed his arm on the other side of him, keeping him in place. He took shallow breaths trying to keep his shoulders from moving up and down. He didn't want Dean to notice how much trouble he had breathing with Dean so close to him. He swallowed thickly, "stop," he said, grabbing Dean's wrist to make sure he did in fact stop. Only once he knew it was safe he let go of Dean's wrist trying not to blush. "Okay, so now we add fifteen mils of…" he trailed off, his voice uncontrollably breathy. Damn it.

Dean grinned triumphantly; his plan seemed to be working. Not wanting Cas to freak out, he stepped to the side a little to give him some room, but bumped their shoulders together lightly. He stood close, pretending to pay attention to the experiment.

Castiel cleared his throat and didn't bother speaking again. It was too embarrassing and his cheeks were bright red. He felt like he was on fire. He poured the last liquid in and the colour of the solution turned purple. He wrote down the results, just thankful Dean hadn't blown anything up. Now if only he could get him to stop standing so close. He shifted slightly away as he reached to get his books, an excuse to try and regain some control.

"Well, that went well," Dean commented. "No toxic fumes or explosions. Thanks, Cas." He smiled and removed his safety goggles, keeping eye contact for a lingering moment before looking away and busying himself with scribbling down the results on his paper.

Castiel nodded, avoiding Dean's eyes when he could. He packed away the equipment safely and handed his book to Mr Singer before excusing himself from class early. Mr Singer didn't seem to care, he'd managed to keep Dean out of trouble and done his work so he let him go. He shifted his books around and gave Dean a small smile before hurrying out of the room, grateful for some air.

Dean was a little surprised at the smile Cas gave him, he wasn't sure that he'd ever seen the kid smile before; he usually just looked serious. But he was left feeling strangely… rejected. Why had Cas left early? Was Dean intimidating?

Castiel spent the twenty minutes between chemistry and lunch in an empty part of the school under a tree. It was the only time he got to himself. At home his brothers tormented him, at school the kids bullied him. This was the only time he got, to sit under the tree and play his guitar softly. Letting the music wash away his troubles.

Dean usually ate lunch outside with his friends, and he met up with them briefly to keep them caught up with his plan. They seemed pretty impressed at how well he'd done at befriending, and hopefully seducing, Castiel, the loser who was at the butt of every joke. Then Dean left quickly to see if he could find Castiel on his way to lunch, when he heard soft guitar music coming from around the corner of the school. Dean slowly peered around the brick wall and spotted Cas, of all people, sitting under a tree with a guitar. His head was bent forward and his eyes were closed as he delicately strummed the strings with his slender fingers. Dean stopped and debated whether or not he should interrupt, and then decided to walk right up to him. Cas didn't hear him approaching until Dean said, "wow. I didn't know you played guitar."

Castiel gave a high-pitched shriek that caused him to blush. Great start, Cas. He turned to find Dean behind him yet again. He let go of the guitar, placing it on the floor. No one knew he played guitar, that's why he loved it so much. It was his little secret; his and his alone. Then Dean had to spoil it. He'd probably come to mock him about how crap he was or something, "What do you want, Dean?" he asked, clearly upset to be disturbed and uncomfortable that the most popular and attractive boy in school was suddenly interested in him. Him!

Dean backed away a little, raising his hands in a calming gesture. "Sorry," he said, "I was just taking a shortcut to the cafeteria and I heard you playing." He stepped forward slightly, putting his hands in his pockets. "Why'd you stop?" he asked, "it sounded really nice. You're good."

Castiel blushed, looking down at his feet. "I've never played in front of people before," he admitted quietly. He ran his hand over the instrument, hoping Dean would leave so he could start playing again. It was very rare he got the chance to play and Dean was eating into his time. "They're serving apple pie today," he mentioned as casually as he could, hoping it would sway Dean into leaving. He didn't mean to be rude but he just wanted to be left alone. He could handle the bullies, his brothers, and his peers. All he asked in return was this small window in between his schedule of getting kicked to death to play some music.

Dean eyed Cas curiously. He seemed nervous, or embarrassed, and trying to get rid of him? Dean, not wanting to scare Cas away, shuffled his feet on the grass awkwardly and scratched the back of his head, hoping it made him look as unthreatening as possible. "You're really good," he praised shyly. "How'd you learn to play like that?"

Castiel swallowed, averting his eyes from Dean. Why couldn't he just be left alone in peace? "I don't know. I just make it up," he shrugged. He doubted his parents would ever allow him to take lessons. He just wished that he could own his own guitar but that probably wouldn't be likely until after school; too risky with bullies and such. This was just one he borrowed from the music room.

Dean's eyes widened, which wasn't an act. He had to admit he was truly impressed. "Wow," he breathed, "You mean you just taught yourself? That's natural talent, man. Seriously, you're amazing." He looked down at Cas, who was looking away, and he just looked uncomfortable. Dean realised he wasn't wanted, but he couldn't help himself. "Would you mind if I just sat here for a few minutes and watched you play?" he asked hesitantly. He knew it was a risky thing to ask this, because Cas might reject him and the whole plan would be ruined.

Castiel was silent for a moment; he didn't play for people. Never had, but Dean did sound pretty genuine in his response. Castiel was good at reading people after many years of watching people have fun and he'd picked up a few hints on how people react and fake their emotions. He nodded hesitantly, waiting for Dean to sit down. He swallowed thickly, hoping he wasn't going to crowd him like he had in science. He picked up his guitar and faintly brushed his fingers over the strings.

Dean sat down slowly a few feet away from Cas, still feeling like he was treading on eggshells, and watched him play. Cas started out hesitant, like he was nervous about having an audience, but as he got more into the music his eyes closed and he leaned over the guitar, swaying slightly, and began playing louder, more confidently. He was really good. Eventually the notes turned into something more familiar, and before Dean knew it, he was singing along quietly to 'Simple Man'.

Castiel couldn't play in front of Dean so he closed his eyes and pretended he wasn't there. It seemed to be effective because once he got into the swing of things he hardly noticed Dean. Until he started singing that is. Castiel almost jumped, forgetting Dean was there. He smiled slightly when he heard his voice. He had quite the voice on him and it was contagious. The rugged edge to it almost caused Castiel to stop playing and just listen to him. Castiel eventually gave in to the temptation and softly sung along too, keeping his head down and his focus away from Dean.

Dean felt a happy warmth spread through his chest, watching Cas play and singing along. Their voices melded together, and Cas even started adding in some harmonies here and there. Dean also noticed that Cas was smiling, that he looked calm and peaceful for once. When the song ended Dean continued watching Castiel, waiting for him to say something because he wasn't sure what had just happened.

Once the song ended Castiel came down from the high of music. He plucked the strings absently, realising how easily he'd shared something so personal with a guy he hardly knew. It was embarrassing to admit but it had been fun and Castiel had, for once enjoyed someone's company at this school. He cleared his throat awkwardly, "You've got a great voice, Dean. You should try out for Battle of the Bands or something. I'm pretty sure your friend Ash is in a band…" he said casually, avoiding looking at Dean.

Now it was Dean's turn to be embarrassed. "You know, I've never really sung in front of anyone before," he said quietly, "Not even my parents." He coughed nervously. "Uh, thanks, Cas. If anyone should try out for Battle of the Bands, it's you. It would surprise everyone, seriously. You'd be famous." Dean blushed for some reason and picked blades of grass to avoid looking at Castiel. What the hell was he doing? They'd just sung a song together, not told each other their deepest secrets. Why was Dean acting like this? This was fake, he had to keep reminding himself.

Castiel scoffed, "Dean, I'm not that good. It's just a bit of fun." He glanced over at the other boy to find him picking grass and avoiding looking in Castiel's direction completely. He frowned in confusion. It looked like a completely different from the one trapping him in the science lab earlier. This Dean was shy, vulnerable almost. It was quite appealing. He looked away and continued plucking at the strings, playing a soft, easy melody. "Thank you for letting me hear you sing," he said quietly, looking at his feet.

Dean looked up with a small grin. "Thank you for letting me hear you play," he countered. They looked at each other for a lingering moment before Dean felt himself start to blush and he glanced at his watch. "You wanna go to lunch now? I heard you mention apple pie." He rose to his feet and offered a hand to Cas, looking at him expectantly. "You coming?"

Castiel lingered for a moment, his eyes flicked from Dean's down to the extended hand. He never went in the canteen, too many people to taunt and mock him. He pressed his lips into a thin line, uncertain about taking that chance. However, when he looked up at Dean's reassuring smile, he couldn't help but give in. "Okay," he finally agreed. He took Dean's hand and stood, strapping the guitar across his back and picking up his books. Once he'd managed to shuffle them so he could carry them properly, he gave Dean a small smile and followed him sheepishly into the canteen.

They entered the canteen together, and some people gave them curious looks, but Dean ignored it. He acted like it was the most normal thing in the world for a popular kid like Dean to be eating with a loner like Cas, but then felt kinda bad for just thinking that. He gave Cas a small smile and they went to stand in line to buy their food. Dean spotted the apple pie and he almost drooled. His stomach rumbled.

Castiel went quiet as soon as they entered the canteen. He was a paranoid child as it was but it was worse when he knew people were talking about him. He felt like the world had dropped a huge weight on his shoulders. He followed along behind Dean, rolling his eyes when the other got distracted by the pie. "Dean…I don't think this is a good idea," he muttered, looking around them and seeing people staring at him. "I'm just going to go."

"What?" Dean asked, confused. He looked around at everyone, and the other students were staring at Cas. Oh. Cas probably didn't come here that much and the regulars weren't used to seeing him. "Just for today, Cas," Dean pleaded. He needed people to see them together for the plan to work, but the plan was beginning to seem more and more douchey anyway. "Come on, we can sit over there if you want." There was a secluded table in the corner where nobody was sitting.

Castiel sighed, once again caving at the sound of Dean's voice. He picked up a carton of chocolate milk from the chiller. "Fine, Just for today," he echoed. He suddenly realised that Dean had said 'just for today'. Did this mean Dean was going to speak to him tomorrow? Castiel had just assumed that once this odd, dream-like day was over, everything would go on as usual, pretending that nothing had happened. Castiel was fine with this of course; he hadn't exactly expected anything from the other. He wasn't even sure why he was still here but he didn't question it. He paid for his chocolate milk and scurried over to the empty corner table, ignoring those who looked at him or snickered behind his back.

Dean watched him go, and glared at the people who were laughing at the both of them. They shut up when he glared at them. That was a huge benefit of being popular; people respected you. Although, he wasn't sure how long his popularity was going to last… He bought extra food, since all Cas had gotten was chocolate milk, and walked calmly over to the table where Cas was sitting. He sat down across from him and wordlessly passed him a sandwich.

Castiel stared at the sandwich before his gaze flickered up to Dean. "I can't accept that," he said quietly, looking down at his carton of milk. He blushed slightly; Dean was being so nice to him. He had bought him food. No one did that. Even if Dean wanted something, actually buying Castiel's lunch seemed a bit excessive if all he wanted was a chemistry partner or someone to do his work to get a good grade. Maybe he was really trying to be his friend. Castiel took the guitar from his back and placed it carefully on the table, handling it with care.

Dean rolled his eyes a little and shoved the sandwich closer to Cas, laughing. "It's a sandwich Cas, not a million bucks. Of course you can accept it. You've gotta eat something. You can't survive on just chocolate milk." He took his hand away from the sandwich and watched as Cas seemed to consider the option, then set the guitar on the table.

Castiel reluctantly took the sandwich, he still didn't feel good about taking it but he was pretty hungry. "Thanks," he smiled sheepishly, and began eating. His eyes flickered over to Dean, who seemed to be watching him. He felt like he was on show to the whole world when Dean looked at him like that. He bowed his head and ate silently, avoiding Dean's gaze.

Dean smiled as Cas began eating the sandwich. He watched him for another moment, feeling like he should say something, but Cas looked away uncomfortably and Dean tore his eyes away from him. He felt out of his league suddenly, he didn't really know what was going on between them and it made him feel a little nervous. The whole point of the plan was to pretend to befriend the guy, not actually start to be his friend for real, but something happened and Cas started to work his way under Dean's skin, and Dean wasn't sure what to make of that.

Castiel looked up to see that Dean wasn't eating. "Is the pie inadequate?" he asked, frowning slightly. He swallowed the last piece of his sandwich and kept his head low. He felt out of place here. Dean could fit right him, but him, he was an outcast. Everyone was staring at him. He even heard one guy make a remark about them being a couple. That made Castiel blush bright red, this was so embarrassing. He picked up the guitar and practically fled from the room. He hoped Dean hadn't followed him; he'd had enough attention for one day. He spent the rest of lunch in hiding until the bell went for English.

Dean didn't say anything as Cas ran out of the room. He'd heard the comment about them being a couple too, and he shot the guy who'd said it a dark glare after Cas had fled. Everyone was staring at Dean in varying degrees of confusion. When Cas had left he hadn't looked like he wanted to be followed, so Dean let him be. He calmly ate the rest of his lunch alone. His friends didn't have the same lunch period as him, so he didn't bother moving to a new table. After lunch ended, Dean had a free period, and he decided to spend it in the library. He didn't know what class Cas had right then, and he thought it best to give the guy some space after what had happened in the canteen.

Castiel was glad to get away from the insanity the day had brought. He sat in the back corner in English, ready to get down to some creative writing. Out of nowhere, some of the popular kids walked right up to him and started beating the shit out of him. It took three teachers to pull them off him. He sat in the corner trying not to cry. Before the teachers had arrived most of the students had been cheering the other guys on. He hated this school. The next thing he knew he was in the nurse's office being patched up. She smiled at him in pity. He smiled weakly back, feeling dead inside. This was Dean's fault. People ignored him until today. No one bothered the loser kid. Castiel could only assume that he had taken a beating because of what Dean had done today.

Dean was walking by the nurse's office on the way to his locker, and he happened to glance inside. Cas was sitting on the edge of one of the leather beds and the nurse was sitting in a chair in front of him, examining a cut on his face. Cas looked like shit. Immediately, Dean stopped and rushed into the room, exclaiming "Cas? What the hell happened to you?" Even though he already knew. He frowned and went to stand beside the nurse, looking at Castiel with concern. He knew Cas got picked on sometimes, hell, he'd even participated a few times, but he'd never seen it get this bad. Dean felt guilt pool in his chest. He hadn't meant for this to happen, but he'd drawn Cas into everyone's line of sight without Cas wanting him to.

Castiel groaned when Dean walked into the room. Luckily it was about the same time the nurse was dabbing disinfectant onto his cheek so he could just pretend he was whining about that. He wanted to look away from Dean but the nurse was keeping his head firmly in place. He kept his eyes as far away from him as possible. This was his fault and he had the nerve to stand there as if he was his best pal. "I think you should leave," he muttered quietly, trying not to wince as he talked. He just wanted this day to be over and to go back to reality where no one talked to him and he could take the occasional beating in peace. He wasn't sure he'd be able to stand this happening everyday.

Dean winced at Castiel's words and tried to think of anything he could say. He felt like absolute crap. "I'm sorry," he muttered, "I didn't mean for this to happen. This couldn't get any worse. "Who did this to you?" he demanded angrily, feeling like he needed to get revenge for this. It wasn't fair that Cas had got beaten up. The only reason people picked on him was because he was an easy target, didn't have any friends to defend him and never fought back. It was so easy. He just let it happen to himself, and people took advantage of him for that.

"It doesn't matter. Please leave," Cas muttered, his voice sounding a little off. Most likely from the vast amount of punches he received to the face and throat. He wished Dean would just go. He didn't want him to cause trouble; it would only make things worse. He just wanted to disappear back into the shadows and forget about it. He finally looked over at Dean, his eyes pleading with him not to do anything stupid. The nurse left, clearly she wasn't going to ask Dean to leave. That's nice, Castiel thought, just leave him with a potential bully that's very safe. He held the ice pack to his face with a wince, shifting in his seat.

The look in Castiel's eyes made Dean's heart constrict painfully. He looked so small, so scared and lost, and Dean couldn't just leave him here. "I'm not going anywhere," he insisted softly, taking another step closer to the bed. Cas needed a friend more than ever now, and Dean wasn't going to abandon him. "Whoever it was, it's never going to happen again, Cas, okay? I won't let anyone hurt you." And whoa, where did that come from? He was surprised at himself for promising such a thing, but it was too late now. He had to keep his promise. Spending the day with Cas had given him an insight into the guy's life that he'd never known, and it wasn't good. He needed someone to care about him.

Castiel kept looking at his shoes. "The gesture is appreciated although it is not needed," he muttered softly. He didn't need anyone looking after him, even if they were as big and strong as Dean. The thought of someone looking out for him was appealing, but it would do more harm than good. Besides, he didn't want to drag Dean into this. He just wanted things to go back to the way they were. He gave a quick glance to the nurse but she was preoccupied in her little office. He placed the icepack under his shirt; cooling the string of bruises he had not told her about. He sighed, closing his eyes as he leant his head back slightly at the soothing sensation.

Dean ignored his statement and took another step closer. When Cas lifted his shirt to place the ice pack against his side, Dean caught a glimpse of bruised skin and he took another step closer. "How bad did they hurt you?" he asked, his voice almost a growl. It wasn't fair what happened to him. Dean realised this was probably his fault, and he was determined to make things right.

"Well I can walk," Cas commented, his voice agitated by Dean's concern. It both pleased and pained him to see Dean care for him like this. It was nice that someone was actually trying to do the right thing and show a little humanity for once but the fact that it was Dean's fault to begin with didn't help his case. Cas placed the ice pack down and slid carefully off the stool. "Leave me alone," he said, both reluctantly and seriously. With that, he grabbed his bag and tried not to wince as he walked out of the room.

Dean sighed in frustration. He felt bad, he knew Cas was blaming him and he totally deserved it, because he realised that hanging out with Cas had brought some unwanted attention, but he was trying his hardest to make it up to him. He hesitated for a moment, biting his lip, and debated whether or not he should go after Cas. He clearly didn't want to be followed, either that or he was just embarrassed about appearing weak. Before Cas could get too far from the nurse's office, Dean blurted, "Cas. Wait."

Castiel rolled his eyes, couldn't he just be left in peace? He stopped and turned to look at Dean. "Dean, just stop. Whatever has gotten into you today just stop it. Please?" he pleaded, his eyes never leaving Dean's. "I don't need this. So, I forgive you, no need to feel guilty. Just let it go and leave. me. alone." His voice was soft and quiet as usual, but a certain amount of bitterness came into the last few words. Castiel was angry but he'd go home and cool off. He wasn't the type to start trouble, unlike some people…

The two boys stared at each other for a tense moment. Dean didn't want to bother Cas but he didn't want anything else to happen to him today. "Do you want me to drive you home?" he offered helplessly. Cas was probably going to say no anyway, and Dean was sure Cas was pretty pissed at him, but he persisted nonetheless. "It's just… It's the middle of the day and…" Dean trailed off uncertainly, looking at Cas pleadingly. He wanted to help in some way, even if Cas didn't want to be helped. Dean shrugged and shook his head. "Not if you really don't want me too…" he said, backtracking. "I understand if you don't want me to."

Castiel bit his lip, tearing his gaze from the other. Now he felt bad, how was Dean able to make him feel like that?! It wasn't fair. He was the one beaten to a pulp, not Dean. Why should he sympathise with him? The drive home did sound tempting. He had struggled to get this far without wincing at the pain. Maybe if he was in a car with Dean he wouldn't look so helpless, so easy to pick on. Though it could go the other way and cause him to get beaten up again. He sighed; his side was throbbing. He just wanted to get home and soon. He reluctantly nodded and wordlessly accepted Dean's offer.

Dean let out the breath he'd been holding and smiled reassuringly at Cas. This was good. This was a step towards Cas trusting him, and he needed that to happen. He wanted Cas to trust him, and not just for the ultimate goal of taking him to prom, which seemed less and less likely now anyway. Prom was soon, and several girls had already asked him to take them. He seriously doubted Cas would say yes, even if they just went as friends, which probably wouldn't happen anyway. But Dean was already involved with Cas, whether he wanted to be or not, and he couldn't just cut himself out of Cas' life after today. "Come on," he said, "my car's parked out back."

Castiel nodded and kept his head down as they walked through the school. Everyone was still in class, thank goodness. He was still jumpy whenever a teacher walked past or a door slammed shut though. They finally got to Dean's car and Cas' eyes widened in surprise. "T-this is your car?" It looked expensive; he daren't even touch it. He couldn't get in that. It was far too luxurious, what if he scuffed the paint or something? He stood shyly, eyeing the car. How did Dean even own a car like this? He felt a bit guilty when his first was that he stole it. Although it seemed likely, and Dean did seem to be the type.

Dean, not looking at Cas, smiled and nodded proudly. "Cas, meet baby. Baby, meet Cas." He stroked the hood lovingly and went round to the driver's side. "Isn't she beautiful. My dad and I salvaged her from a junkyard. I fixed her up myself." This car was his pride and joy. "You getting in, or are you just gonna stand there and gawk?" he teased gently, seeing Cas' expression.

Castiel's eyes remained wide as he carefully got into the car. "You built this?" he asked in disbelief. How was that even possible? To create a car of this beauty… there had to be something wrong with it. Dean was so talented. He could sing, build cars, be popular… was there anything this kid couldn't do? Cas really wanted to punch him in the face for being so nice and cool and yet being such a dick at the same time.

Dean ducked his head and blushed a little. "Well I didn't build her entirely," he admitted modestly, "I mean, she was pretty trashed when we got her and a lot of new parts had to be ordered for her. It took a long time but she runs like a dream now." He loved this car like it was his child. He glanced up at Cas and was pleased and proud at the awe he saw in his face as he looked inside the car. He started the engine, "So, which way is your house?"

The engine's purr was smooth and clean and Castiel almost lost it. It was too perfect. No one had a car this perfect. Why? Why did Dean have all these nice things? He didn't deserve them. Castiel wasn't saying that he did but Dean spent his time not working hard, bullying people and talking to the popular girls. It wasn't fair. Castiel bit his lip and gave directions to a place a street away from his house. He didn't want his mom to see him drive home in this, she'd only ask questions. That and he didn't want Dean to see where he lived.

Dean followed Cas' directions, noticing a slight change in the atmosphere, a new tension between them. Dean wasn't sure why. He looked over at Cas, who looked a little troubled and had a slightly stony expression. But Dean didn't ask, not wanting to pry too much as he was still on thin ice here. When they reached the street that Cas had told him, Dean slowed down and asked, "Which house?" It was an average street kind of like his own, not rich or poor, just in between.

"Here is fine," Cas said, opening the car door a little so Dean had to stop. Wouldn't want to risk hurting his precious baby and all. When Dean did stop, Castiel jumped out with his rucksack over his shoulder. "Thank you for the lift," he nodded awkwardly and closed the door, walking quickly back down the street to get to his house. Hoping to god Dean wasn't completely crazy enough to follow him for what felt like the fourth time that day.

Dean let Cas hop out of the car, feeling a little confused and guilty. Had he done something else to piss Cas off? Dean sighed and drove away in the opposite direction, feeling a little frustrated. He was really trying, damn it. He guessed he was being a little too persistent and so decided to back off and let Cas approach him if he wanted to. Maybe Cas was feeling threatened. Dean didn't want that to happen. He drove back to his house, which was one of the poorer ones on the street. He didn't want to go back to school.

Castiel walked to his house, letting out a breath when he saw Dean drive away. He felt guilty but he really needed some time alone, not that he'd get any of that at home of course. His brothers were always there to torment him. Thankfully they were still at work or school just now so he had the house to himself for a while. Enough time to clean up his wounds and cover them up as best he could. But first on the agenda was to curl up on his bed and sob into the pillow. Physically and mentally draining himself of all the emotions he'd kept hidden whilst at school.

Nobody was home when Dean got in, but when he checked his cell phone there were several new messages:

Nice work with the weird kid dude! Great acting. Almost had me convinced man – Ash

Are you free Saturday night? – Jo

Dean, I'm going to Jess' house after school tonight to work on a science project. Be back around 8. – Sammy

That was hilarious. Has he declared his love for you yet? – Chuck

I've already gotten your wedding preset – Andy

Hi, Dean! You probably don't know who I am, my name is Becky and Sam's not answering my texts, is he ok? – Unknown number

Dean laughed at the last one. Becky was a really annoying girl the same age as Sam and she wouldn't leave the poor kid alone. She seemed to think they were soul mates, destined to be with each other. Dean teased his little brother for it, but Sam had a pretty huge crush on this girl Jess. He never shut up about her. Dean had to admit, she was pretty cool, so Sam had his big brother's approval. Dean temporarily ignored the text from Jo, not really wanting to think about her at the moment, hot as she was. What bothered him though were the texts from his friends laughing at Cas. He didn't like talking about the guy behind his back like this and it wasn't fair for him to be the butt of yet another joke.

Castiel had managed to cry to the point where he had not tears left to shed. He lay defeated for a moment; he sure was pathetic. He slumped over and into the bathroom to clean his face. He poked and prodded at his deformed features. He wasn't exactly pretty to start with and now he had to deal with this. He sighed and headed into his room to draw. Castiel found it a soothing technique as he didn't have a guitar at home and needed an outlet for his emotions. He picked up his bag and rummaged through it but he couldn't find his sketchbook. He frowned and tipped the contents onto his bed. It wasn't there. Oh no, this wasn't good. That book contained various drawings; pictures of things he made up, some of things he observed and one sketch in particular that stuck in his mind as he realised where he had left the book. A sketched drawing of Dean's face… and it was sitting in Dean's car. Shit.

After a while of chatting to some friends on his computer, Dean went downstairs to rummage through the cupboards and fridge. He was hungry for something greasy and delicious. He looked at the clock and sighed. It was only four o'clock and he was going to be alone until Sam and Dad got home. That wouldn't be for a while. He decided to go out and get a pizza. He grabbed his keys off the table, went out to his car and got in. As he turned the key in the ignition, he noticed something sitting on the passenger seat. It looked like a sketchbook or something and he opened it out of curiosity. He quickly discovered that it belonged to Cas, and realised he must have left it when he jumped out of the car earlier. The first picture was of an angel and, wow. That was pretty damn amazing. He flipped through the pages quickly, becoming more and more fascinated the more he looked. When he reached the last of the drawings, he gasped and stared. It was a picture of him. Dean' mouth fell open and he just gawked at it. It was a really good drawing and it actually looked like him too. Cas was talented in more ways than one. Suddenly, Dean felt lost. Cas had drawn a picture of him, that didn't mean anything did it?

Shit. Oh hell. Castiel was well and truly screwed now. He needed that sketchbook but he couldn't just ask for it back. That would mean talking to Dean again and that would mean they'd both have to acknowledge that he drew a picture of Dean. Even if he didn't say anything he knew Dean would have seen it. He'd have to look in it to see who it belonged to. Oh and he's going to see the angel pictures and the warriors who are going to save us from the apocalypse. Fantastic. Dean was going to think he was a complete maniac. He just needed to get his sketchbook back. Cas didn't sleep that night. How could he? His mind was racing with fears and doubts of what tomorrow would bring. The next day he came into school with his hair gelled lightly to stick up at the front, mostly to cover the bruises that had formed. He wore a hoodie too. The teachers asked him to take it off but once they saw his face they didn't bother anymore and left him alone. Thankfully he didn't have chemistry today, but he did have French with Dean after lunch. That he was not looking forward to. The majority of classes blurred together and it was lunch before he knew it. He'd made it through the majority of the day without seeing Dean and he was thankful for that. He resumed his usual spot, sitting outside by the tree and playing soft melodies on the guitar. He avoided the song 'Simple Man' like the plague.

Dean didn't see Castiel at all that morning and he figured he was probably avoiding him after yesterday's disaster. He carried the sketchbook around in his backpack all day, waiting for an opportunity to give it back to Cas. Now it was lunchtime and Dean knew he wouldn't find Cas in the canteen, so he decided to go looking for him. It wasn't much longer before Dean found Cas at the same spot he'd been in yesterday, playing his guitar. Once again he was bent forward over the instrument, eyes closed. The bruises were more prominent today and his hair looked different, like he'd put some sort of product in it. Like yesterday, he didn't hear Dean approaching, and Dean stood uncertainly for a moment. He debated whether he should just put the sketchbook down somewhere that Cas would notice it, or if he should announce his presence and just hand it over.

Castiel began singing 'Hey Jude' quietly to himself. The soothing tune calmed him considerably. He was going to need it if he was going to get through French. The words soon became a soft hum as he strummed his fingers on the strings, adding in extra notes here and there to make it his own. He was so busy getting in the vibe of the music that he hadn't heard someone come close to him, but he could feel the difference in the air. He was pretty sure it was Dean but he wasn't going to turn around and check. If he did that he'd have to turn around and talk to him. He didn't have the energy for that. So he continued to play the melody, humming quietly along.

Dean froze when Cas began playing the familiar notes of 'Hey Jude'. Suddenly Dean was a little kid again getting tucked in by his mom, and she was singing that song to him to help him fall asleep. She was gently stroking his hair and smiling softly down at him, her golden hair cascading down around her beautiful face. Dean gasped audibly, forgetting to be quiet, as his eyes filled with tears at the memory. His mother was dead and he hadn't heard that song since. The way Cas was singing it reminded him of her… all soft melodies and gentle, lullabye-like notes.

Castiel frowned when Dean didn't move, and began to get curious when Dean gasped softly. He couldn't help but turn round to see what was wrong. What he did see almost broke his heart. Dean looked more vulnerable than he'd ever seen him. His features had softened and he looked like a lost puppy. He stopped playing and looked up at the other boy. "Dean?" he asked softly, tilting his head and trying to catch the other's eyes. He wondered what he was thinking about, what it was that had made him pause in his approach.

Dean snapped out of his reverie when he realised Cas was looking back at him. When Cas stopped playing and said his name, Dean immediately tried to school his expression into one of neutrality. He blinked his tears back rapidly and mentally shook himself. "Uh, hey, Cas," he said a little shakily, looking away and holding the sketchbook in front of him like a shield. "I think this is yours," he offered weakly, taking a quick step forward to hand the sketchbook to Cas.

Castiel looked at the offered sketchbook, he put the guitar on the floor and stood. He took the sketchbook but leant forward a little, inspecting Dean's face. "Dean, are you okay?" he asked gently. He looked really upset. Was it because of what Castiel had said? He'd been avoiding Dean, maybe that genuinely upset him. He was just trying to help out after all. He hugged the sketchbook to his chest, hoping it would protect his heart from breaking. The Dean he had just got a glimpse of was one that he was pretty sure Dean kept hidden away. He'd only startled when Cas started playing… something about that song. It reminded him of something maybe? Castiel added it to his mental list of songs not to play when Dean was around. He was pretty sure he never wanted to see that expression again.

Dean bit his lip and nodded quickly, not looking at Cas. "Yeah, yeah. Sorry, just… Yeah I'm fine," he lied, forcing a smile as he looked into Castiel's eyes. He was staring at him, and it was actually pretty unnerving. Dean felt like Cas could see through the lie and it made him want to run away. He didn't like sharing that particular memory with people. It was very special to him, and even though his mom wasn't alive anymore he still kept it a secret between them, just like they had when he was little. Dean felt vulnerable and exposed standing in front f Cas like this.

Cas could see Dean shift uncomfortably under his gaze so he took a step back and nodded, "Okay." He still didn't think that Dean was okay but if he didn't want to talk about it, that was his business. He didn't want to upset Dean further. He sat back down and quickly placed his sketchbook back in his bag. Cas was thankful that Dean hadn't said anything, now he could pretend like Dean didn't know he'd drawn a very detailed picture of his face. He turned his back and picked up the guitar, continuing to strum a made up tune. He wasn't sure whether he should ask Dean to stay. He wanted to but he was afraid of being beaten up again so he left the choice to Dean.

Dean was surprised when Cas didn't ask to be left alone. He didn't seem to mind that Dean was there, so he awkwardly walked over and sat down across from him on the grass. Desperate to change the subject and get his mom out of his head for now, he asked the first thing that came to his mind. "So, you've never taken lessons or anything?" He still couldn't believe Cas was so good without ever having been taught.

"I can't even afford a guitar," Cas chuckled looking down at the strings, hiding his face with his hood and hair. "I just taught myself," he added. He wanted to add that it was surprising what you could achieve when you were a loser with no friends, but resisted the temptation. He didn't want to cause more trouble. He began playing again; singing along to a new tune which he hoped would pick up Dean's spirits a bit.

Dean narrowed his eyes thoughtfully when Cas started the new song. It sounded familiar, more upbeat, but he couldn't place it. "What song is that?" he murmured between two verses, not wanting to interrupt too harshly. "It's beautiful… I think I've heard it before but I can't remember." Cas was still delicately picking the strings and Dean watched, amazed.

Castiel was thrown when Dean spoke. He got so enthralled with his music that he forgot his surroundings. "It's Uprising by Muse," he answered, keeping his head down. "Just gives me a bit of a challenge working with a classic guitar," he added, plucking the strings and getting back into the beat. 'They will not control us. We will be victorious,' he began singing again, feeling more confident in Dean's presence. He was grinning as he bobbed his head along to the beat. He loved music. It was his pride and joy.

Dean watched in amazement as a full-on grin split Castiel's face, his eyes lighting up in a way Dean had never seen before. It was stunning to watch. Castiel's entire being changed into something else when he was playing the guitar and singing, and Dean could hardly believe it was the same person. Dean smiled in return and started humming along. He picked up the words quickly and added in some background harmonies to support Castiel's voice, but not overshadow him. Castiel's voice was surprisingly strong and clear, with a bit of a rough, gravelly edge to it that gave Dean chills. It was pure, undiscovered talent.