Hello, ladies and gentlemen! I present to you the Destiel '50s AU I've been working on.
This was inspired by some art done by kat-chup on tumblr. I've been researching obsessively (I have playlists and playlists of '50s music and endless slang dictionaries everywhere; it's a problem) and I hope it's paid off.
I'm still working on it, though; I've got a nice long plot outline and I'm excited.
The '50s had some pretty unintelligible slang, so to help you out, I've placed a little dictionary at the end of each chapter with translations of the words y'all might not understand.
PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT making fun of people with stutters with my Cas. At all. It is not my aim to be offensive. It's a plot device. If it hurts your feelings, I am truly, truly sorry. That was not my intention.
Apologies that the first chapter is slow. This whole story will be pretty slow on the Destiel (the '50s were pretty homophobic, after all).
But I hope you enjoy it, and please review and let me know what you thought!
Lawrence, Kansas, 1959
"Have a nice day, now!" Dean calls after the retreating figure of Sam, Midwestern drawl more evident in his voice than ever.
Sam just rolls his eyes and slumps into the school with a dejected expression. "As if."
Dean smiles that melancholy smile of his before glancing at the clock—upon seeing the time, he yelps and his car roars to life under him. He jets down the street and reaches the garage in record time—but still half an hour late.
A block away, a nearly identical scene is unfolding.
Except it isn't identical at all.
"You understand that I am only driving you to school this once so you know the way," Emmanuel Milton is saying.
Castiel Milton's, his youngest son's, eyes are downcast and he clutches his school bag with white-knuckled hands. "Y-yes, F-father."
"I expect you home at three-forty-five sharp."
"Be sure to get good grades. Sit with the Hamiltons at lunch—very influential family."
Castiel nods. "I'll t-t-try, F-father."
"And work on that stutter of yours, hey?" Emmanuel laughs to show this is supposed to be a joke and claps his son on the back, making his narrow body shake.
Castiel doesn't think it's funny but gives a weak smile. "Alr-right, Father."
"Now go get 'em." Emmanuel all but shoves Castiel out of the car and, without any kind of goodbye, drives away.
Castiel watches him go with huge, miserable eyes, slings his bag onto his shoulder, and joins the multitude of laughing students flooding into the school.
Once he's in, he glances around and a tiny quirk of a smile tugs up at the corner of his usually frowning mouth. Maybe this won't be so bad, he thinks, and then a burly boy in a massive letterman jacket shoves him roughly into a row of lockers.
Castiel coughs feebly and waits until he's gone to gather his fallen books back up and smooth the creases from his cardigan.
He trudges to his first-period class, keeping his head down so as not to attract any more unwanted attention.
His Algebra teacher is a small, frail, bespectacled woman clad in tweed. Half the students are already there when he walks in, laughing, gossiping, swooning over some new song, or just staring happily at each other.
Castiel is terrified by them.
He cautiously approaches the teacher and clears his throat politely. She looks up at him with already-tired eyes. "And who are you?" she asks, voice laced with false interest and a drawl.
Castiel swallows. "I'm ne-new. Ca-ca-castiel M-milton. I'm-m a jun-junior." His heart pounds in his chest and he curses his fickle tongue for betraying him.
She must think that he stutters from nerves—oh, if only—and her eyes soften into a pitying smile. "Oh, darling," she clucks, holding out a pudgy hand for the shaking. "I'm Ms. Winthrop. The bell's about to ring—why don't you introduce yourself to the class?"
Castiel's eyes widen in panic, but before he can formulate a cohesive "No," the bell rings and the last few students dash into the room.
"Class," Ms. Winthrop snaps. "Settle down, now. Go on, honey," she adds, giving Castiel a nudge.
Castiel closes his eyes momentarily, takes a breath, and tries. "I'm C-cas-castiel Mil-milton. I-I'm new."
He can feel his face burning bright red as whispers sweep through the room and all he wants is to die.
"Cast-yee-yail is a junior," Ms. Winthrop chimes in, and Castiel is too mortified to even correct her complete mispronunciation.
"Naw, he's a professional space cadet," a voice snickers from the middle of the room, and Castiel's jaw clenches tight as he continues to stare at the ground. "Just look at 'im!"
"Or listen to him," snidely comments another, and Castiel just nods mutely, face still searing with shame. "What a yo-yo."
"That's enough," the teacher tuts, giving Castiel a gentle pat on the shoulder. "Go sit in back by Sam and Sandy."
Castiel raises his head just enough to see where he's going and trudges over to his seat, too intimidated to make eye contact with any of the pigtailed girls who smile brilliantly at him.
"Sam is actually new, too!" Ms. Winthrop continues cheerfully. "Would you introduce yourself, Sam?"
Castiel finally sits down. Sandy giggles and smiles a dimpled smile at him.
Sam sighs, slumping lower in his seat and hiding behind his mop of hair. He is the only one in the room (aside from Castiel) who doesn't seem to fit in—all the other boys are clean-cut like Castiel with neatly parted hair, tucked-in shirts, and fancy shoes. Sam's hair is a mess, and he's wearing ragged blue jeans and beat-up sneakers. When he finally says, "'m Sam Winchester. I'm a sophomore. I'm not new," whispers of a different sort echo around him.
Castiel hears the words "greaser," "hood," and "Dean."
Sam takes all this, too, but his eyes have an edge to them that show he's more than used to it.
Castiel marvels at the level of distinction between the social classes here. Back in Boston, everyone had been utterly identical in their differences. But here…
He's heard of greasers and hoods, of course. Michael and Lucifer, the Miltons' twin glories, the eldest sons, constantly reminded him of the importance of not going into bad neighborhoods or never making friends with the rough underprivileged kids.
Castiel has never understood why, but has always accepted it anyway.
But Sam—floppy-haired Sam with scared, hardened eyes and a big red "A+" scrawled on his graded pop quiz—seems nice. Normal. Just because he doesn't have a neat haircut and has holes in his too-big shoes and a worn-out hand-me-down backpack doesn't mean he slits throats in back alleys the way Mike and Luc claim greasers do.
The rest of the class goes by uneventfully, though a couple of the boys sitting up front try to catch Castiel's attention by faking obnoxious stutters.
Castiel decides he hates Kansas.
The class ends, and neither Castiel nor Sam can get out of there fast enough. They exchange shy, insincere smiles as they part ways to go to second period.
The next three classes are exactly the same for Castiel, if not worse (Danielle Hamilton is in his History class, but didn't even look at him). In the back corners of the rooms in some of his classes, Castiel spots small groups of greaser girls—they wear too much makeup and hiss out curses under their breaths. They eye Castiel with interest and he feels very much like a sheep in front of wolves.
By lunch, Castiel is very seriously considering calling his father's office and telling him he's sick so he has to go home.
But he knows he's not brave enough and that he'd never be able to get the words out anyway.
So he sits along at a small corner table in the packed cafeteria, munching morosely on the lunch his mother packed him, when—
"You mind if I sit here?"
Castiel's eyes snap up, startled. It's Sam Winchester, and he looks just as sheepish as Castiel himself probably does. Not trusting himself to be able to say "No, go ahead" properly, Castiel just shakes his head and waits.
Sam's smile is grateful as he slides in across from Castiel. "Where are you from?"
Oh, golly. Small talk with a greaser.
"Bos-boston," Castiel tells him, hating the uncertainty of his tone.
Sam's eyes light up. "The East Coast!" he says reverently. "Gosh. I've never even been outside of Lawrence. But my big brother Dean has driven all across the country. Or so he says."
Castiel can't conceal his small smile as he listen to Sam extol his brother. It's endearing, and Castiel half-wishes he could talk about his siblings like that.
"Don't you have a sister?" Sam asks suddenly, and Castiel realises he'll actually have to talk now.
He nods. "S-she's a f-f-freshman. Anna."
"I think I've seen her around."
"Either th-that, or y-you've been listening to rum-rumours."
Sam smiles wryly. "Don't have anyone to hear rumours from."
"Not your b-brother?" Castiel asks, still having no idea how old this Dean character is.
Sam shakes his head. "Dean only knows the people he knows. And he hasn't gone to school in—well, a while." Sam chews nervously at his lips, and Castiel can tell this is a sore subject. He's about to change it when he feels a slight tap on his shoulder. He looks up, and it's Sandy at the head of a group of girls in pastel-coloured dresses.
Sandy giggles. "Howdy, doody," she says cutely and dimples at him. "We were just a-wonderin' if you'd like to have lunch with us!" The 'instead of him' hangs unsaid.
Castiel glances at Sam; his eyes are firmly pointed at his feet and it looks like he's already resigned himself for what he thinks is coming. "B-but I'm-m-m-alr-ready having l-lunch with Sam," Castiel says seriously, and is immensely confused when some of the girls coo at him, clutch at each other, and giggle. "Th-thank you for the off-off-offer, though."
Sam's head jerks up and he smiles a small, confused smile at Castiel as the girls shuffle away in disappointment, casting adoring looks over their shoulders at Castiel.
"You clanked the queens of the school for lunch with a greaser?" Sam asks, and there's a quietly suppressed laugh in his voice. "That's pulling the Dutch act socially, y'know."
Castiel only has vague ideas about what all of Sam's phrases mean—he assumes unintelligible slang is a greaser thing—but goes along with it anyway. "I don't m-mind."
For the rest of lunch, Sam fills Castiel in on the ridiculous social norms of Lawrence High School. There is bitterness in his voice when he speaks of a group called the "Socs"—and Castiel senses instinctively that the Miltons belong to that group. And the Hamiltons. And Sandy and her friends. And everyone in school except Sam and the girls who sit in corners.
Sam really seems to idolise Dean, but based on his description, Castiel can't understand why for the life of him.
Lunch ends and it turns out Castiel and Sam are in the same English class. They go together—repeat the scene of Castiel making a complete idiot of himself in front of the other students—and Castiel is too busy being happy that he made a friend to notice the boys' dirty looks as girls flirt desperately at him.
The rest of the day drags on by, and by the time three-thirty rolls around, Castiel is about ready to die from exhaustion. He stumbles out of school just in time to see Sam eagerly leap into a massive black car that looks like it takes up half the street. It's playing what Castiel thinks might be an Elvis Presley song as loud as it can, and Castiel catches a glimpse of a wavy-haired, smiling silhouette—Dean—in the driver's seat before the car roars away.
He longs for a car to ride home in, but knows that'll never happen. So he sighs forlornly and begins his trek home.
"So how was school, Sammy?" Dean Winchester, greaser, mechanic, renegade, and role model, asks.
"I think I'm going to learn a lot this year!" Sam enthuses, having to yell over the music. "But the people don't seem to like me."
Dean cheerfully proceeds to call the students of Lawrence High every name he can think of. Sam just grins at him—he loves it when his brother is like this. Gloriously sober, smelling of motor oil and cigarette smoke from a long day at the garage, and standing up for his baby brother's honour. Because no matter how bad Dean's reputation gets, he will always be this at his core.
Dean lights up a cigarette and turns the music down. "Didja ever talk to that girl—oh, what was her name—Jess?"
The reaction he gets from Sam—ears burning red, hiding behind his own hair—is endlessly gratifying.
"No," Sam mumbles. "Of course not."
Dean snickers. "Such a coward." He reaches out and ruffles Sam's hair.
"Not a—Deeeean," Sam whines, batting him away. "You know I can't talk to her. She'd spit in my face."
Dean knows this is true—Jess comes from one of the classiest families in town and is currently going steady with a guy named Brady. Dean has met him and, as a result, advises Sam to stay away from them all.
"Oh, well," Dean says easily. "Make any friends?"
"One. I think. He's kinda a spaz, so it's hard to tell."
"Well, congrats," Dean drawls. "You are now not completely alone in the world."
"I had you," Sam objects. "And all your friends."
Dean wrinkles his nose. "Aw, but I don't count. And those actors I hang around with don't care much about anyone, least of all me."
They arrive at their house and Sam gets out of the car first. He runs up the steps and swings open the screen door, hollering, "We're ho-ome!"
Dean follows him and can faintly hear their father mumble "Great, now one of y'all can get me a drink." His words are slurred, and Dean calculates in his head that he's been drinking since before noon. Dean's jaw clenches and he gives Sam a shove toward the kitchen to get John a drink.
"Didja get any homework?" Dean asks.
Sam beams and shakes his head. "Nah, not yet. The wardens are too nice this year. Except for that Mizz Archer. She's a real moldy."
"She can't be too bad if she didn't give you any homework."
Sam shrugs, taking two beer bottles from the beat-up Frigidaire. He tosses one to Dean, who gratefully catches it in mid-air, and begins to take the other into their father's room. "She threatened to."
Dean hears John grumble, "And turn the TV set on" and Sam reply in exhausted, patient tones, "We don't have one, Dad." When Sam returns to the front room, he looks so dejected that Dean, pitying him, extends out his beer. Sam smiles, grabs it, and takes a swig. He tries to hand it back, but Dean just smiles and lights up another cigarette.
"Keep it," he says through the smoke curling from between his lips. "Celebration for first day of school."
"Thanks," Sam says and settles in the armchair across from Dean. Dean kicks his feet up onto the arm of Sam's chair and relaxes.
"So—" Dean takes a long drag and then just leaves the cigarette there, dangling loosely from the corner of his mouth, clamped between his teeth—"tell me 'bout this new scooch of yours."
Sam blinks. "Um, well, he's a junior. And he's new."
Dean puffs out an impatient wisp of smoke. "What's his name?"
"He has a bad stutter, so I'm not sure."
Dean just raises his eyebrows.
"Sounded like Cast-yell, though. Last name of Milton."
"Milton," Dean repeats pensively, closing his eyes as he sucks at the cigarette. "Think I've heard the name. What's he like?"
Sam shrugs again. "Quiet. Real quiet. But that's probably 'cause he's shy about his stutter. And his eyes are crazy blue. But he seems like a real bright kid. Even though he was terrified of everyone."
Dean hums contemplatively. "Sounds like a swell guy. 'S he a Soc?"
Sam drops his eyes. "Looks like one." His voice acquires a childish tone. "But he's really nice, Dean, I promise—"
Dean just chuckles and blows some smoke at him. "Nah, Sammy, I don't mind. Just wantcha to be happy."
They smile at each other and continue to smoke and drink.
"You're late," snaps a voice the second a panting Castiel stumbles into his home.
"I kn-know," he says, swallowing and trying to even his breathing.
It's his oldest brother, Michael. Born a full seven minutes before Lucifer and proud of it. "Why are you late?" he demands.
Castiel looks at a clock. It is three-fifty; five minutes after he said he'd be home. "I—I'm s-s-sorry—"
"Forget it." Michael busies himself with reading the newspaper again, evidently not in the mood for Castiel's faltering excuses.
Castiel sighs. Out of all his siblings, Michael and Lucifer are certainly the most sensible, but also the meanest. However, Lucifer knows exactly what to say or do to hurt you because he can read people well and knows what'll torment them, and Michael is more likely to hurt you with his selfishness and utter apathy. And Castiel knows better than to try to talk to Michael now, so he slinks to his room and hides there until dinner, staring miserably at the ceiling.
He can hear Anna in the other room, chattering excitedly on the phone, and he remembers Sam's descriptions of Dean and how close they are. He will never be that close with his siblings, he thinks. Ever.
Nor does he want to.
At dinner, his mother tries to make small talk with her children. "How was your first day of school?"
"It was a blast!" Anna enthuses, mouth full, and is instantly chastised by the twins for her bad table manners.
Everyone looks at Castiel expectantly after Gabriel agrees with his sister, and he all but cowers. "F-fine," he mumbles, staring at his plate.
"Did you make any friends?"
"Lots," Anna says dreamily, and Castiel thinks of floppy-haired Sam and the way he talks and his worn shoes and tired eyes.
"No," Castiel says, voice so low his family will never be able to detect the lie.
After a pitying look or two, his family has forgotten their youngest son and moved on to discuss other things of actual importance.
"Father, did you ever get that report filed—"
Castiel pokes at his food miserably and continues to want to die.
Space cadet: someone who's old-fashioned, weird, doesn't fit in
Yo-yo: a nerd
Howdy, doody: hello
Queens: most popular girls
Pulling the Dutch act: committing suicide
Spaz: weird person
Moldy: bad teacher