A/N: This fic is in progress and will be completed. I do not own any of the characters, nor do I own any rights to Supernatural. The title is from the fifth season of the show.
Thank you to my wonderful beta, without her I couldn't, and wouldn't, have gotten past the first chapter.
While looking up books on Middle English morality plays, Castiel is also on the phone trying to reassure his over-bearing mother that, yes, he's doing okay, and no, he hasn't had any more nightmares. He's in plain view of the librarian, who is giving him a look that suggests he's pushing his luck. Above him is a sign that says 'Strictly no cell phones.'
"Mom, I really have to go," Castiel breathes down the phone, trying to juggle Introducing Morality Plays and The Morality Play in Context into the crook of his arm. He shoots the librarian an apologetic look. "I'll speak to you tomorrow. I love you too, bye."
Castiel jams his phone back into his pocket and carries the books over to the self-service machine. He hates this machine, but there's a new policy and students now have to use it if they're checking out less than five books. He punches in his ID number and password and sits his books on top of the scanner. Coming to Kansas U was the best decision of his life, but in all honesty he'd imagined lots of hardback books, lots of original manuscripts, and lots of caramel cappuccinos. He gets the caramel cappuccinos, but most of the hardback books turned out to be online journals, and the original manuscripts redirected to Google Books.
The machine beeps at him; it doesn't recognise his ID number. Castiel stares at it for a moment, frustration darkening his deep blue eyes.
"Just bring them over here." Susan, the librarian, calls from behind her desk.
Castiel picks up his books and takes them to the main desk, relishing the quality of human contact. Susan has the books scanned and booked in less than thirty seconds. She doesn't even need his ID number.
"You doing okay?" She asks. Castiel has known her for two years now, and she's pretty much his favourite person in the university. She's old, around sixty, and she has big glasses and curly grey hair. He offers her a tiny smile, appreciative of her concern.
"Yes, thank you. I have an assignment due at the end of the week that I haven't started yet, but apart from that everything is okay."
"That's not like you," Susan smiles, and she's right. Castiel never leaves assignments until the last week, but this year seems to hold a lot more distractions for him than the last. Mainly Dean Winchester; those green eyes that seem to give off their own light, the scattering of freckles, and the smile that suggests mischief and all kinds of fun have become more of a distraction than Castiel likes to admit.
"I guess I'm just taking a while to get back into the swing of things." Castiel lies. "Thank you for rescuing me from that dreaded machine." Another smile, this one warmer, flashes at her.
"No problem. See you soon, Castiel." Susan smiles as Castiel takes his books and leaves the library. Originally he'd planned to stay and go through his books, but thinking about his assignment makes him think about procrastination which makes him think about caramel cappuccinos. And Castiel really does love caramel cappuccinos.
The Coffee Shop is Castiel's favourite place in the world. It has a pretty generic name, but it's just outside of campus and it's around the corner from Starbucks, so it's always fairly empty. They have nice brown leather sofas and oak tables and art on the wall that wasn't printed from a computer. Plus they have Dean Winchester working there, which is Castiel's favourite part. So he goes back to his apartment, dumps his books down on his already over-crowded desk, and grabs his laptop on his way out.
It's winter, so everyone is wrapped up in scarves and gloves and the flu. The streets are cold and wet and as usual it's raining slightly, the kind of rain that makes Castiel's hair annoyingly fluffy.
When he arrives at The Coffee Shop, no one else is there. Not even Dean Winchester. Castiel closes the glass door behind him and waits at the counter, pulling his scarf from around his neck. He glances at the menu as if he doesn't order the same thing every time he comes here. It's not that he doesn't like the coffee, it's better than Starbucks, at least. But what he likes most is the way Dean smiles at him, like Dean can really see him. He knows he's being ridiculous, but he can't tell whether it's the coffee or Dean's eyes that warm him when he comes here.
Castiel hears giggling when he removes his coat. He glances curiously around the shop to find the source but no one else is there. The 'Staff Only' door swings open, and a girl with long dark blonde hair and brown eyes smiles at him. She must be new. She's really pretty, and she's probably a nice person, but Dean is standing behind her with his freckles and his bright green eyes and his soft hands, and they're laughing together and apparently they have an inside joke. Castiel immediately hates her.
"Hey, Cas." Dean grins and cocks his head to one side in the way that makes Castiel's stomach turn. His eyelashes are extra-long today, and the cold weather has turned his skin to porcelain. Castiel tires not stare.
"Hi." Castiel manages, but the enthusiasm is lost on him. He doesn't order anything, but goes to the back of the shop and opens his laptop. He tries not to feel crushed. But Castiel has never liked anyone before, at least not as much as he likes Dean Winchester. And he knows that Dean is probably straight and probably has a girlfriend and probably never thinks about Castiel other than when he's at work, but sometimes they have these moments where Dean leans over the counter and he's really close to Castiel's face and they smile at each other and Dean writes 'Cas' with a smiley face on Castiel's cup. Sometimes Dean comes and sits with him and tells him about how much he still hates his baseball team – which he's thinking of quitting – and how much work he has to do to become a Physical Education teacher, and how well his brother is doing in college. And Castiel listens, and he takes in every word and he forms this idea in his head of exactly what Dean's life is like. So yeah, he feels a little crushed, because today Dean doesn't join him at his table, and he doesn't even start preparing his caramel cappuccino, instead he laughs at the blonde girl and asks her what bars she goes to and if she has a boyfriend.
Castiel stares at the keys on his laptop and tries to work out at which point he actually fooled himself into believing he had a chance with Dean. Of course Dean is flirting with the new girl, she's pretty and tall and she has clear skin. Dean plays for the Kansas U baseball team; he's manly in all the ways Castiel can never dream of being, and Castiel is an idiot for thinking Dean could ever be interested in the skinny, awkward kid who drinks too much coffee-
"Caramel cappuccino?" Castiel looks up and see's the new girl standing next to him with a paper cup in her hand that does not say 'Cas' on it with a smiley face. Castiel look over at the counter and momentarily catches Dean's eye, but then Dean turns away and Castiel looks down at the table. He tries not to linger on the fact that Dean looked upset.
"Thanks." He takes the cup from the blonde girl and does his best not to throw it at her as she walks away.
"He comes here a lot." Dean says when Castiel puts his headphones in but doesn't plug them into anything. "His name is Cas."
"So you're going to come out with me and Jasmine tomorrow?" The new girl interrupts, blatantly not interested in this 'Cas' guy. She pushes her chest forward a little and runs her tongue across her upper lip in what she obviously thinks is a subtle manner.
"Who's Jasmine?" Dean answers idly, glancing over at Castiel who looks away just in time.
"I told you earlier, my roommate." She answers playfully. Dean doesn't reply for a few seconds, and Castiel prays that maybe Dean isn't interested.
"Yeah, sounds good, I'm sure I could take a night off to take you out for a friendly drink." Dean grins at her, looking down into her eyes while she squirms with excitement. Castiel closes his laptop which he hasn't even turned on yet and leaves. Dean probably doesn't even notice.
As he's walking back to his apartment, Castiel thinks about how much he does not want to be in this situation anymore. He does not want to like Dean Winchester anymore, because it seems to be having a bad effect on him. He's not doing his assignments on time; he's spending money he doesn't have in a coffee shop that is a little bit too far away; he's thinking about sex and not about the history of English literature. He's feeling all of these things that he doesn't want to feel, because Dean Winchester is perfect. He plays baseball and he's majoring in Health and Physical Teacher Education, and he works in a coffee shop and he makes caramel cappuccinos that could make an angel weep. He has a little brother who he dotes on and talks to on the phone once a week. He lives two blocks away from Castiel in Oby Village, and he goes for a jog every morning before his lectures. He's an atheist and a democrat and a social activist, he believes in equality and fair pay. Dean Winchester is perfect, and Castiel is screwed. And he's also left his coffee.