'I want to spend time with you, and by time, I mean real time. Not your dick in my mouth time.'
The message just sat there, fully typed out, number keyed in and all, but unsent. And just when Dean forgot about it, he picked up his phone, unlocked it to check for new messages, and remembered all over again. He dropped the mobile with a sigh of frustration.
He felt like such a fucking girl. Never in his life had he before considered that he might fall into such a situation; he always thought he'd find someone he liked, ask them out, and settle down to a nice apple-pie life like Sam already had. But having casual sex with someone, and then falling hard for said someone? That was not on his list. So of course that was what had happened to him. Of course.
It had been, oh, a year and a half since Gabriel had been hired as a journalist for the local newspaper. As it was a small paper, issued only in a cluster of towns, there were only ever four or five journalists at a time, and the new guy had been a big deal. On the first day of Gabriel's employment, his fellow writers took him out for a drink and a good time. It had been from that very day that Dean found himself making out with Gabriel in the bathroom, drunkenly fumbling with their clothes as he tried to get off.
In the morning he woke up feeling glad to be in his own room, but rather mixed about the person in bed with him. This changed quickly, however, once Gabriel opened his eyes and started moaning about his headache, and Dean decided he wouldn't mind so much if it became a thing.
Right now, Dean was hating himself intensely. He glanced at the message one more time, and threw an arm over his eyes with a groan. He couldn't believe how desperate he had become over the idiot. Sometimes he would wake up before Gabriel did, and would be unable to stop himself from leaning forward to kiss his cheek affectionately like they were a couple or something, things like that; it was so stupid.
Dean looked back down at his phone and resolved to forget about it. They did spend time, after all. They always had lunch break together, and went to the cinema whenever a good action movie was playing, and sometimes they watched Disney's Enchanted because it was their favourite movie to laugh at (although Dean suspected Gabriel, like him, secretly liked it – it did have Patrick Dempsey in it after all). He touched the message space to select the text and delete it.
He accidentally pressed 'Send'.
Right. Right. Dean threw down the phone and stormed off. He needed a long, hot bath.
But before he could take more than two steps to the bathroom, his phone beeped with a message alert. Heart thumping loudly in his throat, he turned around, and very slowly approached it, like a bomb that would go off at the slightest disturbance. He picked it up nearly gingerly and unlocked it.
'Gabriel: Okay. When and where? Can we just go to your place and make a blanket fort? I always wanted to do that.'
Another message came just as Dean's (slightly trembling) finger moved to reply.
'Gabriel: But I digress. My dick in your mouth time is quality time too.'
Dean answered, 'Sure. Come over now.' He couldn't think of a thing to say about the second message, so he left it at that.
When he was in the bathroom, he nearly purposely hit his head on the sink for telling Gabriel to come now.
Within ten minutes, Gabriel had arrived in a white dress shirt and jeans, flushed and excited. 'Blanket fort!' he said happily as he bounced in.
'I don't even have that many blankets,' Dean said, nervously.
'You have more than me though,' Gabriel said, and raced off to the bedroom. Dean trailed after him, wondering what, exactly, was happening to him right now.
They dragged the covers out to the living room, then Gabriel ransacked Dean's closet and the guestroom for their covers, too.
'We can make like an igloo, or a tent,' Gabriel explained, setting up pillows and cushions from the couch. 'A little tunnel opening into a bigger space. We can cuddle there.'
'What?' Dean said before he could stop himself, his heart jumping into his mouth.
'I said,' Gabriel said calmly without looking at him, 'We'll make a tunnel opening into a bigger space and cuddle there, if you want.'
'Oh. Sure.' Dean was seriously beginning to wonder if he'd missed something. Since when was it okay for them to say they wanted to cuddle? He was on edge for a while even as he helped Gabriel, but the feeling dissipated the longer he watched Gabriel. He looked like he was enjoying himself so immensely, and it was contagious; Dean soon found himself grinning widely too.
'Have you never built a blanket before?' Dean laughed as they tugged a sheet over their pillow-structure.
'I did once, at a friend's place,' Gabriel answered, 'and I liked it a lot. But my mum would never let us do that at home. She was a bit of a neat-freak.'
It was rare for Gabriel to talk about his past, and it gratified Dean to hear it now. 'Sammy used to love blanket forts,' he said. 'Once he made one that covered the entire living room, and he was so proud of it he wouldn't let Dad knock it down for days. He even slept in it and everything.'
'I'm guessing ours doesn't have anything on that one then,' Gabriel chuckled. 'Except that it belongs to me instead of Sam.'
'Excuse me? Whose house are we in?'
'What difference does it make?' Gabriel said, rolling his eyes. 'Yours, mine, ours ...'
Did Gabriel always talk like they were explicitly together and Dean was only realising it now, or was it because Dean had asked for it?
'I don't think it looks stable,' Dean remarked, pushing the pillows closer together with his foot.
'Of course it's going to fall over if you do that!' Gabriel said indignantly, kicking Dean's foot away. 'I bet it's fine. Let's go in!' And he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled inside. Dean hesitated for a second, then followed suit.
The blanket fort was dim and much warmer than it was outside. Dean bumped his shoulder against a pillow as he crawled through, and held his breath as he watched it sway. When it eventually settled down again, he crawled the rest of the way much more carefully.
'You nearly knocked something over just now, didn't you?' Gabriel said reproachfully.
'It didn't come down though!' Dean protested.
'It almost did. Don't do that again.' Gabriel pulled his legs to his chest and looked inquiringly at Dean. It really was rather cramped, as they had run out of pillows; as such, it was hardly fit for three children to stretch their legs in, let alone for two grown men to lie down.
'It's not big enough for the both of us to be here,' Dean said pointedly.
Gabriel frowned. 'We're going to cuddle, not stare at each other morosely. That'll save space.'
'We're going to knock things down in the process no matter how you look at it,' Dean said, trying to ignore how his heart rate was spiking again.
'You underestimate my intelligence,' Gabriel said with a smirk that Dean only saw when Gabriel had pushed him on his back and splayed himself over him. Dean landed on his elbows, looking up into Gabriel's handsome face. 'I can make arrangements.'
'This isn't a good position to cuddle in,' Dean said stupidly.
'Now you're really just insulting my intelligence,' Gabriel said, and bent down to press a kiss to Dean's mouth. Dean hardly had time to cherish it before Gabriel was pulling away and dropping to his side on the floor. His foot hit a pillow, and they both watched it wobble with apprehension.
'That was totally your fault,' Dean said and Gabriel laughed.
'Hang on a second,' Gabriel said, then made his way past Dean and out of the fort. Dean waited while thinking about cuddling with Gabriel. He had no idea what to expect, but cuddling was cuddling. What did he think he had been asking for when he had talked about 'real time' anyway?
Dean heard an alarming scraping sound like something being grated along the floor, and yelled, 'You better not damage the carpet!'
The sound stopped and Gabriel reappeared several seconds later. 'The carpet's fine,' he said. 'It's too expensive to get ruined by a bit of furniture. How'd you even afford that kind of carpet?'
'Jessica got it as a present and didn't have anywhere to put it,' Dean shrugged. 'What did you do just now?'
'Put the sofa against that pillow over there so you can lean on it,' and Gabriel nudged Dean in the direction of said pillow. Dean was nonplussed, but went over nonetheless. 'And now I can do this,' Gabriel said, coming to sit with his back against Dean's chest. Dean froze. 'So nothing's in danger of falling over.'
'Okay,' Dean said in a small voice he could have slapped himself for.
'Are you?' Gabriel asked, gently taking Dean's hands and arranging them loosely on his lap.
'Yeah.' Dean swallowed. 'Of course.' Taking the hint, he wrapped his arms around Gabriel's middle, and Gabriel happily snuggled up to him.
'This is what you wanted, right?' Gabriel said, and there was just a hint of anxiety in it.
'It wasn't what I had in mind,' Dean mumbled, 'but it's fine.'
'What did you have in mind?'
'I don't know,' Dean said embarrassedly, glad Gabriel couldn't see his face.
'C'mon Dean, when you said you wanted us to spend some "real time", I thought it meant that you wanted us to act like a couple for once,' Gabriel said, and Dean imagined he was quite glad that Dean couldn't see his face either. 'Are you only telling me I'm wrong now?'
'What? No!' Dean unconsciously tightened his grip on Gabriel. 'You're right. I mean, I – I just –'
'I don't think you even meant to send that in the first place anyway.'
'Hey,' Dean said sharply, digging his fingers into Gabriel's side. Gabriel flinched away with a hiss of pain. 'Maybe I didn't, but I did it and I'm not taking it back, okay?'
'Okay,' Gabriel said, and maybe he believed Dean, because he turned his head and nuzzled Dean's arm. 'I suck at romance though.'
'Didn't ask for romance,' Dean snorted. As a matter of fact, he thought that the fort-building had been pretty romantic. 'I just want to spend time with you.'
'Right.' Gabriel brightened up. 'Next time, I'll rent a movie neither of us has seen before and we'll watch it on mute so we can make our own dialogue.'
Dean burst into laughter. He pressed an affectionate kiss to the back of Gabriel's neck. 'What was that about not being good at romance?'
'You call that romantic?' Gabriel said. He pulled himself away from Dean, turned around, and put his arms around Dean's neck instead. 'You have a very loose definition of "romantic", my friend.' Without waiting for Dean's reply, Gabriel kissed him; a proper kiss this time, with tongues and roaming hands.
Twenty seconds later, the entire fort fell down on them.