This became ritual. Slowly, but surely, it was a known fact that Castiel would come and swim his laps at the end of the day, by 6:30, he and Dean would be the only two left in the pool. During that time, Dean would put on some old rock music and show Cas some tricks to jumping off the diving boards. The highest Cas would go was the medium board, but he was definitely more confident. Both boys felt more at ease here than anywhere else in their current lives, though neither of them had told the other.

Actually, Castiel didn't know much about Dean- or Dean about Cas. But that didn't get in the way of their unspoken-yet-semi-official diving lessons slash hanging out time. Both of them were maybe starting to realize that having another person around might not be a bad thing.

Cas came to the pool to be alone, actually. Dean didn't know this, but he would soon. Three and a half weeks into their unspoken friendship, Castiel didn't show up to the pool. Twice.

For three and a half weeks, Cas was there every day, stayed late every day, laughed and sang and jumped off of diving boards every day, said "see you tomorrow" instead of 'goodbye'. Every day.

And then he didn't show. Dean didn't let himself worry; they had never exchanged numbers or anything, something probably just came up, he would ask Cas about it the next day.

And when he didn't show up the next day, Dean thought, maybe tomorrow, and tried not to worry.


On the third day, Castiel walked into the pool area while Dean was sitting on the stand, claimed his lane and dove off the wall without even glancing his friend.

This was the first day that Dean pulled the backboard off the wall, and instead of putting it away, plopped it into the pool right next to Castiel's lane. Cas was still swimming laps; Dean waited patiently and figured that he had to surface eventually.

When he did, Dean saw plain as day why he hadn't looked at him all day.

Dean didn't know if it was the completely wrecked expression on Castiel's face or the bruise just under his right eye that surprised Dean the most. It was probably a combination of the two. But despite being the intimidating head guard that everyone at the pool, with the exception of Cas, had known him to be- Dean was remarkably good with people.

Clearly, Cas didn't want to talk. So instead of pestering him, Dean gave him a sad smile and patted the backboard, inviting his friend to sit.

Castiel put his elbows onto the board, and laid his head down in his arms while Dean pulled him out to the deep end of the pool with Cas holding onto the other side.

The two of them drifted in the empty pool hanging off of opposite ends of the board in silence for a long time. Cas didn't look up until he started speaking.

Dean learned that Castiel's mother was long dead, and his father had recently gone missing. He was left alone in the house with all of his older brothers and his one sister. He was the baby of the family and was kind of always on his own. Cas told him that his one brother, Raphael, wanted to take custody of the younger kids. There were four younger than Raphael, and two older, but they weren't going to step up. Cas didn't think Raphael was prepared for that job. Apparently there was a lot of screaming before Raphael shut him up with a fist to Castiel's eye.

Cas learned that Dean's life wasn't exactly all hot dates and late nights. Well late nights, but not so much for girls, more like late nights working two jobs to help keep food on the table for him and his little brother while their dad went out.

It was kind of weird actually- Dean and Cas were both kind of inward kids. Dean had plenty of friends, but he kept all of them at arms-length. Dean even kept his little brother, who he basically raised, somewhat in the dark. But here was this guy. Nothing special about him, just a guy who used to be a stranger, another swimmer in the pool. And yet, Dean felt compelled to sit and listen, to share. It felt good and important.

It felt oddly right. Dean didn't believe in fate or destiny for shit. But he did watch a lot of sci-fi TV. He thought, as the two boys drifted in the deep end, that maybe in every timeline, he and Cas were here- still friends. It just felt like it was… inevitable.

Cas, however, believed that everything happened for a reason. So if that meant his brother had to beat the shit out of him for Dean and him to spend time talking and actually getting to know each other- so be it. As the conversation turned lighter, and they started smirking and laughing again, Castiel begins to believe that it was worth it.

The next day, Cas jumped from the high dive.