Author's Note: Where is the newest chapter you ask? Well, finally, I was able to complete it (and like I promised the readers of my other fic "The Absent Father's Club," I vow to update this story faster than I have been). This chapter was really fun to sit down and create, and I hope you guys have just the same experience reading it.
The whole ride to the bar was filled with sideways glances and nervous smiles (most of which came from Dean—not that'd he ever admit that, of course), so when the neon lit sign that read 'Purgatory' came into sight, a small sigh of utter relief slipped past Dean's lips.
It wasn't like he was annoyed or anything that Castiel was currently in the passenger seat with him; he was just nervous. Very, very nervous that could be plainly noticed by Dean's white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. Things were a little intense back there in the forest, and Dean couldn't believe he had almost let it slip that he didn't hold completely heterosexual feelings regarding the quiet Novak boy.
But he just couldn't help it; the way Castiel spoke so negatively about himself—as if he didn't even matter and his existence was just an unfortunate causality the universe was forced to deal with—just set Dean off. Seriously, in Dean's mind, that couldn't be any farther from the truth. He knew it sounded crazy and stupid and downright girly to say, but even though Dean had only known Castiel for a short time, he couldn't imagine life without him and his odd quirks and bizarre vocabulary and horrible fashion sense and those beautiful blue eyes—
Okay, he definitely needed a drink; maybe even several.
"Aren't we too young to enter this facility?" Castiel's sudden voice interrupted Dean's thoughts as he pulled the Impala to a stop and cut the ignition.
Dean rolled his eyes, an exasperated grin spreading out on his face, "Cas, I don't know if you've noticed, but this is Lawrence. Kansas we're talkin' about. Really, the only thing that matters here is the hefty stack of twenty dollar bills in your pocket."
Castiel pursed his lips in silent disapproval, his eyebrows knitting together, "That's very troubling to hear."
Dean shrugged as he opened the car door and got out, the strong wind suddenly hitting him like an overwhelming tsunami, "Works in our favor, so who the hell gives a shit?"
"I don't understand that phrase," Castiel said simply, stepping out of the Impala and shutting the door quietly, "I mean, I've never come across an individual who would actually hand over their feces, much less someone who would actually accept it."
Dean chuckled, going around the Impala and draping an arm around Castiel's shoulder, "Oh man, it's gonna be so much fun to see you drunk."
"That statement is also...troubling." Cas told him, his eyes darting to the Dean's arm around him before snapping back forward as they walk towards the bar's front door, "But I suppose I hold the same sentiment."
Dean snorted and rolled his eyes, "Dude, there's no way I'm not getting smashed. I'm the designated driver," He wiggled the keys in front of him for emphasis before he winked and added, "But that doesn't mean I can't get a little tipsy."
"How does this sound like an acceptable plan in your mind?" Cas asked, cocking an eyebrow. Dean shrugged as he opened the door to the bar and dragged Castiel inside.
The stench of cold beer and stale cigarettes instantly invaded their nostrils as they stepped in, making Castiel crinkle his nose in disgust while Dean just grinned at the familiarity of it.
"Why is it called Purgatory?" Castiel asked him.
Dean grinned as he shrugged and responded, "'Cause this is the place where the damned mingles with the holy."
Castiel furrowed his brow as he swept his gaze around the building before stating plainly, "Strangely insightful for such a den of iniquity."
"Just wait until we get to the brothel." At the sudden terrified look on Castiel's face, Dean burst into laughter and quickly added, "Kidding, kidding! C'mon, Cas, what do you take me for? A merciless bastard?"
"No, I take you for a very intriguing, righteous man that is looking forward to corrupting someone named after an angel." Cas answered seriously without missing a beat before cocking his head at Dean's expression, "I'm sorry, was that a rhetorical question?"
Dean rolled his eyes, though his smile was still firmly in place, "Just pick out an empty booth while I get the drinks." He turned towards the shady bartender and began walking away when he heard Castiel's uncertain voice call out to him.
He stopped and casted a glance over his shoulder, "Yeah, Cas?"
Castiel chewed the bottom of his chapped lip anxiously, looking on the verge of saying something but chickening out at the last second. Finally, Dean just cocked an eyebrow, "C'mon, Cas, we ain't got all night."
"How long do you think we'll be here?" He asked carefully before adding quickly, "I'm not rushing you or anything, but I'd like to know when I will most likely return home."
Dean shrugged, "I dunno. At least around ten or something."
Castiel swallowed and nodded, spinning on his heels as he turned around and headed towards the abandoned booth in the back of the room. As Dean turned his head forward and began walking again, he could've sworn he saw Cas' hand slipped into his trench coat pocket.
"Hey, Winchester," The familiar bartender greeted with a treacherous grin, "Haven't seen you here in awhile. Where's Benny?"
"Don't know," He said with a shrug, shooting a glance back at Castiel, who now wore an exasperated expression on his angelic face as he spoke quietly into a cellphone that was pressed against his ear, "I'm here with someone else this time."
The bartender's grin widened as he raised a greasy eyebrow, "That your boyfriend then?"
Somehow, that abruptly struck a nerve and before he knew it, he was grabbing the bartender's ratty tie and yanking it roughly towards him, causing his face to come within an inch of Dean's icy glare as he gritted out, "Just get me two damn beers." And with that, Dean released the bartender and crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring the bewildered glances he received from the drunks around him.
Within a minute, Dean had two frothy beers in his hands and was walking back to Castiel, still feeling his heart beat rapidly at the bartender's joking words. He usually didn't fly off the handle like that, and he managed to convince himself that it was just the night's tense circumstances instead of the subtle imply that Dean and Cas were more than friends.
He tried to send Castiel a smile as he neared him, but he doubted the blue eyed boy noticed as he was still talking to whoever was on the phone, his face mirroring actual fury as Dean faintly heard the angered words, "...I don't care if you don't 'approve,' Sebastian. Your opinion means nothing to me in this matter. All I'm asking you is to do this one thing for me—" He cut off abruptly once he saw Dean, clearing his throat awkwardly as he mumbled into the phone, "I have to go. Please, just promise me you'll do it." There was a mute pause as Dean slid into the cushion opposite of Castiel before Cas nodded his head and said quietly, "Thank you. Goodbye."
"What was that about?" Dean asked as Castiel hung up the phone and stuck it back into his pocket.
Castiel shrugged shyly, his gaze falling to the tall glass of beer like it was the most interesting thing in the world, "I asked Balthazar to cover for me until I get back so Naomi doesn't suspect anything." He then pursed his lips, his eyes burning like a hot blue flame as he added lowly, "He's still angry with me, but I hope he'll disregard our argument for the moment and tell my family I'm at his house studying tonight."
Dean raised an eyebrow as he lifted the beer to his lips, "You and Balthazar hit a rough patch?" He pretended he didn't just take a drink simply because he knew the glass would hide his sudden grin at the thought.
Castiel nodded, unaware of Dean's petty happiness as his slender finger traced the rim of his glass, "We hold differing opinions on a particularly important subject."
"What subject is that?" Dean asked after a long drink of his beer, the burning liquid sliding down and landing hard in his stomach.
Castiel stayed silent for a moment.
Then, still determined not to meet Dean's gaze, he finally replied in an odd tone, "Snails. It's considered a heated topic between us."
"So which one's right on this important debate?" Dean questioned with a playful smile, hoping it would break the sudden rigidness of Castiel's body. Cas didn't respond at first and just tentatively took a drink of his beer. Dean tried not to notice how hypnotic it was to watch the muscles of Castiel's throat constrict as his friend swallowed the rushing liquid.
Slowly, Cas lowered his glass and looked Dean Winchester dead in the eye as he said steadily, "I'd like to think I was right, but the people around me aren't entirely convinced."
"Wow," Dean snorted, glancing back down to his beer, "Sounds like snails are taken quite seriously in your social circle."
"Not until recently." Castiel answered puzzlingly, taking another long drink of his beer. He gazed at his now already half-empty glass, his eyes full of puzzlement before he drawled out, "I'm not quite sure if I like this beverage."
Dean chuckled, "Just wait. You'll feel it in a moment." He raised his glass high, "Let's propose a toast then, shall we?"
Castiel looked at him warily, "To what?"
"To no more secrets between us," Dean answered, cracking a crooked grin, "From now on, we'll be perfectly straight with each other." Oh god, the irony of that statement almost made even Dean roll his eyes.
Castiel hesitated, but with one more encouraging glance from Dean, he raised his own glass and clacked them together. Both boys took another full drink, trying to pretend that their toast and vow actually meant something—that neither of them were still hiding things from each other that were probably better left unsaid.
The minutes ticked by as they both finished their third beers, heads just becoming buzzed. Dean licked the remaining beer from his lips as he stated, "This is where I quit. Still need a half a mind to drive our dumbasses home."
Castiel nodded numbly but still waved the bartender for another glass, "I believe I'm starting to feel something."
Dean smiled, "Told you so, Cas."
"You know, you're not the first person to call me Cas," He said offhandedly as the bartender brought him his next beer, probably not even realizing he was thinking aloud, "My father used to call me that—before he became a deadbeat. And then there was Anna, but I don't want to talk about the reason why I made her stop."
"What is up with you and Anna?" Dean asked, and yes, he knew he was playing dirty since Castiel was actually beginning to get wasted, but he couldn't stop the words that spilled out of his mouth, "It seems like you hate her more than Gabriel, and I still have yet to understand how that's remotely possible."
"Gabriel looked out for me," Castiel said softly, his voice low and hard as metal, "Anna didn't." Dean opened his mouth to press the issue, but then Castiel narrowed his eyes at him and leaned forward, looking at Dean intensely before saying suddenly, "Dean, have you ever realize how mesmerizing your eyes are?"
All thoughts dissipated from his brain as Dean's eyes grew wide and he blurted out dumbly, "What?"
Castiel ignored his confusion and continued, "I've noticed that their hues change depending on your mood. When you're happy, they're light and almost resemble a jade color. When you're angry, they darken to a green hue that was similar to moss." He then cracked a smile and leaned in further, not even an inch away from Dean and his 'memorizing' eyes, "But do you know what color I like the best, Dean?"
Dean tried to act as if his breath wasn't currently caught in his throat and grounded out, "What's that?"
"How they turn into glittering emeralds every time you look at me." And as quick as the ghost of Castiel's breath was on him, the blue eyed boy leaned back into his seat, smiling at how flustered Dean currently was. Looks like he's the flirty type of drunk, Dean thought to himself as he swallowed the lump in his throat, just my luck.
"Well, your eyes aren't half bad yourself." Dean said with what he hoped resembled a teasing smile.
Castiel shook his head suddenly, "I hate my eyes. They're enormous and make me look like an ugly owl. Yours are much better."
Dean broke eye-contact and cleared his throat, breaking off into a nervous chuckle, "Cas, no offense, but this conversation is beginning to get a little gay."
Holy shit, did he really just fucking say that?
And it only made matters worse when Castiel cocked his head and asked bluntly, "Is that a bad thing?"
"I'm...not sure." He admitted, scratching the back of his head, "I—look, let's just talk about something else." Switching the subject just to protect your denial, the classic Winchester style.
"Okay," He agreed, albeit reluctantly as he took another swig of his drink and declared firmly, "Let's talk about cats."
At first, Dean wasn't sure if he heard him correctly, "...cats?"
"Yes, cats," He confirmed with a nod to his head, a full-blown grin spreading on his face, "I've always wanted one. Ever since I was a little boy."
"Why don't you get one then?"
Castiel's smile morphed into a frown as he looked down and shrugged, "Michael and Naomi don't allow pets in the Milton household."
"Not even a goldfish?" Dean replied, not liking how fast Castiel's face dropped.
"When I was eleven, I found a stray cat on a street corner while I walking home from school." He began, his glassy eyes suddenly becoming lost in the memory, "He was full of fleas and ticks and looked like he had been swallowed up by a puddle of grime, but he was just so small and helpless that I just had to help him.
"So I took him home and spent the next several hours bathing and ridding him of all the pests that plagued his shaking body," Cas continued, suddenly smiling, "When I was all done, he was possibly the most adorable kitten in the universe. It made me swell with pride knowing that I had helped him look so clean, and refreshed, and loved. Dean, he was practically scurrying with joy when I finally let him loose in my bedroom."
Dean grinned, "So what happened to the little guy?"
"When Michael came home from work, I showed him the kitten," Castiel told him, his smile slowing dimming from his face as his jaw tightened, "He grabbed the cat from my hands and chucked him out the door and onto the road...right in front of an upcoming semi-truck."
Dean balked, "That's awful, Cas!"
"That's not the worst part," Castiel said darkly, flickering his gaze up to meet Dean's, "You should've seen what he did to me after."
"Yea? Well, fuck him, Cas," He declared softly, his fists flexing in anger at his sides, "You deserve better than him; you deserve better than all of them."
"I highly doubt that." Cas replied quietly, draining the last of his beer and waving the bartender over for yet another one.
"Uh, Cas," Dean said carefully, trying to not sound like a worrying bitch like Sammy usually did when Dean drank around him, "You probably need to slow down on those beers. Trust me, it's gonna bite you in the ass in the morning."
"I must say, Dean, I misjudged this activity," Castiel announced firmly, giving the bartender a polite smile as he took the drink from him, "At first, I thought it was just a waste of time and health. But now," He paused to take another lengthy drink of his beer before continuing, "I see the immense enjoyment it brings to a kindred spirit; especially a spirit as conflicted as myself." It still amazed Dean that despite being smashed, Castiel spoke like a fucking college professor.
Dean just rolled his eyes, a ghost of a smile on his face, "It's great you're finally seeing how beer can suddenly make your life a lot less shittier."
"To be fair, Dean, it's you that has made my life less 'shittier,'" Castiel pointed out matter-of-factory, seemingly ignoring the way Dean's face flushed ever so slightly as he continued with a nod, "But yes, the beer is much appreciable." Dean snorted and really wished he didn't have to quit drinking to keep a clear head just so he could drown out all these fluttering feelings he got whenever Cas gave him a compliment he didn't even deserve.
"You, uh," He said to swallow up the silence, ignoring the clench at his heart when Castiel stared at him with wistful blue eyes, "You make my life a lot less shittier, too."
"You see, that's what puzzles me," Cas responded, taking a brief pause to sip his beer before continuing strongly, "I mean, it's obvious how you're the only ray of sunshine in my life—what with your incredible sense of humor, endearing personality traits, and not to mention your LOOKS," Dean wasn't quite sure what he meant about that last one, "But what I'm unable to understand is how my presence isn't some form of annoyance and irritation to you." He then leaned in closely and Dean swallowed hard at the intensity in Castiel's expression, "Please Dean, explain to me why you're still here."
Dean looked down, for once not being able to look in the other's blue eyes any longer, "I don't—what do you mean?"
"You're still here," Cas emphasized and Dean nearly jumped out of his skin when the boy laid his slender hand on top of Dean's calloused one, "With me."
Even under the strong stench of beer, Dean could faintly make out the delicate fragrance of chocolate mint as he subconsciously breathed in Castiel's scent. It might just be the small percentage of alcohol in his system, but he wondered if Cas tasted like it too—
"Okay, we're done," Dean blurted out suddenly, withdrawing his hand from Castiel and sliding out of the booth, dragging Castiel by the collar with him, "You're definitely too smashed for this conversation."
"Dean." He heard Castiel's quiet voice call his name, making Dean tense his body just to suppress the strong urge to shudder.
Dean didn't say anything and just latched a hand around Castiel's wrist, pulling the intoxicated boy with him as he smacked forty bucks in front of the bartender and mumbled for him to keep the change. He then got the hell out of that bar as soon as he could, blatantly ignoring the curious looks he received from the other patrons.
Once they made it out to the parking lot, Dean allowed himself to take a deep breath, forcing the intense dizziness to leave his mind (though he didn't know whether it was from the overpowering smell of alcohol in the building or the still present scent of chocolate mint) so he could safely drive.
With Dean too distracted trying to regain his composure, Castiel had shaken out of Dean's iron grip and came up beside him, leaning his hand on Dean's shoulder to steady himself. The touch abruptly shook Dean out of his momentary daze as he gripped Castiel's hand and led him over to the Impala, ignoring the way his stomach was doing summersaults at the surprisingly pleasing realization that he's holding Castiel's hand.
It's official, Dean thought grimly to himself as he swung open the passenger door and motioned for Castiel to get in, I'm going to need to give up beer forever. It's beginning to make me a little gay.
You sure that's the alcohol's fault, some voice scorned in his subconscious and Dean really wished his brain would get the fucking memo that pointing out the obvious isn't fucking helping. Once Castiel got into the Impala, Dean closed the door and went around to the other side to get into the driver's seat. After he got inside the car and buckled both his own and Castiel's seat belts, he started up the car and whipped out of the parking lot, almost breaking the speed limit in a rush to get away from the bar and clear his foggy mind.
"Dean?" Castiel mumbled, his face pressed up against his window.
Dean sighed silently and tried to appear nonchalant as he answered, "Yea, Cas?"
"Why are you so perfect?" The question almost made Dean swerve off the road and land in the ditch, "Really, it's not fair."
"Cas!" Dean croaked out hoarsely, regaining his ability to speak once he drove back on his side of the deserted road, "You can't just say those kind of things when a man is trying to drive!"
He wasn't expecting Castiel's dry chuckle and muffled response, "You're so cute."
Dean honestly thought that Cas was trying to kill them.
"Okay," Dean said with forced sarcasm as his tight grip on the steering wheel began to shake slightly, "I'm, um...glad you think I'm 'cute' when you're drunk. Honestly, it means a lot."
Castiel leaned off of the window to look at Dean like he was the dumbest human being on the planet, saying exasperatedly with an unmistakable ounce of affection in his tone, "Dean, I've always found you hopelessly adorable. It's only when I'm intoxicated do I share my obvious opinion of you."
"So you think I'm...adorable?" Dean repeated again, trying not to appear as confused and offended he felt (adorable was a word you described babies and small animals; not to describe another person who apparently had "mesmerizing" eyes).
"No," Castiel admitted with shrug, a small smile on his pink lips as he added, "I find you just as stunning as the rising sun in the soft morning glow."
"You're also strangely poetic when you're drunk," Dean observed nervously, thanking God that it was too dark in the car to notice his coloring cheeks, "That's, um...nice to know."
Castiel sighed at his words before graciously looking out of the window and changing the flustering subject, "Where are you taking me, Dean?"
"Um, I'm not sure." Dean confessed with a shrug, just not realizing he was driving around in circles, "Where do you want to go?"
"Balthazar would not be pleased to see me in this state," Castiel told him softly with another resigned sigh, "And Naomi would probably send me to the bottom of the ocean if she saw me like this."
Strangely, none of those options sounded particularly pleasant so Dean shrugged and said, "You can crash at my place then." As soon as he let the words leave his mouth, he realized how much of a terrible suggestion that was. Not to mention his family's inevitable meltdown when they see him and Cas in the morning with epic hangovers, but he knew for a fact that he couldn't successfully put Cas out of his mind when Cas was literally under his roof.
But at Castiel's eager nod, he couldn't find it in himself to take it back.
"This is gonna be peachy." Dean muttered dryly as he pulled his car onto the road to take them home. He really hoped Castiel was too drunk to notice his sarcasm.
Thank Heaven all mighty, his family was too scattered brained to leave the front door locked. He parked the Impala into his usual parking space and half-carried Castiel up to the door and quietly twisted it open.
"Make sure to be quiet, okay?" Dean whispered, but he could tell that Cas was already half-asleep by then and unable to make any sudden noises.
Honestly, by the way Dean stealthily and silently crept up the stairs and into his bedroom while supporting most of Castiel's weight, he might consider the career option of a ninja after he graduates high school.
After he closed his bedroom door behind them, he sat Castiel gently down on his bed and started taking off his shoes and trench coat.
"Dean?" Castiel said sleepily, yawning like a precious kitten as he continued drowsily, "What are you doing?"
"You can't sleep in shoes and a coat, Cas." Dean told him quietly before his fingers found their way to his blue tie, "Or a tie either, for that matter." After he was done, he leaned back and looked at Castiel, who now only had on a wrinkled white dress shirt and black trousers.
He probably wasn't the most comfortable person at the moment, but that was all Dean could do without totally undressing his friend (and he didn't want that. Honestly, he didn't). So sighing to himself, he delicately pushed Castiel into a horizontal position and pulled the many layers of covers over him.
"You can sleep on my bed," Dean said softly as he tucked the younger boy in snugly, "I'll take the floor."
Trying not to grin like an idiot at how at peaceful his friend looked when he slept, Dean leaned away from him and shucked his own shoes off, along with his uncomfortable jeans. So now just in his tee-shirt and boxers, he walked across the room and rummaged around in his dresser, trying to find some comfortable sweats to change into. Finally, after a few more seconds of searching, he found a suitable pair of gray sweatpants and slipped them on. It wasn't until he turned around did he notice a pair of wide awake blue eyes watching him intently.
Flushing in utter humiliation at the knowledge of Castiel seeing him without pants, Dean cleared his throat and looked down, biting his lip so hard he was surprised it didn't start gushing out blood.
"Night, Cas." He mumbled as he moved towards the spot right beside his bed and began to sink down to the scratchy carpet. It wasn't the most heavenly thing to sleep on, but he'd fallen asleep on worse—
"Dean." Castiel's low voice and sudden hand twisted in his blonde hair made Dean stop completely.
"What?" Dean asked exasperatedly, looking up to see Castiel staring at him with a strange expression. An expression that looked like he was...offering him an invitation. But of what?
"Oh." Dean said aloud in realization, his pulse quickening as he disentangled Castiel's hand out of his hair and rose fully to his feet. To confirm his suspicion, Cas scooted over on the bed, giving Dean just enough room to squeeze in.
It isn't a big deal, he assured himself sternly as he slowly slid inside the covers and laid his head tentatively on one of the pillows, Sammy and I used to sleep together all the time.
But this was different, Dean pointed out bitterly as he found himself staring into Castiel's drooping blue eyes. They were so close that Dean could feel Castiel's body warmth radiating off him.
"Dean," Castiel's whispering voice cut through the silence in the dark room, "I think I'm in love with snails."
Dean yawned as he subconsciously moved even more towards Cas, now being able to feel Castiel's tickling breath on his neck, "Is that a bad thing?"
"Incredibly so," He confirmed before he finally shut his eyes completely and flipped over so his back was facing Dean, "I know I'm just going to get hurt like all the other times." Dean was too drowsy to respond as he felt his heavy limbs wrap around Castiel's body and his head bury into the crook of the younger boy's neck.
As he let his sleepiness overcome him, Dean tried not to notice how perfectly Castiel's body molded into his own.
Author's Note: I wasn't lying when I said that this will have some form of Destiel (just not the first kiss yet, though I'm tentatively planning for that to happen soon). Anyway, you know the usual: favorite, follow, and especially review. I'm hoping with this chapter, we can at least achieve 50 reviews (I wouldn't mind if we can reach 100 follows either ;) )! Next chapter will be out soon since I finally have more free time on my hands to get to writing.
But now I must bid you farewell, Readers! Your patience with and devotion to this story really means a lot, and I will try not to disappoint in its plot structure, character development, quirky pairings, and fast updating.