The first time he sees him, Sinatra is playing in the background. Cas is working his regular nine to five at the shop, putting in the daily grind to get him through college. He won't lie, the job isn't anywhere near glamorous, but he deals with it. Anything to get him through school, he supposes.
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away.
The lyrics pour from the speakers as Cas once again glances at the clock, counting down the hours until he's free to leave this damn coffee shop that is like a ball and chain to his foot. Even the music, which is usually the only good thing about this job, is aggravating him to no end. He tries to stop himself from muttering 'shut up, Sinatra' under his breath, but he doesn't succeed. His coworker Anna eyes him suspiciously, her green eyes accusing as she stares him down. Cas gives her his signature nonchalant shrug before she turns to the man at the cash register, waiting to place his order.
And that's when Cas sees Dean Winchester for the first time, and boy, is it something. He is dressed in red plaid, a worn leather jacket slung around his arm as he fishes for he a wallet out of his too tight skinny jeans. His black rimmed glasses slide down his nose as he looks down, and Cas smiles when he absentmindedly pushes them up his nose. His hair is perfectly tousled, and when he looks up to Anna at the register, his eyes are the most piercing green Cas has ever seen. Bright, like emeralds shining in the sun. And goodness, does he make Castiel blush.
Cas doesn't even realize he's staring until Anna starts snapping her fingers in front of his face, trying to regain his attention. He comes back to the redhead and gets another glare from her as she shoves the boy's order in his face, stomping away. Cas looks down to the slip, a simple black coffee with an extra shot of mocha syrup, and smiles.
Dean Winchester. That's the name on the slip, the name of the boy who made Castiel blush like no other.
Dean, what a lovely name.
Once I get you up there where the air is rarified, we'll just glide, starry-eyed.
Dean has never been a huge coffee drinker, but that all changes on August 15th. It isn't supposed to happen that way, but Dean can't keep himself away from that hole-in-the-wall coffee shop since, and it definitely isn't for the stellar service or the bland coffee. No, Dean comes back for the boy behind the counter, the one with the striking blue eyes that stared back at him that one fateful day.
He can't get him out of his mind, that boy with the slicked back, inky hair and the dirty apron he wore as he made Dean's coffee. Something draws Dean to him like a moth to a flame, like lightning to ground. Something about the boy with the sapphire eyes is compelling, enough that Dean shows up every day since to "do research" for his Intro to Literature course, finding any excuse to be near him. Even he admits it's a bit stalkerish, but Dean can't make himself care.
Screen falling off the door, door hanging off the hinges. My feet are still sore, my back is on the fringes.
Dean bops his head along with the upbeat pop tune, scribbling the lyrics down in the notebook he's been keeping. It has been a little project of his, writing down the lyrics that play when he's at the coffee shop, the music that reminds him of the boy behind the counter.
What do you know, this house is falling apart. What can I say, this house is falling apart.
Dean smirks, mouthing the words as he writes them. He knows he should be studying, but this is much more entertaining.
He looks up at the counter discreetly when he's done penning the lyrics, thinking he's getting good at hiding his stares. The redheaded barista is cheerfully taking someones order as she writes shorthand on a pad of paper, calling out to the back room for assistance.
And then there he is, the boy that has been on Dean's mind ever since he first lay eyes on him. He rushes out the back with a distressed look on his face, the lines between his eyebrows prominent. Dean frowns, not liking to see the boy upset like this. He almost goes up and says something, but stops himself. He still hasn't actually spoken to the barista yet, just watched him from afar and hoping he wouldn't notice. Dean hopes one of these days he will get the courage, but not today. The time isn't right.
Dean looks away when he realizes the barista caught him staring and turns back to the notebook, writing down more lyrics on the page, hiding the smile that is now on his lips.
We've got no money but we've got heart, we're gonna rattle this ghost town.
Cas can't keep his eyes off of Dean. He has managed to come into the coffee shop almost every day for the past two months, always ordering the same coffee with the mocha syrup. Cas doesn't even wait for Anna to take his order anymore; he just automatically grabs the large coffee cup and fills it to the brim, having it ready before Dean is even done paying. He always gives Cas the same wolfish smirk, never saying a word to him. He just grabs the coffee and takes a seat at the small table in the corner, keeping to himself.
What is it about the boy, Cas wonders. He has never been this enraptured with anyone before, and he hasn't even spoken to the guy! Cas knows it is absurd, that he shouldn't be this attached to someone whom he has never even uttered a word to, but he simply does not care. Something about Dean is entrancing, spellbinding. Cas can't read auras, but he guesses that Dean's would be either a bright orange or a crystalline blue, like the sun and ocean at sunset. Fiery but also icy, a mix like no other. Either way, Cas can't help but think Dean is the most beautiful man he's ever met.
Cas is not going to lie; ever since Dean has started making the coffee shop part of his daily routine, Cas doesn't loathe this place as much anymore. He gets up in the morning and knows he's going to see those green eyes, even if it is from afar. He knows he can go to work and instead of counting down the hours until he gets to leave, he can count down the hours until he sees Dean.
I belong with you, you belong with me, in my sweet heart.
Cas hums along to the music as he washes the dirty dishes in the sink, the only one in the shop. Anna left early and gave Cas charge of the whole shop, saying that it was closing and no one would be coming in anyway. She isn't wrong; it's five minutes to closing and Cas is the only one here. He looks around and in a tiny act of rebellion, puts up the closed sign early. It gives him time alone, and it gives him time to think.
Dean had come into the shop earlier, lingering longer than usual. Cas kept throwing glances in his direction, hoping to catch Dean staring at him with that concentrated crease between his eyes. He knew Dean probably thought he was being discreet, but Cas had caught him in the act almost every time. He didn't mind though. It only made Cas feel less dumb for being so infatuated with the Winchester, knowing that he was maybe feeling the same way back.
When Dean wasn't looking at Cas though, Cas took the opportunity learn about the boy in the plaid. Cas felt like he knew so much about the boy already, watching from his post behind the counter. When he wasn't helping a customer, Cas took notes.
Dean always had that worn out notebook with him, for one thing. He was always scribbling in that book, writing down God knows what. And when he wasn't doodling in that notebook, he was studying literature. Cas guessed he was a literature major at the university, with all of the books he carted around with him.
The day was slow, so Cas leaned over and watched Dean reading. His eyes scanned the spine of the book in Dean's hand and sighed. Vonnegut. He was hoping to find a topic of conversation, but Cas never understood Vonnegut's work in high school and probably wouldn't fare much better now. He glanced over at the other books on the table, not finding anything that he could use as an ice breaker. Shakespeare, Austen, Poe, Lewis, Kafka, and a slew of other authors Cas never heard of before, lay stacked on the cramped table. Cas wished he knew enough about even one so he would have an excuse to stop being a coward and talk to the guy, but Cas never was one for literature.
He was about to give up when he noticed something laying under the worn leather jacket on the floor. Cas squinted at the ground, trying to make out the title, and laughed a little when he saw what it was. Dean Winchester, reading The Hunger Games? For some reason it almost made Dean more human to him, less like the literature genius whom Cas would never be able to keep up with.
It only took moments for Cas to realize he now had something to talk about; The Hunger Games was a book that he'd read, after all. With this new excitement, Cas ran to the back to see if Anna was around to cover for him, but of course she wasn't. With a huff of frustration Cas slipped into the staff room and looked for the girl and found her lounging on the couch with her headphones in.
He called her name several times, but Anna only glanced over at him once before making a show of turning up the volume, making it so loud he could hear the music through the tiny earbuds. Cas gave her a less than gentlemanly hand gesture before storming back out to the counter. He didn't need Anna; he could both talk to Dean and watch the counter, right? Of course he could.
Cas could feel his heart beat faster with the anticipation, but it only fueled his adrenaline. He was ready; it was time to talk to Dean Winchester. Cas was all ready to go, had a smile on his face, but faltered when he walked back to the front.
Dean was gone.
Cas breaks out of this memory as a loud rock song starts blasting over the speakers, making him jump. He forgot he put this song on the shop playlist a while back, when Dean first started coming to the coffee shop. Something about the eighties tune reminds him of the Winchester, even though he has no clue why. Cas sings off-key as he locks up the shop and shuts off the lights, the music the only thing disturbing the dark space in an eerily haunting way.
Carry on my wayward son, they'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest, don't you cry no more.
Is it possible to fall in love with someone you've never spoken to? Dean has to wonder as the winter rolls in with a vengeance, forcing him to stay at the coffee shop for warmth and comfort, not that he minds. It gives him more time to observe the boy behind the counter, learn more about his life from the little window he has.
His name is Castiel Novak, Cas for short, that much he knows. He heard the redheaded barista, Anna, yell the full name when she got angry a few months back. Dean felt relieved that he could stop referring to him as the "angel" in his mind. Cas Novak, how fitting for his heavenly appearance.
He knows that Cas is studying history at the university because he's always complaining about his courseload to Anna, even though Dean doesn't think she's listening. And he also sees Cas sneaking peaks at the copy of National Geographic he has stored behind the counter, pulling it out when Anna isn't around to scold him. He sees that Cas loves to get engrossed in the stories, even earmarking the pages for later. And when the days are slow, Dean learns that Cas loves to straighten up anything in sight, always needing to keep his hands busy. These are the things Dean learns just from watching the boy in the apron, and it makes him ache to know Cas more.
Dean fingers the pages on the now worn notebook as another song comes on through the speakers. He can already feel the blush rise to his cheeks as he pens the lyrics in his notebook, which is now halfway full with songs that remind of Castiel. This one is no different.
I've seen the waters that make your eyes shine, now I'm shining too. Because, oh because, I've fallen quite hard over you.
Yes, those lyrics describe how Dean feels about Cas perfectly. He never expected to get this infatuated with the barista at all, it just sort of happened. It started at simply watching him and writing down the lyrics, fueling his ridiculous crush on the boy. But then it turned into something more as Dean found himself lingering on Cas, eyes raking over his body and imagining what he would do if they ever got together.
Dean jumps back to the present when he realizes he's daydreaming again, a habit that is becoming a daily routine. It's Christmas Eve so Dean is alone in the coffee shop, choosing to stay on campus instead of going home to his brother in Kansas. He's trying to get a head start on the spring semester, a battered copy of Les Miserables laid out in front of him, but he's ignored it for the tattered notebook so far. With a sigh, Dean pushes the journal away and pulls the book forward. He's staring at the pages but isn't taking in anything, his eyes constantly wandering to Castiel cleaning some dishes in the back room.
He leans forward and rests his chin on his hand, once again abandoning his reading, to eye Cas. Dean notices that Cas' jeans are just a bit too tight, accentuating certain assets. It makes Dean's mind go wild as he thinks of what they could do together. Dean pictures himself running his hands through Cas' perfectly slicked back locks, making it stand up on end. He imagines what it would be like to kiss him, mouths sliding together perfectly. He thinks of biting those pale lips of Cas', teeth pulling at the lip ring he just acquired. Dean shivers when he pictures Cas running his hands up his shirt, clutching his skin with the desperation lovers have. He practically moans into the air when he thinks of Cas ripping the glasses off of his face and just having him right there in the supply room.
Dean shakes his head, getting out of the fantasy before it can go any further. He knows he can't allow himself to think like this. It will never happen, so why allow himself to even entertain the idea of him and Cas together? Knowing Dean's luck, Castiel probably isn't even in to guys. So why can't Dean shake Cas from his head?
Dean just sighs and turns back to the notebook, writing down more lyrics and tries to keep the daydreams at bay. The pages are already halfway full with scribbled lyrics and his horrid handwriting. How much longer until the journal is full? Months? Weeks? Will he get a new one and continue this charade?
No, Dean decides. He won't do that. In an instant, Dean's mind springs to life with an idea. What better way to talk to Cas than to show him the notebook? He decides that when it's full, he will give it to Cas. That has to be the work of fate, right?
He smiles when he thinks of giving the abused journal to Cas, and he writes down the lyrics with new light in his eyes.
I never knew just what it was about this old coffee shop I love so much. All of the while, I never knew. All of the while, all of the while, it was you.
Okay, now Cas is just getting fed up.
Seven months. That's how long Dean has been hanging around this coffee shop almost every day and Cas still hasn't said a word to him. Everytime Anna takes his order and Cas slings it over the counter, it's like tiny ice shards are poking at his skin, whispering to just be a man and say something, anything. But of course, Cas can't do that. If he does talk to Dean, it has to be perfect. He's been fawning silently over the boy for seven months, so to just come out of the blue and say something would be weird. No, it needs to be perfect, and Cas hasn't found that picture perfect opportunity yet to speak with the Winchester. Maybe he never would...
But no, Cas wouldn't think that way. There had to be some way he could just bring up a conversation out of the blue, but what was it? He knew lots about Dean, probably more than he should. He'd watched Dean enough to know that even though he got the same coffee every day, he always looked like it was a drink from heaven when he sipped it. Cas kept an eye on the books Dean was reading, noticing how they changed with the seasons. Fall was the time when Dean only read classic authors such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. Now in the thick of winter, Dean has turned to the likes of poetry, clinging to a ragged version of Robert Frost poems and never letting it out of his sight. Cas looked on as Dean would get mesmerized with the small paperback, noticing the way his eyebrows pulled together when he was thinking. And of course, he kept writing in that notebook, Cas realizing the pages were running out fast and Dean would have to replace it soon.
Yet out of all of those many things, nothing was good enough to start a conversation. It drove Cas up a wall, not being able to come up with anything to say to the man he had fallen in love with. Because yes, Cas could say that he loved the boy without even speaking to him. He loved the way he walked and talked with Anna, treating her with kindness even when she was anything but kind to him. He was infatuated with the way Dean would push his glasses up his nose when he was reading, and adored the way he looked at Cas from afar, like he was the most important thing in the room. He had fallen for the way Dean would engross himself in his studies, and he was absolutely crazy for the way Dean would blush when Cas caught him staring.
All of this Cas learned from behind the coffee counter, this boy whom he had never spoken to but felt like he knew so fully. It was impossible for Cas not to fall for the Winchester. Maybe it had be destined all along.
Your arms are lovely, yellow and rose. Your backs a meadow, covered in snow.
Cas doesn't realize he's singing along with the song until he hears a light laugher from the corner of the shop. It's night and Cas is working the closing shift again, and there are only three college students milling about the shop. He doesn't even have to look up to know which one the soft laughter came from; he knows that voice too well.
He looks up from the dish he is cleaning to find Dean Winchester smirking at him, eyes boring into his with intensity. The connection feels like a live wire, the electricity snapping along a cord and hitting Cas straight in the chest. Could Dean be feeling this too, the way their energies seem connect seamlessly?
Moments pass, then seconds. Dean still hasn't broken his eye contact with Castiel, which puts him on edge. Why is Dean suddenly being forward, not hiding the stares any longer? Could he possibly want to talk to Cas and much as Cas wants to talk to him? That would be impossible, right?
All of this is running through Cas' head so fast that he doesn't even realize that Dean has gotten out of his seat and is moving towards his direction. He is still staring at the seat Dean vacated when Dean walks right in front of him and grabs some napkins from the counter that he doesn't need, all while keeping those piercing green eyes on Cas. Cas doesn't even realize Dean has moved at all until he sees Dean reappear back at his seat, a small frown now on his face as he picks up his books and shrugs on his leather jacket, giving Cas one last small, timid smile before huddling up and walking out into the cold February night.
That's when the connection breaks and it all hits Cas like a boulder on his head. Dean had walked right past him and he said nothing! Dean had practically devoured him with his eyes and Cas didn't do a thing! He just stood there like an idiot and now Dean probably thought he was a loser. Great, Castiel. Just great.
Cas angrily throws his dish towel in the sink as he grabs his jacket from the coat rack, finding Anna doing last rounds in the back. He asks her if she can close up for him tonight, and surprisingly she agrees. He sighs in relief as he pushes away the coffee shop and the horrible interaction with Dean, the music fading as the door falls close behind him.
In the dark you tell me of the flower, that only blooms in the violet hour.
The first time he talks to him, Sinatra is playing. The same song that was playing when he first saw him, the first lyrics written in the notebook, are now the last.
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away.
Dean writes down the words in the journal, humming softly along to the tune. He never forgot that this is the song that was playing when he first saw Cas, would never forget that Sinatra started their coffee shop soundtrack love story.
And now, it is the song that they will remember together if everything turns out to Dean's plan. With one final scratch of the pen, Dean writes the last lyrics that fit in the journal.
Once I get you up there where the air is rarified, we'll just glide, starry-eyed.
When the song is over and the lyrics are penned, Dean closes the notebook with finality. It took nine months, but the soundtrack is finished. The story of how he fell for the barista, the boy behind the counter, the lonely angel.
Dean realizes it's finally time to talk to Castiel, and his hands immediately start to sweat buckets. He wipes them unceremoniously on his jeans as he stands up and grips the notebook tight, white knuckling the journal in anticipation. He hadn't tried to speak to Cas since that one night in February, and it makes him nervous. What if he imagined all of it? What if Cas wasn't interested in him at all? However, Dean pushes it all aside. Nine months he waited for this, and now he is finally ready. The time is finally right.
He walks forward and everything goes into slow motion. It feels like he's wading through water as he approaches the cash register, Sinatra still swooning in the background. He sees Cas wiping down the coffee maker absentmindedly, not noticing that Dean has reached the counter yet. His heart beats fast in his chest as Cas looks up and finds Dean standing there, his sapphire blue eyes blazing like blue fire.
Cas is about to say something, but Dean holds up a hand to stop him. Slowly he uncurls his fingers from the notebook and reluctantly passes it over the counter to Cas. He watches in anticipation as Cas opens it and flips through the pages, reading the lyrics that fill the lines and crevices. Dean watches as Cas pours over the words, and when he's finished Cas looks up and smiles at Dean, an indication that he recognizes all of the songs in the book.
Then, Dean says the one thing he's been wanting to say for nine months. Nine months of searching for the perfect conversation starter, and it was right in front of him the entire time.
Just one word.