Series: A Strange Love (#2)

Title: Holding Hands Is Gay (So I Won't Think About It)

Author: Reiko Katsura

Fandom: Supernatural

Pairing/Characters: Dean/Castiel, Sam

Rating: PG-13 (for language)

Word Count: ~3,440

Prompt: "Holding hands" and "going to the theater".

Summary: Dean is cold and Castiel's hands are warm and he'll argue 'til his last breath that that's all there is to it.

Notes: I'm sorry this took so long to upload! This is the second part of my "A Strange Love 'Verse". It can be read as a stand-alone, though. Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing it. The next, and final installment isn't yet finished, but I can tell you that the prompts I'm using for it are "Kiss" and "Fly". See you at the end.

Disclaimer: This is non-profitable fanwork. I don't own a thing.

Holding Hands Is Gay (So I Won't Think About It)

They were sitting in some nondescript diner in a town Dean couldn't even bother to remember the name of. They were in Idaho, though, that much he knew. It helped that Sam had been grumbling about the stupidity of the state for the past half-hour; something about a political scandal involving a corrupt governor last spring. Dean had stopped listening the moment he'd uttered the word "politics". There were more important things to worry about than their corrupt government making a muck out of their country. The near-miss apocalypse, for one thing. Too bad Sam hadn't gotten the memo.

The diner, Joe's, was a homely dig just off the interstate and a good half-mile away from the nearest motel. It smelled of sweat and fryer grease and looked no different than any other 24-hour diner they'd ever been in, boisterous rednecks and miserable town drunk trying to find oblivion at the bottom of his poorly wrapped bottle of Jack in the corner included. The only thing that stood out in any way was the waitress, a literal bombshell of a woman with long red hair and big green eyes who couldn't seem to stop staring at Sam. Not that Sam, the idiot, was paying her any mind. He was too busy burying his geek nose in some ancient text on lycanthrope lore they'd discovered in some old, dusty occult shop a few states back. Might've been Nebraska. When you were on the road as often as Dean was, the places you passed tended to blur.

Or maybe it was just him. Sam never seemed to have a problem recalling things like towns and states and cities. But then it was Sam, who'd been able to give a name to this funny looking plant Dean had accidentally backed into while fleeing their last motel (he didn't remember what it was called, never bothered trying to learn the names of things that were over five syllables unless it was something he could use in a hunt). Anyway, the point was that Sam probably wasn't the best person to compare one's normalcy to. Dean loved his brother, he really did, but Sammy had always been a bit of a freak.

Anyway, as he was saying.

He hadn't even really noticed, that first time. They'd been sitting at Joe's grungy highway diner, side-by-side with Sam across from them, his face hidden behind a book larger than his head (which was really saying something). The waitress had been gone a good fifteen minutes, which was ridiculous considering the mediocrity of their orders. Sam, as occupied as he was, hadn't noticed. And Cas… well, Cas was too busy doing that not-quite-as-creepy-as-it-should've-been staring thing at Dean. Since his brother was a grass-eating weirdo and his best friend didn't even need to eat, Dean felt it was solely up to him to make the complaint, even if the sexy waitress looked like a red-haired Marilyn Monroe.

Luckily she returned within the next minute bearing a large tray propped up on her shoulder and an apologetic smile on her face (totally aimed at Sam, but whatever). She set their dishes in front of them with a warning that the plates were hot and was in the process of asking them (Sam) if they wanted anything else when Dean lifted his hand in an attempt to grab his, frankly, heart attack on a bun, and realized that something was attached to it.

Dean frowned as his hand emerged from the valley between the table and booth, and it took him an embarrassingly long moment to realize that the something was Castiel's hand. Which didn't makes sense at all.

Dean desperately tried to come up with a plausible excuse for his current predicament (and he had to do it all by himself because a quick glance at Cas revealed that the angel didn't seem particularly phased in the least; was just staring at their clasped hands as if it was something fascinating, yet totally not out of the ordinary. Thanks, Cas). Perhaps Castiel had grabbed his hand in an attempt to get his attention, and simply forgot to let go. Which really didn't explain the way their fingers were interlaced, a gesture Dean couldn't remember himself ever doing with anyone else, but whatever. Angels were weird. Castiel didn't know any better. It didn't mean anything.

Right? Right.

So Dean, all business-like, unlaced their fingers and gave the staring waitress (whom Dean didn't want to know what was thinking) his best 'my-friend's-an-angel-who-doesn't-know-any-better-and-what-can-ya-do?' smile and proceeded to grab his suddenly very appealing glass of water, instead.

He didn't need to look across from him to know what Sam was probably gaping, looking all stupid-like and getting ridiculous ideas in his overly large head.

Dean ignored him, and the waitress, and Castiel,who he could just tell was gazing at him a bit like a kicked puppy even without having to look (and Dean was resolutely not going to think about the reason for that) and set his cup down and took a bit ol' bite of his burger, tearing off a huge chunk of it that filled his mouth to the inch and probably made him look like a greedy chipmunk.

He concentrated on eating, and after a while the waitress sauntered away, and both Sam and Cas stopped their staring and started eating, too.

Aside from the snide looks they received from some of the other customers (who, thankfully, were smart enough to realize that starting shit with two guys over six feet tall (one of whom was a baby giant) and another who, while shorter, definitely had the whole fuck-with-me-and-I-will-smite-your-ass presence going on) no one brought it up again.

By the end of the day, after they'd finished ganking a knife-happy ghost haunting an old factory that had been renovated into an elementary school, it was little more than a vague memory left in a trail of dust of more immediate, important things. At least, Dean liked to think so.

The second time wasn't nearly as coincidental. It also wasn't initiated by Castiel, to Dean's eternal embarrassment. But he'd threatened to switch Sammy's fruity shampoo with Nair and/or dog shit if he so much as uttered a word about it, and Cas... well, Cas was Cas. He wouldn't say anything.

They'd been hightailing through some no-name town in North Dakota when Sam had pointed out a movie theater, the first they'd seen in weeks, spooned between a rundown quilting shop and an even grungier looking bar.

"We don't even know if anything good's showing," Dean insisted, reluctant to leave the warmth of his car and venture out into the cold.

Sam rolled his eyes. "That's why they have posters, Dean," he said, already unbuckling his seatbelt and reaching for the door. "C'mon, man, it's been ages since we've seen something that wasn't on Telemundo. Just think of the buttered popcorn and cheese nachos and jumbo sodas…"

Damn the little twerp for knowing exactly what to say to pique Dean's interest.

Dean's stomach growled at the thought of a huge tub of fresh, buttery, artery-clogging popcorn and he glanced miserably out of the window at the sad looking building with the broken lights in the distance.

Jumping on Dean's waning resistance, Sam turned to Castiel. "Cas? What do you think? You've never been to a theater before, have you?"

The fucker knew Cas hadn't.

Dean glanced at the rearview mirror and met Castiel's gaze. His expression was the epitome of indifference, but Dean could see the curiosity lurking behind his eyes, his desire to experience all things human blatantly on display to anyone who knew where to look. Like Dean.

Dean took a moment to mourn the loss of his baby's warmth before sighing and cutting the engine.

He almost regretted his decision a minute later when he pushed the car door open and got a blast of icy wind in the face. The sheer brickness momentarily stunned him, and it took every iota of willpower he had to clamber out of the car and close the door behind him.

"Jesus fuck," he hissed, pointedly ignoring the sharp look Castiel sent his way in favor of making a beeline for the theater. The chilliness was quickly seeping through the layers of his leather jacket and jeans, and by the time Dean reached the building and stormed his way inside, his teeth were already chattering and his face had gone numb.

Rubbing his hands together, he turned around and watched as Sam and Castiel leisurely made their way down the street, Castiel's coat fluttering open and Sam's own jacket zippered only half-way.

He cursed the both of them—Castiel, who wouldn't know cold if it hit him in the face, and Sam, who, freak of nature he was, had always been a little resistant to the cold—and moodily turned around.

The inside of the building wasn't nearly as crappy looking as the exterior, though not by much. It was pretty much your typical small-town theater with a tiny ticket booth in one corner, a lackluster concession stand in the other, and only three rooms with a screen. There seemed to be only one person working there from what Dean could see, and the old man hadn't even bothered looking up when he entered.

Dean was in the process of perusing the movies showing when the door opened and Sam and Castiel walked in.

"Find anything you like?" Sam asked, closing the distance between them.

Dean shrugged. There was a chick flick, a cartoon (though why anyone would bring their kids outside in this kind of weather, Dean had no idea), some artsy film that Dean barely spared a second looking at, and an action movie that, while cheesy looking, was probably their best option yet.

"Why don't we let Castiel choose something?" Sam suggested.

Dean took a step back and gestured at him to get on with it.

When Castiel finally decided on that art film, Dean was hardly surprised.

Turned out the movie was in French. How Dean had let that tidbit fly over his head, he had no idea, but when the film finally started up and the characters started speaking in a language that was decidedly not English, it had been pretty obvious. He bit back a tortured groan when he realized that both his brother and Castiel seemed to be engrossed by whatever the hell it was the characters were saying, and settled further into his seat in preparation for what would probably be the longest 75 minutes of his life.

At least the popcorn was good.

Dean was up and out of his seat the moment the credits started rolling, glad to be able to stretch his legs and move without Sam sending him dirty looks from the side.

"Well, that was fun!" he said cheerily, already easing out of the aisle. He heard Sam snort but refrained from commenting on it. Instead, he listened to Sam and Castiel discuss how philosophically magnificent and meaningful the entire film was.

In Dean's opinion, the best part had been when the main character had flashed her pretty tits at the audience. Aside from that, Dean probably would have been more interested watching paint dry. At least it wouldn't wail so much.

"I apologize if that was boring for you," Castiel said suddenly, stepping beside him.

Dean glanced down at him, startled.

"Eh, it was okay," he lied.

Castiel's look spoke volumes of just how much he believed Dean.

Dean, sheepishly, shook his head. "Don't worry about it, man. I didn't want to see anything anyway, remember? This was about you and Sam."

Castiel continued to peer at him for a moment longer, as if checking to see if Dean was still trying to play martyr. He eventually nodded, satisfied, a small, fond smile curving at his lips.

Dean was so distracted by it that he hadn't even realized they'd still been walking until he was hit with a blast of what felt like a sheet of ice.

"Son of a bitch," he cursed, hurrying to zip up his jacket and stuff his hands into his pockets. Not that it did him much good with the wind being as harsh as it was. It had begun to snow a little, too, and Dean narrowed his eyes at the little flecks of white that were pouring down and sticking to everything.

"C'mon, Cas," he grumped, shooting a glance behind him to make sure that Sam wasn't too far behind before moving towards the Impala.

When he reached his baby and noticed how frozen she was, he had to bite his lip to keep from cursing up a storm. He should have left the car on (the heat, too, for that matter) while they watched the film. He closed his eyes in dread at having to sit in a freezer for fuck knew how long until the car was properly warmed up, and after another silent curse, pulled the door open. He slid in and quickly started the car and flipped on the heat, eager to warm his baby up.

An embarrassingly long moment passed before Dean realized that the person sitting next to him wasn't Sam. A quick glance to the back revealed that Sam was half way to unconsciousness, arms crossed over his chest and head pressed up against the foggy window.

He'd almost forgotten that Sam always got sleepy after watching films.

Dean watched his brother for a moment, fondness making his heart swell. When he finally glanced away (before Sam could wake up and accuse him of being creepy), he realized that Castiel was staring at him.

"What?" Dean groused, embarrassed.

Castiel remained silent, but the warmth in his eyes spoke volumes.

"Creepy, dude," Dean muttered, more out of habit than actually meaning it. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and futilely rubbed them together. The cold was really getting to him.

Dean sighed and leaned back into his seat, scowling when a cloud of white escaped his mouth. His ears and nose were almost numb from the cold, and he bet they were all red and stupid-looking, too. Good thing Cas was the only one around.

Dean leaned forward and put his hands in front of the vent, which was blowing out what could hardly be considering anything above lukewarm air.

He loved his baby, he really did, but like Dean, she was pretty useless in the cold.

Dean alternated between rubbing his hands together and placing them in front of the air vent. Another three minutes passed, and they were nowhere near good to drive.

It wasn't until four minutes after that when Dean finally gave in.

He'd been surreptitiously watching Castiel from the corner of his eye for a while. Watched the side of his face as he stared unseeingly out the window, watched his fingers drum a silent tune against his thigh (which, Dean was proud to say, was definitely his doing), and, more importantly, watched the air around him shimmer slightly, like the cold was too afraid to get close and kept itself at bay.

Castiel's fingers had just started to settle from their dance when Dean threw caution to the wind and captured Cas' hand in his own.

That first contact felt like heaven.

Dean's eyes fluttered shut as his hand engulfed what felt like a ball of flame (only, y'know, not as hot). He was so warm, and before Dean could even think about what he was doing he was turning in his seat, taking Castiel's hand in both of his, and bringing it up to his face. As Dean's cheek rested on a patch of Castiel's bare skin, the entire area between his scalp and neck immediately warmed. Dean may or may not have made an embarrassing sound at that. Luckily he was too blissed out to care.

He did notice when Castiel's other hand came up to envelop Dean's combined hands, though. He opened his mouth to make a comment, but whatever it was he'd been about to say promptly dissolved when his and Castiel's eyes met.

The smoldering Dean saw was enough to stop the breath in his throat. He tightened his hands around Castiel's and let his eyes flutter half-massed, still watching from beneath his lashes as Castiel's gaze swept over his face, lingering on Dean's eyes and nose and mouth. Dean's breath hitched when he felt Castiel move a tiny inch closer. He held his breath as the distance between then shortened centimeter by centimeter, his heart beating madly against his chest and stomach fluttering with something he couldn't quite name. He licked his lips, a nervous gesture, and heat blossomed in his belly when Castiel's eyes, blue like melted ice, tracked the movement with an attentiveness that left Dean breathless.

Dean's mouth parted and he moved another inch forward, but the sound of a cough coming from behind him made the breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding whoosh out of his mouth and he quickly leaned back.

Sam was rubbing his bleary eyes, staring at the two of them like they were aliens.

"Um, guys?"

Dean followed his line of sight and realized that his and Castiel's hands were still firmly clasped.

"It was cold!" Dean blurted out, snatching his hands away.

He didn't look at Cas.

"Uh-huh," Sam said, suspiciously. He turned his head and looked out of the window, and his eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Why are we still here?" He asked. "Is there something wrong with the car?"

Dean shot a startled glance at the dashboard, stunned that he'd forgotten.

"Just making sure she was properly warmed up," he said with forced casualty. He put the Impala in gear, nodded approvingly at the sounds his baby was making, and pulled out onto the road.

"There a motel around here, Sammy?" Dean felt exhausted to the bone.

A pause, and then, "Um, in Souris, next town over, towards the east."

Dean nodded absently, too overwrought to take the proper jabs at Sam for knowing that off the top of his head.

He glanced at Castiel from the corner of his eye and saw that he was turned away, half his body facing the door as if he desperately wanted to fling it open and fly away, and something inside Dean tightened painfully.

Maybe it was the way Castiel's back stood ramrod straight, like it'd been pinned to a board. Or perhaps it was the way Dean's stomach quivered, harsh and wild, like he'd eaten canned meat way past its expiration date. Or, perhaps, it could have been how empty his hand felt, skin uncomfortably taut across his meat and bones and tingling from it, not to mention icy cold despite the fact that the heater was up and running perfectly fine.

Whatever it was, Dean found himself moving, hand snaking across the distance between them and fingers gripping tight around Castiel's hand like it had been missed.

Dean watched just long enough to catch Castiel's eyes widen, and then he was looking forward again, gaze focused on the never-ending stretch of white and grey road.

He looked up and caught Sam's jaw-slacked expression in the mirror and glared at him, daring him to say something. Sam must have gotten the memo because his gaping mouth snapped shut and he looked away, mouth twitching suspiciously at the corners.

"So. Souris, huh?" Dean said gruffly.

"Yes, Dean." Castiel answered. The smile in his voice sent a shiver down Dean's spine.

Their fingers interlaced and it was awkward and a bit terrifying and didn't make a lick of goddamned sense, but the rightness of it, like two puzzle pieces slotting perfectly together, is what kept Dean hanging on long after the chill had been chased from his hands.

When they reached Souris, Dean unlaced their fingers and used both his hands to turn off the car. He stepped out into the motel's parking lot, chill immediately settling deep beneath his skin.

With a shaky breath he waited for Castiel to get out of the car and then walked slowly around the hood.

Castiel watched him come, head slightly tilted, eyes wide and warm. He held out his hand in invitation, and Dean took it.


Ending Notes: I know absolutely nothing about cars, or whether or not the Impala needs to be warmed up or not. I just needed a reason to keep them in the car for a bit. Yeah, that's right—I'm playing the artistic license card. On that note, feel free to point out other inaccuracies I might have made if you're feeling keen. I really don't know a thing about vehicles.

As always, reviews are more than welcome. Hope you enjoyed this!