Fic: "Carry On Up This Broken Tide: Chapter Nine" [NC-17, Dean/Cas]

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Aug. 12th, 2011 | 08:52 pm

TITLE: “Carry On Up This Broken Tide: Chapter Nine”
AUTHOR: [ profile] nanoochka
ARTIST: [ profile] daggomus_prime
PAIRINGS: Dean/Castiel, mentions of Dean/Lisa and Sam/Jess
WARNINGS: AU, depictions of psychological illness (ie. nervous breakdowns, anxiety), dubcon, mild D/s themes, infidelity, mentions of drug use and past drug abuse.

Carry On Up This Broken Tide by [ profile] nanoochka


     For a couple of weeks following the fight we’d had after our trip to Chicago with Ben, Cas and I didn’t talk at all. Not a damn word. I begged my boss, Craig, not to send me on any business trips to Indianapolis, scared shitless I would break down and show up on Castiel’s doorstep like I did after that first weekend, as helpless to him now as I was on Day freaking One. It’s not that I avoided him because I was still angry (though I was), but because I knew Cas was right about everything. Whether or not my own accusations held any merit was unimportant; Cas wasn’t the one destroying our relationship from the inside out with lies and secrecy. No matter how much of a little bitch he acted like—and yeah, I didn’t have such hearts in my eyes that I couldn’t see Cas definitely had the capacity to be one sometimes—I couldn’t help but feel all our problems came back to the elephant in the room only I was aware of. The knowledge he wanted to live together rocked me to my foundations. No one had ever asked me that before, and it made me realize we couldn’t keep moving forward if I kept on as I’d been doing.

     Cas, on the other hand… he was beautiful. Golden. Blameless. On the drive home after that fight, it hit me he intended some pretty powerful subtext along with his invitation to move in: namely, he was prepared to come out to his family for me. Since the Novaks had more money than God, there was no conceivable reason for Cas to share a living space with someone who wasn’t a partner. A lover. His family would have done the math eventually, and saying he wanted me there anyway was Cas’s way of saying he was willing to take the plunge, damn the consequences.

     And I fucked it up.

     If it’s any consolation, for those two weeks I was nothing but miserable. Couldn’t sleep, could barely eat, dodged the concerned questions of friends and family who could tell something was wrong. I’m sure Lisa thought I’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness, if the looks she kept shooting me across the dinner table and the constant inquiries about how I was feeling were anything to go by. In a sense, I was ill; heartsick, even. Not only did it nauseate me to think where things stood with my lover, I was sick with knowing what I had to do, the extent to which I’d started to seriously hate my own existence. I wanted to talk to my brother like crazy, tell him everything, but I was a coward and didn’t know where to start. Sam, having lost Jessica not so long ago, would struggle to understand. I wanted to talk to Lisa even more, but couldn’t do that, either. In other words, I was fucked.

     The one person I did end up talking to was a divorce lawyer. Drastic, I know. I could have gone to Indianapolis, found some high-powered terrier to talk me up about how easy it would be to dissolve my marriage, but I realized I needed the advice of someone closer to home, someone who knew who I was and, more importantly, knew Lisa and my family. What I needed was compassion and familiarity with my situation, sympathy to the fact that I didn’t want money or a generous settlement, that I was willing to pay any amount in alimony or child support to ensure Ben and Lisa were well provided for.

     I didn’t want to be an asshole, but neither did I want to embody the cliché of the married man who never ends up making a change. I always feel sorry for those poor bastards as much as their spouses, because no matter how hard they try to pretend everything’s shiny, you always know how unhappy everyone is. Lisa would be better off free of me than tangled up in that kind of mess for the rest of her life; at least she could finally find someone who could give her a proper life, and Ben wouldn’t have to watch his parents grow to hate each other. And me? My expectations for myself were pretty low. I just wanted to own up to the life I really wanted, along with doing away with the bullshit charade that I was anything but a gay man and in love with someone incredible. Even if that was someone I probably didn’t deserve.

     “Not to alarm you,” the lawyer had said, “but a lot of men in your position make it to the very point you’re at now, and no further. Perhaps a smaller percentage seek to dissolve their marriage due to a sexuality crisis, but in essence, the problem remains the same: the marriage is no longer feasible. I suggest, therefore, that you sit down and have a conversation with your family first, and call me back once you’re ready to proceed from there. Divorce doesn’t have to be a nasty set of affairs, but it has to start somewhere. I don’t think you want Lisa to learn of your intentions through a phone call from my office.”

     Obviously, that was sound advice. But I knew I wasn’t ready for that yet, not before I had a chance to talk to Cas and tell him everything first. Maybe it was selfish of me to want a soft landing and assurances he’d still be around—I’m sure some people would have said it was closer to an air-to-air transfer than a soft landing, but that was unintentional on my part. Whatever the case, I didn’t think I had it in me to make the leap without knowing Cas would be there at the end of it all. Startling though it was, I realized I could envision my life without Lisa without much difficulty, whereas the thought of losing Cas practically sent me into fits of anxiety. I got the same way when I thought about not having Ben or Sam around, which I suppose was my brain’s way of letting me know what was most important to me. Quite frankly, I realized I’d rather die than lose what I had, though a part of me knew it might already be too late.

     I couldn’t not try, though. The week Ben went off to summer camp and Lisa allowed herself to spend a bit more time at the yoga studio, teaching extra classes and giving her business a little TLC (she didn’t say anything, but I think she needed a break from the tension between us, too), I threw back a few beers and picked up the phone. When my hand stopped shaking enough, I dialled the Indianapolis area code.

     To my surprise, Cas picked up right away, his voice guarded but with an undertone of relief which, to me, sounded clear as a bell. The conversation itself was simple enough: I told Cas how much I’d missed him, how badly I wanted to apologize in person. I guess it’s a testament to how much he wanted to make things right between us, too, that it took almost no convincing to get him to agree to drive to Cicero. After all, our fight hadn’t erased his desire to see the side of my life he felt had been denied him. For my part, I was through denying him anything.

     We made plans for him to visit a couple of days after that. I had the day off work, and knew it’d be no trouble for Cas to get the time off as well; since he said he’d drive up in the morning, there was no chance of Lisa being around. Although it made me feel like scum to consider it—even more like scum, I mean—I would need no more than twenty minutes or so to hide away the wedding photos and anything that might point towards me still being married, including odds and ends of Lisa’s left around the house. For whatever reason, I decided to call the master bedroom off-limits; some belated attempt, maybe, to respect my wife’s place in our home, even as I was planning to bring my lover onto Lisa’s own turf.

     Like I said, I couldn’t keep this up much longer. The lies had to stop that day.

     In one way or another, they did.

     Right on time, Cas pulled up in front of the house driving the sleek Audi convertible I often liked to razz him about, though secretly I thought it was a pretty sexy car. Kind of like its owner. I could see the small smile he wore from the minute I opened the front door to him as he came up the walk, looking incredible even in jeans and a thin, grey sweater. He must have seen the longing on my face; the first thing Cas did when I closed the front door behind him was throw himself into my embrace, face buried in my neck and muttering about how shitty he’d felt since our fight. Having his body there against mine felt so right my knees almost buckled, and while I managed not to fall to the floor in a heap, I did have to collapse back against the wall as I held him and muttered my own apologies into his hair, breathing in the scent of him like a man deprived of oxygen. When he kissed me, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to let him go, and for once didn’t stop to think about how the hell I’d turned into such a sap. Like everything else, it didn’t seem to matter if it meant hanging on to what was here in my arms.

     “I shouldn’t have pushed you,” Cas told me, sounding frustrated and angry with himself. I wondered if he’d been beating himself up the whole time we weren’t talking to each other, the same way I’d been doing, albeit for completely opposite reasons. “I got this idea in my head about us living together,” he said miserably, “and didn’t stop to think about the reality. Ben is your priority; I can’t—and don’t—want to force you to disrupt your son’s life because I’m impatient and greedy.”

     Unable to keep from smiling, I kissed his forehead. “I like that you’re impatient and greedy,” I told him. “Trust me, Cas, you’re not the one in the wrong here. I just didn’t know how to deal with what you were offering. Fuck, at first I didn’t even realize exactly what that was.”

     Cas pulled back to look at me, eyes hilariously narrowed like he didn’t quite trust me to have correctly translated his vagueness. Oh, how little faith he had in my awesome powers of deduction. “And just what was I offering?” he asked.

     With a shrug, I said, “Same thing I wanna offer you, baby: no more hiding, not from anyone. I’m so sick of only letting people see half of me or less because of what they might think. Fuck that. If anything, you make me way more respectable by association—there’s a reason they call you my ‘better half’, right?”

     If I can be really corny here for a second, that’s honestly how I felt—feel—about Cas: he’s the better side of me. Like Plato talked about in that book about love, we’re two parts of a whole. Without him, I was hardly better than a dumb hick fuck-up and a pretty significant source of disappointment to myself and the people around me. That I found Cas at all was a miracle, and one for the fucking books, at that. You could give me a million years to try and catch up, and I’d never be the kind of person Cas was back then. But being around him… it made me feel like I could at least try, right? Now I knew what I was reaching for, I had something to aspire to, and more importantly, someone who acted as if he didn’t care if I ever changed. The way Cas treated me, like he loved me just the way I was, made me want to be better for him.

     Who the hell ever gets that lucky, huh? I was freaking honoured, every day of my life, that Cas could let someone like me near him; and not just near him—inside him. I don’t mean that in a dirty way... but obviously that, too (I can picture his eye-roll now). For some reason, Cas actually loved me, and if that thought never ceased to amaze me, it’d be too fucking soon. More than that, he somehow seemed to understand everything about me without my ever having to say it out loud. I might have ruined Lisa’s life, which I was genuinely sorry for and still hoped to fix, but Cas was my chance to do it right. And I really, really wanted to do right by him. Maybe then I could start doing right by myself and everyone else, too.

     Lofty fucking ideas, I know, but that’s the kind of guy Cas was. He had a knack for getting me to let myself think big just by loving him. He had a knack for making me want to love myself while I was at it, impossible though it sometimes seemed.

     I must have been silent a really long time, judging by the way Cas was staring at me. He looked pretty confused, but there was something like amazement in his eyes that made me think the expression on my face wasn’t much different. I said, “What?”

     Though he watched me a while longer, Cas eventually chuckled and shook his head. “I never know what to do when you look at me like that,” he said.

     “Like what?”

     His slow head-tilt made me squeeze him tighter as he said, “Like you’re trying to figure something out, and can’t.” He hesitated, and I could feel tension creep into his posture. “It makes me wonder whether it’s me you’re unsure about.”

     I sharply inhaled. “Jesus Christ, no,” I told him, pushing him back to arm’s length so I could look right at him, into those eyes that didn’t seem to know whether to look rueful or wary. “Listen to me,” I said, and gripped his shoulders tight. “I love you, Cas, okay? More than I’ve ever loved anyone I’m not related to, and sometimes even more than my brother, which you’d understand if you knew him.” At that, his lips quirked, and got me thinking that maybe it was time to think about introducing him and Sammy. “I don’t ever want you to doubt that, because I’m in this for the long haul. As long as you’ll have me. That’s the only thing I sometimes wonder about, that you’re gonna wake up one day and realize you’re too good for my shit. Losing you is just about the scariest thing I can think of, right up there with something happening to Ben or my kid brother.”

     “You deserve good things, Dean,” Cas said, brow furrowed. His hands came up to touch my face, one tracing my cheekbone and the other crawling through my hair the way he knew I liked, as much as I liked having his hands anywhere on me. After two weeks apart, the touch made me shiver; from his smile, I think he noticed. “And you won’t lose me. I’m not going anywhere.”

     Would Castiel still say that when he knew the whole truth? I didn’t know, but it was time to stop being a spineless asshole and start trusting him like I did with everything else. Unable to resist any longer, I leaned in and kissed him so hard it made my lips tingle, his mouth opening around a gasp while his whole body sagged against mine. Almost immediately, I felt his tongue flicker out and dart into my mouth, trying to deepen the kiss. But no—it had to be now.

     “There’s some stuff I gotta talk to you about,” I murmured, breaking away slightly. “It’s important.”

     “It can wait, God damn it,” Cas growled, and then he was pressing me back into the wall, his hands going for my belt as if drawn there by magnetic traction. “Two fucking weeks, Dean,” he hissed, and my eyes rolled back at the first determined stroke of his fingers against my crotch. He gave this laugh that was low and dirty and made my cock leap in my jeans, which he started to massage with the kind of expert touch that only comes from shitloads of sex with the same person. My eyes slitted open. He didn’t have to look so goddamned gleeful about it. “Whatever it is, it can wait until after I fuck you senseless, Dean.”

     Christ, that voice. I shuddered again when he worked open my jeans and slid his hand inside. Meanwhile, his mouth slammed back against mine with a thousand times more force than a minute ago, and just like that, all thought of waiting to fuck until after I told him about Lisa flew out the window. So much for willpower. By then I was so hard, having barely touched myself for two weeks, that the lightest brush of fingers made me moan and clutch him to me, sliding my own hands down the back of his old, faded jeans, the ones so worn and soft they clung to his ass like jogging-pant material. Cas let me grind us together just for a moment, tongue-fucking my mouth until we were both breathless, and then he pulled away.

     “Bed,” he ordered. To say I all but fell over myself to usher us into the guest room is a severe fucking understatement.

     After that, I think we were both too desperate and impatient to worry about gentleness or finesse or, hell—anything resembling foreplay or condoms or lube. We rolled around on that bed until our clothes were gone and I was panting and cursing at the slide of his skin against mine, the way he manhandled me just how he wanted despite being the smaller guy. I fucking loved it when Cas got all toppy and aggressive like that, bossy and demanding and fully aware I’d do anything he could ever want, up to and including tying me down six ways from Sunday or fucking me dry. This wasn’t the time or place for the first, and luckily he’d never expressed an interest in the latter, but let’s just say I’m lucky if two whole seconds passed between him rolling me on top of him and spitting into his hand, and me taking that hard, slicked-up dick of his and sticking it inside me, so fast it gave me a head rush. It hurt a bit, no lie, because it’d been at least three weeks since I had anything up me bigger than a finger, but one look at Cas all slack-jawed and dumb with pleasure made my stomach flip and the familiar burn start to tingle in a way that was decidedly not painful.

     That was my favourite moment of all, the point at which pain became pleasure—not just because of how it felt, but because Cas always seemed to know just when the change happened, when he could pull me down to him for a sloppy kiss and start rocking into me like there was something he wanted to touch deep in my chest, hidden back behind my ribs. He made it so good, angles memorized more diligently than a champion pool player, aiming to brush against that place that made me arch my back and moan and moan and moan, voice rough and breaking and threading between the wet sounds of my ass slapping into his pelvis. Cas’s palm found my hip, guiding, and I felt the fingers of his other hand catching my hair as we fucked together and the room started to lurch like a tilt-a-whirl ride.

     “You’ll never lose me,” Cas whispered in my ear, breath juddering. “You’re mine, Dean. I love you.” I’d heard him say those words so many times before, but it’s as though they re-opened a splintering dam inside I couldn’t and didn’t want to stopper back up again.

     “I love you, I love you,” I echoed, telling him the same thing over and over like I never wanted him to forget it. It didn’t matter if it was an easy thing to say during sex; I knew he knew how hard I meant it, how I could feel my love for him down to the marrow.

     Then, next thing I knew, Lisa was screaming at us from the bedroom door and everything became a blur. I couldn’t say what happened after that if I tried, not even for a fucking police statement, except that sometime between Lisa finding us and me and Cas separating at a speed that could have made my eyes cross, I know Cas’s heart broke and never really healed properly. Somewhere in the confusion of Lisa crying and me crying and Cas looking so stony-faced I wanted to vomit, he had his clothes back on and was out the door. He slipped through my fingers before I could beg him not to.

     One thing I do remember is how relieved I felt; it swept over me like a wave, hard enough to steal the breath right out of my lungs. What quickly followed was the realization I was a lot more worried for Cas than myself or even Lisa. Either way, I was too late to stop him, and the rest is history.

     Do I feel relief that Sam walked in and discovered us pretty much the same way? Funny that Cas and I didn’t learn our lesson the first time around. But I don’t know. Kind of, just from knowing I could put a stop to all the lies and betrayal and sneaking around. I’m sure even murderers must feel a certain sense of relief when they’re caught. Not that I’ve ever murdered anyone, or that lying to my brother or loving Cas is remotely on par. Bad analogy. Either way, I’ve wanted to be free of the bullshit ever since coming to Cardiff, and for one reason or another it kept getting put off until the situation was barely any different than the one I’d left behind.

     I know there’ll be plenty of explaining to do to Sammy when I manage to get him in the same room without him freaking out. In fact, for once my concern about what he’ll say—what he thinks—far exceeds my mortification that he saw my junk in action, not to mention more of Cas than my typical, jealous male brain can allow without getting inappropriately possessive. Relieved or not, I know things are bad here. They were rocky when Sam found out I’d been lying to him about my affair for a whole year, and then, after I went and promised him not to lie to his face again, he found out I’d never, in actual fact, stopped. Maybe that wasn’t my intention, but given the speed with which Sam hauled ass out of Castiel’s house, I’m guessing he’s not thinking too much about the ‘what if’s’ right now. I can only hope his first stop wasn’t a liquor store or, worse, a knowing look exchanged with the bartender down at the Shanty on Chesterfield Ave., who I’m pretty sure deals prescription meds—or worse—on the side. The thought is almost more than I can entertain right now.

     If it can be said, the only good part is Cas chose to stick around this time. After Sam ran off, a few minutes went by where neither of us did anything, too paralyzed with shock to move. Then I crawled to the edge of the mattress to sit there with my head in my hands. A little while after that, Cas joined me. He looks the same as I feel—disbelieving and mortified and ashamed—but it gives me a small measure of comfort he hasn’t tried to leave, too, or kick me out. Instead he sits there next to me, body pressed along the length of mine, and he’s quiet for a real long time before a sigh bubbles up from deep within his chest.

     “Fuck,” I say.

     “Fuck,” he agrees. There doesn’t seem to be a better way to put it.

     Truth is, I was surprised when Cas called me this morning, same way I was surprised when he turned up at the house yesterday in the middle of me telling Sam I’m gay. Considering how Cas and I left things last time, I didn’t expect to hear from him again except for the rudimentary ‘fuck you’ we all knew was coming; he was so mad at me for wanting to disrupt whatever arrangement we had going, I was barely hopeful I’d get even that. But instead, Cas, ever full of contradictions, turned out to be the guy who had my back, sticking up for me in a remarkably unselfish way that made perfect sense at the time he was saying it, but flabbergasted the fuck out of me all the same. Weirder still, he stood there and let me hold his hand the whole time Sam accused us of going behind his back, squeezing against my fingers every time he felt me starting to lose my nerve. He had to know how much harder I fell for him at that moment, man. Bad enough he was already the love of my life, he had to go and be my hero, too.

     So when he called, I came, and remembered the time he came to find me in Cicero. For all intents and purposes, that was one hell of a perfect day, before Lisa caught us doing the dirty deed and it all went tits up. In the present, though, I don’t think either of us said a damn word when I turned up at his door all sweaty and hot from my run; he just pulled me inside and kissed away anything it wouldn’t have occurred to me to say, anyhow. Clothes, few of them though there were, came off between the front door and the bedroom, and then it was all naked skin and joy.

     There was a bit more foreplay this time, me sucking Cas so deep into my mouth I wanted to smile at the noisy gasp he made, head tipping back against the mattress as he tried to rein in the bucking of his hips. His hands were tight in my hair, but just to hold on, not to control, and I made him come like that, taking my time and making him writhe around like live wire. I still didn’t know whether we were at a place where I could go further without Cas getting uptight about it—the rules on this thing kept changing—and I considered bringing myself off with my hand until he drew me closer for a long kiss.

     “Please fuck me,” he’d murmured quietly, and he kept locking eyes with me and letting his gaze flit away like he was embarrassed. The words made me go quiet, confused, but of course I didn’t say no.

     The only struggle was when he wriggled onto his stomach when I would have preferred him on his back, looking up at me. In the end, we settled on a kind of compromise; as I slowed my thrusts into him, I twisted Cas around so his torso was mostly turned towards me, kind of half on his side and half on his front, and by then I could tell he was too far gone to argue or resist holding eye contact, in fact clutching his hand in my hair again so I couldn’t look away. So goddamn beautiful, when he let me see his pleasure and the need in his eyes, and though it’d been months since I’d seen him like that, I shuddered at the familiar way it made my stomach drop and my chest clench tight. When Sam broke in on us, I couldn’t say whether I was more upset to have that connection ruined, or my orgasm swept up from under my feet.

     Lost again in that moment, which seems a million years ago now, I miss part of what Cas is saying to me, his voice low and worried close to my hear. “Huh?” I ask, and flush guiltily when he gives me a pissy look. “Sorry, man, thirty seconds ago I was inside you. Give me a minute.”

     Cas sighs. “You need to focus, Dean.”

     Trying hard not to roll my eyes, I say, “Thanks, Cas, but unless you can tell me what part of this I should be focusing on, no deal. I’m pretty sure we’re fucked either way.”

     He levels me with a stare. “I lied to your brother point-blank over the phone this morning.”

     “I know. I was there.”

     His expression pinches. “I wish I hadn’t done that.”

     Deciding to risk it, I reach out and take Cas’s hand, which he allows, to my continuing shock. I hide it pretty well. “Trust me, Cas, right now Sam is busy calculating exactly how long we’ve both been lying to cover this up. He’s thinking of all the possible opportunities we could have had to sneak around under his nose, and wondering how the hell he didn’t see it. One more lie you told him over the phone ain’t gonna be much more than a drop in the bucket at this stage.”

     “You seem awfully sure of that.”

     Well, I am. Kind of. “I know how my brother thinks. Hell, I don’t think much differently myself.”

     I want to add that I went through this exact process when I figured it out about Sam’s year making friends with Colombian snow, putting all the pieces together in painful hindsight. By the same token, I know Sam won’t let his righteous indignation run away on him before he realizes the similarities between our two predicaments, the Fessenden tendency to lie to each other as much as ourselves about the stuff that’s staring us in the eyes. We think it’s because we’re protecting each other, when really we’re just trying to pretend we aren’t trying to cover our own asses.

     But I know Cas doesn’t know about that slice of Sam’s past, so I don’t mention it, though I know he could use some reassurance right about now. Sam is an honest guy when it comes to taking stock of his own faults and failures, which Cas knows. It’ll have to be enough. Not that I’m thinking about how I can use this as a bargaining chip to take the focus off what we’ve done, or use it to excuse my own behaviour; we aren’t that kind of family. Instead I know it’ll be relatively easy to skip the blame game portion of today’s events and get right at what’s really bothering Sam, the lies he’ll see as symptomatic of something bigger.

     Namely, that Cas and I are going to fuck off and leave him alone. Sure, it’s an awfully co-dependent way to think, but that’s the kind of childhood we had, waiting for one person after another to leave until there was no one left. Anyone would have abandonment issues with that kind of background. I can’t sit here and say the same fears haven’t occurred to me from time to time over the years, especially after Sam went off to school and got himself a new life. Having Lisa and Ben helped with that for a long time, and then Cas. But I’d seen for myself how fast it could all be taken away.

     “What are you thinking?” Cas asks me. Guess I let the silence stretch out too long again.

     I shrug. “Sam’s gonna be hurt and pissed and probably inclined to say some not-so-nice things to both of us,” I answer. “Totally deserved, yeah. But if I know that kid, mostly he’s going to push and push until one of us announces the bad news.”

     “Which is?”

     “That we’re gonna leave him here by himself.”

     “How do you know?”

     I release Cas’s hand and get off the bed, looking down at him for a moment where he seems small and taut with worry. “Because it’s what I would do. To him the fact that we lied about all this only means we were trying to put off the inevitability of telling him.”

     Cas wrinkles his nose, but pauses. Slowly, he says, “But that’s not why. The lie was because I thought he might want me to leave—”

     “—when he found out,” I finish for him. “I know.” Swallowing, I quietly add, “He’s a bright kid, but he obviously don’t see it that way. It’s the same reason I never told you ‘bout Lisa. Same reason we were both afraid of coming out to our families. The people who fuck up are rarely the ones who leave by choice.”

     Cas meets my eyes and doesn’t say anything. From that look alone, I know he doesn’t agree, but for once I don’t stop and think maybe he’s right and I’m wrong. Not that Cas is a hypocrite, but sometimes he holds his own actions in such a different light from everything else, he genuinely believes the forces that govern other people’s decisions don’t touch him. In this case, it’s fear, and I know in Cas’s head his fear of telling Sam about us is different from me not telling him about Lisa in a million ways.

     Sure enough, he says, “It’s not quite the same.”

     I grunt. “Yeah, it is. But we aren’t here to argue about that; we’re here to figure out what the hell to do next.” Silently, I promise myself the next step is making sure Sam doesn’t do anything stupid. It’s hard not to run after him right this second, but when he finished rehab and I spent a few months hovering over him like a suspicious prison warden, he made me promise to try and trust him to keep working the steps, keep himself from falling off the wagon. I do trust him, but then again we haven’t exactly had something this fucked-up to deal with since he finished his twenty-eight days in this very institution.

     Since there seems no end to the surprises this morning, Cas makes a weak attempt at a joke. “I don’t suppose we could brainwash him so he forgets this ever happened?”

     “Be my guest,” I reply, snorting. “I’m sure Sam would be just as happy to forget he ever laid eyes on us fucking.” He just smiles weakly at that, and my heart breaks a little to see how afraid Cas still looks, his whole body drawn up tight even though he’s doing his best to remain seated normally on the bed. It hasn’t been my place for a while, but I think back to how he was there for me yesterday at the house, standing by my side and letting our skin touch in constant reminder of his presence. All of a sudden, my mind’s decided for me: I don’t give a fuck what happened between us and how we’re supposed to act now. It’s clear what I have to do.

     Offering a smile, I reach out and pull him against me, turning gently so I’m pressing him back against the bed, crawling on top so he can’t escape. “Hey,” I tell him gently, “it’ll be okay. It’s a mess now, but things will work out.”

     Cas glares at my placating tone, and it’s like his own deepens in response just to prove his point. “Okay for whom?”

     “Don’t pull that James Earl Jones shit with me,” I warn him. “I know you scream like a girl around centipedes or when I do that thing you like with my tongue.” Ignoring his scowl, I reach up and stroke his hair, amazed by how non-combative he’s being even though I don’t know what it means. Unlike most people, I lack the instinct to respond to the unknown with uncertainty or fear; instead it makes me brave and stupid. “We’ll go talk to Sam, and we’ll explain why we didn’t tell him the truth, which I think is pretty straightforward. He’ll come around eventually, you’ll see. We were too surprised at findin’ each other here to do anything about it right away, especially since we both knew it would have meant one of us packing up and leaving. And he wouldn’t have wanted that, not any more than us.”

     Eyes remarkably steady, Cas looks up at me and takes his time answering, mulling the thought over in his head despite the muscle I can see jumping in his cheek with all the intensity of a wild bird trying to escape a cage. “And what of us now?”

     “Now…” I trail off and find myself thinking about that quaint little fantasy Sam managed to get us all in on, the idea of the three of us living together under one roof as friends and family; Christ, Cas let himself fall for it, too, formulating ideas about that little surf shop on the beach, putting out tentative feelers in the hopes they might someday become roots. The most uncertain one out of all of us was me, since I’ve obviously got my kid back in Indiana, but as I told Sam, that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to make the California dream work, too. I still want it, as much as I want the guy lying in my arms. It’s been a rough road to get to this point, but for the first time in a long time, I think we’re finally getting back on track, back to where we’re supposed to be.

     I lean in and kiss Castiel slowly, starting soft and hesitant but getting deeper when he opens his mouth to me and lets our tongues flicker and touch. He moans in the back of his throat, a quiet sound that makes my cock twitch against his thigh, and from the answering jerk of his hips I know he’s been on the knife’s edge of arousal since we were interrupted, no different than me. It can be so hard, knowing what’s going through his mind, but in the absence of everything else I know I can always trust this, the electricity sparking hot and violent between us when we so much as look at each other.

     Although absolutely nothing has changed about our surroundings from an hour ago, the whole act of pushing my body up against his, shifting until our cocks can rub together, feels completely different. I try to put a finger on what it could be, when the thought occurs to me I no longer have something to hide or act like I’m ashamed of, because the secret’s out and there’s no taking it back. For the first time, I’m kissing Cas as a free man, and there’s not a damned thing anyone can do to stop it.

     “Sam doesn’t have to worry about one of us leaving, baby,” I murmur against Cas’s mouth, then turn my face so I can bite into the hard bone of his jaw. “It might take some time for him to trust us again, and I know that, but if he’s worried about us going somewhere… we don’t have to. We can just stay here and things will be just like this.”

     I take one of my hands and reach between us to wrap around Cas’s dick, and his legs open for me in a lazy sprawl so I can get the perfect angle to start stroking him, long, easy movements that make him pant and buck, my fingers tightening beneath the head of his cock on each upstroke. He keens unintelligibly.

     “No more hiding, Cas,” I whisper in his ear. “It’ll be perfect—what we’ve always wanted. We can be together and not give a fuck who knows or who sees. I love you, man, and I’m not letting you go again.”

     To my horror, Cas goes totally stiff beneath me and stays frozen for a second, then he thinks better of it and pushes against my chest. It’s not gentle, and as if to prove the point further his dick starts to soften in my hand. “Get off,” he says, voice tight, and keeps shoving at me with increasing force until I let him go completely and back away.


     “Fuck you, Dean,” he spits, and the vehemence of the words manages to startle me good, even if the sentiment is nothing new. Whatever anxiety was there before is gone, replaced by sheer fury, and what to me looks like deep woundedness. My throat clenches at the sight, and I start to wonder whether the softness I saw in him earlier was a complete mirage, or the product of wishful thinking. Cas seems to believe so.

     “Nothing about this is perfect,” he grates out, sliding off the bed so he can start collecting clothing. I want to beg him to stop but my legs won’t move, watching a scene I’ve seen before and still don’t know how to stop from playing out. “We can’t be together because I still give a fuck, okay? This—” and he gestures between us with sharp movements of his hands, “—is not what I always wanted. In fact, it’s about a million times worse, because at least before I knew my best friend didn’t hate my guts. But what else is new? History really has repeated itself, because once again, you fuck up, and I’m the one who loses everything.”

     “You’re not the only one who’s lost everything,” I shoot back, even as Cas is up and grabbing his pants, moving to storm out of the bedroom. “And I’m not the only one who’s fucked up around here these past few weeks, either,” I shout after him as the door slams behind him, leaving me alone with my cheeks flaming and my stomach hanging out somewhere in the vicinity of my knees while the rest of my organs try to force their way up into my throat. Another drive-by argument brought to you by Castiel Novak.

     For a while I continue to sit there, apprehensive of what I’ll face when I finally emerge from the bedroom, though I know Cas is probably no less afraid of having to look at me. I used to think he became so adept at running away mid-argument because he loved me, and was just scared I might say something true or hurtful that he was powerless to rebuke, like, I’m leaving, or, I don’t love you anymore. He never realized I probably spent a fair bit of time terrified of hearing the same things from him, because a part of being in love is caring, more than you’ve ever cared about anything, what that other person thinks of you, and the possibility they might not always be around.

     But now, I’m not so sure. Cas sure doesn’t seem too worried about my leaving; in fact, he seems hell-bent on proving that’s what he’s wanted since the second I showed up in Cardiff. He might have slammed the first door in my face, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find him holding the next one open for me on the other side, ready to lock it behind me after I’m gone.

     Miraculously—or maybe not so much—I don’t have to confront Cas on my way out of the house, because he’s already gone. I doubt he’s gone very far, but the message is pretty clear he doesn’t want me going after him or trying to resolve what we left unfinished in the bedroom. For once, I’m not much inclined to try. Just how many damn people am I supposed to chase down this morning, huh? I gotta say, though, this is the first time I never felt inclined to go after him with a million apologies at the ready. This is a fact that hits me with all the subtlety of a sack of bricks. As I was sitting in that bedroom, I felt a million miles further away from Cas than ever before, not even when I thought I would never see him again.

     Although I think it’s still too soon to attempt going back to the house to find Sam, because knowing him he won’t be ready to look at me, I also know there’s a reasonable chance he’ll have escaped to the beach. Or at least I’d rather he be out blowing off some steam in the surf than the alternative; still don’t wanna think about it. Sam is a get-out-and-find-something-to-take-your-mind-off-it kind of guy, rather than the type to sit around and brood, and I suspect he does a lot of his best thinking out on the waves. I wouldn’t mind it so much right now, either, but to be honest I don’t feel drawn to the ocean the same way Sam and Cas do. I like being in the water, but I kind of prefer to feel my own two feet on solid land beneath me, especially when it feels like everything else is falling away. So, home it is. I can’t really think of where else to go.

     Except that, when I trudge home and walk into the living room, I can’t bring myself to sit my ass down on the couch and count down the minutes until Sam comes home. Little too close to counting down to the executioner’s axe, if you ask me. Part of me wants to pick up the phone and call Cas to demand he be here—no fucking way is he off the hook on account of his beef with me—but I’d also kind of prefer to gouge my own eye out with a toothpick. Whether that’s anger or embarrassment talking don’t matter... I just won’t do it. But hanging around with a finger up my ass ain’t much my style, either, so I recruit Callie, who’s been pretty much ignored all morning, poor girl, and decide to go spend some quality time with the other love of my life, the one who never talks back or kicks my ass to the curb.

     Being in Cardiff, where everything is just about within walking distance, I haven’t given the Impala the kind of love she deserves lately. She’s not particularly dirty, just a little dusty from sitting in the driveway all these weeks, but a little soap and water never hurt anyone, especially not with all the care I’ve put into her detailing. Besides, pampering my baby always manages to take my mind off everything from indigestion to the colossal fucking mess my life has recently become. Cas used to make fun of me for how much I babied my car, but I didn’t give a shit then and I don’t give a shit now. Sam’s not the only one who uses escapism and diversion as a means of getting his shit sorted out, and this is better than the way I used to handle stuff, which was to throw myself into as much sex and alcohol and women—I was young and stupid and in denial, okay?—as I could get my hands on. While sex and alcohol doesn’t seem like such a bad deal right about now, part of the problem is all I want is to fuck and drink and spend time with Cas.

     I go wash the fucking car.

     It’s a nice enough day out, if a bit windy, and within minutes of filling a bucket with water and soap and going to work on the hood, I’m starting to sweat. I strip off my shirt, as much to stay cool as avoid soaking myself through with the hose. I can already feel it working, the tension draining out of me, bringing me to that quiet place where I can think about where I am and what I have to do without feeling suffocated. Fuck meditation: give me a sponge and some quality Chevy time and I’m calmer than a Hindu cow. Well, almost.

     I’m maybe halfway through scrubbing the hubcaps when Callie gets excited and starts running around with the goofiest of expressions on her face. I peer around the end of the car and see my brother’s mile-long silhouette loping up the street with his surfboard tucked protectively under one arm, features blocked out by the sun and the angle from which he’s approaching. I stop what I’m doing and get to my feet, balling up the rag in my hands and tossing it into the bucket so he can see I’m open and—what? Unarmed? If Sam wanted to end me he could just clunk me with the surfboard and that’d probably be it. I know he won’t, despite the fact that we’ve exchanged our share of punches over the years, but hopefully he’ll get the picture I’m ready for whatever he wants to dish out.

     Instead he just comes up and stares at me for about a minute before he scritches one hand behind Callie’s ears and disappears inside the house with her in tow, not even a word spoken. What the hell? When he doesn’t come back out again in the next few minutes, I try to throw off my growing sense of unease and go back to washing the car. Then I hear his voice from the front door.


     I’m back on my feet again in less than a second, shoulders tight with anticipation. “Yeah?”

     “Can you come in here a sec?”

     Swallowing, I nod; makes sense he’d want to do this inside where none of the neighbours can hear, or better yet let word get out about Sam Campbell fighting publicly with family and disrupting the peace. Back into the bucket goes the washrag. “Yeah. Okay, Sammy,” I tell him. “Be right in.” He’s gone again before I even finish my sentence. That’s also a bit weird, but I suppose the guy is upset enough that I can cut him some slack, and mostly I’m just relieved to see him steady on his feet and showing no signs of intoxication. Of any kind.

     Inside, I find Sam huddled on the living room sofa with his head almost between his knees, while Callie, picking up on his distress, prances around nervously and shoots us both worried looks. Normally one of us would be trying to soothe her, bartering for calm with comforting pats and reassuring words, but considering my brother’s demeanour is why she’s all worked up, he’s the one I’m most concerned about. Not knowing what to expect myself, I sit down next to Sam, close enough that he knows I’m here, but not so close he’ll feel hemmed in.

     Silence floats between us for an agonizing few moments until I find my balls again and manage to start, “So listen, Sam...” but that’s as far as I get, again, before my brother’s head comes up and he says, “Dean, stop.” My mouth clicks shut and I can’t do much else besides stare at him helplessly.

     Now that he’s looking straight at me, though, I notice for the first time since he found us at Cas’s house that Sam looks like shit, tired and pale and like he just went three rounds with a tsunami. Considering he just came back from surfing, maybe that last one ain’t far off. He takes a deep breath. “I know you’ve got a lot to say to me, Dean, and trust me when I say I want to hear it. No way am I letting you off the fucking hook—you or Cas. But right now...”


     I see my brother take a long, deep swallow, like he’s physically trying to hold back vomit from coming up. “Right now I just need you to sit here with me for a little while. We don’t have to talk, but we can if you want, as long as it’s about anything other than you or Cas or the incident from earlier I’d really like to just bleach from my mind, okay? That’s all I ask.”

     A shiver travels down my spine and makes all the hair on my arms and legs stand on end. I try to hide the shudder that follows. “Sam, what’s wrong?” Voice catching, I dare to ask, “Did you... did you go out and do something? You know... something—”

     “No.” At that, he looks away and purposefully won’t meet my gaze again. “But I really wanted to, okay? And for the first time in a while it went a hell of a lot further than just wanting to come home and have a beer and try to unwind. I wanted to obliterate all of this morning and everything else along with it.” He doesn’t say any more than that, but he doesn’t have to. His meaning is pretty clear, and suddenly I’m the one fighting back vomit as the realization drops in my stomach that I fucking drove him to this, even though Sam will claim otherwise till he’s blue in the face. “Just sit here with me for a while,” he says again.

     Not knowing how to respond, I just reach over and take his hand and he lets me hold it, fingers tightening around mine a bit more than is comfortable, though the last thing I can think about doing is to complain he’s squeezing too hard. “Okay, I’m not goin’ anywhere,” I eventually force out. “We can talk about anything you want. Let’s just sit right here, Sammy.”

     Despite the offer, we don’t talk, except for when I notice Sam’s eyelids starting to droop after about an hour and I suggest he go to sleep. Reluctantly, he does, curling his large body up on the couch with far less awkwardness than I should ever expect from him, and within minutes he’s asleep, probably worn out from surfing and whatever fight is going on inside him at this very moment. Watching him sleep makes tiredness overcome me, too, but I’m still too restless and would feel bad nodding off when he asked me to keep watch. Obviously he can’t do any damage while he’s asleep, but symbolically, I need to stay awake, keep an eye on him. If Cas comes by, and it occurs to me he might, I want to be able to send him home since I know Sam probably won’t, not even if he’s still spitting mad when he wakes. Much like his brother, Sam has a hard time telling Cas ‘no’.

     I do, however, allow myself the luxury of slipping into the kitchen for a snack when lunchtime—even a late lunchtime—comes and goes. I debate waking Sammy up to make sure he gets something to eat, then decide against it since I figure he probably spent most of last night sleepless, worrying about Cas hating his guts like a damned fool. He needs the shut-eye, and a guilty part of me supplies he might be more amenable to a reasonable conversation about the past couple days’ drama if he’s well-rested.

     After a quick snack of peanut-butter sandwiches, which makes me feel twelve again but still manages to calm my jumpy stomach, I find myself sitting there at the kitchen counter, staring into space. I have no idea how much time goes by with me spaced out like that; it could be ten minutes or a whole hour. I don’t snap out of it until I realize I’ve been holding my cell phone in my hand almost the whole time, clutching it in my fist like I’m either about to throw it, or crush it like a tin can. My aching knuckles alert me to the fact that I’m doing it at all, but I don’t have to think real hard about why I took it out, even if I barely acknowledged my own hand reaching into my pocket.

     At first my hand hesitates, but after that it’s a lot easier to dial the 317 area code than I would have thought, seeing as how I’ve been avoiding it so long. The ten digits follow practically on their own, memorized so long ago I don’t have to think about which buttons I’m pressing; I deleted the speed-dial button before coming to Cardiff just to reduce the temptation of calling at every moment of weakness and doubt. I notice I’m starting to get a bit light-headed and have to lean my arms against the countertop for support. The rings stretch out for what feels like a century each, one after another until I know the answering machine’s going to come on if someone doesn’t pick up in the next two seconds.

     Someone picks up.

     This is okay, I tell myself. It’s not a betrayal if I’m doing something I maybe should have done a long time ago.

     There’s a long pause before anything is actually said, but then Lisa tentatively asks, “Dean?” and I breathe an incredible sigh of relief.

     “Yeah, Lise,” I answer raggedly. “It’s me.”

Chapter Ten

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Comments {1}

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from: [identity profile]
date: Aug. 17th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)

Okay, I was gonna wait till the end to comment but I just have to say this this:

Bad enough he was already the love of my life, he had to go and be my hero, too.

Best. Line. Ever.