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27 June 2010 @ 02:10 pm
play it all night long - part II  
Castiel doesn’t call for the next two days and Dean sort of gets antsy; even Ellen tells him that he looks weird when he drops by at her bar one evening when he doesn’t feel particularly tired (and Ellen closes late enough that even if he always leaves after closing time, he usually arrives when someone else is still there). It’s not like he doesn’t know, but at times it’s nice to know someone else notices. Not that she and her daughter and the personnel of the place aren’t 85% of the people he usually hangs with, so they probably would know, but still.

As Ellen hands him a whisky, he just shrugs and says that he’s tired, nothing more. Also, Sam is coming in a month or so, he says, and she is distracted enough. Talking about his brother is usually a great way to take the attention away from himself; not to mention that he knows Ellen because she’s a friend of Bobby’s and she was the first one to offer him a couch to crash on for a couple of days before he could find the shared crap apartment, so she does know both him and Sam well enough. Which, on one side, is creepy because sometimes Dean feels like she’s his mother or something (another reason why he doesn’t flirt back when Jo is around, but one day she’ll stop and things will stop being weird), but on the other, she’s among the five or six people he talks more or less regularly in the city, and he’s damn glad she is, most times.

Not when she pries regarding his well-being, though, which is why he’s at home at four-something AM instead of five as it usually happens when he swings by. Also, the fact that Ash (or, Ellen’s bartender-website designer-errand boy) hasn’t found him that Ram Jam bootleg Dean has asked him for ages ago doesn’t brighten his mood. Damn, if the guy hasn’t found that yet, considering that he’s a fucking hacker with a bunch of illegally downloaded stuff in his fifteen different hard drives, it must be a bitch to track down.

He falls asleep while The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll plays through his (fucking awesome) surround system. (Well, fine, his apartment has just a living room, a storage one and his own bedroom, so it wasn’t that hard to mount speakers also in the bedroom and the kitchen in order to hear stuff perfectly even if the record player is in the living room; still, he has a fucking awesome surround system, especially because it’s the only thing in the house which isn’t second-hand.)

He still thinks that it’s goddamn fucking depressing, though. And it’s goddamn pathetic that he perfectly knows that he put it on just because Cas didn’t call.

--

The following day, he’s trying to explain his position to one listener who had actually asked him why he thinks that Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA is better when stripped down instead of the regular studio version when Chuck hands him a note.

Your guy’s on the phone again – what do I do?

Five minutes max, Dean scribbles back. He discusses for maybe another minute, then proposes airing the two songs back to back and then they can have a poll and discuss it, everyone, and maybe they’ll reach a conclusion in the next hour before their time for the week is up; the listener seems delighted by the idea and so Dean puts on the first Born In The U.S.A., keeping the second in line, and then motions for Chuck to hand him Castiel’s call.

“Hey there,” he starts, trying to keep the tone even. “Long time no hear.”

“I apologize. I had work related issues to care about, but… I wished to thank you. For… three days ago. It was… I was…”

“Hey, no need. It was my pleasure. And anyway, it’s my job to comply with my listeners’ wishes, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I doubt that your job contract includes talking with the same person over and over.”

Dean lets out a chuckle and turns the wire starting from his headphones around his index finger.

“Yeah. That isn’t in the job description but… I kinda like talking to you.”

“You do?” Castiel asks, his voice sounding just slightly surprised.

“I wouldn’t be picking up all your calls without accusing you of stalking me if I didn’t, right?”

There’s something relaxed in the small sound coming from the other side of the line. Dean feels pleased for some reason that he can’t describe.

“So, work’s kicking your ass?” he says, ready to start the next Born In The USA as soon as the current one is done.

“Let’s say I do not believe insurance is my vocation.”

“But didn’t you go to college for it? Or, well, worked to get there anyway?”

“Yes, but I never said it was my decision. I was more interested in other subjects, but… you can’t always get you want.”

“Are you quoting the Stones at me or it was a coincidence?”

“I’m known to choose my wording carefully,” Castiel says, and Dean switches Born In The USA studio rocking version with Born In The U.S.A. demo-stripped-down version before answering.

“Well, what’s not to like if you quote Mick Jagger at me?”

“Excuse me, but it cannot be enough for you to make an opinion.”

“Right, it isn’t, but it gives good points in my book.”

“Oh. Speaking of books, I read that one you told me last time.”

Dispatches? Dude, are you a fucking machine or what?”

“I found it incredibly engaging. It was hard to put it down.”

“Are you implicitly asking for more recommendations?”

“I may be.”

“Fine,” Dean says and then thinks about it for a second. “Try Catch 22, if you haven’t read it. It’s kinda more surreal but if you liked Vonnegut you’ll probably like that too. Unless you already have read it.”

“No, thank you. I will take the advice.”

Dean thinks he can hear the sound of someone writing something down. It’s kind of freaky, but it also makes him feel pleased for some reason. It’s not like a lot of people tend to take him this seriously; for once, it feels good.

“Well, don’t spend the weekend reading though. Because I have this idea you might do it.”

Castiel lets out a short laugh and Dean can hear him breathing through the headphones. “I’ll see if I can give that a try. Thank you again for…”

“Hey. Don’t mention it. It’s all good.”

And then he has to close because Born In The USA is ending and he has a poll to start; and he really should worry, that he doesn’t like having to interrupt the conversation.

--

Dean, the next Monday, stops at some convenience store and buys a small calendar, the kind you keep on your desk.

For some idiotic reason, the only one left until they re-stock (and he can’t bother to wait) has small, stylized angels on each month. They’re not that bad, he guesses; kind of cute maybe, definitely better than the paintings of cherubs that are always on calendars, but it’s still so corny that he cringes just by looking at it.

Then again, he needs it because it’s a calendar, not because it’s corny. He goes to the next month, does some math, checks the message Sam left him last day and, exactly a month and a week from the current day, he writes SAM + JESS COMING BY – CLEAN LIVING ROOM!; then, satisfied, he leaves it on his dashboard when he goes to work. It’s not like no one has left things on the dashboard anyway; most often than not he ends up having to shove Andy’s Kant crap out of the way, not to mention four or five plush toys he’s sure belong to a couple of girls who host some random cooking program in the morning. Or Nick’s notes for the next day, which are always conveniently around on the dashboard instead of his office. Himself, he has never followed the trend; whatever, it’s never too late to start, he thinks as he places the calendar on the dashboard. Fine, he’ll put it in a personal drawer he has in the studio after he’s done because he won’t show it to all of his co-workers, but whatever.

That evening, Castiel calls at half past one, but Dean doesn’t manage to take it until two; they don’t talk about serious business this time, but Dean learns that the freak is already a third into Catch 22 and he tries to get some clues about the Hattie Carroll mystery. The only thing he learns is that it’s because of something related to the real story, not to the song itself. It’s so cryptic that it’s making his head hurt, but he never gave up on a challenge.

After Castiel closes the call and he picks the next one, while he compliments some listener for choosing Free’s Fire And Water (because Free are awesome but they’re fucking underrated), he writes Cas called on today’s tiny square in the calendar.

Something tells him that it’s truly, truly fucked, but he can’t bring himself to care that much.

--

The next day, when he finishes his shift, he writes Cas didn’t call on the next tiny square.

He does the same thing the next day, too.

--

The next day, after Cas thanks him for the Catch 22 advice, says he loved it, and he seemed pretty serious, too, Dean tells him that the movie isn’t as good but why doesn’t he give Norman Mailer a try?, and Castiel notes The Naked And the Dead somewhere. It’s mostly pleasurable small talk after, and when he ends the call as something by Grateful Dead he had chosen just because it was long enough winds down, he writes Cas called on the fourth tiny square.

--

By the end of the week, the row is like this:

Cas called – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call – Cas called – Cas called – Cas didn’t call.

He just hopes that no one else from the night shift actually looks at it; then again, he keeps it locked in his personal drawer, so he shouldn’t worry about Chuck or anyone else using the same studio finding out anytime soon.

--

January 26th – February 1st

Cas didn’t call – Cas called – Cas called – Cas called – Cas called – Cas didn’t call.

--

February 2nd – 9th

Cas called – Cas called – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call – Cas called – Cas called.

On the right of the last tiny square: SAM AND JESS WILL BE OVER IN A MONTH –TIDY THAT ROOM

--

“Hey there, long time no hear again. Work trying to kill you again?”

“You could say that. Could I… may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah. Sure thing. You have exactly five minutes to do it, and then Jimmy Page will be done soloing and I’ll have to go.”

“Oh. It will take a lot less. When… when you put on Every Grain Of Sand a while ago, you said we were… friends?”

“Well. I mean. Yeah. Kind of weird. But we talk sort of regularly and to be honest I talk more with you than with whoever works with me at this point. And… er. I dunno. I guess we are, in some way.”

“It… it doesn’t make you uncomfortable?”

“Me? Not really. What, does it make you…”

“No. No, it does not. It’s just… nothing. Thank you.”

--

February 10th –

Cas called – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call –

--

It’s not like he cares. It really isn’t it. Actually, he should be glad that he’s out. At times he isn’t sure he would have refrained himself from trying to kill Zachariah at some point, so maybe it’s for the best that it’s over for good. But still. It stings. It stings so much. And it’s also unfair, of course it is, but Zachariah never was a fair person since Castiel can remember. He doesn’t regret doing what he did, he knew he was going to get himself in trouble, but he has morals and he just couldn’t.

Three months ago he’d have called Anna and maybe she could have given him a name. She used to know a lot of people back when she was alive, and she had friends in New York, but he had never asked her for the information, figuring he’d never need it. He doesn’t even think about the calling Gabriel option, since as usual he doesn’t have a contact. Well, it seems like right now he’s in for one nasty time, and thinking that at least his time of having to let everyone walk over him at work is over isn’t enough to make things look any better.

He takes a last look at the apartment he’s sure he’ll stop missing eventually (or at least he hopes, because right now the prospect of a roof over his head sounds great), then grabs an old, huge backpack and a smaller one, one for each shoulder, then two medium sized suitcases.

Then he leaves the keys in front of the door and goes down the stairs, hoping he doesn’t tumble down because he’s carrying too many things and there’s no elevator.

Then, when he’s out, he realizes he doesn’t know where he should go and that, as stated, he doesn’t have anyone to call. Right, he could go to some motel in order to sort things out, but can he afford more than one week of paying for a place to stay? He isn’t sure.

It’s sad that he has been living here for five years and he hasn’t a single person to call.

Unless.

Unless.

He gets to the nearest pay phone and his fingers shake as he dials the number, he knows it by heart, and hopes that he has enough change for the call to get through.


--

It has been five days in a row of Castiel not calling and for some reason Dean feels a mix between worried and cranky; which is fucking ridiculous because it’s not like Castiel has to call. Right? Maybe he just got tired or he has actual things to do or maybe he’s overloaded with work woes or whatever. Dean shouldn’t even be fretting. It’s not like they had even technically met, so why should he be worried? He’s sure there’s a perfectly good explanation and it’s not even like they’re… well, no, they did say that, right? More or less. Which is weird because while Sam always managed to click and had a bunch of friends wherever he went, Dean never really clicked with someone as, you know, beyond acquaintance. But he really didn’t have much problem defining Castiel as a friend, even if it has to be the weirdest/most whacked friendship ever existed; still, it qualifies nonetheless. Or at least, Dean thinks it does. Hell, Ellen and Jo know about his dad because Bobby told them, not because he told them; that he told Castiel himself has to count for something, right?

Chuck hands him a note while he’s about to pick one last call for the day.

Your BFF’s on the phone – he sounds kinda not right.

Dean does something very, very unprofessional and, instead of picking the last call as he should have, he says that he really never managed to put on some decent progressive which is a fucking pity, so everyone can listen to The Court Of The Crimson King, because King Crimson are awesome and everyone should listen to at least one record they had out, and he’ll totally read e-mails about his audience’s reaction on Monday night, and have a great weekend! Yeah, well, he chose it just because it lasts ten minutes and it was the first suited one that came to him.

As soon as the song starts, he signs at Chuck to pass the call.

“Hey,” he starts before realizing that Castiel isn’t calling from home. He can hear horns and cars passing. “What’s wrong?” he asks directly, because this just isn’t usual.

“How did you…”

“Dude. You’re calling me from a fucking pay phone. You never have. Also you never call in the last five minutes.”

“Listen, could you… I feel horrible but… if I give you the number could you call back? I am not sure I have enough change and I don’t own a cellphone.”

“Yeah. Sure. Hand it over.”

Dean scribbles it down, then picks up his own cellphone and gets out of the studio. It’s not like he isn’t done for the night anyway.

He calls and it gets answered on the first ring.

“Castiel?”

“Dean.”

“Okay. What the fuck’s going on?”

“I… I think this was a mistake. I should not…”

“Hey. Let me decide that. What’s going on, again?”

Castiel takes a long breath.

“You probably didn’t notice that I have not called much the last two weeks. Not that you should, though.”

Dean is inclined to answer that he did notice, but it’d be admitting that he’s basically taking note of that and… no.

“Last week I received a bill for an accident I had a while ago. I had broken my shoulder and while my job was for an insurance company, the plan it gave me didn’t cover nearly a fifth of it. Not the therapy especially.”

“Your job was?”

“I am getting there. I did have enough money to pay that bill, but it meant delaying this month’s rent and my bank account being overdrawn until my next paycheck. My landlord was understanding though, since I always paid a week before the deadline.”

And it sounds like a thing he’d do, Dean thinks, and keeps his mouth shut.

“Then, this last day I… did something while at work that wasn’t… very smart, I would say. Or at least, I think it was the right thing to do, but my boss apparently has had enough of my particular kind of ethics, and decided he could lay me off. Which he can do, since I didn’t even have any clause preventing that in my contract..”

“What the hell could you have done that was so unprofessional?”

“He wanted me to sell this particular insurance to someone who could not afford it by making it seem like they could. And I didn’t do it.”

“So you refused to rob someone and he fired you for that?” Dean asks, and damn, he’s glad he never tried for anything more high class than mechanic in his life.

“Yes. And I cannot possibly pay my rent, this month’s or the next one. And my landlord was understanding again, but he made me understand that it would have preferable if I vacated the apartment on my own.”

“Jesus, are you that much in trouble?”

“I still was under the contract I signed when I worked for them on trial. Well, I was not on trial anymore after some time, of course, but I never was promoted or signed for better conditions. That’s why I was not given regular insurance. And I did put money aside, but try to pay twenty thousand dollars at once.”

There are a lot of things Dean could do.

The sensible but asshole-ish one is saying sorry, but there’s nothing he can do, and hang up. After all, they never even met.

The other sensible one, and not as cruel, would be giving him Ellen’s number, because Ellen knows people and she won’t refuse help to anyone that says Dean sent him.

And then there’s the not sensible one that he really should not even think about.

“Where are you?” he asks a second later.

“What do you…?”

“I mean, where are you? The exact place.”

Dean scribbles down an address, which doesn’t tell him anything, but he’ll just go to some office, borrow a computer and check on Google Maps or ask around.

“Wait there,” he says, and then shuts the phone.

--

In the end, it was some place on the eastern side of the city, near a cemetery, and Dean spends the entire drive wondering exactly what the fuck it is he’s doing. He isn’t this trusting, usually. And it’s a goddamn fucking stranger and Dean is almost twenty-seven, not fucking five.

Except that it’s not a stranger, not really, not when they spent a month just talking, and not when he has talked more to Castiel than he has talked to Sam during the last thirty days, and he talks to Sam fucking regularly.

Also, well, if it’s all some kind of joke, it’s not like Dean is a goddamn damsel in distress.

He’s thinking just that, as Bad Company blasts from the car’s speakers, when he turns at the corner Castiel said and…

Well, at least there’s no goddamn joke going on.

Because who would sit on a suitcase in the corner of a street near a pay phone with another suitcase and a couple of backpacks at their feet just to make fun of someone? Dean parks the car (not his best maneuvering, to be honest, but he doesn’t need to stay long, or so he guesses) and gets out; his most faithful listener, among other things, seems to be around thirty, maybe a bit younger, is wearing a tan trench coat that he’s tightening around his chest (and well, it’s kind of chilly), and has dark brown hair which isn’t exactly combed and it’s all Dean can see because his head is bent down.

He has to say that it’s definitely tax accountant attire, though. Holy obscure tax accountant, Dean thinks for a second, given the name. Then he snaps out of it and comes a bit closer.

“Castiel?” he asks, sort of tentatively, and the man’s head shoots up.

Jesus fucking Christ almighty, the guy has stunning eyes. Huge and so blue that for a second Dean thinks that he must be staring into his soul or some crap like that. And the rest isn’t that bad either; his features are quite delicate but nothing feminine, not at all, and he has quite some lips. Pink, nicely shaped, full; they’re cracked and chapped though, but it has to be because of the weather.

And, well, this is awkward, because Dean doesn’t usually stare but Castiel is totally staring back in some sort of whacked contest, like he doesn’t have the faintest idea that staring so much isn’t exactly polite. It’s not like Dean is doing anything to stop it, though.

He thinks at least a good minute passes before Castiel speaks.

“… Dean Winchester?”

… and yeah. Definitely him. That voice is unmistakable. And God help him, Dean can only think that it suits Castiel a lot.

“The one and only,” he tries to half-joke, realizing that they’re still staring at each other.

The corner of Castiel’s mouth quirks up in what’s not really a smile and fuck, it is awkward.

“So that’s your stuff?” Dean asks, figuring they should start to solve this.

Castiel looks down.

“Yes. I am… I am really sorry, I should not have called the show, but… as I went down the stairs I realized that everyone I knew is from my former office and the only other person in my family I talk to once in a while isn’t even in the country. And when he isn’t in the country finding him is hard. I didn’t know what…”

“Hey. Chill out. It’s okay. I was the one who decided to come here, right? And cheer up, apart from my co-workers, a family friend and a couple of other people, I don’t know anyone either, and I’ve been here long enough.”

Castiel nods, seeming a bit relieved and tugging the trench closer; Dean just watches and then he’s about to speak when Castiel does.

“I just need a place for… a week or so. I could pay for a bit, but I don’t know anywhere I could go and…”

As he talks, Castiel fiddles with a button on the coat, obviously uncomfortable; Dean catches shadows under his eyes as Castiel stares at his shoes and bites his lip, trying to finish the sentence but not managing it.

“Do you know why I moved here?” Dean asks, and Castiel shakes his head. “Yeah, I might have mentioned that during the program but it was more than a year ago. That accident I was telling you about, the one where my dad died? I was in a sort of coma for a week and then I needed six months of goddamn physical therapy. And I had no insurance, we couldn’t afford it, not with my brother going to college. When I got the bills, I had to sell the house. And at least I could keep the car. I got here with the gas in the tank, three bags and not that much money with me. I had some in one account, but I didn’t really want to touch it if it wasn’t necessary. I used to clean floors before I covered for the guy airing before me and getting the program. I know how it is when insurance companies thoroughly fuck you.”

Castiel lets out a snort and shakes his head. “Don’t I know either,” he mutters, sounding wrecked, and Dean does the second not sensible thing of the evening.

He goes to the car and opens the trunk.

“Come on, get those inside.”

“What…”

“I have a free couch and I live alone. The place is kind of messy but being tidy isn’t my strong suit. Put those in the back and then get in.”

“I can’t possibly accept…” Castiel starts, obviously not expecting it, and Dean just throws what he hopes is a half-reassuring smirk his way.

“You can and you will. I survived my first week here just thanks to that family friend and I know how it is, like I said.”

“At least let me pay for…”

“Oh, shut up and get the hell in,” Dean says pushing the last backpack Castiel hands him with shaking hands into the trunk, “we’ll think about that later. ‘S not like tomorrow isn’t my free day. We’ll come up with something then.”

He closes the trunk and gets into the driver’s seat.

“So, you coming or not?” he asks lowering the window down.

Castiel gives him a tiny nod and climbs up on the passenger seat, his posture so stiff that it screams uncomfortable.

Dean starts rustling through the tapes he has on hand, finds his only Bob Dylan one (Blonde On Blonde, because he likes it better when it isn’t goddamn folk music without even a second guitar) and smirks when he sees Castiel’s shoulders relax as he pulls into the road.

--

They don’t really talk much while driving but Dean gets it and he doesn’t push the conversation; they’re halfway through Visions Of Johanna when Dean gets under his building and parks the car, miraculously managing to find a free spot.

“It’s on the third floor; you can take the elevator and go with the luggage. I’ll just go by stairs, that box is fucking tiny.”

Castiel nods and Dean shuts the engine off before opening the trunk and pulling everything out. He opens the front door and lets Castiel get in, snatches the huge backpack from the luggage and before Castiel can protest he’s already running up the stairs wondering what the fuck he has just gotten himself into.

It still doesn’t feel like a goddamn mistake though, so he just doesn’t think about what’s sensible and what’s not (and about what his dad would have said at taking in a complete stranger just like that) and keeps on walking up the stairs, two steps at once.

He gets there before the elevator does, but the thing, in addition to be a grave for claustrophobics, is also old, talking sometime-after-WWII-at-least-old, and it takes it ages to reach its destination.

Damn, he just hopes that Castiel isn’t claustrophobic. He never thought to ask him.

Anyway, the elevator arrives maybe ten seconds later and Castiel doesn’t look shaken or anything as he gets out carrying his suitcases and the backpack, so he figures it was unnecessary worry.

He takes his keys and opens the door, aware of Castiel standing awkwardly behind him, and he just hopes that the mess isn’t too bad. He can’t even remember the state he left the apartment in.

As he turns on the light and gets directly into the living room, there isn’t a hallway or anything, he lets out a sigh of relief. There aren’t clothes around (as has been known to happen) and even if the desk he keeps in a corner is covered in papers he should stack somewhere and in the last years’ worth of issues of Guitar World, Spin and Paste, plus, well, Classic Rock and a couple of Uncut (which well, in theory he couldn’t have afforded neither, damned import fees, but they’re damn good magazines and they both had a freaking great subscription offer for US residents and he just got a pay raise and hadn’t resisted), while the floor next to the record player is covered in stacks of vinyl, it isn’t that bad.

Or, well, not if you don’t count that in front of the sofa you can fish freely through the last three years’ worth of issues of Rolling Stone, too, and he has another bunch in his bookshelf that takes up the entire wall. Then again, there’s also the record player along with books in the upper part and the records in the lower one, so it’s not like he can stack all the magazines in there. It’s not like he has even space to get himself another bookshelf, since he already has a second one in his room and that one’s completely filled, too, and he still has to keep a desk and enough space to open the sofa when needed.

“I’ll, uh, open the bed,” he says getting close to the sofa. “Make yourself comfortable.”

“Shouldn’t I help you…?”

“Nah. That thing’s a trap, if you don’t know how to handle it you’ll cut one of your hands or something. No need, I’m used to it.”

Castiel nods again and Dean, while opening the sofa, realizes that for Castiel making himself comfortable apparently means checking out Dean’s books and records; but it’s a thing he does too wherever he goes (even if he goes for the records first) and well, if Castiel’s stare lingers for a second on a picture of him and Sam the day his brother graduated from college and, next to it, the only surviving picture of the whole Winchester family together before his mom died, he doesn’t really feel exposed or anything. The guy is supposed to sleep in the room, it’s not like he could have avoided seeing it.

He’s actually so interested in checking out Dean’s books that he doesn’t turn when Dean gets out of the living room and runs to his bedroom in order to grab some sheets from the wardrobe, but it doesn’t feel half as weird as it probably is.

“All done,” he says when he has more or less fixed the sheets, a blanket and a pillow which isn’t exactly fluffy but which is the best he could find. Castiel gasps and turns, realizing he has probably spaced out.

“You… you did all this? I’m sorry, I really should have helped you instead of…”

“Did I ask for help? No. So don’t kill yourself over it. Found anything interesting there?” Dean asks casually as he comes a bit closer.

“I think you are positively the only person I know, myself not included, who owns… that.”

Dean looks at what Castiel’s staring at, which is, Dean’s collection of Greek tragedies, all in one volume; and Dean can’t help noticing that Castiel is practically swooning over them, especially because it’s a pretty good edition. Which he had found used at half the price but hey, it still was a good edition.

(So what? Greek tragedies are gory, totally fucked up and way above NC-17 ratings. He’s totally into them, even if you wouldn’t tell by looking at him.)

Dean quirks up half a smile and well, at least Castiel doesn’t seem that out of place anymore.

Not as much as before, at least.

“You have a… a very nice place.”

“This? Nah, you see too much into it. It’s a hole but at least it’s my hole.”

“I would not agree. It’s… lived in,” Castiel whispers as he turns to grab his suitcases and pile them in the only free corner of the room.

“Well, uh, I guess I’ll let you sleep, you look kind of beat. No offense. Anyway, that door over there near the desk, brings you to a small hallway. Kitchen’s on the right, there’s a common room for the laundry at the ground floor, the bathroom’s on the front, my room’s on the left, the other one for storage. If you need anything just knock, okay? Or if you want a drink or something to eat just, uh, grab whatever. And if you wanna have a shower just take a towel from the second drawer of the counter in the bathroom.”

“Thank you,” Castiel answers, and damn, Dean can feel that he’s really, really grateful. Which is most definitely not a tone that people use with him much, which is most definitely making him uncomfortable.

“I’ll, uh, turn in then,” he says, and Castiel nods, and after another thirty seconds of mostly awkward staring he turns his back and moves into his own room.

He takes a look at his floor and shakes his head. He needs to put a lot of things in the laundry machine before Castiel glances into the room and notices how much Dean isn’t the kind of single man who can keep his things straight. Then he just tosses his clothes on the floor (because he’s coherent, really coherent), grabs a pair of pajama trousers from his unmade bed, closes the light and lets himself fall on the mattress.

He totally isn’t thinking about what might be going on in the next room.

--

He’s driving, and CCR is blasting from the car’s radio (I see a bad moon rising, I see trouble on the way…) and Dean doesn’t really want to be driving in pouring rain while arguing with his dad who really, really should stop to keep on telling him that he should have convinced Sam not to go and damn, why did Sam have to go at all, and by the way, Dean should have gone a bit faster, it’s not like a bit of rain means that you have to go so slow, it’s late and it’s cold and he wants to be home and Dean tries not to snap, he tries, and he keeps his speed because he doesn’t like this weather, and then it’s too slippery and he feels the car swerve and he’s losing control and…

He wakes up as soon as the brake under his (dream) foot goes crazy and the car crashes loudly against a tree after bringing a good part of the guardrail along (and damn, he always told Dad to wear the fucking seatbelt, why didn’t he, that time at least? ) and there’s cold sweat all over his face. He’s breathing heavily, in short and ragged pants, and his sheets are damp with sweat, too. Jesus. He’ll change them later. Actually, he thinks, might come handy. He waits for a second to steady himself, then takes a look at the clock. Eleven AM. Not so bad, considering it’s Sunday and that he usually wakes up at 3 PM.

Whatever.

He takes the sheets off the bed, then takes all the laundry he has to bring over and bundles it up in the sheets themselves; and then he opens the door and he smells heaven and hears Bob Dylan.

Or better, the first thing that happens is that he hears Simple Twist Of Fate playing from the living room, which is empty; then he gets into the kitchen, which is empty, too, and he almost drops the bundle of dirty laundry when he sees that there’s a full pot of coffee on the stove, ready to pour, and some freshly made pancakes on the table.

Actually, there’s also an open box of pancake mix next to the stove which Dean had already, but he never managed to cook anything using pre-made things. He’s actually a pretty decent cook, when it’s a question of making things from scratch, but he just sucks at that. Pity that he doesn’t have the time or the force of will to do things from scratch most times, but it’s another question. He reaches the basket where he keeps the dirty laundry that he'll bring downstairs later and drops the dirty sheets in, then wonders where the fuck Castiel went.

Though, if he isn’t in the living room…

He gets out of the kitchen when the bathroom door slams open and he’s face to face with Castiel, who is wearing just a pair of sort-of-ridiculous pajama trousers (they’re orange with pink stripes, how can they not be hideous?), has damp hair, and is quite bare-chested.

Dean suddenly feels his cheeks heat up. Castiel’s cheeks follow his example and they say sorry at the same time.

Well.

Weird.

“No, don’t be. Seriously. I should have thought you’d be in the bathroom,” Dean says turning his head sideways while Castiel goes in the living room and grabs a gray t-shirt from an open suitcase.

“No, I am. I should have not assumed that I would be alone. If it made you uncomfortable…”

“Dude, no. That? Doesn’t even begin to. Don’t worry about that, it’s cool. And by the way, did you make that? Breakfast, I mean.”

“Oh. Yes,” Castiel says, and he’s half blushing slightly again. “I remembered that you once mentioned liking pancakes and black coffee for breakfast during the transmission and since I found that I figured I would at least do that.”

It should feel fucking creepy, that Castiel remembers that, but point is, instead of being scared Dean feels flattered, because since when people actually file that kind of information away? Since never, in his case at least; and Castiel is looking at him like he knows that it sounds creepy and he’s not that proud of it, so he figures it’s okay.

Meanwhile Simple Twist Of Fate moved on to You’re A Big Girl Now and even if Dean was never a Blood On The Tracks kind of guy, he’ll make do.

“Well, then let’s have breakfast,” he says, shrugging, and doesn’t see Castiel’s short breath of relief leaving his lips.

--

“Any particular reason you went for that record?” Dean asks midway through his second pancake while You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go calmly fills the room from the speakers. (He has them also in the kitchen. Well, his surround system is awesome, as stated.)

“It’s my favorite,” Castiel answers calmly as he takes small bites from his first pancake, still. He eats like a bird, or something.

“Wasn’t your favorite song Hattie Carroll?”

“My favorite song does not have to be on my favorite record, does it?”

It’s a point. Dean’s favorite Zeppelin song is Ramble On, but he’s pretty sure his favorite record is a tie between II and Physical Graffiti, so. He gets it. Sorta.

“Nope. Doesn’t have to. And by the way, these are fucking good.”

“Thank you,” Castiel answers faintly. And then keeps on. “My second-favorite song is on that record, however.”

“Really. What’s it, Tangled Up In Blue?” he throws, just because he thinks that the title kind of describes Castiel quite right.

“No. Shelter From The Storm.”

Dean nods, and at least he gets the appeal.

“Not bad. ”

“Well, thank you?”

Dean shakes his head, then swallows the last piece of pancake and goes towards the records to see if for once he manages to find something in reasonable time. He figures he can broaden Castiel’s horizons a bit, also because he likes that song live a lot better.

A minute later, he’s switching Blood On The Tracks with Hard Rain, where is the not-depressing/live/sort of upbeat/only-song-when-Dylan-ever-managed-to-sing-properly version of Shelter From The Storm, and he has to say that it’s pretty amusing to see Castiel’s eyes widen.

“That’s… quite nice. I didn’t know there was a different version around. ”

Dean smirks. “Well, knowing that is my job, right?”

--

Usually, Dean would drop the dirty stuff in the sink and take care of it in a day or two, but since he doesn’t really want to look like that kind of person (even if he totally is), he makes an effort and gives the dishes, coffee pot and forks a wash before sitting down at the kitchen table, where Castiel is silent and looking less than comfortable.

Dean figures it’s because it’s time to talk business, not that he thinks there’s anything to be nervous about. Then again he isn’t the one without a job and sitting in the kitchen of some stranger with whom he used to talk on the radio. Not that the reverse isn’t valid for him, but still, he isn’t the one with a problem. Or two. Or three.

“Dude, relax. No one’s gonna kick you out, especially if you keep on making me breakfast.”

Castiel gives him a half chuckle and at least the tension goes. “That would be the least I could do, wouldn’t it?”

“Don’t sweat it out. So, seems to me like you need a hand. Or two. I’m afraid I don’t know much about your previous line of employment, though.”

Castiel shakes his head. “I was not planning on getting back to it anyway. I really… am not cut for selling insurance.”

“Well, I can’t say anything against that. And you really don’t have the face of the finance shark. Also I can’t really fault you for having ethics, which I guess rules out your previous line of work.”

“Thank you, but even if I wanted, no one would ever take me after being fired from the place I previously worked for.”

And when Dean hears the name, he can barely keep a whistle from escaping his lips. That was what you’d call important insurance company. “Dude, really? You worked for them?”

Castiel shrugs and sips water from a glass on the table. “My boss, who wasn’t the most important person in the management but was definitely in the top ten, was a relative. I… never was exactly given a choice. It just was a known fact that I would go there, I think they had it planned before I even finished high school. So I started there on trial. I wasn’t… the kind of person who wished to disappoint others, even if I never liked economics much. Then I had the falling out. And for some reason they never changed my contract even if they did hire me for good, but I could never find another job and even if I think that my boss was waiting for the right occasion to fire me, I lasted five years.”

“Woah. Then you were good at that.”

“Oh, I was not. I spent four and a half of those five years doing customer service and taking complaints, not selling insurance. That was what I was good at. Then I had this promotion, on trial, of course. And that wasn’t something I was good at,” Castiel ends, still looking either at his hands or his feet and never at Dean.

“So what is that you’re good at?”

Castiel shrugs and thinks about it for a second.

“Well, I did get my degree in economics. And I am… well, you could say I know how to talk to random strangers. That was why I was good at taking complaints. I am not as good at knowing people, but you probably had figured it out already.”

“You’re preaching to the choir,” Dean answers, trying to lighten the mood. “That all?”

“I can speak decent Latin. Or well, I could in high school, but I don’t think I forgot too much of it. I know French, German and some basic Spanish too because I took them in college. Nothing else, I fear.”

Dean nods, figuring that well, Castiel does look much more like the geeky librarian kind of guy who speaks a bunch of languages than like a fucking insurance employee. Except that he doesn’t seem to have credentials that will be of much use.

And then he has the idea.

“Uh. Listen. I might… you said you deal decently with people you don’t know and since you got a freaking economics degree I guess you know math and stuff. Right?”

“Yes.”

“Then let me make a call.”

Because he has just remembered that at Ellen’s they’ve been short one person since that Jake guy who did the bartending quit.

And that’s how he tells Castiel that he might have an interview in the evening at the Roadhouse, and Dean has to give the guy credit for not having a stick up his ass. Because you know, if you go from insurance representative, as sucky as it might be, to possibly bartender, and you went to college, too... but Castiel doesn’t even blink and Dean actually ends up blushing because he really isn’t used to people looking at him with such goddamn gratefulness.

He didn’t really do anything much, after all.


Part III
 
 
on rotation: Bob Dylan - Every Grain of Sand | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
ficreader1ficreader1 on June 29th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
I really liked the part with Cas calling Dean and Dean going to get him. The descriptions you used for Dean finding Cas sitting with his bags and then their ensuing stare off were very vivid and easy to picture.
the female ghost of tom joad: IT WAS A ROBOT HEADjanie_tangerine on June 29th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I'm so glad that bit worked for you, it was kind of one of my favorites to write, so.. ;)
Gabrielleladyviva97 on June 30th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)
So, I read both the first and second part of this (may I say amazing? x3) fic, and I have to tell you that I think this is amazing. :D One of the more unique Dean/Cas fics I've ever read. ;)

I'd point out all the things that I like the most, but there are too many for me to all find and put here. XD I might as well put the whole fic down.

-floats off to read more-
the female ghost of tom joad: ILUjanie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you! :D I'm so glad that you liked it this much, and amazing is probably flattering me but I won't complain. ;)
Gabrielleladyviva97 on July 1st, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
Pfft, never. Amazing is an understatement, my dear. :) And you're welcome.
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on June 30th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
Cas called – Cas didn’t call – Cas didn’t call – Cas called – Cas called – Cas didn’t call.

LOL! When you start taking notice of things like that, you are in Deep!

He didn’t really do anything much, after all.

Yeah because helping out a complete stranger is no big deal at all really except it kinda is.
the female ghost of tom joad: j2janie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, he is. He just doesn't know it. Yet.

Yeah, but you know, it's Dean. He should value his helping skills more. ;)
joey: Dean/Castiel: Tie-Upkon_bl on July 1st, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
“Oh, shut up and get the hell in,” Dean says pushing the last backpack Castiel hands him with shaking hands into the trunk, “we’ll think about that later. ‘S not like tomorrow isn’t my free day. We’ll come up with something then.”

That's so Dean. <3
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/castieljanie_tangerine on July 1st, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
Ee, glad you thought so! And thanks. ;)
Linsey: Misha: can i take him home?pyjamagurl on July 3rd, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
I love that Dean started tracking the days Castiel did and didn't call, that was so adorable!

I really like how they met up too and the slightly awkward friendship that's there as they slowly get to know one another better. I am really loving this fic, it is so different from a lot of things I have read and so very good :D

Off to read more!
the female ghost of tom joad: stonehenge apocalypse misha is awwwwjanie_tangerine on July 3rd, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, Dean is adorable. He just doesn't like to admit it. ;)

I'm so really glad you're liking this so far, thank you!! :D
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: dean - angel dusted soulsecondplatypus on October 5th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
Most of the time when I read fic, I experience some level of active suspension-of-disbelief, or something will jar me out of the flow, even if it's just something small. This little gem you're spinning here, though, is completely and naturally immersive (and giving me a tremendous case of the butterflies-in-tummy-warm-fuzzies, to boot).
I'm officially head over heels for this lovely thing.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean 2.0janie_tangerine on October 5th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
You don't even know how good it is to hear this. Or maybe you do but really, thanks for saying it because saying that you manage not to put the reader out of the flow is pretty much the best thing you could tell anyone who writes stuff. I'm so glad that you're head over heels for it, really. ;)
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on October 7th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)
My best friend writes a lot of fic, and I've taken quite a few writing classes; between those two things, I've learned how to tell writers the sorts of things they love to hear and encourage them. Authors who do excellent work deserve the compliments and validation. :)
Chanellemchanellem on January 12th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
AH! That was awesome! I'm totaly addicted hhaha.
the female ghost of tom joad: tangerinesjanie_tangerine on January 16th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Lol that was good to hear, thank you!
The Cleaverage: i heart ukel_reiley on April 8th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)
Shelter From the Storm! ♥ ♥ ♥
ellaangelusellaangelus on May 29th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
aww this is the first time he called him Cas, for some reason i find that to be the cutest thing ever :X
you're doing such a great job with this story.. i'm sure i won't stop before i finish it all
and.. just asking.. after part VI, will there be any more parts? just curious..
the female ghost of tom joadjanie_tangerine on May 29th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I'm really glad that you're enjoying this for now :) about how much of this is posted, for now yeah it stops at part VI and that's it. I'm not ruling out writing a sequel one day if I feel like or if I get a really good idea, but I have a bunch of stuff on my plate for now, so for the foreseeable future it's going to stay a six-parter.
ellaangelusellaangelus on May 30th, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
aww i always feel sad when something ends :( i'm already at the last part
but you solve your bunch of stuff that's on your plate right now, and maybe after your plate is clean, you'll wanna do either a sequel or a new awesome epic uber fic! XDD
thank you so much for this experience.. this is only my second slash fic i'm reading and so far is the best
Mabumabulatious on December 23rd, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
I feel like I should leave a comment before moving on to part three, because this is amazing and I needed to thank you in my own way for giving such a great story. It's brilliant in every which way and you've described both characters well. Also, you've introduced me to some great classic songs, which is always a plus.
Again, I have to emphasize: Your writing is AMAZING.
Just know that.
Carly: Dean&Castielcarolina_hope on December 26th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
wonderful. I like that their meeting face to face was not a really big occassion even if it was under rather sad circumstances. and I like the idea of cas working for Ellen. and them being roommates

and while I only really know most of the artists by name I like how the music is sort of another character in the story
anonymousedwardanonymousedward on January 3rd, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Regarding King Crimson
Dude, if I was listening to that program, I would've totally called in, asking for Rush. Not "Tom Sawyer" or even "Spirit of the Radio" but something from "Hemispheres" or maybe something from "Farewell to Kings" or "Permanent Waves" that never gets played. Because, if we're talking prog rock? Rush is THE band to listen to. Also, I can totally imagine Dean ranting about Neil Peart's epic drum skills. They're still touring. They're nearly EIGHTY and they're STILL TOURING and WRITING and AWESOME. Here's La Villa Strangiato, live. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoTxTM6kBuU
It's instrumental, but it shows how epic they are and it's from "Hemispheres". They're messing around a bit at first, but it leads into the actual song at 1:02. Just listen. (If you already listen to Rush, and this is superfluous, I congratulate you on your awesome taste!)