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27 June 2010 @ 02:30 pm
play it all night long - part IV  
In retrospect, everything would have gone just fine if Dean had been the one opening the door. Or so he likes to think.

The problem is that Sam opened the door instead and when Dean gets there, he’s already arguing with someone on the outside. Yeah, things haven’t changed much, Sam tends to get bitchier when he’s on break.

“Excuse me again, why are you asking for my brother at three AM?”

“Hells, boy, you are a piece of work. Maybe it’s between me and him? Why would I want to tell you?”

“Because people don’t go banging on doors at three in the morning, or four! That’s why!”

“Hey, don’t get so riled up. Ain’t even your place, right?”

“Sam, the fuck is going on? Shut the hell up, you’re givin’ me a headache,” Dean mutters before shoving Sam away and reaching the door. In front of him there’s this guy some four inches shorter than him, wearing jeans and a green coat even if he has a tie and a jacket from a business suit, long face, short-ish hair, brown eyes, and a smirk that really looks out of place at almost four in the morning. As is the small suitcase near at his feet. Though, there’s something that feels familiar about him, but Dean is too tired to place it. Also why would someone with jeans wear a suit jacket and tie? That’s awful fashion, he thinks.

“Okay, it’s almost four AM and I’m beat, but I guess you were looking for me, so let’s just finish this business and we can call it a night. So, who are you and what do you need me for? ‘Cause, dude, sorry but I don’t think I know you from Adam.”

The guy lets out a chuckle and actually pats Dean on the shoulder, even if he doesn’t come in.

“That’s the spirit! Definitely better than your brother’s, albeit you both are kind of grouchy. But I’ll blame it on the time. Anyway, I don’t really want anything from you strictly.”

“And then why are you knocking on my door at four-fucking-AM?” Dean asks, feeling like the guy’s laid-back attitude will make him snap soon; and now Jess is awake too and asking Sam something, and he’s whispering the hell if I know.

Before Dean or the guy can say anything else, Castiel actually comes forward.

“Dean, what’s…”

And then he stops dead in his tracks while standing next to Dean on the doorstep.

Gabriel?” he asks, sounding completely dumbfounded, and if his hair is wildly and sortofadorably sticking up everywhere, Dean doesn’t really think about it.

“Oh, there you are! Do you have any idea how hard it was to track you down?”

“Hey, hey, wait a second. You know him?” Sam asks, sounding not exactly pleased, as he comes forward. Castiel brings a hand to his temple, looking mortified.

“Yes. His name is Gabriel and… he’s my brother,” Castiel says, and silence falls for the next five seconds. And then Dean remembers Castiel mentioning that he did talk with one of his relatives, and that he had a brother with mostly unreliable schedules. Right.

“And you don’t look too happy to see me, huh?” Gabriel mutters, and Sam turns to Castiel at the same time.

“Did you actually know about this?”

“I didn’t!” Castiel replies, looking even more mortified. “I didn’t even tell him that I live here, for that matter. He was in China, if I am not mistaken.”

“Hong-Kong,” Gabriel rectifies, looking pretty smug. “The girls, oh, the girls. You wouldn’t believe me if I…”

Castiel shakes his head and raises a hand, looking at Gabriel like he’s pleading him to shut up, and he earns an eye roll and a huff.

“Fine, fine, no talking about that. Seriously, you’re such a prude, bro. By the way, are you ever going to buy a cellphone?”

“If you actually left a way to contact you when you disappear which is not that hellish piece of machinery with a number changing every time…” Castiel trails off, and Dean wants to know why he looks like he wants to just dig himself a hole, crawl in there and disappear. He has done worse than crashing at home at four AM, even though well, it wasn’t someone else’s place.

“Anyway, pretty crowded here, huh? Thaaat might pose a problem,” Gabriel mutters before noticing that Jess is standing there too watching the whole thing with barely-hidden amusement, and Sam is absolutely fuming when Gabriel introduces himself to her. Guy can be charming, even if she’s taller than him, Dean thinks, and then decides that he needs to get to the core of the matter.

“Listen, I gotta talk with Castiel here a minute. If we go over there can I be assured that no one will be dead by the time we’re back?”

“Pf, homicide is not my style,” Gabriel huffs, and Sam bitchfaces at Dean so hard that Dean feels afraid for a second. Then he takes Cas’s arm and he drags him into the storage room before the guy hyperventilates.

“Hey. Calm down a second and tell me what’s going on and why are you so riled up.”

“Dean, I’m… I’m so sorry, I swear I didn’t even know he was back from…”

“Dude, chill. I’m not mad. I swear on my… on… on that special issue of Mojo from 1994 with Page & Plant on the cover, limited print.” Which is probably what would make him earn most, of his possessions, if he ever decided to sell it.

And okay, that was stupid, but at least Castiel seems to loosen up a bit.

“So, he’s the second relative that still talked to you?”

Castiel nods, looking surprised that Dean remembers it, and then shakes his head and takes a breath. “Yes. As you have noticed he isn’t… easy to deal with. But he is… not as bad as he looks, really. Even if he can be unnerving. I… I don’t even see him much, he’s always flying around and he doesn’t even have a place. Well, he has one, back home, but he lives there maybe three weeks each year. He calls once in a while and comes sometimes, but… he doesn’t… he always used my spare bed.”

Oh.

“And he probably did not expect to find out that I vacated the apartment. I don’t even know how he tracked me down, but after all he’s here at four in the morning. Dean, I’m… I can’t even say how mortified I am. Just let me take some clothes and I’ll convince him to find an hotel nearby until he’s gone. I should have thought of trying to contact him before.”

“Hey, wait up. How long does he usually hang around?”

“Five days maximum.”

“Jesus, there aren’t any decent places near here. I guess you could make him pay but…”

“Dean, don’t even think about it. No one asked you to do this and your brother is here, and I shouldn’t even be here. I will go and convince him, and I’ll take care of the rest. You don’t need to do anything. Especially if he and Sam don’t get along. It… it takes time to get used to him, unless you have known him all your life.”

Castiel turns and is about to open the door, and Dean wonders if he has inadvertently smoked some of Andy’s weed because for some reason this feels wrong.

“Hey, hold on one second. How many people are there in your, er, family bunch?”

Castiel sighs and takes a second. “About twenty-five. Twelve of us are strictly related.”

“Jesus Christ. And he is the only one who gives a damn?”

“Yes,” Castiel whispers, his body language screaming tension. “He’s… mostly inappropriate, but I really cannot do otherwise. I don’t… I don’t wish to, for that matter. But I recognize that it’s a problem, so…”

“You can promise that he won’t steal said Mojo issue? And do you have problems with sleeping on the floor?” Dean asks, wondering if he’s actually going fucking crazy.

“He would not, and I would not, but… Dean, what are you thinking?”

“Something very stupid. C’mon, out, before my brother and your brother leave blood all over my doorstep.”

They thankfully hadn’t yet, but Sam is glaring at Gabriel in a way that is threatening, and Gabriel is staring back so nonchalantly that it seems like he’s doing it on purpose.

“Okay, people, let’s cut this short because I’m dead tired and it’s too late for this shit. You, when you came searching for him you were expecting to sleep at his place, right?”

“Hells, yes. Which is, as I said before, a prob –“

“Dean, aren’t you…”

“Shut up. All of you. Sam, go back to sleep and chill out. Jess, sorry for this mess, really.”

“Hey, no problem. It was actually fun. Come on, let’s go,” she says, grabbing Sam’s arm and dragging him away.

When the door closes, Dean turns back to Gabriel and stares at him right in the eyes.

“Okay, I really must be crazy ‘cause like I said, I don’t know you from Adam, but I think I know him and if I trust him then I can look past this. Now, we’re going to go in to my room, get out the cot, drag it to the storage room and you’re going to sleep there. And possibly find yourself some hotel tomorrow because Sam will talk me out of something so stupid as soon as I’m awake enough, so you’d better not take advantage of it. He and I, we’ll make do. And this is going to happen in the next ten minutes or else I’m going to flip out for good. Got it?”

Gabriel raises an eyebrow in appreciation and then shrugs.

“Better than I’d have hoped for. Thanks, hoss, I appreciate.”

“Well, keep that to yourself,” Dean mutters.

It takes ten minutes to get the cot in said storage room, and then Dean can close his bedroom’s door and lets out a breath of relief. 4.15. Tomorrow… okay, today he’s so getting up at noon. He shakes his head and then gets into the bed; a minute later, Castiel opens the door before shutting it softly again and Dean can barely make out his features in the faint moonlight coming from the window.

“Dean?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you. Really, I can’t start to…”

“Hey. Relax. ‘s too late for that. Let’s just get some shut eye.”

Castiel nods and then lowers himself to the floor, over a cheap rug Dean bought at some market; he drapes the blanket previously on the cot over himself and fuck this, Dean tries to turn on his side and go to sleep, but something makes him stay awake and then he decides that there’s something way too miserable in the way Castiel is staying curled on the floor.

“Oh, for… Cas, just c’mere.”

“Dean? What… and what did you just call me?”

“I can’t sleep if you’re on the floor. Get over here, ‘s big enough for two. If you’ve got a problem with that, say it now,” Dean mumbles, and he’s probably only offering to share because he’s dead tired. But then he feels a dip in the mattress on the other side and someone sliding under the covers and oh, oh, it feels strange to have someone else beside him. It hasn’t happened in such a long time.

He thinks that, and then he’s dead to the world.

Also, Castiel totally doesn’t tell him not to call him Cas.

--

There’s a rush of air coming from the window of the car as it runs off the road and Dean can’t feel the brakes under his feet anymore and his dad is saying something and Dean can’t think or act or move, and then there’s the crash, and the radio says that the end is coming soon –

Dean wakes up gulping for air as a hand grabs his shoulder and shakes it; he blinks once, twice, and the clock says 5.30 AM. Castiel’s eyes are half-open and sleepy, but he’s most definitely aware of what he’s doing.

“Are you alright?” he asks, his deep, low voice drowsy with sleep, and Dean’s heartbeat hasn’t slowed down.

“Yeah,” he lies, “sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry for,” Castiel says as his head settles back down, but his hand, instead of moving away, goes down and settles on Dean’s wrist, almost like he wants to reassure or some crap like it.

For some reason, before he’s out again, Dean doesn’t shake it away and this time, he doesn’t dream about anything.

--

When he wakes up the next morning, the other side of the bed is cold and the alarm clock reads eleven thirty AM. Well, he figures, good enough. He stands up, feeling tired even if he has slept seven hours, and drags himself to the bathroom. He ignores Jess’ make-up stuff lying in front of the mirror and washes his face in cold water, then goes in the kitchen still wearing pajamas, figuring that everyone has to be out and –

“Rise and shine! Though I wouldn’t know if I should say good morning or good afternoon,” Gabriel greets from his seat at the table, and Dean almost screams in shock. He doesn’t because he’s a freaking grown up man, not a twelve-year old girl, and instead he glances around. Dean grunts in reply and goes to get coffee, some good soul thankfully left a full pot on the stove, before he realizes how much chocolate syrup his guest is pouring over his pancakes.

“Dude,” he whispers, grossed out, “I’m one who likes his blueberry syrup on his breakfast himself, but can you even taste that pancake underneath?”

“I’m not taking advice from someone who drinks his coffee black.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you down at least three packets of sugar in that, do you?”

“Oh, closer to five, but it’s not a bad guess.”

“Your funeral. And by the way, where the fuck’s everyone?”

“Your brother left at the crack of dawn with his girlfriend, well, maybe it was closer to nine or ten, to some museum. Figures. He has the face of someone who likes museums. My brother went to work some time later, he said something about being late with accounting and needing to catch up.”

“And how come you’re having breakfast now?”

“Hey, I’ve just had a trans-continental trip from China and spent seven hours searching for my ungrateful little brother before getting here, you really thought I wouldn’t go back to sleep?”

“Fair enough,” Dean mutters as he downs his coffee. Good. He feels more like a human. He should also care that Gabriel is seeing him half-naked and in pajama bottoms, but Dean isn’t exactly a modest person and anyway, the guy’s brother wears orange pajamas with pink stripes. Decency isn’t exactly the point.

“Can I tell you something in all honesty?” Gabriel asks a short while later, and Dean shrugs as he reaches out for a banana. He doesn’t feel like eating pancakes right now. Not when Gabriel is helping himself to his fucking fourth portion and is drowning it in maple syrup. Dean will have to restock soon, he fears.

“Something tells me that all honesty ain’t your policy, but be my guest.”

“Well, I had a talk with our common acquaintance this morning, which would be my brother, and after hearing how come he’s actually here and not in the middle of some street, I came to the conclusion that you’re totally nuts.”

Dean raises an eyebrow, and Gabriel should be thankful that he’s too tired to kick him in the face like he deserves. Hell, he gives the guy a place to sleep and that’s what he gets?

“Which, if you ask me, isn’t a bad thing at all.”

“What?”

“Oh, come on. Only someone who was nine kinds of crazy would have actually picked him up instead of telling him it wasn’t their business. And only someone who was ten kinds of crazy wouldn’t have thrown me out, about which, by the way, I should probably say thanks. Not exactly my style but then again no one forced you.”

Dean grunts in recognition and throws the banana’s peel away.

“Well, put like that I can’t say I’m not. Then again, I’d aim not to have was an asshole written on my tombstone. So now, what is it you really wanna talk about? You spent half an hour beating around the fucking bush, just get to the point.”

Gabriel swallows the last bit of pancake and raises an eyebrow at him, while the right corner of his lips quirks up. Like he’s actually really impressed. What?

“Well, well, well, seems like someone in this room is perceptive.“

“Dude, I’ve got a job that requires me to understand what people want just by hearing them. I wouldn’t do that so well if I sucked at it, right?”

“Really. So, what is that you think that I want?”

Dean smirks and sits down in front of Gabriel. He has an idea, indeed.

“You’re trying to figure me out. Because you want to be sure your brother isn’t sharing living space with someone that is going to fuck him over. Which I figure has happened more than once, even if he never told me.”

Let’s be honest: Gabriel actually losing the smug look in favor of a seriously shocked expression?

Best thing Dean has had the pleasure to see all week.

“Alright, alright, I underestimated you,” Gabriel concedes, pushing his elbows on the table and looking at Dean much more seriously than in the last twelve hours. “So I guess I can go straight to the point. Are you?”

“Going to fuck him over? Why the hell would I do that?”

Gabriel raises an eyebrow and makes a sort of really suggestive face.

“Wait. Wait. Wait. You’re actually thinking that I’m doing this and being so understanding and crap just because I want to get in your brother’s pants? Jesus Christ. You know what, fuck you.”

Gabriel looks just a tiny bit ashamed at that, but then he shakes his head and raises his hands in defeat.

“Oh, come on, don’t get so defensive! Alright, I apologize, that wasn’t exactly proper, but… okay, listen, let’s talk straight. The wannabe basketball player who wanted to kill me yesterday, that’s your younger brother?”

“Yeah, so?” Dean asks, still keeping himself as detached as he can.

“What would you do if that actually happened to him?”

“I’d go kick some ass, possibly of whoever… shit,” Dean whispers then. “You mean, that already happened?”

“How much did he tell you?”

“He just said that he had some kind of huge falling out after he graduated or something and he already was working for that son of a bitch at the insurance company which is why the idiot spent years trying to find an excuse to fire him.”

Gabriel nods and seems to think about it, then bites his lip and looks at Dean again.

“Well, he just didn’t give you the details. Okay, listen, you seem pretty much alright and I can see why my brother would… oh, whatever. It’s just, there’s a situation, and as you’ve seen I can’t exactly be around much. Until Anna died I wasn’t really worried about it, but now that she’s gone… listen, just answer me this. Do you like him? And I’m not meaning that in the way I meant before. I mean in the sense of do you give a damn about him?”

Dean thinks that this is way too early for this conversation. “Does it seem to you like I don’t? Seriously, give me some fucking credit. I spent a month breaching protocol at the radio because I liked talking to him. And I’m really not one for ditching people. I don’t even know why is it that we apparently make a decent team but I’m not planning on stabbing him in the back anytime soon, so just go ahead and spill.”

“Good enough. You sure he didn’t tell you anything about the family unit?”

“Nope. Just that in comparison, my three people who then became two is fucking tiny.”

“Well, that should be enough to suggest you that our parents took that go and multiply advice very seriously.”

“Strictly Catholic, huh?”

“Fuck yes. Also, of the kind where your father has already decided what you’ll do with your life before you even know what going to school means. I’m not saying that they were fanatic fundamentalists. Just, very strict. And pretty much strung out on never, ever having the little lambs move from the path set in front of them, unless the lambs had pretty good reasons to.”

“Someone tells me you totally didn’t follow yours, did you?”

“Touché. Neither did Anna, for that matter. Anyway, the whole insurance thing? Should’ve been me. But, I really never liked desks, you know? And what I wanted to do wasn’t anything they could say not to, since they pay me a fucking lot to fly around and knowing languages, so they decided that she should be the one getting that place. Y’know. Sort of family-reserved. Guess what?”

“She didn’t like insurance either but since Cas was the next and it seems to me like he would’ve never said no, they didn’t exactly mind and they let her do her gig, right?”

“Woah. I’m impressed with you. Though… Cas? Where’s that from?”

Dean just shrugs, feeling his cheeks suddenly heat. “I… dunno. Really. Just came up.”

“Whatever. Nicknames never hurt anyone. He told you he had no interest in that at all, right?”

“Yep.”

“Well, yeah. It was pretty much it, but he was kind of daddy’s little soldier back then, he’d have never said no. So he goes to college and even if he wasn’t exactly doing social studies, from spending his time sheltered at home to there, things change. Cutting it short, he starts thinking for himself even if he’s pretty good at hiding it from the rest of the family and while they can’t check on him, he starts… I dunno, doing protest marches and stuff. For a whole heap of things. Hell, he wrote in the goddamn college newspaper. It was stuff about God probably being really depressed with anti-gay people and anti-abortion idiots because he could never hate anyone. Clearly all under a pen name, but whatever. So, he finishes college, gets his internship at the insurance company and everyone needs to start low in the chain in order to raise up if they want to earn their money et cetera, so no one was worried about him being in complaints. It’d have lasted six months and then he’d have gotten a decent contract and stuff. So he moves to New York, everyone’s proud of him and all that jazz.”

“Something tells me this is where things start to suck.”

“Exactly. ‘Cause you know, he still doesn’t want to cut ties with the stuff he did so he volunteers in this sort of counseling place for troubled people without anyone knowing and so on, and one evening he’s hanging out with other volunteers and he meets this jerk whose name I don’t even remember and bam, he’s got himself a boyfriend.”

Gabriel stops and stares at him. Dean shrugs and makes a gesture for him to go on. So what? Not his problem, really.

“Things go fine enough for a couple of months,” Gabriel says, apparently satisfied with Dean’s reaction, “and then a cousin of ours who was in New York sees him kissing the guy at some pro-gay marriage demonstration. So Castiel gets a phone call, has to rush back home, tries to explain things and says that love is love and all that Kumbaya shit. They tell him that he really should reconsider, and he says that he sticks by his decisions .”

“Wait. They just… threw him out and shut the door in his face for that?”

“A-ha. Only people not of the same opinion? Me and Anna. Everyone else? Pff. They haven’t spoken to him since. At the funeral they didn’t even mention him once. Then they also found out about the articles and shit. Anyway, he goes back to New York and walks in on the jerk cheating on him with some woman. Turns out said jerk likes open relationships. And to make matters worse, when he goes back to work, he never gets the regular contract or a better position, not that he was ever cut for insurance. You know the rest, I guess.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Dean mutters staring at the table.

“Yeah, pretty much. Also, let me tell you something. He found out about that radio program of yours more or less when Zachariah moved him from complaints to insurance. And I swear, whenever I was there I had to bring earplugs because he wouldn’t go without that even if someone else was there and I wanted to fucking sleep. Hell, he talked about you the way I talked about Bo Derek when I was fourteen, and let me tell you, not my proudest moment. Though I’d have totally done her, back then. So. You’re a decent person, and that’s awesome, and you might be completely nuts but in this case I guess it was lucky for everyone. Now that you know, see that I don’t have to come kick your ass, alright? I might not see him much and he was way closer with Anna, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give a damn. Clear?”

“Clear,” Dean nods as he raises his head and stares at Gabriel. Damn, when did he start having staring contests with Castiel’s family anyway? “And let me reiterate: I’m not that kind of person.”

And then Gabriel goes from serious to absolutely-unnervingly-cheery again and pats Dean’s shoulder so hard that if he almost chokes.

“Well, awesome! Seems like we’re clear on that, which means that I can have a shower and then go searching for a hotel. Especially since I fear that imposing myself longer with your brother around might end up in a bloodbath. Hasta la vista, Dean,” he says, and then he’s out of the kitchen.

Dean shakes his head and cleans the table; he’ll have to re-stock the sugar and a lot of other stuff, he thinks as he checks the pantry, and then he sits at the table and brings a hand to his temple. Fuck, now he gets a lot of things, like the defensive attitude and why Castiel looks at him like he doesn’t get why he’s being so nice to him. And then he thinks at about what Gabriel said before and Jesus, does he really have that much power over some people? Damn, he just sits there for two hours and talks and airs some music, he never consciously realized that he might have some lasting effect on his listeners’ lives going beyond those two hours.

Though well, in this case, he’s glad he has. He really is.

He gets out of the kitchen and goes to find something to wear, it’s not like he has much better to do until the bathroom is free. He waits for Gabriel to get out, ignores the men’s cologne he probably left next to Jess’ stuff, he washes his face and dresses and sees Gabriel leaving as he gets out. And then, before he does, he asks him where Cas went to college, just because. Gabriel answers and then leaves. Dean goes into the living room, stops goddamn Duran Duran (Gabriel probably put them on, and Dean curses the fact that he needs to be updated also on what used to be popular in the Eighties and not just what he likes) and puts on The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll instead. By the way, he needs to get rid of that best of Eighties record.

Maybe, with the new information, he might actually get it.

Well, at least he can guess why Cas likes depressing stuff.

And when did he start calling him Cas in his head anyway?

Whatever, he doesn’t have time to think about this. He just goes back to his own bedroom to fix the bed in case Gabriel doesn’t leave this evening for some reason and he has to share it again.

And he doesn’t find the whole bed sharing deal absurd, not even if now it’s midday and he can look at it with a lucid mind.

--

He calls the radio and tells the secretary, that he isn’t coming until eleven because of family matters; then he fixes himself some lunch, notices that Jess sent him a text that morning saying they’ll be back around five and thinks about what he’s going to say tonight. He realizes that it’ll be exactly eighteen months since his show started airing. Suddenly it seems important that he starts sort of seriously, but he can’t think indoors and so he goes to take a short walk.

The short walk turns into three hours of walking and a vague outline of a half-introduction; he figures he’ll just make it up on the moment before going back home.

And as he stands outside the door, he clearly recognizes Shelter From The Storm, Hard Rain version, coming from the inside. He half-smiles as he turns the key inside the lock.

… this way again, you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”
Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved –


Well, he needs to admit it. He kind of digs that version. A lot.

And then he goes inside the kitchen finding Cas refilling the pantry with all the sugar that disappeared since the morning.

“I… thought it was the least I could do,” he says, sounding sort of sheepish.

“Yeah, good idea. Hey, listen, don’t… don’t feel too bad about it, okay? And if Sam bitches, let him. He should relate, out of everyone.”

“Why… why should he? He’s perfectly in his rights to be angry.”

“Yeah, but… ah, let’s cut the long story short: he left for college, our dad wasn’t at all happy. When Sam left our place, they almost made the walls fall down shouting and then I didn’t heard from him until the accident. Apparently he felt like shit for never contacting me but he didn’t want to deal with dad, and then he was at my bedside saying that he was an ungrateful asshole. I told him that damn right he was, but he still was an ungrateful asshole related to me, and he’s called once each week ever since. And since he doesn’t have any other close family and neither have I, he should relate since well, you know, you did say he was the only one with whom you still were in contact. And if he doesn’t I’ll make him, don’t sweat it out.”

Castiel nods, looking way too relieved, and Dean bites his lip. Damn. It’s hard to act nonchalant when he knows what’s behind that.

He’s about to say something when someone starts ringing the doorbell. It’s Sam, who is looking most definitely not pleased, Jess, who looks about to fall over herself laughing, and Gabriel. All together.

“What… did you plan this?” Dean asks, and Sam storms in.

“You are insufferable,” he mutters at Gabriel before going into the living room.

“Ah, young people,” Gabriel huffs, and Dean turns to Jess because he’s sure he won’t get an answer otherwise.

“Jess, please, either you tell me what’s going on or I’m… I don’t even know.”

She pats him on the shoulder as she gets in and damn, well, her smile is quite contagious. At least someone is having fun here. “Don’t sweat it out. We just met down on the stairs, apparently we chose the same time to get back, and seems like your brother and him can’t just have a conversation.”

“Argh. Can you, er, calm him down or something?”

“You bet.” She winks at him, and then goes into the living room.

Yeah, Dean is so getting Sam to marry her.

Meanwhile Cas is out of the kitchen and Bob Dylan gets abruptly stopped.

“Okay, so, you got anything to tell me before I try to talk with Sam?” Dean asks Gabriel, who just rolls his eyes and waves his hand around.

“Not really. Oh, except that I found this absolutely delicious hotel just a few blocks from here which also has a perk which is definitely something I’d want, but sadly they don’t have a free room until tomorrow morning. It really isn’t a problem if…”

“What’s this item you can’t really not have in your room?”

Cas suddenly groans muttering something like please, not that again. Gabriel leans forward and closer to Dean.

The item turns out to be free access to the Casa Erotica channel, and well, Dean learned to appreciate that between living alone and months of physical therapy and not getting laid, which means he gives Gabriel one more night even if Cas looks at him like he’s crazy for accepting that as a valid reason. Then he states that it’s just one-last-night and then, since he has a way bigger mess to sort out with Sam, he gets inside the living room, where Jess shrugs at him before conveniently going into the bathroom.

“Sam.”

Dean,” he snaps back, and that so was not how he had planned for this whole thing to start..

“Listen, I didn’t know that, he didn’t know that, and it’s only for another day. Stop fucking giving me the cold shoulder, okay?”

“Do you realize that it’s completely insane? I mean, the guy’s okay, Castiel I mean, but you just don’t take people in without even knowing them! And that other one? How do you even talk to him?”

“Hey, he ain’t that bad. I had a perfectly nice talk to him this morning.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever. Dean, really…”

“Sam, listen to me one second, okay? I know it’s crazy and sometimes I don’t even know why I actually did the whole thing, but… regarding Castiel… I didn’t exactly… hell, you talk with someone for a month, you’ll know something, right?”

“By phone, which isn’t that different from the internet or whatever, and…”

“Sam, does he really give you the impression that he’ll kill everyone in the house now?”

“… no, I’ll give you that, but… it’s not like you!”

“And don’t you think that maybe it’s why I’m doing it? Sam, fuck, I spent my life either looking after you or keeping you and Dad from killing each other and doing whatever he wanted me to do even if I’ll admit I didn’t exactly fight it. Then I got into that accident, then I managed to do something I like because of fucking sheer luck or I’d be still cleaning floors and sharing an apartment with five people whom I don’t even like. For once that I actually get along with someone should I just say screw it because it isn’t normal? He’s a nice guy, he’s in the same shit I was in, and he hasn’t given me a single freaking problem. So what? And regarding that other one, well, apparently he’s the only relative Cas has, and he might be an ass but you have to stand his face for half an hour for two days. What about making an effort?” he snaps, realizing that he has practically given Sam a speech, and... well, that, he hadn’t been expecting.

Sam actually looks totally shocked now, and not in the bad way.

“Well, what now?” Dean snaps after some half a minute of very, very unnerving silence, even if at least it isn’t an angry silence.

“Dude, that was… woah. Last time you were so defensive was when you really wanted to go out with that Cassie girl Dad didn’t like.”

“And?” Dean keeps on, not really wanting to know what point is Sam trying to make. Sam just shakes his head, gives him a half-smile and pats his shoulder so hard that Dean flinches.

What?!”

“Relax. Fine, I’ll make an effort. For Castiel, not for the other one.”

Dean would really like to know what changed his mind, but hey. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Oh, fine, go fuck yourself for all I care. I’m going to the station. See you tomorrow morning,” he says, and when he gets out of the door he notices Cas and Gabriel talking in the kitchen. It feels wrong to intrude, though, and so he just gets out.

--

At the radio, he finds out that, apparently, Jimmy and Michael have decided that bdsm clubs aren’t for them, but trying it at home? Why the fuck not?

Dean sometimes hates it when Chuck reads bits and pieces of his writing out loud.

--

That night, when Dean sits at his place, at least he doesn’t have any doubts about what he should start with. Making a slight change from the usual, instead of talking himself first, he puts on Play It All Night Long.

- sweet home Alabama, play that dead band's song
Turn those speakers up full blast, play it all night long -


it goes, and fuck yes, he really did choose a good name. Or so he thinks.

He knows what he needs to say as he leans his head towards the microphone.

“Howdy! If you just tuned in or you don’t know what the hell you’re listening to, this is Dean Winchester speaking and you’re listening to Play It All Night Long, only on WNCY from now until three this morning, for your listening pleasure. And if you were wondering, the song you just heard? Yeah, where the title of this show comes from. I never claimed to have imagination. And by the way, Warren Zevon is awesome. Remember that. Got it? Good. So, well, I actually aired it because I realized that today it’s been eighteen months since I’ve started ruining your nights. Thanks for tuning in, people. I still think you’re all crazy, but hey, I won’t be the one to stop you. Now, before I actually take my first call of the day, and oh, about that, please feel free to call 917-555-4211, to talk about whatever, I was wondering… see, there are some of you who called more than once, during all this time. Some even more than more than once. Some just one time. And I’d really like to know what happened after. I mean, you probably could have gone to bed and went on with your life, but… for example, someone once asked me how to fix their car’s engine and they said it worked. What’s going on with that car now, is she still running? Or not? People, come on, I want to hear it. If you want to tell me, of course,” he ends, before motioning for Chuck to give him the first call.

--

The night is actually fucking crazy.

Mostly everyone calling is someone who had called before; and fuck, Dean would have never expected to hear a lot of the things he’s told.

Like how a guy married his ex-girlfriend he had been trying to get back with and it happened after Dean aired the song he chose for her.

Like how the guy who asked him for the car advice had never had a single problem with the engine again.

Like how the girl who asked him for book advice actually cried while reading Slaughterhouse Five and had read the entire Vonnegut opus after.

Like how someone who hadn’t spoken to his brother in years had picked up the phone and called the guy after Dean sort-of-shared his own experience and told another listener that you really, really don’t want to lose touch with them even if they’re not perfect.

Like how this woman had turned on the radio because she was going to kill herself and wanted some music to go along with it and she had ended up on Dean ranting about how much he started to appreciate things in a new light after the accident and changed idea. She actually cries as she tells him, then asks him if he can put on Hey Jude, which was what had been playing next, and he feels his throat closing as he says sure and does.

He’d have never understood that just by speaking for two hours each night in a box he could do so much for complete strangers.

Suddenly, not having had a doubt about asking Cas where he was that night doesn’t sound so stupid.

--

When he gets back home, he can only see light seeping from his own room; he quickly goes to the bathroom where he kind of left his pajama bottoms this morning and does his teeth brushing as quickly as he can. He gets into the room, then, and Cas is already in bed. The only light on is from the lamp on Dean’s bedside.

“Hi,” he mutters as he sits down on the bed.

“Hello yourself,” Cas mutters, and his voice seems softer than usual. “That was… I think that it was just wonderful.”

“Thanks. I totally made stuff up the ten minutes before the program started, but… yeah. I have to say I’m kinda proud of it,” he admits as he gets under the covers too.

“I… I believe I should tell you something, too. About that.”

“There’s no need…”

“It’s not… it’s not about this. Or the talks. I think you might be sick of hearing me thanking you for that. It’s… for the six months before.”

“Why, what did I do?” Dean whispers, not really trusting his voice. This is way, way too intimate of a conversation for his standards.

“You kept me company,” Cas says, so low that it’s hard to hear it even in the complete silence. “It was… it was a particularly bad time, the… the nuisance sleeping in the other room was in Australia, I think, and Anna was pretty busy with her job and apart from work related matters I didn’t really even talk to anyone but… well, if I turned the radio on at that time you’d be there and… that. I might have gone stir-crazy otherwise, I think.”

Dean thinks that he can’t keep his voice straight. “Well. My pleasure,” he manages, and then Cas shakes his head.

“Listen, I think that… I never told you the details of what was going on with me but with Gabriel being here and all the rest, I believe I owe you an explanation.”

“You don’t… you don’t need to, really,” Dean says, biting back the I already know he was about to say.

“I… maybe I do, actually,” and that’s when Dean realizes that he probably hasn’t told anyone. Not yet.

And so he sits back and listens to everything he already knows, even if from Cas’s point of view it sounds a lot more complicated. Then again, he was the one going through it, not Gabriel.

“And that’s it,” Cas says in the end, sounding wrecked but kind of like he got a load off his shoulders. “I… it doesn’t change anything, does it?”

And well, at least Dean knows one thing for sure. He’s good at lightening depressing situations.

“Dude, the only thing that’s wrong with you, far as I’m concerned, are those ugly-ass pajamas of yours. And maybe also your tendency to like depressing songs. ‘Course it doesn’t change anything. But, thanks for telling me that thing about the program first,” he adds, because… well. It means something. He wishes he could say what. But it does.

Cas half-smiles in the faint light coming in from the window and well, if the fact that they’re both in the same bed makes the whole moment way too chick-flick for Dean’s comfort zone, it’s fine.

And he doesn’t even have nightmares, after.

Which is, if you ask him, a fucking plus.

--

Gabriel, thankfully for Dean’s sanity, even if he doesn’t dislike him that much in the end, goes away the next day. The fact that Sam and Cas pull identical expressions when he says he’ll totally spend the afternoon checking out Casa Erotica is downright scary and Dean is glad that it’s Sunday and that he’s driving everyone to Ellen’s because Cas works the evening.

At least he’ll get a good drink out of it.

--

Sam needs to admit it; if someone passes the Ellen test and she actually says she likes him, he can’t be a crazy serial killer. When Cas hears the conversation he totally tilts his head in confusion, and Dean downs another drink to forget that he thinks it was kind of adorable.


Part V
 
 
on rotation: Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A. | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
ficreader1ficreader1 on June 29th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Gabriel was his regular annoying obnoxious self but I have a soft spot for him when he comes on strong as Castiel's brother. Sam was a little too whiny for my tastes but you conveyed how much Gabriel rankled him and got under his skin perfectly.
the female ghost of tom joad: IT WAS A ROBOT HEADjanie_tangerine on June 29th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
Glad to know you liked Gabriel because that was kind of the first time I wrote him in something long so I was really trying to get him right. And I like him when he's all in strong brother mode on. And aw, yeah, probably Gabriel's presence made me push on Sam being bitchy a lot, but I'm just glad it didn't put you off too much.
Gabrielleladyviva97 on June 30th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
So, I have to say that I love Gabriel to DEATH now. XD He is made of wonderful bits and pieces of assorted awesome-ness and hilarity. I LOVVEDEDDD the way you wrote him. :)

"Then again, I’d aim not to have was an asshole written on my tombstone." << HILARIOUS. I laughed so loud when I read that, along with other parts.

When Dean got those callbacks from all those listeners he'd helped, I almost cried, that's how emotional and touching that was to me. -applauds you- That has to be the most amazing part of the story so far, in my opinion. It really shows that Dean is an amazing person and just doesn't realize it, and I think that applies to his character in all aspects; both in SPN and in your fic. <3
the female ghost of tom joad: spnj2bbjanie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
Thaaaank you!! :D God, I'm so happy that you liked Gabriel here. I had never written him in anything longer than 1500 words and it never was an AU so it's just so good to hear I got him right. Also lol well he's awesome, right?

That line was one of my own favorites. Well, I like to have them, yes. ;)

And that was also one of my favorite parts to do, if only because I doubt canon!Dean will ever have an epiphany of that kind so I figured I might as well give it to him here, right? Thanks so much again!
(no subject) - ladyviva97 on July 1st, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Giuliae0wyn on June 30th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
Sappi che dovrei studiare e invece sto leggendo la tua fic XD

Stupende le parti in cui gli ascoltatori telefonano a Dean e lui si rende conto improvvisamente che, sì, la sua presenza fa la differenza per molte persone :) E la backstory di Cas, con il racconto di Gabriel versione *fratello protettivo on*
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel indeed confused..janie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Dimmelo a me, ieri AVREI dovuto studiare e ci ho messo mezza giornata a postare questa sottospecie di mostro. ;)

E grazie ancora! :D Se posso avere Gabriel di mezzo ci provo. Ancora devo rifarmi del fatto che ci hanno privato della possibilità, i senza cuore. ;____;
The Sighs of Children Tease the Landsilentdizo on June 30th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Definitely reading too fast....
the female ghost of tom joad: j2janie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Eee don't rush! ;)
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on June 30th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
I must admit my favorite part of this aside from Gabriel was the realization of just how much Dean has affected people's lives just by talking to them on the radio. It was quite a poignant moment and really speaks well of the human spirit.
the female ghost of tom joad: j2janie_tangerine on June 30th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
That was totally in my top three parts to write of this whole thing actually, it's so good to know you liked that one especially. :D And ha, I feel quite accomplished with Gabriel tbh so yay if you liked him too. ;)
joey: Andy: Smilekon_bl on July 1st, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
He should also care that Gabriel is seeing him half-naked and in pajama bottoms, but Dean isn’t exactly a modest person and anyway, the guy’s brother wears orange pajamas with pink stripes. Decency isn’t exactly the point.

FFF. GABBY.

Then again, I’d aim not to have was an asshole written on my tombstone.

AAAH LOVE THIS SERIES.
: )
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on July 1st, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
You know he doesn't mind that kind of thing. ;)

Much glad you're liking it!! :DDD
Linsey: Sam: bitchface!pyjamagurl on July 3rd, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Gabriel is awesome! And I kind of love how much he rankles Sam (and how Jess finds the whole thing amusing as hell).

The bit when Dean called Castiel 'Cas' for the first time made me squee and grin like an idiot, it was so natural and adorable. Also, I love that Dean thinks Cas is kind of adorable but tries not to think about it too much.

I am honestly enjoying this story so much!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural sam kills you with his braijanie_tangerine on July 3rd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Ee, much glad you like him! :D And you know he and Sam totally aren't made for a smooth introductions, right? XD (If I was Jess I'd totally find that amusing, too. ;) )

And aw, thanks again!! I'm so happy to hear that you are :D
abbylover23abbylover23 on July 3rd, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
ok a) YAY for you doing DC big bang because i'm still completely in love with your Doghouse Roses (it's my favourite to read on a blue day... or any day really) and omg i was so excited to see this by you!

and b) i love all of this but i had to comment on this part because the tiny stories from the people who listened to Dean's show were just beautiful and i may have teared up about the Hey Jude moment. ok i TOTALLY teared up. i'm a total girl and this is amazing <33

the female ghost of tom joad: musicjanie_tangerine on July 3rd, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Eee, thank youu! It's awesome to hear that I wrote your comfort fic really. ;)

And re b), I'm so glad that you're liking this so far and that bit especially. I really loved writing it and well, I plotted this whole thing, I'm a total girl too then. Right? ;) <3333
iCe: desolateice_of_dreams on September 28th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
The entire time, when people were calling about Dean changing their lives made me cry.!!

I'm leaking!!

Buckets!!!
the female ghost of tom joadjanie_tangerine on October 2nd, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
*hands tissue* sorry about that but if that scene worked for you then I can feel accomplished. ;)
(no subject) - ice_of_dreams on October 2nd, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: angel supplicationsecondplatypus on October 5th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
I loved the instant, powerful antagonism between Sam and Gabriel, the slow unveiling of Castiel's character, and that absolutely wonderful sequence on Dean's show. People often don't understand what a tremendous impact taking the time out of your day to talk to someone, or just show a little kindness, can have.
The rising love, it continues. :)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural gabrieljanie_tangerine on October 5th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Much glad you liked the Sam & Gabriel endless banter! ;) (tbh I just can't see them hitting off in any setting, considering their canon history. Or well, they'd hit off after like 30000 words of build-up, canon history or AU. ;) ) And yeah, that was kind of what I was aiming for with the whole Dean's show sequence so it's totally awesome that you liked that part as well. :D
(no subject) - secondplatypus on October 7th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
Chanellemchanellem on January 13th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
I'M in love with this fanfic! damn HAHAH! Laughed so much and then cried during dean's show so touching :)
the female ghost of tom joad: tangerinesjanie_tangerine on January 16th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Eee yay that was awesome to hear, thanks again for like the fourth time. ;)
worth_a_wound on April 27th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
*w*
Tu. Sei. Italiana ò_ò
A parte lo stupore di quando l'ho capito leggendo i commenti, sto adorando questa fanfic.
Il tuo inglese è fantastico, Cas è un amore, lui e Dean dormono nello stesso letto e awwww çwç <3
the female ghost of tom joad: spnj2bbjanie_tangerine on April 27th, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
Re: *w*
... ebbene sì. ;) salve XD e grazie mille, contentissima che stia piacendo! ;)
Re: *w* - worth_a_wound on April 27th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
cerulean: blue butterflyceruleanxstar on May 5th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
I've never really liked Gabriel that much, but his role in this story was pretty much perfect. Sam's a bit whiny (or maybe because I watched Season 4 not that long ago and his bitchface is still fresh in my mind) but I actually like it, it's realistic. Plus, it's funny that Gabriel totally pulls his strings :D
Carly: Dean&Castielcarolina_hope on December 26th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
I love the sublte hints of Dean faliing for Cas

I like Gabriel well enough and I adore him in this story. being a protective brother and annoying sam and all that jazz
kellyanne77kellyanne77 on February 18th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Ahh, trust Gabriel to bring chaos in his wake. I totally like how you wrote him as a big brother, and also the swap back to cheery self straight after, very canon I think from the upbeat to serious to upbeat. Also, Castiel became Cas! - yay for the transition in Dean's head, and also to Cas for starting to feel more okish to be open about what happened, he's transitioning too and slightly loosening up I think! Oh, and I also started crying when I was reading about Dean's show theme and what happened to people afterwards. I know I'm always shocked when I've found out I've had some sort of an effect on people, or at least they've formed some sort of opinion about me that I never knew they had (good or bad, I'm just always surprised that I'm actually noticed).