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21 September 2011 @ 01:05 am
and anywhere I lay my head I'll call it home, NC17, part II  
At that same crossroads where he got lost the first time, Dean turns in Auburn’s direction.

He still has two free days, which are enough to get back to Jersey if he speeds up tomorrow; and while going through Auburn again is, in theory, a total waste of time, there’s something nagging at him and telling him to go left.

Thing is, if you don’t count the time he spent with Sam, Dean was always thinking about Castiel. It’s been almost six days and it’s ridiculous, but he couldn’t shake it away. Sam’s soon-to-be-fiancé (if Dean guessed right) Jessica was around a lot since they also share their house, and Dean had ended up talking with a bunch of her friends (and Sam’s friends as well) during the entire week, but… everything that wasn’t strictly related to his brother somehow lacked spark. A couple girls did try to hit on him, but all he could think was that they weren’t standing close enough. Or their eyes were the wrong shade of blue, or their hair too long or too short. All of Sam’s male friends aren’t his kind of person, and a couple start looking down on him after he tells them that he only has a GED (doesn’t matter that he got it so that Sam could be where he is and that they had money to pay the bills, but he doesn’t share that bit). The band playing in this bar that cool kids studying law at Stanford love isn’t bad, but the singer’s voice is too high and there are too many instruments. It isn’t as intimate as Castiel’s small show had been.

He has no idea of why he’s this set on going back to the Roadhouse. It’s also kind of a stupid idea – the sex was mindblowing, but it doesn’t mean that Castiel wants anything else from him. Dean has no idea of what he wants either; it’s not as if anything can happen between them, considering that Dean lives in freaking New Jersey. He’s not even wanting to ask Castiel what’s up with him and why he lives in this godforsaken place – guy has his reasons, probably, and it’s not Dean’s business. He really shouldn’t do this.

Still, he doesn’t turn back. He just knows that he wants to see Castiel again.

He parks outside the Roadhouse a bit after ten PM; when he walks back inside, two people are playing pool, one is at the counter with Ellen’s daughter serving her, the guy with the seventies mullet who’s probably Ash is cleaning the tables and Ellen is behind the counter.

Her eyes widen when she sees him.

“Dean Winchester,” she says. “No one was expecting you here.”

“I figured I’d take a small detour. After all, I have a shirt of Castiel’s to give him back.”

Lame excuse, and Dean would have rather kept it, but it was the only rational one he had found to justify his presence there without giving himself out.

“Huh. His shirt. Well, you can tell him soon enough, he’s about to show up.” Dean can’t shake away the impressions that Ellen is looking at him as if he’d shown to bring her daughter to prom and she had never seen him before.

“And you know, maybe it’s a good thing that you defied everyone’s expectations.”

“What do you mean?”

She shrugs, handing him a beer before he can ask for it. “Let’s say that once upon a time someone showed up on my doorstep and that they weren’t looking as good as they looked the morning you left. So, are you staying here tonight?”

Dean doesn’t comment on the abrupt change of topic, or about what she meant with the first sentence.

“I’m staying.”

“Good. You can have the same room as last time.”

Dean is about to answer when he hears someone moving a chair up on the small stage.

My daddy told me, lookin’ back, the best friend you’ll have is a railroad track, so when I was thirteen I said I’m rollin’ on my own, and I’m leaving Missouri and I’m never coming on.

Dean shivers as he hears that voice again, but at the same time he feels calmer; he has no idea of what the hell it means, but he smiles slightly as he turns towards the stage.

And I’m lost at the bottom of the world.

Castiel finishes the refrain before raising his head. He glances at the three people sitting in the audience and Dean moves so that he’s in the light coming from the side of the counter. Castiel’s eyes widen when they meet his – he wasn’t expecting it, Dean thinks, and Castiel loses a beat as he plays some interlude between verses. He’s back on track soon after, but he glances at Dean more often than not and shit, Dean can barely follow the song. He’s too busy looking at Castiel’s hands (and thinking about that time they touched him), or meeting his stare whenever Castiel looks his way; he only hears, the moon’s the color of a coffee stain out of the entire thing, but it’s because Castiel’s voice sort of breaks as he sings that line. It sounds sad as he says that he’s lost at the bottom of the world all over again, and damn but Dean wants to touch him again, and it makes no goddamn sense because it’s the second time he sees the man.

It’s completely irrational, and Dean had thought he had stopped acting according to his gut a long time ago, but the part of his head saying probably more trouble than he’s worth is a lot less loud of the one that says probably worth all the trouble. It’s all in the way he sings – Dean has learned to appreciate some things, and he can feel it when someone sings from the bottom of their heart, and that’s exactly what it is. There’s something raw in Castiel’s stare when he meets Dean’s eyes before starting the next song. The kind of raw that reminds Dean of the way he arched under his hands and the way his eyes widened when Dean kissed his hip or his wrist.

Once upon a time someone showed up on my doorstep and that they weren’t looking good. Dean has no doubt of who was that showed up on Ellen’s doorstep.

Dean can’t pay attention to the lyrics this round either, until Castiel stops looking at him and starts looking at his hands, lowering his voice. It sounds as if he has drunk too much before starting to sing.

You share my bed, you share my name, well, go ahead and call the cops, you don't meet nice girls in coffee shops, she said baby, I still love you, sometimes there's nothing left to do.

Dean’s throat goes dry and he takes a sip of beer, steadying himself against the counter as Castiel’s eyes meet his again.

You got to hold on, take my hand, I’m standing right here, you got to – hold on.

His tone changes, now it’s more bittersweet than just bitter, and as unreal as this whole situation should feel, for some reason Dean can’t help feeling like the last five minutes felt more meaningful than anything not concerning his brother that has happened in the last five years of his life. Castiel gets through the rest of the song without looking at him directly, but it’s no matter; Dean figures he’s not the only overwhelmed one in here.

Castiel decides that his set is over after then. Dean turns his back at him, asks for another beer and whatever Castiel might want, and waits.

He isn’t overtly surprised anymore when he turns and sees Castiel at his right. He hadn’t heard him, but he had expected not to hear him this time.

“You came back.”

“I said I’d buy you a drink. Also, I have a shirt of yours.”

“Oh. So that was it?” He sounds almost disappointed.

“No. It was an excuse. To come back, I mean.”

Dean has no idea of why, why he’s being this straight – he’s never that straight with anyone, former one night stands included, but there’s something about Castiel that makes him feel like a dirty jerk if only he even thinks about lying.

He isn’t like this. He isn’t like this with anyone except Sam, and he has lied to Sam at times. Mostly not to make him realize that there wasn’t food for two and Dean was skipping meals so that Sam could have regular ones.

“So why did you?”

“Is wanting to see you again a crime?”

“You wanted to see me again?” Castiel replies, as if he can’t fathom the idea.

“Well, obviously. I’m here now, right?”

“Is there something you want?” Castiel asks then, suddenly sounding defensive. This is so very different from last time, Dean thinks.

“If you mean from you… nope. I was hoping we could have a chat, but that was all of it. Whatever happens, it’s your call. It seems that I happen to like you.”

Castiel takes a sip from his glass, looks up at him again, slightly more relaxed. But he still looks at Dean as if he doesn’t get it. “You like me because you only saw me that one time. What do you know?”

“A couple other things, too.”

“Like?”

“Well, your favorite singer. I also know that you’ve been here for a while and probably you weren’t in this great shape when you showed up. I also know that someone put a piece of glass in your hip once. Oh, and that at some point you might have risked an overdose, but you stopped soon enough because otherwise I’d have found that kind of scar on your arm in a lot of other places.”

He keeps his tone quiet, almost whispering, and Castiel’s eyes do widen almost comically at that.

“How did you know about the glass?”

“Your hip. Seemed like a knife scar, and I wasn’t gonna think about it while we were doing more pleasurable things, but it felt too weird. It’s the wrong size to be a knife – or well, if you had a knife of that size in there you’d have probably been dead. Before you ask me how I know, me and my brother were in foster care with a guy who used to drink too much and for a while I worked at a bar where people broke bottles on their heads two days on three. And by the way, I’m not here to go all third grade on you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean… I know that because I’ve had a good look at you, but if you don’t want to talk about it, then I don’t need to know what’s behind it.”

Castiel gives him a nod; his right hand is wrapped tight around the glass, the other is flat on the counter. Then he drinks the rest of the glass.

“You can buy me another one then,” he says. “And you can tell me how did your shared spring break go.”

--

That night Castiel knocks on Dean’s door a second time, and they stumble into bed all over again, and Dean takes his time moving his mouth over every place of Castiel’s skin that he can reach, and Castiel’s fingers feel amazing as they move through Dean’s hair. But even if they take it slower than the other time, Dean can’t help thinking that Castiel kisses him as if he thinks it isn’t happening again.

And he has all reasons to think that this is the last time.

--

The next morning, he needs to go back home, even if he’s somehow reluctant. And clearly it’s raining again, even if not half as bad as the first time he stumbled here.

Castiel isn’t there when he wakes up and he isn’t there when he moves back into the main bar. Ellen is looking at him neutrally, but when he says that he might come round some other time she slips into friendly again; still, when he’s ready to go, Castiel isn’t anywhere to be seen.

He has just closed the trunk of the car when Castiel runs out of the bar, the rain soaking him at once. He almost runs until he’s face to face with Dean, personal space forgotten and his shirt plastered over his frame in spite of the trenchcoat that he’s wearing but that he didn’t bother to tighten around him.

“Castiel…?”

“Shut up,” he answers, and then first he places something in Dean’s hand, something that feels very much like a tape, and then his hands are on Dean’s face, bringing it down, and –

Before Dean realizes it, Castiel’s tongue is running along his lips; when he parts them, it feels as if he’s kissing a hurricane. Castiel kisses him hard, all tongue and heat and urgency. He tastes like cigarettes and rain, and Dean can only go along until Castiel lets go of him, their foreheads pressed together.

“That’s for you,” Castiel whispers, and then he’s gone and Dean is left with a tape between his fingers and empty space in front of him.

--

The tape is blank – there isn’t a title or a tracklist; Dean turns it over in his hands before putting it on and driving away.

He hears rustling and some noise, as if someone taped this using an old recorder and not any kind of proper equipment.

Then he hears music, Rain Dogs again if he isn’t wrong, still just on acoustic guitar, and then Castiel’s voice fills the car and Dean doesn’t crash because for him driving is almost the same as walking.

The quality is lower than what would be deemed acceptable for any demo, but it doesn’t matter. Not when Castiel’s voice comes through the speakers loud enough and clear enough, and for someone who claims to do it just for himself, actually putting this on tape must have been enough of an effort. It’s not a flawless recording either – at some point he hears Ellen shout at Ash to wake up already during Way Down in the Hole, you can hear people passing by in the hallway and in an occasion or two there are some drunks shouting from down in the bar to quit to with the depressing songs, but it’s minor nuances.

He doesn’t recognize all the songs, but other than those two there are the other one he sang when Dean was there, Downtown Train and a couple others that he recognizes without remembering the title. No change of repertoire, but the way Castiel’s voice fits every song like a glove leaves Dean awed at worst and shivering at best. He imagines dark velvet as Castiel whispers that you have to put the devil way down in the hole, and dying embers when he repeats obsessively that God’s away on business. He remembers that voice whispering in his ear and moaning when Dean kissed his wrist, and he has to force himself not to turn back.

He has a job to go back to. And it’s in New Jersey, which is about a day’s drive from here, and his time of acting on a whim is done with.

Or so he likes to tell himself; but he doesn’t change the tape until he gets home, and even when he does, he brings it home and plays it on his stereo, all over again.

--

The point is that he doesn’t even get sick of it. It’s the contrary; the more he listens to it, the more he likes it. He learns every break of Castiel’s voice, every noise that isn’t music; he can feel Castiel taking breaths between one line and the other and at some point he realizes that it wasn’t recorded in more than one setting. Castiel actually sat down and went through all the songs at once. Based on what the person from the bar shouted at some point, he probably did it from late afternoon until late evening, considering that it’s a two-hour tape and it’s filled on both sides. It obviously was recorded while he was at Sam’s, and it’s obvious that Castiel thought he’d never show up again; still.

That’s for you, he had said, and the you was definitely stressed; Dean shivers when he comes to terms with the fact that he was the intended receiver. Dean and no one else.

--

He’s tempted to search Castiel up at times, just to understand, but he never does. He meant it when he said that he didn’t want to know anything Castiel didn’t want to tell him. And it’s true – he doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t need to; there’s something telling him that if only that bar was in Asbury Park rather than Auburn, Nevada, he wouldn’t have had a problem asking the guy out. For real. And why not? His luck in relationships has always been abysmal and he never was one for the white picket fence and two kids (that one was Sam, which is why Dean has made sure that he’d get a chance to have it), so it’s not as if he’s waiting for the perfect girl to fall at his feet. Or the perfect guy – he has always liked girls more but there’s always an exception, apparently. An exception with blue eyes and dark hair that seems to never have seen a comb in ages, and with a voice that makes his throat go dry.

Shit, he thinks, it’s ridiculous. He never believed in that crap about instant connections and love at first sight or… well, all of that, but there he is, completely unable to think about anything else, or anyone else, whenever he isn’t doing his job.

--

“Son, who the hell did you fall for?” Bobby asks as Dean pretends to look at a used Toyota, and Dean almost bangs his head before remembering that he needs to slide away from under it.

“The hell?” Dean asks, standing up. He won’t be able to keep the act long, though; Bobby won’t be fooled by the likes of him. Not when Dean’s been working for him since he was sixteen and when he ended up living in Jersey because Bobby decided to move business there. It’s not just that – Bobby is also one of the few living people who used to be friends with his deceased parents (house fire when Dean was four – now that was luck, wasn’t it?), and the only one Dean knows who remembers his mother as well. (Sam was six months when they died.) Dean also suspects that he was the reason social services didn’t separate him and Sam back then, but he never asked and thinks he never will. Sometimes he wonders what would have happened if they had let them stay with Bobby altogether (but they couldn’t; single men with occasional drinking problem related to their wife’s death weren’t eligible. In retrospective it’d have ended up a lot better). The point is that hiding things from Bobby is useless; he finds out sooner or later.

“What else can it be? I know that it ain’t Sam and it ain’t money, and unless you’re working on a serious car and not those plastic boxes, you’re spacing out all the damn time. Or more than usual. Spill. I know that you don’t know anyone here and you only get out for concerts, and I doubt that seeing Steve Van Zandt last month is the reason why you’re thinking about something else all the damn time.”

Dean sighs and throws his wrench on the ground, wiping his hands with a rag.

“Can I ask you something first?”

“Shoot.”

“Can you fall for someone after seeing them twice?”

“As far as I know, it takes one time. Why’s that?”

“Uhm, when I was going to California I got lost because of the rain. And ended in this small place in Nevada. I, uh, met this person, and we more or less clicked, and… stuff happened. I swung there again on the way back and it happened again. And I can’t get them out of my head.”

Bobby sighs, taking off his cap and wiping sweat from his brow. “Obviously you had to click with someone who lives in Nevada. Well, apparently they’re a piece of work if they keep your attention like that. Well, would you accept some advice from someone with a damn lot more experience than you?”

Dean doesn’t even answer before Bobby keeps on. “Get back and tell them. I met Karen when her cart clashed into mine at some grocery store and I asked her out at the check-out. And you’ve had ample proof that I haven’t married after she died.”

Dean nods – he remembers Bobby’s wife, more or less. She died when Dean was three, a car accident. But he has this idea that Castiel isn’t the kind of person you ask out while picking up groceries.

He gets back to work as Bobby leaves muttering about him being an idjit when he wants to.

--

A couple of days later, he decides that he won’t search Castiel up on the internet, but nothing prevents him from trying to track down Ellen’s number.

He finds it without much effort – there aren’t that many Roadhouses in Nevada – and he calls at eleven in the morning. He’s half-sure Castiel won’t pick up.

Jo does. “Who is that?”

“Dean. You remember? Guy who got lost a month ago?”

“Of course I remember you,” Jo says, and Dean can hear her smirking over the phone. “Was about time that you called. You want to talk to my mother, don’t you?”

“Uhm, yes?”

“All right, I’m calling her now. Just one thing.”

“Sure, what?”

“You fuck this up, you’re dead.”

Then she’s obviously put the receiver on the counter and Dean wonders what the hell is going on. What’s with that kind of talk before he has even said why he called?

“Dean,” Ellen suddenly says on the other side of the line.

“Uh, Ellen. Hi. Everything fine over there?”

“Peachy, but it’s not what you wanted to talk about.”

“All right. Listen, I think I have a problem.”

“A ‘if only I didn’t live on the other side of the country I’d ask a certain someone out’ problem?”

Apparently everyone is ahead of him here. “It might be that kind, yes. Now, if I were to, well, come down there and, er, do it?”

He can hear her sighing on the other side of the line, but it’s not the bad kind of sighing.

“You know, he’s been here for five years but except for the three of us, you’re the only one he has ever looked at. And when I told you showed up on the doorstep before, I meant that he had been standing there for three hours and when I asked him what was up, he said he hadn’t eaten in a week but didn’t have money to pay me with. He never left after then, and when he says I pay him, he means that I’m giving him a bed, but that’s not what you want to know. What you want to know is that the one time I’ve seen him looking happy was when he left your room that first time. I’d say you should. But if you aren’t serious, don’t.”

“I can hardly propose.”

“I don’t mean that kind of serious. And by the way, you didn’t even need to ask me. Didn’t he make you a mixtape?” she asks, and she sounds almost amused.

“Can you help me with something?” Dean replies.

When the call is over, he wonders what the hell was he even thinking. But… well, why not. He’ll wait for Ellen’s green light and ask Bobby for a small leave when he has it.

--

He’s playing Castiel’s tape when Ellen calls him a week later.

“If you want a tip, buy Ash a drink too when you get here.”

“What did he do?”

“He managed to get Castiel drunk. And he’s got the highest tolerance that I’ve ever seen in anyone, so that was a feat.”

“And?”

“Come here when you can. I think he won’t object.”

She closes the call in his face and Dean calls Bobby and asks him for five days off before he can think about it.

--

He drives back to Nevada, the tape still on, Castiel’s voice whispering that the earth died screaming. That one in particular sounds eerie, but Dean doesn’t necessarily dislike it – that song’s supposed to be eerie anyway.

He thinks about what the fuck he’s doing. Knowing himself, he should be scared out of his mind – one of the reasons he stuck to one night stands in the last years is that according to all of his previous girlfriends he never put enough effort in his relationships with them, but then again now he doesn’t have to deal with not-parents lying to social workers, having to find money for both himself and Sam to pay the bills (he had fled their not-home as soon as he was eighteen and dragged Sam along), getting the GED because Sam forced him to and everything else that was thrown his way. Sam is on his own, he has a roof over his head and he could have ended up in a worse place than he is now; he could put effort in relationships.

If he wanted to. But he usually doesn’t, since he grew up without time to put efforts in relationships.

He wishes he knew why he felt so strongly about this, but maybe there are things you can’t explain yourself.

--

When he gets to Auburn, it’s one day later, and he does it breaking too many speed limits even for his usual. Ellen hides him in room eight and tells him to get in from the back entrance. Room eight isn’t that different from room six, and Dean has six hours to think again about his stupid plan all over again.

The more he thinks about it, the more ridiculous it seems; this until he decides to check out the bookshelves out of pure boredom. All the LPs are Tom Waits, and Dean figures that this has to be Castiel’s storage room or something like that; there are three rows of worn out paperbacks as well. Most of them are poetry and none of them is bad, so Dean counts that as a win. He moves back towards the bed and then he sees a piece of paper under it.

He picks it up and finds out that it’s not a proper piece of paper – it’s a tape’s label. Dean reads the front and gasps – the tracklist is the same as the one on the tape Castiel made him. He checks the title – it’s labeled Dean. Something tells him not to turn it over, but after all it was meant for him, so maybe it’s not a breach of privacy, isn’t it? He turns the label over.

There’s a message.

Maybe next time you will have a song to ask for.

Nothing else, but Dean’s hands are shaking as he places the label on the unmade bed.

--

At seven PM he walks down to the bar, as agreed; Ash is there looking too smug for his own good as he hands Dean a guitar, which is definitely not Castiel’s – too battered.

“Sorry, that was the only other one around. Anyway, should work. I fixed it and tuned it – might not be that great but I think that it’ll work. For what you have in mind.”

“Uhm, thanks. Listen, are you sure that –”

“Dude, the second you looked at him he decided that he liked you, and I’m never going to get him drunk again because the things he told me last time, I wish I could use bleach on my brain. No offense. But they deserved bleach. Anyway, good luck and –”

“If you want to threaten me with death if I fuck up, that already happened.”

“I wanted to say good luck because I wouldn’t want Ellen and Jo wanting to kill me.” Ash grins at him and disappears up the stairs.

Dean shakes his head and sits on a chair in the middle of the tables – he isn’t going to get on a stage even if no one’s around. He’s already feeling embarrassed as it is; last time he played a guitar he was nineteen and working at the bar where fights broke out every twenty minutes. Said bar also had a regular band, with one member over twenty-one, and in one of the few quiet evenings they had the guitarist had given him some basic lessons. It’s nowhere near refined playing and he isn’t sure he can even play the one he needs to without fucking up, but out of all the viable ones it was the least difficult to work with. He hopes that this whole thing works as it should.

He hears a door creaking open and he figures it’s time. He’s also thankful that there’s just a few opening chords before he has to start singing – the quicker, the better.

I hope that I don’t fall in love with you, falling in love just makes me blue…” he starts, thankful that it’s not that hard to sing. He has a good enough voice, but he wouldn’t even know how to use it the way Castiel does.

“Well, the music plays and you display your heart for me to see…” he keeps on as he sees Castiel walk towards him, a hand over his mouth, looking as if he doesn’t know whether he’s hallucinating or not. “I had a beer and now I hear you calling out for me, and I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.”

He tries to keep his eye contact with Castiel, but it’s moot – he needs to look at his hands if he wants to do this half-right. He resents it, but better safe than sorry.

“Well, the room is crowded and there’s people everywhere, and I wonder, should I offer you a chair?”

He kicks one from near him and Castiel gets the message, sitting down on it, looking at Dean’s hands and then at him still as if he can’t make sense of what’s going on.

“If you sit down with this old clown, chase that frown and break it, before the evening’s gone away I think that we could make it… and I hope that I don’t fall in love with you. I… I can see that you are lonesome just like me, and it being late you’d like some company?”

There’s something almost endearing in the way Castiel leans forward as Dean says that they look back at each other and the chair next is free; he doesn’t why he moves on the one closest to Castiel then, but the pleased look appearing on Castiel’s face makes him think that he didn’t get it wrong.

“Well I turn around to look at you, you light a cigarette, I wish I had the guts to bum one but we’ve never met… now it’s closing time, the music’s fading out…” Dean draws that one out a bit, glancing at his hands, then at Castiel’s, then at his hands again.

“Turn around to look at you, you’re nowhere to be found, search a place to your lost face… I guess I’ll have another round,” he sings, realizing that he can pretty much identify with the feeling. And well – there it comes. He raises his head up again, looks at Castiel. “And I think that I just fell in love with you.”

His fingers drop from the guitar’s neck as soon as he’s done, his hands sweating, but he can barely get himself in check before Castiel grabs his wrist. There’s a moment of silence in which Dean tries to regain his breath – how do people sing for three hours in a row?

“You meant this.”

His voice is barely audible, but Dean hears it well enough, considering the silence currently surrounding them.

“I wouldn’t do that for just anyone.”

“So I am not the only one who has only thought about a certain other person for the last couple of months?”

“Most definitely not.” Dean doesn’t know how to take it – that he likes Castiel here is obvious enough, but he still has no idea what Castiel sees in him.

Castiel nods, swallows, moves the chair closer so that their sides are touching. “Are you going to ask me something that I wasn’t expecting?”

“Do you want to go to Reno?”

“Do I want to go where?”

“Reno. Not that far, and I can’t exactly keep on buying you drinks without changing scenario, since you work here. Right?”

“Are you seriously asking me on a –”

“You’re not allowed to say that word. This stunt here was enough chick-flick for ten lifetimes. So, yes, no or you want to go tomorrow? I have three days. More or less. Your pick.”

Castiel seems to think about it for a minute, but when he looks up at Dean again he doesn’t seem undecided.

“Tomorrow then. Unless you’d rather go today.”

“Tomorrow works for me. Also because I found this,” he says, taking the tape’s label out.

“Where –”

“Under the bed in room eight. I think I have one request.”

When Castiel smiles this time, it’s the first time Dean can see his teeth. It makes Dean want to kiss him again.

“Sure. Which one?”

“Your favorite,” Dean answers, and then Castiel kisses him instead and Dean thinks that however this ends, he isn’t regretting a single one of the things he has done in the last three days.

--

Dean is sitting among the regulars this time, and the beer is better than it was the last two times. There are more people than there were last time, if you call fifteen more than four; most are playing cards as they sip their drinks, and then Castiel walks up on stage. Dean is about to turn towards him when he hears someone on the table near his asking what the hell happened to make Castiel looks so at ease. When Dean does turn, he realizes that they’re not wrong – there’s something in the way Castiel is holding himself that makes him seem a lot less strung up than the other times.

And then Dean decides that the guy has to have hidden having a sense of humor, even if it isn’t particularly flattering for him. Unless he didn’t recognize the song, but he’s pretty sure that he’s right.

I have no time for the corner boys down in the street making all that noise, got no time for whores on the eight avenue, ‘cause tonight I’m gonna be with you… tonight I’m gonna take that ride, cross that river to the Jersey side…

Dean was so right. But he can’t really go and argue that he’s from Kansas, not when Castiel’s voice turns sweet as he says that on the shore everything’s all right. Nor when he says that he’s in love with a Jersey girl as he glances in Dean’s direction, his eyes as close to laughing as Dean has ever seen them.

I’m on my way to see this girl of mine, nothin’ else matters in this whole wide world, when you’re in love with a Jersey girl…

Right, Dean thinks. He’ll take this one graciously.

He can’t do anything else, not when Castiel’s voice is perking up as he says that he calls her name and can’t sleep at night, his fingers plucking the strings oh-so-gracefully.

--

“I don’t believe that it’s your favorite song,” Dean tells him that night, the rumpled sheet of room number six covering them, Castiel’s back against his chest.

“It was my favorite today,” Castiel replies, the fingers on the hand he isn’t using for smoking running along the upper side of Dean’s hand before entwining their fingers.

--

While in Reno, Dean finds out that Castiel has an enviable poker face. Considering that it wins them enough money, they use it for a hotel room that Dean couldn’t have afforded otherwise.

They’re laying in soft sheets that Dean thinks might cost more than his entire bed when Castiel moves closer, his head propped up on his elbow.

“When are you leaving?”

Dean swallows, figuring that it’s high time for that conversation. “The day after tomorrow. But if you want to come with I won’t say no.”

Castiel’s eyes widen all over again, his shoulders freezing. “You barely know me.”

“You barely know me, but I haven’t heard you say no.”

Castiel looks down at him, attentive, as if it’s the most important staring contest they’ll ever have, and it’s probably not even far from the truth. His hand reaches out, touching Dean’s cheek as if he’s somewhat honored to be here and now and doing this.

“The first time I saw you I thought that I would have liked you to buy me a drink.” Castiel’s voice isn’t betraying anything, but his eyes say everything and Dean doesn’t interrupt. “Apparently sometimes you get what you wished for. But – you don’t even want to know –”

“Cas, you don’t seem to me like a deranged guy on the loose, and if you aren’t then I don’t need to know anything else. I want to know, but only if you want me to. Or when. And… let’s say that the first time I saw you, I couldn’t even think because I was too busy listening to you. I think I like you the way you are. I can take my chances.” Dean doesn’t realize until he’s done that he has shortened Castiel’s name without thinking, but Castiel looks pleased enough when he hears it, and doesn’t correct him.

“Do you know how insane it is?”

“Maybe we’ve always been out of our minds?”

Castiel leans down at that, their lips meeting a beat later; and Dean will never get tired of tasting cigarettes on his tongue even if he doesn’t like cigarettes in the first place. Or of the way Castiel kisses as a whole; it makes him feel as if for one second he’s the center of someone’s universe and maybe it’s not a good thing, but he can’t bring himself to care.

“Was that a yes? If it isn’t, you still owe me your real favorite song,” Dean asks when it’s over, his lips an inch from Castiel’s.

“You’ll have that song tomorrow. About your question… then I guess I am crossing the river to the Jersey side. I haven’t moved for five years, almost. Maybe I should try,” Castiel answers. Dean can hear his voice as he heard it the first time, singing how we danced and we swallowed the night and you won’t ever go back home, maybe because outside is raining again and hard enough to remind him of that first time. But there isn’t anything telling him that he shouldn’t go through with this and that he shouldn’t take a leap of faith.

"Can I ask you something?"

Castiel nods, still staring in that way that makes you feel as if you're the center of the universe.

"Why me? I'm - I never thought I was the kind of person that inspired crossing rivers."

"Then you should have a better opinion of yourself. But that wasn't the answer you wanted. Very well. You looked at me the first time and it didn't stop you from looking twice."

Before Dean can come up with an answer, Castiel isn’t leaning on his elbow anymore and lowers his head down, oh-so-slowly. It only stops when it rests against Dean’s shoulder.

End.
 
 
feeling: lethargiclethargic
 
 
 
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on September 21st, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
Ah! That was so beautiful and sweet and tenderhearted. Perfect!

And I loved how they fell in love with just one look and one song and the rest is history.

And have I told you are one of my favorite authors? Because you really are!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas IS CANONjanie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
Much glad you liked it, thank you so very much! ♥ and well, love at first sight DOES exist, right? ;)
gabriel4samgabriel4sam on September 21st, 2011 06:29 am (UTC)
It's a wonderful story, with so much hope...
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural future!cas 2.0janie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks, much glad you liked it! :D
J: happy!sherlockdrunken_kurage on September 21st, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)


Beautiful and hot and OMG you totally covered two of my favorite Waits' songs! I am going to love you forever.
the female ghost of tom joad: !!! <3janie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm so glad it fit the bill! :DDD and hee good to know I can guess right! ;)
The Cleaverage: i heart ukel_reiley on September 21st, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
i loved this so fucking much

SO. FUCKING. MUCH!
the female ghost of tom joad: ILUjanie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! :DDD I'm so glad that you did. <3
harper47harper47 on September 21st, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
What a lovely fic. You always weave songs so beautifully in and out of your stories. This one felt mysterious and a little haunting. A love story born in the rain and the shadows of a bar. I'm so glad they found each other.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel 7.0janie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
That was the feeling I was going for so it's good to know it delivered. ;) thank you so much! ♥ and it was too good of a prompt to pass, but it's great to know the songs worked in this. ;) thanks again!
i want to huggle you (and your little dog, too): hellblue_fjords on September 21st, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
I thought it was lovely. I especially liked Cas in this, and the scar on his hip? Yeah. Great use of music (as always!) and of course the presence of Ellen, Jo and Ash made me a happy camper. Cas's final line made my heart swoon, just so you know!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas i like past you <3janie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :D I'm really glad that it worked for you, and that Cas did because I realized halfway through it that there was some f!Cas in him too and I didn't want to fuck up the balance too much. (Also I'll never pass on chances to use Roadhouse people - I'm still way too invested.) And I think the final bit was my own favorite so it's totally awesome to know it delivered for you. Thanks again! <333
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the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Much glad you liked it this much, thank you! :D <33
Geaven: SPN - Cas and Dean on benchgeaven on September 21st, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
I liked it that you didn't go into detail about what had happened to Cas - that Dean was okay with not knowing. It made it sweeter and more relaxed somehow. And you managed to get the songs in splendidly! :)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas riverjanie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! :D <3 It's good to know the vagueness worked for you because I thought it just worked better all around/fit the mood to give hints without going the whole way.
~ji.jihime47 on September 21st, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
i think my favourite thing about your fics is that after reading a new one my music library expands.

eta: here's bottom of the world - http://minus.com/m5kLn3eLj

Edited at 2011-09-21 04:09 pm (UTC)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural angels bffsjanie_tangerine on September 21st, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
That's totally one of the best things you could say to me. ;) ;)

And oh, thanks so much for the link! I have it on my desktop, which isn't where I wrote the fic on/posted it from and I can't access it rn, so I'll see to put it there as soon as I can edit it :).
cedelede: Castielcedelede on September 21st, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
I'm in love. This story was just beautiful. I loved every single thing about it.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel adorablejanie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm so glad that you liked it this much. <3
Giuliae0wyn on September 21st, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Bellissima ♥ E adoro quando inserisci le canzoni nella storia, si sposano proprio alla perfezione :)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Grazie mille! ♥ (eeeh il prompt mi chiamava, certe tendenze sono dure a morire. ;) ;) )
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the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D I'm so glad that you liked it. ♥
vallie82vallie82 on September 21st, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Man, this was so beautiful, sweet and lovely and I completely adore it! And I´m also very grateful for all the new music you gave me, I have to admit that I haven´t heard anything by Tom Waits before.

Amazing as aways!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel 7.0janie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! :D and eee I love Waits fiercely but he's also a pretty weird cookie so I hope he's to your liking. :) thanks again, I'm so glad that you liked it.
Luckyreticentric on September 22nd, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Really loved and enjoyed this! <3 The last two lines just made my heart melt into goo!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castieljanie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! :D I'm so glad that you liked it. <3
a_carnal_mink: SPN CasDean quit youa_carnal_mink on September 22nd, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)

I always know I'm gonna love the music in your fics. :D I made sure to play all the songs here while reading - everything works so beautifully! I also DL'd four of them to keep, so thank-you for that, m'dear.

Lovely, as always. Bittersweet and romantic and sigh-inducing!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas finale #2janie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ;) it's good to know this worked for you and that the songs did too - I obviously can't pass an occasion to build a fic on songs so it's great to know it works for you. And they're there for public consumption, you're welcome. ;) thanks again, I'm really glad that you liked it. <3
888mph888mph on September 22nd, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
Uh, this fic and Tom Waits? Run away with me, please.
the female ghost of tom joad: !!! <3janie_tangerine on September 22nd, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Of course! :D whenever you want. ;)
jem_018jem_018 on September 22nd, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
I love this so fucking much. Oh dear god. I am such a mess over this. ♥♥♥

I loved the presence of Ellen, Jo and Ash and how they were quite protective over Cas.

The way they fell in love with a look and a song. Oh gosh. *swoons*

When Dean was singing to Cas, oh my gosh, I was clutching a pillow to my chest, grinning and giggling like a mad woman. *shakes head*
I love that you have links to the songs and I clicked on the song that Dean was playing and I realized that it was a song I know. So yay. I got goosebumps and just couldn't stop smiling. :D

I loved the last part of this when they were talking and especially Cas' last line. Oh man. That line made me swoon. I'm gonna need to scrape myself of the floor.

Just awesome. ♥♥♥
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas swan song #1janie_tangerine on September 26th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
Awww thank you! *hands you tissues and cookies* I'm so glad that it worked for you and that you liked it this much. <3 (Also hee Ellen would totally be protective of him, or at least I like to think she would. ;) ) And it's lovely to know that you liked those specific bits, and hee the bit where Dean was singing is actually one of the first things I had planned out so it's good to know it works. (And I love that song. Which also has the advantage of being highly cover-able. XD) thanks again! ♥
ninjapsammeadninjapsammead on September 22nd, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
God, I love your stories. This one touched me on a personal level, though, cuz of the Waits. Your stories fuckin' rock.
the female ghost of tom joad: ILUjanie_tangerine on September 26th, 2011 11:29 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :D I'm really glad that you liked it so much. (And Waits makes everything better. ;) ) ♥
abbylover23: OTP got you sweetnessabbylover23 on September 23rd, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
this was just gorgeous ♥ so romantic and poignant.

it may have over taken Doghouse Roses as my favourite fic by you. i'm not sure. everything is so utterly fantastic and romantic and SKJFHJSKF i just love everything.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas <3janie_tangerine on September 26th, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ I'm really glad that you liked it this much. and that's some high praise there, thanks again! :DDD
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the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel 5.0janie_tangerine on September 23rd, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ee thanks! :D I'm really glad that it worked for you here, I always fret because I think I might be overdoing but I like putting songs in fic too much for my own good. ;)
morganlucas41morganlucas41 on September 23rd, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Fantastic story! The way that Cas and Dean fall for each other is so sweet and perfect. I loved it! :)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost -> generaljanie_tangerine on September 23rd, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Ee, thank you! :D I'm really glad that it worked for you and that the characterizations did as well. ♥
h4ppy_fun_b4ll: dean cas booksh4ppy_fun_b4ll on September 23rd, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
Ah lovely. Such a nice flow for a sweet little story.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 23rd, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :D I'm so glad that it worked for you. ♥
misc_plinksmisc_plinks on September 23rd, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
Beautiful <3
the female ghost of tom joad: tangerinesjanie_tangerine on September 23rd, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Much glad you liked it. Thanks so much! :D
sevvy23sevvy23 on September 24th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
Wow, so beautiful, and so intimate... There's something about this fic, i can't find the word to describe it but let's say that it's deliciously "simple", pure maybe? I mean, you go straight to the point, without embelishment, and with just a few well chosen words you set a perfect decor (i swear i felt like i was in the Roadhouse)...
As for the plot, i don't know how you manage it, but damn it was actually one of the most romantic thing i read in a long time, but there wasn't anything cheesy about it!!
Needless to say that your taste in music is perfect, as usual...
So yeah, i really had a fucking blast reading this, thank you very very much. Please don't ever stop writing, your style keeps getting better and better, and since it was already brilliant to begin with, it's saying a lot!
the female ghost of tom joad: ILUjanie_tangerine on October 3rd, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
First sorry again for getting here so late XD that said thank you! I'm really glad that you liked it this much and that you liked the straight to the point approach - for this one I just didn't feel like it was necessary to go into in-depth backstories. And I was kinda aiming for the romantic-but-not-cheesy so it's totally great to know that it delivered :D (also Tom Waits = flawless much? ;) )

And aww extra thanks ♥ I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon. ;)
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the female ghost of tom joad: musicjanie_tangerine on December 1st, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I'm so very glad that you liked it <3 (and that the Tom Waits was appreciated as well - I might have jumped at the chance to write D/C based on his stuff.. more or less.)
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