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17 July 2011 @ 11:55 am
the apartment - part one  
It’s 8.30 AM when Castiel parks his small, sensible car in front of the building where he works. He turns off the radio (he would have liked to hear that Beethoven piece until it was over, but he has never been late at work in his life and he won’t start now), straightens his tie even if it’s still not quite right (he has never learned to do the knot properly), tightens his trench coat around his shoulders, and gets out of the car.

He looks up at the building, belonging to Sandover Bridge and Iron, where he has been working for ten years. He has a desk on the 19th floor (section W, number 816 of the accounting division), and he hates his job. If only because he’s good at it, and he has been doing it right. He works overtime each week and he’s always on time, he has been here since he was through with college and he doesn’t even particularly like the accounting. But still, in ten years of hard work, his check has never seen any benefits.

With the exception of one thing, there’s nothing Castiel likes about Sandover.

He sighs, running through his mind what he has to do today, work-wise. He’s sure that he’ll end up staying overtime all over again. Maybe he could treat himself to something nice when he gets back to his apartment tonight, he thinks. A nice cup of hot herbal tea, ordering from his favorite Indian take out, a good movie –

His train of thought is over when he realizes that it’s Thursday.

He’ll have to stay overtime longer than usual.

See, accounting is the least of his worries. Because right now, the main is his apartment. Castiel owns a nice, small studio apartment, in a good part of town, which is not too expensive. It’s nice and cozy enough, with its walls covered in bookshelves, an old TV, a proper record player and a sofa that Castiel bought new because he likes to be comfortable when reading.

But since one of his bosses, who’s also coincidentally his second cousin (Gabriel owes him so much) asked Castiel to lend him that apartment once to bring his then-girlfriend, because he was still in the process of breaking up with the one before her, all of his bosses have started dropping by his desk asking for the apartment’s keys.

It might be that Castiel comes from a family where they teach you to never say no to your elders (and there’s a reason he studied economics instead of English literature), it might be that they’re his bosses and he could get fired, but he can’t refuse.

This time is the guy in charge of tech support; Castiel has never met this Gordon Walker person, but he came to Castiel after Gabriel told him and he couldn’t have said no either.

And it’s not like any of these people ever tried to at least put a word for him to get if not a promotion at least a stupid pay rise, even if he works hard and, as stated, always stays overtime.

He sighs, moving inside the building and looking in the direction of the elevators. He looks at the one at the left and he smiles in spite of himself; because that’s exactly where the only good thing about Sandover is.

Because, you see, Sandover is a pretty rich company; they still hire people in order to run the elevators. And if you use the elevator on the left, it’s Dean Winchester running it.

Incidentally, Dean Winchester is the only good thing about working for Sandover. He’s nothing short of handsome, with his short, light brown hair, his striking green eyes, his linear, regular face and a pair of dark, pretty lips that just beg to be kissed. He even manages to pull off the horrible uniform that operators have to wear, which is no small feat. But it’s not just that Dean is good looking. He always has a smile for everyone walking into the elevators even if they don’t look at him twice, if you talk to him even for a couple of minutes and casually, he’ll always have something nice to say, or something that will make you laugh. And, well – Castiel doesn’t really have friends. His bosses have good words for him only when they want the keys to his place. So having someone who always has a nice word for you every day, – even if they don’t really know you – is something he appreciates.

He takes off his hat when he walks into the elevator, trying not to stare at Dean’s backside (he’s only human, and those uniform trousers are tight); he hates wearing hats, but today it was way too cold not to.

“Hey, Cas,” Dean says as he walks in. Castiel’s heart skips a beat. He likes that Dean calls him like that. No one else does.

“Hello, Dean,” he answers, and then waits until the elevator stops at the first floor. Then at the second. When he doesn’t get off at the nineteenth, Dean raises an eyebrow – from there until the thirtieth, there’s just private offices.

“I, uh, need to have a word with my boss. At the twenty-third floor,” he says. Gabriel had asked him to drop by before his shift.

“Oh, all right. Going up, then.” Dean looks at him for a second, then shakes his head and stares at the elevator buttons instead.

“You know,” he says, “you’re the only one who ever comes into this elevator that takes off his hat. Not that I give much of a damn, but y’know. Manners are appreciated.”

Castiel swallows and nods at him, not having an idea of what to answer – he’s already trying not to hyperventilate.

There’s a reason Castiel Milton’s love life is mostly uneventful. He just can’t cope with really liking someone, especially someone who could do a lot better than an accountant who can’t even keep people out of his apartment.

He gets off at twenty-third, and heads for Gabriel’s office. He knocks, and Gabriel says to come in.

He’s drinking hot chocolate and not doing any work whatsoever, from what it looks like.

“On time as always, huh? Good! Listen, I don’t want to take you too much from your work, so I’ll be quick and nice. So, I know that we’ve been doing that thing with the apartment for, uhm, two years?”

“Three, actually,” Castiel remarks, keeping his voice polite.

“Oh, right. Two, three, we’re there already. Anyway, I’m about to have a talk with the boss. Y’know. Adler.”

Castiel nods – Gabriel means the real boss of them all, Zachariah Adler. Whom Castiel never had the pleasure of ever seeing.

“Since you’ve been so nice to everyone around here, I could see if he’d be so nice to think about that pay rise we talked about. Don’t hold your breath though – if it’s a bad day, I guess he wouldn’t even consider it, but hey, who knows. Maybe it’s a very good day for him. That’s what I wanted you to know anyway – if he calls you, just go and be your usual charming self, won’t you?”

“Of – of course.”

“See, that’s the spirit!”

Castiel isn’t one for amenities and so excuses himself – on the way out, he can’t help thinking that maybe it’s high time this whole thing with the apartment paid off. He doesn’t ask for much – maybe a desk in a place that isn’t as noisy, and enough money to go on vacation once in a while. He’s sure he hasn’t used any vacation days since he got hired and he stopped talking to his parents. He sighs, sits down at his desk after taking off his coat.

He has accounting to do.

--

Gordon Walker sends a secretary for the key and Castiel gives it, even if he can’t help feeling horrible about it – he’d like to get a raise because he’s good at his job, not because he gives his bosses a room to cheat on their wives.

Still, he tells her that it’s until ten thirty PM, she nods and she leaves; Castiel keeps on doing his accounting.

--

At ten PM, he can’t look at numbers anymore; he’s been here for two hours more than he should have, and the entire floor is empty.

He sighs, closes the file he was working on, grabs his coat and hat and gets out of the door, expecting to find everyone else gone and heading for the stairs; but then he sees that Dean is leaning outside the left elevator, reading a book.

Castiel is delighted for a second, but it’s short-lived; it’s not like it means anything, right?

He moves closer, clearing his throat.

“Oh, there you are. I was wondering if you had died in there,” Dean says closing the book. Castiel can’t make out the title but he’s sure that it’s Vonnegut. He likes Vonnegut, too, but he isn’t sure that it’s an appropriate conversation subject.

“Why, you were waiting for me?”

“Nah – I’m waiting for the people at the top of the food chain. They’re having a late meeting and can’t bother with the stairs. And I can use the extra money for not doing anything. Then again, yours was the only light on in the rest of the building and you’re way quieter than they are while discussing, so I figured I could stay here. And give you a lift down.” He winks then, and Castiel hopes that his cheeks aren’t flushing. He feels heat rushing up to them, though.

“That would be most kind of you.”

Dean rolls his eyes and calls the elevator; Castiel steps in, mindful not to put the hat on.

“So, working overtime because you need extra money?”

“… mostly, but it’s not like I have someone waiting for me at home either,” Castiel replies.

“Well, I get that – I live alone, too,” Dean replies, not looking exactly happy about it. Castiel is about to answer, but the elevator is already arrived (they’re too quick, these days), and Castiel steps out, putting his hat back on.

“See you tomorrow then. I hope they don’t keep you much longer.”

“Damn, I hope too. Don’t kill yourself working though – it’s bad for you.”

Castiel can just smile slightly at that. He gets out of the building feeling slightly better, and it lasts throughout the time it takes him to drive home.

It all goes away when he realizes that it’s way past ten thirty, and there’s still a light on in the apartment. He turns the radio’s volume up, the classical music station airing a Chopin piece that does nothing to cheer him up, and waits.

Gordon and a girl that Castiel can barely make out in the darkness get out at half past midnight.

Castiel sighs for the umpteenth time that day, gets out of the car and inside the small building he lives in. When he walks up the stairs to the second floor, where his apartment his, he hears the next door open. It’s his neighbor, Chuck; he works as a nurse at the hospital, and writes novels by night (or by day if he has the night shift) even if he hasn’t found a publisher, and he’s the only person Castiel actually sort of talks to outside of work environment. Chuck doesn’t look too thrilled.

“Man, I know why you do that, and I know you aren’t exactly the kind who will say no when people like that guy ask for your key, but you think you can tell them to keep it down once in a while? I don’t sleep much anyway, but writing shit while hearing people fucking their brains out on the next side of the door isn’t ideal.”

“I’m sorry,” Castiel says. “He was supposed to leave before eleven.”

“Yeah, well, I get it, but – really. Next time – just try?”

“I will,” Castiel answers, wishing he could just dig himself a hole and hide in it for eternity.

When he gets inside the house, he isn’t surprised to find out that they hadn’t cleaned up anything and that glasses dirty with champagne are still on the table in his main room.

He’s too tired to deal with this.

He barely manages to stay awake enough to brush his teeth and get into bed, and when he falls asleep, he can’t help thinking, where did I go wrong?

--

The next day, he’s actually at work earlier than usual – he woke up at six AM and hasn’t managed to go back to sleep. He drives to Sandover, figuring he can finish yesterday’s leftover work (not that at this rate he won’t be out of work in a month or so); and just as he’s done parking, he sees something that makes his heart stop.

Dean is at the corner of the building, talking to a girl; she’s nothing short of lovely, long red hair, dark eyes, thin, her features elegant, her skin pale. Then he leans down and kisses her, and Castiel turns his head down towards the steering wheel, breathing in and out, trying not to feel too bad about it. It’s not like he had any hope. And of course Dean would already be with someone – assuming the contrary had just been ridiculous. Dean being actually nice to him doesn’t mean anything more, and he knew it.

When he looks back at the building, they’re gone.

He gets out of the car, or better, drags himself out of it; he walks inside the building and sees that Dean is not working yet. He takes the stairs.

--

At midday, he’s doing accounting as usual when he hears a pen tapping on his desk.

He raises his eyes and tries to place the girl in front of him. She’s tall, with long blonde hair, dressed with a pricey two-piece suit of blue silk trousers and jacket; she’s also wearing heels and her nails are perfectly done.

“Castiel Milton?” she asks.

“Yes. How can I help you?”

“The boss wants to see you. Thirtieth floor, now. Mr. Adler doesn’t like to wait.”

He stands up too quickly, almost making his chair topple over; he runs after her (how can she walk so quickly in those heels, anyway?) until they get to the elevators. She chooses the right one. Dean is nowhere to be seen.

--

Castiel has never been on the thirtieth floor. It looks newly redecorated, with mirrors all over the walls and soft blue carpet on the floor. He glances at one of the mirrors – his shirt is wrinkled and his tie is still not perfectly set. He hopes it suffices – it’s not as if he has had any time to iron his shirts, considering that he hasn’t set foot in his own house for the entire week.

“Here,” she says after bringing him to a door. Then she moves back to a desk a bit farther from it. She has to be his secretary.

He knocks, waits for someone to tell him to come in, and does.

There are some fifteen feet between the door and the desk; Castiel walks them slowly. Zachariah Adler is around fifty, maybe even sixty. He’s dressed in a perfectly ironed suit with a straight tie, and his shoes are so polished that Castiel thinks he could see his reflection, if he came any closer.

He doesn’t take a seat.

“Mr. Adler,” he says, and Adler raises his head from a report. He smiles, but it’s not the genuine kind of smile Castiel gets from Dean. There’s something off about it. But Adler seems in good spirits, so he tries not to dwell on it.

“Mr. Milton, I presume. You can have a seat.”

Castiel does. He feels as if his throat just ran dry.

“Good. So, I had a number of people telling me good things about you. And to be honest, your productivity is off the charts. I might even say that your dedication to the company is admirable – not a sick day or a leave in ten years is quite impressive. Now, if it had been just our common acquaintance Gabriel, I might not have taken that into account – after all you’re related.”

“If I can say, it was purely by chance that we ended up here both. I didn’t know he worked here, when I applied.”

“He told me the same thing. And a lot others are inclined to say the same about you – even if they don’t work for your department.”

Castiel thinks that this can never go well. He’s already starting to sweat; he licks his lips, not adding anything.

“I don’t doubt that you do deserve at least a raise – no one could argue with your stats. But, truth is, I wished to know why exactly the tech department had anything positive to say about you.”

Adler raises his eyes, smirking. He knows, Castiel thinks.

“So, is what I hear about a certain key moving from floor to floor in this company true?”

Castiel swallows, figuring that it’s not time to lie.

“I – yes, it is.”

“You don’t deny it.”

“You know. Why should I? If you decide to fire me because of it, then I can’t stop you and you would have every right. If you don’t, I can only be grateful.”

“Well, well. I can appreciate honesty. And I’ll make you an offer. Your cousin told me about a pay rise and a more challenging office. I can give you your own office on the twentieth floor, and an according pay rise, if you give me that key for tomorrow.”

Castiel thinks that this is too much. He’s light-headed, and it sounds good, but he doesn’t get why would Adler want a key when he’s famous in the entire company for having been married to his wife for thirty years or so. And tomorrow is Christmas Eve; why would you need a key on that day?

“Oh, I can hear you thinking. It’s not for me.”

“Mr. Adler, I would be happy to accept the offer, but you must realize – until now, I have given that key knowing who would use it. I don’t ask for details, but at least I would appreciate to know why you need it.”

He hopes he hasn’t just jinxed his entire career, but Adler just smirks again and leans back in his seat.

“That’s nothing but reasonable, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t tell you. As long as it doesn’t get out of this room, of course.”

“Of course.”

“See, it’s my niece. She has been seeing this guy she met at a coffee shop for a year or so. He was pretty down on his luck when they met, and she was so nice to find him a job here – though it’s nothing of the office kind.”

Probably he’s cleaning toilets, Castiel thinks but doesn’t say.

“And see, it’s not that he’s a horrible person, surely not, but my niece can do a lot better than a high school dropout that can’t even offer her a future. Not when she’s about to start working here in a short while. She’s smart, and I’m sure she’ll do great – as everyone in her family has done before her.”

Castiel nods at that. Sandover has been founded by Adler’s great-grandfather and the CEO has been from the family ever since. Nothing new.

“I think she can’t afford to stay with that guy any longer. And she did agree to break it off, but it obviously can’t happen at the dump where he lives or at our place.”

“I understand,” Castiel says. “If that’s all – I guess I don’t have any objections. How long do you think it would take?”

“I’m sure you’ll be able to get home before ten PM,” Adler says, smooth and satisfied, as if he had just put the seal on a deal that’s only good for him.

Castiel should object. He should say that no one deserves to be dumped on Christmas Eve. That you shouldn’t dump anyone because your family wants you to (even if then it means you’re stuck with an accounting job for the rest of your life).

But he’s also tired and maybe if he gets that promotion, he won’t have to lend out his house anymore.

“I will send you the key tomorrow then.”

“Oh, Rachel will fetch it. See you after the holidays then, Mr. Milton. I’m sure that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

When Castiel calls the elevator, he finds himself in front of Dean.

“Hey there,” Dean says, looking a bit surprised. “I wasn’t expecting you of all people. No offense.”

“None taken. It’s – well. Maybe they finally did notice how much overtime I did in the last five years.”

Dean laughs as he presses the button for the nineteenth floor.

“Let me tell you, considering that I’ve been just here for a year, and how much you work, I’m just surprised they didn’t notice sooner.”

Castiel knows that he’s blushing, but he forces himself to keep his eyes on Dean’s.

“Thank you,” he whispers, trying not to choke on his own voice. This sounds like genuine recognition, at least – and he doesn’t mind that it’s Dean giving it. “I will… see you tomorrow at the office party, then?”

“Maybe for a while,” Dean agrees, and Castiel gets down at his floor feeling like everything should be right, but something really, really isn’t.

He can’t put his finger on what, though.

--

To be entirely honest, Castiel hates the office party – or better, the nineteenth floor party (every floor has a different one – different departments and everything). Having two hundred people you don’t know on the same floor means that the secret Santa thing everyone is so keen on organizing has no sense, since you buy things for people you don’t even talk to, and same for getting them. Unless you’re particularly unlucky. Castiel bought a new tie for someone whose name he had forgotten, and he almost hopes that whoever got him had forgotten it.

Clearly this isn’t his lucky day. He’s been inside for half an hour and has already had more alcohol than he should have when he finds out who is his secret Santa.

“You wouldn’t know how much I was hoping to get you.” The voice coming from behind him isn’t really the kind you can mistake.

“Meg,” he grits between his teeth, turning to face her. Meg Masters works at the call center and she’s been trying to get into his pants for two years; it started at another office party, when he had been very drunk and had ended up kissing her in a bathroom stall before realizing that he had no idea how he got there.

And he surely didn’t remember agreeing to go with her. Then again, he had been really drunk.

Since then, Meg hasn’t wanted to hear any excuse – most of all, the one where he says that women just don’t do it for him; he’s half-sure that she has rigged the secret Santa just in order to get him.

“Aren’t you glad to see me?” she asks, moving closer, so much that he has to back away.

“You know,” he answers, and then she starts tutting under her breath before handing him a neatly wrapped box.

“I know how to win my battles, handsome. And I think this would look lovely on you,” she says before (thankfully) moving away from him and into a group of girls from the call center.

He sighs and opens the box – it’s a new hat. The note says, yours is seriously out of date. Castiel doesn’t know how his fedora is out of fashion and this sort-of-coppola isn’t, but he can’t exactly give it back. He doesn’t think about the fact that it’ll probably be his only Christmas present this year.

There’s a mirror in the bathroom; he goes inside and tries the hat on, thankful that no one is around.

The more he looks at his reflection, the more he’s sure of something.

“That looks horrible on you,” Dean says from behind him, and Castiel barely stops himself from letting out an undignified gasp.

“That’s what I thought, too,” he says. “But it’s my secret Santa present. I can’t give it back.”

“Guess you can’t, but for the sake of everything you love, just keep the old one.”

Castiel chuckles, and at the same time he thinks that Dean really, really looks better in old jeans and a dark leather coat than in that stupid elevator person uniform.

“Are you staying for a bit?” Castiel asks. He’s pretty sure he knows the answer already.

“Nah, I have something to do. But I had to be here for a short while and I figured I’d say merry Christmas to the only poor bastard that ever says hi while getting into the elevator,” he answers, his voice soft, and Castiel thinks of course. It’s not as if Dean doesn’t have a gorgeous girl to spend the night with.

Castiel thinks about what’s happening at his apartment right now and he can’t help feeling horrible. He takes the hat off.

“Merry Christmas to you then. I hope you have a good year.”

“Can’t be worse than the previous one,” Dean mutters. He looks about to leave, but then he comes closer instead.

“Also,” he says, his hands reaching up towards Castiel’s neck, “if the big kahuna decided to give you a raise, maybe it’s time that you learn how to keep this straight.” He fixes Castiel’s tie then, making the knot straighter. When he moves away, it isn’t crooked anymore and Castiel savors the second in which they’re mere inches from each other.

It doesn’t last, though, and then Dean is raising a hand and getting out of the door.
Castiel looks at his watch. It’s barely eight thirty PM.

He thinks about Meg waiting inside the room, about Adler promoting him just because he needed the damned apartment, he thinks about not even being able to spend the night in his own house, he thinks about Dean’s lovely girlfriend and about the fact that he hasn’t kissed anyone in five years if you don’t count Meg in the bathroom stall. He thinks about how fast his heart was beating while Dean fixed a stupid tie he has never quite learned how to keep straight and he wants to cry.

--

When he parks his car in front of the house, the lights are turned out.

Well, at least Adler took him more seriously than most of the other people using his apartment. It makes him feel slightly better, though not enough; since getting out of that bathroom, he has been thinking that there’s something in front of his eyes that is missing and that something else is wrong. Very much wrong.

He’s probably too tired.

He walks up to his door, stops outside for a second. He can hear Chuck typing away from the aisle. He smiles to himself slightly, thinking that at least someone is doing something they like this stupid evening, and gets inside the house. He turns the lights on and sees that things are more or less as he left them. Except that there’s a Led Zeppelin record which he’s sure he has never owned near his player.

He picks it up and then sees that there’s a blank envelope underneath.

He almost faints when he sees that there’s a check for two thousand dollars inside.

Castiel can’t put two and two together – why would Adler leave him money? It makes no sense and he should probably call for explanations, but that can wait for tomorrow. He takes his coat off, decides that he wants to wash his face before everything else.

Then he gets inside the bathroom and realizes that there’s something very, very, very wrong.

The meds cabinet is open, and at first glance everything looks fine, but Castiel immediately realizes what is off.

Some three years ago he had a bad case of insomnia, and at some point he had meds prescribed because otherwise he couldn’t get more than two hours of sleep each night. It had gotten better then, and he had stopped taking meds just before finishing the last bottle, but he had kept it around just in case. There were maybe ten or fifteen pills inside, and it’s empty.

Dread takes hold of him as he runs from the bathroom into his room.

And as soon as he gets inside –

Dean lies on his bed, unhealthily pale and still. Too still. A folded sheet of paper lies on the pillow, and on the nightstand sits an empty water glass.

Castiel doesn’t have time to think about this. If he freaks out now –

He can’t afford to freak out.

Before he knows, he’s on the bed, feeling for Dean’s wrist. Despite his clammy skin and unwell appearance, a faint pulse beats. Castiel breathes out, thinks about this for one second – Dean was at Sandover at eight thirty, and now it’s a quarter to eleven, and it takes half an hour from Castiel’s place to Sandover, more or less.

This can’t have happened before one hour, he thinks, and then he realizes that he has no fucking idea about what he should do, and Dean is on his bed and maybe dying in front of him and Dean’s the person Adler’s niece was dating and he has no idea what to do.

Then he remembers that maybe his neighbor has.

--

“Castiel, what the –”

Castiel shoves the bottle in Chuck’s hand instead of going for explanations. “It was about ten of them. Less than fifteen anyway. Not more than one hour ago.”

Chuck shakes his head, looking at Castiel with a face that says we’re talking about this later, and feels for Dean’s pulse again.

“Okay, maybe it’s not too late. Obviously calling a hospital won’t be an option – not like there’s time. All right. Fine. Uh. Castiel, bathroom. He needs to throw that up. Now.”

Castiel doesn’t even question it – he grabs one of Dean’s arms, moves them both to the bathroom, puts the both of them in front of the toilet and shoves two fingers down Dean’s throat.

For a terrible second nothing happens, and then Dean’s frame shakes. Castiel presses those two fingers down again, deep, and then takes them out just in time; Dean’s eyes flutter open, even if entirely not focused, and he retches, unable to hold himself up. Castiel keeps him upright and tries to see if there’s any pills among the vomit – he sees three or four. Not enough, he thinks, and repeats the same operation. Dean lets out a sound that is pure pain before vomiting again, and Castiel sees another four pills coming out. Maybe the rest is out and he just hasn’t seen it – and anyway, that was a mild enough sedative that he had started on three pills each day.

“Dean?” he asks, when it seems like it’s over, but Dean just shakes against him and doesn’t answer. Chuck comes in with what looks like a mug full of black coffee.

“Did… did it work?” he asks, sounding worried.

“I think the worst is out.”

“You can’t be sure enough. Make him drink that.”

Castiel keeps an arm around Dean’s waist while Chuck holds his head up. He tips the cup, making sure that Dean has to drink it, and Dean retches all over again, sounding like he’s about to pass out. Chuck forces him to drink half a pot and by then he looks beyond barely coherent.

“Will that suffice?” Castiel asks, and he knows he sounds worried.

“It should. Make him drink the rest and make him walk around a bit – he can’t go to sleep just now. Give it half an hour, maybe a bit more, and let him sleep it off after but, uh, keep an eye on him. I’d go to a hospital to be extra sure, but I’m not sure that this business you’re in makes it a good idea. Anyway, if you don’t, keep him here because there could be a relapse for the next forty-eight hours or so. Also, when this is over, I’ll want an explanation.”

He gives Castiel a small, sad smile though, as if he gets that Castiel hasn’t wanted any of this, and then he walks out of the room. Castiel takes a breath, his hand rubbing a circle into Dean’s shoulder.

“Dean?” he tries again.

“No hospitals,” Dean mutters, and Castiel figures that Chuck was right.

“Fine,” he answers, but before he can add anything to it, Dean’s eyes flutter closed, his body slumping against Castiel’s.

Not good.

“No, wait, you can’t,” he says, dragging Dean up and forcing him to walk. Chuck has left another full mug on the kitchen table and Castiel grabs it before sitting Dean down on a kitchen chair and forcing him to drink some.

“Fucking bitter,” Dean mutters, but drinks it anyway.

“I know. Come on, I need you to walk a bit. Yes, fine, like this,” Castiel blathers on as he forces Dean to walk through the living room and back. He makes them pace for ten minutes before making Dean finish the coffee, and then he paces some more. Dean is barely awake and not saying anything coherent when he speaks at all, but he does say something.

“Knew it was going to happen,” he mutters at minute fifteen of pacing around Castiel’s living room. “Always knew.”

“What?” Castiel asks, not hoping to get an answer.

“It’s all of ‘em anyway. Sam first, everyone else later, her in the end – just fucking peachy,” Dean keeps on, and by now he’s slurring. Castiel can see that he just wants to get some sleep, and he probably needs it, but Chuck said half an hour and Castiel isn’t about to risk anything here. Now that it seems as if the worst is passed, he remembers Dean lying motionless in his bed and he feels like retching himself. He just wishes he could say that he has no idea about this; but he does. The lovely redhead has to be Adler’s niece, and it makes sense that it was Dean who Adler was talking about. He has been working at Sandover for about a year, and Castiel just wishes he had seen it first. He thinks about what Adler had said and he wants to retch himself – she could do better than that.

It’s just a pity that Castiel thinks he couldn’t, isn’t it.

The next fifteen minutes pass, and Dean stops talking altogether at some point; Castiel decides that tomorrow will be time for questions, and now it’s high time he gets Dean into bed. He’ll keep an eye on him – he’s sure that tonight he isn’t going to get any sleep at all. He drags Dean back to the bathroom and forces him to rinse his mouth – waking up with the taste of vomit and black coffee on you isn’t something he’d wish on anyone. When they’re done, he brings Dean into the bedroom and lays him down on his bed, then finds a couple of old pajamas in his closet. For a second he wonders if he should do this, but then again… it’s making Dean a favor, not taking advantage. He makes a point of not staring when he takes off Dean’s dirty shirt (he feels his stomach knot when he realizes that it’s actually a good one – he obviously didn’t pick it randomly from a drawer), or when he takes off his jeans and shoes. He’s thankful that those pajamas were a bit large on him because they’re good on Dean, and manages to get him under the covers, pulling them up to his chin when he’s done. Dean is breathing regularly now, his cheeks flushed even if he’s still too pale, and Castiel breathes out in relief.

He’d like to stay, but he figures he owes Chuck some explanations. He has his number, so he sends him a text asking if he can come over.

Chuck is there a minute later and Castiel lets him in. They both sit on the sofa and Chuck, at least, doesn’t look as pissed as he should.

“So, spill it. What the hell was that?”

“Yesterday the boss called me up. Adler.”

“Oh, the big one? Yeah, okay, so?”

“So he tells me that considering my stats and most of my other bosses putting a good word for me, he would consider giving me my own office. And a raise.”

“Well, it was about time that –”

“If I lend him the apartment keys because his girlfriend has to break it off with a boyfriend that isn’t good enough for her. Or for her surname,” Castiel says.

“So he’s the boyfriend?”

“Yes.”

“But you know him.”

“He works at Sandover too. At the elevators.”

“But you didn’t know the poor bastard was him.”

“I wouldn’t have said yes if I had,” Castiel admits. “At the moment, though… it seemed a good deal. Getting that promotion would mean that I could stop lending the apartment altogether. But –”

“Oh, shit. You like him, don’t you?”

Castiel doesn’t deny it and Chuck goes from perplexed to downright sympathetic. He stands up and gets two beers from Castiel’s fridge.

“I think you need a drink,” he says, handing it over.

Castiel doesn’t question it.

“He doesn’t know, doesn’t he?”

“As far as I knew, he had a girlfriend. No, of course he doesn’t know. Also, how do you explain this?”

Castiel hands Chuck the envelope with the check and Chuck whistles when he sees the sum. “How much do people working on the elevators earn?” he asks.

“How would I know? Surely a lot less than that, though. I think. What do I make out of this?”

Chuck shakes his head and stands up, bringing the beer with him. Castiel doesn’t tell him not to.

“I have no clue, man. But I guess there’s a reason why he tried to, uhm, well, leave this valley of tears. Maybe you should ask him.”

Castiel had figured that out himself, but doesn’t say.

“Chuck, can you just… keep quiet about this?”

“Oh. Well. I should probably report it, but if he doesn’t get worse or anything, I guess I can forget it. Just – don’t make him do anything stupid. If he wanted to kill himself, it’s not a given that he won’t try again.”

Castiel nods and sees Chuck out. He gets back inside his room, noticing for the first time the piece of paper Dean had left on his bed. It’s folded, and there’s a for Sam written on the side.

Castiel isn’t sure that he should read it, and so he puts it on the nightstand and tries not to think about it. Dean is still sleeping, his breath blissfully regular, and Castiel can’t help himself. He sits on the side of the bed, reaching out with his hand and smoothing the hair from Dean’s forehead.

It’s not as if he’ll ever have another chance.

part II and ending here
 
 
feeling: okayokay
on rotation: Bon Jovi - Wild In The Streets | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on July 22nd, 2011 12:25 am (UTC)
“Man, I know why you do that, and I know you aren’t exactly the kind who will say no when people like that guy ask for your key, but you think you can tell them to keep it down once in a while? I don’t sleep much anyway, but writing shit while hearing people fucking their brains out on the next side of the door isn’t ideal.”

LOL! Not unless you're writing porno.

“Meg,” he grits between his teeth, turning to face her. Meg Masters works at the call center and she’s been trying to get into his pants for two years; it started at another office party, when he had been very drunk and had ended up kissing her in a bathroom stall before realizing that he had no idea how he got there.

And he surely didn’t remember agreeing to go with her. Then again, he had been really drunk.


LOL! Poor Cas! Alcohol is clearly no good for him.

And Poor Dean! How horrible!
the female ghost of tom joad: the apartmentjanie_tangerine on July 22nd, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
Sadly for Chuck, in this one he isn't. ;) Too bad for him. He should call in Becky so she can write her fics! ;)

Yeah, poor Cas. Though since at the end of the fic he lost his job, he's ridden of that particular problem, isn't he.

Indeed. :(