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Dean was man enough to admit that maybe, possibly, at least in part, he had started to develop feelings for Cas. A little. Not much. Just, you know, a tiny bit. Nothing to worry about, of course. But signs kept piling up, and could no longer be ignored.

The sex was still hot as fuck, mind you. Cas was as good as ever and always eager to try whatever Dean wanted and do his best to please him. He had even started asking for things he wanted.

“You want me to rim you while I keep your wrists bound at the small of your back with my hand. And then you want me to spank you a couple of times, before I mount you and pull your head back by your hair, all the while keeping your hands restrained. Did I get that right?”

“Yes, please.”

And he had to hand it to his boy, that had been a great idea - hands down in the top three of Dean’s best fucks ever.

So Dean couldn’t really say their sexual relationship was suffering. It wasn’t. He couldn’t help but notice how certain small details had subtly changed though.

Like how his instinct to bite and mark Cas every chance he got had slowly but surely turned into an urge to nuzzle him all the time and pepper kisses all over his face. Or how restricting Cas’s range of movement during sex had turned into holding his hands more than anything. Or the increasingly statistic chance they’d end up fucking in missionary not so much because the friction on Cas’s dick helped him come untouched, but because that allowed Dean to see Cas’s eyes and kiss his lips the whole time.

Or how their foray into sexting had soon devolved into mushy texting.

They passed from:

 

> Next time we’re gonna 69. I can’t wait to swallow you whole while also feeling that mouth of yours sucking on my cock. Your dick is a thing of beauty and your mouth is heaven, it’s gonna be amazing.

>> God, Dean, I’m working here and I’ve got a semi now.

> Mmmm. How I wish I could suck it off. I love feeling you getting hard in my mouth.

>> I wish that too. So much. Can’t wait for tonight. I miss your dick in me.

 

to:

 

> This class will NEVER end.

>> There will be coffee and apple pie waiting for you when you’re done.

> No kiss?

>> As many as you want.

 

All of this clearly required further investigation, and an independent opinion from an external source.

Charlie was the woman for the job.

He could bring her along to the coffee shop without telling her anything and see if she commented on Dean and Cas’s dynamics, and if so, what she said about it.

Sounded like a great plan.

So the following day he invited her out for breakfast in this “cozy little café I always go to”. Charlie was an IT nerd, and her department building was on the opposite end of campus, so The Heavenly Coffee wasn’t exactly one of her regular pit stops.

When she bitched about having to “travel across the globe” to get there and suggested they could meet in the middle like they usually did, he replied saying that it was his treat because he owed her for the bazillion favors she always did him and had realized it was time to pay up. Which was why he was proposing a week-long installment payment plan in the form of “the best coffee you will ever have.”

That was enough for her IT genius friend to agree with an enthusiastic “Your Queen accepts your terms, maiden.”

Dean had to find a way to prevent Charlie from telling Cas about their LARPing activities and about his – hardly fought for and justly obtained – position as the Queen of Moondoor’s handmaiden.

As soon as they entered the coffee shop Charlie commented on how homey and welcoming it was, and that made Dean feel giddy. He was maybe, possibly, a little bit, invested in Cas making a good impression. Not that he’d ever tell her. That would influence her judgment and put the objectivity of the test at risk.

He also noticed Cas’s expression – surprised first and confused later – when he spotted Dean, but he chunked it up to him being unused to see Dean with other people. He figured that, as soon as he’d realize how close Dean and Charlie were, he’d be as welcoming as ever.

Upping his game a bit and making it crystal clear just how close they were might help too, so Dean threw his arm around Charlie’s shoulders as he said “Heya Cas, I’ll have the usual and a soy latte for my favorite redhead here, plus a slice of apple pie to share.”

Cas didn’t even blink and sounded mighty bored when he replied “You don’t have a usual, the number of espresso shots changes based on how tired you are, so I’ll be thanking you for telling me how many you need today. And we ran out of soy milk, my apologies.”

The soy milk carton was right there though. Maybe it was empty and Cas had just forgotten to throw it away?

“Uhm, just a regular coffee then, thank you.”

”And, uhm, a double shot espresso for me. Please. Thank you.”

Cas just smiled tightly and set off to prepare their order, which he then presented complete of a plate with the pie lacking the usual cute decorations made with cocoa or sugar powder and with just one fork.

“Ehm, thanks, Cas. Do you think we could also have a second fork though?”

“Apologies, I thought you’d share that too”.

Dean had a couple of seconds to wonder when the word ‘share’ had become so disgusting that its enunciation required that much disdain, before Charlie whispered in his ear “Wow, I hope the person who pissed into his cheerios this morning didn’t decide to piss in the coffee we are about to drink too.”

Either Cas had heard her or he didn’t particularly appreciate people whispering in front of other people – that was, after all, rude by any general standard of politeness – because he huffed and turned around without another word to go clean a counter that was already shining.

Cas hadn’t made the good first impression Dean was counting on, and even the coffee didn’t taste as good as usual. Charlie was right though, he was probably just having a bad day. Everyone had those from time to time.

It was just unfortunate that he wouldn’t be able to help his beautiful boy deal with it later today, because Charlie and Dean actually had a LARPing event that night that had been scheduled for some time now. Since he didn’t feel confident enough to share his nerdy hobby with Cas yet – which he classified under the label ‘further data in support of wanting to keep my badass image for as long as possible because I want him to want me’ – he decided to just mention in passing that he had promised Charlie they’d spend the evening together when he paid for his coffee.

Cas replied with “OK”, without showing any sign of emotion and without so much as looking at him, focused as he was on counting the change to give him. Admittedly, it was not like it was set in stone they had to meet every day and it was not like Dean was half hoping to see Cas pout a little and have him demand something special in retribution for their lost time together, but still.

The following day they came back to the café after lunch and ordered their coffee, which actually tasted like it should and had Charlie say “Now we’re talking, Winchester”, without a hitch. Dean wondered whether the fact that it had been one of Cas’s employees, rather than Cas himself, the one who had served them could have had anything to do with it. That was just ridiculous though. Cas was busy waiting on a table when it was their turn to place their order and things would have been just as fine if he’d been the one to attend to them.

They sat down and started chatting over their coffees. When Cas finally got close enough to their table, Dean thought he’d finally have a chance to properly introduce Cas and Charlie. That was also when Charlie reminded him that they had promised Gad and Garth they’d go to their party that night.

“Wait, it’s tonight?!”

Charlie literally facepalmed. “You’re hopeless, Dean. You wouldn’t survive a day without me.”

“That’s for sure.”

Distracted as he was by the news that he had yet another commitment, for the second night in a row, that would keep him away from Cas, Dean lost his window of opportunity to attract Cas’s attention. It didn’t help that Cas had clearly seen something that he didn’t like, because Dean had a front row seat to watch his back going stiff as a board and his shoulders tensing like they did when Cas was very, very displeased. Dean had noticed the new girl was taking orders for the first time today, so she probably had made some kind of minor mistake that Cas had deemed unforgivable and had rushed to fix.

Dean didn’t get a chance to toss more than a “See you tomorrow” at his perfect boy before leaving, as he’d been admittedly busy the whole time, as per usual after lunch. He resolved to text Cas and let him know that he wouldn’t be able to make it that night and got a

 

>> Yeah, I heard you just fine earlier.

 

as a reply.

Must have happened when Cas was serving the people occupying the table next to Dean and Charlie’s. From the curt reply, however, it was clear that his boy’s mood hadn’t improved since yesterday and the lack of Dean’s TLC probably wasn’t helping either. Dean did feel pretty guilty for being unable to take care of Cas when his beauty needed it the most, but he couldn’t break his promise to his friends. They had always been there for him. He, quite simply, would have to make sure to make it up to his boy next time they’d get together. 

Third time’s a charm, right?

Yeah, not so much.

The café was absolutely packed that morning, so the staff had adopted their ‘damage control’ formation, as Cas liked to call it. Rather than the usual ‘order, drink & eat, relax and pay later either at the table or at counter’ mode Cas actually preferred and encouraged whenever the place wasn’t busy and they could keep an eye on costumers and make sure nobody would sneak out without paying, Cas was at the cash desk to take orders and have patrons pay while one of the girls was taking care of getting the orders ready and the other was running back and forth between the counter and the tables. 

Castiel was all professionalism and plastered smile when he asked “What can I get you two on this fine morning?”

“Uhm, two double shot espresso, a slice of blueberry pie and one of apple pie. And Cas-“

“That’d be 12.30.”

“Oh, ok. Here. Ehm, Cas-“

“Here’s your change, please move to the end of the counter, Alicia will take care of your order. Thank you for your business with us today. Next!”

Dean was so baffled it was Charlie the one who dragged him to retrieve their order while commenting “The coffee here is good and the place really nice, but the costumer service... I mean, that dude sure is weird.”

Something was clearly very wrong. But what could have made things change so drastically in three days?!

They absolutely needed to talk. Point was, it was impossible for Dean to catch Cas alone for even a second while at the coffee shop, so when it was time for him to go to class he texted him asking what time they could meet later.

When class was over, Cas hadn’t replied yet. He was probably busy at the café. One hour after closing time, Cas still hadn’t replied. Nor had he replied when Dean was getting ready for bed, or when it was lights out.

That had never happened before. Cas always replied.

The following morning Dean was in a pretty bad mood, and it wasn’t difficult to identify its source. He literally marched into The Heavenly Coffee with a slightly confused Charlie by his side, determined to corner Cas and force him to spit out what his fucking problem was.

For the first time in history, however, Cas was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t uncommon for him not to be at the front all the time. That’s why he had employees, so he could come and go as he needed, to make calls and make sure deliveries would be made on time, and other ownership-related shit Dean couldn’t be bothered to be interested in at the moment. But he’d usually reappear sooner rather than later. Not today, apparently.

Dean spent almost two hours at the coffee shop trying to keep a restless Charlie calm and buy himself enough time to increase the chances Cas would finally emerge from his cave, but to no avail.

When the time to get up and go came, Cas still hadn’t showed up.

That’s when anger started to boil through Dean’s veins. He could understand not being OK, having your own shit to deal with, being in an awful mood. What he couldn’t understand was how Cas could think giving Dean the cold shower was an OK thing to do. Whatever was going on with Cas, it wasn’t Dean’s fault, and he shouldn’t be punished for it. Not when all Dean had ever done was show Cas time and time again that he could open up with Dean, literally and figuratively, and Dean would always do his very best to help him and take care of him. Dean didn’t fucking deserve this. And the more he thought about the last few days, the more his confusion and concern turned into being pissed.as.fuck.

He spent the rest of the day ignoring his phone and determined to let Cas stew in his own juices, resolving he wouldn’t get in touch with him, but, rather, wait for Cas to crawl back with his tail tucked between his legs. Oh, how he was gonna make Cas work to earn his forgiveness. He could very vividly imagine the exact shade of crimson his ass would turn when Dean was done with it.

He even went as far as getting a coffee from the cart in his department courtyard. Which tasted like crap and wouldn’t probably pass a sanitary inspection but, hey, it did contain caffeine. Any port in a storm and all that.

As the day progressed, his anger got worse and worse. But the concern resurfaced too. He alternated between being worried and pissed, constantly looking for a rational explanation that could justify Cas’s sudden change in behavior, and concluding that there was none and that Cas was simply being a giant baby.

He ended up caving in just before going to bed.

He texted Cas asking if they could meet after dinner the following day.

 

>> I don’t think that’s a good idea. And it won’t be necessary anyway.

 

That was it. The last straw. If Cas wanted to break u-, well, to terminate their arrangement, he’d have to be mature enough and tell that to Dean’s face. And, since he was at it, maybe also throw a reason or two in the mix. Not like there had to be a reason, this wasn’t that kind of thing, Cas could have very well just grown bored of the kid he was screwing and realized he could spend his time and energies doing bigger and better things - or people. Still, they could have parted ways on more amicable terms. Dean honestly didn’t think he had done anything that could warrant a similar behavior.

He shot Charlie a text telling her they’d have to raincheck because something had come up and he wouldn’t be able to make it for breakfast and decided he wouldn’t show up at the café during the day. Give Cas a sense of security that Dean had taken the hint and removed himself from the chessboard. Only to corner him one minute before closing time.

Dean huffed a watery – disbelieving, a disbelieving – laugh at the thought that things had come full circle. That was how things between them had started, with Dean cornering Cas at the café just before closing time. And that was how they would end.

As planned, Dean waited for everyone to leave and walked into the coffee shop as Cas was busy with his closing routine.

“Dean-“

“Go to the office while I close.”

“Dean, I don’t-“

Go Cas.”

Cas huffed and puffed like a bratty five year old and Dean would have found it absolutely adorable if he wasn’t so hu-. Pissed. If he wasn’t so pissed.

He closed blinds, locked doors, turned out lights, all the while reminding himself to breathe and keep his temper in check.

When he had no more excuses to put the inevitable off any longer, he went to the office. “You’ve been avoiding me, why?”

Cas scoffed and crossed his arms. His body language couldn’t have screamed ‘distance’ more acutely if he had been able to conjure the letters up out of thin air and place them above his head.

“Is there something you wanna say to me? Then go ahead and say it.”

“I haven’t been avoiding you, I just heard your message loud and clear and have been acting accordingly.”

“What are you talking about Cas?”

“You’ve been coming here all week with your new girlfriend - "

What. The-

“ - I get it. You found someone who is right for you and there’s no more room to fool around with me. She’s beautiful and cheerful and young - "

Charlie?!

“I can’t deny I would have appreciated a more direct approach on your part and that you would have just told me, but it is what it is, I guess. So I just didn’t see the point in us meeting tonight or the other night. I assume it was for you to be able to make it 100% clear. But there’s no need. It is 100% clear.”

In spite of the anger and frustration and jealousy written all over Cas’s features, Dean couldn’t help a huge, smug smile, which made Cas’s frown turn into a squint Dean was sure could smite hordes of demons.

“You jealous Cas?”

“We’ve never said this was more than what it has been, so I have no reason to be jealous.”

“I didn’t ask you if you have a reason to be jealous. Only if you are.”

Cas opted to remain silent and fix Dean with his best ‘are you an idiot’ look.

“You wanna be my boyfriend?”

“I’m twelve years older than you. You can find someone better for sure.”

Ah, there it was. The real reason behind this mess.

“Again, I didn’t ask you what I can find. I asked you what you want.”

Cas held his gaze but didn’t say a word.

“So do you? Wanna be my boyfriend?”

“This is a cruel game you are playing Dean. Asking that of me when I know the seat is already taken.”

Oh, Cas. Poor, perfect, self-deprecating, unsure idio-. Boy. Boy.

“What if it wasn’t?”

His adorable, sweet, jealous boy tilted his head in that way of his that signaled utter confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“Charlie, the redhead, isn’t my girlfriend.”

“She...isn’t?”

“She is my best friend. And she is very much gay. Much more than me, in fact, seeing as I’m bi. You got at least that one right.” A better man would have spared the flustered baby in front of him that final jab. Dean wasn’t a better man. And he was still a little hur-. Pissed. He was still a little pissed.

“Oh.”

“I kept bringing her here because I wanted to find a moment to introduce the two of you. Except you could have given Elsa a run for her money this past week, going all The Snow King like you did.”

“Oh. Oh God!” Cas emphasized while hiding his face in his hands.

“So, Cas, you wanna be my boyfriend or not?”

Yes.”

“Ok. What does that mean to you?”

“What, uhm, what do you mean?”

“I mean that I don’t believe in the fact that there are general rules about being a good boyfriend. Every person is different, what is great for someone would make someone else cringe. So... let’s talk about what are the guidelines to be a good boyfriend to you. Gotta make sure I check all the boxes and all that.”

“We’re exclusive.”

“Done. I want us to get tested and then I would like to ditch condoms forever.”

“Oh god, yes, please.”

Both smiled then, and Dean started getting closer and closer to Cas, because that was the kind of conversation better had while speaking from one inch apart. When he reached his target, Dean put his hands on Cas’s hips and relished in the warmth he could immediately feel seeping through his shirt as Cas put his big hands on Dean’s chest.

“No cheating.”

“Absolutely not. I’m the only one who gets to touch you now, and no one else.”

Cas laughed a little, disbelieving laugh. “I don’t want anyone else touching me anyway. I... haven’t had anyone else touching me ever since this arrangement between us started. Well, much longer than that, in fact, as you know.”

“Oh baby, you are so, so good to me.”

Finally, finally, Dean kissed him. After being away from those lips for days, he pressed his own against them in a firm, closed-mouthed kiss he poured all the relief he was feeling after so much frustration into.

“Me neither anyway.”

“What? For real?”

“Yes, why do you look so surprised?”

“I mean, you are so handsome, and smart, and always nice with everyone. I see how many of my patrons look at you. I just assumed, you know...”

“All my time was spent trying to survive college lately. The only moments I didn’t spend in class or studying, I spent with you or with my closest friends.”

Cas looked down and smiled then, clearly pleased.

“Does that please you Cas? Knowing I haven’t touched anybody else ever since you became my beautiful good boy? Because it would have been impossible to find someone who is more perfect for me?” Dean whispered in Cas’s ear.

“Yes, very much so.” Yep, that was most certainly Cas’s smug tone. Good. It was time he realized what a spectacular gift he was and that everyone who’d prefer someone else to him was a goddamn moron.

Dean smiled and added “Since we are exclusive, I want everyone to know. I wanna be able to come here and kiss you.”

“You do? Really?”

“Of course. I can’t wait to see the green eyed monster take over everyone around us when they realize I snatched the most beautiful man out there and he is mine and only mine.”

Cas laughed out loud then, and Jesus fuck, what a beautiful sound. “I am pretty sure everyone will think I hit the jackpot while you won... a game of bowling.”

“Oh, shut up. You can’t possibly not see what an incredible man you are. I’m sure my friends and family will think so too.”

“Your friends and...family?” Cas asked, horrified.

“Well, baby, I might not have much experience with this boyfriend thing, but I am pretty sure we gotta meet each other’s friends and family now that we are boyfriends. We don’t gotta rush, of course, we’ll do that when we’re ready. But we gotta do it, eventually.”

“No, I know. It’s just... please tell me your parents are at least a few years older than me?”

Dean threw his head back and laughed a liberating laugh. “They are eleven years older than you.”

“I guess that’s… something.”

“Don’t worry, baby, they will adore you, when they realize I adore you.”

“You do?”

“I do.”

“I do, too.”

They stared into each other’s eyes. It was unhurried. They were truly realizing they had all the time in the world now. And simply got lost in the reassurance that what each of them felt could be seen reflected in the other’s eyes.

Until... “Now, I believe I’m fully within my rights to play the Make it Up to Me card here and expect that my boyfriend work hard to earn my forgiveness for rejecting me like he did yesterday and for assuming that I was so shitty to come here and flaunt my new girlfriend in front of him like that.”

“Dean, I’m so-“

“So now we are going back to your place and I’m gonna spank you a bit. Let’s say, ten times? And then you are gonna ride me while you can still enjoy the sting fully, until we both come. In case that wasn’t enough for you, I’ll even allow you to touch yourself. You sure can’t say your boyfriend never does anything for you.”

“That’s, uhm, I-. Yes, OK. We can do that.” Cas said with his eyes lowered and a hint of a smile, before clearing his throat.

One of Dean’s tests got to an unquestionable, empirically proven conclusion: flustered Cas was definitely Dean’s second favorite version of Cas. Sprawled and ready-to-be-used Cas remained solidly in the first place.

“But, ehm, do you think you could… stay? After? I mean, if you can’t stay the whole night, at least a couple of hours?”

Right. Being boyfriends meant cuddles were also included in the package. Dean was starting to like this boyfriend thing more and more.

“And, suppose I stay, would there be some breakfast included too?”

Cas smiled his wide, ecstatic smile that never failed to make Dean’s heart feel seven times bigger. “Absolutely. It’s not my turn to open the cafe tomorrow, so I can make you breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, omelets, you name it.”

“I suppose I have no other choice but to stay then.”

And that was a good thing too, considering he wasn’t planning on going anywhere.

Not without his boyfriend by his side.