As Dean turned out of the motel parking lot, his mind reeled from all of the information he had just learned. Cas, his first and probably only friend of his senior year lived two doors down from him. What were the chances that the only person who Dean had liked at school happened to live at the same motel as him? And not even just staying there until his house finished renovating, he lived there and had, Cas informed him, lived there since freshman year. After that statement, Dean hadn't gotten much else out of him. The only other thing he knew was that Cas lived there alone, no siblings, parents, girlfriends, no one. Dean was dying of curiosity but figured it was probably not smart to interrogate his only friend after only meeting him a few hours previously. He smiled. A few hours seemed like forever.
He had offered to bring Cas along to pick up Sammy from school, but Cas had politely declined, maybe afraid of falling asleep in the car again. As he approached the school, Dean cursed at all of the other cars parked all around the school. He coasted to a stop in the line of cars waiting to pick up their children. Leaning out of the window, he saw the empty courtyard and knew school had not yet gotten out. He leaned back on his seat, bored. Remembering the book Cas had given him that morning, he reached into his backpack and pulled it out, scanning the cover before tentively opening to the first page.
He read slowly, almost cautiously, going back and rereading each sentence several times trying to understand what was being said. He mouthed the words, as if that would help him. He knew that this was written in English, but he couldn't help but feel that it was in some other language unknown to him. He focused hard on each word trying to make sense of it. He had almost finished the first page when he was startled by the rattling of the passenger side door. Quickly throwing the book into the back seat in an attempt to hide it, Dean unlocked the door for his brother.
“Took you long enough,” Sam said, sliding into the passenger seat, “what were you reading?”
“Nothing. How was your first day at school? Make any friends?” Dean asked, eager to change the subject in order to hide from his brother the fact that he was reading Shakespeare.
“It was alright. I wasn’t sure that I was gonna make any friends, but then I met this one kid at lunch, he was the only one who would let me sit with him, but he was sitting alone. He was really funny though, he made me feel better about no one else wanting to talk to me.” Dean smiled, glad that Sammy finally had someone to talk to.
“So what was this kid’s name?”
“Lucifer. Anyway, what about you? Make any friends?” Dean involuntarily smiled at the thought of Cas.
“Just one. Kinda a loner, well, okay, completely a loner. He’s cool though. Actually you can meet him when we get home, he lives at the motel, too.” Sam looked at his brother skeptically.
“A loner who lives at a motel? I don’t know Dean, he sounds kinda... sketchy? You sure he isn’t, like, dangerous or something.” Dean snorted at the thought of Cas being dangerous.
“Definitely not, Sammy. You’ll see what I mean when you meet him.”
“Alright, lemme just go check on him to make sure he’s okay before you meet him.” Dean said, pulling the impala into a parking space.
“Why wouldn’t he be okay?”
“He might have a slight concussion from hitting his head on the roof during lunch today.”
Dean ignored Sam’s confused look as he stepped out of the car and approached Cas’s door. He hesitated just a moment before taking a breath and knocking. He heard some shuffling from inside before the door opened, just a crack at first, then open fully and Dean was surprised to find that he actually forgot how to breathe for a moment as he took in the sight of Cas standing in front of him, his blue tie he had been wearing earlier was gone and his shirt was untucked and not buttoned all the way up, his hair was wet and messed up a bit, as if he had just toweled it off quickly, and his steamed glasses told Dean that he had just gotten out of the shower.
“Do you... need something, Dean?” Cas asked, causing Dean to realize they had been standing there in silence for well over a minute. He could feel himself go red in the face and looked down at the ground quickly, before casting a glance over at where Sam was standing, looking at them with his eyebrows raised.
“Uhh...” Dean coughed lamely into his hand, then, trying to make his voice as manly and disattached as he could, “Do you, uh, wanna meet my brother?” Cas smiled at the invitation, causing happy butterflies in Dean stomach, which he quickly tried to suppress.
“I’d love to, Dean.” Cas grabbed his key from the table next to his door, then joined Dean outside and walked over to the Impala where Sam stood, leaning casually against the car. He removed his glasses and wiped the steam from them before replacing them and reaching out his hand. “I’m Castiel Novak, nice to meet you...” He trailed off, realizing he did not know Dean’s brother’s name.
“Sam.” Sam finished, taking Cas’s hand with a smile. His eyes drifted momentarily to the fresh bandage taped to Cas’s forehead. “So what happened to your head?” He asked curiously, gesturing to his forehead. Cas blushed, glancing at Dean just for a moment, causing Sam’s eyebrows to shoot to the sky, the story behind the injury forming awkwardly in his head. He wasn’t sure about it, but all he could think of was the way his brother seemed to freeze when this strange boy opened his door, and the strange wound on the top of his head could have all sorts of explanations for it...
“I... just...” Cas started, trying to find the right way to describe how he hit his head. “I turned around to quickly and didn’t realize how close the wall was.” He smiled an embarrassed smile. He stood awkwardly between the two brothers for a moment before excusing himself. “I should get back to my room, I have a doctor coming to check on my head soon.”
“You got a doctor to make a house call? Do you have the money to pay for that?” Dean asked, surprised. Cas smiled sadly.
“No, he’s kind of... a friend? I used to need to get checked out a lot because... uhm... ‘accidents’ happened to me a lot at school. I went to the doctor so much that one of them became concerned about me and how I always showed up there alone and after the first couple visits I admitted that I didn’t have the money to pay him, so he told me I could call him to check me out anytime after 3:00, and he would do it free of charge. He’s been kind of like a father to me.” Cas looked at Dean shyly, afraid of the questions this story could cause him to ask that he would really prefer not to answer.
Dean smiled at him. “Alright, well I guess we’ll leave you to it then.” He looked at Sam and nodded his head toward the door of their room, signalling Sam to go ahead inside. “And hey, since we both live here and you don’t have a car, do you want a ride into school tomorrow?” Cas tilted head at Dean. No one his own age had ever been this kind to him, or had been so respectful of his space and his unwillingness to talk about his personal life. It completely baffled him.
“That would be great, thank you, Dean.” Dean smiled, his stomach fluttering happily at Cas’s words. He thought it would be great to ride with him. Great. Aware that his excitement might show on his face, he quickly tried to numb the feeling.
“Awesome. See you tomorrow, Cas.”