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Title: Harbor Lights
Author:  chartruscan
Characters/Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam
Warnings: Abuse of reality
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: ~2000
Summary: The Winchester brothers are a team to be feared by the criminals of their waterfront city. Or, the one where Castiel is an asexual doctor who attracts insane stalkers amorous suitors and Dean pretends to be his boyfriend to scare them all away.  Together, they fight crime.


 

***

 




“. . . st tell him to bac-”


Dean let the messenger bag hit the cafeteria table, causing the two mugs of coffee to tremble and Sam to twitch in annoyance and scowl.  Dean smirked.  He turned one of the empty chairs around and joined the two men at the table, giving a brief nod to his brother’s friend, “Cas.”  They had met briefly at a charity Sam had dragged Dean to the year before, benefiting the hospital Castiel worked at.  Dean had chafed in his rented tuxedo and Castiel had seemed to chafe in his own skin, shrinking back from an older woman in pearls drunkenly leering at him.  Dean felt compelled to rescue the poor guy, sacrificing his pint of beer and the woman’s dress in the name of brotherly solidarity.  Castiel and Sammy had hit it off, talking animatedly about dead languages and old books.  Good deed done, Dean had wandered off and found entertainment in the form of a poli-sci-major tending the bar.

“Dean,” the other man replied, dabbing half-heartedly at the flecks of coffee on his dove grey tie, voice tinged with mild irritation.   As much as Castiel was Sam’s friend and only flitted around the periphery of Dean’s life, he enjoyed riling Castiel as much as he did his little brother.   Sometimes Dean thought that it was unfair of him, low-hanging fruit and all.  Unsportsman-like.

Dean’s smirk turned into a grin, and he continued to improve his mood by stealing Sam’s coffee.

Sam glared as Dean stated that it was only fair payment for schlepping Sam’s files from their apartment while Dean was still on duty.  In Sam’s defense, getting to and from work on the Harbor Express Shuttle Boat made dashing back to their apartment difficult.  Flipping open the messenger bag and pulling out the notes for his case --his first big case, a nephew of the Lucci family risking a trial by pleading not guilty-- his face softened in relief and gratitude.  He had been jittery with nerves and long nights of too much caffeine for the past two weeks preparing.  Forgetting his case files on the big day was just evidence of how stressed Sam was.  Dean was doing him another favor, really, as he drained the last of the coffee.  

“Thanks, Dean.”

Whatever Sam and Castiel had been discussing, they seemed to have no interest in resuming with Dean around.   He grinned broadly as he stood, slapping a hand down on Castiel’s shoulder, leaving it there as he said, “I’ll leave you ladies to continue discussing your boy problems.”  Castiel went a little bug-eyed and flushed.  Too easy.  

Castiel may have been one of the most asexual people Dean had ever met, but it didn’t stop him from attracting his share of persistent suitors, and in one case, an unstable stalker who now had a restraining order against her.  Dean had insisted.  

Sam threw a balled-up napkin at him, which Dean caught and tossed back.  “Duty calls,” he said, smoothing his sports coat over his side arm.

“You’ll be there, though, right?” Sam asked nervously.

“I arrested the bastard, didn’t I?  ‘Course I’ll be there, Sammy.”

Castiel’s pager went off as Dean left the hospital cafeteria, his awkward stillness replaced with a kinetic intensity as he rose from his chair, mind already in the trauma room.

“I’ll get this,” Sam offered to Castiel’s already retreating back, then drained Castiel’s unfinished coffee, used to his friend’s lack of social niceties in the face of saving lives.

***


Dean was there at the trial of point man Larry Olivieri, charged with conspiracy and fraud tied to a scheme in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in union health and welfare funds allegedly were diverted to the Lucci organization.

Sam was there as well, of course, looking sharp and composed in his suit, and only Dean could pick up on the faint nervous tic, that Sam quickly clamped down, on as the rest of the courtroom filled.

The only hitch was in how Larry Olivieri failed to show up.

The judge issued an arrest warrant; Sam and Dean exchanged glances, both knowing that Larry the Capodecina was dead.  The trial continued without him.   Sam resigned himself to the futility of the charade of trying a corpse.

***


Sam sat in the passenger seat of his brother’s Chevy Impala as Dean turned from Hancock onto Adams, his silence an oppressive weight in the car.  It was only an 18 minute drive to their apartment in light, post-rush-hour traffic, just long enough to be awkward but not long enough to actually deal with anything.  Dean didn’t say There’s always next time or Cheer up, Sasquatch or There’s nothing you can do about it, so let it go.  He simply turned up the volume on the radio and loudly asked Sam to pour some sugar on him.  Gave Sam a target of frustration that he could do something about.  Sam changed the station.  Dean changed it back.  They tussled for a minute before Dean swerved on the highway entrance ramp and they called truce.

Dean knew Sam was still frustrated after being pent up in the courthouse all day, spinning his heels but not going anywhere.  Useless.  Pointless.  There was no justice to be had, and no hope of frying bigger fish with their only connection to the mob missing.  So he wasn’t surprised that, when they got back to their apartment, Sam disappeared into his room, only to appear minutes later dressed in his black leather jacket, heavy boots, and chaps.  Dean already had his motorcycle helmet nestled between his waist and the crook of his elbow.

“Let’s ride, Sammy.”


They took the freight elevator down to the sub basement where they kept their motorcycles.  Sam rocked on his heels, already anticipating the night ahead of them, the city streets at night, thumping over the old cobblestones and winding along the docks; the immediate gratification of doing something right right now had his blood already pumping.  For Dean’s part, he’d traded his service weapon for a taser, and had several knives hidden about his person, and he did a final check to make sure they were secure.  Sam, Dean knew, carried no weapons.  Sam was the weapon.

***


The trial dragged on for another two weeks and every night Sam took to the streets, sometimes with Dean, more often on his own as Dean’s official caseloads increased --due mostly in part to Sam’s method of blowing off steam.  

“Late night?”

Victor Hendrickson, Dean’s partner, placed a cup of steaming black coffee from the vendor outside the station in front him, causing Dean to perk up from his half-asleep slouch at his desk.  He took a burning sip and moaned, “Marry me.”

“Can’t afford any more alimony.  The sex would be great, but it will only end in tears, and I don’t want to see my partner cry.  That would be awkward.


Dean shrugged, rubbing his face to shake away the bone-tired weariness.  

“So,” Victor began, sitting down at his desk and tossing a paper on it.  He was far too awake at 8 a.m. for Dean. “We’ve got one of Lucci’s goons begging us to take him in.  Says the devil himself visited him last night.  Attacked him with the power of his mind.”

Dean glanced mildly at Victor.  “That so?”

“Mmm.”

“As in, Darth Vader choke holds?”

Victor grinned brightly, pointing a finger. “Exactly.”

Dean snorted into his coffee, muttering “Drugs.”

It was Victor’s turn to shrug.  “Either way, something scared our little fish more than he’s scared of crossing Lucci.”

“Let’s go see if we can’t scare up some some bigger fish.”

***


Dean was eventually called in for his testimony as the arresting officer of Larry Olivieri.  Dean bore the ridiculousness of it all, answering the defenses questions as well as Sam’s with professional aplomb.  After, they both took a giant breath, hit the oyster house, and then Sam’s favorite Irish-Mexican bar (there was more than one, which Dean found hilarious).  From there they hopped from one waterfront bar to the next.  

Much much later they tripped up the stoop to Castiel’s brownstone, letting themselves in with the key that they’d cajoled out of Castiel at the beginning of their evening.  It was the only reason they’d allowed themselves to get so wasted, Castiel living in the heart of the city, walking distance or a cheap cab ride from the nightlife.  It was a Friday night and he had been working a triple, anticipating accidents from foolish people about to engage in the very type of evening that Sam and Dean had planned.   He may have even looked a little wistful as the brothers took off to begin their night of pure irresponsibility.

Sam stumbled over to the couch in the dark and immediately laid claim to it.  He also immediately began to snore.  Dean grunted in disapproval, wondering where he was going to sleep, although the floor was looking pretty good at this point.  He felt along the wall until he found a light switch, flicking it on only long enough to get his bearings in the unfamiliar apartment.  He found the kitchen and a bottle of water, vaguely noting that despite the slightly more upscale architecture and furniture, it had the same sad bachelor feel that he and Sam’s apartment had.  Worse, a bachelor apartment of a workaholic who was never home.  Dean hung his head, thinking that they were all three in a sad state, and that he should try for something more than his one and two-night stands.  Or maybe he should ease into and try and get Sam to start dating again.  Remind himself what it looks like before he tries it for himself.  He opened his eyes, realizing that he’d fallen asleep standing up in front of the kitchen sink.  He’d lie down in a moment, after he forced himself to drink the whole bottle of water.

Dean tilted his head back, bottle to his lips, and when he next opened his eyes, he was somewhere dark and comfortable, his shirt shucked off and pants and boots kicked off.   He rolled over and fell back asleep.

***


Cas dragged himself out of Anna’s car just after sunrise, dead on his feet.  She gave him a wave and drove off to wherever she went when not at the hospital.  Friday had been hell starting at ten and really hadn’t let up by the time he left.  He’d stabilized as many as he could, dashing between rooms and curtains, getting the worst handled before passing them on to the other doctors and nurses.  He wanted to feel good about all those he’d saved, but he was just so tired. All he could see was the last patient, a GSW, a man that he hadn’t been able to save, because the chief was sending him home.  Because Castiel hadn’t been able to walk in a straight line anymore.  Because Castiel had been tired.

Which is why he found himself puzzled at his lack of keys, patting down his pockets, and felt the frustration building up behind his eyes as he realized that he’d given Sam his only copy.  Sam, who was likely passed out drunk inside and wouldn’t hear him knocking.  He sank against the door, palms flat on the wood, rolling his forehead across it, too tired at maintaining any sort of dignity as his eyes pricked and burned.  Exhaustion pulled at him, weighing him down, and he thunked his head against the door, gave a few half-hearted pounds of his palm, too tired to even make a fist.   He slid his hand down to the knob and shook the door in aggravation.

The door jingled.

The keys were still in the door.

Castiel was going to kill them.  Drunken fools.  He turned the key, grateful that they’d at least known enough to secure the door, not that it would have done much good with where they’d left the keys.  Making sure that he didn’t make the same mistake Sam and possibly Dean had done, he pocketed the keys and then let the door slam behind him.  Sam barely stirred from his place on the couch and the sound of the door closing simply made Castiel’s head ache.  Damnit.

He was glad that he’d showered at the hospital and could simply collapse into his own blessed bed, but apparently things couldn’t be that simple.

For one, Dean, who he thought fleetingly had probably taken off with a random women, as Sam seemed to imply happened often --and Dean wasn’t one to dissuade Castiel of that notion-- was sprawled across the entirety of his bed.  Cas felt his temper rise.  

For another –well, actually, no, Castiel didn’t actually care about how Dean was mostly naked; school and then work instilling in him a clinical detachment to a piece of machinery that it was his job to fix.  The fact that this was a particularly fine machine that looked perfect on his bed with the morning sun casting rays across Dean’s back was irrelevant as well.  God, he was tired and not making any sense.

Summoning one last ounce of energy, Cas lifted his foot and shoved Dean, hard.

Dean shouted and flailed at his sudden relocation to the floor and his sudden state of being awake.  He peered over the bed and found an exhausted but livid Castiel.

“The fuck, Cas?” Dean choked, voice creaky, but he couldn’t really be mad with Castiel looking so pale and shaky.

Castiel ignored Dean in favor of stripping off his own clothing and crawling under the body-warmed blankets, a new situation that he didn’t entirely object to.

After a moment, Dean reached up to grab a pillow, ready to  pass back out on the floor, when Cas said quietly in that gravelly voice of his, “Shower, Dean, if you want to sleep in the bed.”

Dean stared at Castiel, his alcohol-soaked brain on a ten-second delay.

“You smell.”

“Oh.”

“Like a bar.”

“Well, yeah.”  Dean smirked.

“And sex.”

“Mmm.”

“And some kind of fish.”  Castiel’s voice was drifting at that point.

Dean sniffed himself and grimaced.  “Shoulda led with that one, Cas.”

He showered and pulled his boxers back on, walking to the kitchen with his eyes closed to snag another water bottle, feeling his head start to pound.  He was going to have to admit one of these days that he couldn’t drink like he did when he was twenty.  He’d give it another decade.

When he crawled back into the sliver of bed that Castiel had left him, he leaned over and said, “Fair warning: I cuddle.  Don’t take it personally.”  Castiel was mostly asleep and merely grunted.  Dean squished his borrowed pillow and rolled the other way.

***


Later that morning Dean wasn’t so much cuddling Castiel as he was draped atop him and most of the bed.  Finding it difficult to breathe, Castiel shoved him off and wrapped his arms around Dean to hold him still.  Dean pressed back against Castiel, making sleepy noises.  Castiel sighed and fell back asleep with his breath whispering over the hairs on Dean’s neck.

***


Dean was alone in Castiel’s bed when he woke up for good.  He felt a stab not unlike bleak horror as he realized that he was awake, that this was cold stark reality.  He chased after that surprise of a good dream, filled with warmth and safety and love and . . . puppies or something.  Fuck.  It was gone.  Time to face the real world.

Dean opened his eyes and stretched, scratching his stomach, resisting the urge to scratch any lower as a courtesy to Castiel not forcing him to sleep on the floor.

Castiel looked a little less like death warmed over when Dean finally wandered into the kitchen, even managing a crinkle of his eyes that meant Castiel was smiling.  Sam looked like a homeless man where he sat curled miserably over his coffee, looking a little green every time he glanced through his bangs at the food Castiel had made.  Dean felt awesome and tucked into a very late lunch of eggs and toast.

Continue on to Part 1b

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