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Title: Harbor Lights 5a/?
Author:  chartruscan
Beta: ghostyouknow27
Characters/Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam, Jo, Bela, Bobby, Zacchariah
Warnings: Abuse of reality, WIP
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: ~4100
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.  Also, they fight crime.

***

It was early on Monday morning and Dean sat slumped in his chair in the Organized Crime Division bullpen, his back aching, a lump on his forehead that was an unsexy shade of purple and green, and a butterfly bandage across his nose.  Fucking Crowley.  He’d slept upright on the couch with an icepack on his face, just to stave off raccoon eyes.  It had mostly worked.

Amidst all the Welcome backs and Good to see yous and concerned glances at his face, he’d received several funny looks, a couple of sniggers, and a few appreciative glances from sources which surprised him.  

When he had knocked on Chief Singer’s office, Bobby had looked up from his desk and scowled.  “The hell happened to your face, boy?”

“Slipped in the shower?” Dean rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.  He wished that he’d slunk straight to his desk, taken his chances that Bobby wouldn’t come to see if he’d made it in to work.  Not likely.

“Bullcrap.  Officer Corbett says he saw you returning to your apartment on more than one occasion.”

“It’s a crime to go home?”

“No, but it pisses me off that the protection I’d given you was watching an empty apartment.”

“Officer Corbett must’ve fallen asleep on the job.”  Dean tried a smirk.  “What can I say, kids these days, eh?”

“Horsefeathers.”

Dean shrugged, stuffing his hands in his pockets, shoulders tight.  “Sammy and I went out.  We might have been invited to a private party with Fergy.”

“Crowley?” Bobby nearly shouted.  “Of all the . . . you don’t know if you’ve got Crowley gunning for you, you slip your protection, and you have a chat with Crowley of all people and let him rearrange your face?”

Dean stood his ground, waiting for Bobby to finish.  “Nah nah, there was no “let” involved.  Just a three hundred pound goon with halitosis.  It wasn’t all bad--”

“Not all bad!”

“Between information I got from one of my CI’s and face-time with Crowley, I can tell you one thing: he’s not trying to put a hit on me.  Heard he was pissed about me getting one in the back”

Bobby nodded, already knowing about the untimely passing of one Paul “Whitey” McGreggor.  “Barnes had Whitey sent over to the morgue for an autopsy.  We’ll find out in a couple of days if there was anything hinky going on.”

Dean said, “So, you can let your Cub Scout get back to helping old ladies cross the street.”

“Oh, you telling me how to do my job now?  You think Crowley’s the only potential threat?”

“Lucci’s all I’ve been working for the past two years, don’t see how.  I’ll tell you another thing: he’s scared --of our investigation, Sammy’s case, we’re getting to him . . . he also mentioned that there’s someone out there that he’s scared of enough to try and buy me off.  Couple of psychos, he said.”

“You mean those two nut jobs on motorcycles?”

Dean frowned.  He had assumed, albeit briefly, that Crowley had been referring to him and Sam, but the more he thought about it, Crowley’s brief, melodramatic description didn’t come close to what they got up to on some nights.  

Dean shook his head, “No, not the vigilantes, someone else.  I got the impression that they were nasty pieces of work.”  

Bobby shrugged, “I’ll keep that in mind, and we’ll let Homicide deal with that if it comes to it.”

Then Dean had asked the dreaded question: “Henriksen?”

Bobby looked up at him tiredly.  “You’ll know when I know.  IAD says they haven’t heard from the lab yet. Speaking of, welcome back and watch your ass; Adler knows you’re in today and will likely be stopping by to speak with you.  Keep your temper under wraps; I don’t need the Commish breathing down my neck.”

“I’ll be my usual charming self.”  Dean started to leave.

“Oh, and Dean?”

Dean stopped in the doorway and turned around, wondering if Chief Singer was about to show his softer side and tell him it was good to have him back.

“You’re overdue for your Critical Incident Stress Debriefing.  Dr. Mosley’s expecting you at three.”

Fucking Mondays.  Welcome back, Dean Winchester.

***

It was almost lunch-time, the bullpen mostly empty, and Dean was staring morosely at the vacant desk across from him, ignoring the paperwork he was supposed to be catching up on for his team, which was out actually investigating.  He wasn’t used to sitting at a desk for so many hours at a stretch, and the chair was no match for the bench seat in his Impala.

He thought of giving Sam a call to meet up, maybe walk over to the hospital to see Castiel.  His meeting with Adler had come and gone, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.  The balding smug prick had asked him leading questions about Victor’s behaviour.  Some of your peers expressed a level of hostility between the two of you, would you say that was true?  Dean was glad to see the back of him, but his funk settled deeper.  

Dean’s vacant stare was interrupted as a shapely and definitely female posterior sat itself on Victor’s desk.  Dean perked up for all of one second before he realized who it was.

He scowled.  “Get the fuck off Henriksen’s desk, skank.”

“Oh Dean,” Bela Talbot simpered in her pretentious accent.  Dean thought he might be developing a prejudice against all British citizens, with the ones he kept having to deal with.  “No need to be a sour puss just because your partner shot you in the back.  Good riddance to dirty cops, I say.”  She grinned.

“This coming from someone who would have no problem pulling the trigger.”

Bela tsked.  “Boyfriend not putting out?  Did he give you that lovely shiner when you wouldn’t take no for an answer?”

“You are a truly awful person.”

“Talbot!” Jo shouted.  “Beat it before I tell the chief it was you who stole the last of the donuts.”

Bela looked scandalised.  She slipped off the desk.  “I’ll leave you girls to it, then, yeah?”

“How can you stand to be partners with her?”  Dean asked with genuine curiosity.  Bela was one of those crafty evil bitches who had the upper management, even Chief Singer, thinking she was as sweet as pie and perfectly professional, but the second their backs were turned, she was stabbing you in yours, and all in such a way that you could never prove a thing.  Victor had gotten close a couple years back, and Bela had been given a suspension, the IAD all over her, and stripped of her status as a detective.   

“I can’t.  That’s what alcohol’s for.”  Jo bumped her hip against Dean’s desk and handed him a coffee from his favorite shop.

“So . . .” Jo asked, “What’s this I hear about you dating a certain sexy doctor?”

Dean paused and squinted at her.  “And just who’d you hear this from?”  

Just then the pup-faced kid who’d been stationed outside his apartment for the past week wandered past.

“Hi, Alan,” Jo said sweetly.

Dean smiled in the kid’s direction.  “Hi, Corbett.

“Hi Jo, Detective Winchester.”  Corbett smiled shyly, almost a little starstruck, then his eyes grew wide with fear at Dean’s expression, and he stumbled his way out of sight.

“Be nice, Dean.”  Jo turned back to him.  “He didn’t know he’s not supposed to talk outside of school.”  

Dean glared in the direction Corbett had fled, muttering about rule number one.

Jo continued, “Don’t worry, I had a little chat with him about that.   I think he was just a little excited over knowing another gay man at the precinct.”

Dean choked on his coffee, Jo having timed that remark just perfectly.  “Not--” Dean choked some more and rubbed uselessly at the stain on his shirt.  “I’m not gay, Jo.”

“Huh.”  Jo looked thoughtful.  “And here I thought I finally had it figured out.”

Dean’s eyes widened as he realized what she was saying.  “Jo, I wouldn’t date you because your mother scares the hell out of me, and, also, I don’t shit where I eat.”

Jo scrunched her nose up in distaste.  “Classy.”  She stood up.  “Don’t tell Corbett you’re not gay.  He’s been a lot more confident and bearable--” and here Jo leaned down close to Dean’s ear and whispered “--since he saw you holding hands with a man.”  She snatched the coffee back vindictively and went to join Bela with all the other Vice detectives.

Dean almost banged his bruised head against the desk.

***

He ended up having lunch with just Sam since Castiel wasn’t answering his texts.  Dean assumed that he was busy in the emergency room.

“Victor?” Sam asked as he joined him at the window booth at Halftime Pizza.  The pizza wasn’t the best, and being so close to the Garden made it a tourist trap with tourist prices.  But it was only a ten minute walk from the precinct and merely three from Sam’s law firm.  It was also close to where one of Dean’s informants liked to meet, so it was on his mind when Sam had texted him Wher fud?  

Dean shook his head.  “Not yet.  Pisses me off, man.”

“I’m sure he’ll be back soon, and you’ll be wishing he was stranded in the Serengeti within twenty-four hours.”

“Sure,” Dean said, but he had a bad feeling about it.  Ballistics never took that long, especially when it involved an officer down.  Adler had stressed that Dean was to make no contact with Victor (for his own safety, of course) and then implied that communications were being monitored.  Dean wondered about naive Corbett-of-the-flapping-lips and who else he might be talking to.  Dean didn’t worry about getting hassled for being gay.  He’d been getting shit for his looks since grade school, and entering the police force had been far worse, so he’d already heard and dealt with the worst of it with his peers.   No, he thought of the delay with Victor’s return and Adler’s out-of-the-blue warpath against him, and the nagging voice at the back of his mind said that something was rotten.

Dean glanced out the window.  As Sam ordered for the both of them, Dean flipped open his cell phone and sent a text to a contact listed only as J.

Need to talk.  When can meet? -D

***

Sam had gone out on patrol again, despite Dean’s protest of Sam being without backup.  Their  apartment was too empty and Dean was depressed, unsettled by the unfamiliarity of being back at work in a reduced capacity, the strangeness of being left alone at home after weeks of someone constantly being there, whether it be Sam or Castiel.  

Just the absence of someone quietly turning a page, puttering in the kitchen, or snoring in the other room made Dean restless.  He took the service elevator down to the sub-basement, where he and Sam stored their motorcycles; his own was parked alone, and snuck out under Corbett’s nose, keeping to the shadows as he hiked it out to the local mini-mart.  He hated abandoning his beloved Impala to the parking lot, but he couldn’t risk being recognized.

A taxi took him into the city, dropping him off at Sculler’s Jazz Club.  It was one of Victor’s favorite haunts, and Dean hoped that he’d at least get word that he was okay.  The past weeks were a drug-hazed fog and it wasn’t until today that he realized that he’d just assumed that Victor would be there to greet him that morning at work.  

***

John Lee Hooker drifted over the speakers.  Dean sat nursing his third whiskey at his third bar.  The trip had been a bust.  The bartender, one Dean had recognized, had shook her head when Dean inquired if she’d seen Victor around lately.  The same story as the last two joints that Victor favoured.  

A woman introduced herself as Pallavi and asked if he would buy her a drink.  Dean took in her honey-coloured skin and long, sleek hair, her full lips which were curled in a warm smile.  

It had been awhile, and Dean was seriously tempted to take her up on the invitation apparent in the coy glance of her eyes.

But Victor was AWOL and Sam was out there alone.  His stomach twisted, a hollow ache gnawing at his insides.  Suddenly Dean didn’t want to be at a bar with a meaningless stranger.

He let her down as politely as he could and called the hospital.

***

Castiel looked tired and a little annoyed when he opened the door of his apartment.

“Nurse Milton said you didn’t have to be at work until Wednesday.”

Castiel hesitated, but caved quickly under Dean’s hangdog hopeful expression.  He let him in.  

“What happened to you?”  Castiel asked before Dean got a chance to put down the beer, take-out, and DVDs he carried.  Castiel took Dean’s face in his hands, turning it into the light from the kitchen to get a better look.  Dean was helpless to stop him with his hands full.

“Work,” Dean finally managed to reply, trying not to flinch away.

“You’ve been back to work less than a day, and this is days older.”  Castiel frowned, still peering intently at Dean’s nose and forehead.  “And you’ve been drinking.”

“Good work, Sherlock.”

Castiel flicked his eyes from Dean’s forehead to his eyes, and Dean’s widened under Castiel’s attention at so close a range.  

“Was that a joke?”  Castiel asked.

“Huh?”  Dean couldn’t think under that much scrutiny.

“Nothing,” Castiel muttered.

Dean plastered on a cocky grin.  “I didn’t actually come over here for you to play doctor with me, Doc.”

“Maybe if you’d actually gone to see a doctor instead of letting Sam bandage you, I wouldn’t have to play--”  Castiel cut himself off with an embarrassed huff and dropped his hands quickly.  He snatched the bags out of Dean’s hands, depositing them absently on the floor, and dragged Dean towards the bathroom.

Once inside, with the bright clean light glaring at Dean, Castiel ordered him to stay still as he placed his hands across Dean’s face, thumbs alongside Dean’s nose.  

“Wha--” Before Dean could finish speaking, Castiel pushed and there was a crackling noise and pain and warmth spilling down his mouth and chin.  Dean would have flinched away if Castiel wasn’t holding him still with one freakishly strong hand clamped on his shoulder and smothering him with a towel that was rapidly turning red with the other.

Dean went to grab at his nose and stopped just short of touching it.  “Warn a guy, huh?” Dean demanded, his voice muffled.  He snatched the towel out of Castiel’s hand with a growl.

“The pain would have been no less severe, and you would more than likely have made the injury worse.”  He placed two pieces of medical tape across the bridge of Dean’s nose, making Dean’s eyes water.  

“Your nose should heal straight, now.”  Castiel’s hands were back bracing Dean’s face, appraising his handiwork.  When he met Dean’s wide eyes, he asked, “Why are you here, Dean?”

Dean tried to shrug it off, remark that he just wanted to hang out, no biggie, but he was trapped by how close Castiel was, gaze intent upon him, hands cupping his face.

“Bad day.”  It felt too intimate, too close.  “Victor isn’t back yet.  Didn’t want to be alone.”   God, could he sound any more like a girl?  “I can go, though . . .”

Castiel let go of Dean, stepping back.  “I’ll get you some ice.”  Then Castiel was gone and Dean stuffed his nose with tissue.


It was hours later, and Dean had convinced Castiel not to kick him out by simply refusing to leave.  They’d both polished off the potstickers and rice cake and three beers each (despite Castiel’s protest that Dean shouldn’t have anymore to drink) and had broken into Castiel’s last case of Noble Pils.  A dishtowel of melted ice was thrown carelessly into an empty takeout box.  

An hour in Castiel had said, “This movie is unrealistically and disturbingly violent.  This is what you choose to watch when you need cheering up?”

“Isn’t it awesome?” was Dean’s happy response.

Later, Leonard Cohen was singing, “Your faith was strong but you needed proof.”  Dean commented, beer forgotten for the moment, “That’s hot.”  

Earlier, he’d asked Castiel if he wanted to skip the sex scene, but Castiel had replied that it didn’t bother him.

“I’m waiting for the penetration angle,” Castiel remarked, moments later, head tilted and his eyes squinted in curiosity at the screen.

Dean stared unblinking at the screen, not really seeing Laurie Jupiter hit the big red metaphor-for-ejaculation button.

“Dude,” Dean finally exclaimed.

Castiel cringed.

“You watch porn?”

Castiel clutched at his beer as he turned a blotchy red.  “I prefer erotica.”

“So . . .”

“Dean,” Castiel pleaded.   “Don’t.”  

“Do you, you know . . .”  Dean made a rude gesture.

Castiel’s head fell back against the couch and he covered his face with his beer-free hand.  When he dropped his hand to look at Dean, he expected to see a lewd smirk, but instead Dean was openly curious and surprised.  Albeit a little ridiculous-looking with tissue sticking out his nostrils.

“Yes,” Castiel said simply, warring between trying not to laugh at him and wanting to crawl under a rock.

“But I thought you didn’t have, you know, a sex drive.”

Castiel sighed, humour fading rapidly.  “It’s . . . helpful in relieving stress.  Visual stimulus is . . . an aid in helping me achieve that.”

“You can get it up?”

“Yes, Dean,” Castiel said wearily.  “I’m fully functional.”

Dean processed this for a few silent minutes, and Castiel hoped he was done.

“Okay, answer me this, if you don’t like sex, how can jacking off be stress relief?  Wouldn’t that just make you even more tense?”

Castiel couldn’t bring himself to explain that he found the act of masturbation mildly pleasant, and that while he didn’t mind putting a hand on himself, the idea of someone else’s genitalia near his own was off-putting.  

“Why are you interrogating me, Dean?” Castiel said, losing patience.  “Shall we discuss your masturbation habits?”

“Dude, I’m just trying to figure you out.  And I already know you don’t give a flying fuck about my sex life.”  He turned the TV off and looked at Castiel intently.  “I’m not trying to be confrontational, Cas.  I’d like to think we’re friends, and, man, I’m trying to understand you here.  But you gotta throw me a bone or I’m not gonna be able to help acting like an ignorant jackass.”

Castiel collapsed in on himself, sighing again.  Dean was thankfully silent.  After a minute, Castiel rose from the couch.  “I’m not having this conversation with you when you’re drunk.  And you have work in the morning.”  He walked to the kitchen and turned on the tap, letting it run to clear out the old pipes, hoping that the conversation was over.  

Dean followed him with a smirk, “Well, I sure ain’t having this conversation sober.”

Castiel laughed quietly.  “Then that works out all around.”  He grabbed two glasses from a cabinet, ignoring Dean’s patient gaze.

As he filled the glasses from the tap he said, mostly to himself, “I’m tired of having to explain myself.”

“Yeah?” Dean asked.  “When was the last time you actually bothered to explain yourself?”

Castiel passed him a glass and pointedly motioned for him to drink.  Dean set the water aside, mulishly, and took a long pull of beer instead.  Castiel huffed another laugh and turned his head to look at Dean and said, “You.”

Dean waved a hand dismissively.  “I don’t count.”  

Castiel felt his heart break a little.  “Sam.”

“Still doesn’t count.  I mean . . . someone you wanted to have a relationship with and had to lay it all on the table to make it work.”

Castiel smiled sadly at that.  Dean was going to be the death of him.  Castiel wanted to tell Dean that he did count.  More than anyone, Dean counted.  That Dean’s persistence, his interest, was frightening and a giddy relief, and Castiel wanted to open himself up to Dean, tell him everything in the small hours of the dark, and he also wanted to run far far away from the temptation to do just that.  

Instead, he waited for Dean to take another sip of beer.

“My wife.”

Dean sputtered, managing to aim it away from Castiel.  He wiped a sleeve across his face and muttered about everyone having it out for his shirts.   Castiel cracked the barest of smirks.

“You were -are- married?” Dean finally managed.  “You’re pulling my leg.”

“Were,” Castiel said, leaning against the counter.  “And I’m not pulling anything.  Her name was Rachel.”

Rachel, with a severe frown that had frightened everyone else at Beth Israel.  He’d met her during his residency there, and had gotten past her defenses by being absolutely oblivious to them.  He’d discovered that she was shy and sweet with a sense of humour even worse than his own.  They’d bonded over a shared deep, spiritual faith, and eventually fallen in love.  She was a good Catholic girl, still a virgin, still waiting for marriage.  He was honest with her from the beginning, up front and open, and she’d been accepting.

“She had told that she loved me enough to live without that part of her life,” Castiel said.  “I had reservations about asking that sacrifice of her, but she convinced me we could make it work.”

Quietly, Dean asked, “What changed?”  Because something had, or else Castiel would still be married.

Castiel pushed away from the counter and fetched another beer from the fridge.  He’d decided that he was too sober for this conversation.  He raised a second in Dean’s direction, an offer, but Dean shook his head.

“After a few years, she became convinced that I was breaking our marriage vows by not consummating it, that it was a sin in the eyes of God.”  

“Who convinced her?” Dean asked, like he’d hunt them down if he knew.  It made being around Dean hurt that much more.

Castiel smirked.  “Her friends, our priest, her own self, I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Jesus,” Dean breathed.

“Was unmarried and abstinent.”

That startled a laugh out of Dean, and a piece of bloody tissue shot out of his nose and onto the floor.  

Castiel remembered how, near the end, Rachel had grown more affectionate while becoming increasingly unhappy.  They’d sat down and talked about it.  He’d reiterated to her that the reservations he’d had at the beginning hadn’t changed.  She’d shot back with Catholic doctrine.  He loved her, didn’t want to lose her.    He’d caved.  

After it was over, Rachel had taken one look at his face and had known that he’d never do it again.

He wondered if they might have lasted if he’d held out.  But he knew deep down that she would have become bitter and resentful.  She would have ended the marriage anyway.  

“So, I couldn’t willfully fulfill my duties as a husband, and Rachel felt that our marriage was blasphemous.  She had the marriage annulled.”  Castiel smiled crookedly at Dean.  “The Pope told me that my marriage was retroactively erased, three years of my life never happened.”

An awkward silence fell in the kitchen.  Castiel ran a hand over his face, looking anywhere but at Dean, a little embarrassed.

He heard Dean shift, the rattle of a beer bottle on the kitchen table, Dean bending over to scoop up the tissue and throw it in the trash.  Castiel kept his eyes focused on the floor, all his words gone.

He waited for Dean to say something, anything, and dreaded it, too.

“Fuck’m,” Dean finally said.  

Castiel blinked up at Dean in surprise.  “Excuse me?”

“Fuck the Pope,” Dean clarified.  “Dude’s a douche.  You were married, mazal tov.”

Castiel was stunned, but he couldn’t help but be amused at the blasphemy.   

“Come on, let’s finish the movie,” Dean said, grabbing the ignored glass of water and heading back into the living room.  Castiel followed him in a daze, and Dean had to tell him to sit before he remembered why he was standing next to the couch.

After Dean hit Play, images of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre flashed on the screen, fighting in a prison.  Castiel wasn’t watching anymore.  Dean was bitching about the terrible choreography.  

When Castiel looked up, sometime later, there was snow on the screen.  He said, quietly, “Sam doesn’t know.”

Dean looked over.  “Why not?”

Castiel shrugged, “He’s not as  . . . obnoxiously invasive as you.”

“Yeah, you love it.”

Castiel thought he really just might.

***


TBC
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