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Title: Harbor Lights 3d/?
Author:  chartruscan
Characters/Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam
Warnings: Abuse of reality, WIP
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: ~2400
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.

 

***


Dean had quietly panicked for all of a minute over Castiel’s statement, but then they’d arrived at the back of his apartment building and what he didn’t see freaked him out even more.  

“Sunovabitch!”

He’d dropped Castiel’s hand in favor of scrambling for his cell phone and speed dialed Sam, accusing him of stealing his car, putting up a hand at Castiel when he’d made to speak.  Dean threatened to gut Sam if he so much as scratched the paint on his baby, and then had to explain why he wanted the car in the first place, and no, he wasn’t ditching the cop watching him..  After hanging up, he begrudgingly accepted Castiel’s offer of  his own vehicle.  His fear about being forced to ride in a powder blue Prius were alleviated slightly by the sight of Castiel’s sage green Ford Escape.  At least it was American, and somewhat butch looking, even if it was still a hybrid.

“We can go back to being cooped up in your apartment if it’s that much of a problem,” Castiel had offered mildly at Dean’s look of distaste.

Dean had glared and yanked the passenger door open.

***


The Wheelhouse Diner little more than a trailer with five booths, a cranky chef, and 50’s decor.  It was cheap but solid, with a flare for seafood, Irish grub, and good old-fashioned grease.  Dean usually liked to sit crammed up at the tight counter to watch Doug work the griddle, but tonight he snagged a booth before it could be bussed, grinning happily at Castiel over the discards of someone else’s dinner.  The prospect of greasy food putting aside any fear that Sammy’s friend was developing a crush on him.  

The awkwardness returned after they’d mostly finished their dinner, the normalcy and refuge of eating no longer a distraction, and Dean watched as Castiel obliviously picked apart the last of his Irish Soda Bread.  Castiel looked up, catching Dean’s gaze.  He just stared, head tilted to the side, expression mildly curious.  Dean looked away after a moment, turning the menu over to the desert list.  

“Dean,” Castiel asked.  

Dean feigned nonchalance, “Yeah?”

“Are you all right?”

Dean glanced briefly at Castiel and then quickly back to the menu, allowing himself to grimace at the dull ache in his guts.  “Yeah, just starting to hurt a little.  Almost time for those good drugs that make me a fucking zombie.”

Castiel glanced at  his watch.  “I have to be to work at ten.  I should get you back home soon.”

The thought that Castiel should have been sleeping before his graveyard shift, but was instead out entertaining Dean didn’t appease that tiny niggle of fear worrying at the back of his mind.  Before he could call for the check, Sam was sliding into the booth next to Dean, hip-checking him and stealing the last of the potato wedges from his plate.  Dean grimaced for real that time.

“Ass.”

Sam dug into Dean’s jacket pocket and tossed a set of keys across the table to Castiel.

“Hey, those are mine!” Dean bitched.

“And you don’t need them.”  Sam ticked off on his long fingers, “I’m taking your car to work, so you don’t need those.  Castiel needs to get into the apartment, and you don’t, since you won’t be leaving the apartment on your own.”

Castiel’s uncertain grip on Dean’s keys faded into steely resolve, and he pocketed them.

“So how’re the two lovebirds?  Having a nice date?”  Sam smirked happily.

“It’s not a date,” Dean muttered, arm around his stomach.  “I think I might throw up on you.”

Sam scooted back towards the outer edge of the booth and pulled Dean’s plate out of harms way.  

“I thought you disliked those,” Castiel said, as Sam munched happily away, far too awake for someone who’d worked a twelve hour day.

Dean grouched, “Not when their mine.”  He still looked green from Sam jostling him, and didn’t try to steal them back.  Even the thought of dessert was no longer appealing.  And they had the elusive Chicksaw Plum pie tonight, damnit.

“I can take Dean home if you need to get to work, Cas.”  

Castiel nodded.

“But first,” Sam continued gleefully.  “You have to give me the juicy details on your date, cuz I know Dean won’t fess up.”

Dean just glared.

Castiel considered Dean’s upset, his earlier awkwardness, and decided that undermining the situation was the best tactic, and that denying anything, even if not true, would only add another layer of awkwardness between him and Dean, no matter how much Dean tried to lay the cause of his behaviour on something else.

“It was very romantic,” was what Castiel opened with.  “If I recall, Dean practically begged me to take him out.  We walked to the marina--”

“Sunset walks on the beach, I didn’t know you were such a traditionalist, Dean.”  Sam was enjoying this entirely too much.

“I hate you both.”  

Dean continued to sulk, but Castiel could sense that something had lifted.  He offered Dean a small smile, and was rewarded with a twitch of Dean’s lips.  

Castiel looked away before Dean could see that Castiel’s smile didn’t reach his eyes.

***


Castiel hated driving.  He found it slow and confining, and had the unfortunate drawback that, when he found himself being followed by a persistent set of headlights, he couldn’t just flit away without his car careening off into the highway guardrails.  He didn’t have time before his shift started to try and weave around the city hoping to lose it, and there wasn’t any place that he felt comfortable leaving his car anywhere except on his own street or in the hospital’s parking garage.  

It stayed with him, cat-eyed with a faint blue glow, some five cars back, sometimes closer, sometimes lagging behind, but there at every turn.  

Most of his neighbors were home, and he had to circle the block until he found a spot across the street at the complete opposite end from his stoop.  When he stepped out onto the cobblestones, the distance to the safety of home seemed a yawning chasm rife with danger, black shadows pooling deeper between the gaslights.  The idea of crossing the street made his skin prickle, made him feel too exposed.  This is foolish, he thought.  But then he saw a familiar set of headlights coming down his street, making the shadows jump and leap.  And there, for a split-second the headlights limned the outline of a man, sunk into the shadows of his next-door neighbor’s stoop.

He hurried around his car to the sidewalk and slipped down the narrow steps of one of those spooky, narrow, sunken alleys that all the apartments in this neighborhood had, and it was thankfully one that no longer had it’s iron gate.  

From there he flew to his apartment, rubbing a hand over his face in shaky relief.

He’d fly to the hospital, shower and change there, where the lights were bright and the halls filled with people.  Castiel hoped that the night wasn’t too busy and exhausting, or else that he could get a ride home from Anna in the morning.

***


Castiel let himself into the Winchester’s apartment the next morning and, after putting away his overcoat and shoes, curled up immediately on the couch --the cat naps in the oncall room not quite having made up for forgetting he needed his afternoon sleep before a late shift.  But he’d enjoyed his evening out too much, and had more or less forgotten his routine.  Much like he’d forgotten how nice it was to be out with someone and be allowed to touch, even if it was all a lie.  Sammy was tactile, but it was more soft punches and pats on the back and a squeeze of the arm.  

But with Dean . . . it had been nice, even if it hadn’t meant anything.  It didn’t mean anything, it wasn’t complicated, so he didn’t get worked up over it, just let himself enjoy the memory and the warmth of it as he drifted off.

He woke up sometime later, the sun a little higher in the sky, to the sound of  rustling fabric.  He peered up from his nest of blankets to see Dean rifling through the pockets of his coat.

Castiel roused himself enough to say, “Took the shuttle, so I don’t have my car, an’ I forgot your keys at my apartment, so neither of us is leaving until Sam gets home.”

Dean threw down the coat in disgust and Castiel went back to sleep.

***


At three o’clock, Castiel woke up.  He checked on Dean, who was passed out on his stomach, shirt rucked up and sheets tangled around his knees.  

Sam came home after six, looking frustrated and harried, so completely different from his over-sugared demeanor the night before.  

Sam blinked at him in stupid surprise.

“Didn’t see your car in the lot.”

“Shuttle, I have to make up for you driving that gas guzzler.  I’m keeping your karma in balance.” Castiel said.

He left shortly after, and Dean woke up to Sam making Three Cheese Hamburger Helper, one of the more complicated meals Sam was capable of.

Dean took one look at Sam’s face and said, “Going out tonight.”  It wasn’t a question.

Sam nodded tightly but didn’t elaborate.  Sam had always been strict about adhering to the rule about not talking about ongoing cases, even with Dean.  “Wanna try and stir some things up, see how things settle out,” was all Sam admitted, and Dean knew that Sam’d hit a roadblock in his case.  Dean’s gut tightened at the thought of Sam going out on his own, even though he knew that Sam was more than capable of handling himself, and any shit that came his way that he couldn’t would be more than Dean himself could handle.  Still, the fact stood that Dean felt obligated to look after his Sammy, to at least be there, even though the usual routine was for Dean to scout out the scene and then hang back while Sam did his thing, Dean watching the exits, watching Sammy’s back.  

Dean nodded and scratched at his back, the stitches starting to bother him more than ache from the bullet or the surgical incisions.  

***


When Dean awoke the next day for the second time, at two, Jesus, he can’t wait to be rid of these fucking pills, Castiel was also rousing from the couch, sleep-mussed and adorable in a grumpy way.  Dean stole his spot on the couch once Castiel vacated it, flipping on the TV and turning to the news.  Castiel stumbled into the kitchen and Dean listened to him clatter with the coffee pot and then shuffle over to the fridge.  Dean didn’t hear the door open.

“Dean,” Castiel says, not happy.

Dean grunted in response, then turned to look behind him to find Castiel staring at the fridge door.

“You had a doctor’s appointment at two o’clock to have your stitches removed.”

Dean threw his head back against the couch and muttered, “Fuck.”

“It’s two oh five.”

“Yeah.”  Dean shifted over to the phone to call the doctor’s office to reschedule, already dreading how long it would be that he’d have to live with the damned things before the next appointment.

Castiel stopped him with, “Forget it, Dean.  I can do it.”

“Oh thank fuck,” Dean moaned in appreciation, flopping back against the couch and then immediately grimacing.  “They itch like a mother.”

Castiel drank his coffee and showered to wake himself up, then rifled through Sam and Dean’s bathroom, hoping at best for store-brand antibacterial soap, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, and nail clippers.  What he found instead was an impressively stocked medical kit, complete with nitrile gloves, a ziplocked razor blade, and a magnifying glass.  He washed his hands and took the lot to the living room, where Dean was finishing his own coffee.

“Take off your shirt,” Castiel ordered.

Dean eyed the instruments in Castiel’s hands, but shoved his nervousness down with a cocky waggle of his eyebrows.  He grabbeds his shirt by the tag and pulled it over his head, wincing as it caught on the stitches, and lay belly-down on the couch.  

“Be gentle, Doc,” Dean quipped.  “And no copping a feel, I know you’re hot for my bod.”

Castiel slapped him on the back of his head, but was glad that Dean was still comfortable around him, especially after Castiel having inadvertently made Dean so self-conscious the night before.

He turned on the end table light and slipped on the gloves, gripping the freshly disinfected razor blade in one hand and the magnifying glass in the other.  He’s afraid he’ll have to break out the toe nail clippers, but the blade proves to be sharp, and he carefully severed each stitch.  Stitches that he sewed into Dean.  The thought made his hand shake and he paused before he cut next to the knot he’d made, the one signaling the end of a successful surgery.  

“You okay?” Dean asked softly.  

Castiel huffed a laugh at the incongruity of the question.  He rested the hand holding the magnifying glass against Dean’s back, holding it between index and middle finger and rubbing his thumb absently across the unblemished skin there.  

“You almost died, Dean.”

“S’the job,” Dean murmured in reply.  

A familiar anger swept through Castiel, and he released his grip when he felt Dean tense in pain beneath his hand, discovering that the glass is being pressed against the stitches and his fingers digging into the muscles wrapped over Deans ribs.  He relaxed his grip forcibly, trading the magnifying glass for the tweezers.

“Maybe you need a different job,” Castiel bites out, images of Dean turning white and collapsing in that quiet hospital room haunting him.  He shakes his head.

Dean sighed, remembering a well-worn argument with Cassie.  “Just because you know me and not the other dumb schmucks doing the same thing as I am doesn’t make me any more deserving of not getting hurt.  And it’s good work.  We make a difference.  I know the risks.”

Dean turned his head awkwardly to look at Castiel, who was pensive and tight, staring at the far wall and beyond.

“Hey.”

Castiel broke from his reverie and let Dean catch his gaze.

“Sorry I freaked you out.  I’m careful.  I’ll be more careful.”

Castiel nodded tightly.

“Now get these fucking things out of me before I jump out the goddamned window.”


***


TBC
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