Lawrence, Kansas. 2001.
It wasn’t so bad living without Cas.
Sometimes he thought about him, what he was doing, what college was like for him. Sometimes while watching some TV show, he’d find himself thinking that Cas would really like the plot or the characters, and wondered if Cas was watching that show too.
Other times, he hardly thought about Cas at all. He became someone Sam knew a long time ago, simply an old friend that he remembered fondly if he allowed himself to. He didn’t think he missed Cas, not the way you’d miss someone you were in love with… so maybe Cas was right. Maybe he was too young then to know what love was really like. He almost convinced himself of this too, except when Dean talked on the phone with Cas and Sam found himself trying hard not to listen in. Or when Dean told him about an embarrassing thing that happened to Cas in college that involved bees and someone’s car and Sam pretended he didn’t care, even as he silently wished he would’ve seen that for himself instead.
It wasn’t unbearable, that much was certain.
He went on with his life, dated Ruby for a few months until he found out she was cheating on him with a guy named Alistair (who the heck would even named their kid Alistair?). They broke up soon after, and he realized he wasn’t as upset about it as he should have been. He won two championships with his high school soccer team and got early admission to Stanford. He spent the last few months of high school just coasting along, readying himself to leave Kansas for the first time in his life and make it on his own in college. It was like he was walking on clouds. Life had never been better for him.
Until he saw Cas again.
It wasn’t even some life-changing reunion or anything like that. He was walking to a bus stop with a couple of friends when he ran in to Cas.
Although Sam had grown a few inches, Cas was still taller than him. He looked a bit older, but the messy hair was the same and so were those big blue eyes that stared back at him in surprise. And suddenly all of the feelings and memories rushed back to him, as if Cas had never been gone.
“Sam,” Cas gasped.
“Cas,” Sam said in return. “You guys go on, I’ll catch up,” he told his friends as he stopped in front of Cas.
Cas smiled tentatively, as if he wasn’t sure if Sam would be happy to see him. “It’s nice to see you,” he said.
“Yeah, you too,” Sam said. It wasn’t a lie. “So what’re you doing back here in Lawrence?”
“It’s spring break… I thought I’d visit my dad for a few days,” Cas said.
“Oh, right. Will you be staying long?” Sam asked.
“No, I’ll be leaving this afternoon,” Cas said, and he actually looked really disappointed about that.
Sam, on the other hand, tried not to let his own disappointment show. “Oh, that’s…”
“Sam!” Andy, one of his friends, called out.
He looked to their direction and saw the bus had arrived. He thought about staying behind, about catching up with Cas. They weren’t friends anymore, not by a long shot, but maybe they could be again. Maybe they can put everything behind them and—
“Sam, come on!” Andy called. They were about to get on the bus.
Sam looked at Andy, then back at Cas, who just smiled and said, “You should go.”
“Right. Goodbye, then,” Sam said, though he felt a dull pain in his chest when he said that.
“Goodbye,” Cas said, a bittersweet smile forming on his face.
Sam nodded and started walking away, despite his mind screaming for him to turn around and get back to Cas. He didn’t know what it was that ultimately made him climb onto that bus. Maybe fear, fear of being rejected by Cas again, fear of going back to being a mess and always thinking about Cas, fear of losing Cas yet again.
So he stayed on the bus, and looked out the window to watch Cas as he walked away. Even as the bus began to move the opposite direction, his eyes remained on Cas until his figure was nowhere to be seen. He convinced himself this was better for both of them. Cas was better off without someone like Sam in his life, and Sam was better off forgetting the failure of his first love. He didn’t want to go back to that again, he thought. He liked how he was right now. He had moved on.
Except even that was a lie. He never really moved on. He just wouldn’t realize it until years and years later, when the sight of those big blue eyes would trap him again and make him wish he never let him go at all.
Sam was a professional. He did all his work quickly and efficiently, but he would be lying if he said that having that talk with Cas later that day was not at the forefront of his thoughts. He was beginning to think their talk wasn’t going to happen at all, until the call came from Cas’ office at 7:30.
It wasn’t even Jo who called him. Jo had probably gone for the night, and all that Cas said to him was, “Let’s talk.”
Sam braced himself as he walked down the hallway to Cas’ office. The glass walls were transparent that time, and Sam could see Cas sitting in his desk looking through files even from far away. When he entered, Cas didn’t look up from his reading, but Sam refused to be deterred so he stood in front of Cas’ desk until he looked up.
“You called?” he said in lieu of a greeting.
Cas closed the folders in front of him and set them aside on his desk. “Have you finished your work for the day?” he asked.
“You’re still going to ask me about work, huh?” Sam asked. “Yes. I’m done with my work.”
“Good,” Cas said with a nod. He leaned back and crossed his legs in front of him. He seemed to take in Sam’s appearance for a few seconds before saying, “I’m sorry.”
The abruptness of the statement startled Sam for a moment. “What?”
“My behavior today was inexcusable. I apologize,” he said.
“I was the one who came on to you at your celebration, and it was entirely my fault that things got… out of hand that night.”
Sam scoffed. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Out of hand? Are you kidding me?”
“You were drunk. Even a blind man could see you were inebriated. I was probably intoxicated myself, which was why I took advantage of you and—“
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, back up a second here…” Sam said, gesturing with his hands for Cas to stop. “You took advantage— Cas what are you talking about? Did you forget the part about me telling you that was the best sex of my life earlier today?”
Cas rubbed the back of his neck, appearing self-conscious all of a sudden. “I was aware of that… but if we did anything you regretted that night, I apologize completely. It was my fault you didn’t end up going with that woman. The sound of her laughter was grating on my nerves and I found the brazen way she kept her arm on your thigh to be very distasteful,” Cas explained.
“Wait a sec,” Sam said. “Let me get this straight. You were jealous. That’s it. You were jealous of her.”
Cas blinked, as if what Sam had said was a startling revelation. “Perhaps,” Cas said. “But that’s not the point. The point is—“
“The point is we had sex. You liked it. I liked it. That’s all that matters, right?” Sam asked.
“I suppose…” Cas said, unsure. “You aren’t mad about it then?”
“Am I mad about it? No, I’m not mad about it,” Sam replied. “I’m just pissed you suddenly decided to act like it didn’t happen. We’ve gone through this in high school. I thought you were ignoring my feelings for you again…”
“That was not my intention, Sam. I’m sorry,” he said. He stood up from his chair and walked around his desk. He leaned a hip on the edge like he usually did and placed a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “For what happened today, and for what happened back then. It seems I always end up hurting you,” Cas said, a bittersweet smile on his face.
“It’s not your fault,” Sam told him.
Cas withdrew his hand and folded his arms in front of his chest. “When you confessed to me in high school… I was in love with your brother.”
Sam tried not to flinch. He already knew about Cas’ feelings, but hearing it straight from Cas’ mouth still felt like a knife to the gut. But Sam kept silent, and Cas continued.
“I was confused and I didn’t know what to do. I thought you were still too young. You didn’t mean what you said. You didn’t know what love was.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Sam said, “I knew what love was. I was in love with you—I still am,” he admitted. He didn’t think twice about saying it because it was the truth. He needed Cas to know it was the truth.
Cas smiles that same smile full of pity… and guilt. Always so full of guilt. “I know. And I was too blind to see.”
“Damn right you were,” Sam’s voice was rising a bit in volume. He was beginning to see where this was going.
“You’re like a younger brother to me, Sam. You’ve always been like a brother to me.”
Oh. He felt the color on his face start to fade. He understood it now. He knew this feeling very well. Grief. He was being rejected again. A bitter smile formed on his face. “Got it. You don’t need to tell me twice,” he said.
“You’re like a brother to me, Sam,” Cas repeated. “I keep telling myself this, but it’s not working. I wonder why.”
Suddenly, confusion overtook his grief and hope started to bloom in Sam’s chest. “What are you talking about?”
“When I saw you again… it was different. I tried telling myself you’re still the same kid I knew before. But you’re not. I can’t see you as a younger brother anymore,” Cas said, looking at Sam’s face with eyes bright with emotion.
And again, Sam understood it.
“You like me,” Sam said in disbelief.
Cas frowned and cocked his head to the side . “Of course I like you.”
“No,” Sam corrected, a smile beginning to form on his face. “Cas… you like me like me.”
Cas laughed. “Like you like you?”
Sam wanted to jump and scream. “Yes! You do!” he said, face brimming with joy. “Unless you wanna say you love me, instead… coz if you do—“
Cas suddenly grabbed Sam’s tie and yanked him down for a kiss.
It was like being hit with a bolt of lightning, the feeling so intense it left Sam shocked for a full second… until his brain started functioning again and he kissed back, grabbing Cas’ waist with both hands and crowding him to his desk until Cas had nowhere to go but to sit on it while Sam devoured his mouth.
This was so much better than that kiss in the alley, and Sam wanted to tear Cas’ suit away and just have him on his desk right then and there, make him scream loud enough for the whole office to hear.
He nipped at Cas’ bottom lip and thrust his hips experimentally, making Cas moaned into the kiss. He was already half hard just from the kissing, and he could feel Cas getting there as well. Just a little more and—
“Not to cockblock or anything…” Jo’s voice rang through the room, startling both Sam and Cas and making them break away abruptly. Cas still had his hand around Sam’s tie as he glared daggers at the intercom on his table as Jo went on. “…but you do know your windows aren’t set to privacy mode,” Jo informed them.
Both men looked to the glass wall to see Jo waving at them from her desk, a mischievous grin on her face.
“Not that I mind the show, you know… because man have I been waiting for this for weeks! But you might wanna spare other people from the visuals, hmm?” she said.
“I thought you had left for the day,” Cas said. “What are you doing back here?”
“I forgot my wallet,” Jo said, waving her wallet at them. “No, seriously guys, feel free to continue… just don’t forget to press that tiny button that makes the glass go white. Michael Milton just walked by and nearly saw you two… do you really want your uncle to see you two making out? Yeah, I thought so.”
Cas was still looking at Jo with an unimpressed expression that Sam found comical. He chuckled. “Thanks, Jo,” Sam said.
“Oh no, the pleasure was all mine,” she said with a wink.
Cas hopped down from his table and walked toward the wall switch. “Goodbye, Jo,” Cas said before pressing the button and making the glass opaque. He also went to his door and locked it for good measure.
Sam’s heart started pounding faster in anticipation as Cas turned around and walked toward him.
“Now where were we?” Cas asked, before pulling Sam down again for another kiss.