Tuesday Twosday: Favorite Places
Fall was just beginning to turn to winter and the concrete floor was cold beneath Dean's little feet. John pulled out a step stool for Dean to stand on and together they leaned over the grill of the Impala. The car was large and a little scary, all sleek and shining black, and it roared like a wild animal when it came to life. But it obeyed as raptly as Dean under John's stern gaze, the hood popping open like magic. John murmured softly as skilled hands roved over the engine block, pointing out this and that and Dean made sure to pay close attention.
John let Dean hand him a towel as he checked the oil level. Dean had never felt so useful, and he beamed down at the grease marks on his fingers.
He leaned against his father's side, taking comfort in the smoky warmth radiating through the older man's shirt. John put a hand on Dean's shoulder and squeezed.
Dean would never admit it if asked, but he liked what Castiel had done with the room. The more time he spent in the little library the easier it was to think of it as Castiel's instead of Adam's. There was a desk under the window and a comfy chair from which Dean could see the large maple growing in the left corner of the yard. Bookshelves lined the walls, each a deep brown color, the dark stain bringing out the natural grain and giving the entire room an earthy feel. A throw rug covered most of the floor, keeping the wintery chill at bay.
Castiel was out, leaving Dean by himself in the large house. Times like this, when everything was quiet and calm and nothing was pressing for his attention, Dean would steal away into the library and browse through Castiel's book collection. It seemed no matter how many times he visited there was always something he hadn't seen before. Some reference text or fiction anthology, each more ancient than the last. Occasionally he would even see something that peeked his interest and he'd pull it from the shelf, taking a seat in the chair and switching on the floor lamp for a little extra light as he read.
He only visited when Castiel was out. He wasn't sure how Castiel would take to having his things touched, and he was afraid to ask permission in case Castiel's answer turned out to be no. The guy could be weirdly possessive of his things sometimes.
But Dean felt comfortable here, surrounded by literature and sunlight and memories. So he would continue to sneak and Castiel would continue to not know and everything would be cool.
Fingers trailed over the old spines and bindings of the books as he perused today's selection before settling on an old copy of Cat's Cradle. It was the only Vonnegut in Castiel's extensive collection, but it was Dean's favorite. He'd read it at least ten times since Castiel had moved in last June.
It was easy to take a seat in the chair, to get comfy and loose himself in the story. He didn't realize he'd fallen asleep until the book on his lap suddenly thumped to the floor.
Dean sat up with a start, self-consciously rubbing a hand across his chin. The world outside the window had gone dark with the approach of nighttime. Cursing under his breath, he reached down for the book. Castiel would be home any minute, if he hadn't come in already while Dean was sleeping.
He paused when he noticed the blanket that had been carefully tucked around his legs.
Heat flushed across his face and he cursed again, scooping up the book from the floor and replacing it on the shelf. Shutting off the light, Dean made a hasty retreat from the room.
It was nearly two weeks before Dean ventured back into Castiel's library. He hadn't said anything the morning after his discovery, but neither had Castiel, and Dean was only too eager to sweep the moment under the rug.
The room wasn't much different. Dean could tell Castiel had made several purchases since his last visit. The books were tightly crammed together, some stacked on top of others to make more room. Dean went to check for Cat's Cradle in its usual place.
He blinked when he found an entire shelf full of Vonnegut's works. They were arranged in alphabetical order and looked brand new. The first book, a compilation of short stories, stood slightly out of line, sitting several inches out of place of the others.
Pulling it from the shelf, Dean flipped it open to find a note written in neat block writing. Stop by any time.
Dean huffed a laugh, face bright as he took in the shelf again. My shelf, he realized, smile softening into something a little more shy.
Crossing the room, he took a seat in the chair and opened the book to page one.