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25 October 2010 @ 09:07 pm
[ficlet] Rain Man (Dean/Cas AU, PG)  
Title: Rain Man
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG
Summary: For sycophantastic at comment_fic. The prompt was: "they're the only people in the neighborhood who like taking walks in the rain... & they've taken to wishing for stormy weather just for an excuse to see each other."
Author's note: The absolutely beautiful art in the middle of the story is by pandionpandeus. I'm so grateful!!! <3

For Dean it starts after his dad dies. He's having a fight with his brother, again, about Dad's legacy and what it all means, and finally he just can't take any more of it and storms out. What does Sam know, with his family, his apple-pie life? It's Dean who's been stripped of all his defenses, Dean who's stuck out here in the rain with nowhere to go, nothing keeping the water from running down his face and soaking through his shoes. He can't even get in the car now or he'll ruin the upholstery. So he walks, and walks, and walks some more, until he's downtown at his apartment soaked to the skin. And, somehow, he's feeling better.

Sam drives the car back to him the next day.

It started earlier than that for Castiel. He's always loved the rain. It brings out bugs, it kills the pollen in the air. It made the earth safe for him to explore as an allergy-prone, weak child. His strength has improved as he's entered adulthood, but he still feels the push of pollen into his lungs and the heat of humid air threatening to choke him. And he still walks in the rain because it's a completely different world, one he's never feared, one that never hurts, one where he feels free.

Dean is stuck in his apartment the next time it rains. He keeps pacing the floor, looking out the window, knowing that this is the worst time to get restless. Finally he says "Screw it," shrugs on a flannel that'll get soaked through anyway, and heads out to the park. There he leans over the back of a park bench (he's not crazy enough to sit on it and soak his butt) and watches droplets pound on the slides and the swingsets, long streams pool beneath the chain-link fences and make ruddy mud of the baseball field. His chin juts forward, and he closes his eyes to feel the rain pounding on his eyelids. Just for a moment.

Then he opens his eyes again and someone is there.

Castiel's transfixed. He's never seen someone out in the rain like this before, at least, not by choice. But this man is letting the water pour on him, reveling in it, and it looks like each individual droplet is touching him with life. Like he's being molded from the ground up. Castiel thinks he's watching creation in motion. He stares. And then the man's eyes open, and meet his, and Castiel scurries away like a scared rabbit. The image burns into his brain all the way home.

Dean can't get the picture out of his head. Bright blue eyes, wet hair matted to his face, trenchcoat but no umbrella. Looking a little like he'd just teleported there, like he was barely even breathing. And then the man had run away. Had Dean frightened him? He'd just been standing there. Dean resolves that he'll say hi if he sees the man again, find out why he was stuck out there with nothing to cover his head. Never mind that Dean himself didn't; that's just his thing. He doesn't expect anyone to understand that.

Castiel is going to say something to him. This time, for certain. He has stayed well out of the man's sight for the past three rainstorms, but he's too curious. Every time, he goes to this park, and every time he stands at the bench, lets the rain fall on him, face reverent, like he's being healed. Castiel knows that feeling, knows it too well to stay silent. He has to speak. He walks softly up to him and reaches out a hand to tap him on the shoulder.

It's been three times he's been back to this park, but the guy in the trenchcoat hasn't shown up again. It's fucking depressing is what it is. Dean doesn't know why he tried. It's not like normal people hang out in the rain without an umbrella. That's Dean's freakiness coming out, nothing more. This has been stupid. He's been stupid to think about some guy he saw for all of five seconds and try to see him for two weeks. Dean turns and fixes his eyes on home.

Except he can't, because the man in the trenchcoat is there.


"Hello. I saw you..."

"A couple of weeks back. I remember."

"I'm sorry. I suppose that makes you uncomfortable."

"No, I'm glad. I worried about you. Thought you were going to keel over from pneumonia."

"No, I always walk in the rain. I like it."

"You, too, huh?"

"'You, too?' So you...?"

"Well, yeah. Why d'you think I'm here?"

"...Can I ask your name?"

The next time they meet in the rain, Dean bursts out laughing. Castiel squints at him and asks what is so funny. "I don't know," Dean says. "I guess I'm surprised that I'm not surprised."

"Why should you be surprised?" Castiel tilts his head, and the rain runs off the top of it at a funny angle, and it just makes Dean laugh more.

"So how come?" Dean says a minute later. He's been watching a droplet gather mass at the tip of Castiel's nose and then dive, clearing the way for another to do the same. It's hypnotizing, and he's not sure if they've been talking or just standing there.

"How come what?"

"How come you like the rain?"

There's almost a smile there, and the water pools differently on his lips at that slight change in expressions. It's kind of fascinating. Dean might lose half of Castiel's answer at this rate. But he does catch, "Weird things come out in the rain."

"Hey." Dean frowns. "Should I take that personally?"

Castiel's confused look draws a third snort of laughter from Dean.

Castiel has just gotten a paper cup of tea from a local tea shop, and he's walking out, blowing on the small hole in the plastic lid, when he sees Dean pull up. It's a nice car, and to tell the truth Castiel doesn't think he's ever seen one like it. He calls out, and Dean stops midway through feeding the meter to stare in surprise.

"This breaks our streak," Dean says, stepping forward to stand beside him. "It's not raining, and we're not at the park. I guess that means you're a real person and not some kind of rain man."

"Did you doubt I was real?" Castiel is unduly amused by this. He is having doubts Dean is real, for the first time. Like Dean said, because it's not raining and they're not at the park. Castiel is afraid the magic is gone, that like the air Dean will be harder to take in dryer weather.

"Nah." Dean leans against the clapboard wall of the shop, between two windows. He stares at Castiel another moment. "Maybe. A bit."

Castiel takes a sip of tea. "I'm real. I don't believe that car is real."

Dean smirks proudly. "Like her? She was my dad's."

"If I had a car like that, I wouldn't walk anywhere," Castiel says, matter-of-factly.

"Then I'm glad you don't." The words come out quickly, and at least Castiel can pretend he's flushing because of the tea.

They talk there for a while, and as thunder sounds in the distance Castiel suddenly wonders aloud why Dean was there in the first place. Dean looks around, curses, and rattles off a number of errands he was supposed to run.

"You'd better go, then," Castiel says. "Before--"

The clouds burst.

"Crap," says Dean.

Castiel raises an eyebrow at him. "I'd think you'd cheer."

Dean swallows, then offers, "Only if you're coming with me."

Castiel fights down the flutter in his heart and nods. "I can do that."

Dean gives a flat "Hooray," but he's beaming.

They leave the safety of the awning and walk down the street, the drizzle studding their hair and faces. The backs of their hands touch every so often but slide immediately away, slicked by the rain.

It's sunny for three days straight. Dean's depressed as hell. His brother calls, and he doesn't want to talk. Life sucks when the sun's out.

Dean meets him in the park with a cooler full of beers. By the time they head home Dean's told his entire family history, Castiel has revealed the plot of a novel he's always wanted to write, it's past midnight and they're dead drunk. It's the greatest night of Dean's life until the morning, when he realizes he's given himself not just the worst hangover in existence but the flu.

It's raining for the next three days and Dean's stuck at home with a 103-degree fever for all of them. He regrets he never asked for Castiel's phone number so they can talk while he's home sick. Not that he has any room to talk when Sam’s there mothering him half to death. Given any point during that stretch of time, it's a good bet Sam’s lecturing him about something, Dean’s not sure what, his ears are stopped up, and all he can think is that he hopes it rains tomorrow, because cold or no cold he’s gonna go see Cas again. And give him his damn phone number. But probably he will actually wear a raincoat this time. Just to be on the safe side.

On the third night, after Dean's fever has broken, the phone rings. Dean reaches for the phone, expecting Sam.

“I hope you don’t mind I looked up your number,” says Castiel.

Dean thinks for a second he's gone delirious. He tries to speak, coughs instead, clears his throat and tries again. “I don’t mind.”

“You’re sick, too.” Now that Dean carefully listens, he can tell Castiel’s voice is not quite there either. Guilt cramps him. If it hadn't been for him, Castiel would have had a nice 20-minute walk and gone home. Now, he's laid up and it's Dean's fault.

“Guess we shouldn't be stomping around in the rain like we're kids," he says,

"It was a remarkably bad idea to start with.”

“That’s what we get, I guess.” Dean murmurs.

“Yes.” Dean would like to think he can hear some regret in that voice, but it’s only one syllable and they’re both sick.

Dean wants to bury his head in the pillow and never come out again. “Well, feel better.”

“You, too.”

He’s not sure it’s not the last time he’ll ever hear Castiel’s voice.

He takes Vitamin C and stays in bed one more day, playing the good patient so Sam will stop coming over. Dean loves his brother but he knows he’ll never get out in the rain again while Sam’s keeping a close watch on him.

This is stupid. He shouldn’t be looking forward to going out again. Not when it got him sick, got them both sick. But like Castiel, he’s fascinated by the weird things that come out in the rain. It’s a different world, and it’s a world where he meets with a guy in a trench coat and they talk about everything, dripping wet, part of the world that’s falling down all around them. He feels a part of something with Cas, in the rain. In this apartment, boxed up and safe, he thinks he’s being kept like a toy in a box. He doesn’t want to be a toy, and he doesn’t want to be on display under a spotlight. He wants to feel the world.

But when he gets well, it’s Indian summer and the weather is warm. He wants to throw a brick at the sunshine.

The rain comes again in November after a parched autumn that cracks lips and skin through the whole town with its bitter dryness. Dean’s not able to believe his eyes when he sees it. He’s almost forgotten what the rain looked like. He’s sure he’s forgotten what to do with it.

He and Castiel haven’t talked. They haven’t run into each other in the sunshine. Or, if they have, Dean didn’t recognize him. Dean wonders if he even remembers Castiel's face right. It’s been a month, but it feels like another lifetime. Was there really a man he’d spent rainy autumn days with? Had any of that really happened, or was it just a recurring dream that had now faded?

All day long he watches the rain fall and feels like a shadow of himself. When he walks to the local sandwich shop for lunch, he uses an umbrella. It’s heavy in his hand, and he doesn’t know how people can carry them all day long.

At nightfall he breaks down.

He runs down the staircases because he can’t wait for the elevator. He bursts out of the front door. The rain beats bitter cold into his skin and he shivers. Breathing is like inhaling concrete.

Even so, he runs. He runs until his lungs are scraping up fluid and dirt, he runs until his legs feel like they’re made of rubber. He runs until he reaches his park bench, and he falls into Castiel’s waiting arms.

Castiel holds him, long and patient, while Dean regains his breath. He can wait. He's been waiting, all afternoon, all month perhaps. But especially today, in the first rain of the month, Castiel has waited here and pondered the possibility that Dean might not come. He has been shivering, miserable, for hours, as that possibility veered slowly into probability.

But not any more. Now he's fine. And now he can wait forever for Dean to get his breath back. And once dripping fingertips inch up to touch his face, once pale eyes stare into his, he starts wishing the time would crawl slower. He wishes he could hold onto the moment he sees water drip off his own eyelashes, just before his eyes fall closed. He wishes he could prolong the first taste of rainwater on Dean’s lips. And he wishes for time to stop altogether as they cling to each other and kiss and kiss.

But time doesn't stop, and the kiss does end.

Dean pulls back and looks at him, his lips pink and his eyes glimmering. Whatever he was going to say dies on his lips, and instead he brushes a hand over Castiel's nose. “There’s something on your--” he starts, then trails away and turns his head toward the heavens.

Castiel follows his gaze. Together they gasp. Holding each other, they stand in the midst of a sea of falling stars.

The rain has turned to snow.


carma_baby: raincloudcarma_baby on October 26th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
This is absolutely beautiful. I think I might be at least a little broken. That is all.


Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on October 26th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
I expanded this a bit since you've read it, jsyk

I am so pleased you enjoyed it! LOVE!
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on October 26th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
Ah! That's so sweet!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on October 26th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!!
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: dean.cas - forehead bumpsecondplatypus on October 26th, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
I love this, partially because it strikes a serious chord with me as a fellow lover-of-rain, and partially because it's just that beautiful.
*scrolls back up to read over it again*
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on October 26th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
You're amazing. Thank you baby. <3

I expanded this a bit since you've read it, jsyk
twfftw: Phone!Cas by heathyr-iltptfwftw on October 26th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Aw. Lovely.
Gina Marie: Dean/Cas b&w kisssycophantastic on December 23rd, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
I've had this tab open in my Firefox browser for a VERY long time because... uh, sometimes I just don't close tabs. So I just came back to this tab & you know what I realized? I NEVER ACTUALLY COMMENTED ON THIS. I know I flailed at you on Twitter, but not leaving a comment here? That's just bad form. *glares at self*

I REALLY DO LOVE THIS. SO MUCH. It's so sweet, & then they're so dense I just wanna yell at them. You two don't have to do things normally! The best stories come from doing things that AREN'T normal. Whyyyyy avoid calling each other? Ah, but then it's ever so much more dramatic when Dean runs through the rain & finds Castiel & they have their big moment & AAAAHHH MY HEART. :')

And I have to tell you (even though I've probably told you before) that I've always admired how you... eh, I guess how you word things. "He wants to throw a brick at the sunshine." "He runs until his lungs are scraping up fluid and dirt" "Holding each other, they stand in the midst of a sea of falling stars." There's a uniqueness to it that I love.

Also, the end makes me go all teary-eyed. *wipes cheek* Damn you, woman. ;)

Thank you so much for this, & I'm so sorry I hadn't commented 'til now. Please forgive me? *puppy eyes*
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 23rd, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
daaaaaaaaaaawwwww!!! XD best comment ever. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, i'm sorry for the heartbreak but i'm glad the schmoop works, and you have no idea how much that means to me about the wording. I tend to fall in love with little throwaway sentences like that, and i'm so glad they are seen and appreciated. XD

And of course there is NOTHING TO FORGIVE!!! XD *loves on you*
swishyclang on January 30th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. I'm all whirly inside. And Pan's art is adorable; it fits perfectly! <3 Loves on you both.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on January 30th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
"Whirly"? I LOVE that, that is the coolest thing ever. Totally describes the feeling I was going for XD XD XD isn't the art amazing? I'm totally stoked. I swear I have had THE BEST 24 HOURS EVER.

Thank you so much, hon! So happy you enjoyed it!