Memories of Dean W.
A bi!Dean outsider pov ficlet
The men are tall, intimidatingly so, clean and crisp in their official-looking suits and there’s something familiar about the eyes of the shorter one that Luis can’t quite place, the memory of a memory superimposed on these luminous eyes that stirs something uneasy deep down inside him so that he’s zoning out a little even as the man sticks a FBI badge under his nose and says in the gruffiest voice Luis has ever heard coming from a dude that pretty,
“FBI, I’m agent–”
“Winchester!” Luis exclaims, surprising even himself. The two men exchange an alarmed glance and fold their badges in the same fluid motion as Winchester — Dean, he’s sure of it now, that’s Dean — looks Luis up and down, brows furrowed.
“Do we know each other?”
“Uhm,” Luis stammers, and realizes his mistake. Way to expose himself. “Yeah, from way back! North Carolina, 1995 or so?”
Luis knows it was actually 1993, could never forget the day his world went shattering to pieces under the unforgiving ram that is Dean Winchester's anger, but Dean doesn't have to know that. If Luis is lucky enough, Dean won’t remember him at all.
But the man’s face — older and chiseled and god, he looks so good it hurts a little — turns pensive, something soft brushing over his features like a cloud on a blindingly hot day, and he says, surprised, almost apprehensive,
“Dean?” the man beside him says, questioning and a little unsure, and Dean seems to shake himself out of whatever overcame him — which is for the best given that Luis is busy recovering from the way his stomach just dropped all the way down to his shoes.
“Old classmate of mine,” Dean explains, short and to the point. “Listen, Sammy, why don’t you uh, go interrogate the next witness on the list, alright? I’ll handle this.” He does a little jerky motion with his head in Luis’s direction, not sparing him a glance. Luis’s hands tighten into fists.
The tall man looks so confused, it’s almost comical, eyes flitting between Dean and Luis like that’ll solve the mystery of what his partner isn’t telling him.
“Sure, okay. If you say so. Call me when you're done,” and with a firm pat to Dean’s shoulder, he's gone.
The silence that follows is awkward to say the least.
“So,” Luis starts, because he's nothing if not recklessly good-natured, “you made it to FBI.”
“Yeah,” Dean nods once like that explains anything, and doesn’t miss a beat. “What about you, what’d you go into?”
“Lots of things,” Luis nervous-laughs, and then realizes Dean most likely doesn’t care about his exhaustive list of failed careers. “But right now I’m a chiropractor.”
Dean nods again, mouth flat, and Luis relaxes a little, tries to smile without coming off as condescending.
“Mostly I deal with people's back pain,” he offers, and Dean takes the way out of admitting he doesn't know what a chiropractor is.
“Could use a little of that,” he sighs, and then appears to steel himself. “Listen, uh, Luis, can I call you Luis?” A brief nod, and Dean continues, “We’re here on the missing person case, Beverly Cooper, ring any bell?” Luis acquiesces, throat tight — he’s heard about Beverly from a friend, the way she stopped answering calls after a night out. He doesn’t know her that well, only saw her a handful of times in the past few months, but he hopes to God she's okay. Dean takes note of his silence, scans the area around them, the people milling about, the children screaming happily in the park, and seems to come to a decision as he turns back to Luis and says,
“What about you and I head out of here and you can tell me about her over some beer, hm? I mean, for you. I don’t drink on the job.”
He smiles then, polite and a little fake. There are crow’s feet around his eyes, and that's Dean Winchester right there, asking him for a drink but it's all wrong, and Luis doesn’t want to be alone with him.
“Sure, lead the way,” he says anyway.
Dean’s at the bar asking for a beer and a water and Luis takes the opportunity to catalogue the ways in which he's changed — there’s a lot, because at fourteen Dean had that type of delicate beauty that could never have indicated that he would grow into this, this hunk of a man, still the male model type but built and weathered in a way that models simply aren’t. His hands are rough and look strong, adorned with a single silver ring Luis notices when Dean deposits the beer in front of him and god, Luis, get a grip.
“Never expected to run into you here,” Dean says as an opener, a little too cheerful. “Or anywhere, really.”
“Yeah, me neither.” Luis tries not to let it show on his face that it would have been for the best if he never had to see Dean Winchester again, and especially not a Dean Winchester in his thirties who looks hot and capable and not at all the kind of redneck asshole Luis sometimes pictured him to be when he was feeling low.
There's another silence as Luis sips his beer. Dean doesn’t look that eager to start with the interrogation — not that Luis has anything relevant to say, really, but if he can help Beverly he'll gladly do it. Dean is running the tip of his index finger in the condensation that has gathered on the glass of water that he hasn’t touched yet, jaw clenching and unclenching in a subtle way that Luis only notices because he’s looking, he’s looking too much and he should stop, should have stopped sooner because when Dean raises his head again and locks eyes with him Luis can't pretend he wasn't looking. He's grasping for a distraction when Dean beats him to it, still looking at Luis with those earnest beautiful eyes,
“Listen, man, I'm sorry.”
For what, Luis wants to say, or It's fine.
It’s not, though, it's not fine, so Luis only swallows tightly and acknowledges the apology with a jerk of his head, and Dean looks lost for a moment, like he expected an easy out, a It was a long time ago, anything to ease the conscience he apparently has.
Shit. Luis’s homophobic first love has a conscience. He’s going to have to live with that knowledge now. Dean’s shoulder tense and he soldiers on, sounding considerably more demure now,
“I- I know you probably don’t want to hear it, but–”
The way Dean looks then — eyebrows raised halfway to his hairline and mouth hanging open — would make Luis laugh if this was a laughing moment. Right now, he’s rather trying not to show the old anger that’s welling up inside him, so he takes a deep breath and sits back, arm crossed defensively over his chest.
“I do want to hear it, actually. I think that’d do me some good.”
“Right.” Dean ducks his head again, tucks his chin in like that'll help him ward off the shame. But hey, maybe it does. Luis wouldn't know, he’s not the one that goes around punching people in the mouth. “I’m not usually the type to… do this but, I think I owe you that much,” Dean trudges on, and wow, great, thanks, it looks so hard to apologize properly–
“You were right.”
“About what,” Luis asks, puzzled, because this was never about being right.
A beat. Luis still isn’t getting it.
“I uh, I– I’m– like you. In a way.”
Dean is entirely avoiding his gaze now, twirling his ring madly around his finger, one knee bouncing rhythmically under the table and there are a long few moments where Luis still doesn’t get it but then he does, and, oh, god, he doesn’t know what to do with that feeling.
“Are you… Coming out? To me?”
Dean winces, bites his lip too hard, and makes an apparently tremendous effort to look up at Luis.
“Yeah, I guess that's what this is.”
Luis is stumped. Absolutely speechless. Dean Winchester has plagued his fucking nightmares for a good twenty years — okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but it was so easy sometimes to get carried away and let his dreamy little face become the mask of a demon — and now here he is, sitting opposite Luis in a bar in the city where Luis has finally made a life for himself, vulnerable and earnest and looking ready to bolt out of his chair, and he apologized and he came out to him.
Luis’s silence must go on for too long because Dean swallows with a little difficulty and keeps going,
“I know this doesn’t change anything, and I shouldn't have reacted the way I did, but I’ve had… time. To think about it. And I thought about it often, I thought, there's a kid out there whose only memory of me is me almost knocking his teeth out ‘cause he dared to have a crush on me,” Dean chuckles then but it’s joyless, tags a little “Not my proudest moment” on the end of it and suddenly Luis is spiralling away, sent spinning through time to that classroom, this fateful day of late June, the way Dean’s smile illuminated his whole face, the way his rings and bracelets caught the light, the way his eyes seemed to shine from within and Luis was powerless to stop his infatuation from growing a little more with each teasing, flirty joke Dean sent his way until he felt comfortable enough, good enough, special enough to reach for his hand and–
“You were into me,” he accuses, too loud and sudden, but Dean doesn’t flinch.
“Yeah. Yeah, I was. I thought you’d found me out.”
“Fuck,” Luis exhales, and deflates entirely, resting his hands on his forehead. “It was so bad after you left. The other guys wouldn't let me live it down, I had to change schools, it was a living hell.”
“I’m sorry,” Dean says again, and this time Luis hears the sincerity in it.
“Thanks. For telling me that.”
“Don’t thank me,” Dean rebuffs in a blushy way that looks a little funny on him. “How are you holding up now?” he asks in a practiced casual tone and finally takes a sip of his water. “Got anyone?”
“As a matter of fact, I do,” Luis can’t help but smile big as he holds up his hand to show off the understated ring there. “Happily married. His name is Jake.”
Dean raises his eyebrows and his mouth quirks in a way that says he's impressed, and for the first time Luis thinks he might actually have it in him to forgive him.
“What about you, FBI leave you any time for a love life?”
“Nah,” Dean says, wry, like it’s no big deal. “It’s just me and Sam.”
The name conjures up a small blurry silhouette waiting by the school gate on some days, dogging Dean’s brisk steps on his little-kid legs.
“Your brother Sam? You mean– the guy earlier, that was…?”
“Little Sammy, yeah,” Dean grins wide and proud, and Luis can’t help the laugh that pushes out of him.
“Man, who would have thought, he was so tiny.”
“I know,” Dean laughs too, full-on laughs, and it does something to his face that Luis never thought he’d get to see again.
“Anyway,” he shakes it off, because getting sentimental over Dean Winchester is more than Luis can handle right now, “Working with your brother, huh? That must be hard.”
“It’s nice, actually. We know where we stand.”
“Huh,” Luis says, pensive, and takes a long sip of his beer. “When you put it that way.”
“Yeah,” Dean answers almost dreamily and he’s looking past Luis, lost in a sort of soft reflective mood that he surfaces from slowly, peacefully, redirecting his attention and full focus on Luis. “Speaking of work,” he says and his tone has changed already, professionalism overcoming both awkwardness and intimacy, and Luis knows the moment is over. “Why don’t you tell me about this friend of yours?”
“Alright,” Luis says, and does his best.
Man, the things he’ll get to tell Jake tonight.