In the morning, Sam and Dean rode the fences, even though there was hardly a point to it. Sam’s property was completely empty except for a silo filled with organic corn close to the homestead.
“Better maintain them though, wouldn’t want our neighbors to complain,” Sam said as they rode on, sometimes kicking against the poles and checking if the wire was still tight enough.
“Hey, I was thinking. Why don’t you and I celebrate that I moved in, huh? Go down to the bar in the evening, have a few cold ones and play a bit of pool. I bet I could still whip your ass at it.”
“Haven’t done anything like that for a while. Sounds good,” Sam agreed and Dean knew if his workaholic brother actually wanted the night off from worrying and harvest expectancy calculations, he was really in dire need of some fun.
The bar in the nearest town was loud and full and Bela the waitress kept the beers coming. The pool tournament between the brothers was pretty leveled; when one won a frame, the other caught up even when they both felt the alcohol affect their aim.
“Shall we call it a draw, Sammy?”
“Yeah, might as well,” Sam clapped Dean’s shoulder. “Because you’re my brother and I want both us to win.”
“I actually forgot how happy you are when you’re drunk,” Dean laughed and caught sight of two familiar faces sitting at a table in the taproom. “Hey look who it is. I’ll give you a clue: It’s Charlie and Jess.”
Sam actually blushed and grinned like an overgrown puppy as Dean brought him over to the girl’s table.
“Ladies,” he greeted and laid his hat onto the table.
“Dean!” Charlie jumped up to hug him immediately.
“Can I get you some refills?” he asked as Sammy folded himself together in the chair next to Jess and looked at her as if she was the sun.
“You two look like you had plenty already,” Jess laughed.
“Another one can’t hurt. I bet you’re gonna sneak Sammy’s car keys when he’s not looking anyway.”
“Yeah, probably,” Jess laughed as Charlie dragged Dean off to the bar.
“So, how’s life treating you?” Charlie asked.
“Not bad,” Dean glossed over the truth as he told her all about their new living situation.
“That’s rough,” she said sympathetically, but couldn’t help throw a flirty smile at Bela behind the bar.
“So, you’re gonna come by visit soon, right?” Dean tried to draw her attention again. “We share a different boundary now, but it’s all the same, right?”
“Hell, yeah. Can’t have your lame ass all by yourself out here,” Charlie tugged Dean close and laid her head on his shoulder as they ordered four more beers from Bela.
“I’m not by myself. I’m living at Sammy’s now. For good probably.”
“Oh, heck. What’s he done now?” Charlie asked clairvoyantly, obviously meaning his father and she kicked the heels of her boots on the bar stool in annoyance as they continued their talk.
“He’s sprayed the boundary paddock when the wind was sure to blow the chemicals onto Sam’s property.”
Charlie looked at him without understanding.
“Cedar Ridge is gonna be organic.”
“Well shit,” Charlie said, still managing to giving a bright smile to Bela when she slid the first two glasses over the counter of the bar.
“Thanks princess,” she grinned wider, and Bela smiled back for a second before she was called into the kitchen.
“Hey, tone it down, will ya? Bela’s not playing for your team.”
“How would you know, Dean?”
“Everyone knows,” Dean shrugged. “She’s not particularly discreet when she‘s with someone and she goes with anyone.”
“Then she’s also playing for my team,” Charlie gave him a smirk, already going back to the table with the first beers.
Dean only shook his head, waiting for Bela to pour the rest and nearly getting caught in the face by the hat of someone next to him.
“Hey, dude? Take your hat of, man. It’s common decency.”
The man turned around to Dean, and he was immediately overwhelmed and drawn in by the man’s expressive blue eyes, but still a bit grouchy.
“I said, you don’t wear your hat when you’re inside,” he tapped at the brim of the hat until the guy took it off.
Dean saw unruly dark brown hair, which the man made when wilder now as he carded through it and Dean felt clear signs of heat pooling in his belly as he saw the man’s tongue dab out over his chapped lips.
“Sorry, I don’t know the code yet,” his opponent replied.
That much was evident from the stranger’s whole outfit. Clean shirt with freaking tassels no less, jeans without a single tear, no dirt on the face or hands. Even his fingernails were clean, for Christ’s sake!
While he finished his examination of the stranger, his first impression of the guy was confirmed to be true. Definitely heartthrob, ‘better watch yourself ,Winchester‘ material. He was less broad around the shoulders than he or his brother, but definitely toned. Not to mention his eyes… or his hair… or his mouth.
Add his fingers to the list, Dean thought as the stranger lifted his drink. Long and tanned, as was his face. Dean found himself wondering if the tan was seamless and if he would be so lucky as to find out about it.
But then he registered what the guy was drinking and his mind practically made a backflip.
“Dude, a cocktail?”
“Yes. Is that another code violation?”
“Yeah,” Dean said with force in his voice, a bitter feeling rising in him. “But I guess it’s kinda to be expected from a city boy.”
“What makes you think I come from the city?”
“Your boots aren’t dirty,” Dean said as if it was a statement and a conviction at once.
“We can’t all be running around covered in mud and sweat,” the person opposite quipped back at Dean now, just when Bela came back and drew the next two beers and gave Dean a smile.
Their usual flirty conversation ensued, as it was custom here in the country. They didn’t really say much of substance, but that’s just how it worked in these parts as well.
“Hello there, cowboy.”
“Hey, gorgeous. How’s it going?”
“So and so,” she nodded. “You?”
“Same,” Dean flashed her another smile as she slid the beers over again.
Dean gave her the right amount of money without her even having to announce the price.
“Don’t be driving tonight, sunshine,” she smiled again.
“Not if I get a better offer,” he winked and Bela swatted at his arm, knowing that Dean was a natural flirt and would never lay some moves on her. Bela had been his only try to ever engage with someone of the opposite sex after Charlie, but it had never gone past a kiss.
“I get off at two,” she still replied conspiratorially and Dean laughed heartily, laying two fingers against his forehead in lieu of the brim of a hat there.
He still smiled, happy at the interaction, when Bela walked down the bar to take some more orders. But then he caught the gaze of the man next to him again, who looked at him almost as disdainfully as Dean knew he must have looked when he had called the other a city boy.
“So, that’s what a farmer does? Keeping a little harem? If that makes me a real farmer, I‘ll pass.”
“What?” Dean was confused, even if the other had seen him flirt with Bela now and misunderstood it, why did he say that?
“The red headed girl, the bartender? I’m guessing even more than that?” Obviously there was another country custom that the other didn’t understand or didn’t know about.
“Dude, you’re way off. First of all, I’m ga-”
The rest of Dean’s last word was overtoned by the sound of shattering glass behind him and two familiar voices shouting over each other.
“Excuse me,” he mumbled and rushed off to find his brother and his father shouting loudly at each other. “Hey, fellas. What’s all this noise? Let’s take this outside, shall we?”
He ushered his brother and father out, not even having caught on to what had happened, but he figured he had a pretty good guess.
“There’s no need,” his father heaved, so aggravated that Dean was worried about the older man’s heart. “I’m finished here anyway.”
“What’s going on?”
“He wants to open the old cattle route back up,” Sam fumed and Dean knew what he was talking about immediately.
The old route had been disused for a long while and probably needed a lot of work to get back in shape, not too mention time and heavy machinery which Sam wouldn’t be able to afford.
“All I did was inform your brother that I’m getting all the neighbors who would be affected together and we’ll see if they’ll vote yes on this thing. It would get us all a more direct route to the auctions and cattle markets.”
“Yeah, and a bunch on inorganic trunks driving over my land and screwing it all up even more.”
“Yeah, maybe if you would go over to conventional farming, you wouldn’t have any problems, Sammy.”
“Don’t call me Sammy!” His brother yelled and Dean shoved him away from his father now, back towards the bar as John stepped back too.
“Alright, cool it off you two. Nothing’s decided yet, is it?”
His father shook his head and Dean nodded, finished with the conversation for now as he escorted Sam back in.
“Which means we still got time to get people onto the ‘no’ side,” Dean said as he sat back down at Charlie and Jess’ table.
“What was that about? A stock route through our properties? I don’t think we can afford to do that,” Jess asked.
“Neither can we. And it would waste Sam’s land.”
“Through what properties does it go again?” Charlie asked, not remembering the particulars anymore.
“Well yours, Sammy’s, Dad’s, Old Man Turner’s and the disused Porter’s.”
“That place has been abandoned for years, hasn’t it?”
“No,” Sam said, slowly calming down again. “It’s been sold as well. It was sold the same day I bought my place. I saw the new owner in here a while ago. You talked to him, Dean.”
“That city douche?” Dean actually rolled his eyes at being reminded of the good looking, snobby stranger.
“Yeah, guess we’ll have to woo him especially. Old Rufus will side with Dad no doubt. We’ll just need to convince the city farmer that his stock route is a damn bad idea,” Charlie cursed, but then batted her eyes at Dean. “That’s a job for you, Dean.”
“Yeah, no. The guy and I kinda butted heads and you know I’m no good at buttering people.”
“I don’t know, he looked at you pretty buttered when you weren’t looking back,” she smirked.
“He thought I was double-teaming with you and Bela,” Dean said with an incredulous smile on his face as he shook his head.
“Well, anyway,” Sam got back into the conversation again. “He already knows you and you should go over there as soon as you can. Perhaps with a peace offering. We need his vote on this. Please, Dean.”
Dean felt his unwillingness waver at Sam asking him for help.
“Ok,” he said and slapped his brother’s back while Charlie and Jess looked at them with smiles on their faces.
“We’ll not let him get his way on this.”
All of them nodded with conviction.
Later on in the night, Charlie who had only the beer that Dean had bought for her, drove them all home and Dean fell asleep, buzzed and with blue eyes and tanned skin floating through his brain in very prominent roles.
In the morning, she came round again to bring Sam back to town to get the truck and Dean to the homestead of Porter’s farm. When he had clapped the side of the truck twice in goodbye, he felt less and less conviction about his agenda here. He tried not to think about what he had been doing with the good-looking stranger, named Castiel Novak as Sammy had informed him, in last night’s dreams.
He knocked at the front door, because obviously a city farmer wouldn’t want for Dean to go round to the kitchen entrance like it was custom in the country. Someone was always in the kitchen, whereas the front door was mostly cranked or entirely closed off in these parts.
It creaked even now as the door opened, but it was evident that it had been oiled lately, so the face of the man he had seen back at the bar yesterday came into view without many problems.
“Hey,” Dean greeted, but he didn’t know how to go on, particularly when he saw that the guy was still wearing a bathrobe and his boxers flashed through where he hadn’t closed it. Reality was so much better than Dean’s buzzed dream last night and he felt his mouth water as he took in the rest of the new arrival’s appearance. The bedhead the guy sported was even more spectacular than his hat hair yesterday, and his already plush lips were swollen a little, just like his eyes. Perhaps he hadn’t slept well.
“Hello,” the man yawned. “Can I do anything for you this early in the morning?”
“Dude, it’s like uh… 9:30,” Dean looked at his watch, trying hard not to drool about the toned runner’s legs that flashed through the opening of the bathrobe.
The other squinted his eyes at Dean who could only just hold back on rolling his eyes, yesterday‘s annoyance back when he wasn‘t too busy staring for a second.
“Right, um… I kinda have a matter to discuss with you. It concerns all the properties in the surrounding area.”
“Alright,” the other smiled shortly and motioned Dean in, who immediately took his hat off once he was inside.
“Uh…” Dean said again and thought he really should stop uttering vocals like that as he was brought into the study and the meeting suddenly had a touch of formality as the other guy took a seat behind his desk, muttering: “I thought you’d sleep in tonight after being in a bar yesterday.”
“I did,” Dean said, happy that he hadn’t uh’ed again. “I only got up at 5:30 today.”
“That’s sleeping in for you? I must appear incredibly lazy then.”
“Yeah kinda,” Dean said before he could help it. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
“What’s the matter? You weren’t so courteous yesterday.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda because there’s a thing I want to convince you about,” Dean said, a bit distracted again at the other guy shifting in his chair and revealing more tanned skin. Yeah, seamless tan so far. Of course his butt could still be lily white, and Dean would only have to see him stretch a little to see for himself. Not even thinking about pulling those briefs down and letting his fingers find the evidence of the seamless tan everywhere.
“You were saying something?” the other man said, startling Dean out of his lusting gaze and gently but firmly closing his bathrobe and pulling it closed now.
Shit, the guy knew that Dean thought he was hot. Shit, shit, shit.
“Uh…,” he said again, cursing himself for different reasons. “Yes, my father wants to put an old stock route back to use, which would kinda be a kick in the groin for the farm I work on. Sammy’s gone organic and it would really be a blow for us if we’d have all that traffic going through one of the back paddocks. A-and I’m guessing since you’re closest to the auction place, the cost effectiveness wouldn’t be profitable for you.”
The other’s eyebrows raised as Dean brought an economic argument like that. Doubtless he thought that Dean was a dumb farm hand with not much but an imprinted southern moral code imprinted into his being.
“So, what do you say about that? I bet Sammy could do you a nice chart with the figures if you wanted it.”
“Yes, that would be good for me to get a better picture of things.”
“Good, I’ll bring one over tomorrow then?”
“Yes. Sounds good,” the other nodded at Dean, not unfriendly but still a bit reserved.
“And listen, about yesterday-”
“There is no need to talk about yesterday.”
“I think there is, because you probably have the wrong impression of me.”
“I think you’re a well trained farm hand with some management experience who likes too many women and too much drink until he passes out or get involved in any public brawls that he can find. I‘m guessing this Sammy you spoke of is the third one in your harem? Perhaps your wife?”
Dean stared at the other man and could only huff with a sassy and fuming expression.
“Think whatever you like of me. I’ll bring the figures over tomorrow morning…” he stood there brooding sourly for a second before he went on without being able to help it: “Which starts at 4:30 for the retarded, inbred farm hands around here. Because we have work to do. Hard work, which leaves your boots dirty and your throat thirsty.”
He almost turned to go, but then he remembered something: “Oh, and it’s very possible that my father will come over here and try to convince you that he’s right to want to ruin my brother with this stock route. I suggest you at least put on some pants before he gets here.”
“Your father?” the other guy asked, a little self-conscious and fumbling at his bathrobe again.
“Yeah, tall guy. Wears a beard. Can be a real handful.” Dean only wanted out of here now and moved back down the hall towards the front door, his new neighbor tapping after him.
Dean grew even angrier now. Did he want to make sure that the dumb farm boy actually left?
When he opened the front door, rage boiling in his gut, he saw that the windmill wasn’t working.
“Dude, how are you getting water for your cattle? The pump’s are not working when the windmill‘s busted.”
“I’ll have someone look at it in a few days,” the guy said to Dean’s back.
“Better do it fast, or your stock will die. In which paddock are they right now?”
“I don’t really know,” the other man admitted and this time Dean really rolled his eyes.
“Is there a creek in it?”
“Yes,” he nodded enthusiastically at being able to answer Dean’s question.
“That’s good. That’ll last them for a while. Do you have a tool box?”
Dean rolled his eyes again, actually hiding his face in his hands now.
“I’ll bring one tomorrow and I’m gonna fix it.”
“Thanks for offering, but I can really take care of this myself.”
“Look, until you got a guy outta here to fix it, your stock will need moving and then they’ll be gagging for a drink. I‘m just being neighborly here and I hate to see animals suffer because of something like this.”
“I’ll have a check ready for you tomorrow.”
“Keep it. Happy to help,” Dean said but despite his words, he felt more rage boiling in his gut.
“City farmers having more money than sense,” he muttered as he saw Sam’s truck pulling up the driveway and in another minute they sped off Porter’s farm and back to Cedar Ridge.
He really didn’t need this crap. His brother and father at odds with each other, him between the front lines and having to take up negotiations with someone who thought of him as a backwards hill billy? All he wanted to do was train some horses and keep his family together. But he hadn’t managed anything of that lately, he thought with guilt pooling in his gut.
He felt like an absolute failure as they reached Sam’s farm again and his brother sat down to call up the only two organic vehicle rentals in the area. One didn’t want Sam’s business at all, being on the buddy list of their dad’s for years and the other said he didn’t have an opening for another week, which would have seen the best week for planting come and go, but Sam took the offer nonetheless. He really didn’t have much choice.
Dean looked at his little brother, and finally told him that their neighbor wanted some figures before he made his decision and that he couldn’t tell yet to which the guy tended.
Sam nodded and then told him that he had found out that the family of the new neighbor had bought the property, sent him out here without even having the slightest experience with farming. But also that so far he had coped pretty well, despite not knowing the front of a cow from the back.
Then Sam ushered Dean out to work on the quarter horse while he did his work and Dean smiled to himself. His brother knew him so well that he knew his itching to continue the horse training, and there really wasn’t all that much to do until they could sow. Dean wasn’t used to being able to focus on one job for an entire day, and found that it was incredibly relaxing as the old barn and stable creaked behind him in the wind which had picked up a little since he‘d come here.
The work with the mare calmed Dean like it always did and by the end of the day, he felt ready to take the horse out for a ride to the fences tomorrow morning before he went over to the other property again. She had taken well to the saddle, Dean guiding her around for a long while before he mounted. She had bucked for only a minute, Dean raspily whispering to her until she stood still and then he had pressed his thighs into her side a bit and taken up the bridle. The mare had started moving reluctantly, but listened to Dean’s every command in the end.
When he led her back into her worm-eaten box, he realized that he hadn’t thought about their neighbor the entire day, which he rectified during his evening shower, which helped him get rid of the tension in more ways then one. Nothing against a little action in the shower at the end of a long day, not even if it involved mental images of pulling dark brown hair and biting plush lips to muffle an orgasmic scream.
In the morning, Dean found himself yet again at Porter’s farm, knocking at the front door. This time around, he was answered immediately, by someone bleary eyed, but completely dressed.
“Mornin`,” Dean greeted and held up a folder with the promised papers and a heavy toolbox. He felt a little ridiculous for having taken both the items out of the back of the truck, but he had to admit to himself that he wanted to make an impression, even if he was still pissed about the things that had been said yesterday. And the day before. Not to mention about himself, fantasizing about the other man in his subconscious and since yesterday evening, also in a completely conscious state.
“Hello Dean,” Castiel Novak said and Dean felt his heart thumping uncontrollably at that.
But then his brain caught up with his fluttering stomach and palpitating heart, he wondered why the Novak guy knew his name all of a sudden and evil dawned on him.
“If you know who I am now, I’m guessing my father was here yesterday?” he frowned.
He only got a nod in return as his neighbor held out his hand for the folder while Dean nodded curtly in turn and walked over to the windmill with the other man again in his tow, just like yesterday.
Perhaps it wasn’t like he was being chased anywhere, but because the other man just wanted to be friendly by following him, so Dean did his best to act likewise as well.
“So, we’re going by first name basis now, Castiel?”
Dean only nodded and climbed up the metal contraption to check what was blocking the windmill from working.
While he got up, he realized that Castiel was a lot more quiet than yesterday and he self-consciously asked himself if that maybe was about him in any way. Did he think him too stupid to carry on a decent conversation?
“So, what did you and the old man talk about? Has he tried to win you over on the stock route front?”
“He did. And his arguments sounded very convincing,” Cas yelled up at Dean and then asked with concern in his voice: “Aren’t you gonna wear a harness or something?”
“Dude, I been climbing windmills since I was 5 years old. I’m not gonna fall.”
“Well if you’re sure,” Castiel shouted back up and watched as Dean wriggled the bit behind the blades that would kick the windmill back into gear, should that be the problem.
“Yahtzee,” he yelled as the windmill started turning again and he climbed back down. “Piece’ a cake.”
“You’re handy,” Castiel praised him.
“Ain’t nothing special ’bout it,” Dean said shyly, his face reddening as he saw adoration for his skills shown on Castiel’s face. “Right,” he cleared his throat when he caught himself staring at the other man’s face again. “Is anything else broken, or do you need any other help?”
“No, I don’t. Your father has offered me some of his farmhands until I can hire my own and they’re just out to move the cattle.”
Dean grew furious at that. “So you let me play the clown for you when you had people around who could actually do the job fine? Awesome!” he said with bile in his voice at his father and at the attractive guy in front of him.
“I- uh… asked them not to fix it, because you already said that you would. I didn’t wanna turn down your offer.”
“Well next time you say a word before you let me do the monkey dance, alright?”
“Yes,” Castiel said, completely mute again on the way back to the main house.
Dean was pissed and dumped his tool kit in the back of the truck so that it made a very loud noise.
“And what’s with the silent treatment?” he bursted out. “You’ve been going back and forth between chatty Kathy and muteness today when only yesterday you threw all kinds’ a shit in my face.”
“Yes, about that: I am sorry I treated you like that. I judged you without knowing who you were. And now I don‘t know what to say so I don‘t offend you,” Castiel said demurely.
Dean’s hands were shaking because he was so angry. “Great, so now you know that my father is John Winchester, the biggest cattle farmer in the state, I’m worth talking to like I’m not a complete idiot?”
“No, I didn’t mean that. Just that you’re a person who helps other people out without expecting anything back. But you’re right, your father talked about you. He said you’re a hard worker and incredibly loyal… Why are you looking so angry? Those are good qualities to have.”
“Because he was just playing you, you stupid son of a bitch. He obviously wanted you to say that to me so I’d go back home and abandon Sammy and his farm.”
Cas blushed at the pronoun, clearly remembering how he had called Dean out on Sam being another one of his harem and being completely wrong with his guess.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“Well, there’s a lot of things you don’t know,” Dean snarled and turned around.
Castiel was leaning against the side of his truck and looking downright edible with a confused frown and a rueful expression.
“You know, perhaps you should get to know a person before you judge them.”
“Same goes for you,” Cas gave back.
“No, I don’t need to, because my first impression of you was completely right. City boy, no idea about farming and-” he had talked himself into a frenzy and his body acted without his control as he felt himself rumble lowly: “And hot as sin.”
He pressed himself against Castiel now and his calloused hands came to rest on both sides of the other one’s face as he plunged their mouths together. Roughly and with all the build up anger still coursing through his veins, he licked over Castiel’s lips, dipping his tongue in-between them, practically forcing him to open up and triumphantly growling when Castiel moaned against him as their tongues played over each other.
Dean’s hands were now braced against his truck as he pressed Castiel into the metal door of the shotgun side and kept kissing him until they were both out of breath.
“And by the way? I’m gay,” he panted, the heat having left his body now as he slowly removed his sweaty hands from the car and let Castiel back away.
He nodded at the other man who looked at him with hooded eyes and swollen lips as Dean walked over to the driver’s side of his car and got in.
“I wish I could stay to unravel the mystery that you are, but I gotta get back to work. I’ll see you tomorrow at my father’s farm. We’re gonna vote tomorrow ev‘ning.”
Castiel only nodded and Den felt pretty happy with himself, chuckling when the dust of the road hadn’t covered the clean handprints on the car back up when he got back to Cedar Ridge.