scenes one and two and the actual introduction of Ben
He grabs the bloodstained towel, the leather jacket, and a duffel from the car's wide back seat, leaving Dean to take the smaller bag and lock up the car. He fishes his own keys out and leads the way up the stone steps, down the hallway, up the stairs, and into his apartment. It's cold and dark, and he flips every switch so that Dean can get a feel for the place; he'll worry about his electricity bill later. He drops the duffel by the bed and turns to face Dean, indicating with a nod that he can set down what he's carrying.
Dean follows him to the bathroom, sitting tiredly on the closed commode. He watches in disbelief as Dean opens a battered dopp kit and fishes out a toothbrush that's seen better years; the bristles are all askew and the handle's cracked. He plucks it from Dean's fist and chucks it in the trash. Dean smiles and closes his eyes. "You might as well stick a hedgehog in your mouth," he chides, and Dean looks up at him with a serious gaze.
"You are into some kinky shit, man," Dean says, holding a straight face for a second, then letting his smile crinkle the pretty, dappled skin around his eyes as he takes the new red toothbrush loaded with a stripe of Crest. Dean stays seated, so he takes advantage of the sink space to wash his hands and remove his contacts. He strips and gets into the shower; the hammering of the water on his neck and shoulders reminds him exactly how long he's been going, and he just lets it pour over him. The bathroom's clouded with steam when he's done, and he steps out of the stall to find Dean contemplating his new stitches approvingly in the streaked mirror. It takes a little maneuvering, but Dean pulls his clothes off with one hand and gets in the shower, sighing contentedly when the blast hits his back.
He shuts the bathroom door carefully behind him so that the warmth won't dissipate and dresses quickly, cursing his landlord for being so cheap with the heat. He pulls his extra blankets from the top shelf of the closet, wrapping himself in one and sitting at one of the kitchen chairs to wait. Dean emerges from the bathroom wearing only a pair of navy blue sweatpants. "Thanks," Dean says, and even in the darkness he can see that under the freshly-scrubbed pink, Dean's skin is actually tinged grey from pain and fatigue. He gets up to shepherd Dean into the bed and watches Dean take note of the two bottles - water and painkillers - he's left on the bedside table next to the alarm clock. Dean sits gingerly. "Can you . . ." Dean asks, gesturing vaguely at the bigger duffel, so he unzips it and pulls out a soft flannel shirt; Dean won't have to raise his right arm to get into it. He can't find any socks in the bag, buried under jeans or weapons, so he throws a pair of his own over to Dean.
He'd planned to let Dean have the bed and just sit in one of the chairs, get some reading done and keep an eye on Dean at the same time. But watching Dean dress slowly and crumple tiredly against the pillow triggers his own weariness and he yawns mightily. Dean rolls over to face him. "C'mere," Dean says. "And bring that blanket with you." He goes, barely remembering to leave his glasses on the bedside table, and crawls over Dean, who flips the blanket up over them both.
The sensation of being warm is so odd that it wakes him. The tip of his nose is cold but the rest of him feels coddled, still pleasantly drowsy. He rolls over and sees Dean.
Even this early, there's enough light coming through the windows so that he can at least make out colors, though he can't hope for clarity. Dean's face is soft but not slack; the faint slate-colored bruises that linger around his eyes look worse because of the thick shadows cast by his long lashes. There's detail on the broad, beautiful planes of Dean's face that he's missing, so he braces himself, shifting carefully to reach across Dean for his glasses.
Suddenly there's a hand clamped fiercely around his throat and two strong thighs squeezing his waist punishingly tight. He goes still, startled by the way Dean jumped from vulnerability to vigilance, and waits. Dean blinks up at him and then he can feel the rush of heat, the wave of embarrassment, surging up from Dean. The hand on his throat slides around, caressing the back of his neck and cupping his cheek. "Guess I got a little overeager," Dean mumbles, like it wasn't a hunter's instinct that prompted him to move, as if the press of their bodies has anything to do with love or romance.
"Don't," he says, one hand on Dean's thigh, the other pressed against Dean's pillow. He doesn't want Dean to pretend his confession never happened. He wishes he had his glasses so he could see the moment it all clicks for Dean, but maybe it's better this way, with nothing between them, nothing for him to shield his eyes behind, so that he's open to Dean's assessing gaze. "Last night. What you told me. I believe you."
Dean closes his eyes and opens his legs, setting him free. "Why?"
He dips his head, the tip of his nose nearly skimming the slashes and gouges littering Dean's chest. There's proof there, but he doesn't need it. "Why would you lie to me?"
"That's a dangerous place to start," Dean warns, his voice nearly strangled in his throat.
"Well, that's where I'm ending up. We're both safe here," he says, and Dean looks at him for a long moment, fingers curling in his hair, before handing him his glasses.
The sunshine is bright and hot against his face and he peers out the window at the people milling around the neighborhood in short-sleeved shirts and sunglasses. "Indian summer," he says, turning to smile at Dean, whose face lights up in response.
Dean lifts his arms carefully over his head, stretching his muscles. Dean loosens his entire body with a fierce discipline, then pulls a beat-up pair of sneakers from the smaller duffel. Tying the laces in neat double-knots, Dean asks, "Want to go for a run?"
He sets an easy pace at first, but Dean shows no signs of fatigue or hesitation, and soon they are at the point where breath comes sharp and fast and the mind is clear and open. His knee is completely healed and he feels strong, bursting with rude health and thankful for it. The sun dazzles his eyes as it shines on the bright bronze of Dean's hair, as it flirts with the space between Dean's powerful, bowlegged limbs.
He doesn't go for guys like Dean, guys who are heavy with muscle, preposterously square-shouldered. Dean slants a sideways grin at him. He doesn't go for guys with strong, even features; he's always preferred the exotic, the striking. Dean is as All-American as they come, he thinks as he watches Dean strip off his tee and tuck it into the waistband of his sweatpants. And now he can see the freckles, pale like old gold, that are spattered carelessly along Dean's broad back, marking him, making him look strangely delicate. They keep running, staying easily in stride with each other.
"You know, you really aren't my type," he says after emerging from the shower to find Dean lying on the bed and reading his musculature textbook.
"Back at you," Dean says, apparently impossible to offend when he's concentrating. "You've got a dick." He laughs and Dean looks up and flashes a grin at him, revealing dimples tucked away under the stubble on his cheeks. "But dude, quit lying to yourself. You got me in your bed the minute I came up here."
"Dean," he says patiently, not even a little distracted by Dean's vision of him as an evil, albeit subconscious, genius. "Look around. There's nowhere for you to be except the bed. This isn't exactly a large, well-furnished luxury apartment."
Dean closes the text and drops it on the floor, bypassing the spindly bedside table. "Now that's just not fair," he drawls. "People lining up around the block for this fine ass and you got it in your bed because you can't afford a couch?" He shakes his head as if he's mourning the cruel injustice of the world and possibly sending a private message of love to each of the deprived.
But his mouth has gone dry despite Dean's levity. "Is that what I get? Your fine ass?"
By the way Dean goes still, he can tell he didn't do a very good job of keeping his voice light. He's not going to push but he's not going to take it back either. He just lets Dean look at him, lets him take his time, and Dean relaxes and says, "Yes."
Dean doesn't seem to care that the dusky light is painting him all sorts of colors as he strips and gets into bed, shivering a little in the chilly air. "Ben," he says questioningly, his voice still hoarse from the laughter that had overtaken them as they ran home.
He can see that Dean's not afraid, not uncertain. Dean's just new to this, so he surges forward and kisses him, deliberately dirty, and feels Dean relax, one hand sliding up his neck to cradle his skull. Dean's fingers are strong, his palm wide, and his body sweetly pliant despite its firm muscles. He lets his weight press Dean into the bed, his hand resting on the clean line of Dean's jaw, and relishes Dean's soft, willing mouth and eager tongue.
They roll, hands and legs draped over hips while they keep kissing, mouths parting and meeting again inevitably. He pulls back and laughs a little as he traces Dean's mismatched eyebrows with his finger, and Dean mutters, "Shut up, you fucker," before he laughs too, his eyes scrunched up into little crescents. "Not that you deserve this," Dean says, lifting his chin for another kiss before sliding down.
And there is stubble scratching high against his inner thigh as Dean noses at his cock and trails relentless fingers down his abdomen. "Dean," he calls when Dean takes him into his mouth, the flat of his tongue perfectly rough and hot, and he can feel himself sinking into the mattress, his head thrown sharply back. His hands find Dean's hollowed cheeks and pull him free; he wraps his legs around Dean and gets Dean on his back.
Dean says, "Yeah," and then just keeps breathing it; he finds himself listening for the incoherent word as he kisses and strokes and licks Dean's skin, as he goes down on Dean, who writhes and rolls his hips helplessly. It's only after he's torn an orgasm from Dean and slid inside his heat that he realizes that the word Dean keeps repeating is his name.