Dean is sort of pissed, because hell- he doesn’t have time to be lounging around, waiting for Cas to get back from whatever mission he’s embarked upon this time, with his too somber face and inquisitively searching looks and well… Dean’s just not going any farther than he has to. And that’s final.
He’s sitting at the motel table, his guns spread out in front of him as he cleans them piece by piece. This is a nightly ritual, honed by twenty years of practice, this is practically a meditative head space for Dean- disassembling and cleaning and oiling the weapons that have kept his family together. He’s breathing slowly, regularly as he polishes the gleaming steel of the weapons in front of him, he’s almost in a trance by now.
Sam is on the bed, a spread of books and papers surrounds him as he types away on the laptop. His hair has gotten too shaggy, too long, it’s almost curling around his neck now.
“Six mentions of cattle mutilations in Stillwater, Oklahoma,” Sam says distractedly, sticking a pen behind his ear as he types in a rat-tat-tat
staccato. “A farmer claims he saw a large dog dragging his cow into a forest surrounding his property.” He glances up, blowing his bangs out of his eyes, “could be worth checking into.”
Dean lays the gun down and carefully regards his brother. This tentative peace between them is still new, still so fragile but there’s something within Dean. Something angry, and vicious and sometimes- when his brother looks particularly like a lost puppy, Dean just wants to punch him. He wants to hit him, until his teeth hit his throat and blood comes up. He wants to hurt Sam.
“You’re thinking it’s a werewolf?” he says instead, keeping his voice as calm as possible.
Dean keeps his eyes just to the right of Sam’s shoulder, not looking at his baby brother, the one that he raised, the one that he gave everything for. He’s so tired, so exhausted and wound up at the same time that he thinks he’ll snap.
“Maybe a shtriga, maybe a wendigo,” Sam keeps his voice low, taking the hint from Dean’s overall demeanor. He’s like a little kid with an offering, here ma- look what I brought you! A monster for us to kill! Yay!
“Mmm,” Dean nods, putting the guns back together, laying them into the black duffle on the chair in front of him.
“Dean?” Sam’s voice is hesitant, soft in it’s questioning, different. Before Ruby, he would have demanded to know what was wrong. He would have whined and cajoled and would have been a major pain in Dean’s ass. Sam would have been his little brother.
“Keep researching,” Dean says instead, getting up and throwing his jacket on. “I’ll be back later, I have my phone.” He walks away from the unsurprised expression on Sam’s face, he doesn’t look back.
The bar is the same kind of bar that Dean has seen all over the country. It’s not the nicest place around, but it will do for the purpose of this evening and Dean doesn’t hesitate before walking in the door.
He pauses, taking in all the exits and the potential for trouble and when he finds nothing particularly exciting- he proceeds to the bar where a bald man with full sleeves of tattoos is occupied with hauling a keg up.
He sits down with none of his usual grace, wanting only to get shitfaced as fast as possible before he has to go back to the hotel.
“Yeah?” the bald guy finally straightens up, regarding Dean like one would with a particularly bothersome cockroach.
“JD on the rocks and keep ‘em coming,” Dean waves a wad of cash, making sure that the bartender will keep serving him but not so that the rest of the room catches wind of it.
He sips at the alcohol slowly, savoring the slow burn of the liquid as it slides down his throat and hits his bloodstream, dissolving into thousands of fire fueled little alcohol cells.
Dean doesn’t drink too much. He doesn’t drink enough to get fully inebriated, but he drinks enough to relax, to let go.
He feels a little looser, a little less crazy and less full of rage so he turns around, wanting to see the rest of the patrons. Some guys are playing pool at the side, Abercrombie clean good looks and polo shirts that Dean thinks were actually ironed
. Three of them. None dangerous.
A couple, in their early forties by the looks of them, are on what is clearly a date- sitting across from each other and cutting up a third rate steak while the cheesy music plays in the background.
What gets Dean’s attention is the booth in the corner. It’s partly lit but his eyesight is excellent
and the three gorgeous girls sitting there are way too beautiful for a bumfuck town like this. One of them is laughing, head thrown back and eyes glinting in that wonderfully wild way that the really happy people have. She has dimples when she smiles and the light highlights the auburn in her hair. From where she’s sitting, Dean can see that she has a tattoo on her arm.
The second woman is half hidden, but he can see that she’s tall, lithe. Her hands are graceful and she drums on the table as she talks, moving the digits like birds through the air to emphasize certain points in her recitation. She leans forward, into the light, and for a second Dean’s heart stops because nobody’s eyes can be that startling shade of blue. Nobody human that is.
The third woman is invisible to him for now, save for a golden elbow that occasionally slaps at the table and a flash of yellow blonde hair.
He feels foolish, but he can’t deny that his heart is jackhammering in his chest, that his palms are sweaty and he feels like something is about to jump! right out of him. And all because of a pair of blue eyes on a girl.
Still though. Dean’s been hunting for far too long to discount a feeling, his life has been saved many a time due to his intuition and he’s not about to start screwing up because he’s upset with his brother.
He slips his hand into his pocket, keeping his eyes on the corner booth and dials Cas with his current location.
The rustle of wings is almost silent and Dean hears it only because of a long ago habit.
Castiel’s eyes are wary as he sits on the stool next to Dean, his trench coat is rumbled and his tie is slightly askew. He looks exactly the same as he always has, bar those moments when he had blown up into a spectacular explosion of molars and blood- he’s Cas.
“Hello Dean,” he says solemnly, voice still gravelly and vaguely questioning. Cas is vaguely everything.
“Hey Cas,” Dean slings back some more JD and gives his friend a wrecked smile, trying to keep his eyes on the corner and fails abysmally at this pretty simple feat of multitasking. God, no wonder women always say that guys have a one track mind.
“What’s going on Dean?” Cas leans forward and oh! There’s the whole personal space issue popping up yet again
. “Do you require my assistance?” he cocks his head, like an inquisitive bird of prey with preternaturally gleaming blue eyes.
There! That’s what worries Dean. The girl in the booth has Castiel’s eyes. Too bright to be natural, too otherworldly to be fully human.
He snaps his eyes back to the table and jolts in his seat. The girl, the one with the dimples, is looking straight
at him. Her eyes are laughing and her mouth is generous and yet, there’s something wrong with her. Something off, power, tight and coiled and waiting to be unleashed on Dean’s weary, weary head.
“Cas,” Dean urges, hating the fact that his voice sounds a little frantic.
“What is it?”
“The girls in the corner booth,” Dean licks his lips as he finally sees the owner of the golden skinned elbow turn around and give him a frankly dubious look, “they’re not human, are they?”
Cas turns his head. Slowly. Excruciatingly slowly. He studies the women looking back at them with interest, with his patented stare o’ doom. Dean doesn’t see him blink.
“No,” he answers finally and blinks for the first time in five minutes, “I believe them to be human.”
The girl with the dimples looks like she’s laughing at him.
A waitress jostles into Dean, breaking his concentrated stare down effort as she clunks two Millers in front of him and Cas.
“From the ladies,” she nods back at Dimples who winks and gives Dean a wave.
“Oh,” Cas looks curious as he nudges the Miller bottle with an index finger. He looks like a cat, learning to play with a ball of string for the first time.
Dean knows this game. He’s played since he was fourteen and Laura Ashburn, the pretty redheaded senior had taken a liking to him. He takes his bottle and motions for Cas to follow him, “Come on then.”
He sidles up to the booth with his usual cocksure grin and swagger, giving the three girls- women really, a patented Dean Winchester smirk.
“Thank you for the beer, ladies,” he makes sure to wink at Dimples even as his attention is distracted by the blonde on his left. She’s not the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, her face is just a little too thin to be truly striking and her nose has a weird bump on it. But her eyes are a bright green and when she smiles, her whole face lights up. Dean can feel a weird empty whole in his chest when the blonde girl smiles at him.
“Join us,” says the taller brunette sitting in the center, the one with the otherworldly blue eyes that look amused
on closer inspection.
Dean sits down, feeling a little bit foolish at his earlier reaction and so he tries to cover it up with his usual machismo.
“I’m Dean,” he grins at them, making sure to acknowledge each female sitting at the table. He knows, from experience, that women travelling in packs don’t like to feel ignored in favour of one in their midst.
“Faith,” says Dimples and grins at him. She has a great
The taller, younger brunette is Dawn and when he turns to the blonde at his side, he has to hold his breath as she regards him seriously “I’m Remy”, she licks her lips and watches him carefully.
Dean started drinking on an empty stomach, so he really can’t be blamed for missing the looks passed at the table. The wariness settling in the air.
“Really,” he grins at Remy’s big green eyes, “that’s a pretty sexy name.”
Faith snorts at that and Dawn signals over at the waitress and then there’s more JD at the table than Dean has seen in the last six months and the girls are laughing and their smiles are warm and Dean forgets about the fact that Castiel was here with him.
The rest of the night is a blur and Dean is ashamed to admit how much of a lightweight he’s become. He feels good
though. Real good. Happy. Buzzed.
Faith, the beautifully dimpled Faith with the rack of Dean’s prepubescent fantasies has a laugh that makes him smile. She throws her whole body into it, when she’s amused, tipping her head back and banging her palm against the table.
Dawn has a higher alcohol tolerance than Dean would have guessed initially. She downs her vodka shots like a pro and tells jokes dirtier than Bobby’s living room floor- her eyes sparkle when she laughs and she watches Dean with a bemused curiosity that tugs at something hidden within him.
Dean flirts with Remy, flirts badly and awkwardly and drunkenly as hell but he enjoys every minute of it.
“I think,” he says slowly, carefully enunciating every word as he fumbles for his cellphone, “I think I’m a little drunk.”
Dawn laughs and takes his cell in her hands, looking graceful and ethereal even as she sways slightly to the vodka rhythm in her head. “A little,” she snorts, “come on. Who am I calling?”
It’s strange and wrong probably, but he feels comfortable with these women. Like he can trust them. Like some part, some hidden away and forgotten part of him- like it knows them.
“Call Sam,” he tells Dawn, “tell him to come.”
Somehow, his arm has ended up around Remy’s shoulders and he’s leaning on her. Not too heavily but just enough for him to scramble off and apologize when he realizes that he almost crushed her.
“It’s fine Dean,” Remy grins at him from under her lashes, “you’re not that heavy.”
“He’ll be here in ten,” Dawn slides his phone over and gives him a look
, “he sounded pretty pissed at you.”
“That’s my little brother,” Dean beams fondly, “he’s like my bitchy conscience that never shuts up.”
He winks at Faith, almost leers
really, “You’re going to love him.”
Sam his bitchface number seventy six on when he storms through the door, the one that tells Dean that he’s oh so disappointed in his big brother but can’t bring himself to be surprised really.
“Ladies,” Dean half stands, tugging Sam closer to him, “this is my little brother-Sammy.” He turns to Sam and is a little gratified and a lot amused to see him stagger away from the alcohol fumes that he must be exuding
and gasp a breath of fresh air.
The world gets a lot dimmer then but Dean catches flashes of Dawn texting somebody while biting her lip, Faith’s laughter as she practically straddles
Sammy and Remy’s strange looks at him.
He thinks that he remembers Faith sticking her tongue down Sam’s throat and strangely enough looking guilty as hell afterward. He thinks that he remembers Dawn getting up from the table, swaying as she ambles out to the washroom, her phone stuck to her ear as she talks to somebody named ‘Gabe.’
“Gabe?” he slurs at Remy and her green eyes are too serious, too sober as she glances at him, away from where Faith is resolutely not looking at Sam anymore.
“Recently rediscovered family,” she smiles and places her hand over his.
The warmth is back and Dean can’t help but feel lighter because of the simple fact that she’s holding his hand
and he doesn’t care how high school he sounds at that.
That night, Sam Winchester dreams of Lucifer again.