Dawn has just broken on the horizon, and its light crawls across the Earth in a careful golden caress, bringing to light endless prairies and distant mountains outside the car windows. Castiel watches the world awaken from his place behind the steering wheel, careful not to become too distracted from his task as he leads the Impala down the same seemingly endless stretch of highway they’ve been on for hours. He dares to turn his gaze to his right for a split second, and feels oddly reassured when he finds that, yes, Dean is still there.
The Impala is oddly quiet, almost lifeless, without Dean’s elephant-sized personality and over-abundant commentary. Like this, slumped against the car door, mouth hanging slightly open as he sleeps, the car feels oddly empty. Castiel blinks, realizing he’s been staring, and looks back to the road, surprised that he’s managed to keep the car on its forward path. Dean mumbles something incoherent and shifts against the door, seemingly losing his perch and falling forward towards the dash. Castiel watches from the corner of his eye as Dean snorts and catches himself, seeming a bit flustered as he jerks himself into an upright position and glances wildly around the cab.
“How long have I been out?” Dean demands within seconds, and Castiel stares directly ahead as his companion scrubs a hand over his face and stretches with a yawn.
“Sheesh,” Dean yawns. “Must have been tired.”
“I considered waking you after your customary four hours, but I figured there was no danger in allowing you extra rest,” Castiel says, glancing at a Hawk as it flies lazily across the horizon.
“How close are we?” Dean says, and Castiel can hear more so than see him leaning over the seat to fish his boots out of the backseat where he threw them before trading drivers, and then falling asleep around midnight.
“Nearly there,” Castiel assures him. “Perhaps another ten minutes,”
“Really? Cause it looks like there’s nothing around,” Dean says, bent awkwardly between seat and dash as he ties his laces.
“I would tell you to be patient, but I know from experience that you are incapable,” Castiel says, watching as the small shape of a town becomes visible on the horizon. He can feel Dean’s sour stare on the side of his face and he does his best to keep his smile at bay as he presses down on the gas, urging the car faster down the highway.
“Easy on my girl, Cas!” Dean hisses, distracted, and Castiel says nothing as he slows down just a bit.
“Now that you’re rested, will you please tell me why this trip was of such grave importance that I was allowed to drive?” Castiel asks, and there’s a barely tempered demand in his voice.
Dean had summoned him to the Impala from the road just outside of Chadron, Nebraska, only a few minutes before midnight. His friend was fresh off a hunt, covered in ectoplasm, and slumped listlessly over the steering wheel. He had mumbled something about needing help with an emergency, and Sam having to handle a case in Texas. Castiel, worried the hunter might wreck, had carefully urged Dean to pull over. The hunter had insisted on driving through the night despite Castiel’s warnings, and, surprisingly, after some argument, had agreed to sleep if Castiel would drive through the night to their destination.
“A friend of dad’s called yesterday morning,” Dean sighed, sitting up straight again and squinting at the distant dot of a town as it drew closer. “He said he was in a town called Purgatory, and he needed back up as soon as possible. When I called him back, I didn’t get a response,”
“I hardly see how this qualifies as an emergency, Dean,”
“I called six times, Cas,” Dean sighs. “It’s not like George to miss a call. And if he was asking for backup willingly, then he was in way over his head,”
Castiel nods. He supposes Dean does know this individual, George, better than he does, and that he would know what might constitute an emergency. Dean rifles around in the glove box for something unknown and they settle back into silence for the short remainder of the drive. The town comes up quickly, and they pass an old sign held up by wooden wooden posts, that reads “Welcome to Purgatory, only 7 away! You’ll never want to leave!” Castiel nearly snorts at the sight, and Dean spares him a mildly concerned look at the sound.
“Purgatory,” Is all he says, and Dean rolls his eyes and turns his gaze forward once more. “I find it quite funny,”
“I know, man,” Dean sighs. “We really need to work on your sense of humor,”
Castiel simply ignores Dean’s commentary, instead stomping on the gas and urging the Impala to roar over the town line, flying over a set of railroad tracks much to Dean’s absolute horror.
Dean urges him to stop at the first motel they see, and Castiel waits patiently in the car - banished to the passenger's seat, now - as the hunter books a room and carries a duffel inside to get cleaned up before they begin their search. Castiel looks around what he can see of the small town, taking in the random passage of strangers and a few historical plaques, before the drivers side door opens and Dean slides behind the wheel.
Dean can smell the fresh, minty smell of Dean’s soap, something spicy overlaying it that Castiel guesses is Dean’s shampoo. The majority of his hair is spiked upward, away from his forehead, but the shorter hair on the back of his head lies tame and flat. It’s his usual style, but damp, and Castiel notices he’s wearing a suit instead of his usual plaid and denim.
“Agents Keller and Williams,” Dean says, tossing a badge at Castiel. “You know the drill,”
Castiel nods, obediently slipping out of his trench coat and straightening his tie as Dean tucks his own badge in his coat pocket and glances around the empty street before starting the Impala and pulling away from the motel.
“Why is Sam not with you?” Castiel asks as they drive, Dean eyeing the buildings they pass.
“I told you, there was a case in Texas that needed attention. Figured it might be best if we divided and conquered,” Dean shrugs and Castiel arches a brow, but decides not to question it as Dean pulls over in front of what looks like a bar.
“Looks like George’s kind of place,” Dean mumbles and Castiel follows the hunter’s lead, climbing out of the car and glancing around the fairly empty street as they step up on the sidewalk. Dean turns to face him, reaching out and grabbing at his tie. Castiel, out of habit, holds his breath and stands completely still as the hunter tightens the blue cloth around his neck and smooths the wrinkles in his shirt.
Castiel likes it when Dean touches him. He isn’t sure why, but there’s a sort of warm pleasure that hums through his body when the hunter comes close that he struggles to fully comprehend. It’s moments like these that he treasures, although there’s a certain guarded look to Dean when he comes close that Castiel wishes he could decipher.
Just as soon as he’s come, though, Dean is gone. The hunter doesn’t say a word as he turns and starts to reach for the bar door, and--
“Hey.” The voice is firm, and for a second it reminds Castiel of Dean, until he realizes that this voice is most definitely female and coming from behind them. Dean turns faster than he does and he has just enough time to see the hunter’s eyebrows lift noticeably over his eyes before Castiel turns to find a woman of normal height and stature eyeing them from the seat of Harley. Her dark hair is pulled back in a neat ponytail, and she wears a heavy leather jacket over a dark red blouse. “Haven’t seen you two around here, before,”
“We’re not local,” Dean says, and his tone is defensive.
“You guys cops?”
“Yeah, actually,” Dean stands with his feet slightly spread, crossing his arms over his chest. Castiel recognizes the position as one of authority, power; Dean, asserting his dominance through his body language. “And you are?”
“I’m a cop too,” The woman says, sliding off her bike and moving towards them where they are standing on the sidewalk. Castiel notices Dean take an instinctive step forward, putting himself between the girl and the angel. Castiel arches a brow at the action, almost amused by the display. Castiel held more power in the tip of his pinky finger than Dean held in his entire body. “Special agent, actually.”
“Oh, yeah?” Dean says and Castiel frowns at the brunette takes a step into Dean’s personal space, eyeing him from head to toe. Dean doesn’t back down. “What’s that?”
“Black Badge Division, not that you would know what that is,” The girl snorts and Castiel places a hand on the hunter’s shoulder, carefully drawing him back a step and nodding to the girl in front of them.
“What? You his keeper?” The girl snorts and Castiel narrows his eyes, well aware of the frightening effect he can have when he wants, but the girl does not flinch.
“My name is Castiel, and my… Charge, is named Dean.” He admits, slowly extending a hand. The girl eyes it, but does not shake it.
“Wynonna,” She says slowly, and Castiel nods. “Now who are you two, really? I’ve faked enough credentials in my life to sniff out a cheap suit and a fake badge,”
“You haven’t even seen my badge,” Dean snaps, and Castiel shoots him a withering look before returning his gaze to Wynonna.
“We’re looking for a friend,” Castiel says. “We are not here to cause any kind of trouble, I assure you.”
“Well, you’re going to cause some if you go in there flaunting a fake badge,” Wynonna says, jerking her head towards the bar they were only moments away from entering. “Besides, if your friend is local, you’ll probably do better to check with the sheriff's office first, you know… Like most normal people do,”
“And if our friend isn’t local?” Castiel says, and he can feel Dean practically vibrating with energy at his back. Something about this girl has gotten under Dean’s skin, and Castiel can’t help but be intrigued.
“Guess I could help you out,” Wynonna shrugs, finally stepping down off the sidewalk and leaning against her bike. “Got nothing better to do,”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Dean growls at the same time Castiel says, “Thank you,”
Wynonna glances between the two of them, eyebrows raised, and Castiel silences Dean with a single withering stare. When he looks back at Wynonna, she seems amused. “Your friend,” she says. “He got a name?”
“George McClaire,” Dean says after a beat of hesitation and Wynonna’s face changes for a fraction of a second, almost too quick to notice, but Castiel does. She shifts against the bike, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Older dude, kinda scruffy looking? Thinks plaid is still fashionable?” Wynonna tries and Dean nods, taking a step forward once more.
“You know him?” He demands and Wynonna sighs, shaking her head as she climbs onto her bike and reaches her for helmet.
“You boys better follow me,” She sighs and Dean opens his mouth to complain but Castiel starts towards the car and he grumbles to himself as he hurries to pass the angel up, moving to the driver’s seat. Castiel slides into the passenger's seat, acutely aware of Dean’s eyes burning a hole into the side of his head as he watched Wynonna start her bike with a roar and back slowly out of her space.
“What?” He finally asks as Dean reluctantly pulls away from the curb to follow.
“We don’t know her, and we’re just going to follow her god knows where?” Dean demands.
“She seems like she may know something about George. Why are you so bothered by her?” Castiel asks.
“She’s cocky,” Dean gripes and Castiel simply stares at the hunter, unsure how he can't see the notable similarities between himself and Wynonna. “And she got in my face, and you-- you were talking for me! I’m not a kid,”
“Dean,” Castiel sighs, and the hunter is noticeably grinding on his teeth.
“Deep breaths,” He smirks, hoping for at least a smile.
“Oh, screw you, Cas,”