“Damn it, Cas,” Dean said wearily, as he let his arm slip from around Cas's shoulder. “Tell me you're not stoned. Tell me you weren't stoned when we left.” Cas stepped back from Dean's narrow bed to lean against the wall, crossing his arms in a parody of nonchalance, and said, “You know I don't lie to you, Dean.”
“Yeah you do,” Dean snapped. “Because when we left I asked if you were OK to go, and you said yes.”
“I was,” Cas said, shrugging.
“No, you weren't. You were stoned.” Dean looked like he wanted to stand up, but the ankle he'd twisted running from the croats made that a bad idea. Getting up the ladder to his bedroom had been entertaining, for all Cas was still stronger than you'd think to look at him. “It's not like it affects my aim,” Cas said. He wanted to go back to his cabin and drink till he passed out, or maybe drop acid and spend some quality time watching things turn colors.
Actually what he wanted to do was crawl into Dean's bed so they could both sleep properly, but that hadn't happened since they got the news about Sam.
Dean's expression was hardening, and Cas didn't like the look of it. That expression usually meant Dean was about to make a call he'd refer to as “necessary” if challenged about it.
“Go get it,” Dean said, and Cas's stomach twisted--in anxiety or anticipation, he couldn't say.
“Dean,” he started, but Dean cut him off. “Now, Cas.”
Cas thought about arguing, but Dean's gaze didn't waver. “I'll be right back,” Cas said quietly.
He left Dean's cabin and hurried to his own, replying to the queries about Dean's status without slowing. His door was open, and when he pushed through the beaded curtain he discovered Yeager and Lee lounging on some of his collection of pillows, along with four of his girls. “Dean settled in?” Yeager asked.
“Yes,” Cas said shortly. “But I'm afraid I can't join you to celebrate.” Amid a chorus of disappointment Cas yanked open the footlocker that sat next to his bed and pulled out one of the smaller bags, a carefully maintained Ziploc. He tossed it to Lee and said, “Go nuts. I've got things to do.”
“You got any papers?” Lee asked, examining the marijuana.
Cas sighed. “No, but there are pipes on the shelf.” He reached down into the bottom of the locker and pulled out the little cloth bag. It seemed heavier than he knew it was.
“It won't be as much fun without you,” Francine said, a statement of fact rather than a pout. She'd been in camp only about a month, but she was a damn good shot and very enthusiastic in bed. Cas liked her; she happily explained people's pop culture references to him, without asking why he didn't know. He wondered how long it would be before she got infected and Dean had to shoot her--it seemed like Dean ended up shooting most of his girls, sooner or later.
“I know,” he said, and bent to kiss her briefly. “But it'll be enough fun. And you know--duty calls." He grinned to make it a joke. As he hit the steps outside he heard the flick of a lighter behind him.
When he got back to Dean's bedroom Dean was still sitting on the edge of the bed. Cas didn't say anything, just handed Dean the little bag. Dean coaxed the drawstring open and spilled the contents into his hand.
It wasn't anything much, a sterling silver pendant on a leather cord. The pendant looked rather like a capital I, but it wasn't; it was the Enochian symbol for the first letter of Dean's name. Cas had found it in a pagan bookstore and presented it to Dean, not long before the angels had left, thinking Dean might like to wear it; Dean had laughed and told him only chicks wore their own initials.
Come to think of it, that was close to the last time he'd heard Dean laugh for real.
“Down, Cas,” Dean said. Cas hesitated for just a second, but they both knew it was only for form's sake.
He sank to his knees. Bowed his head.
The cord was too short to take the necklace off once the clasp was fastened, and Cas shivered as Dean's fingers brushed his neck. When the hands drew back, he didn't look up.
Silence stretched between them until finally Dean said, “Help me wrap my ankle.” Cas nodded and went to fetch one of the ancient Ace bandages while Dean pulled his boots off and stripped out of his jeans. Cas wrapped the ankle carefully, firmly but not too tight, and then sat back on his heels. The wooden floor was gray with age. Cas studied it, aware out of the corner of his eye of Dean watching him.
“How long am I gonna have to leave that on this time before you remember not to go on raids stoned, Cas?” Dean asked. His voice was level.
Cas said, “I don't go if I'm not going to be effective, Dean, you know that.”
Dean put a hand under his chin and tilted his head up, forcing Cas to meet his eyes. “I don't care. You don't go out trashed, that's the rule. If you can't stay sober you have to stay in camp, 'cause I've got no use for guys I can't trust to have my back. So it's a week this time. No booze, no pills, no weed. Nothing. Got it?”
“Yes,” Cas said. He wanted to protest, and at the same time he relaxed as the hollow space where his Grace should have been was filled, just a little, with having an order to follow. The sigil sat heavy at the base of his throat, anchoring him.
Dean studied him for a moment longer before he said, “Good. Now strip.”
Cas's hands were steady as he pulled his shirt over his head.