The man sprawled in the interrogation room looked average. Average height with a slight build, slicked-back brown hair and forgettable features. There wasn’t anything special or outstanding about him, and perhaps that was why he had managed to stay out of the FBI’s radar until now.
There hadn’t even been indication of the Winchesters taking on yet another partner until two days ago when this man had been caught on surveillance with the brothers and Jimmy Novak. They had exited a gas station just outside Nashville, Tennessee, and climbed into the trademark Impala together. The gas station attendant was a fanatic crime show fan and had the FBI’s Most Wanted memorized; immediately after the Impala had driven off, a phone call had been made to the police, along with a copy of the surveillance footage from the gas station.
It had sent the local police into a frenzy. The Winchesters were notorious by now, having somehow evaded the law, escaped police custody multiple times and faked their own deaths over the years. There hadn’t been hide nor hair of them for more than a year, but deep down, no one had believed that they were really gone. Hotch’s team had been called in, but the Nashville police hadn’t wasted time in acting. The attendant had been questioned thoroughly (”I heard the short one saying something about famous pecan pie in a diner somewhere in Nashville?) and undercover cops sent out to walk the streets.
A day later, just before his team had arrived, Dean Winchester and the unidentified man had been arrested in a diner in downtown Nashville, halfway through slices of pecan pie. They had been surprised, officers reported, and visibly annoyed, but had gone along with the arrest without much protest. The Impala, Sam Winchester and Jimmy Novak were nowhere to be found.
Now, Hotch watched as Morgan and Rossi questioned the man. They were taking this carefully; they still weren’t a hundred percent sure that he wasn’t another one of the Winchesters’ victims, despite how unlikely it was.
“Hey, listen. You should give us your real last name. If the Winchesters are holding you hostage, or have something over you, we can help.” Morgan persuaded.
“I told you already, my name’s Gabriel Winchester.” Gabriel idly shifted his hands so that the chains of his cuffs clinked against the tabletop. There was a glint in his eyes, and an amused twist to his lips that suggested he was witnessing something very funny. It was the eyes that put the whole team on edge and made them disinclined to believe that he was a victim, despite the otherwise ordinary appearance.
“Gabriel,” Rossi started reasonably. “That can’t be your real last name. Dean and Sam Winchester don’t have other relatives, at least not on their father’s side.”
“Actually, you’re wrong about that.” Gabriel watched them thoughtfully. “But there’s no point bringing that up. It’s a touchy issue with the boys. And who said I’m a relative?”
Rossi frowned and exchanged a look with Morgan. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m Gabriel Winchester,” Gabriel pronounced the last name with relish. “As in, married to Dean Winchester.”
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Morgan spat, pacing around the small conference room the team had been allowed to take over. With the exception of JJ who was coordinating the local police’s efforts in tracking down Sam Winchester and Jimmy Novak, the team had retreated there after Gabriel’s interrogation to regroup.
“Actually, this explains the matching tattoos they have,” Reid announced from where he had been poring over a laptop and sketches of the tattoos both Dean and Gabriel had over their hearts. The pentagram tattoo on Dean was old and had been recorded during previous arrests, supposedly meant to prevent possession by demons.
“How so?” he asked.
“Because the pentagram tattoos that both brothers have are related to protection against demons, I’ve been researching in that area to find out the significance of this one. It wasn’t until Gabriel mentioned marriage that I realized I’d been looking in the wrong direction.”
Reid snatched up a pen and starting drawing on the sketch. The tattoo consisted of a horizontal line of small runes, and now Reid scrawled black lines so that there were five separate sections. “The first, third and fifth sections contain Nordic runic symbols, while the second and fourth sections are Enochian runes. They all basically symbolize marriage and partnership, bonding of two individuals together, enhancements of relationships and so on.”
“Well, this makes even less sense now. This goes against what we know about Dean Winchester,” Prentiss declared.
“She’s right,” Hotch said. “Dean Winchester is a playboy. He flirts with the women, has one night stands with them but has never committed to one. He’s never exhibited an interest in men before, not sexually. This partnership with Gabriel displays a level of commitment that goes against our profile.”
“Gabriel could have been lying, but the matching tattoos say otherwise,” Rossi remarked.
Reid nodded. “All the Winchesters, including the dead father, put great stock in sigils and symbols and rituals. They believe that they really work, whether as exorcisms, traps or protection. Dean wouldn’t have taken the significance of the tattoo lightly – ”
The genius stopped abruptly. The team’s attention zeroed in on him sharply at the expression that meant he was one step away from an insight.
“Reid?” he prompted.
“Enochian is the language of the angels,” Reid said slowly. “Jimmy Novak’s alter ego is the angel Castiel, isn’t it?”
The team nodded, making noises of assent, not getting where Reid was going with this. Jimmy Novak, suffering from delusions of being an angel, had taken up with the Winchesters several years ago, abandoning his wife and daughter. The man had brought a new dimension to the Winchester’s killings, introducing the concept of rogue angels into their delusion about the existence of the supernatural. Novak’s unique MO was a single stab wound into the stomach, then an intricate pattern of wings scorched into the surface of whatever the body landed on. It had been a headache incorporating his presence into the Winchester’s profiles, because the showy and elaborate murders conflicted with the Winchesters’ styles.
“This may be a stretch,” Reid continued. “But Gabriel is also the name of the archangel, the Messenger of God.”
“Are you saying that, what, Jimmy Novak spread his delusions to someone else?” Morgan asked skeptically.
“It’s a possibility.” Reid frowned. “But right now we don’t even know what part Gabriel plays in the Winchesters’ group, if he’s a killer like them or just someone who became obsessed with Dean and was allowed to tag along. We don’t actually know how long Gabriel’s been with the Winchesters. He may even precede Jimmy Novak. In any case – ”
“We need to talk to Dean Winchester, then come up with a new profile,” Hotch concluded.
Hotch and Prentiss went in for Dean Winchester’s interrogation as the rest of the team watched from behind the glass.
Dean had smiled at Prentiss when she had entered the room and called her ‘sweetheart’ and ‘babe’ throughout the questioning, but other than that had focused his attention on both of them equally. The flirting seemed automatic more than anything else, without much heart in it.
Their questions had been deflected easily, Dean looking bored and drumming his knuckles against the table. The man was calm and collected, not seeming worried at all by the situation. With his brother and Jimmy Novak still out there and no doubt aware of the arrests by now, perhaps he had the right to be confident, considering past escapes from right under the police’s noses.
“We had a very interesting conversation with your partner, Dean. Gabriel claims the two of you are married,” Hotch said, watching for Dean’s reaction.
Dean merely shrugged. “We are. What about it?”
“How long have the two of you been together? Obviously the two of you aren’t legally married, since our records show that Dean Winchester is still single, and Gabriel Winchester doesn’t exist.” Prentiss smiled gently, playing up the role of ‘good cop’, not that it seemed to be working. “This is a big development.”
Dean smirked. “Gabe and I go way back. I hated his guts back then, wanted to kill him.”
Prentiss raised an eyebrow. “That’s as far from marriage as you can get.”
Dean chuckled, grinning fondly to himself. “Oh, sweetheart, you don’t know the half of it. He even killed me a couple hundred times.”
What? Hotch was opening his mouth, about to question that baffling statement, when a chill ran down his spine.
A split second later, the lights above them flickered and went out.
“Oh, fucking finally!” Dean announced.
In the darkness, Hotch tried to move, reach for his gun, do something, but he was frozen to his seat. He could sense Prentiss still next to him, who wasn’t moving either, and he could hear Dean’s cuffs jingling across from them, but he couldn’t do anything else.
The door to the interrogation room swung open, and Hotch had a brief second of feeling relieved, until he noticed that the hallway outside was dark, too. Then a deep voice was drifting into the room, “Dean?” followed by Gabriel’s, “Ready to blow this popsicle stand, Deano?”
“I was ready hours ago! Why didn’t you just zap us out when the cops first got us instead of waiting for Cas?” Dean demanded.
“Hey, I haven’t been arrested for a long time, thought I would relive the experience,” Gabriel said cheerfully. There was a sharp sound like someone snapping their fingers, then there was the clink of handcuffs falling heavily and a chair dragging against the floor. “I’ll make it up to you, dear.”
“I told you to quit calling me that! And you’d better make it up to me, that was some fucking awesome pie that I never got to finish.” Footsteps sounded as Dean made his way around the table. Where was everyone? Someone from his team should have intervened by now, they had been just outside in the observation room. “Thanks for the rescue, Cas.”
“You’re welcome, Dean,” the man, presumably Jimmy Novak, intoned. “Your brother wishes me to tell you that he knew your love of pie would get you into trouble one day.”
“At least it’s pie, and not that rabbit food he always eats,” Dean snorted. “C’mon, guys.”
Another sharp snap. When the lights came back on, they were gone.