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Harksville, Missouri

"Are you sure you want me to stop? It looks pretty creepy out there with all that corn." The bespectacled blond boy asked. He took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at the wiggling, chubby brunette girl next to him in the passenger seat of the F-150 truck.

"Chris, goddammit, quit playing. I really need to pee. If you don't stop I'm gonna go all over the seat and I'm sure your dad ain't gonna like that." She showed just how serious the situation was, bending nearly in half, fists clenched into the navy blue, daisy printed material of her skirt, her legs still jiggling.

"I didn't make you drink that entire extra-large soda at the movie, Beth." He griped even as he pulled the truck over to the side of the road. The vehicle barely slowed before the passenger door was flung open and his girlfriend took off like a shot toward the many dark rows of corn.

While he waited, Chris flipped through the radio dial. Nothing catching his attention until all of the stations started going to static. Even the ones he knew should be coming in crystal clear. 

Suddenly, the radio, along with the rest of the truck's power cut off, leaving him in the pitch black of the cloud covered night.

"Beth!" Chris shouted as he opened the door and stumbled out of the vehicle. 

"What the hell are you yelling about?" Beth responded before a bright light lit up the cornfield and the sky above and her question turned into a blood curdling scream.

As quickly as the light came it was gone, leaving Chris, arm across his face, cowering beside the now fully functioning truck while the radio blared a country station at full volume.

I saw the light, I've been baptized. By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes.

4 Days Later

"I'm Agent Langly and this is my partner, Agent Frohike." Dean showed his badge to the deputy then pointed in Sam's direction, trying not to smirk at the annoyed mouth tick that appeared every time he introduced his brother while on their current case. "We're here to talk to Chris Adams."

The stocky, bald deputy behind the Sheriff’s office counter shot them a wary look. "Why would the FBI be worried about Chris Adams?"

"Why would a kid demand to be locked in jail after his girlfriend went missing?" Sam countered.

The deputy opened his mouth to respond but instead left from behind the front desk. He came back a moment later with a dark haired woman, also in uniform.

"Can I help you gentlemen with something?” She asked, crossing her arms.

"Yes, ma'am." Dean began.

"It's Sheriff. Sheriff Mills. Now I'd like you to tell me what exactly makes this situation FBI worthy." Her gaze flicked between the two as she waited for an answer. 

"Sheriff Mills, we're just a couple of field agents who got a call from our local office this morning to come check out some things here." Dean offered, hoping the canned line would placate the Sheriff.

"Here's our supervisor's number if you'd like to give him a call." Sam handed her a business card with a FBI line that led directly to Garth.

"I'll be right back." Sheriff Mills gave them another once over as she took the card and went toward her office.

“Are we wasting our time here, Deputy?” Dean propped an elbow on the countertop and engaged the other man with feigned conversational ease. “The guy did it, didn’t he?”

Dean held in a triumphant smile when the question got the exact response he’d wanted all along as the deputy stood up straighter, face contorting with anger.

“Chris didn’t do anything. If he says someone else took Beth then that’s what happened!” He said loud and emphatically.

Playing the good guy to Dean’s bad, Sam perceptively questioned. “Who exactly is he saying took her?”

“Jerel!” Sheriff Mills called out in warning as she made her way up to the front desk.

“You two check out but I still don’t understand why this is any of the FBI’s business.” She handed the card back to Sam over the marble countertop then moved just out of sight to open the office’s large oak door and stood to one side to allow them entry.

Dean signaled for Sam to stay with the Deputy as the Sheriff motioned him through.

“C’mon back and you can talk to Chris, but only for a few minutes.” She closed the door then started for the rear of the building, Dean following at her side.

The strong smell of bleach burned Dean’s nose as they walked down the brightly lit, slate gray walled hallway toward a row of cells. As they approached, Dean took note of what appeared to be a few drunks sleeping off their benders and a couple of rough, up to no good types that watched them closely as they passed toward their stopping point in front of a metal door with a tray slot at waist height.

"Didn't wanna put him with the general population.” Sheriff Mills explained as she opened the door leading into a drab and not as brightly lit room. “We use this for our special psych inmates. Whenever we get them."

Dean watched as the scruffy young man sat up from the saggy cot, then quickly stood as they entered the cell.

He was almost taller than Dean, with deep set bags under his blue eyes. His large frame was contained in a too-short, orange jailhouse jumpsuit. It would have made him appear older if it wasn’t for the pleadingly hopeful way he looked toward the Sheriff. He was every inch the lost kid, barely out of his teens.

"Any news, Sheriff?" He ran a hand through unwashed, greasy blond hair that rivaled Sam's in length.

"Not yet." Sheriff Mills patted the young man's shoulder. "But this is Agent Langly from the FBI and he’d like to ask you a few questions."

"Agent?" Chris questioned, not looking at the pair as he started fiddling with the sleeve of the county issued jumpsuit.

Dean's eyes narrowed at the nervous reaction and he wondered if there really was a case here for him and Sam after all.

*****

“So, you seemed pretty adamant about Chris not having anything to do with Beth’s disappearance. Why is that?” Sam rested an arm against the desk as the Deputy typed up files into the office’s database.

“Because I’ve known them both since elementary school and Chris would never hurt her.” The Deputy turned away from the computer and looked square at Sam. “And like I already said, if he said he saw something else take her, then that’s what happened.”

Sam looked around the empty lobby then leaned closer. “Something? What exactly did he say he saw?”

*Slam*

The entry door banged loudly against the wall, pulling both of their attention to the front before the question could be answered.

Standing in the doorway was Beth Davidson. Clothes dirt streaked and ruined. Her brown hair matted with massive amounts of mud and red scratches visible on her face and neck.

“Jesus, Beth!” Deputy Jerel grabbed his coat then ran from behind the desk and put it around her shoulders as he led her to sit down in a chair.

Rocking back and forth Beth appeared not to even notice them as she chanted. “They took me. They took me. They took me.”

Sam slowly sat down next to the traumatized young woman, keeping enough space between them to keep her comfortable.

“Beth, I need you to tell me who took you.” Sam gently placed a hand on her arm to get her attention.

“The lights!” She screamed before starting to rock again.

*****

“First things first, I need to know if you and Beth took any type of illegal substances or were drinking the night of her disappearance.” Dean leaned casually against the cell’s tiny sink. He kept his face calm, nonthreatening, so he wouldn’t spook the kid.

“What? No!” Chris shouted, voice shaking as he flopped back down onto the bed and crossed his arms.

But Dean knew a defensive drug user when he saw one. Especially when the kid wouldn’t stop fidgeting and he suddenly couldn’t keep direct eye contact with either adult in the room. 

“Nothing at all?” Dean goaded. “Maybe a couple pills? Smoke a little dope? Snort a little something? I'm not here to pop you on any drug charges, kid. I'm just trying to piece together what happened.” Dean put on his best understanding expression and the young man sagged further against the thin jailhouse mattress. 

“Fine. Yeah, ok. We smoked some hash after my shift at Legends.” Chris huffed in defeat as he wiped a hand across his face.

“I knew that son of a bitch Andy was selling drugs out of that place!” Sheriff Mills' palm slapped loudly against the metal of the bunk.

“Wait, no! I swear, I didn't get it from Andy. It doesn't have anything to do with the store.” Chris tacked on as he began to frantically wave his hands at the Sheriff.

“I think I have an idea of what happened here, Sheriff. I’ve got all I need.” Dean looked between the two people in the small enclosed space then pushed himself off from the sink and straightened up.

“What do you mean all you need?” Chris blurted. “You didn’t even ask about Beth! It wasn’t the drugs! I didn’t have anything to do with it. It was the light! The light took her away!” His voice grew louder with each word.

“Chris, I need you to calm down, right now. You’re not going anywhere for the moment.” Sheriff Mills said as she headed for the cell door.

“Am I in trouble about the drugs? Man, you said I wasn't gonna get in trouble.” He shouted as Dean stepped out of the cell with the Sheriff.

“I said you weren't in trouble with the FBI. No jurisdiction over what Sheriff Mills decides to do with that information.” Dean shrugged as Sheriff Mills shut the door.

Once it was fully closed he turned to her, “Are you gonna charge him with something?”

“Probably not. But I bet his mother would sure be interested in knowing what her son's been getting up to outside of the house.” She nodded as they began walking back down the hallway.

“What's Legends? You seem pretty adamant they were a drug connection.” Dean inquired while rubbing a hand over his chin.

“Comic book store on the edge of town.” Sheriff Mills explained. “It’s owned by Andy Gallagher, one of the town’s “fine upstanding citizens” who’s been brought in more than once for various drug charges. Always small. Claimed he's absolutely on the straight and narrow and those were just youthful transgressions that were all behind him now.”

“Mmmhmm.” Dean paused just outside one of the empty cells.

"Sheriff! Sheriff! Get out here! Get out here, quick!" Deputy Jerel's panic stricken voice echoed loudly down the hallway.

Sheriff Mills and Dean traded looks of puzzlement before they both rushed to the front of the office.

"Sweet mother—" Sheriff Mills stopped in the walkway so abruptly that Dean nearly toppled over her.

Sitting in the middle of the chairs lining the left side of the entryway was Beth Davidson. She was shivering under an itchy wool jail blanket, her eyes staring blankly at the opposite wall.

“She just walked through the front door and started shouting about lights taking her.” Deputy Jerel told Sheriff Mills as she leaned down in front of the young woman.

“Beth. Hey look at me, kiddo. It’s Jody.” She soothed a hand over Beth’s dirt caked forearm.

Dean watched as Beth reached out from the safety of the blanket with a shaking hand and latched her fingers onto the sleeve of the Sheriff’s uniform.

Though Sheriff Mills spoke to her, Beth didn’t seem to recognize her any further as she dug fingers deeper into the older woman’s shirt until her knuckles turned white from the tight grip.

“Jerel, call her parents.” Sheriff Mills ordered before turning her attention fully back to Beth.

Dean and Sam stepped to the other side of the desk, away from the commotion.

“Dude, there's nothing here.”

“Dude, there's something here.”

The brother's declared at the same time.

“What?” They continued in unison. 

“Dean, there's definitely something here. From the way Beth talked, I think it might be fairies.” Sam announced in a quiet yet determined voice.

“Fairies? Really, Sam? More like druggies.” Dean huffed as he glanced to where the Sheriff was tending to Beth before looking again at his brother.

At the brush off, Sam gave Dean a sour bitch face.

What? The kid just friggin’ told me they were flying high on hash before their close encounter. Sheriff Mills thinks they got it from the comic book store he works at.” Dean added as Deputy Jerel walked passed them and attempted to give a cup of water to the still shaking Beth. The cup slipped out of her weak grasp, sending water splashing all over Sheriff Mills and the floor.

“Sorry, Sheriff.” Deputy Jerel exclaimed as he hurried to find something to clean the mess up with.

“We should at least check out this comic store. Just to be on the safe side.” Sam pointed out.

“Ugh, fine. Let's go fight some fairies!” Dean grumbled as Sam watched Sheriff Mills consoling the shaking young woman.

“Sheriff Mills, can we speak with you for a second?” Sam questioned.

She turned to Sam and Dean then spoke softly to Beth before getting to her feet and joining the brothers.

“You seem to have this under control here. We’re fairly certain this is drug related but want to take a look at the comic book shop before we close the case. Do you have the address?” Dean asked as he pulled a notebook out of his coat pocket.

She shook her head. “Not on hand, no. But if you turn right out of the parking lot and take the road till it dead ends, it’s the building on the left side of the road. You can’t miss it.”

Sam stuck a hand out to shake with Sheriff Mills. “Thank you for your time, Sheriff.”

 

Chapter Text

“Holy nerdom, Batman.” Dean exclaimed when they stepped into the almost completely windowless building that housed Legends Comics.

The door chimed with electronic bells as overhead florescent bulbs buzzed away, casting an industrial glow over the countless racks of shelves filled with comic books that lined the walls. The store’s narrow walkway was flanked by a long table filled with even more boxes of comics sorted by alphabetical order on one side and a glass display case filled with expensive figures, weapons replicas and the register on the other.

Sam rolled his eyes, “You realize just by using that phrase...”

“Shut up.” Dean snapped. Still, despite the warmth heating his cheeks, he stopped to look at a replica of John Snow's Longclaw before walking up to the counter and flashing his badge.

“Whoa, this is a legit establishment.” The squirrelly looking guy behind the counter stated rather loudly.

“I take it you're Andy Gallagher, then?” Dean announced and watched as the man continued squirming under their scrutiny.

“How'd you know? I haven't had any arrests in a long time.” His hand motioned to the entirety of the shop. “This is all legal. Everything I do is.”

Dean glared at the man’s use of over the top paranoia. “Can it, Cheech. We want to ask you about Chris Adams and Beth Davidson.”

“Hey, man I have no idea what happened there.” Andy shook his head and crossed his arms. “Yeah, Chris worked here but what he did off the clock had nothing to do with me.”

“Oh, you mean like doing drugs in your business’ back parking lot?” Dean continued as he moved into the other man's space despite the counter between them.

“What? Drugs?” Andy seemed genuinely surprised. “No, man. I mean killing his girlfriend and blaming it on aliens or fairies or some shit.”

Dean felt Sam go stiff next to him at the word and without missing a beat his brother spoke up, “Fairies?” 

“Fairies or whatever the fuck people are saying he's blaming on Beth going missing. Doesn't matter what he's saying, he's fired now anyway.” Andy shrugged carelessly.

At that same moment Dean noticed a petite woman with short red hair trying and failing to act like she wasn't listening to their conversation. Wearing a bright purple Princess Leia shirt with a computer bag slung over her shoulder, she fit into the store’s atmosphere perfectly. But the way she kept glancing conspicuously in their direction instead of browsing the comics she was standing in front of was a dead giveaway to Dean that something was up.

“We're gonna take a look around anyway.” Dean stated with finality, pointing to Andy before motioning Sam toward a corner that was packed with tons of action figures stacked on shelves.

“I know my rights!” Andy shouted in irritation as they walked to the opposite end of the store, away from not only him but also the nosy redhead.

Dean leaned into Sam and whispered while discretely gesturing behind them. “You weren't the only one who perked up at the mention of fairies. The redhead pretending to play with that Lord of the Rings sword off to your left has been trying to listen as best she can since he said the word.”

Dean looked over Sam’s shoulder, smiling at the staring woman who nearly dropped the pricey replica upon the realization that she'd benn caught staring at them.

“C’mon, let’s get outta here.” Dean said with a head nod in the direction of the front door.

Once back in the car Dean irritably yanked his tie loose. “I think you might right. There could be something here.”

Looking over at the smug face of his brother, Dean rolled his eyes. “Gloating looks terrible on you, Sammy.” 

“Whatever. I'm soaking it up, dude. You willingly. Without coercion just said I was right!” Sam grinned triumphantly.

“Oh, bite me. I said might.” Dean growled, as he pealed out of the comic store parking lot.

*****

“It doesn't make sense. There aren’t any other missing person cases within 200 miles even remotely similar to Beth's. But her description of the events sounds like classic fairy activity.” Sam peered determinedly at his laptop screen, legs stretched out on his motel bed.

“Mmmhmm.” Dean vaguely answered, too caught up in the Cupcake Wars in progress on the tiny motel TV to listen to what his brother was saying.

“Dude, if you're not gonna help me with anything, go get dinner.” Sam grabbed a pillow from behind his back and threw it at Dean's head.

“That sounds like an awesome idea.” Dean ducked the assault then swung his legs off his bed. “And hey, I'll even stop by the “abduction” site and see if I can find anything. But listen, if I don't phone home before too long, come look for me.” He grinned even as Sam stared at him, unamused by the awful extra-terrestrial movie pun.

“You're an idiot. Go get dinner. And not from that diner where we had lunch.” Sam ordered, rubbing his stomach at the memory of the awful grease laden food.

You're an idiot.” Dean mimicked before walking out the door.

*****

“What the Hell am I supposed to be looking for?” Dean muttered as he pulled onto the shoulder of the road and peered out at the dark expanse of the cornfields.

Getting out of the car Dean left the headlights on so they would shine directly into the darkness. Then he went around to the trunk and quickly grabbed a flashlight before beginning his tromp through the cornfield to look for any sign of fairy shit.

He probably should've listened to Sam better when he was describing the details of fairy activity but he definitely wasn't telling his little brother that he hadn’t. One gloat per millennium was more than enough for Dean.

Especially because he wasn't sure how much of a case there actually was here. Other than a case of two kids on a bad trip.

Dean did know about fairy rings at least, so he started moving the flashlight around to illuminate the dark ground. He’d walked so far into the corn he could barely see his baby’s headlights and the flashlight was bringing up absolutely nothing.

He might as well go get dinner and come back tomorrow and take a look in the daylight. That made more friggin’ sense, anyway.

Just as Dean started back for the car, the corn to his left began rustling. He swung the flashlight toward the movement but didn’t see anything. Before he could get moving again the same stirring started happening off to his right. Then before too long the corn all around him was shaking like it was in the middle of a tornado. He pulled his pistol from the band of his jeans but didn't have a chance to do anything else before he was enveloped in blinding white light.

*****

“Dean, where the hell are you? This isn't funny.” Sam hung up when he got nothing but Dean’s voicemail then immediately dialed another number.

“You've reached Dean's other phone...”

He didn't even let this one finish before he disconnected and called one more.

“This is Dean's other, other phone...” Sam tossed his phone toward the foot of his bed in frustration then scrubbed fingers through his hair. 

He'd been so deep into fairy mythology that two hours had gone by before he realized that Dean hadn't returned. That was too long for a food run. Even if Dean had gone by the abduction site. 

Hell, in the past, Dean had grossly hooked up with people and still made it back to their hotel within two hours with food.

Sam grabbed his phone, the extra room key and hurried to the Impala so he could find his brother. But when he stepped outside, the parking space in front of their room was empty.

Of course. Dean had taken the Impala to get dinner.

“Shit.” Looking around Sam noticed a bright yellow Gremlin tucked into a far back, dark corner of the mostly empty parking lot.

He'd jogged over and checked the locks, hoping for an unlocked door. When that didn’t happen he quickly snapped the antenna off and set to jimmy one of them open.

After a few swipes he nearly had it when he heard quiet footfalls behind him. 

Turning, Sam drew his pistol and had it levered directly in the face of the redheaded woman from the comic book store, who squeaked as she held her hands up.

“What do you want?” Sam questioned, eyeing her suspiciously.

“I wanna know why you're trying to steal my car “Agent Frohike”.” She pressed as the fingers of both hands moved on either side of her head.

Sam was impressed by her tenacity in making air quotes while a gun was pointed at her.

“Official FBI business.” Sam stated, lowering his pistol just a bit.

If she'd been listening earlier there was a good chance she could be a fairy that was keeping tabs on what he and Dean were doing.

“Bullshit! You guys aren't feds. Not with that hair.” She pointed out with a laugh. “And definitely not with those fake names. Come on, they're straight outta the X-Files.”

Sam resisted the urge to groan as he silently cursed his brother's stupid pick of names.

“You're hunters aren't you?” She asked grimly. “Are you after fairies? Because this isn't fairies. Whatever this is.” She gestured in the direction of the town.

Sam stared at her, taken aback by her confident and correct assessment. The ease with which she identified him didn’t help the ‘not a fairy’ odds but he didn’t have the time to stand around in the parking lot and question her in depth while Dean was missing.

“I know you didn’t follow us from the comic bookstore.” Sam stated, carefully watching the woman in front of him. “So how’d you know where we were staying?”

At the question she immediately rolled her eyes. “Seriously? That big, black gas guzzler of yours really isn’t hard to find in a town this small.”

She could be telling the truth but he couldn’t be too careful. Especially if fairies and their tricky magic were somehow involved.

“Let me see your hand.” Sam ordered as he took a silver knife out of his pocket.

“What? No way.” She exclaimed, eyes wide as he flicked the blade open.

Sam huffed in irritation. “I’m not going to hurt you. Just do me a favor and hold onto this for a second.” He held it out toward her and after a long beat she cautiously took it into her hand.

“O.K.? Is that long enough?” She asked, fingers gingerly held over the blade.

If she was a fairy there would have been a burning reaction by now. That there wasn’t, was at least one good thing.

“I need your keys.” Sam said as he reclaimed the knife then put it and his gun away.

“You are not driving off with my car unless I get some answers.” She defiantly demanded.

“Oh, don’t worry, you're coming with me. I need to find my brother and I want you to tell me why you’re so sure that fairies don’t have anything to do with this.” Sam informed her.

“Well, it’s not like I had anything else planned.” She shrugged then reached into her jeans pocket. “Here ya' go, Agent Frohike.” She tossed him the keys as she moved around to the passenger side.

“Actually, it’s Sam. Sam Winchester.” He admitted as he easily caught the flying keyring.

“Charlie Bradbury. And you're gonna have to push that seat way back.” She chuckled, waiting for him to get in and open her door.

Chapter Text

“You still haven't told me how you know it's not fairies.” Sam shifted uncomfortably in the seat. Even with it pushed all the way back his knees still repeatedly knocked against the steering column of the tiny car.

“You never said why hunters were going after fairies for this.” Charlie countered, watching as Sam failed to find a more pleasant spot behind the wheel.

“I never said we were hunters.” Sam grunted as he stubbornly tried repositioning himself once more.

“You're hunters. And I know it's not fairies because they don't usually go around kidnapping people out of cornfields. Have you ever seen a fairy ring in a cornfield?” Charlie questioned then looked away before beginning to talk again. “Fairies are mischievous but pretty much harmless. They usually don't want anything to do with human, overall.”

Sam detected a note of sadness at the last remark and turned to see Charlie staring out of the window.

“You sound like you have firsthand knowledge.” He ventured delicately, returning his attention to the road ahead and watching for the County Road 122 sign, where the Davidson incident had taken place.

“You could say that. Dating a fairy for a little over a year can give someone a pretty good insight.” Charlie offered while picking at a loose strand on the sleeve of her purple and pink plaid shirt.

“You dated a fairy?” Sam looked over at her, shocked.

“Hey, there's nothing wrong with dating outside of your species supernaturally, ok?” Charlie crossed her arms over her chest defensively.

“No, that's not what I meant.” Sam thought about mentioning Ruby, but that was just a big, fire breathing, nasty can of worms that did not need to be opened at the moment. “There's nothing wrong with it. It just must have been interesting is all. I've never met anyone who's dated a fairy.”

“Oh, it was totally interesting until she decided—” 

“Shit.” Sam exclaimed, slamming on the brakes and interrupting Charlie’s explanation. Her hands shooting out and hitting the dash as they came to a full stop in the middle of the road. Headlights illuminating the 122 sign and the large, black car parked further behind it.

“I think we found what you were looking for.” Charlie pointed at the Impala with its lights blaring full force into the dark of the crops on the side of the road.

“Only if my brother's in it.” Sam pulled over to the shoulder, parked, and jumped out of the car. He ran to the Impala, swearing. The front seat was empty. No. His gaze tracked the bench seat and the floorboards. Dean’s phone was missing. He picked his head out from the cabin to follow the track of the headlights. No. Did Dean go out into the field? Sam hurried into the corn as Charlie shouted behind him in concern.

“Dean!” He yelled as he continued beyond where the headlights reached into the corn. Digging his phone out of his pocket he hurriedly dialed Dean’s number. Metallica’s Master of Puppets started blaring somewhere close by and Sam began pushing his way through the stalks in the direction of the music.

When the call went to voicemail, Sam started to dial again, but a light on the ground not too far from where he had stopped caught his attention. Moving through the rows, he found the flashlight from the Impala’s trunk lying on the ground with Dean’s cellphone and gun illuminated in its glow.

Looking around the immediate area Sam cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted once more.

“DEAN!”

*****

Dean sluggishly awoke. Eyelids heavy and blinking too slow to provide any sort of real protection from the blinding white light that was shining directly into his face. He attempted to turn away from the brightness but found he could only move his head just slightly to the left or right.

The dark cornfield.

Dean’s grogginess burned completely off when he remembered the light that had shone down on him from the sky at the field site.

“What the fuck?” He rasped as he tried, unsuccessfully, to move his arms and legs. Limbs held tight to the table under him by some sort of unseen bonds.

What he could see though, was that he was completely surrounded on both sides by lights. Colored, pulsing and seemingly living lights. Vaguely human shaped when still but swirling and curling as they moved around the room and each other.

“Whoa, hey! HEY! How about buying me dinner first?” Dean growled when green and yellow tendrils reached out and started tugging at his clothes.

“Hey, goddammit! Let go, you sons of bitches!” He strained ineffectively to get off the table as a blue light appeared in his field of vision, blocking out the white light from the ceiling.

The blue being brushed tendrils against Dean's face and he fell once again into darkness.

*****

“Ok, Charlie, this is very important.” Sam began as they got out of the Impala in front of Beth Davidson’s house, the next morning. “This girl was nearly catatonic when I spoke to her yesterday. I appreciate all your help in finding my brother but I need you to mainly just watch and listen while I talk to her. Got it?” Sam straightened out his jacket then gave Charlie’s passable FBI outfit a last once over before heading up the walkway leading to the yellow bungalow.

Sam knocked on the door then looked around the immediate area. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much activity going on in the early hour. Just a few people walking dogs or watering their flowers before the day’s heat got too high.

Sam turned his full attention back to the house when he heard locks disengaging and the door creaking. Stopping abruptly, it only opened far enough for Sam to see a sliver of Beth, with shadows under her dark brown eyes, looking like she hadn’t gotten any sleep.

“Ms. Davidson we spoke briefly yesterday at the Sheriff's office?” Sam smiled easily, as not to startle her. “I’m Agent Frohike.”

Recognition sparked and Sam saw her nod in affirmation but the door didn’t budge. “What do you want?” Beth asked suspiciously.

“We just had a few more questions for you before we wrap up our investigation and leave town.” Sam pointed in Charlie's direction, “This is Agent Byers. She’s helping me out today. We’d really appreciate it if you’d talk to us. We promise, it won’t take long.”

The door finally swung open and Beth gestured them in before snapping the door shut and replacing the deadbolt. She directed them toward a couch in the small living room and sat in a chair nearest Charlie. Tucking her feet up underneath her, Beth stared at them without saying anything else.

Sam cleared his throat then began. “We just wanted to see if there was anything about that night that might have come back to you since we last spoke.”

She shook her head hard, unbrushed hair falling into her face in strands. “I don't know why you're asking. Chris told me y'all know about the drugs we took. I'm sure that's what it was. There's no such thing as aliens or fairies or whatever the lights were.” She bit out harshly, as if trying to make herself believe her own words even as tears started sliding down her cheeks.

Charlie leaned forward slightly. “We just want to make sure that no harm came to you from outside means. It's alright.” She gently patted Beth's knee and Sam didn't know where Charlie had suddenly produced a tissue from but he was thoroughly impressed and grateful.

Beth blew her nose then words began spilling out of her mouth in stuttered chaos. “No, the lights didn't hurt me. They didn't even want me. That's why they brought me back. They said there was something wrong with me. They said I wasn't a...”

*****

Righteous vessel. This one is a very good match. He will provide us with very strong materials. I will go begin the process.” The silvery, shiny form moved from Dean's line of sight and was replaced by the blue being from before.

“Oh, hell no. You keep your hands, tentacles, whatever the fuck you got, off me. You knocked me out.” Dean shouted as the being came closer.

“My apologies. I had only meant to calm you.” The voice rumbled deeply through the new and even smaller space that Dean was currently being held in. The stark white walls of the room were visible for the first time, without the glaring white light burning away at his retinas from above.

“Calm me? Fucking aliens kidnap me. Probably probe me while I'm knocked out and now sound like they wanna harvest me or some shit. And you, who, by the way is the one of these fucking aliens, wants me to calm down!” Dean began twisting and fighting against his invisible bonds.

He thrashed violently until the blue being grasped his left shoulder, causing a shock to run through his entire body as sudden flashes of his life flicked rapidly through his brain.

His Dad shoving a tiny Sam into his arms as their house and mother burned right in front of him. “Take your brother outside as fast as you can - don't look back. Now, Dean! Go!”

Laughing at Sam who’d eaten all of the pork rinds Bobby had bought specifically for himself to eat while watching the finale of his favorite telenovela.

Ellen giving him the stink eye and watching him like a hawk as Jo not only flirted with him but easily drank him under the table.

Enjoying backyard barbeques with Lisa and Ben. Even if in the end their situation wasn't the right thing for any of them.

A bright blue flash streaked across Dean’s vision and memories that didn't belong to him overtook his own.

Two beings stood on the red sand of a beach on one of Jupiter’s moons. Excitement and wonder at watching a blob- like, living thing crawling out of the purple, pearlescent water. “Careful, Castiel. Don’t step on that creature.” A gold light warned, pulling the blue being away.

“Why must we take them? Won’t we learn more by studying them in their natural habitats?” The blue being, Castiel, pleaded of a towering orange figure. Knowing the practice wasn’t fair to those they took.

“You are broken Castiel. You can’t even obey simple orders.” The silver being announced as Castiel’s conflicted emotions ran high. The constant desire for answers to so many questions, a never ending stream and the shame at not being right, of being cracked and irreparably damaged.

“I can and will fix all that’s wrong with you.” The promise was followed by sharp, stabbing instruments and painful screaming.

With a jolt Castiel let go of Dean's shoulder, leaving behind a nearly human size handprint branded onto the skin.

*****

“So do you think it was actually aliens that took Beth?” Charlie asked before getting into the passenger side of the Impala.

“I don't know. I mean...aliens, really?” Sam huffed in disbelief as they drove away from Beth’s house.

“Yes, really! You're a hunter so I know you've come in contact with some weird shit.” Charlie said as she wrestled to remove the stuffy jacket she’d been wearing.

“Well, yeah.” Sam agreed, “But they were all from Earth, or Earth adjacent, at least.” He glanced at Charlie as she victoriously tossed the jacket into the Impala’s backseat. “Listen, I'm gonna stick around for a few days. Call a few people while I keep looking into any weird “alien” occurrences or anything similar. If it’s the same thing as Beth then Dean should show up like she did. I really do appreciate your help, though.” 

“Whoa, you're not getting rid of me that easy.” Charlie protested when they pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex. 

“Charlie, what we do is dangerous. Add on that I don't even know what took Dean.” Sam sighed in frustration.

“I can help you!” Charlie replied and Sam geared himself up for an argument on why it really wasn’t a good idea, at all.

“You need to find out information of the alien abduction variety, correct?” Charlie shifted around in the seat to face Sam. “Can you get into the FBI's internal servers? How about NASA?”

“No, I can't.” Sam admitted dejectedly.

“Well then you're stuck with me because I can do all of the above and more!” Charlie grinned then fist pumped the air.

Chapter Text

“Dean.”

The blue entity saying his name freaked him out but not as much as the fact that now the two of them somehow knew each other's life stories. 

Holy shit. He’d seen these dicks snatch up creatures he could barely wrap his brain around, from planets he’d never even heard of. Watched as they’d tested on their captives so they could have fucking sleuth suits or some shit for themselves. Witnessed these assholes standing by and secretly taking notes while countless civilizations crumbled around them.

This was beyond fucked up.

Of course, he’d find the dick aliens. Couldn't be contacted by hot aliens that just wanted to get down.

No sooner had the thought of being surrounded by hot dark haired male and female humanoid aliens popped into his head, it was interrupted by his name being called again. Except this time it was inside his head, shoving away the hot aliens and replacing them with the dick, and not the good variety.

“Dude! Stay outta my head.” Dean angrily snarled at the blue being standing at his side.

“I'm going to get you out of here and back to Earth but I need you to trust me.” Castiel reached for the bonds holding Dean to the table.

“I don't really have a choice now do I?” Dean snarked as the bindings came loose and he was finally able to move his hands and feet.

“Hey, you got my clothes in here?” Dean glanced around as he rubbed his sore wrists.

“Not in this cubicle.” Castiel’s blue light began to pulse frantically as Dean attempted to open various compartments lining the walls.

“Dude, I'm not gonna run all over the galaxy ass naked.” Dean protested at the alien’s lack of concern for clothing.

“Dean, please, we don't—” Castiel's words were cut off as a piercing alarm filled the air.

“Please trust me.” The words, deep and rumbling, enveloped Dean's brain as he was all at once engulfed by Castiel’s blue light.

“Fuck, ow!” Dean groaned when what felt like a few seconds later he was dumped onto hard asphalt.

“My apologies. I've never actually been to Earth and hadn't calculated the right amount of gravity for our trajectory.”

Dean turned toward Castiel’s gravelly voice and...holy shit.

The asshole alien was fucking hot.

Tall, toned and tanned with broad shoulders and dark hair. His eyes, the same piercing blue that made up the alien's previous form. 

A loud horn blared in the distance, bringing Dean out of his drooling and had him realizing that they were both completely naked in the wide open strip mall parking lot in broad daylight. 

“Fuck.” Dean crouched down, trying to take cover beside a black Buick. “Can you like magic us some clothes or something?”

“I don’t do “magic” and I don't understand the human demand for shame in theirs and others bodies.” Castiel hadn't followed Dean's lead and was still standing, running hands over his now human appearing body.

A position that Dean found put him directly at dick level, which was an area he was not gonna look at.

Shit, he's got some strong, thick thighs. Absolutely not.

Goddamn, look at that thing, just imagine it in action. Stop right there.

Fuck. He was so weak.

“Get down here, you idiot.” Dean grabbed Castiel by the wrist and yanked him down, to stop his traitorous brain from ogling the naked alien as much as for Castiel's own safety.

Though, it didn’t help matters when Castiel stumbled on the way, falling heavily against Dean and nearly knocking them both to the ground in a tangled, naked, heap.

“C’mon.” Dean hissed, focusing on pushing Castiel upright and not the way their sun warmed skin stuck together where their thighs touched. 

Once they were safely situated, Dean motioned for Castiel to follow beside him as he started testing car doors out.

“Bingo!” Dean whooped when he hit the jackpot on the third vehicle. With a tug of the handle, the door of the gold Lincoln Continental swung wide, knocking into Castiel.

“Careful.” Dean warned while the alien shot him an irksome glare through the window.

Dean’s luck continued as a glance inside came up with a freshly dry cleaned suit and a tan overcoat hanging in the backseat

Dean grabbed the cleaner’s bag then passed the coat to Castiel as he shimmied into the slight too small suit pants and dress shirt that remained.

“Thank you, Jimmy Novak!” Dean cheered as he read the receipt before tossing it and the bag into the back and getting into the driver’s side.

“Hey, hustle with that coat, man. We gotta get outta here.” Dean explained to Castiel, who stood motionless by the door.

He watched as the alien slid his arms into the sleeves before turning his attention to cracking open the steering column so he could hot wire the car. 

Or he would have if Castiel hadn't reached over his shoulder and laid one of his large hands on it, the car sputtering directly to life. 

“Holy shit, that was awesome!” Dean glanced between the steering column and Castiel. “Now get in. We need a Wal-Mart so I can get a phone to call Sammy. Where the hell did you drop us anyway?”

*****

“Sir, there's been another surge similar to the recent ones in Missouri. This time in Pontiac, Illinois. Do you want me to send agents to investigate?” The dark haired, bespectacled woman stood in the doorway of the office until the chair behind the desk turned, revealing a man dressed in all black.

“No. Henriksen is nearby monitoring the situation in Harksville. I'll get in touch with him.” When she didn't move he waved her off. “That'll be all, Cecily.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Crowley.” Cecily moved forward and dropped a stack of papers on the desk before turning on her heels and leaving the office.

Crowley picked up the phone and dialed, barking out his order as soon as the other line answered. “Henriksen, I need you in Pontiac, Illinois, immediately.”

“Sir, I'm currently on the tail of two suspects who were in contact with the woman originally involved in this incident. They were suspiciously dressed as what appeared to be federal agents.”

“Interesting.” Crowley twirled the phone cord.

“Is there someone from Interpol that could attend to matters in Pontiac while I deal with Harksville?”

“Interpol? Why would bloody...” Crowley cleared his throat as he remembered, then continued. “Ah, yes, Interpol. Since we're dealing with an international fugitive. Stay with the ones you're on now. I'm sure they'll lead you right to Pontiac and the fugitive long before Interpol could get involved.”

“Yes, sir. On it.”

Crowley hung up then leaned forward, grabbing the papers that’d been left behind. The data showed numerous surges over the past several days. Surges, that as Cecily had said, resembled the one that had happened just a few hours prior.

All of which were nearly identical to a surge in 1985.

One that'd given the Bureau a giant gift in the form of a fair skinned, redheaded girl who was truly anything but that.

The government and human technology had benefited greatly from that encounter and Crowley couldn't imagine the leaps they'd make with another.

He would find this new alien.

*****

“Hello! Welcome to Wal-Mart!” The white haired, older lady greeted with a cheery wave as Dean and Castiel entered the store.

“Hello.” Castiel returned the gesture before Dean grabbed a hold of him.

“Dude, keep this tied just for a bit longer. Then you can get rid of it.” Dean cinched Castiel’s belt tighter, regardless of them being in the middle of the store’s entryway.

“I like this coat, though.” Castiel looked up at Dean, offended that he would even suggest getting rid of the awful thing.

“Then you can keep it, buddy.” Dean conceded. “We just need to get you some clothes for underneath. That way no one sees all your junk hanging out.”

Dean received another scowl for that and just rolled his eyes in response and went toward the men's department.

“O.K., just grab a shirt and some pants so we can get the hell out of here.” Dean turned and noticed Castiel hadn't followed him. In fact, the alien had stopped in the women's section where he was holding up a pink shiny sweatshirt.

“Dude, no, you can't wear that!” Dean shook his head vehemently.

“Why not?” Castiel asked dubiously and Dean was suddenly hit with an intense wave of longing and wistful familiarity wrapped up in the atrocious colored sweatshirt.

It was something sad that reminded him of how he’d felt when Sam had gone off to Stanford, leaving him behind.

What the hell?

Dean attempted to shake off the foreign feelings as he pointed sharply at the offending sweatshirt. “Because that’s a chick shirt and you’re not a chick.”

“Technically, despite my current appearance, I have no gender.” Castiel countered, eyes narrowed. “Besides, I don't understand the preoccupation with assigning gender to colors. Colors are not living things, so they clearly cannot have genders.”

With each word, Castiel had taken a step forward, until Dean was backed against a rack of day-glo spandex bike shorts.

“Dude, fine. Get the fugly sweatshirt.” Dean gave in as pinpricks of annoyance continued to poke at him.

“I don't need your permission. I was going to get it anyway.” Castiel walked off and Dean sagged with relief when the needles of irritation left with him.

What the absolute fuck?

After spending a few minutes collecting himself, Dean went in search of the wandered off alien, only to find him staring with fierce concentration at women’s underwear.

“Cas, you can’t wear these.” Dean attempted to steer Castiel away from the display but he firmly held his ground. “No, seriously, you’re starting to creep out the fitting room ladies.” Dean shot the group of workers what he hoped was a disarming smile.

Turning back to Castiel, he tried and failed so very hard, not to let the image pop into his head of the alien’s sharp hipbones jutting out over the top of the lacey purple pair that was right in front of them. Or how gorgeous the light yellow cotton ones would look against all of that tan skin.

“Why am I not permitted to wear these garments this time?” Castiel questioned, pulling Dean out of another so very inappropriately timed daydream. “You yourself have worn them. I saw your pleasant memory of them.”

“Dude!” Dean squawked as he dragged Castiel away from the women’s friggin’ underwear. “That was…that was different. And goddammit, I already told you, stay out of my head!”

Castiel gave Dean a defiant look as they came to a stop in the more appropriate men’s section.

“Those won’t hold your junk in correctly.” Dean felt sweat build on the nape of his neck as he gestured at his crotch before picking up a package of boxer briefs and handing them to Castiel. “These work for everyday use. Keeps everything where it’s supposed to be”

Castiel inspected the underwear then scrunched up his nose. “I don’t like these.” He handed them back to Dean then moved passed, staring at the shelves like he was making some sorta life or death decision.

Dean sighed and grabbed a package for himself as Castiel turned back around with a satisfied smile on his face.

“These are the ones I want.” He held up a 4-pack of briefs in red, blue, green and black.

Dean took the underwear from him and threw it in the basket. “Great. Now can we please finish up so we can get the hell outta here?”

Thankfully, they were able to grab pants and shoes without incident and Dean ushered them to the register.

Quickly unloading their purchases, he double checked the minutes on the phone as soon as it was rung up. Sammy was gonna flip out. This shit was wild, even for them.

“You total's $124.57, sir.” The tired looking woman behind the register announced.

“Ah.” Dean panicked, completely forgetting there was no wallet in the pants he had on.

He felt a jostle at his side, then Castiel was pushing him out of the way and placing his hand over the card reader.

“Would you like cash back?” The cashier questioned as she bagged their items.

“Yes! Yeah, what's the limit?” Dean tried to stamp down his excitement as he watched a faint blue light emanating from under Castiel’s hand and onto the machine.

“$200.” She answered while folding the pink sweatshirt into a bag.

“That's good. $200 is good.” Dean grinned. Having an alien around might come in very handy, after all.

“Have a nice day.” The woman said; gesturing toward their purchases as Castiel put the money in his coat pocket.

“Hey, I'll hold onto that.” Dean offered as they walked toward the bathrooms to change.

“As I took it out, it should belong to me to hold.” Castiel said as he headed into a stall.

“Dick.” Dean muttered with amusement as he followed suit and went into a stall of his own.

*****

Sam was combing through a tri-state alien abduction message board for any type of activity that even vaguely resembled what had happened to Beth and now possibly Dean, when his phone rang and an unknown number popped up on the screen.

“Hello?” He warily answered, trying not to get his hopes up.

“Sammy!”

“Holy shit, Dean!” Sam turned to where Charlie was tapping away on her keyboard, her loud pop music filling the motel room. “Hey, can you?” Sam motioned toward the computer and Charlie switched the music off completely before coming to sit next to him at the table.

“Sam? You there?”

“Yeah, sorry, I had to get the noise turned down.” Sam responded as he shifted his chair toward the ac unit to make room for Charlie.

“Dude, is someone else there?” Dean asked. “Are you with some chick?” His annoyed disbelief loud and clear over the line.

“No. I mean, yeah. But it's not like that.” Sam tried to explain. “Remember the comic store girl?”

Charlie punched him in the arm sharply and mouthed, “Focus.”

“Never mind. Dude, where the hell are you? Where were you? You’ve been gone for two days, Dean.” Sam switched hands on the phone so he could rub the spot Charlie had hit, really hard.

“Baby.” She muttered while leaning closer to hear anything she could of the conversation.

“Aliens, Sam. Real life, asshole aliens.”  

Sam heard a faint grumbled complaint on the line as Dean, voice irritable, started talking to someone.  

“What? Dude, you fucking abducted me, had me hanging balls out in a bunch of cold ass rooms.”

“Dean, who are you arguing with?” Sam asked at his brother’s strange outburst.

“Fucking alien named Cas.” Dean revealed, though his tone didn’t quite match the words in following through on the full out anger that Sam would have expected.

Chapter Text

“We're gonna meet Sam and his weird mystery chick here in town in about five hours but first I need food. You guys don't provide your captives with any damned food? What's up with that? I'm starving!” Within a split second of making the proclamation, Dean cut across traffic while horns blared, as he set his sights on a Biggerson's.

“You were given the daily recommended amount of calories for a male your age and size.” Castiel answered. He held tight to the door handle as drivers sped past, flipping them the bird as they went.

“Yeah, well that was completely wrong for this male.” Dean steered into a parking space and was out of the car before Castiel had even opened the passenger side door.  

“Hi! Welcome to Biggerson's. Just one?” The cheery hostess greeted as soon as Dean entered.

“Ah, no, it's two. Hold on.” He walked back outside to find Castiel studying the exterior of the building like it was a work of art instead of a regular ol’ chain food joint. “Dude, c'mon they're waiting for us.” Dean pulled Castiel along by the trench coat that he was honestly surprised he’d decided to keep. Well, maybe not, considering he was a strange, rogue alien with no taste in clothing, whatsoever.

“Follow me this way, guys and I'll show you to your booth.” The hostess, Denise, her name tag read, led them to the furthest and emptiest section of the place. Dean wondered if their seating had changed when he'd dragged in a scruffy, sparkly pink shirted, trench coat wearing weirdo.  

“Your server will be right with you.” She said, placing menus in front of them and drifting away.  

“Dude, we don't need these.” Dean snatched the laminated cardboard out of Castiel’s hand. “I got this. I know exactly what you need. You're gonna friggin’ LOVE it.” He boasted with excitement.

When the waitress came over a few minutes later, Dean ordered for them both then handed the menus to her with a wink.

After she left, Dean stretched his hand out over the back of the booth, fingers tapping along with a beat in his head.

He needed to ask questions. Needed to find out why Castiel helped him and what the hell was going to happen to them because of that.

But right now he just wanted to enjoy the manufactured aired, busy restaurant atmosphere for as long as he could. And especially without thinking about the fact that his booth mate was a friggin’ outer space cruising alien.

When their plates were eventually placed in front of them Dean didn’t hesitate to grab his burger and take a gigantic bite. Eyes closing in sheer happiness as the delicious taste of greasy beef and cheese hit his tongue.

“Dean, I do not love this. I don't even remotely like this.” Castiel interrupted Dean’s joyous reunion with food by dropping his burger back onto the plate with a look of disgust on his face. “Do humans routinely eat flesh this raw?”

Dean placed his own triple decker cheese bacon supreme burger down while staring offended at Castiel.  

“This is a gift!” He defended around the mouthful he was still chewing determinedly.  

“No, it's not.” Castiel pushed his plate away as he glanced over the now crowded restaurant. “I want that.”  

He pointed toward a gigantic salad on a nearby table and Dean nearly choked on his large bite of “the gift”.  

“Fucking of course. I get abducted by goddamned vegetarian, green bullshit eating aliens. Y’all shoulda taken Sam.” Dean complained while flagging down their waitress.  

*****

“Ok, Pontiac isn't that far. Less than five hours away so we should be good to go with one stop for gas before we leave town. We'll drop your car off at your apartment then head right out after that.” Sam coordinated as he threw clothes in his duffle bag.

He continued packing up the hotel room and didn’t notice the shocked expression on Charlie's face.

Dude. Your brother just called and told us that not only was he abducted by aliens but that he actually had one, that he was arguing with for some reason, in the car with him. And you're Mr. Joe Cool over here.” Charlie finally blurted out when Sam calmly walked passed her for the third time as he made sure he wasn’t missing any of his or Dean’s belongings.  

That made him pause and he turned to where she was sitting cross legged on the bed that'd been empty since Dean's disappearance.  

“Yeah, aliens. It's… Ok, it's weird. Even for us. Like really weird.” Sam exhaled sharply and admitted.

Charlie nodded her head in agreement. “Exactly. And like you said before, it’s kinda out of your regular league, isn’t it?”

“I did. And it definitely is. But Dean’s back and he seemed fine on the phone and getting to where he’s at is all that matters right now. We’ll figure out the rest later.” Sam finished as he leaned against the dresser.

*****

“I definitely preferred that to your uncooked meat patty.” Castiel stated as he pushed the empty salad plate away from himself. The contentment didn’t just stop at the look on his face though, as Dean was filled with sudden happiness that swirled blue and strong.

Leaning forward Dean unconsciously placed his left hand on top of the table as he asked, “Not that I'm not appreciative and all, but Cas, I gotta know. Why? Why’d you save me? I know there have been others before me. I saw them when you...”  He waved his right hand over where the handprint lay underneath his t-shirt.

Castiel scanned their section of the restaurant then matter of factly began, “When I attempted to calm you the second time, your emotions were so close to the surface that I was pulled in by them.” He paused briefly and ran a finger around the wet cup ring left behind on the place mat. Brow furrowed as if he was trying to sort something out internally. “I witnessed not just all of the pain you've suffered in your young life but all of the love as well. You have such an immense capacity of love for others around you. Especially your brother, Sam. The people that you care about are lucky to have you and I knew we couldn't take that from them. You didn’t deserve what was in store for you. You deserved to be saved.” Castiel finished, eyes bright with newfound awe and all of it directed right at Dean.

Dean was shocked, not only by the alien’s expression and words but also as Castiel slid his hand across the table, placing it on top of his.  

“You also unlocked memories that I had forgotten.” Castiel shook his head. “No. Memories that had been erased. For so very long, longer than you can imagine, I've been led to believe that I was broken for showing compassion toward beings that we've taken from their planets, from their homes. Taken for our own selfish purposes. Horrible things we've—I've done, that aren’t right.” Wide blue eyes bored into Dean’s as a rush of conflicting excitement at the fresh realization and regret at things done, fought for the strange spot that had been inexplicably opened between the two of them.

Dean held Castiel’s gaze even as something deep in his chest churned from the immense weight of the alien’s confession. Even though a large part of him want nothing more than to look away. He didn’t do the whole feelings deal. That was Sam’s area of expertise not his. But Sam hadn’t been the one scooped up outta that field. He was and he saw, knew what would have happened to him if Castiel hadn’t put his own ass on the line and gotten him outta there. Castiel wasn’t like the others. That was the one thing Dean knew for sure.

He flipped his hand over and held Castiel's broad palm in his own. “Hey, it's the final action that matters the most, right? I saw what they did to you. How that silver one scrubbed things out of you. It's not your fault. You tried and they just kept chucking you back on the line regardless of whether you wanted to be there or not.” He gave Castiel’s hand a strong squeeze. “But hey, we're here now and we'll figure something out.”

*****

“Shit, shit.” Sam glanced inconspicuously out of the Impala's rear view mirror as they pulled into a gas station before leaving Harksville.

“What? What is it?” Charlie asked; Sam's large hand stopped her when she tried to turn around.

“We're being followed.” Sam revealed as he opened his door.

“Are you sure?” Charlie squeaked, doing her best to stare straight ahead even though with the announcement she wanted to look behind them even more.

“Yeah. It’s the silver Chrysler that just parked over by the dumpster. It's been following us since the hotel. I saw it turn down a street over when we stopped at your place but it came right out after us when we left.” Sam informed while trying to keep an eye on the vehicle without looking like that’s what he was doing.

“Who do you think it is?” Charlie questioned; fiddling around with the tapes sitting in a shoebox on the floorboards.

“No clue. But we're gonna get rid of them, whoever they are.” Sam announced as he casually slid out of the driver's side and went to the back of the car to pump the gas.

As soon as it was finished, Sam climbed back into the car and dialed Dean’s phone.

“Dean, listen, we’ve got trouble. We’re being tailed.” Sam said when the line picked up.

“You sure?”

Very. It looks like it could be the real feds. Do you think they might be trying to find your new friend?” He glanced at Charlie, who was nervously chewing her fingers nails.

“Fuck. I don’t know.” Dean groaned in frustration. “Ok, new plan. It's out of the way but hopefully that'll give you time to get them off your tail. Meet us at Rufus' as soon as you can. And be careful.”

“Of course. You too. See you when we get there.” Sam hung up then looked Charlie's way. “Change of plans. We're headed to Montana.”

“Montana? Holy crap.” Charlie said, still trying to get a peek at the vehicle behind them. “I wasn't expecting such a huge road trip. I'm gonna have to call in sick on Monday.”

“Yeah, you might wanna take a couple days.” Sam glanced in the rear view once more then looked at his watch. “Is there a school around this area?”  

“Sure, a few blocks away. Why?” Charlie questioned as she reached for her cellphone in her computer bag.

“It's about time for school to get out isn't it?”  Sam asked, fingers drumming against the steering wheel.

Glancing at her phone Charlie nodded. “They should be right now. What are you gonna do?”  

“Get rid of our friend.”  Sam declared as he pulled out of the parking lot.

The sedan trailed a few cars behind them the entire way as Charlie gave Sam directions to the nearest school zone. Once he could see the blinking yellow light in the distance, Sam held his breath and hoped that luck would be on their side.

They slowed to a near crawl and he looked in the mirror to make sure the other vehicle hadn’t gotten any closer.

When they approached the light he floored it just as it turned yellow and they cleared the light before it went red in the 20mph zone.

Checking out the rear view once more, Sam saw the Chrysler stuck just beyond a slow-moving line of elementary kids crossing the street, led by a bright vested crossing guard.

With the sedan no longer behind them, Charlie quickly guided Sam through the side streets and to the free and clear interstate.  

“That was awesome!” Charlie cheered and Sam laughed, looking over at the redhead in the passenger seat.

Once they got this whole mess straightened out he really thought Dean would like the quirky computer programmer.

*****

“Did you apprehend the suspects, Agent Henriksen?” Crowley inquired immediately upon answering the phone.

“No, sir. Whoever these guys are, they're good. I lost them but I assure you, with the '67 Impala they're driving, I'll be able to track them down easily and bring them in.”

“Clearly you aren't very capable of doing that or you'd already have them, you complete imbecile!” Crowley shouted; voice reaching higher levels as his tirade continued. “If you can't do it, I'll find someone who's actually more competent than a rejected petri dish experiment to get the work done!” Crowley slammed down the phone then pressed the intercom button. “Cecily, get in here.”

*****

“Hey, Sammy everything ok?” Dean asked with concern as soon he picked up his phone.

“Yeah, Dean, it's good. Got rid of the extra baggage and we're heading to meet you.”  

“Already? You got the guy off you that fast?” Dean's voice hitched up with excitement that had Castiel turning from the window in interest.

“It was totally easy. Took him through a school zone that was getting out for the day.”  

“Sweet!” Dean slapped his palm against the steering wheel. “We'll see you at Rufus' then.”

“Alright, Dean.” Sam chuckled before disconnecting.

“That was your brother?” Castiel questioned before adding, “You're very proud of him.”

“He did awesome. Made it so we can hopefully get through this, whatever this is, without any problems.”

“It's a skill you taught him very well.” Castiel stated and Dean was reminded again that the alien had rooted around in his brain.

“Dude, you can't just go skipping around inside people's heads then spout off the shit you see in there out loud.” Dean instructed as he shifted with embarrassment.

Castiel, puzzled, peered around the car then fixed his intense stare back on Dean. “It's only the two of us in the car. And as I recall you also received information from inside “my head” as well.”

Holy shit, he was long haul stuck in a car with an alien that just used fucking air quotes.  

“Ok, you’re right. I did and I got a question. The sweatshirt. It reminded you of someone. I felt all this weird stuff when you showed it to me at the store. And speaking of, what the fuck is that?” Dean blurted out before he could work himself up out of asking about it.  

“I told you earlier that when I laid a hand on you the second time it broke through the barrier that had been put in place to keep me from my own memories and emotions. It appears that a bond was created between us when that happened. A bond so strong that we’re still tuned in to each other’s emotions. Which is interesting.” Castiel cocked an eyebrow and Dean waited for him to continue.  

“My kind aren’t supposed to feel. But I do. I have for way beyond what I can remember. Maybe ever since I came into existence.” Castiel explained further. “My superiors believed I was broken but I'm starting to think that it may be the other way around.”

Dean still didn't know how to respond verbally to something that heavy but he understood, to a point, wanting to be more than what your superiors…or dad, demanded of you. And even against their judgement, still continuing to try and do what you could to have it for yourself.

Before Dean had fully finished the thought, Castiel smiled and tentatively reached out. He ran his long fingers over where Dean’s hand tightly gripped the steering wheel. The action causing something to shift and stir beneath Dean’s sternum.

The ride continued after that, with things seemingly back to normal. As if they hadn't nearly been holding hands for the second time today and that there wasn’t a part of Dean that had immensely liked the possibility of them doing exactly that. So friggin’ much.

“I never answered your question about the sweatshirt.” Castiel said over the loud radio, hours later, as lights from the highway whipped by at high speed in the surrounding darkness.

“You don't have to. It's fine.” Dean tried to wave it off but Castiel continued.

“Anael. The color reminds me of Anael. My direct superior and more importantly, my friend. Many years ago, on an away mission here to Earth, Anael went missing.” Castiel stared straight ahead but the ache of loss was clear on his features. “I was supposed to be in the party to go but there were problems with my earthbound vessel. I stayed behind, monitoring their progress from aboard our ship. Everything appeared in order the entire mission, until they returned and Anael wasn't with them. Another of the team, Uriel, believed Anael had taken the chance to leave us.” Castiel sighed and Dean watched him rub a wide palm over the pink, shimmering material that covered his chest.  “Anael was a strong and good commander and the very best of friends. I didn’t understand it at the time but now I realize that Anael may have suffered from some of the same feelings that I’ve experienced.”

Guilt and anguish brushed against Dean and he hated that Castiel felt so much blame for something there was no way he could have possibly had any control over.

Now knowing the whole story behind the choice of shirt made Dean feel like an ass at the fuss he’d made at the store. After a moment he cleared his throat, “I'm sorry I busted your chops about the sweatshirt. I didn't know.”  

Castiel turned toward him, his pain ebbing as he took Dean's right hand and held it unashamedly and naturally in his own, “Thank you, Dean.”

Chapter Text

“Ok, if we're gonna be sitting in this car for 24 hours we're gonna play a game! Never have I ever!” Charlie announced as she kicked her feet up on the dash.

“What? No. No games. And you can't put your feet up there. My brother will feel a disturbance in the force and just know you’ve messed with his car.” Sam countered; swatting at her feet.  

“Spoilsport.” Charlie huffed as she placed her feet back on the floorboard. “But you at least have to tell me more about yourself other than you're a hunter with a brother who has a weird car fetish and is currently harboring a fugitive alien. I mean, honestly, you could be a murderer and this is all an elaborate ruse that I stupidly fell for just because you supposedly believed in fairies.” Charlie shot Sam a panicked look. “You aren’t, are you?”

“No, I'm not. Ok, technically, we do kill stuff. But not people.” He quickly added when Charlie seemed one second away from flinging the door open and rolling to safety. Despite the fact they were currently going over 75 mph on the interstate.  

“Have you ever killed a person?” Charlie, voice full of caution, wondered.

Sam sighed heavily. “There’s been people we couldn’t get to in time. But no, we’ve never killed anyone on purpose. We save people. That's what we do.”  

“Well, how does someone go about becoming a hunter, exactly? You just leave your nine to five office job and decide, I'm gonna slaughter monsters for a living, instead?” Charlie questioned; interest now thoroughly piqued.  

“A dragon killed our mom when we were little.” Sam offered then glanced over when Charlie let out a sonic level squeak.

“Wait…holy shit! A dragon? Like Game of Thrones dragons? They actually exist? How the hell do people not see them?” Charlie’s feet were now up on the seat as she peeked out from behind her knees.

“Not exactly, but you’re sorta close. You've probably passed by or met, at least five dragons in your life. They can look just like regular humans when they want.” Sam explained but didn’t elaborate. Instead he focused harder on the road ahead of them and steeled himself for what he knew would be Charlie's next question.

It wasn’t one that he was asked often. Though, when people found out that a dragon killed his mom before he was even old enough to retain memories of her beyond those provided by Dean and his dad, Sam was prepared, as best as he ever really would be, with an answer.

“Why'd it kill your mom?” Charlie eventually inquired quietly.  

“Because it couldn't have her, so it didn't want us to either. After she was gone my dad made it his mission to chase the dragon down. Which he did, until the day it eventually killed him, too.” Sam provided truthfully.

“Is it still out there?” Charlie continued when Sam didn’t offer anything else immediately.

“No, it’s gone.” His knuckles tightened against the steering wheel. “We had a dragon, Ruby, that helped us get what we needed to kill it.”

“Wait, so she’s like a good dragon?” Charlie asked, limbs relaxing as she became more engrossed in the story.

Sam couldn’t help the bitter laugh that escaped his mouth at the phrasing.

“I thought she was. I wanted her to be.” Even after all these years, Sam couldn’t control the disappointed longing in his voice and out of the corner of his eye he saw recognition register on Charlie’s face, before he continued. “I tried to convince Dean that she was. But it turned out that he was right in not trusting her all along. In the end we had to put her down, too.”

The silence grew heavier as the miles rolled past, becoming more unbearable to Sam as the minutes ticked by. He started to say something. Anything to fill the void but the words wouldn’t come. Just as he tried a second time, Charlie reached over and switched the radio on. The simple gesture allowed Sam to relax back into his seat while the loud music put distance between them and his old ghosts.

*****

“Dammit, you can't just mind wave away my friggin’ music!” Dean shouted when Ozzy was jarringly replaced by something cheerful, poppy and awful sounding.  

“If we're sharing this space for the next eighteen hours why are you the only one allowed to enjoy the music? Yours is deafening and a lot of it is extremely angry sounding. This is much less violent.” Castiel smiled in Dean's direction and goddammit he was not giving in.

He wasn’t.

“Alright, fine.” Dean sighed in defeat. “I get a couple then you get a few. Sound good?”

“That’s an admirable compromise.” Castiel nodded then returned his attention to the song.

They went through a couple rotations of Dean's music and Castiel's maybe not so bad choices. Except the Tibetan throat singing. That had been too weird for Dean and he didn't even know how Castiel had actually gotten a hold of that far out there frequency.

Hours passed and Dean had kinda forgotten whose turn they were on when the first chords of Hey Jude came through the speakers and his heart tumbled in his chest.

“You can change it.” He said gruffly as his throat tried closing up around the words.

“I don't mind keeping it here. I know this song is important to you.” Castiel perceptively offered.

“You don't know anything about it. And I already told you a dozen times to leave my head alone.” Dean snapped; palms sweating against the steering wheel.

“My apologies.” Castiel manually clicked off the radio and Dean was glad the song was gone. Though, he wasn’t glad, when out of the corner of his eye he saw the raw hurt on Castiel’s face. “Your emotions can be very loud. It is what brought us to this point in the first place, remember? Humans aren't the only ones who experience longing and loss. As I know you became aware of when you were inside my head. And since you did, then you should be aware that I, of all beings, know those particular feelings just as well as you do.”

Dean roughly swallowed then watched as Castiel turned his entire body toward the passenger door, effectively putting an end to all discussion.

After driving nearly 100 miles without either of them saying a word Dean was the one to break the silence.

“Man, it's a harsh subject, my mom, ok? I know you rooted around in my melon enough to see what happened to her.” He glanced at his watch then the fuel gauge as Castiel shifted in the seat beside him.

“I did. Though, I also saw happy memories connected to the song and thought you'd enjoy that piece of her.” Castiel stared at him but Dean forced himself to focus more attention than necessary on steering towards the next exit ramp.

“It's never not gonna be freaky that you know shit about me that most people never will.” Dean sighed heavily, trying not to let the implications of the statement get to him.

“You saw my memories as well.” Castiel pointed out, brow knitted in confusion

“Yeah. But most of them are so out there that I can't even understand what the hell I'm seeing.” Dean countered with a shrug as he pulled into a Gas-N-Sip right off the exit.

“You also felt my emotions toward the loss of Anael, so you know and understand. Just as I understand you.” Castiel bluntly stated to where Dean couldn’t so easily escape the meaning of the words.

“Yeah, man. I do.” Dean honestly confessed as he parked the car beside one of the brightly lit gas pumps.

Castiel didn’t respond but held Dean’s gaze steady as they were both suddenly awash with emotions that strongly swirled around them as if the intention was to fill up the whole interior of the car.

Apology nudged at the space beneath Dean’s sternum and the swiftness with which his own emotions responded with relief and apology in turn, had his cheeks burning with embarrassment.

The ease with which the feelings were coaxed out of him was something he wasn’t used to and it had Dean needing to get out of the car right this second. He broke away and quickly opened the door, busying himself with stretching his aching back and trying to get his breathing under control.

The whole weighty conversation would be way beyond his comfort zone with regular people. Much less an alien who apparently went against his entire programming to pull Dean’s sorry ass outta the proverbial fire just because he “saw something worth saving”.

That was way more than Dean could handle all at once. He needed things to be straightforward and simple for just a little bit.

“Is there food inside?”

“Jesus!” Dean jumped as the sound of Castiel's voice, right next to his ear, dashed all chances of nice and easy. “Can you teleport?” He asked; causing the alien standing way too close to him to tilt his head questioningly.  

“No, I can't teleport in this form. I walked around the back of the vehicle.” Castiel pointed out his path from behind the car.

“We gotta get you a damn bell.” Dean’s grumble turned into a sigh as further confusion crossed Castiel's face. “Yes, there's food. Let's go get some then we'll gas up.”

“There's not a lot of your frou frou salads here but get whatever you want.” Dean instructed as they walked into the store. Without much thought he left Castiel in the candy aisle as he made a beeline for the coffee.  

He was gonna need a Giant Gulp size to get them to Rufus' in a reasonable time.

Despite being exhausted there wasn't any way he was gonna hand the wheel over to a friggin’ alien. He didn’t even know if the dude could drive a crappy old Continental. Probably only drove fancy ass spaceships and shit.

“I don't like the texture of hummus.”

“Goddammit!” Dean yelped, hot coffee splashing against the counter and onto his shirt. He turned and pointed a finger at Castiel. “Personal space, dude.”

“Oh, yes.” Castiel acknowledged and took a step back.

“That shit's gross, anyway. You're better off... Wait, what?” Dean glanced from Castiel holding an armful of packages to the fridge aisle where a mass of opened items had been left strewn haphazardly on the store’s tiled floor.

“Shit, you can't do that! It's not like Biggerson's. You can't just eat the food.” Dean said as he hurried over to the incriminating trail of food.

“But how do I know if I like it?” Castiel asked while helping Dean pick up his rejected selections.

“These places are made for human, not friggin’ spacemen, traffic. And people usually already know what we wanna stuff in our faces before we stop here.” Dean inspected a container of yogurt then grimaced. “No wonder you didn't like any of this crap. You grabbed all the stuff that had the consistency of either snot or baby shit. C’mon.”

Dean went to the check out and placed all the merchandise, unopened and otherwise, on the counter in front of a wide eyed, young cashier.

“Will this be all?” The blue vested teenager asked; voice cracking.

“You need anything else?” Dean turned briefly to Castiel, who shook his head.

“Nah, just this and $30 on pump five.” Dean answered with a lopsided grin.

The cashier began scanning and bagging their items then looked to Dean when he was finished, “Your total is $74.98.”

“Holy shit.” Dean choked in surprise before pulling Castiel over to the card machine. “You’re up, buddy.” He clapped Castiel on the back then stepped out of the way.

While Castiel did his thing, Dean watched not only the blue glow coming from under his hand but the kid’s complete obliviousness to it.

“Have a nice day.” The cashier offered in a relieved tone and gesturing toward their bags when the register beeped its approval.

“Yep, will do!” Dean agreed, grabbing the bags and hurrying out of the store.

“You gotta explain how you do that. That kid didn’t even seem to notice.” Dean laughed and affectionately slung an arm around Castiel’s shoulder as the alien offered a small smile in return.

“I can’t believe we got $75 worth of stuff. We ain't stopping till we get to the cabin.” Dean declared as they approached the car. He hurriedly placed the bulk of their haul in the backseat then opened the driver’s door and leaned in as Castiel took his seat up front.

“I'm definitely gonna need this now.” Dean yawned while putting his overly large cup of coffee in the holder in the center console.

“Are you tired?” Castiel inquired as he looked up from inspecting his bottle of organic mango, kiwi and five other fruits Dean had never heard of, smoothie.

“It's been one hell of a trip, man. I'm fucking exhausted but we've got places to be.” Dean answered, still halfway into the car instead of pumping the gas.

“I can help with that.” Castiel extended as he raised two fingers to Dean's forehead.

*****

“You ever notice all the Gas-N-Sips are pretty much identical?” Charlie asked as she joined Sam near the convenience store’s freezer section. “I mean same food, same décor, even the cashiers look the same.”  

She pointed at the bored teenager behind the counter as they walked toward the chip aisle.

“A few years ago, me and a friend were on a road trip when stopped at one to use the restroom but their women's room was closed. We got back on the highway for a bit, then came to another that had an out of order bathroom, as well. We thought we'd fallen into some weird wormhole or something.” Charlie suddenly froze and looked up at Sam with wide, terrified eyes. “Oh, God, those aren't real, too, are they?”

Sam shook his head and chuckled, “I don't think so. But it'd definitely explain some things. I've been through so many Gas-N-Sips while growing up that I thought they were just blending...” Sam stopped suddenly and peered hard over Charlie's shoulder.

“Sam, what the hell?” Charlie started to turn around but Sam grabbed her arm.

“Don't. Just go pretend you’re interested in that arcade machine next to the entry.” Sam kept his eyes locked to whatever was behind Charlie, instead of on her, while giving his instructions.

“You're scaring me. What the hell is it?” Charlie dropped the bag of chips she’d picked up on the shelf beside her.

“Feds.” Sam whispered before stepping away from her side.  

He'd seen and dealt with more than his share of law enforcement, at all levels, and the two guys who just walked inside the store were definitely higher up on that food chain, despite their casual attire.

As he moved toward the front, Sam kept an eye on Charlie as she made her way over to the ancient arcade game. She was nearly there when the two men whispered to each other and turned their attention from her to look directly at Sam.

“Charlie, go!” Sam yelled across the store. He grabbed the chip rack next to him and threw it forward. The metal shelves crashing into the two agents that blocked his path. He knew it wouldn’t hold them long. Sam bolted down an aisle, aiming for the front door. He tipped over a soda display as the Feds swore and the cashier shouted. The soda fizzed and popped, cans breaking open behind him as he made it outside.

As Sam hurried to where he’d parked along the front of the store, he saw Charlie crouched down beside a truck close to the door. Before he could say anything, she put a finger to her lips then pointed at a sedan parked next to the Impala that was occupied by another agent.  

“Distract that asshat.” Charlie ordered just above a whisper as she disappeared behind the truck.

Sam started toward the Impala but heard a shout behind him. Spinning around he saw the two soda drenched agents from inside making their way toward him.

The one nearest Sam began to pull a gun from behind his back and Sam lunged forward, closing the distance between them and punching him square in the face. The force snapped his head back and sent his gun clattering to the ground.

Sam grabbed the dazed agent by the shirt and shoved him hard into his partner, both of them stumbling backward.

A couple of loud thwumps rang out, followed by the hiss of air going out of tires as Sam ran for the Impala.

“Get in!” Charlie shouted while the agent next to them stepped out of his vehicle.

Charlie flung open the Impala’s backdoor then dove in just as the agent’s door fully opened, effectively trapping him between the two vehicles and giving Sam enough time to rush for the driver's side.  

The Impala roared to life and as Sam pulled out, both doors screeched against the metal of the opposite car. When they were free of the agents’ sedan, Charlie slammed the door shut and popped up from the backseat just as a bullet pinged off the trunk.

“Holy shit!” She crawled into the front but continued staring out of the back window until they were miles down the interstate.

“I am totally writing the company about these!” Charlie bubbled; holding open her palm, fingers through the ears of a pink metal cat. “It definitely did its job at defending. Though, I don't think that's quite what they had in mind.”

*****

“Henriksen.” The agent answered the phone then turned his attention to his Biggerson’s waitress, declining her offer of a refill by placing his free hand over his still half full cup. “I'm good.”

“You better hope you are.” Cecily interjected over the line. “Your Impala and its occupants got away from another group of agents just outside of Butte.”

“And you're telling me this why?” Henriksen inquired, leaning back in the uncomfortable restaurant booth as he sipped his tepid coffee and wondered what was so important about this particular suspect. “Crowley made it more than clear that I was off the case.”

“Because you're the best agent we have and Crowley is stupid for pulling you out. Especially with the way he's raging on about it. There’s more here than just an international fugitive. Something that could move us both up and out from under Crowley. Which, I’ve got the wheels moving on exactly that, as we speak. Get to Kansas City immediately and I'll have a plane ready to take you to Butte. You'll hopefully be able to catch up to these two in a hurry. This is your last chance. Don't lose them again, Henriksen.”

*****

“Thank fuck.” Dean breathed when Rufus' place came into view way sooner than he’d expected.

The rundown cabin had seen better days but it was still far from being condemned. And right now, the sagging stairs and rickety front porch swing in the bright sunlight looked like nothing short of freedom to Dean.

Flinging his arm out of the open window, Dean coasted it along the wind as they slowly drove up the narrow dirt lane, coming to a stop right in front of the cabin.

Just as Dean threw a grin Castiel’s way and reached into the back for their things, his phone rang.

“Hey, yeah what’s up?” He asked while nearly crawling over the seat to pick up the just out of reach Gas-n-Sip bags.

“Dean? Is everything alright?” Sam’s concern rang sharply over the line.

“Yeah, Sammy everything’s fine. Why aren’t you here yet?” Dean bumped Castiel with the bags then motioned toward the cabin as he opened his door.

“Here? Are you already at Rufus’? Dean, how in the hell is that possible?”

“What? Yeah, we’re here. And clearly it’s not impossible ‘cause I’m looking at the porch post you carved Tammy Newsome’s name into when you were twelve.” Dean bounced up the steps with a chuckle. “Jesus, Rufus nearly skinned you alive for that one.” He continued, jogging from one end of the porch to the other.

“We ran into some more fed trouble. It’s taken care of but we’re still a couple hours out. Are you sure everything’s ok? You sound weird.”

“I sound awesome!” Dean proclaimed as he began jumping instead of running around the porch.

“If you say so. We’ll be there as soon as we can.” Sam assured before disconnecting.

Dean looked up from his phone and grinned when his latest leap brought him near Castiel.

Zips of electricity pulsed through his body, demanding that he keep moving, even though he could finally afford to stay still for a bit.

He felt like he'd been struck by lightning.

Hell, he'd taken speed a time or two when he was younger but this... this... oh.

“Cas, I need you to take this non-tired, whatever, mojo shit, off me, man. I feel like I'm about to run right outta my skin.” At that moment his feet did a strange little jig that he wasn’t certain he was in full control of.

“Yes, that would be a very unfavorable side effect.” Castiel moved closer and placed two fingers on his forehead, the 50-tons of erratic energy disappearing instantly. “I'm sorry about that. My powers are harder to control in this form than I expected.”

“Whatya mean? I thought you guys had these tailor made meatsuits ready and waiting for you.” Dean coughed as he opened the door and was assaulted with dust and spider webs as he reached for the light switch just inside the entryway.  

“This isn't my earthbound vessel. I made this body with my own energy before our touchdown.” Castiel nonchalantly dropped the bomb on Dean while casually strolling around the long shut up cabin’s main, open spaced area.

“Dude, what the fuck? Is that something you guys regularly do?” Dean stood, stunned still by the revelation, in front of a rickety old black chair near one of the cabin’s dirty windows.

“Not at all. I couldn't get to my vessel and get you off the ship at the same time. You could say I made it up as we went.” Castiel stated, long fingered hand running over the dusty counter top in the kitchen.

Dean couldn’t believe what he was hearing. That he’d essentially been a crash test dummy while they rocketed through fucking space. What would have happened if Castiel had made the wrong calculations along the way?

“Could I have been blow up or some shit?” Dean found movement again and flopped dramatically down onto the red couch that groaned in protest beneath him.

“No, you were perfectly safe at all times.” Castiel assured as he stood by the small, shallow sink in his jeans, pink sweatshirt and tan trench coat.  

Dean eyes roamed over Castiel’s dark mop of bedhead, the stubble on his cheeks and wondered about the alien’s real vessel.

Was the strong runner’s build with those thick thighs part of the original package? The broad shoulders and thin waist that were currently hidden underneath that awful oversized trench coat? The way Castiel smiled at him. Would that have been affected by his normal vessel?

“Does this body look like your regular one?” Dean finally asked after he'd focused on Castiel's wide, pink mouth longer than he should have.

Castiel's eyes went large as he suddenly looked anywhere but at Dean. “I...I may have panicked a bit at the time and latched onto the most recent and nearest available image.”

“What?” Dean leaned forward at Castiel's awkward admission and the way his cheeks darkened in a very human show of embarrassment.  

A flash of the hot aliens he’d thought about while still attached to the table flooded Dean’s brain. Castiel did look sorta similar to the dudes. Except intense blue eyes instead of brown.

“Oh my god! You're a porn alien!” Dean exclaimed loudly as realization hit. “I can't even be mad at you! This shit's too hilarious!

Dean slapped his knee in good humor then got up and pulled the still visibly uncomfortable Castiel from the kitchen area with an arm around his shoulder. “Come on, let’s go to the store. I'm starving and we need to stock up before Sam gets here.”

Chapter Text

Dean could probably count on both hands how many times he'd actually shopped for real groceries in a real grocery store during his entire life.

Ok, this was a Super Wal Mart, so they had everything in God's creation at their fingertips, but still. Now here he was, in the produce’s cold section, picking out organic Spring Mix with a friggin’ extra-terrestrial.

Or at least he had been a couple minutes before.  

He’d turned away for a split second to grab one of the salad bags while asking Castiel if it was good to go in the cart. When Castiel hadn’t answered Dean had glanced up from the nine million different packages of the same leafy shit and found him nowhere in sight.  

He’d looked to his direct left and right and didn’t see a single sign of Castiel. Then he went to the end of the aisle where he checked down the main walkway, finding nothing but a mass of shoppers unaware of Dean’s current missing alien problem.

“I’m gonna put a friggin’ homing device on him.” Dean groused just as the loud giggling of children rang out from behind a large bin of stacked high watermelons on the opposite side of the produce section.

He hurried over and found exactly what he’d been searching for.

In the middle of four carts filled with excited young kids, steered by their just as interested mothers, stood Castiel. A serene smile on his face as he held out his hand, palm up. In the air just above that, at chest level were various sizes of fruit that floated around in front of him in a galaxy formation.

Dean stood near the back, quietly watching the spectacle and taking in the happy energy Castiel was putting off in waves.

“Mommy! How does he do that?” A wide eyed little girl in the cart closest to Dean turned in her seat to ask her mother.

“Magic, honey.” The woman said sweetly and Dean wondered how shocked she’d be by how close to truth her answer actually was.

He looked up from a kiwi that was revolving around the navel orange sun, to see Castiel watching him with a proud smile.

Dean winked and Castiel turned his attention back to the fruit as a blush crept over his handsome features.

Castiel then moved his hand sideways and the galaxy followed. Tilting on its side as the fruit continued spinning to the raucous clapping of the onlookers. The count of which had more than doubled since Dean joined them.

A walkie talkie went off nearby, calling for assistance in produce and Dean realized he wasn’t the only one who’d taken notice of the crowd.

“Dammit.” Dean huffed as he pushed through the mass of carts so he could get to Castiel.

Without explanation he yanked Castiel away from his adoring crowd, causing the fruit to thump to the ground as parents and kids alike 'awwwed' at the abrupt end of the “magic trick”.  

Grabbing their cart, Dean hastily steered Castiel around the corner and headed for an area that was as far away from the disturbance as possible. “Let's get outta here, David Copperfield.”

*****

When they returned to the cabin, the first thing Dean saw as they pulled into the driveway was a big, black car, the Impala, parked close to the porch.

“Oh, baby.” Dean practically purred, then felt an affection for the car that didn’t belong to him brush against his own emotions at seeing his beloved car again.

“You have a very nice vehicle, Dean.” Castiel, with an adoring expression on his face, complimented.

“Damn, right I do!” Dean grinned then flung the Continental’s door open and headed for his baby. Just as he reached the passenger side Dean saw out of the corner of his eye, a gigantic figure appear on the porch with a gun drawn.

“Sammy!” Dean called out. He turned from the car and started up the cabin steps as his brother put his pistol away.

“Dean! Jesus, are you ok?” Sam wrapped his brother in a crushing bear hug before he could actually respond.  

“I'm fine or at least I was until you cracked a rib.” Dean wheezed, slapping Sam on the shoulders as he backed up and right into Castiel, whose hand was suddenly hovering near his ribcage.

“If you’re hurt I can easily heal you.” The alien said; face scrunched up in concentration. “But I don't detect any damage, Dean.”

“Heal? Seriously? No, dude. It's just a joke.” Dean tried to clarify as Castiel continued to stare at him, perplexed. “Never mind. I'm fine.” Dean assured as he self-consciously swatted the concerned touch away.

“You must be Cas.” Sam held out his hand while trying and failing to reign in his eagerness to meet the genuine, no joke, extra-terrestrial, “I'm...”

“Sam Winchester.” Castiel took Sam’s large hand in both of his. “It’s a pleasure to meet the person Dean is so proud of.”

“Dude, what the fuck?” Dean spluttered as Sam let out a bark of laughter.

“Is he? Well, he's alright. When he's not being a complete asshole.” Sam joked before being interrupted by a bouncing ball of red headed excitement that burst through the open door.

“Whoa! Are you the alien?” She asked; making a beeline straight for Castiel's side.

“Charlie, this is my brother, Dean and this is Cas.” Sam introduced as Charlie waved distractedly at Dean while beaming brightly up at Castiel.

“Wait, this comic chick?” Dean fixed Sam with a ‘you’ve got to be shitting me’ expression as the younger Winchester just shrugged in response.

“Dean, clearly she's a human female not a baby chicken.” Castiel interrupted and Charlie laughed loudly.

“I like you!” She declared as she reached out and tightly hugged a bewildered Castiel.

Dean rolled his eyes at everyone involved in the surreal porch display. “Hate to break up your weird lovefest but there’s food I’d like to get outta the car ‘cause I’m friggin’ starving.”

“You’re always starving.” Came the identical response from both Sam and Castiel that had Sam snorting with amusement as he patted Castiel on the shoulder.

“I hate all you assholes.” Dean complained before stomping down the steps to go give his baby a once over.

A task that immediately had him seeing red. His blood pressure spiking and his head throbbing as he took in the damage inflicted on his beloved car.

SAMMY!” Dean roared; making everyone still on the porch, jump. “What the hell did you do to my car?”

Dean crouched to inspect the heavy scratches in the black paint that went down to the metal and marred the front right side of the car.

Sam joined him and brushed his hand over a spot on the trunk that Dean didn’t think he was quite ready to ask about. “You can thank the Feds for that. Happened while we were getting away from them the last time.”  

“They better hope it is the last time or I’ll be taking it out of their asses if we see them again.” Dean threatened as he got to his feet, groaning in pain when he saw the bullet hole under Sam’s fingers.

Running a hand carefully over the car, Dean eyed his little brother for any similar injuries. “You guys are ok, though, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, we’re good.” Sam nodded then brushed hair behind his ears. “You should have seen Charlie. She had this pointy cat thing that she popped their tires with.”

“I’m just glad it actually worked.” Charlie chimed in as she and Castiel walked passed, their arms full of groceries.

“You think you got enough food?” Sam asked while Dean watched the pair head up the steps.

“Hey, there’s plenty of booze in there, too.” Dean informed the younger Winchester as he leaned against the side of the Impala. “Thought we might need it after all of this mess. Plus, Cas is still trying to figure out the whole human food deal so there’s all kind of shit in there for him.”

“Dean, about Cas,” Sam started carefully, “He seems nice. A little odd, but alright. Are you sure we can completely trust him, though? I mean…” Sam paused as Castiel returned to the Continental to get the final few bags; smiling awkwardly at them as he passed.

“Thanks for the help, guys!” Charlie, hands on her hips, called from the porch before reaching to take some of the bags from Castiel.

“No problem!” Dean waved while grinning widely.

Once the front door closed, Sam returned his attention to Dean, who was unnaturally focused on the far off wooded distance beside the cabin.

“Just because he’s nice doesn’t stop the fact that he’s one of the aliens that kidnapped you.” Sam pushed on, hoping to catch Dean before he shuttered off any chance of discussion.

“Yeah, he is.” Dean started, hand rubbing at his neck as he purposefully avoided his brother’s inquiring stare. Sam wasn’t wrong. But he didn’t know everything Castiel had done, had risked just for him. “But he also put his own ass on the line to save me.”

At the admission, Sam turned so he was fully facing Dean. “What do you mean? Why would he do that?”

“I don’t know, dude. Maybe I’m just that irresistible?” Dean defensively joked while finally meeting Sam’s gaze. He didn’t currently have the energy to explain the whole emotion-laden deal that led up to his and Castiel's escape and return to Earth. “C’mon. We better go help these two out with dinner so they don’t accidentally burn the whole place down.”

Dean pushed himself away from the car, ending any further questions as he walked toward the cabin, Sam silently following next to him.

*****

Henriksen had just stepped off the plane, feet barely touching the tarmac of the Bert Mooney airport when his phone rang.

“I’m here.” He answered, knowing full well without even looking at the display that the call was from Cecily.

“Good. I’ve located the car. It’s stopped at a cabin Whitefish, Montana and looks like it might be its final destination. If you hurry you can make it in a few hours.”

“Send the exact location to my phone and I’ll be there.” Henriksen said and hung up the phone. He made his way toward the rental kiosk, phone chiming at his side as he began talking to the young rental agent behind the counter.

*****

“Cecily! What's the latest on that atrocious boat of a car?” Crowley shouted into the intercom.

Instead of an answer, the door to his office opened, revealing a young man standing in the entryway.

“Cecily has gone home for the day, sir.” He shifted nervously as Crowley took in his unfamiliar appearance.

“Who the bloody hell are you, then?” Crowley demanded, eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“I'm Trent, sir. The nighttime office manager.” He straightened under the continued scrutiny.  

“Well, Trent, nighttime office manager, get me the information on that car. NOW.” Crowley snapped.

“Actually, sir, I have the last coordinates Cecily transferred to Agent Henriksen, right here.” Trent stepped further into the office, paperwork in his hand.

“What do you mean, Henriksen? Who gave him permission to continue on this case? He already proved he couldn’t keep up with the suspects.” Crowley growled in increasing anger.

Trent looked at his printouts then back up at Crowley. “It looks like Cecily received approval from Ms. Abaddon, sir.”

“That sneaky cow! How dare she go above my head! Give me those coordinates then get me a plane!” Crowley ordered with a shout and a slam of his fist on his desk.

Chapter Text

“Alright, Sam gets the shamefully burnt burgers.” Dean sniped while forming the beef patties next to the stove. “Charlie, how do you like your burgers?”

“Medium’s good.” Charlie answered from the couch where she, Castiel and Sam were playing Uno with the world’s oldest deck that she’d found in the far back of an upstairs closet.

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Dean crowed happily as he pointed the spatula in Charlie’s direction. “And Cas gets none.” He added while placing the burgers on the stove’s grill; the meat immediately sizzling from the heat.

“Do you not eat?” Charlie asked Castiel before throwing a pick four down on Sam.

“You’re vicious, Charlie.” Sam groaned in betrayal.

Castiel placed a yellow six on the top of the stack then answered, face contorting with disgust. “I eat but I don’t like the bloody quality of hamburgers.”

“Did you let Dean order for you?” Sam guessed with a sympathetic chuckle.

Castiel nodded, “Yes, I did. It was shortly after we arrived.”

“Dean make a well done burger for Cas.” Sam requested.

Dean rolled his eyes at his brother but began making another burger even while grumbling about how the aliens definitely should have taken Sam instead.

“Do you guys abduct a lot of people? What do you do with them before you drop them back off?”

The innocent inquiry from Charlie had Dean’s hands coming to a stuttered stop as he waited for Castiel’s response. Seconds ticked by without it coming but a nearly violent surge of panic thudded into Dean as he turned toward the living room.

Castiel stared at him, eyes filled with the same fear that was battering against Dean’s chest at that very moment.

“Hey, Cas come help me with this, will ya?” Dean called out.

He instantly felt gratitude replace alarm, Castiel sagging in relief as he hurriedly slid from his spot on the couch and made his way to Dean’s side.

“Thanks.” Dean offered as he grabbed tomatoes off the counter and placed them in front of Castiel. “Just cut these up in slices, alright?” He quickly demonstrated before returning to the burgers on the grill.

They worked in companionable silence as Charlie continued to slaughter Sam in the card game. And once she’d beaten him four more times in a row, Dean called the pair over to the table where he and Castiel were laying out delicious looking and smelling burgers on Rufus’ old mismatched plates.

"These do appear different than what we had at Biggerson's." Castiel pointed out as he sat down while Sam scoffed.

"Dude, I can't believe you took him to disgusting Biggerson's for a burger. They're awful. I swear all their meat is made out of gray sludge." Sam picked his burger up then turned to Castiel. "Don't worry Dean's are way better. I promise."

Dean sat transfixed in his chair, burger ignored as he watched Castiel warily take a bite, then chew tentatively before his eyes grew wide and he took another much larger bite.

The loud and unintentionally erotic sounding moan the alien emitted caused heat to pool in the pit of Dean’s stomach that he tried hard to ignore as he took in the pleased expression on Castiel’s face.

"This makes me very happy." Castiel exclaimed and the table erupted into laughter.

The first burgers led to seconds and in Castiel’s case third and fourths while everyone else sat back and watched in wonder while drinking the bottles of beer Dean had bought.

“Oh my god. I can’t move.” Charlie heavily sighed when all the plates on the table were finally empty. “Holy crap, dude, those burgers were amazing.”

“Yeah, they were pretty awesome if I say so myself. And since I cooked, you nerds get dish duty.” Dean announced while popping Sam in the side with a dish towel.

“Ow, dammit, Dean.” Sam shouted as Charlie groaned and Castiel looked around puzzled.

“You can come hang out with me if you want, Cas. I’ll let you slide.” Dean offered, leaning back in his chair while tipping up the last of his beer.

‘Hey! No fair!” Charlie huffed in objection even as she started picking up plates while Sam turned on the water and started filling the sink.

Castiel shook his head then took another pull from his own beer. “No, I think I’ll help, if that’s alright?”

Dean nodded, words not forming as he noticed the attractive pink flush the alcohol had given the alien’s tan skin.

Clearing his throat, Dean pointed toward the stairs. “I’m gonna go and see if there’s anything around here to play besides Uno.” He then got up from the table with a slight awkward stumble.

“Geez, Dean, how much did you have to drink?” Sam eyed his brother with concern.

“Shut up. This was only my third.” Dean said, tossing the empty bottle into the trash before going in search of the closet where Charlie found the game earlier.

The stairs wobbled a bit as he moved up them but a firm grip on the railing mostly kept that in check. Though, it didn’t do much for the blurry stair or two…or three that he tripped up as he made his way toward loft area.

Once there, Dean momentarily stopped his mission so he could watch over the ledge as Castiel showed off his pink, sparkly sweatshirt with pride and Charlie revealed the equally garish colored t-shirt under her plaid shirt in return.

Smiling to himself, Dean headed for the small closet near the bathroom that he thought would probably hold any sort of old board games Rufus might have had.  

Opening the door Dean let out a loud belch at the same time laughter came from the kitchen. He bent closer to inspect the shelves as his vision went fuzzier than before.

“Stay still, dammit.” He muttered as the closet’s contents continued to swim in front of him. In irritation he swung the door shut and nearly toppled over when he found Sam standing behind it. “Jesus Christ.”

“Sorry. I thought you heard me.” Sam reached out a steadying hand. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah, man, peachy.” Dean answered as he brushed his brother’s attention off. “What the hell are you creeping around up here for anyway?”

Sam cleared his throat and glanced toward the banister then back at Dean. “I wanted to talk to you. About Cas.”

Dean groaned in annoyance and started for the stairs before Sam stopped him.

“Dean, seriously. Don’t think I didn’t notice the way you deflected Charlie’s abduction question earlier. You gotta let me know what Cas is hiding, man. What happened?”

Dean tried to pull his arm away and almost lost his balance again as the whirling of the loft sped up.

“If he’s dangerous you need to tell me.” Sam demanded and Dean scoffed as he finally got to the stairs.

“Really? He’s not dangerous but he’s sure as shit in danger, thanks to me.” Dean admitted while slowing moving down the steps.

“What the hell does that mean?” Sam questioned as he followed behind.

“Just what I said. He thought my worthless ass was important enough to save and now he’s got his family gunning for him.” At the admission, anxiety swirled in Dean’s chest and he tried to focus on the happy feelings wafting from the kitchen area instead to push it back.

“Shit.” Sam eloquently stated as they made it to the bottom landing.

“Exactly.” Dean replied, walking into the kitchen just in time to see Castiel enthusiastically chug the last of his beer while Charlie giggled.

“Is he drunk?” Dean pointed when Castiel stumbled toward the fridge and started fumbling around for another beer bottle.

“Yeah, I think he might be. Why?” Sam questioned, not understanding Dean’s distress though he paused when he noticed his brother’s flushed face and wide eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“Son of a bitch!” Dean nearly tripped over one of the kitchen chairs as he moved to take a grinning Castiel by the arm.

“Look here, lightweight. I need you to zap this alcohol out of our…my system, pronto.” Dean ordered as his head swam. He felt hazy and wobbly from the alcohol, like he’d just had his first ever drink that day.

“Of course.” Castiel brought two fingers up but missed Dean’s forehead completely and booped him on the nose instead, causing them both to chuckle drunkenly.

“Dean, what the hell?” Sam asked as his worry mounted at the strange display.

“Your brother and I share a profound bond that apparently has a merging effect on our alcohol consumption as well as our emotions.” Castiel offered while meeting the flabbergasted expressions of Sam and Charlie.

“Dude!” Dean hissed and Castiel turned back toward him with an unconcerned shrug.

“I wasn’t going to inform anyone but it seems to be important information at present.” Castiel placed a palm against Dean’s cheek then brought his fingers up again. “Be still.”

It was easier said than done as the room continued to spinning at a breakneck pace. Dean leaned into the warmth of Castiel’s hand and when he finally met Castiel’s unwavering blue gaze, his own personal Tilt-A-Whirl immediately started slowing down.

As Castiel’s hold grew warmer, Dean felt the effects of intoxication gradually disappear from his body. But the absence only intensified the weight of Castiel’s palm against his cheek, which he so very badly wanted to nuzzle into.

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind then Castiel’s thumb brushed across his cheek and the alien caught his attention with a soft smile.

*Hrrrhmm*

Sam cleared his throat and Dean pulled away from Castiel, looking to where his brother and Charlie were staring at him like he’d grown a second head.

“What?” He snapped; suddenly very aware of the heat radiating from where Castiel stood too close next to him.

“Nothing. You know, the last couple of days are really starting to wear on me.” Sam unconvincingly yawned. “I think I’m gonna turn in.” He said, hitching a thumb toward the cabin’s sleeping area.

“That’s a good idea. I think I’m gonna knock out, too.” Charlie chimed in as she tried miserably to cover a grin.

“I’m gonna knock you both out.” Dean grumbled as the pair quickly disappeared around the corner leaving him and Castiel standing in front of the couch alone.

“I don’t require sleep but if you’d like some I’ll be right here when you wake.” Castiel pointed to the kitchen table.

“Nah, not really tired yet. How about we go outside for a bit?” Dean suggested and instantly felt his heart rate pick up and knew the reaction to the offer wasn’t just his own.

“I’d like that.” Castiel calmly agreed even as Dean felt the anticipation rippling off of him.

They’d barely made it out the front door before Castiel reached for Dean’s hand, twining their fingers together.

“Dude, you can’t just… guys don’t…” Dean spluttered feebly as he stared at their joined hands.

'Do you really want me to let go?' The question pushed at his mind in Castiel’s deep rumble of a voice.

Dean felt the comfort in the heat of Castiel’s palm pressed against his own. Felt his body relax despite his heart pounding in his chest.

Then the damn answer came and went before he could even stop the thought. 'Please don’t.'

Castiel gave him a victoriously smug smile and Dean rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Shut up.”

Dean led Castiel down the steps and out passed the cars where he stopped and tilted his head up to take a deep breath of the crisp night air.

“Did you come here often growing up?” Castiel asked when they started off again. Following an overgrown path that would have been hidden to anyone unfamiliar with the property.

“Not really. My dad would drop me and Sam off for weeks at a time with Bobby, who’d bring us along whenever he and Rufus decided to go hunting. Real hunting, though, like deer instead of Rugarus.” Dean smiled as Castiel’s fingers tightened around his. “Rufus made one hell of a venison stew. Oh, you gotta check this out!"

Dean, with Castiel close at his side, came to a halt in front of an enormous pine tree. He peered around into the dark before moving to the right of the tree and off the trail, pushing through some bushes to an even narrower path.

“I mean I know you’ve seen way better views of the stars than this. But when me and Sammy were kids, we thought this was the shit.” Dean explained as they stepped out onto a grassy outcrop with a clear view of the sky above. The stars were bright and brilliantly visible without the congestion and light pollution of the city.

Castiel had become completely silent, hand slipping from Dean’s grasp and it wasn’t until Dean turned that he saw why.

Castiel was standing next to him, staring up at the stars with eyes that were more than a little misty.

“It’s beautiful, Dean.” Castiel uttered in a hushed whisper, voice heavy with emotion.

“Yeah, it is.” Dean answered, eyes fixed intently on Castiel’s upturned face instead of the sky above.

Longing poured off Castiel, thick and potent enough that Dean had tears filling his own eyes as he looked away from the alien beside him.

‘He wants to go home.'

Which was something he couldn’t do now thanks to Dean.

Because he’d thought Dean had been worth saving. Worth losing everything, his entire world, including his fellow aliens, his family.

All of it for one measly human.

The severity of the situation he’d done a good job of skirting around for the last couple of days hit Dean like a ton of bricks, making it hard to breathe as he all but flopped onto the ground.

“Dean, are you alright?” Castiel asked, attention taken away from the sky as he fully focused on the hunter while gracefully folding himself into a seated position next to Dean’s sprawl.

“What is it?” Castiel continued and Dean couldn’t meet his questioning gaze.

“I just…” Dean swiped a hand over his mouth. “What are you gonna do, man? I’m guessing you can’t just waltz back home like nothing happened.”

“No, I suppose that can’t happen.” Castiel shook his head then looked up at the sky. “Not without them possibly killing me. I’m not sure what I’ll do now.”

The matter of fact tone and acceptance of the chance of his death had Dean reaching out and taking Castiel’s hand again. “You don’t have to do this alone. Unless that’s what you wanna do, I mean. But I can help.”

Castiel glanced down to where their hands sat in the space between them then directed a bright grin at Dean, whose heart picked up as a wave of affection washed over him.

“Hey! What about Anael?” Dean suggested, suddenly remembering that maybe Castiel wasn’t without family on Earth. “I mean Anael has to be here somewhere, right?”

“Dean, finding Anael now, after all these years would be like finding a needle in a haystack.” Castiel countered, mouth drawing into a frown.

“I bet Charlie could. Sam said she can apparently do all kinds of shit on that computer of hers.” Dean persisted, not wanting Castiel to give up the potential of hope.

“I appreciate your enthusiasm, Dean.” Castiel squeezed their joined hands in sincerity. “Thank you.”

“Hey, it’s the least I can do. I mean it’s pretty much my fault you’re in this situation anyway.” Dean pointed out. If they hadn’t grabbed him, Castiel would still be out there going about his regular business of scooping up living things all over the galaxy.

“Dean, you helped me remember who I was and I am forever grateful for that.” Castiel admitted with fierce, unwavering surety. A tone Dean recognized, had used himself, if only a handful of times in his life with his loved ones, with his family.

As Castiel finished speaking, Dean noticed the alien’s true light flit behind his gentle gaze as he brought their joined hands to his mouth and kissed Dean’s knuckles.

The gesture had shocks running up Dean’s spine and he instantly knew he wanted his mouth to take the place of his knuckles against Castiel’s mouth.

‘Please.’ The word fanned out toward Dean and burrowed deep in his chest to throb along with the erratic beat of his heart.

“Please.” Castiel repeated aloud as he scooted closed and reached out, just as Dean did the same.

“Yeah, yeah. I gotcha, Cas.” Dean mumbled right before their mouths met.

Letting go of Castiel’s hand he wrapped an arm around his waist, drawing him closer, his body warm if a bit stiff as Dean led the awkward closed mouth kiss.

“Hey.” Dean pulled back a little to get a look at Castiel, who remained straight backed with eyes closed, brow knitted in concentration. Dean didn’t understand Castiel’s sudden nervousness until he saw bright electric blue zip across the surface of his neck. Reminding Dean that before this Castiel had been some sort of multidimensional wavelength of light, instead of a being with a solid body.

Leaning back in, Dean peppered Castiel’s mouth and jaw with light pecks while sending out memories of kisses he’d shared with others throughout his life. It seemed to help, as Castiel loosened against him with a low hum, tongue tentatively catching Dean’s lips on their next pass.

Dean began to chuckle but it was cut short when he suddenly had a lapful of very eager alien.

Castiel wrapped his arms around Dean’s neck as he leaned fully into the kiss, tongue sliding into Dean’s mouth when the hunter gasped at the turn of events.

Dean curled fingers into dark, messy hair as their lips pressed together, kiss getting wetter with the slick slide of their tongues.

Dean broke the kiss so he could tilt Castiel’s head back enough to be able to slide his mouth along the warm skin of his throat, eliciting a groan of approval from the alien.

Alien. Holy shit. He was making out hot and heavy with a fucking alien.

*****

“Think Dean’s gonna have a close encounter tonight?”

“What?” Sam questioned as Charlie’s voice pulled him from the edge of sleep.

“Close encounter.” Charlie snickered from the top of the too short bunkbed she and Sam were currently sharing and supposed to be asleep in.

“Charlie, I swear if you’re asking…” Sam shifted around into another uncomfortable position as the top mattress creaked with Charlie’s movements.

Charlie’s upside down head suddenly appeared over the side of the bunk, red hair falling around her chin as she laughed. “Your brother’s gonna bang an alien. That totally trumps fairy and dragon.”

She sounded excited and Sam contemplated smothering himself with his lone, flat pillow now that the image was planted in his head.

“I should have left you in Missouri.” Sam groaned; using the sad pillow to cover his head in hopes of a quick suffocation.

Chapter Text

“Fast learner.” Dean huffed as Castiel nibbled at his earlobe. “Shit, you’re gonna kill me.” Maybe he should have been more selective in the memories he’d shared and started slow instead of going all out.

Castiel shifted in his lap and Dean thought he might actually die, or come in his pants like it was high school all over again. Which, might be worse than death.

“Cas, you gotta…” He grabbed ahold of the alien’s hips that he swore were rolling intentionally against him.

“Dean, I want to have sex.” Castiel bluntly informed him with confidence, as if it was something he’d done numerous times.

“Oh.” Dean flustered as Castiel watched him intently. “I mean, yeah, we can. We can definitely do that. If you’re sure. Just let me…” Dean tried to disentangle himself but Castiel held on tighter. “I just gotta get some stuff from my car.”

“Where is this stuff?” Castiel demanded, eyes wide, lips spit shiny and kiss swollen.

“It’s a black bag under the front seat of my car.” Dean answered, hands not moving from their grip on Castiel’s thighs. “Gimme a minute and I’ll go…holy shit.”

Between one blink and the next, the bag appeared in Castiel’s right hand.

Dean stared at Castiel in awe then grabbed the bag and tossed it to the side before pulling Castiel closer. “That was awesome. C’mere.”

Castiel easily followed the command, sliding more tightly into Dean’s lap until they were pressed flush together, chests rising at the same time as they breathed, heating radiating off each of them.

Dean moaned when Castiel shifted once more, then cupped each side of the alien’s face and brought him down till their mouths touched again. Tongues teasingly chasing each other with more finesse than there’d been earlier.

Castiel made an impatient noise in his throat that had Dean laughing as he slid his hands beneath Castiel’s coat and sweatshirt. His fingers traveling over warm skin and shifting muscle. “Relax, we’ll get there.”

Dean removed his hands from under Castiel’s shirt long enough to get the bulky trench coat out of the way so he could finally hike the sweatshirt higher, pulling it completely off before throwing it somewhere at their feet.

“Holy shit. Dude, you’re glowing.” Dean exclaimed, reaching out and placing his palm against Castiel’s chest.

The previous brief flashes of Castiel’s true light were now pulsing blue and steady over the alien’s entire body.

“Yes.” Castiel admitted quietly, while not meeting Dean’s eye. “You make it difficult to maintain full control of this form.”

“It doesn’t hurt, does it?” Dean asked, leaning in until Castiel had no choice but to look at him.

“No, not at all.” Castiel scrubbed blunt finger nails through the short hair at Dean’s nape. “Does it bother you?”

“Hell no.” Dean wrapped his arms around Castiel’s waist then dragged him into another kiss while the alien gave a pleased moan.

Arousal and excitement filled the scant spaces left between their bodies and Dean couldn’t tell whose emotions were whose as they swirled around them.

Dean gasped when tendrils of blue light gently caressed his face while Castiel’s hands slipped under his own layers of shirts, determined to divulge him of them.

He was well on his way and had them halfway up Dean’s chest when he froze, tensing in Dean’s lap.

“What? What’s going on?” Dean watched as Castiel peered into the dark behind them, head tilted to the side as if listening for something.

“Someone’s coming.” He finally said, Dean’s shirts slipping from his grasp.

“What?” Dean nearly jostled Castiel off of him as he whipped around. “Like a car?”

Castiel glanced in the direction of the road then back at Dean. “Yes. They’re going slow, but they’re very close. If we hurry we can beat them to the cabin.”

“We gotta go. Get your clothes on.” Dean handed Castiel his sweatshirt when the alien stood, then hauled himself to his feet.

The pair quickly made their way back, reaching the darkness of the porch as the sound of gravel crunching under tires became audible. The door closing behind them as the dark shape of the vehicle came around the corner.

“It’s gotta be the fucking feds.” Dean muttered as they headed for the cabin’s sleeping area.

“Sam.” Dean hissed when he reached his brother’s bedside and was immediately met with Sam’s pistol pointed at his face.

“Dude, what the hell?” Sam sleepily questioned as he lowered the weapon.

“We’re about to have company.” Dean informed him as Sam sat up, barely missing bumping his head on the top bunk.

“Whatzit. Whatsamatter?” Charlie shot up out of sleep and Castiel immediately went to her.

Dean felt nervousness roll over him and he wished he could help quell it for Castiel but his own worry was growing by the minute.

“You two need to stay here while me and Sam handle things.” Dean ordered as Sam got out of bed and headed for the doorway.

“I’m perfectly capable of handling things, Dean.” Castiel straightened and met his eyes in the dimness of the room.

‘But Charlie’s not.’ Dean pushed across the bond and Castiel nodded in understanding as Charlie climbed down from the top bunk to stand next to him.

“The vehicle is stopped in the drive now.” Castiel announced as Sam motioned for his older brother to hurry up.

“Dean, c’mon.” Sam said as he disappeared into the dark of the living area.

“I’ll be right back.” Dean placed a brief kiss on Castiel’s mouth then followed after Sam.

“Looks like only one guy got out of the car. Cas did say only one car, right?” Sam asked from where his large frame was hunched down low by the front windows. “He went to the back but he’ll have to come around if he’s trying to get in.”

Dean nodded, stomach roiling with the thought of this guy taking Castiel away.

“Dude, we’re gonna keep Cas safe.” Sam reached out and squeezed Dean’s shoulder before footsteps hit the front porch.

The door creaked slowly open then a man’s tall frame stood in the doorway, gun visibly drawn.

Sam stepped out of the dark, pistol turned on the man. “Put the gun down. Easy. Then don’t move.”

Dean flicked on the small lamp by the couch revealing the bald, goateed agent who was placing his weapon on the ground like instructed.

“Evening.” Dean trained his gun on the man as he straightened back up. “How can we help you?”

“You do realize you’re holding guns on a federal agent, correct?” He asked; meeting Dean’s false cheer with a stone face.

“We’re very aware…” Dean stepped closer to the man and took the ID out of his jacket pocket. “Agent Henriksen. We’re just not clear on why you’re interested in us.”

“You’re harboring an international fugitive.” Henriksen responded as if the answer should be perfectly clear.

Dean laughed loudly. “International? You hear that, Sammy? He’s looking for an international fugitive. Sorry to disappoint but we don’t have one of those here.”

Sam rolled his eyes at his brother’s taunting and was about to motion for him to stay on task when Henriksen lunged forward to grab Dean’s gun.

“No!” The shout boomed throughout the small cabin and then Dean’s gun went flying away from the three men standing by the door.

With heart thumping in his chest, raw and wild with Castiel’s panic, Dean looked over his shoulder to where Castiel stood in the sleeping area doorway. His right hand was outstretched towards the gun, a faint glow around his fingers, same as the bright blue glow in his eyes, the bright blue Dean remembered from the ship.

“What the hell?” Henriksen muttered as Dean saw Charlie move out from behind Castiel and stare at him in awe.

Turning back, Dean watched as the agent looked confusedly from him to Castiel.

“What’s going on here?” Henriksen demanded, voice wavering from the stoic strength in his uncertainty.

“Buddy, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Dean shook his head then shot a wink in Castiel’s direction.

After a few seconds of silence, Henriksen squared his shoulders and met Dean’s eye. “Try me.”

“Fine. But why don’t you have a seat first.” Dean offered as Sam guided the agent to the chair nearest him while Dean stepped to shut the door.

“What if I told you he wasn’t an international fugitive? Far from it, actually.” Dean leaned against the arm of the couch, directly across from where Henriksen sat keeping a sharp eye on everyone in the room.

Henriksen, composed once again, glared at Dean. “I’ve got to be honest, the little light show didn’t quite make me believe that your friend’s not the guy I’m after.”

“Really?” Dean met Sam’s questioning stare then motioned toward Castiel. “I’m sure he’s got other ways to convince you he’s not an international fugitive.”

“He’s more intergalactic, isn’t that right?” A new voice announced when the front door slammed open to reveal a man in an all-black suit standing on the porch.

“Who the hell are you?” Dean asked as the man entered the cabin even as Sam trained his gun on him.

“Crowley.” Henriksen hissed as he stood and the man’s sights narrowed on the agent.

Henriksen. Clearly I was right to take you off this case since you’ve once again screwed it up by sitting here and being held at gunpoint.” Crowley shouted in mounting frustration.

“Actually, that’d be you.” Sam pointed out and received an exasperated eye roll from Crowley in return.

“Not for long, Jolly Green.”

The man’s threatening presence had Dean immediately on edge. He was not letting him any further into the cabin than he already was.

“Oh, you’re not going anywhere until you tell us what you’re doing here, pal.” Dean folded his arms across his chest, keeping himself as a barrier between Crowley and the path to Castiel.

“What I’m going to do is take our little extra-terrestrial friend with me. Then you’re going to pretend this never happened or none of you will ever be heard from again.” Crowley declared with a victorious grin.

“Yeah, see, I’m not gonna let that happen.” Dean countered as a rush of persistence hit him and he saw Castiel move further into the living room. He pushed across the bond the need for the alien to keep still but could tell it was ignored by the purposeful look in Castiel’s eyes.

“See, I thought that would be your answer and unfortunately it’s the wrong one.” Crowley pulled out a revolver from inside his coat and without hesitation, shot Dean in the stomach.

At the same time as Dean fell with a pained shout, Castiel doubled over as well. An ear splitting screeching left the alien’s mouth that had everyone slamming their hands over their ears as the sound echoed loudly around the small cabin.

“Don’t move, moose or I’ll put a bullet right in squirrel’s head.” Crowley warned once the room grew quiet again. He straightened and gestured toward Dean with his revolver when Sam started for him. “Kick your gun over this way. Now.”

Keeping his gun trained on Dean, Crowley picked up Sam’s pistol then looked at Castiel, who’d shakenly gotten to his feet and attempted to get to the fallen hunter’s side.

“Ah, ah, don’t you move either.” Crowley tsked in admonition.

Sam’s eyes roamed over the cabin. His brother was bleeding on the floor, clutching his stomach, face twisted in pain. Charlie was still in the doorway, her face pale but furious as her eyes flickered between the men. Castiel’s jaw was clenched tight as he glared at Crowley. Next to Castiel, on the floor, was Henriksen’s gun.

“If you let me heal him I’ll go with you without a fight. Please.” Castiel looked like he was going to choke on the last word but his blue gaze stayed steady as he stared Crowley down.

Crowley glanced at his watch as if calculating an important meeting then rolled his eyes and waved at Dean. “Fine. Hurry up and heal your loverboy. We’ve got places to be.”

Sam tried to get Castiel’s attention, but the alien was hyper focused on Dean and was immediately on the floor next to the older Winchester, pressing his large hands to Dean’s belly as they both hissed in pain.

“Honestly. I don’t know how there’s any of you lot left with your incessant need to latch onto humanity.” Crowley huffed in manufactured concern.

“What are you rambling about?” Castiel demanded as blue light emanated from his palms.

“You’re not the first of your kind we’ve come in contact with. 30 years ago we found a beautiful redheaded girl or at least that’s what she appeared to be until we cut into her.” Crowley had a faraway but cruel gleam in his eye. “She left behind the most stunning pink light.”

“Anael.” Castiel growled and Dean flinched. The pain gone from his stomach but piercing anger roiled off Castiel.

“Ah, was that her name? We weren’t properly introduced. We were too busy extracting data from her. Information that has brought about all sorts of inventions that thrive today.” Crowley smugly admitted as Castiel got to his feet, hands balled in rage at his sides.

“How dare you. I will end…” Castiel seethed as he made steps toward Crowley.

“Now, now, darling, don’t even think of doing anything other than coming along as promised.” Crowley tutted, bringing Castiel to a halt as he cocked the revolver aimed directly at Dean’s head. “I’ve held up my end of the deal now it’s time for you to do the same.”

With that, Crowley kept his revolver trained on Dean as he backed up toward the open door. He barely stepped over the threshold before suddenly dropping heavily to the cabin floor like a sack of flour.

Standing right where he’d just been was a dark haired woman with blue eyes dressed in jeans and a too big white t shirt.

“Hannah.” Castiel said with great affection and Dean watched as the woman stepped over Crowley’s crumpled body with indifference and made her way to Castiel.

Sam rushed to Dean’s side, helping his brother up as Castiel and the newcomer stared at each other in silent conversation.

Except it wasn’t as silent as they may have thought as Dean started hearing bits and pieces as Charlie moved to huddle under Sam’s outstretched arm and Henriksen watched the unfolding scene from the other side of the room.

‘Castiel, were you injured?’ She stepped forward and pressed a hand to Castiel’s abdomen right at the spot Dean himself had been shot.

Dean felt worry ripple off her and wrap protectively around Castiel.

‘No, Hannah, I’m not hurt.’ Castiel responded; stopping her hand’s concerned trek.

‘But your pain sensors were activated. It’s how we found your location. Where have you been? We thought we’d lost you after the accident days ago.’

‘Accident?’ Castiel wondered, not quite grasping the label put on their escape.

‘Yes, the ship’s faulty expulsion of you and the human.’ Hannah provided, as if there could be no other explanation to their disappearance.

“Dean, what the hell is going on? Who is she?” Sam leaned close and whispered.

“Another friggin’ alien.” Dean muttered as the pair continued their conversation, oblivious to those around them.

Looking to the doorway he saw Henriksen had moved to check on Crowley, fingers against the unconscious man’s throat in search of a pulse. Dean found himself disappointed when the agent relaxed a bit as he apparently located one.

Hannah pleadingly reached out for Castiel’s arm. ‘Castiel, let’s go home. This is no place…’

“Why? So you dicks can poke and prod at him until he’s “right” again? No friggin’ way.” Dean snarled defensively, interrupting the conversation.

Hannah looked from Castiel to Dean then back again as a scandalized expression slipped over her features.

“How is this possible? Oh, Castiel. What have you done?” She shook her head in shock and disappointment that had Castiel lighting up with shame.

Dean wanted to go to him then but Sam held a restraining hand to his chest; knowing what his brother was going to do, just from his body language.

'Cas, you gotta look at me, man. Please.” Dean sent out and Castiel glanced toward him. “You didn’t do anything wrong. You saved me.' Dean added and felt guilt dissipate as Castiel returned his attention to the other alien.

“I did what I had to do, Hannah. These humans, every one of the species we encounter, we shouldn’t treat them the way we do. We’re no better than him,” Castiel explained as he pointed to where Crowley was still out cold on the floor. “and what he did to Anael.”

Dean shrugged off Sam’s hold when jagged anguish rushed over him and he didn’t think twice about moving to Castiel’s side, even under Hannah’s critical eye.

“Come with me. This can be corrected.” Hannah emotionally pleaded, her focus firmly set on Castiel.

Dean tried to reign in his dismay at the thought of Castiel leaving. It wasn’t his place to ask him to stay, especially if he really wanted to return home.

Dean kept his eyes on the ground but heard a sniff coming from Charlie.

Suddenly Castiel reached for Dean’s hand and he felt deep adoration with the action. “No, Hannah.”

“No?” Hannah disbelievingly looked between the pair. “You’re going to stay here? Give up everything you’ve ever known, for a human?”

“Yes, I am.” Castiel affirmed with a strong squeeze of Dean’s hand.

“You will never be able to return to us once I leave here.” She explained sadly, voicing shaking with painful regret as realization set it.

Dean was surprised by the depth of emotion from Hannah but understood when an even more powerful loss bumped against him from Castiel.

He tugged the alien around until they were facing each other. “You don’t have to do this. If you really want, you should go. You don’t really wanna be stuck on this shithole planet.”

Castiel tilted his head, trying to understand. “Do you want me to leave?”

Dean cut his eyes away as he painfully swallowed around the lump in his throat.  His chest ached with the need to beg Castiel to stay but he couldn’t do that. It wasn’t right. No one deserved to be saddled with a lifetime of Winchester crap.

He looked up when Castiel’s palm slid over his cheek. “Dean Winchester, you are a good and loyal man and I would rather be with you than anywhere else in the entire universe.”

Dean’s face burned red with embarrassment, even more so when Charlie made an awwww noise from behind them.

“Shut up.” Dean scolded in her direction as Castiel squared his shoulders and met Hannah’s waiting stare.

“I understand your conditions and I accept them.” He declared and Hannah nodded solemnly before stepping close and placing a soft kiss to Castiel’s cheek.

“Then this is goodbye, Castiel.” Hannah then tilted her face up to the ceiling and began to glow with purple light that only grew brighter until the humans in the room has to cover their eyes.

When the room dimmed again moments later Dean watched as Charlie and Sam blinked and attempted to adjust their vision to the suddenly darker room and Henriksen helped a now conscious Crowley to his feet.

“What’s happened? Where are we?” Crowley muttered confusedly as he looked around the cabin and its occupants.

“What are you going to do now that you know the truth?” Dean asked Henriksen, keeping his voice calm even though his insides were in chaos.

“Once back to headquarters I’ll tell them exactly that…mostly. Upon arriving at the Whitefish cabin I cornered the suspect,” Henriksen pointed to the spot Hannah had stood, then to the ceiling. “but an escape was made during the ensuing standoff.” The agent answered bluntly then glanced between Dean and Castiel. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.” Dean met Castiel’s calm gaze then smiled widely as the alien wrapped arms around him in a tight hug. “I guess we’re just gonna have to make it up as we go.”