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There are too many new faces at once in his bar for Dean’s liking. Not customers, of course, new customers are always a good thing. But people he has to work with. People he hasn’t chosen himself.

For one, there’s the guy with the silver hair and the silver eyes sitting by the bar with a coke. Aleksandr Chaadayev, a name Dean still isn’t sure how to spell right. He also still hates the thought that he needs a bodyguard now, but if it makes Michael worry less, he’ll learn how to deal. It would probably be easier, if silver eyes was the only addition to the team.

But then there’s …

“You should show me some respect,” comes a deep voice from the direction of a nearby table. Dean’s new waiter is frowning down on a blond girl that’s seated there.

The girl rolls her eyes. “Listen, I totally don’t care what you think I should. I ordered a skinny latte, but this is like totally not low fat milk. It’s really not that hard to get a simple order right!”

That makes Dean bristle. He got that order right for sure. He takes pride in getting orders right, no matter how many extra requirements. So he kinda wants to echo what the new guy said, but there are things you don’t say to customers no matter what. That’s why he just sighs and steps out from behind the bar. “What’s the matter here?”

In the end he gives up trying to convince the girl that she got low-fat milk and just makes a new latte for her. Then he sends the new guy into the cellar to stock up on things, where he doesn’t have to interact with customers for a while. When Dean settles back behind the bar, silver eyes is watching him with an amused expression.

“What’s so funny?” Dean grumps.

“Never seen anyone as useless with customers as Castiel,” silver eyes says.

Ah yes, Castiel, that’s the name. Michael had asked Dean to hire the guy. Apparently he’s family. A cousin or something, and he just got out of prison. What was it again? Helping a friend sell military equipment? Way to get a dishonorable discharge.

“What do you know about the guy, Silver eyes?” Dean asks.

His new bodyguard lifts and eyebrow. “Silver eyes?”

“Would you prefer Immortal?” According to Michael that’s what some people call his new bodyguard. Pretty overdramatic nickname.

“Oy!” Silver eyes complains. “Don’t call me that. It’s too much like tempting fate for my liking, you feel me?”

Dean laughs. “Yeah, fair enough.” He has to give it to the guy, he’s not that bad. “But your actual name is a quite a mouthful.”

“Call me Sasha.”

“Alright, Sasha. So, what do you know about the new guy?”

Sasha shrugs. “All I know is that the boss wants me to watch him and see, if he’s trustworthy. Apparently he just showed up. Not much contact before that. But he’s family and he’s already been doing shady business. Apparently pretty successful, before he was busted. So maybe he’s useful.”

“What’s your verdict so far?” It’s only been a few hours, but Dean is curious. Maybe you have to have some kind of super people assessing skills to become a mafia bodyguard. Who knows.

Sasha grins and takes a sip from his coke. “That he’s pretty useless with customers.”

“No shit,” Dean says.

Castiel fumes, when he gets off work later. The nerve some people have! It’s like by showing up to work this morning he had somehow resigned some human rights. Instead they use him as an outlet to their frustration and expect him to smile and nod along the way.

He still doesn’t get why Michael has sent him to wait tables here, either. Wasn’t there supposed to be some shady business going on? At least that’s what Naomi said. If the FBI was wrong about this, if they practically forced him into service and sent him here for nothing, he hopes the feds will at least keep their part of the deal anyway.

Well, at least they had been right about Michael and Dean Winchester. There is some kind of connection obviously.

Castiel walks home through the darkness, not particularly afraid of what might lurk there, even though Dean had warned him that the neighbourhood isn’t the best. He kind of hopes someone might try something. At least he could vent some of his anger that way.

He has a small apartment not that far away in a house riddled with graffiti. The stairwell stinks of something rotten all the time, and he holds his breath until he reaches his door and hurries in.

He has only just pulled off his shoes, when his phone rings. He thinks about not answering it, just out of spite, but then he does so anyway.

“Report,” Naomi’s voice comes from the other side of the line.

Castiel huffs. “I waited tables for ten hours.”

“I want a report on the important parts,” she says testily. “Did you get close to Sam Winchester?”

He wishes there was some way to tell her to just fuck off. The words are on the tip of his tongue. He swallows them down, though. “The bar my cousin sent me to work in belongs to Dean Winchester.”

“Excellent.” The self-satisfied smile he hears in her voice makes him scowl at nothing. “Sam Winchester will show up there eventually. Just work on winning his brother’s trust for the moment. And that of your cousins.”

Castiel rolls his eyes. That much was kind of obvious. “Yes, ma’am. When will you let Balthazar out then?”

“As soon as there are some results.”

Castiel’s fingers clench around the phone. “What if there are none?”

“There will be. People that don’t have anything to hide usually don’t quit the service as a police officer and start a stripping career at questionable joints. Don’t worry. Do your work right and your friend will be free soon.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says again through clenched teeth. Hopefully, this will be over soon.

It actually doesn’t take long until Sam Winchester shows up. Castiel and Kevin are on their own for the night. Dean is somewhere else, Castiel doesn’t know exactly where. But he recognizes Sam from the photos Naomi has shown him. Not that it’s easy to miss someone that tall.

He’s in the company of a small brunette woman and a blond man that looks somewhat familiar. Castiel squints at the later until Kevin nudges him. “Dude, stop staring. Go wait on the people on table three. They’ve been trying to get your attention for a while now.”

Table three is making things needlessly complicated, of course, by wanting to pay separately, but arguing over who pays for what. Castiel resigns himself to waiting and eyerolling. By now he knows that any input from his side will not be appreciated.

When he comes back, Sam and his companions are sitting at a table near the bar, talking animatedly.

“Who is that?” Castiel nods towards their table.

Kevin doesn’t even look up from taping beer. “You mean Sam? The tall one? That’s Dean’s brother.”

“No, the other man.”

That makes Kevin stop for a moment. “Oh.” He hesitates. “I’m not supposed to talk about them. But don’t make him angry, please. He’s bad news. I’m telling Dean for a while now not to mess with the bunch, but does he ever listen to me? Of course not. Sam and Dean never listen to me. Always heading straight into trouble.”

Kevin closes the tap and looks at him for a moment through narrowed eyes. “Wait … Aren’t you related to them?” he asks. “I heard Dean talk about it. You don’t recognize your own family?”

Oh, now that he knows, Castiel remembers the blond boy he’s last seen when he was five or something like that. He and his siblings had shown up unannounced, hadn’t they? He doesn’t know why, but his parents had been angry and they hadn’t stayed long.

So this must be Lucifer. He’s finally meeting one of his other cousins. “Haven’t seen them in a long time and not met all of them so far. What do you mean the bunch is trouble?” Naomi hadn’t said anything about trouble from his cousin’s part. There had only ever been talk about getting closer to his cousins, because Dean and Michael are apparently an item and that’ll lead him straight to Sam.

Kevin looks at him as if he’s joking, then he shakes his head. “Nevermind. Just don’t make him angry.”

Castiel inclines his head. That’s what Balthazar would do, isn’t it? Be friendly until he gets a better opportunity to collect more information. “I see. If Lucifer scares you, I can take over their table,” he offers. It would be a good opportunity to get this job done so he can finally move on.

For a moment Kevin seems torn. “At least try and be nice to them, okay?” he says finally. “I don’t want any trouble while Dean is away.”

“No trouble.” Castiel promises.

Kevin doesn’t look as if he believes it, but he nods. At the same time, a movement at the table catches his eye. The brunette woman is laughing at something Lucifer said, then answers, mischievous grin on her face. Castiel likes that grin. “Who’s she?” he asks.

Now Kevin finally actually looks towards the table. He shrugs. “Meg, I think? Haven’t see her here often. Probably trouble too.”

Yes, she looks like it. He likes that, too.

They stop talking when he gets close enough to listen, which just helps confirm what Kevin said. Meg – if that’s her name – looks at him with a quirked eyebrow and a smile that shows pearly white teeth. “Haven’t see you here before, pretty boy. What’s your name?”

He could’ve done without ‘pretty boy’, but at least she isn’t treating him like he’s part of the furniture. “Castiel,” he says. “What can I bring you?”

Instead of an answer, her smile gets brighter. “Another angel?”

Lucifer shrugs. “It’s a family thing. That’s my cousin.” He points from Meg to Castiel and back. “Castiel, Meg. Meg, Castiel.” Then at Sam. “And in case you didn’t meet your boss’ brother yet. This is Sam.” Then he looks at Castiel curiously. “Haven’t seen you since our dad last tried to dump us at your parent’s and they threw a hissy fit about it.”

“I barely remember anything.” That seems the safe thing to say. Usually he’d ask them to hurry up with their order now, but that would be contrary to his mission. Instead he turns to Meg. She had commented on his name, so he can use that to start a conversation. “I’m named after the angel of Thursday.”

She laughs. “Looks like your parents though you have big things ahead of you, Clarence.”

Castiel frowns. “It’s Castiel, not –”

“She got that,” Sam interrupts with an amused smile. “It’s a movie reference.”

Of course it would be. Castiel rolls his eyes and can practically hear Balthazar teasing him about missing that. At least now he has Sam’s attention, too, even though he’s not sure what to do with it for now. “So,” he asks instead. “What do you want to drink?”

The evening doesn’t get quite as shitty as a few others he’s had at the bar so far. Of course Castiel gets why Kevin is afraid of Lucifer and Meg. He isn’t stupid. Illegally selling military equipment with Balthazar has made him come in contact with enough dangerous people to recognize them when he sees them. But no matter how many skeletons they might be hiding in their respective basements, at least they treat him like an actual person.

When there’s a lull, he spends some time at their table. Catching up with Lucifer gives a good excuse for that.

And there’s one thing he catches on pretty soon. Sam and Lucifer try to be discreet about it, but there are frequent touches, glances and a familiarity between them that seems to hint at Michael maybe not being the only one of his cousins that got himself a Winchester boyfriend. Castiel wonders why they’re trying to hide it.

“So, how did you get caught?” Lucifer asks during one of Castiel’s stops at their table.

“Lucifer!” Sam hisses. “You can’t just ask about something like that!”

Castiel blinks. “What?”

“Come on, I’m just curious.” Lucifer leans back with a grin. “We know what you did. Not holding it against you. But share with the class. How did you get busted?”

Sam throws Lucifer a silent judging bitchface, while Castiel finds Meg looking at him with even more interested than before. “I don’t know what you did,” she protests. “What was it, Clarence?”

“You really don’t have to answer that.” Sam leans forward over the table. “I’m sorry Lucifer brought it up. If you don’t want to talk about it, we all understand.”

Whatever Sam did to land on the shitlist of the FBI, Castiel decides, it can’t be that bad. At least not from his point of view. Sam seems like a pretty decent person so far. And usually Castiel hates talking about what got him into prison, but usually people ask out of some morbid kind of curiosity. Lucifer on the other hand talks about it like other people would about the weather. And Meg looks at him as if he managed to pull off a hilarious prank. “Me and a friend at the army sold military equipment,” Castiel explains.

Lucifer and Sam both nod, which is not a reaction he has gotten often to that kind of thing so far. Meg lifts both eyebrows. “Nice.” It almost sounds like she’s proud. “So, how did you get caught?”

Good question. “Someone must’ve betrayed us.”

“Another friend?” Sam asks.

“Most likely,” Cas agrees.

“Sorry to hear that.” Does Sam have to be so nice? Spying on him for the FBI would be so much easier, if Castiel didn’t like him.

“How long did you manage to keep it up without them noticing?” There’s interest sparkling in Lucifer’s eyes.

“Five years.”

That gets him an impressed whistle from Meg and a few more nods.

“Quite a feat,” Sam says.

There’s definitely something up with them. Cas tilts his head a little. “Dean mentioned you worked as a police officer until recently.” He makes it sound like a question: Why do you approve of what I just told you, if that’s the case?

Sam shrugs. “I was a police officer because I wanted to help people. But I realized I was too busy punishing poor people for being poor and desperate and not spending enough time hunting the real predators.”

That’s an interesting answer. Castiel thinks about it for a while. “So, what are you doing now?”

Sam smiles. “What I actually wanted to do. In a way.”

“I spoke to Sam Winchester today,” Castiel says on the phone with Naomi later. “I’m working on winning his trust.”

“Good. Keep it up.”

There are so many more things he should probably tell her about. What Kevin had said about Lucifer. Sam and Lucifer being close. Meg. What Sam had hinted at. Instead he says: “This would be easier with Balthazar’s help. My people skills are a bit rusty.”

“I’m sure you’ll do fine. We’ll let him out as soon as you get a lead. Have a good night.”

The line goes dead before he can say anything else. Castiel throws the phone against the wall, cursing.

Something is going on in this bar, Castiel is almost sure of it. People are coming and going in the back rooms and it doesn’t look like they’re playing poker there. He thinks about listening in, but on the other hand, his mission is Sam. If there’s other sketchy stuff going on here, it’s none of his business and probably won’t even help getting Balthazar out. He can see Naomi going: “Thanks for the tip, but you still have a job to do.”

He’s not going to rat anyone out to the FBI on that basis. On the other hand, telling Naomi that there’s something big going on here might make her finally grant him some backup in form of Balthazar. It’s probably a question of how much she trusts him by now.

Castiel is still pondering what to do, when voices are getting louder in the back of the bar. He sees Kevin backing away from it. Dean is busy with a customer at the bar at the moment. So Castiel heads right for it.

There are two guys discussing something drunkenly and increasingly aggressive. He is almost at their table, when one of them stands up abruptly and lounges over the table.

Castiel doesn’t think. He turns the tablet he usually uses to carry drinks and smashes it right into the guy’s face. Then he shoves it back far enough that the back of the man’s head hits the wall behind him. The drunk’s arms flail wildly, but he can’t see anything past the tablet that’s still right in his face. Castiel punches him right in the stomach, and the troublemaker folds into himself. As soon as Castiel removes the tablet, he slides down the wall, clutching his midriff.

“Hey, asshole! That’s my friend.”

When Castiel turns, he sees that the other guy has gotten to his feet, too. “You should thank me,” he informs the man. “Your friend was about to hurt you.”

“He’s still my fucking friend! And if someone punches him, it’s me!”

Great. Castiel rolls his eyes. Ungrateful lot. Before anything else can happen, though, the silver haired regular customer that had been sitting at the bar walks up to the man and lets a hand land heavy on his shoulder. “Oy! I’d like to enjoy my drink in peace. If you got a problem with how the wait staff here is resolving fights, why don’t you just leave, hm?”

The guy looks from Castiel to Silver hair and back. Castiel knows he himself doesn’t look particularly intimidating, but Silver hair definitely does with his military haircut and broad built. It doesn’t take long until both troublemakers are hurrying out the door.

Castiel nods to the silver haired customer. “Thanks.”

The guy nods back. “Looks like you could’ve handled it pretty well yourself. I just figured your boss might appreciate this getting resolved mostly peacefully.”

Castiel looks in Dean’s direction, who’s watching them with a mostly neutral expression. “I guess you’re right. Thanks again ...” He lets the end of the sentence linger a bit.

“Sasha,” silver hair says. “Where did you learn how to fight like that?” He points at the tablet, and only now does Castiel realize there’s a bit of blood on its surface. That’s probably against some kind of sanitary regulations.

“I’m ex military,” Castiel says.

Sasha chuckles. “Yeah, no, that’s not where you learn how to do stuff like that.”

Castiel shrugs, frowning down on the tablet. “I just work with what I have.”

“Good job.” With that Sasha returns to his seat.

Dean says the same thing a bit later, patting Castiel’s shoulder. “Good job, Cas.”

It’s nice to be appreciated for a change. Castiel decides not to tell Naomi about his suspicions for now.

Dean watches Cas hurry from table from table, then he finally sidles up to Sasha. “So what’s your verdict now?”

“I’m reporting to my boss, not to his boyfriend,” Sasha says, his smile probably meant to take the sting out of the words.

Dean doesn’t take offence. As far as he’s concerned, Michael’s men staying loyal to Michael is a good thing. “Come on, man,” he tries anyway. “I don’t want to know any details about what kind of tasks he would be useful for. But he’d fit right into the family, wouldn’t he?”

“He would,” Sasha agrees. “Still not sure, if he’s trustworthy, though.”

“Well, you not gonna find out about that by watching him serve drinks.”

Sasha makes a sturgeon face and shrugs a shoulder to concede to the point.

“Clarence! Wait up!”

Castiel turns. He’s one block away from the bar by now and apart from him and Meg, who’s currently running to catch up with him, there’s no one on the dark street.

Meg is waving a cell phone. “You forgot your phone in the bar. Dean sent me after you.” She stops right in front of him, barely out of breath, holding the cell phone out to him with a smile.

He never forgets his phone. Castiel frowns, while he takes it. It’s definitely his, but he’s so sure he had his phone in his pocket when he headed out. He eyes Meg suspiciously, but her smile never wavers. “Thanks,” he says after a while, puts the phone back in his pocket.

“You’re welcome.” She falls in step next to him, when he starts walking again. “By the way, who’s Samandriel? You have a missed call from him. It rang on my way here.”

Samandriel called? Castiel curses silently, then he goes to check his phone. Sure enough, there is a missed call. “Little brother of a friend,” he explains, unlocking his phone while he speaks.

“And then he calls you?”

“Friend is still in prison. I promised to look out for his brother.” He taps the screen to call Samandriel back.

“Aww.” Castiel isn’t sure, if Meg is mocking him or not. “A real angel, aren’t you, Clarence?”

Castiel doesn’t answer, because that’s the moment Samandriel picks up.

Samandriel needs money. He always needs money. Part of the earnings from deals Balthazar made always went straight into Samandriel’s college fund. Castiel promises to send some, but the job at Dean’s bar doesn’t pay enough by far. He’ll have to get Balthazar out soon.

“Good friend, eh?” Meg comments. She’s keeps walking beside him, and Castiel isn’t quite sure why. Not that he minds the company, though. He watches her in the light of the streetlamps for a moment. She must know that the neighborhood is bad, too, but she doesn’t look concerned in the least, her attention mostly on him with little side eyes and smiles.

He nods. “He saved my life once.” And he is failing at a much simpler task right now. Damn FBI!

“You could always ask your cousins for help,” Meg suggests.

Could he? After he hadn’t seen them for more than twenty years? And they definitely wouldn’t pay some random kid’s college fees. “I’m pretty sure they can’t get Balthazar out of prison.”

Meg grins. “I’m pretty sure they could.”

It’s bullshit, of course. Balthazar has been proven guilty. No lawyer can change that.

They talk about easier topics after that. Meg is fun, and she even manages to take his mind off his worries for a while. He can’t do anything about them until tomorrow anyway.

Somehow they end up against the door of his apartment kissing, Meg’s arms slung around his neck, her body pressed flush against his. She nips on his lower lip, then lets her head fall back against the door as he kisses down her neck. “I’ve seen you deal with the troublemakers at the bar today,” she says a bit breathless. “It was pretty hot.”

“Is that why you stole my phone?” Castiel straightens a little, watching her face for a reaction. “So you had a reason to follow me here?”

For a moment Meg blinks in surprise. Then she grins. “You realized that?”

She really isn’t fazed easily, is she? He appreciates that she stands by what she did, though. “I never lose my phone,” Castiel says. “And next time you want to follow me home, just follow me home. If you steal from me again, there will be trouble.”

Meg’s grin gets wider. Her hands start to wander, find their way under his shirt and leave tingling trails on his skin. “Is that an invitation?”

“Do you only ever hear what you want to hear?” At the same time he cards his fingers through her hair, making her lean into the touch. He kind of likes her attitude.

“Most of the time. But don’t worry. I got what you’re saying. No more stealing.”

Castiel smiles and kisses her again. She can follow him home anytime she wants.

Archangel Chat

Gabriel: Bad news, guys. I’ve analyzed the data Meg got from Cassie’s phone and he’s been talking regularly to someone with a number that belongs to the feds.

Lucifer: Aw fuck. I almost started to like the guy.

Michael: Dean has just recently stopped complaining about him, too, but we can’t ignore this.

Raphael: Do we know who he was talking to and what they were after?

Gabriel: Working on it. But it wasn’t easy finding out that the number belonged to the feds in the first place.

Lucifer: Michael, what’s the plan? Reassign him somewhere where he can’t make trouble and feed him false information? Or get him out of the way?

Michael: I want to know what he’s after. Which means, if Gabriel can’t dig anything up, we’ll have to ask him.

Raphael: And then we’ll have to get rid him for sure afterwards.

Lucifer: Great. Meg will hate this.

Raphael: Is she going to make trouble?

Lucifer: I know how to keep my people in line, sis. Don’t worry. She’s loyal. But I’ll probably have to make it up to her somehow. And everybody likes Cassandra. Sam, too. The little guy is weird that way. No social skills, but people adopt him like some lost puppy or something.

Raphael: Maybe you can learn something from him, Lucifer.

Lucifer: Fuck you, sis. I like making people nervous, okay?

Michael: I’m not happy about it either. He seemed like a good addition to the family. Even Aleksandr was impressed by him.

Gabriel: I’m not surprised by that. Sasha always takes to the weird, but resourceful ones.

Michael: Let’s wait and see what else Gabriel will dig up. But in case we have no choice: Any volunteers?

Lucifer: He already knows me and thinks I’m a friend. I’ll do it.

Raphael: You sure? Last time you had to kill someone you liked, you spent the next few weeks even more grumpy than usual.

Lucifer: I said I almost started to like him. I’m not emotionally attached yet.

Raphael: Just saying. I could do it, too.

Lucifer: Appreciated.

Gabriel: It’s always creepy watching you two get along too well, you know that?

Lucifer: Quick, Raph, say something sarcastic to put Gabriel at ease.

Raphael: *eyeroll emoji*

Lucifer: That’ll do.

Castiel wakes up with a splitting headache and no idea where he is and how he got into this situation. He mouth feels dry, which comes to no surprise as soon as he figures out that there’s a piece of cloth between his lips, gagging him. Automatically, he tries to lift his hands, but that only makes metal dig into his wrists. He’s sitting on a chair, mostly held upright by his arms that are bound behind the backrest. With a groan he straightens up, blinks, recognizes his own apartment. He’s sitting in the middle of the living room. And across from him is Lucifer on a chair that’s turned around, his arms on the backrest, watching him.

Lucifer makes no move to help Castiel, so he’s probably responsible for his situation. Castiel feels a pang of betrayal, while his memories come back. Lucifer had knocked on his door with a six pack of beer a few hours earlier. They’d had a pretty good talk, even though Castiel had thought the alcohol had a bit too much of an effect. Now he knows why.

Castiel tries to say something, but the gag prevents words from getting out.

Lucifer smiles. “Hello there, sleeping beauty. I’ll take the gag out and get you something to drink and something against your headache as soon as you promise not to call for help.”

It looks like he should’ve paid more attention to what had been going on in Dean’s bar. Apparently it’s even bigger than he thought. Worry makes a tight knot in Castiel’s stomach, but at least he isn’t dead yet and Lucifer offering painkillers gives him hope. He nods. His neighbors probably wouldn’t react to calls for help anyway.

“Knew you’d be reasonable.” Lucifer gets up and steps behind him to open the knot that keeps the gag in place. “But just to be absolutely clear. If you make any kind of noise that’ll draw attention to us, I’ll shove a blade somewhere where it’ll hurt.”

It shouldn’t be able to make threats in such a gentle voice. Castiel nods again, though.

Then the gag is out, and Lucifer walks away towards the kitchen area of the apartment. Castiel tests his bonds. Hands and feet are handcuffed to the chair. No way he’ll get out of that.

Lucifer comes back with a glass of water and a pill. On the basis that Lucifer could kill him any time he wants anyway, Castiel opens his mouth and lets his cousin place the pill on his tongue. Lucifer helps him drink a bit of water, wash the pill down. Then he returns to his own chair.

Castiel tries to sit up straighter, just to have pain shoot through his skull with every movement. “Did you roofie me?” he asks.

“I wasn’t very keen on fighting you.” Lucifer makes an almost apologetic gesture. “I have a few questions you wouldn’t have answered any other way.”

Castiel pulls a face, knot of worry getting tighter. “I figured.”

That makes Lucifer smile. He puts his chin on his forearms that are on the backrest of his chair again. “Answer truthfully and I won’t hurt you, okay?” That may or may not be a lie. “We know you’re working with the FBI.”

Of course he’d thought it might be that. But how did they find out? They can’t know for sure. Even the number he has been calling shouldn’t be traceable back to the feds. Maybe Lucifer is bluffing, trying to make him confirm a suspicion. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t give me that bullshit,” Lucifer says. “I want to know what they’re after.”

“Lucifer,” Castiel says, trying to distract from more questions, “I don’t know what you have to hide, but I don’t care. I just got out of prison. I don’t exactly have the moral high ground here.”

“But you got out of prison early on good behavior, didn’t you? Which is interesting, because as it turns out, your behavior was anything but good. Unless starting fights has become the polite thing to do since I last spent time behind bars. It’s been a while, I have to admit.”

Castiel hadn’t know that and he files it away to maybe use it later. If there is a later. “I didn’t start fights, I ended them.”

Lucifer grins. “I really like you. Please answer my question. What is the FBI looking for?”

He’s dead anyway, isn’t he? Castiel stares at Lucifer for a moment. He can’t see any weapons, but he’s sure Lucifer has some on his person. And judging from the way he seems completely at ease with the situation this isn’t the first time he had done something like this. This whole thing really is way bigger than Castiel had thought. “Sam,” he says finally.

That makes Lucifer tense up. “What?”

Now that he’s started he can as well spill everything. “The way Sam quit his job made them suspicious. They know he spent the last few months stripping at questionable places now and then.”

“That’s it?” Lucifer asks. He visibly relaxes again.

Castiel nods.

Now Lucifer is the one staring, his jaw working in thought. Castiel shifts uncomfortably on his chair. The headache has receded a bit by now. At least that’s something.

“What did you tell them so far?” Lucifer asks finally.


Lucifer scoffs. “Oh, come on, Cassie. You’re trying to tell me you spent all this time at Dean’s bar looking for something off and didn’t see anything worth telling the FBI?”

“Of course I did.” He probably shouldn’t get angry, but how stupid does Lucifer think he is? “But I got promised that my friend gets out of prison, if I give them information about Sam. They didn’t ask for anything about Dean or his bar or you or your siblings.”

For a moment Lucifer blinks at him in surprise, then he throws his head back and laughs. It takes him a while to calm down. When he does, he takes a deep breath. “Oh, this is priceless. You really fit right in with the family. I wish you’d told any of us earlier. It’s hard to trust anything you say now, you know. Of course you’d take every offer to doublecross them now, would you?”

Castiel shakes his head, which makes Lucifer lift an eyebrow in surprise.

“I wouldn’t take any offer,” he clarifies. “I owe Balthazar my life and he’s still in prison. The FBI promised me to let him out as soon as I give them information about Sam. You’d have to offer something similar.”

Meg had been right, hadn’t she? His cousins probably could get Balthazar out. If you’re not relying on legal means only, a lot of things are possible.

Lucifer looks at him with a thoughtful look now, and Castiel holds his breath. That’s when they both hear someone fumbling with the lock of his apartment. Castiel’s heart speeds up, but before he can say anything, Lucifer has drawn a gun and goes into position next to the door. “If you make any noise, I’ll shoot you.”

“It’s me!” comes Meg’s voice from the hallway. “I’m coming in now.”

Lucifer relaxes a bit, but not completely. “Alright.” Still, when she steps in, he points his gun at her.

And that makes the coil of worry and fear in Castiel’s gut dissolve into anger. He know she’s working for Lucifer, but apparently he hadn’t expected her here. And she’d tried to help Castiel before, had told him how to resolve his problems without getting in trouble. Not her fault that he hadn’t believed her. Castiel pulls on his restraints. “Leave her alone!”

Meg stops in the doorway and lifts both hands to show that she is unarmed. She shoots Castiel an amused smile. “Aww, my hero.” Then she turns to Lucifer. “Boss, is there anything I can do to convince you not to kill him?”

So she’s really here for him?

“Will there be a problem, if there isn’t?” Lucifer asks.

“I pick a cause and I stick to it, boss. You’re that cause.” She doesn’t look happy, but she looks like she’s telling the truth. So much for her being on his side. Another sting of betrayal hits Castiel.

Slowly Lucifer lowers his gun. “I’m half convinced we shouldn’t kill him anyway. You got anything to add?”

Castiel doesn’t dare hope, while he watches Meg walk into the room and towards him. She steps behind the chair and cards her fingers through his hair in a way that’s soothing despite everything she just said. Castiel half closes his eyes, tries to enjoy it as long as he can. “Clarence, did you tell Lucifer about your friend Balthazar yet?”

“He did,” Lucifer says. “Apparently he’s the reason Cassie is working for the FBI.”

They could at least get his name right now and then, Castiel thinks.

Meg nods. “I figured as much. I heard him promise Balthazar’s little brother basically all the money he can spare. I’d bet my life on him being fiercely loyal to his friends, not to whoever he’s working for.”

The thoughtful look is back on Lucifer’s face now, and Castiel dares hope at least a little.

“You really think you could get Balthazar out of prison?” he asks.

“Of course we could,” Lucifer says. “Get him out, supply him with a new identity, resolve all money issues. But for that price, we’d want absolute loyalty from you.”

It sounds almost too good to be true. “Sure,” Castiel says.

Lucifer lifts an eyebrow. “That easy?”

“It’s not like I liked working for the FBI.”

“Told you,” Meg says.

Lucifer doesn’t look completely convinced yet. “So …” he says. “If I ask you to call your FBI contact right now and tell them something that’ll avert all suspicion from Sam, you’ll do it?”

So he’s fishing for a show of trust. Because there is the risk that Naomi will not release Balthazar for information like that. Castiel will have to trust that his cousins will keep their end of the deal. He isn’t sure why exactly, but he looks at Meg.

She smiles. “If the boss says something will get done, it will get done.”

Castiel nods. He thinks of Sam, who has either talked bullshit about helping people or found a bunch of criminals that somehow support him in exactly that. He thinks of Dean who doesn’t seem too bad either, but is obviously also involved in this. And then there’s Meg, of course, who had come here to try and save his life, even though not at all cost.

“I’ll do it,” he says.

Meg strokes Castiel’s cheek with the back of her fingers and leans down. “I promise you won’t regret that,” she whispers.

Castiel smiles, but looks at Lucifer. “May I make a suggestion, though?”

Lucifer tilts his head to the side curiously. “Go ahead.”

“Don’t just make it something I say. Give me something I can show her as proof and fabricate some more that she’ll find, when she verifies it.”

That makes his cousin smile. “I knew there was a reason why I like you.” He throws Meg the key to the handcuffs. “You’re under house arrest until we figured something out. Meg will keep an eye on you. Don’t give me any reason to shoot you.”

At least he won’t die today. “I’ll do my best.”

A few days later Castiel and Sam meet to have a scripted conversation that Castiel “secretly” records. It’s Sam telling him how much the death of Chief Henricksen has affected him (by the way his voice breaks a few times it really has), how he’s drifting since then, how he doesn’t feel like holding a regular job, and how he earns money stripping wherever they’ll take him whenever he needs it.

He claims having done drugs, which is something they can’t arrest him for unless they find some in his possession. For good measure they add a picture of some pills that Castiel “secretly” takes (he doesn’t ask where the pills are from and if they’re the real deal), and there’ll be some people at the places Sam had worked before that’ll claim having taken drugs with him and generally having witnessed him being the mess that fits his story.

After they’re done, Sam smiles and thanks him for not ruining his life. How someone that nice ended up with Lucifer is simply beyond Castiel. And he probably shouldn’t have commented on it, because he gets the stink eye from Lucifer for it. “You’re still not out of probation, Cassie.”

By now the death threats have lost their shock value a bit and Castiel just rolls his eyes.

He sends the file to Naomi. A bit later he gets a call from her. He takes it with Lucifer sitting next to him in a calm but slightly threatening way.

“Are you sure he’s telling the truth?” Naomi asks. She doesn’t sound happy. Apparently she wanted to find something.

“As sure as I can be,” he says. “Are you going to release Balthazar now?”

She hmpfs. “I’ll have to confirm this.”

“It’s not my fault there isn’t much to find. I did what you asked of me.”

“I’ll have to confirm this,” she says, voice sharper. And with that she hangs up. Castiel curses and only barely keeps himself from throwing the phone against the wall again.

Lucifer pats his shoulder. “Good job. And Michael will probably send some lawyers as a start, but your friend will get out either way.”

Castiel nods, still angry, but feeling less helpless at least.

“Oh, and Cassie?” Lucifer adds.


“Welcome to the family.”