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It was the summer of 2015, humid and hot, and Castiel Novak was fresh out of high school and working all summer until he would be starting college. He would be going to DeVry because Mother said so and Castiel hadn’t ever had much in him to disagree with Mother. His older sister, Anna, did that plenty and that had earned her a spot on their cousin Gabriel’s couch as soon as she was out of high school. Not that Anna ever complained about that and sometimes Castiel wondered who was the luckier of the two of them.

Mother wasn’t all too pleased about Castiel’s decision to work over the summer, for a number of reasons. Firstly was of course because of all the summer courses he could have taken instead (and that was also the main reason why Castiel had decided to work) and secondly was because he had chosen to apply for a job as a store clerk at the local Gas n’ Sip, which Mother thought was wholly beneath him.

Castiel liked it, though. He was a social guy but he sometimes had trouble expressing that so working as a clerk was a great way to improve on his social skills. He suspected he would need it when he got to DeVry because no matter how much Mother argued that he could commute from their home in Pontiac, Illinois, Castiel had decided to live on campus. Anna had commended him for “cutting the umbilical cord” but Castiel’s reasoning was far more primal than that.

Castiel was a male Omega but contrary to many Omegas, Castiel wanted something more than just a mate and a pup and he was damn sure he wouldn’t get whatever it was that he craved (independence, most likely) if he stayed with Mother in Pontiac all his life.

So the thing was that while Castiel wasn’t the least interested in going to DeVry and study accounting he was super interested in reinventing himself. He would start with Gas n’ Sip where he would work up his social skill and then he would continue with DeVry where he could up his game and become… well, become someone, anyone at all.

It wasn’t a great plan and it wasn’t fully formed, but it was his and he treasured it (even more so because Mother didn’t approve). At DeVry Castiel would get friends, would have a fling or two, and with time he might even meet a handsome Alpha or intelligent Beta with whom he could settle down with.

Yes, great plans. Too bad that they would be forever changed on a sunny Thursday afternoon of July 2015.

 

Now, usually Castiel rode his bike to the Gas n’ Sip because the store was more easily accessed from the road and he didn’t like to walk there. If he did, he usually took a shortcut through the woods behind the store (to get out of walking side by side with the cars) but that took him close to old man Wesperton’s and that man was creepy.

Mr. Wesperton was an elderly Beta who still believed Y2K could come any day now and he spared no passerby from hearing about it. He had all kinds of conspiracy theories and more than once had Castiel seen strange lights coming from the house’s basement late at night. He also liked to chase people who wouldn’t listen, swinging his walking stick at anyone who didn’t bolt fast enough. Lately Castiel had also seen a giant monster of a dog tied in the old man’s backyard and he didn’t like how that dog seemed to growl even in its sleep.

Suffice to say that all of this added up to Castiel always keeping an extra eye on the Wesperton house as he passed by it when he emerged from the woods. And, coincidentally, because he was looking in that direction he wasn’t looking where he was going, not exactly. Which was perhaps why he ran smack dab into the solid form of a man who came running out of Wesperton’s neighbor on the right.

Castiel stumbled back a few steps and looked up with surprise.

“Sorry…” he mumbled but the sight before him tied his tongue.

The man was clearly an Alpha, older and bigger than Castiel, and he was gorgeous. Full lips, soft hair, strong jaw, and stunningly green eyes. He was also covered in blood and looked wildly at Castiel as if he had been more surprised than Castiel by their bumping into each other.

Castiel’s eyes travelled down the man’s body (broad chest, narrow waist, bow legs) and his eyes grew wider at the sight of a glinting, blood-covered knife. Castiel’s eyes snapped up to the man’s face with the screeching realization that this wasn’t the man’s own blood. Castiel glance quickly to the side but couldn’t see a corpse per se, and then the man was gripping Castiel’s arm, shaking him.

“You—” the man began in a gruff voice that sent a chill down Castiel’s spine, but he was interrupted when a car honked.

The two of them turned to stare down the street at a sleek beauty of a car, black and menacing as it glided up to the curb where they were standing.

“What the hell are you doing, Dean?” the driver shouted through the open window on the passenger side.

That man looked even bigger than the first, if that was even possible, and even though Castiel couldn’t scent him from this far away he had all the classic Alpha features. The man by Castiel (Dean?) gripped Castiel’s arm harder and growled low in his throat, clearly angered.

With a mighty yank he had gotten Castiel half-way to the car before Castiel even understood what was happening. And when he did he freaked out, thrashing against the Alpha’s grip but just as he opened his mouth to scream for help the Alpha slapped the hand that had been holding the knife over his mouth. And God, that had was covered in blood.

“Be quiet now, little Beta.” The man hissed in his Alpha Voice and Castiel scrunched up his eyes when his whole body just kind of melted into a pool of submission and fear.

Thanks to the scent blockers Castiel usually wore at work (to not have to deal with customers flirting with him as if him being an Omega meant he was promiscuous) the man had obviously mistaken him for a Beta and while that was well and good the fact still remained that Castiel very much wasn’t a Beta and he didn’t fancy getting in a car with two strange Alphas, one of which was covered in blood.

He knew, however, that he would never win in a fair fight so he nodded obediently and as soon as the Alpha removed his hand Castiel lashed out to try and break free again. He managed a half-hearted scream before the Alpha’s growl made his throat close up. He wasn’t about to go down without a fight, though, but of course his scrawny teenage arms were worth nothing against the Alpha’s bulk and when the man promptly clocked Castiel on the head he went out like a light.

 

*****

 

When he woke up he was lying on his side on a bed that smelled strongly of starch and laundry detergent. His feet and hands were cuffed and though his head didn’t exactly throb with pain it was definitely tender where he had been hit. The two men were in the same room as him (which seemed to be a hotel or motel room) and they were arguing. This up close Castiel could definitely smell that the driver was also an Alpha and his sensitive Omega nose picked up so much angered Alpha scent that he almost choked.

“What the hell were you thinking?” the driver said loudly, loud enough that Castiel knew he wanted to yell but knew better. Castiel wondered groggily why they hadn’t bothered to gag him.

“Oh gee, I dunno, I just figured that the kid knew my face, the car, and my name, since you were so kind to fucking provide it.”

Oh, so the first Alpha really was named Dean, that would be useful information later, Castiel thought in a desperate attempt at remaining calm and collected.

The driver crossed his (big!) arms over his (ever bigger!) chest. “You were taking too long.”

“He struggled.”

“This…” the driver gestured to Dean’s front, which wasn’t exactly clean even though it looked like he had done a perfunctory job of wiping off the blood and switching into a clean tee. “This was amateurish. Dad’s rolling around in his grave in pure shame.”

Dean made a face so scary that Castiel balled himself up. “Don’t you fucking mention dad.”

“A knife, Dean, really?”

Dean growled, low and menacing and to Castiel’s surprise the driver (which definitely was the bigger of the two) backed down. “Next target we wait for a new silencer, like I said.”

“Yeah, yeah.” The driver Alpha muttered and turned to Castiel only to startle when he saw that he was awake. “No gag, no blindfold, and no earplugs? Damnit, Dean.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “He was unconscious, wasn’t he?”

“How long?” both Alphas startled this time and Castiel barely recognized the croak that was his own voice. “How long was I unconscious? It’s dangerous.” His voice was rising in pitch when all they did was look at him. “In movies they just knock people out and it’s fine but it’s really not, it could result in serious brain damage. Brain cells can die.”

There was a short silence and then Dean broke it by snorting out a laugh. “Oh man, he’s all yours Sammy. Gonna get along like two peas in a pod you two.”

Sammy cast Dean a seriously unimpressed glare before sitting down on the bed opposite the one Castiel was on.

“I’m sorry.” He said after a moment and he sounded it too, making Castiel absolutely sure that this was when he was going to get killed. “This is just a typical example of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. We’ll cuff you to a pipe in the bathroom and leave you here, call in an anonymous tip when we reach the state line—”

“The hell we will!” Dean interrupted loudly and any hope Castiel had had fluttering in his chest consequently plummeted to a horrible death. Dean scowled hard at the larger Alpha. “Didn’t you hear me? He’s seen and heard enough to turn us in.”

“I wouldn’t…”

“So what do you want to do, Dean?” Sammy barreled over Castiel’s feeble words. “Kill him?” he rose to his feet, towering over the both of them and Castiel was man enough to admit that he was crying now. God, they had killed Mr. Wesperton’s neighbor, for real, and now they would kill Castiel too. Sammy walked over to Castiel and grabbed him harshly by the scruff of his neck, hauling him up to a pathetic half-sitting position. “Do you want to kill this Beta, Dean? This boy?”

Castiel gave a loud sniffle when Dean just stared at him, not for effect but because he was getting snot everywhere and dying or not dying, that was disgusting. Dean just stared at him, however, his eyes drilling into Castiel’s so hard it almost hurt to meet the Alpha’s gaze and yet he couldn’t not.

After some tense moments Dean turned away, grabbing a duffle bag Castiel hadn’t noticed before.

“He’s coming with us.”

“Dean.” Sammy said, clearly shocked.

“He’s coming with us!” Dean roared in his Alpha Voice, making Castiel flinch and (ridiculously enough) cower against Sammy’s chest.

Sammy just heaved a big sigh as if he was used to this sort of behavior when Dean slammed the bathroom door shut behind him.

“Well,” Sammy muttered and put Castiel down on the bed again, much gentler now. “I guess we have to do something about those cuffs if you’re staying.”

 

*****

 

They had gagged him and changed it so that his hands were cuffed in front of him rather than the back. They had also had an argument over whether to uncuff Castiel’s legs and it had ended with the compromise that he would be out of cuffs for now but if he made a fuss they would reconsider it. They had also basically strip searched him and Castiel had been disheartened when they found his phone. They had taken that and everything else on him (wallet, keys) and put it in one of the duffels. It didn’t matter which one because Sam had looked apologetically at Castiel before snapping his SIM card in half. Then they had asked if he needed to use the restroom and when he declined (a bit confusedly), they had positioned him in an armchair in a corner where they could watch him at all times as they appeared to go over the day’s events.

Two hours later Castiel had learned a lot about his captures. For example that Sammy was actually called Sam and that he preferred that over Dean’s nickname for him. He had also learnt that Sam liked salad with his dinner and that Dean got offended (for really real) if someone declined him pie.

Dean hated cleaning blood from beneath his fingernails and Sam was too long to sleep properly on most motel beds. They drove a black Impala that they had inherited from their father but it was really Dean’s baby and Sam rode the breaks too hard.

They were brothers and Dean was the older even though Sam was the bigger. They were both Alphas but growing up everyone had thought Sam would be a Beta. Dean was boisterous of his Alpha brother but secretly would have loved him whichever subgender he had presented as.

They had no living relatives but had plenty of friends in what Sam called “the net”, they also had a Bobby which Castiel hadn’t figured out the meaning of yet. They both had an assortment of weapons, Sam’s favorite was a knife that was engraved with strange symbols and Dean’s was a gun that looked like it was made of silver with an ivory grip.

All this Castiel had managed to gauge just from listening and looking at the two Alphas (occasionally Dean would toss some words in Castiel’s direction but that was neither here nor there).

Oh yeah, and he had also understood by now that these two brothers were the Winchester brothers. The notorious serial killer duo, known and wanted nationwide. And Castiel was their captive because he had apparently spotted them at the house of what Dean referred to as “the target”. Someone was dead and Castiel was now at the mercy of the murderers, so much for going to DeVry and reinventing himself, Castiel was now certain he was about to die.

 

 


 

 

This whole thing was fucked up and Dean just knew Sammy would never let him live it down. Goddamn, what the hell had he been thinking grabbing the kid like that? He should have just run for it, especially when Sam came with the car. They could have changed the license plate and though Dean was pretty sure the kid had figured out that they were the Winchester brothers by now he thought that it hadn’t been that obvious to begin with.

Fuck, why had he brought the kid along?! It was so utterly stupid that Dean couldn’t even wrap his head around it. They should just do as Sam said and leave him here. But no, now it would be even stupider to leave him because now he knew lots of stuff. You know what Dean should have done? Should have pinned the murder on the kid. Stabbing wasn’t even their usual M.O. so it might even have worked too.

He glanced over at the kid, Castiel (what the hell kind of name was that? Probably biblical) and found that he was watching them with big eyes. Fuck those eyes were blue.

“He’s probably hungry.” He didn’t realize it was him that had spoken until Sammy looked at him with confusion.

“You’re welcome to give him your burger, Dean.” Sam stated in the kind of tone that told Dean he would be responsible for everything annoying about having a captive. Well, fair enough.

“It was kinda rude of you not to buy him anything.” Dean muttered and got to his feet with his sloppy McDonald’s burger in hand.

“You know what’s even ruder?” Sammy snarked. “Kidnapping. I bet Bobby would have a few choice words about that.”

One of which most definitely would be idjits. Yeah, yeah, Dean didn’t want to hear it. He knew he had fucked up but by now there weren’t many options out of it, were there? Kill Castiel or let him loose to go to the authorities was about it. Though he supposed Sam’s idea wasn’t that bad. If they rented this room for the whole week they could get pretty far before the cops were alerted and if they cuffed him in the bathroom he would have water so he probably wouldn’t die.

“But he might die.” Dean was being silly and so were his thoughts. Sam was right; dad would be rolling over in his grave.

He approached Castiel cautiously, mostly because the kid looked like he was about to freak out. So far he had remained strangely calm but Dean suspected that the reality was bound to catch up to him at some point. Or maybe he had been working on adrenaline and that was wearing off, either way he looked much more skittish than a couple of hours ago.

“Calm down, Cas.” Dean muttered and tried to gauge from the kid’s scent if he was faking it or not but damn, he was very scentless, even for a Beta. He pried off the gag and held up his burger. “Do you want some?”

Castiel looked like he was about to say something but then he scrunched up his whole face and heaved himself off the armchair, bolting for the bathroom before Dean had time to react. Sam reacted by shouting Dean’s name, as if that would help, but a second later they heard the kid vomiting and Dean just shrugged at his little brother.

“Nerves.” He said calmly and sat down again after shutting the bathroom door.

“Dean, this isn’t right.” Sam hissed in a low tone as they listened to Castiel’s heaving. “He probably thinks we’re going to kill him and you know what, maybe we should.”

Dean spent a moment trying to dissect why he suddenly felt an immense need to throttle his brother when Sammy was actually making sense.

“We don’t kill people like him.”

Sam leaned back in his chair and by the look on his face Dean would say he was relieved, or at least satisfied with the answer.

“So we leave him.”

“I can’t leave him.”

Sam squinted at Dean. “What?”

Yeah, that had sounded weird. Like, it came out wrong. “He knows our faces, I have to protect you. And me. And the net. Bobby would kill me before that Henriksen fellow could arrest me.”

Sam sighed deeply at the mention of Victor Henriksen, the FBI agent who had been a constant thorn in their side ever since that fuck-up in Milwaukee.

“Still, this isn’t fair to Castiel.”

“It’s not fair to anyone.” Dean stated, not in his Alpha Voice because it didn’t have much effect on Sammy, but in his big brother voice.

Castiel walked out a moment later, looking pale and wobbly and Dean had stood up before he even knew what he was doing.

“You okay?”

Castiel looked at him as if that was the most asinine question he had ever heard and yeah, he was probably right.

“I need to lie down.” He said in a thick voice but he didn’t move towards the beds, just stood there staring at Dean almost as if challenging him to kill him right now or never.

“You can take the one furthest from the door.” Sam said calmly and broke the staring. Dean swung around to glare at his little brother for offering Dean’s bed but Sammy just shrugged at him.

A moment later Castiel had balled himself up on the bed and while he didn’t make a sound they could see his body shaking as if from crying (or trying not to cry). Sam glared at Dean and Dean sat down, feeling like the worst kind of Alpha for some fucked up reason.

They spent the rest of the day planning out the next route. They hadn’t heard anything from Bobby about any new targets and neither of them felt inclined to call, both because of Castiel and because of how badly the last hit had gone.

 

Several hours later Castiel suddenly sat up, earning himself the immediate attention of the two Alphas in the room. He peeked at them but only started speaking after having turned his face to look at the wall.

“I need to use the restroom.”

“Not gonna puke again, are you?” Dean asked dryly and to his surprise Castiel seemed to blush. Dean wasn’t really aware of grown men doing that, maybe the kid was actually more of a kid than Dean thought.

“No.” He squirmed on the bed.

“We’re not keeping you from using the toilet.” Sam said calmly and went back to his laptop and the police records he had hacked into. “But thank you for asking.”

This was fucking weird. But hey, they weren’t kidnappers; they didn’t know how to handle the situation any better than Castiel did. Should maybe at least have gagged him again…

In any case Sam’s answer made Castiel shuffle off to the bathroom and the door snicked shut softly behind him. Dean felt very aware of the fact that the kid was now out of the room. Like, his neck prickled and he found himself constantly checking the bathroom door and the clock on the wall by the beds.

“What the hell, Dean?” Sam exclaimed after only a few minutes. “Sit still.”

“I don’t like that he’s alone in there. We should have made him keep the door open.” Their safety was dependent on them keeping tabs on this Beta, after all.

“Maybe he’s taking a dump.” Sam muttered but Dean shook his head.

“No, we would have heard the toilet lid, it makes that creaking noise, right? He hasn’t lifted it, he’s probably just peeing in the sink.”

“Does he look like the kind of guy that pees in sinks? He’s not a caveman like you.”

Dean squinted. “Hey, I—” he stopped short when he realized that (fucking fuck!) there was a window in the bathroom. Small and up high, but there was a stool for kids to step on when brushing their teeth and Castiel was very slim, especially for a Beta. “Fuck!”

He was up and out of his seat so fast the chair clattered to the floor. Sam called out his name but Dean ignored him as he shouldered the door open and sure enough, there was Castiel, trying to pry open the window. It wasn’t the kind that was made to open all the way and he had obviously not wanted to smash it for fear of the brothers hearing so he had struggled to force it open but with little success.

He turned wide and scared eyes at Dean as the Alpha burst through the door and for a moment they just looked at each other but then Castiel turned away and started hammering on the window while shouting for help.

“Oh no you don’t.” Dean growled, much more calmly than he would have thought, and with two mighty steps he was directly behind Castiel. When he wrapped a strong arm around the Beta’s stomach and pulled him down from the stool Castiel just kind of went limp and started crying instead.

“Please let me go, Alpha.” He pleaded with watery eyes. “Please, I won’t tell anyone. No one would even believe me, I swear.”

Dean tch’ed and pulled Castiel further away from the window, holding him by the scruff of his neck as he forcefully closed the window with his free hand. “They all say that but you know what, Cas? It ain’t true.”

“But it is true.” Castiel cried and damn, he was starting to smell really fucking sad. Dean rubbed his nose before turning back to the kid. “Mother would only think I’m making things up so I won’t have to go to college and I don’t have any friends, nobody likes me.”

“You—” Dean stopped short, staring into the Beta’s (almost sparkling, what the fuck?) blue eyes. “That’s not true. Someone likes you.” Who wouldn’t like a kid like this? From what Dean had seen he seemed… well, now that Dean thought about it he guessed he knew next to nothing about this Beta and yet it felt wrong to say that no one would ever like him.

“Maybe.” Castiel responded in a very despondent voice. He hung his head but at least he had stopped crying. “But they would all think that I made it up, everyone knows I don’t really want to go to DeVry.”

“Why? DeVry is a really good school, isn’t it?” Dean wouldn’t really know because he hadn’t ever cared about school but Sammy had looked into it a couple of years ago. Castiel didn’t answer him, though, and Dean supposed that was his right. No fucking idea to tell your kidnappers why you didn’t want to go to college when chances were you wouldn’t now anyway, right? Dean just sighed. “In any case this means that bathroom break is over for you.”

He started moving towards the door but Castiel slunk out of his grip with a grace seldom seen in Betas and Dean was left staring at him, almost slack-jawed in his surprise.

“I, um,” he squirmed again and quickly wiped his face from stray tears. “I still need to pee. I went in here to do that but then I saw the window, so…” he shrugged and looked down at the floor.

Dean just crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, for the stunt you just tried to pull you’ve earned yourself an audience for your pee breaks.” He nodded when Castiel whipped up his head to stare incredulously at him. “That’s right so get with it.”

“I… I can’t with you looking.” Yeah, Sammy was definitely right and this wasn’t a kid who would ever pee in sinks.

Dean rolled his eyes and closed the door before turning to stare at the slightly abused window. “There. Just think of it like a public urinal.” Dean didn’t like this any more than Castiel but what the hell was he supposed to do? The kid obviously couldn’t be trusted and it wasn’t like he was taking a shit, right? Unless… He turned his head to squint at Castiel when the Beta still hadn’t moved. “Or do you really need to pee? I don’t want to be in here with you if you need to poop but I still can’t leave you, can you hold it until we find a new motel without windows in the crapper?”

Castiel went crimson in the face and turned to flip open the creaky toilet lid. “I don’t need to defecate.”

“Good.” Dean turned back to the window. “We’ll find a new motel before that becomes a problem.” He promised without knowing why he cared. Well, usually people didn’t like watching other people shit so that was probably it. “Now just pee like a good boy, we’re all grown-ups here.”

“But you’re an Alpha.”

“What the fuck’s that got to do with it?” he almost turned around again but Castiel shouted at him not to so he didn’t. Fine, whatever, some people liked their privacy.

A moment later he heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper going down and then Castiel rustled around his underwear. Dean spent some time wondering why he was picturing it and then a sweet smell hit him. It was soft, subtle, but it was definitely there. Like honeysuckle on a crisp summer morning and Dean found himself drawing big breaths.

And then the sound of Castiel peeing pulled him out of his revere and what the fuck had that been about? Dean stared hard at the window, thinking that maybe someone had walked by just now. But it was closed, wasn’t it? So strange.

“Don’t forget to shake.” He said almost automatically when he heard Castiel finish and the comment earned him a snort of all things.

He turned around when Castiel had flushed and started the faucet to clean his hands. He was met with strangely speculative eyes and damn, when the kid was calm like this he almost looked cool.

“You’re awfully okay with people peeing in your vicinity.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “Yeah well, I’m four years older than Sammy. Who do you think it was that helped him clean his soiled sheets and potty trained him?”

“Your parents?”

Now it was Dean’s turn to snort and it wasn’t even half as amused as Castiel’s had been (and he hadn’t sounded very amused to begin with).

“Come on now, if you’re finished.” He put a hand on Castiel’s back but for some reason or another he didn’t find it in himself to shove the kid out of the bathroom.

When they got back to Sammy Dean saw that his little brother had Google Maps open on his computer and was researching nearby motels. Castiel went to sit on the armchair again and tentatively accepted a half-eaten bag of chips when Dean pressed it into his hands.

“I heard.” Sam mumbled and pointed at a motel only twenty minutes away from where they were in Dwight, Illinois. “Let’s check this one.”

Sun Motel, Braidwood, Illinois. Dean glanced over at Castiel who appeared to be reading the nutritional list on the back of the chips bag, like a total dork.

“Let’s try further away, I wanna get out of Illinois.” He muttered and Sammy nodded while Dean refused to look at Castiel now, preferring to stay in denial of the kid’s emotions for a little while longer.