Day 4: Blankets
Cas sat by the window, looking out at the falling snow. Winter had started to fade into spring, bringing warmer temperatures, then this happened. A sudden drop in temperature and a bad snow storm. The corner of his mouth ticked downward as he watched a car trying to drive down his street. It was being buffeted by snow and ice, putting visibility at almost zero. The wind howled and as he watched, a branch off the old oak tree in his front yard snap off. This was scary, and getting more so with every passing moment.
He pulled the blankets he’d dragged from his bed further up his body, wrapping one of them around his shoulders. It was cold and he was out of wood for the fireplace. If his neighbors on both sides weren’t ignorant and sexist against Omegas, not to mention dangerous, he might have asked to borrow some from one of them, but in a situation like this all he’d get was either bent over and knotted against his will or insulted and have the door slammed in his face. It wasn’t worth it. The fallen tree branch was looking awful good right then. He wondered if he could drag it inside without having to chop it.
The car was stuck. It couldn’t get enough traction on the ice to keep going and from his seat he couldn’t hear it trying to escape. He contemplated going out there to see if he could help, but he had no idea if the driver was an Alpha, and he didn’t feel like risking his own life if they turned out to be like one of his asshole neighbors. The car fishtailed before somehow swinging right, and pulling into his driveway. He sat up as the driver parked and got out. It was a man, he could at least tell that much, and he was heading up to his door. A moment later he was knocking. Cas pushed the blankets back and got up, sliding his socked feet into his slippers before wrapping one of the blankets around his shoulders again. He shuffled over to the door and opened it a crack.
“Can I help you?”
“S-sorry, I was d-driving my n-neighbor’s car and it got s-stuck on the ice trying to d-drive d-down your street, and then the t-transmission blew. It’s f-freezing out here, c-could I come in for a few m-minutes? Warm up while I c-call my brother to see if he’s ok-k?” The man was practically convulsing with how badly he was shaking. His lips even looked like they were turning blue. It was hard to hear him over the wind, but Cas noticed that he was wearing only a leather jacket over a flannel, and he was hunched down, trying to keep his neck from getting hit with snow and ice. He worried for his own safety, but he also didn’t want the man to freeze.
“Are you an Alpha?” He asked. It was hard to tell with the wind whipping the way it was. The man looked at him for a moment before nodding.
“Yeah, but I’m n-not an a-asshole. I j-just want to warm up. The heater w-went out too. I am wishing I’d d-driven my Impala tonight, but I d-didn’t want to get salt on her undercarriage, or f-fight to p-put on snow c-chains, so I b-borrowed my n-next door neighbor’s hunk of junk. I d-didn’t think it was this bad off though. I d-did work on it f-for her last year, but apparently that w-wasn’t e-enough,”
Cas pursed his lips before stepping back enough to open the door and allow the man to come inside. He immediately shut the door before the house got any colder. The man shook the snow off and tried to smile. He was cold though that it almost came out looking like a grimace.
“My name’s Dean,”
“I’m Cas. What had you driving tonight? The storm was announced yesterday. Most people are hunkering down inside instead of going out,”
Dean ran a hand through his hair, shaking out more snow. He rubbed his hands together and Cas was alarmed to see that the tips were white. The man was well and truly on his way to hypothermia. He gave him a few minutes to get the shaking under control before he answered. The shivering continued, but he took it as a good sign that the Alpha wasn’t convulsing anymore.
“Yeah, I didn’t expect to come out this way, but I was trying to drop some groceries off to my brother. He’s an Omega too, and he went into a spontaneous heat tonight of all nights. He needs water, granola bars, and some other stuff I picked up for him, but I can’t get to him now. I just want to make sure he’s alright. He texted me to let me know his girlfriend was coming with food and water after I got stuck out on the street, but I want to make sure she at least went to check on him and bring him the stuff he needs,” Dean pulled his phone out and dialed a number. He paced a few feet away as he put it to his ear. Cas watched as he spoke to someone, a man, by the sound of it. He was assuring Dean that he was alright, and that someone named Eileen was bringing food and water for him. When Dean hung up he seemed happier, and definitely less stressed out, despite the issues with his car. He stuck the phone back in his pocket and shivered.
“Why is it so cold in here?”
“I ran out of wood for the fireplace. I can’t ask my neighbors, they’re prejudiced against Omegas,” Cas replied, pulling his blanket tighter around himself. Dean frowned as he looked at the fireplace.
“They’re dicks? Making sexist comments and stuff?”
“The one, yes. The other would have me bent over, taking his knot over and over for the rest of the storm if he had his way,” Cas moved back to his window seat and sat down. “I’m just bundling up, hoping this storm will pass soon.”
Dean followed him over but remained standing. “This storm isn’t ending anytime soon, it’s supposed to go for at least the next three days. You’ll freeze if you can’t heat this place. You don’t have a furnace?”
“No. My brother built me this cabin, but I haven’t gotten around to putting in a furnace yet. It’s a miracle that I have electricity. My space heater couldn’t keep up with this cold and it died this morning,”
Dean rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the fireplace. “You think if I asked them, they’d give me some wood?”
“Maybe. You’d do that?” Cas was surprised that this stranger would offer to do this.
“Well, yeah. I can’t stand those macho dickheads that think they have the right to belittle people, or try to take them against their will. They’re lowlifes. How much wood do you think they have?”
“A lot. Richard Roman has it stacked almost to his roof out back and Gordon has almost as much,” Cas replied. Dean chewed at the inside of his cheek as he thought.
“Why don’t I just relieve them of enough wood to keep you warm for the next few days? Liberate some from both of them, so they don’t really notice,”
Cas’ eyebrows raised as surprise hit him again. “You mean steal?”
Dean shrugged and grinned. “You telling me they don’t deserve it?”
Cas smirked and shook his head. “Oh no, they both deserve it,”
“Show me to the back door, I’ll sneak over to one house first, then the other. You stay at the door and keep it unlocked so I can get in quickly,” Dean waited for him to get up, then followed after the Omega as he lead him to the back door.
“You’ll want to be careful. Gordon will track footprints back here,” Cas warned.
“There’s so much snow falling that any footprints I leave will be gone within minutes,” Dean pulled his jacket up higher around his neck but Cas reached past him to pull a scarf off one of the pegs.
“Put this on,”
Dean smiled gratefully as he wrapped it around his neck, pulling it high enough to cover his ears. It was thick and warm. He wished he had one like it.
He ducked out the back door, making a left and heading for Gordon first. Cas waited, worrying that Dean might get caught. Gordon was dangerous and he’d been avoiding the man for three years now. There was an acre between their cabins but the obnoxious Alpha liked coming onto his property and scent marking it, as though claiming Cas for himself. It disgusted the Omega and it wasn’t until he held a shotgun to the asshole’s chest that Gordon finally got the picture and decided to leave him alone. It never should have come to that, but Gordon was the kind of Alpha that was entitled, thinking he should have whatever he wanted, and he wanted Cas. That was never going to happen though, not as long as he lived.
A thump against the door made him open it. Dean was holding so much wood it had him gasping as he stepped back to let the Alpha back inside.
“You got all that just from Gordon?”
“Dude has so much wood that piles of it wrap around the far side of his house, and it’s stacked clear up to the roof. I didn’t even make a dent. This here should last you a few weeks, but I’m not done yet,”
Before Cas could protest and tell him this was enough, the Alpha was ducking back outside, this time turning right as he dashed across the acre that stood between his cabin and Richard’s. Several agonizingly long minutes passed before Dean was kicking at the door again to be let inside. The Omega’s jaw dropped when he saw how much Dean was carrying. It was even more than what he’d gotten from Gordon, and it was testament to the Alpha’s strength. His inner Omega preened at the sight of it as he closed the door, locking it too before he followed Dean over to the fireplace. The Alpha had already set about starting a fire, so Cas curled up on the couch to watch him.
Once a good fire was going, the place began to warm up. After fetching the other blanket from the window seat, he returned to the couch and offered it to Dean who had removed his leather jacket and was currently rubbing his flannel covered arms as he tried to warm up.
“Here, wrap yourself up in this,”
Dean took the blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders. “Smells like you,” He commented. Cas blushed and lowered his eyes.
“I’m sorry, I was curled up in both of them before you got here,”
“No, I like it, your scent is very nice. It’s soothing,” Dean wrapped the blanket tighter around himself and smiled at him. Cas just blushed even harder.
“Are you from around here?” He asked.
“Lawrence, originally, but when my brother moved here for work, I followed him. It’s just him and me, the rest of our family are dead. I raised Sammy, really, after our mom died. Our dad didn’t know how to be a father anymore, so he started drinking. It was left to me to take care of my brother, even though I was just a kid myself, but I didn’t care as long as Sammy was ok. He wanted to go to college to become a lawyer, something that is frowned upon when it’s an Omega, but he didn’t care, he did it anyway. Not too many law firms want to hire an Omega lawyer, but one here did, so he came and took the job. I didn’t want to be alone in Kansas, so…here I am,” Dean shrugged. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to just unload on you like that,”
“It’s ok. I’m happy he managed to find a law firm that doesn’t discriminate. I don’t know where the idea came from that Omegas are weak and can’t do things that Alphas do. I joined the Army because they told me I couldn’t be a soldier. I did two tours in Iraq before coming stateside. I went to school to become a doctor and I have saved a lot of lives,” Cas was proud of what he had done. He’d do it again if he hadn’t gotten injured in the field and sent home. He noticed that Dean was looking at him in awe.
“You are fascinating, you know that?” The Alpha asked. A furrow formed between the Omega’s brows. He’d never been called fascinating before.
“Why am I fascinating?”
“You served in the Army, became a doctor, and saw battle. I don’t know of any Omegas that joined the military,” Dean was still staring in awe at him.
“There’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. As long as you don’t flat out announce you’re an Omega, they look the other way. I took suppressants to block my heats, wore a hell of a lot of blockers and kept my mouth shut. Made it to Sergeant First Class before I got injured and sent home. Once I was back here, I took a position at the VA. It paid shit and the quality of care was abhorrent, so I left and took a position at Little Cross. I’ve been there four years now,”
“Wow, are you still enlisted?” Dean asked. Cas shook his head.
“No, I’m retired. I thought I’d come home, meet someone special, start a family, but that didn’t happen. Instead I’m left with two assholes on either side of me that keep scent marking my territory. It makes dating sort of difficult,”
“Cause you’d bring an Alpha back and they’d smell those two twits and see it as a challenge they didn’t want to have a part in,” Dean concluded.
“Exactly,” Cas sighed. “Gordon thinks I’ll just submit and let him knot me while Richard thinks he can insult me, make my life miserable and chase off potential suitors. I’ve sort of given up on dating because of them,”
“Why don’t you just move?” Dean asked.
“Because my brother built this for me, and he’s dead now. This is all I have left of him, and I’m not giving it up because of ignorant neighbors, and I shouldn’t have to. I wish I could make them move,” Cas growled. He frowned as he stared into the fire. Dean was the first Alpha he’d had over that actually came inside his cabin. He attributed that to the foul weather currently howling outside. He couldn’t smell Richard or Gordon.
“I noticed right away that you’re not mated, and I thought that was strange at first, because you’re breathtakingly beautiful, but I guess now I know why,” Dean said. Cas’ eyebrows shot up as he looked at the Alpha.
Dean pulled the blanket even more around his shoulders and nodded. “Definitely. I’d want to go out with you, no matter what those douchebags did to deter me. I don’t back down from a challenge that easily,”
Cas found himself blushing again. He figured Dean would have called a tow truck or something to come get him and his car, though he doubted a tow truck would even come out in this weather, Instead, he was sitting on the couch with him, and the Alpha was definitely flirting. Dean wanted to be here. He hoped it wasn’t just so he could knot him. He wasn’t an easy conquest, and the Alpha would find himself laid out on the floor, and with several pieces missing if he tried.
“What do you do for a living?” He asked, curious as to what Dean did.
“Well, you might be surprised to learn that I’m a doctor too, just not a medical one. I teach two archaeology courses and two history courses at Northwestern University. Growing up, I wanted to be like Indiana Jones, but I never got to do the crazy things he did. I’m Doctor Dean Winchester,” Dean dug a business card out of his wallet and passed it over. Cas read the info on the card and wondered if that was legit. He pulled his phone out and researched the staff at Northwestern. Dean was right there, listed as an archaeologist and professor of exactly what he’d said. He looked up at Dean and smiled.
“Sorry, I’m skeptical of everyone, not just you,”
“No, it’s cool,” Dean told him. “I would want to be sure too.”
“Do you have someone to pick you up?” Cas asked. Dean’s smile fell away and he stared down at his knees.
“No. Normally I’d ask my brother to come and get me, but with his heat, even in this storm, I don’t want him leaving his apartment. If his girlfriend was a better driver I’d ask her to pick me up but that girl hit a street pole when she was the only car on the street. And it was the middle of a summer day. She lives two apartments over from my brother, but she was supposed to be visiting her mother this weekend. Apparently she saw the bad weather coming and decided to stay home, so she only had to go to the convenient store across the street. She didn’t have to drive. I don’t think Sam would let her anyway. Let me see if there are any Ubers,” Dean pulled his phone out and opened the Uber app.
“My money is on no,” Cas watched as he tapped on the current location and frowned. He’d been right, there wasn’t a single Uber or Lyft, once he looked that one up too, anywhere. He tried all of the local cab companies but none of them would come out in this weather either.
“Damn it,” Dean grumbled. He stared thoughtfully into the fire. “I’d walk, but it’s like five miles, and I didn’t dress warm enough because I didn’t think I’d be getting out of the car longer than it took to run food up to my brother. If I’d known Doris’ car was this bad off I’d have never borrowed it.”
“You could call a tow truck, but you’d be footing the bill for her car, and there’s no guarantee that they’d come out either. I’d drive you but my car won’t make it in this weather, the brakes are bad. I’ve been meaning to bring it in to a shop but the one I was using keeps trying to gouge me. They think because I’m an Omega they can just scam me. I call them out on it every time, but it gets exhausting after a while,” Cas said. “If you want to stay, you’re welcome to my couch.”
Dean looked at the bed in the corner, and Cas suddenly was on edge. Immediately the Alpha smelled the change in his scent.
“Dude, no, I’m not thinking that. I’m worried you’ll be cold over there. I mean, it’s probably a good idea that it’s all one room, but will you be warm or do you want to pull the bed closer to the fireplace?”
Cas relaxed and pulled his blanket tighter around his shoulders. “I’ll be ok. It’ll get hot in front of the fireplace but my bed usually is ok. You may actually want to back the couch up a few feet so you don’t boil, or curl up in the window seat. I’ve slept there before, it’s quite comfortable. This place is sealed up tight, no drafts, but I’m still working on it. I need to add insulation for extra warmth in here, and then I’ll be adding the walls to give myself a proper bedroom. It fell to the wayside with work monopolizing most of my time and before I knew it, another winter had arrived. I have another chimney in place already for when I get my bedroom sealed up, so that room stays warm too,”
“Ok, as long as you’re warm over there. Do you have enough blankets?” Dean asked. Cas got up and went to a closet just outside a door the Alpha assumed was the bathroom and pulled the door open. He pulled a stack of blankets out and carried them over to the couch.
“You probably want one freshly washed rather than the one covered in my scent,” He offered a thick comforter to the Alpha but Dean pulled the blanket tighter around his shoulders. Still, he accepted the comforter.
“It’s ok, I-I like your scent, it’s soothing,” Dean was blushing and it had Cas smiling.
“Alright then. But if you need more, there’s another few in the closet. I think that if we keep the fire burning all night, we’ll stay plenty warm,”
Dean laid the comforter over his legs after removing his boots. He tried to pull his legs up underneath himself but his jeans weren’t making that possible.
“Come on, I have warm pajama pants you can wear,” Cas motioned for him to follow and after pulling the pants from his dresser drawer, he motioned towards the bathroom. “You can change in there. Do you have a tee shirt on under that flannel or should I get one of mine out for you?”
“No, I was smart enough at least to put a shirt on under my flannel. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Dean ducked into the bathroom and Cas returned to the couch. He grabbed the remote for the TV off the mantle but when he turned it on, every station he tried was blank. Pursing his lips in annoyance, he went to the built in shelves next to the fireplace and began looking through the movies there, looking for something to watch. Despite the darkness outside from the thick snow and the storm, it was barely after five. He decided on Pan’s Labyrinth, wanting something fantasy and was just popping it in the DVD player when Dean came out of the bathroom.
“Oh, a movie? What did you put in?”
“It’s in Spanish, it’s called Pan’s Labyrinth. I love this movie,” Cas replied as he carried the remote back to the couch and curled up under two blankets. He was toasty warm. Dean joined him, curling up under his own two.
“I think I heard of this movie, but I’ve never seen it. It’s good?”
“It’s fantastic, but a few scenes might be disturbing. Have you seen Hellboy two?” Cas looked over to see the Alpha nodding.
“Yeah, I love that movie. Excellent special effects. Same guy did it for this one, I assume?”
“Guillermo del Toro, are you familiar with him?”
Dean nodded. “Oh yeah, he’s amazing. He did this movie?” He looked up at the television which was mounted over the fireplace.
Even Dean was pulled into the movie, paying rapt attention to everything that was happened. At the end, when Cas looked over at him, he could see the tears in the Alpha’s eyes. Dean wasn’t like any other Alphas he knew. He was sensitive and sweet, and he really didn’t think that was just a façade. That was how the Alpha truly was.
“Are you hungry? I have stew in the crock pot, I’ve been simmering it the last few hours,” Cas was hungry so he got up and walked into the kitchen. Dean turned around on the couch to look at him and nodded.
“If it’s not too much trouble. When I am able to get out of here I’ll replace anything I eat,”
“That’s not necessary. I don’t often get company, unless it’s one of my remaining brothers. The assholes on either side of me try to come sniffing around, knocking and trying to get me to open the door, but I don’t. I don’t consider them company,” Cas said as he pulled two large bowls down and filled them with the stew. He cut two thick slices of French bread, slathered them in butter and after putting the bowls and the bread on two plates, he carried everything into the living room. Dean jumped up to take one of the bowls and after Cas switched out the movie for another one, they sat down to watch it.
“This is fantastic. Is this some kind of premade mix or did you make this from scratch?” Dean asked as he practically licked the bowl clean. He’d devoured the bread too.
“I enjoy cooking from time to time, and stew is one of the things I am able to make from scratch. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Do you want more?” Cas looked over to see the Alpha shaking his head.
“No thank you, I’m pleasantly stuffed. Can I get some water though?”
“Of course,” Cas went to get up but Dean motioned for him to stay seated. He grabbed the plates and bowls and carried them into the kitchen. Cas paused the movie when he realized Dean intended to wash them before getting himself a glass of water. He got one for Cas too and returned.
“Thank you,” He murmured as he started the movie. He’d expected to spend the storm alone, freezing, but Dean had brought not only pleasant company, he’d retrieved wood and they were toasty warm as they watched movies and ate. His friends didn’t often come out here to visit, and his family was limited to his brothers, both of who were busy with their families. It was nice to have a handsome man here to watch movies with. The fact that Dean was an Alpha didn’t bother him as much as he’d thought. Most unmated Alphas preferred to let their instincts drive them and if he’d done that, Dean would have attacked him the second he was through the door. Not that would have succeeded. Cas was still a soldier, and Dean would have been incapacitated and tied up until the storm was over and he could reach the police. He was respectful though, and Cas greatly appreciated that.
They watched the movie in silence, and then Dean selected a third one while Cas went to look out the window. The storm seemed to be getting worse and when Dean’s phone rang, he looked apologetically at Cas before answering it. It was clear he was speaking with Doris, and that she was apologizing profusely for leaving him stranded. He told her it was ok, and that he’d have her car back to her as soon as he could. When he hung up, he sighed heavily. He looked over at Cas who was sitting in the window seat again, watching the storm rage outside. Standing up, he paused the new movie and dragged his blankets over to the seat and sat down across from him. He looked at the storm that was still raging outside.
“Is that a branch in your yard? It’s almost completely covered in snow,”
“Yes, it fell earlier, just before you pulled into my driveway. I’m thankful it didn’t come through the window,” Cas replied.
“I’d have fixed it for you if it had,” Dean told him.
“It’s alright, I could have fixed it myself. My father taught all of his sons how to build and fix things. My brother Mike built his own company. He was an architect that built cabins and lodges, and when he offered to build me a cabin, I jumped at it. Problem was, he had work come in before he could finish the inside, so I told him I’d do it myself. Then he passed away when he was shot at a concert two years ago. The rest of it is up to me, and I will be taking the time soon to finish it,”
“You had work getting in the way before though,” Dean remembered him saying.
“Exactly,” Cas nodded. He took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. “I need to cut my hours down.”
“What kind of doctor are you?” Dean asked.
“I’m a general surgeon,”
“You are probably the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” Dean was in awe, and it had Cas cocking an eyebrow.
“Why? Because I’m an Omega?” Dean had said earlier called him fascinating but the few times he’d been complimented by an Alpha, it had been to get in his pants. They usually didn’t mean what they said. He didn’t know Dean well but he had hopes the man was being sincere.
“No, because you’re just awesome. I teach, I work on cars, despite Doris’ car breaking down. She only let me fix her brakes and flush her radiator, and I can maybe fix a few things, like windows or cabinet doors. You’re like this amazing soldier, a surgeon, you can pretty much build your own house if you wanted to, you can cook, and you make for intelligent conversation. Dude, you’re everything I have dreamed about having as my mate. Not that I’d ask that of you, it’s not my place, but I still think you’re really freaking cool. And totally hot, even with your pajamas and fuzzy slippers,” Dean grinned as Cas laughed.
“You’re a charmer, aren’t you,”
Dean shrugged. “Sometimes, but I don’t go around flirting with every Omega I see. I really would like to solve your problem with the assholes that live by you, but I couldn’t really do that until the spring, after the snow has completely melted,”
Cas tilted his head, looking at Dean curiously.
“Solve it how?”
“Well, if I could maybe take you on a couple of dates, cause I really like you, and I hope you’ll come to like me too, I can mark your territory so they leave you alone. They’re fucking with you because you’re unmated. That’s not right, so I’d make it clear that they need to leave you alone. They seem to be too stupid to figure out that you’re a badass that could kill them with your eyes closed. Those type of people will continue to harass you, despite that, cause the only thing that works to deter them is a territory being marked. I’ll bet those assholes have even pissed on your cabin,” Dean sounded and smelled irritated just thinking about Cas’ neighbors. Cas had to admit, he was impressed, but stooping to their level was not something he wanted to do. Still, if Dean really was interested in dating him, just seeing him coming and going from his house should be enough to deter them from marking his territory any more than they already were doing.
“Well, I am hoping it won’t have to come to that. I don’t want to stoop to their level. If I decided to go out with you, perhaps seeing you coming and going from my house, and smelling you here should be enough to make them leave me alone. If it doesn’t, then we’ll see about you marking my territory. I just…the idea of you having to pee along the border of my property, it’s so archaic. I know that in ancient times that is what an Alpha would do to keep invading packs off their lands, and I know these two idiots are trying to mark me as theirs, but I’m not an easy conquest, for you, for them, for anyone. If you’re really interested in me, you’re going to have to work for it. I don’t sleep with just anyone,”
Dean’s eyes widened and he frowned at the Omega. “Cas, I told you I’m not looking for sex. I just want to take you on a date. From there I’m hoping I can take you on a couple more. I’m not one of those wolves that lets my instincts control me. I won’t knot you unless that’s what you want, and I don’t expect sex to come into play for quite a while. First, I want to get to know you better. So, can I take you to dinner sometime?”
Cas smiled as he looked out the window, watching the wind continue to whip the snow around, reducing visibility to almost nothing. This was one of the worst winter storms he’d ever seen.
“I’d like that. Could we go to a steakhouse?”
Dean smiled and nodded. “Absolutely. Until then, I’d still like to get to know you better,”
Cas turned away from the window and looked at the Alpha.
“Ok, what do you want to know?”
“This is important,” Dean said with all seriousness. Cas sat up straight and waited to hear the question. “What type of music do you listen to?”
Cas smiled. He liked this man. For an Alpha, Dean was handsome, charming without being a douche, and respectful. He doubted he’d find another Alpha this nice. Going on a date sounded like the best thing in the world.
“Well, I like…”