Chapter 1: The Morning Star
"Are you kidding me? A Faerie?"
Mary shrugged, her blonde hair tickling her shoulders as they moved. She had recently cut most of it off, complaining that hunters didn't need long, pullable hair in the field. "All of the lore pretty much agrees on this point. Only a Faerie can track and hunt another Faerie. We have to summon a couple to help us out with this."
Sam flipped through the ancient tome, narrowing his hazel eyes at the Gaelic text as he translated the passages and scribbled notes with a digital pen on a tablet nearby. "Dean, she's right. And, if the Faerie we're hunting is as powerful as the signs indicate, two or three might be the best option. Noble ones only."
Dean, the oldest of the three Winchester boys, ran his fingers through his dark blonde hair and sighed. His jade green eyes snapped up as his youngest brother entered the room, a trio of dusty books in his arms that he gratefully surrendered to their father. John Winchester, his dark hair showing hints of gray, was the leader of the family of hunters, always keeping his wife and sons safe despite the dangers inherent in their jobs. He was an alpha, a big pack leader well known and rightly feared among the hunter community, and all of his sons had presented the same way.
"What are we summoning?"
"Faeries, apparently," Dean replied, taking one of the books from his dad as he flipped through it to find the section on dark Faeries. "Sam, this one isn't in Gaelic. I don't recognize these letters. Can you take a look?"
Sam, the tallest member of the Winchester pack, stood up and leaned over his brother's shoulder, eyes tracing the letters as he furrowed his brow. "I don't recognize it."
"Let me see, son." John grunted as he checked the page, closing the ancient tome carefully. "It looks like Enochian, the ancient language of the Faeries. When we summon one, it should be able to read this for us."
"Ok, how do we do that?"
Mary, who had become quite the expert in Faeries over the past few weeks, passed her book across the table and pointed at the spell painted in beautiful gold ink on the page. "It says here you have to bind it to a person, an unmated person. It's not specific about gender or subgender, just that you have to be compatible with the Faerie you're summoning. Also, you have to collar it as soon as it appears or it will fly away and wreak havoc. Presumably, the one we're hunting was summoned incorrectly and it escaped."
"How do we know what Faerie we're summoning?"
Sam shrugged, tapping the page. "It looks like you have to put out offerings that appeal to the one you want to bind, and if he likes them he will come to your call."
"And if he doesn't like them?"
"Uh, the Faerie will kill you."
"I'm not sure I like the implications of that," their youngest brother Adam murmured. "When you say that we have to bind the Faerie to a person, does that mean that we can each only bind one? Is it dangerous?"
"Who said you're summoning one? Adam, you're only eighteen."
"I've been hunting for almost four years now, Dean. Certainly I can handle collaring a Faerie."
Mary cleared her throat and tapped the book on the table in front of Sam. "It says here that you can only summon a Faerie in a place he frequents. Generally Faeries are everywhere, invisible to us and moving in and out of our plane of existence, but the most powerful ones aren't going to be found in the forest and common places. We need to find a place of power, a magical nexus, where the noble Faeries can be found."
"And how are we going to do that?" Dean glared at his youngest brother out of the side of his eye, hinting that the conversation was far from over despite their mother's interruption.
"We'll have to ask an expert," John drawled, grinning as Sam's head snapped up. "Yep."
"Dad, not Crowley, please. That guy gives me the creeps."
John shrugged and closed the book he had been skimming. "He knows more about witches and their powers than any other hunter, and he has always been a great resource for us. He saved us from those hellhounds a few years ago, remember?"
Dean sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Dad, he knows so much about witches because his mom is one. I don't entirely trust her."
"Rowena has never caused us any trouble, and all of the witches in her coven are natural-born so they don't derive their power from demons. Crowley may not know how to track noble Faeries, but he will take us to his mother if he doesn't. Dean, you know that it's the best plan."
"Doesn't mean I have to like it," the younger hunter grumbled.
Crowley, as it turned out, was well aware of their problem. He was a powerful alpha, in charge of his own pack in D.C. that covered parts of Delaware, Maryland, and northern Virginia. He was busy, incredibly unpleasant to his enemies, but exceptionally loyal to his friends. Dean was moderately surprised when he was able to get an appointment so quickly, scheduled three days after they decided that they would have to summon Faeries. He packed Sam and an over-eager Adam into his beloved '67 Impala, a gift from his father when he graduated college, and headed east, the address for one of the dozens of hotels Crowley owned in Arlington programmed into his brother's obnoxiously positive-sounding GPS.
When they reached the hotel, a modest three-star joint that was still far and above any motel he stayed in when the family was hunting, Dean was surprised to find Crowley's new Manager of Purchasing waiting for them. Garth Fitzgerald IV, an overly optimistic and extremely skinny six-foot brunet alpha who couldn't hurt a fly, jumped into Sam's arms and greeted the younger alpha effusively, his scent too sweet but incredibly him.
"Sam! Dean! Adam! When Crowley said you were coming for a meeting I couldn't believe it! And here you are!"
"Yeah, yeah, calm down man. It's good to see you, too." Dean allowed Garth to pull him into a quick hug, the other hunter's blue eyes bright with joyous tears. Garth never did anything by halves, and he was one of the most loved and most respected hunters in the business. He had once been a dentist, before his first run-in with the supernatural, but his prowess in tracking and curing werewolves was legendary. No one knew how he did it, but the man could turn any bitten wolf back into a human, through some weird serum he and Crowley had created together, and he was on good terms with most of the born-wolf packs across the country, saving hundreds of hunter lives with a truce he had forged three years earlier.
"I didn't know you were back working for Crowley again," Adam offered, piling their bags on a nearby cart as Garth offered him a repeat of the hug his brothers received. "Last I heard, you were out west forging a treaty between Asa Fox's pack and the local werewolf family."
"I was," Garth confirmed, grabbing the cart and heading for the elevators. "I, uh . . . I may have met their oldest daughter and fallen in love." He pulled the collar of his shirt down, revealing a new, and very red mating mark, the teeth impressions oddly shaped but healing nicely. "Bess and I mated just a few days ago."
"Congrats, man!" Sam reached out and patted Garth on the shoulder. "How does that work, a human and a werewolf?"
"Well, as you can see, she's got a bit more teeth than the normal lass, but she's sweet and loving and I'm so happy to have her. We were on our honeymoon when Crowley called me and offered me a new position as Purchasing Manager, which I'll start full-time at the beginning of the month. As soon as I heard about your business with these Faeries, I offered to work part-time to help get this all cleared up."
"Why did he call you back? You need to be with your new mate for at least a month, and the bonding during the first week is incredibly important."
Garth blushed and looked away, biting his bottom lip as his scent paled with embarrassment. "She's here. Crowley gave us the honeymoon suite, and he only allows me to work for three hours at a time before I am required to spend three hours with her. He's been so great, and so understanding about my situation." The elevator reached their floor and Garth led them to a trio of doors at the end of the hall, passing over three key cards.
"We each get our own room?"
"Of course. Crowley thought you might be more comfortable that way. I'll be here at seven to meet you and take you down to breakfast, then the car will arrive at eight-thirty for your nine o'clock appointment. See you guys then!" Garth scampered off, heading back to the elevator and his new mate, Sam grinning as the alpha vanished.
"He's so adorable."
Dean grunted and swiped the card for his room, pleasantly surprised that he didn't have to share with one or both of his brothers. "Sam, find us somewhere close by for supper; we'll meet in the lobby in three hours. I'm gonna try to get a nap in the meantime." When John was around, Dean was his dutiful second-in-command, but when the boys were alone it was always clear which alpha was undeniably In Charge. Sam nodded in acceptance of the request, finding his own room and vanishing inside, Adam disappearing into his a moment later.
MacLeod Industries was a huge, multinational corporation with headquarters in sixteen states and four countries, and their main headquarters in D.C. rivaled all other locations in size and opulence. Crowley enjoyed flaunting his power, and it helped that his mother was a powerful witch who was well over three hundred years old, having spent most of that time gaining wealth to protect herself from human hunters. Now that she and her coven, some of whom were older than her, had forged a solid treaty with the hunters, Crowley was all too happy to use his wealth and power to help rid the country of monsters.
Dean, wearing a surprisingly well-tailored gray suit and dark green tie that complemented his dark jade eyes, waited patiently in the lobby of MacLeod Industries, his brothers just as quiet by his side. Sam had chosen a darker suit in slate, his tie striped green and blue while Adam was dressed in black with a dark red tie. They looked every bit the three young but powerful alphas of the Winchester clan they represented, their scents calm and patient as Crowley's employees flitted through the lobby around them, none of them brave enough to meet the alphas' eyes.
Crowley's Executive Assistant, a dark-haired woman named Meg, cleared her throat, dark eyes meeting Dean's green across the room. The beta walked around her desk and approached the three alphas, no deference in her stance or scent. Dean always appreciated that Crowley would not allow subgender discrimination among his employees, so omegas and betas held many positions of power throughout the organization and they never bowed to alphas who did not earn their respect. "He will see you now."
"Thank you, Meg," Dean replied smoothly, his carefully-shined dress shoes tapping on the floor as he followed the petite woman through a short hallway and a pair of expensive mahogany double doors into a lavishly-appointed office where a dark-haired alpha lounged uncaringly in a throne-like chair behind an overly large desk. They were on the fourth floor of the huge building and the windows that took up the entire left side of the room looked toward downtown D.C. and the various landmarks Dean was familiar with there. It was certainly more impressive than the ancient, long-abandoned Men of Letters bunker that the Winchester pack had recently taken over and made their home.
"Moose! Squirrel! So good to see you," Crowley greeted, rising from his chair and gesturing toward the three chairs arranged in front of his desk. "And you brought your youngest brother, as well, it seems. Adam, correct?"
"Y-yes, sir," Adam replied, reached out to take the proffered hand and shaking it quickly.
"Good to see you, Boris," Dean grinned, always caught between amusement and annoyance at the older alpha's fondness for nicknames. "Where's Natasha?"
Meg chuckled at that before slipping out of the room, closing the doors behind her to offer the four alphas privacy. "Mother is doing well, Dean, thank you for asking. She is dating a new millionaire and is currently living in San Diego. She seems happy."
"Is this one going to come to as unfortunate an end as the last one?" Crowley's omega mother had a penchant for dating wealthy men across the world, some of whom did not survive the encounter. The hunters had investigated each incident, but all of the unnatural deaths had been scumbags or demonic collaborators that had deserved to be taken out, including three rapists and a vampire. Rowena was hunting in her own way, but the Winchesters still kept an eye on her.
"No, this one is perfectly human and knows nothing of the supernatural. As a matter of fact, Mother quite likes him and he is interested in a rather lucrative deal with my company. I'll introduce you to him if the deal goes through." Crowley took his seat and leaned back, eyes flicking between the three alphas before settling on Dean. "Faeries, huh?"
"Look, Dad said you're the best person to help us with this. I don't know if you really believe in them, but—"
Crowley scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm Scottish, you dimwit; of course I believe in Faeries. I've even met my fair share in the past few years, but they are not beings you want to deal with. You better have a damn good reason."
"There's a dark Faerie loose somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and it has killed dozens of people so far. We also think it started a series of wildfires in northern California and a mudslide in southern Oregon."
Crowley reached up and rubbed his chin, the stubble of a day-old beard rasping against his fingers. His wood smoke and pepper scent was calm and controlled, not giving away any of his thoughts, but Dean was certain that the presence of a wild Faerie would concern the older alpha. "I have heard about those incidents, but I didn't consider that magic could be behind them."
"Dad thinks that this Faerie is one of the most powerful ones, a noble or a High Prince. He says that we need two or three of our own in order to fight him."
There was a slight tremor in Crowley's scent at that, though the man's expression did not change. Dean sensed Sam tense beside him, the tallest Winchester detecting the slight change in their host's emotions. "It's not easy or safe to summon a common Faerie, Dean, and this is far beyond that. You need to discover the name of the Faerie that got loose."
The doors to Crowley's office swung open at his words, a petite and incredibly beautiful green-eyed redheaded omega strolling in, her sparkling purple dress swirling around her heeled feet. "Fergus! We have a problem."
"Mother, I am in a meeting," Crowley replied, standing to greet the woman as she grabbed one of the chairs along the back wall and pulled it behind his desk. The three Winchesters watched in amusement as the tiny woman took over the meeting, waving a greeting to them before turning her attention back to her son. Meg, who had clearly failed to stop Rowena from entering, closed the doors behind her and left the group in peace.
"This is more important, Fergus." Rowena was the only person who still called Crowley by his birth name and not the name he had adopted in order to run his company. He hated it, and the spike of peppers in his scent, underlain with a new, strange chamomile aroma indicated his discomfort. "There is a Faerie loose in northern California."
"That's actually what we are here to discuss," Dean replied, taking command of the meeting as the omega turned to face him.
Rowena smiled as she leaned across the table, her eyes almost glowing under the heavy purple eyeshadow that shimmered from each lid. "Ooh, aren't you a pretty one. You much be John's son, Dean. I hadn't heard that you were so scrumptious." Her voice, heavy with the Scottish brogue of her homeland, was soft and sultry, and Dean could suddenly see why so many men fell in love with this witch.
"Um, yeah, that's me. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ma'am."
"Please, call me Rowena! 'Ma'am' makes me feel old." Crowley rolled his eyes at that, not bothering to point out that three hundred years was old by any human measurement, but she ignored the action. "You know about that rogue Faerie?"
"Yeah, we've been tracking it." Sam reached into the inner pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a map, spreading it out on the table and pointing to the marks on the West Coast that had been attributed to the creature they were hunting. "We think someone summoned it in the area, didn't realize how powerful a creature they had found, and lost control of it."
"Where is the person who summoned it?"
"Dead," Crowley answered flatly, staring at the map. "If you summon a Faerie and fail to collar it properly, it will kill you. This kind of magic is very dangerous."
Rowena leaned closer to the map, her nose twitching as she caught the new notes in her son's aroma. "Fergus, is there something you want to tell me?"
The alpha actually blushed at that, rubbing the back of his neck as he pushed away from the table. Silently, Crowley headed for a door in the back of his office, one that Dean would have assumed to be a closet, but when he opened it the alpha could see a small suite behind it. Did the alpha live here, or did he just want to have somewhere comfortable to sleep when he worked late? A soft voice called out to the alpha, followed quickly by a lean blonde who was probably one or two inches taller than Crowley, dressed only in soft flannel pants and a shirt with a gray V-neck so deep that his entire chest was visible. That, and the angry red bite on his shoulder at the base of his neck.
"You've taken a mate?"
"Yes, Mother," Crowley replied, wrapping his arm carefully around the omega's waist. The man, his pale blue eyes taking in the guests before returning to his alpha, whispered something, glancing back at the room behind him. At least that explained the faint chamomile thread in Crowley's scent; the newly mated tended to take on characteristics of their partner's natural aroma. "This is my new mate, Balthazar. I intended to introduce you as soon as you returned from California."
"Well, I have returned. Let me have a look at the boy." Rowena joined her son in the back of the room, reaching up to place a hand on his cheek, fingers resting on cheekbones that seemed just a bit too well defined, even as his eyes were just a bit too bright. There was something almost ethereal about the omega that screamed supernatural, but he smelled human enough, his rosemary and lemony mint scent leaving a red pepper aftertaste on Dean's tongue.
Crowley rested his hand on Balthazar's lower back, watching his mother's eyes for any indication of her thoughts. He clearly desired her approval, reaching up to rub his own neck where the collar of his dark gray dress shirt covered his own new mating bite. "Mother?"
Rowena smiled at the omega, patting his cheek before stepping away. "So, that's your story, youngling? How are you enjoying your new life?"
Balthazar grinned, puffing out his chest confidently. "Gotta say, I'm certainly loving the sex." His voice was tightly controlled and mildly accented, though Dean didn't recognize the origin. Perhaps British or French, with a touch of Scottish? There was something odd about the way he moved, something stilted but fluid at the same time. Who was this omega?
Rowena grinned and returned to her seat, watching her new son-in-law carefully. "Hmm, I am quite fond of that activity myself. When did you two mate?"
"Three days ago," Balthazar replied, reaching up to touch his raised bite mark, a touch of wonder in his voice. Mating a high-profile bachelor like Crowley was certainly something to be proud of, but the omega's reactions were far beyond what Dean would expect. "It was kind of sudden. We haven't had a chance to go home yet; we've been staying here so Crowley can spend time with me between meetings."
"Yes, nurturing the bond at this stage is very important," Rowena agreed. "Fergus, you could have taken some time off to be with your omega. Your executives would understand."
"And I plan to, as soon as I wrap up a few loose ends. I was going to speak to you when you returned and see if you would assist Don and Maggie while I am gone."
Crowley pointed at the map on the table, pulling his mate against his side. "Zar, there's a dark Faerie wreaking some havoc on the West Coast. I was hoping you could help identify him."
Balthazar sighed and dropped his head on Crowley's shoulder, kissing the juncture of the alpha's neck where his shirt hid his mating bite. "Yeah, alright. I guess that is my area of expertise."
"Do you want to change your clothes?"
The omega tugged at the hem of his shirt and shrugged. "Why? You'll have me bent over your desk as soon as they're gone, and I'd rather be in pants that are easy to remove."
Adam blushed at that, Sam clearing his throat and looking away. Crowley grinned at their obvious discomfort, returning to his chair and tucking Balthazar in beside him. The throne-like chair was large enough for both men to occupy comfortably, and the omega cuddled against his mate's side before pulling the map closer and examining it. "They don't know what Faerie is causing these issues, but we really must make a positive identity before I can help them decide which Faeries they need to summon to fight him."
"Crowley, summoning Faeries is dangerous. You, of all people, know that."
The alpha shrugged. "Well, maybe we can do it another way. Let's just focus on his identity for now, alright?"
That seemed to calm the omega somewhat, and he relaxed in the chair. "Alright, what signs have been noted?"
"Fires, mudslide, and a number of killings," Sam answered easily.
"Any earthquakes or sudden electrical grid overloads?"
"Uh, no, none that we've seen. Actually, the area has been overly seismically silent in the past few weeks, not even a tremor."
Balthazar's face paled somewhat as he absorbed the news. "Damn."
Sam tilted his head. "Lack of earthquakes is a bad sign?"
"Yeah, so is the lack of electrical interruptions. How were the people killed?"
Adam reached into his pocket, pulling out a small tablet and thumbing to one of the many reports he had downloaded before they left Kansas. "Every report is basically the same, mutilation and dismemberment, and local law enforcement has ruled each one an animal attack, despite the lack of any evidence to that effect. The bodies do have claw marks, but they are small, razor-sharp, and the tears are completely unlike the attacks of bears, wolves, or cougars."
"Teeth marks? Human or otherwise?"
Adam consulted his notes, shaking his head. "No, not always."
Balthazar sat up straighter, tapping his finger on the desk. "What are the ages, genders, and subgenders of the victims that have bite marks?"
"Uh, males and females, though mostly the latter, all betas or omegas." Adam swiped through the reports, taking a tally in his head, Sam leaning over his shoulder to read the reports. "There were more bite marks and less mutilation in the beginning, now he just seems to tear his victims apart. Lately, he has been killing only alphas."
"That, at least, makes sense. Faeries crave companionship; denied the bond with his summoner, this one is trying to create his own connection and he is going mad doing it."
"So this Faerie is an alpha?"
"Yes. And powerful. All of the signs point toward one of the High Princes, and you're not going to like which one." Balthazar bit his lip and glanced away, leaning back in his mate's chair. "There are four of them, four Princes, each a powerful and dangerous warrior in his own right. The youngest one, an omega, has been summoned many times and always remained peaceful, often taking on the guise of pagan gods and granting boons to those who are kind to him. He is powerful, and the greatest magic user among Faerie kind, so he can get himself back to his realm if his summoner loses control of him."
"Not that one, then."
"No, certainly not. He delights in giving people their just desserts, but he wouldn't kill so many and so indiscriminately, and he would never dirty his own hands with human blood. His older brothers, though, are all vindictive and violent warriors, tasked with guarding the Faerie realms thought none of them are terribly magically gifted. If one of them were called here, they would immediately try to kill their summoner and escape, despite the fact that they can't return to their own realm without help. The third Prince, a beta, likes to announce his presence, using electricity and hurricane-like storms to flaunt his power. It's not him, either."
"Which leaves the oldest two brothers," Sam replied. "I'm guessing both are alphas."
"Yes. The oldest one, second-in-command to the King of the Faeries, has only been summoned twice, and there were earthquakes of apocalyptic proportions. He can't control that power, so the earth will always shake when he walks on this plane of existence. He also will not kill with his claws and he would never stoop so low as to bite a human. He prefers weapons like long swords and lances, so it really can't be him."
"That leaves the second son, correct?"
Balthazar nodded sadly. "Yes, and if he's lose you truly will need to summon three Faeries to help you. The second son fights with his hands, his claws, and his teeth. He is unstable and incredibly violent, and only his brothers and father can control him. I would say that he is almost the polar opposite of his older brother, to the point where he suppresses earthquakes when he walks the earth instead of causing them. He has to be the one that was summoned, though I have no idea why anyone would choose him."
"What's his name?" Adam had already switched apps on his small tablet to view the books that he had scanned in the bunker, the lists of known Faeries and their abilities pulled up on his screen.
AN: I had a weird dream of Cas as a human-sized Faerie and you are looking at the result. I actually dreamed a very specific line from one of my favorite Disney movies, one that Cas will eventually say to Dean near the end of the story. I actually woke up at 1am to google the line because I could not, for the life of me, remember what Disney movie it came from. I intend to keep this one short, especially with my 4 long fics and 2 one-shots still vying for my love. Also, the title of this chapter is a reference to the meaning of Lucifer's name, The Morning Star.
Chapter 2: Summoning Spells
"Lucifer," Dean repeated carefully, disbelief coloring his voice and his scent. "That's the name of the damn Devil, Balthazar."
The lean omega shrugged, completely unperturbed by Dean's reaction. "A great deal of the Christian religion is appropriated from other belief systems; why do you find it so hard to believe that they stole the names of their angels from a collection of well-known Faeries?"
Adam, staring at the pages of Enochian as he made a few notes with his digital pen. "Ok, if the second son is Lucifer, are the other three Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel?"
"Yes," Balthazar answered slowly. "You know the names of the High Princes?"
"In Christianity, these are the most popular named archangels. We can't summon Michael or Raphael if we plan to live into old age, but what about Gabriel?"
"You want to summon a High Prince?"
Adam shook his head. "No, not a chance in hell. But if Gabriel is a bit of a trickster, as you say, and if he has never killed a human indiscriminately, perhaps Sam could summon him."
"Why me?" Sam reached over and turned Adam's tablet so he could read his brother's notes, sighing as he realized that the page was written in Enochian so he couldn't possibly read it.
"Dean is more of a warrior, an alpha's alpha as Dad would say, and he wouldn't get along with someone who is not really a soldier. I think you would be able to relate to someone who only fights when he truly needs to, using his wits and his powers to protect his family."
"Summoning Gabriel will be dangerous," Balthazar warned, reaching out a hand in a silent request to see Adam's tablet. The man, barely an adult though he had presented three years earlier, passed it over, eyeing Crowley's new mate as the omega scanned the page. "Most of this is correct, actually. Gabriel would never kill his summoner, even if you botched it. He's pretty fair, and he certainly knows that Lucifer is missing and needs to be retrieved. I imagine that the only reason he hasn't been sent here to search for him is that the King hasn't ordered it yet and the youngest Prince is not known for listening to his older brother."
"You can read Enochian?"
"Sam, Balthazar is one of the finest experts on Faeries in the country," Crowley answered smoothly, letting the omega cover his blush by hiding against his side. "He taught me a few words, enough to run a summoning spell, but he will be most helpful in picking the right ones to call. He also knows the areas that the noble Faeries frequent."
Sam sighed and ran his fingers through his shoulder-length brown hair, squeezing his hazel eyes closed as he considered the implications of Adam's suggestion. Dean always wondered how his giant of a brother passed for an FBI agent so often with his long, luscious locks. "Yeah, okay, I can summon Gabriel, if we can find him. He can't stop Lucifer alone, I would assume."
"No, he can't. He can track him, though, through his explosions of power, something that many other noble Faeries wouldn't be able to manage." Balthazar pointed at one of the passages under Gabriel's name, clearly the one outlining the High Prince's powers.
"For your second Faerie, you'll need someone accomplished in stealth and more mundane types of tracking. Someone who can get close to Lucifer without being seen. Zar, do you have a suggestion for them?"
Balthazar nodded. "There are a number of suitable Faeries, though none of them noble. I don't think it will matter for a rogue, so anyone on these two pages will do." Adam took the tablet back, highlighting the names as he read through them.
"There are a lot of interesting names here. What's this one—Samandriel?"
"He's good," Balthazar murmured. "He's an assassin who has never missed his mark. He is not known to spend time with Gabriel, however, so I doubt you'll summon him. I do know where some of the other rogues tend to congregate, though, and it won't be hard for you to attract one."
"Fine," Dean interjected, "but that leaves us short of actual muscle. We have the tracker and magic user, now we need a warrior."
"Agreed," Crowley murmured, his fingers dancing across Balthazar's red bite mark. Clearly, this meeting was going to have to end soon in order to allow the newly mated men time to bond. "Zar, do you have a suggestion for a suitable warrior?"
"Yeah, a few, but only one who spends time with Gabriel. That Prince is generally a loner, often with only his younger brother to keep him company. This warrior is the leader of most of the Fae armies, a general outranked by only a few among the elite nobles, and he made his name fighting back the demon hordes nearly twenty thousand years ago. He's a son of the King, but not a High Prince, just a Noble. He won't be happy if you summon him, though."
"Will he fight for us? His happiness is immaterial; we'll release him as soon as Lucifer is contained." Dean leaned forward slightly, his green eyes darkening to emerald as he pressed Balthazar for an answer.
"Yeah, he'll fight, but he'll try to kill you. Frequently. Castiel does not like being bound."
"Castiel," Adam murmured, glancing through the names in his book. While the hunters couldn't understand Enochian, they had figured out all of the letters so he could read the names. "Wait, are you sure about that? Castiel has the omega symbol by his name."
Balthazar nodded. "Yes, Castiel is an omega, but he is larger, stronger, and fiercer than most alpha Faeries. He has fought against Lucifer in the past, during a dispute over the distribution of forces along the realm border with Purgatory, and he won readily. The Faeries also won that dustup, and Castiel was promoted to General by Michael himself. I think he will relish the thought of hunting down his older brother and taking him home, but he will want to kill you."
Dean shrugged. "I think I can handle that. Do you know where this Castiel might be found?"
Balthazar sighed, distress coloring his gentle scent. "Yeah, I can point you in the right direction. I can't be there when you summon him, though; I don't deal with Faeries anymore."
"That's fine," Sam answered quickly, his alpha instincts insisting that he find a way to calm the omega. "Where should we look?"
Balthazar shook his head and reached across the table for Sam's map, flipping it over to the world map side. "Castiel hasn't been seen in America in generations. People here don't worship the right way, don't put out the right offerings. They don't understand him, and Castiel is easily offended. The only places he still visits are in the old country. England, Scotland, Wales. I think he went to Ireland five years ago."
"What's the best spot?"
Dean glared at Sam, fists clenched on the table as the faintest hint of nervousness colored his cinnamon-apple and leather scent. "Does it have to be overseas?"
Balthazar leaned forward, his blue eyes sparkling as he realized that Dean was uncomfortable. "I mean, yeah. You're going to have to fly to the British Isles, preferably Scotland, if you want to summon Castiel. He has a thing for green hills."
"What about Gabriel?"
Balthazar nodded, looking up sharply as Adam passed his tablet across the table, Scotland pulled up on Google Maps. "You'll summon Castiel first. Gabriel knows when any Faerie crosses the border, and he has the ability to see the tear where they passed through. Most of them . . . well, he's a High Prince and he really doesn't care. There are hundreds of thousands of Faeries and he likes his brothers and that's it. But when you grab Castiel, especially so soon after Lucifer was lured away, Gabriel will come. And, he's not stupid, he'll bring backup."
"An assassin," Adam murmured. "A rogue who can peek through the veil with him and see what kind of threat we pose."
Sam tilted his head, glancing at the mapping program as Balthazar zoomed in and scrolled around, clearly looking for something specific. "Why would Gabriel come through? I mean, I can see why Castiel might be tempted to cross the border, but the spells in our book can't force a Faerie to our side. The spell requests, but the Faerie can refuse."
"Yeah, you need a stronger spell." Balthazar made a few marks on the map, passing the tablet to Crowley who promptly connected it to his office printer and watched as it spewed out a few pages in glorious washed-out Google Maps green. "How do I get this back to the book?" His new mate tapped a soft button on the bottom of the screen, switching back to the book app as Balthazar grinned gratefully. "Look, here it lists things that each of the Faeries like. I can also give you a list of stones, flowers, herbs, etc that will create a ritual strong enough to compel them to come. With the right ingredients, Castiel, Gabriel, and the High Prince's assassin can be caught. It will still be exceedingly dangerous."
Crowley reached across the table and pulled a pad of paper towards him, placing it near his mate's hand and dropping a pen on top of it. The omega quickly scribbled a translation for the two pages he had been referencing, flipping to the pages on assassins and writing out a spell that would work on all of them. Adam leaned forward, frowning slightly as he read Balthazar's barely-legible scribble upside-down. "I can't cast a spell that complicated."
Rowena pulled her chair closer to Crowley's leaning close to her new son-in-law as her intense emerald eyes scanned the page. "Hmm, none of this looks too bad. No worse than some of the Equinox festivals I organized in my younger years."
Sam leaned forward eagerly, a clear question in his eyes, but the look of absolute murder in Crowley's suddenly red-rimmed eyes stopped him cold. "Do not ask her about that. Apparently yours truly was conceived during one of those festivals."
Balthazar chuckled and nuzzled his alpha's chin. "Rowena, do you think you can do this? I can but . . . I just can't, you know?"
"I understand, dear. Of course I can cast these spells, as long as the boys can find the rest of the ingredients. I have the herbs, wood, and some of the crystals, but you need these flowers fresh, I don't have any feathers in stock, and I don't have any of those." Rowena grabbed a red pen and circled the items that would have to be gathered together, memorizing the rest of the list quickly. "How are you boys planning to get to Scotland?"
"We're driving," Dean growled grumpily, red flashing in his eyes.
Rowena chuckled. "Oh, dear pup, you cannot do that."
Sam grinned and reached over to pat his brother on the shoulder. "Dean knows that. We're going to have to fly, and he hates planes."
Rowena grinned, the omega's gentle scent brightening. No matter how hard he focused, Sam couldn't identify the threads of her scent, possibly because she was so old that the aromas no longer existed. "Then I think I may have a solution."
"Are you fucking kidding me?"
"Getting upset isn't going to help us any, Dean."
The older alpha growled and punched the seat between them, his other hand wrapped in a death grip around the steering wheel. Adam, wisely staying silent to avoid any misplaced aggression, was reading thoughtfully in the back seat while Sam struggled to calm his older brother. "This is so stupid, Sammy. How are there no American locations where this damn Faerie likes to hang out? Why does it have to be Scotland?"
"Dean, Scotland is nice this time of the year, and Rowena offered to fly us there in her private jet. You won't have to deal with any other travelers, delays, or in-flight issues."
"It's still a plane, Sammy. We have to get on a plane."
"You have a few days to get used to the idea. Rowena says she'll even pick us up at Sioux Falls Regional, so we get to spend time with Jody, Bobby, and Ellen before we have to leave."
Dean relaxed, if only marginally, and let his lips twitch in a smile. Bobby and Ellen had been as much their parents as John and Mary while they were growing up, and Jody had taken to all three of them quickly as soon as she was introduced to the hunting lifestyle. She also had four adopted daughters, all of them orphaned or impacted by the supernatural in some way, who hung out with Ellen's daughter Jo in a small all-female pack that managed to keep Sioux Falls and most of southeastern South Dakota free of monsters and demons.
"Dad says we have most of the supplies that Rowena doesn't at the bunker, but we need to pick up some of these crystals and I'm pretty sure we don't have any feathers in stock."
Dean glanced over his shoulder at his youngest brother, one eyebrow raised in a question. "Why the hell do we need feathers to summon Faeries?"
Adam looked up at Dean and offered him one of Sam's patented Bitch Faces, number thirty-six if Dean remembered correctly. "Didn't you read any of these books? The noble Faeries and a large cohort of the more powerful common ones all have bird-like wings, so they demand an offering of a feather the most like theirs. Castiel is known to have black wings that shine blue in the light, so he likes raven feathers. Gabriel has golden wings, so we use golden eagle primary feathers for him, though the shade is a little dark. I have five of the stealthy Faeries listed here, so I'll get a type of feather that will work on each of them. None of them are nobles so they tend to answer to a range of options, and Mockingbird shows up on each list."
"Alright, we'll stop in Lawrence at that hunter shop Dad likes to go to. I'll assume that we will need certain crystals, as well."
"Yeah, I think we have most of them. I'll also check with Jody to see what the girls keep in their house. There is one more thing, and it'll be expensive."
Sam sighed and pulled out his phone, glancing at the scans of the pages that Adam had sent to him earlier. "What do we need?"
"Collars. We have to get some collars, preferably gold, and engrave them with certain symbols that will bind the Faeries to us. Also, each one has to be set with a certain type of opal."
"Opals aren't cheap, Adam. Neither are gold collars, to be honest. Why gold?"
"Faeries like gold. They'll look like chokers, and the symbols will be on the inside where no one can see them. A lot of omegas wear fashionable collars, so they won't be conspicuous. The opals, however, are going to stand out. We need a black one for Castiel, a fire for Gabriel, and one in blue for our rogue. Sam, can we get those, oval, in gold settings?"
Sam sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, tapping an app on his phone. "Yeah, yeah, I guess I can figure that out. Jody told me about a woman in Sioux Falls who is teaching Kaia to cut gems and make cabochons. I'll speak to her."
"Good, that's handled." Dean settled back in his seat, reaching out to turn the radio on as most of the tension from the meeting with Crowley finally faded. "Is this a good idea? Should we really be summoning Faeries? I mean, Balthazar reads Enochian and is incredibly familiar with the upper echelons of Faerie society, and he refuses to be within three thousand miles of a summoning. If he's that afraid . . . shouldn't we be?"
"Yeah, Dean, but we never are. There are so many things we should be afraid of, but we're hunters and we're John Winchesters alpha sons, so we're going to do it no matter what." Sam grinned as he patted his brother on the shoulder, catching the older Winchester's eye. "Besides, you're the one summoning a bloodthirsty general. If anyone's gonna die, it'll be you."
If Dean laughed at that, it was only because he was no longer worried about his brothers being killed by the Faeries they summoned. He did, however, still worry about that damn plane.
"Boys, good to see ya'. Been too long."
"Same at you, Bobby," Dean grinned, letting the grizzled alpha pull him in for a hug. Sam leaned down for his and Adam sidled up shyly as he waited his turn. Ellen, who had mated Bobby almost five years earlier, smacked Dean in the head, scolding him for being gone so long before offering him a cookie and sending him into the living room. "Mixed signals, Ellen. We've talked about this. Where's Jo?"
"Hunting. She took the girls up to Bismarck to hunt a nest of vampires. They won't be home until next week, but I'm sure they'll be happy to see you when you return from Scotland."
Dean shuddered and fell on the couch, dropping his bag carelessly onto the floor. "Damn, I had almost forgotten about that."
Ellen grinned and sat next to the oldest Winchester, patting him on the shoulder. "You'll be alright, boy. On the plane, anyway."
"You don't agree with us summoning Faeries?" Sam's tone and scent were cautious as he chose a chair nearby, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. Adam gingerly took his own seat, still getting used to being included in "adult" conversations with his brothers.
Bobby groaned and fell onto the loveseat across from the couch, running his hand over his face. "I don't agree with it, but I can read newspapers, too."
"Mostly we use the internet now, Bobby," Sam teased.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, kid. Anyway, I can see what this dark Faerie is doing out west. It ain't pretty boys, and someone's gotta stop him. I'd rather you didn't do it, but your dad's right. The Faeries . . . they only come to the unmated. They won't even like you if you're scent-marked."
Dean chuckled and shook his head. "So we're suited for this job because hunters aren't known for their luck in the dating arena?"
"Hunters aren't unlucky," Ellen soothed, the beta's gentle scent wrapping around the boys as it had when they were pups. "You three will find your partners, I swear. It's harder for hunters because you have to be pickier, but you're going to bring your pups to see me one day. And I'm gonna spoil them rotten."
Adam grinned and ducked his head, obviously embarrassed at the thought of a mate or pups, but Dean was certain that both of his brothers would settle down one day. He couldn't wait to see that. "You haven't given up on Jo having pups, have you?"
Ellen shook her head. "Not at all, Sam. It's not her priority right now, but I think that she plans to settle down one day. She likes leading a pack too much to want to give that up."
"That's fair. What about Rufus?"
"That old asshole? He'll never settle down," Bobby groused. "Figure he'll die hunting some monster too big for him to handle and I'll have to bury him."
"Bobby," Ellen scolded. "That's your best friend you're talking about."
"Which is why I'll bury his ass," Bobby answered, grumpily readjusting his hat. He and Rufus Turner had a long, tumultuous relationship that involved hunting almost every monster known in the continental United States before semi-retiring to teach others to hunt better and more safely than they had. Bobby also acted as agency supervisor for the FBI, the CIA, and whatever other groups hunters claimed affiliation with in order to do their jobs.
"Did you hear about Garth?"
Bobby nodded. "Yeah, heard he got himself a mate. Beta lass by the name of Bess."
Dean nodded slowly. "You heard she's a werewolf?"
"Yeah, I heard. Garth said her pack is all born to it, none bitten, and they don't hunt humans. Hell, he said they go to the butcher shop and local farmers and buy animal hearts. Can't fault someone born with an unusual dietary requirement finding a way to eat."
"You believe him? That they don't hunt humans?"
"We do," Ellen answered confidently. "Garth is one of the finest young hunters we know, and he isn't stupid. If they were hunting humans, he would surely know. Besides, Asa has been in that area for almost four years and said that sometimes the werewolves he was hunting would end up dead before he got there. The local pack protects their land and their people. Garth's a lucky boy to mate into that."
Dean nodded and stared at his hands, biting his lip. "How is everything else going?"
"Good. I got a new cook over at the Roadhouse and he's working out great. I even get some nights off now."
Sam smiled and leaned back, accepting a beer from Bobby as he leaned across the table. "That's good, Ellen. I know that it's been hard for you to get time off since Jo left."
Ellen glanced at Bobby, reaching up to run her fingers through her hair before sighing. All three boys, who had learned her tells over the years, sat up straighter, focusing all of their considerable attention on her. The scent of so many anxious alphas was almost overwhelming, but thankfully betas didn't have the same sense of smell as the other two subgenders. "The new cook . . . Jo and the girls found him during a hunt in Louisiana. He was a vampire, a newly turned one."
Adam sucked in a quick breath, clenching his hands into fists. "Did they cure him?"
"Yeah, but he was pretty shaken up. And his mate . . . being turned doesn't break the bond, did you know that? The omega almost went insane. Bobby and I took them into the pack, gave them a place to live, but . . ."
"But what, Ellen?" Dean had known that mating bonds weren't broken when one partner was turned, and he had seen the gruesome end to that situation once when he was younger. The fact that Jo had been able to save one couple from that fate . . . she was becoming a pretty impressive young hunter.
"The boy is pregnant," Bobby murmured, glaring at a spot on the carpet not far from his feet. "The beta is worried that his mate will lose the pup."
"What can we do?"
Bobby threw his hands in the air and leaned back in his seat. "I don't know. I think they need to get away for a bit, travel, whatever. They'll be home for supper; I thought you boys might take them with you to Scotland, maybe talk to the beta a bit about taking up hunting. I think he needs an outlet for his . . . frustration."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, alright."
You are welcome to guess who the beta/omega pair are, but I don't think it'll be much of a surprise :)
Chapter 3: Family Support
Chapter 3: Family Support
Benny Lafitte was a big, burly beta, tall for his subgender but gentle to a fault. He had lived his whole life in Louisiana, working the shrimp boats before he moved on to cook in some of the finest restaurants in the bayou. He had been content there, especially once a young blonde omega drifted into town and took a seasonal job on one of the boats. The tall, broad-shouldered omega with too sharp a chin and brilliant ice blue eyes had captivated Benny, his soft voice and gentle way of speaking enchanting. Benny had fallen in love, asked Gadreel to stay, and three years later convinced the omega to become his mate.
Then, one day, a pack of vampires had rolled into his quiet town and torn everything apart.
Benny reached up and rubbed his neck, finding some comfort in the raised scar of his mating bite, even though he could feel Gadreel's anxiety through their bond. Benny glanced at his omega, letting the soothing scent of Gadreel's pregnancy wrap around him, praying deep in his soul that the scent wouldn't suddenly fade. The vampires . . . they had turned Benny, but what they did to Gadreel was worse. The situation had been torture for both of them, but the omega was recovering more slowly than his mate. He kept reaching up for the jagged, red skin on either side of his neck, some of which covered his mating mark and most of which was still bandaged, and his eyes would dull with remembered pain. The deep scratches on his face had begun to heal somewhat, but butterfly bandages still held the worst of the gashes together, and most of them would scar. There was something faded, wilted in the man, and Benny hoped he could find a way to bring him back.
The omega nodded, slipping out of the car and following his beta to the door. After Jo and her pack had cured Benny and taken Gadreel to the hospital, the pair had been offered a new home in South Dakota, a thousand miles away, which they had gladly accepted. However, Benny still knocked on Bobby's door when he got home from work.
The big alpha opened the door and grinned, ushering the pair inside. "I told you boys you don't have to knock. Come on in; we have guests."
Gadreel followed Benny slowly, pulling his jacket up slightly in an effort to cover his neck, trying to hide behind his mate as much as he could. They entered the living room where three young, unmated alphas sat with Ellen, two of them nursing beers and one of them clearly upset that he wasn't old enough to be offered one. The oldest of the alphas—a man with dark blonde hair, vibrant green eyes, and the muscular physique of a trained hunter—rose to his feet, holding his free hand out in a warm welcome.
"Hi, I'm Dean Winchester. You must be Benny."
"Yeah, Chief, that's me," the beta replied, his Cajun drawl distinctive. "And this is my mate."
"Gadreel, right?" The second alpha, a few inches taller than his brother with longer, darker hair and hazel eyes, held out a hand to the omega, his scent soothing. "We heard what the vamps did down in Louisiana. I'm glad Jo and her pack were able to save you."
Gadreel, who had once been a vibrant, outgoing man, looked at the alpha's hand for a long moment before reaching out to take it. "Thank you."
"I'm Sam and this is my younger brother Adam. Bobby and Ellen kinda helped raise us when our parents were off hunting. They're good people."
Benny nodded and wrapped an arm around Gadreel's shoulders, pulling the omega over to an empty couch and helping him settle into it. "They are, and we're grateful for everything they've done. After what happened . . ." Benny trailed off, not sure how to finish the sentence. Ellen leaned forward from her chair and squeezed his leg reassuringly, but he knew that she didn't understand his trauma, the nightmares he still suffered from, and the danger his unborn pup was in from Gadreel's fragile mental state.
"I was turned into a vampire three years ago."
Benny's head snapped up at Dean's voice, his sharp intake of breath the only indicator that he had heard the alpha's soft words. "What?"
Dean smiled and nodded, glancing down at his hands as he bit his lips. "I, uh . . . we were trying to track down the Alpha Vamp. You know, the original, the one that's full monster not just an infected human. I got caught by a vamp, he turned me, and I was brought into his nest. I found out where the Alpha lived, I saw him in my head, and then I slaughtered the entire nest. I went to see Sam and Adam, to say goodbye . . . and Jo was there with an experimental concoction that used the blood of the vamp who turned me to cure me of vampirism. It worked, and she has become our expert on vampires. She . . . Jo cured you the same way."
Benny nodded slowly, sensing Gadreel straighten beside him. "Yeah, she did."
Dean looked up, his intense emerald eyes pinning the beta. "We can't erase what happened to you, Benny, and we can't heal your physical or mental scars, Gadreel, but we can help you come to terms with the terror of the supernatural. We can teach you to fight monsters, to get back some of what you lost. Would you like that?"
Benny nodded again, his mangrove and ocean scent strengthening as his mate's lavender and freesia wrapped around him. "Yeah, I would. I don't . . . I've never killed anyone in my life. I don't get in fights or the alpha dustups that my brothers enjoyed, but something happened when I was turned. I . . . they caught us walking home from the restaurant. Gad . . . he ran. I told him to run. They caught him and I tried to fight, but . . . six of them, one of me. They said that I would be useful, and one of them hit me on the head with something. The last thing I saw was Gad . . . they were tearing into his neck, blood everywhere . . . I was sure he was dead."
Bobby appeared behind Benny's couch, silently offering the beta a beer and his mate a soda. In general, omegas tried to cut caffeine when they got pregnant, but Gadreel's doctor said it would be worse for him to suffer withdrawal after so traumatic an event. A small amount of caffeine wasn't going to harm the baby any more than Gadreel's own stress. "I know it's hard to talk about, Benny, but Dean and his brothers can help you both heal."
The beta nodded, starting at his beer for a long moment before taking a sip. "I woke up and I felt . . . different. I was in a dark shack somewhere, and everything was too bright, too loud, and every scent stabbed into me. Then I saw that Gadreel was there, hung from a rafter overhead by a chain between his wrists, still bleeding from his neck, his clothes torn and bruises covering his chest. One of his legs was bleeding, so he was struggling to put his weight on the other side to stay standing. I was overwhelmed by the scent of blood, a sharp hunger overtaking me."
"They left him there to be your first meal," Sam murmured. "Whenever they turn a new vamp, the nest leaves them food to lock them into their new life."
"It took me longer than it should have to push my hunger away. I pulled him down, broke the chains with my bare hands, and scooped him into my arms. Some part of me knew what had happened, that I had been turned into a monster, but I could still hear a faint whisper of Gad's thoughts across our bond and I had to save him. I ran into a pack of young women who didn't seem too concerned about all the blood, and I begged them for help. Apparently one of them, Alex, is a nurse, and she took Gad and called an ambulance. The leader, Jo, asked me if I had done it, and I said he was my mate and I didn't care about anything but saving him. I said I wanted to hunt down the monsters that attacked us."
"She offered to go with you?"
"Yeah, Dean, she and Claire and Kaia. Alex and Patience took care of Gad while we went to hunt down the vampires. I could feel them . . . sense their location and we found them pretty easily. Jo handed me a machete and we took them out. When we were done, I asked her to kill me, told her that I couldn't live as a monster, and she asked if I had fed at all. She seemed really adamant about that, and I told her no. Then she cured me and took me to the hospital to see Gad. I couldn't believe that she could save me so easily."
"It was easy for her," Dean murmured, not dropping Benny's gaze as the beta slowly nodded. "It was hard for you, hard for your mate. The bond doesn't break when someone is turned into a monster, so Gadreel felt your hunger and bloodlust. You're both still suffering nightmares from the event. Hell, I still suffer nightmares and I was turned three years ago."
"Does it get better?"
"Yeah, it does. Hunting vampires, preventing this from happening to someone else, has made it easier for me to sleep at night. You'll never forget it, but the memory won't stab at you as much anymore. Go hunting with us, Benny; I think it will help."
Benny gulped down the last of his beer, Gad still sipping at his soda as he watched his mate. There was something tingling along their bond, a kind of eagerness and hope, the omega silently urging his mate to accept this offer. "The Alpha Vamp you were tracking three years ago . . . did you ever find him? Did you kill him?"
"No, but I know what he looks like and we've seen some signs over the years. We've got a Faerie thing to worry about right now, but after that we're back on his trail. Wanna help us finish the job?"
"Yeah, Chief, I would."
"You ever been on an airplane, Gadreel?"
The omega shook his head, biting his lip as he struggled to put together his answer. It had become harder to speak since the incident, but Ellen had assured him that forcing himself to use words instead of non-verbal communication would help him heal. "No, I never had the chance. Have you . . . have you ever been to Scotland?"
Sam shook his head, grabbing his bag and Gadreel's as he followed the omega up the stairs onto the plane. Since Rowena's jet was private, they had been able to get dropped off directly on the field and board the plane outdoors instead of waiting inside at a terminal where Dean's metallic fear scent would agitate hundreds of other people instead of just his brothers, Rowena, Benny, and Gadreel. "Unlike Dean, I can honestly say I'm looking forward to this trip."
"You're not terrified of flying," the aforementioned alpha growled as he reluctantly climbed the stairs behind them, "and your Faerie isn't going to try to kill you."
"No," Rowena purred, already lounging on one of the opulent couches along the windows, "he will try to fuck you."
Sam stumbled, dropping his bag clumsily as Gadreel chuckled behind him. "He's gonna what?"
Rowena waved toward one of the stewards, a tall slender man with a shock of vibrant red hair and a tray in one hand. "Bring the pups a drink, would you, dear? It's going to be a long flight and the pretty one that smells like cinnamon is nervous."
Dean grumbled something uncomplimentary under his breath, stowing his bag and the bags of ingredients as Benny, Ellen, and Bobby climbed aboard. The Singers were only there to help carry supplies before they headed back to their cars and returned to town. Sam pointed Adam toward a seat near Dean, taking one on the other side as the Lafittes joined Rowena. "What do you mean about Gabriel, Rowena?"
The redhead grinned and sipped her champagne, tapping one perfectly-manicured nail against the glass. "You know, of all the noble Faeries, Gabriel is the one who has been summoned the most. I'm sure none of this is in your book, but he has run with gods from most of the pantheons over the past few thousand years. He has never killed his summoner, though he has been known to take out the deserving scumbags that populate our planet. Gabriel is, however, a hedonist. He likes food, sweets, drink, and sex. Lots and lots of sex. And trust me, he isn't picky about your gender or subgender when he asks for it."
Adam gasped, leaning forward excitedly. "You summoned him!"
The witch grinned. "Aye, about two hundred years ago. I had some issues I needed resolved in the highlands and he was very helpful. He's a beautiful man, and like most Faeries he refuses to let his gender and subgender define his role in the Fae realms or here on earth. I think you'll like him, Samuel."
"It's just Sam, ma'am," the tall alpha replied. "I'm not summoning him to sleep with him. Am I going to have to tell him that?"
"It won't do any good, dear. If he wants you, he will find a way to seduce you. However, I'm sure he will accept any recommendations of compatible partners you have for him."
Adam grinned and reached across Dean to punch Sam in the arm. "Looks like you got the fun one. All Dean and I get are warriors."
"Adam, this guy's sex drive is immaterial. We need him to help catch Lucifer and then we send him home. If he wants to sleep with anyone, I nominate you."
Adam blushed at Dean's words, ducking his head and settling back in his seat. Despite having presented as an alpha three years earlier, the youngest Winchester had not found much time for casual sex in the life of a hunter, despite Dean's almost weekly conquests in bars on the road. "I, uh . . . I've never been with an omega. Male or female. Is it different than betas?"
Ellen chuckled as she and Bobby disembarked, the ground crew rolling the stairs away as the steward pulled the door closed and locked it. Dean, watching the steward head to the cockpit to speak with the pilots, tightened his grip on the armrest of the couch and took a deep breath. Sam patted his older brother on the shoulder, offering whatever support he could.
"It is different," Benny answered from across the cabin. He helped Gadreel fasten his seatbelt before taking care of his own. "Female omegas are more receptive to a knot than betas, and of course they have a biological predisposition to submit to alphas. Betas don't really have that. Male omegas, however, are drastically different from betas, and not just the slick thing or the ability to get pregnant, which you learned about in school. Male omegas are rarer than females so they have an instinctive need to prove their worthiness as breeders. Because of that, they have a stronger and sweeter scent when aroused, one that calls to alphas and dominant betas alike."
"They are also built to take knots without much preparation at all, unlike male betas," Dean added. "And when they go into heat . . . it's damn near irresistible."
Adam nodded slowly, mentally filing the information away for later. "I'm not going to sleep with this Gabriel Faerie, but I think I want to find a male omega partner at some point."
Dean smiled and wrapped an arm around his brother's shoulder, sufficiently distracted from the plane taxying up the runway. "We'll find you someone."
The alpha stiffened as the plane finally lifted off, that sudden stomach drop catching him unawares. He whined softly, taking a deep breath before he began to hum under his breath, eyes fixed steadily on the floor in front of him. "Are you humming 'Smoke on the Water'?"
"It helps me stay calm."
"Well this ought to be an interesting flight," Rowena murmured, settling back in her seat as she waited for the plane to reach cruising altitude so the steward would bring her another drink.
Dean managed to calm down somewhat once they reached cruising altitude, though his brothers still caught a hint of his fear scent whenever they hit the slightest turbulence. Sam and Adam comforted him as best they could, but Rowena's constant offer of alcohol helped the best. Sam, who had taken a couple of shots with his brother before letting Benny take over comforting the oldest alpha, found himself in the back of the plane, waiting for his turn in the bathroom.
Gadreel, who of course was not drinking, opened the door, pale blue eyes meeting Sam's hazel in shock. The alpha caught the faintest whiff of blood in the bathroom, every instinct he had encouraging him to comfort the omega. "Gadreel?"
"It's nothing, just a little blood."
"I'm not completely oblivious to the biological functioning of pregnant omegas," Sam argued, his bladder forgotten. "Spotting isn't a good thing."
Gadreel shook his head, biting his lip as he turned away. "It just started after we took off. The doctor told me that the stress I'm under . . . that what happened to me and Benny . . ."
"A hunter doctor?" Gadreel nodded, reaching up to run his fingers over the bandages on the right side of his neck. "The doctor told you that you might lose the baby."
"She told me that in front of Benny, yes. But, later and in private, she said that it was almost certain. That pack that Jo was hunting, they were known to target mated pairs, usually pregnant betas and omegas. The ones who lived, whose mates didn't eat them, always lost the baby."
Sam stood there and stared at Gadreel for a long, long moment, slowly reaching out to pull the trembling omega into his arms. He hadn't realized until that moment how tall the man was, easily a match for the six-foot-plus Winchesters and taller than his beta. "So you're having a miscarriage. You're going to lose the baby."
"Yes," Gadreel whispered, struggling to keep his sobs as quiet as possible to avoid alerting his mate in the front cabin. "I just . . . it's harder for a beta than an alpha, you know? It was hard enough for Benny to get me pregnant the first time and this won't make it easier."
Sam sighed and pulled the omega closer, trying to exude calm and comfort in his scent. "You'll be alright, Gadreel. Both of you will. You'll have another heat, you'll have another chance."
"I know," Gadreel whispered, pulling out of Sam's arms and taking a deep breath in an effort to relax. He wiped the last of the tears from his eyes and straightened his shirt, trying to make himself as presentable as possible. "I just . . . I really wanted this one."
"You're so strong, Gadreel, and I'm proud of how you're handling this. I'm just hoping I get to be there when you and Benny do get to have your baby."
"Thank you, Sam," the omega murmured, reaching down to rub his belly sadly. "Please, call me Gad. It's what my friends call me."
"Alright, Gad." Sam watched the tall omega return to the main cabin, the faintest scent of blood still coming from him. Benny might not notice yet, not with all of the alphas on the plane and the alcohol being passed around so freely, but pretty soon he would smell the difference in his mate and he would know.
Benny glared at the scotch in his glass, quite a bit unfairly since it was very good scotch. "It took me four heats to get him pregnant, you know. It's harder for a beta. We don't go into rut and we don't have a very high fertility rate."
"Is he really going to lose the pup?"
The burly beta nodded and took another sip. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure. His scent is weakening, and I'm almost sure I smelled blood earlier. I've been kinda sensitive to it since . . . well since then. Jo told me that the vampires we killed . . . they had a specific type of target."
"Mated pairs," Dean murmured, swirling his own glass of scotch. "It's the only pack we know of who hunts like that. And they specifically liked pregnant betas and omegas. Changed the flavor of the blood, I think."
"We targeted them on purpose," Adam added, having already refused his own glass of scotch three times. Rowena was convinced that eighteen was old enough to drink, but the youngest Winchester knew better than to test his limits hours before a big spell. "Jo and Claire were tracking them for the better part of a year, and we helped them narrow down the nest's location to Louisiana. It wasn't easy; they'd hunted in five states and in the Gulf. I'm just sorry that you had to be victims before they were stopped. It's no comfort, I know, but without your help the nest might have escaped again."
Benny nodded slowly, running his fingers through his scruffy beard. "It, uh, it helps a little, cher. It helps to know that no one else will be a victim and that no one else . . ."
"That no one else will lose their pup," Dean finished, tossing back the last of his scotch. He reached over and patted the beta on his shoulder. "You've saved a lot of families, my friend."
Dean barely caught Benny's whispered response, but he had no answer for the soft, heartbroken words. "I just wanted to save mine."
Dean didn't have much knowledge of airports, but he could honestly say that Stornoway Airport was one of the smallest he had ever seen. He watched the approach, the beautiful green land of the Isle of Lewis northwest of Scotland breaking up and fading into the ocean, the airport located on a small spit of land between the main island and a tiny outlier. Rowena had pointed out each of the islands as they approached, commenting on the historical significance of each landmark they could see and describing in intimate detail certain rituals she had performed or orgies she had been involved in over the last three hundred years.
"You know, Rowena," Benny drawled, a slow smile spreading across his face, "there is such a thing as oversharing."
Gadreel grinned and leaned forward, catching the other omega's emerald eyes. "You haven't told us where in Scotland you were born."
"Odd that you should ask that, Gad. I was born in the place that is our final destination, a place where the veil between our world and the Fae Realm is thin and easily permeable. It is a lovely place, as you will see."
The plane landed smoothly, for which Dean was thankful, and the passengers gathered their multitude of bags and disembarked. Rowena led the procession to a long, black limo, her driver helping everyone load their luggage and get inside before pulling away from the small airport.
"How far away is this special place, Rowena?"
"About thirty minutes. It's on the other side of the island, but of course it's a very small island. You boys should study the Enochian part of the ritual while we drive."
Dean, Sam, and Adam read through their notes during the drive over, struggling with the flat, monotone syllabic pronunciation of Enochian that Crowley and Balthazar had helped them transliterate a few days earlier. The writing system wasn't complex, but the meanings were, and they tended to change based on the context, the subgender of the speaker, and the phase of the moon. The last criteria was insanely hard to predict, but this night would be a new moon so they had to tailor the ritual to that. By the time the limousine reached Callanish, all three alphas were confident that they could perform their rituals perfectly.
Chapter 4: The Callanish Stones
Chapter 4: The Callanish Stones
"Wow," Dean breathed, his bag heavy in his hand as he stared at the gray stones towering above the vibrant green landscape, a sparkling azure lake in the distance. The sun was just setting, casting a burnished orange blanket across the landscape, and it was honestly one of the most beautiful things Dean had ever seen.
"That is generally the first reaction one has when arriving at a place like this." Rowena strode across the grass in her imperious way, placing her small bag on the ground near the large circle of stones, glancing out toward the other ones scattered closer to the lake.
"And this is a place where Faeries can cross over?" Gadreel, who had refused to let his mate or the Winchester alphas carry his bag, followed them into the circle of stones, a shiver running down his spine at the sudden surge of power he could feel swirling around him. "Wow."
Rowena spun on one heel and tilted her head at the other omega, a strange light in her vibrant emerald eyes. "You can feel that? Interesting."
Whatever Gadreel would have said was lost as Benny joined the group, three bags in his arms and a book bag on his back. Sam, a small telescoping table under one arm and a huge duffel in the other, reached the stones and dropped his burden, grinning as he spun around and took in their surroundings. Adam, all of the fragile items in his bags, brought up the rear, finding a safe area away from the other supplies to put his stuff. "Ok, this place is pretty cool. How do we know if the Faeries we're looking for are here?"
"A detection spell," Rowena answered smartly, digging in one of Adam's bags for the supplies she would need for that. "It's a very simple one and completely undetectable from the other side. We have to wait, though; it needs the power of the Aurora Borealis to detect tears between the realms. It'll be a few hours before we can start."
Gadreel nodded and took a seat next to one of the small stones in the center of the ring, wrapping one arm surreptitiously around his waist as a cramp shuddered across his lower abdomen. He stared at the grass between his raised legs, never seeing the worried look Benny and Dean shared across the circle of stones. Sam tapped his brother on the shoulder, breaking the small tableau, and started to set up the table, gesturing for Adam to join them. Clearly, they had all decided to offer the omega his peace and ignore his situation until it became untenable.
An eerie silence filled the area as smoke from Rowena's bowl of herbs drifted into the deep navy blue sky, the stars white pinpricks overhead dancing among the greens and pinks of the Aurora Borealis. The men watched in silence as their resident witch whispered over her herbs, the words sharp, uninflected Enochian that flowed over the listeners like shattered glass, jittering up and down their spine as her magic worked at the wall between realms. The light flared bright blue overhead, and Rowena grinned, her words fading. "Castiel is near the rift. I'll cast the circle and we will begin the ritual."
The alpha nodded and stood, the small bowl filled with Castiel's symbols and collar in his hand. Rowena carefully paced the circle and waved a smoking bundle of sage, reaching the table and turning to watch Benny, Adam, Sam, and Dean enter behind her, each of them pausing so she could ritually cleanse them before reaching their spot at the table. Benny took the North spot, Dean stood at the South, Sam stood in the East, and Adam took West, the three alphas placing their Faerie summoning supplies on the ground behind them. Rowena moved to take the Center position, clearing her mind before she began to speak. The ritual was in Gaelic since Castiel was disdainful of modern people and their languages, but the boys knew the meanings of her words after studying for so long on the plane and in the limo.
"Blessed be the King of the Faeries and his honored children. On this night, with the new moon watching over us, we ask for the assistance of your sons to solve our earthly woes."
Dean spoke first, proud of himself for knowing the Gaelic ritual word-perfect. "Hail and welcome to the spirits of the South. Attend our circle and guard it with your flames. Aid us with your energies of heat and passion." He lit the candle standing behind the ruby crystal Rowena had provided as the others in the circle repeated his words, "hail and welcome."
Rowena nodded at Adam next and the young alpha began his chant, his hands trembling slightly where he held onto the edge of the table. "Hail and welcome to the spirits of the West. Attend our circle and guard it with your waters. Aid us with your wisdom and calm." He dipped his fingers into the bowl of water before him and dripped a little on the aquamarine cluster on the table, silent as his fellows intoned, "hail and welcome."
Benny was third, the burly beta standing to the north, his hand hovering over a bowl of dark black soil as he began to speak. "Hail and welcome to the spirits of the North. Attend our circle and guard it with your stones. Aid us with your knowledge and strength." He sprinkled his dirt on the agate geode on the table, smiling as his colleagues murmured, "hail and welcome."
Sam, standing in the east, went last, a folded fan and small amethyst geode on the table before him. "Hail and welcome to the spirits of the East. Attend our circle and guard it with your winds. Aid us with your perception and inspiration." He waved the fan for a moment, turning to face Rowena again as the others repeated, "hail and welcome."
The witch nodded at Dean, who turned on his heel and knelt to grab his supplies from the bowl on the ground behind him. He lifted the feather and held it in the air, whispering his Faerie's name into the wind. "Castiel."
The Fae Realms were a strange, changeable place filled with light and dark that swirled in gossamer threads around the thousands of residents. One of the most powerful residents, a tall omega with brilliant azure eyes, stalked through aromatic purple flowers and ran his clawed hands gently across the golden bark of his favorite trees. He was near a tear that led to Earth, a place he liked to watch whenever he had time. Thankfully, the armies of the Fae were quiet now, a break between wars that gave him a chance to walk alone and think.
His black-furred paws never made a sound as he crossed the field between his forest and his older brother's, a place where no wind disturbed the creatures struggling to eke out a living there. He touched a small rodent-like creature as he passed its den, offering a moment of peace to the animal before he continued on. He glanced at the thin place between realms, noting that he had reached a scattered field of tall stones bathed in the light of the Aurora Borealis. The Faerie paused, reaching up to check his backswept black horns for any leaves he may have picked up in the forest before leaning closer.
He didn't have hair, as such, but a series of blue-black scales covered his forehead and head, spreading down his neck before narrowing to a thin line that covered his spine. Most of the rest of his body was covered in midnight-blue fur, except for a pair of huge feathered wings folded neatly against his back. Like the rest of the Faerie, they were also black, though they shone blue in the sunlight, streamers of dark blue smoke floating around them at night.
His pointed ears twitched forward as he heard someone calling through the rift, words in the native language of that country he was staring at. He knew those words . . . he liked those people. The warrior took another step forward and touched the rift, sniffing as he bared his sharp canines. It sounded like they were starting a summoning ritual.
Groaning, the Faerie spun on his heel, freezing as he heard his name. "Castiel." He turned back to the rift, picking out the individual humans clustered around what looked like an altar. The short, redheaded female seemed to be in the lead, her powers swirling around her like vibrant purple and green ribbons of light. He heard his name again, mixed in with the sharp words of his own native language, and turned to face the tall, green-eyed man standing to the south of the altar, noting the raven feather held enticingly in the man's right hand. In the left, the man held a small bee figurine, one with tiny green stones for eyes and twisted golden wires for wings. Castiel's brilliant blue eyes widened and his long, furred tail twitched as he reached out with one hand, desperate to have that bee. He didn't know what was pulling him so strongly, but he never thought to resist it.
Dean chanted the simple Enochian words, the main part of a ritual that should compel this Castiel Faerie to cross over to Earth. He held the raven feather in one hand and the tiny bee figurine in the other, both symbols of the omega they were calling. Balthazar had told them that the personal symbol of each Faerie would force them to cross over, though the boys had no idea where he got that information since it wasn't in any of the books, as far as they knew. Still, Dean had chosen to trust Crowley's new mate, so he held the feather and the bee and repeated his incantation for the seventh time.
Overhead, the streaming lights of the Aurora Borealis flashed blue as the air in front of the hunter shimmered and cracked. Dean heard his youngest brother's startled gasp behind him, but he kept his focus on the shifting, glowing blue tear in the fabric of reality. It darkened for a moment before spitting out a tall, humanoid shape, one that coalesced into a raven-haired man with the lean musculature of a trained runner, broad shoulders, and the brightest, most intense azure eyes Dean had ever seen. The alpha's voice faltered as those eyes latched onto him, the Faerie glaring at him in something between shock and challenge. Dean was so lost in those eyes that he barely noticed that the man was also completely naked.
"Dean, the collar!"
Silently cursing his inattentiveness, Dean grabbed the golden chain from his pocket and lunged forward, snapping the clasp at the back of Castiel's neck a moment before the Faerie realized what had happened. With an unearthly shriek, Castiel vanished, the flapping sound of feathered wings echoing in the sudden silence.
Rowena cleared her throat and leaned forward far enough to tap Dean on the shoulder. He turned, grateful for her warning shout, and waited for her next instruction. "Call the boy back to you, Dean. You've bound him; he can't have gone far."
Another flutter of wings heralded the Faerie's return, furious azure eyes glowing in the darkness. "Why did you force me to come here?"
Dean started, shocked by the deep, gravelly voice and the intense hatred in those eyes. He had to remind himself that this was a warrior, leader of the Fae Armies, and one of the most deadly creatures he had ever seen. If he didn't assert his dominance over this omega who couldn't be less than six feet tall, the Faerie just might find a way to kill him. Smiling as kindly as he could, the alpha held out his left hand, the golden bee figurine sitting there with its tiny emerald eyes sparkling in the light of the Aurora Borealis. "I brought you a gift, Castiel, because I need your help. Do you accept?"
Castiel bit his lower lip and stepped forward cautiously, the black opal in his collar resting in the hollow of his throat. Dean caught a hint of his scent, honeysuckle and clover, before realizing that the Faerie was completely naked . . . and pretty well hung for an omega. He lassoed that thought and tucked it away in the back of his mind, silencing his alpha as he waited for those blue eyes to meet his again. "What do you need my help with?"
"Your brother, Lucifer, is loose on Earth, and we need your help to stop him, return him to the Fae Realms. He's causing a lot of damage and has killed a lot of people."
Castiel shook his head, reaching up to touch his head and pausing in shock. He ran his fingers through his dark hair, marveling at the softness as if the covering was new to him. Who knew, maybe it was; Balthazar had said that Faeries had true forms that resembled multiple creatures squished together and rarely looked human at all. "I know he's here, but I'm not strong enough to stop him. He's a High Prince and I'm just a Noble."
"We know," Dean replied, glancing over his shoulder at his brother. Rowena closed her eyes for a moment and touched the crystal on her neck, smiling as she nodded at Sam. "Your brother, Gabriel, has come to see what happened to you, and my brother is going to summon him. With his power and your prowess, we should be able to stop Lucifer."
Castiel took a long moment to consider the offer, slowly reaching out to take the small bee figure from Dean, pulling it close to his face and examining it before smiling. "This is a lovely bee. Much prettier than the wooden one I got last time I was summoned."
Dean glanced at Rowena, the witch nodding slowly as she waved a hand at Sam. The Faerie hadn't agreed to help per se, but he wasn't fighting anymore and he had calmed down enough for the younger Winchesters to try their summoning spells.
"Gabriel is here, Sam. It's your turn. Adam, be ready to grab at his companion."
Castiel stepped forward, intense eyes trained on the tallest Winchester as he listened to the intonation, his own lips moving in time with the words. Dean watched him for a moment, wondering if this dark-haired Faerie was trying to counteract their spell, but the rift glowed a brilliant orange-gold a moment later and ejected a much smaller omega Faerie.
This man was a full head shorter than Sam, with dark blonde hair that tickled his neck and vibrant glowing eyes only a few shades darker and slightly more whiskey-colored than an omega's aroused gold. He wasn't as warrior-lean as his brother, though Dean did let his eyes wander far enough south to note that he was impressively endowed for his height and subgender. Sam didn't hesitate, dropping the eagle feather and pulling a golden collar out of his pocket, fastening the chain around the High Prince's neck, the fire opal settling in the hollow of his throat. Gabriel didn't flinch or pull away, his entire being focused on the giant in front of him, only glancing down when Sam stepped away.
Castiel had a weakness for animals, though he loved bees the most. He was known to guard hives on Earth, taking only a tiny amount of honey from each harvest when a farmer called on him for assistance. Gabriel, however, had a sweet tooth, and Sam offered him a candy bar, a brand that Rowena had assured the boys would entice the High Prince. "Gabriel, I summoned you here to help us trap your wayward brother, Lucifer, and return him to your realm. Will you accept this offering and help us?"
Gabriel grinned, his stance cocky and self-assured as he took the candy from Sam's outstretched hand. "I'd be glad to help someone as delectable as you."
Sam coughed and blushed, clearly remembering Rowena's words as he glanced at his brother for help. Dean shrugged and waved a hand at Castiel; he had his own Faerie to care for, he couldn't help Sam sort out his. The rift in front of Dean rippled again as something from the other side tried to push through, and Adam held out his mockingbird feather and the small, intricately jeweled dagger he would be offering to the assassin. None of them knew which one would be traveling with Gabriel, but the youngest alpha couldn't waste any time summoning the third and final Faerie.
The third Faerie was also an omega, a skinny young man somewhere between Gabriel and Castiel in height with light brown hair and light brown eyes. He looked down as Adam snapped a collar around his neck, eyes flying around frantically until they landed on Castiel. The Noble Faerie rose to his full height and nodded his head reassuringly. "It's alright, Samandriel; they need our help with Lucifer."
"I've never fought your brother before, Castiel; how can I help?"
"We have some ideas," Adam answered soothingly, wrinkling his nose at the bitter notes of concern and confusion that colored the Faerie's hyacinth and lilac scent. His alpha demanded that he calm the man down. "I have a gift for you, Samandriel, if you will help us."
The assassin, his movements fluid and graceful, reached out and gently plucked the weapon from the young Winchester's hand. He nodded slowly, taking comfort in the presence of the two older, more powerful Faeries in the circle. "I'll help."
Gabriel chuckled and reached up to finger the opal hanging around his neck. "Never thought you'd get pulled to Earth when I asked you to travel through the forest tonight, did you?"
"Gabriel, I've learned never to have expectations when travelling with the fourth High Prince," Samandriel replied wryly, his scent finally calming. "Castiel is safe, it seems."
"That remains to be seen," the warrior growled, his eyes flashing as he glared at Dean. He had accepted the gift and the mission, but it was clear that the alpha would have to keep an eye on him. Dean swallowed, hard, and took a half-step back, ostensibly to return to the altar and finish the ritual, but he knew that the Faerie saw the retreat in his steps. Damn, lost round one.
Rowena cleared her throat. "Boys, let's finish the ritual so we can leave. Wouldn't do to leave so much energy unused here, in this place specifically."
Sam nodded and turned back to the table, taking a deep breath as he centered himself once more. "We thank you, spirits of the East, for attending our rite and lending your energies. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell." He closed his fan and placed it back on the table, closing his eyes and bowing his head.
Benny, who hadn't moved from the table, cleared his throat. "We thank you, spirits of the North, for attending our rite and lending your energies. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell." He closed the bowl that held his soil, mimicking Sam's position as he waited for the other two to finish their rituals. The beta had felt more and more uneasy as the ritual progressed, and he knew that part of it was the faint hints of blood he kept catching when Gadreel, seated safely outside the circle, shifted positions.
"We thank you, spirits of the West, for attending our rite and lending your energies. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell." Adam covered the glass water bowl, glancing at the Faerie standing beside him before closing his eyes. Clearly, Samandriel was interested in this human ritual for harnessing power.
"We thank you, spirits of the South, for attending our rite and lending your energies. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell." Dean pinched out his candle and took a deep breath before closing his eyes, smiling softly at the new hint of honeysuckle and clover in the air. He could also catch a bit of Gabriel's gardenia and cherry blossom scent, but he found Castiel's wild aromas more enticing.
Rowena finished releasing the last of the spirits and opened the circle that she had drawn hours earlier, both magically and physically as she led the four boys and three Faeries to the stones where Gadreel and their supplies were waiting. "Well, that was the most successful summoning spell I have ever seen. All three of you performed admirably."
Gabriel grinned and sauntered up to the witch, his eyes glowing with a touch of omega gold. "Don't my companions and I get any credit? We didn't have to cross over."
"Don't play your games with me, Gabriel. I well remember them! This spell was stronger than the one I used; you were all compelled, and you know it."
Gabriel grinned and patted Rowena's shoulder, pausing and leaning close to her ear. "You were my favorite omega hookup, Ro. We should play again sometime."
"Not on your life, shrimpcakes," the witch purred, pinching Gabriel's cheek before stepping away. "I'm on a strictly alpha diet now."
The High Prince glanced at Sam's ass and tilted his head, licking his lips suggestively and winking at his fellow omega. "I might try that diet myself."
Sam turned as Rowena burst out laughing, a neat stack of clothes in his hand as the Faerie he had summoned sauntered to his side. "Uh, Gabriel, Rowena said that you specifically chose your vessel thousands of years ago and always show up in the same one. She told me your size, so I think that these will fit you."
Gabriel grinned and took the clothes, familiar enough with human coverings that he found the boxers, socks, and pants easily, approving of the dark color of the jeans and the forest green shirt, even fingering the soft material of his overshirt. "Good color choice."
Sam smiled shyly and handed over a brown leather jacket. It was a little big for the omega, but it was one of Adam's old ones and the only jacket they could find that was likely to fit. "We can get you some more clothes, if you like. I just didn't think you wanted to walk around naked."
Castiel snorted, eyeing the folded clothes in Dean's hands warily. "He loves this vessel of his. Whenever he's on Earth, he foregoes the use of clothes as often as possible." The warrior turned his attention to the jeans Dean had handed him, pulling at the zipper curiously. "The last time I was here, you people were wearing these wonderful kilt things with nice patterns and bright colors. I don't like these at all."
Dean chuckled and ran his fingers through his hair. "These are some of my clothes. Rowena didn't know what form you would choose, but thankfully you're my height and basically my size. The shirt might be a bit tight."
Castiel, who had taken a long moment to examine the bear printed on his boxers before slipping them on, nodded sagely, pulling on the pants and fastening them before picking up a light gray undershirt, blue flannel shirt, and dark fabric jacket. "These are your clothes?"
"Yeah. I don't know what colors or patterns you like, but we can find something more your style when we get home."
Castiel shook his head as he shoved his feet into the boots Dean had provided. They were a little big, but they fit well enough. "Where is your home?"
Adam hadn't had any idea who he would summon, even if the assassin would be male or female, so he was grateful that Samandriel was pretty much his size. The youngest Faerie needed some help to get dressed, but everything fit well enough. "We're from Kansas, in the US."
"Americans," Castiel growled, his eyes flashing blue with his power. "I hate America."
"Blame your brother for the destination. You only have to stay long enough to help catch him," Dean soothed, his alpha instincts demanding that he wipe the anger off of his omega's face. "Then you can go home."
Benny smiled and tapped Dean on the shoulder, silently asking him to step aside so the beta could pack their supplies away. "Interesting new friends you have."
Castiel relaxed slightly, clearly accepting his mission on Earth and the humans he would have to interact with while he was there. He stiffened a moment later as Gadreel, who hadn't moved from his position against one of the tall stones all night, cried out, arms wrapped around his lower belly as he leaned forward. The warrior Faerie was by his side in a quick flap of his wings, leaning close enough to test his scent before placing a hand on his belly.
"What's going on, Cassie?" Gabriel joined his younger brother, hands hovering over Gadreel's chest as he used his power to test the omega's health. Benny crouched behind his mate, hands clenched around the man's upper arms and despair darkening his scent.
"This omega is pregnant," Castiel murmured, eyes flicking to the bandages on Gadreel's neck and the long scratches on his face. "The wounds, they look like a vampire attack."
"Yeah, that's what they're from," Benny murmured, pulling Gadreel against his chest. The omega panted through the next cramp, pains that were quickly reaching the sharp stabbing of full contractions. His body was trying to give birth six months too early. "A vampire turned me and almost drained him dry a few weeks ago."
"He's having a miscarriage," Gabriel realized, resting his palm on Gadreel's lower belly as another pain stabbed through the omega. "Cas, this is beyond my skill."
"And I don't have the power," Castiel mused, ignoring the three alphas gathered around them. "Lend me your magic, brother, and I will put it to good use."
Gabriel nodded and closed his eyes, resting one hand on Gadreel's forehead and the other on Castiel's arm. The pregnant omega whined, low and soft, and Benny pulled him closer, trying to offer his mate whatever support he could. Dean stepped forward, unsure if he should stop the Faeries, but Rowena's hand on his arm froze him in place. "Let them try," she whispered.
Castiel's eyes began to glow with the blue of his power as his brother's golden magic wrapped around the younger Faerie's arm and suffused his hand. The Aurora Borealis overhead shifted from pale green to brilliant blue and gold, colors not often seen in the lights, as the two ethereal beings worked their magic. The humans weren't sure how long it took, but slowly the smell of blood faded, the sour scent of fear in Gadreel's freesia and lavender scent mellowed, and the ragged red gashes under his bandages began to disappear. Even the jagged slices across his face vanished, not leaving even a scar behind. An eternity later, Gabriel's power slowly faded away, Castiel's eyes returned to their normal, human blue, and Gadreel took a deep, steadying breath.
"Did it work? Is Gad okay?"
Castiel swayed as he tried to stand, clearly having drained much more of his own strength than he thought. Dean caught him, helping the omega regain his balance as Benny waited anxiously for his answer.
"Your omega's body was rejecting his pregnancy. There's something insidious about being the mate of someone who was turned into a vampire; his body was trying to complete the change itself, even though he never drank any blood. I've removed any imagined trace of the vampire virus, healed his physical wounds, and recovered his pregnancy."
Gadreel raised one hand to his face, eyes wide in wonder as he felt only smooth, unbroken skin where before there had been gashes that were sure to scar. He also felt calmer, lighter, and more in control than he had since the attack. "And my baby is okay?"
Castiel nodded. "There was never anything physically wrong with your pregnancy, and now there should be nothing to trigger your body to terminate it. I don't remember how long humans carry their young, but you have approximately two-thirds of the term left before you will give birth to your babies."
Benny's eyes widened as he caught the word first, Gadreel lowering his hand to rest on his belly a moment later. "Babies? As in, more than one?"
Castiel nodded. "You're having twins. A male and a female, both omega, I believe. Surely humans are aware of the number of offspring they carry."
"They have technology to show them," Gabriel answered, "but they don't know on their own." He shook his left hand, the one that had fed power into his brother, to remedy the tingling sensation that always remained after he helped with a healing.
"We never . . . we haven't had an ultrasound since the attack," Gadreel murmured. "After the doctor told me that I would lose my baby . . . I didn't want to see it, get attached. I thought it would be easier that way."
Castiel nodded sagely, his expression still stiff and impartial. Samandriel moved closer to the warrior, letting their arms touch long enough for both omegas to gain some strength and calm each other. Dean watched in wonder at the pack mentality displayed in that small act; when too many alphas stood close to each other, things tended to get heated, but omegas could draw on each other's strength to find peace from the company of their subgender. "You need not worry about the health of your offspring. They will be fine."
Gadreel smiled and turned his head slightly so he could nuzzle the underside of Benny's chin. The beta reached up and carefully removed the bandages on his mate's neck, marveling at the unblemished skin underneath, except for the oval scar of his mating bite. "Thank you, Castiel, for saving my family," Benny murmured. "I . . . thank you."
Dean chuckled and clapped a hand on Castiel's shoulder, offering him a quick squeeze of approval. "Thanks, man. Good job. Ready to head back to Kansas with us to start hunting down Lucifer?"
Castiel nodded, his eyes flashing dangerously for a moment. "Make sure you don't get in the way, human. I'd hate to 'accidentally' hurt you." The raven-haired man actually did air quotes, which he must have learned from watching humanity, but Dean swallowed his instinct to laugh as soon as he caught the hardness in the Faerie's eyes.
"Uh, yeah, buddy; thanks for the warning."
Sam chuckled at his brother's discomfort as he gathered his own Faerie and headed for the path back to the car. Gabriel had clearly set his sights on seducing the tall alpha, and Samandriel seemed gentle enough, though his movements were too graceful, too wary, and hinted at his assassin training. Dean, however, would be lucky if his Faerie didn't kill him.
Chapter 5: Power Dynamics
Chapter 5: Power Dynamics
"What is this?"
"An airplane," Sam replied, calmly strolling from the limo to Rowena's waiting airplane. Gabriel, who had chosen to walk a few steps behind his summoner (he refused to use the word master, and Sam wasn't suicidal enough to argue the point), grinned and clapped his hands together eagerly.
"I have seen these contraptions, but I've never had the chance to ride in one. To think, you humans managed to learn to fly!"
"It flies?" Castiel tilted his head in that odd way he had when he was trying to absorb new information, blue eyes dark and wary. "It doesn't look very safe."
"It isn't," Dean growled, shifting the bag on his shoulder as he shooed his Faerie forward. The omega's honeysuckle scent darkened, the faintest hint of burning indicating his displeasure with the casual contact, and Dean was quick to step away. Damn, lost that one.
"I would prefer to fly myself."
Dean glanced at the dark-haired Faerie, at this ethereal being who wore his human vessel like an ill-fitting suit. "Uh, it's like four thousand miles away. It's going to take us over eight hours to make the flight; I doubt you can do it that quickly."
"I can be anywhere on this planet in an instant," Castiel snapped back imperiously. "All I need is a visualization."
Dean snorted and turned to fully face the omega, smirking defiantly. "And are you willing to touch me long enough to get that visualization?"
Gabriel, who had reached the top of the stairs, turned to watch the interaction, one pale eyebrow raised in amusement. Castiel mulled the thought over in his mind for a long moment, finally shaking his head. "No, I would prefer not to be in your general vicinity at all."
"Yeah, that's what I thought. Get on the damn plane, Cas."
"It's Castiel," the Faerie growled, his eyes flashing omega gold.
"Yeah, I don't give a damn. It's too fucking long for me to say all the time. I'm calling you Cas, and you'll just deal with it."
Castiel growled, but the opal glowing against the hollow of his throat enforced Dean's decree and prevented the Faerie from replying. Silently, he followed his summoner onto the plane, his fury buoying Dean's confidence as the alpha decided that he couldn't show any fear in front of his Faerie. Alphas generally avoided showing any weakness in front of strangers or potential mates, but Dean knew that he had a damn tiger by the tail with this Faerie, so exuding strength at all time would be more important than ever.
Adam, offering Samandriel a hand to help him ascend the stairs, grinned at his older brother's dominance fight with his Faerie. "I'm guessing you haven't flown either."
"No, but I find the concept fascinating. I've only ever flown under my own power." The rustle of invisible wings followed his words. "I forgot how long it takes me to get used to a new vessel. It's been some time since I was summoned, and my last vessel was shorter."
"You don't look the same every time?"
Samandriel shook his head, light brown hair fluttering across his face. "The spell you used, it lets your subconscious choose the shape and colors of my form. This size, this lean physique, and these colors must please you in some way."
Adam blushed as he ushered his Faerie into a seat and showed him how to buckle in. "I, uh, I didn't realize it. We never translated the whole book, just the important parts of the spell."
"Who do I look like to you?"
"There was a boy I liked in high school, the son of a local politician, named Alfred. We called him Alfie, and he was my first kiss."
"He was an omega?"
Adam nodded. "Yeah. You look like him, Samandriel, though your scent is wilder. I didn't even realize it until now."
"This name, Alfie, is it a good human name? I worry that my Faerie name might be a bit of a giveaway as to my non-human nature, and I'm used to stealth in all things."
"You don't have to change your name, Samandriel."
The Faerie shrugged. "I thought it might be easier for you. Since your brother is named Sam, you cannot use the normal nickname that my previous summoner assigned me."
"If that's what you prefer, I'll call you Alfie."
Gabriel settled next to Sam and fastened his seatbelt, amused by a safety precaution that was frankly useless for him. "You have a question for me."
The tall alpha ran his hand through his long hair, hazel eyes more brown than green as he tried to decide how to phrase his query. "Samandriel said that the spell chose his form."
"Yep, and Cassie's too."
"But not yours?"
Gabriel shook his head, a smirk still firmly in place on a face that Sam had to admit was a mix of adorable and handsome. "Nah, Samoose; I learned long ago how to control my human form. I created this one a dozen epochs ago."
"Whose fantasy were you fulfilling with this form?" Sam decided to ignore the nickname, hoping that Gabriel would stop using it if he didn't get any amusement from it.
The Faerie's face fell and he looked away, too old to let his sorrow color his gardenia and cherry blossom scent. "I, uh . . . I built it to match someone I cared about very much. He desperately wanted to have children, but as an outcast among the Norse Gods he couldn't find a willing omega partner. I saved him from some snake thing his family set to guard him, and he asked me to give him sons. There was some weird stuff with changing into animals and whatnot, but I did give birth to three boys, and in the process I fell in love with him."
Gabriel trailed off as the engines spun up, Sam resting a gentle hand on his arm as he offered a soft, sympathetic smile. "He didn't love you."
"No, uh, not at all." Gabriel's golden eyes fell to his hands as he ran his thumb over the pale skin of his wrist, clearly lost in a memory. "He thanked me, said that he would be glad for my company if I ever returned, and he sent me back to the Fae Realms. I haven't seen him or my children since."
"I'm sorry, Gabe," Sam murmured, placing one oversized hand over the Faerie's. "I can't say I understand the pain of losing your children or your lover, but I can promise that I didn't bring you here for anything like that."
Gabriel chuckled, turning his palm over and squeezing the alpha's in thanks. "I'm over it, Sam, really I am. I'm not sure Loki is capable of true love, though he does care for his children and has a complicated relationship with his father. I took his form as a way to salve my broken heart. He's a beta, though, so I had to make some, uh, structural changes to match my own omega nature. I think this coloring and size fits me, though, even as a High Prince."
"It looks nice on you," Sam replied, eyes brightening as Gabriel looked up and smiled at him. "I'm really sorry we had to summon you here, you know. I just . . . we don't know any other way to stop Lucifer, and he's killing a lot of people."
"Is that your job, to protect this world?"
"I mean, kinda? We're hunters, so we try to keep America cleared of supernatural beings and save people from them. We aren't the ones who summoned Lucifer and lost control of him, but he is our problem now."
"You're a brave man, Sam, to be willing to stand up to my brother. Not many would be so bold. I can't wait to see what you have planned."
"You and me both," the alpha murmured under his breath as the plane began to taxi down the runway. He glanced over at Dean and Castiel sitting on one of the couches against the opposite side of the plane, amused that his brother had gotten control over his fear in defiance of the dark-haired Faerie. It was certainly going to be an interesting few weeks.
"Hey, Bobby, we're back!" Sam led the group into the large living room, dropping his bags against the wall as Gabriel looked around curiously. Dean and Cas, who were for the moment not fighting, followed behind them, with Benny and Gadreel helping Adam and Samandriel carry in the last of the bags. Rowena had dropped them off at the airport and arranged for a limo to take them back to Bobby's house, but she had been eager to return to her son and help run his company while he was bonding with his mate, so she couldn't stay. She had mentioned that she thought she caught the scent of pre-heat from Balthazar during the last day she had been in D.C. before picking them up at the airport, so she was eager to return and give Crowley a chance to make her a grandmother.
"Hey, boys, how did it go?" Bobby emerged from the door to the garage, wiping his hands on an oily rag as he beamed at the Winchesters through his scruffy beard. He glanced at each of the Faeries in turn, the opal pendants sitting against their throats marking them, but his blue eyes widened in shock as he took in Gadreel's changed appearance. The young omega, who had been scarred, shy, and seemingly three seconds from losing his pup, was walking tall and smiling, one hand resting protectively over his lower belly. His wounds were gone, not even a scar left to indicate that he'd ever been injured at all. Benny also looked stronger, his beta clearly preening with a healthy, pregnant omega by his side. "What happened?"
Benny grinned and led Gadreel over to their customary couch, still unwilling to lose physical contact with his mate. "Castiel and Gabriel healed his wounds, both physical and mental, and saved our babies. We're going to have twins."
"Oh, that's wonderful!" Bobby grinned and patted Benny on the back, catching Gadreel's now strong and healthy pregnancy scent and nodding sagely. "You smell better now, son. How do you feel?"
"Great. I was . . . it feels like it's been weeks of slowly going darker, of losing control, and then everything is just . . . back. I feel normal again, like I did before the attack. I don't know how they did it, but Castiel and Gabriel saved them. And they saved me."
"Ellen will be glad to hear that." Bobby glanced at the three Faeries, all of whom were stalking around the edge of the room, examining everything they could reach and touch as if they had never seen common things like lamps and computers. "Introduce our new guests, boys."
Adam smiled and reached for Samandriel's arm, tapping the omega lightly and smiling in a gentle invitation. The assassin, his gestures already smoother and more elegant as he got used to his human form, turned to Bobby, his nose twitching as he caught the old alpha's heavy scent. "This is Samandriel, who is perfectly content to go by Alfie. He's the assassin."
"Good to meet you, sir," Alfie greeted, bowing slightly though he didn't drop eye contact.
"Is this your first time in the human world?"
Alfie shook his head. "No, I've been here a few times. I'm only a common Faerie, so I'm pretty easy to summon to be fair, and I don't mind helping out here. I'm an assassin, so I'm usually called to do something quick and dirty without leaving a trace. This mission ought to be a bit more of a test of my skills. Lucifer is quite the adversary."
Across the room, turning away from the books he had been examining, Castiel snorted, turning to face the younger Faerie. "He's more than that, my friend. He's a terror, a pain to deal with on the best of terms; he'll be an absolute monster now that he's been incorrectly summoned and gone rogue. He'll be mad."
Dean cleared his throat and waved an arm in Castiel's direction, clearly not bothering to get close to the volatile Faerie after their eight-hour confrontation on the plane. "This is Castiel, the General in charge of the Faerie armies. He's full of information, but light on suggestions."
Castiel snapped his teeth at the alpha, his scent still dark with that simmering, burning tint that it had carried for hours. "I said I would help you stop my brother. I never claimed to have a plan to do it. You summoned me; you ought to have at least some clue what you're doing."
"Well, you're an angry one, aren't you?" Ellen chose that moment to enter the living room, glaring at Castiel as she passed him. Jo was hot on her heels, the blonde alpha grinning at Dean before rounding on the Faerie with her mother. Ellen tilted her head as she caught Cas's burnt scent, her eyes gentling slightly. Her voice, when she spoke again, had lost that acerbic bite and was very much the motherly beta Dean remembered from his youth. "What's gotten you so upset, little omega?"
Castiel started at the words, his anger fading in an instant as this very maternal female beta reached out to gently grasp his arm. "I . . . I don't want to be here. I want to be back in my grove, with my bees, enjoying the first peace we've had in the Realm for thousands of years."
Ellen smiled gently, her subtle motherly scent calming the Noble Faerie. "I know you don't. None of us wants to fight, but there are people out there who need our protection. Some of us are stronger than others, better fighters, so we have to protect our weaker companions."
Castiel nodded, relaxing under Ellen's gentle touch. Dean and Sam exchanged a quick glance as they watched the interaction, learning quite a bit about the Faerie General through observation. "The last six times I was summoned, the adversary was simple. A large army, some despot king, or a rival god. I've never fought Lucifer directly, and I can't help but worry that the destruction seen in a Faerie war will decimate this world. And I like this world."
"Dean's a bit rough, but he does have good intentions. He didn't want to summon you and he thinks this entire master business is atrocious. I can promise you, he'll send you back to your peaceful grove as soon as Lucifer is taken care of."
Castiel nodded and let Ellen lead him to a chair, most of the tension he had carried on the plane finally fading away. Jo joined the Winchester brothers and greeted them each with a hug, letting Adam introduce her to Alfie. Dean walked away from his almost-sister, settling onto the couch a foot or so away from Castiel, muting his own scent as he watched the omega. He waited until those ultramarine blue eyes met his before offering a soft smile. "I don't want to fight with you, Cas. I'm sorry that someone has let Lucifer run rampant, but we have to work together on this."
The Faerie nodded slowly, his hands twitching in his lap. "Lucifer has always been my problem. I have prevented him from being summoned before, but I was not able to do so this time. Now that he is free, I must help return him to my realm. I think I can get along with you long enough to do that."
"Glad to hear it."
"Hmm?" The beta looked up from setting the table, adding an extra place setting for Jody who had called and said she would be able to make it for supper. "Make yourself useful, Dean; don't just stand there staring."
"Oh, uh, sorry." Dean grabbed some glasses from the cupboard and placed them on the table, mulling over his question for a moment longer. "Ellen, what's with Cas? You just calmed him down in an instant, and I can't seem to stop fighting with him."
"I'm a beta; omegas and alphas both find betas generally non-threatening. You're an alpha and you're treating him like an unruly omega in your pack. He isn't, you know. Hell, from what Adam tells me is in that book, he's basically the alpha of his own pack back in the Faerie lands. He sees you as a rival, even if you are on the same mission."
Dean sighed and took the pile of napkins from Ellen, carefully folding each one in half before placing it on the table. "I guess I didn't think of that. I don't really understand this whole Faerie summoning business, and I'm not comfortable forcing him to be here."
"You can't act like that around him, Dean. He knows you're uncomfortable, and his instinct is to fight against that. He didn't ask to be summoned, but he deserves to be treated correctly while he's here. I know you've never been good around omegas, but you have to try harder."
Dean sighed and hung his head, his scent almost completely faded as he accepted his second mother's gentle criticism. She was right, of course. He had never been his normal confident self around omegas, especially males as lovely as the Noble Faerie. Dean's sexual exploits tended toward betas with the occasional submissive alpha or female omega, but he had never gotten past first base with a male omega. He found them so mysterious and intriguing, but he could never get over his own nerves around them. "He's beautiful, don't you think?"
Ellen's head shot up, the mashed potatoes gripped tightly in her hands as she considered the young alpha's sudden words. "Yes, he really is. I imagine all Faeries are quite lovely."
"Sam said . . . he said that, except for Gabriel, Faeries don't have a specific human vessel. The spell builds it for them, except maybe for the eyes and scent. But that dark hair, his height, his runner's physique and broad shoulders . . . my subconscious built that when I read the spell." Dean trailed off, playing with the edge of one of the napkins he had folded. "I made him for me, to match everything I've ever wanted in an omega. What kind of alpha does that make me?"
Ellen sighed as she placed the bowl of corn on the table, reaching out to place a comforting hand on Dean's arm. The boy was naturally brash and a bit aggressive, a born leader and every inch John Winchester's son, but sometimes Mary's sweet, gentle nature would shine through, as it was doing now. "You're upset at yourself for forcing him into this mold when you have no intention of trying to take advantage of the result. Is that it?"
"Something like that. And . . . damn, I don't know." Ellen waited patiently as Dean worked through his thoughts, fisting his hands in the tablecloth before smoothing it out again. "What if he is interested in a fling or something while he's here? What if my subconscious desire for an omega who looks like an alpha prevents him from having that?"
"Dean, look at me." Ellen walked around the table and caught Dean's chin in her hand, forcing him to look down and meet her gaze. She noted the flecks of red floating around his green irises, waiting until they faded away before she spoke. She knew that his alpha was unsettled, trying to work through the conflicting emotions he felt toward this omega Faerie he had summoned and unwittingly influenced. "For one thing, Castiel is a general in a huge army, and by all accounts he defeated his older and more powerful alpha brother to earn that distinction. I doubt he was a petite, slender, delicate little flower back in his realm, so why would he be here? Also, he's been summoned seven times now, always taking a different form; do you think he cares about his human appearance anymore?"
Dean slowly shook his head, letting Ellen's logic soak through his self-recriminations. "He'll be alright, won't he?"
"Dean, he won't be here long enough for you to need to worry. He's here to fight, then he just wants to go home. Gabriel is the hedonist; worry about whether he's going to get in Sam's pants before you guys catch Lucifer."
Dean chuckled at that and nodded. "Yeah, I'll keep an eye on him. Thanks, Ellen."
"Just remember to treat Castiel like an alpha from an allied pack, not an unmated omega from yours, and you'll get along fine."
The tall alpha spun at the call, handing the bowl he had been carrying to his youngest brother. Jody, an alpha near Bobby's age who ruled her own small pack of young hunters, wrapped Dean in a tight hug as soon as she got through the door, still dressed in her khaki sheriff's uniform. "Hey, Jody."
"Sorry I wasn't here when you guys came through earlier. We had a djinn issue."
"Resolved, I hope." Adam accepted a hug from Jody as he placed the bowl of corn on the table. Sam followed close behind, all three young alphas ushering the smaller woman into the living room. Bobby waved at her before returning to the kitchen to help Ellen put out supper, Gadreel in his wake as Benny joined the alphas in the living room.
"Of course. Jo is turning into quite a powerful hunter. Benny, you're looking better than you did last week. Happier. What's up?"
Benny grinned and ducked his head, running his fingers through his beard before answering. "Gad and I are having twins. He's not sick anymore."
"Benny, that's wonderful!" Dean handed their family friend a cold beer, offering one to Benny and Sam, as well. "I can't help but ask how."
Benny waved toward the back door where the three Faeries had gone to the scrap yard to look at the cars. "A couple of Faeries healed Gadreel of his physical and mental wounds, saving him from miscarrying the pups."
Jody frowned slightly, the alpha's scent darkening somewhat in disapproval. Despite belonging to different packs, Dean couldn't help but shy away from her reaction. "So you summoned them. I warned Mary that it was a bad idea."
"It's a terrible idea," Sam agreed, "as is generally any plan to bind a powerful supernatural being to your will in the hopes that it won't turn on you. But, as I'm sure Mom pointed out to you, the alternative is worse. We can't let Lucifer stay free."
Jody sighed and worried at the sticker on her beer. She was one of the foremost alpha hunters in the Midwest, and Mary had certainly taken her opinion into account before recommending that her sons fly to Scotland to summon a trio of Faeries. "Do they think they can stop him?"
Dean shrugged. "Cas has fought Lucifer before and defeated him, though not when he's enraged like he is now. Gabriel has an insane amount of power, more than his brother, but he's no fighter so he'll rely on Cas and Alfie for the actual muscle."
Jody shrugged and leaned back in her chair, taking a swig of her beer before answering. "I think you guys might be in over your heads with this one. None of you have spent any time around omegas in your life; you can't possibly be ready to deal with the realities of that. Judging from my own girls, I would say that it's easy to assume that omegas are weaker in some way than an alpha or beta, but the opposite is true. They are strong, very stable and nurturing, and they don't need to be protected as much as we need to protect them. However, if they feel like their alpha isn't paying them any attention, they can become very fragile."
"Jody, I'm not his alpha," Dean replied carefully. "I'm just the dude who summoned him. He doesn't consider himself part of my pack and I'm pretty sure he wants nothing to do with me."
Jody nodded, finishing her beer. "That's Ellen's advice, then. You might want to keep an eye on him and see which direction he goes, then, and be ready for whatever happens."
Dean nodded, looking up as the three Faeries reentered the house, Castiel leading them. "I'll remember that. Cas, Gabe, Alfie; this is Jody. She's Jo's alpha and she runs a pack of female hunters here in Sioux Falls."
"The hunters that cured Benny's vampirism?" Gabe approached the new alpha with his cocky swagger, unconcerned about any potential danger with meeting the leader of another pack. He was much older than Cas, despite both being children of the Faerie King, and he had lost any trepidation thousands of years earlier. "I'm Gabriel; nice to meet you."
Jody, who stood when the three Faeries entered, smiled and held out her hand to the High Prince, fingers curled out of the way so he could scent her wrist. He leaned down for a quick whiff, offering his own wrist in return as Cas joined him. "Gabriel, how are you getting on with Sam?"
The blonde grinned, his whiskey gold eyes brightened slightly with flecks of lighter omega gold. "He's pretty scrumptious, I've gotta say."
Jody laughed at that, grinning as Sam choked on his beer and stared at the omega with wide hazel eyes. "He's a bit too tall for me, but you're welcome to him."
Castiel cautiously reached out and presented his wrist, the action giving Jody a moment's pause. Normally, the more dominant person would offer their wrist first, so Cas was declaring himself her equal as a pack leader, lending weight to Dean's argument earlier. She leaned down to scent him, spotting Dean's neutral expression out of the corner of her eye as she offered her own wrist. "I'm Jody, a bit of a godmother to the boys."
"I am Castiel, General of the Combined Faerie Armies, youngest offspring of the Faerie King. It is a pleasure to meet you."
Alfie, who had learned enough of the balance of his new body to walk with more weight on the balls of his feet, softly padded to Jody's side, leaning down to sniff the wrist she was still holding toward Cas. He nodded, clearly filing her scent away for later before holding his own arm out. "I am Samandriel, but Adam allows me to go by Alfie."
Jody nodded at the lean omega, watching how he quickly returned to Cas's side before the three Faeries found seats on the opposite side of the room. "Alfie, how many times have you been summoned? There's mention in the lore that you are the finest assassin in the Fae Realms, and I have to wonder how we humans knew that."
Alfie nodded, perched on the edge of his chair in a ready stance. "I have been here dozens of times, more than most common Faeries and all of the Nobles and High Princes. I'm not hard to summon, and I don't mind coming here. I was traveling with Gabriel along the northern border of our lands when he sensed Castiel cross the Veil near his favorite forests and we had to go investigate. Once he was pulled through, as well, I knew that I had to follow somehow in order to continue my mission of protecting him. Thankfully, I heard a call that I could use to ride through the rift."
Jody nodded, glancing up as Ellen called for them from the dining room. "Do you three eat?"
Gabriel's golden eyes lit up at the suggestion of food, the smallest of the omegas puffing out his chest. "We don't need to, even in these human vessels, but I enjoy it."
Alfie nodded. "I find food interesting. I would like to join you if you have room."
Castiel shook his head. "I do not require sustenance and I find the act of eating taxing."
Dean, a smartass retort on the tip of his tongue, took a moment to think about what Ellen had said earlier. "Cas, I get that you might not have liked eating in the past, but Ellen and Bobby always make so much food that there's plenty for you to sample. If you want to."
Castiel stared at Dean for a long time, his azure eyes boring into the alpha as he considered their conversation earlier. "I will . . . sample this food."
Dean grinned and nodded, holding out one arm to lead the Faerie to the table. Sam followed with Gabe, Alfie in Adam's track as Jody and Benny brought up the rear. The older two alphas gathered plates and silverware for the three Faeries, waiting until they settled carefully into the extra chairs before taking their own seats. Ellen watched Cas carefully from the corner of her eye as she filled her plate, wondering how Dean was going to handle this incredibly powerful, prickly being that he had summoned.
Dean served Cas a small bite of everything on the table, even opening a beer for him and placing it near his plate. Gabe, in contrast with his younger brother, piled his plate full of food, blushing as Sam admonished him and told him that he could go back for seconds if he wanted. Alfie was more strategic, placing just enough of each food type on his plate to fill it without anything touching the food nearby.
"So, uh, Cas, how long has it been since you were last summoned?"
Cas watched Dean cut into his chicken, taking his own fork and carefully stabbing the pale meat on his plate. "Over two hundred years, maybe more. I was summoned by a trio of druids to take out a mad pagan god that was cursing the village's crops, poisoning the wells, and causing a great famine. I succeeded in destroying the threat and was returned to my realm."
Gabe looked up sharply at the other Faerie's brief description, but he was too busy shoveling food into his mouth to speak. There was something on his mind, and Dean filed that information away for later use. "From what you said earlier, I'm guessing this was in Scotland?"
The Faerie nodded, eating his tiny piece of chicken before scooping up some mashed potatoes. "They still worshiped the old gods in those days, and they remembered the Faeries. Now it's rare to find a house with offerings or a Faerie Door, and barely anyone remembers our names."
"We do," Sam interjected, glancing down at his plate as all three Faeries looked over at him. "I mean, hunters do. We remember all of the old lore and we study every sort of supernatural being. I know that you aren't fond of America, but after we send you back my brothers and I will leave offerings out for you and we'll speak your names on your moon days. If you'd like."
"You know about our moon days?"
Sam grinned and glanced up to meet Gabe's glowing golden eyes. "I looked it up to make sure that we could summon you outside of your preferred moon. I know that your power is strongest under the full moon, Castiel's under the new moon, and Alfie's under first quarter. The rituals didn't mention moon phases, so we didn't look into it much more."
Dean took a long swig of his beer and cleared his throat, rolling Sam's words over in his head. "What's Lucifer's moon day?"
"Waning gibbous," Cas answered. "Michael is waxing gibbous, Raphael is first quarter, Naomi is third quarter, Hannah is waning crescent, and Anna is waxing crescent."
Adam's head shot up at that, his mind scrolling through all of the pages of Faerie names he had pored over in preparation for the summoning. "Who are Anna, Hannah, and Naomi? I don't remember any of those names in my book."
"Those are our sisters," Gabe answered, having already finished most of his food during the short conversation. "They aren't in your books because they're all administrator types in the hierarchy and pretty useless to you here on Earth. I'm pretty sure Raph and I wouldn't be in your book either if we weren't High Princes. Naomi's an alpha, Anna's a beta, and Hannah's an omega. Dad wanted to try all of the gender/subgender combinations, but when he made Castiel he decided that he was done. All Faeries that came after us were created by nature or through spells that humans cast."
"They're the only true Faeries," Alfie added, smiling as he tore into the roll Ellen passed him. "The rest of us are nature spirits, so our true forms are generally amorphous or mutable. Gabriel, Castiel, and their siblings have permanent true forms."
Jo grinned from her spot at the other end of the table. "That's pretty cool."
Cas tilted his head, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. "The food is pretty warm, actually."
"It's a figure of speech, Cas," Dean chuckled, resisting the urge to slap the Faerie on the back. He didn't know how Cas would react to a friendly gesture like that, and physical contact between members of different packs was generally perceived as an attack. "It means she thinks it's kinda awesome, the whole thing."
Cas mouthed the word awesome before returning to his food, half of what Dean had served him already gone. "This food is acceptable. I do not regret my decision to taste it."
"That's great, Cas. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself." The raven-haired Faerie glanced over at his summoner for a moment, some small measure of warmth teasing at his heart. He had told himself long ago that having any sort of emotional attachment was a weakness, especially when it came to the men who summoned him, but this young alpha genuinely wanted him to be happy, to enjoy his time on Earth. Maybe he would try to do that.
Chapter 6: Settling In
Dean stared at the Impala for a long moment, bags at his feet and the keys in his hand. "It's a big car, but I don't think it will fit six grown men. Well, five-and-a-half men." He glanced down at Gabriel and grinned, the ancient Faerie chuckling at the barb.
"Don't worry, Dean-o, I'm big where it counts." And, like he had done all morning and most of the day before since meeting Sam, Gabriel glanced at his summoner and winked at the innuendo, watching the alpha blush and glance away. Dean couldn't help but remember Rowena's warning that the High Prince would try to fuck Sam, and it was clear that she had been spot-on with her assessment. Having seen the shortest omega naked when he was summoned, Dean had to admit that he was quite lovely, though not his type at all. Some small part of him hoped that the Faerie succeeded; Sam didn't get out much, too focused on hunting to take time for the bar hopping or casual hookups that kept Dean sane. Maybe Gabriel was perfect to bring the tallest alpha out of his self-imposed shell.
Gabriel's golden eyes flashed as he turned his gaze back to Dean, a slow smile spreading across his face. Before anyone else realized that the ancient Faerie could read Dean's mind, Benny stepped forward with his own bags over his shoulder. "I drive an extended cab truck and the back seat is pretty generous. Adam and Alfie can ride with me and you boys won't be so cramped. What do you say, Chief?"
"Uh, sounds like a great idea to me. Adam, you good with that?"
"Yeah, that's perfect. That car is really not made for six people, especially with such a long drive this morning." Adam grabbed his bags and followed Benny to where Gadreel was loading their truck. They didn't have much in the way of belongings, having fled Louisiana with barely more than the clothes on their backs, so there would be plenty of room for Adam's things.
Dean turned back to the car and pointed at the back seat, catching his brother's eye. "Let's have Castiel ride shotgun this time so you and your Faerie can bond."
Sam looked like he was about to protest, but something in his brother's eyes stilled his tongue. Dean wanted to be able to see and talk to Castiel, convince the Faerie that they were on the same side and that it would be best for everyone if they got along. Giving him the prime seat up front would go a long way toward that. "Yeah, alright. But Gabe gets to sit up front when we switch drivers in three hours. It's only fair."
"Mom? Dad? We're home." Dean slung his duffel bag off his shoulder and tossed it onto the huge table in the main room of the bunker, his weapons bag and backpack following close behind. Sam, generally the neatest of the three brothers, placed his own gear more carefully next to Dean's, clearing space for the bags that Adam had carried. Benny carried his bags and Gadreel's into the room, finding a nearby chair to hold them until the boys could assign them a room. He had flat-out refused to let his mate carry anything, despite the fact that the omega wasn't even showing yet. Castiel, Gabriel, and Alfie stood at the top of the stairs for a long moment, considering this space and the role they were meant to play here before following the alphas into the bunker proper.
"There is no one else here," Castiel pointed out, walking in a circle around the room as he examined the weapons on the walls, the maps, the humming computers, and the shelves full of well-cared for but ancient books. "This building is empty."
"Huh," Sam replied. "I wonder where they went."
"Probably on a hunt," Adam pointed out. "It must be pretty close or they would have sent a message. I'm going to check in with Garth and see if we have any more information about Lucifer. It's only been a couple days, but I'm hoping they were able to track him down."
Sam unzipped his bag and began to unpack it, sorting the weapons on one side of the table, books on the other, and his clothes and personal effects beside the bag itself. "Well, we might as well start looking at what we'll need to head out west. Gabe, how close do you have to be to sense Lucifer's explosions of power?"
The blonde High Prince shrugged. "I can sense him now, but he's calm and I can't tell how far away he is. His signature is tectonic plate control, fire, and small natural disasters like tornadoes, tsunamis, and mudslides, so it's easiest to track him that way. Be glad it wasn't Michael who came over; he does earthquakes, monsoons, hurricanes, and volcanoes."
Sam, possibly the only member of the family who knew about the fragility of the Cascadia Fault and the fact that most of the northern Midwest sat on top of a dormant super-volcano, nodded. "We are somewhat grateful for that. We had reports of those kinds of things out west before we decided to summon you, but he got quiet just as we were getting on the plane for Scotland. Can you track him here?"
Gabriel shrugged and grinned as he spotted a bowl of bite-sized chocolate candy bars on the library table. "I have the power, but I need a direction to look. As soon as I reach out, Luci will know, so I have to focus my efforts and catch him before he hides away again. I'm not familiar enough with your world and the currently available magic here to create a spell that can do that. If you know how to make one, I can power it easily."
"We don't know how," Dean replied slowly, "but we know someone who does. Crowley's new mate is chock-full of Faerie knowledge and I bet he knows how to catalyze your power."
"Didn't Rowena say she thought he was going into heat? It'll be days before either one of them is in any condition to talk to us."
Adam reentered the main room on Sam's question, a cell phone in his hand. "Sam's right, Dean. I just got off the phone with Garth, and he said that Crowley's gone for the rest of the week. Rowena said we can have an appointment on Tuesday if we need to speak to him."
Sam ran his hand through his hair, jaw twitching as he considered their options. "We're going to have to see him again, I think. Make the appointment that afternoon and we'll cancel if Lucifer shows his head before then. I guess it's the only thing we can do."
Castiel's blue eyes narrowed in something between annoyance and resignation. "What are we supposed to do until then?"
"Cas, you can have this room. I'll get you some more clothes and toiletries and whatever."
The raven-haired Faerie slowly walked into the guest room, azure eyes cataloguing the bed, dresser, table, and shelves sitting unused in the small space. There were also marks on one wall where a sink had once been, but the Winchesters had remodeled the bunker long ago, removing the small sinks in each room and converting every third room into a pair of bathrooms, one for each bedroom in the bunker. It had taken a lot of work, but the boys enjoyed being able to use the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to get dressed, and Mary liked the idea of not having to share a huge communal shower with all of her sons.
"This room is for sleeping?"
"Uh, generally, yeah. I use it for other things, too, since I don't sleep much."
"I don't sleep at all."
Dean accepted the information and nodded, having already learned not to comment on most of what the omega told him. The last thing he wanted to do was fight. "Okay, we have tons of books you could read or movies you can watch on that TV there. If you get bored with that, we can find you a laptop and let you surf the internet or watch Netflix. Normally you could have that on the TV, but the extra Roku just died and Sam hasn't gotten around to replacing it."
"I will read some books. Adam mentioned on the ride over that he has the original volumes that outlined the summoning spells you used. I would like to see those first."
Dean nodded. "Sure, no problem. You get settled in, and I'll send Adam in with those books and some of the extra clothes he gathered for you."
Cas nodded and turned away, his entire being dismissing the tall alpha. Alphas never turned their backs on rivals unless they considered them insignificant and of no threat whatsoever, so Cas's action was almost an invitation for Dean to attack. He took a deep breath and silenced his alpha, biting his lip and walking away. Castiel was making it really hard to get along.
Dean found Adam readily enough, the young alpha carrying three collapsible hampers of clean clothes that ought to fit the Faeries. He asked his brother to grab the Faerie books on the way and deliver them to Castiel, heading for his entertainment room in the hopes of finding some alone time.
Sam had helped Dean set up the room with the huge TV, three oversized chairs, two couches, a pool table, dartboard, and multiple other bar games, instantly christening it "Dean's Cave." The alpha kept the name, sharing the room with his family on movie nights but spending a great deal of time alone there, too. Dean caught a whiff of gardenia and cherry blossom as he entered the room, locking eyes with Sam's blonde Faerie as he stopped in the doorway.
They stared at each other for a long moment, Gabriel more serious than Dean had ever seen him. "You wanted to talk to me."
Dean snorted and nodded, entering the room and falling into his favorite chair. "So you can read minds, eh Gabriel?"
"You might as well call me Gabe. You enjoy giving people nicknames, ones that you can use in the heat of battle. And, yes, I can." Gabriel settled deeper into his chair, a book on Norse Gods abandoned in his lap. "Ask me, Dean."
"First, can Cas read minds? Or Alfie?"
"No. None of my siblings received this particular gift, though Hannah is empathic and Anna can sometimes see a person's future. He doesn't know how upset you are that you influenced his form, but he would tell you that his human shape is immaterial."
Dean sighed and nodded, running his fingers through his short hair. "You know what I want to ask you. Can you tell me about it, about the last time he was summoned?"
"Yeah. He . . . Cassie left a lot of things out. He told you that he was summoned by three druids, but of course you know from your own ritual that he can only be bound by one. His master back then was a young alpha named Dalziel, the son of the most powerful druid. The three druids themselves were betas, and Castiel will not come to a beta, so they taught Dalziel the ritual and had him call my brother. He even carved a tiny wooden bee as an offering, though his ritual was slightly different from yours and Cassie could have refused if he wanted to."
"I don't understand. Why wouldn't Cas mention this Dalziel?"
"Every time he's been summoned, my baby bro has tried to learn everything about this world he could, to absorb whatever his masters were willing to teach him. He became close with each one, and he was sad every time he had to return to the Fae lands. He would guard them, protect them as best he could from our realm throughout the rest of their mortal lives, sometimes even crossing over for brief moments as they reached the end of their existence. I watched him mourn their mortal deaths over and over again, but he always recovered."
"Until Dalziel," Dean realized, jade eyes brightening. "He fell in love with the boy?"
"Yeah, he did. After he dealt with their pagan god issue, Cas stayed on Earth, spending time with his alpha and using his powers to bring fertility and wealth to the village. Dalziel's father, though, thought any union between his son and a Faerie would be an abomination, so he forced the boy to rip off Cas's collar and send him back. They were both heartbroken, but Cas tried to watch over him as much as possible after. Dalziel never mated, never left his village, and he prayed to Cas every night for the rest of his life. He tried a couple of times to summon him back, but none of the druids in his village would cast the circle for him."
Dean's heart clenched at the story, not wanting to ask but needing to know the answer. "What happened to Dalziel?"
Gabe hung his head, finger dancing across the cover of his book. "Some years later, his father decided that Castiel had stolen his son and left a changeling behind after hearing his constant prayers. Dalziel had changed that much after meeting my brother. He . . . he beat his son with an iron rod, burned him with hot coals, whipped him bloody, and sliced into him with a silver knife. He believed he could abuse the changeling enough to force Castiel to return his real child. When that didn't work, he and the other villagers tied Dalziel to a stake and burned him alive."
Dean gasped, a flash of fire shooting up his body as he saw flames fill the room. A moment later, the vision faded, but he couldn't still the pounding of his heart. "How could he do that to his own son?"
"He didn't see Dalziel as his son anymore," Gabe whispered. "To the Scots at the time, he was only a changeling, and they either had to be forced to exchange themselves with the stolen human child or killed. Cas went insane. He watched every moment of torture and ripped at the barrier between worlds, but he couldn't get through. I wasn't in the Fae Realms at the time, so I couldn't . . . I never saw . . . I never heard him call for me. He begged for my help, for anyone's help. Lucifer laughed at him for loving a human, and Michael mocked him for his weakness, his tears. He watched Dalziel die and something in him died, too. He never forgave himself."
Dean leaned forward and covered Gabe's hands with his, knowing that the omega could sense his grief. "It's not his fault, what happened to Dalziel. It's not your fault, either. Is that why . . . is that why he's so angry at me? Is that why he hates me?"
Gabe swallowed back his tears and nodded. "He sees some of Dalziel in you. He sees some spark of his lost love in you, and he refuses to let himself move on, to give himself even the chance for happiness. He won't let himself love again because he thinks the love of a Faerie is poison to a mortal."
"Gabe, I don't want him to love me. I swear, I'm not trying to seduce your brother. I just want to get along with him long enough to deal with Lucifer."
The blonde looked up at the alpha's words, his head tilted to the side as he decided the best way to answer. Dean wondered how much of his mind the Faerie was reading, but he didn't really care enough to ask. "I know you do, truly, Dean, and I think he really needs you to be his friend right now. He needs to see that he isn't . . . that's he's not a curse and that he's not broken."
"I can be his friend, Gabe. That much I can do."
"Dean! Just got a text from Mom. She and Dad went to see Tasha in Kansas City and got roped into hunting some vetalas in Canada. They'll be back home when they're done."
"It's about time she answered you." Dean finished fixing supper for the huge group, laying out burgers and fixings on the kitchen counter so everyone could build their own. Alfie had spent the day with Adam in the training field behind the bunker, helping the young alpha hone some of his fighting skills. Gabe had joined Sam in the library after leaving Dean's Cave, just enjoying the peace and quiet as they each read through books on magic spells and some of the Faerie lore books that the Winchesters hadn't gotten around to yet. Cas had the rest of them, the oldest and most useful, and he hadn't left his room all day. Dean hadn't been inclined to force the issue, mindful that being in a bunker with a bunch of alphas would be uncomfortable for any unmated omega, let alone a Faerie.
Benny and Gadreel had settled into their new room and spent most of the day celebrating their impending parenthood. Dean had never been more grateful for the soundproofing in the walls when he saw the hickeys on the young omega's neck and the parts of his chest that weren't hidden by his loose shirt. When Mary returned, Dean would ask her to take Gadreel shopping for some pregnancy clothes since she knew all of the best stores in the area.
"These burgers look great, Chief. Thanks for the vittles."
Dean grinned. "It's your turn tomorrow. You said you were a chef in the bayou, right?"
"That's right. Trust me, you're gonna' love my gumbo."
Gadreel grinned as he fixed his own plate, accepting a small salad from Sam before building his burger. The tallest Winchester always tried to get his family to eat healthily, but with Dean around it was usually a losing battle. "It's why I fell in love with him."
Alfie watched Adam build his burger before making his own, wanting to make sure that he did it correctly. He seemed so young and innocent when he was learning human customs, and it was hard to remember that he was an ancient nature spirit who could kill all of them in a second if he was so inclined. Gabe didn't wait for Sam at all, clearly eager to try any food with the same gusto he had applied to Ellen's dinner the night before. He did refuse the salad, scoffing at the "rabbit food" his alpha was trying to force on him, and Dean grinned proudly at the words.
Benny glanced down the hall toward the bedrooms before taking his place at the large table in the main room. "What about Castiel? Is he joining us?"
Gabe shrugged. "I very much doubt it. He's buried in those books." The blonde glanced up at Dean, his golden eyes glaring a command, and the alpha straightened in his seat.
"I'll, uh, go check on him after supper."
Despite Dean's best efforts, Cas didn't leave his room for four days. He knew that he could command the Faerie to emerge, but after hearing the story of Dalziel he was less inclined to make use of the collar around the omega's neck. Gabe kept shooting him looks, asking him to go speak with the raven-haired warrior, but the alpha resisted every time. On the fourth night, the High Prince's not-so-subtle hinting got to him and he stomped off to bed early, determined to get some reading in before falling asleep.
Benny, Gadreel, Adam, and Alfie took over the library with a game of monopoly, something that the Faerie had never played but was eager to learn. Gabriel, who was less interested in board games, dragged Sam off to Dean's Cave, and pointed at the huge TV. "Adam told me that there are movies about the Norse Gods. I want to see them."
Sam raised one eyebrow and glanced at the computer in the corner that held the Winchesters' extensive digital movie collection. "The Norse Gods? Was he talking about something on Netflix, like a documentary?"
"No, something with a scientist girl."
"Oh! Thor! Yeah, I have that on the server." Sam nudged Gabe toward the couch as he pulled up the movie on his computer, loading it on the TV before joining the Faerie. "What made you want to watch this one?"
"I'm always curious how human view the gods and supernatural beings that inhabit this planet. I saw a picture of the Loki in this film, and I can tell you that we already have a huge discrepancy. I can't wait to point out the others to you."
Sam chuckled and leaned back against the couch, stiffening in shock as Gabriel reached over and rested a hand on his thigh. When the omega didn't make another move, the alpha relaxed and turned back to the movie, grinning as Gabriel began to criticize Marvel's portrayal of the older brother of his former lover.
When the first movie was over, Gabe insisted that they start the second, scooting closer to Sam until their legs were touching. Sam swallowed hard, green-hazel eyes dropping to meet whiskey gold ones. "What are you doing, Gabe?"
"Seducing you? Riling you up? Anything to get a reaction, really."
"Why?" He cursed the nervous quiver in his voice, but he didn't have much experience with omegas, and he had never had one hit on him so blatantly before.
Gabe grinned, dropping his head slightly until he was looking up at Sam through his lashes. The alpha had seen omegas do that in porn before, but he'd never been the recipient of the gaze in real life. "It's never taken me so long after being summoned to get laid. Don't you realize that sex is the primary reason I come to Earth? It's so much more satisfying to bang a human than another Faerie."
Sam cleared his throat and looked away, rubbing his hands on his jeans. He could feel the heat of arousal curl in his belly, growing by the moment as Gabe's hand began to stroke his thigh. "I, uh . . . I didn't summon you here to have sex, Gabe. I wouldn't . . . you don't owe me anything, okay? And it kind of feels like taking advantage of you since you pretty much have to obey anything I say with that collar on."
Gabriel grinned and raised both hands to his neck, unfastening the collar and handing it to the alpha. "Sammykins, I don't need the collar to bind me here. I'm strong enough to stay anchored on my own for weeks at a time." Sam stared at the gold collar and the fire opal nestled in his palm, placing it on the coffee table as his eyes slowly rose to meet Gabe's. "Ask me, Sam."
The alpha reached out and ran his fingers through Gabriel's blonde hair, smiling as the omega leaned into his touch and the sweet honey-musk of his arousal filled the room. He was suddenly very, very glad that he had closed the door. "Do you want me, Gabriel?"
Sam surged forward, all of his trepidation forgotten as he pulled the smaller man into his arms and caught him in a bruising kiss. Gabe reached up to tangle his fingers in Sam's hair, groaning as the alpha deepened the kiss and pulled the omega into his lap. The spicy scent of aroused alpha flared as Gabe ground against Sam's groin, desperate to have that impressive erection inside him as soon as possible.
Sam broke away and began to undress his omega, struggling not to rip his shirt or pop all of the buttons off in his desperation. Now that he had decided to give into his desire, the alpha was almost frantic to see him naked again. "Rowena said that you don't have a preference as far as gender or subgender, but I don't think that's entirely true."
"It isn't," Gabe purred, deft fingers unbuckling Sam's belt and throwing it to the side. "I enjoy all encounters, but I truly love being mounted by a big, dominant male alpha."
Sam grinned as he loosened Gabriel's pants, slipping his hand inside and groaning at the slick already soaking the omega's boxers. "That's absolutely going to happen." Unlike Dean, Sam had never been afraid of having male omega partners, and he especially liked when the man was so much smaller than him. He may not have had many, but he had enjoyed every experience immensely. Despite the fact that Gabriel was an incredibly powerful and ancient Faerie High Prince, Sam felt that alpha need to dominate the blonde omega, something that his eager partner clearly desired.
Gabe groaned and bared his neck, a sight that elicited a deep growl from the big alpha. Sam's eyes flared red as he sunk his teeth into Gabe's chest, just under his collarbone and far from the place his alpha demanded that he bite. The Faerie whined and arched his back, wrapping one leg around Sam's waist as his jeans caught around his knees and prevented him from moving any further. He gasped as Sam flipped him over, ripping his pants off and tossing them across the room as two huge hands wrapped around his hips.
Gabriel was incredibly old and he knew how to control his scent. He knew how to create an aura of calm, how to be mysterious, how to create happiness, and how to drive an alpha wild. At the moment, the gardenia in his scent was overwhelming, threads of cherry blossom enticing his chosen alpha to forego foreplay and gentleness and fuck the daylights out of him. Sam seemed all too willing to obey, divesting himself of the last of his clothes and slipping two fingers into the omega's eager hole to test his readiness before pulling Gabe's hips up to meet his.
Sam was anything but gentle, slamming into the omega with a half-formed howl as Gabriel screamed in pleasure. It had been centuries since the Faerie had partnered with a competent alpha, and this boy was hung. He could already feel the beginning of Sam's knot, knowing that the alpha couldn't last long with the enticements he had offered, and Gabe relaxed into the moment. He let the relentless pounding force him to orgasm, probably the fastest he'd come since the first time he was summoned, and he felt's Sam's shock as the alpha's knot caught and he lost himself to ecstasy.
They collapsed onto the couch, Gabe using his powers to quickly clean the huge white spot he had created, smiling as he felt Sam's knot pulse again and again in the pseudo-orgasms that being knotted to an omega could elicit. He waited until Sam's breathing slowed and his knot started to deflate before half-turning in the alpha's arms and grinning. "That is exactly what I needed, Sam. Thank you."
Sam grinned, running his fingers through Gabe's sweat-damp hair. "Just wait for this thing to go down a bit more and we're starting round two. This time, keep your scent to yourself and let me lead, okay?"
Gabe's eyes widened slightly and he felt himself nod. Most of his encounters with humans were fast and hard, leaving little time for cuddling and generally not repeating until a few days later. Rowena had been insatiable, but even she had never wanted a second round with him so quickly. "Really?"
"Yeah, really. You want me to fuck the daylights out of you and I am willing to do just that."
"I didn't . . . I didn't say that out loud." Gabe turned to glare at his collar, the golden chain resting so innocently on the nearby table. "Sam, you have to put the collar back on. My powers are growing the longer I'm free, and my magic will soon start to leak as badly as my thoughts did just now."
Sam slipped free of the omega, ignoring the mess dripping from Gabe's stretched hole as he leaned forward to grab the collar. "What are your powers? Other than being able to cross the Veil and anchor yourself in this world, you haven't told us much."
Gabe shrugged as the familiar weight of the fire opal settled into the hollow of his throat. "Uh, you know, nice weather, maybe a bit windy, flowers bursting into bloom regardless of season, and a massive uptick in animal and human fertility."
"Yeah. Like, if Gadreel wasn't already carrying twins and I was unbound for even a day . . . let's just say it wouldn't take Benny four heats to get his mate pregnant again. He would have snapped into one that would have guaranteed a pregnancy. Why do you think Loki picked me, out of all of the Faeries, to bear his sons?"
Sam raised one eyebrow and rested one oversized hand on Gabriel's soft, flat stomach. "You aren't going to get pregnant, are you? I wouldn't . . . I would have used a condom if I thought you could."
Gabriel grinned and cleaned up the last evidence of their activities, teleporting both of them onto Sam's bed to finish the conversation. "I have to be in heat to get pregnant, just like any omega. And trust me, Sammykins, I am in complete control of my cycle. I just want to fuck."
"Well, in that case, lay down and let me take care of you."
Gabe grinned and slid to the head of the bed, resting on Sam's pillows as the alpha knelt between his raised knees. This boy had promise.
To be fair, Sam & Gabe got together a lot more quickly than I thought they would, but I need Dean & Cas to be last so the others had to hurry up!
Chapter 7: Phases of the Moon
Chapter 7: Phases of the Moon
Dean wasn't used to being the first person awake in the bunker.
He stalked to the kitchen, sniffing for his brothers, but the hallways were empty of the alpha scents he had grown up with. He found a neatly folded note on the small kitchen table from Adam—"Went out to get groceries. Gabe eats too much. Alfie's with me."—but no sign of Sam. Shrugging, Dean started the coffee and poured himself a cup, waiting until that heavy tingle of caffeine filled his veins before venturing back into the bedroom wing to hunt down the tallest of his brothers.
There wasn't much expectation of privacy in the Winchester household, not because they were exhibitionists or anything, but because they had grown up as hunters and spent most of their lives in short-term leased apartments and crappy motels. Mary had finally forced her mate to settle down about five years earlier when she learned about an extinct organization and their super-secret, lore-stocked bunker in the middle of Kansas. Old habits die hard, though, so Dean only rapped on Sam's door once before barging in.
He would never, ever do that again.
Sam was stretched out on his queen-sized bed, a mattress that looked tiny when a six-five alpha sprawled across it, and his blankets were just barely still on the bed and thankfully covering from his lower chest to his knees. However, it was clear that the alpha was naked, and the blonde omega sound asleep in his arms give a clue as to why.
Sam stirred as soon as the door opened, his hazel eyes flicking to Gabriel's head before rising to meet Dean's startled jade. There was a flash of alpha red, an instinctive reaction to another alpha ogling his partner, but he realized that his brother was in shock and quickly pushed his instincts down. "Can I help you, Dean?"
Out of respect for his brother's soft tone, Dean half-whispered his reply, making sure to keep his eyes on Sam and not let them wander anywhere else. "Dude, I didn't think Faeries slept."
The brunet grinned and reached out to run gentle fingers through Gabe's locks. The omega sighed softly and curled closer to his partner, but otherwise didn't respond. The red opal at his throat caught fire in the light, flashing for a moment before the angle changed. "I, uh, may have worn him out. He said that Faeries can sleep when necessary."
"So, he got to you? He seduced you into his bed. I can't believe Rowena was right."
Sam shrugged. "We both enjoyed ourselves, so I don't see the harm in it. His scent is . . . I don't know. Intoxicating. I've never been able to pop a knot so many times outside of a rut before. It was amazing, Dean."
The older Winchester cleared his throat and backed away. "More than I wanted to know, too. Look, it's your turn to make breakfast this morning but you seem super busy. Take supper tonight and breakfast tomorrow and we'll pretend that this never happened."
Sam smiled and closed his eyes, nuzzling Gabe as he let himself fall back asleep. "Deal."
Dean was not expecting to find a tall, angry, raven-haired omega Faerie in his kitchen when he left Sam's room. He stopped dead at the scent, his own instincts screaming at him to calm this omega down and protect him from whatever infuriated him in the first place. He knew that Cas would not respond well to that, so he ignored his instincts and cleared his throat tentatively.
"Hey, buddy, long time no see."
The Faerie had gotten tired of band t-shirts and jeans, having found an ill-fitting dark navy suit in the clothes Adam provided him, wearing it over a wrinkled white dress shirt with a sloppily knotted tie and under a heavy, shapeless tan trench coat. Why the omega had decided on those clothes, those colors, was beyond Dean, but at least the color of the backwards tie brought out the blue in Cas's eyes. He knew better than to comment on any of it, however.
When Cas looked up, the fury in his scent was matched by the firm set of his jaw and narrowness of his eyes. They were omega gold, a color usually reserved for sexual arousal or any feeling of domestic tranquility, but this Faerie clearly telegraphed his anger through his eyes the same way an alpha would. "How did you know?"
"How did we know what?"
"About the ritual? About the bee? It's not in any of the books. I read them all, over and over again, and that ritual isn't there. It's been lost. I made sure it was lost. How did you know?!"
Dean held his hands up in surrender, taking a step back rather than risk a fight with this furious six-foot man. He could see the glint of gold around Cas's neck and knew that the black opal sitting between the unbuttoned collar of his white dress shirt would prevent him from actually attacking his summoner, but Dean was still wary. "I don't know what you're talking about, Cas. We never translated the full rituals. Enochian is god-awful hard to read, and none of us could manage it. Crowley's new mate helped us out, told us the rituals, and told us about the special symbols that each of you would respond to."
Cas stood still for a long moment, breathing heavily through flared nostrils as he considered the alpha's words. "How did the mate know? How could he read Enochian?"
"You'll have to ask him in person in a few days. I have no idea. Even Crowley is rubbish at it, and he's studied this stuff his whole life. His mother's a witch, so she's pretty knowledgeable on the subject, and the bee thing was news to both of them."
"Rowena. You know, the witch who helped us start the summoning ritual?"
Cas nodded slowly, the gold slowly fading from his eyes. His scent still smelled burnt, but at least he wasn't quite so tense anymore. "Rowena knew about the bee?"
Dean thought back to their meeting with Crowley and slowly shook his head. "No, she's just good with magic. She said she could cast the initial spell, letting each of us do the Enochian parts, but she didn't translate it. Crowley's mate did. Bal-something. Balin? Balemin? I don't remember, but you can ask him in person when we get to DC."
Castiel considered the offer, the tension in his form slowly fading. "I will do that."
Dean nodded and took a cautious step forward, tilting his head as he remembered something Cas had yelled at him. "What do you mean: you made sure it was lost?"
The omega turned away, reaching up to finger the opal on his collar as he considered how to answer. "After the last time I was summoned . . . I decided that it would be better if I never returned. I used my powers, with some assistance from Gabriel, and reached across the Veil when it was thinnest, destroying every text that referenced the ritual that could compel me to return to this gods-forsaken place. Any ones I couldn't reach, I sent my soldiers across the border with orders to burn them. There are none left, I made sure of it. The ritual in your books, it is a request for a Faerie to cross, but it could not have forced me over the way your spell did."
Dean tilted his head, guessing that the soldiers that had been sent to Earth to burn the Faerie texts had most likely gone insane during the completion of their missions. Had Cas been able to heal them when Gabe pulled them back home? Were there other insane Faeries lose in the world? "Why did you do it?"
"Because I didn't want to come back!" Cas exploded at the question, stalking furiously across the room and slapping his fist on the tall metal table in the center of the kitchen. "Because I was done with you stupid, worthless humans and your stupid, worthless problems. Because you can figure out your own pathetic issues yourselves and if you destroy each other in the process, more power to you! Because there is nothing good or decent here, and I never wanted to return!"
Dean let Cas's anger fade, didn't move, speak, or even breathe loudly until the burnt smell was gone from the omega's honeysuckle and clover scent. It was becoming more and more apparent that Ellen and Jody had both been right—Cas did consider himself an alpha from a pack that was often at odds with Dean's, but he also had this omega core that craved belonging, that wanted to be protected for once in his life, something he had never known. Certainly no alpha had been able to protect him from the grief of losing Dalziel, and his solution, to destroy any chance of him returning to the place that broke him so badly, screamed of bitter, heartbroken omega rage.
"You know, this world isn't all bad, Cas. Maybe you've been locked up in the bunker for too long. Those books you have spent the last four days reading did teach us that Faeries like to be outside, among the plants and animals that they protect in their realm. Maybe I can take you somewhere that will make you feel better."
Cas's shoulders relaxed slightly as he pushed away from the table and turned to face Dean. His eyes were narrowed and he clearly didn't understand Dean's motivations, but he let himself nod in agreement. "Fine. Let's . . . go somewhere."
"Great! Look, I gotta make breakfast for my lazy-ass brothers, but as soon as we're done I'll drive you somewhere nice I know, couple hours away."
Cas nodded stiffly before stalking back to his room. "That is acceptable."
Dean held back his frustrated growl until Cas was out of the room, grabbing the cheap plastic salt shaker off of the table and hurling it across the room. Everything that damned omega did just rubbed him the wrong way, sending needles of pain up his spine and riling his alpha into action. Part of him wanted to challenge the alpha authority his Faerie carried in his bones, but the other part thrilled in the idea of an omega strong enough to be a threat. He couldn't handle this subtle fight that Cas seemed eager to continue much longer.
The alpha calmed himself before turning around, hoping that the red had faded from his eyes. "Yeah, Adam? Sorry, breakfast is a bit delayed this morning."
The younger alpha glanced at the salt shaker lying on the floor against the wall, white crystals spilling onto the pale tile, plastic bags filled with food in his hands. "Um, okay. What did the salt shaker do to earn a death sentence?"
Alfie, a step behind his summoner as always, crossed to room to retrieve the offending container, placing it carefully back on the wooden table before cleaning up the spilled crystals. Dean watched impassively for a moment, trying to decide how to explain his anger to his brother. "It's just Cas . . . I can't tell if he's trying to make me angry on purpose or honestly doesn't notice how his actions are received by others. Hell, I'm just some dirty human, so maybe he thinks he's above me and nothing I feel matters. But his alpha-like posturing, unpredictable flares of rage, and obnoxious dismissive attitude are rubbing me the wrong goddamned way. I want to make him happy—I mean, no one likes the smell of angry omega—but I also want to punch him. It's getting harder and harder to control that particular reaction."
Alfie shook his head as he dumped his handful of salt in the trash, taking some of the bags from Adam and helping him put the groceries away. "I can't claim to understand Castiel. He took me under his wing when I was first created and taught me to fight, assigning me to the assassin faction of his army, but we haven't seen each other much over the last few hundred years. He is the one who assigned me to guard Gabriel, but he long ago chased away his last personal guard and hasn't been close with anyone outside of his family since."
"Well, I guess I need to talk to Gabriel. Again."
Gabriel hadn't slept in almost ten thousand years.
He had forgotten that heavy, fuzzy feeling that weighed down his limbs as his brain struggled to force his body back into working order. He had forgotten that light could be painful when he managed to force heavy eyelids apart, and he had forgotten how comforting the protection of two arms wrapped tightly around him could be.
As he shifted closer to his oversized alpha, Gabe felt Sam's heavy erection brush against his thigh, the alpha groaning in his sleep and pulling the omega closer. The Faerie had apparently also forgotten about this whole "morning wood" thing that male humans suffered from, though his crafted vessel responded as quickly as it had last night, the sheets tangled between his legs already damp with his slick.
Sam's nose twitched as the sudden heavy scent of omega arousal filled the room, hazel eyes opening and meeting whiskey gold. He wrapped one leg around the back of Gabriel's and pulled the smaller man even closer, grinning as their erections slotted against each other between their bellies. "Morning, Gabe."
"You're going to be the death of me, Sam Winchester," the Faerie groaned, cursing his body's traitorous reaction to the alpha's scent.
Sam chuckled and nuzzled Gabe under his chin, already having learned how much the Faerie liked small, gentle displays of affection like that. "Dean came in and yelled at me for not making breakfast, but it looks like he's going to take care of it if you want to stay in bed with me a little longer." His huge hand slipped down Gabe's back and dipped under the blanket, squeezing one round ass cheek suggestively.
Gabe grinned and pushed himself into a sitting position, using one hand to force Sam onto his back while the other reached for the alpha's eager cock. "I'm going to ride you until you scream, Sammykins. Breakfast be damned."
Dean looked over his shoulder as Sam shuffled into the kitchen, plopping down at the small table they used when the whole family wasn't eating at once, his bright-eyed blonde Faerie at his heels. Gabriel sniffed the air and grinned, taking a seat beside Sam where he could watch Dean cook. "What's for breakfast, Deano?"
"Omelets. Adam picked up a ton of eggs at the farmer's market in town and I hate letting fresh eggs waste away in the fridge. What do you want in yours?" One thing Dean truly appreciated about Gabe was his enthusiasm for food, any food, but especially something one of the brothers cooked. Faeries didn't eat in their realm, so he always indulged as much as he could when he was summoned to Earth.
"Everything except spinach. I don't do greenery."
Sam snorted as he ran his fingers through his hair, hoping that it was at least somewhat under control. "Plants are good for you, Gabe. If you ate more spinach as a child, you might not be so scrawny now."
"I am perfectly normal-sized for an omega, thank you very much. And I was never a child."
Sam tilted his head as Dean placed an omelet and mug of coffee in front of him. "You weren't? Did the Faerie King just snap his fingers and make you?"
Gabriel shrugged, accepting his plate from Dean with an uncharacteristically grateful smile. "Uh, something like that, yeah. See, my siblings and I . . . we were kind of experiments to the old man. He wanted to make a system that created Faeries automatically during major natural events or power spikes, so he had to set up the framework, so to speak. He made Michael and Lucifer first, at the same time, though Mike is a little bit older. He created them from the very natural disasters they summon when they walk the Earth, though I think he underestimated the power an earthquake or volcano can hold so he ended up with twins. They're alphas, though, so they have fought for every moment of their lives, both eager to be Dad's favorite, both wanting to lead the way he does."
Dean settled down at the table with his own omelet, having already fed Alfie and Adam and sent them outside for weapons' practice. He was happy that his youngest brother had found a mentor he would listen to; generally he put all of his effort into getting out of weapons practice with his brothers unless their father ordered him to go. Benny had taken Gadreel into town to watch a movie, and they were going to eat while they were out. "So he made Raphael in the hopes of someone calmer? A beta is generally more level-headed."
"Not Raph," Gabe snorted, forking a huge bite of omelet in his mouth before continuing. "He has the power of electricity and he hates Lucifer. He sided with Michael almost immediately, creating an even greater rift in the family. When Dad set out the third time, he was determined to make someone gentle, peaceful, and nurturing. He created me out of sunlight reflected off the moon, symbols of fertility, and spring breezes. He also made me smaller than my brothers so they wouldn't find me threatening; even in my Faerie form I'm the smallest of the Princes. I did try to bring peace to my family, and sometimes it will hold for hundreds of years at a time, but they always fight again. I sympathize with Lucifer most of the time, but he can be just as big a bag of dicks as Mike when he's in a mood."
"He stopped for a long time after you, didn't he?"
"Yeah, Samoose, for thousands of years. Dad wasn't sure what had gone wrong, but we were incredibly powerful and we did help him watch over the natural world here on Earth as he had intended. Eventually, he decided to try again, but with female spirits this time. Naomi is . . . she's an alpha but she is perfectly balanced. She never fights, but there is a steel in her that is frightening to behold. She isn't the most motherly of Faeries, but she does look out for us, and she wants order and peace more than anything else. She runs the domestic affairs in the Realm, most notably nurturing newborn spirits so they can grow into Faeries."
Dean finished his omelet in record time, sipping at his coffee as he absorbed Gabriel's story. This was more than anyone had ever learned about Faeries before, and the alpha was eager to get their guest to keep talking. "Why didn't he stop with her, then, if Naomi was so perfect?"
"She's a perfect bureaucrat, but in general she's a heartless bitch. She doesn't respect me or Raph because of our subgenders, and she flat-out ignores Mike and Luci's authority whenever she can. She's the oldest of the Nobles, but not really all that powerful, and I think it bothered her once the youngest three were created. Anna is more powerful than Naomi, but she rebelled against Dad's plan and pretty much lives on her own now. She tolerates me, but she won't speak to any of her other older siblings, though she gets along pretty well with Hannah and absolutely adores Castiel."
"Hannah's an omega, right?"
"Yeah, Dean, and she's every bit what you would expect from one. She's a little shy, very sweet, and completely submissive. All she wants in life is someone to follow and care for, so she gets along with all of the rest of us perfectly fine. Mostly she lives with Anna because I was worried that the toxic environment that Mike, Luci, and Naomi stir up isn't good for her delicate nature, but Cas watches over her as best he can, and I visit all the time."
"Ok, so, at that point your dad had created all six gender/subgender combinations," Dean pointed out, glancing into his empty coffee mug and frowning. "Why did he make Cas?"
"Dad pretty much thought that he could create one child who was a perfect leader without the alpha faults that made Mike and Luci so uncontrollable."
"An omega who looks like an alpha," Dean breathed, his scent threaded with shock. Ellen had scolded him for worrying that his preference for big, strong male omegas had influenced Cas's human form, but maybe the Faerie had been willing to come to him because he liked omegas who could stand as his equal.
Gabe's head shot up as he caught Dean's thought, the Faerie nodding slowly at the human's sudden realization. "Correct, Deano. Cas is bigger than all of us back home, taller, bulkier, and much, much fiercer. He was born to be a leader, a warrior of highest caliber, but he carries within him the ability to nurture, to create life, and to protect the people he cares about with the ferocity of a mother bear. He is an omega because Dad wanted him to have compassion and not get lost to his rage, but he is every bit a match for all of my siblings. He formed the first Faerie armies, taking command as their general even after Lucifer expressed an interest in leading them. He fought back the demons and fortified the border with Purgatory, keeping all of Faerie kind safe from the things that would destroy us. Don't tell Mike or Luci, but between you and me, Cas is Dad's favorite."
Sam, who had cleared his plate sometime during Gabe's story, stared down at his fork and let the Faerie's words sink in. "Omegas react pretty violently when they're removed from their pack, Gabe. Omegas, whether dominant like Cas or submissive like your sister Hannah, need someone to protect, to watch out for. The longer this mission drags on, the worse it's going to get for you three. Aren't you worried?"
The Faerie shrugged. "I'm a High Prince, and we're pretty independent. Naturally, I do feel that urge from time to time, but it's not overwhelming for me, and I usually just let the bond with my summoner keep me grounded. Samandriel is perfectly content to fall in with his summoner's pack every time, whether he gets attached to the summoner or not. Cas, well . . . my baby bro is a different story. He's never submitted to an alpha, back home or here, but he has always let his close relationships with the Faeries under his command sate that protective urge he feels. He raised Samandriel from a wisp of energy, and he watches out for our two youngest sisters as if they were he own pups."
"But who does he have right now? He hasn't spoken to Alfie or you in four days, and he was on the edge of losing control when he came in the kitchen earlier."
Gabe's whiskey gold eyes flashed as he raised his head, his scent carrying the slightest hint of fear. Dean and Sam knew that he was projecting that emotion on purpose, and it worried them all the more. "I'm hoping you can break through to him, get him to see you as a friend. He has to bond with you, at least a little, or his omega might go crazy. An improper summoning ritual is not the only way a Faerie can go rogue."
"I'm taking him on a bit of a road trip today. I'm hoping to break through this wall he seems to have thrown up between us."
Gabe let his scent calm as he nodded slowly. "Okay, that might work. Just try not to piss him off, okay? I'd like for both of you to come back in once piece."
Samandriel had long ago lost count of the number of times he had been summoned.
It hardly mattered, of course. Every time he visited Earth, the assassin was pointed toward a target and ordered to destroy it. He wasn't meant to think, or question, or fight back, though he knew that Castiel did all of those things. This was, however, his longest trip so far at seven days, and he had become slightly unsettled in that time. Adam had sensed the Faerie's unease and asked for help practicing with the weapons he used to hunt, a task that the assassin was well suited for. They were outside in a practice area set up behind the bunker, completely safe from prying eyes and protected by the bunker's remoteness from any actual civilization.
Alfie reached out and tapped Adam's elbow again, asking him to straighten it before throwing his spear. The boy's form was getting better, but his thrust lacked finesse and was still three feet from his target. "You aren't concentrating hard enough," the Faerie scolded.
Adam sighed and rolled his shoulder, reaching up to rub at the sore muscle. "Spears aren't exactly my weapon of choice, man. We're pretty good with guns around here."
"Your guns won't do anything to Lucifer, or any Faerie for that matter," Alfie replied, grabbing another spear and hurling it across the field, watching as it sunk into the center of his target. "We use special blades that were forged in our realm and blessed by the Faerie King long, long ago, as well as spearheads and arrow tips crafted in the same manner. No modern weapon can injure a Faerie, though iron does burn us."
"Can I shoot him with iron bullets?" Adam's pale eyes brightened hopefully, but Alfie's glare squashed that thought.
"If you want to piss him off, sure."
Adam sighed and sat down in one of the chairs along the back of the training area. "Well, my arms could use a rest. I must preferred the knife fighting lessons to this nonsense."
"Adam, we could get word of Lucifer any day. We have to be ready!"
"We could also get word of a werewolf nest in the Rockies any day," the alpha countered, letting his irritation leak into his scent. "We use guns for that one. You ever shot a gun?"
Alfie narrowed his pale brown eyes and shook his head sharply, clearly finding the entire idea distasteful. "In my line of work, silence is desirable and guns are loud."
"Yeah, well, in my line of work we try to kill the bad things before they get close enough to render our advantage immaterial." Adam pushed himself to his feet and grabbed Alfie's arm, dragging him over to the shooting range his dad had set up a year or so earlier. The targets were aligned in front of a tall, deep berm of dirt, now grown over with tough, weedy grass, and a long table marked the preferred standing position when multiple people were practicing. "We have a more exciting version of this indoors, where the targets can be moved along tracks in the ceiling or set to pop out of walls at random times during the drill, but this will at least let you try out a couple of weapons."
"Adam, I don't need to learn how to shoot a gun."
The alpha dug around in the heavy, locked case under the table, pulling out suitable eye and ear protection for his Faerie. "Well, I say you do, so let's see what kind of skills you've got."
"My ears cannot be damaged by loud noises, alpha." Adam had learned that his Faerie would only call him by his subgender when he was uncomfortable and needed some reassurance from his summoner. He had also learned to be quick with his response to that particular mood or Alfie would close in on himself for hours at a time.
"You don't have to wear them if you don't want to," Adam soothed, placing a pair around his own neck and slipping the glasses over his eyes. "I do need them, however. I'm exposed to that kind of noise all the time when we're hunting, so I try to protect myself during practice as best as I can." He pulled his gun, one of his dad's old Glocks, out of the holster in the back of his pants, checking it over for a second before placing it on the table in front of Alfie. The Faerie had taken a pair of the clear, heavy-duty shooting glasses, but he left the ear protection on the table.
Alfie, who had watched humans use guns for hundreds of years, lifted the weapon and tightened his grip around it, using his free hand to steady the weapon. It was heavier than he thought, pulling on his wrist, but he felt a gentle touch on his elbow helping him get it in the right position. "Is this the correct position?"
Adam moved behind the omega, pleased to find that he could look over Alfie's shoulder easily as he adjusted the Faerie's grip. He wrapped his left arm around Alfie's waist, holding him in the correct stance as his right hand rested gently on the Faerie's shoulder. "Yeah, just like that. Now, sight down the barrel and line it up with your target. When you're ready, just squeeze the trigger, don't pull it, and don't tense up in anticipation of the recoil."
Alfie took a breath and released it, squeezing the trigger and jumping slightly at the sound as the weapon pushed back into his hand. A tiny orange circle blossomed on the target thirty yards away, to the left of the center and lower than Alfie had intended. Gritting his teeth, the Faerie fired again, feeling Adam adjust his stance slightly after each hit, tapping his elbow or wrist to keep them in the proper position. Adam's gun held seventeen bullets, and Alfie felt tremors dancing through his body by the time he had emptied the clip.
The Faerie, who had managed to get his last four bullets perfectly in the middle of the target, placed the spent gun back on the table, flexing his fingers as they twitched. He carefully placed his glasses beside it, quickly joined by Adam's safety equipment. Shooting a gun, the omega mused, clearly required a different set of muscles than using the short sword and throwing knives that he preferred, and he did have to admit that it was a fascinating weapon. As he turned to face his teacher, Alfie became aware of the strong body pressed against his back, arm wrapped tightly around his waist and one warm hand resting on his shoulder, just beside his neck.
Alfie had never felt his omega rear its head so fast and so forcefully before. Adam's heavy scent of bergamot and ginger surrounded the Faerie, calling to him in a base, primal fashion as his own hyacinth and lilac aroma sweetened with the telltale scent of arousal. The arm around his waist tightened as Adam's alpha responded, eyes flashing red as a deep, possessive growl rumbled against his back. Alfie, knowing that his own eyes were bright omega gold, bared his neck and whined, suddenly desperate to have his alpha touch him.
Adam might not have any experience with male omegas, or omegas in general, but he felt his alpha surge to the forefront of his mind, eager and willing to direct him. He pulled the omega tightly against his chest, nuzzling the base of his neck and nipping gently. He wouldn't bite; he knew better than to let that particular urge free, but Alfie whined and thrashed in his arms at the touch, his scent spiking.
Adam pulled them away from the table, heading for the covered seating area behind the range. His family often came out here to have picnics in nice weather, and the low wicker couch covered in soft pillows would help him now. He reached around to the front of Alfie's jeans and unbuttoned them, still nuzzling against his neck as he slipped one hand inside. The omega whined with need, eyes landing on the couch as he reached up to take off his shirt.
The clothes fell off quickly after that, Adam nipping and kissing every inch of skin that his omega exposed. Alfie's scent had filled the entire field, calling to any available alpha, and Adam knew that his scent had sharpened alongside it, warning away potential rivals. As soon as both of them were finally naked, Adam pushed Alfie onto his back on the couch, one hand resting on his hip as he let his crimson eyes wander over the omega's slim form. He was lean and wiry, with very little body hair to speak of, and mostly pale apart from the slender, flushed omega cock twitching against his stomach as he waited patiently for his alpha to touch him.
Adam shook his head to clear his primal urges away for a moment, running one hand up Alfie's leg. "I've never been with an omega before."
The Faerie tilted his head, gold fading from his eyes somewhat as he reached up and tangled his fingers in Adam's hair. "I've never been with any human before. No one has ever kept me around long enough to give me time to indulge like this. You're the nicest summoner I've ever had, Adam, and I want you to be my first. I'm not afraid."
Adam smiled and leaned down to capture Alfie's lips in a gentle kiss, trying to convey all of his affection in that simple gesture. He settled between the Faerie's raised knees, groaning as his erection brushed against Alfie's, his eager knot already starting to swell. He knew he wouldn't last long, not with such an enticing fuck me scent filling the clearing, but he was determined to make Alfie's first time memorable.
"Show me what you've got, alpha." For the first time, that word didn't carry Alfie's uncertainty or fear, but rather his wanton desperation and joy.
Chapter 8: Sunny Afternoon
Some Destiel bonding in this chapter and more of the Adam/Samandriel (Adamdriel?) saga. The meeting with Crowley should be next chapter, and a lot of secrets are going to come out.
Chapter 8: Sunny Afternoon
The noon sun beat down from overhead, warming the field and dancing across the flowers bending to the gentle breeze. Gadreel took a moment to admire the sight, breathing in the sweet scents, his eyes flashing gold as a purr vibrated his chest. Benny laughed, reaching out to rub the back of his omega's neck before letting his hand fall to his lower back. "Come on, love; let's go find that shooting range Dean told us about. I want to get some practice in before we help them hunt down Lucifer."
"Benny, does that mean you're going to let me come with you guys?"
The beta snorted as they crossed the archery and lance training field, noting the gear still sitting out beside the tables. Dean had mentioned that Adam and Alfie were out here, so he assumed that they had moved onto the shooting range. "Not a chance in Hell."
Later, Benny would remember that something had felt off as they approached the shooting range, but having his mate smelling so wonderfully healthy and pregnant beside him kind of drowned out anything else. Also, betas weren't really renowned for their sense of smell, so the fact that he missed the signs was completely understandable.
Clearly, it was not also excusable.
A deep, furious alpha growl stopped the pair cold, a pair of crimson eyes glowing from the shadows under the covered couch area behind the range. Adam, clearly naked, crouched over Alfie, and the only thing that was stopping him from attacking the intruder was the knot that still bound them. Benny's beta, though not as instinct-driven as an alpha, still had that instant fight-or-flight response, nearly drowning out his more rational side. He knew that running could very easily spur the alpha to chase, and separating from his partner could seriously injure the omega. Moving closer would be suicide, so he stood still, frozen in place as he weighed his options.
Adam was lost to his rage, his alpha completely in control and determined to protect the lean, gold-eyed omega huddled underneath him. He was young, having only passed a few ruts, and had not yet learned to control his primal instincts; all he saw was a threat. He focused his will on forcing his knot to shrink enough for him to pull free, knowing that he had to attack.
A soft, desperate whine stopped him, the alpha's eyes landing on the blue-eyed omega half-hidden behind the burly beta invader. The omega rested one hand on his lower belly, and Adam remembered that the man was pregnant . . . and mated to the beta. Slowly, rational thought filtered through his alpha's fury, and he took a deep, stabilizing breath. Benny and Gadreel were not going to hurt Alfie, and he certainly had no reason to pick a fight with the older man.
Benny didn't speak or move until the red had faded completely from Adam's pale eyes, slowly raising one hand in supplication. "Brother, I'm not a threat to you."
Adam slowly nodded, glancing down at Alfie and noting that the Faerie's eyes had also returned to their normal shade. "I'm sorry, Benny; I didn't recognize you. I just . . . my alpha thought you were a rival and I have never felt that before. I didn't know how to control it."
"It's normal for young alphas to react like that after they've been doin' what you two have been doin'. I was just worried that you would separate too fast and hurt Alfie there if you came after me. I'm glad you got yourself under control."
Adam hung his head in shame and closed his eyes. "I'm truly sorry, Benny. If I had known that I could react like that, I would have tried harder to control myself."
"Or maybe not have sex outdoors," Gadreel added, still half-hidden behind his mate.
Alfie chuckled, reaching up to run his fingers through Adam's hair. "That was mostly my fault, so forgive me. I, uh . . . I've never done this before."
Adam leaned down and nuzzled his omega, his chin brushing the Faerie's golden collar as he pulled back. "Don't apologize for this. I've never been as good at controlling my instincts as my brothers are. Sometimes I wish I'd been born a beta instead."
Alfie leaned up on one arm, smiling gently as he felt Adam finally slip free. He cupped the alpha's cheek and purred softly, felling the tension drain out of his summoner. "I like you just fine as you are, alpha."
Benny cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck, glancing at the gun range in an effort to give the boys some measure of privacy. "So, we actually came out here to borrow your range for a bit. We can leave if you need some more time."
Adam chuckled as Alfie used his powers to clean them both, quickly dressing and helping the Faerie to his feet. "Don't be embarrassed; we're the ones who couldn't control ourselves. Please, let me help you with your gear so you can get some practice in. Alfie could use a little more, too."
"Preferably with you far, far away," the Faerie replied, grinning at the alpha's hurt expression. "I'd like to avoid any more distractions if we can."
Adam glanced down at Alfie's ass as the Faerie stalked back over to the table, already feeling his body starting to respond to that wonderful image. Short refractory periods were a blessing and a curse, he mused to himself as he forced a sense of calm into his scent. He wondered if they would make it through the rest of the afternoon before he needed to be with his omega again.
"Where is Alfie?"
Dean shrugged, settling into the driver's seat of the Impala as Cas reluctantly took his place on the passenger side of the vehicle. At the alpha's urging, Cas fastened his seatbelt, though not without raising one eyebrow at the utter futility of the safety measure. "He went out to practice weapons with Adam after breakfast. They've done it for the last few days while we wait for our meeting with Crowley."
Cas nodded, glancing out the window as the black car cleared the garage and eased out onto the road. "And your parents are returning today?"
"Yeah, that's what Sam says. It was a short hunt and there were no major injuries."
"You hunters have become adept at controlling the monsters that inhabit your world." The omega's eyes darkened as some ancient memory assailed him, and his scent took on a bitter tint as he continued. "Once we Faeries kept them at bay, but over the past few hundred years we have not been able to do so."
"The gates of Purgatory were opened and closing them has proven to be . . . problematic. They are guarded most fiercely now, so no new monsters can cross over, but the ones that are here continue to breed almost unchecked. It is not a situation that I know how to resolve."
Dean could sense that there was more to the story, but he had learned not to press for details on the rare occasion that Cas willingly shared information with him. "Okay, well this place we're going is a couple hours away, so I'm going to play some music."
"The same music that you played on the drive down?"
"Yeah, classic rock is pretty much the only kind of music I own." Dean fiddled with the radio until it switched over to his cassette player, offering up a song by one of his favorite artists.
He could tell, both by the curious tilt of Castiel's head and the minty undertone to the omega's sweet scent, that he was intrigued by the music. He started to nod along with the song, tapping his fingers with the drum beat and almost smiling. "This music is pleasant."
"You like Led Zeppelin? Awesome. It's one of my favorite bands."
An almost comfortable silence descended on the pair, the Faerie nodding along with the songs as a second and third Zepp track played. When he finally spoke, the omega's voice was soft, but still with that deep gravel undertone that intrigued Dean so much. "Gabe told you about us."
The alpha's fingers tightened on the steering wheel as he tried to decide if the Faerie was angry or not. "Yeah, he told us. He, uh, told us why your dad, uh, made you."
Castiel nodded. "So you know that he made me to be a warrior, to be stronger than Michael and Lucifer but without the toxic fury that was tearing our family apart. His plan worked; I was able to keep my brothers from fighting as much, and I was able to lead the Faerie armies. It's not hard to command them; I'm bigger than all of them, a better warrior, and far fiercer."
Dean caught a note of regret, maybe sorrow, in the Faerie's dark voice, and he realized that the Faerie King had created a mold for his youngest child, one that the man perhaps was not willing to fill. "Do you enjoy that, being a general?"
"Most of the time, yes. When it's busy, when we're in a war, or when I'm training the new recruits, I do enjoy being a general. My subgender doesn't matter at all, not to the Faeries under my command, but sometimes . . ." Cas trailed off, his scent souring slightly as he stared at the hands clenched in his lap. "Sometimes it matters to me."
Dean glanced at the brooding dark-haired omega, raising one eyebrow at the sudden deep turn this conversation had taken. "Do you wish you were an alpha?"
"No, I don't want that. I've seen what those instincts have done to my brothers. Even you have seen it, out west. All of my other siblings were allowed to be whatever they wanted to be, even when my father disagreed with their choices. Anna and Hannah are particularly vexing to him. I was never allowed to choose my own path. There are . . . there are parts of me that I have to ignore, push aside, and fight against in order to be the soldier my father wants."
Dean didn't know very many omegas, but he could understand what Cas was trying to say. "Gabe said that you raised Samandriel and that you look out for your sisters."
"Anna doesn't really need me, but Hannah lets me parent her as much as my instincts demand. They raise most of the fledglings until they're ready to find their place in Faerie society, but they let me take one from time to time. It . . . soothes something inside me. Samandriel was one of the first fledglings I raised, and it was just after the initial Purgatory uprising. I was feeling . . . lost, adrift, and so, so angry after that war, and I had to go spend time with my sisters to calm myself, to find my center again. They had a newborn, and I sometimes think that he saved me from becoming what Lucifer is now."
"Have you talked to your dad about this?"
Castiel shook his head, turning to stare out the window. "Father has not been around for a while. It's been . . . hundreds of years since I have seen him. Maybe a thousand or so. Michael leads us as best he can, when he's not busy fighting with Lucifer, but I can't disobey my father's rules when he's not even around to argue with."
Dean reached over and squeezed Cas's shoulder, a sympathetic smile on his face. "So you wish you were allowed to be an omega more often."
"I don't even know . . . I don't even know how to do that. I know how my omega siblings act, but I don't know how to replicate that in my own behavior. I'm not even sure if I should. I've been a general for so long that I sometimes forget there is another way to live."
"Is that why you were happy that the Fae Realms has entered a time of peace?"
"Yes. And I am eager to get back to that, so the sooner we can find my brother, the happier I will be. I want to spend time in my grove, not responsible for leading anyone, maybe with some of my animals to raise or a new fledgling to take care of."
"Alright, well I'll do my best to get you back home as soon as I can."
"Thank you, Dean."
Dean pulled into the small parking lot, carefully avoiding the potholes and cracks in the ancient asphalt. The lot wasn't well-cared for, grass peeking through the cracks and overgrown around the edges, trees drooping their untrimmed branches over the Impala. Dean parked the car and stepped out, waiting for Cas to join him before locking the car and heading for a tiny path that snaked into the trees. Curious, the Faerie followed him, heavy black boots crunching through the pine straw and long trench coat billowing behind him. "Where are we?"
"It's a place that me and Sammy found a few years ago, not long after we moved in. Sometimes hunting gets us riled up, and we needed somewhere to let off steam. Haven't been here in a while, but this time of the year it should be nice." He pushed through some aggressive bushes, the trees finally thinning as they stepped out into a small field bordered by ancient trees, a small waterfall, and a tranquil pond.
Cas froze at the edge of the field, his blue eyes wide and almost glowing as he took in the scene before him. The field was full of wildflowers in a variety of colors and shapes, and there were more on vines hanging from the bordering trees. Dozens of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flitted among the plants, seemingly unconcerned with their visitors. Birds called from the trees and splashed at the edge of the pond, some of them hunting the fish and insects that lived there while others looked for seeds and bugs in the field. The Faerie took a deep breath as a smile split his face, one happier than Dean had ever seen, his scent brightening as much as his face.
"This place is wonderful, Dean."
"I thought you might like it. I'm guessing that your grove back home is different, but hopefully this will make your stay on Earth easier." Dean slipped his hands into his pockets and smiled, nodding toward the waterfall. "Now that you've seen the place, you should be able to return whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed."
Cas nodded, slipping his trench coat off and hanging it neatly over a nearby tree branch, quickly followed by his suit jacket and tie. "I think I will go for a swim. Will you join me?"
Dean considered the invitation for a moment, shrugging out of his leather jacket as Cas removed his white dress shirt. "Sure, why not? It's warm out today and I haven't been for a swim in a while. I'm guessing you're not shy about skinny dipping?"
Cas carefully folded his pants in half, draping them over the tree branch as he tucked his socks into the boots sitting on the ground below. Unlike the dark shades of the rest of his wardrobe, the Faerie had chosen bright orange for his boxers, the color so loud and overwhelming that Dean knew it had to have come from Adam's closet. They were a little too tight, Cas struggling to remove them before heading for the small pond.
Dean finished stripping out of his clothes and followed the eager omega to the water, diving in quickly and swimming to the waterfall. The cascading water was somewhat warmer than he thought it would be, Cas already standing under the spray and delighting in the feeling of water falling on his skin. "Hmm, I thought it would be chillier than this."
"The water was colder, but I warmed it for you. Humans do not enjoy being wet and cold at the same time, and it is easy enough to alter."
Dean grinned and splashed under the water again. "That's pretty great, Cas. Race you to the other side!" Without any more warning than that, the alpha slipped back into the water and started swimming across. Cas grunted and followed the human, unable to remember a time he had just relaxed and had fun with his summoner.
An hour and a half-dozen races later, Dean stretched out on a huge picnic blanket with Cas, suddenly grateful that the Faerie could summon things like blankets and towels after a swim. It was warm enough in the sun that the pair hadn't bothered to dress yet, content to lie back and watch the wildlife flit around them. Cas purred softly as the honeybees actually landed on his arms and chest, buzzing against his skin and dancing as they told each other that he was not a sweet flower, no matter how he smelled. Dean just watched him, amazed at this Faerie covered in tiny yellow bees, whispering to them as if they could understand him.
"If more of Earth was like this," Cas whispered, petting one of the tiny insects with one finger, "I wouldn't be so eager to leave."
Dean just watched him for a long time, trying to understand all of the layers of this warrior Faerie he had summoned. "You know, Cas, I noticed that the clothes you have don't fit very well. The boxers are too small and the suit is too big."
Cas nodded. "I had noticed that problem myself. Adam told me that the suit was Sam's, but I couldn't find anything else that I enjoyed wearing."
"Well, if you know what you like, I can take you shopping," Dean offered. "We can find you some boxers that fit, a nice suit, maybe some shoes that aren't two sizes too big?"
"That would be nice, Dean. I looked through your clothes, but your boxers were too dark for my taste and your panties, though nicely colored, didn't fit very well. I would like more boxers in bright, interesting colors."
Dean started at the word panties, having forgotten that he bought some new, lacy ones last month and probably hadn't hidden them away yet. Male alphas generally didn't wear panties, though there were entire lines dedicated to male omegas, and they generally fit him even if they were a bit tight in the crotch. "Yeah, um, I guess the panties wouldn't fit you very well," he managed, knowing that he was blushing hard enough to bring out his freckles but unable to control the reaction. "You're a bit . . . bigger than the target demographic."
Cas tilted his head to the side, completely oblivious to the tiny wren that landed in his hair and began to pluck at the loose strands. "You are saying that my penis is large for an omega?"
"Well fuck, Cas, yeah, but I didn't say it like that! You have to be subtle, man; you can't just blurt out shit like that."
Blue eyes narrowed curiously as the Faerie glanced down at Dean's groin, the hunter suddenly very aware that they were both still naked. And damn his traitorous libido, but the alpha found himself responding to that scathing appraisal. "You are also larger than the male omegas the satin panties were made for. Certainly you cannot find them comfortable, especially when erect. Why do you own so many pairs, then?"
Dean cleared his throat and ran one hand through his hair, struggling to quiet his erection and calm his swelling knot. "I don't wear them because they're comfortable; I wear them because I like how the satin feels on my skin. It's a . . . it's called a fetish."
"I know this word, this human custom of finding mundane things arousing."
Dean sighed, not sure how to react to a Faerie who took things so literally and couldn't bother to be embarrassed about anything. "Well, if we're gonna talk about this, you have to spill, too."
"What are your fetishes, Cas? What 'mundane things' do you find arousing?"
Cas leaned up on one elbow and stared at Dean, his azure eyes almost glowing in the afternoon sunlight as his flock of bees floated away. "I have never had intercourse with a human, and only rarely with other Faeries. The ones I've been with weren't the most . . . inventive of lovers."
Cas shrugged and fell back onto the blanket, staring blankly at the wispy clouds crossing the sky overhead. "No alphas. I can't . . . if I had ever submitted to an alpha Faerie, I would have lost credibility with my armies. I have to be strong, be their leader, and I can't do that while an alpha is busy mounting me. I have been with submissive male and female betas, as well as omegas of both genders, though whatever satisfaction I received was rarely worth the effort."
"Is that why you can only be summoned by alphas? Are you looking for something more from your partners?"
Cas growled softly under his breath, flexing his fingers against the blanket as he considered his answer. "Maybe. I have always felt . . . I have always wanted to understand what it is omegas see in alphas. Hannah is desperate to find one of her own, and Gabriel prefers them over all other subgenders. I just don't . . . see what they see."
Dean was silent for a long time, watching the birds flit through the trees at the edge of the grove as a deer and her fawns cautiously emerged from the undergrowth. "I didn't summon you here for any of that, Cas," he whispered finally, something tightening his throat inexplicably. "If you want that with someone, of course I'm not going to stop you, but I'm not your man."
"I don't want that, Dean." His voice was softer, pained, as he continued, "not anymore."
Dean's mind flew to Gabe's story about Dalziel and what Cas had gone through watching the man he loved die. He felt his heart clench in sympathy, but he didn't want to cause this Faerie any more pain by bringing that up. "I'm sorry, Cas," he managed.
"You have nothing to apologize for," the omega replied. "You didn't do anything. Actually, it has been nice that you don't . . . expect anything from me. You want me to be a warrior and I am good at that. Anything else . . . anything else would be too much right now."
"Yeah, I get that. Are you . . . did all of this make you feel better?"
Cas nodded and sat up, smiling as the deer finally reached the lounging pair, sniffing at the omega as her two fawns started nibbling on the blanket. "Yes, much better. Thank you, Dean." The Faerie turned to the deer and touched her nose, caressing her cheek as she moved closer. The two fauns, clearly trusting this creature petting their mother, curled up between the alpha and omega, one of them resting his nose on Dean's leg and the other stretching out so she could nuzzle Cas. "I like it here."
"Come back whenever you want," the alpha replied, smiling as he watched the faun settle closer to his side. The black opal on the Faerie's collar glowed, enforcing his master's edict, and Cas smiled gratefully.
"Thank you, Dean."
Sam looked up in shock as Adam entered the library, his scent reeking of sex and satisfied alpha. Benny and Gadreel had returned from the range almost two hours earlier, having warned Sam and Gabriel to stay indoors for their own safety. Now that the alpha could see and smell his younger brother, he was grateful for the warning.
Alfie, following close on Adam's heels, grinned at Gabriel, his eyes flashing gold for a moment as the High Prince chuckled. "Well, well; look at who finally had his cherry popped."
Both of them blushed, Sam rolling his eyes as he turned back to his book. "No need to be vulgar, Gabe. Let the boys have their fun."
The blonde shrugged and turned back to his book, carefully reaching out his leg under the table and resting his foot on Sam's thigh. The alpha blushed but didn't respond, ignoring his instincts that were urging him to take the short omega right there on the table, no matter who was watching. Gabriel knew what he was doing, grinning darkly as he turned back to the young assassin Faerie. "Just clean up before Cassie gets home. You know how protective he can be, and it'd be better if he finds out from you, not from your scent."
Alfie nodded, already heading for Adam's room, the alpha pausing before he followed. "So, uh, Sam, I may have almost attacked Benny when he . . . found us outside."
Unlike Dean, Sam wouldn't press for any details, and he understood what his brother was saying without needing much more. "You couldn't control your alpha."
"Yeah, but only for a minute. I hadn't expected anyone to find us."
"No one is going to break into your room, Adam. Go do whatever you want to do, and I'll text you when Dean tells me he's on the way back. Just make sure you do take a shower at some point; it really does smell super musky in here."
"Thanks, Sam." Adam dashed off down the hall after his Faerie, already eager to be buried in the lean man's heat once more.
Gabriel chuckled and leaned back in his chair, golden eyes sparkling as he watched Adam vanish. "I thought you said he'd never been with an omega before."
"He hasn't, though he did express some curiosity about them when we were on the way to Scotland to summon you."
"Samandriel has always been fascinated by male alphas, though none of his previous masters have kept him around long enough to let him try anything. Unlike Nobles and High Princes, common Faeries rarely stay on Earth for more than a few hours, leaving as soon as their task is complete. I've been here for months at a time, years during that situation with Loki, and Cas has had some long visits, as well. I'm glad he had a chance to experience this with your brother before we find Lucifer and return to our realm."
Gabe caught the souring of Sam's scent a moment before the alpha's thoughts slammed into him. "Sam," he whispered, leaning forward across the table and grabbing the taller man's hand.
Sam smiled softly and squeezed Gabriel's hand in a gesture that he hoped conveyed comfort. "I know, okay? I know . . . I get that you're a supernatural being and that you don't belong here. You will have to go home when all of this is over."
The omega dropped his head, golden eyes dark as he rubbed his thumb over the back of Sam's hand. "For the first time in my many eons of existence . . . I wish I didn't have to go."
Sam reached up with his free hand and cupped Gabe's cheek, his thoughts warm as they flowed over the Faerie. "Well, we still haven't had any leads on Lucifer, so you're stuck with us a bit longer, anyway. Do you want to fill the time while we're waiting for our brothers to return?"
The omega's slow grin was the only answer he needed as the pair vanished in a rustle of wings.
Chapter 9: Specters of the Past
A lot of revelations this chapter, explanations about certain aspects of Faerie biology and Dean's soul, and a chance for Dean to say "wait, hold up" more than once.
Chapter 9: Specters of the Past
"Squirrel, I heard you've been looking for me."
Dean ground his teeth as he held the phone to his ear, driving with his free hand as Cas watched the scenery fly by. He almost regretted answering the phone, but he knew that they needed Crowley's help with Gabriel's locator spell. "One of the Faeries we summoned needs help with a spell to locate Lucifer. I thought your new mate might be able to help with that."
A low chuckled answered him, the British voice oozing alpha satisfaction. "I wore Zar out pretty well over the past few days. I'm not sure he's up for a visit."
"Nothing strenuous, Crowley, but he is the only Faerie expert we know. Gabe thinks he may have some idea about how to mix magic from both realms so we can zero in on Lucifer without him knowing. It'll be a short meeting."
Crowley hummed something to himself, clearly mulling the idea over in his head. "I don't want him stressed, Dean." The younger alpha started at the use of his first name; Crowley tended to stick to nicknames with all of the Winchesters. "This is the first heat he's had in a while and it took a lot out of him."
"Is he pregnant?" That would explain Crowley's caution, and Dean could completely understand if the other alpha felt the urge to protect his growing family.
"It's too soon to tell, but Mother is determined that he is. I went into rut, so it does remain a distinct possibility. I can't have him stressed if there is even the slightest chance."
"We'll keep the visiting party small, then," Dean promised. "Just me, Sam, Cas, and Gabe."
"That would be the warrior and the High Prince? Do they have to come?"
"Look, I know that your mate isn't fond of spending time with Faeries, but Gabe is the one who needs to go over the spell and Cas isn't going to leave his brother unguarded. Not with Lucifer on the loose. We spoke to Rowena and made an appointment with you for Tuesday afternoon."
"Yes, I saw that marked on my calendar. If you can come sooner, I will free up some time."
That wasn't like Crowley at all. The powerful alpha liked schedules and had a dozen meetings before lunch nearly every day. It took a lot of bureaucracy to control an empire as large as his, and Crowley thrived on it. "That's a twenty-hour drive. Even if we leave tonight, we can't be there much earlier than late afternoon tomorrow."
"You summoned a trio of Faeries, you moron. They can teleport."
Dean's eyes widened as he glanced at Cas, the omega's azure eyes focused intently on him. "Uh, Cas, could you and Gabe teleport us to D.C. to meet with Crowley tonight?"
"If we have a clear image, we can take you anywhere." Dean had a sudden flashback to the same omega, fury in his eyes as he admitted that he wasn't willing to get close enough to his summoner to get an image clear enough for a teleport. It seemed like their time in the park had helped their relationship immensely.
"Cas says we can. When do you want us to show up?"
"Give us three hours to get . . . cleaned up and back to the office."
"Yeah, alright." Dean clicked his phone off and tossed it in the seat between himself and Cas. "He said we can go in a few hours. That give us enough time to get back to the bunker, take a shower, maybe find one of my suits that'll fit you a little better."
"That sounds fine, Dean."
Sam looked up as Dean and Cas strode through the bunker door, the alpha nodding at his brother over the railing before beginning his descent. "Hey, Sammy, how was your afternoon?"
"Pretty good. We did a bit more research on the spell Gabe needs to use."
Dean nodded before glancing around, eyes narrowing as he noted the distinct lack of Faeries. His eyes caught the sound of murmuring and laughter from the kitchen, so he guessed that Benny and Gadreel had already started on supper. "Uh, I thought you were making supper."
"I was, but Benny wasn't in the mood for lasagna so he took over. I think we're having Thai."
"Yeah, fine, whatever. Where's Gabe?"
Sam blushed as Cas tilted his head in curiosity. "He's . . . recovering."
"From what?" Cas's voice was soft, but there was a powerful growl underneath the words.
"Sex," Dean replied flatly. "Sam's been pounding your brother into the mattress since last night. I guess Faeries sleep when they're exhausted enough."
Clearly Dean and Cas had some to some sort of understanding during their trip, the Faerie visibly deflating as he accepted the explanation. "It was bound to happen eventually. My brother has a penchant for big, strong alphas. If he's sleeping, though, you must have really worn him out."
"We Winchesters are consummate lovers," Dean quipped, grinning as the omega turned startled blue eyes toward him. He realized what he had said, what he had implied, but he held his stance despite the blush spreading across his freckled cheeks. "I stand by what I said."
Sam ducked his head and grinned. "Gabe will be up shortly. Adam and Alfie went to take a shower but they'll be back in time for supper."
"Alright, we have to go in less than three hours, so we need to eat quickly."
Sam looked up from his book, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. "Where are we going?"
"We're taking Gabe and Cas to see Crowley. His mate's heat is over and they're willing to help. Teleporting is going to be a lot faster than driving."
Castiel looked up as Adam and Alfie entered the main room of the bunker, his scent spiking as he realized what they had been up to. They had showered, they no longer carried any scent of their recent copulation, but the Noble Faerie just knew. "Samandriel."
"I'm not a fledgling anymore, Castiel," the younger omega argued, his eyes ringed with gold. "No human has ever cared for me, desired me, or intrigued me before. Let me have this chance, however brief, to explore my omega side."
Dean knew that those were the words that would convince Cas to relent, so he wasn't surprised when the Noble Faerie sighed and nodded. "Dean, I believe you mentioned a shower and a change of clothes? We should attend to those while my brother and adopted fledgling are getting their 'brains fucked out'." With that, he strode deeper into the bunker, Dean trotting after him to make sure the Faerie would have new clothes to wear when he was done showering. Also, he wanted a chance to figure out where Cas learned that phrase and to try to break him of doing those damn air quotes.
"We'll be out for supper, Sammy!"
Benny leaned back against the back of the small library couch, running one hand down his mate's back. "So they can just teleport you to D.C. and back? That's a lot faster than driving."
"Yeah, about two days faster," Dean agreed, slipping into his suit coat and straightening his tie. "Mom and Dad said they'd be back within the hour, but we can't be late for our meeting with Crowley so we'll see them when we return."
"Alright," Adam agreed, ruffling Alfie's hair as he walked past the omega's chair.
Sam pulled Gabe into the room, chuckling as the blonde omega grumbled about the suit he was forced to wear, tugging at his tie and whining softly in his alpha's ear. Cas, who had already decided he was perfectly comfortable wearing a suit all the time, was grateful that Dean's fit him quite a bit better than the one he had borrowed a few days earlier. He still insisted on wearing his trench coat, but the look kinda worked on him.
The two alphas and their Faeries moved to stand in a tight circle, the omegas grabbing both of them. Dean had already shown them pictures of Crowley's headquarters, but the warrior still slipped into his mind for a moment and grabbed a more recent, vibrant image before tapping his brother's power and initiating the teleport.
"Crowley, this isn't a good idea." Balthazar stalked across the office, his expensive dress shoes sliding softly against the expensive carpet as he pulled at the steel gray tie his mate had forced him to wear. It looked great against his pale blue shirt and dark charcoal suit, but he hated being forced to dress up. "I don't do Faeries, love."
The alpha took a deep breath, trying to project a sense of calm into his spicy scent. The lingering traces of his mate's heat still threaded through the room, but it wasn't strong enough to drive him crazy. After the last week they spent together, Crowley's desire for the young omega had finally been sated. Well, at least for long enough to hold this meeting. "Zar, this won't take long. Dean promised. I know that you aren't feeling well, but they really need your help."
Balthazar rubbed his belly, silently hoping that his week alone with his new mate had resulted in the pregnancy he had hoped for all of his life. A tiny pup to call his own, a baby that his former life would not have allowed. "I'm afraid of Lucifer," the omega admitted, his voice barely a whisper. "If I get involved, if he knows I'm involved . . . I can't lose this, Crowley. I've fought for this my whole life, dreamed of nothing other than having a mate who loved me and a family . . . if I help them, we could lose all of that. We could lose our future."
Crowley sighed and caught Balthazar in his arms, tucking the omega against his chest. "I won't let that happen, love. I'll kill anyone who lays a hand on you. We're going to have that family you've been dreaming of, I promise you."
The intercom on Crowley's desk buzzed, Meg's voice crackling through the tiny speaker. "Mr. Crowley, the Winchesters are here. With guests, one of whom is absolutely gorgeous."
Crowley sighed and walked over to the machine, pushing a button to reply. "I don't need your opinion, darling, just the announcement. Send them in. And page my mother."
Balthazar whined softly as Crowley walked away, sighing as he forced himself to stand tall and face the door. There was a reason he had sworn off Faeries, one that only Crowley—and, oddly enough, his mother—knew, and he hoped that he was doing the right thing by helping.
The doors to Crowley's office swung open and Dean Winchester strode in, dressed again in one of his FBI suits, a dark green tie bringing out the color in his eyes. Sam was a step behind him, the federal look ruined by his shoulder-length hair, and a shorter blonde followed closely behind. The blonde, his whiskey-gold eyes quickly focusing on Crowley and his mate, tilted his head curiously, the motion revealing a flash of gold under his collar. Even without seeing the collar, Balthazar would have recognized the High Prince; his small stature couldn't hide the power twitching under his skin or the nobility in his gait. He knew that Gabriel's gifts included the ability to read minds, but some people were immune to his probing, and Balthazar knew that he was one of them. He hoped that he could keep his secret from the ancient Faerie long enough to conclude this meeting.
His hopes were dashed when the fourth member of the group entered the office, his dark navy suit mostly covered by a light tan trench coat, a style reminiscent of the heavy cloaks Castiel liked to wear when commanding his armies. Faeries didn't usually bother with much clothing in their realm, but when they did it was more for effect than protection from the elements. The raven-haired Noble was staring out the huge windows overlooking downtown, but Balthazar knew the instant that Castiel caught his scent.
The general's head whipped around, eyes wide as a soft gasp escaped his lips. "Balthazar?!"
The omega smiled softly and nodded, his blue eyes inexplicably filled with tears. "Hi, Cassie."
A moment later, Castiel crashed into him, pulling the younger man into a bruising hug while the humans watched on, unsure what was happening or what they should do about it. "We thought you were dead. I felt your grace burn out. Balthazar, what happened?!"
"He became a human." Rowena, as always, had perfect timing, striding into the room as if she owned it, having chosen a dark navy gown with rhinestones sewn along its length to catch the light as she moved. "When he mated my son, he lost his Faerie grace."
"Wait, hold up." Dean held up his hands as he tried to process the scene in front of him. "Are you saying Balthazar used to be a Faerie?"
"He was one of my greatest warriors, our weapons expert and the Faerie who figured out how to seal the doors to Hell. He was also my friend."
Balthazar leaned back and grinned, patting Castiel's arm. "I'm still your friend, Cassie, but I didn't have any way to tell you what had happened. Crowley summoned me a month or so ago to help identify a number of powerful artifacts that had come into his possession, and we fell in love. I asked him to mate me so that I could stay here forever."
"And when you mated, your grace burned out?" The general stepped back from his friend, his warm blue eyes growing hard and cold. "Did you know that we could mate humans and stay?"
"Not until recently," Balthazar replied, holding his hands up in a defensive gesture. "If I had known before, I would have told you then. I swear."
Dean suddenly realized what they were talking about. Balthazar, if he truly was one of Cas's best friends, must have been by his side as he watched Dalziel's village burn him alive. The Noble Faerie had to be wondering how different that alpha's life would have been if they had mated during the brief time he was on Earth, if his presence would have saved Dalziel. Dean wanted to reach for the omega, calm him somehow, but the Faerie was practically vibrating with power, his eyes glowing that unearthly blue as he clenched his hands into fists. "You've been here . . . with him all this time? I mourned you for years."
"In the Fae Realm, years may have passed, but it was only a week here between my mating and your summoning." Balthazar stepped closer to his old friend, reaching out to touch him, to offer some comfort, but the older omega's growl stopped him in his tracks. Crowley stepped closer to his mate, not sure how to protect him from a Faerie but determined to try.
"Cas," Dean murmured, catching the Faerie's attention. He shivered when that cold glare turned to him, but he knew that the man wouldn't hurt him. Probably. "Look, buddy—"
"I am not your buddy," Cas growled back, stepping away as the shadow of his wings appeared behind him, lit by that blue fire glowing from his skin. "I don't want to have anything to do with any of you!" With that he vanished, the flutter of his wings sounding in the sudden charged silence. Dean sighed and ran his hand over his face, but he knew that the best plan was to let Cas calm down before trying to approach him.
"Where did he go?"
"Probably to the grove I showed him today. He needs time to calm down from all of this. He doesn't handle strong emotions well, especially when they revolve around Dalziel."
Balthazar sucked in a breath, hand flying to his heart. "He told you about that?"
"Gabe told me. He wanted me to understand why Cas was so angry at me."
Balthazar tilted his head and moved closer to the hunter, wary blue eyes examining him carefully. "Maybe . . . damn, I wish I still had my powers."
Sam, who had been quietly watching from the sidelines, cleared his throat. "What was your power, Balthazar? Did you have a special one like Gabe does?"
"I can see souls. Well, I could. And I could recognize their fingerprints in the sands of time."
Gabriel cleared his throat and stepped forward, nodding toward the younger Faerie in greeting. "He means that he can see a soul's past incarnations. I know we've never officially met, Balthazar, but I have heard of you from my brother."
"I never told Cassie, but . . . I looked at Dalziel's soul."
Gabe strode forward and reached a hand out toward the ex-Faerie, taking his hand as his golden eyes began to glow. There was a determination in the High Prince's stance and urgency in his grip that confused the gathered humans. "I should be able to boost whatever trace of Faerie is left inside you. Look at Dean for me, Balthazar."
Crowley whined and moved forward at the sudden shock that filled his mate, the fear souring that lovely rosemary and lemon scent. "What? What is it?"
Gabriel released Balthazar's hand and returned to Sam's side, sighing as he tucked himself as close to the alpha as he could. "Dean carries Dalziel's soul."
"It's not just Dalziel's soul," Balthazar corrected, waving his mate away. "I guess I should have expected this, but I never really connected the dots. Do you understand the concept of karma?"
"Yeah, bad stuff happens to you when you do bad stuff to other people."
Balthazar shook his head at Dean's words, turning away and heading for Crowley's desk. He settled into the big executive chair, waiting for his mate to join him before speaking. Rowena pulled up the small chair she had used during their last visit as Dean, Sam, and Gabe settled into the visitor chairs in front of Crowley's desk. "That's a very simplistic way of looking at it, a very Western way, I suppose. A better explanation would be that karma is the action in each life that creates fruit that blooms either in your current or next life, that create consequences for you depending on whether that action was in accordance or in harmony with your dharma, the duties and obligations that the universe has set out for you. Your soul will continue the cycle of rebirth until the karma has been balanced and you fulfill any desires that you have carried over from your previous lives."
"What does that have to do with Cas?"
"The first alpha who summoned him fell in love, madly in love, with my friend. He was not able to convince Cas to stay, and my friend did not understand love in the human sense at that time. That desire for a bond with Cas was carried over to his next life, to the next man who learned the spell to summon a certain Faerie General."
"Soulmates," Sam murmured, hazel eyes flicking to his brother for a moment before returning to Balthazar. "Dean and Cas are soulmates?"
Balthazar nodded. "That is the human concept closest to the truth. It's rare for a Faerie to have a soulmate, or so our king has told us, but it is possible for our grace to reach for a human soul, to touch it and become familiar with it through its incarnations until we love them back. Cassie fell in love with Dalziel, and his death nearly destroyed my friend. If he knew that you carried that boy's soul, he would reject you, go mad. He believes that a Faerie's love is deadly for a mortal, and he still cannot remember that day without agony. You can't tell him."
"I don't love him," Dean whispered, almost as if he were ashamed of that fact. "I didn't bring him here to mate him or anything; all I want to do is to stop Lucifer."
"Who said you have to love him? It's been a week, Dean Winchester, and feelings like that take time to develop. You don't have to do anything; your soul loves him, and that desire will be carried into your next life if you do not act on it here. Nothing is lost; Cas will never die. But if you do have the slightest affection for him, try to make this trip to Earth better for him than the last one was. He deserves happiness."
Dean sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, thinking about the anger-prone, blue-eyed Faerie. He wanted to be friends with the man, he certainly wanted Cas to find some happiness in this world, but he wouldn't call it love. "I'll try," he promised at last.
Gabe stared at his notes as he ran through the spell again, showing it to Rowena as Balthazar stood from the desk and joined Dean by the window. They had been going over the locator spell for almost three hours, and the Winchester alphas had gotten bored and wandered away. Dean had eaten some of the snacks that Meg brought an hour ago, but even food couldn't keep his attention forever.
"Hey, Dean, I'm sorry if that stuff about Cassie was a shock. I'd never realized before that it was the same soul over and over again . . . otherwise I wouldn't have recommended that you summon him in the first place."
Dean worried at his bottom lip with his teeth, jade eyes narrowed. "Is there another Noble Faerie who could fight Lucifer and win?"
"No," the lean omega whispered.
"Then it was going to have to be Cas, wasn't it? And if he only comes to . . . this soul, it's a good thing that I'm carrying it, right?"
"It's still a bad rap," Balthazar replied, reaching out to squeeze Dean's arm in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. He had spent more time among humans than most of his kind, and he not only picked up their habits but he truly enjoyed acting like them. Taking Crowley's mating bite and the promise of a mortal life had been a no-brainer.
"As long as he doesn't fall in love with me, he can return home without consequences."
Sam, overhearing just the end of Dean's conversation, looked up from the food table and caught Gabe's gaze across the room. The omega murmured something to his witch companion and pushed himself to his feet, heading over to the table and taking a small plate as he eyed the snacks. "What is it, Sammykins?"
"Balthazar said that Cas believes the love of a Faerie is deadly for a human. Do you think that's true, Gabe?"
The blonde omega placed his plate back on the table and reached up to run his fingers through Sam's long brown hair, smiling softly as his fingers brushed the alpha's cheek. "I hope not."
Sam smiled and leaned forward, resting his chin on top of Gabe's head. "Well, your love didn't destroy Loki, so maybe there's hope."
Gabe snorted and moved away from Sam, filling his plate with snacks so he could return to the desk and his spell. "I never loved Loki, Samshine."
"You . . . what? Gabe, you said you loved him."
The Faerie reached up to the opal hanging from his neck and rubbed his fingers over it. "I mean, I thought I did, at the time. Hell, I thought I did when you summoned me. But now . . . now I'm not so sure."
Sam felt his heart skip a beat at the words, and the implication behind those words, but he didn't know how to voice his thoughts. Silently, he wrapped his long arm around Gabe's waist and pulled him closer, nuzzling behind the omega's ear.
Rowena leaned closer to her son and nudged him, nodding toward the tall alpha and his smaller partner. "Aren't they just adorable, Fergus?"
"So adorable," Crowley echoed, flipping through the smaller of his mother's four spell books.
"You know, I had a great time with him, but I was never really his type. I'm glad he's found himself a big, strong alpha to scratch his itch. Aren't you glad?"
"So glad," her son murmured, glancing at his mate standing near the window talking to Dean. He had thought that his desire for his slender omega had been sated earlier that day when the heat finally broke, but he could already feel his arousal returning full-force.
"I bet tall, dark, and handsome is pounding the hell out of that omega ass," Rowena continued, either not noticing that her son wasn't paying attention or not caring. "They are going to make the cutest little pups, don't you think?"
Crowley's head snapped up at that one, the word bringing to mind the babies he was hoping to make with his new mate. His arousal spiked at that domestic thought, the scent finally strong enough to reach beyond his desk.
From across the room, Gabe turned and growled at Crowley, his nostrils flaring as he caught the spicy musk of aroused alpha in the air. "Geez, Crowley, the boy's already pregnant. Give him a day or two to rest, will you?"
Balthazar froze at the Faerie's words, one hand slowly rising to rest on his lower belly. "I'm pregnant? Really, Gabriel?"
The High Prince nodded as Crowley dashed across the room, the alpha pulling his mate into his arms and sniffing his neck, desperate for proof. It was too soon for the omega's aroma to have changed, but his instincts made him check, just in case.
"Yeah, I sensed it when I touched you earlier. Cas certainly knows, as well. It's probably part of the reason he ran."
Balthazar bit his lip and turned away, tucking his head against his mate's neck. "H-how many, Gabriel? How many pups?" Male omegas were incredibly rare; there were easily ten times as many females, and their combined subgender still only made up a fifth of the human population. Larger than the females and with a biological need to prove their worth as breeders, males tended to ovulate multiple mature eggs during each heat, and multiple pregnancies were much more common in the males than in the females.
"Three, Balthazar, and all of them are healthy. Two males and a female."
"Three," Crowley crowed, pulling his mate into a bruising kiss as he rested one hand on the omega's belly. "We made three."
Rowena squealed and ran across the room as fast as a tight dress and high heels would let her. "Oh, grandpups! Fergus, you've made me the happiest mother in the world." She embraced her sons in a crushing hug, smiling at the joy she could see in their eyes. "I wonder if you have enough of your grace left for them to be half-Faeries, Balthazar."
"They seemed human to me," Gabriel answered. "Generally, they're only half if one of the parents is still a full Faerie when they're conceived. Like my sons with Loki, or Gadreel."
"Wait, wait, hold up." Dean raised one hand as he stalked toward Gabriel, already deciding that he was reaching the end of his tolerance for surprises for the day. "Gadreel is a Faerie?"
"No, one of his parents was. Probably the sire, not the dam. That's how it usually works. We Faeries don't normally stay around long enough to give birth."
Sam stepped forward and reached out a hand to Crowley in the silence that followed Gabe's words, knowing better than to touch another alpha's pregnant mate without permission. He would have to worry about how to process Gadreel's parentage later; for now, they had a new family to celebrate. "Congratulations, man. I don't envy you two; three newborn pups are going to be tough to handle."
"I'm looking forward to it."