He wondered vaguely if the atmosphere of this place was purposefully crafted or entirely coincidental.
Wait staff moved near-silently between the guests, the black of their uniforms camouflaging against the heavy velvet curtains lining two of the four walls, making them almost imperceptible save for the occasional flash of their silver trays in the low light. Clusters of lit candles cast long shadows across the tables they adorned, their ornate holders dripping with strings of glittering gems.
Despite being opulently dressed, most guests carried with them a layer of something dark and miserable, grimy ghosts wrapped around their shoulders and cascading over suits and gowns; an unintended accessory. Perhaps it was a side-effect of the poor lighting. Perhaps not.
Dean Winchester lifted a champagne flute from the tray of a passing waiter and watched the other occupants chatter amongst themselves. Body language ranged from threatening remorselessness to gleeful lechery, but none seemed at all perturbed about the motivations for this particular gathering. They may as well have been attending an art auction or a political gala, for all their hesitation.
Contempt curled his lip against the rim of his glass. It was only to be expected of the sort of crowd that could afford to be at such an event, he supposed.
“Would you like to browse the catalogues, sir?”
The voice was grating. To his left, a lanky man with grease-slicked hair and a slimy grin offered him a large, unlabeled binder. Dean cleared his throat to dispel the biting laugh that threatened to escape him; something about the juxtaposition of the employee’s stark white gloves at an event so crass was truly hilarious.
“Or perhaps I can recommend an item number based on your criteria?” the employee pressed before Dean could send him away.
“No need,” he replied gruffly, “I’m flexible.”
The employee gave a curt nod and moved on to the next patron.
In fact, Dean had quite the mental laundry list of criteria—his circumstances were precarious at best and there was very little room for error—but no employee would be able to make a sound recommendation no matter how many details he provided. No, it was solely up to him to make the right choice.
He would know it when he saw it. If he saw it.
A chime sounded somewhere overhead and attention turned towards the stage at the far wall. A hush fell over the crowd as guests made their way forward, eager to obtain a standing spot with a prime view. Dean stayed where he was, his fingers tracing the edge of the slightly-crumpled advertisement inside his jacket pocket.
“They’re getting worse.”
Dean scowled at the grousing, growling low in his throat when his attempts to leave the room were thwarted by the tall frame of his younger brother.
Sam was unbothered; he met Dean’s glare with one of his own and shoved hard at Dean’s chest with one hand. Dean took a step back against his will.
“Don’t give me that,” Sam hissed, “This one started in the middle of a heist, Dean. In the middle of the goddamn Met.”
“Who cares? Everything worked out in the end,” Dean insisted, crossing his arms over his chest.
“So what?! ” Sam roared, “Is that a joke?! You lost control like a goddamn teenager and you stunk up the place so badly it’ll be a fucking miracle if you don’t have a scent profile on record after this. You nearly destroyed the hieroglyph slabs I lifted, and Charlie had to do extra work to spoof the security feeds because you forgot where the cameras were!”
Dean scowled harder, unwilling to lower his gaze despite his embarrassment. Though he hated to admit it he knew Sam was right; the clean getaway despite Dean’s amateur-hour performance was nothing if not a testament to how far they’d come through years of practice and navigating many more close calls than was reasonable.
“Look,” Sam said, running an exasperated hand through his too-long hair, “Generally speaking, I don’t want to know how you handle your ruts—” Dean emphatically agreed with the sentiment. “—but we can’t work like this, so here.” He pulled a folded paper from his back pocket and thrust it under Dean’s nose.
“Pick someone. Anyone you think will do. I know what happened with Aaron messed you up and I’m sorry about it, but I’m not willing to go to jail because of it.”
Dean scanned the first sentence and balked at the idea.
“Are you kidding me, Sam?” he hissed, “I’m not some ancient, smarmy gazillionaire who can’t get laid unless I pay for it. I’m not gonna buy someone to help me through ruts.”
“I don’t see why not,” Sam countered dispassionately, “Given our circumstances I’d think someone legally obligated to follow instructions would be a perfect choice.”
“That’s not the point —”
“Dean,” Sam continued, holding a hand up to interrupt him, “Go to this thing or don’t, but either way, I’m not doing another job until you find someone to handle your next rut. Whatever your hang-ups are, get over them.”
Sam turned on his heel and left Dean alone to stare down sullenly at the piece of paper in his hands.
For your pleasure, OA Agencies is offering a choice selection
of potential sexual companions for our most esteemed guests.
The lineup has been curated with our customers in mind
by our caring and attentive team here at OA.
If there is anything we can do to ensure a pleasant experience,
please do not hesitate to let us know.
He drained the last of his champagne as the auctioneer brought his gavel down to declare the current bid concluded. Dean recognized the man; Crowley was a smooth-talking, self-serving bastard, well-known by criminals for being a man of many talents, nearly all of which he used for evil. Dean had fenced several pieces through him over the years—despite his obnoxious arrogance and condescension there was no one better for a secure and anonymous sale—and was not even remotely surprised to find him contributing to the sex trafficking industry.
Crowley ushered his assistant back onto the stage for the next auction and indicated the new information projected on the screen behind him.
Gender: Male Ω
Weight: 190 lbs.
There were delighted murmurs around the room and even Dean raised an eyebrow, intrigued. There were several here who bought into the fetishized ideal of the male omega if the half-phrases that reached him were anything to go by; many were drawn to the idea of an omega who could not be impregnated and thus would necessitate no additional precautions. Dean was far more interested in this Castiel’s build; an omega over six feet was fairly uncommon regardless of primary sex.
Crowley’s assistant appeared from the left wing, tugging insistently at a heavy chain. A few steps behind her a man stumbled blindly, his vision obscured by the black fabric around his head and his hands tied at the wrists behind his back. He was completely unclothed.
Behind the stage occupants, the screen with Castiel’s information shifted to make room for a close-up view provided by the camera that started by his feet and panned slowly upwards. Dean watched attentively, comparing his mental checklist with what he saw.
Tan skin stretched over strong calves and thick thighs; Castiel was a runner, Dean was sure of it. Sharp hip bones came into view and the camera lingered at Castiel’s crotch, drawing wolf whistles from the crowd. He had no tan lines and a cock that Dean was certain could put several alphas in this room to shame. Eventually, the camera continued its journey upward over a toned stomach, sculpted pectorals, and broad shoulders. Despite his bound hands, the flex of his biceps was clearly visible. The camera stayed put at Castiel’s fabric-covered head.
The assistant gave the chain a downwards tug, indicating that Castiel should drop to his knees, but no such move of submission was made. Dean watched as Meg kicked at the backs of Castiel’s legs once, twice, before he buckled and dropped to the floor.
“Ah, thank you Meg,” Crowley said, “And with that, the big reveal!”
Meg yanked the black fabric away from Castiel in one swift motion and Dean made his decision then and there.
Fierce blue eyes stared challengingly out at the crowd, daring any of them to underestimate him. He seemed entirely unconcerned by his nakedness, was even now flexing and tugging at the restraints around his hands and curling his lip in a sneer as he surveyed the room. The chain extending from the thick collar around his neck to Meg’s hand rattled as Castiel twisted. He looked coiled tight, like a storm threatening to break.
The longer he looked, the more intrigued he became. Though it was difficult to spot through a camera lens, a dark, mischievous glimmer flickered across his eyes and made Dean wonder about what lurked beneath Castiel’s surface. It reminded him of a loose thread, he realized; most wouldn’t notice it, but now that it’d caught his attention he wanted to give it a tug just to see where it lead.
“Some of you may have seen Castiel in the catalogues,” Crowley was saying, “but the handlers have informed me of some noteworthy changes to the personality profile.”
Curious murmurs rippled through the crowd and Crowley banged his gavel against the podium, demanding order. When the room was quiet once more, he gestured at the screen projected behind him. A number appeared in the top-left of the screen.
“Recent interactions have led the handlers to conclude that Castiel is obstinate and will likely require significant training.” The curious murmurs transitioned into sounds of disappointment; to most, a sex slave was meant to be a convenient outlet, an expression of abundant wealth, not an energy-intensive project that may or may not result in the desired outcome.
“In light of these changes, the starting bid for Castiel has been reduced from the standard three thousand to a very generous thirteen hundred. Do I have an opening bid?”
Dean’s number was in the air almost before Crowley had finished speaking, but the significantly discounted rate seemed to have appeased several in the crowd. Two more bids went up in quick succession and Dean growled under his breath.
“I have fourteen-fifty,” Crowley called, “do I hear fifteen?”
Dean’s number went up again. A few steps away another number went up, its owner holding up two fingers to indicate two thousand. Dean glared at the back of the man’s head and held his bid card high, his other hand coming up to indicate five thousand.
“Going once,” Crowley warned, but no one was willing to bid higher on a disobedient omega, no matter how gorgeous he was. “Going twice…” Crowley cast one more look around the room before bringing his gavel down firmly on the podium. “Sold, for five thousand dollars.”
Dean grinned as the black fabric was replaced over Castiel’s head and he was hauled to his feet and off the stage. He couldn’t wait to meet him.
Castiel looked even wilder in person.
Dean let his eyes roam over his (now fully clothed) form, smiling appreciatively. When he returned his gaze to Castiel’s face he was met with a wary scowl. Dean moved to stand directly in front of him and Castiel did not lower his eyes or curl into himself. A pleased smirk quirked one side of Dean’s mouth upwards and he inhaled deeply, curious to find no real trace of a scent.
“He’s on scent blockers,” the employee who had brought Castiel out explained.
“It’s a safety precaution; running this auction is involved enough without having to settle claim disputes if an omega’s scent triggers some alpha’s rut. The blockers will wear off within twenty-four hours.”
Dean nodded without looking away from Castiel. That suited him fine; both he and Sam were on scent blockers most of the time and he’d planned on requiring that Castiel stay on them too. It helped with anonymity.
“Thank you,” he said, “That will be all.” The employee gave a small bow and left to service the other high bidders.
“Well, Cas,” Dean said cheerily, “Let’s go home.”