Castiel Novak walked along the busy street, looking at his phone. He was on his way to his boring job in a boring building in a boring town. At least, that’s how he saw it. But hey, a man’s gotta eat, right?
He stopped at the corner and looked up, waiting for the light to change. That’s when he saw the unicorn.
It was standing across the street, staring right at him. No one else around seemed to see it. Castiel’s heart skipped a beat. He rubbed his eyes but nope! It was still there.
The light changed and everyone began to cross. Castiel walked slowly, people rushing by him. When he got to the other side, the unicorn snorted and stamped it’s hoof. Castiel walked up to it and very slowly put out a hand. He touched the unicorn’s side and it snorted again.
It was real. Well, at least it felt real. No one else seemed to be able to see it. The unicorn turned its head and looked directly into Castiel’s eyes.
“Well, you coming or not. I don’t have all day.”
Castiel jumped back. “You… you talked.”
The unicorn huffed. “Of course I talked! What the fuck did you expect? Now, are you coming or not?” It mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like ‘fucking dumbass’ but Castiel couldn’t be sure.
Now all his life, he’d read and reread and reread again, his favorite series of books. Even before he could read, his mother would read to him from them every night. He knew every part of them, practically every word in them. And one of the things that he always liked in the books were the talking animals. The talking unicorns were always his favorites. They, at least, could be nice. Most of the talking animals in the books were either scary or mean. Like those jerk rabbits.
But he never really thought that the Gardens of Elembor was real. He’d hoped, he’d dreamed, but as he got older he came to accept that they were just stories.
And yet, now he was standing on a busy street with a talking unicorn. Of course he was going!
“Okay, let’s go.”
The unicorn told him to hang onto his mane. “Not too tight! Jesus, that hurt.” Castiel loosened his grip a little and then next thing he knew, he was laying on some wet grass. He stood up and looked around.
He knew where he was. It was just like the drawings in the book. He was standing in the field of Yasrim. From behind him he heard a deep voice say. “It took you long enough! I didn’t know whether to shit or go blind waiting for you.”
He turned to see the man smiling. He had his hands on his hips. His green eyes sparkled and the sun lit up his freckles.
“You’re… you’re Dean of Winchester!”
Dean laughed. “Well duh, brainiac.”
Castiel looked at Dean, then around the clearing.
“Okay, you aren’t real. This isn’t real. I must be having a psychotic break, or maybe… maybe a stroke. I could be dying!”
Dean laughed. He walked up to Castiel and slapped him hard.
“Ow! Why did you hit me?” Castiel rubbed his cheek.
“You were getting a little hysterical there, bud. Just wanted you to get it together.”
Castiel frowned. “Well, you didn’t have to hit me!”
Dean grinned. “Seemed like the thing to do at the time.”
Castiel frowned. “Well, what am I doing here, anyway?” He rubbed his cheek again.
“Well, that is the question, isn’t it Cas? Why… are… you… here.” He walked a circle around Castiel. Castiel stood there, waiting.
“Maybe,” Dean finished, looking at Castiel, “it’s because you are a powerful wizard and you’re here to save us.”
Castiel started to laugh. He laughed so hard he had tears running down his face. Dean watched him with a puzzled look.
When Castiel could get control, he looked at Dean.
“Joke’s on you. I am not a wizard. I can’t do magic. I’m just a regular guy with a regular job in a regular town.” He giggled.
Dean waved an arm. “Well, in case you haven’t noticed, this ain’t your regular town. This is Elembor, and in Elembor, you are a very powerful wizard.”
Castiel looked at Dean. “Well, I don’t feel like a powerful wizard.”
Dean grinned. “Just try something.”
Dean thought about it. “Well, try making a flower. Right there.” He pointed at the ground.
Castiel thought about it. He tried to picture a flower. He pointed a finger at the ground.
And a flower sprung from the earth and grew, blossomed and stood there proudly.
“See? I knew you could do it! Now, come on. Daylight’s wasting, Cas.”
Dean turned and walked away. After a moment’s consideration, Castiel followed.
As he followed Dean into the forest, Castiel took the time to look, really look at Dean. He looked almost exactly like he’d been pictured in the books. Tall, taller than Cas by a couple of inches. In perfect shape. He had bow legs and sandy hair, broad shoulders… and a very nice ass. That wasn’t in the books, but Castiel appreciated it anyway.
They came to a clearing, with a two-story cottage in the center. It was large, nice-looking. Dean walked to the door and opened it. He stood aside for Castiel to enter.
Inside, it was warm, inviting. There was a big fireplace and some overstuffed furniture. Castiel looked around.
“It’s nice, Dean.”
“Yeah, well, it’s home. Sammy! I got him!”
Of course, Dean had a younger brother, Sam.
A tall man came down the stairs. He walked to where Dean and Castiel stood.
“This is him? Why does he look like a tax collector?”
Castiel looked down at himself. He was dressed for work, in a blue suit, a white shirt, blue tie. And his trench coat. He did look out of place here.
“I… I was on my way to work when…:
Sam laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “Just fucking with you, man. You look fine.”
Castiel smiled weakly.
Dean grinned. “I’m starving, Sam. Is there pie?”
Sam sighed. “Of course there’s pie, Dean. There’s always pie.”
Dean laughed. “Awesome! Come on, Cas, let’s eat.”
Castiel followed Dean to the kitchen and looked around. The entire room was filled with pies.
“So, what’s your choice? We’ve got appleberry, pinklemon, uh…”
“Dean,” Castiel looked at him, “You can’t just live on pie.”
Sam walked in. “That’s what I keep saying!”
“Shaddup, both of you.” Dean grabbed a pie and cut himself a generous slice. He put it on a plate and grabbed a fork.
Castiel watched him eat the pie. He took a deep breath. “Okay, so why am I here? Don’t get me wrong, I always knew this place was real, but I never thought I was a part of it. So, what’s going on?”
Dean grinned at him and swallowed. “You’re here to kill the beast, of course.”