Dean blinked blearily at the coffee maker as he waited for that liquid nirvana to brew. It had been a rough week. Enjoyable, but rough. Two alphas in rut scrabbling for dominance to knot each other was a recipe for chaos. Thankfully, Castiel's rut had finally ended and the older alpha was catching up on rest. Dean shifted slightly and winced. Hopefully Cas wouldn't be too offended if Dean didn't want sex for a little while.
Dean's mind wouldn't let him rest, unfortunately.
Although they'd spent the week together, he knew very little about Cas still. They'd been preoccupied knotting each other and napping briefly only to wake up and knot again. But now that the hormones had died down, Dean wondered how much they'd really have in common.
Dean poured himself a cup of coffee, leaving it black. He gazed out the window, making up his mind. They'd make it work. He'd try to get a job at a shop or salvage yard. He was good with cars. After all, he'd completely rebuilt baby after the accident.
He took a gulp of his coffee, trying to swallow the emotion that tried to climb up his throat. He had a whole life to look forward to with Cas.
Stop moping he told himself. His eyes flicked to the clock. 10 am. Castiel mentioned he'd have to go back to work tomorrow. The apartment was a bit haphazard. The kitchen was nearly bare, and the laundry had really piled up. They'd have to spend the day catching up so Cas would be prepared to go to work in the morning. While he was at work, Dean would try his hand at the quick lube downtown. All they did was oil changes, so maybe they'd over look his lack of formal education.
He bit his lip. He really should wake Cas up. He finished his coffee, putting the cup in the sink. He poured a second cup, adding a heaping spoon of sugar and a dash of cream. He thought it was gross, but that's how Cas liked it, he'd learned.
He turned for the bedroom when he heard a knock on the door. He froze, unsure what to do. He glanced down at himself. At least he'd had the wherewithal to put some pajamas on. He eased around the island, hesitant. This wasn't technically his home.
But, Cas had said..he was welcome to stay. Indefinitely.
The pounding became incessant, nearly violent. Dean rolled his eyes. That was definitely not the way he intended on waking up Cas.
“Alright alright...” he mumbled, making his way to the door. He opened it casually.
His brows creased at the unfamiliar man standing in the door way. He was dressed a bit formally, and had a good twenty years on Dean.
“Who are you?”
The man gave him a quick up and down, scenting in an obvious, and quite frankly, rude way. The man sneered up at Dean.
“Out of my way.”
The short alpha snarled, shoving at Dean's chest.
Unprepared and sleep-drunk, Dean stumbled backwards. He winced as he heard Cas' favorite mug shatter against the tile. Hot coffee splashed his leg, but he ignored it, keeping his eyes trained on the intruder. The short alpha didn't stop, stalking into the apartment on a war path.
Dean growled. Protective and possessive rage welled up in him. In two strides he caught up, grabbing the other alpha's shoulder, spinning him around, pushing him up against the wall.
“I said, who the fuck are you?” Dean growled, punctuating his words with another shove of the strange alpha's shoulders against the wall.
The other alpha, squinted at Dean, the crinkles around his eyes deepening.
“That's none of your business. I came for Castiel. Now let me go you..filthy, low-class ape.”
Dean growled again, refusing to budge.
“You're damn right it's my business when a stranger busts in looking for my mate.” Dean hissed.
The other alpha raised his eyebrows.
“Your mate?” It was then that the alpha picked up on the bruised, fresh mating bite. He smirked lazily up at Dean.
“Poor stupid boy. Don't you know? Castiel already belongs to me.” he had a suave arrogance to his voice, as if he was entertaining at a cocktail party.
Dean saw red. He snarled loudly, lunging at the other alpha. He was going to rip him apart. Defending a mating claim with lethal force was still legal in Texas, and he fully planned to take advantage.
The world tilted on it's side, and the next thing Dean knew, he was being thrown into the coffee table. He hissed in pain as the glass shattered, a few shards slicing his back and shoulders. He struggled to catch his breath, the wind knocked out of him from the blow he took to the chest.
Ishim cracked his knuckles, chuckling softly.
“What's the matter boy? Can't even stand up to an old alpha like me?” He taunted. Dean struggled to his feet, taking great heaving breaths.
“Dean! What's going on?”
They both froze, looking towards the hallway where Castiel stood, clad in only boxer shorts and one of Dean's t shirts.
Castiel took in the scene, gaze flicking over Dean in concern before he spotted the other alpha. All the color seemed to drain from his face at once.
“Ishim. What are you doing here?” He growled. He moved closer, eyes flicking to Dean. He seemed okay, just a little roughed up.
“Ah, Castiel. What's new?” Ishim asked, a smirk on his face as he straightened his button up.
Castiel slid closer to Dean, muscles tensing.
“Cas? Who is this guy?” Dean asked softly.
Castiel narrowed his eyes.
“Dean, this is Commander Ishim Grace. A long time ago he was my sergeant. He also failed to successfully mate me.”
Dean's eyes widened.
Ishim scoffed. “Come now Castiel, you know it's the intent that counts. It's not my fault you couldn't heal a bite properly.”
Self-consciously, Castiel brought his hand to his neck. He felt Dean press up behind him, offering strength.
“Regardless, any bond we might have had was broken when you walked out. Over a decade ago.”
Ishim offered a charming smile.
“Don't be like that Castiel. You know I had to leave if I wanted to keep my career.”
Castiel snorted. “You had no problem destroying mine.”
Ishim nodded. “Yes well. I do apologize about my lack of..discretion back then.”
“You ruined my life Ishim. What is it that you want?”
Ishim spread his arms. “I'm free. Twenty five years in and a full retirement package.”
“That has nothing to do with me.”
“Sure it does! We can run off to California like you always wanted. Camp out in a tent for a while, see the natural sights. It'll be just like old times. What do you say?”
Ishim smiled. “What?”
“I said no, Ishim. You're not welcome here. You need to leave.”
Ishim's face darkened.
“I don't think you understand what you're saying. Just because this...mud monkey showed up doesn't mean anything. You guys don't smell mated.”
Dean growled deeply at that.
“Watch it.” he warned.
Ishim rolled his eyes.
“Oh please. All bark no bite. I know your type.”
Dean made a move to go forward, but Castiel spread an arm, holding him back.
“You see, Castiel has a bit more brains than you do, pup. He knows you won't stand a chance.”
Dean's growl grew in volume.
“Say the word Cas and I'll hang his entrails from the fucking balcony.” Dean threatened.
Ishim laughed. “Maybe you will, or maybe I'll kill you slowly and make Castiel watch. Go ahead. Roll the dice.”
Dean made his move.
“Dean! No!” Castiel was hysterical as Dean took a swing. Ishim ducked quickly, turning and boxing Dean on the side of the head.
Dean's vision swam as he stumbled, trying to regain himself. Agony ripped through his knee a moment later and he found himself sprawled out on his back again. Ishim was on him in a flash, hands squeezing his throat.
Dean had just long enough to grow worried before Ishim was knocked off of him by Castiel. The older alpha was enraged, trading blows with his former mate.
“How dare you come into my home and threaten my mate.” Castiel snarled.
Ishim struck a nasty blow to Castiel's jaw, laying out the other alpha. Dean's eyes widened in horror. Ishim was fast. Accurate, military trained. Neither of them stood a chance.
“I gave you a chance Castiel! What have you become? You're so pathetically weak. Your desk job made you soft, alpha.” Ishim was on a tirade, his fist smacking into Castiel's face over and over.
“No..no no no...” Dean muttered, struggling to his feet. Castiel was barely responding. If he didn't do something.. He darted towards his leather jacket, digging frantically through the hidden pocket in the inside. His fingers wrapped around cool metal and he took a deep breath. He turned, training the gun on Ishim's back. He closed the distance until the metal was pressed firmly between his shoulder blades. He flicked the safety off and chambered around.
“Let him go.” He spoke loudly, alpha authority bleeding through his voice.
Ishim froze. Slowly he backed off Castiel. He rose to his feet slowly, hands up.
“Alright pup. You've made your point.”
Ishim turned around slowly, walking towards the door. Dean followed him with the gun, not letting his guard down for a second. His hands shaking he took a breath to steady himself. Ishim was right at the doorway now, a little farther and Dean could close the door, make sure Castiel was alright..
In a blur, Ishim whirled around, grabbing Dean's gun. The trigger pulled, firing three shots off into the wall and floor. Dean's eyes widened in surprise and he froze. Ishim wrenched the gun from him, turning it around.
“Corner. Now.” he ordered. His hand was steady as he aimed the gun straight between Dean's eyes.
Dean moved slowly. This is how it was going to end. Shot by his own damn weapon. In front of his mate. His gaze flicked to Cas, who was sitting up slowly. He tried to convey through his expression how sorry he was it ended like this. He continued backing up until his back hit the wall. All he could think about is how broken Castiel would be at the end of this.
Few alphas survived watching their mate die.
“Sit.” Ishim commanded. Dean slowly sank down. He saw movement in the corner of his eye, but refused to let his gaze leave Ishim's face. If he was going to shoot a civillian alpha in cold blood, he wanted to haunt that bastards nightmares.
A single shot rang out. The loud crack echoed off the walls, and Dean's ears rang so loud he couldn't hear anything else. He inhaled sharply, looking down at himself quickly, waiting to see blood start pouring out. It never came. He glanced up, catching the shocked look on Ishim's face as he slowly slid to the ground. He coughed once, blood pouring out of his mouth, before dropping face first onto the carpet.
Dean looked up to see Castiel, leaning against the island, sawn off shotgun in hand.
He saw Castiel's lips moving, but couldn't make out the words. The ringing intensified to unbearable levels. He watched as Castiel slowly sank to the floor, his heart dropping.
“Cas!” He shouted. He could barely hear his own desperate wail as he bolted over to his mate. He cradled the other alpha in his arms, scenting him deeply. He was still breathing. His heart was beating, he could feel it.
Cas would be okay.
He had to.