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Ember and Blood

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Castiel wiped the blood from his face and tried to calm his breathing. He knew the others weren’t far behind. The intel had been incorrect. It wasn’t just one ghoul that needed to be dispatched. It was a small colony. One ghoul he could have handled alone. Two, possibly. But four? No that was not going to happen. He had gotten a lucky shot and taken out one of them. Incendiary rounds were a blessing. The other three were hot on his trail.

Castiel closed his eyes and worked to listen around his heart pounding in his ears. Calm the hell down. If you can’t hear then you can’t track. And if you can’t track, you’re dead. He licked his lips and clutched the rifle to his chest. A few deep breaths and a backwards count later, he heard the rustle. The taunting and teasing from the one that had taken human form of its last meal. Castiel opened his eyes and looked around. There was no high ground in the abandoned rec center.

Crouched down and aimed steady, Castiel peered around the corner. The full moon let in enough light through the large windows and crumbling exterior to give decent line of sight. Castiel tracked the shadows. Two. He bit his lip and held still for a moment longer. One came into view. There wasn’t a headshot, but he pulled the trigger anyway. It stumbled and Castiel scrambled to his feet and took off running in the opposite direction.

The stairwell came into view and he turned to head back down to the main floor to the exit.

“Fuck!” Castiel fell forward as a force slammed into him from behind. The third one had waited for him. it had been a trap.

The rifle clattered down the stairs when Castiel let it go to try and protect himself. The first thing his brothers had taught him was how to fall. A split-second hesitation would increase the damage the fall could cause. Castiel tumbled down the stairs and slammed into the wall at the bottom. He groaned and held his head. Castiel went still as howling filled the air. The disorientation wore off and he tried to get to his feet. He gasped and fell back. His arm had taken the brunt of the fall. He couldn’t hold himself up.

Castiel shifted to use his other arm to push up. He snatched up the gun and slung the strap across his body. He kept his injured arm tucked close to his body. With a heavy limp but quick pace he made it up the hall closer to the entrance. A shiver ran up his spine as another set of howls sounded. One was closer. He pulled the silver dagger from his thigh holster and turned.

There was one of the ghouls. It skittered rapidly up the hall. Castiel turned and his twisted ankle sent stab after stab of pain through him as he tried to run up the hall. He couldn’t aim the rifle with one hand steady enough to make the shot count. It wasn’t worth the time or risk. A flash of fur and clacking of nails on the remains of the tile floor drew his attention.

It was the distraction the ghoul needed. The hesitation was enough that the ghoul caught Castiel off guard and pushed him to the ground. It pressed against him enough he couldn’t get his arm in a position to stab but he stilled tried to swipe. The ghoul knocked the dagger from his hand. He felt the saliva on his skin and the unnatural grip tightened on him as it set to tear into him. There was a deep growl and suddenly the pressure released. The ghoul yelped.

Castiel managed to get to his side and peered back down the hall. His jaw dropped as he took in the massive wolf. It held the ghoul by its neck and shook violently until the head separated from its body. The wolf let the limp body fall from its mouth and turned to face Castiel.

Muzzle wet with goo and body fluids with its teeth bared. Castiel scrambled back as best he could. The dagger was too far away. He turned and looked for the rifle that had slipped over his head as the ghoul had attacked. He got his good hand on it and turned back around to try and aim. The wolf was gone. Dead ghoul was still there but no wolf.

“Oh there you are little hunter,” the female ghoul was there without a trace of movement or sound.

Castiel startled and shifted his aim.

“Your little fuzzy friend is gone now. You’re mine,” she slugged Castiel.

Castiel swung the rifle as best as he could. She stepped back. He pulled the trigger. It was a flesh wound at best.

“No more of that,” she yanked the gun from his grip and tossed it down the hall, “I’ve got a family to feed,” she grabbed his backpack and began to drag him down the hall.

Castiel winced as his bad leg caught on debris and she continued to drag him. He clinched his jaw as pain flared through his leg when it jerked hard when she gave a good yank. Castiel cried out as the pain shot through his leg. It turned to a definite sprain is not worse. The large chunk of concrete gave and released him, and they were again on the move.

Castiel used his good hand to try and release the clasp of the backpack strap around his waist. He felt the slight incline as she moved up the ramp. The clasp popped loose. He moved to the strap around his chest. He wished for a moment he had his dagger. The clasp was under his injured arm and it hurt to move. It took a longer time but eventually it popped loose.

Castiel went limp and was able to slid the good arm out.

“What the--” the ghoul stopped and turned around.

Her movement was enough for him to escape the backpack and tumble down the ramp. Castiel just let himself fall with help of the steep incline of the ramp and gravity.

“Oh no you don’t,” she dropped the bag and moved to advance on him then stopped.

Castiel didn’t even attempt to move when he felt the other presence.

The enormous wolf moved in front of Castiel and growled at the ghoul. It bared its teeth and snapped repeatedly.

The ghoul took a few steps back.

The wolf stepped forward.

The ghoul took two steps back.

Out of seemingly nowhere, two wolves launched through the air. One from each direction.

The ghoul torn in half as they pulled her in two directions. Entrails and blood flung everywhere.

Castiel closed his eyes and covered his mouth with his good hand. He listened as the wolves tore the remains to shreds. It would take months to get the wet sound of tearing flesh and snapping of bones from his mind.

Castiel jumped when the large tongue dragged over his hand and face. He remembered that he wasn’t alone. If he didn’t know better, Castiel would say the wolf gave him a concerned look. It licked his face again. Castiel scrunched his face and wiped his hand over his face.

“I’m okay. Uh…thank you.”

The immediate danger was over so Castiel took time to look at the wolf. Definitely bigger than any wolf he’d ever seen. Not that he’d seen a wolf outside of wildlife documentaries on television. The coppery fur was slightly unnatural and the hazelish eyes carried a sentience that he was sure shouldn’t be there.

His backpack dropped by his side. He turned quickly. The wolf that stood there was similar in colour to the first one but a tad browner. If the first was oversized, that one was gargantuan compared to what he would expect from a North American wolf. The third one made a low warning whine and caught his attention. It was a sandy colour and slightly smaller than the other two. It wore an almost annoyed expression.

The copper one bobbed its head then turned back to Castiel. It bent down and nudged Castiel’s ankle then arm. The brown one made an exasperated sound then tuned away. The sandy one had already begun to move away.

“Oh. I’m hurt. Don’t worry. I have a first aid kit,” he pulled his bag to him and worked to unzip it, “and a mobile. I’ll be okay. I’ll call my friend and get myself fixed up.”

Copper bobbed his head in understanding and padded off after the other two.

“Thanks again,” Castiel called after them.

Castiel jerked awake. It took a few minutes for reality to settle back in. The cold sweat clung to him, his mouth was dry, and he was overheated. He groaned and scrubbed a hand over his face. It had been five years and he continued to relive that night at least once a week. Sometimes it ended like the night had. Other times the wolves never showed. And still other times the wolves gave him the same treatment as the ghouls. Those were the nights Castiel didn’t go back to sleep.

After that night he had talked to other hunters and no one had ever met wolves like that. Some claimed they were probably werewolves. Castiel had studied the lore and they were not werewolves like any he had read about. Those wolves were man eaters and typically biped. More Underworld and Wolfman than Blood and Chocolate. Of course, there were shifter and animal spirit legends from around the world. He just didn’t know where the line between reality and myth was drawn.

Castiel turned over and grabbed his phone. Six AM. He might as well get up.

 

Freshly showered and dressed Castiel headed to the kitchen. He smelled coffee before he rounded the corner which meant his brother was awake.

“We’ve got a job,” Gabriel said from his place at the small kitchen table. He didn’t bother to look up from his laptop.

“It’s not a job if it doesn’t pay,” Castiel grumbled and grabbed the only other mug they owned. They lived a minimalist lifestyle because of their line of work and nomadic existence. They’d been in the city for almost a year and had already started looking for their next destination.

“This one is paying,” Gabriel grinned.

“You’ve got my attention,” Castiel added a splash of creamer to his coffee. He pulled the fridge open to figure out food.

“Garth sent it last night, but you got in late from that salt and burn so I didn’t want to bother you with it. It’s kinduva treasure hunt.”

Castiel made a non-committal sound as he pulled the jam from the fridge and grabbed the bread.

“Some dumb collector wants this artifact. No one has been able to track it down.”

“That doesn’t sound like our type of work,” he turned to face him with a suspicious look as he opened the bread.

“It’s said to be in a place that’s haunted and protected by spirits,” Gabriel wiggled his eyebrows.

“So a ghost slash treasure hunt. Okay. That does sound more like us. You said it’s going to be paying,” Castiel turned and placed the bread in the toaster.

“Yup. If we can get it and bring it back, then we get paid three thousand dollars.”

“That sounds like a lot of money. We could definitely use it, but if the artifact is worth so much how come our cut is only three thousand?”

“I knew you were gonna ask so I sent a few feelers out and a request back for more money. I’m thinkin’ this thing is priceless then we can get at least ten grand.”

“That would be a better number especially if we are doing all the work and risking our lives. Where is this thing supposed to be?”

Gabriel grinned, “New Mexico. Tlazohtiliztli, New Mexico.”

The plate slipped from Castiel’s hands and clattered to the floor, “we’ll do it.”

“Anything to see your mystery wolf again huh?”

Five years was a long time. What was the chance that the wolves would still be there?

<<<<>>>> 

Castiel dropped his bag on the bed and pulled off his jacket. As he left Illinois, he hadn’t thought about the temperature difference. He peeled off his top layers and kicked off his shoes.

“Why is it always so damn hot here?” Gabriel kicked the door shut and dropped his bags next to it. He moved to the air conditioning and cranked it.

“Proximity to the equator.”

“Shut up.”

“I’m drinking a water from here,” Castiel went to open the mini bar.

Gabriel tackled him, “the hell you are! We might be stayin’ in a better place than usual but that don’t mean you can spend money willy-nilly. There’s still a few in the cooler.”

“They gave us an advance on the money Gabriel we can spend it.”

“Yeah we can but not on a five-dollar 12oz bottle of water. I’m thinkin’ steak and lobster for dinner,” Gabriel dusted himself off as he stood.

“That seems a little extravagant,” Castiel grabbed a water from the cooler and went back to his bed.

“Whatever. Jesse and Cesar will be here in an hour. They had a hunt in Texas and when they got the word we were looking for help they volunteered.”

“Did you tell them about the money?”

“Nope. No one is gonna know about the money unless we meet face to face. I ain’t puttin’ that in writing,” Gabriel unzipped his largest bag and pulled out fresh clothes, “I’m gonna freshen up.”

“They are not going to invite you to their bed. Never will that happen. They’re traditional,” Castiel rolled his eyes and began to put his things away.

“You never know!” Gabriel smirked as he headed to the bathroom.

Castiel unpacked quickly and settled at the desk. He liked that the way the room was a step up from what they usually settled on. He wasn’t afraid of bedbugs or infections at the Dragonfly Inn. Everything was clean and upgraded from their usual low-end motels. There was a short screen to give the illusion of privacy between the beds and the rest of the suite. There was an actual living area with a couch, coffee table, loveseat, chair, side tables, and a flat screen television mounted on the wall. The kitchenette was closest to the door had a full-size fridge, two burner range with a microwave above it, lots of counter space, and a deep sink. The mini bar was on the side of the kitchen table separated the kitchen area from the living area. The desk was tucked away at the end next to the sleeping area. Castiel liked the apartment feel more than the motels they’d stayed in. He also liked the security of the corridor instead of the parking lot being right outside the door.

Gabriel had sent him all the material the mystery collector had sent through their proxy, a woman named Diane. There were files on the history of the artifact but no images of it. It had changed hands and even crossed the Atlantic during WWII. It had made its way back to North America in the late sixties and had traveled from Ottawa to New Mexico in the early two thousands. It had swapped hands several times since. Where it was suspected of being was an extremely wealthy man’s art collection. From the outside sounded like an easy smash and grab. Until realization hit that there was an unsettling past of the man’s property. He never even stayed there. He lived in a different part of the state but would not give up the land. It had been in his family for thousands of years.

The man’s ancestors had stolen the land and ego would not allow him to part with it. There were rumors and legends of the land being haunted. People would venture out and never return. Only known people to enter the property and return were the staff that kept it intact. They are said to be generations removed from the original land holders. Something about their bloodline protecting them. According to records they were given a hefty wage to maintain the property and keep quiet about anything that happened on it.

It all seemed fishy to Castiel but the payday that was promised made it worth it. They could live comfortably without having to work for some time. Castiel had already made plans on investing part of it to make sure they had a continuous income. He pulled out the folders and his journal to plot out their time and figure out how to gain access to the property without getting caught or cursed.

Some of the gossip and rumors of the land made him worry. He wasn’t well versed enough in the magics to run into an unknown situation without concern. He knew enough to protect himself but worried it wouldn’t be enough for any old magic that had been lain over the land.

“Alright,” Gabriel sauntered out the bathroom, “how do I look?”

“Like you should be standing under a red light,” Castiel looked up then back to the stack of papers in front of him, “maybe don’t be in a halter-top and daisy dukes when they get here. They’ll probably turn and run. I would like to but alas I’m related to you.”

“Hmm maybe you’re right.”

Castiel worked on getting organized and focused. He had gotten absorbed he hadn’t realized that so much time had passed. He looked up and saw Jesse and Cesar.

“Oh sorry,” he glanced at Gabriel and approved of the leggings and tank top over the previous look, “I wanted to have things ready for when you got here.”

“No problema Castiel. You always have your head in a book or researching,” Cesar dropped down onto the couch.

“That looks like a lot,” Jesse moved to stand by Castiel and looked over his shoulder, “uh this looks less like a hunt and more of a robbery,” he pointed to the schematics of the building.

“I didn’t want to say a lot over the phone,” Gabriel turned serious, “it kinda is a robbery of sorts.”

“Hey lookie here, I'm brown we can’t be caught doing a robbery,” Cesar stood from the couch.

Gabriel placed a hand on his shoulder and gave a squeeze, “don’t worry you won’t be. Cassy and I are going to do all the less than legal stuff. We’re gonna need you for muscle. The good news is,” he smiled, “there’s a paycheck at the end of this.”

Cesar and Jesse shared a look. Jesse nodded.

“Bien. Go on,” Cesar sat back down.

“There’re a fuck ton of legends surrounding the land. Rumors of suspicious disappearances, hauntings, weird noises, and just a lot of unexplained activity. We need protection and possible communication with any spirits out there. They’re giving us ten grand upon completion. Half is yours.”

Castiel narrowed his eyes at his brother. They had offered them twenty-five thousand if they could get it to them by the end of the month. They had known it wouldn’t be a task that would be able to be completed in short notice. Castiel kept his mouth shut.

“That’s a nice chunk of change. We could really use it. What’s the property we’re dealing with?” Jesse sat down with Castiel and looked over the material.

 

After they got them caught up and set expectations, they called it quits and grabbed dinner. Castiel enjoyed Gabriel’s endless flirting with Jesse and Cesar because they entertained his advances but kept a line drawn. Gabriel had managed to slip in between them in the booth and gave them his best flirting and top shelf jokes. Then it became too much after a few rounds.

“I’m…I’ll…I’ll be back,” Castiel couldn’t think of an excuse to leave the table. He got up and headed to the bar.

“Not gonna make it a foursome?” there was definitely a smile in the voice behind him.

Castiel turned around. Oh my. The man was gorgeous.

“Not really into multiple partners,” Castiel cleared his throat and tried to focus on the man and not just his luscious mouth.

“But it’s okay that they’re men?” what a salacious smirk.

“Yes. Gender never defines my level of attraction.”

The man gave him an approving once over, “on that note, can I buy you a drink?”

Castiel threw his head back and laughed. He wasn’t sure what it was but something about that man made him at ease and comfortable. His cologne was appealing and slightly familiar. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.

“Sure. Whiskey and ginger ale.”

The man waved the bartender over and ordered them both a drink.

“Have we met before?” his eyes roamed over Castiel’s a face with a deeper curiosity.

“I’m sure I wouldn’t forget you,” Castiel pulled out the chair and sat next to him.

“Hmm true. Dean.”

“Castiel.”

“Castiel. Yeah. I wouldn’t forget that name.”

Castiel smiled.

The bartender sat their drinks in front of them.

“What are we toasting to this evening?” Dean lifted his glass.

“New friends. New opportunities. New adventures.”

Dean beamed, “ditto.”

 

“Oh fuck Cas,” Dean groped Castiel as he pressed him down in the back seat of the impala and kissed his neck.

Castiel moved back to Dean’s mouth as he worked the buttons of his shirt. The man had on too many layers and Castiel was beyond frustrated. He bit Dean’s lip and grunted as he pressed down against him.

“It’s like a hundred damn degrees why are you in so many damn clothes?!” Castiel growled as he sat back.

“Habit,” Dean struggled out his shirts and helped Castiel out of his.

“A bad habit,” Castiel pulled him in for a kiss as his hands moved to Dean’s belt.

Dean caught his wrists and changed their position. He pinned Castiel’s hands above his head and kissed him hard on the mouth. Dean kissed down his body and nipped him along the way down to his pants. He let Castiel’s wrists go to get a better position. He got Castiel’s pants open and pulled out his drooling erection.

“Dean!” Castiel arched and tangled his fingers in Dean’s hair.

Castiel knew it wouldn’t take much because he hadn’t been with anyone else in quite some time. His hand had become his best friend.

“You’re really good with your mouth,” Castiel panted as Dean took him all the way down. It was all just lips and tongue. Not a single hint of teeth. He thrust as deep as Dean would allow and held there until Dean tapped him.

Dean pulled off for a moment to catch his breath.

Castiel opened his eyes looked up at him. Dean was a complete wreck. All flushed with swollen lips and a wet chin.

Dean pressed his palm to his own groin and worked his hand a bit. Then dove right back down and took Castiel deep as he could manage.

Castiel let go and rapidly thrust into Dean’s mouth. He pushed Dean’s head down and chased his orgasm.

“Gonna come,” Castiel barely managed as he fucked Dean’s throat.

Dean moaned as Castiel hardened more and began to throb before he began spurt across his tongue and down his throat. He didn’t let a single drop go.

Castiel relaxed as Dean drank him down. His arms fell to his sides and he worked to get his breathing under control.

Dean kissed his way up Castiel’s body and sucked a bruise on his neck.

Castiel moaned and pulled Dean down on top of him. He sniffed the air. Dean’s cologne or deodorant was stronger. Must have been heat activated. It was a wonderful scent. Castiel made a mental note to ask about it at a better time.

“Lemme get you off,” Castiel kissed him and reached down.

“No need,” Dean buried his face in the crook between Castiel’s shoulder and neck, “already got off.”

Castiel cupped his groin. No erection and his pants were soaked. He grinned.

“Wow. You really like that?” he pulled Dean up for a kiss.

“Yeah I do,” Dean smiled into each kiss, “I really like suckin’ dick.”

Castiel made a face at the crudeness but continued to kiss him.

They lay there in silence trading kisses and holding each other for a while.

“I,” Castiel licked his lips, “I…um…I never do this if I’m being honest. I’m not one for a one-night stand or sex in the back of the car,” he said softly as he carded his fingers through Dean’s hair.

“If we’re being honest, I kinda do this a lot,” Dean shrugged, “I’m just passin’ through. I like to have fun. I’d like to see you as much as possible while I’m here. When I leave you can go back to whatever your life is here. I’ll just be a sweet memory of a good time.”

“Passing through? You don’t live here?” Castiel shifted and titled Dean’s head up.

Dean looked him in the eyes, “I don’t live far from here. Just in the city on business then I’ll go home.”

Castiel chuckled, “I don’t live here either. I’m here on a business trip as well.”

Dean laughed and leaned in for another kiss. Castiel pulled him down and deepened the kiss. They kissed hot and heavy for several minutes.

Dean pulled back, “there was just something about you. I dunno how to explain it. It feels like we’ve met before and I had to reconnect with you. Your eyes. There’s something so familiar about them.”

“I am definitely drawn to you. I figured it was because you made me laugh. I like someone that can make me laugh,” Castiel nuzzled him.

They both jumped when there was a bang on the side of the car.

“Dean I swear to god,” another bang.

“That would be my brother,” with a flinch and annoyed groan Dean sat up.

“I cannot believe you. Right out here in a parking lot. You couldn’t have the decency to park out back.”

“Was totally worth it!” Dean laughed as he grabbed a shirt and pulled it on.

“I’m running to the convenience store. I’ll be back in ten minutes. When I get back you better be done.”

Heavy footsteps made their way away from the car.

“Oh shit! I didn’t tell my brother and my friends!”

They dressed quickly and exchanged numbers. One last searing kiss then they parted ways.

 

Castiel sent a text to his brother letting him know he was okay. He didn’t go back into the restaurant. The hotel was less than two miles and Castiel needed the air so he headed there on foot. He couldn’t wait to see Dean again.

<<<<>>>> 

“I cannot believe you,” Sam threw his hands in the air.

“Dude really? He was hot and I was wet,” Dean shrugged as he got dressed.

“We were supposed to meet Ellen and the others. I had to explain why you weren’t there. I knew I shouldn’t have let you go to the restaurant alone.”

“Last night was a total bust anyway. Plus now that I’ve gotten that out the way I can focus,” Dean flopped down in the chair at the tiny table and pulled food out the bag Sam had dropped there.

“You can’t just run off to get laid. I don’t care if you’re in pre-heat or not. And didn’t you take the suppressers?” Sam joined him at the table for breakfast.

“I did but you know they take time to work. It’s gonna stop my heat not my pre-heat hormones. I’m still gonna be hungry and horny.”

“Dude he could’ve been one of the other hunters that are supposedly in town. You gotta be safe. Our friends can’t protect you all the time. What would you have done if he had been and killed you after y’all got off?”

“I woulda died happy,” Dean grinned.

“Gross finish chewing.”

 They finished up breakfast and headed out.

“Really? Was this what you had playing when y’all were together?” Sam made a face as the Doors played when Dean started the car.

“What can I say, Cas lights my fire,” he grinned.

“Please enough of that.”

“But for real, I am sorry that I ditched you to get some dick. There was just something about him. I’ve met him before but can’t remember when or where. And lawd that dick! He was blessed.”

“I do not need to know that! I don’t tell you about my sex life with Eileen I don’t need to know about yours.”

“I’ve seen the bruises I know y’all are kinky,” Dean teased as he drove them to the Harvelle’s Roadhouse to meet the other pack members.

Sam blushed but didn’t reply.

“Look,” Dean sighed, “I know that this is serious. I needed to blow off a little steam. We’ve been dealing with this fuckwad Roman and the government for years and it’s getting nowhere. He thinks he’s got something that will take our land from us. We can’t allow that to happen. There aren’t a lot of packs here. We can’t afford to lose our territory. They’ve already taken the land from most of the native packs and a few of us that have settled here. If we can stop them here, we can help the native people get their land back and hold on to ours. It ain’t fair. They just want the land to exploit the resources. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with the cougars encroaching and the asshat in office trying to take the land for a damn wall. We can’t let Roman win. We beat him we create a precedent that others can use to protect their land.”

“At least now I know you understand the importance of this. We have to win. If this artifact is something that is going to setup for us to win, we have to get it.”

“We’ll get it and figure out how it’s going to make it happen,” Dean assured him.

“Benny is supposed to meet us here and bring Meg with him right?”

“Yeah that’s what he said. The head of his house isn’t too happy. Once he said it was the Campbell pack she let him come.”

“Vampires and their old fashion attitudes,” Sam shook his head.

“If you had married Jess it wouldn’t be a problem,” Dean grinned as he turned into the parking lot for Roadhouse.

“Jess was a great woman but not ready to settle down. She wants to live her life until she’s older.”

“You’d think fifty would’ve been good. Most people have their first pups at fifty.”

“Yeah well with our life expectancy being different from theirs they don’t settle down for centuries.”

It was true. A werewolf and vampire pairing wouldn’t last. Werewolves lived an exceedingly long time, but vampires could out last them by two centuries. It was best to partner within the same species. There were very few cross-species relations that were successful long term. Dean tried not to think too hard on it because even at one hundred years old he wasn’t ready to settle down with anyone.

Dean followed Sam in. Sam headed straight for the back. Dean stopped at the bar.

“It’s not even one yet Dean,” Sam stopped at the end of the bar.

“It’s five o’clock somewhere,” he smiled and ordered a drink.

Dean joined Sam and the others in the back room set aside for pack business. They had had to modify the protection spell when they agreed to work with the cougars. Dean shivered as the new magic washed over him when he stepped into the room. He took a long sip from his drink.

Billie, the head of the cougar clan, spoke softly with Ellen in the corner. Jo was settled down at the table and eating. Benny and Meg sat on the other side. Bess, Justin, and Amy were across from them. Raphael, Sariel, and Meya represented the rest of the cougars were next to Jo.

Dean wasn’t surprised that it was mostly women from the cougars. They held higher rank just like in his pack. Raphael presented as male as they sat at the table. Dean knew that was only for travel. They liked to protect their clan and most were intimidated by a large black man than woman even though they weren’t either they knew how to work society. They had also been really great in the sack. Dean smiled as he remembered that unforgettable night. They had been extremely dominating and catered to all his needs.

Dean shook his head and worked to get his mind back on track. He drained the glass and sat it down. There was no time for that train of thought. His scent must have spiked because all eyes were on him. He ducked his head as he felt his cheeks and neck warm.

“My bad. Suppressers are time release and am only a day in,” he cleared his throat and took a seat.

“Any sightings of the hunters that are said to be here?” Sam asked as he got settled.

“They were spotted in the Target on Lancaster last night. Jesse and Cesar Cuevas. They had a third with them, but no one could pinpoint if he was a hunter or not. No one recognized him,” Meya answered.

Dean sharply turned to Meya.

“What’d they get?” Billie asked and gave Dean a questioning look.

Dean shook his head and looked away.

“Looked to be a week’s worth of groceries and a few toiletries.”

“So they’ll be here for a while. Do you think they know about us?”

“I dunno. I’ve got word out to bring us any information,” Ellen replied without meeting Dean’s eyes and took the seat at the head of the table, “in absence of Deanna I’m the leader of the pack on duty tonight. Deanna is in Sioux Falls but should be back in a day or two. Her and Bobby had to visit some of his family,” she picked up the ceremonial gavel, “I hear by call this meeting to order,” she tapped the gavel on the table then laid it down, “we’re here with the Campbell pack, Haro clan, and representation of the House of Chikezie. We have entered a truce to put any outstanding issues aside to take on the government that is trying to enter our territory. We are all agreed?”

“Aye.”

“Aye.”

“Yeah.”

“Alright. Let’s hear what you have and what y’all are bringing to the table to get this artifact shit figured out and how to beat this dickhead Roman without killing him. Since apparently that’s not an option.”

 

Dean fell onto the bed and in his pajamas and grabbed his phone. He had been texting Castiel off and on throughout the day. It had gotten heated and Dean had taken time to relieve himself in the shower while Sam was out with Jo on a run. Dean spent more often than not in wolf form, so he hadn’t needed to hit the trails. He grinned at the cat meme Castiel had sent him and searched for one equally as funny.

Dean got lost in texting that he hadn’t realized Sam had returned.

“Must be more than just a fuck buddy,” Sam gave him a soft knowing look.

“What makes you think I’m textin’ him?”

“Well for starters, I didn’t say who,” Sam shot him a pointed look, “and secondly you seem happy. It’s been a day and I’ve never seen you this relaxed and smiley since all this legal bullshit.”

Dean shrugged as best he could laying down, “I mean dude’s cool and funny. He gets my sense of humor. And he likes a good cheeseburger. He sent me a pic of the one from Georgia’s diner. Almost made me get up and go get one myself.”

“I’m glad that you have a friend. While we were out running we got scent of a shifter. Not like us. The not good kind. Figured since we’re here we might track it.”

Dean put down his phone, “I bet you that’s why the hunters are here. They haven’t checked in yet. They probably got wind of it. Gonna take a day or two to track it though if we don’t know who or what it’s walking around as.”

Sam walked over to Dean and pulled out his phone, “we have an ID. We moved the body so the police can find it.”

“Wow,” Dean sat up and took the phone, “it really tore this poor guy apart.”

“Yeah. Ash is on doing a facial reconstruction for us. It’ll take the police a few days. It took his wallet but left his smart watch. Ash is working on getting as much info as he can before the shifter figures out we can access his phone.”

“Good. I’d like to catch this sucker before we get too deep in our stuff. We should be the only non-mundanes around.”

“Charlie will be out here shortly so she can probably throw together a tracker spell for us.”

“Good. Now go shower you smell. I’ll see if I can find out what missing persons may be linked to this thing,” Dean got up and went to the laptop on the table.

A case on top of their mission. He wouldn’t have time to see Castiel again until it was settled. Maybe. He hoped Castiel would be safe. It was dangerous with a shifter roaming around, but he couldn’t exactly tell Castiel that.

<<<<>>>> 

Castiel had Dean pressed up against the side of the building. Dean growled low and shoved him off.

Dean spun Castiel around and dropped to his knees, “don’t have a lot of time. My brother is waiting for me.”

“You got me off first last time,” Castiel panted, “let me take care of you.”

Dean ignored him and took him all the way down on the first go.

“Dean!” he gasped and twisted his fingers in Dean’s hair. He watched as Dean used his free hand to work his pants loose enough to shove his hand in. He wanted to get his mouth on him, but Dean was very good with his mouth he soon forgot.

Dean worked him over pretty good and it wasn’t long before he coming down his throat.

Castiel leaned against the wall and worked to catch his breath, “you…you now.”

Dean stood slowly and pressed he wet fingers to Castiel’s mouth, “I’m good,” he smirked.

Castiel sucked Dean’s fingers into his mouth and licked them clean. It wasn’t as bitter and salty as he had expected. He figured Dean must have better eating habits than he had been led to believe.

“I wish we had time for more,” Dean kissed him and moaned as their tastes mixed, “fuck we taste good together.”

“One day you’re going to let me taste you properly,” Castiel bit his lip and dived in for a deeper kiss.

Dean chuckled and kissed him again. And again. And again. Until Castiel was breathless. Then he moved to his neck and left a little mark right below his ear.

“Dean. I need more of you. Please,” Castiel clung to him.

“Another time,” Dean kissed him lightly and pulled, “promise. I’ll lay out and let you take me apart.”

Castiel sighed and fixed his pants, “we have to stop meeting like this.”

“You should’ve come for bagels earlier,” Dean grinned and headed to the front of the café.

“I’ll make you breakfast if you come by tonight,” Castiel followed after him.

“I can’t I have that business thing to do.”

“I can’t either really. It was just wishful thinking. My brother let me know we have a meeting tonight as well. I am hoping that it isn’t anything too bad. Our investors may not be happy about it because there is another bid coming in. I’m tired of this. I am just ready for the money,” Castiel sighed.

“That sounds awful. Glad to not be in that line of business. I gotta run but I’ll text ya later,” Dean gave him a quick kiss and dashed up and around the store front to the impala.

Castiel watch Dean go and wanted to follow him and show him what he really had in his skillset. The impala purred on pass him with Led Zeppelin blasting. He shivered just at the thought of being able to worship that gorgeous man and watch him fall apart under his mouth and hands.

With a deep groan Castiel went into the café and grabbed breakfast. He had promised Gabriel that he’d pick up a real breakfast and not just cereal. The dining in the inn was good but mostly the same for breakfast day in and day out. The kitchen was known more for their lunch and dinners. He made a note to not forget the coffee.

 

“A fucking shifter. Like the goo making kind. Not the cute fluffy kind. We can’t catch a break,” Gabriel threw his hands in the air.

“I can take care of it. Jesse and Cesar won’t be back until tomorrow and you need to go meet with Diane. I saw the new face it took. I’ve got this. We need to do it before it switches faces.”

Gabriel stopped and looked at him, “no. Last time we were in this city you almost died across town. Not even a thirty-minute drive from here you could’ve died on what was supposed to be an easy hunt. I ain’t letting you do that again.”

“This is different. I saw it. I tracked it and I know that it’s alone. We’re not relying on someone else’s intel. Plus I am stronger and faster than I was back then. I haven’t made a mistake since.”

“Nope. We promised no alone hunts again after that. We always go together. I’ll reschedule Diane.”

“Fine but don’t reschedule. Just go and we’ll take this thing out after,” Castiel frowned and took a drink from his mug.

“Okay. You stay here and get some rest. The next few nights are going to be long.”

“That’s the plan. I found a bee documentary that I’m going to watch over dinner. Then I’ll head to bed.”

Gabriel watched his brother for a minute. He nodded then got his stuff together.

 

Castiel observed Gabriel turn the location on in his phone and probably added some spyware then put it back on the table while he thought he was in the shower. There was no other reason for him to pick up his phone. He shook his head. His brother knew him well.

“Alright I’m outta here!” Gabriel hollered next to the door.

Castiel moved away from the door, “see you tomorrow!”

Castiel waited until he was sure that Gabriel was gone and turned off the shower. He waited a beat then left the bathroom. The room was empty. He went to his computer. He made sure it was still synched with his phone. He set up a timer to turn on his sleep playlist on his phone at the time he would usually go to bed. He turned on the auto play for the bee documentary and made sure that continuous play was turned off. Gabriel would never know he had left for the night.

Castiel double checked his supplies in this backpack. He made sure that he had everything he needed to kill the shifter and backups of everything just in case. He strapped on the leather chest armor then pulled on a tee shirt that was a size too big. Downside to the heat in New Mexico was wearing a heavy coat was suspicious. It called for rain so the light jacket wouldn’t look out of place.

Castiel went down to the business center and used one of the computers to schedule a Lyft from the secret account he used when he wanted to avoid questions from Gabriel. He had the Lyft drop him at a coffee shop that was close to the bus lines. He had timed it perfect and was able to catch the bus to where the shifter would be laying low with its new face.

For only a moment did Castiel hesitate when he realized how far from the bus line the house was. There was a good distance between neighbors as well. Castiel knew he couldn’t walk straight to the house because it would be too obvious. He made sure no one saw as he ducked into the woods. He’d have to take a longer path to remain hidden. He pulled his silver blade from the sheath on his hip. He wouldn’t be caught unawares.

The house only had one light on in the front. Castiel made quick work of the lock on the back door. He eased into the house. The television was on and he heard the shifter laugh. He made his way to the front of the house.

“Don’t even think about it.”

Castiel froze. He felt the barrel of the gun pressed to the back of his head. He didn’t for a moment think that he was quicker than a shifter pulling a trigger. He dropped his blade.

The shifter spun him around and frowned, “you’re human.”

Castiel swallowed hard and nodded slightly, “yes.”

The shifter sniffed the air, “but they’re close. You’re just a hunter in the wrong place my friend.”

“Who…who is close?”

“Obviously you suck as a hunter is you don’t know,” the shifter laughed.

Castiel gave a squeak as the shifter lifted him with one hand and tossed him effortlessly across the room. The last thing Castiel remembered was the sound of howls in the distance before his consciousness slipped away.

 

Dry mouth. Pounding headache. Wet dog smell. So many aches. Castiel groaned as he regained awareness. He rolled as best he could to his side. His eyes fluttered opened and he squinted as he took in the room.

“Rise and shine handsome,” a female voice said from behind him.

Castiel rolled a little more so he could view the entire room. He was still on the floor where he’d fallen after the shifter tossed him aside. There was blonde woman seated on the coffee table near his feet. She rang her hair out and plaited it up to the top of her ponytail. He rubbed a hand over his face as he slowly sat up.

“Who are you?” he slurred a little.

“Nunya. The boys wouldn’t let me leave you behind without makin’ sure you were okay. They’re disposing of the body. Don’t worry your pretty little head. We’ve got it taken care of,” she stood and reached behind her to the table, “I’m figurin’ this is yours. We found it on the floor,” she adjusted the blade in her hand and presented it to him hilt first.

“Thanks. It is. Took a while to make. Silver pure enough isn’t the easiest to come by. I appreciate your not taking it. Uh,” he made it to his feet slowly, squeezed eyes shut briefly, then put the blade in its sheath, “I didn’t hear of any other hunters being around here.”

“Because we ain’t hunters,” she grinned and turned to leave, “since you’re okay I’mma head back to my meeting point. You’ve got a concussion so don’t go fallin’ asleep, no aspirin, and stay hydrated. Other than that, you just seem a bit banged up.”

Castiel shuffled along behind her to the front door, “how long was I out?”

“About twenty minutes or so. We had to deal with the shifter first. The kitchen is a mess so you don’t want to go in there. We’ll have a crew come out and clean up. We’ll make sure that any trace of you is gone too. Don’t need no cops snoopin’ ‘round ya,” she paused once they reached the porch.

Castiel didn’t bother to pull the door closed. She had a team that seemed organized so he was sure they’d be back sooner rather than later so it didn’t matter.

“Thanks. I appreciate that. Thanks for also staying with me. It was good not to wake alone.”

“Of course. Now don’t make a habit of it,” she turned and grinned.

Castiel couldn’t pinpoint why it all felt familiar, “I try not to. I told my brother I’d wait and I didn’t. I’m glad that you saved me.”

“Twice in a life time is quite enough hunter. Next time you might not be so lucky,” she jumped down from the porch clearing all the stairs at once.

“Twice?” Castiel narrowed his eyes and tilted his head.

“I never forget a pretty face,” she chuckled and took off into the woods. There was a boulder near the edge of the woods. She turned and waved. When she jumped to the other side. A large sandy blonde wolf took her place and raced into the woods.

Castiel felt the cool air of magic brush against him as he stood and stared at her retreating figure.