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The Case of the Missing Paper

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It’s been almost a year since Dean and Sam met their grandfather and found out they’re legacies of the Men of Letters, which also means it’s been almost a year since they’ve been living in the bunker. It has also been almost six months since Cas moved in with them after he lost his grace. Kevin and Charlie had also moved in after a few months, though Charlie stays out most of the time.

Ever since they found the bunker, Dean thinks it’s haunted. It’s not possible for a place that has been locked for fifty years, which had almost all of its residents die gruesomely, not to be haunted. Dean just can’t accept it. Of course he looked for EMF, which was totally normal every time he did it, and he has never seen anything too out of the ordinary. Some stuff sometimes goes missing or appears in a different place from where Dean left it, but he can blame it on Sam, so his theory is not very good.

Until Cas got to the bunker, Dean had started to believe less and less that the bunker was haunted, thinking he’s just trying to find a bad thing in something that just doesn’t have it. So when Cas moves in, Dean has almost forgotten about his theory, the thought even sounding ridiculous in his head after a while.

~☘~

Dean only starts to realize there’s something wrong when he needs to go out to buy paper sheets almost every week for the whole month. Sure, they use lots of paper but Sam tends to stop them from using it too much when they could just use the computer and not waste paper. They only use paper when they need to put it in the Men of Letters archive, which doesn’t tend to be so much these days because they’ve already updated most of the books in the bunker during the year they’ve been there.

At first, Dean thought that maybe Sam was using all the paper and didn’t want to tell Dean because he was sure Dean would make mock him for wasting so much paper when Sam himself is against it. So Dean followed Sam for a few days, trying to see if he could catch him red-handed. It doesn’t work out because the papers keep missing and Sam’s not the one taking them.

Dean’s theory that the bunker is haunted starts to surface his mind again, making him think that there’s no other possible explanation. He doesn’t tell Sam or Cas, knowing damn well they’re gonna say he’s paranoid, so Dean tries to dig something up about the bunker, about people who died there and who could be messing with them. He tries the EMF, never coming up with anything, he never senses colds spots and there aren’t any flickering lights.

He still tries—every time he sees the box they keep the papers in empty, he takes his EMF meter just to come up with nothing, which is really annoying for the third week in a row. He doesn’t understand how that can be happening because there’s no possible way someone else is entering the bunker just to steal their paper. The bunker is locked from the inside so one from the outside can open it, except if they had the key and, as far as Dean knows, only they have the key.

The paper goes missing even they’re out hunting, which makes Dean’s curiosity spike up. He wonders if Charlie or Kevin is trying to mess with him and doing it on purpose, but Kevin spends most of his time locked in his room, trying to decipher the angel tablet, and Charlie’s been going out more and more to hunt while the paper keeps missing. Dean even goes to her bedroom to check and see if it’s her that’s been messing with him, but he comes out empty-handed, the only thing he finds there being trauma.

Dean also goes to Kevin’s bedroom, trying to see if he’s using all the paper with his translation, but the kid is using a program Sam gave it to him where he can write in a tablet and all of it goes directly into the computer, so he doesn’t even need the paper. Dean still tries to ask him if he knows anything about the missing paper, but Kevin only gives him a grunted ‘no’, saying he’s too busy to keep track of paper sheets.

After knowing it’s not Charlie, Kevin nor Sam that is using all the paper or a poltergeist messing with them, Dean’s only option is Cas. But Cas being the one stealing all the paper doesn’t make sense to Dean because he’s human now and he barely leaves his room, only when he wants to eat or go to the bathroom or when Dean practically drags him out, saying he needs some fresh air. So Dean doesn’t even check it with Cas, sure that he won’t know anything about it.

~☘~

When Dean comes back from groceries, he finds Sam walking around the war room and the library, opening every cabinet and drawer in the place. Dean arches one brow at his brother. “Dude, what are you doing?”

Sam turns to him, his hair all messed up, pen tint on his face and hands, and brows furrowed. “Where is all the paper in the bunker? I can’t find one blank sheet in this whole freaking place when I need it.”

Dean places the bags at the end of the stairs, walking to the cabinet at the end of the room. “It’s where it always is, Sam, in the box her—” Dean opens the cabinet, taking the empty box from the inside. “Dude, I bought paper this week! How did you use all of it in three freaking days?”

“I didn’t.” Sam runs his hand through his hair, trying to put it back in place, sighing. “There’s something happening here, Dean. It’s not possible that no one is using the freaking sheets and they’re just missing.”

Dean rolls his eyes, sarcasm dripping from his voice, “No, really ? And what the hell have I been saying this whole month? I told you something funky was happening and you didn’t believe me.”

Sam closes his eyes, taking a deep breath so he won’t rip his brother’s head off. “I didn’t believe you because I know you were going to say that the bunker is haunted when it’s not ! We already looked for EMF in this whole place when we moved in and we found jack with a side of squat!”

Dean exhales hard through his mouth, throwing his head back and staring at the ceiling. “Fine. I’m gonna go out and buy more paper. You put the groceries all in place, all right? Good.” Dean doesn’t stay long enough to hear Sam’s reply, walking back through the stairs and leaving the bunker. 

He spends the whole drive back to the city complaining of how no one listens to him in that place when he said something was wrong and how Sam owes him money for all the gas he’s been wasting just to buy the freaking paper sheets when apparently no one knows how they’re missing. They should stop buying and then their problem would go away, but no, that’s not the whole point, they just need to figure out what’s happening. Damn Sam and all of his ‘solve the problem with words’ attitude.

Dean practically buys all the packs they have in the store, thinking that maybe this way he can go at least two weeks without having to go out to buy more. The cashier stares at him with a weird expression, probably thinking Dean is crazy, but he only gives him a reassuring smile, hoping he’ll let it pass. 

He drives back to the bunker, the weight of all that paper slowing down the drive, which leaves Dean even angrier. He turns the radio as loud as he can without deafening himself to try and distract himself from it. He thanks the fact that there isn’t anyone on the road to delay his drive even more.

Once he gets to the bunker, he parks Baby in the garage. He takes three packs in his arms and walks out of the garage, towards the library. He sees Sam sitting on one of the chairs, a lot of books around him while he marks things in one with a post-it. Dean scoffs, placing the packs on the table. “So, there’s no paper and you decided to waste all of our post-its?”

Sam shrugs, not raising his head from his notes. “I had nothing else to write and if I didn’t, I would forget what I need to add in these books.” He finishes what he’s writing and raises his head, his eyes widening when he sees the packs on the table. “Dude, did you buy the whole store?”

“No, I left two there and there’s three more on the car. Maybe this way I can go two weeks without having to buy more. But I’m gonna leave those three there, and if these ones end up being all used up, you can go and take more there. Maybe this way we can find out who’s stealing all the sheets.”

Sam raises his brow, tapping the pen on the book in front of him. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, we’re the only ones that know where there’s more and it’s neither of us using all of it. If the three here,” he taps the packs, “run out and the car ones stay there, we’ll know it’s either Charlie, Kevin or Cas who’s taking the paper. Or someone else found out a secret entrance to the bunker and it’s messing with us, which I hardly doubt.”

“All right. Though I don’t think it’s Cas. I mean, the guy just stays in his room binge watching his shows, so I hardly doubt it’s him.”

“I don’t think it’s him either, Sammy, but we only have three other people here, so it must be one of them.”

Sam shrugs, going back to his notes. “All right, let’s see if we can find out who it is.”

~☘~

The three packs of sheets last a week and a half, which Dean already thinks it’s good. After those are finished, he and Sam go to the car whenever they need more paper and if Charlie or Kevin ask for more, they also go to get it for them, not telling where they get the paper. The only one who doesn’t ask for more paper is Cas, which makes Dean and Sam think he wasn’t the one getting all the paper.

A week after they’ve been doing that, Charlie goes out on a hunt with Sam and Kevin goes to visit his mom, leaving Dean and Cas alone in the bunker. After a couple of days, Dean decides to use the fact that there aren’t too many people in the bunker so he can clean everything without anyone going from one room to another and messing everything up.

He uses his earbuds to listen to music while he cleans everything, knowing that if Cas needs anything, he’ll go after Dean. Dean starts on the rooms—his, Sam’s, Charlie’s and Kevin’s, deciding to leave Cas’s for last because he’s sure Cas won’t want to get out of there unless Dean drags him out. 

Dean then moves to the library, putting all the books Sam and Charlie left around it in their places. He sneezes a thousand times while doing it because everything in that place is so dusty. He doesn’t even know how that happens since they’re always using the books and Sam hates when the books have even a thin layer of dust, always cleaning them when he sees it.

He cleans all the books and shelves from the dust, doing his best not to let all of it fall on his face and make him sneeze his lungs out as it usually happens. While Dean takes the dust out of one of the tallest shelves, he fails to see Cas walking inside the library and taking some blank papers Sam left there this morning. When Dean turns to take his things and move to the war room, Cas is long gone with his sheets. 

Dean doesn’t notice that the papers are missing either, focusing only on the music in his ears while humming along to it. He moves to the war room, not having much more to do than mop the floor, knowing damn well that when Charlie and Sam are back, they’re going to be spilling dirt, blood, and goo all around, so Dean doesn’t worry so much about the room.

He decides to leave the kitchen for last, for after he cooks so he can leave everything clean, without having to worry too much about it after. Sam and Charlie went out with the Impala so Dean doesn’t even think of cleaning the cars, thinking he should leave something for him to do on the other days if the two take too long to come back. He takes all of his things, walking back to the hallway that leads to the rooms, going towards Cas’s.

He puts his things on the floor next to the door and knocks once, opening it without waiting for Cas’s reply. Dean freezes between the door frames when he sees the big stack of paper sheets on top of the nightstand next to Cas, his hands frozen in the middle of his movement while a woman on Cas’s laptop keeps saying how to fold the paper to get the origami right. Dean looks around the room filled with different origamis, some big and some small, but all of them covering almost the entire floor, leaving small spots where Dean can see the hardwood under.

Dean’s mouth opens and closes a few times, like a goldfish, not being able to form any words. Cas lets go of the origami in his hands and closes the laptop as fast as he can, trying to pretend he wasn’t doing anything. “Hello, Dean.”

Dean keeps opening and closing his mouth, looking at Cas and then at the origamis on the floor and then at the stack of paper on the nightstand, not knowing what to do. After a few minutes, he finally shakes himself and stares at Cas. “What the hell is all of this, Cas?”

Cas tilts his head, doing his best innocent expression. “What, Dean?”

“What? What do you mean what? All of this. How the hell did you manage to get all of this origami in here?” Dean blinks a few times, his mouth opening as understanding crosses his eyes. “You’re the one stealing all the paper.”

“I’m sure I am not, Dean.”

Dean scoffs, putting his hands on his hips. “Really? Then how do you explain all of this?” He points at all the origami.

“I wasn’t stealing the paper. I was merely taking it without you noticing it.”

“I would call that stealing, Cas.” 

Cas shakes his head, putting his laptop on the nightstand along with the unfinished origami. “It would be stealing if the paper wasn’t ours but it is. So I don’t consider it stealing.”

Dean huffs a laugh, shaking his head. “Unbelievable. Just unbelievable . Do you have any idea how many times I had to go out and buy more paper? Dude, we thought you were binge-watching.”

Cas shrugs, picking at his thumb. “I was, it just was someone teaching how to make origami. And I really liked it so I decided to do it too.”

Dean enters the room, being careful not to step on any of the origami on the floor. He sits on the bed in front of Cas, shaking his head. “Did you really have to use all of that paper, man?”

Cas lowers his head, blushing. “I’m sorry, Dean.”

“It’s okay. Let’s just get all of this out of here, all right? Maybe we can still use all of this paper instead of just throwing out. And find something else to occupy your time, okay man? Especially something that doesn’t involve all of this paper.”

Cas nods, moving his body until he can put his feet on the floor. “Will you help me?”

Dean smiles softly. “Sure, Cas.”

They start taking the closest ones to them, unfolding and placing each on the bed, forming a pile. Dean lets Cas keep one of each for himself if he promises he won’t go and start making more of them. Dean gives him a box to put the ones he’s keeping so he won’t have to worry about losing them.

They spend almost two hours unfolding all of the origamis on the floor, Dean’s hand almost killing him from all the unfolding. Each of them takes a stack of paper, walking with them to the library. Dean places his stack on the table and starts to take some pretty heavy books, plopping them on the table. Cas raises one eyebrow. “What are the books for?”

“Well, the sheets are full of marks from where they were folded and it’s gonna be hard writing on them like this. So we use the books to try and straighten them again. Can’t promise it’ll work a hundred percent but it’ll be better than how they are right now.”

“I see. It makes sense.” Dean smiles at him and they start separating stacks, just enough for the books to straighten all of the sheets under it. They use the two tables to do it, Cas using one while Dean uses the other. 

When they finally finish putting the books on top of the papers, Dean sinks into one of the chairs, cleaning the sweat from his head. Cas sits on a chair next to him. “This wasn’t so hard, Dean.”

Dean stares at him with a brow arched. “Hey, I was cleaning the bunker before going into your room, okay? I was already tired and sweaty. And we still need to clean your room. Who knows what you have there after all this mess.”

Cas rolls his eyes. “I keep my room clean, Dean. I just didn’t have a place to put all of the origamis. But I can clean my own room. I know you are tired.”

Dean smiles, tapping Cas’s shoulder. “Well, while you clean your room, I’ll make something for us to eat and then clean the kitchen. Then we can watch something together, what do ya think?”

Cas smiles softly and nods. "Sounds like a plan."

Dean stands up, stretching himself. "All right, I'll meet you in my room then, okay?"

Cas nods and Dean leaves with one last clap to his shoulder. He walks out of the library towards the kitchen, already thinking of what he's going to do—maybe some burgers and a pie, classic Dean meal. 

Dean gathers the ingredients for the burgers and the pie, leaving everything separated so it'll be easier and quicker for him to cook. He doesn't even see the time pass as he cooks, putting the pie in the oven as he cooks the burgers, washes some lettuce and tomatoes. He hums some Black Sabbath song as he puts the sandwich together, some mayo, lettuce, and tomato. 

He flips the burgers, putting cheese on top of them and putting a tiny bowl on top of them so the cheese will melt on top of the burger. When he turns to get the cloth from the counter behind him, he almost jumps out of the skin when he sees Cas resting his side on the frame of the door, with a little smile on his lips. Dean exhales hard. "Damn, Cas, don't do that! You wanna kill me?"

Cas raises his hands in surrender, trying to fight the smirk on his lips. "I'm sorry, Dean. You were so focused on what you were doing and I didn't want to break your concentration."

"It's okay. Have you finished there?"

Cas nods, walking inside the kitchen and stopping in front of the sink. "I have. Do you need help?"

Dean shakes his head, throwing the cloth on top of the counter again. "Nah, just need to finish the burgers and wash the dishes. And then take the pie out of the oven."

"I can wash the dishes for you while you do the rest. You have done almost everything else, it’s only fair."

"All right then. I'll get our plates ready and set the movie up once I'm finished. Do you wanna a beer with yours?"

"Yes, please," Cas replies while he starts separating the dishes to wash them.

Dean gets the burgers out of the pan, placing them on top of the buns. He gets two beers from the fridge and walks out of the kitchen to go to his room. 

He puts the plates and the beers on the nightstand, and puts a random movie on the TV, not worrying too much about it. He pauses it and walks back to the kitchen, seeing Cas drying his hands on the cloth. Dean turns the oven off, taking the pie out of it. "Everything's ready. Just eat and enjoy now."

Cas smiles, taking the pie from Dean's hands. "Let's go then."

They walk out of the kitchen, making their way towards Dean's room. They make themselves comfortable on Dean's bed, resting their backs against the headboard with their sides touching while they start to eat.

 

Sam, Charlie, and Kevin find them a few hours later, Cas's head on Dean's chest, while Dean has one of his arms around Cas's waist and his other hand linked with Cas's, both with happy expressions on their faces. There are some empty beers, plates and the tray used for the pie on the floor, and some random romantic comedy movie playing on the TV, which they all agree is a little ironic.