Dean clutched two bloodstained hundred dollar bills to his chest, while he was backed into an alley that stunk of a week’s worth of trash.
The two hundred bucks were going to pay the bills and feed Sammy and him for the next month. He won the money fair and square in a pool game, but apparently the six guys that were crowding him didn’t agree. The same guys that he hustled at the dive bar.
Dean kept walking backwards as the guys advanced on him like a pack of dogs, until his back hit the solid wall of a dead-end. His left hand hanged limply by his side; at least three of his fingers were broken at the bar, where the guys held down his hand on the pool table and smashed it with a pool stick.
He’d only gotten away after he kneed one guy in the groin and another in the guts.
He didn’t get far until the men caught up with him
“Give us the money back, and maybe we won’t break your other hand,” the fat guy on the left said. His ragged T-shirt was stretched tight over his round belly. From the way he bossed the other guys around, Dean guessed he was the leader of the gang of losers. Dean could smell stale peanuts and cheap beer on Fat Ass’s breath.
Dean put on his biggest and fakest grin. “Why don’t you come and get it, tough guy?”
Fat Ass growled. “You ain’t gonna be so cocky after we’re done with you.”
The men rushed Dean. Dean broke a guy’s nose and put another guy in a chokehold, before he was pulled off the man and wrestled to the ground.
Someone put a knee on his back, forcing Dean to lie face down in the dirt. Boots stepped on his limbs while he struggled. Fat Ass bent his arms to his back, and said, “You won’t be hustling anymore, boy, after we chop off your fingers.”
Dean caught the glint of a switchblade out of the corner of his eye.
“Fuck.” He renewed his struggles to buck the men off of him. The men laughed.
“Let him go,” a new voice said.
The men looked towards the mouth of the alley, where a man was standing.
None of them had noticed him arriving. The man was tall and dressed in a nice suit that looked expensive even to Dean in the dark.
“Yeah? Who’s talking?” Fat Ass sneered.
Dean prayed the man had the good sense to walk away and call the cops. He didn’t want to have to save the guy’s ass too when he finally broke free. If he broke free.
The tall man didn’t move an inch. “If you have to ask me that, then you have no business beating people up around here. Let him go.”
“This little shit owes us money. We’re teaching him a lesson,” Fat Ass said. “Why don’t you run back to your daddy, rich boy, and leave us alone?”
As if to prove his point, one of Fat Ass’s lackeys grasped the back of Dean’s head and slammed his face down to the ground. Dean groaned in pain. Blood trickled into his eyes from his forehead.
A gunshot rang through the alley.
The alley was filled with alarmed shouts and the guys holding Dean on the ground backed off faster than he could blink. The pressure on Dean’s back was lifted off. Dean looked up to see Fat Ass clutching his left shoulder, where blood was gushing out and spreading over his T-shirt.
“You may want to get that looked at,” the man said calmly. “Before I put a bullet in your head.”
Fat Ass paled and stumbled out of the alley. The rest of his men followed. Dean could hear their footsteps hurrying all the way to the main street and someone yelling for the cops.
“You shouldn’t let people push you around,” the man said, turning back to Dean. He had dark hair, clear blue eyes and a strong jawline. Standing tall in the midst of the grime and grit of the backend alleyway, he looked like an avenging angel. It took Dean’s breath away.
The man reached down for Dean. Dazedly, Dean let himself be pulled to his feet. He stumbled, and the man steadied him.
“Who are you?” Dean held tighter to his money, because he knew good things didn’t happen to sixteen-year-old dropouts for no reason. Especially not in this part of town.
The man smiled. The corners of his steel blue eyes crinkled. He was beautiful. “I’m Michael Angeli. You look like you could use a friend, Dean Winchester.”
“Sergeant Winchester! The briefing starts in one minute! Get your ass down to the conference room.”
When Dean finally dropped off his report and hurried into the conference room, Samuel was already standing before a projector, which was the only source of light in the dark room. Hearing the door opened, Samuel stopped in the middle of his speech. Everyone turned around to look at Dean. “Sorry, Captain.”
His grandpa grunted. “Take your seat, Dean.”
Dean walked down the Aisle of Shame between the rows of tables, as some rookies snickered at him. He slipped into his usual seat.
“Nice going,” Christian said.
“Would’ve been here a lot sooner if you’d helped me with the report,” Dean said. His cousins were fucking assholes. The only reason Christian, Mark and Johnny got a job in the department was because they were Samuel’s cousins’ grandkids or something. Gwen was the only Campbell that Dean kind of liked, but she was in the Homicide Division, while Dean was stuck with Christian in the Organized Crime Unit.
“No can do, cuz. Have to let you do your homework. How else are you gonna learn?”
“I’ve worked here longer than you, douchebag.”
“Will you two in the back shut up?” Samuel said loudly.
Dean and Christian shut up.
“We all know the score,” Samuel said, turning back to the projection screen with a pointing stick. “The drug trade is dominated by the Angelis. It’s a fact. The thing is, a new gang led by Crowley is up and rising, and they want to take over. They cut their drugs and they are selling them cheaply and quickly, winning over the low-end dealers and users. The Angelis are not happy about this.”
“Isn’t this good news? I mean, we’ve been wanting to crack down on the Angelis for years,” an officer said. He added quickly, “Sir.”
“I’m getting to it,” Samuel said testily. “Crowley is trying to elbow his way into the drug trade and he is stepping on Angeli’s toes. We can let them go at each other but people will die, not just scumbags. We need to take them down a peg before that happens.”
Samuel clicked through his slides, and pulled up a large map of the South Side. It was an area filled with docks and warehouses and unfinished housing developments.
“Last night I got news the Angelis are expecting a shipment. Pure uncut cocaine. It’s better than any of the stuff on the streets right now,” Samuel said. There was a glint in his eyes. “Some of Angeli’s best men will be there to seal the deal. We’ll catch them red-handed this time and we’ll remind them who’s in charge of this city.”
Everyone cheered. There were a few vicious ‘Hell yeah!’s. Christian let out a loud whoop. Dean forced a smiled, clapped his hands, and threw in a wolf-whistle, because he was a damn good actor. But he felt a shiver down his spine, like someone just walked over his grave.
Samuel couldn’t have known about the shipment. No one at the police department was supposed to know.
- - -
After the briefing, Dean returned to his desk to find his seat taken. Sam grinned up at him. Sam was wearing one of his courtroom suits, the one with the matte horn buttons, so he must’ve just gotten back from a trial.
Dean’s heart always swelled with pride every time he saw Sammy like this.
“Hey, Sammy. What are you doing here? Hiding from the D.A.?”
“I heard about the operation you guys are planning,” Sam said excitedly.
Dean groaned. He dragged out Christian’s chair from the desk next to his, and flopped into it, because fuck Christian. “That’s classified information, man. Where did you get it?”
“If you guys catch the Angelis, I’ll be the one who file charges,” Sam said. “Samuel might have let slip a few minor details. Gave me a heads up.”
“I’ll remind him of that the next time he gives another rookie a hard time about shooting their mouths off.”
“It’s hardly the same thing, Dean.”
“I just want to see his face turns red again.” Dean laughed. “It’s hilarious.”
“Yeah.” Sam smiled, but what he said next shut Dean up quickly. “Can I ask how Anna’s case is going?”
Dean tried not to think about it too much most days. The image of her red hair blowing in the wind while she hung from the streetlight in front of the precinct. He wasn’t thinking about it. “I don’t know, Sam. You’ll have to ask Homicide. It’s not our case.”
Sam frowned. “But she was one of Samuel’s.”
“Hey, them the rules,” Dean said. “The guys in Homicide will find whoever did it.”
“We know who did it,” Sam reminded Dean. “We just can’t prove it.”
“Same thing, Sammy. We can’t do shit without evidence.”
Sam lowered his voice. “Do you think the rumor is true?”
The rumor that there was a rat in the house. Yeah, whoever started it had no idea how right they were. “No way in hell, man. We’re like a family in here.”
“I know.” Sam didn’t look reassured. “Anyway, good luck with the operation, Dean. I’ve got to run.”
“Are you heading down to Homicide?”
“Yeah,” Sam said, getting up from Dean’s chair. The chair creaked and the seat bounced up with more elasticity than a slinky. Someday Sam would break a chair with his ass and Dean would be there to take pictures. “I need to talk to them about one of my cases. Make sure I got it right before I go to court tomorrow.”
“Say hi to Gwen for me,” Dean said. Sam waved and trotted out of sight.
Dean reclaimed his chair and returned Christian’s chair before his cousin got back. He didn’t want to fight Christian over a stupid chair.
Dean punched the keys on his keyboard too hard when he entered his password. Why did Sam have to go and drag that up again? It wasn’t Dean’s fault Anna died. She was an Angeli. She knew what it meant to be an informer, to sell out her family.
Dean had to tell Michael about her.
Not his fault the Angelis found her and strung her up like a wind chime.
Despite the familiar shape of the memory foam mattress underneath him, Dean spent a lot of nights lying awake, not thinking about it.
- - -
Dean was eating mac and cheese in front of his TV when the Cell rang.
It vibrated keenly on the bedside table in his bedroom. Dean scrambled for the phone. He’d been expecting the call.
“Hey, Michael,” Dean said, a little breathless, and it was not entirely because of the short run to his bedroom.
“Hello, Dean,” Michael said, his voice clear over the phone. “Are you free to talk?”
“Yeah, sure,” Dean said, sitting on the side of his bed. “Is this about the shipment coming in tomorrow?”
“You know about that?” Michael said, and Dean was secretly thrilled that he finally surprised Michael for once.
“Samuel knows. We were briefed on the operation today. He knows the shipment is going to arrive at the South Side and he knows where the cash is gonna change hands. There’s gonna be a stakeout and everything. He plans to catch you guys in the act.”
“How could he have known?” Michael said.
“I don’t know. Maybe there’s a rat?”
“That’s hard to believe, after the warning we made with Anna’s death,” Michael mused. “This doesn’t bode well for us.”
“Good news is Samuel doesn’t know where the drugs are gonna change hands.”
“I don’t know where the merchandise will be handed over either,” Michael said. Dean could almost hear the frown in his voice. “The new supplier is careful to the point of being paranoid. He’ll only tell my people the location after we check a sample of the merchandise and present the money at the meeting.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Focus on the stakeout. Do what you’ve always done. This deal is important to me, Dean.”
“I won’t let you down,” Dean was quick to say.
“I know. I’ve always trusted you, Dean,” Michael said, with that lilt in his words that meant he was smiling on the other end of the line.
Later Dean jerked off to the memory of those words and blue eyes so sharp they could cut his skin. He didn’t even see Michael much these days, since Michael said Dean couldn’t risk being seen with him, so the closest thing Dean could get was Michael’s voice. He’d take whatever he could take.
Michael was the only one who gave a damn about Dean when Dad wouldn’t stop chasing a killer that never existed after Mom died. He was the one who helped Dean put food on the table. He put Dean through police academy, and put Sam through high school, pre-law, and law school, though Sam never knew.
When Dean came with a shout, he forgot about red hair and lies and the booze in his fridge.
Michael might be a crook, but he was miles better than Samuel and all of the Campbells. They never tried to look for him and Sam when Dad went off the rails. They were cops but that didn’t mean they were good people.
The South Side was a wide strip of land that was bordered by the sea. There were dozens of berths and terminals, and places like beaches and shores and small cliffs where boats could be docked.
No one knew where the shipment of drugs would arrive.
“We need to catch the Angelis with the cash, and we need to catch them with the drugs,” Samuel had said, before they headed to the cars and drove to the South Side. “They don’t know where the drugs will be handed over, but we’ll know as soon as they do.”
The handover of the cash was supposed to take place in a grimy apartment building in the most crowded part of the South Side. It was where families lived in cramped spaces smaller than Dean’s bedroom and the homeless lived under bridges.
The Organized Crime Unit parked the mobile command center two streets away from where the meeting was going to be held. The command center was a large van filled wall-to-wall with radio equipments, monitors, and recording devices.
Dean was responsible for monitoring movements at the entrance of the target building and the road in front of the building. That was why he got to sit in the back of a stuffy van with a dozen men, instead of freezing his ass off waiting in a car on the streets.
Samuel paced the aisle down the command center, passing everyone’s back and seeing what everyone’s monitors were showing. He was wearing two single wire earpieces. One in each ear.
“You want coffee?” Christian said, walking by with a steaming cup of coffee.
“Did you make it?” Dean said.
“All right, people. Keep your eyes open,” Samuel said.
Dean put on his radio headset. So did the others in the center.
Further down the road, a black car slowed down to a stop in front of a gas station. Three men and two women got off the car.
The radio crackled. It was one of the officers on the streets speaking, “I’m seeing five people: Uriel Angeli, Balthazar Angeli, Castiel Angeli, Rachel Angeli, and Hester Angeli. They’re approaching the building.”
They were all Michael’s cousins and closer to Michael than any of the outsiders brought into the family. It was like the family birthed nothing but the toughest sons-of-bitches in town. It was rare that they were caught sighted together in such large numbers; Michael must be really serious about this deal.
Dean had never had the pleasure to meet them, but he was hoping he’d never had the chance.
Samuel said into his microphone, “I want the teams at the entrance on stand-by after the Angelis are in. No one is coming out without us knowing.”
Dean watched the mostly static image on his monitor, while glancing at Samuel without actually looking at him.
Samuel had closed his eyes, concentrating, despite the fact that the scanner was mostly silent. Now and then, the teams stationed in the various dock areas reported seeing boats docking, but there was nothing suspicious on the boats.
Michael wouldn’t contact Dean on the phone, not when Dean was surrounded by cops. If the rest of the stakeout passed without another word about the deal, it meant one of two things: Either the Angelis didn’t come to an agreement with the supplies, or other was that the Angelis got away scot-free with the drugs.
But if Dean heard any news from Samuel, it meant big trouble for the Angelis and the deal.
Christian nudged Dean. Dean pulled off his headset to better hear him. Christian said, “You figure the deal fell through?”
“I don’t know. Why are you asking?”
“Just making conversation.”
“Go and make conversation with Samuel, dude,” Dean said, putting on his headset.
“Nah,” Christian said, and sipped his coffee.
Stakeout was always boring, the part of police operations that was never shown on the cop procedural shows that Dean hated. The massive inaccuracies in those shows made him want to break his television every time he switched to one of them. Gave him Dr. Sexy anytime of the day.
It felt like hours had passed, but it’d probably been an hour at most, when Samuel stopped pacing. Dean’s heart sank.
“They’re docking on the beach on the left of Abbott Road,” Samuel shouted. “I want all vehicles on them, right now.”
A voice over the radio said, “We have a team nearby. They’ll arrive in half a minute.”
Shit shit shit. Dean needed to tell Michael to get his people the hell out. But he couldn’t just walk out of the command center and make a call. Not now. He sneaked a look around the center. Everyone was focused on listening to the communications coming through the radio.
Dean sneaked a hand in his jacket pocket. He clicked on the Cell. He entered the word: INCOMING, and hit send.
He held his breath, so did Samuel and everyone else in the room, though for different reasons.
Over the radio, someone said, “They opened the packages and dumped the drugs in the sea before our men could reach them, sir. There’s nothing left.”
“Shit!” Samuel said.
The command center was quiet. Shouts were coming through the radio as the teams on the beach tried to tackle whoever was running away from them.
Samuel looked around the command center. His expression was dark as a thunderstorm, but he was listening to whatever communication was coming from the other earpiece he was hearing. “The Angelis are leaving through the laundry room. Let’s go say hello to them.”
- - -
Dean stood near the front door of the precinct, while officers were bringing in the Angelis to be taken into the interrogation rooms.
The Angelis looked like they stepped out of a motorbike commercial, wearing leather jackets, heavy-duty jeans, and biker boots. With their heads held high, they acted more like they were the royalty of the city than its scum.
“Busy night,” Sam said.
“You have no idea,” Dean said. “It’s not even over yet.”
A sergeant pulled out two more cuffed men in soaking wet clothes from a squad car and marched them through the door. “Caught these two on the beach. Bartholomew Angeli and Inias Angeli. Told us they were ‘just taking a walk.”
The blond one sneered. “Walking on beaches isn’t a crime now, is it, Officer?”
“Should be one if it is you people doing the walking. Move along, smart ass,” Dean said. The two men were taken into the precinct.
“And the other Angelis were just ‘chatting with old friends’,” Sam said.
“We have nothing on them,” Dean said.
“You’ll have better luck next time, Dean,” Sam said.
“Yeah.” Dean didn’t look forward to the long night ahead. The Angelis could only be detained without charges for seventy-two hours tops before they had to let them go. Samuel would want the Angelis interrogated throughout the next three days and nights.
Dean knew the Angelis wouldn’t talk. They never did, and he didn’t want them to. But he had to put up a good act before he could crawl home for the night.
- - -
“Castiel Angeli has a rap sheet a mile long. Did time for numerous counts of assault and battery,” Christian said. “Got off easy. At one time or another, he’d been charged with drug trafficking, blackmailing, fraud, and conspiracy to commit murder, but those never stuck.”
“Sounds like a real laugh at a party.”
Christian stopped before the interrogation room. He was broad enough to block the entrance. “Think you’re up for it, cuz?”
Dean bit back his usual irritation at the endearment. “I’ve done this more times than you’ve wiped your ass.”
When Castiel Angeli looked up from his cuffs, cold eyes focused intently on Dean, Dean’s head was confused and t for a moment he thought it was Michael sitting across from him in an interrogation room, like in the many occasional wet dreams he had. The leather jacket was a bonus.
Then Dean caught himself because of course Michael would never get caught. Michael was too good for that.
“I won’t talk.” Castiel glowered.
“Yes, you will, sweetheart,” Christian said, dropping his chair in front of the table with a loud clatter, before sitting on it. Fucking Christian. He was always hamming it up for the perps. “You’ll fucking sing.”
Dean sat down on another chair. “We can help you, man. Only thing you got to do is to help us out.”
Castiel didn’t even twitch.
“Hey, you’re a smart guy. You know how this works. So how about we do this the easy way first?” Dean said. “You can spare yourself the pain of sitting through my partner’s bad acting here.”
That at least got a reaction out of Castiel, who looked at Dean again, this time with something that might be puzzlement. “You’re honest.”
“That’s who I am,” Dean said with a winning grin. “So trust me when I say I know you feel like you have to be loyal to your family. But I’m telling you, there’s nothing but trouble down that road.”
Castiel, impossibly, started to laugh.
“What you laughing at?” Christian said.
Castiel kept his eyes trained on Dean. “I want to talk to the sergeant alone.”
Dean nodded at Christian, who glared unhappily at Dean but walked out of the door. The door slammed shut.
“You’re talking plenty for a guy who swore he wouldn’t talk,” Dean said.
“I’ve heard of you,” Castiel said.
“Oh yeah?” Dean said, feeling his throat tightened. No one other than Michael was supposed to know he worked for the Angeli family. Dean glanced up at the surveillance camera mounted in the ceiling of the room. He’d shut the guy up with force if he so much as breathed a word here, suspension be damned. It was not like they had a case against the Angelis anyway.
“You’re Dean Winchester. Your entire family works in law enforcement,’ Castiel said.
“Well, my mom and dad were cops. My cousins are cops. My grandpa is a cop and my boss,” Dean said, trying not to look too relieved. “That what you’re talking about?”
“Would you ever betray them?”
Dean wanted to say hell yeah, he’d do it without a thought. He was doing it right now just by sitting here. The only person in the world he’d die for was Sam because Sam was the only good thing that came out of his goddamn life. The Campbells could go to hell as far as he was concerned. But there was no good way to say it, not here where everyone was watching.
Castiel apparently took his silence as defeat. “Then you have no right to ask me to do the same to my family.”
After Dean called Christian back into the room, Castiel didn’t say another word for the night. Christian made a lot of noises about jail time, but they all knew those were empty threats.
Dean offered Castiel a soda, which Castiel didn’t touch. His usual “You can contact me anytime you want. We’ll always be there to help you” at the end didn’t really get much response from the guy either.
Dean said, after he and Christian were walking away from the room, “Honestly? I’d be more surprised if he cracked.”
“That’s because he was too busy staring at your ‘delicate features’ to answer my questions,” Christian said. “To quote our lovely Gwen.”
Dean would’ve punched him if he hadn’t heard that joke a million times already. “No one asks you, dickhead.”
“Just saying. He’s a fucking creep.”
Dean glanced back at the interrogation room. Castiel was staring at the two-way mirror vacantly. He wasn’t one of those freaks that acted like they could see what was going on behind the glass.
But it felt like Castiel’s stare never left him.
Dean tried a hand at interrogating the other Angelis. Most of the times all he got were blank glares while Christian ranted at them. He even got Balthazar snoring loudly for the whole session with his eyes wide open. He didn’t get far before Uriel was calling him a pig in his face and he had to stop Christian from making good on his threats and beating the guy up.
During lunchtime, Dean shifted through the personal belongings they took from the Angelis. There were the usual stuff like wallets, cigarettes, lighters, watches, and cell phones. Dean looked for the phones and there was nothing suspicious, only some inane and probably coded messages containing times and dates. No calls or texts were made during the time the deal took place.
Dean wanted to bash his head against the wall.
It didn’t help that Samuel was fuming the whole day. “Lock them up until tomorrow. I don’t care we can’t get anything. We’ll keep them here as long as we can.”
After dinner at home, Dean pulled out the books from his bookshelves and dumped them on the floor. His bookshelf had been more organized than the town library since Sam last visited him, but damn he needed to get something to take him mind off the inevitable.
Dean gave it up as a lost cause after he finished the first shelf.
He sat on top of the fallen pile of books, hard corners poking at his ass, and went for smoking a cigarette instead.
The Cell rang before too long.
“Dean,” Michael said.
“I’m sorry, Michael. Seriously, I don’t know how it happened. Samuel knew what was going on like he had a direct line to your people’s meeting.”
“Did you find anything in my cousins’ belongings?”
“Nothing,” Dean said. “Absolutely fucking nothing. Was your place bugged?”
“No,” Michael said. “I did a sweep for listening devices. The supplier had his own people checked before the meeting. There was no bug there.”
This was starting to sound like one of those locked door murder mysteries. It couldn’t happen but it did, and now they might as well blamed a ghost for it.
“If one of my cousins is the rat, then perhaps Samuel took the wire off them before they were taken into the precinct,” Michael said slowly, teasing the thought out.
“That makes sense.” Dean could feel a headache building. It was just like Anna all over again. “We still don’t know who it is though.”
“I will talk to you later, Dean,” Michael said. “After my cousins are released.”
It was with a heavy heart that Dean went to bed, and he couldn’t close his eyes even though he was bone tired.
- - -
After the seventy-two hours were up, Samuel made the order to release the Angelis. He stood by the door and glared at each one of them as they walked out of the precinct.
It was the first night in days that Dean got off work on time, having nothing but his thoughts for company.
Which was why he opted out of going home early and dropped by his favorite bar that was conveniently located on the way to his home.
Just to get nicely buzzed before he tried to sleep early.
Dean got himself a quiet table at a secluded corner in the bar. He ordered shots for himself and thanked god Sam wasn’t there to nag him about his sleeping problems and how alcohol and cigarettes were not helping him.
It wasn’t the fucking drinks or cigs that were stopping him from sleeping. It was the ghosts that wouldn’t leave him whenever he closed his eyes. It was how he kept looking behind his back whenever someone mentioned a ‘rat’ or a ‘mole’.
“I take it you’re not waiting for someone,” a voice said.
Dean would’ve spun around to see who was talking, but when he moved his head he felt like his chair was a carousel on steroids.
Castiel sat across from him, wearing the same leather jacket he’d been wearing for the last three days in the holding cells. “You’re the Good Cop.”
“Well, look who it is,” Dean said, grinning widely, hand inching to his holster. Fucking shit. His vision was swimming. The thing about being a double agent was that his own team didn’t know he was on their side. It certainly didn’t stop him from getting beat up by any of the Angelis. As far as he knew, only Michael knew Dean worked for them. None of the goons did. “Guess you enjoyed your stay in the holding cells? Coming back for more, are you?”
“No, your partner makes disgusting coffee.”
Dean couldn’t help but toss back his head and laugh. “Ain’t gonna argue with you on that.”
Cas nodded, watching Dean through the dim lights with those droopy blue eyes. Fuck. He had the same eyes as Michael’s. It must be something in the Angeli genes that were giving those eyes such an unreal color.
“Seriously, though, what do you want?” Dean said. “I’m off duty, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“You,” Cas said calmly.
Dean could hear the pounding of his heart in his ears. It must be the alcohol or the man that was leaning too close to him. “Pretty sure of yourself there.”
“You said I’m always welcome to contact you.”
“Not exactly what I meant, Cas.”
“And you’re calling me Cas.”
Dean could barely say no. He didn’t have that much self-control when it came to a guy like Cas, but he said, “I’m not one of those cops.” He was, he was one of those cops and did things so much worse than screwing people he shouldn’t be screwing, and he wanted to do it so badly.
“And I’m not convicted with anything I’ve not served sentence for,” Cas said. “I believe the term is ‘innocent before proven guilty’. I’m like any other citizen that wishes to talk to you. There’s nothing illegal about this encounter.”
Dean’s willpower was ground into powder by those words and the booze clouding his mind. He lunged forwards, closing the distance between their faces and those eyes that reminded him so much of someone else.
Dean kissed the hell out of the man, sucking on his lip until they both couldn’t breathe.
When they broke apart, Cas panted, and looked at him with wide eyes. “I didn’t expect this.”
“I was just asking to talk to you.”
Dean gaped, and pulled his hands away like he was burnt. “Fuck, I’m so sorry.”
Those blue eyes narrowed. “Don’t you dare.”
Cas cupped Dean’s face and pulled him forwards into an open-mouthed kiss again.
Dean dragged Cas home, because home was a mere five minutes walk from the bar, and he had a memory foam mattress in his bed, even if they had to stop every few seconds to pull Dean’s hand out of Cas’s shirt, and generally had a hard time walking in a straight line.
Straight line. Ha ha.
It was a wonder Dean managed to walk up the stairs to his door and unlock his door in complete darkness while trying to keep his mouth on Cas’s.
When Dean finally slammed the door behind them, he pulled away long enough to say, “Let me get this out of the way: You won’t get anything about my work out of me.”
“Neither you me.” Cas growled. “Can we start now?”
“Impatient, much?” Dean said.
“Yes,” Cas said, pulling off his own pants.
It was a messy ordeal. Clothes were left on the floor, and Dean was too drunk to find any lotion for prepping, so they settled for sloppy handjobs in the bed with plenty of spit.
Dean could imagine it was Michael grabbing at him in the dark, but then he remembered he hadn’t seen Michael in year, and Michael’s face was kind of hazy in his mind’s eye. Maybe Michael looked kind of like Cas. Or maybe they looked completely different. He wasn’t sure.
Afterwards, Dean felt so relaxed it was like he was drifting in thin air. If not for Cas breathing next to him on the bed, he’d think he had floated away, even if he hated flying.
“Why did you want to talk to me anyway?” Dean said drowsily.
He thought Cas mumbled something like “Because you’re a good cop.” But Dean fell sleep before he could make sure.
- - -
The next morning when Dean woke up, the space beside him had long gone cold.
He couldn’t say he expected anything different, but he was disappointed when he found the leather jacket was gone from the floor of his bedroom.
Dean wandered into the kitchen, and heat up a pan. When he went to get eggs from the fridge, he stopped. Under the police cap magnet that Sam got for him as a joke, there was a note with a scrawled number stuck to the fridge door.
“Pretty sure of yourself there, Cas,” Dean said, smiling to himself, but he entered the number into his cell.
When Christian sat up straighter and muttered, “You’re fucked, man”, Dean knew there’d be trouble.
“Can I talk to you, Dean?” Samuel said, looming behind Dean’s chair.
“Yeah, sure,” Dean said. He wiped his suddenly sweaty palms on his pants, and followed Samuel into the office. He didn’t know what Samuel wanted to talk about, but the only thing he could think of was the night he spent with Cas. And yeah, he was fucked.
Samuel gestured for Dean to take a seat, so Dean chose a lumpy chair that was probably older than Dean himself. Samuel looked serious, but then he didn’t usually look much of anything else.
Samuel clasped his hands under his chin. “We have a mole in our ranks.”
“What?” Dean said. A few scenarios flashed through his mind: he could turn tail and run, he could jump out of those windows behind Samuel, or he could ask Samuel to let him go. None of them sounded appealing. Dean tried to smile, and he thought he managed it pretty well. “Why would you think that?”
“Have you heard of the rumors after Anna’s death?”
“Yeah, but I thought those are, you know, rumors. Doesn’t mean someone ratted her out to the Angelis,” Dean said.
“I used to think Anna might have slipped up. It happens,” Samuel said. “But after the mess with the Angelis, I’m starting to think there may be some truth in the rumors.”
“Because the Angelis got rid of the drugs?” Dean said.
“Because they got rid of the drugs seconds before our people drove onto the beach. We were that close to catching them,” Samuel said. “There was no way they knew we were gaining on them, or else they’d have arranged to have the drugs shipped in another day. You know what I think?”
“I think they thought they could make it out of there with the drugs, but at the very last minute someone tipped them off we were coming.”
Dean nodded along, because what else could he do? This meeting didn’t look like it was going to end in Dean’s arrest. Dean had to go with the flow and see where it took him. “How are we gonna find the mole?”
“I won’t be doing it. You will,” Samuel said.
Dean blinked. He was sure he heard it wrong. “What?”
“You’ll have full access to resources that will help you track down the mole,” Samuel said. “Everyone at thin the Unit wants the mole caught.”
“Why don’t you do it?” Dean said.
“I have to monitor the Crowley and Angeli situation, Dean,” Samuel said. “I might be a captain but I can’t do everything, as much as I want to.”
“Why are you trusting me with this?” Dean said, his throat feeling dry, standing to leave.
Samuel stood too. He smiled. “You’re my grandson. I think that’s reason enough.”
- - -
Dean was told to stand beside Samuel when Samuel made the announcement that day. There was some shock over Samuel’s acknowledgement of a mole in the Unit, but most were happy to see Dean heading the investigation.
When he phoned Michael about it, Michael said, “That’s good, Dean. I know I can depend on you.”
Michael’s tone grew grave. “Just remember, if Samuel is suspecting there is a mole in the police department, you can be sure Samuel’s inside man has been instructed to look for you as well.”
Dean felt a chill down his spine. He didn’t care about the job. He wasn’t one of those guys so attached to the job they only slept in their house two nights a week. It was just a job to him, a front, a disguise to work for Michael.
But Sam would be ruined if it got out Dean was planted in the police department by the Angelis. Sam would be kicked out of the D.A.’s office, because no one could trust him to prosecute the very people that Dean was working for.
Dean couldn’t let anyone found him.
- - -
Dean went home that night on an empty stomach; not even the smells from the burger joint could boost his appetite. When did his life become so complicated? He was only supposed to supply Michael with information about the police’s moves against the Angelis. His grandpa wasn’t supposed to know there was a mole, least of all making Dean responsible for smoking out the mole.
What was Dean gonna do? Handed himself over?
Dean could’ve laughed at the irony of it all. Someone in heaven must really hate him.
Dean scrolled down the contacts in his cell, and his finger hovered over the recently added: CA.
He looked at it a long time.
Cas was a one-night stand that also happened to be his sworn enemy, as far as everyone was concerned. Out of all the complications in his life, Cas was either the least complicated, or the most. Dean wasn’t sure which he was.
Fuck. Dean shut off his cell and lay down on his bed.
He wasn’t nearly smart enough for this, he would’ve called Sam but Sam was the last person in the world he’d ever tell his secret to.
Dean fell into an uneasy sleep. He dreamt he was in an impossibly large maze made up of carpeted hallways that twisted and turned. There were no doors and no windows. He could scream but there was no one to hear him. He could run forever but never get out.
Dean woke up sweaty and disoriented in his bed, half-convinced he was still in that infinite hell.
He lit up a cigarette to help himself stay awake.
- - -
When Michael called to meet Dean, Dean was excited, but a lot as thrilled as he might be a week ago, thanks to his thing with Cas. But this would be great to see Michael in the flesh. This was the first time he had seen Michael in years.
Michael arranged to meet in a cinema. The cinema was showing a chick flick that Dean would never watch. There were only two teenaged couples snuggling in the back, and maybe four other single people sitting in the center rows.
Dean pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes, in case there were surveillance cameras.
Dean waited while watching the chick found out the guy she had a crush on was actually a huge douchebag. He wasn’t sure what was going on in the movie, since he was distracted by the couple two rows away making slurping noises like they were eating from each other’s mouth.
The entrance to the theater opened. Someone sat down in the row in front of Dean, directly in front of his seat.
Dean’s heart hammered in his chest.
Then the man turned, dressed in a nice suit with his dark hair slicked to the side
Michael smiled. The lines at the corners of his eyes had deepened since the last time Dean saw him, but his eyes were as bright as ever, made even more so with the lights from the projector reflected in them.
“How are you?”
“I’m good,” Dean said, his voice shakier than he’d like. “You?”
“Good. I would’ve liked to meet more often like we did in the past.”
“But the police keeps a close eye on you. Yeah, I know. Don’t worry about it,” Dean said.
Michael smiled. “Exactly. And they are getting ever closer with this rat. I need you to find out who it is.” Michael handed Dean a brown envelope. Dean took it. “I asked my cousins to fill in their personal information. Their social security numbers, birth dates, et cetera.”
“You want me to check the databases?”
“Yes,” Michael said. “You have more access to police records than we do.”
Dean tested the thickness of the brown envelope. There couldn’t be more than ten pages. “I don’t know, Michael. There are files I can’t access.”
“Do your best,” Michael said, his eyes serious. “Remember what I said about the mole, Dean. I’m not the only one at stake here.”
Dean said numbly, “I know.”
“I’ll go first,” Michael said. He got up and left through the entrance to where the concession stand and washrooms were.
Dean waited for a bit. After the chick finished her heart-to-heart talk with one of her girlfriends, Dean got up and left through the emergency exit.
The door opened to a short narrow stairway and the backdoor of the cinema. The walls were slimy, and the tiles were slick with something Dean wasn’t interested in investigating.
Dean walked out onto a street filled with bars and weekend drunks. He’d have gotten himself a beer if he hadn’t already had a stash at home. Dean walked around a guy puking his guts out next to a street lamp. Looked like the guy ate carrots and corn for lunch.
That was when Dean felt it.
It might be a cop thing, a rat thing, or a street kid thing that he never got rid of, but he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.
The uneasy feeling that he was hearing footsteps that matched his a little too perfectly.
Dean ducked down a deserted road. The ground was uneven and covered with puddles. He walked as briskly as he could without breaking into a run. Yeah, he heard it: the footsteps. He wasn’t going crazy.
He wanted so bad to turn around and see who the rat was finally, but that’d mean showing his face. He had to lose the guy now.
A cell phone rang.
It was clear and loud in the quiet of the night. Someone swore faintly and those were definitely the footsteps of a man dashing for cover.
Dean ducked into an alley, breathing hard. He took out a small knife from his jacket.
Footsteps were coming towards him.
Dean pulled the man into the alley and drove the knife into his chest.
The body fell. It was a kid barely out of his teens. It wasn’t anyone that Dean recognized, and certainly not an Angeli.
“Fuck,” Dean said, backing away. He might’ve got the wrong guy, but the mole was still back there following him. He ran down the alley and reached a busy road filled with office workers heading home. He swore people would take a look at him and his shaky hands and know what he’d done, but no one so much as glanced at him.
Dean made a few detours, getting on trains and getting off at stations he’d never been to, until he could convince himself no one was tailing him.
- - -
In the morning in the precinct, Dean overheard cops from Homicide talking about the kid he stabbed. There was no clue that would lead them to him, but he walked away feeling dirty all the same.
Dean tried to sleep, because he couldn’t work without sleep for two nights. When he was still lying awake at half-past one, he remembered the only time he actually slept well in months.
He fished out his cell and phoned Cas.
Cas was up, doing whatever the mafia did in the dead of night. The guy probably didn’t need to sleep. He insisted they met in a motel in a seedy part of town. “Because I can’t be seen with you.” Which made sense.
As soon as Cas walked into the motel room, Dean clutched at Cas with all the desperation of a drowning man, because he was so close to fucking everything up and he needed someone to tell him that he was doing the right thing, but Cas didn’t know and couldn’t give it to him.
Cas wasn’t gentle. Cas thrust into him with short little jerks that made Dean cry out every time
When they were lying in bed and out of breath, Dean thought that yes, this was how he would go to sleep for the rest of the nights in his life. He would willingly splurge his money on motel rooms instead of booze if this arrangement kept up.
Dean touched his arm gingerly, and, damn, it was going to bruise tomorrow. “Is there something you want to talk about? Seemed like you want to work out something?”
Cas tensed. “I thought we agree we won’t talk about our respective work.”
“Right,” Dean said. “We can talk about something else.”
“Like why are you sleeping with me?”
“Why does anyone sleep with anyone?” Cas said.
“Not the time to be cryptic, Cas.” Dean groaned. “Last time you said you slept with me because I’m a good cop. What did that even mean?”
Cas rolled around to look Dean in the eyes. Cas said seriously, “I’m surrounded by people like myself day in and day out. I’ve seen terrible things done to decent people. I don’t enjoy what I do for my work.”
“Then why don’t you leave?”
“It’s not that easy,” Cas said. “But I think I would like to have a friend that doesn’t know what it’s like to do those things. It reminds me I’m not so different from you. I can be someone like you if fate is kinder.”
Dean felt like someone put a hand in his chest and squeezed his heart. It hurt. “I’m not that good, Cas. You don’t want to be like me.”
“You’re a good man.”
At his desk, Dean opened the brown envelope that Michael gave him and took out a few sheets of A4-sized paper. They were filled form for setting up an Individual Retirement Account. Dean had to crack a smile at that; he never thought the Angelis were bothered by things like the IRS.
Dean entered the details of the Angelis into the police database, and was rewarded with a bunch of lengthy criminal records. Most Angelis started working for the family early, getting arrested in their teens and spent most of their puberty in juvies.
Cas, on the other hand, was twenty-two years old when he was arrested for the first time. Dean took the time to look up his old mug shot, and there it was, Cas glaring out of the monitor with an impressive black-eye and a goddamn tie, looking a lot like the college kids Dean pulled over sometimes. The mafia life had really roughened up the guy.
The criminal records weren’t anything Dean hadn’t read about. Instead, Dean clicked open the police personnel database, and entered the details of the Angelis into the computer.
The database came up with no result for any of the Angelis.
It wasn’t like Samuel would keep files of his informers in a place where anyone could find them.
- - -
Dean paced his bedroom with the Cell pressed against his ear. “The rat is getting too close.”
“It’ll be fine,” Michael said. “It’s always fine. Remember Anna?”
“Yeah, I remember Anna. She didn’t come anywhere as close as this guy did. The rat nearly caught me, and I killed a kid because I thought it was him. This wasn’t meant to happen,” Dean said. He steered himself for what he was going to say next. He’d been planning this for the whole day, but that didn’t make this any easier. There was no good way to say it, so he just had to come out and say it. “I’m quitting.”
“I can’t let you do that,” Michael said with a steel-cold tone. “You’re in this as deep as me.”
“I’m not one of your goons or cousins that you can boss around,” Dean said. “I won’t breathe a word of your secrets to the cops, but I’m quitting.”
“Don’t force my hand, Dean,” Michael said. “I have recordings of our telephone calls.”
Dean’s blood ran cold. “What?”
“I’ll release the tapes if you want to stop working for me, Dean.”
“I’m the best man you’ve got inside the police department.”
“That won’t matter to me anymore if you quit on me,” Michael said. “But think of how much damage that’ll do to dear Sammy’s career. He’s on the fast track to becoming the youngest A.D.A. in the history of this town, isn’t he?”
Dean couldn’t speak.
“Find the informer,” Michael said. “There will be a shipment coming in next week. Take care of the rat before then.”
“How?” Dean said. “The information you gave me is useless. I don’t know where to fucking start on finding the guy.”
“The mole followed me to the cinema. You know what to do,” Michael said.
“What do I have to do?” Dean said desperately. “I’m asking you, Michael. Just tell me.”
“You’ll figure it out, Dean. You’re smart,” Michael said, before hanging up.
Dean threw the Cell to the floor. It ricocheted from the feet of his closet and slid under his bed.
There wasn’t a single dent on the Cell.
Dean sat on his bed, and breathed hard into his clasped hands.
It was no surprise he picked up his other cell and phoned Cas.
- - -
Dean stood on the balcony of the room, smoking slowly. Blocks of solid dark buildings lined the streets, occasionally dotted with lights from some workaholic’s windows. He could forget about Michael and Samuel and a rat and being a rat. It was peaceful.
“I didn’t know you smoke.”
Dean turned. Cas was awake, sitting up in bed, his hair in adorable disarray. It never stopped thrilling Dean knowing he did that. “A lot of cops smoke, Cas.”
“Why?” Cas said, joining Dean on the balcony.
“For one thing, it’s a stressful job cleaning up the mess guys like you make.”
Cas held out a hand. Dean, not having his box of cigarettes on him, handed over the one he was smoking. Cas frowned a little at the cancer stick, put it between his lips, and inhaled. He turned bright red and started coughing so hard it sounded like he was gonna cough his lungs out.
Dean laughed. “Don’t tell me the big bad Castiel Angeli can’t smoke.”
“I can do it.” Cas scowled. He tried again, and was promptly sent into a coughing fit.
That made Dean laugh harder. Cas punched him in the arm, which actually hurt. “Okay, alright. Let’s try something different.”
Dean easily snatched the cigarette from Cas’s hand. He took a long drag on the cigarette, which tasted like Cas and him. Dean inhaled the smoke and held it between his puffed cheeks, and then he leaned forwards and met Cas’s lips with his own.
Cas’s mouth opened naturally to Dean’s. Dean breathed the smoke out, and Cas drank it in like a man in a desert.
Just as Cas tried to use tongue, Dean pulled back with a pop. Cas glared at him, looking swollen-lipped like he just ate the hottest curry in town. Dean grinned. “So how’s your first smoke, Cas?”
“I need more of it before I can comment,” Cas said, before closing his mouth over Dean’s again. This time without the smoke.
Dean moaned when Cas bit his bottom lip and sucked. He licked into Cas’s wet mouth, tasting nicotine and mint and Cas.
He could get addicted to this.
- - -
It was on the following morning that Dean finally understood what Michael was saying.
There was only one person that Dean knew for sure had a way to contact the informer, and like how the rat followed Michael into the cinema, Dean could get someone to follow Samuel until he led them to the informer.
Dean pulled aside Christian and two rookies that just got into the Unit a few months ago. “I want you to put Captain Samuel under surveillance.”
“Are you kidding me?” Christian said. “You think Samuel is the mole?”
“I think Samuel might be the mole. He might not be, but until then I’m suspecting everyone.”
“You’re saying Samuel might be the mole,” Christian repeated. “Your grandpa. The guy who let you head the investigation.”
“Do you want the mole found or not?” Dean said irritably. Because of course Christian would object to doing extra legwork. “How the fuck can I find him if you won’t listen to me?”
The rookies looked uncertain. Christian stared at Dean, but said, “Fine, but I’m not doing it for you.”
“I don’t care,” Dean said. “Report to me when you find something.”
Over the next few days, Samuel walked in and out of the precinct a few times during office hours, going on his own business, but mostly he just went for a pack of cigarette or a newspapers. Christian was getting mad at Dean, and the only thing Dean could do was to remind Christian of the promise he made.
It was on a Thursday that Christian called Dean. Samuel had gone out of the office for at least an hour, longer than his usual errands would take. “Samuel got into an office building downtown. I saw him took an elevator to the rooftop.”
“Thanks, man,” Dean said, keeping his voice steady. If Michael got the rat, maybe Dean would finally get a decent nigh sleep. “Send me the address. Wait in the car and see if there’s anyone else coming.”
“You got it.”
Dean sent the address to Michael.
It was Michael’s problem now. Dean was a cop; the Angelis were the only one who could make a move on the guy. Dean didn’t care if the son of a bitch deserved the punishment the Angelis would deal out. He just wanted to end this cat and mouse chase and Michael breathing down the back of his neck.
- - -
An hour later, Dean was standing in front of an office building, looking at Samuel’s body where it had landed on the roof of a crushed sedan.
There were four Angelis on the pavement, lying dead and riddled with bullet holes. Dean had seen them all before at the precinct: Uriel, Rachel, Hester, and Bartholomew Angeli. On his way to the scene, Dean had felt like something was stuck in his throat, making it difficult for him to draw breath, and it’d only eased when he saw that Cas wasn’t amongst the casualties.
Christian was waiting by the car across the road from the bodies. He had a hard look in his eyes. “They threw Samuel off the building, and they were armed when they came out of the door. We had to shoot them.”
Dean temporarily took over Samuel’s office to work out his thoughts. There were a few photos placed on Samuel’s desk. Right next to the computer was a framed picture of Mom. It made Dean ache seeing her in a white evening gown, laughing with Dad during a police Christmas ball.
They looked so happy in that picture.
The Cell rang. It was Michael.
“You shouldn’t have done that.” Dean closed the office door, keeping his voice as low as possible.
“Samuel was being stubborn,” Michael said. “I’ve told my cousins to use force if he wouldn’t co-operate.”
“Your cousins died too.” Dean said.
“They would have survived if they were better soldiers,” Michael said. The indifferent tone in his voice made Dean want to turn on the heating. “I heard on the news that one of my dead cousins was a police informer. Is that true?”
Dean had made the press office released a statement saying that. The lie came easily to him. “Yeah, turned out your cousin, Uriel, was the rat all along. I found some correspondence between him and Samuel. Must’ve got shot in the crossfire. Our guys didn’t know who he was.”
“Uriel was always one of my more rebellious cousins,” Michael said thoughtfully. “Thank you, Dean. You’ve done good work.”
“I have a shipment coming in this Sunday. I’ll be there personally to oversea the drop-off,” Michael said. “Try to get the cops away from me.”
“I know what to do,” Dean said.
Dean took out Michael’s brown envelope and put it on Samuel’s desk, on top of Samuel’s documents and police files. Dean used Samuel’s computer to do a search for the Angelis on the databases.
Samuel’s computer had a higher-level clearance than Dean’s, but the files on undercover cops and informers were locked up tight. He couldn’t open the files without password.
Dean headed for the evidence locker. It wasn’t busy, since the evidences from the crime scenes had already been processed. On a half-full shelf, Dean found Samuel’s personal effects, all of which were zipped in plastic evidence bags.
Samuel’s cell phone was stuffed in one of those bags.
Dean switched on the cell, and scrolled down the call logs. There was an unmarked number that kept appearing in Samuel’s call history. It was also the last number Samuel called before his death. Dean pressed dial, and lifted the wrapped phone to his ear, ignoring the uncomfortable texture of the plastic bag pressed against his face.
The call was picked up.
Dean stayed silent.
Someone breathed heavily on the other side of the line, before they hung up the phone.
Dean looked at the phone in his hand, considering redialling again, when the phone rang.
“Hello,” Dean said.
“You are not Samuel Campbell. Who are you?” It sounded like a man, but Dean couldn’t be sure. The informer was speaking barely above a whisper. Dean could only just make out his words.
“I’m Sergeant Dean Winchester. I worked for Captain Campbell. Can I know who this is?”
“What do you want?”
The guy clearly didn’t want to show his hand, what with the voice and all. Fine, Dean didn’t have time to play games. He had business first. Dean said, “Will you help us take down Michael Angeli?”
The man was silent for a moment, but then he said, “Yes. I’ll see this through to the end. Tell me what to do.”
- - -
On the early morning of the day of the arrival of Michael’s shipment, Dean called Cas on the phone. “Don’t go with Michael to pick up the drugs tonight.”
“What?” Cas said. There was a lot of background noises and music on Cas’s end of the line; he was in a bar. It was probably one of the Angelis’, the ones that open well into the middle of the day.
“Tell Michael you’re sick. Don’t go tonight,” Dean said. “Something is gonna happen.”
There was a pregnant pause, long enough for Dean to count to ten, before Cas said, “Dean, I-”
“Trust me on this, Cas.”
“I do trust you.”
That night, Dean took command of the Organized Crime Unit. In the mobile command center, where Dean took front and center stage, his people were focused and kept their sentences short and clipped. There was a general consensus that cop killers didn’t get to stay on the streets for long, and they were going to get Michael for what his men did.
Dean put on an earpiece hooked up to the police scanner, and another to the wire his informer was wearing.
The police van lagged far behind enough to not be spotted by Michael, putting at least two miles between them, while the Unit had two teams tailing Michael’s small fleet of cars. The informer was sitting with Michael, since Dean could hear Michael’s voice coming through the wire.
Seemed like Michael had spotted the Unit’s cars tailing him. He told the driver to lead them in circles. Michael would never go near the drop-off spot with the police cars following him.
Dean felt the Cell in his jacket vibrated. Michael had sent him a message. Dean knew Michael was telling him to get rid of the tails.
Just as Dean expected.
Dean said over the radio, “Stop following the cars. Angeli won’t go with us tailing him.”
Dean could hear Michael’s pleased voice over the wire again; Michael had noticed the cars turning onto a different fork in the road.
The people in Michael’s car fell silent. Michael didn’t direct the driver, who knew where they were going.
Instead, Dean listened for the insistent clicks coming through the wire. He and the informer had agreed to use Morse code. The informer was tapping out road names every time Michael’s car made a turn, and Dean passed on the names to his people.
They arrived at a parking garage on a pier. It was dark, with no lights to indicate anyone was in there at all.
The Unit surrounded the place quickly and quietly. The headlights of their cars were switched off. Several cars surrounded the only exit of the garage, and officers were deployed to spread out on foot.
Dean slipped out of the command center and walked deeper into the garage, in the unlit back area where heavy equipment vehicles were stored and looming over Dean like frozen trees made out of metal. He waited in the dark, listening to himself breathing and nothing else.
It didn’t take long for the silence to be shattered.
From far away, someone that sounded like Christian shouted “Police!” and then tires were squealing on concrete floor and cars were crashing into walls in an attempt to get away from the teams opening fire on them. Gunshots sounded louder than usual in the confined spaces of the garage.
Then Dean heard it: Someone running in his direction. Someone that was injured, judging from the uneven footsteps they were making.
The Cell in Dean’s jacket pocket vibrated. Dean stepped out from behind a forklift to greet the man that was calling him.
Michael stared at him. Michael was clutching at a wound in his stomach, holding a cell in his other hand, but standing on his own two feet.
Michael Angeli was too good to be caught by cops.
“You betrayed me,” Michael said.
“You were threatening to flush Sammy’s career down the drain. I can’t allow that.”
“I’ve always treated you as family, Dean,” Michael said, because Michael never begged, not even for his life. “I’ve done more for you than that father of yours.”
“You only wanted me because of who my mom and dad were, so I could become a cop and be your inside man,” Dean said. “Don’t think I don’t know you’ve been using me from the very moment we met.”
Michael looked at him with sharp eyes, the ones reminded him so much of Cas. “I still have the tapes.”
“I’ll take my chances.” Dean raised his gun and shot Michael in the head. Michael jerked violently, and for one horrible moment Dean thought Michael might be immune to bullets, but then Michael fell to the floor, just like any dead guy, with his eyes wide open. Blood stained the floor. Dean shot him in the chest two more times, just in case.
Dean pulled out Samuel’s cell, and sent a text to the informer: We got him. Job’s done.
- - -
The Unit rounded up the Angelis at the scene and found at least four hundred grand worth of heroine in the trunk of their car.
Dean stuck around to watch the Angelis being led into squad cars, making sure Cas wasn’t amongst them. None of the Angelis claimed to be the informer. The guy must’ve gotten out already.
Dean said Michael tried to attack him and he shot Michael in self-defense. It didn’t take much to convince people. Mostly, everyone was ecstatic that Michael Angeli was dead.
Later, Dean found a new text on Samuel’s cell. It was from the informer. It read: I will come down to the precinct tomorrow.
Needless to say, Dean had a sleepless night, wondering about the mystery man that had once tried to hunt him so badly. Dean wanted to call Cas, asked him how he was doing and told him to get his ass here, but Dean didn’t know how to tell Cas he killed his cousin, so Dean stayed up sitting in his empty bed instead.
There was a buzz of anticipation at the precinct when Dean arrived in the morning.
“The Angeli informer is waiting for you in Samuel’s office. He’s a real slick character. No one saw him came in,” Christian said.
Heart thudding heavily, Dean pushed open the door of the office.
Cas was sitting in the office. He looked out of place in his leather jacket against the backdrop of the small office crowded with cabinets and folders. “Hello, Dean.”
“Cas? What- I mean-” Dean said, searching for words and finding none. His world was titling upside down and nothing made sense anymore. “Cas?”
Cas smiled. “I told you I’ll be here.”
Dean took a seat behind the desk. He couldn’t stand any longer if he wanted to; he was feelings weak in the knees. “You’re the informer?”
“Undercover,” Cas said.
Dean wanted to laugh so bad, because, shit, it was Cas all along and Dean had been right next to the mole all this time when he was running away from the guy and losing sleep over him. “You’re a cop?”
“I went through the Police Academy until it was found out I’d been lying about my background,” Cas said. “They let me went undercover instead.”
“How long have you been doing this?”
“I only began working directly for Michael recently,” Cas said, “but it’s been years since I was a cadet.”
“Damn, that’s a long time,” Dean said. That was almost as long as Dean had been planted in the department. It was too long for anyone to live a lie. “So what are you gonna do now?”
“I just want my identity back and have a nice safe desk job at the precinct.”
“I hear you.” Dean grinned. “I’ll do that for you, but the undercover files are locked. Any chance you know the password?”
“‘Jimmy Novak’,” Cas said. “It was the name under which I got into the Academy.”
“I can’t imagine you being a Jimmy, man.”
Cas sounded distant when he said, “I end up becoming a lot of things that I never imagined myself being.”
Dean squeezed Cas’s shoulder. He’d do anything to get that melancholy out of Cas’s voice. Dean couldn’t say it, but he knew too well what it was like to do things he never expected to do, more than anyone in the world. “It’s gonna be fine. I’ll just print out your file and we’ll finish the paperwork to put you on desk duty.”
“We can do more than that at your house,” Cas said hopefully, raising an eyebrow.
Dean laughed, feeling lighter than he could remember being. It was like there had been a huge weight on his back all along, and he only noticed it after it was gone. “Maybe later. I have to get your file first.”
Dean entered Cas’s password into the police personnel database. It opened a file with Cas’s photo. Cas’s personal details were listed next to the picture, naming him as an undercover officer. The picture was at least a good ten years old, and the Cas in it was a smooth-faced kid fresh out of his teens.
“Did you find it?” Cas said.
“Yeah,” Dean said. “I’ll get the file printed. Wait for me here.”
Dean walked out to the printer outside the office, tapping his foot a bit as the printer printed out Cas’s record. Damn he was in a good mood.
“When he got back to the office though, the office was empty.
“Cas?” Dean said. It wasn’t like there was any space for Cas to hide. Samuel’s office was hardly big enough to contain the police reports threatening to spill out of the cabinets.
Dean walked over to Samuel’s desk. Something had been moved from the last time he saw it. The photo of Mom and Dad was now facing towards the window rather than the door. Then Dean froze.
The brown envelope that Michael gave Dean was pulled out from under a heap of paperwork where Dean’d put it. Cas must have seen it, and probably recognized it.
Dean ran out of the door of the precinct. He doubled back when he couldn’t catch a sign of Cas. “Where was he?”
“Who?” Christian said, lounging by the coffee machine.
“The informer. The Angeli. He’s gone.”
“Didn’t see him. Maybe he went out for a smoke,” Christian said.
Dean had to clench his hands to stop himself from choking his cousin. Cas didn’t smoke. “Yeah, maybe.”
“Should’ve kept a closer eye on the guy, Dean.”
Dean stalked back to the office.
Cas sold out his own flesh and blood because it was the right thing to do, because he was a better cop than Dean would ever be. If the world was black and white and gray, then Dean was black through and through.
Who was Dean to Cas anyway other than a good lay?
It was like Michael all over again.
Dean didn’t have the recordings that Michael used to threaten him. Dean needed to do something before Cas found it and publicized it and exposed him as Michael’s mole in the police department.
Sammy’s career would be destroyed if a word of it got out.
Dean sat down at Samuel’s computer and opened Cas’s file in the database. It was the only evidence that Cas had ever been something other than a crook for all these years.
Dean remembered what Cas said before about being a good guy.
Dean deleted it from the database.
- - -
After work, Dean opened the door of his house to find the lights switched on. Sam was sitting on the couch in the living room, staring at the blank television screen, still wearing a nice suit. Sam had come directly from work.
Something told Dean this wasn’t a social call.
Dean hung up his coat by the door. He forced himself to sound cheerful when he said, “You should’ve given me a call, dude. I would’ve cooked you something for dinner.”
Sam was hugging his own knees and not looking at Dean. “That’s not why I’m here.”
“Could’ve at least brought pie, Sammy.”
“I’m serious, Dean,” Sam said. And when he looked up, sure enough that was his serious face, the one he wore when he wasn’t gonna let anything or anyone stop him from saying what he wanted to say.
“Okay,” Dean said. He dropped into the seat next to Sam on the couch. “What is it?”
Sam held up a tape. “Someone dropped this off at my office this afternoon.”
Dean fought to keep smiling even when his world was threatening to shatter around him. “It’s nice of you to think of me, Sam, but I still have all my AC/DC tapes.”
“You know damn well what this is.” Sam stood up abruptly. “If you can’t be serious, let’s hear what it says.” He put the tape in Dean’s cassette deck.
The tape played. Michael’s voice came out clearly. “Hello, Dean. Are you free to talk?”
Then Dean heard his own voice saying, “Yeah, sure. Is this about the shipment coming in tomorrow?”
“You know about that?”
“Samuel knows. We were briefed on the operation today. He knows the shipment is going to arrive at-”
Dean reached over and paused the tape. He could barely hear it over the sound of his blood rushing in his ears. “So what?”
“So what?” Sam’s eyes nearly bulged. “Dean, that was you tipping Michael Angeli off about a police operation!”
“It’s not like that,” Dean said, racking his brain. He found a straw and grasped it. “Michael was my informer in the gang.”
“Really, Dean?” Sam was blinking too much, like he was trying not to cry. “Is that the best you could come up with?”
“Since when do you believe everything that drops into your lap?” Dean said. “Someone manipulated those tapes, man, they made me sound worse than I actually did. I was grilling Michael for information.”
Sam was skeptical, but he’d stopped biting his lip. “The tape doesn’t sound like it’s been edited.”
“There’s a reason recordings aren’t admissible in courts. You know this better than anyone,” Dean said.
“I guess,” Sam said.
“Look,” Dean said, holding Sam’s gaze. “Would I lie to you?”
Sam looked down at his own hands, and let out a long breath. “I guess not.”
- - -
After Sam left, Dean found another new message on Samuel’s phone: Meet me at where Samuel died.
It was near midnight when Dean got to the office building. The lights were on, probably for anyone working late into the night in the offices above. The lobby was empty. Before heading for the elevators, Dean went behind the security desk and disabled the surveillance cameras.
Dean took an elevator to the top floor and walked up a staircase to the rooftop. The rooftop was bare, except for a few floor lights making it easier to see.
Dean felt the tip of something hard pressed against his back. “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”
“A gun,” Cas said. He pulled Dean’s gun from its holster and pocketed it.
“What are you doing?” Dean said.
Cas moved from behind Dean to face Dean. He had his gun pointed at Dean’s head. “I’m arresting you.”
“I erased your file. You can’t do shit, Cas.”
The gun grounded hard against his forehead. Dean groaned from the pain. Cas’s tone was harsh when he said, “I gave up everything for my work, Dean. I dedicated years of my life for this. I handed over my family on a silver platter. And you told me you erased everything I am?”
“I have to do it. I can’t take the chance of you ratting me out,” Dean said. “I can’t take the chance of anyone believing a word you say about me.”
Cas’s eyes shuttered. And it shouldn’t break Dean’s heart to see that look on someone who was trying to ruin him.
“Just give me the tapes. I won’t let anyone come after you,” Dean said. “You can get a job somewhere outside this city. Somewhere better.”
Cas let out a short bark of laughter. “That’s not the point, Dean. You’ve been lying to everyone this entire time. You lied.”
“Yeah, I do that,” Dean said. “I told you I’m not a good man.”
“You can be one,” Cas said, “if you admit to what you did.”
“It’s not about me. I don’t care about being a cop, but if this thing gets out it’ll ruin Sam.”
“You brother would want to know the truth.”
“No,” Dean said sharply. “I raised the kid. He doesn’t have to know about any of the shit I’ve done for him.”
“Dean,” Cas said, eyes like blazing fire. Dean wouldn’t have moved even if there was no gun pointed at his head. “I can help you if you let me.”
“Go help someone else, Cas. I’m beyond help.”
The rooftop door slammed open behind them.
“Let go of the sergeant!” Christian said.
Dean felt the cold tip of a gun pressed against his temple. Cas moved close behind Dean, hiding himself from Christian’s aim. Cas was a line of heat tugged tightly against Dean’s back. Cas had an arm around Dean’s neck.
Cas said, “Listen to me, I’m an undercover officer. He is the mole planted in the police department by Michael. I have the tapes to prove it.”
“Let him go, Angeli,” Christian said. “Or I swear I’ll shoot you.”
“Put down the gun, Christian,” Dean said. He was surprised at how steady his voice was. “We can talk this out.”
“I’ve called the police. They’re waiting downstairs at the lobby,” Cas said, walking backwards with Dean down the stairs from the rooftop. Christian followed them, keeping his gun aimed at Cas and Dean.
“Yeah, why don’t I believe you?” Christian said.
Cas pressed the buttons for the elevator without releasing his grip on Dean. “I’m telling the truth.”
“Let Dean go first,” Christian said.
“No,” Cas said, tightening his hold on Dean’s throat. Dean could feel the threat of being choked.
“Easy, easy,” Dean said.
The elevator dinged.
Christian had his gun trained on Cas.
Dean felt a tug against his throat. Cas stepped slightly to the left, leaving his face exposed, as he was about to pull Dean into the elevator
Then Christian pulled his trigger. The gunshot was loud enough to make Dean’s ear ring.
Blood sprayed out of the back of Cas’s head.
The arm slung across Dean’s neck slackened when Cas buckled at the knees. Dean held Cas under the arms from behind, stopping Cas from dropping to the floor. All Dean could see was the wet gaping hole on the back of Cas’s head, and the blood smeared all over the front of Dean’s shirt.
The deadweight was lifted off Dean when Christian pulled Cas’s body off Dean and let it fell backwards into the open elevator. He retrieved Dean’s gun from Cas’s body and handed it over to Dean. Dean dazedly took it. Christian guided him into the elevator, pulled Cas’s body in with them, and pressed the button for the ground floor.
Dean looked down at his hands. They were covered in Cas’s blood. They were now coating his gun with blood.
“Don’t worry, we burnt the tapes,” Christian said.
Dean blinked slowly, hoping to get the red color out of his vision. It didn’t work. “What?”
“How did you think I found you? I had Mark and Johnny followed Angeli after he left the precinct. Wanted to see how much dirt he got on the dirty cops in town,” Christian said. “There are quite a few of us, you know.”
Dean was numb. The world should be halting to a stop right now, but Christian was still talking like nothing was wrong. “Yeah?”
“Followed him to Michael Angeli’s office. Michael kept loads of stuff in his locker; the guy got his fingers in a lot of pies. Castiel left with a tape. We burnt the rest of them,” Christian said.
He tried not to look at Cas’s body, but he couldn’t help himself. Maybe Cas would wake up any second now.
This wasn’t supposed to end like this.
“With Michael dead, the Angelis are done, Dean. Crowley is the new boss in town, and he wants me and Mark and Johnny to work for him. Gwen keeps to the straight and narrow. But you? I think you’re off that road a long time ago,” Christian said. “I can get you in too if you want.”
Dean had Cas’s blood on his face, on his shirt. He could taste it in his mouth. So much fucking blood.
“We can do this together, cuz,” Christian said. “What do you say?”
“Sure,” Dean said. He could hear himself talking like he was a mile away. “Are the surveillance cameras switched off?”
Dean shot Christian in the face. He relished the surprise in Christian’s eyes, before Christian slumped onto the floor next to Cas’s body, leaving a red splatter of blood and brain matter on the wall.
Dean clipped on his badge, and wiped some of the blood off his face. He knelt down, and, after a moment of hesitation, closed Cas’s eyelids. Cas almost looked peaceful, like he was sleeping, if not for the small hole between his eyes. The image would haunt Dean during silent nights. “You’re a good guy, Cas. You don’t deserve this.”
As soon as the elevator doors opened, the lobby came alive with movements and a cacophony of “This is the police! Freeze!”
Dean raised his hands above his head, and put on his best award-winning grin. A SWAT team approached him and the two bodies in the elevator. There was a sea of blue and red lights beyond the glass door of the lobby.
Dean wanted to give himself up like Cas asked him.
But Sam still had a future, and Dean would never do anything to jeopardize it.
More than anything, Dean wanted to go home, scrub off the blood, and try to sleep. He was so tired. “I’m Sergeant Dean Winchester. I’m with the police.”