Dean had prided himself on making sure things usually worked out.
Like hustling bars in a pool game, taking on the biggest toughest son of a bitch in the hopes of distracting people enough to slip away, or pumping out just enough of his pheromones to confuse and derail any possible violence. He was good at it, he’d become a master at squeezing just those few extra dollars out of anyone, whether it was a guy at a bar or a customer in a restaurant on one of the few honest jobs he’d ever gotten.
But that wouldn’t do anymore. Sam was starting college in less than two years and Dean had enough student loans to bury a cruise liner in and he hadn’t even finished his degree yet and wouldn’t for some time.
He should never have listened to Victor. Victor was a good guy, sure, and he’d arrested Dean and kept him in an overnight holding cell enough times that they’d gotten on friendly enough terms, but the guy had a kind of tunnel vision when it came to Omegas. Specifically borderline-homeless Omegas with an underage Alpha to take care of.
Victor had set up this meeting. Dean honestly didn’t know what to do with himself. Three beers in and there was no stopping the scared, nervous fidgeting of his hands.
Living on the lower-budget side of town, he’d heard rumors. There was a gang in this city, a powerful one with fingers in every pie. Never in his life had Dean thought he would end up sharing a booth with its leader.
His name was Castiel Novak, and he had a gaze that could freeze someone solid. Dean could practically taste the Alpha on him, and he knew that if he’d ever met this man randomly at a bar that he would be one of the people Dean didn’t even think about fucking with.
Castiel cocked his head to one side, one of the first movements he’d actually made. He reached forward and slid his beer towards his body, but didn’t drink. “What is it that you think I can do for you?” he asked, lightly, as though genuinely interested.
Dean cleared his throat, and swallowed. “Victor said you can help out…people like me,” he said, the words almost refusing to come out because his pride had for so long been the only thing keeping him from asking. “I need money.”
"Ah." Castiel smiled, leaning back in the booth. Everything about this man seemed sharp, even when he looked relaxed, like a cat curled up in the shadows with both eyes wide open.
Dean shook his head, blowing out a breath. “Nevermind,” he said, tilting his beer back to swallow it before setting it down with a hollow ‘clink’. “I’ll see myself out.”
"What are you getting your degree in, Dean?" Castiel asked, as though the Omega hadn’t been leaving.
Dean paused, refusing to settle himself back in the booth. “Bio-Chem,” he replied.
Castiel blinked, both eyebrows raising, and nodded down at his beer. “You must be very intelligent,” he said with a low hum. “That’s good. That’s very good. Did you have a particular career in mind, once you’d finished?”
Dean snorted, turning back so he was sitting in the booth more fully. “Not really gonna matter when I’m thrown out for not payin’ the school fees.”
Castiel waved a hand. “Irrelevant, Dean. I’ve already decided I’m going to help you. Now, tell me,” he lifted his eyes, slate grey in the low lighting, “what do you want to do with your life?”
"Ideally? Medicine." He shrugged one shoulder. "I want to be a heart surgeon."
At that, Castiel smiled. It was a wide, genuine one, and Dean got the impression that Castiel didn’t smile too often. He showed too much teeth.
"That is very admirable, Dean," he said, finally lifting his drink to his lips and finishing it off with one long swallow. "I will be in touch."
Castiel stood, and Dean stood with him though he wasn’t quite sure why. The Alpha smiled again, his eyes raking down all of Dean’s mussed, dirty self, before he reached out. His fingers tapped, twice, lightly, against Dean’s jaw before they fell away.
"I won’t keep you waiting long," he promised, before he threw a crisp twenty-dollar bill onto the table for their drinks and took his leave of the bar.