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Any Semblance of Touch

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The docks are busy and bustling, full of people ready to travel, loading goods on and off ships, or trying to hawk their wares—the usual scene for a Thursday at noon. It’s easy to go unnoticed in a place like this, where everyone has a story and somewhere to be, and that’s what makes it perfect.

Dean Winchester winds his way through the crowds, keeping his head low and an eye out for his informant. The sooner he can find him, the better, because he can already feel his time starting to slip through his fingers, and he can’t afford to be late. Not today.

After a few minutes spent surreptitiously searching the crowd, he catches sight of a man standing by the gangplank of one of the ships. Trying not to be too obvious, Dean wanders his way over, sidestepping a porter loaded high with luggage and striding over a puddle that the few people behind him are not quite so lucky to dodge.

“I hope you’ve got the goods for me,” he tells the man in lieu of a greeting—he’s got the money, Spencer has the information, and that’s all their friendship will ever need to run successfully.

Spencer gives him an unimpressed look and holds out his hand. When Dean places a handful of cash into it, he quickly tucks it away.

“Hello to you too,” Spencer mutters, then juts his chin up the gangplank towards the ship. “It’s in that one there. Turn right on the deck, take the first door, ladder down to the hold and then second door on your left. No guards that I’m aware of, but there’s probably other bullshit in there that you’ll have to watch out for.”

And that’s why Dean pays him the big bucks.

“Much appreciated,” he says with a grin, clapping Spencer on the shoulder before stepping past him and making his way up the gangplank. He has to move quickly, in case there are other people after the same thing he is—someone paid to have it shipped to New York, after all, so Dean isn’t the only one who’s caught wind of its existence.

When he pauses at the top of the gangplank and looks back, Spencer is gone, already disappeared into the crowd. In just a few minutes, Dean will be following suit, hopefully with his goal tucked safely into the pocket of his waistcoat.

But there’s not much time left to lose.

Dean follows Spencer’s instructions to the letter—right, first, down, second on the left, watch out for any ‘other bullshit’—until he finds himself stepping into one of the storage rooms in the hold.

It’s clear what he’s looking for: the big case in the middle of the room, walled in glass and braced by steel, with a velvet cushion sitting directly in the centre. There’s a heavy padlock hanging from the front of the case, but that’s not Dean’s biggest concern right now.

His concern is that the padlock is open, and the amulet that was meant to be nestled atop the velvet cushion is gone.

Fuck.

“Guess I wasn’t the first one here, after all,” he muses to himself as he stares at the infuriatingly empty case. “Well, that sucks.”

That sucks is an understatement. Of all the magical treasures that Dean has found and safely stored away, where no one can misuse or maltreat them, this one is easily in his top ten. A magical amulet capable of controlling the tides, located in the fastest-growing city in the world, which happens to be only a few feet above sea level?

He has to find wherever it’s gone, and quick.

Up above, someone on the top deck yells, and Dean can hear the sound of running footsteps. “Well, that’s my cue to leave,” he says to no one in particular, mostly to calm his own rising anxiety. He’s desperate to have a look around the store room to try and figure out just who the hell took the amulet, and how, but right now he’s out of time.

From the store room, it’s easy to slip back out the door and find a conveniently open porthole—he doesn’t need to guess as to how the other thieves managed to get onto the ship without him or Spencer seeing, it seems.

As he’s hoisting himself through the open window, though, Dean catches sight of something caught on the hinge. It’s a single scrap of black fabric, torn at the edges as though it was ripped off by someone making their way out of the porthole in a hurry.

“Huh,” he says to himself as he reaches for the fabric, carefully unpicking it from the grip of the hinge and examining it for a moment. There’s not much he can discern from it, but if the gossip of New York City’s magical underworld is correct…

He might be able to find someone who can.

“Stop right there!”

But right now, hanging out a porthole off the side of a ship, with (more than a few, by the sound of things) armed guards looking for whoever stole his prize, is not the smartest spot to be in. Dean quickly tucks the fabric into his waistcoat, then pulls himself the rest of the way out of the porthole. From there, it’s not hard to shimmy down the side of the ship, holding onto window coverings and metal seams and whatever else will get him safely back onto the dock.

One last leap, and Dean’s feet make contact with the solid concrete of the wharf once again. He can still hear the guards on the ship shouting after him as they try to find whoever made off with the amulet, but both they and Dean may as well be long gone. He disappears into the crowd with ease, blending in effortlessly even as he starts to plan his next move.

It’s time for Dean to find himself a psychometric.