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You're The Only Stranger I Need

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11:03AM I swear if she says check the syllabus one more time I'm going to jam my pencil down her throat.

Castiel stared at the incoming text message glancing up at the unknown number on the top of the screen curiously. It was unusual for someone to text him just for the sake of conversation.

Rereading the words, he thought through his list of friends and colleagues, trying to discern who could be texting him in the middle of the day.

The person spoke of violence and a syllabus, meaning they were probably in a classroom setting. The only person he knew who fit those two qualifications was Meg, who was currently getting her PhD in psychology and had a tendency to act out when she was upset.

Personally, he didn’t think the two were a good combination and found himself responding quickly, hoping he could persuade Meg not to attack someone in a moment of poor decision making.

11:08AM That seems to be a rather harsh judgment for someone who is simply doing their job. Perhaps you should think of some other outlet you could use to dissolve some of this pent up frustration you have.

Satisfied with his response and hoping that Meg didn't do anything rash (like actually stab someone - something he unfortunately could actually see happening), Castiel returned to the stack of papers piled on his desk. He sighed, glaring at the offense and wondered if he glared hard enough if the work would just disappear.

It wasn't that he didn't enjoy his job. In fact, he was one of the few people who looked forward to doing his work in the morning. Usually. He was a translator working for a publishing company. His job was to read a variety of publications and translate them into one of the eight languages that he knew.

However, the project he was currently working on, a young adult harlequin romance novel, was grating on his nerves. If he had to read about the protagonist moaning about which guy she wanted to go to the prom with one more time, he may have to adapt some of Meg's techniques for release.

Speaking of...

Castiel looked down at his phone, the vibrations bringing him out of his thoughts. Frowning slightly, he opened the message.

11:10AM Come on, give me a little credit. I'm not actually going to stab her.

Cas hummed in approval.

11:11AM I must admit, I'm pleased that you're finally practicing self-control in this regard. I honestly had expected you had sent this message to inform me that you needed help disposing of a body. To which I would have had to politely decline. Again.

Castiel thought back to that night several years ago when he was a senior in high school and Meg texted him, asking him to help her bury a body. The guy she was out on a date with had gotten a little too frisky for her liking and she had beat the crap out of the offender.

Castiel did not bury the body (for one thing, the boy was still alive) but he did add a few hits of his own after picking Meg up, making sure that the teenager understood he was never to speak to the young woman ever again. Meg was only a freshman at the time, but Cas is still impressed when he thinks about her right hook.

11:12AM Yeah. Whatever.

Castiel clicked his tongue trying to decide if he should continue this conversation. Remembering the project he had to get back to he replied to the message.

11:15AM I see you have a new phone number. What brought on this change?

11:15AM We've talked about this. Like three times already. Chuck's crazy girlfriend (the one who is in love with you) threw mine out the window a couple weeks ago.

Cas scrunched up his nose.

11:17AM I believe you may be thinking of someone else. You did not tell me about this. Also, I have no clue who you're referring to.

11:18AM Seriously? Bitch.

Cas frowned at the message, reading the next one that came in immediately afterward.

11:18AM I'm talking about Becky. The girl who literally feels you up every time you come to Chuck and Benny's apartment.

11:20AM I still have no clue who you're talking about. I've never met any Chucks or Benny’s, let alone have visited their place of residence.

Castiel rubbed his temples, waiting for Meg's reply. He was very confused. Was this a joke of some sorts?

11:21AM Uh... Benny? My best friend from high school. He was at our house literally every day. Still not ringing any bells?

Castiel thought back to when he was in high school with Meg. He knew for a fact that Meg was not friends with any Bennys. Castiel stared at the number before it dawned on him that perhaps this wasn’t actually Meg.

11:24AM I believe you may have the wrong number.

Satisfied, he picked up his mug, inhaling the leftover tea leaves from that morning. He would need to run down stairs to the local coffee shop to get some more tea if he wanted to finish that book that evening. His phone buzzed again.

11:24AM Sammy?

Castiel sighed, glad to have a confirmation that this mystery person was not, in fact, trying to speak with him.

11:25AM I'm afraid I am not "Sammy".

11:26AM Huh. That makes so much more sense. I was wondering why you were speaking so weird.

Castiel read the message with amusement.

11:27AM I'm surprised you didn't notice it at first if my speech is much different than your friend's.

11:27AM My little brother, actually. And hey! You kept the conversation going. You could have told me right away that I had the wrong number...

11:28AM I must admit, I didn't realize at first. I thought you were my friend, Meg. She too has violent and rash tendencies, such as your self.

11:29AM I'm not violent and rash!

11:29AM Your first message to me was you informing me that you wanted to stab who I assume is your professor in the throat for talking about some information contained in her class syllabus. I'd categorize that as both violent and rash.

11:30AM Okay... First off, my professor is not some poor woman. She is evil. And second off, I don't know why I'm trying to defend myself to a stranger...

11:31AM I'm not entirely sure why either. However, it has been amusing speaking with you.

11:31AM Well, always happy to be of service, Stranger.

Castiel looked down at the work in front of him one last time, sighing. He needed to get back to it if he hoped to leave the office at a decent hour.

11:32AM It's been a pleasure conversing with you. I wish you luck in your endeavors to find your little brother Sammy and wish you luck in dealing with your "evil" professor.

11:33AM Dude...pleasure conversing? Endeavors? How are you even real?

Castiel chuckled again, setting his phone on silent so the buzzing wouldn't distract him. He had one chapter left from this book. Then he would have to start on the sequel the next morning. He groaned, deciding that he would work from home the next day.

It was a fortunate perk for his job that he didn't have to go into the office if he wished not to. Usually, he tried to make an appearance at least once a week, but lately had found himself not even wanting to do that. He didn't particularly enjoy the politics and drama an office held, and preferred to complete his tasks in the comfort and quiet of his own home.

The sun had long since set when Castiel grabbed his tan overcoat and left the office for the evening. He glanced down at his phone, surprised when he found he had several unread text messages. He scrolled down, smiling as he read through.

11:36AM Seriously though. With the way you speak, I'm having a hard time believing you're actually human.

11:45AM Really? You're ignoring me now?

11:52AM Ugh. Fine. I'm sorry I called you nonhuman and made fun of your speech. Happy now?

12:01PM Well fine. Don't respond. See if I care.

12:16PM Seriously though...pencil in the throat.

Castiel laughed out loud, quickly responding.

8:51PM My apologies for not responding sooner. I was in the middle of finishing my work load for the day. I was not knowingly ignoring you. I've been told that my speech is rather peculiar. I'm not offended by your commenting as such.

Castiel hit sent, humming for a moment before quickly adding,

8:52PM And I sincerely hope that you didn't go through with your threats of harming your professor.

Castiel waved at his neighbor as he entered his apartment, frowning as he glanced at the mess. He would have to spend some time cleaning the next morning after his run if he wanted to get any work done at his home. He looked through the cabinets, fishing out some pasta and jarred sauce for dinner. It wasn't nearly as good as his home made sauce, but it was late and he hadn't been to the farmers market to buy fresh tomatoes that week.

He leaned against the counter, waiting for the water to boil, when the buzz of his phone brought him out of his thoughts.

9:39PM Work load? Ugh. Sounds like a drag.

9:40PM I actually quite enjoy my work.

Castiel glanced at the sequel that he needed to start the next day and quickly amended,

9:40PM Usually.

9:42PM Wait... You're not like super old... Right?

Castiel frowned, trying to decide how to answer that. He didn't think of himself as old. However, seeing as this mystery person of his was in college, Castiel could venture a guess that they were probably in their low-to-mid twenties, maybe even in their late teens. That was a potential difference of around 10-15 years younger than Castiel himself. He waited several minutes, stirring the sauce before finally writing,

9:49PM That depends.

9:50PM On what...

9:52PM What's your definition of "old"?

9:52PM Oh gosh. If you tell me that your a balding fifty year old with a pot belly, I think I may just puke.

Castiel laughed out loud before responding.

9:53PM In that case, no. I can happily assure you that I am much younger than fifty, I have a full head of hair, and am in perfectly healthy shape due to running every morning.

9:54PM Mmm, sounds hot.

Castiel squinted at the incoming message, not entirely sure how to respond. Deciding he had nothing to lose, he responded bluntly.

9:57PM I'm sorry. Was that a flirtation?

9:59PM Don't flatter yourself, Stranger. I'm still not convinced you're not a fat, balding old man.

9:59PM And my assurances that I am not can not dissuade you?

10:00PM Nope.

10:01PM Well, I suppose that's fair. I don't know how inclined I would be to believe it if I were in your position.

10:01PM Well there you go.

Castiel set down his phone, finally eating his meal, thinking back to his conversation with the strange college student throughout the day.

He can't say he didn't enjoy it. On the contrary, it was a nice change from his normal routine. He finished his pasta, putting the dish in the sink, vowing to wash it along with the others in the morning instead of right at that moment and left for his room, his phone in hand. He was exhausted from the day having had to work much later than he initially intended to.

Stifling a yawn, he unbuttoned his shirt, putting it on the hanger in his closet, before bending down and checking the new message on his phone.

10:04PM So, what sort of work do you do anyway?

10:12PM The type that leaves me mentally exhausted at the end of the day.

Castiel wrote, slipping off his slacks and grabbing a pair of plain blue pajama pants and a soft white t-shirt.

He added quickly,

10:14PM In fact I'm just about ready for bed, so I regret to inform you I'll be leaving you on your own now.

10:15PM Dude. It's not even 10:30 yet.

10:16PM It's much later than when I usually call it a night.

10:16PM You know who goes to sleep before midnight?

Castiel waited, wondering if this was a riddle waiting to be solved, or if he would be provided with an answer. He climbed under the sheets, relieved when his phone lit up.

10:17PM Boring, old people.

Castiel smiled fondly.

10:18PM You caught me. By that definition, I am indeed a boring, old person.

10:18PM I knew it.

Castiel smiled, setting his alarm for the next morning and plugging in his phone.

10:20PM I hope you have a pleasant night.

Castiel paused for a moment, smiling when a response came almost immediately.

10:22PM Night night, stranger.