Dean knew he would be lying if he said he didn't appreciate Cas dressed up in medieval garments, wielding a stainless steel replica of Andúril and pouting unhappily as he watched Dean fix his wig. "Come on, Cas, this is fun," he said.
"I do not understand why we are pretending to be fictional characters in a story," Castiel complained gruffly, attempting to right the long, curly wig that perfectly matched his natural hair color after batting Dean's hands away.
"Aragorn wouldn't complain like that, Castiel," Dean reprimanded with a grin and stepped back. Cas rolled his eyes at Dean's immaturity. Sam finally walked out, somehow managing to stifle his laughter.
"Legolas, Dean, really?" Sam teased.
"Hey, Legolas is a badass elf, man. You can't go wrong with a bow and arrows and this gigantic ass knife," Dean retorted, adjusting the quiver full of real arrows on his back to reach the replica of the fighting knife stuck in his belt.
"Legolas has two gigantic ass knives on his back, Dean," Sam snarked with a shit-eating grin.
"In the movies, yeah. What Peter Jackson failed to realize was that in the books, he has one that he keeps in his belt," Dean shot back smugly.
"But still, you chose to be the pretty boy elf, Dean. I'm surprised you didn't wanna be Gandalf or Aragorn yourself," Sam pointed out. "And how the hell would you know Legolas only has one knife?"
"I read, Sam. I'm not a total nerd like you, but I know some stuff. And I'm not gonna be Aragorn, that's what Cas is for. He's already got the blue eyes and black hair. And Andúril suits him, just like my bow of Galadhrim," Dean answered with an icy glare.
"Wow, you really are a nerd. I didn't even know the bow had a name," Sam joked as he avoided Dean, who was now lashing out at him with his replica knife. "Stop hitting me with that stupid thing, man!" he exclaimed, already rubbing tenderly where Dean had jabbed his ribs.
"Then stop acting like it's such a shock I read stuff. Especially Lord of the Rings, those books and movies are fan-friggin'-tastic. Let's go, Cas, before Sammy decides to be Arwen and come with us," Dean called as he moved past the angel.
"Why are we doing this, Dean, I don't understand. It's degrading," Castiel continued to complain in his rough voice, following Dean to the Impala. Despite his protesting, Cas still had to suppress a smile as the hunter turned to grin at him.
"It's fun, that's all that matters. Besides, we're gonna be in a building filled with other people dressed up too," Dean assured him.
"We aren't going for fun, Dean. There's a case here, this is simply to blend in," Cas reminded him quickly.
"Right, but there's no point in wasting time if we have a lead and know who it is, which we do. So, that means we can relax and get some autographs and pictures. Don't you wanna get a picture with Viggo Mortensen? Or Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom. Or, we could save money and do a group photo with all of them, God, Cas, that would be so awesome!" exclaimed Dean with joy, an easy smile on his face.
Cas didn't answer, the Impala lurching forward as they barreled over the dirt road leading away from the bunker. They reached the safe confines of the highway and sped off, not bothering to follow the speed limit posted.
They arrived at the Lord of the Rings Convention in a few short hours, considering it had been two states away, Cas considered that good progress. "Ok, we need to somehow get to Sean Astin and Billy Boyd, that's apparently who the poltergeist is targeting," Dean told him.
"And they act as who?" Cas wondered.
"Right, I forgot Metatron only gave you useless knowledge. Sean Astin played Samwise Gamgee, and Billy Boyd was Pippin," Dean said.
"Peregrine Took, that was his real name. Gandalf called him that many times," Cas pointed out. Dean rolled his eyes and snorted.
"Whatever, let's just go," he parked and shut off the car. They had arrived early in order to ask questions and gain knowledge about the poltergeist. "Hey, do you think they'll give us free pictures?" he wondered, reaching across Cas's body to grab his box of fake IDs.
"I don't think so. Plus, we are here to research, not to take pictures," Cas shot back as he took the FBI badge from Dean's outstretched hands.
"True. Alright, you're Agent Plant and I'm Agent Hendrix. Got it?" Dean wondered. At Cas's nod they got out and walked up to the entrance where people were already gathered. Dean could make out a few Gandalfs, a couple of Frodos, and an Arwen hanging on an Aragorn. "Excuse me, FBI coming through!" he called.
He had doubts that yelling that would work, but the crowd instantly parted and let them through. He and Cas flashed their badges to the guard at the door who let them inside.
"Oh," Cas breathed a small sigh as they looked around. The high ceilings were draped with banners announcing the actors names, along with several cardboard cutouts of them littering the carpeted runway. Grey, yellow, blue, purple, red, green, and orange streamers blew gently as the huge metal fans circulated the air in the already stifling building. There were vendors setting up the remainders of their supplies, moving to get more water bottles or sodas.
"Impressive, wouldn't you say?" They turned at the voice, seeing a smiling man that towered over both of them, his voice somehow deeper than Cas's with an interesting timbre to it.
"Oh God. You - you're Christopher Lee!" Dean exclaimed with obvious excitement, making Cas give him a curious look.
"Why, yes, I am. And you two must be the FBI agents Sean and Billy contacted. Specializing in paranormal activity, though I can't imagine why the FBI has a branch for that. Follow me," Christopher led them through a maze of twists and turns that left Dean confused on where they were.
"If I can ask-"
"No, I'm afraid we don't give free pictures or autographs to the FBI, even if they are a specialized branch," Christopher interrupted Cas to say. Dean, much to his chagrin, averted his gaze.
"Actually, I wasn't going to ask that. I was simply going to ask if there was any way we could speak to Sean and Billy alone? Just the four of us?" Cas tried again.
"Astin, Bean, Billy, Elijah, Dominic, Viggo, Ian, Orlando, John, Andy, Hugo, and I have a panel first thing when we open, so you'll have to wait until after to talk to them alone. If you'd like, Cate and Sarah are free," Christopher opened and door and allowed Dean and Cas to walk in before he followed.
"Cate Blanchett? And Sarah McLeod? Rosie and Galadriel?" Dean wondered.
"Yes, that Cate and Sarah," Christopher chuckled. "They don't have their panel until later along with some of the other, more minor characters," he added. He motioned for Dean and Cas to follow him into another hallway that had about twenty doors in it.
"Here, this is Cate's room. Sarah is down farther, it has her name on it. Just be sure to knock before you just waltz in," he told them. Cate turned as the door opened, her painted smile growing.
"Christopher, hello. Are these the FBI agents Sean and Billy called?" she asked, standing and moving to the door to shake their hands. Dean stared at his hand for a few moments in a stupor as she shook hands with Cas as well.
"I just shook hands with Cate Blanchett, oh God," Dean whispered in reverence, making Cate chuckle kindly.
"I wouldn't consider it too high an honor. Maybe if I was Elijah or Sean," Cate teased as she welcomed them inside her room. "What can I do for you?"
"This is Agent Plant, and I'm Agent Hendrix," Dean introduced them.
"Like the musicians?" Cate wondered with a smile.
"No relation," Cas corrected. "You can call me Castiel. And I'm not sure what Agent Hendrix will say, but he's Dean," he added.
"That's good to know, Castiel. Can I call you Cas?" Cate smiled widely at him.
"No, ma'am, I'm sorry, but it's Castiel," Cas replied with a nervous glance at Dean.
"No problem. How can I assist you two?" Cate turned to set something down on her tiny table, sorting through a few papers before finally looking at them again.
"Right, well, Sean and Billy called us about supernatural activity going on. You know, flickering lights, cold spots, possible apparitions?" Dean listed off all the things the two actors had mentioned.
"Oh yes. A lot of that happening. I've never actually seen the ghost before, but I have heard her voice. She only says one thing, it's rather terrifying actually, once you think about it. She just repeats it over and over again," Cate shuddered slightly.
"What does she say?" Cas asked gently, taking Sam's place of sympathetic agent. Dean gave him a slight smile at the immediate charge he took.
"She says "It's my fault"," Cate told them. Dean nodded and watched as Cas thankfully wrote it down.
"Is that all?" Dean wondered. Cate thought for a moment before nodding. Dean and Cas thanked her and moved on to talk to Sarah.
"I guess that Sarah will tell us the same things," Cas told him. Dean nodded slightly before an idea popped into his head.
"You know, that means we can wander around and look at everything until Sean and Billy are done, huh?" Dean licked his lips with excitement and raised his eyebrows. Cas simply rolled his eyes and looked away.
"Fine. But only until they are done, then we commence with the questioning," he agreed reluctantly. Dean pumped his fist out of Cas's view and hurried past him to the vendors' stations.
"Hey, Cas, come on. Don't lag behind," Dean called as he waved his hand for Cas to hurry. Castiel trudged toward him with a brooding scowl on his face, features marred by shadow as the lights were turned down.
Dean finally noticed how packed the place had gotten in the brief time they'd been interviewing Cate. Spotlights drenched the stage and the room went dead silent. "Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome the Lord of the Rings cast!" an announcer boomed from the microphone, sending the waiting fans into throes of cheering and clapping and shouting. "Elijah Wood! Sean Astin! Billy Boyd! Dominic Monaghan! Viggo Mortensen! Ian McKellen! Orlando Bloom! John Rhys-Davies! Hugo Weaving! Christopher Lee!"
The announcer called each actor's name as they approached the stage and claimed their seat. Viggo even stopped a moment to wave, a happy grin on his face. Orlando jokingly pushed him into his seat, earning a laugh from the crowd. Dean was grinning broadly, a white splash of color in the darkness of the room.
Cas couldn't help but stare at the beauty of this simple human. All they had been through, and he's taken aback by a single smile. His breath was taken away by a laugh, it was unreal. Cas mentally laughed at his thoughts and tried to focus on the panel. It was hard to imagine that he'd developed a "crush" on Dean, especially after the hunter had made it clear he was strictly into women.
Cas was shaken from his thoughts as Elijah took the microphone and sent a screeching sound of feedback over the crowd. He noticed Dean wince at the berating sound, but he barely noticed it. "Sorry about that," Elijah laughed it off and continued talking.
"Do you think that may have been the spirit?" Cas wondered as he looked to Dean for an answer. The hunter wasn't listening to him, so he grabbed his arm to gain his attention.
"Huh, what?" Dean questioned as he pulled his arm away and zoned in on Cas's worried face.
"Do you think that may have been the ghost?" Cas repeated his query. Dean turned to glare at the cast as Elijah spoke before finally shaking his head.
"No, I think it was the feedback. If it was the poltergeist I think we'd have heard her screaming about it being her fault," Dean assured the angel. Cas nodded and allowed Dean to pay attention to the panel.
'Why must he be so difficult?' Cas asked himself as he glowered at the ground. Dean had been so quick to pull away from his touch, and that wasn't usually like him. Cas decided not to dwell on Dean's quirks and instead chose to listen to the remainder of Elijah's speech.
What seemed hours later, the panel was over. Cas stared at the clock on the wall, counting out the amount of time that had passed. An hour and forty-five minutes. It wasn't as much as he'd previously believed.
The surrounding fans were herded off into the maze-like walkways of the vendors' area and told that the next panel would begin in another hour.
"Do humans tend to get this excited over others?" Cas asked Dean as they made their way back to the actor's rooms.
"If they're famous, hell yeah, man. People go ape shit over this kinda stuff. These guys are like their heroes," Dean explained with a grin.
"They save people? But they simply act a part, pretending to be something they aren't," Cas said in exasperation.
"Like what we do is any different?" Dean asked. "Cas, come on. These guys save people in different ways then we do. They offer escapes from reality, so people with shitty lives can get rid of their problems for a while, get it?"
"Is that what you did?" Cas regretted the question as soon as it was out, but it was too late to take it back now. Dean's relaxed features hardened and he turned his face away from Cas's.
"Come on, we can talk to Billy and Sean now," he changed the subject, something Cas noticed he always did when he was uncomfortable. Along with his bouts of sarcasm and anger, he did that. So that the matter at hand could never be resolved because he was too busy avoiding all talk of the subject.
It annoyed Cas, but in a way Dean wasn't any different than he was. Possibly, he had learned his own avoidance from the hunter, but it had always kind of been there. Like a bandaid just waiting to be ripped off of fragile skin; not acknowledged but still persistently refusing to be seen as present.
Dena knocked on Sean's door and waited for an answer. The door opened to reveal a short man with kind, brown eyes and slightly curly, dark brown hair. The crinkles beside his eyes became more defined when he smiled at them.
He opened the door and Dean averted his eyes once he realized he was shirtless. "Oh, please, come on in. Make yourselves at home," Sean announced as he reached for a clean shirt. "Sorry about answering the door like that. It gets really hot on stage, so I wanted to change really quick," he added.
"Hey, man, it's fine. Nobody's judging here," Dean held up his hands in a pose of surrender. Cas narrowed his eyes at the hunter, knowing he was lying when he said that.
Sean faced them with a red shirt on, still smiling. "Alright, I'll call Bill over and we can get started," he suggested. Dean nodded and turned to sit on the couch that was set against the wall. Cas followed him.
Billy Boyd was an awkward bean-pole of a man, and he vaguely reminded Dean of Garth in his actions.
"So Cate told us she heard the spirit say it's all her fault. Have you ever heard it?" Dean started the questioning.
"I've never heard it say that. Are ya' sure Cate was tellin' the truth?" Billy wondered innocently, making Cas honestly question the integrity of Cate's answer.
"Right now, we can't be sure of anything. Not until we see the ghost or hear it's voice," Dean told them. They nodded in understanding and sat a bit more attentively.
"Have either of you ever procured any enemies?" Cas asked next. Dean gave him a weird look at the choice in words, but Cas didn't think too much of it. He always did that.
Sean laughed at that and glanced at Billy before saying, "We're actors. We've got plenty of enemies. Bill here got a death threat just the other day, but we don't exactly take them seriously. Besides, what would enemies have to do with a dead person haunting us?"
"Please, just routine questions, guys," Dean said shortly. Cas wasn't used to seeing him so on edge. Not since they'd removed the mark of Cain, but then again, these two were acting like this was all a joke. It was like he and Dean were useless stains on a shirt they didn't want anymore.
"Right, sorry. Yes, we have enemies. You can see the emails and letters if that'll help your investigation at all," Sean suggested. Cas gave him a grateful smile and nodded.
"Yes, that would help greatly. Thank you," he said. Sean shrugged slightly and glanced between them.
"So you mentioned cold spots. Do you mind telling us where you feel those?" Dean questioned.
"They usually show up when one of us is alone. Elijah's felt them too, well, pretty much everyone on the cast feels 'em. We don't usually stay alone much because of it, it's honestly kind of terrifying," Billy explained.
"So it's everyone? It's not singled to just one person?" Dean asked. Both of them shook their head. "Obviously this stuff follows you guys wherever you go?"
"Well actually there was one city we went to that it didn't happen, but we were only there for one night," Sean commented. "We usually stay for a few days in a city, and it'll usually take about a day to start up again."
"Ok," Dean glanced at Cas from the corner of his eyes as he wrote everything down. At least one of them was prepared.
"Don't forget Viggo told us she appeared in his dressin' room while he was cleanin' off his ring," Billy added quickly. Dean stifled a smile as Cas wrote that down as well.
"Right. Elijah said she looks like his mom, but Viggo swore she looked like his ex-wife," Sean continued. Cas penciled that onto his paper. Dean stopped himself from grinning again.
"Is Viggo's ex-wife dead?" Cas wondered. Sean burst into laughter and shrugged.
"Man, I dunno. She's in jail. Viggo divorced her and then filed a restraining order against her 'cuz she wouldn't leave the poor guy alone. She was a pretty crazy lady, though," Sean told them, still chuckling slightly.
"Crazy enough to get herself killed in prison?" Dean rolled his eyes and stood up.
"I'd ask Viggo. He was with her for like fifteen years, or something like that," Sean shrugged again. That was starting to piss Dean off.
"We will consult him, then. Thank you for your time, gentlemen," Cas stood and followed Dean out of the room.
"Well, that went swimmingly," Dean growled as he adjusted his belt again.
"Perhaps Viggo will be easier to converse with?" suggested Cas hopefully. Dean simply shrugged and continued walking, searching for Viggo's room.
"I dunno, but he better not be shirtless when he answers the door," Dean muttered as he knocked on the door. Cas gave an amused snort and bumped Dean with his elbow. Just as he was about to tell him what was on his mind, the door opened.
"Oh, hello there. Come in, come in," Viggo motioned them insides and gestured to the small couch. "Make yourselves comfortable," he smiled.
"Sean told us about your run-in with the ghost. Can you tell us what happened?" Dean asked him, sinking into the couch with a tired sigh. Cas noted the meager amount of room left for him, but decided to sit anyway. Their knees brushed together, but Dean didn't say anything as he focused on Viggo.
"Right. I was in here changing into a clean shirt and cleaning my ring after our role play fight between some other orcs, and she just appeared. She was screaming about it being her fault, and I swear it was my ex-wife, ok? But she's in jail, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't been killed. I know they would've called me if she had been," Viggo told them.
"Ok. Thanks, Viggo. Do you know of any other experiences the cast may have had with the spirit?" Dean wondered.
"Not necessarily. Orlando sleep-walks sometimes, so I kinda watch out for him. He was muttering to himself during the panel about screaming keeping him up, but I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it," Viggo had turned away from them to rearrange a picture frame on his table.
"Alright, well, we'll talk to him next. Thanks, man," Dean stuck out his hand and Viggo shook it vigorously.
"Word of advice, don't stick around here at night," he mumbled to Dean quietly. Cas didn't hear, but he didn't like the way the man leaned in toward Dean's body to whisper in his ear. Dean simply nodded before retracting his hand and motioning for Cas to follow him.
"What was that he said to you?" Cas managed to keep the jealousy clear from his voice, which was much harder than he'd been expecting. Dean didn't seem to have noticed the slight strain in his tone.
"Not to stick around at night. We're gonna hafta though if we wanna figure out who this ghost is," Dean coldly remarked, looking a little bitter.
"I see. Are we going to speak with Orlando Bloom now?" wondered Castiel as he trailed after Dean like a lost puppy.
"Yahtzee," Dean agreed. Cas gave him a confused look, making Dean sigh. "Yes, we're going to talk to Orlando."
Cas narrowed his eyes and continued after the hunter. The reached Orlando's door and stood outside for a moment before Dean finally raised his hand and knocked. The door opened almost immediately.
"Are you the two agents?" he asked doubtfully, looking them over. Dean's mouth floundered with what to say so Cas intervened.
"Yes, we are. We're Agents Plant and Hendrix. We're just here to ask a few questions about the ghost."
Orlando nodded slightly, still giving them skeptical glares before opening his door farther and letting them inside. "Sorry about the mess, I'm not usually so disorganized. Uhm, I guess ask whenever you're ready," he closed the door behind them and shambled over to sit in a rickety chair.
"You look a little tired, you want us to maybe come back later?" Dean found his voice again.
"Oh, no, it's fine. I just don't sleep well, lately. The spirit keeps me up at night screaming," Orlando explained with a yawn.
"Do the other actors ever hear her?" Dean questioned.
"No. They insist it's silent all night. I'm used to them not believing me though, so it's fine," he shrugged and looked between Cas and Dean.
"When she's screaming, what does she say?" Cas decided to ask, not appreciating the lingering look the actor gave Dean.
"She says it's her fault. I've never seen her, but she sounds like Viggo's ex. I'm not sure though, the other's think I'm rather paranoid," Orlando chuckled slightly and dropped his head, giving a self-deprecating smile. "I might be. She wasn't good for him. She wouldn't leave the poor guy alone, and half the time they were together Viggo told me how depressed he always was. He didn't like having to comfort her twenty-four seven that he wasn't seeing other women."
"She thought Viggo was cheating on her?" Dean asked in surprise, his eyebrows shooting up as he dipped his head slightly down.
"Yeah. And I know Viggo. He'd never do that to her, plain and simple. He loved her, even if she was completely crazy," Orlando rubbed at his eyes and leaned back in the chair, draping his arm off the back as he stared them down.
"Alright. Well, thanks for telling us. If you want, we can make you a thing that'll keep the ghost away all night," Dean suggested as he stood.
"Uh, sure, if it's not a bother," he agreed. Dean nodded kindly and flashed him a smile. "Nice costume, by the way. I like that you went with the book version instead of the movie."
"Oh, man, thanks. You've read the books?" Dean seemed a little surprised.
"Of course. So I could learn my character better," Orlando nodded and grinned. "It took a while. There was a lot of information even those three hours couldn't fit in," he shook his head and laughed.
A shadow crossed Cas's mind as Dean actually blushed and dropped his head. A dark foreboding darkness full of doubt and self-deprecation. Flaked edges of the wall he'd created broke away so that some of the angry thoughts escaped and circled around in the deep recesses of his mind.
Dean finally rose to his feet, looking a little awkward as he stumbled slightly to the door. "So, uhm, I'll get on that thing," he said roughly, clearing his throat.
Cas could have sworn he saw Orlando wink at the hunter, but it was so fleeting he couldn't be sure. He quickly ushered Dean and himself out of the room.
"What was that, Dean?" he asked sharply, the jealousy taking over his rational mind. Dean would take it as anger.
"What? I just offered to help the guy, Cas, what's wrong with that?" Dean raised an eyebrow in question. He was confused. Cas knew he would be, and he also knew Dean had no idea that Orlando had been flirting with him.
"There's nothing wrong with helping people, Dean," Cas answered with a tired sigh.
"Then what's the damn problem? What, you jealous Orlando didn't compliment your costume?" Dean cracked a breathtaking grin at that, perfectly white teeth a stark contrast to the looming dark in Cas's brain.
"Utterly," Cas snapped unhappily. Dean's smile fell and his face contorted into something concerned mixed with anger. The worry in his expressive eyes was evidence enough that he hadn't meant to do anything.
"Whatever. Let's just go to the motel. I'll drop off the hex bag later," Dean motioned with his head for Cas to come with him. Cas hesitated a small moment before hurrying after him.
He noticed Dean stop at a vendor's table, just staring at the replica sword on the table.
"You interested in buying?" the lady sitting behind the desk asked rudely, sneering at Dean. Cas approached, but stayed behind Dean with a wary look.
"How much?" Dean's voice was filled with reverence. The sword was small, but the intricate designs carved into its surface gained Cas's interest.
"One seventy-five," she replied. Her harsh tone had disappeared at Dean's obvious amazement.
"Do you offer discounts for FBI?" Dean flashed her a beautiful, beaming smile.
"Unfortunately not. I've gotta make a living too, sorry," she shrugged. Dean's smile didn't recede as he grabbed his wallet and pulled out two bills. Cas wondered where he'd gotten two hundred dollars, but he didn't bother to ask.
He eagerly handed over the money and waited to receive his change. Cas couldn't believe that Dean had bought a sword, especially one that looked smaller than his entire arm.
A ding drew Cas's attention back to the woman as she gave Dean his change and then gingerly wrapped and bagged the weapon. "Thank you," Dean said with awe. The women's lips curved into a smile and she nodded.
"Why did you buy that?" Cas wondered in confusion, his eyes narrowing and head tilting.
"'Cuz Sting is a great sword. Come on," Dean headed away from the table. Cas reluctantly walked after him.
"Are we going to the motel?" he wondered in a bored voice.
"Yeah. Why, that gonna be a problem?" Dean joked as he clapped his back with a rough hand.
"I don't sleep," Cas said as an answer.
"Which is why I only got one bed. Saves money," Dean commented. They both scrambled into the Impala. Dean gently placed the sword in the backseat and started the car.
"Then I suppose I will watch over you," Cas stuck their badges into the box as he said this, closing the glove compartment and gazing at Dean as his knuckles went white on the steering wheel.
"Whatever," he muttered. It surprised Cas that he hadn't fought about it like he usually did. Cas turned back to front windshield and watched the telephone poles whiz by the top, wires waving loosely in the growing breeze.
Their motel was a simple one with only one story. Despite that, the room was pretty clean and didn't smell like someone had died in it. Dean dropped his things and rummaged through his bag for clean clothes to dress himself in. Cas hadn't realized that it was still daytime, and actually only five in the afternoon.
"Alright. I'm gonna change and then get started I the hex bag for Orlando," Dean headed for the bathroom door.
"I can easily make the hex bag, Dean. That way when you're done you can take it right to him," Cas watched Dean stop and turn to him with a suspicious glare.
"Sounds good," he agreed. Cas turned and grabbed all the supplies for the hex bag. He set to work mixing the right amount of herbs inside.
He didn't even realize he'd finished the job. He sat staring at the wall in silence, hands stilled as his dark thoughts grew and formed new bitternesses that filtered past the back of his eyes and stuck to the back of his throat to choke him. He was drowning in a sea of depression that he couldn't rid himself of.
"Hey, buddy, you alright, there?" Dean clapped his shoulder and drew him from his brooding.
"I finished the hex bag," Cas held out the small bag as a reply. Dean withdrew his hand from Cas's body and cautiously took the hex bag.
"Thanks," he shot Cas a weird look before turning away. "Hey, uh... You sure you're ok, man?" Dean stayed facing away, his shoulders hunched forward in what seemed like concentration. Cas knew it was distress.
The shadows festering in Cas's mind shrunk slightly. "I'm fine, Dean. Why wouldn't I be?" Cas stood and made his way to Dean's side. Dean looked up at him and gave an almost imperceptible nod.
"I'm gonna drop this off and then I'll be back," Dean patted his back before leaving. The Impala's engine roared to life, but the low rumble was drowned out by the boiling ink in the angel's whirling mind.
Dean arrived back three hours later with a tired expression. "Eventful stay?" Cas sat on the bed with Dean's father's journal in hand, just flipping through.
"What?" he looked confused at Cas's question. Or, maybe, it was because he was still in the room. "Dude, no. I went out to eat afterward. I needed a cheeseburger," he finally shook his head and grimaced. "Also, Viggo got a call from the jail his ex was at. Turns out she was murdered in the jail by her friend while she was sleeping. I'd say that's violent enough to warrant a poltergeist."
"Yes, I agree," Cas nodded.
"Unfortunately, herself and all her belongings were burned. And the jail triple checked her cell, there was nothing left. They even burned the bloody sheets, man," Dean ran a hand down his face and sighed.
"It's Viggo's ring, Dean. She appeared to him when he was cleaning it. Perhaps we could ask him to burn it," Cas suggested.
"Huh. Yeah, I guess that does make sense," agreed Dean.
"I'll go back and inform him," Cas stood from his spot and set the journal down.
"Do it tomorrow, man. It's been a long day," Dean told him quickly.
"I don't get tired, Dean. It's no bother," Cas was gone without another word. Dean sat on the bed and untied his shoes before laying back on the bed and relaxing into the mattress. Dean didn't hear from Cas again until well into the night.
He was jostled awake by the fluttering of wings and Cas stumbling enough to knock over a lamp. He sat up and chuckled slightly as Cas scrambled to fix it.
"My apologies, Dean," he said quickly.
"You burn the ring?" Dean asked him, changing the subject.
"Yes. I waited for a few hours, and the poltergeist did not appear. I assume it worked as we wished it would," Cas nodded and turned to Dean with a slightly manic look.
"You alright, man?" he stood and made his way up to Cas, reaching past him and flipping the light on.
"Of course. We can go home now, correct?" Cas asked nervously, eyes flitting across Dean's face.
"Yeah, if you're ready to go. Oh man, Sam's gonna freak when he sees that sword," Dean's face fell into a horror-filled expression.
"Why does it matter?" Cas looked confused.
"'Cuz he's my brother. To hell with it, I don't care. Now I have another replica to add to my collection. Oh! Look!" Dean grabbed his phone and handed it to Cas. "Orlando and Viggo took pictures with me, see!"
Cas couldn't stop the affectionate smile that spread across his mouth. "It seems you got your wish, then," he commented.
"I know, it's great, right!? I'm so excited about it. It's great being a hunter. I got to meet famous people, Cas. How awesome is that, huh?" Dean flashed a beaming grin and took his phone back from the angel.
"You're ridiculous," Cas laughed fondly. Dean's eyes flickered up to meet his own. Oceans meeting forests once again.
"But you love me anyway," he winked and turned away. He packed his clothes and slipped his shoes back one before trudging to the Impala.
"Yes, Dean. I do love you, despite that," Cas followed after him and they drove back to the bunker with AC/DC, Metallica, Van Halen, and Foreigner blasting on the radio; Dean singing along with a content, easy smirk.