Dean always liked Castiel. He couldn't quite figure out why, but there was just something about the big trench-coat wearing baby that Dean admired. They had a good, solid friendship. Of course they had their ups and downs - all friends do. But Dean and Castiel always seemed to bounce back, and radiate towards each other. They'd been through a hell of a lot together...the apocalypse, the Leviathans, even the freaking Darkness herself. They always came out top. But now Dean didn't know what to do, or what to think, because Cas was gone. He'd almost lost Sam nine weeks prior, when some idiotic British woman shot him in the chest. That almost tipped him over the edge, but he kept fighting. He got Sam back. But now...He was lost.
"Dean! Dean, come on, wake up! We have to head out for this hunt, these ghosts ain't gonna kill themselves!"
Dean poked his head out from under his covers, his eyes blurry in the light.
"Sam, it's freaking 6am. We've just sorted out universal peace between God and the Darkness. I deserve a fucking lie in."
"Dean, it's been 3 months. You've had a lie in every day. Get up, or I'll leave without you."
That got Dean out of bed. Sammy had had such a close call with the bitch from Britain that Dean didn't dare risk sending him out on a hunt alone. He sleepily swung his legs over the side of the bed and shoved them into his slippers, grabbed his dressing gown, and wandered down the hall to the kitchen.
"And actually, it's been nine weeks, 3 days, and 15 hours."
Dean grabbed a mug of coffee off the kitchen table and took a big gulp, grimacing at the lack of alcohol running down his throat.
"We didn't have any. Actually we don't really have any shopping...I thought you were going to go."
"Do I look like a maid Sammy? You want shopping, you go get it yourself."
"Jesus Dean, no need to be such a bitch about it. We can stop off at a diner for breakfast on the way to the mansion."
Dean smiled to himself, knowing he had won. He wandered off to the drinks cabinet, and topped up his coffee with some whisky. Sam gave him a sideways glance from across the kitchen, but Dean chose to ignore it. He couldn't deal with Sam's crap this early in the morning. Not when there was a hunt to be done...Not while Cas was still missing.
Two hours later and Dean is driving the impala, Sam sat in the passenger seat with a pout on his face.
"Dean I can't understand why you wouldn't let me order scrambled eggs...They are literally just eggs."
"Exactly! Just eggs! We can't have you wasting away can we, no! You have to have a proper breakfast for a hunt like this Sammy, you need energy."
"Dean I've been eating healthy breakfasts since I was 17, why are so fussed now? And it's only a haunting Dean, simple salt and burn and we'll be out."
"When is anything ever simple for us Sammy?"
Dean looked away from Sam, his eyes suddenly glazing over with tears. He was right...When was anything simple for the Winchesters? They finished one thing and all of a sudden there was another big problem to worry about. They never got a break. And now Cas was gone...They had no one else but each other, so all they did was argue.
"What's this about Dean? Is it about me getting shot, or you pining for Cas?"
"Shut up. I am not pining for Cas. As a matter of fact it is about you getting shot, because it only happened nine weeks ago and there's still a chance you could fucking die. And don't talk about Cas, if he wants to leave he can. He doesn't need us, we don't need him."
Dean cringed at his words. His lies. He remembered the countless times he'd told Cas he needed him...Countless times Cas told Dean the same. How could he just leave? Fly off without a trace? Deans suddenly began to get hot and cold flashes, his skin crawling and itching like something was under it. His head started to spin and his vision went blurry.
Red. All he could see was red. It smelt bad, pungent. Something wasn't right.
"Dean! What the hell is wrong with you!"
Dean opened his eyes to see Sam staring at him from the passenger seat, his hands on the wheel and one of his feet wedged alongside Deans leg on the break. Sam had pulled the car over, and was now giving Dean an incredible bitch face.
"Are you actually drunk, Dean? Are you kidding me? What the hell was that?"
"I- Um- Yeah." Dean didn't know how else to respond. What the hell had just happened to him? He couldn't tell Sam, he'd only worry. Better to just admit to being drunk, right?
"Fucking ridiculous. Get out, I'm driving. You'd better hope you've sobered up by the time we get to the mansion otherwise you're not setting foot in there. Ghosts and alcohol do not mix."
Dean reluctantly climbed out the drivers side and walked past Sam to the passenger seat, sulkily clambering in and slamming the door.
"Oh don't sulk you big baby." Dean shut his eyes again, remembering what he had called Cas. A baby in a trench coat. Sam had said it'd hurt Cas' feelings...Maybe it did? Dean was never really careful what he said to Cas. Maybe Cas left because Dean upset him?
Dean thought about it for a while, but it just didn't sit with him. It wasn't right...Cas wouldn't just leave if Dean had upset him, it'd take a lot more to make Cas leave now. He'd grown, changed...Become more human. He wouldn't take shit from Dean, and he certainly wouldn't leave just because Dean said something that offended him.
"Look, Dean, I'm sorry. I know you're dealing with a lot of stuff right now...Amara's gone, and you two had a connection..."
"I don't care about the Darkness, Sam. That's over now. All better...Poof! Gone. None of my concern."
"Well what is it then? Is it Cas? Because last time I checked, you and him weren't really talking."
"What the hell Sam? Me and Cas are fine. Nothing happened between us! For some reason he just upped sticks and disappeared...I'm concerned okay?"
"Concerned...riiiiight. Well, I'm concerned about you. You'd think after all this mess, you know, the world nearly ending and all, that you'd be happy we stopped it. But all you seem to do is drink and worry."
"I'm worried because Cas has fucking gone without a trace, okay! Those British morons could have him for all we know, they could be using him, hurting him! And you just expect me to sit back and relax like there's nothing wrong..."
Sam pulled the impala into the mansions parking lot and killed the engine, turning to face Dean, his sad brother face perfected.
"Dean...Look, we'll find Cas. I doubt the British Men of Letters could hold him captive anyway...Even if they were, he'd find a way to get a message to us, through Crowley or something." Dean stared at Sam for a few seconds in awe, before climbing out of the impala and walking up towards the entrance to the mansion.
How could Sam be so naive? They themselves held freaking Lucifer captive for about a week. Cas is nowhere near Lucifers level, and the British Men of Letters seemed very, very experienced. Of course they had him. That's exactly what had happened.
"Come on, Sammy. Let's just get this hunt over with and start looking for Cas."
Four hours later, and Sam's laying unconscious in the back of the impala, while Dean swerves down the road madly towards the bunker.
"Dammit, Sammy. Don't die on me."
Dean gracelessly clambered out of the car, grabbing Sam and hoisting him over his shoulder. He carelessly opened the bunker door and half raced-half tripped down the stairs, and laid Sam on the kitchen table. He splashed cold water on his face, and ran around nervously, his hands twitching and jerking with anxiety.
"Where is this god damn first aid kit...Come on Sammy...Don't leave me, please...Don't you leave me too..."
"Dean? What- Dean?" Dean spun around, his hands clamped together so tight they had turned a bright shade of white.
"Sammy! How you feeling? Stay there, I gotta stitch you up..."
"Dean, I'm not going to leave you. I won't die that easily."
"You still need stitches, Sammy. Your head's cut pretty bad...Actually, it might be better if I take you to the hospital."
"And how would we explain this mess? Dean I have a bullet wound in my chest for gods sake...Hospitals ask too many questions."
Dean threw his hands in the air, ignoring Sam's last comment. He finally found the first aid kit, grabbed some whisky, and started stitching his brother up.
"Alright. All done." Dean patted Sam gently on the back and helped him off the table, before standing awkwardly in front of him with his hands clenched together.
"Thanks, Dean. I'm gonna go lie down."
"Okay." Dean watched Sam's huge figure as he walked off towards his room, making sure he remembered every last detail about his appearance - just in case. He never did that with Cas, and now it was too late.
"It's not too late. Cas is still alive, somewhere. I just have to find him..."
With those words, Dean set about searching the entire bunker, and what seemed like the entire internet, for a way of finding the British Men of Letters association. He knew he and Sam couldn't actually go to Britain - they were on the FBI's most wanted list. They couldn't fly a plane...But they had Crowley. He could get them anywhere, and he owed them for saving the world...Again.
Dean grabbed his cellphone from the library table and dialled Crowley's number.
"Hello darling. What's the problem now?" Crowley answered the phone in his usual condescending tone.
"Crowley. I- I need your help."
"Wowee. The great Dean Winchester, asking me for help, twice in the space of 2 months. I feel honoured."
"Shut up Crowley, I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't serious. Just help me out, okay? Please."
"A please as well! I really do feel honoured. Okay princess, what's the problem?" Dean cringed at Crowley's pet name for him...It reminded him of when him and Crowley had wrought havoc when he was a demon. It seemed like so long ago...
"Squirrel? You still there?"
"I- Uh...Yeah. I need your help finding Cas. He's gone, just...gone. I don't know where he is, or if someone has him."
"Haven't you done a tracking spell? I thought you were supposed to be experienced?" Dean slapped his palm to his face. A tracking spell. Why didn't he think of that?
"Err...No. Not yet. This is just a precaution, Crowley. Just in case I can't find him alone."
"What about Moose? Can't he help you find your dearly beloved?" Dean felt his face redden at the comment, even though he was alone.
"C- Cas isn't my dearly beloved Crowley, don't play games. And Sammy's not recovered yet, I can't ask him to help."
"Alright, for you. We'll do a tracking spell, I'll drop off the stuff you need. If nothing comes up, what do you expect me to do though?"
"Look for Cas? Take me to look for him? Please Crowley, I'm begging you right now."
"Oh don't pine, it's not attractive. I'll help you find your angel, but on one condition." Dean gaped at the phone. Crowley always had conditions.
"What? My soul?"
"Of course not, Squirrel. I don't want your soul...What I want is a little more...Touchy."
"I want you to get me into contact with that reaper, Billie. Put a good word in for me. I like her...She's spunky. But I can't just take her...I want her to like me."
"Oh- Haha, Crowley's got a crush eh? Alright, I'll put you a good word in. Just never say spunky again."
"See you soon, Winchester."
Dean clicked off the call and shut his eyes, resting his cold hands on his still flushed face. What did Crowley mean by pining? And calling Cas his dearly beloved...
Dean shoved his internal monologue aside and set about finding a tracking spell. It wasn't long until Crowley himself popped up in the bunker.
Dean jumped out of his skin when Crowley tapped him on the back, and spun around reaching for his gun before realising who it was. "Something I always meant to ask you...How do you get in? The bunker's warded."
"I took the wards for me off, you moron. Now come on, help me carry all this stuff into the basement. Or my old torture chamber. Ahhh...Memories." Dean grabbed a pile of random and disgusting objects out of Crowley's arms and led the way to the basement, choosing to ignore Crowley's comment about the time himself and Sam kept Crowley captive and tried to un-demonify him.
"There's nothing else I can do, Squirrel. He's not anywhere."
"Crowley come on! He has to be somewhere. He can't have just disappeared completely." Dean felt his eyes welling with tears, and turned away from the king of hell so that he wouldn't notice.
"He's either being held captive somewhere that knows how to ward angels from trackers, or he's dead. Dean?"
Dean wiped away one of the tears that had rolled down his cheek, and turned back to face Crowley.
"He's not fucking dead, okay! I'd know. I'd feel it."
Crowley stared at dean with his head tilted slightly sideways, so incredibly similar to the look Cas often gave him that it actually hurt Dean's heart.
"You really do love him, don't you? You idiot." Crowley stepped forward, and placed a hand on Dean's shoulder. "I'll go get Sam, you sort yourself out. Can't let your little brother see you like this can we, it might break the illusion. We'll go to wherever or whoever you think has Castiel. Grab your stuff, and be quick about it. Hell needs me."
Dean waited until Crowley had left the basement to run upstairs and frantically pack things into a tiny bag, stuff that he or Cas might need. Toothbrush, shampoo, magazines, music...What was he missing? Oh yeah, his pillow. He grabbed it from the bed, stopping and staring with his mouth hanging open when he did.
Under Dean's pillow was a bloody and dirty, yet unmistakable angel blade. Cas' angel blade, most probably. Dean stared at the blade until he heard Crowley yelling.
"Squirrel! Hurry up. Moose is ready." Dean made the last minute decision to grab the blade, shoving it haphazardly into his bag. He walked down the the kitchen where Sam and Crowley were, and swung his bag over his shoulder.
"Alright then. Let's go get Cas."
AN - chapter two coming soon, should be up Monday :)