“Hey, man,” Dean greeted his brother, making the younger look up from his book, slightly startled. The two had been doing their respective research on a new case, Sam with his head constantly buried in books as he sat patiently in the library, and Dean… Well, Dean was all over the place, really. The older Winchester had seemed fairly antsy all day. When he wasn’t raiding the library’s shelves looking for more material worthy of progressing the case, or on his laptop discovering articles that could possibly give them a lead, he was wandering the halls of the bunker. He was constantly up and about, and even when Sam suggested he take a break or sit down, Dean had refused, claiming he was ‘fine’. Now, Sam was anything but stupid, and he’d been accompanying his brother long enough to know that Dean’s ‘fine’ was most certainly not ‘fine’.
He’d been waiting for Dean to say something first, because whatever was on his mind was clearly bugging him, but after waiting for hours for his stubborn brother to spit it out, Sam had decided to focus more on work and less on Dean’s pouting. So when Dean finally decided to speak up, it caught Sam by a bit of surprise, completely halting his concentration on the book and redirecting it at Dean.
“Hey, what’s up?” Sam responded, not really sure what to expect, but curious nonetheless.
“Uh, you seen Cas at all recently? Heard anything from him?” Ah. So that’s what it was. Sam gave a mental sigh of relief and noticeably relaxed his tense shoulders. He gave a tentative shake of his head before answering with certainty.
“Nope, can’t say I have. Everything okay?” Sam figured there were most likely more aspects on why Dean was behaving so oddly. He had been drinking a lot more coffee than usual the past few days, most likely prompting the increased levels of stress and anxiety. It’d been awhile since they last went on a much-needed vacation… Had they ever been on a much-needed vacation? Sam figured there was a first for everything and that a vacation didn’t sound half-bad at the moment.
“I’ve tried callin’ him, and he never picked up. Never got back to any of my calls either. Hell, I even tried praying, but,” Dean gave an irritated shrug of his shoulders, “Nothin’.” Dean was obviously pissed, and getting even more so by the minute, Sam in the direct line-of-fire of his building rage. It’s true; it was a little odd that Cas wasn’t responding as quickly as he usually would, but Sam didn’t want to feed the fire of Dean’s irritation.
“Well, maybe he’s just busy. He’s done this before, hasn’t he?” Even though Cas hasn’t done so in recent years, it’s true that he most certainly has in the past.
“It’s been a week, Sam. A friggin’ week. And I don’t think Cas would just leave us hangin’ like this again out of the friggin’ blue. Something’s gotta be up.” Well, Dean did have a point there…
“Dean, he’s an angel. I’m sure he’s got much bigger and more important things to deal with up in Heaven than down here.” Nice save, Sam convinced himself. Sam kept trying to reassure Dean, keeping his voice calm and leveled; but no matter what he tried, Dean would still not budge on the subject. Yes, Sam was worried too, but he’s also very much aware that Castiel can take care of himself.
Dean began arguing again, but was soon interrupted by the familiar sound of a fluttering of wings and a quiet greeting. Both Winchesters quickly directed their attention to the new presence in the room. And there the angel was, standing just on the other side of the library, trench-coat and all.
“Cas?” Green eyes met blue, and Dean’s anger slowly subsided but then rose back up again just as suddenly. “Where the hell have you been?! I tried callin’ you how many goddamn times, and you couldn’t even-...” Dean had been making his way over to Castiel with a hurried pace, ready to chew the angel out, when he stopped suddenly, noticing Castiel taking a step back and flinching slightly. “Cas?” he asked again, but softer this time, his worry suddenly returning. Sam stood up slowly but stayed where he was, looking between the two, not really sure if he wanted to interfere or not.
“I… I’m sorry,” Castiel apologized, keeping his gaze on the floor. “I haven’t been… feeling... very well, as of late.” Dean could tell the angel was choosing his words carefully, but for what reason, Dean hadn’t a clue. “If… If it would be alright, I would like to lay down for a while to… rebuild my strength.” Dean didn’t answer right away, having been transfixed on the sound of Castiel’s steady breaths -- Since when did angels breathe? -- but quickly snapped out of it and nodded.
“Uh, yeah, sure. Of course, man.” Dean shot a confused glance back at Sam, Sam returning it with his own. “Um… You’re not… You’re not hurt or anything, are you?” Dean asked, noticing how Castiel jumped slightly when the older Winchester went to touch his back, ready to help support the angel’s weight in case he was hurt. Dean tried looking at the angel’s face for any signs of pain or discomfort, but Castiel continued keeping his head bowed and his gaze on the floor.
“N-No… No, I’m… I’m fine.” Sam wasn’t the only Winchester who knew when ‘fine’ wasn’t actually ‘fine’, but Dean trusted Castiel wasn’t too proud to deny Dean’s help if Castiel really needed it.
“Okay, okay. Just… take it easy, alright? Don’t overdo it,” Dean tried comforting Cas, putting his hands up in mock-surrender as he led the angel down the hall to his bedroom, which was closeby Dean and Sam’s, respectively. The two stopped at Castiel's door, Cas impatient to be left alone, but also not wanting to be rude to Dean. “Need anything, Cas?”
“No,” Cas answered just a bit too quickly for his liking, causing him to wince just slightly at his own foolish behavior. “Thank you. I’ll… I’ll be fine.” He didn’t realize his grip on the doorknob was much tighter than intended. He had to will himself to loosen his fist slightly before it broke.
“Alright, well… If you do, you know where to find me or Sam.” Dean offered a tight-lipped smile and a nod of his head, feeling slightly awkward and completely unaware of Castiel’s inner-crisis. “Get some rest, man.” Dean gave Cas’s shoulder a firm, reassuring pat before heading back into the library with Sam.
Castiel hadn’t realized he was holding his breath until he gave a deep sigh of relief before retreating into the private comfort of his room.
“How’d it go?” Sam, sitting back down in his chair with his book in-hand, asked Dean as he returned into the library. There was a certain smugness to the younger brother’s demeanor that pissed Dean off.
“Great,” Dean sarcastically remarked, shooting Sam a strained grin and a certain look in his eyes that said, ‘Say anything, and I’ll kick your ass' even though he knew beating a Moose would be quite damn near impossible. But he just was not in the mood for his little brother's teasing. Sam rolled his eyes, muttering a quiet ‘jerk’ under his breath while returning to his book. Dean grumbled a quiet ‘bitch’ right back to him.
As Dean and Sam continued their research for the case in a comfortable silence, all Dean could think about was why in the hell was Cas wearing perfume…?