Summary: Phantom of the Opera inspired. Dean is an up-and-coming star at Heaven's Theater. After his debut performance, he is swept away by a beautiful, ethereal voice. Sam is angry, Dean is curious, and Cas... All Dean wants is to see his mystery angel.
A/N: I know I have other things I need to keep writing, but inspiration is a fickle bitch, so I did this thing. I recently saw Phantom of the Opera for the first time and decided that Castiel would look good in a mysterious black cloak. I've been forced by my low-quality internet connection to upload this in a few chapters instead of just the long one-shot is was supposed to be, so I apologize for the poor splitting. I think it went okay... Either way, enjoy and review!
"Dean, get this," Sam called from the small apartment living room. Dean pulled a gray shirt over his head and crossed into the small room. "There's an audition at Heaven's Theater for Les Miserables tomorrow!" Sam continued. "You have to audition."
"Sammy, I don't have anything prepared," Dean ran a hand through his light brown hair.
Sam gave him an impressive combination of his bitchface and a smirk. "Dean, you once learned an Italian area in thirty minutes. You have dozens of plays memorized. Surely you can find one song to sing."
"Dude, we haven't even finished unpacking!" Dean gestured to the cardboard boxes piled haphazardly around the room. The Winchesters had moved into the small apartment on the outskirts of New York City only two weeks ago. Sam had insisted; there wasn't much in the acting business in Lawrence, Kansas.
Dean supposed he was just a bit afraid, though he would never admit it. It would be his first audition in a big city, New York of all places, and he probably wasn't good enough. Sure, he had been revered in Lawrence, but he had been a lounge singer. This was the big leagues, and he was by no means a big fish.
Sam then turned those damn puppy dog eyes on Dean. "Dean, I know you can do this. This could be the start of your career! You have the best voice I've ever heard in my life, and..." Sam trailed off for a moment. "I know Mom would be proud of you."
Dean sighed. He would have to audition sooner or later. And even if it was a minor role, their Mom would be proud. He would live out the dream that she never had a chance to. "Fine," he said. "What do I sing?"
Sam's eyes lit up. "Definitely "Maria" from West Side Story. You kill at that one."
Dean chuckled and went back into his room, closing the door. Sam heard the sounds of boxes moving and things being set down. As he began to unpack the kitchen, he heard Dean's caramel-rich voice float out from behind the door. "The most beautiful sound I've ever heard, Maria, Maria..."
The theater was huge and intimidating. It was the kind of place that wasn't built anymore; no other theaters had this much detail wrought into the walls, or ornate paintings on the ceilings. He had never seen a place so extensive, he'd need a map just to get around. There were maybe a hundred people milling about, waiting to audition. They all looked at Dean and turned up their nose at his bow legs and ACDC shirt. The older Winchester had never felt so nervous.
"Don't worry, you've got this," Sam squeezed his shoulder. "I have to wait out here. But seriously dude, just sing. You know you can. Jerk."
"Bitch," came Dean's automatic reply. He smiled as his brother walked off, and the nerves immediately returned.
He sat in the velvety red seat along with the others auditioning, and one at a time, everyone took the stage to audition. Dean watched the judges' faces carefully during each performance to see what they liked and didn't like, but their faces were stone. No criticism, no praise, nothing. Only a short, "Thank you. Next!"
Dean sat, leg bouncing in anticipation for what felt like days. He heard nasally voices, throaty voices, operatic voices... everything. But no one was blatantly bad. Which put the odds even further against him. After agonizing minutes that felt too long and yet very short, he heard, "Winchester, Dean."
Dean's feet carried him up onto the stage mechanically and then he was there with nowhere to hide. His eyes adjusted to the limelight quickly, revealing many judgmental faces. "My name is Dean Winchester," he said evenly, "and I'll be singing "Maria" from West Side Story." He took a breath and remembered his mother, and the warmth he felt when she sang him "Hey Jude" every night before bed. The tension fled his body and he opened his mouth.
He saw several stunned faces in the crowd. Their surprise urged him further, and his warm baritone voice resonated in the space. "And suddenly I've found how wonderful a sound can be!" He finished out the song, his voice fading until the last vowel echoed in the space and vanished.
Not a sound was heard, no clapping, no shifting of seats. "Thank you," one of the judges said, scribbling on a piece of paper. "Next!"
A wave of disappointment washed over him, and he tried to hold his head high as he stepped backstage and out of the auditorium to find his brother. He left so quickly that he didn't see the fluttering black cloak that moved in the shadows on the catwalk.
Sam rushed over to Dean as he stalked outside. "How'd it go, man?"
Dean sighed. "I don't know. I'm really average compared to those guys. I just..." He swallowed and turned the corner, heading for their apartment.
"Hey, I'm sure it'll be fine. You're awesome, remember?" Dean smiled at his little brother's optimism. "When do you get the results?"
"They post them online," Dean remembered them saying. "Midnight, I think."
The hours passed by like molasses. Dean busied himself with unpacking and crap television and finally push-ups, just to get his mind off things. Even so, he sat on Heaven's Theater's website at 11:59, his mouse hovering over the refresh button.
"I can't do this," he muttered, stomping into the kitchen for a beer. Sam huffed and sat down at the computer, clicking refresh.
A broad smile spread on the younger Winchester's face. "Congratulations, Dean," he beamed. "You are officially the new Foreman!"
Dean blinked several times. He had lines! He had a whole scene, followed by a song! Apparently they had liked him enough. Dean let out a surprised breath. "I have to be slapped," he murmured. Both Winchesters burst out laughing, and Sam joined Dean with a beer.
Rehearsals started only a few days later, and they were hard. Dean may be a hot-headed man, but he found it difficult to get into character quickly. The foreman was lecherous and violent, but he took comfort in the fact that it was just acting. And the actress playing Fantine, Anna, was a very easygoing woman.
Dean couldn't help fantasizing though. He had loved Les Mis his entire life, and it had been his dream to play Marius. So when that man sung, Dean hummed along. When he spoke, Dean mouthed the words. Maybe one day, they'd do this production again and Dean would get that chance. For now, he would work on being fake-slapped and hitting on Anna.
Dean arrived the morning of the first production to the sound of frantic voices. "Where the hell is Michael?!" the director yelled. Michael plays Marius, Dean remembered.
"I-I don't know sir, he's just gone," a frightened lighting technician followed.
"Did you call him? Call his friends? Go to his fucking house?!"
"Yes, sir, he's just gone! Nowhere to be found!"
Dean walked inconspicuously closer to the two while everyone else rushed about in a state of rehearsed panic. "And Lucifer?" That's Michael's understudy, Dean's brain supplied.
"Also gone. His phone and his wallet were still left in his apartment. I don't know what to say, sir," the technician refused eye contact.
The director, Kripke, Dean remembered, rubbed his eyes. "It's the day of the production and one of our main characters and his understudy have disappeared. Where the hell are we going to find someone who can just jump into a role like that?!"
"Do we have to cancel, sir?" the technician whispered.
"No," Dean blurted. He composed himself quickly. "I, uh, I'm sorry if this is unprofessional, but I've known every word and every note of Marius' character since I was sixteen." Kripke narrowed his eyes at Dean and the younger man swallowed. "If you don't have time to find anyone else, I'd be more than happy to fill in for Michael."
That was probably a stupid move. Kripke walked right up to Dean and looked him hard in the face. Dean didn't back down one inch; he was taking this chance, whether he meant to or not. After a while, the man spoke. "You better not fuck this up, kid." Yes! Deans responding grin made the older man roll his eyes. "Go, get to costume to get fitted. And seriously, don't fuck this up!" Kripke yelled as Dean bolted to get fitted.
His head was spinning. He was Marius. The stars must have aligned or something because this never happened. He called Sam while the costume designers found the right pieces to outfit Dean in.
"Sammy, you won't believe this!" He explained the situation to his brother, who was nearly screaming on the line.
"Holy shit, Dean! You're a lead! You're a fucking lead!" Sam gushed for minutes about the start of Dean's career and how amazing everything was going to be and how he was going to sneak in some sort of recording device because it was necessary to document every moment of this historic event. Dean ended the call to prepare for the surprise character change.
He went over the blocking with the various other characters he would interact with, even though he had watched carefully enough to have them memorized already. He ran a few of the songs and prepared as much as he could throughout the day until it was finally time.
The second Dean stepped out onto the stage, his excited nerves fled. The light shone in his eyes and he felt so at home. That night, he became Marius, just as he had dreamed for years. He heard women in the audience sigh when he sang "A Heart Full of Love". He heard the restrained gasps during "A Little Fall of Rain" and the outright sobs during "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables." Even he cried during that one. Finally, blissfully as he bellowed the last chord of the finale, he let the feelings overwhelm him while the curtain closed.
Cast members that he didn't know hugged him and patted him on the back, and choruses of "That was amazing!" and "Fantastic job!" echoed around him. Dean regained his composure as the lead roles stepped outside to greet the audience members who lingered outside the auditorium.
"Dean!" Sam nearly tackled him with the force of the hug.
"Hey to you too, Sammy," Dean patted Sam on the back, unable to hide his grin.
Sam had tear-stains on his cheeks and was clutching the playbill for all he was worth. "I still can't believe this. You were absolutely amazing up there!"
Dean ruffled his brother's hair, though Sam was a good four inches taller than he was. "You can praise me all you want later," he joked. "But I think I have to sign some stuff first."
It wasn't just Sam who praised his acting or singing; the whole crowd flocked to Dean, gushing about his performance. He explained that he was not Michael or Lucifer, circumstances arose and he was the one to fill in. After over an hour of smiling and signing, both his face and his hands were cramping and he retreated to his dressing room to change.
The room was filled with things that weren't his. This was Michael's dressing room, and he occupied only one armchair and a coffee table of space. His phone buzzed in his little duffel. "I'm taking you to dinner tonight, my treat," came Sam's voice over the phone.
"Aw, so romantic, Sammy," Dean jabbed. "Hey, would it be okay if we just got takeout and crashed at home? I'm way more exhausted than I thought I would be."
"Of course," Sam said. "Just come down when you're changed, I'll get us a cab."
"Will do." Dean hung up and tossed his phone onto the chair.
He pulled off his vest and sighed, his skin free of the tight material. He loosened his tie and had just pulled it over his head when he heard it: a soft humming noise. He whirled around the room, but saw nothing. The humming continued. "Hello?" he called. The sound was so smooth. Dean could feel his muscles relax even though he knew something was wrong. "Who's there?" he asked with less vigor.
The humming morphed into a gentle singing. "Come to me," the voice sang softly, and Dean's jaw went slack. "Join me now, give in to your heart and come to me..." The voice was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard. The deep bass was like- like a waterfall, the kind that polished the rocks below and churned the water white, rumbling and yet smooth. Dean was unaware of himself moving, but suddenly he was in a dark hallway, following the singing. This was not the hallway that lead out of his dressing room, but his mind didn't register that. "Let your mind drift, let your eyes close, come to me..." Dean obeyed the voice, his muddled thoughts melting into one phrase: I will come to you.
The singing faded away gently and Dean surfaced from the trance-like state he had been in. After a few groggy moments, his mind sharpened and he realized he had no idea where he was. The space was dim, filled with old furniture and props and lanterns, rather than the fluorescent lights Dean had expected. It looked like some sort of prop warehouse, with no apparent doors or windows. "Is this a warehouse?" Dean wondered aloud.
"No," a deep voice murmured, the sound echoing in the space.
Dean whirled around again, searching for the source of the word. "Who are you?" Dean asked, willing his voice not to shake. "And where am I?"
"I am an audience member," the voice said. It almost sounded amused, and it gave no more information.
"Oh yeah? Then how did I get here?" Dean began to walk in the direction he thought the voice was coming from, though it seemed to echo from above.
"You heard my song," the voice deepened, "and you came to me."
Dean shivered as the sound wound into his skin, sending tingles down his spine. He willed his body not to react- the voice sounded like sex personified. "And why did I do that?" Dean asked so the voice would keep talking. The props and furniture wound aimlessly, like a maze.
"Because you wanted to."
Dean rounded the corner, but no one was there. "That still doesn't tell me where I am," he called, backtracking to his original standing place.
"No, it doesn't," the voice said.
Dean balled his hands into fists and started for another path through the stuff. "Okay, we'll try again," he muttered, rounding another corner. Nothing there. "Why did you kidnap me?"
"I did not kidnap you," the voice was softer. "You came willingly, and I will send you back when we are done speaking."
"And when will that be, huh?" Dean rounded another corner and huffed. Nothing. The voice was also silent, which made him nervous. "Why did you lead me here then? If you're just a normal audience member, you could have just talked to me after the show like everyone else."
The voice chuckled, and to Dean's horror, he found he enjoyed the sound. Don't fucking tell me this is Stockholm Syndrome, he begged wordlessly. "I am far from normal, Dean Winchester."
"So you know me, evidently," Dean stared at the ceiling, as if that would help him. "What should I call you?"
There was a long pause. "You may call me Castiel," the voice said.
"Castiel," Dean murmured. The word felt foreign, but rolled off the tongue easily. The voice had a name, Castiel, and Dean felt his fear slowly ebb away. He sat heavily on a nearby couch, a bit of dust poofing up around him. Dean was caught between trying to figure a way out of this and imagining what the body that belonged to the voice looked like.
"Sing to me," Castiel commanded suddenly.
"Sing to me, Dean." Castiel's voice was soft, but clearly an order.
"Why should I?"
Castiel was quiet for a moment. "Sing to me, and I'll answer some of your questions directly."
Dean's head hit the back of the couch cushion with a dull thump. He was still exhausted from the day's events and he had just been kidnapped somehow by a crazy theater enthusiast. "What do you want me to sing?" he found himself asking.
"Something from your childhood," Castiel replied.
Dean gave the air a little half smile. "Hey Jude," he began, "don't make it bad." The song came easily to him. He remembered his mother carding her hands through little Dean's hair, singing to him softly. Anyone who knew his mother told Dean that he got his voice from her. When she wasn't around anymore, Dean sang the song to little Sam before bed. "Then you'll begin to make it better," he finished.
There was a long pause in which Dean kept silent. Would Castiel say anything about it? Was he just supposed to start asking questions?
"Your voice is like a summer breeze," Castiel murmured, almost too quietly for Dean to hear. "It is warm and clear, and incredibly beautiful. Breathtaking, in fact."
Dean felt his cheeks heat up in the dim light. No one had ever complimented him like that before. He cleared his throat and muttered, "Thank you." He could perform on a stage in front of thousands at a minute's notice, yet here he was, embarrassed about singing to a disembodied voice.
"You have questions, then?" Castiel asked.
"Yeah, I think." Dean had a hundred questions, but they had all left his mind. "How long are you going to keep me here?"
"Do you not like it here?" Castiel asked teasingly.
"Direct answers, Cas," Dean reminded, and then backtracked. You do not nickname the disembodied voice that kidnapped you. "Sorry," he added.
After a moment, he heard Castiel clear his throat. "It's quite alright. You may call me... Cas." Dean smiled, and then quickly hid it. You do not smile at the disembodied voice that kidnapped you, he chastised himself. "As for your question, I will not keep you long. You will be returned before dawn."
Dean blinked several times. That would be a very short kidnapping, if Cas kept his word. "Why am I here?" he asked.
"When an entire crowd vies for your attention, I would not get to observe you as I do now." Dean opened his mouth, but Cas cut him off. "To answer your next question, I am observing you because you are beautiful, and I treasure beautiful things."
The older Winchester flushed again, the heat spreading down his back. He had never expected to have those sort of words spoken to him in such a deep, alluring voice. He had never even thought to imagine something like it, and he was unprepared for the physical reactions it was causing.
"Uh," Dean said eloquently. "I don't know what else to say." He chuckled, embarrassed.
"Then let me sing to you," Castiel's voice grew softer as he began to hum. Dean felt that sinking sensation that he had noticed before. A sort of warmth filled his mind when Cas' humming turned into singing, singing in some language Dean had never heard before. His voice was soothing and low and enthralling, and his eyelids drooped. Though the language was foreign, Dean understood the meaning: Sleep.
"Dean!" The green-eyed man started awake at his name. He looked around; Michael's dressing room surrounded him, though he was now laying on a couch. The voice that had yelled his name was attached to his brother.
"Sam?" The older Winchester sat up and shook his head. That had been one seriously weird dream. One weird, lucid dream. "Sorry, I guess I just passed out for a minute. Is our cab here yet?"
Sam's mouth was open in disbelief. "Dean," he said slowly. "It's two o'clock in the morning. We've been looking for you for almost four hours now."
Dean frowned. No, that wasn't right. It hadn't been that long. Or he had fallen into a deep sleep that only felt like a short time, that had happened to him before. "Why didn't you come wake me up earlier then?" He stood and stretched.
"Because you weren't here!" Sam exclaimed. "You were gone and your phone was here and we searched almost the entire building! You disappeared!"
Dean's brow furrowed. "No, I was right here. I was exhausted. I just passed out and had a weird dream until you woke me up." Cas' voice rang in his head, but it must have been a dream. That was the only rational thing Dean could come up with.
"I came back to get your stuff, and you were here. I was in here twenty minutes ago and you weren't." Sam scrubbed his face with his hands. "You know what? It doesn't matter. What matters is that I found you and we're going home."
Dean let Sam collect his things and lead him down to the foyer of the building.
"Thank god!" That would be Kripke. "Where was he?"
"In the dressing room, I don't know what happened," Sam shrugged. "I'm going to take him home now."
"Sure, yeah," Kripke patted Dean on the back. "Hell of a performance tonight, kid. Keep yourself safe, you hear?" Dean nodded and let Sam pull him into a waiting cab. When they got home, Dean fell into bed and passed out into a restful, dreamless sleep.
The next morning was difficult.
"Seriously, just tell me what happened!" Sam crossed his arms. "Did you sneak of with some girl? Some guy? Seriously, Dean, just tell me. I won't be mad."
"I didn't sneak off," Dean mumbled, not even one cup of coffee in his system yet.
"Okay, well what do you remember?"
"Sam, I already told you-"
"Just give me every little detail, okay? Maybe you'll remember something." Sam was so annoyingly thorough.
"Well, I went to the dressing room and took off the vest and tie, and then I must have fallen asleep." Dean shrugged.
"Did you sit down on the couch?" Sam looked so serious.
"I don't think so, I... I heard singing, and then I was in my dream."
Sam's eyes narrowed. "What was your dream about?"
"I was in some basement or warehouse or something filled with theater junk and someone was talking to me, but I couldn't see them. It was just a voice, and it made me sing to it. Weird, right?"
"Oh my god, really?" Sam rolled his eyes. "Who told you the story? I was trying to keep you away from that so you didn't go snooping around."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Dean's brow furrowed.
Sam sighed, exasperated. "There's a legend that an angel lives in Heaven's Theater and lurks around there and sings. Dean, it's not real."
Dean scowled at his brother. "I never heard that story. And I don't believe in angels, I'm not an idiot." He downed the rest of his coffee. "As I said, dream."
Sam shook his head, but let the subject drop.
Throughout the next several days, Dean dreamed about Cas, but those he knew to be dreams: murky and quick to fade after he woke up. He remembered his voice, that deep soothing voice like a waterfall. But he wasn't real, he was just a dream. Angels didn't exist. Cas didn't exist.