That's All Free Will, Baby

Dean shakes the box of cereal once, twice, hoping to hear the scratching of sugary flakes against cardboard. Nothing moves but air, and he tosses the box back onto the kitchen table. It skirts across the surface and hangs there, just off the edge.

That's good enough for Dean. Sighing, he heads back into the kitchen to grab some more scotch. He's earned it, he thinks, for playing FBI supervisor for Cas. At least he can claim to have done something productive today. That is, if he's actually done it at all, and if God hadn't sat down at his keyboard and typed out the encounter weeks ago, waiting for him to complete the action…

Ok, no. Not going there.

He wanders over and picks up a glass tumblr, one of the nice ones. He pours the drink, staring at the amber-brown liquid and trying not to think about anything beyond his field of vision.

Making his way back to the table, Dean levers himself into a chair, sitting back with a groan. He's getting old: he can feel in the persistent ache of his back, the crackle in his knees, the lines on his face that take him aback every time he looks in the mirror. It's kind of unnerving. The fact that he's at this point at all, well…

It should feel like a victory. He never thought he'd make it past thirty. And yet.

It's not really his victory to celebrate, is it? If he's only here because of divine intervention, why should he be happy about it?

Dean shuts his eyes, trying to force his thoughts into the back of his head. Sam's usually a great distraction for his darker thoughts, has been since he was six months old and handed off to him in a burning house. But Sam's not here right now and Dean has to deal with it for the moment.

Listlessly, he picks up his phone, glancing at the time, staring at it until the screen goes dark.

Huh.

It's been a while. A little longer, perhaps, than necessary to pick up a crystal. Unless Sam is planning on doing the spell right there in Rowena's apartment? Damn, Dean knows he's not exactly great company right now, but still…

It's possible, too, that the crystal is just difficult to find. Or that Sam, feeling sentimental, is trying to find some closure in Rowena's apartment. It sounds like something Sam would do, so Dean makes the executive decision to not worry about it just yet. Except, you know. He hopes he does. Surely God isn't that much of a micromanager, right?

Whatever. In any event, all he can do now is wait for Sam to get back and maybe he can consider trying to pull his weight again. But for right now, he can sit right here, drink his scotch, and try to forget as much as possible.

Unless…

That's a habit for him, isn't it? Curling in around a bottle until he forgets what brought him there? All stories need consistency, and he's just playing right into this one.

Dean slaps the glass back on the table and sits back in his chair. "You wanna play it like that?" He snarls to the empty kitchen. "Fine. Fine. Okay."

Giving in to his instincts, he looks up at the ceiling and flips the bird with both hands. "How'd you like that?" He asks, feeling a grin spread across his face, manic. "That unexpected enough for ya? That's all free will, baby!"

Nothing happens, although Dean wasn't actually expecting anything to. The moment passes and Dean drops his hands, sighing quietly. Well, he'll take any potential act of free will he can get, even if it's functionally a useless gesture.

He grabs the scotch, ready to take another sip, when he sees his breath fog up over the glass. The sudden cold sleeps into his bones, bypassing the bathrobe.

"Shit!" Dean reacts instinctively, grabbing for a gun that's not there, eyes darting to the figure he can see start to coalesce in the corner. "Shit!"

The figure sharpens into Eileen, and the fight goes out of Dean with a speed that makes him go boneless. "Shit," he repeats breathily. "Warn a guy before you-"

"Sam's in trouble!" Eileen exclaims, gesturing wildly, causing Dean's adereneline to pick right up where it left off. "Witches! Come quickly!"

So much for a fucking milk run. "Shit!" Dean says, fumbling off the chair and out the door before his mind can catch up.

"Wait there!" He yells back belatedly, already halfway to his room. "I'm getting the witch killing bullets. Hang on!"

As he stumbles into his room, shedding his bathrobe in this hallway, he thinks fuzzily that this surely would've been in Chuck's imagination. He's probably playing right into the bastard's hands.

But you know what? Fuck that. For this, right now, he's okay with being predictable.

He'll make sure that Sam is okay, first. And then, everything else can follow.

END