Summary: Dean is having strange dreams of Castiel, Ruby has reported demonic activity in Nevada and Uriel, not Castiel, is sending the brothers after a Seal. Dean doesn't know where to start, but he begins to suspect his problems all have the same solution.
Disclaimer: Don't own the show, don't own the characters, don't own the angels.
Man that's depressing.
Major Characters: Dean and Castiel
Pairings: Sam/Ruby if you squint. Not a major plot factor, do not worry.
Warnings: Violence, Language, but if you watch the show, nothing new.
Chapter One: Seeing is Dreaming
It was a dream that Dean was sure he had before. While that in itself was not uncommon since he was raised from perdition, the dream was not a nightmare of hell. It was not a feeling of picturesque terror of the act of torture on his soul in anyway known to man or demon; not the feeling of desperate revulsion in the torturing of other souls stretched out on his rack. But the feeling held the same notes as if they were three different parts of the same song. Which was strange, because in this dream he was just talking with Castiel.
The dream always started in Dean`s motel room, and matched whatever motel room Dean was staying in at the time. Sam was always asleep and never stirred. Tonight he was softly snoring. Castiel leaned against the wall at the foot of Dean`s bed. "You're not wearing your coat," observed Dean, as usual the first thing he noticed about the angel. Castiel's rumped white shirt was half undone, and the tie hung loosely around his neck like a noose. "Pretty sloppy for an angel." The angel was as still as a statue, stiff and unforgiving. His face was drawn into an impassive grimace, blue eyes focused elsewhere. Dean felt unsure if the angel had heard him, or if the still figure was really in the room at all.
"Sleep stalking me again, that's kinda creepy. You know 'Touched by an Angel' is starting to take on a whole new meaning." Dean swallowed impetuously. Feeling awkward addressing the man in front of him while lying on his back, Dean sat up straight in the bed.
Castiel did not twitch, or respond, or acknowledge that Dean spoke. Maybe it was just a dream, an ordinary daily residue, work-through-problems, random brain input configured into a story dream, not a message-from-God dream.
Castiel lifted his eyes from the stain on the bedspread that covered Dean. Castiel stared into the Dean's eyes, though his gaze did not hold the penetrating ethereal power that it always had. The light from angel's eyes was dark with a weariness that should not have been possible for an angel of the Lord. "My duty has left me with no time for vanity," he remarked, though the reply to Dean's comment on his attire held little bite.
"What duty, chasing after Anna?" Dean sat squarely in his bed staring back into Castiel's shadowed blue eyes. Dean knew it was not wise to pick a fight with an angel, least of all the one who was his 'guide', but Dean still felt ripe with confusion and anger. Loyalty was a value that was beyond measure to Dean, and Castiel's ability to set it aside on 'orders' was shocking and disillusioning.
Castiel lifted a hand to his head, to support it, his long finger resting on top of his flat dark hair. "Those are no longer my orders. I requested to be assigned elsewhere." The voice of the angel was annoyed, made more evident by the increasing rasp in his throat. The hand that was covering one of his eyes dropped down to rub the front of his neck, nearly the same place where Alastair had strangled him.
"Well, what are you doing now, hunting down girls scouts who overpriced their cookies?" Dean eyed the angel, who may have flinched with the comment. Dean waited for the room to darken, for Castiel`s patience to wear thin, but it did not. Dean shifted in his bed, and swung his knees over the side. Castiel remained perched against the wall, his head tilted upwards, now leaning against the dull, cracked wallpaper.
"Recon. Upper level demons are congregating. We`re not yet aware of the reason." The angel wetted his lips, "It's hot down here".
"Are you in hell?" Dean asked incredulously.
The angel was silent again, he might have shivered, but in the dim light it was hard to tell, but remained by the wall. Dean guessed it was unpleasant mission, but not as dangerous as the one Castiel was on when the Rising of the Witnesses occurred. Maybe the angel was tired - if angels got tired - maybe Castiel had intelligence information, or maybe this was the same weirdo dream, as the whole situation stank with déjà vu.
"No." The angel's hand made a fist grabbing at his tie pulling it away from his neck. "But, it may be closer than I hope."
"What's closer, Hell?" Dean asked not getting an immediate answer, "Why?"
Always then in the dream did the walls of the hotel waver, Sam`s bed and Sam, the bathroom door, the rug, fading in and out of existence. Castiel stumbled, no longer supported by a non-existent wall. He caught himself on a knee. He was still grabbing at tie around his neck, and look through Dean. His eyes widened, and Dean though he saw terror there, terror he knew he recognized from the look in the mirror after his own nightmares of hell.
Then Dean was still sitting in his bed, but there were at a warehouse, and the tie Castiel was holding had become a collar. A black collar. Blacker than the impala, blacker than demon smoke, blacker than the cowl a reaper wore. Light around it bent in, pulled into the collar. Castiel`s light. Castiel slumped against a crate long ago forgotten, his right hand covering up the company logo.
The angel was pale, drawn, and confused looking. He clung to the crate as if it held him up. Dean straightened to stand up and go the angel's aid. The dark haired angel might have been a dick, might have been a heartless bastard, but sight of him hanging off the crate because he could not support himself stirred Dean's need for action, and his pity. The second Dean's feet to touched the floor, everything went white.
Then with a flash they were at the hotel. Castiel stood straight at the foot of Dean`s bed, his eyes vacant and he said, his voice a toneless rasp. "Get some rest, you`ll need it". The blacker than death collar, encircled his neck.
At this point Dean always awoke soaked with sweat, covers gripped in his fists, eyes wide.
"What were you dreaming about?" Sam`s sleep muddled voice was etched with cautious concern.
Dean looked over at his brother wincing at the familiarity of the words. Sam pushed himself up on one elbow and his chocolate coloured eyes squinted through the darkness. Messy hair flopped across his face, and his white shirt pulled down to reveal the top of the devil's trap on his shoulder. Tired but potent empathy radiated off his younger brother. Dean shrugged and answered truthfully, "It was pretty hazy. Something to do with Castiel though."`
Sam raised an eyebrow, "What did he want?"
Dean shrugged again, slightly worried that he could not remember the dream that had so suddenly interrupted his rest.
Sam rolled his eyes. "He needs to stop giving you orders in your sleep, if you`re not going to bother remembering them."
"It don`t think that was what it was... I think I`m going to go back to sleep." With that Dean lay down, feeling slightly edgy, slightly perturbed that he could not remember why Castiel had come.
Ruby strode into the boys' hotel room, arms loaded with coffee, pastries, and French fries, right into a line of salt. She took a deep breath, and hurtled a Danish into Sam`s head. She knew he was up, knew Dean was up. But Dean was never going to be charitable as they were never going to be friends, and today he looked even more antagonistic. Dean exuded tired and ornery from the way his body tensed at her movement, and Sam looked dazedly around until his eye`s settled on the coffee in the demon`s arms.
Sam unceremoniously rolled out of bed and put his toe through the salt line around the door. Then he grabbed his coffee. Taking a gulp, his mouth puckered at the taste. She thought she heard him mutter "Starbucks crap" as he pulled on his pants over top of his pale blue boxers. Ruby might have been a demon with a heartbeat only because she was riding around in vacant human body, but she appreciated the view. Dean opened an eye as Ruby put down the rest of the food in her arms on the small table in the hotel room. She stretched, feeling the pull of the healing flesh at her stomach, and slid into the metal-framed chair. She fished for the French fries as she felt the pierce of Dean`s eyes on her back.
"What, do you want one..." It wasn`t a question, just a jibe at the demon hunter extraordinaire who was flopping around like a beached whale, licking his lips in hunger.
Dean huffed, and tried to reach his pants on the floor, keeping the bed sheet over his bare chest. Ruby rolled her eyes. "Dean, I`m not going to peak, just get dressed. I got wind of some activity in Nevada."
"Nevada," Dean strained for his pants, "Got them." He then pulled them back underneath the sheets and manoeuvred them on.
"Impressive." Ruby nodded. Dean stopped and stared at a dark blotch on pale blue duvet, "Looks like blood." She added knowingly.
Sam heaved a sigh.
"What did you hear?" the younger Winchester asked in his slightly offended, slighted bemused voice. A smile curled up on his lips and she dunked a French fry deep into the lake of ketchup she had squirted in the crevasse of an empty donut bag.
"Today sometime, demon girl." Dean cut in.
"Well, if you insist. A lot of higher ups are swarming in the middle of the desert. Pretty weird, cause there's nothing there. Never was." She gashed open another package, and sprayed the red condiment on her food. "Practically a dead zone."
"Well there's obviously something there now. Sam, talk to hell bitch and figure it out." Dean looked disgustedly at Ruby's food. "I have to leave before she ruins fries forever. He grabbed a dark t-shirt out of a duffle on the floor, and went into the bathroom.
Ten minutes later, Dean emerged, shaved, brushed and ready to go. He sat on his bed and pulled on his boots, doing up the laces. He started at the wall opposite his bed in vague recollection. The room felt oddly empty, somehow.
Sam was sitting in a chair beside Ruby, coffee in reach, a Danish forced into his mouth, absently typing on his lap top with one hand. His other hand was sneaking across the table to steal one of the fries. It got slapped, and returned to the job at hand.
Dean shuddered at the oddly domestic scene.
"What," inquired Ruby.
"Nothing, nothing. That actually looked like you two were a, a normal couple. Creepy." Dean fake shuddered again, made a self satisfied grunt, and wove through the room. "I'm going to go get a Nevada state map out of her trunk. Sammy, need anything?" A negative nod from his younger brother's direction. Dean exited the hotel room, but popped his head back in, "Okay you two kids behave while I'm gone, no messing up the place, no drinking my stash, no having hard core sex..."
Dean nodded perfunctorily and left.
Ruby looked over at Sam. Her curly black bangs bounced as she shook her head. She opened her mouth but Sam closed it with his fingers. "It's better not to ask." He continued with his search of newspapers out of Nevada, hoping some reporter did his job and reported unusual activity indicating a demonic presence. Omens were next. But so far, the whole affair was coming up clean.
Dean strode back in. He bent and grabbed a flannel shirt off the floor, smelled it, and put it on. "No Nevada map. Looks like I'll have to go to a gas station or something. We need gas anyway. Good thing prices are taking a dive." He started patting himself.
"Dean, what do you think you're doing?" Sam asked worriedly.
"Just looking for my-" Dean pulled a leather wallet from his back pocket, "-money." He started to walk back over to the door. "Be back in twenty. Previous warning still stands."
Dean changed lanes, shoulder-checked, and turned into the gas station lot. He whistled at the price on the billboard. It's gone down again, does that mean we're actually winning the apocalyptic battle? It was a good thought, but Dean knew better than to base his predictions on that.
Dean slid out of the car door and reverently touched the black hood of his car. The warmth of the sun on the metal flowed through his hand down to his core. The unmistakeable mixture of spilt diesel, and burnt confection items common to all gas stations filled his nostrils. He straightened his clothes and proceeded to the gas pump.
Tank filled, he walked to the doors of the station. Dean leafed through his wallet finding the card he was going to use, courtesy of one "Brian Robinson". With his money in hand, or rather Mastercard's generous donation, he confidently pushed open the glass doors. The bell tinkled sharply, alerting the dosing cashier of Dean's presence. Dean wandered the isles of the minimart and grabbed a couple snacks. He paused at the map rack, hoping to get lucky and find the Nevada map here. He grabbed one, and made his way over to the pimpled-faced, skinny teenager manning the till.
The cashier nodded at the map as he rang it up, "Yeh, Nevada. It's pretty hot there this time a year. Cold nights though."
Of course it was hot in Nevada, which was like saying it was cold in Antarctica, or hot in hell. Dean nodded and wondered briefly like what the cashier said had meant something other the obvious platitude. "Have you ever been there?" Dean asked not sure why he was making conversation.
"No, but that would be an awesome road trip."
"Then how do you know it's hot there?" Dean replied to the kid as he bagged Dean's groceries.
"Dude, it's like Nevada, that's like down by Mexico."
"Don't they teach geography anymore, jesu-." Dean stopped and looked up at the sky. Uh, I didn't mean it.
He gathered up his purchases, checked the fuel cap on the Impala, and drove away, back to the hotel. Dean parked the car in front of the room, and felt a quiet shiver go down his spine. He exited his baby, gave her an affectionate tap, and walked through the threshold of his motel room.
Sam was exactly where Dean had left him, though he had that freshly showered look about him. Ruby who was lounging on Sam's bed did too, which left Dean with a disgusted feeling. He was not gone that long. Dean set down the bag on his bed, after grabbing a package of candy. Depositing a couple in his mouth, he went over to hover on Sam's shoulder.
"Not yet, Dean," came Sam's only slightly irritated reply. Sam held out one hand expectedly. Dean looked at the hand suspiciously.
"You can go get you own treats." Dean chomped down the rest of the bag.
Silence descended on the threesome as they did their respective tasks. Ruby dozed lightly, Dean ate candy while flipping through John's journal, and Sam was research boy.
The door to the hotel room blew open. It smacked the doorstop and nearly bounced shut again. Dean jumped to his feet, the demon killing knife already in his hand. Sam had a shotgun loaded with rock salt levelled at the opening. Ruby was still on the bed, but when the figure walked through the doorway, she looked like she wanted to roll under it and hide.
"Look it's Mr. Junkless himself. What an unwelcome surprise." Dean let the slur roll off of his tongue without worry.
"Look, it's one mud monkey, one tainted mud money, and one abomination. I can fix that for you." Uriel did not ask if Dean and Sam wanted Uriel to help, nor did the brothers quite understand what he was offering to 'fix'.
"To whom do we owe the displeasure of your visit to?" Dean straightened, but didn't put the knife down. He knew it was worthless, and immature, but the feel of it was comforting. He also noticed that Sam's shotgun was pointed at the floor, but still had the safety off.
"Orders," was Uriel clipped response. "It seems you mud monkeys are to earn your keep."
"Why, what's going on? And where your boss man? I thought he was my cosmic secretary." Dean tried to peer out the door past the bulky angel, with little luck.
"Castiel is busy on a mission, and does not have time to wait upon your shoulder." Uriel snapped, but he, for all his might and righteousness, his hot anger never frightened Dean the way Castiel's cool, quiet fury did. "A possible seal is in danger. Intelligence reports that it will be broken in Nevada soon."
"Nevada?" Sam asked in a whiny tone, "Any more specific than that?"
"No. But is the Seal of Sight of a Seer. It is one of the little known seals; much of the knowledge about it was lost. The beginning of the ritual requires a vessel to blind a seer. The rest of the ritual was lost. No doubt because of the destructive acts of your race."
"Well I guess your race wasn't fast enough to preserve it. Wait, seers? Do you know who Lillith is going to target?" Dean straightened, squaring his shoulders to the specialist. Ruby had slipped over to the wall and hovered near the only escape route, an open window.
"That is your mission. Not mine. If you discover who the target is, call for me." Dean blinked, and Uriel had abruptly vanished.
"Told you something was going down in Nevada," Ruby said from the back of the room.
"I bet you're so happy that you were right, too," Dean said snidely.
"So call Pamela and Missouri, and any other psychic we can think of." Sam pulled out his phone, and stopped. "Do we need to call Pamela? I mean, hasn't that ship kinda sailed?"
Dean shrugged. "Still should give her the head's up. She might know a couple other who fit the bill."
"I guess." Sam started dialling.
Dean looked around the room. "And I'll start packing the car. For when we find the poor bastard being targeted."
Ruby glanced at the two brothers.
"Aren't you going to do something?" Dean looked expectantly at the demon. She shrugged.
Hours later, with all psychics and their mental gifts/eyeballs safely accounted for, the group was ready to head out to Nevada for hands on research. Maybe they would start getting lucky and Lilith would cross the street in front of them, get hit by a bus made from metal off of a Colt's furnace, and all the world's problems would be solved. But they were not counting on it. That's why they were working on plan B.
"Sam, take first leg. I think I'll get some rest." Dean softly shivered after at his words and wondered why the whole thing felt so familiar, and so worrisome.
So that's a wrap on Chapter one. I planned out the story, I'm thinking it will be about seven more chapters, and the fic will be completed by Jan. 15th.
I decided to write a fanfic, honestly for mostly selfish reasons. There are so few not-slash fics with our fangirl stealing angel in them, so I thought of a plot, just so I could have something to read. (An awful lot of work, but I enjoy writing once in a while.)
If you liked, REVIEW, constructive criticism accepted with thanks.
Next chapter is 3/4 done, but needs to be edited, So probably up next by Tues, or earlier. Incentive, (reviews), will get it posted faster.
Thanks to a friend for betaing. You know who you are.