Dean really really wishes he'd gotten an interview at Auto-Nation. But no, the one job he manages to even get called in for is personal assistant to, he checks the piece of paper, Castiel Novak, editor in chief of 'Runway' prissy assed fashion magazine extraordinaire.
He makes his way through the warren of Perspex walled offices, catching glimpses of racks of clothing, massive glossy photos and conference rooms filled with oddly dressed people with perfect hair.
Oh yeah, he totally doesn't belong here.
There are two desks outside of the office he's been directed to. One is vacant, the other is occupied by a short, roundish guy with long blond hair and a pointed nose, which wrinkles when Dean brushes by him.
"Hi, I'm here for an interview with..." He breaks off as the guy darts into his personal space and inhales deeply.
"You've had a cinnamon bun." He says accusingly, then turns his mouth into an extravagant frown.
"I'm...sorry?" Dean tries.
"You should be." He snaps, picking up a folder and tapping it fiercely on the desk. "If I have to suffer the sugar embargo to look presentable then so should you." He looks Dean's cheap suit pants and button down over, probably assessing their cost, style and appropriateness and coming up with zero's all round.
"You want to be Castiel Novak's second assistant?"
"Not really...but hey, money, foot in the door...it's worth trying." Dean fidgets. "and I work hard, whatever I'm doing."
"Mmmmhmmm..." The guy keeps staring at him. "Gabriel, by the way."
"Buy better pants Dean...and learn to live without the little things, chocolate, sugar, a life outside of this place." He snatches a carrot stick from a plastic box on the desk, snapping it briskly. "My God I miss sex."
Dean can't really think of anything to say to that.
A beeping sound emanates from a blackberry on the desk. Gabriel picks it up and instantly pales.
"Shit, fuck!" he heaves open the glass door that leads to the rest of the office. "ETA on Novak pushed up to ten minutes!"
Dean actually hears a scream from somewhere beyond the other cubicles, and the secretary nearest to them whips her stilettos back on with a panicked look that could rival men on the gallows.
"That...not a good thing?" he hazards.
"Castiel was meant to be in the office in two hours time, not now...which means nothing is ready and he's probably going to kill at least three juniors with the power of his mind alone." Gabriel picks up a stack of glossy magazines and a bottle of water, running into the main office to spread them out on Castiel's desk and pour him a glass of water. Dean stands frozen in the entry way, only turning when he hears the elevator chime behind him.
A thin, pale man of about average height strides out, tosses his bag and trench coat onto Gabriel's desk and barely breaks stride on his way into the office.
"How hard is it to confirm an appointment?" He drawls as Gabriel backs away from the desk.
"I actually did..."
"I need the figures on last month's sales, excuses don't really interest me at this point." He ignores the water and instead switches on his computer and checks some notes. "I also want the preliminary layouts for September, the new drafts of that feature on the paratroopers and you have to get Mark on the phone immediately so I can sort out this mess with the advertisers...who's that?" the whole time he doesn't look up from the note pad in front of him and Gabriel twitches with anxiety.
"That is...well he's a candidate for the assistant job, but if you want me to..."
"The last person you selected was inappropriate so I suppose I'll have to conduct this interview myself, otherwise we'll never get anywhere now will we. Come in." This last is presumably directed at him, but Dean is frozen with nerves. Gabriel sweeps back past him, giving him a slight shove and grabbing another carrot stick as he taps frantically at the phone on his desk.
Dean steps into the office.
Castiel Novak is a terrifying man, perfectly turned out and funereal all the way to his thick black rimmed glasses, behind which his eyes are sharper than glass underfoot. He looks Dean over and his expression doesn't change, still pinched and disapprovingly blank.
"Yeah...so this was a mistake." Dean backs away a little and Castiel blinks, once. "I shouldn't even be..."
"You don't want this job?" Castiel asks archly.
"I don't think it wants me." Dean tries to look away from his eyes but he can't. "I'm not really..." He flounders.
"I see." Castiel drawls, removing his glasses and folding them. "You're not interested in working in fashion...you've never seen a copy of this magazine, and up until now you had absolutely no idea who I was or why you should care?"
"That's...all pretty true...yeah." Dean admits.
"And you have no sense of style." Castiel looks down at Dean's application.
"Well I don't think..."
"That wasn't a question."
Dean almost chokes on all the things he'd like to say but can't because a) he needs this job, any job and b) he's kind of afraid Castiel will wrap him up in a web or paralyse him and digest him later.
"I know I don't belong here...but I work really hard and all I need is a chance to..."
Castiel cuts him off.
"Gabriel, take Dan to the HR department to get his pass and then get him a company phone and my itinerary."
"It's actually..." Dean is swept away by Gabriel before he gets a chance to correct him on the subject of his name.
That night he relays the details of his first day of work to his girlfriend, Anna.
"You should have seen him with this editor guy, they suggested something about changing the fall spread to be something about New England and he just looked at him like something that should be popping out of the arc of the covenant and making everything all melty."
Anna raises an eyebrow but otherwise keeps to her stack of paperwork with a non-committal 'Hmmm."
"The other assistant is like, afraid of sugar, or something, which I can understand because if you're not so spindly you could stab someone with your hip bone you really don't belong there. I don't even think Castiel eats...unless he just sucks peoples blood or something." Dean grouses, flopping onto the futon and grumbling into the cushions mushed underneath his face.
His second day is not better.
"Ok, here's the rules." Gabriel explains while he drinks liquidised kale from a plastic flask and tries not to gag at the foul taste. "First assistant." He points at himself. "Takes care of all the important stuff around here...I also get to go on the Paris trip this year, so drinking this." He points at the grey green sludge in the flask "Totally worth it." He points at Dean. "You are the second assistant. One of us has to be here at ALL times, because if Castiel misses a call or needs Starbucks and can't get hold of either of us...well you won't just get fired, you'll be FIRED, like out of a cannon...into the sun. If the sun were a burning ball of 'never gonna work in this town again'" Gabriel gestures sharply to indicate the trajectory. "Any questions?"
"Yeah...what am I actually supposed to do?"
"Anything Castiel happens to want whenever he happens to want it." Gabriel beams without much humour. "You take the proofs for the magazine to his apartment every night, with his dry cleaning. You bring in his coffee in the morning...everything else, well then you are waiting on a whim my friend."
His phone chirrups.
"Annnnd that would be him now. Hang up his coat when he gets in and then...just wait, he'll find something for you to do."
Sure enough Castiel strides out of the elevator moments later, throws his coat onto Dean's desk, followed by his leather satchel and storms straight into his office without a backward glance.
Dean hangs up the coat and stashes the bag, waiting for further instruction.
"David." The stony voice comes from the inner office. "David." Slightly louder.
Gabriel raises an eyebrow at him.
"That's you dumbass."
Dean jerks to his feet and fumbles into the office.
"There you are, how many times do I have to scream your name before I penetrate that brain of yours." Without waiting for an answer he continues. "I need Zach on the phone, this still isn't right. You need to confirm Lisa Braedon for the shoot on Monday, pick up ten...or fifteen skirts from Calvin Klein for the same shoot and make me a reservation for that place with the art where Bal and I had our anniversary dinner last month..." he frowns. "and find me that piece of paper I was holding yesterday."
Dean stands frozen, really trying to remember the first thing on that list.
"Now, David." Castiel raises his eyebrows.
"Dean." He blurts.
He raises them further.
"My name is...Dean." He clarifies awkwardly.
Castiel glares at him for a few moments more before looking back down at the computer screen, ignoring him completely.
Dean doesn't quite know what to do.
"That's all. David."
He returns to the outer office, proverbial tail between his legs, actual face burning with embarrassment.
"I'd like to say you get used to him...but you really don't." Gabriel picks up a black of post-its. "What did he want?"
Dean honestly doesn't know.
The third day, the fourth day, the fifth, six and seventh...they're all the same.
Castiel arrives in a whirlwind of self importance, throws his outerwear at Dean's head, calls him Dan or David or Daniel and delivers huge lists of tasks ranging from the difficult (Getting sold out show tickets for him and his partner, Balthazar) to the ludicrous (Finding the 'black belt' that he saw in the closet yesterday, the magazines closet being at least a mile long in either direction, and containing approximately seven thousand belts, half of which are black.)
Dean wants to kill him.
But he's kind of terrified of him as well.
Gabriel does a good job of picking up the slack, but he's not happy about it, and gets crabbier every time Dean asks him about something. In part this is due to the pumpkin smoothie or crabstick juice he happens to be drinking that particular day, making him so irritable that Dean inwardly vows to start smuggling sugar into the office and dosing him with it.
All things considered it's kind of amazing he makes it to his second week before he makes his first cataclysmic mistake.
The rule is – deliver the proofs, the 'book', to Castiel's town house, and leave it downstairs without speaking to anyone.
But Dean can't work out where to leave it, and he hears voices so...
He goes upstairs and catches Castiel having an argument with the so far unseen Balthazar. Tall, blond and looking just the tiniest bit like Sting.
"I don't understand why you think it has to be this way." Castiel thunders, and it's the first time Dean has seen him lose an iota of control, but he's definitely upset about something.
"Prove it doesn't then Cassie. It's not like you check in enough to know how..." Balthazar catches sight of Dean and stops talking to stare at him.
Castiel turns round to follow his gaze.
Dean didn't think his blood could actually turn to ice...and if it could, that he could remain alive while it happened.
He drops the proofs at the top of the stairs and backtracks as fast as he can without falling down.
He is so getting shit canned.
The next day Castiel summons him into his office and gives him a death glare which makes all previous eye contact seem warm and fuzzy.
"I'd like you to find for me the new footage from season nineteen of..." he frowns down at the note pad in front of him. "Supernatural, we're doing an up and coming spot on the new actresses."
"That 'chicks do demon hunting' thing? That's not been released yet." Dean splutters before he can stop himself.
Castiel fixes him with an excising glare.
"You have six hours...if you find yourself unable to do your job...well then feel free to go home and start checking the want ads."
Message received – succeed or be fired (out of a cannon into flames and failure).
"Understood." He manages, leaving the office to go sit at his desk and contemplate his options.
Quit and fail by default.
Try and Fail (and get fired).
Try and succeed (very unlikely).
He sighs and picks up the phone. Never let it be said that he's walked away from a challenge.
Two hours later he wishes he was Dead.
No one from the show will talk to him, from the actresses to the PA's to the caterers. He can't dig up a contact anywhere else and even the sneaky paparazzi seem to have crawled beneath their rocks.
"Whatcha working on?" Gabriel throws himself into his desk chair and downs the last of his diet Pepsi with a wince. He glares down at the can. "It's just not the same." He whines, tossing it into the waste paper basket.
"Unreleased footage of Supernatural."
"That thing with the hot babes and the demons...the angel with the huge." He gestures at his chest.
Dean raises his eyebrows.
"What? I'm gay not dead." Gabriel pops another can of diet soda and swigs bitterly. "You're never gonna get it like that though, you need to go through the fans – those crazy bastards can get anything." He hesitates. "You know...I'm on a few forums myself...just for the cheap thrills you know?"
"You could find me the footage?"
"I can find you a link to someone who might be able to help." Gabriel scrolls through a few pages. "Samlicker31_femslash4ev" he rolls his eyes. "Like that incest thing is ever getting off the ground with Areolas Of The Lord in the room."
Dean chokes on a mouthful of soda.
"Serves you right, you sugar intake...whore." Gabriel prints the details and slaps them down on the desk. "Thank me with eligible friends...that's all I ask."
Dean contacts 'Samlicker31' and after a horrific discussion manages to wrangle a clip that had previously gone unaired.
He mails it to Castiel's personal address and waits.
By the end of the day he's still heard nothing.
He makes it till the next morning before he snaps, when Castiel arrives, tossing his coat and bag onto his desk as usual, Dean follows him into the office.
"I sent you the footage." He says from the door.
"So I see." Castiel says, sipping his coffee and tapping at his keyboard. He leaves the silence for longer than Dean can bear. "Thank you Dean...that's all."
He's outside and sitting at his desk again before he realises that Castiel called him by his real name.
Anna starts to notice that he's not there when she wakes up, and that he comes home late. He has to ditch out of her birthday dinner to support Gabriel (newly infected with a cold that strips him of both good will and motor functions) at a gala that Castiel's attending. He hates that he's letting his life languish in favour of serving a man he doesn't even like, and who shows no sign of acknowledging or appreciating it. But on the other hand he's getting a little sick of Anna demanding his presence for her own events and work occasions without once supporting his own job.
So he stands behind Castiel in his new (slightly more expensive) dark suit, whispering the names and occupations of the guests as they approach, all believing that Castiel knows and cares who they are.
After the gala, Dean's set to run home to Anna, but Castiel turns to him as their car is pulling around.
"Gabriel you may go now."
Gabriel doesn't argue, just frowns slightly and then backs off, heading for a cab rank.
Dean gets into the car when the door is opened, Castiel ducks neatly into the vehicle from the other side, one hand on the front of his suit coat to straighten it. Once inside Dean begins to feel nervous, the partition in front cuts them off from the driver and leaves him in stony silence with the demon masquerading as his boss.
"The Paris trip is a very important event." Castiel doesn't even bother looking at him. "I need my best team with me...and that no longer includes Gabriel, not now that you're proving yourself a faster learner and far more dedicated."
"But Gabriel...he's been practically killing himself over that trip."
"Practically isn't enough." Castiel says, finally turning the weight of his stare on him. "His focus isn't complete and I will need more than my assistants full attention, it's a very important event."
"You can't seriously expect me to drop everything and go to Paris, he's my friend for God's..."
"You'll do it because you want to keep your job." Castiel's voice is soft and considering. "I think you'd do just about anything to keep this job...wouldn't you?"
Dean honestly doesn't think Castiel meant that to sound like it did, but all the same images are flashing through his mind. And right now? If the man sitting next to him casually asked him to open his pants and touch himself, hell even get down on his knees and get to work...he would.
He has no idea at what point he became so ruled by him...but he has. And it's fucking terrifying.
Castiel doesn't ask him to do either of those things, and the rest of the drive ends in silence.
The next day Castiel makes him break the news to Gabriel himself.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me with this bullshit!" Gabriel yells. Dean winces, kind of regretting his decision to take Gabriel to a cafe, rather than do this at the office.
"I'm sorry, I didn't..."
"If you say 'have a choice' I will end you with this salad fork." Gabriel growls, stabbing lettuce demonstratively. "Do you have any idea what I've been through in the last few weeks? I can't remember what carbs taste like." He pauses, then quick as some kind of ninja, grabs Dean's donut and bites down with a low moan. "Sweet lord of mercy...this does not mean you are off the hook." He gestures angrily.
"Understood." Dean bows his head and tries not to think about the fact that he's going to be spending all day, every day with Castiel for a whole weekend.