Nobody told Castiel Gregory how to run his business. Least of all, some goddamn upstart from the United Auto Workers' Union. Castiel had never met Dean Winchester, or even spoken to him on the phone, but from the tone of his emails, Castiel could tell that Winchester was an irritation that would not go away quickly or quietly. Especially in the current economic climate, when Castiel's company, Xaphan Motors, was being forced to cut twenty percent of its staff.

Castiel had expected a run-in with the AWU, but Winchester, the local branch rep, was busting his balls over the redundancies. Castiel was currently sitting at his desk, flicking clever eyes between emails and sheets covered in columns of figures. He was preparing for a meeting with Dean Winchester and one of the union's lawyers. They were going to try and negotiate a deal that would stop the other eighty percent of Castiel's workers from downing tools and walking off the job in support of their colleagues. Xaphan was too small and specialist to afford even a day's work lost.

Castiel checked his watch, a Seiko that he'd purchased more for its scratch-proof practicality than any kind of prestige. Castiel wasn't frugal exactly, but he could never see the point in spending large amounts of money on something because of the brand. This occasionally put him at odds with other members of his family, but they usually kept the teasing to a minimum. After all, it was Castiel's sense of financial propriety that kept the family business running in these 'tough economic times'.

It was this sense of propriety, which also meant Castiel worked in neat, simple surroundings. His desk and chair would not have looked out of place on an IKEA shop-floor and while the offices had all the modern necessities, like a water-cooler and a kitchenette, the overall feel was a little cold and bereft. Castiel's slightly more flamboyant brother, Gabriel, had gone so far as to say that the whole place had the depressing air of the waiting room at a sexual health clinic. Even Castiel's grim brother Uriel had commented on the lack of colour and cheer, "You could at least have bought a plant," he intoned.

Castiel generally ignores their advice. Creating 'comforting' environments is just not in his skill set. He wouldn't have called himself socially inept, but he knew he wasn't far from it. Castiel had always found peace and rhythm in work, and he couldn't understand why that put people off him. He had learned early on to bribe Gabriel in to present to clients and to coax another brother, Luc, in to negotiate with the workers. Castiel was the only Gregory who still worked full-time at the company. The rest of his family kept up to date with the business but preferred to make guest appearances for things like client schmoozing and HR.

So Castiel worked constantly and busily behind the scenes on orders and paperwork, accounts and taxes. And rarely did he interact with the people he employed.

Castiel sighed deeply as he realised that a lack of interaction had very likely led him to the position he was in today. On the edge of losing everything he had worked so hard for. It just didn't seem fair.

The intercom buzzed, and Castiel lifted a brow as he heard Crowley, his secretary, say, "Mr Gregory, the AWU rep and his lawyer are here to see you."

"Thank you, Crowley. Please show them to the meeting room. I'll greet them there."

Castiel leaves them to stew in the meeting room for a few minutes. It's his first step toward asserting dominance in the negotiations. When he enters the room, he is unsurprised by the sight of his sister sitting at the conference table. He is, however, a little surprised by the man sitting next to her. Castiel is struck by how young the man is, perhaps early thirties, with dark blonde hair and a serious hazel-green gaze.

Castiel walked over to the table, "Hello, Anna, it's good to see you again," he held his hand out for her to shake.

Anna clasped his hand in both of hers, "Castiel, good to see you too, this is Dean Winchester of the AWU," she inclined her head towards the man next to her.

Castiel held his hand out and shook Dean's proffered one, "It's a pleasure, Dean."

Dean Winchester shook Castiel's hand and replied, "Likewise."

Castiel took a seat opposite Anna and Dean, taking in how closely the two sat together. He felt an irrational pang of something like envy, but dismissed it.

Castiel set his shoulders, "Let's get down to business."