The small television in the bar crackles with news of a recent series of murders. Apparently, vampire induced murders. The news presenter's voice, filled with fake grief, booms across the room, and he speaks about the "abominations" roaming our country, in need of being stopped. Castiel sighs, cleaning the whiskey cup in his hands. To be frank, he doesn't have much of an opinion about the vampires; he just really doesn't care. He hasn't witnessed any vampires, not that there are any in Kansas. Evidently, his nonchalant behavior isn't shared by the rest of the bar patrons, and he doesn't need to hear the sneers and disgust spilling from their mouths to know their opinion on the whole vampire she-bang. He feels pure anger, disgust, and defiance radiating around the room. He tries, he truly does, to shut them out completely, but their feelings are too strong. He likes his job in the bar; he serves and sometimes cleans, depending on what Sam wants him to do, but sometimes it's not worth trying to be normal. His brows are knitted together in concentration as he tries to focus on his shield.
"Hey there; you grip that cup any harder, it'll split open in your hands, boy," comes Sam's voice, snapping him out of his daze. Castiel glances down at his own hands, knuckles white from gripping the cup.
"Oh, sorry Sam; just lost sight of myself there for a minute," he tries, smiling weakly. Sam smiles at him sympathetically and pats him on the back.
"S'alright Cas, just watch yourself," he says and leaves for the back room. He likes Sam; he is a good boss and holds this place together.
"Six beers over to the big guy's table and two cups a whiskey," Jo proclaims as she skips over to another table. Jo is Sam's friend. She's blonde, tall, and hot - a good addition to the bar and good for business, Castiel thinks, although he's not interested. He picks up six tall glasses for beer and starts pouring, one after another. He fills up the whiskey shots and trudges over to the table of rowdy blue collar workers. He puts down glass after glass and overhears their drunken chatter.
"All m' sayin' is there's no stoppin' the fuckin' bloodsuckers while we're all democratic n' shit."
"Better their blood spilt then my daughters."
"Ah say we do things our way 'n stake 'em!"
Castiel closes his eyes and turns away, trying to ignore their ignorant, hateful talk. 'Fucking hicks,' he thinks.
He can't help but let anger surge within him, as though it's being fed by their anger. Why do they even care? There aren't any freaking vampires for miles and miles. And then, just like that, the door opens with a creak, and he's proven wrong.
Who would wander in here at this time of night? It is too late for the early crowd and too early for the late-nighters. Castiel glances at the man standing in front of the door, and watches as he shuts it behind himself. As the man turns towards the bar, it's suddenly as if the room is robbed of any air. Everyone gapes, including Castiel himself.
Tall, broad, and pale. Blond, short-cropped hair; freckles framing his face. Full lips and eyes as green as spring. A vampire. He swaggers towards a table, scanning the room as he moves. Even the hicks fall silent upon his arrival. A vampire. In Kansas. At the bar he works in.
Jo shuffles over to him, her gaze locked on the vampire's table. "Hey, um, Cas, could you take this one from me? The vampire, I mean?" She keeps her voice down to a whisper, in case the vampire can hear her. She looks at Castiel with pleading eyes, begging for his help.
"Yes, don't worry about it," he answers in his most reassuring tone.
She relaxes with a sigh and gives him a smile of gratitude. "I owe ya one Cas." She smiles and turns to leave, but just as he is picking himself up to take the order, she grabs his arm. "And please be careful; you know what these monsters can be like."
He starts to answer back but stops when he feels genuine concern coming from her. She truly fears for his well-being. "Yeah, sure," he answers, quickly gathering himself and going to take the man's order. As he walks closer, the vampire scans him up and down. It isn't until Cas arrives in front of him that their eyes met. Green as spring all right.
"May I take your order sir?" Castiel surprises himself with the natural calmness of his voice because his mind is fidgeting all over the place.
The vampire grins brilliantly at him, baring his white teeth. No fangs. Huh.
"How about a bottle of them True Blood things?" he says, voice a deep, calming tone.
"Just a moment sir," Castiel replies, calm as ever, before retreating to the bar. He is fairly certain there isn't any True Blood lying around. This is Kansas, after all, and this place is dead. No pun intended. But it is customary to check, and after browsing in the storage room, his suspicions are confirmed. As he strides back to the bar, he realizes that he is about to tell a vampire that there isn't anything for him here. Who knows how the man will take the news. As an invitation to leave? As a threat to get the fuck out? But Castiel is a reasonable man, and he will make sure the customer feels welcomed. Even though the customer is a vampire.
The group of hicks keeps whispering amongst themselves, while glancing his way. Maybe feeling unwanted will save this vampire's life. And why should Castiel feel as if it's his job to make sure this vampire leaves safely? Like his brother Gabriel always says, 'because you're a righteous bastard with a God complex'. The vampire watches Castiel arrive; he looks intense and rarely blinks. Castiel feels somewhat comforted by the fact that he's not the only one with the staring problem.
"I'm awfully sorry, but there isn't any True Blood in storage right now. Although I will make sure we are equipped by the end of the week," Castiel tries, his voice unwavering.
The vampire merely smiles. "You're not afraid of me," he responds, amazement glimmering in his eyes.
"Is there reason to be?" Castiel catches himself saying before he has time to think it through. Though no, he is not scared. He is fairly uncomfortable, but not scared.
The man's smile only broadens at Castiel's retort, and he speaks with the relaxed ease of a vampire. "There might be. I mean, you just told me there isn't any of that synthetic bullshit for me to feed on. I might just have to take your neck for that. I might just slaughter this whole bar in my crazed hunger."
"But is there?" Castiel replies. He catches himself feeling bolder than usual. This vampire just threatened him, and the whole bar, and he remains undisturbed.
The vampires eyes fill with wonder, his smile returning to just a stretch of his lips, holding no threat.
"No. There isn't." The vampire's tone gives away his surprise, his voice down to a whisper. "What's your name, boy?" The snark in his tone is just as surprising.
"Castiel, and I am thirty years of age." He should be scared; he should be careful; oh God, he knows he should be, but something about this particular vampire makes him feel particularly courageous.
The vampire laughs, a deep rumble of joy that startles Castiel, and stands up from his seat. He's towering over Castiel and takes a step into his personal space, a small grin playing on his lips. Castiel remains unmoving, standing his ground.
The vampire leans into him, his nose brushing Castiel's ear. "You'll always be a boy compared to me, Cas," he speaks, voice heavy and hushed, making Castiel shiver. The vampire steps back, his jacket thrown over his shoulder, and he gives Cas a long, assessing look. And with that, he turns to leave.
Castiel watches him go and notices a peculiar swagger to his walk - like he was a cowboy at some time. Maybe he was. As the door closes, Castiel suddenly becomes aware of something. Every person in the bar is staring at him. He quickly walks back to the bar, dazed and out of his mind, and numbly grabs a glass and starts cleaning it with a rag. Jo is as quick on her feet as she is with her mouth, and she skips quickly over and starts questioning him, amazement clear in her eyes and in the tone of her voice. Jo is like an open book. Not just to him, but to everyone who knows her. He doesn't need to read too deep into her emotions to know just what is she feeling. She rambles and rambles on about this or that, and he mindlessly answers her questions, not even paying attention to what she is saying. All he thinks about now is a vampire - a vampire with green eyes and freckles. Isn't there a saying about freckles being kisses from the sun? Just imagine what would happen if he met the sun now. He won't be getting kisses; that's for sure. And just like that, he suddenly remembers something.
"Hey Jo, I think I forgot something, could you just cover me for a moment?" Castiel, always the polite one, asks.
Jo eyes him suspiciously, before answering. "Yeah sure, go right ahead."
"Thanks," he nods gratefully and makes a run for the back door. In his daze, he doesn't even consider that he won't be able to find the vampire, and as he walks out in the brisk autumn wind, he feels the consequences of his hasty decision to walk out wearing only his white shirt, with his sleeves pulled up, and his thin, black pants. His loosely-hung tie wavers in the wind, and he hugs himself and continues his walk to the parking lot, the cold weather clearing his mind. 'What were you thinking Castiel? That you'll just walk out and he'll be waiting for you? Sometimes I question why I put up with myself...'
Castiel's thoughts come to an abrupt stop when he senses a strong feeling of joy from somewhere around the woods. But, it isn't the happy kind of joy; it is the reveling-in-someone's-pain kind. It's a disturbing feeling, and one Castiel has never felt. He quickly jogs to the woods, dodging tree after tree, as the burst of feelings gets closer. 'What if the vampire is feeding? He won't be so nice once you've caught him in the act, Castiel,' he thinks. But his intuition is strong, and he quickly spots the source of feelings. In a small clearing in the woods, two men are huddled over a figure, while six others stand around them, sneering and laughing in pleasure. He recognizes them - the hicks from the bar. The figure that lays splayed on the ground is thrashing up and down, bucking his legs wildly. The two men standing over him are laughing loudly, reveling in his pain. Their collective emotions are too much for Castiel, and he winces as he is forced to feel their pleasure. He moves from behind the trees and immediately recognizes the figure. It's the vampire. He is splayed helplessly on the ground, with silver chains covering his naked chest, arms, wrists, neck, and legs, and his mouth is stuffed with a rag. Castiel's heart clenches at the sight. He should have been careful; he should have known those idiots would try to pull something; he should have kept his eyes open. He should have come sooner.
'Get a grip Castiel.' He mentally scolds himself for getting lost in his emotions in the middle of a situation, something which he rarely does. 'Find your center. Now.' He feels for the gun he always carries in the back of his pants (his job and place of residence required that he always be prepared for trouble), and thanks God that it has bullets.
With a deep breath, Castiel steps into the clearing and clears his throat, making all eight men turn towards him. Their cackling abruptly ends when they see him with a gun. Castiel doesn't let himself glance at the vampire, because he knows that if he does, he will lose all concentration.
"Leave. Now. "
The men all glare at Castiel, eyeing his gun as well. One of the two men who stands above the vampire - the scrawny-looking one with a mullet and a stake in his hand - slowly steps towards him.
"Now, now, you gonna shoot some of yer fellow town folk over some bloodsuckin' monster?" the man slurrs, the heavy accent oozing through his words like slime.
"If there are any monsters here, then it's you people," Castiel snarls through gritted teeth.
The hick only smiles, showing a row of rotten, yellowed teeth, and the other men laugh grimly, as they start towards Castiel.
"Ah think we got ourselves a fang banger here, men," the scrawny one sneers, and they all laugh, grabbing their bats and poles. Castiel feels afraid, but only for a second. He knows how to deal with situations like this. He quickly moves forward, dodging two swings, but then someone grabs his hand. With a stab of his elbow to the man's ribs, he quickly releases himself. The men huff in frustration, their anger at Castiel beginning to boil over. Just as he is making his way to the vampire, who now thrashes even more violently then before, a swing to the leg brings him down. As he falls to the ground, he howls in pain, causing laughter from the other men.
The scrawny one smiles down at him as the others slowly approach. Castiel feels for his gun, but it is a foot away. "Ya should have used that toy while ya had the chance, boy."
The men all grin at him, raising their bats, one after another, and Castiel closes his eyes. 'So this is how it ends, huh? Dying to save a vampire's life. Life? But they're dead. A vampire's second life? After life?' The gibberish of his thoughts is cut off by a sudden cry of anger. Castiel opens his eyes to catch only glimpses of a figure moving from person to person, leaving only shredded halves of what were once whole humans. He quickly glances towards where the vampire lay, only to find his previous spot on the ground abandoned and surrounded by long chains of silver. Castiel turns his head and sees the vampire crouching above him. The man's eyes shine even in the dark, and the blood on his chin glistens even brighter.
Despite the pain he is in, Castiel smiles and manages a faint "Hey..."
The vampire looks like he is fighting back the urge to laugh. "Hey," he replies, allowing himself to smile.
Just as Castiel is about to smile back, his face turns into a grimace of pain. He fights the urge to scream and keeps it at a low growl. The vampire eyes Castiel's leg and looks him sharply in the eyes, like he is thinking something over.
Finally, Castiel can't bear that stare any longer. "What is it?" he asks, voice full of gravel.
The vampire doesn't respond but instead bares his fangs with a loud growl and bites into his wrist. Castiel gasps loudly, shaking slightly at the sight above him, and pulls himself up on his elbows, so he is at eye level with the vampire.
"W-What are you doing?" he asks, panic filling his voice. He's never heard of vampires biting themselves.
Finally, the vampire removes his mouth from his wrist, blood dripping slowly down his chin, and he looks at Castiel. His eyes are glazed over and his mouth agape as he thrusts his wrist at Castiel. "Drink," he orders, his voice a sickly deep timber.
Castiel is afraid. Does he want to turn him into a vampire? Is this really happening? Or maybe the pain is making him hallucinate?
"You are not turning me into a vampire," he replies, gritting his teeth in determination.
The vampire growls in frustration, a low threatening noise, his lips bared over his teeth, showing his blood-slicken fangs.
"I am not turning you into a vampire. Drinking my blood will heal you. It won't do harm. Now drink before I change my mind." He speaks low, and it sends shivers up Castiel's spine.
Castiel looks in his eyes, searching for any sign of hesitation. Any sign of lying. He tries reading the vampire's emotions, but he can't find any. None at all. Castiel is alone in his feelings of distress, and his mouth hangs open, showing his indecisiveness.
"I can't...," Castiel begins, but he is cut off by the vampire's determined tone.
"You came for me and were hurt in the process. Yes, you can!" the vampire growls with force, his teeth clanking against each other - barely keeping his tone under control. Castiel looks in the vampire's eyes and then back to his bleeding wrist, as the blood drips steadily on the.
'Fuck it.' And with that thought, Castiel grips the vampire's hand and starts sucking on his wrist. The vampire groans loudly, and then Castiel loses the ability to hear. All he can concentrate on is the sticky sweetness of the vampire's blood. It tastes like everything sweet he's ever loved but with the burning sensation of alcohol, and Castiel can't stop. He doesn't feel the blood dripping from his mouth, or from his chin, or from his hands, which have a death grip on the vampire's arm. He doesn't catch himself mewling and moaning against the other man's wrist. It feels too good to be real. Suddenly, Castiel is brought back to reality with a fling of an arm, and he finds himself splayed on the ground, away from the vampire and not knowing how he got there. The vampire looks at him with amusement and chuckles. Castiel quickly straightens but is not really able to lift himself up yet. He looks himself over and sees that his white shirt is soaked with blood.
"Wha-What happened?" he asks frantically, touching himself to see if he is whole again. The vampire stands up, still smiling, teeth showing, though with fewer fangs.
"You just lost yourself for a minute there. You're fine now. Here..." he offers his hand to Castiel, who eyes it suspiciously but nevertheless takes it in his own. He is going to need support if he's going to try to stand up now, with a broken leg - and woah! – it's not broken after all. He looks himself over, stretching his leg to see if it's any good, and it's fine. No, it's better than fine. It's all good. He feels good all over. He turns his eyes towards the vampire, intending to speak, but he gets lost in those eyes, which he can truly see now. They are so beautiful. So vivid. They aren't simply green. There are dashes of gold, of brown, of silver, of blue, of forest green, of neon green, of about every color you could find. There are little specks of stars in them, and Castiel feels every bit of it. All this, from just his eyes. He turns to look at the vampire's lips, taking in the perfect bow shape, the plump upper lip, the pink and red colors glazing over them. It's as if Castiel can taste them. Those lips suddenly pull into smile that's all teeth, and oh, how perfectly aligned those teeth are and…
Once again Castiel's daze is interrupted when he hears, "I should probably take you home now." And, his voice. It's like sleeping in fine linen; like brushing over soft leather. It's like the clanking of chains, and like being too close for comfort at the fire, but still too cold to leave its caress.
"What is happening to me?" Castiel asks, reaching slowly down beneath his thigh, to the ground below.
The vampire smiles guilty and rubs a hand behind his neck. His gaze doesn't waver.
"Ya know when I said that vampire blood won't harm you?" he asks.
"Well, it won't, but it has... side effects," he finishes meekly.
Castiel gulps, feeling more stable now.
"Your blood is a drug?" he asks, unblinking.
The vampire shrugs uncomfortably. "Well, it's sort of a boost for all your senses. I mean, it has healing power, our blood. But it also makes you stronger, faster, and such... It'll wear off eventually; I mean, you already finished your high, so...you'll be okay, I swear, but maybe you should let me take you home and, ah, keep an eye on you...," he huffs out, half embarrassed. Do vampires feel embarrassed? Can they?
"Eventually?" Castiel repeats.
"Yeah uh, in a day or two you'll be back to your normal self. It's just because you got yourself a whole lotta vampire blood in your system now. You needed the extra to heal," he deadpans.
They stand there silently, watching each other in the dark, the chirps of night life echoing around them. Again Castiel remembers something. "When I left the bar, I went looking for you," he says, voice quiet.
The vampire raises his eyebrows at that. "Yeah?" he asks.
"You didn't tell me your name," Castiel finishes quietly.
The vampire stills. Castiel watches as the other man becomes stoic, and he is suddenly fearful. Maybe this is something you don't ask a vampire. Maybe it is inappropriate for a human to ask a vampire's name. Suddenly the booming noise of laughter fills the forest, and Castiel staggers back with surprise. It's weird how an undead creature's voice feels so much like sun and life. Once the vampire finishes laughing, he looks at Castiel with something like... adoration.
The vampire walks a few steps over to Castiel and offers his hand. "Dean. Dean Winchester."
Castiel takes Dean's hand and shakes it. It feels so cold, yet so strong.
"Nice to meet you, Dean," he replies, which earns him another laugh.
"So, how about taking you home?" Dean offers, letting go of Castiel's hand.
"Yes, that would be fine," Castiel accepts. "But first, let me get my coat from the bar."
"Yeah, sure," Dean replies, a smile still plastered across his face.
As they walk the short distance to the bar, Castiel asks, "Hey, Dean?"
"How did you get out of those chains?"
"Let's just say a little dog helped me," Dean answers.
And when Castiel faces Dean with a skeptical look, Dean merely winks.