Chapter 1: The architect
The sign said 'Crowley Constructions' and what it meant to Dean was work. Work that he liked and was good at. Plus, it was summer, so Sam was there with him. Dean had given up trying to convince Sam that he was better off doing some paralegal stuff. His brother didn't listen and Dean had to admit that construction paid better. Apparently, being a paralegal was a crappy thankless job, where the abuse piled up and the salary was just another insult.
The two brothers stared briefly at the sketch underneath the company's name on the sign, before returning to work. It never failed to amaze Dean. The sketch painted a beautiful illusion. There was modernity; glass and steel, but there were also wonderful wooden beams supporting the structure. It was like the old-fashioned timberwork of past times and the thick metal pillars of the 21st century had put their hands together and finally decided to work together. And work together they did. They created a sense of family and community in the midst of a cold and impersonal city.
Dean remembered the first time he'd seen the sketch. He had thought, cynically, that it was too good to be true. Clearly, someone's imagination had gone a little crazy and this was the result. Most of the construction sites that Dean had worked at had featured hazy sketches of apartment buildings, skyscrapers or condos. These were technically also condos, but they were more. For the first time in a long while Dean had felt he was helping to build not houses, but homes. It had made him feel proud. It had made him want to meet the man who had designed all of it.
Balthazar, the site supervisor, knew him. Mr. David, Balthazar always called him. There was something mocking about the way Balthazar said his name and Dean wanted to know why that was. He didn't even know whether David was his first or last name. Balthazar called Dean Mr. Winchester, but Sam was Mr. Sam. He said it was to prevent confusion, but with Balthazar you could never be sure. The supervisor was always messing about.
Mystery David or David Surname-Unknown occasionally came to the construction site, according to Balthazar. However, Dean had not had the pleasure of meeting him yet. Somehow, he thought it would be a pleasure. It was irrational, really, because nine out of ten people Dean met he didn't care for. That's what Sam would say anyway; I don't care for him. In Dean's words, the condemnation would be a bit stronger and a bit more profane. Something along the lines of; he's a fucking idiot or maybe I can't stand the sight of that bastard.
That the guy visited the construction site was special in and of itself. Dean had only met a few architects, but they had been pretty much the same. They cared about the vision; not about reality. They didn't want to know about the dirt and dust and the workplace accidents and the impossibilities.
One architect had kept insisting that they not put in the beams that were necessary to keep the building upright, because they were not aesthetically pleasing. Dean had been forced to dig his heel into his own toes to keep from blurting out that a collapsed building wasn't aesthetically pleasing either. What a grade A moron that had been.
It started to rain softly. Dean took off his hard hat, knowing that Sam would bitch if he saw it, and scratched his head. Quickly, he put the hat back on. His brother was not above ratting Dean out to Balthazar, which would mean having to listen to a lecture about safety in the workplace for at least ten minutes.
The first condo was almost ready. The construction on it was finished. Now only indoor shit needed to be done and then they would bring in an interior decorator. It was important to get photos of the outside and inside out as soon as possible. A good deal of the condos had already been sold, but Dean knew that a few good pictures could work miracles. Hell, he'd want to live here if someone shoved some glossy photos under his nose. Without those too, but he couldn't afford it. Not even close.
The supporting metal beams were humming. Not groaning or whining; sounds that were common. Groaning meant they were settling. That was not a cause for concern. Whining was also not dangerous, though it could be disconcerting. Dean hadn't heard the humming before. Maybe it was the insanely warm weather. It was early June and it was like the fucking tropics. The rain cooled him a little, but that was about it. The other guys didn't seem worried, so Dean set his mind at rest. He would mention the humming to Balthazar later.
Unconsciously, he looked around and found the supervisor. He was standing a little way away under a shoddy canopy pointing something out on a large drawing. Next to him stood a guy with a blue hat. Blue; that meant – Dean had to think for a moment – technical advisor. The man had a potbelly and an impressive moustache. On Balthazar's other side stood someone wearing a yellow hat, but he was not a construction worker. Even if the man hadn't been wearing a trench coat, Dean would have known.
The black hair that peeked out from under the helmet was matted and Dean could see the exceptionally blue eyes, even through the rain. The man was skinny. Dean wanted to say lean, because it was more complimentary, but the guy was really skinny. Sinewy, yet strong, Dean thought. He realised he was staring at the man and averted his gaze.
'D'you think that's the architect?' Sam asked, panting. Dean shrugged. Only one way to find out. Maybe he needed to tell Balthazar about that humming sound right now. Slowly, attempting to avoid the puddles that were starting to form on the ground, Dean approached the canopy. Sam followed, but Dean didn't notice. The man, who was possibly the architect, was arguing with the technical advisor. Balthazar stood by and Dean could see the smile tugging at his lips as the argument got louder.
'Hi, I'm Dean,' he broke in. Annoyed, the man turned around and stared at him. The technical advisor seemed relieved at the interruption.
'So?' the man said. His voice was much deeper than Dean had expected. It was gravelly, yet smooth. Very mature, though up close the man looked younger than Dean. Maybe it wasn't the architect, but Balthazar answered Dean's questioning look with a firm nod.
'I just wanted to say I really like the design. It's pretty awesome,' Dean offered. The man did nothing to disguise his disdain for everything Dean said. He barely managed to keep from rolling his eyes as he gave Dean the once over.
'Awesome? I'm so glad it has earned your approval,' the man gushed. To say that his answer availed itself of sarcasm was putting it mildly. Balthazar chuckled and looked at Dean. Your fault for interrupting the important architect, his apologetic shrug seemed to say.
'Manners, Castiel,' the supervisor chided. He winked at Dean and Sam. Apparently, Castiel's rudeness amused Balthazar to no end. Dean just thought that Castiel David was a fucking asshole. Apologies; Dean didn't care for him. Polite pause. Because he was a fucking asshole.
'I don't have time to be polite. Polite is for idiots and construction workers. But I repeat myself,' Castiel replied, curtly. Completely ignoring Dean, he focused again on the drawing. It was a very detailed drawing of every aspect of one condo, Dean now saw. Behind Dean, Sam stirred.
'Mark Twain, right?' Sam asked. Castiel swivelled round and scrutinised the younger Winchester. Dean was curious to see whether Mr. big shot architect would also insult his brother. Sam didn't look like a law student. At all. He was wide across the chest and a tall son of a bitch. Of course, he was a total wimp, but only Dean knew that. If Dean hadn't known that and he met Sam on the street he'd think twice before risking the chance of pissing him off.
'Oh no, one of them can read. They will stage a revolution. It'll be like Animal Farm,' Castiel taunted. This earned him a jab in the stomach from Balthazar. The two men were obviously friends. Though, why anyone would want to be friends with this jerk was beyond Dean.
'Castiel, don't upset the workers,' Balthazar warned, but he was laughing.
'Don't you mean serfs?' Castiel remarked. The derision in his words was not lost on Dean. So, even though Dean didn't know what serfs were, he was pretty sure it was not a compliment. Dean had had quite enough of the architect's abuse, so he mumbled something vague about humming beams and left. Sam trailed him and Dean could practically feel his brother's excitement. Literary references always got Sam all hot and bothered. It was disturbing. Why couldn't Sam just appreciate a nice ass, like normal people?
They reached the second condo together. Sam started to gather some material. Pausing in the doorway, Dean took off his hard hat again. His head was itchy and sweaty. Stupid hat. Stupid temperature. Suddenly, an extreme wrenching sound ripped through the air above him and a loud snap followed. Someone screamed at him and he was knocked off his feet.
There was an awful rush and rumble and when he painfully landed Dean realised the beam had snapped and taken the condo down with it. Luckily, Dean was lying outside in the wet sand. His head hurt and he quickly looked around to see whether Sam was alright. His brother was kneeling next to him. Sam seemed unscathed. Dean was also fine.
'Thanks for pushing me, I guess,' Dean croaked at Sam. His voice was hoarse. He accepted his brother's hand and clambered to his feet.
'I didn't,' Sam said, 'He did.' He moved aside to afford Dean an unobstructed view of his saviour. Castiel's face was twisted in fury and he held his right arm tight against his body. The technical advisor's face was pale and Balthazar also looked shocked. They were fussing over Castiel and he pushed them away with his other arm. The other workers were gathering round, some running over to see what had happened. Castiel approached him and Dean could now see blood streaming across the side of his face.
'Why'd you save me?'
'Because I'm wearing a fucking helmet; unlike you, douche bag.'
Mark Twain once wrote: 'Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.'
Animal Farm is a novel by George Orwell, detailing the revolution of farm animals against communism.