It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a college scholarship must be in want of a Frat.
Of course, not everyone fits into the Frat house lifestyle. Some find it too boisterous, too exclusive, too downright stupid. It is a question of finding the house that suits the person. At the Illinois Institute of Technology, for instance, there was Theta Kappa Kappa for the Future Scientists of America, Gamma Epsilon Omega for the more artistic party animals, Alpha Kappa Alpha for the true elite, and then…
Then there was the reason Castiel Novak had been called in.
The house, Omega Epsilon Pi, had been put on probation three times since its' creation some twenty years previously. It had added no prizes, award or accolades to the college's hall of fame, had contributed only fifty seven cents through college fundraisers, and had been reprimanded and handed more disciplinary warnings than any other house on campus, Frat or Sorority. Hence Castiel Novak.
One of the grander Alumni of the college, he had gone on to get a doctorate in the field of behavioural psychology, a professorship, and found his true calling when he managed to transform a failing Fraternity by becoming their house father. Stories of his success spread quickly, and soon colleges across the country called him in to gain control over failing, rambunctious fraternities, and remould them into bastions of college pride.
Omega Beta Pi was, therefore, just another job.
Or so he'd thought.
His suspicions should have been raised when he asked for directions to the house at the college reception, and the security guard had to pour over a map for fifteen minutes before he could find it. Or, when he asked a student if he was headed in the right direction, and the student in question laughed and told him to turn back while he still could. But no, Castiel continued along Fraternity Row, noting the grand, well-decorated houses, a little shabby on the gardening front but still respectable. The grandest, most mansion-like of the houses was adorned with three gold letters mounted on the roof of what Castiel was loath to call a porch, and was really more of a Grecian frieze, a stylish reproduction of the Parthenon. This, according to those golden Greek letters, was Alpha Kappa Alpha, the most wealthy, most elite of Fraternity houses. No need for Castiel's services here. However, this did mean he'd reached the end of fraternity row, and he had yet to find the Omega Beta Pi house. Tricky.
A young man with a mullet walked past him, carrying a Walmart bag full of what looked like candy, bottles of honey and cupcakes.
"I'm looking for Omega Beta Pi."
"Oh… kay…" The mulleted student looked him up and down. "Anyone in particular?"
"Just the house."
"Phew. Cool. Thought you might have been a fed." He laughed, slapping Castiel on the arm. "Wouldn't be the first time. C'mon, it's just 'round the back here."
Worried, Castiel followed the young man around the edge of the Alpha Kappa Alpha grounds, skirting the tall white fence that boxed in their perfection, to an overgrown alleyway.
"Are you a member of the Fraternity?" Castiel asked, picking his way around puddles and weeds.
"Yup, paid in full. Well… paid half in cash, half in beers for the guys, but the pledge master don't mind too much, he's a good guy, you know?"
"Yes… Why isn't the house on Fraternity row?"
"No room for us, dude. We're a new house, well, new compared to the other guys, but that meant we got the old staff house when they got moved to cushier quarters. You know, groundskeepers, security, anyone who needed to stay overnight. It ain't grand, but it's home."
And with that, the mulleted man rounded the corner, to reveal a modest looking two story (probably three, Castiel noted, as there were lights in the attic) house with a boarded up front window, a garden in a shocking state of disrepair, and a garage with curtains hung in place of the electric doors. A very dented mailbox declared, in painted letters, that this was indeed the house for Omega Beta Pi.
Castiel's jaw set in determination.
"If what the college Dean told me is correct, the most Senior members of this Fraternity are a Dean Winchester and a Gabriel Goldman?"
"Yeah… dude, who did you say you were?"
"What is your name?"
"You sound uncertain."
"Because you're freaking me out a little bit?"
"Ash. Find Winchester and Goldman, and tell them to assemble a Fraternity meeting in… I presume you have a communal space?"
"Well, there's the crash room, if that's what you mean… where everyone hangs out…"
"In polite society, that is called a 'living room'. I want everyone there in five minutes, no more, no less. We cannot afford to waste time."
"Dude, seriously, who are you?"
"I am not a 'dude'. You may call me Mr Novak, or Castiel if you prefer. I will explain in full when you are all gathered together, as there is nothing more redundant than repeating ones' self. If you could do as I asked now? Please."
Ash, wide eyed, retreated into the house. Castiel stared around the garden.
The empty chassis of a car stood in the grass like some grim sculpture, with its' entrails spewed over the driveway. Beer cans and bottles littered the porch and lawn where there should have been flowers, paint peeled from the siding in great chunks, and through the non-boarded up windows, mildewed books could be seen clogging windowsills.
This was not going to be an easy job.
The crash room had never seen so many people at once.
Ash sat, idly fiddling with his lucky bong (made out of his old mathletes trophy), and staring at Chuck, who was pacing nervously.
"He said he knew the college Dean?"
"Yeah. And he wants to talk to Dean and Gabriel."
"Crap. That's… that can't be good."
"Chuck, do calm down." Balthazar lounged across an entire sofa, lighting a cigarette. "It can't be all that bad."
"How do you know?"
"I don't. But your twitching is getting very annoying."
"Leave him alone." Gabriel sighed as he entered the room, hair stuck up at odd angles, clearly having just woken up, even though it was noon. "Ash. Cure."
Ash threw the Walmart bag to his pledge master, and the assembled frat brothers watched in grim fascination as Gabriel covered cupcakes in honey, before sprinkling them with salt water taffy and ready cooked baco-bits and snarfing them down.
"Ugh." He groaned. "So good…. Right… what's going on?"
"Omega Beta Pi," a gravelly voice addressed them from the doorway. They turned to see a man in a suit and trenchcoat examining his surroundings, distaste obvious on his face. "Good afternoon. I can see I have my work cut out for me. Which of you is Gabriel Goldman?"
Gabriel raised his hand, aware that he probably should have put something on over the top of his red satin boxers and white vest. Like a robe or something.
Dean strolled back from class, reserving an especially dark scowl for the Alpha Kappa Alpha house as he rounded the corner into the alleyway. He hitched his pack higher on his shoulder, and felt some of the tension leaving, knowing that he was now heading back to his domain. His castle.
But when he saw the house, he knew something was wrong. Two bulging black sacks sat on the porch, filled to bursting with the cans and bottles that normally littered the ground. The curtains that normally shielded hungover eyes from the cruel, merciless glare of natural sunlight had been drawn back, and the windows opened, even though no one was leaning out of them to have a smoke. The house was silent.
Dean smelled a rat (a figurative one. They'd gotten rid of the real rats, and convinced Gabriel to store his food more carefully). He stormed into the house, to see his frat brothers putting books carefully into the bookshelves either side of the fireplace.
"What the shit?"
Gabriel gave a nervy smile.
"Ah." A voice came from the kitchen. Dean approached the voice, ready to beat the shit out of whatever douche pledge thought he could bully his way in and…
The man who stood in the kitchen, dropping empty beer bottles into a black sack, was definitely not a douche pledge.
"You must be Mr Winchester."
"Yeah, I'm Dean. Who are you?"
The man, his messy black hair glinting under the kitchen lights as he set down his garbage sack and turned to Dean, was looking less than impressed.
"My name is Castiel Novak. I am the one who will drag this fraternity up from the gutter and make an example of it. So, Mr Winchester, if you would be so kind, I'd like a tour of this house."
Well, thought Dean, fuck.