CHAPTER 3

Castiel barely hears the door slam behind Gabriel and Michael. He's too busy mapping the contours of Dean's back, fingers digging into the muscle, teeth tugging at the puckered lips over his. The bastard is good. Gotta give him that. His tongue sweeps over Castiel's lower lip, dipping inside again and he hums, low in his throat, pulling Dean closer. And then there's a forearm pressed to his throat so hard he can barely breathe. His eyes fly to Dean's-gone black again-and the wicked smile on his spit slicked lips. Castiel shouldn't find it as attractive as he does. He hunts monsters. He doesn't fuck them. Except that he has.

"You're losing your touch there, Cas." Dean digs his arm into Castiel's throat a little harder, nearly cutting off the air all together. His other hand is busy patting down Castiel's body, hunting for something decidedly less interesting than he had been a second ago.

Castiel waits patiently for him to finish. "I hid it," he says. "The binding spell. It's gone."

The demon growls, slamming him back against the wall. "Where?"

Castiel cocks an eyebrow at him but says nothing.

Dean paces in in an anxious dance, eyes never straying far. "I can't give you your soul back," Dean says finally. "Not my department."

"I expected as much," Castiel says. He had hoped, for a moment, but he had never expected it to be that simple. Castiel slides past him, eyeing the mess that had been his carefully organized collection. "You will fix this," he says without turning back to Dean. He can feel his nearness. Just as he'd felt his distance earlier.

"Screw you."

"You belong to me until I say otherwise," Castiel says, the full weight of his frown falling on the demon. "You should show me some respect."

"I'm not your damn toy."

"No," Castiel agrees. "You're much better than that."

Dean stares back, licking his lips and clearing his throat in the silence. Eventually he looks away. "Next you'll be asking me to wear a damn maid's outfit and call you 'sir.'" He squats to swipe a bag off of the floor, grumbling under his breath.

"It's a thought."

Dean's head snaps back up, eyes wide, before he catches the twitch of Castiel's lips. "No. I prefer you like this," Castiel says.

"That's not really reassuring, Cas."

Castiel pauses at the nickname. It makes a strange, dangerous warmth blossom in his chest. The familiarity. "Be careful with those things." He gestures to the small, velvet bags clenched in Dean's fist. "They're worth more than you or me. Possibly combined."

Dean looks down at the bags, unimpressed. He works the drawstring open on one. "What the hell is in here?" he asks, making a face and closing the bag up again.

"You don't want to know."

Castiel watches Dean's clumsy progress for another minute. His hands are large, engulfing the tiny bags and boxes that are Castiel's movable pantry, but they're surprisingly careful. He gathers each one, laying it out on the bed, a wrinkle between his brows and a complaint on his lips. "I don't even know where this shit is supposed to go."

"That's good enough. You got most of it." Castiel collects his bags and the lockboxes that Dean somehow managed to unlock and sets them on the bed beside his supplies. He picks up the nearest box, inspecting the lock. It's fine. Not busted like he expected. "How did you open this?"

His answer is a smirk. "You think I can't pick a lock?" Dean says. He folds his arms over his chest. "If that stuff is so valuable you should hide it better."

"It's only valuable in the right hands. To you, it would be useless." Castiel tests the lock once more before he loads up the box, pushing the lid closed with a click and moving on to the next one.

Dean hovers in his peripheral vision. Castiel works in silence, waiting for him to ask the question on his lips. "When do your hunter friends come back to exorcise me?"

"They won't. They believed your story," Castiel answers serenely.

Another box filled and relocked, he starts sorting bottles of oil and bags of dried herbs. In his mad scramble earlier, Dean had crumbled the dried flowers. Castiel frowns at the plastic bag of pinkish dust, turning it this way and that, before he shrugs and puts it with the others. The damage shouldn't affect their usability. At least he hopes not. And always in the corner of his eye is Dean. Spell or no spell, it would be unwise to turn his back on the demon for long. He might actually end up dead this time and, as the deadline draws nearer, Castiel finds he's grown greedier with his time. He has no intention of starting his forever sentence one minute earlier than he must. It would be a sound plan if not for the fact that he runs towards danger for a living. In his estimation, that must make him at least ten different kinds of idiot but who's counting? He takes a moment to consider that while he checks over the rest of his stock.

The room is small even by motel standards, cluttered by the little table and full sized bed, and Dean has already paced the entire length of it a dozen times. He stops beside the dresser, prodding the snuffed candles before swiping a book sitting all alone on the corner. He chuckles and holds it up. "The Inferno? Really, Cas?"

"It's a classic."

Dean flips through the pages before tossing the book at the bed. "You looking for a guide book? Hell for Dummies? If I was you I'd be looking for a way out, not timeshares."

At that Castiel turns on the bed, resting a hand on his knee. "What do you think I've been doing?" His eyes meet Dean's and hold. It's strange, being in a room with a demon, looking at it, at the thing inside, and knowing that he's destined to be just the same. The blackness in the eyes. The same malicious soul. Undoing years of work because of a moment's stupidity. Castiel blinks. He needs a drink. He's starting to feel a little too sober again and this is no time for a maudlin showing of regret.

The whiskey bottle is stashed in the bottom of the otherwise empty dresser beneath coils of rope and sheathed knives, safe from Gabriel's inspection. As Castiel fishes for the bottle, Dean bends to eye the contents of the drawer. He whistles. "Quite the hobby you got there, Cas."

Castiel slants a look up at Dean. Then he takes a swig from the bottle and heads back to the bundled clutter on the bed. He shuffles them around again, stacking the filled boxes against the wall. The rest he takes to the round table in the corner. The remains of the hex bags are still scattered on the table. Bits of string and blobs of red wax dot the scarred laminate top. He lays a cloth over it all, smoothing it down the best he can. "I'll be leaving tomorrow, no later than ten in the morning," he says without looking up.

"Yeah, that's really interesting."

"You're coming with." The look in his eyes dares argument. He drags the chair around, straddling it, arms resting on the back.

"You've been sniffing too much glue there, Cas."

"I just finished explaining the situation to you. Should I explain it again?" Castiel asks with lethal calm.

Dean scowls. His face darkens as he presses his lips together. "I'm gonna enjoy watching you die."

Castiel nods. He'll have his chance soon enough.


"What's he doing here?" Michael asks, squinting in the late morning sun as if he's never seen it before. His eyes stay pinned to Dean standing at Castiel's side.

"Smooth, bro. Very smooth," Gabriel says, coming up behind him and giving him a pat on the chest. "I think it's absolutely adorable that Castiel wants to bring his boyfriend along."

Castiel and Dean simultaneously tense at the word 'boyfriend' but neither of them corrects Gabriel. The truth is so much more problematic. The corner of Dean's mouth quirks up in a smile, the kind of smile that makes Castiel check for missing weapons.

Gabriel glances around the parking lot as if he's memorizing the whole scene for posterity. "I didn't hear any banging last night, if you know what I mean," he says with a crooked smile. "Did we interrupt the honeymoon? Don't tell me you had performance anxiety, Castiel." Castiel tries to stop the onslaught of words coming from Gabriel's mouth but it's too late. "I guess now we know why you turned down all those girls I tossed your way."

"Please stop," Castiel says before he can get any further. It's not so much a request as it is an unspoken promise of violence. Gabriel takes one look at him and sighs.

"You need to lighten up, kiddo." He shrugs. "Oh well. You ready for Wally World?"

Behind him, Michael tosses another scowl at Dean before turning back to Gabriel. "I don't like this."

"You don't like anything. Now come on. Daylight's wasting and we're stopping for lunch this time. No more gas station burritos. Castiel's a growing boy. He needs to keep up his strength," he says with a leer.

Michael and Castiel frown at him but it does nothing to dim the sunshine of Gabriel's smirk. "I can tell already. This is going to be a fantastic trip."


Author's Note: So… this chapter was a long time coming. I apologize. I actually had it written again ago. Then proper novel writing got in the way as it so often does and I didn't have time to edit it. Hope you enjoyed the chapter even if it was unforgivably late. I'll try and be quicker next time.

Thanks for reading!

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