Title: Oadriax (1/13)
Fandom/Genre: Supernatural, Sci Fi, Drama, AU
Pairing(s): Dean/Castiel, Sam/Gabriel
Word Count: 80 668
Warnings: Graphic violence and warfare, adult themes including sex, canon character deaths, demon xenophobia, swearing, gore (in a war situation), PTSD and an attempted non-con situation.
Summary: AU Sci-Fi heavily influenced by James Cameron's 'Avatar', where the boys aren't hunters, and angels and demons exist but are considered 'aliens'.
After the death of their estranged mother Mary on a planet called Oadriax, Sam and Dean hop the first transport out to the edge of the civilized galaxy. After a tense run in with the base's demonic security chief and his creepy second in command Alistair, Dean finds himself lost in the forest, and stumbles into an angel with black wings and blue eyes that calls himself Castiel.
A/N: This was written for the Dean/Castiel Big Bang community on Livejournal, definitely go check them out! Lots of amazing stories and art being posted all month. The amazing terrorinyertub(lj) drew me some awesome art for this fic, damn FF doesn't allow links, but just search her on LJ (or check out my livejournal profile linked in my profile) and check out the awesomosity!
He was going to die.
He was going to die a horrible, horrible death, full of fire and screaming and crashing. Hot women dressed in skintight black dresses wouldn't even be able to sob over his coffin, not this far out from the inner planets.
Out the scratched and dusty shuttle window, an endless lush green carpet of trees stretched as far as the eye could see. Startled white shapes took off from the canopy as the shuttle passed overhead; birds by the look of it, or at least whatever passed for birds on this godforsaken planet. Brief glimpses of clear, turquoise water winked up at the craft as it hummed by, strange beasts darting for cover and braying in alarm.
It was beautiful, and Dean Winchester hated it already.
The shuttle gave another vicious jerk, as if mocking his inner panic, and Dean gritted his teeth, fingers tightening on the rough straps that locked him into place against his seat. His company-issued white t-shirt was stuck to him, molded against his back and chest, and he grimaced, trying to pull the fabric away from his skin. He had always been a bad flyer, ever since the first time he set foot in a little hovercraft at the age of four. Sammy of course, had loved it, the little monster.
From the cockpit to Dean's right, he could hear the faint hum and beeps of the craft controls as the pilots guided the shuttle through its descent. Across from him was a line of grim faced men, all strapped into their harnesses like he was. A rough looking man, dressed in the faded army wear most of the men on the shuttle sported, leant towards him. A cigarette dangled precariously from his cracked lips, and Dean found himself trying to focus on it, to ignore the way the man swayed with the movements of the shuttle.
"Ye alright darlin'?"
The voice was a barely audible rumble, accent almost slurred. Not a soldier, probably a spacer from one of the edge colonies. Maybe a mercenary.
The man grinned at him, his teeth nicotine-stained yellow. "Little miss don't like flyin' huh? Figures. Ye inner core boys always were a bit soft. Yer jus there t' look pretty 'aint ya?"
There were loud guffaws from the other men around them, and Dean ground his teeth together. He had been around men like this his whole life—old hardened spacers who had travelled to the edge of the civilized galaxy to try and make a living. Thought they were the shit, that they had seen it all and the world owed them something.
Mental note: kick this guy's ass later.
Nicotine-teeth withdrew, grinning to himself as his buddies gave him a few brotherly slaps on the shoulder. Dean glowered at them as best he could, but judging by the fake kisses thrown his way, it wasn't very effective.
A shoulder knocked into his, jolting him and bringing his attention back to the fact that he was sitting in a tin-can of death. His stomach dropped towards his knees, and he squeezed his eyes shut viciously.
"Goddamit, Sam," he rasped, fingers turning a bloodless white where they dug into the cheap metal of his harness. "Can't you let me die in peace?"
His brother had somehow managed to twist his mammoth frame around in his harness, enabling Sam to peer out the window behind him. His nose was squished up against the glass, eyes wide and enchanted with the world below them and completely uncaring of the hardened men around him.
"Oh, no way," Sam wiggled himself even closer to the window. "A glaaeoptera! Can you believe it? This is amazing!"
Cursing every God of the seven core planets, Dean reached over to tug his brother down, shooting a look towards the grim faced soldiers across from them.
"Totally awe-tasic," he managed gruffly. "Now, sit your ass down and at least pretend that you're a normal human being for once."
Sam huffed in annoyance but complied, pulling away from the window and arranging himself back into his harness. "Well, excuse me for being enthusiastic about my first time on an alien planet."
It really beggared belief that the currently pouting behemoth next to him was actually, officially, called Dr. Winchester. As in, people actually paid his little brother to be that huge of a nerd. Something was seriously wrong with the universe.
"It's not exactly going anywhere, Sam," Dean mumbled, closing his eyes and willing the shuttle to not explode. The air was too close around him, musty and sharp with the odor of too many men in a small space. "It was there for the six years we were in stasis, and it'll probably be there another six. We, however, probably won't be because we'll have died in a firey inferno of death."
He could actually hear Sam's bitchface. "Seriously dude? You're still afraid of flying? You're a marine."
Nicotine-teeth and his buddies chortled some more, and with a bitten off curse, Dean opened his eyes, turning to point angrily at his brother.
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with not liking flying," he growled fiercely. "In fact, it's a healthy thing. We have feet for a reason Sam!"
Sam looked smug, and Dean just wanted to punch him. "Welcome to the future, Dean. Even our historic ancestors had planes. You're positively primeval."
"And proud," Dean snapped back. With a roll of his eyes, Sam surrendered to him, glancing away and towards a window on the far side of the shuttle. With a shuddering sigh, Dean tried to convince his stomach it didn't want to forcibly exit his body through his mouth.
Wow. Six years.
Six years since he had been woken in the middle of the night by the over-loud beeping of that stupid holographic communicator Lisa had insisted he install. He had said the piece of shit was just a waste of time; he had a perfectly fine voice-box where you only had to talk to people, not have to actually see them. But she had insisted, and he had installed the damn thing, and the first call he had ever gotten on it was from Sam.
He could still remember standing in front of the fuzzy form of his brother, peering blearily at it as Dean stood in its pale blue glow in his boxers. He could remember still standing there five hours later, long after Sam hung up, when Lisa came in and asked what was wrong. He could remember having to actually say it out loud, to acknowledge it as the truth.
Mom died. They say it was an accident. A reactor overloaded in the lab and everything went up in flames…including her.
To this day, the sound of an incoming holo-call made his heart stutter.
The pilots up front shouted something, and a man who could put a drill sergeant to shame, leant forward in his harness. Dean vaguely remembered his name as Gordon something, a retired marine who helped shuttle scientists and soldiers into the complex.
"Alright ladies! Coming in for landing now so, keep your hands to yourselves and put away your lipsticks! And Winchester-"
Dean glanced over at him blearily and the man glowered at him. "If you puke on my bird, so help me, I will throw you off this shuttle before you can finish."
Sam took pity on Dean as they landed, giving him a firm squeeze on the shoulder, and even passing him a bag to puke into when the wheels hit ground. Dean didn't even care about the laughs of the other men aboard the shuttle, the shoulders that jostled his.
They were on the ground, and they weren't dead.
As the craft came to a stop, the cramped interior filled with the sounds of shifting equipment as everyone reached for their duffels. The back shuttle bay door opened with a metallic screech, flooding the cramped interior with warm air, and the Winchesters were finally treated to their first view of Oadriax.
Talk about anti-climactic.
The complex they'd now be calling home looked more like a maximum security prison than a mining station, with tall wire fences complete with turret towers and guards patrolling the fences. The main building itself was grey and ugly, squatting like a fat toad in an otherwise beautiful oasis.
Dean's duffle was shoved roughly at him, and on shaking legs, Dean followed the rest of the men outside, taking a deep appreciative breath. His lungs did a jig of happiness at tasting natural oxygen again, though the effect was somewhat ruined when Nictoine-teeth lit up his cigarette.
The air was humid, still heavy with the day's heat, something sweet smelling on the breeze. Apart from the twin suns currently setting on the horizon, Oadriax was similar to Earth, a carbon based planet with breathable air and vaguely similar creatures. The big-wigs on the Earth Council had been ecstatic, thrilled to find a planet that could provide a new profitable resource to ensure Earth's place on the Galactic trade agreement.
A helicraft roared overhead, blades whirling, and Dean winced, shifting his duffle more securely over his shoulder as he hurried down the ramp.
"Well, would you look at that boys. Fresh meat!"
A few menacing looking marines lined the way towards the main building, catcalling and whistling at the new members that would join their ranks. Dean knew the type. Back on Earth, these were all army dogs, marines fighting for the rights of humanity in an ever expanding galaxy. Some were deployed to smaller colonies located on neighboring planets that were protected by the Council, but out here they were just hired guns, working for the company. This far from the Citadel, they didn't have to fight for some noble vision of honor and loyalty.
Out here, they were just dogs off their leash.
Sam was oblivious, eyes wide and disbelieving as he stared at a huge yellow bulldozer that rumbled past. Stuck in its tires were several brightly colored arrows, and dumbly he started moving towards it. Dean grabbed a hold of the faded green duffle slung across his brother's back, tugging him backwards just as a small off roader zoomed by. Its driver twisted in his seat, motioning rudely.
Dean made his own gesture back. "How about you look where you're going, asshole!"
"Dean!" Sam hissed, looking ridiculously scandalized as his brother dragged him away. "Two seconds and you're already going to piss people off? That's a new record, even for you."
Dean just continued to drag him along, past the winking marines, and through the automatic doors into the cool building inside. "You're a long way from the Citadel, Sam," he muttered grimly. "You better remember that."
Dr. Mary Campbell had been the leading expert in her field. An incredibly gifted xenoanthropologist, she had spent her life studying other humanoid life. She had grown up in the Citadel, Earth's capital, and met John Winchester there, while he was on active duty. They were from two different worlds, and as the story goes, they fell in love.
They moved to a quiet little mining town in New Kansas. Supposedly, the original Kansas had been destroyed because of a slight misunderstanding during peace negotiations with the Lycanthropes, but the Kansas that replaced it wasn't really that different from the last.
And they were happy. For a time, Dean could remember them all being happy.
But Mary wasn't cut out for colony life.
She missed her research, missed the adventures promised to her at the beginning of her career. When Oadriax was discovered, and the demand for xeno research was renewed, fights between her and John spiraled out of control. She wanted to go. John wanted to stay. Dean could still remember listening to them argue late at night, voices muffled through the floor. He'd sneak into Sam's nursery on those nights, clambering into the baby's crib even though he knew it wasn't allowed. Sam would fuss a little but then settle, curling his little hands into the soft fabric of Dean's Superman pajamas while their parents raged below.
One day, the door slammed and Mary just never came back.
Dean was five. Sam was barely walking.
She sent cards of course, presents for her sons on their birthdays. But slowly, they started becoming less and less frequent. John never spoke of her, preferring to throw himself into his work in the mines. Sometimes, Dean wished he had tried more to contact her, to talk to her. Finally ask why. Why they weren't good enough to keep her.
Why he wasn't good enough.
It was a rough life in the mining colony, and no-one was surprised when Sam announced his plans to go to college. He was smart, talented and would go far. He wanted to study xenobiology, much like his absent mother, but John hadn't been as enthusiastic. Dean had tried to ignore them at first, of how much their fights reminded him of the words Mary used to scream.
But he couldn't ignore the day Sam walked out on them like Mary had all those years ago. The day his baby brother clutched a duffle to his chest and stormed out of their modest house, hitching a speeder out of State and ignoring Dean's pleas to stay. John's dark figure had stood in the doorway as he watched his youngest abandon their already screwed up family.
Life went on. Work in the mines was hard and dirty but it was a living. And Dean, well—
Dean stayed with John.
When the Council started its war on a planet in a nearby galaxy called Hel, John was called back into military service. Dean followed. What else was there for him, really? While Sam stayed safe in the Citadel, training to be an educated nerd, Dean trained in the art of killing. The military offered him what he had never really found at home, something stable and ordered. It suited him just fine.
And he got to keep Sam safe. His baby brother was flourishing in the Citadel, and Dean fought to keep him there, to make sure Hel never got a chance to wage the devastating genocide it wanted. Sometimes that's all that kept him going, the only thing that made him pick up a gun and do what he had to.
After three, long, bloody years, the smoke settled on the battlefield. Hel and the Council agreed on a peace treaty and conveniently forgot about the thousands dead still lying on a battlefield swathed in blood.
But Dean wouldn't forget. Couldn't. Not when one of those corpses wore such a familiar face.
Life in New Kansas just wasn't the same. He had seen and done things on Hel that normal people would never have to experience. He was a changed man. He couldn't hold a job down, his girlfriend Lisa left him, and life just, well, life just sucked balls.
Sam graduated. Got his PhD in Xenoanthropology. Did everything Dean could never have done, and he knew it was worth it. Worth the shit he had done, worth the deaths he had wrought. Sam had a glamorous life in the Citadel, rubbing elbows with the upper crust, a beautiful blonde called Jess on his arm, and Dean was happy for him.
It was worth waking up every night in a cold sweat, screaming. Worth hearing gun fire every time a shuttle flew by overhead, worth seeing blood every time he washed his hands.
It had been a few months after the news of Mary's death, when Sam appeared at Dean's door. Told him about the Angel Project, about taking over Mary's work. And, really, what other choice was there for him? Stay a washed up war vet on a shitty colony he hated or be with his brother again?
He still had his old army credentials. His old buddy, Hendricks, was more than happy to give him a shining review and Roman Enterprises was always looking for old army dogs to join their operation.
Win-win for everyone all around.
Except for the part where it turned out they employed demons. They could have at least put that in the welcome manual.
The welcome hall was filled with soldiers and civilians alike, squeezed in on the uncomfortable plastic cafeteria chairs, all staring in awe at the creature that was to ensure their safety as head of security. A few demons lined the walls, their little beady eyes trained on their leader.
Dean hated demons. He glared at them as Sam led him towards some unoccupied seats, fingers already itching for his revolver.
They weren't really demons. The word was just slang the soldiers used during the war. Their real species name was too hard to pronounce with human tongues, but they hailed from the hot planet of Hel—which sounded way too much like hell—and were all vicious bastards. It didn't take a grunt long to coin the term 'demon'.
The Council had passed some sort of law a while back saying the term 'demon' was derogatory and shouldn't be used, but Dean wasn't about to stop calling them what they were. Not after he spent three years of his life watching those bastards rip apart his friends and family.
Hel had been discovered on a routine scouting mission Hel was a gas planet with a thin continental crust that could just support life. Didn't mean it was nice. Demons wanted off it. That was what the whole Hel War had been about; a bunch of rats wanting to jump ship. Only, the place they were trying to jump to was already inhabited.
They were stronger than humans, a few had some weird ass telekinetic mojo, and were pretty stubborn about dying. But they were human enough. You wouldn't even be able to tell that they weren't until you looked at their eyes. Then you saw what they really were.
Demons came in all flavors, all colors of the same fucked up rainbow. Back in his service days, Dean had joked about there being a pink-eyed demon that had the power to throw cupcakes. These days, he wished there was such a thing.
Black eyes were the most common. They were at the bottom of the demonic food chain, nothing more than grunts. Dean had fought them mostly, knew what they were capable of, what they looked like when he put a bullet between their inky eyes.
They were the ones currently lined up against the walls, flat eyes barely blinking as they listened to the welcoming speech. His leg bounced up and down, whole body strung and agitated at their presence. Sam shot him a look.
"Dude," he hissed. "Chill."
Easy for Sam to say. Kid had only met the demons found on the Citadel. Those were the reds, hardly ever found on the battlefield. They were the politicians, the charismatic ones that had little to no interest in physical warfare.
But they were still demons.
There were probably milkies hanging around the Citadel too. Since the peace treaty, demons had been a more common sight, and the white-eyed ones were considered something like demon royalty, held lavish parties for no other reason than that they could. No better than the human upper-class.
Those, Dean could deal with. He could even deal with twitchy reds, or slimy blackies. But he could not, would not, deal with this.
"You are not on Earth anymore," the Colonel stood in front of them all, hands clasped behind his back and legs spread apart. "You are on Oadriax, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact, every second of every day."
His mouth flattened into a serious line as he swept his eyes across the crowd. Eyes Dean had only seen once before and would have quite happily gone the rest of his life without seeing ever again.
But the universe liked fucking him over. The Colonel was Dean's boss.
Those mustard yellow eyes alighted on Dean for a moment, before resuming their torturous crawl along the row of humans.
"I can tell you that there is a Hel kids, and it is a spa resort compared to Oadriax," the demon began a tortuous walk down the row of seat humans, the black eyes along the walls shooting wicked smiles at each other. "Out there, beyond that fence, everything that flies, walks or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat you."
Dean leant towards Sam, smirking. "Looks like something tried and spat him back out. Talk about fugly."
He got a punch on the arm for his comedic troubles and Dean withdrew, rubbing his arm with a glower.
"We have an indigenous population of humanoids called the Ne'gassagen. Probably one of the last natural populations in existence," the demon continued, shooting a look in Dean's direction again. "Or, as you may know them, angels. They're fond of arrows, dipped in a neurotoxin that'll stop your heart in one minute. They're faster than you are, they're stronger, and in case you haven't seen their pretty little bodies pasted in every strip joint from here to the Citadel, they can fly because they have big ass wings. They are very hard to kill."
Hands behind his back, the demon drew up short in front of Dean, staring down at him with those burnt sepia eyes. Dean looked up at him insolently, arching an eyebrow. The demon merely snorted at him, before moving away.
"As head of security, it is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed. Not with all of you. If you wish to survive, you obey the rules. If you don't, you won't have to worry about the angels killing you, because I'll have done it instead."
A yellow-eyed demon.
He was going to murder Sam for dragging him out here.
The corridors were cramped, full of people bustling in all directions as Dean followed a way too excited Sam towards the biolabs. A tinny voice crackled over the intercom, something about protocols, but no-one paid it any attention.
"Hey here it is!"
Dean nearly walked right into Sam's broad back as his brother came to an abrupt standstill, gazing wide eyed at the glossy door plaque. It screamed at them with bold black lettering: BIOLAB, AUTHORIZED ACCESS ONLY.
Dean arched an eyebrow at it. "Authorized access only? You sure I'm even allowed back here, Sammy?"
Sam was already swiping his newly acquired access card through the metallic strip. "Oh sure. If anyone asks, just say you're doing science."
The door slid open with a quiet rustle and Dean could only stare at him in disbelief as Sam practically tripped over himself to get inside.
"I'm doing science? Well thank god you're here to tell me how it's done, Dr. Winchester."
Every available surface in the lab was crammed with expensive looking equipment. Men and women were hunched over various holopads, conversing in hushed tones as machinery hummed and beeped in the background. Dean felt like a bull in a china shop, too clumsy and rough for such a place, whilst Sam glided effortlessly past everything, occasionally pausing to gasp at something. No-one paid them any attention, everyone engrossed in their various experiments. Dean found a relatively clear desk and leant against it, eyeing the strange purple plant settled on top of it as Sam flailed around the place gushing about machinery.
A loud voice bellowed through the lab and every white coat within hearing distance tensed up, ducking their heads and falling silent. Startled, Dean nearly knocked over the plant, and hurriedly righted it, almost sending a slew of documents scattering to the floor.
"Who's got my goddamn cigarette? Hello, what's wrong with this picture?"
Sam reappeared, grabbing ahold of Dean's arm. His fingers were bordering on painful as they dug into the bare skin of his bicep, and Dean grimaced.
"Sam, what the hell!" Dean hissed, trying to pry his brother's fingers off him.
"That's Dr. Robert Singer," Sam was all slack-jawed and googly eyed again. "He's a legend, the head of the Ne'gassagen program. Oh man, I spent most of my studies just reading his journals!"
The man attached to the voice strode through an adjourning hissing door, white lab coat flapping, and Dean had to do a double take. The guy was too rough and worn looking to be just a dorky scientist. His hair was thin and greying, with a thick beard and enough wrinkles to show he'd been around the block at least twice.
Cursing to himself, Singer fished a cigarette from one pocket, putting it to his lips. He cast around, obviously looking for a light, and the scientists kept their heads low.
"Aint no-one got a goddamn light?" he snapped, startling a tiny brunette walking by, who squeaked and promptly scurried the other way. Grumbling to himself, Singer leant down to use the flickering flame of a Bunsen instead, taking a few appreciative puffs.
"What do I even pay you people for?" Glancing around the room, his eyes picked out the Winchesters, and he frowned. "Someone mind tellin' me what two civilians are doin' in here?"
Sam seemed to remember himself, the smile he shot the older man practically splitting his face in two. "Dr. Singer, it's such an honor, my name is Sam Win-"
"Bobby," Singer grunted. "Should'a guessed. You two must be Mary's boys."
Sam fidgeted, fingers picking at the strap of his duffle nervously. "Yes, sir. I'm…I'm here to resume her research."
Bobby exhaled a lungful of smoke, tapping the cigarette against his lower lip thoughtfully. "I've heard good things about you, Sam. How's your Enochian?"
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the nerd in all his nerdy glory.
Sam launched into it with a smile so bright Dean felt blinded. "Olani ipamis go'ho oi'ad loagaeth ol gassagen."
Bobby smiled at that, his eyes crinkling. Suddenly the terrifying stranger disappeared, in his place a friendly man. "Faonts ge'meganza. Not bad, not bad at all."
He turned to Dean then, eyes assessing and curious as he offered his hand. "How 'bout you boy? You a scientist too?"
The hand that Dean grabbed in his was calloused and firm, strong like a soldier.
"Dean. And no sir, I'm just a grunt. I'm here to keep Sam's butt in one piece, as giant as it is."
Bobby chuckled, releasing Dean's hand. "You're your daddy's boy alright. How's that son-of-a-bitch doing anyways?"
Dean's smile faltered and Sam cut in hurriedly.
"He uh…he passed away. During the War."
Bobby dropped his cigarette to the floor, stubbing it out with his boot. "You mean murdered durin' a piss-poor excuse for a war. I'm sorry to hear that. We used to serve together back in the day."
Well that explained why he didn't fit in with the other scientists. Dean immediately liked him.
"Guess you'll be wantin' to see the lab then?" the scientist beckoned at them both, turning back to the door he had come through. "Well you're in luck today boys, we have a-"
Bobby spluttered as the door suddenly opened to unleash a whirlwind of blonde hair and white lab coat upon them.
"Beep beep scientist coming through! Outta the way, people!"
Dean caught the sudden change in Bobby's face, a softening that made the man suddenly ten years younger. With a gruff chuckle, the old scientist reached out, grapping the whirlwind by one arm.
"Now woah there, I don't remember authorisin' you in the lab."
The young woman he had caught merely looked up at him cheerily. "Well that's 'cause you didn't."
She was no older than twenty, bright blue eyes and blonde hair that seemed to have a life of its own. Under her lab coat she didn't wear the standard drab brown uniform of the other scientists. Instead, she wore jeans and a t-shirt with a brightly colored smiley face that proclaimed: Heavily armed, easily pissed.
Dean liked her already.
The young woman grinned at Bobby again, pulling her arm free and sticking her tongue out cheekily. "I do what I want, and 'aint no doggery old relic gonna tell me otherwise!"
The scientists still in the lab all gasped as one, ducking their heads when Bobby glared over at them. The blonde took it as her opportunity to escape, and darted away, eyes twinkling with mischief.
"Joanna-Beth I swear to God, your mama and me taught you better than that!" Bobby bellowed after her as she disappeared back the way she came, shooting an air kiss over her shoulder as the door slid shut. With a bone-weary sigh, Bobby's shoulders slumped, rough fingers rubbing his temples.
"Sorry 'bout that," he mumbled sheepishly. "My step-daughter, Jo. She's a technician here in the lab."
The door suddenly slid open again, and the tangle of blonde hair reappeared. "That's my daughter, Jo," she corrected, winking. "And I prefer the term: too-brilliant-that-even-the-eggheads-can't-handle-me."
Bobby glowered at her. "How 'bout the term: unemployed?"
Making a face, Jo disappeared back into the safety of the lab beyond. Sighing to himself, Bobby stomped towards a bench, swiping a holopad from a stammering technician.
"That girl is gonna be the death of me one o' these days," he muttered, turning back to the Winchesters as he glanced at the holo in his hand. "Alright you two, follow me and don't touch anythin'."
The lab Bobby led them to didn't look too different from the first, maybe with a few more blinking things. Dean was no scientist; it all just looked like a bunch of Christmas lights and glowy things to him.
Sam had been oohing and aahing as expected, but then suddenly seized up, causing Dean to walk right into him.
"Sam!" he grumped, giving his brother a punch on the arm. "I know this is overwhelming your ovaries right now but for the love of God control yourself." There was no response, Sam staring dumbly in front of him, odd choking and cat-like noises rumbling in his throat.
"Sam?" Dean repeated, worried. "Sammy, what's wrong?"
Sam slowly pointed, and Dean followed his brother's gaze, half-expecting trouble to suddenly leap out at him screaming 'GOTCHA'.
But no demon came lunging out at him. It was the figure casually reclining against one of the steel tables, legs propped up against a console, which had caught Sam's attention.
A man, he was relatively short, with wavy light brown hair, and as he read the holopad in his hands, he sucked on a lollipop nonchalantly. He was barefoot and shirtless, wearing only a pair of soft brown leather pants, woven leather bands wrapped around his wrists and biceps.
But it wasn't his outfit that had the Winchester's oogling.
From his bare back rose two large wings. A dappled brown and white, they reminded Dean of an owl, broad tipped and almost fluffy. They shifted as he played with the holopad, feathers rustling to the rhythm of his fingertips tapping across the smooth screen.
It was an angel. A real, living, breathing angel. The first either brother had seen in person.
Well, those sad empty eyed creatures stuck in some of the seedier strip joints of the Citadel didn't count.
Bobby didn't seem as awed, tapping the creature's legs with his holopad. "Gabriel, this 'aint no livin' room. Feet off."
The angel arched an eyebrow, lips spit-slick as he pulled his sugary treat out with an audible pop. "You should know by now I don't listen to you, old man."
Bobby snorted at that, moving towards a console, poking at the holographic display. "Right. Does your brother know you're here?"
The angel shrugged, legs dropping from the console. "Eh, like he has the time to keep tabs on me, what with arguing with Lucifer all the time. I wouldn't worry."
He suddenly noticed the two gaping humans by the door and grinned, dropping the holopad with a clatter. "What's this? You bringing more humans to gawp at me, Singer?"
Sam's mouth was opening and closing like a goldfish. Dean was pretty sure he didn't look much better as the angel slid off his makeshift seat, sauntering towards them confidently. The creature barely came up to Sam's chest, as he peered up at Sam with a smirk, wings puffing.
"Wow. They grow them big on Earth," the angel grinned up at him, batting his gold eyes coyly. "I better get my climbing gear on if I'm gonna scale this tree."
With a long-suffering look towards the ceiling, Bobby swept towards them, shooing the mischievous creature away. "That's enough playin', Gabriel. This is Sam and Dean Winchester. You'll be seein' a lot of 'em, so play nice."
The angel's face changed then, something sad in his eyes. "Right. Sorry. About your mother, I mean. She was a nice lady. "
Dean swallowed at that, dipping his head in acknowledgement as he finally found his voice. "Thanks."
Sam just continued his wide eyed staring and Dean dug his elbow into his brother's side, hard. Sam jumped, giving himself a little shake as he ran a hand through his shaggy hair nervously.
"I uh…this is…I mean…"
He floundered for a minute, caught unprepared meeting the creature he'd been studying for so long. The angel merely smiled up at him with caramel gold eyes, so very…not human. Dean wasn't sure what to say to it.
"You, you're amazing," Sam finally blurted out, and Dean could have face palmed then and there. "I mean, oh my god, you're just. Amazing."
Realizing what he sounded like, Sam's face flushed red as he snapped his mouth shut in mortification.
Smooth, Sam. Real smooth.
If possible, the angel's eyes brightened even more at that, a pleased hum reverberating in his throat. His wings puffed proudly, blunt tips of his long flight feathers spreading. It was like watching a bird preen, and Dean had the sudden urge to just reach out and touch, to feel if those feathers were as soft as they looked.
"Boy, you sure know how to compliment an alien, Sam," the angel purred, his hands resting on his hips as he smiled up at the taller human. "I can tell we're going to get on just fine."
Bobby descended like a protective mother hen, shoving the angel forcibly towards the door. "Don't you have a home to go to? It's bad enough you break in 'ere pretty much every day, but I'm not riskin' all-out war if Michael finds out you've been hangin' out here."
"Aw you're no fun!" the angel complained, though he went willingly where Bobby shoved him, wings flapping. "Fine. I'm going, I'm going. See you soon handsome!"
The last was aimed towards Sam who went an even brighter red as the angel disappeared from view.
Bobby shook his head, rolling his eyes. "Don't mind Gabriel. He started hangin' out here a few years ago. Haven't been able to get rid of him since. Damned if I know how he gets in and out."
Bobby approached the console he had abandoned, flicking his fingers across the touch sensitive glass. Writing filled the screen and he highlighted a section, eyes flicking over it quickly. "Kind of don't want to get rid of him either. He's contributed so much to the project. Without him, we'd have been bust when Mary died."
"How, how did he know so much English?" Dean asked, leaving his brother to dissolve into a puddle of embarrassment. He moved to stand beside Bobby, not really understanding the numbers and equations that whizzed along the screen in front of him.
"Your mama," Bobby replied bluntly. "She started up an English school for the Ne'gassagen and taught 'em. It all fell apart when she died. Michael, the dominant male, forbade interactions 'tween the clan and us, nearly killed our research stone dead."
The scientist snorted, turning to look Dean in the eye. "But luckily for us, Gabriel is more interested in Earth than obeyin' his brother. After hangin' out here for so long, the little bastard's English is better than mine."
Sam seemed to have composed himself, clearing his throat and trying to pretend that he hadn't turned into a teenage girl only minutes ago. "Gabriel? One of the baltoh, third in line for rule of the clan, right?"
"You got it," Bobby looked pleased. "You're gonna do well here, Winchester. Mary would be proud."
A panicked looking technician hurried through the doors, her frizzy hair loose from its bun. "Sir, Dr. Singer, sir!"
Bobby actually growled at her. "What the hell is it? Can't a man go for two seconds without bein' bothered?"
She swallowed hard, practically quaking in her shoes. "I am sorry, sir, but we've just have the daily report from the main office and it would appear the Aroali study site has been destroyed. The bulldozers went in this morning and le-"
"That little rat!"
Dean winced at the bellow, taking a respectful step back from the enraged scientist. The blonde from earlier, Jo, appeared suddenly at his side. Girl had the skills of a ninja.
"Easy there daddy-o," she chirped, though her demeanor seemed as tense as her step-father's. "Remember, we have guests." She winked at Dean and he found himself grinning back. "And handsome ones at that."
Bobby groaned, scrubbing his face with one hand tiredly. "Jo, I swear to God…"
Knowing her time was up again, the blonde waved cheerily to them all. "Got it, make like a drummer and beat it!"
Dean watched her go, appreciating the view. She was cute, no doubt about it and-
A sharp smack against the back of his head jolted him back to the present and he turned rubbing the back of his head to stare wide-eyed at a sullen looking Bobby.
"My daughter is off limits," Bobby growled. Dean made a noise of protest as to his innocence, but the older man merely glared him down. "Off. Limits. I have a shotgun in my office and I know how to use it, Winchester."
Dean shut his mouth with a click. "Yes, sir."
Sam was silently laughing at him, the bastard.
"I gotta go. Got some corporate butt to kick," Bobby muttered. "But one of the techs will show you to your new quarters. I'll see you two bright n' early tomorrow, got it?"
"Got it," Sam confirmed, as Dean continued rubbing the back of his head sullenly. With a nod to them both, Bobby swept away in a furious ball of white. Sam watched him leave, adoration in his eyes.
"Wow. He's even more awesome in person," he sighed.
Dean grumbled to himself, hoisting his duffle on his shoulder. "Come on princess, let's go find our quarters."