Dean kicked his feet up to rest them on his bed, earphones blaring AC/DC. Cas gave him a disapproving glance from where he sat on his mattress, blankets piled around him in a nest-like fashion. Dean gave him a boyish grin and he rolled his eyes.
"You know, it's a Friday night," Dean said. "There's plenty of other things you could be doing besides studying."
Cas didn't answer, probably because he figured Dean wouldn't be able to hear him. He was probably right.
As the song finished, Dean's phone buzzed from in his jeans' pocket. He pulled his earphones out and let them fall on his bare chest.
"Hey, Dad. How are ya?"
"Surprised you picked up. I thought you'd be out."
He shrugged, even though his dad couldn't see. "I probably will later. I'm just chillin' right now."
"I see. Have you been keeping an eye on Sam?"
"Yeah." Dean switched his legs around, but stayed on the floor. "He's doing all right in his snooty little Honors dorm. He met a girl, Jessica. I think her last name was Moore. She's cute."
He could hear John's smile through the phone. "I'm glad. How about you? Anyone caught your eye recently?"
Dean shrugged again. Truth be told, his eye hadn't been caught in quite some time. Which was pretty weird, to say the least. He just hadn't seen anyone he felt like hooking up with in a while. But that didn't mean he couldn't appreciate some girls. "Anna Milton's still pretty hot," he said.
A pillow came from across the room and smacked him in the face. Cas and Anna had been best friends since kindergarten, and Dean liked to tease Cas about it. He and Anna'd had a one time thing, but that was it. And when Cas found out, he'd been more than a little pissed.
John knew enough to know that Dean was kidding.
"Classes going okay?"
Dean put the pillow behind his head before he answered. "Yeah. I've got a Calc test next week, but I'm not too worried. What's going on in Lawrence? End times yet?" he teased.
His dad was…well, he wasn't crazy, but it probably seemed like it. He was kind of a conspiracy nut, but he was focused on one thing. Thought the government was trying to figure out how to bring the dead back to life. If you actually took the time to hear him out, he could make it sound pretty damn believable, too, but Dean didn't buy into it. Neither did his brother for the record, or his mom. Speaking of. "How's Mom doing?"
John didn't say anything about the previous comment and got a bit quieter. "She's…alright. Still fighting. Doctors said her chances are going up."
"Good, that's good," Dean said. "Tell her I'm coming down to see you guys next weekend. Sammy, too."
"I won't forget," John promised. "And Dean—I know you don't believe me when I talk about it, but…there are some things happening. I want you to be careful, alright?"
Dean shook his head. "Yeah, okay, Dad," he said, mostly for John's benefit. "I will."
"I'll see you later, son."
Cas glanced at Dean without moving his head. "Any dead people walking around yet?"
"Nah, not just yet." Dean tossed his phone onto his bed from where he was on the floor.
"How's your mom?" Cas asked.
"I guess she's doing okay. My dad said that according to the doctors things are looking better than before. She's got a good chance."
"She'll pull through," Cas said.
Mary had been fighting cancer for the better part of a year now. Dean had been at college when they found out, and she wouldn't let him come home during finals week. Needless to say, he'd left immediately after finishing his last test. That hadn't exactly been the best Christmas break.
Sam was at college now, too. Dean was in his junior year while his little brother was a freshman. And starting a year early, too, the little genius.
Cas had been his roommate since his first year. They didn't get along perfectly at first, but after a month or two of adjusting to each other they got a lot closer than either would have thought. Now Cas was one of Dean's best friends.
On the floor below them, Jo and Anna—Dean's best friend and Cas' best friend, freaky coincidence—roomed together. They met through Dean and Cas and, unlike them, hit it off right away. Scattered about the other dorms were Castiel's brothers and sisters—Balthazar with the accent he'd picked up while studying abroad and refused to let go of, Gabriel with a sweet tooth the size of Texas, Lucifer the musician, and Rachel with plans to become a lawyer.
Dean fiddled with his earphones for a minute, then said, "Drop the books, loser. We're going out."
Cas glared at him. "Dean, maybe you don't care if your grades slip a little, but I have a mythology project due at Monday morning, and I can't afford to waste—Dean!"
Dean grabbed Cas' textbook out of his lap and hid it behind his back. "You can have this back at the end of the night."
"You're not be amusing in the slightest," Cas snapped. "Give my book back."
Dean danced back toward the door. "You'll have to come get it. And it's gonna go pretty far—"
"Fine! I'll go. Just let me get dressed."
Dean grinned. "I knew you'd come around."
"I hate you."
"Sure you do."
Castiel supposed he was used to being drug a variety of places by Dean. And, honestly, he couldn't easily get his project done in time. He just wasn't a fan of parties, and that was undoubtedly where they were headed. Cas was awkward at best, though Dean insisted girls liked him, he just didn't feel cut out for flirting and one night stands. He was perfectly comfortable with how things were now.
"There's a party at Crowley's place," Dean said as he pulled an old band shirt over his head. It was mid-September and nice enough out that jackets wouldn't be needed. "I heard the Masters girls are gonna be there. I'm telling you, if you'd just talk to Meg—"
Castiel changed out his pajama pants for jeans. "Dean."
"I know, I know you don't think she likes you. But she's had an eye on you since this year started, I swear. From what I've heard she's pretty great in b—"
"Fine, jeez. Don't snap at me. I will get you laid tonight, though. Mark my words. It's been too long."
"I'm sorry," Cas said as he dropped his white tee and pulled a long-sleeved navy shirt over his head, "do you watch me night and day? All the time?"
Dean waggled his eyebrows. "Would that turn you on?"
Cas rolled his eyes. "You're completely hopeless. I don't see how my sex life is any of your business."
"You need to relax," Dean said, crossing the room and dropping his hands onto Cas' shoulders. "You're always so uptight."
Cas snorted. "Because I have to put up with you 24/7."
"Hey, now, let's keep it civil."
"That's rather difficult when your roommate's a caveman."
"But I'm a hot caveman. Come on, let's go. While the night's still young."
"Do you plan on going in bare feet?" Cas asked, gesturing to Dean's sockless, shoeless feet.
"I don't know, are you?"
The smell of sweat and alcohol hit in a heavy wave as soon as they stepped foot through the suite door. They'd picked Sam and Jessica up on the way and Jess immediately drug Sam into the living room, which had been transformed into a dance floor complete with strobe lights.
"See?" Dean said above the music. "Not so bad. And look! Gabe's here."
Cas rolled his eyes. "If Gabe wasn't here, I would be concerned."
They spotted Anna and Jo getting drinks , Adam Milligan with Ruby Masters (Dean gave a whistle of congratulations when they passed), and Ash playing beer pong with Pamela.
"Castiel!" Ash shouted when he saw him. "You came out for the party!"
"I was drug out," Cas corrected. "By an irksome idiot that I have the misfortune of living with."
"Winchester," Pamela scolded, hitting a ping pong ball at Ash's head, "are you being a dick again?"
"Hardly! I'm helping him live. Would you please inform him that I am not a liar and Meg Masters has had her eye on him for a while now."
"That much is true," Pamela said with a shrug as she caught the ball Ash whipped back at her. "She's plenty eager if you're interested, buddy."
Cas frowned. Even if Meg Masters was interested, he just wasn't. Nothing against the girl, she was plenty pretty.
Dean slapped him on the back. "I told you so. I think I saw her dancing." He started pushing Cas in the direction of the music source. "Get out there. Go get here, tiger." He shoved him the rest of the way, landing him in the sea of moving bodies and leaving him with no option other than to begin moving with them. It was tightly packed, but he adjusted fairly quickly. Most people didn't have real partners; they moved from place to place to quickly, dancing with one person for thirty seconds, then moving to the next.
Cas got temporarily paired up with a girl he didn't recognize and stayed polite, dancing with her for the remainder of the song and the following. She stuck with him, so he figured he wasn't doing horribly, and when the second song ended, she took him by the hand and led him over to get a drink.
"So who're you?" she asked, taking a sip from her red cup.
"I'm Castiel," he introduced himself. "And you are?"
She giggled, eyes sparkling, "Doesn't matter," and pulled him back into the swaying and bouncing mob.
After some time, Cas found himself not quite enjoying himself, but not bored either. The music wasn't complete shit, but Crowley didn't exactly stand for shit either. He let himself zone out, entirely focused on the rhythm and the build up and letting his movements compliment the music.
Several songs later, they were having another drink when Dean grabbed Cas by the wrist and started dragging him back yet again. (Not that he hadn't planned on going back anyway, but still. He was feely slightly unbalanced and when Dean manhandled him slightly unbalanced became more than slightly unbalanced.
"Dean, what are you—"
"Shh!" he hissed. "See that girl over there?" He looked pointedly at a cute blonde craning her neck as if she was looking for someone.
"I'll be right back," Cas said to the girl he'd been dancing with before turning back to Dean. "What about her?"
"Her name's Amanda Heckerling. Remember I went out with her freshman year? She got all clingy and wanted things to get serious, and I tried to tell her no about a million different ways?"
Cas remembered then and laughed. "You ended up having to tell her you were gay."
"Yeah, shut up. She transferred schools the next year and now she's here and I don't want her latching onto me again."
"So," Dean said pulling him slowly along, "you're going to be my boyfriend until she sees us dancing together. Then you can go back to dancing with that cute brunette and I can go back to the redhead I was with and Amanda Heckerling will leave me alone."
"I fail to see how dancing with me will solve anything if you go back to a girl—"
"She won't be looking for me if she sees me with you!" Dean hissed. "For once, don't question me. I don't question your academic abilities."
Cas heaved a sigh that Dean probably didn't hear and allowed himself to be drug back the rest of the way to the dance floor.
"How will you know if she sees us?" Cas yelled as they started moving.
Cas leaned closer to Dean's ear. ""How will you know if she sees us?"
He craned his neck up and scanned the room a moment, bouncing with the beat the whole time. "I can kind of see her," Dean shouted in Cas' ear.
Cas nodded and put his hands on Dean's hips. Might as well make it believable. Dean slipped his fingers through the belt loops on Cas' jeans, keeping him pressed close.
"Can she even see us?" Cas asked.
Dean glanced around again. "She's walking around. Just wait a minute, she will."
As he let himself get into it more, he found he almost preferred dancing with Dean. He guessed it was because he was much more comfortable with him than he was with a complete stranger.
One of Dean's hands ventured to the back of Cas' neck, fingers curling into the hair at the nape of his neck. He thought maybe she was watching them right now and Dean was being extra showy, so he mimicked Dean from a minute ago and hooked an index finger through a loop in the front of Dean's jeans. He thought he heard him say something, but he didn't repeat it so it must not have been important. What Dean did do was slide his hand up the front of Cas' shirt and curl his fingers around the fabric on Cas' shoulder.
Their foreheads moved closer and closer together until they were an inch away from touching and then all Cas could smell was Dean and he thought he smelled a hell of a lot better than the rest of the party and they were still leaning closer which didn't seem possible and then Dean's mouth was on his and Cas wasn't protesting. Their bodies kept moving with the music while Dean skimmed his tongue along the edge of Cas' lip and suddenly they were not close enough despite the fact that their bodies were pressed completely against each other, writhing with the rhythm, and they were sharing the same breaths.
Cas fisted a chunk of shirt at Dean's waist and deepened the kiss, their hips grinding together. Dean moved one hand up to tangle in Cas' hair and he slid the other to the small of Cas' back, keeping him pressed firmly against him.
Some Lady Gaga song Cas didn't recognize started blasting, something about let your body out of control, which the small part of his brain that was remaining logical thought was appropriate, considering. They gradually made they way through the crowd, still dancing until they were out of the closely packed bodies, and from there they stumbled over each other to a hallway with three doors. Dean backed Cas into the nearest one, Dean's shirt dropping to the ground just outside the door.
Cas fumbled with the lock behind him and pushed Dean onto the bed. Clothes were subtracted from the situation in seconds.
Dean flipped so Cas was beneath him, hands pinned, and Dean rocked against him, eliciting a low moan from him. It was hard and fast and Cas dug his fingers into Dean's shoulders as his hips jerked up a final time and he came with a cry that couldn't possibly be heard above the music.
Dean rolled over and got a face full of sunlight. He blinked it away, stretched, and…oh. Oh, shit. Oh, fuck. Last night slapped him in the face and he threw himself upright. Cas was sprawled out beside him, stirring slightly. His mess of dark hair was even messier than usual—all the tugging Dean's hands had done last night probably played a part in that.
It had been years since Dean had had sex with another guy. Like high school years. He'd been experimenting but come to the conclusion that girls were his thing. Until now, apparently. But did it have to be with his roommate/best friend? Seriously? The universe didn't think his life sucked enough.
Cas' eyes opened slowly, gaze starting at Dean's hips and moving up to his face. Dean could see the sinking realization settle in. Cas pulled a pillow over his head and Dean heard a muddled, "Fuck."
Dean kicked Cas' legs. "Get up. We gotta get outta here before anybody else wakes up." Dean climbed over him and picked his jeans up off the floor and threw Cas' shirt at him. He fumbled for it blindly, head still under the pillow, and sat up after it was in his hand.
"Cas, where's my shirt?" Dean asked.
Cas lifted the blankets off the bed and looked under them. "Hallway?"
Dean grabbed his shoes and slipped silently out, leaving Cas to get his pants. Sure enough, it was a few feet outside the bedroom, wadded up under some girl's head as a pillow. Awesome. She looked pretty out of it, so Dean risked pulling it out from under her head. She made a face and rolled over but didn't open her eyes. Cas appeared beside him, shoes in hand, and they crept out of the suite. On their way out, they saw Jo and Anna curled up on a chair together and Ash draped over the pool table. Dean glanced up at the clock. Seven-thirty. Out in the hallway, they were free to be a little louder.
"So," Dean said, rocking on his heels, while they waited for the elevator.
Cas kept his eyes glued on the elevator doors.
Dean tried a different approach. "The sex was pretty great."
Cas smacked the side of his head in one swift motion. "I really, really hate you sometimes."
"Upset that I made you gay?"
The elevator dinged and Cas shoved him into it.
"You just had to go all the way with showing Amanda Heckerling how not into her you were."
Dean pushed the ground floor button. "You think that's what this is about?"
"No, but that's what it started with!"
"Well, you certainly didn't try to stop it!"
"Neither did you!" Cas said, shoving Dean into the elevator wall.
"Ugh!" Dean threw his hands up. "You know what we're going to do? We're going to pretend this never happened."
"Ohh, I'm sure that will work out fantastically. Brilliant plan, Dean Winchester. Your original ideas never cease to amaze me."
"Oh, I'm sorry. What do you think we should do, Mr. Perfect? What's your 'brilliant plan'?"
"We talk this out and move past it like adults."
The elevator doors opened and they made their way out of the lobby.
"No one acts like an adult in these situations!" Dean hissed.
"We will," Cas snapped. "There's a first time for everything."
Dean dragged a hand down his face. "Oh my god."
"Don't bring religion into this."
"Oh my god!"
The bickering continued all the way to the Impala. Cas made a move to get into the back seat and Dean said, "Is that how a responsible, mature adult acts?"
Cas slammed the door shut and got into the front. "Fine. But aren't you forgetting something?"
Dean slammed his hands against the steering wheel. "Son of a bitch. Why didn't you say something before we left?"
Cas shrugged and tossed his shoes on the Impala's dashboard.
Dean swatted them back into his lap before getting back out of the car. He walked half a block before turning back around and just texting Sam that he was sorry and he'd have to get a ride.
Cas didn't say anything when he got back into the car. Or on the drive back. Or once they were in their room.
"Real adult-like," Dean muttered.
By that evening, Cas was still keeping up the façade and Dean was getting tired of it. They could even talk about it or whatever if Cas wanted, just anything other than the silent treatment.
"Cas?" Dean tried for the hundredth time. "We can try and talk it out. If that's what you want." Dean drummed his fingers on his bed and watched for any reaction from Cas. "Please?"
Cas looked up at him then, closing his mythology book and resting his hands on it. "Okay."
Cas shook his head and reopened the book. He didn't talk to Dean for the rest of the night.
Jo came over Sunday afternoon just as Cas was leaving.
"What did you do this time?" she asked as soon as the door shut behind him.
Dean threw his arms out in a desperate I'm innocent way. "Why is it always my fault?"
She snorted. "Because it is." It didn't take her long to figure out he wasn't going to tell (yet), so she changed the subject. "Did you hear about that plane crash in Toledo?"
He shook his head. "I haven't been paying attention to the news."
"Apparently it's a really big deal or something." She plopped down on the bed beside him and took a drink of his Coke. "The military's got it blocked off and everything."
"What was on the plane?"
Jo shrugged. "Dunno, they didn't say. They weren't allowed to show footage, but they got a few minutes from way up before they were told. It wasn't a passenger plane." She fell silent and watched him for a minute.
"Seriously, what happened? This doesn't seem like your usual stupid fights. I'm getting weird vibes."
"Yeah, well, what?"
Jo gaped, her mouth twice as big as usual, and her eyes. "You did what?!"
"Shhhh! At Crowley's on Friday."
"Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmyGOD! What do you mean accidentally?"
"You know Amanda Heckerling? The girl from freshman year?"
"Yes, I remember Amanda. She looked at you like you were the last acorn on earth and she was a squirrel."
"Yeah, and then to get rid of her I had to tell her I wasn't an acorn after all. Well, she was at the party who-knows-why last night, and she spotted me talking to a girl, so I kind of ran off, grabbed Cas, and drug him onto the dance floor so she'd see us and leave me alone."
Jo waited for him to finish.
"And then…things might've…gotten out of hand."
"Or things got into hands."
"We woke up and got into an argument about what to do—I wanted to just forget it ever happened, but he wanted to talk it out 'like adults' and…we never really resolved it."
"You are such an asshole," she said, shaking her head. "You don't just 'accidentally' have sex. Both of you wanted to, obviously."
"That is not—"
She held one finger up, much resembling her mom. "No. You two have lived together for three years and there was always tension between you two."
"There was not—"
"Yes, there was. Both of you are total idiots, though. I thought you'd eventually figure it out, but then this happens. So you know what you're going to do?"
Dean glared at her, not amused.
"You're going to go after him and say you're sorry and fix this."
She held up her finger again. "Ah! Or you can wait for him to come back and tell him. It's all about how dramatic you want to be."
"Jo, we're not getting together again—"
"Sure," she said with a laugh. She wouldn't say or hear anything more about it, so conversation changed to other things that had gone down at the party Friday.
Cas got back maybe an hour later and Jo grinned wickedly before leaving to return to her floor. Dean rolled his eyes, but figured he could at least apologize. Even if this was not only his fault and Cas was being a total girl about it. Just as he was about to open his mouth though, his phone rang. It was his dad, and—though he felt bad about it—he ignored it. He'd call him back after he talked to Cas.
"Hey, look. Friday night was…it wasn't bad." Cas didn't look at him as he set his book bag by his bed and began unloading its contents. "I know we've gotten into fights…stupid fights…over stuff before, but this is different, I know. And I'm sorry I drug you into it, I should've just dealt with Amanda some other way, but I just…I didn't. And then this happened."
Cas drummed his fingers once on his desk before turning to face Dean. "So we're going to talk about this?"
Dean shrugged. "I—yeah, I guess."
From somewhere down the hall, someone screamed. Both Dean and Cas jerked their heads in the direction of the sound and ran out. Other people were pouring out of their rooms, looks of horror on their face. Dean grabbed someone by the arm. "What's going on?"
"Some crazy shit, man. Look out your window—they're fucking everywhere. Just get out."
Cas had already run back into their room and was staring out the window when Dean went to look.
"What the hell—" There were people running through the streets, trying to get to their cars, holding hands of friends and loved ones. Dean didn't see what they were running from until he looked farther away. It looked like a mob of people, but there was something… One of them grabbed ahold of one of the people running away and…holy shit. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. He, she, it, whatever was eating the person. Shit.
"Pack," Dean said. "Whatever you can carry. We're getting out of here."
They didn't waste any time. Dean called Sam immediately and he answered on the first ring. "Dean, what the hell is going on?"
"Don't know," he answered. "But we're hitting the road. Get your stuff together. Are you in your room?"
"Yeah," Sam said. "Jess is here, too, and Andy and Ava."
"Okay, stay inside until I come and get you."
"But the Impala's two blocks away, and those things—"
"I know, Sam, okay?" Somewhere in the distance, he heard a gunshot. Good idea. "If your location changes, you tell me. I've gotta make some other calls now. Give me thirty minutes. You think you can hold out for that long?"
He visualized Sam nodding. "Hurry."
Next was Jo—she bit him to it, his phone ringing seconds after he ended the previous call. "Jo, you up for a run to the parking garage?"
"You bet," she said.
"Finish packing," he said, doubtless she already was. "I'll be at your room in three minutes. Call Pamela and Ash, tell them we're making a run."
Between hanging up and dialing, he heard Cas talking on the phone, probably to his siblings. Dean called Adam, then Chuck, telling them to hang tight and they'd come get them.
"Cas, you comin'?"
"Yes. Do you know how to hotwire a car?"
"We're closer to the parking garage than Lucifer or Balthazar, but I don't have keys. I'll need someone else to drive if we want the van and the car, though. Gabriel isn't answering and I'm not risking Rachel."
Dean could see the hidden panic in Cas' eyes when he said Gabriel wasn't answering, but he didn't say anything about it. Now wasn't the time.
"We might have to leave the car," Dean said, digging out his gun from beneath the clothes in his bottom drawer. "You stick close to me, okay? At least until you've got a weapon." He slung his bag over his shoulder and grabbed Cas' hand. "Talk about it later?"
Cas smiled humorlessly. "Yeah."
So Dean's father's paranoia had come in handy. Taking him to the gun range every weekend since he was a kid, teaching him to shoot, always making sure he was ready. Thank you, Mr. Winchester.
They pushed through the people and hurried down the flight of stairs to Anna and Jo's floor. They were waiting just outside their room door.
"Pamela and Ash should be here in a minute," Jo said immediately.
"Good. I told Chuck and Adam to stay where they were. We're gonna go get them."
"Anna, what is it?" Cas asked. She was chewing her lip and bouncing on her feet. "I called Inias and he doesn't know where Samandriel is. He's not answering his phone."
"Neither is Gabriel," Cas said. "But I'm sure they're fine. Phones get dead batteries."
"We'll find them," Dean promised.
Pamela and Ash showed up then, Ash carrying more alcohol than clothes.
"Okay," Dean said. "Me, Jo, Anna, and Pamela all have vehicles. Cas's siblings have a van and a car, we'll probably take the van and come back for the car. Ash, you stay here with our stuff. People are going crazy, you keep what's ours. Wait by the door. Pamela'll come back for you and our stuff can go in the back of her truck. I've gotta get Sam and his friends. Jo, you get Adam and Chuck. Anna, get your brothers. Try and find Samandriel. Cas, grab your family. We meet back at the parking garage thirty minutes after we leave there to regroup, and get out. Everyone got it?" They all nodded. "Keep your phones on," Dean added.
The streets outside were blood and chaos. Those…things…were eating other people, like rabid cannibals. The group took a few seconds to get their bearings as the doors closed behind them.
"One gun?" Cas asked.
"And Jo's knife," Dean said.
Then they ran.
Most of the creatures were occupied with already fallen bodies, but some in some places there were more than others. While they ran, Castiel tried to piece together how something like this could happen. The monsters looked human, and the possibility that they once had been terrified Cas, though it seemed most likely.
They ran in a line, hand in hand. Jo led the way, followed by Pamela, Anna, Cas, and Dean took up the rear, shooting when something got too close. Problem was, they just kept coming. Bullets didn't stop them.
Cas had to figure this out.
Say they were humans. Say this was a disease. Something had to be making them act this way. It wasn't their heart, but if it was something in their brain…a brain disease was most likely to be able to transform a human into this.
"Dean, shoot for the head!" Cas yelled.
Another reached out and Dean shot it right between the eyes. It froze for several painfully long moments, then fell, motionless, to the ground.
"How did you know that?"
"Lucky guess," Cas said.
"One more block!" Jo shouted.
"How many bullets?" Cas asked.
"Two," Dean said without checking.
They paused for a second while Jo brought her knife down on one's head.
One of the things drug itself towards them with its arms, legs both cruelly smashed, like it had been run over. Anna kicked it away and by the time it turned itself back around they were past it. Dean had to shoot another one and Cas counted down to one. One bullet. Half a block. They could make it. They could make it. Just get to the corner, turn at the corner…they were in.
"You gonna share your arsenal, Dean-o?" Pamela asked.
"Only if you ask nice," Dean responded, firing off his last shot at a loner that got too close.
They lucked out and didn't say anyone other than a few people driving off as they made their way to the third level. At the Impala, Dean opened the trunk's false bottom and handed out guns. He gave both Jo and Pamela rifles.
"You know how to shoot?" he asked Anna.
"I'm a fast learner."
He passed her a revolver. "Jo'll show you." He turned to Cas last. "Think you can handle it?"
Before his parents died, they used to practice archery together as a family. Every after their deaths, Cas and his siblings sometimes went out together to keep themselves from getting rusty. They used to tell Castiel he was a natural. But Dean didn't have a bow and arrow in the trunk. (He probably had everything else.) Fortunately, he'd gone with Dean a couple times to shoot and wasn't completely ignorant. He took the pistol from Dean's hands. "I can handle it."
Dean held his gaze for a moment, then let the gun go. "This is where we split up," he said to everyone. "Remember. Thirty minutes." He grabbed a couple more things and slammed the trunk closed. "Let's go!"
Cas led the way to Lucifer's van and stood back while Dean used a pair of pliers and what looked like metal umbrella rods to get into the car, then got into the wiring inside the car with a screwdriver. Cas would have to learn exactly how he did it later.
"There you go," Dean said.
Cas got in the car, but before he shut the door, Dean grabbed his arm. "Be careful," he said.
"I'm serious, Cas."
He gave Dean a smile meant to be comforting. "I know. Thirty minutes."
Dean squeezed his arm. "Thirty minutes."
Cas pulled out of the parking space and watched Dean in his rearview until he turned down the ramp and lost sight of him. He had to find his siblings now.
Dean ran back to the Impala and pealed out of the parking garage, dialing Sam once he was on the road.
"Dean, thank God."
"I'm on my way. You still in your room?"
"Yeah. We're packed and ready."
"Good," Dean said. "Do you have your gun with you?"
"You might need it. I'm about eight blocks away right now. You need to get Ava, Andy, and Jessica outside. Now, the things that are attacking people—they won't go down unless you get 'em in the head, ya hear? Shoot anywhere else and they'll keep coming."
"Got it," Sam said.
"Shit!" Dean swerved out of the way to avoid hitting a group of three people running across the street.
"I'm fine, I'm fine."
They stayed on the line until Dean was a block away. "I'm stopping," Dean said. "Get your asses out here."
Moments later he saw Sam burst out of the front doors with Ava, Andy, and Jessica right behind him. He reached over and flung open the passenger side door, knocking one of the freaks over. Moments before Sam's three friends reached the car, a herd of a dozen or more appeared from around a corner at a full-on run.
"Sam!" Dean yelled in warning.
His brother had been in front of the group, clearing the way for them, and the mob attacked from the back. He turned and shot three down in a quick succession, but there were too many running too fast and everything was happening at a breakneck speed. A pair of them latched onto Ava, pulling her down, and Andy and Jessica screamed, reaching for her. Sam shoved them both towards the car and shot one freak in the head, but by then two more had joined in, mouths gnashing, pulling at Ava's flesh.
"Sam!" Dean shouted. "Get in the car!"
His brother shot two more before finally pulling himself away and climbing into the car.
"What are you doing?" Jessica screamed as Dean tore away. "We can't just leave her!"
"It's too late!" Dean barked. "There were too many."
"Oh my god." He glanced in the rearview to see Andy, frozen, staring at the floor. "Oh my god."
"Hey," Jessica said, "hey, it's okay."
"Is he gonna hurl? That is not happening in my car."
"Dean!" Sam snapped. "That was Ava! That was Andy's girlfriend and one of mine and Jess's friends."
"I know," Dean said. "And I'm sorry."
He missed what Sam said next; he was distracted by a freak pulling itself up using a light post—the same one whose legs had been useless a few minutes ago. Shit. If those things could heal themselves—
"Are you listening to me?"
"Tell me later, Sam. We've gotta get back to meet up with the others."
"Who are the others?"
"Jo. Cas and his siblings, Pamela, Ash, Chuck, Adam, and Anna and her brothers."
"Where are we meeting them at?"
"The parking garage." He just hoped everyone would get back there in one piece.
Cas tried Gabriel's phone at least a dozen times on the way to get Balthazar, Lucifer, and Rachel, but still got no answer. "Damn it!" he yelled. He called Balthazar instead, letting him know he was almost to their building. "Can you make it out the front?" he asked.
There was a pause lasting a few moments. "There's a pretty good number out there. We might have better luck if we used the fire escape."
"Do it," Cas said. "I'll pull around to the back alley. One minute."
He heard his brother say, "Lucy! Come on, Cassy's on a schedule."
As he passed the front of their building, he saw Balthazar hadn't been exaggerating. Dozens of the things were swarming around fallen bodies, blood covering their hands, faces, entire bodies. He came to a screeching halt by the alley and saw Balthazar and Lucifer running down the fire escape, bags slung over their shoulders. In one of the side mirrors, Cas spied a mob running in their direction. He got out of the car and opened fire on the group. The first shot went into one's shoulder, the next shot went between its eyes.
"Come on!" he yelled to his brothers. He took another two down and hit one in the side of its head. That one kept coming. So, it had to be between the eyes. As he continued firing, he racked his brain, trying to figure out why that might be. Lateral Orbitofrontal, Dorsolateral Prefrontal. Emotional responses, logic. Maybe that was the area the disease—assuming it was a disease—infected first. Hit it at the source, kill it. That made hypothetical sense.
Cas ran back to the van when he was down to his last round, opening the side door facing the alley before getting back in the driver seat. He still had to get Rachel. His brothers had half a flight left and they had to jump the last few feet. Balthazar landed well and started running towards the car, but when Lucifer hit the ground, he landed wrong and Cas saw his leg snap. He crumpled to the ground and Balthazar spun around to help him up, but the mob was too close and Lucifer screamed at him to go. Balthazar didn't listen, of course, and helped him up, slinging his arm over his shoulder. They started hobbling to the van, but the horde was too fast and even if Castiel used his last round there were just too many.
Lucifer locked his eyes with Castiel and Cas knew exactly what he was going to do when he gave him that look. Everything slowed down to less than half-speed then. Cas shook his head at Lucifer, no, but his brother was already pushing Balthazar ahead. He stumbled forwards several steps and turned back to grab Lucifer, but the creatures were footfalls away from them at that point and Lucifer screamed, "GO!" as they fell on him.
Castiel heard Balthazar scream their brother's name as the mob took him to the ground, ripping and tearing at his flesh with hands and teeth. Balthazar seemed frozen in place, watching his brother get torn to shreds, despite Castiel screaming at him to get in. When the things noticed Balthazar wasn't moving, they made for him and he finally ran the rest of the way to the van, throwing himself into the back.
Cas pealed away from them, not waiting for his brother to shut the door.
"Fuck!" Balthazar screamed from the backseat that suddenly sounded very distant. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
Cas' hands shook as he whipped around a corner, slamming into one of the diseased. He rubbed his eyes, trying to get himself to focus, but that was his brother and he'd just… Cas pushed a hand through his hair and drove faster, nearly tipping it as they turned another corner. There were less of the things that had killed his brother on this street, but it was also one of the farthest away. In a few minutes they'd probably be surging through here, too. Someone ran out into the road and Cas almost didn't stop, but then he saw it was Rachel and he came to a shrieking halt just in time, her outstretched hands almost touching the bumper. She ran around to the side and climbed in, slamming the side door behind her.
"What the hell was that?!" Cas screamed.
"I'm sorry!" she said. "I—someone grabbed my phone and took off with it and I couldn't call you and the people inside were going crazy—"
"I could've killed you!"
"But you didn't. Where are Gabriel and Lu—no." She took in Balthazar, head in his hands, and looked back to Cas. "No." He started driving again, past a group of ten or more people screaming at him for a ride. "No, Castiel, they've gotta be okay, they can't—"
"He's gone!" Cas screamed. "Lucifer's gone! We couldn't get him, okay? There wasn't…there was no way…" He rubbed his eyes with his palm. "We couldn't save him," he said as he saw Lucifer fall, again and again, screaming.