AN: Made some minor edits to the previous chapter—what Cas was originally wearing and a little bit of the dialogue after they meet. The dialogue didn't sit well with me, and I figure Cas would have no clue as to current fashion. Thank you for reading! Gabriel will be in the next chapter.
Dean soon found himself wandering aimlessly around a nearby park. It was early morning, so aside from the occasional jogger, he had the park mostly to himself. He sat on a bench and stared at the ducks on the small lake in front of him. He sighed as he leaned back.
What was he going to do? Was he going to have to worry about controlling his so-called magic powers? What could he even do? Open a door. Big deal. And what of Castiel? If they really were stuck with him, then what? Sure, Sam had managed to get Dean onto the museum's payroll as his 'assistant,' so they were set financially. But, what about sleeping arrangements? Would Castiel just turn into a cat and curl up on the floor? How did that even work? Did he eat? How human was he?
And he had hit on Castiel earlier! He clenched his eyes shut. Why did he always think with his dick first? Why did Casitel have to look so good? It would be easier for everyone if Castiel would just leave.
He opened his eyes and frowned. A young woman stood at the edge of the lake, staring at Dean. She was drenched and very pale. Dean sat up straight. 'Hey! You okay?' he called out. He gasped when she vanished and reappeared next to him on the bench.
'You're very bright,' she said. 'Brighter than the other day.'
Dean's heart beat rapidly. He tried to lean away from the woman without calling attention to it. 'O-other day?'
She nodded. 'You and the other young man,' she replied. 'You tried to feed a duck, but it bit you.'
Dean remembered. 'Are you a…ghost?' he asked.
'I guess,' she said with a shrug.
Dean had always thought ghosts were supposed to be chain-rattling, vengeance-seeking monsters from beyond the grave. This was not what he had been expecting. Not that he had been expecting to be having a conversation with a ghost. What did you say to a ghost?
'If you don't mind my asking… What makes a ghost a ghost?'
The ghost frowned and looked away. 'Dying? I…don't really know,' she admitted. 'There are a few of us here. I was murdered by my boyfriend's ex-fiancé, but Jerry died in his sleep under a tree.'
'Lack of closure?' Dean offered. Why was he talking to a ghost?
The ghost smiled and shook her head. 'Mindy got what she deserved, and Aaron still visits me on my birthday. He's married and has two kids. I'm so happy for him.'
'That's nice.' Why was he talking to a ghost?! 'Uh… This has been…interesting. But uh…I should get back,' he said.
The woman sighed and turned her gaze to the lake. 'You're scared of me,' she said as she hung her head. 'It's okay. I understand. I would be, too.'
Dean waved his hands at her. 'I'm not scared of you,' he insisted. He continued when he received a doubtful look for the woman. 'Look, I've had a shitty day so far. I just found out I'm a fucking witch, and th—'
'A witch?' the ghost repeated. 'I may be dead, but I know there's no such thing as witches. Not in the fairy tale sense, and you don't strike me as the type to be into crystals.'
'Then how am I talking to you?' Dean retorted.
'You're a medium,' the ghost said, as if it were the most logical conclusion.
Dean bristled. If only it were that simple. But, no. He had a freaking familiar chilling out in his motel room. 'You're a ghost! How can you not believe in—Y'know what? Nevermind. Nice talkin' to ya', Casper.'
The ghost watched Dean get up and leave. She looked down as a duck approached her and walked through her leg. She decided she liked the other medium much better.
Castiel sat alone in the motel room. Sam had gone out to get donuts, leaving him with instructions to not touch anything. He sighed heavily as he ran his fingers over the worn cover of the book in his lap. He desperately wished Dean was more accepting of the current situation. Of him. He looked up as the door opened and Dean entered the room.
Dean paused in the doorway as his eyes fell on Castiel. He stood tall and shut the door as he headed toward his bag. He busied himself with looking through the contents of his bag, trying to ignore Castiel's stare.
Castiel wanted to speak to Dean. Maybe reach some sort of agreement or truce. He at least wanted to be on Dean's good side before he broke the news of Sam's plan to him. He didn't think the older brother would appreciate Sam's sudden interest in hunting down a familiar.
'Why can I see ghosts?' Dean asked, making Castiel jump in surprise. He looked up when he received no answer. 'Well?'
'You were always aware of their presence,' Castiel replied. 'You're drawing power from me, so you're tapped into their plane of existence. I imagine…with proper training, you would have been able to seen them on your own.'
Dean went back to rummaging in his bag. 'Does that mean I was medium?'
Castiel frowned. 'No. You are a witch.'
'So are mediums witches?'
Castiel shook his head. 'No. Well, some,' he replied. 'As I understand it, some witches are mistaken for mediums, and will be trained in the art of spirit talk. Um…' He trailed off as Dean lost interest.
Dean closed the bag and sat on the bed. What could he do? He didn't really want to talk to Castiel.
Castiel looked down. Dean was easier to read, more open, when he had thought he was dreaming, but now… Now, Castiel only caught bare fragments of thoughts. All of them negative. He remained silent as Dean turned on the television.
'What is that?' Castiel asked, then quickly regretted it. His eyes flicked quickly to Dean and caught the flash of annoyance.
'Crime drama,' Dean replied. He looked over at Castiel. If he was really stuck with the familiar, he definitely wanted him to be less conspicuous. 'We should get you some new clothes.'
Castiel glanced up. 'Is there something wrong with my attire?' he asked.
'Yeah, it's fucking outdated by over a hundred years.'
Castiel sighed and looked to images displayed on the television. After about fifteen minutes, he figured he had enough to go on for current fashion standards. His clothing morphed into a dark suit and tan overcoat. 'Is this better?' he asked.
Dean looked over and jumped. 'What the—?!' He looked Castiel over, head to toe. He certainly looked more normal. He raised a brow as Castiel pulled at the tie around his neck, setting it slightly askew. 'Yeah…that's fine,' he said as he directed his attention back to the television.
After a few minutes had passed, Sam returned with a box of donuts. Dean made a beeline for his brother, and Castiel remained seated, trying not to impose.
'Oh, you changed!' Sam commented. 'Did you guys go shopping or something?'
'I can change my clothing to suit my w—…my needs,' Castiel said softly.
Sam set the box on the small table and sat on the empty chair as Dean took a few donuts back to his spot on the bed. He moved the box a little closer to Castiel. 'Do you want one?'
Castiel shook his head, not looking up.
Sam frowned and looked at Dean for an answer.
Dean rolled his eyes, and shoved a donut in his mouth. Castiel was not his problem.
Sam sighed and leaned back. 'I have a new place lined up for next week,' he said.
'The Mysterious Mystery Spot.'
Dean looked over at Sam, his confusion showing. 'Since when do you do mystery spots? I thought those were all hoaxes and tourist traps.'
'Well, this one has a high number of unusual accidents associated with the site,' Sam replied. He coughed as he looked away. 'I was hoping you'd be able to do a quick read of the area…'
Dean's confusion turned into a dirty look. He should have seen this coming. 'And if I don't want to?'
Sam rolled his eyes and gave an annoyed huff. 'Then I'll go by myself. I just thought…well… I thought if there was something there worth looking into, then you'd be able to sense it or something.'
Dean looked back at the TV. 'Fine,' he eventually agreed. 'But if there's ghosts, I'm leaving.'
Dean glanced at the rearview mirror. Castiel was still sitting quietly, staring at his lap. It was a little disconcerting. Already, they had stopped to take a couple breaks. Both Dean and his brother had offered to get Castiel something to eat and drink, but Castiel had simply shook his head and wandered off. The first time it happened, Dean called out that they would be leaving in ten minutes. He had wondered if they were going to have to wait for Castiel. Part of him secretly hoped Castiel had just left. Another part was willing to wait however long it would take for Castiel to return. As it turned out, Castiel returned promptly after ten minutes had past.
Dean pulled up to a small roadside diner and parked the car. As he and Sam got out and stretched, he caught sight of Castiel heading off. 'Hey, Cas!'
Castiel stopped in his tracks and looked back at Dean.
'Don't you wanna come in? Eat something?' Dean asked.
Castiel shook his head. 'I don't…need it,' he replied. He didn't mention how he didn't want to make Dean any more uncomfortable than he already was.
Dean rolled his eyes as he turned toward the diner's entrance. 'Whatever,' he grumbled. 'Be back in an hour!'
Castiel watched the brothers leave and sighed to himself. In a blink of an eye, he was replaced by a small, black cat. He stretched and trotted toward the wooded area nearby. He had an hour. Maybe this time, he'd be able to catch something decent.
'I think you should at least try to be nice to Castiel,' Sam said as he poked at his salad.
'I am bein' nice,' Dean shot back. From his point of view, he had been nice. He could have been yelling at Castiel the whole time. Shouting about how he wished his life hadn't turned out like this. How he wished he'd never followed Sam into the old house. How he wished he'd never met Castiel. So, really, he was being very nice.
Sam glared at Dean. 'I mean talk to him. Who knows, you might actually like him.'
Dean scoffed and looked away. 'Fine. I'll talk to him.'
Sam raised his brows at Dean expectantly.
'Why not? Look, all I'm saying is…he's not happy Dean. It's painfully obvious,' Sam pointed out. 'He's going out of his way to stay out of yours.'
Dean nodded in agreement. 'All right, all right… I'll go find him.' He stood and headed out of the diner. He looked around, wondering just where Castiel could have got to. If he was a witch's familiar, where would he go? He had no idea.
Well, he was magical, wasn't he? And Castiel was his familiar, right? He should be able to sense him or something. He looked around, not coming up with anything. 'This sucks,' he mumbled to himself as walked over to his car. He leaned against it and closed his eyes. He breathed evenly and relaxed. And then he felt it. A very slight tug in his gut. His eyes flew open. He knew where to find Castiel.
Dean carefully picked his way through the woods. He thought he was getting closer, but he wasn't sure. He paused and looked around. He didn't see his familiar anywhere. He was about to give up when movement caught his eye. It was the cat. Dean narrowed his eyes as he drew closer. He gasped when the cat came fully into view. 'Cas?!'
Castiel stared up in shock. His muzzle was coated in the blood of the rabbit he had just killed, and his tail was puffed out. He crouched close to the ground and edged away from the disemboweled rabbit.
Dean stared at the rabbit. There was so much blood. Was this what Castiel was doing during their breaks? He looked from the rabbit to Castiel. In the full light of day, Dean could make out every notch in the cat's ears, every mat in the black fur, and the painful-looking angle near the tip of the tail. He thought back to what Castiel had said about the cat. Dean wondered if the cat was the only real contact Castiel had had since the witch had been killed.
Dean cleared his throat, and Castiel cringed. 'Uh…you, uh… You've got thirty minutes,' he said before turning and heading back to the diner.
Castiel's breath came rapidly. He could still feel Dean's disgust. He thought he was doing Dean a favor. He wasn't being a burden. He wasn't relying on the others to take care of him. Wasn't that the right thing to do?
He stared at the rabbit, his appetite long gone. He sighed and returned to his human form. At least some animal would be getting a free meal that day. He followed Dean's path back to the diner. He waited next to the car for Sam and Dean, staring at the gravel of the parking lot. He didn't look up as Sam and Dean approached.
'Here,' Dean said.
A paper sack and water bottle were shoved into Castiel's field of vision. He took the sack and water and gave Dean a questioning stare.
Dean shrugged as he unlocked the car. 'It's better than rabbit,' he said gruffly.
Castiel frowned and peeked in the bag. It was a sandwich. Why did Dean get him a sandwich? He jumped as Dean honked the horn.
'Are you comin', or what?'
Castiel nodded and quickly got into the back seat of the car.