Disclaimer: Supernatural and all of its characters belong to Erik Kripke and the CW Network. The title comes from the song of the same title, which belongs to Brantley Gilbert.
Characters: Dean Winchester, Castiel, Sam Winchester, Mentions of John and Mary Winchester, Mentions of Lucifer, Balthazar, Michael, and Gabriel.
Warnings: Illegal moonshining, swearing, violence, sexual content, mentions of previous child abuse when the boys were kids, major character death.
13 November, 2013
There were three things that Sheriff Castiel Novak was absolutely certain of.
One- Tennessee was a hell of a lot warmer then New York City.
Two- He kind of missed being an NYPD patrol officer.
Three- Dean Winchester was going to be one helluva problem.
He'd only been on duty for about six hours of his first shift when he'd been dispatched to the Winchester Farm. He'd had a grand old time attempting to find the farm at the end of the curving, twisted dirt drive. It was a hulking structure that seemed to be pinned to the backdrop of sprawling country side. The house seemed to sag in on itself, and Castiel noted that it could use more than a little bit of work. The shutters all hung on rusted hings, and shingles seemed to be falling off in every direction, and the wrap-around porch had flaking, dull grey paint.
He sucked in a deep breath before placing the deep brown cowboy hat (which he'd scowled at when they told him it was part of his uniform) over his well groomed, dark hair and stepping out into the sweltering heat. His uniform clung heavily to his Kevlar and his skin as the humidity immediately caused him to sweat. In the midst of cursing himself out (for the thousandth time that morning) for moving to somewhere so warm, he noted that there was a pair of searing green eyes watching him from a rickety looking rocking chair on the porch.
"Hello." He called, holding up a hand in greeting. The man didn't say anything in response, choosing to watch him walk closer and shift the pocket of chewing tobacco in his bottom lip instead. Castiel noted the large block of wood in his hand, and, more warily, the knife in his opposite hand. It was a nice looking knife; shining blade, and, what looked like, an antler handle. "I'm Sheriff Novak, we got a call about your residence." Silence. "The caller said that they were concerned because they thought they smelled something burning." The man picked up an empty water bottle and spit a long, stringy strand of tobacco juice into it, his eyes never leaving Castiel.
"S'that right?" His voice was low, and gruff, and frankly caught him off guard. His stomach did a complete one-hundred and eighty degree turn and he had to take a moment to compose himself before nodding. "Well, I can assure you, there ain't any fires here."
"Are you sure?" Castiel questioned, not even entirely sure why he was pushing the issue. The man drove the blade of the knife into the chair's arm rest before standing. He stepped to the edge of the porch, his shoulder resting on a pillar and his ankles crossing while he surveyed Castiel's face.
He was taller then Castiel, and had legs that seemed miles long under dirty, torn jeans, which led down to scuffed, brown boots. His broad chest and shoulders were barely concealed under the oil stained grey t-shirt.
"I'm pretty sure that we'd be the first to know if we had a fire, Sheriff." He replied, his arms crossing defensively over his chest. He stared daggers down at Castiel from under the brim of his worn baseball cap that had some whiskey label embroidered on the front. "There something else I can help you with?" His stubbled jaw jutted out slightly with the statement, as if he was daring Castiel to challenge him.
"No, sir. I just wanted to make sure that everyone was safe in the residence." He was irrationally proud of himself for being able to keep the stutter out of his voice that threatened to claw its way out.
"I've never seen you on patrol before. You new or something?" Castiel nodded, and stepped forward to extend his hand.
"Yes, my name is Castiel Novak. Today is actually my first day." He muttered, suddenly feeling shy about that fact.
"Dean Winchester." The other man replied. He took Castiel's hand in his own and shook it twice, his rough callouses scraping over Castiel's own. "Castiel, huh? That's a...well, I ain't gonna sugar coat it, that's a weird name."
"Yes, it is." Castiel nodded once, his eyes training themselves to a spot just above Dean's head so that it at least looked like he was engaging eye contact. "My parents had a pechant for odd names."
"Huh. Well, welcome to Gatlinburg, Cas. Good to meet ya." Castiel was opening his mouth to protest the impromptu nickname when Dean's booming voice cut him off. "Sammy! Get your ass out here! Someone I want you to meet!" Moments later a tall, lanky boy came scurrying around from inside the house. His hair was longer then Dean's and it flopped messily into his face before he brushed it away. "Cas, this is my brother, Sammy. Sammy, Cas."
Sam stuck his hand out in front of him and shook Castiel's once, smiling shyly. He was, by far, the most unassuming, giagantic man that Castiel had ever met...
"Hi, it's nice to meet you, Cas." He mumbled.
"Uh, it's Castiel, actually. It's good to meet you too, Sam."
"Woah." Sam's eyes doubled when Castiel spoke. "You are definitely not from around here, are ya?" Castiel let out an honest laugh and shook his head.
"No, I just moved here from New York City."
"That's awesome!" Sam's eyes lit up at the mention of the city, and he launched into a tangent about the sky scrapers. However, Castiel could only nod and hum in affirmations, because his focus was actually trained on where Dean had gracefully strode down the front steps of the porch and was popping the hood of a sleek, black car. A question from Sam drew his attention away just as Dean was leaning under the hood, that grey t-shirt rising up just enough to show a strip of tanned skin at Dean's hip. "What do you think?"
"I, uh," He coughed into his hand, trying to figure out what the hell Sam had asked him. "What was that?"
"I asked if you wanted to swing by for dinner tonight? You know, tell as all about your NYPD stories?" Cas floundered for a moment, not exactly sure how to react to the question.
"I don't want to intrude. I mean, you guys don't even know me..." He stammered, pulling off his hat and drawing his forearm across the sweat on his forehead that he was sure had more to do with the situation than the heat this time.
"I'm sure Dean wouldn't mind! Hold on a minute. Dean!" Sam called across the drive. Dean's head popped out from under the hood, and his baseball caught on something, knocking it off to reveal a shock of brown hair that practically begged to have fingers running through it. Castiel's tongue was too thick for his mouth and was drier than the Gobi desert. He was going to die of dehydration on the Winchester's lawn, and he hadn't even gotten a proper dinner invitation. It was sadly really... "You mind if Castiel comes over for dinner tonight to tell us some of his old stories."
There was a long moment where Dean simply look between Sam and himself, his expression completely unreadable, even for Castiel, and he felt a knot tying itself in his stomach.
"Don't matter to me." Dean pulled a shrug and wiped the back of his hand across his face, leaving a streak of grease in its wake.
"Uh, oh. Okay, I guess I can do that..." Castiel nodded, his head spinning with the way that the nature of the call had changed from checking for a fire to making dinner plans.
"Awesome!" Sam replied, his face lighting up like a little boy in a toy store. "What time do you get off shift?"
"Six this evening."
"Okay, so you come over after." Sam smiled.
"I guess...I've got to get back to patrol, but I'll, uh, I'll see you guys tonight...then." He was back in his cruiser, his jaw hanging open in shock before he allowed himself to realize that he was pretty sure he'd just fucked up...
Later that night...
The rest of his shift was relatively quite (apart from having to chase a cow off of Main Street) and three hours later, Castiel found himself showered, changed, and standing on the Winchester's doorstep with sweaty palms. He wiped his hands on the front of his black pants and smoothed down the white, button-down shirt and navy blue tie once more. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the nights in Tennessee were cooler than the days and he was able to throw on his favorite trench coat.
He sucked in a deep breath and finally summoned the courage to knock on the door. He waited a long moment, listening to the sounds of clattering around inside until the door swung inward. Dean was standing on the otherside, wearing the same torn jeans, but instead of the grey t-shirt, he had a dark towel draped over his shoulder and his tanned chest was bare.
Castiel opened his mouth, but the words died on his tongue as he watched a droplet of water making its way from a curled strand of hair on Dean's forehead all the way down to the waistband of his jeans. Dean gave him a slow, lazy smile before stepping aside and gesturing for him to come inside.
"Heya, Cas." He rumbled, the smile never wavering. Castiel finally collected his thoughts and shook all of the down right profane images from his head long enough to formulate a response.
"Hello, Dean." His voice was even more gravelly then usual...
"Sammy, your little friend is here." He called, his voice teasing and playful. Sam poked his head into the entry way a few seconds later, a scowl on his face as he stared at Dean. "Hey, no need to break out 'bitch face', I was just letting you know." Dean chuckled, a low sound that Cas immediately decided was something that he needed to hear several more times.
"You're an ass, you know that?" Sam grumbled, turning and heading back towards, what Castiel assumed was, the direction of the kitchen. Dean still had a smug smile on his face when Cas looked at him.
"Nice, uh...nice trench coat." He chuckled, holding out his hand for the jacket as Castiel shrugged out of it. A flutter of embarassment scorched through him, but it immediately left when Dean smiled down at him. "Living room is right through here, feel free to have a seat while Sammy finishes cookin'." Cas waved off the offer and moved into the kitchen to take a seat at the table.
He leaned forward on his elbows and steepled his fingers under his chin as he watched Sam work. He had to admit, however, that he wasn't quite focused on anything the large man said to him. He was too busy straining to catch the grumbled curses from where Dean was struggling with pulling a shirt over his head in the living room.
"So, Castiel, how do you like living in the south?" Sam asked politely, not turning around from the stove. Castiel idly noticed that Sam's drawl was significantly less prominent then Dean's.
"It's hot down here." He replied quietly, glancing over his shoulder and watching Dean stride into the kitchen as well, now clad in a worn, comfortable looking red and blue plaid shirt.
"Well, that's kind of expected isn't it?" Sam chuckled, quirking an eyebrow at him and dishing out some creamy sort of pasta in the pan in front of him onto three cracked dishes.
"I always assumed that it would be warmer then New York City, but I didn't think that it would be quite this sweltering." Dean scoffed and opened the fridge, snagging two bottles of beer.
"Sweltering, huh? You know an awful lot of words that make you sound smart, don't you?" Castiel stared at him a second before shrugging.
"I suppose. Is that a problem?" He gratefully accepted the beer that Dean held out to him and twisted the top off. Dean slumped into the chair opposite him as Sam set plates in front of each of them and sat in his own chair.
"Not so much a problem," Dean grunted around a mouthful of pasta. "More of a quirk. Got me wondering how someone with such a nice big, uh," He swallowed down the pasta and gave Castiel a shark smile that had him pausing with his fork midway to his mouth to admire it. "Vocabulary, winds up playing Barney Fife in some podunk town like this." Castiel stared at him, his head tilting to the side curiously.
"Barney Fife? I'm...I'm sorry, Dean, I don't understand that reference..." The way that Dean's jaw dropped would have been comical had Castiel not been so confused.
"Seriously? You're telling me that you've never seen 'The Andy Griffith Show'?" Castiel shook his head in response. Castiel groaned when the pasta finally hit his tongue.
"Sam, this is delicious!" He mused when he'd finished the mouthful. Sam blushed and mumbled a 'thank you' in response. When Castiel turned back to the conversation with Dean, he was shocked to find the deep emerald of his eyes had yielded to a plume of black pupil. The look was positively predatory and heat curled low in his stomach, causing his throat to tighten.
"Well, I guess next time you come over we're gonna have to remedy that. We'll educate you on how southern law enforcement is supposed to work." Dean chuckled, shoveling more pasta into his mouth. "Huh, Sammy?"
"As long as you don't scare him from coming back." Sam retorted, a playful grin of his own appearing on his face. Dean's brow wrinkled.
"I ain't scarin' him off. Am I, Cas?" Who was Castiel to deny that smooth smile? He shook his head and let his gaze drop to the plate in front of him. He focused on the practised movements of picking up pieces of pasta with the fork, and listened to the sound of Sam and Dean trading verbal jabs. All too quickly, his plate was empty, and so was the bottle of beer in front of him.
"Well, that was amazing." He gave Sam a smile of thanks and stood to wash his dishes. He was halfway to the sink when a large, calloused hand closed over his bicep to stop him.
"Don't worry about it," Dean's voice was far too close for him to not feel his heart nearly stop. "I'll get the dishes. Upstanding gentleman that I am, and all that." He chuckled and pulled the dishes from Castiel's hands.
"Oh, uh, thank you, Dean." He muttered.
"So, you all settled into your new place yet?" Dean questioned. Glancing at the table, Castiel noticed that Sam seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
"I'm...well, I don't exactly have a 'new place' yet. I've been staying at the motel in town since I arrived."
"Seriously? That place is a shit hole." Castiel frowned at Dean. Sure, he knew that the motel with the obnxoiously colored walls, the ancient floral bedspread, and the stench that he seriously hoped was mildew was a shit hole. He also knew that there was no where else around that he could find to rent. Not in his price range, anyway...
"I'm well aware, Dean." He growled, crossing his arms over his chest.
"So, why don't you crash here tonight?" Castiel's head snapped back toward Dean to stare at him.
"I...what? You guys don't even know me." He stammered. Dean pulled a shrug, turning away from the sink to look at him. Castiel fought the twitch of a smile when he saw the soap bubbles clinging to Dean's shirt.
"So? If the hard asses in the county think that you're safe enough to carry a gun and 'protect and serve', all that jazz, then I think you're safe enough to sleep on the couch until you find a place." Castiel opened his mouth to protest, but Dean's soap coated hand covered it, effectiely silencing him. "No arguements. I'll have Sammy grab extra pillows and blankets, and you can borrow a pair of my sweat pants. Simple as that."
"That's very kind of you. Thank you, Dean."
"Least I could do. You kept Sammy entertained for a night, at least." He chuckled, watching as Castiel wiped the soap from his face. He watched as Dean finished the dishes, then went to fetch that pair of sweatpants he'd mentioned, leaving Cas to deal with his own thoughts.
He had a feeling that this wasn't going to end well. After all, he was only a man, and self-restraint could only get him so far.
Yeah, Dean Winchester was definitely going to be a problem...
It was nearly two in the morning when Castiel woke next, looking around the Winchester's living room through bleary eyes. He wasn't quite sure what had woken him until the clatter from somewhere near the kitchen arose again. He was on his feet, drawing his service weapon from under his pillow and thumbing the safety before he could conciously have another thought.
His bare feet carried him nearly silently through the house, his gun extended in front of him. Castiel braced his shoulder on the doorjab at the enterance of the kitchen and scanned the room quickly, finding no movement he advanced.
His body thrummed and his blood pumped sparks of electricity through him, just like every raid he'd ever led in New York, and yet this was...some how different, still. There was a door on the other side of the kitchen that had light filtering underneath it. His brows furrowed as he looked at it. He had been almost positive that it was a pantry or something like that at dinner, but...he slowly moved to it, opening the door and allowing the muzzle of his gun to enter the room before he did.
"You may want to holster that before you hurt someone, Sheriff." Came the gruff voice from around the corner. His shoulders sagged in relief, and he allowed himself to lower the gun, thumbing the safety back on and tucking it into the waistband of borrowed, much too large sweat pants. He stepped into the hallway slowly, and his jaw nearly hit the floor.
The room was dimly lit by a flickering light bulb in the center of the ceiling, but it was enough for him to make out most of the scenery. The hardwood floors were so scuffed and scratched that he couldn't even tell if they had been polished at one point or not, and the stench of something boiling permeated the air. Cobwebs clung to the corners of the room as if they were trying to escape the stench and the light, and the floorboards creaked enough as he stepped on them that he could only picture himself falling straight though to the basement.
Dean was reclined in a rickety looking wooden chair, his feet kicked up on a table in front of him, and a mason jar clutched in his left hand. A dusty, tattered black Stetson hovered loosely on his head, the brim just low enough to shadow those scorching green eyes. Castiel let his eyes roam over the sweat-slicked, grey tank top and light denim for a moment before moving his gaze to the mazes of copper tubing and pumps.
"Dean?" He rasped out, confusion dripping off the name.
"That would be me." Dean gave him that lazy, shit eating grin that made Castiel's stomach flip over like it was going for Olympic gold, and took a sip of the clear liquid in the jar. His breath hissed out between his teeth as he swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing tantalizingly.
"What...what the hell is this?" Castiel gestured broadly to the set up with one arm. Dean chuckled, capping the jar, and got to his feet, crossing the room in three long strides. He was far too close, crowding into Castiel's personal space and completely erasing his ability to think clearly.
"This is a moonshine still. Ain't you folks got those up in your fancy-ass cities?" His voice was low enough that Castiel didn't know if it could be considered speaking or if it was more acurately a growl...
"M-moonshine?" He gasped, his eyes shooting open wide. "Dean, that's...that's illegal."
"Mhmm." Dean nodded, his face falling serious. He shifted the toothpick that Castiel hadn't even noticed between his teeth. "It's also the way that I pay for things that Sammy needs, how I intend to put him through law school, and how I make a living that he deserves. You going to arrest me? Throw me in county lockup so that some overzealous petty thief can try to make me his bitch?" Castiel couldn't be sure if the way that his head was swimming was due to the alcohol fumes that were wafting from the back of Dean's mouth as he spoke, or the fact that he was so close that their chests brushed with each deep breath. Dean thrust his heads forward, his knuckles settling low against Castiel's stomach, and he held his breath, afraid to even move. "'Cause if you are, let's get this over with, but I want you to remember something. If you take me, their going to put Sam into foster care. He's sixteen. That's going to be on you." Dean snarled, his nose brushing over Castiel's.
"I'm," Castiel swallowed thickly around the lump in his throat and shook his head. "I'm not going to arrest you, Dean. This can be our little secret." Dean hesitated a moment before stepping back and dropping his hands. Castiel cursed himself for giving in so easily. Maybe if he threatened to arrest him, he'd come closer again...
"Well...good. Thank you." Dean stammered, obviously flustered by Castiel's response. Castiel nodded slowly.
"Dean, I," He paused, running his hands through his hair (which he was sure was sticking up in a thousand different directions) and huffing out a sigh. "I know that I just met you and Sam today, but...I don't know. There's something that's telling me that you guys are different. I know it sounds stupid but, I want to protect you two."
"Cas, we don't need someone to protect us." Dean replied, his voice a low whisper. It didn't hold any of the biting anger that Castiel had been expecting.
"I know that you don't need it, Dean. I can see that. But, that doesn't mean that I don't want to. I'm a cop. It's my job to protect people, and you boys...you seem special." Dean gave a sad chuckle and shook his head, pulling the hat off and dropping it onto the chair.
"That'd be a first. Sammy and I ain't ever been 'special'."
"Well, then maybe it's time someone showed you that you are." Castiel countered quickly. Dean stared at him for a long moment before letting his head drop forward.
"You're something else, you know that?" He grumbled around a half-assed smile.
"I have been told that before, yes." Castiel deadpanned in response. That sent Dean into a laughing fit so hard that he had tears streaming down his cheeks as he leaned foward, bracing his hands on his knees. When he finally caught his breath and wiped his eyes, Castiel was smirking down at him, his arms crossed over his chest.
"Shoot. Thanks, man, I needed that. I haven't laughed that long in...shit, years." He wheezed.
"You have a nice laugh. You should laugh more often, Dean Winchester." Castiel realized that he'd said it half a second too late and he tried his best to catch the words in the air and suck them back in. Much to his relief, Dean either didn't realize what the statement meant or chose to brush it off with a chuckle and a mumbled 'whatever, man'. "I'm, uh, I'm going to go back to sleep now, Dean."
"Alright. G'night." Castiel nodded, watching as Dean moved back toward the chair. He was halfway back to the kitchen before Dean's voice stopped him. "Hey, Cas? Thanks again. I meant it." Castiel smiled and nodded.
"Of course, Dean."
One hell of a problem...