Jail did not suit Cas. He wasn't cut out for correctional facilities, and he was really only in a holding cell. It had been a very quiet few days. He had refused to say anything, per Turner's coaching. It was a good strategy he knew, but when Turner had said nothing he had really meant nothing. He was going to go to trial completely clean.
He was not a spiteful person by nature. He didn't hate anyone, and people he couldn't at least tolerate were few and far between. Meg was making a run for the first person he hated. Their break-up hadn't been by any means amicable. She left him at the hardest time of his life.
When they ran into each other at the party last year, a party which his overeager teammates had dragged him to, it had just happened. They had both been drunk, drunk enough to not worry about anything but their immediate pleasure in the heat of the moment. She had mumbled something about the Pill and he had taken her at her word. It had felt like a decidedly worse idea when he had woken up with a pounding head, still wrapped around Meg. He had quietly extracted himself from around her and went home.
He hadn't expected her to turn up at his door with a newborn, effectively turning his life upside down. He wouldn't trade Rebel for the world but he couldn't deny the radical changes his life had undergone. He hadn't gone out for two months. He had been forced to find a job, and always had to make sure someone was around on Thursdays because he never knew when Meg was going to drop him off.
He hadn't expected her to turn on him, and not only injure their son, unimaginable in its own right, but then charge him with the crime. Of all the ways he had imagined his life going wrong this had been nowhere near the list. He knew he would win the case, but it didn't stop the fear from creeping into his bones.
He had talked to Turner, who had said Sam and Dean were already working on arranging bail. He had no idea where they were going to get the money. He had no idea what was going to happen to Rebel. He didn't know if someone had taken Rebel into protective custody or if Sam and Dean still had him. All he could do was hope that Meg didn't come to get him. If she was going to abandon them it would be best if she did it thoroughly and instantly
It felt like it was still too early when he was taken, with about thirty others who had been arrested over the weekend to an overcrowded court room. He caught a glimpse of Sam and Dean squished together on a bench. They gave him a surreptitious thumbs up. He grimaced at them.
Things seemed to move alternately in slow motion and hyper speed. He was made aware of his rights. About fifteen other were processed before he was called forward. He quietly entered his not guilty plea, having to repeat himself twice before the judge heard him. Bail was set at twenty thousand dollars. Cas nearly cried. He closed his eyes, trying to find some peace. He looked over his shoulder at his roommates and they nodded. He had no idea what that mean and resigned himself to spending the weeks until his trial in jail.
He knew with all the class he had missed this semester, plus the class he was going to continue to miss meant he was going to fail most of the semester. It was far too late to withdraw from classes. He would retake some this summer, when things hopefully calmed to a manageable level. He just hoped he wouldn't lose his scholarships because of it. It wasn't even an hour later a guard appeared at the door of the holding cell.
"Castiel Novak?" Ah, they had come to transfer him; that was faster than he had thought.
"Yes?" He stood, smoothing out the nonexistent wrinkles on his pants.
"Your bail has been posted. We need to process you out."
"Alright." Cas knew to just go with it. His belongings were thrust at him and the jeans he had worn in and the gray t-shirt felt good against his skin. He could still really use a shower, but that could wait. He needed to know who his savior was.
Sam and Dean were waiting for him in the lobby. They were standing side by side grinning. He went over to them, knowing they had somehow made it happen.
"Hey. How'd you guys manage? I was just getting settled in for a very long wait."
"Bail bond. We only had to come up with two thousand, which all things considered wasn't as hard as you'd think. We'd still appreciate it if you showed up for trial," Dean explained. Sam shrugged.
"Henricksen called back this morning. He's taking your case," Sam added.
"Good. What about Rebel?"
"We're so sorry, Cas," Dean began. "Meg showed up, and we didn't have a choice. Our hands were tied."
"He's with her." Cas' voice sounded dead.
"We tried to keep him. Sam put up quite the fight."
"Like you said, you didn't have a choice. She is his mother. How are you Dean?"
"Not bad. The funeral is Thursday." Dean bit his lip.
"Can we go home? I need a shower, if nothing else."
"Yeah, Cas. Let's go home." Sam said.
They piled into the Impala. The apartment felt empty, even with the early afternoon sun streaming in. Cas went to shower, desperate to get the feel of jail off of him. When he emerged twenty minutes later he found Sam and Dean hedging around each other, wandering aimlessly to the kitchen and back. They all needed company and none of them knew how to say it. The air was thick.
"Hey Dean, think you could make that bacon frittata you tried a few weeks ago? I'll pop open a can of biscuits. I feel like I haven't eaten in days," Cas suggested. Food was always the best way for them to bridge a gap. It brought them together.
"Yeah. That sounds like a good idea. Food is good." Dean straightened up and moved towards the kitchen with a purpose.
He began pulling out ingredients, setting the bacon to fry. He tossed a bunch of herbs at Sam to chop. Cas opened the tube of biscuits with the usual pop. He jumped back into Dean. Sam's hands slipped and he narrowly avoided losing a fingertip. They looked at each other. Cas cracked first, realizing how ridiculous it was. Soon he was doubled over in laughter, using the counter to hold himself up. Sam and Dean followed shortly after. The tension returned as they regained control of themselves, but it felt like there was less. The frittata and biscuits went into the oven and they sat around the table.
"Anyone else want some coffee?" Cas asked.
"Yeah. I'll make it though." Sam said.
"Right." Cas leaned back, putting his feet on the table.
"Dude," Dean said.
"Feet. Off the table. We eat there."
Sam felt himself blush, suddenly very glad Dean didn't know what had happened on the particular chair he was sitting on. Sam turned on the coffee maker and sat back down.
"I still have some of the good weed if we just want to kick back for the afternoon."
Sam hadn't expected them to agree, so quickly or so readily. Maybe things were tenser than he had imagined. The timer went off then, and he didn't think too much of it as they devoured the frittata in all its cheesy, bacony glory. As Cas and Dean washed the dishes he disappeared to his room, and rummaged around in his stash. He rolled a joint in the thin cigarette paper. He glanced at the remaining pot and rolled a second one, figuring he'd smoke it late, if the first one proved enough for the other two. He scooped up his lighter and wandered back to the kitchen.
He put away the dishes Cas had dried. No one was really saying anything, which wasn't unusual in itself, but Sam couldn't help but feel like the silence wasn't due to a lack of things to say. It was more that too much had happened and they didn't know where to start. He suddenly wished he had something stronger than weed. He wondered if he had saved the bag of heroin Dean found when they moved in. He thought he could remember throwing it away, but he wasn't sure. There was sure to be something in his stash. He finished putting away the dishes as Dean rinsed out the sink. They settled around the table. Sam held up one of the joints.
"Should we make a toast?"
"I thought we were supposed to use alcohol for that?" Cas said.
Sam shrugged. "Going with what we got. Dean, do the honors?" He passed the lighter and joint to Dean.
"For Dad," he said as he lit the joint and took a hit. He passed it to Cas.
"To kicking Meg's ass," he said, inhaling. "And Rebel," he added hastily, passing the joint.
"To the past," Sam said after a moment of hesitation.
The tension that had been in the air since Cas had gotten home eased. Sam was contently mellow. They began talking about next week's grocery list. The air felt almost cloying now, and Sam wasn't sure if he liked the false calm the weed was providing any more than the tension before.
He laughed along when Dean and Cas got into an argument about leafy greens. He even started to get into ita little bit. He lit the second blunt hoping his relative clear-headedness was just a high tolerance. He took a long drag, inhaling deep, before passing it along.
It wasn't long before they found themselves piled onto the couch, elbows digging into ribs, knees knocking, generally ignoring the fact that three grown men simply couldn't fit on their tiny couch, and laughing at daytime TV. Sam would be lying if he said it wasn't one of more pleasant afternoons he'd had in a while, even if he couldn't quite get into the high the way he wanted to.
As their highs wore off they trickled into their separate room, sandwiches and sodas in hand to decompress in peace. Sam ate and chain smoked half a pack, stopping only because he was genuinely starting to worry he was going to set off the smoke alarm. He was going to have to let his thought catch him.
Sam didn't dwell on his family. His parents were dead and he didn't have any biological siblings, but he had had Amelia. When his parents had died he had been more or less estranged from them for two years, and it was a nonevent.
Amelia, though, had occupied a good chunk of his world. She had been there for him, through everything. He knew, even though he hated to admit it, her heart had been in the right place when she'd told him about Kaylee. He wanted to tell himself they had just drifted away with time, but even he could only taking lying to himself so far. She had made a choice. She had told him exactly what she could handle. He lit another cigarette.
They had just buried his parents. The past week was the most time in two years they had spent together. Amelia had said that he could walk away from the drugs, they could never mention it again and everything could go back to how it was supposed to be when they were sixteen. His words still burned his tongue.
He had walked away from her, and six weeks later she was on a plane to somewhere in Europe. He hadn't gotten so much as a postcard, but she also apparently hadn't been able to stomach the thought of being on the same continent. He had registered for classes the next semester, determined to prove the choices he made wouldn't destroy his life, or at least how his life was supposed to be.
The switch to creative writing would be good for him. He lived his life seeking the approval of others. That's what Amelia had always said. It had only been recently that he realized no one he was living life for was around anymore. She would be proud. He was taking initiative.
He had also started to realize the effects of Amelia's ultimatum. Some of them had been readily apparent. He hadn't touched anything harder than pot or Ritalin until after he walked away. He figured if he was going to choose drugs, he may as well do so thoroughly. He knew his limits, more or less. His Ritalin overdose when he was sixteen had taught him that because seriously- who overdoses on Ritalin? He had gotten with Ruby, mostly because he knew how strongly Amelia would disapprove if she knew, and she had brought him into the harder stuff.
He had developed quite the taste for heroin, though he toed the line of addiction very closely. He never had the nightmare withdrawal symptoms made famous by D.A.R.E. programs around the country. He had spent a lot of time trying to forget thathe wished he could talk to Amelia. Kaylee had quickly become a thing of the past. Some things had been forced into perspective.
His phone rang and he bit his lip when he saw who it was.
"Hey, bucko. You sound shot."
"Just been a rough few days. Made me realize some stuff. How're you?"
"Work took forever, but if tomorrow goes like today I should be able to fly back Wednesday."
"The funeral is Thursday morning."
"I should be there."
"Hey, listen about the other night."
"Yeah, it was great wasn't it? By the way, have you told Cassie yet?"
"No, Gabe. Things have been crazy. Dean's dad is dead. Cas just back from jail like four hours ago."
"He was in jail?"
"My God, do you two ever talk?"
"It's not like we live together! What happened?"
"He'll tell you if he wants you to know." Sam knew he was probably being unfair. He just didn't want to talk to Gabe, and honestly if Castiel hadn't mentioned what was going on he probably didn't want his brother to know.
"Well, aren't you just helpful?"
"I need to go. Call your brother."
Sam felt like screaming. His high was gone. Gabriel was possibly the densest person he had ever met. The whole thing was getting more and more uncomfortable. Thursday was going to be hard enough, wrangling the funeral arrangement into going smoothly without Gabriel there to pester him.
Sam rummaged around in the drawer, getting his hand around a bag. Coke. He tried not to groan. It wasn't his favorite by any stretch of the imagination. He didn't like anything that left you wanting more before you had even come all the way down, but it would have to do for tonight. He laid out his line, and tried not to grimace as they went up. He coughed a few time and laid back. His last coherent thought was wondering if Dean had started writing his father's obituary yet.
Cas dragged himself out of bed the next morning, feeling stiff limbed and fuzzy brained. He thought he still might be a little high. He padded aimlessly around the kitchen, pulling out various supplies for breakfast only to putthem back. He was staring at the coffee maker from across the room when Dean came in.
"You ok there, Cas?"
"I think I'm still a little high. I can't seem to remember how to make coffee."
"Alright buddy, take a seat." Dean tried not to laugh. Cas looked so comically wide-eyed and confused Dean was almost inclined to call it adorable. Cas did sit down, and in a chair. Dean felt a weird surge of pride at that. A few minutes later Dean put a steaming cup of coffee in front of his friend.
"Drink up. It'll help."
"Thank you, Dean." Cas took a long sip.
"You didn't want milk or anything today did you?" Cas' coffee preferences had the tendency to change from day to day.
"I think black is probably a good choice for today."
"I do feel better though."
"Coffee has that effect."
"Yes. What are your plans for today?"
"I have to write Dad's eulogy. And I don't know. I might just go to class."
"I really should. It's not like I'm going to pay attention."
"Then don't go. You have other stuff to deal with."
"I should probably call Henricksen."
"Sam said he didn't sound too thrilled about Meg when he told him what was going on."
"I don't think anyone is thrilled with Meg."
"That is a fair point," Dean conceded. They drank their coffee in silence for a bit.
"Think for the next few days we can pretend our lives aren't imploding around us?"
"Thanks. You want breakfast?"
"I should go make some calls."
Cas stood, and when he shut the door of his room it took most of his energy not to lose it. The navy bedspread was tossed to the floor and the rest of the blankets were spread haphazardly around the bed. Cas wondered if anyone would notice if he laid down and didn't get up until the trial. He suppose he would eventually have to eat. He couldn't run away from this. He dug up the phone number he needed.
"Yes. This is Castiel Novak. I believe you've been speaking to my friend, Sam Campbell."
There was a rustling of papers. "You're the kid with the abuse charges?"
"Well, Mr. Novak you have a pretty solid alibi- there's no way you aren't getting off. I assume you're looking for something more
"I want full custody of my son. I wouldn't mind putting Meg in jail either, but that's secondary."
"Yes, Sam gave me the basics of the story, but if there's anything you can elaborate on?"
"I believe Meg is doing drugs around him. I thinkshe's hitting him or letting others hit him. She certainly isn't taking care of him like she should."
"Those are some pretty serious accusations."
"When she drops my son off bruised and covered in his own filth and then accuses me of abusing him I start to throw around some serious accusations." There was an edge to Castiel's voice that sent a shiver up Henricksen's spine.
"I'll do everything I can to see that justice is appropriately served."
"Not a problem, Mr. Novak."
Cas knew there wasn't a lot more he could do at this particular moment, at least regarding his legal difficulties but he couldn't bring himself to do much else besides worry.
He puttered around the apartment for the next few days. He knew he should go to class, try to salvage at least part of the semester. He was worried about Rebel, he was worried about himself. When he appeared for food, he would catch Sam or Dean shooting him worried looks. He tried to smile, but it didn't seem to work.
He had spoken to Turner, but there wasn't much to say at this point. Child Protective Services had been by Meg's and it found the apartment suitable. He had heard the cringe in Turner's voice when he described the pictures of the bruises that had been sent to him. They weren't ones that had been there when they sent Rebel back to Meg.
The night before the funeral Sam and Dean had tried to make him go to the Roadhouse with them to burn off some steam. Cas had just given them a dirty look.
The day of the funeral dawned bright. There was a chill in the air. They picked through breakfast. Cas did the dishes as Dean and Sam got ready. Dean kept running back to make sure he had the eulogy.
"You sure you're gonna be there Cas?" Sam asked.
"Provided Meg drops Rebel off on time I will be there."
"Alright. It's just-"
"It's going to be a hard day for everyone and Dean's gonna need as much moral support as he can get."
"Yeah, that." Sam pressed his lips together into a narrow line. He didn't mention Cas needed to be there so he could avoid Gabriel.
"It's going to be alright, Sam. Dean needs to be there, so try to get him out the door."
"He has everything. He's just nervous."
Sam pushed his chair back.
"Dean," he said when he got to his door.
"We have to go. We're gonna be late."
"Sam, I can't do this."
"Then why do I have to? Haven't we been through enough?"
"It's life. You aren't alone, Dean."
"Cas gonna be there?"
"Assuming Meg drops Rebel off in time."
"Right. Let's go."
Sam had been expecting more of a fight if he was being honest. He supposed Dean just needed a nudge. He knew Anna wasn't taking it very well, and Balthazar didn't seem to be handling it atall. Dean had talked to them a few times, but it wasn't for very long and Anna was mad she couldn't be with Dean. He had directly mentioned that he didn't really want to see Henry.
They climbed into the Impala. Sam considered insisting on driving, but as soon as the engine revved Dean's hands stopped shaking. When they pulled up, the church parking lot was mostly empty.
"We have to go in," Sam said after a few minutes.
"Give me a minute."
Soon Dean straightened up, and opened the door. He strode into the church, Sam at his heels. He stopped mid-aisle. There was a man, not much older than them, sitting with his head bowed in the front pew.
"Henry." Dean's voice was uncharacteristically sharp.
"Dean!" Henry stood, and walked over, obviously going for a hug. Dean abruptly stuck his hand out, nearly jabbing Henry in the stomach. Henry pulled back and took Dean's hand. It was perfunctory.
"How have you been?" Sam couldn't help but think Henry was overselling the eagerness a bit between not having seen Dean in four years and being at his father's funeral.
"I'm alright, all things considered. You?"
"Pretty good. I graduate in a few months."
"Good for you." Dean's demeanor was flat out icy and Sam found himself fidgeting, looking around for anyone to relieve him the situation.
The coffin was already situated at the front of the church. The pastor was nowhere to be found.
"How are you, Henry?" Sam asked.
"And you are?"
"This is Sam. He's my roommate."
"Nice to meet you." Henry nodded.
"I already asked him how he was, Sam."
"Right, the kids. How are they?" Henry sounded genuinely interested. Sam realized that Henry, despite everything he had been told about him, did care about his siblings.
"Anna's become quite the talker. Balthazar's more reserved. Which you'd know, had you bothered to stay."
"That's, that's amazing."
"They're great kids. They're growing so well. Their foster parents- Leah and Steve - couldn't be better. They love them both so much and are a hundred percent behind me fighting for custody. Hell, they've testified in favor of it."
"So I was right."
"No, you weren't. I still don't forgive you for calling.You should've just left."
"I didn't call."
"I know it was you. There was no one else that could have."
"I did it for them, Dean."
"You took them away from me, Henry!"
"I took them away from Dad."
"Dad had nothing to do with them! I was the one taking care of them."
"I'm just gonna step outside," Sam said. The brothers continued to stare at each other.
"Exactly, Dean! You were sixteen. You shouldn't have been taking care of them."
"And what, you turn eighteen and magically make good decisions? Because let me tell you, I've been an adult since I was sixteen and I know a number or a piece of paper doesn't grant you the ability to make adult decisions!"
Sam inched towards the door. It swung open and the air felt good against his face. They couldn't have been inside more than ten minutes and Sam could hazard a guess at this turning into a nasty family scene. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. He hoped Meg pulled through for Cas.
He got lucky. As he was snuffing the cigarette out when Cas pulled up. Sam grinned at the familiar car. Cas pulled the baby out of the car and Sam laughed when he saw the little suit Cas had put Rebel in.
"Hey. Where's Dean?"
"He's in there, fighting with Henry."
Rebel shoutedand reached for Sam. Cas handed the baby over and he laughed and pulled Sam's hair. Sam made a face.
"So it's nasty?" Cas asked.
"There's a lot there. It's, well, there's two sides to every story."
"I figured. It's still a funeral right? They aren't going to start throwing punches over their dad's coffin?"
"I think I'm learning there's not a lot you can predict with the Winchesters."
"Should we go in?"
"Yeah. Better go break it up."
Dean and Henry were sitting on opposite ends of the church, pointedly not looking at each other. Castiel figured it could be worse. Dean nodded to Cas as they settled in beside him.
"And it's ok for you to have him?"
"Probably not, but it's not like I have a choice."
"I'm assuming that's Henry."
"You would be correct."
They sat in silence. Soon the church doors opened and Balthazar and Anna filed in, followed by Leah and Steve. The kids got there first. Anna climbed into Dean's lap, hugging his neck tightly. To Castiel's surprise Balthazar did the same. Leah approached more slowly.
"Hi, Dean. I'm so sorry for your loss," Leah said when he finally reached them.
"It is what it is. I'm gonna miss him."
"If there's anything we can do…"
"No, just thanks for being here."
"Not a problem."
"We'll find a seat. Are they ok?" Steve said.
"They're fine. Leave them."
"A few minutes later other people began to file in. There was Michelle from the police station, Bobby, Ellen with a girl Dean didn't recognize, friends, he assumed of his father who were clad in work boots and plaid. It wasn't more than fifteen people but it was still more than he had imagined.
The pastor came out, and said his thing- about death as a blessing and being at peace and read a few passages Sam had picked out. Dean realized he was being called up. He carefully placed Anna on the bench.
"I'll be right back, Anna," he whispered.
Dean took a deep breath on his way up. He steadied himself on the pulpit and tried to make sure his voice would hold before he began speaking.
"I'm not here to sing my father's praises. If I were going to do that I would have already sat down. My father abandoned us for the bottle- most of you know I took care of him and my siblings. Nothing I did was ever good enough.
"When I was a kid, my dad was great. He was my hero. That never went away, I always looked up to him. He served in Vietnam. He ran his family's garage for nearly ten years. He took amazing care of my brother Henry and me when we were little. In the last days of his life it seemed like he was ready to make a change. I don't know if it would've lasted, but I like to think it would. I like to think that Anna and Balthazar would have gotten to know the John Winchester that I grew up with.
"My point is my father didn't lead a particularly spectacular life. He did his time in the military, he got married to the love of his life, had some kids, and fell to pieces when she left him. It's not perfect, but I loved him for what he was and I will miss him greatly. My siblings will know who their father was and I have learned from his mistakes. So rest in peace, Dad, you've earned it."
Dean stepped down. He returned to the pew and allowed Anna to crawl back into his lap. The pastor was saying something else, but Dean allowed the tears to run down his face into Anna's hair. He told himself the blonde woman he saw slip out of the church when he finished speaking had been a figment of his imagination.
A/N: So my big inspiration for this chapter was that some of you threatened to mutiny if I didn't finish it soon. I hope you enjoyed it, and John's funeral will finish up next chapter. Let me know what you thought!