When the car makes a sound like a garbage disposal full of gravel, and slowly drifts to a stop on the narrow, dusty road, Castiel rests his head on the steering wheel, and whispers 'fuck' at his knees.
His knees are shocked, because they're good, catholic knees.
He climbs out, lifts the hood and peers into the conglomeration of metal, plastic and rubber, before he remembers that he has no idea how a car works, and couldn't fix one even if he did. He has no tools, no practical skills, and no idea what he's looking at.
Up ahead, about thirty yards away, a sign reads 'Gas 2 Miles'. There are bullet holes in the sign.
He takes off his Armani suit jacket and folds it up, places it on the passenger seat of the rental car, and starts walking.
Two miles and thirty yards later, he arrives at the gas station, sweating, dusty, thirsty and pissed off. The gas station is a two pump place with a little shelter over a tiny, shed sized store, and there's an attendant in a greasy overall, unzipped to his waist, sitting on a lawn chair on the forecourt.
"Hello?" Castiel shields his eyes.
The guy is wearing fake aviator glasses, which reflect the dazzling sun. His bare chest is deeply tanned, and he's got a fifth of something whiskey-coloured balanced on one thigh.
Castiel really wishes he'd never seen 'The Hills have Eyes'. He needs to get Gabriel back for that.
"Hey," The guy tips the chair back down, so all four legs are on the ground, and stands up. "What're you walking around out here for?"
Usually Castiel would snipe about his stupid rental car, but, because he's already had a stressful drive, stressful flight out from New York, and hasn't had a call from Sam in about sixteen hours, he cuts to the chase. "My car broke down."
"Do you know what the problem was?"
The man sighs, lifts his overall back to his shoulders and zips up the front. The name embroidered on the front is 'Zeke'. "Alright, let me bring my truck around and we'll go take a look."
The truck is a redneck special, in that it is red, it has tools and beer cans all over it, and there's a hunting rifle slung between the seats.
Castiel climbs into it cautiously while Zeke finds gas containers and water bottles. It's very dusty, and he's a little worried about his suit. Not that he hasn't ruined it with sweat already. The sun is still beating down as Zeke climbs up into the truck and swings them around, headed back for the car.
He offers Castiel a soda, and Cas takes it gratefully, gulping it down.
"So, what kind of car is it?"
"I don't know...it's a hybrid, I think. I just rented it today."
"And it crapped out on you. Shouldn't trust that airport rental place. They screw you on gas prices for one thing."
"I'll bear that in mind."
"This your first time out here?"
"The suit kinda tipped me off. You look like an undertaker."
Castiel doesn't comment. He doesn't want to be rude, this guy is helping him, after all.
"How much is this going to cost?"
"Oh, the call out? Call it twenty bucks, if I can't fix it, I'll tow you back no charge. See how much the repairs'll cost, and then I'll send the bill to the rental place."
They pull up at the place where Castiel's car breathed it's very last, and Zeke hops down with his tools. With the hood up he rattles around for a while, and Castiel watches from the side of the road.
"Well, it looks like there's a problem with the cooling system."
"There isn't any. Coolant."
Castiel closes his eyes. "That's great."
"No problem, well, it wouldn't have been if you hadn't started driving her. There's quite a bit of damage from the overheating, it's melted..." he looks up and catches Castiel's look of incomprehension, "some important, plastic stuff."
"I can tow you back."
Zeke hitches up the car and they transfer Castiel's bags to the truck. Castiel climbs back into the truck, on the way back Zeke flips the radio on.
"What brings you out here then?"
"I'm uh...visiting some family."
"Oh, that's cool. Unless someone died, did someone, die?"
"No," Castiel smiles a little, "and they're not my family."
"Ahh, girlfriend's parents?" Zeke slips him a sideways glance "boyfriend's parents?"
"It's not a big deal, really. OK, for some people round here it's like this whole century never happened. But I'm cool."
"OK, yes, my boyfriend's family."
"Got your 'meeting the parents' speech ready?"
"Actually his parents have both passed, it's just his brother I'm here to meet."
"Oh, really," Zeke fiddles with the radio again, searching for a station, "he live round here, I probably know him?"
"Probably not. He lives out in the middle of nowhere, in a trailer by a scrap yard? According to Sam, that's my boyfriend, he's kind of...white trash."
"No kidding?" Zeke rubs a hand up over his jaw. "Well, I'm sure you won't have to stay long, tiny trailer's not really the place for house guests."
"I hope not. From what Sam's told me..." Castiel huffs, "it's not going to be a fun weekend."
"Hopefully I can get your car fixed in no time," Zeke pulls up at the station and opens the truck door, "I'll just go get you some paperwork."
"Thanks." Castiel opens his door and slides out.
The door of the little store opens and a tall, broad guy comes out, wearing jeans and a black tee.
"Hey," Zeke waves, "you're late, asshole."
"Funny. Not like you had anything better to do." The guy looks at the truck, sees Castiel. "Who's that?"
"Some New Yorker with a crapped out rental."
"Figures. Want me to do that paperwork?"
The guy turns and goes back to the door, shouting over his shoulder, "Oh, and Dean? Wash those overalls before you put them back. I don't want to be walking around smelling like your sweat."
Castiel feels like he's just been thrown into a cage of tigers.
'Zeke' turns around and waves. "So...how about I give you ride out to my white trash trailer?"
For the second time, Castiel whispers, 'fuck' under his breath.
When Dean climbs into the truck again, Castiel can't look at him, but stares instead at the dashboard in front of him. He is such an idiot. Such a rude, condescending...jesus, he just shouldn't be allowed to talk.
Dean finds a rock station, winds down his window, and keeps his foot on the gas until the little station is a blur behind them.
"Sam's been talking a lot about you," Dean says, "I mean, we don't really talk much, not nowadays anyway, but every Sunday I get a call, and about 90% of that call is 'oh Cas is so smart' 'Cas is such a good lawyer' 'Cas knows everything about estate law and sushi and the situation in the middle east'. He glances sideways at Castiel, "Naturally I've been dying to meet you."
Castiel's neck is on fire with embarrassment. "Mr Winchester, I'm really sorry about before."
Dean snorts. "Dude, I live in a trailer. I work at a gas station and I don't even own my overalls, I have them on a time share basis – this is not the first time someone's called me white trash. It's not even the first time today. I pulled over in the truck this morning and some guy shouted at me from his mailbox. And he had like, four teeth and John Deere cap on." He reaches over and hits Castiel on the knee. "Besides, you're doing my baby brother up the ass, don't see how calling me a name can be any more offensive."
Castiel is fairly certain he's having a combination heart attack, seizure and stroke.
"We haven't...I mean, we're waiting."
Dean gives him a disbelieving look. "Seriously? For what, world peace?"
"For the right time."
"This right here? This is why he was a virgin 'till college," Dean shakes his head, "he told you about Jess, right?"
"His first girlfriend. Yes, he told me about her."
"He tell you that he proposed to her?"
As a matter of fact, he had neglected to mention that. "Yes."
"See, he's an honest guy, Sammy, never wants to let people down. That's why he's the good son."
He swerves onto a thin, rutted road, and carries on down it until they reach the corrugated iron fence of the scrap yard. Beyond the open gate, the road is fenced in with chain link, and along it, five large dogs are running and barking. Castiel winces, he hates dogs.
"They're not as bad as they look," Dean says, "OK, they are, but you're with me, so you get a pass. When'd Sam say he was coming down?"
"Tomorrow, he has a big case load at the moment. He's flying out early, the driving, so he should be in town by three."
"Providing his rental car doesn't explode."
"There is that."
Dean pulls up sharply in front of an aluminium trailer, with a slightly dropping porch and mailbox attached. A washing line is sunk into a concrete block out front, next to two lawn chairs, a folding table and a cooler. The trailer is quite large, though Castiel doesn't know enough about them to say where it's larger than average or simple run of the mill. It's the first trailer he's ever seen (outside of Gabriel's HoneyBooBoo obsession).
They get out and Castiel gets his bags, follows Dean onto the porch and into the too-hot interior of the trailer. There's a little living area with a kitchenette against the back wall, a door that is presumably to the bathroom, and an open door, through which he can see a tangled up bed and several piles of magazines.
He puts his bags down by the couch, which is built in and covered in cigarette burnt 70s fabric.
Dean settles down opposite him and regards him for a long moment.
"I guess you really like him, huh? Or you'd have run a mile already."
"I do like him a lot, yes." Castiel says, and feels himself warm all over, because he likes Sam, who's intelligent and sweet and respectful of his boundaries.
"Good. Big brother talk over, you want a beer?"
Castiel glances at the wall clock, which is shaped like a hula girl, with exaggerated breasts. "It's two in the afternoon."
"I've been drinking since nine," Dean shrugs, "So basically, I'm just offering you a chance to catch up."
"...could I just have a water?"
"Sure," Dean sighs, running off a glass from the tap and putting it down in front of him. "It's not fancy bottled crap."
Dean watches him as he drinks.
"Just FYI Cas...if you ever call me white trash again, kidding aside I will hunt you through this junkyard. And then I'll skin you and turn you into a rug."
Castiel coughs, and water goes down into his lungs.
He has to spend a whole night, alone with this maniac, before Sam shows up tomorrow.
He's really starting to wish he'd brought anything more weapon-like than his manicure set.