“I’m telling you,” Sam insisted, “there’s something here.” He had both hands flat on the table, a map between them. His face was illuminated by the bluish glow of the computer screen, displaying an article about three recent deaths in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The bunker was quiet except for the two brothers’ increasingly loud voices.
“Three deaths in one town doesn’t mean it’s our kinda thing, Sam,” Dean shot back, crossing his arms. “Could be some psycho, could be accidents. There’s nothing there that proves it’s-“
“Look, this one report says that this guy’s wife told police that he was freaked out the whole night before he died. Said he saw some kind of black dog and thought it was a death omen,” Sam interrupted, bringing up another page on the screen. “Black dog. Sounds like our thing.”
Dean ran a hand over his tired face. “Okay, sure there’s some lore about black dogs, but that one report doesn’t mean a thing. He might have just seen a stray, or goddamn Sirius Black, who knows?”
Pushing the front two legs of his chair off the floor and leaning back, Sam sighed. “Come on, Dean. What’ll it hurt to take a drive? We’ve been here for two weeks with no leads. If it’s nothing, it’s nothing. We’ll just come back and wait for something else to pop up.”
Dean knew he wasn’t going to win this argument. Sam could be pretty stubborn when he wanted to, and it looked like this was one of those times. He had to admit, though, that he was going a little stir crazy. “Alright, fine. Can it wait until morning at least?”
“Yeah, sure,” Sam said. He shuffled his papers into a pile and snapped his laptop shut. “Hey, have you heard from Cas in a while?”
Dean looked over casually. “No. Have you?”
“Nah, you know he always contacts you,” Sam said, turning towards the door. “Just wondered what he was up to, you know? Now that he doesn’t have his grace.”
Shrugging, Dean simply said, “No idea.”
“Huh. Well, goodnight.”
As Sam padded away down the hall, Dean slumped into his favorite leather chair and poured himself a glass of whiskey from the bottle on the end table. He tried to act casual, but he couldn’t deny that he was slightly hurt by the fact that Cas hadn’t called in a while. Would it kill him to give an update on where he was, what he was up to? After al, he was human now. He had no angelic powers to fall back on if he got into a scrape.
Dean mentally berated himself for worrying. Cas was a big boy. He could take care of himself. And if he didn’t want to call, then that was fine. Cas had no obligation to Dean. Nope, Dean didn’t mind one bit. He raised the glass to his lips and took a healthy swallow of liquor. Not one bit.
Don’t know what I’m gonna do ‘bout this feelin’ inside. Yes it’s true, loneliness took me for a ride, yeah. Without your love, I’m nothin’ but a beggar. Without your love, a dog without a bone. What can I do, I’m sleeping in this bed alone. Babe, you’re my-
In one abrupt motion, Dean flipped the station and sent Def Leppard blaring through the Impala. Idly, he turned it up a bit. Sam glanced his way. “Dean, what are you doing? You love Aerosmith.”
“Yeah, not feeling it today,” Dean replied, drumming his fingers to the beat of the song. “How far off are we?”
“‘Bout another hour or so.” Sam waited a beat before saying, “Hey, Dean-“ Dean knew that tone. It was the I’m-about-to-start-a-serious-conversation tone. “-do you think maybe we should be trying a little harder to get the angels back in heaven? I mean, they could do a lot of damage here on earth.”
Dean kept his eyes glued on the road. “You heard what Crowley said. The spell’s irreversible.”
“I know, but-“
“Sam, we’ve done enough for those winged dicks. It’s not our job. Our job is to hunt demons and keep people safe. Other than the few psychos, the angels aren’t hurting anybody, and as long as it stays that way, I don’t care if they’re here or there.”
Dean could see Sam’s frown out of the corner of his eye, but whatever his response was got cut off by the ringing of his Dean’s cell phone. “Smoke On the Water” got louder as Dean took one hand off the wheel and dug his phone out of his back pocket. He flipped it open without looking at the caller. “Hello?”
“Dean,” a breathless voice said on the other end.
“Cas?” Dean asked, blinking. “Cas, you okay?”
“For the moment. I’m sorry to ask this, but… I need your help,” he said. Dean could hear the suppressed panic in his voice, like someone just barely off the peak of an adrenaline high. There was a rustle of the phone against Cas’s ear before he continued, “Some of the angels have found me, and they’re not on my side.”
Dean didn’t need any more. “Where are you?”
“A town called Wallace, West Virginia,” Cas replied.
Moving the phone to his neck for a moment, Dean whispered to Sam urgently, “Wallace, West Virginia. How far?”
As Sam typed it into the navigational system, he asked, “What’s going on?”
“How far?” Dean demanded, trying to force down whatever was tightening up his throat.
“About two and a half hours.”
Glancing at the map on the screen, Dean palmed the steering wheel and did a tight U-turn so that they were now heading the right direction. He raised the phone to his ear again. “Couple hours, Cas. Can you hold on that long?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine. You can find me at a place called Jeremiah’s Junk Shop,” he said.
“We’ll be there soon,” Dean promised. “Stay safe.”
Cas replied in his usual monotone, “I will. And Dean, thank you.”
“Don’t mention it,” he said, flipping the phone shut and ending the call. Tersely, Dean explained to Sam, “Angels are after Cas. We gotta go save his ass.”
“How’d they find him?” Sam asked, his eyebrows knitting together.
“No idea,” Dean said in a tone that closed the conversation. He didn’t want to talk right now; all he wanted to do was drive. Just drive as fast as he could. There was a writhing pit in Dean’s stomach - a knot of worry which he tried to pass off as being normal, but not with much success.
Dean had been hunting long enough to know himself, and this was the kind of worry that he felt whenever Sam was in danger: gut wrenching, terror and fear that something is going to go wrong and they won’t both make it out of whatever situation alive. This wasn’t the same tension that he felt when confronting, say, a ghoul.
Cas was Dean’s best friend, beside his brother. it was completely normal to be worrying this much, to be concerned about him. Cas was family. And Dean would be damned if he let anything happen to him. Pressing down harder on the pedal, Dean urged the Impala to go faster.