“I’m still not quite sure how this is supposed to work,” Sam whispered to Dean as they headed into the conference room.
“We’re just going to keep an eye on the guy. Blend in. Pretend we’re….whatever they are,” he replied, waving a hand at the men in business suits sitting in rows.
“No, not that,” Sam replied. “ I mean, how are we supposed to get the club off of this god? Especially when one hit with that club can kill us?”
Dean glanced at him as he moved into the the back row of chairs. “I don’t know, Sammy. We’ll just wing it like we do everything else.” He scanned the crowed, then nodded at someone just across the aisle, a little forward. “There he is. What time is it?”
“Right, so we just have to listen to… ‘Keynote speaker Josh Haverford’s Presentation on Marketing in Today’s Economy’. Awesome,” Dean said sarcastically. People were still milling around, but it seemed like the presentation would be starting soon. Sam tried to fill the silence with conversation.
“How’s Cas doing?” he asked.
“You’ve been with him as much as I have,” Dean replied a little too quickly.
Sam nodded. “I know, it’s just that you bandaged him up. How bad was it?”
“Bad enough to hurt him for a while. Not bad enough for medical attention,” Dean stated flatly.
“You wouldn’t know it by the way he keeps insisting that he can help,” commented Sam, keeping an eye on their target.
“Cas is tough. A little injury won’t slow him down too much.” Dean drummed his fingers on his knee. “Good call in forcing him to stay in the room, though. I didn’t think he’d go for it.”
Sam scoffed, “It was two to one, and he’s injured. He didn’t have much choice.”
“Yeah. Dude needs his rest.”
Suddenly, the room quieted down and the apparent leader of the conference stepped up to the podium. “Welcome everybody to today’s seminar. If you’d all give your full attention to Mr. Josh Haverford, our keynote speaker,” he introduced gesturing towards the side of the little stage and inviting a tall, thin man with shoulder length dark hair up on stage.
There was a polite round of applause as Haverford took the microphone with a broad smile. “Thank you, thank you.”
Sam elbowed Dean in the side. “Dean,” he said, nodding towards Jerry, the man who had seen the dog the day before. The sweat was rolling off his face in sheets, and he was arguing with the man beside him, the same one as at breakfast, in low tones. “He look freaked out to you?”
“You know what? He certainly does,” Dean said slowly. Jerry jabbed a thumb towards the stage where Mr. Haverford stood giving his presentation. He held a wooden pointer in his hand, and when he raised it to highlight something on his powerpoint slide, Jerry visibly flinched. “You don’t think that’s…?”
“Dagda?” Sam finished. “Could be. Maybe since Jerry’s seen the dog, he’s the only one who can see him for what he really is - whatever that might be. He can probably see the club too.”
“That’d be enough to make anyone sweat,” Dean muttered. He looked over as Jerry glanced backwards towards the door. It was obvious that he was deciding whether or not to bolt, but at a sharp punch in the arm from his companion, Jerry seemed to decide against it. He simply buried his head in his hands and looked miserable. No one around him seemed to notice or care. Oblivious. “And the time?”
“Fifteen minutes to noon,” Sam said. “Guess we’ll just have to wait it out; see what happens.”
Time ticked down for Jerry. The presentation would have been boring by itself, but with the adrenaline pumping through Dean’s veins, it was downright insufferable. His fingers drummed faster and faster.
“Two minutes,” Sam updated him.
And that was when it started. Haverford glanced down at his watch, then back up at the crowd. “What do you say we take a ten minute break?” he proposed. “There are refreshments in the back.”
With relief, people started to get out of their seats, heading for the food. Normally, Dean would have been right behind them, but he was on the job, and his job was currently running towards the bathrooms at a pace which seemed physically impossible for the guy. Haverford was still on the stage, but his eyes were glued to Jerry as he ran. Twirling the wooden pointer in his fingers, Haverford stepped smoothly off of the stage, striding towards the bathrooms.
“Let’s go,” Sam said. Dean didn’t need to be told twice. They jogged after them.
Dean burst through the doors of the men’s room just as Jerry slumped down against the far wall. “No, no, please…” he begged, raising his hands in a feeble attempt to stop what was now a visibly large club from coming down on this skull. Jerry passed out from the stress, his head going limp. Haverford readied himself for the blow and raised his arm.
“Hey! Dagda!” Dean called loudly, his voice reverberating off of the tile walls. Dagda turned, a sort of fury in his dark eyes. “Since I didn’t see the dog, that means you’re not going to kill me, right?”
With a snarl, Dagda lunged at Dean, club ready and waving. Dean sidestepped, throwing his fist out and catching Dagda in the gut. He doubled over and Sam made to grab his club hand, when suddenly he spun, twisting away from Dean, but bringing the club down to hit him squarely in the chest. With a sickening crunch, he was launched backwards into the wall beside the doorway, and the world went black.
Castiel appeared in the doorway just as Dean fell to the floor. “Dean!” he cried, voice rough. Without thinking, Cas foolishly rushed to Dean’s side, checking his pulse. No. No no no no no no. NO. He touched Dean’s face more out of reflex than anything else, wishing he still had his angelic powers to heal his friend.
“Ah!” came the cry that made Cas look up and realize that he and Dean weren’t alone in a bubble of grief and pain; Sam was fighting Dagda, and he was winning. He swept his knife up in an arc and cut Dagda’s hand off cleanly at the wrist. The club clattered to the floor, rolling a bit in Cas’s direction.
There was a pregnant pause as everyone looked at it. Dagda made to lunge, but Sam intercepted him, wrapping two long arms around his abdomen and driving him hard against a bathroom stall. “Cas!” he managed through gritted teeth. “The club! Kill him!”
Cas wrapped his hand around the club and remembered what Sam had said before, One end of the club is supposed to kill nine men, while the other end can bring them back to life. Dean. Cas looked at Dean’s limp body and couldn’t resist. He hurried back over to him, touching the knot of wood on the handle to Dean’s chest. With a shuddering gasp, Dean opened his bright green eyes and something in Cas fell away. Dean was alive. He was okay. “Wha-“ Dean began.
“Cas!” Sam cried. “The clu- ARGH!” he yelled out in pain as Dagda kicked his shin so hard that it shattered. Sam collapsed to the floor, no longer able to support his own weight. Dagda readied another kick, this one aimed right at Sam’s head, but Cas got there first. He swung with all his might, ignoring the searing pain in his side as the muscle around his wound twisted. The club caught Dagda in the head, and he was dead before he even hit the ground.
Cas stood over his broken body, holding the club limply in his hand.
Sam gasped in pain, “Took your time there, Cas,” he muttered.
“Sam?” Dean asked, scrambling up. “We gotta get you to a hospital,” he said. The look in Dean’s eyes as he crouched over his injured brother was one of such tenderness that it was nearly out of place on his face. There was such open love in his gaze, love and concern, and Cas wondered if Dean was capable of feeling that way for anyone but his brother. Was that level of such deep, raw, emotion unattainable by someone who wasn’t blood?
Throwing a nervous glance over his shoulder, Dean added, “Someone probably heard something. We need to get out of here.”
Cas put a hand on Dean’s arm. “Take Sam and go. I’ll come up with a story, then get us checked out. I’ll meet up with you.”
Dean hesitated. “Are you sure, Cas? How are you going to explain… this?” he asked, waving a hand at the carnage and destruction.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Get Sam help.” After all, it’s my fault he needs it. If only he had killed Dagda and then resurrected Dean…Cas forced himself to focus. “Go.”
With a nod, Dean scooped Sam up in his strong arms, carrying him towards the doorway. He paused, looking back. “Thanks for saving my ass, Cas. Guess we were wrong to count you out.”
Cas simply nodded once and watched as Dean disappeared around the corner. He glanced around. He’d have to do some quick thinking to explain this one.