Are We There Yet?
"Everyone ready?" Shimizu looked into the back of the armoured truck, a space meant to carry soldiers that was now filled with Meg, Winchesters, Singers, and Tulls. The cab could carry the driver and four others (if they wanted to be three in the backseat), so Jet offered to sit with the adults and let the Winchester boys ride up front.
"We're good," John nodded, "My kids doing okay up there?"
"No one's making out, sir." Captain Uziki smiled at the way John almost pouted.
"I'm also over here, dad." Castiel informed him casually, standing at Shimizu's side. He'd wanted to see everyone together before taking his designated 'shotgun' position. Standing was iffy and he felt he'd fall over, since Dean was already in the car with Sam (definitely to avoid his dad's stare), Jet helped him keep upright.
"Why don't you just sit down?" Jet asked after a particularly skeptical wobble in Cas' legs.
"I just wanna say something really quick," Cas leaned against the back of the truck and looked inside at the others, "Thank you everyone, I'm sorry I've dragged you all along on this. Please, if you have somewhere you'd rather be we can find a way to get you there. Being close to me is a very dangerous decision and I would completely understand if you wanted to go."
He watched the expressions of his parents go from concerned to welcoming, he knew there was no way he'd get them to a 'safe' place. Bobby and Karen exchanged a look and each shook their heads, "We're staying, boy." Bobby said next, his smile nearly mimicking John's.
"We can't leave you to try and fend for yourself after all this," Karen assured him, "We're with you, sweetheart."
Cas wasn't sure if he was happy to hear it or worried, but he returned their smiles gladly, "Thank you."
"You know I'm staying," Jet elbowed him gently, very gently.
"Which means I am, too." Nikki added adamantly.
"Mom, maybe you should-"
"Shut up, I'm coming with."
Mary laughed, "Atta girl."
"Alright, you folks sit tight and we'll be there in no time." Shimizu looked at Jet and nodded toward the back, "Get in, I'll take him from here."
"Thanks," Jet gave a quick nod of his head to the captain before looking at Cas again, "Stop questioning yourself, man. We're all with you."
"I know, thank you." Castiel smiled as he watched Jet hop into the back and Shimizu close it up. As the possibly now ex-soldier assisted Cas in walking around to the passenger side he couldn't help but ask, "Do they know what you're doing?"
"At the moment? No, not yet." Shimizu placed him in his seat and shut the door.
The ride wasn't that long and Cas felt like sleeping through most of it. He heard Sam poking fun at Dean for the way their dad reacted but nothing mean spirited.
"He wasn't that mad," Dean retorted and smacked Sam playfully, "I don't know what he was but we'd know if he was mad."
"That's because Cas was so happy, otherwise I think dad would've flipped his shit."
"Is that because of the brother thing or the homosexual thing?" Shimizu asked and glanced at the rear view mirror with squinted eyes, it was oddly bright outside for a cloudy day.
"Uhm… hard to say?" Dean was using that 'unsure' tone, Cas was certain if he looked into the back he would've seen Dean shrugging. "No one's said anything about possibly not being straight to him."
"I think it's more a surprise, than anything else." Cas replied calmly, "We're not related by blood though I'm still his brother, so it's a bit complicated but I think it's something dad can get over. Besides," he turned to look Dean's way, "I told mom a long time ago that I might not be into girls, I'm sure she's eased him into the idea for a while now."
"Pretty sure she didn't expect it to be Dean," Sam added and Dean smacked him again. "Ow! Quit hitting me, jerk!"
"No, bitch." Dean responded with another slap, this time earning himself about three in retaliation. "Ow!"
"How old are you two?" Shimizu looked at them again, his brow crinkled in mild frustration. "Stop that."
"Sorry," Dean was the first to sullenly comply, though Sam got at least one more good shot in. "I'm gonna-"
"Sorry," they both said it that time, and both actually stopped. Cas was vaguely impressed.
"So…" Sam started up again a few minutes later, "Are you guys dating now?"
Cas smiled and turned to look at Sam, "Do you think we should?"
"Yeah," Sam didn't hesitate and it made him smile hard enough to tire out his facial muscles. "I mean Dean's liked you forever already, so it's about time."
"I'd like that," Castiel shifted his gaze to Dean whose face was red and so shy, but he nodded. An unspoken agreement then, they'd be boyfriends as soon as the world righted itself. Just a little incentive, Cas decided.
"What about you?" Dean grinned and poked Sam harshly in the side.
"What do you mean? I'm not gonna date Cas." Sam frowned and shoved Dean's hand away though it didn't deter his brother from continuing the poking onslaught. So much for the captain's 'enough' order.
"You know what I mean; you've liked him as long as I've liked Cas, maybe longer."
"Don't know what you're talking about."
"Dean, ease up." Cas said apologetically for Sam's sake, "He'll tell Jet when he's ready, don't push."
"I'm only twelve, having a crush on a 16-year-old is impossible." Sam grumped at them, "Besides, I don't like him like that anymore."
"Alright," Dean lifted his hands in mock surrender, "I'll let him know his favourite person doesn't like him anymore."
"No, nonono don't tell him! Don't say anything! And I know he didn't say I'm his favourite person, don't be stupid, Dean."
Cas rolled his eyes and looked forward again. The road was vacant and he wondered what kind of evacuation must have happened since Hell broke loose. What did the highway look like at that time? How many people were panicked? How many made it?
He tried to stop thinking about it. He just let the sounds of their drive lull him, Dean and Sam talking behind him and the sound of the engine making him think it might be a normal day. Cas closed his eyes and could let himself see it. His mom was driving them over to Jet's place, the Impala's engine rumbling louder and for some reason they couldn't turn on the radio. Maybe his dad's cassette got stuck again and they had to wait for him to get home from work to fix it. They were passing his favourite bookstore and he wondered if they had a copy of the newest Marvel comics in stock. The next movie was coming out and he really wanted to see it, maybe reading comics would help him get into that side of the world's culture better.
They'd drive past his favourite Starbucks without going through the drive-thru; they didn't have enough money for that kind of frivolous thing. He really liked their Frappuccino's though, always with caramel drizzle on top. And if they would have gone through he would've gotten one, and it might've tasted like molecules but he'd still drink it anyway. Maybe that was a waste of money? Dean would probably act tough and get a black coffee, but Cas knew he liked the macchiato (any flavour). Sam usually followed Cas' lead, except he'd add a brownie to it. His mom changed her mind a lot; she liked most of the menu but strayed closer to their teas. As for what they'd get Jet Cas never knew, he was a difficult one to please with drinks. But there was one rule that would never be broken; never bring Jet a muffin. He hated them, for what reason Cas couldn't fathom but it was ingrained in his head.
"Cas?" Dean nudged his arm and broke the illusion, there was no Impala, Mary was in the back, and they didn't have Starbucks coffees. "You okay?"
"Just daydreaming," Castiel rubbed his eyes and looked around. They were in a small town, he must have lost track of time again because he didn't notice the change in speed. The captain was just pulling into a short driveway. "Where are we?"
"Cummings," Shimizu stated as he put the truck in park. "Just wait here, I'll be right back." He hopped out and walked up to the front door.
Cas looked at Dean and Sam in the back, "I spaced out," he admitted guiltily, "Is this where we're going to be staying?"
"I think so," Sam grinned at him, the kind of look that would make Jet proud.
Of course speak of the devil; Jet opened the back door beside Dean, "Yo, we here?"
"Uh yeah, but I think we're supposed to stay in the truck-"
"Awesome, it was bumpy as fuck back there." Jet was hardly listening, though Cas suspected he knew what was expected of him.
"Sounds fun," Dean elbowed Jet lightly in the stomach.
Jet knocked his friend's head in retaliation, "How was the ride in the cab?"
"Should've sat in the back," Sam groaned and rubbed his arm, "Dean was hitting me most of the way here."
"Pfft, you hit me like twice as much!" Dean scoffed and immediately flinched when Sam wound up to do it again.
"Quit abusing each other," Jet rolled his eyes and looked at Cas, "How you doing?"
"Feeling about the same, I was a space cadet most of the way here."
"Sounds like you," Jet smirked. The others were walking around the front of the vehicle by then, mostly stretching and a couple of them subtly rubbing their rears. 'Bumpy as fuck,' as Jet put it, seemed to be a general consensus.
Meg approached Cas' door which he opened for her, "If I have to hear anyone complain about their asses one more time," she paused and glared at Jet who shrugged as if he had no idea what she was talking about, "I'm going to puncture their lungs."
Jet sneered at her in the playful way Cas knew meant no harm, "Hey Meg," Jet said as annoyingly as possible, "you're a pain in my ass."
Meg copied his sneer and flipped him off.
"So where are we, exactly?" Mary asked first, Cas had nearly forgotten he was the only one aware of what the plan was. "We could've just as easily gone somewhere else, why here?"
"The captain has a plan," Cas couldn't rightly keep that information to himself at that point in time, he felt bad enough as it was. "He said there's a friend with a reinforced shelter here, we can stay inside until I've gotten well enough to go to Heaven."
"Well that's awfully nice of him," John smiled, relief in his face. Cas hadn't realized how stressed out his dad looked until just then. He felt even worse for what he'd been putting them all through. "I thought he'd just drop us off in the middle of nowhere."
"He's a soldier, not a dick. Orders are orders," Nikki pat John on the shoulder.
"Since everyone's already wandering freely, why don't you all follow me?" Captain Uziki called to them, an older man with red hair standing beside him that Cas didn't recognize. He glanced at Meg quickly to see if she seemed put off by the stranger; she was fine so he felt calmer about trusting.
The shelter Shimizu had told him about originally was almost exactly what he'd pictured. It was the size of a small trailer and it looked perfect, inconspicuous in the backyard of some old friend of a soldier. No demon that had been following him since a young age would have suspected where they were, unless it had followed him of course.
"Everyone this is Cal and this is his shelter. We'll be staying here until Castiel is well enough to move on," Shimizu explained as he opened the door, "Please try not to make a mess."
"We?" Mary asked hopefully. "Are you staying with us, captain?"
"I am," he smiled at her, "And please, from now on no more captain stuff, I won't be one for very long anyway."
"I couldn't help but notice something in the truck," John added, his hopes just as up as Mary's. "You loaded it with weapons, was that intended to help us?"
Shimizu shrugged casually, "I may have taken one of the armed vehicles instead of the designated empty one with that scenario in mind."
"Cheeky bastard, isn't he?" Jet snarked quietly to Dean who snickered.
"Nice to meet you," Castiel stuck his hand out to Cal who gave a silent nod in return and a firm shake.
"He can't speak anymore," Shimizu informed them as Cal loosened his tie and lowered the collar of his shirt to reveal a scar along his neck. Cas cringed at it and knew well not to ask any further. "But he's happy to help."
"Thank you," Cas looked at Cal apologetically, "If everything goes well I can help you with that, if you'd like."
Cal didn't change his expression from neutral, Cas got the feeling he didn't put any faith in that statement.
Shimizu turned toward the door again, "Anyone who knows how to handle firearms come help me unload them, everyone else we're gonna give you a crash course in how to use 'em."