Dean's eyes flew open as he heard a low growl. He pulled the gun out from under his pillow and pointed it towards the door. When nothing moved, he looked over at his twenty-five-year-old brother, Sam, still snoring softly. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he glanced around the unfamiliar room. He muttered to himself, "Well, winding up in an apocalypse world wasn't a dream."
He heard a deep voice say, "Dog, shh. Let them have a little more sleep." A moment later he could hear the dog's tail hitting the floorboard as he wagged it. Their host, Castiel, must be awake. He had meant to stay awake while Sam slept, but the exhaustion had overtaken him.
He quietly slid out of bed and went into the other room. Castiel had stoked up a fire and was preparing a coffee pot. Castiel smiled as he saw Dean and said softly, "Hello, Dean." Dog walked over and stuck his cold nose against Dean's hand.
Dean replied, "Morning, Cas." He scratched the dog's ears while the dog yawned and stretched. Dean added, "Where do you get coffee here?"
Castiel shrugged, "The grocery stores were still fairly well stocked when I got here. I'm almost out so I save it for special occasions. I thought you two might need a little extra caffeine as we figure out how to get you home."
"How have you had enough food to last this long?" Dean's brow furrowed.
"I supplement with things I find in the wild. Berries, eggs, fish, whatever I can scrounge together. I also don't eat much." Castiel shrugged dismissively.
"It's been a quarter of a century, man."
Castiel looked at him strangely. "It doesn't seem that long to me in the grand scheme of things. I never really thought about it."
Dean frowned. He should have done a better vetting of the man last night. He could be a vampire or some other undead type of creature. On the other hand, if Castiel wanted them dead, he had an ample amount of time to have done that.
Castiel looked at him intently, "What are you thinking, Dean?"
Dean ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't know, Cas. It seems weird. You don't age; you don't eat much. What are you?"
Castiel raised an eyebrow, "I'm just a man. I don't know why I am here. Perhaps, I need to do penance for something I cannot remember. Perhaps, I didn't follow orders correctly."
Castiel squinted his eyes before saying, "I don't remember. I just remember that the punishment for not following orders was extreme. Wake up your brother. I have some fruit and bread for you to eat before we try to return you home."
After the trio ate, Castiel led them carefully through the town back up towards the stone circle the boys had appeared in the previous day. When they passed an empty playground, he paused. He looked between Dean and the bench. He said quietly, "Samhain."
Sam asked, "Halloween?"
"Today is Samhain," Castiel repeated.
Dean replied, "It was October 1st in our world."
Castiel walked over to the bench and sat down. His eyes glazed over as he said, "I'm not a… hammer. I have questions, I have doubts."
Dean looked at him perplexed, "Nobody said you were, Cas. What are you doubting?"
Castiel looked at him, "Why do you call me that instead of Castiel?"
Dean stared at him, "Castiel is a mouthful. I won't call you Cas if you don't like it."
Castiel's eyes narrowed, "No, it somehow fits."
A rustling noise caught their attention. Sam yelped, "Guys, two o'clock. Zombies?" Dean pulled his gun, as Dog began to growl. A silver blade appeared in Castiel's hand, as Sam drew his machete. A pack of a dozen zombies mindlessly approached them.
Castiel said, "This way." He ran through the park and across a rusted bridge with Sam and Dean on his heels. Dog ran behind the boys, guarding the rear. As they rounded a grove of trees, several more zombies stood in front of them.
Dean growled, "Son of a bitch," before he unloaded a clip into a zombie's face. Bits of brain matter splattered on the other zombies', but they continue to approach.
Sam lopped the head off of the zombie closest to them, while Castiel stabbed another with his blade. Dog growled at them threateningly, but the zombies ignored him.
Dean unleashed another shot but stumbled and fell when the body of the zombie Sam killed fell against his knees. Sam staggered as two zombies grabbed him.
Castiel shouted, "Close your eyes. Now. Close your eyes."
Dean and Sam did, but the light was still so intense that they could see it through their eyelids. After a moment, Castiel said quietly, "You can open your eyes now." Dead (again) zombies littered the ground around them. Sam helped Dean up to his feet and both of them stared at Castiel.
Sam asked, "How did you do that?"
Castiel bit his bottom lip before saying, "I don't know. Sometimes, I can do that. Other times, it doesn't work. It feels like it should always work."
Dean, still pointing his gun, looked at Castiel, "What are you?"
Castiel raised an eyebrow, "I'm nothing. I'm just me. Are you going to hunt me now because you don't understand me?"
Dean lowered his gun. "No. I'm just… I'm trying to figure things out."
Castiel looked away for a long moment. When he looked back, he said, "You and me. We were together at Samhain before. Only, it was a demon."
Dean bristled, "Demon?" He glanced at Sam nervously. Dean and Sam had a long history with demons, an unpleasant long history.
Castiel looked at him perplexed, "Samhain was a demon, and we stopped him. I don't remember anything else. But I remember you."
Dean scoffed, "Well, buddy, I would have remembered you if I had met you."
Sam interjected, "Maybe, it's a version of you from this world."
"What are the odds of us going through a portal and winding up next to someone who knows me in an alternate reality, Sam? Especially, one who can just blow up zombies or whatever it was he just did." Dean crossed his arms.
Castiel said, "Smite. Smite them. That's what I did. I mean you no harm. Let's just go to the stone circle and see if you can cross back to your world."
"What if we are here for a reason, Dean? What if there is something here that we can use to stop whatever the yellow-eyed demon has planned? Shouldn't we investigate more? What if the key to stopping all of it is here?" Sam grabbed Dean's arm in excitement.
Dean protested, "We're here because we investigated something that makes people disappear, and it got us too. We need to go home."
Castiel added, "He's right. It's far too dangerous for you here."
Sam said stubbornly, "Danger is what we do. Cas, you don't understand. I have these visions. They are somehow linked to a demon. I need to figure out how to fight the demons."
Castiel looked at Dean questioningly, "Dean?"
"Do you know of anything that can kill demons?" Dean growled.
Castiel's shoulders slumped before saying, "I don't know. I have that one memory about you and a demon, and that's it."
"This can't be a coincidence, Dean." Sam started to pace. "We didn't mention demons before Castiel had his memory flash. He's tied to all of this somehow."
"He's just a random guy in a random place that we ran into on a case," Dean argued. Sam and Dean glared at each other.
After several tense seconds, Castiel cleared his throat. "What do you want to do?"
Dean said, "Go to the circle," at the same time Sam said, "Figure this out."
Castiel looked between the two before his eyes settled on Dean. The energy between the two was palpable as they stared intently at each other.
Dean licked his lips nervously before asking, "Is it ok if we hang out with you for a few days, Cas?" He felt drawn to the man even as he mistrusted him. He was an enigma, a puzzle to solve. Dean didn't like unsolved puzzles.
The corners of Castiel's quirked up in a trace of a smile, "Is that your final answer?"
"For today, Cas. For today," Dean replied.
After they returned to the house, Sam played fetch with the dog using a ratty tennis ball in the living room, while Castiel descended into the cellar. Dean watched Sam for a minute before following Castiel. As he slowly walked down the staircase, his eyes adjusted to the dim light put out by a gas lantern hanging from a hook. Castiel stood next to a shelf sorting cans. He picked each can up, inspected it thoughtfully, and placed the cans on different shelves.
"What's up, Cas?"
"The house, Dean. We're in the basement," Castiel said, still concentrating on the cans.
"What are you doing, I mean?"
"I've never gotten sick from any of the old can goods I have stored down here, but I am more worried about you and Sam. You're not used to eating the food here. I want to make sure none of the cans are bent or rusty."
Dean put his hand on top of Castiel's to stop him from lifting the next can. "Any other memories of me?"
Castiel turned to him. "Just the one, Dean. It's very vivid. I fear you didn't like me much then, but I… I believed in you. I don't know why. I had doubts about something I was told to do. Meeting you reaffirmed those doubts were valid. I had faith in you." Castiel stared at Dean, their faces inches apart. Dean could feel Castiel's breath against his cheek. Their eyes locked together.
After several moments, Dean cleared his throat and said, "Cas, I don't even have faith in me."
Castiel's eyes narrowed, "This is your problem, Dean. You have no faith." He shook his head for a moment. "This… has happened before. But not here, in a barn." Castiel put his hand on Dean's left shoulder. "We were together."
A warm feeling spread across Dean's shoulder. He stared at Castiel's lips for a long moment before saying, "Let me help you with the cans." He backed up to stand beside Castiel.
The two of them worked together harmoniously as if they'd been doing it for years.