“Look, Mick, buddy. I don’t care what you want. I’m not budging on this one.”
“Seriously, just because you’re used to that fancy bedlinen and complimentary gym doesn’t mean you automatically get the single room.” Dean said, firmly. He wasn’t taking no for an answer. He was wrecked.
Mick raised his eyebrow, still holding the other key hostage in his hand. It had been a long day, and frankly they were all exhausted and cranky. The drive out had been gruelling, the case far more taxing than anticipated, and they were still finding their feet with their new, fledgeling friendship with Mick’s new international cohorts. The few days they’d been out had been spent either camping, sleeping rough in Baby or cramped in a single hotel room. To his credit, Mick hadn’t complained once, but he’d apparently just been biding his time because now he was being ridiculous.
All in all, Dean was ready to sleep, preferably in a room without Sam’s thunder snores and Mick’s incessant complaining. Cas was excluded on grounds of being a) a non-sleeper and b) easily distracted and silenced by that game thing on his cell. One night of solid sleep in solitude would set him right. Sam could cope with his new bestie by himself.
“You’re brothers.” Mick replied, “I mean, not being funny here lads, but you’re used to each other.”
“So? You’re not exactly a fighter, Mick. You need some muscle in case things go bump in the night. Hunter muscle. This thing still ain’t solved, after all.”
“Or Cas can stay with me, and I’ll pay you back with decent lodgings when I'm back in the good books. I'm guessing an angel is plenty strong enough to look after me, if you 're that concerned.”
For some reason, the idea of Cas sharing a room with someone else rankled at him.
“How about you share with the other nerd and I’ll share with Cas.” He replied, complete with air quotes. “You and Sam can share your crappy little case files and chat lore until the early hours. Hell, you can even swap your shitty childhood stories and braid Sam’s hair for all I care.”
“Hey, maybe I want the solo room.” Sam said, at the same time Cas looked up from his phone, hearing his name.
“Hell no.” Dean retorted, and grinned at Cas, giving him a cocky little wink. Cas smiled to himself, and returned to his little screen, continuing to twiddle his thumbs on the screen with a dumb little angelic frown of concentration.
The limey bastard remained firm though, key still in hand.
“Alright, let’s make it fair.” He shrugged. “What about a wager then?” He waved a hand over towards Sam at the table. “He’s been on that translation all afternoon. I bet you the room, that I can get it done by half past.”
Dean looked over at the shitty LED clock on the night stand. 22:09. Twenty-one minutes.
“Thought you were on the blacklist, buddy.” He said. “Your contacts and little gizmos aren’t –"
“Then you got nothing to worry about.” Mick shrugged. “Translation done, by half ten. On the dot.”
He held his spare hand out. Dean took a moment, chuckled to himself and shook it, enthusiastically.
“You’re on.” He agreed. Sam looked bemused by them both, sat at the crappy motel table with his arms crossed. “C’mon Sammy, hand it over.”
Sam handed the photocopy of the document over, complete with his own scribbles, and Dean it turn passed it over to Mick.
Mick, without breaking eye contact, handed the sheets of paper directly to Cas. Shit.
Cas looked up, blankly returning from Candy Crush back to the real world, and took it.
“A list of ingredients and a spell.” He stated, already bored after a glance. “What’s it for?”
Dean’s heart sank. Shit.
“Uh, we were hoping you could tell us.” Sam said, from his chair. “Sorry Cas, I guess we should have asked earlier, could you translate it?”
“Need a pen, mate?” Mick asked, innocently. He still hadn’t broken eye contact, and Dean’s dreams of a quiet, snore-free night were dashed horribly against the rocks of Cas' betrayal.
For the next few minutes the room was silent, except for the scratching of the pen, and the tinny, cheery, repetitive music from that stupid game thing, momentarily discarded on the bedsheets.
He handed it back to Mick, who after a quick smirk, finally turned from Dean to thank him, a gentle tone to his voice.
“Cheers Cas, really appreciate it.” He said. Cas smiled back, hand already stretching out to his game.
“I mean, come on.” Dean protested, weakly. “Cas did all the work.”
“Didn’t say I’d be the one translating it, just that you’d have it done by half past.” Mick said, gleefully. “Not my fault you didn’t think it through.”
Cas was looking between them both now, head tilted to the side, utterly bemused. “I do speak all languages, Dean.” He reminded him. He frowned. “Human languages.” He added. “Most, there are a few variations that it’s possible I’ve not accounted for.”
“Mate, you’ve been an absolute star.” Mick said, reaching over to pat Cas’ arm. “As a reward, I'll buy you that bundle that you were eyeing up. If you like?”
“Yes.” Cas replied, immediately, eyes wide. Dean’s stomach lurched.
That damn game had taken over his mind, like he was a freaking child. Anything related to it was instantly elevated to a holy status, and Mick had apparently already figured that out enough to capitalise on it. It was as though his utter devotion to God and Heaven had been replaced with his determination to fight for Team Free Will, and now that in turn had been replaced by this worship of connecting coloured candies.
“Right, then.” Mick said, and stood up. “Cheers Dean. Like I said, soon as the boys get my card hooked back up, I’ll treat us all.” He turned to Cas, who was somewhat frantically gathering himself as if to leave. “Oh, you coming with, sweetheart?”
“Can you set it up?” Cas asked, sounding like a crack addict, “I don’t like –”
“Yeah no worries. Just keep the volume down and I’ll give you free reign to play on my mobile an' all.” Mick said, guiding him over the threshold with a gentle hand gently pressed to Cas's mid-back. “Night lads, see you in the morning.” He added, throwing one last grin over his shoulder as the door closed behind them.
“Great job there Dean.” Sam sighed. “At least we’ve got the ingredients and instructions to make a start.”
Dean glared at him in response; that was the least of his worries.
Why was it bothering him so much?
Mick had seemed smug at his victory sure, but no more than Dean himself would have been, in his place. Was it because of Cas? It had been a long time since they’d asked Cas to translate anything other than Enochian or other celestial languages, hell even those were usually decoded by Sam now. Cas just wasn’t around enough to rely on. But he’d been more than eager to comply with Mick’s request against them, the backstabbing little Judas.
The image of Mick’s hand on his back sprang to mind. Cas hadn’t even flinched. Hadn’t minded. There had been a few moments like that recently; times where there looked like -
“Sweetheart.” He muttered, and glared at the door.
He turned to face his brother, who was looking at him with concern. “You good?”
“At least we’ll get some fancy hotel when Mick’s out of the doghouse.” He said, “Right Sammy, anything on that list that we need to get?”
Same gave him a look, and clearly decided against saying anything.
“It’s less what we need, and more…what we need to do.” He sighed. “We just need a couple of days until the new moon, then we’re good to go. We’ve got everything in the car.”
“Might as well get some rest though, just because we have time to spare doesn’t mean -”
“Yeah. Sure thing Sammy.”
Sam trailed off into silence and after a few moments of awkwardness, gathered his things and loped off into the bathroom for a shower. When he came out, Dean pretended he was already asleep, and although he could tell his brother was tempted to call him out, he didn’t.
After lights out, he slipped his phone off charge and tapped out a message. Cas didn’t sleep, after all.
He sent it before he could talk himself out of it, not that there was anything to talk himself out of. He wasn’t waiting for a response, he knew that Cas was back to that damn game. He’d see him in the morning, anyway.
He didn’t sleep a wink until he checked his phone again at two am.
Cas didn’t often text using words, but the sleepy z’s and the cowboy smiley face told him everything he needed.