Title: Harbor Lights 4b/?
Characters/Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Gabriel, OCs
Warnings: Abuse of reality, WIP, unbeta’d
Summary: The Winchester brothers are a team to be feared by the criminals of their waterfront city. Or, the one where Castiel is an asexual doctor who attracts
insane stalkers amorous suitors and Dean pretends to be his boyfriend to scare them all away. Also, they fight crime.
Dean felt guilty for leaving Castiel out on the main floor on his own with that hunted look on his face, but he knew he’d never get to Simon that day if he didn’t head Gabriel, the proprietor of the club, off at the pass.
Gabriel had spotted him across the floor and began heading his way with a jaunty lift of one eyebrow. Looks were deceiving, and Dean knew better than to mistake Gabriel’s friendly demeanor to not mean possible trouble. Dean knew that sometimes the more amused Gabriel seemed, the more on guard Dean had to be.
Not many people knew that Gabriel was a distant cousin to one Nicky Lucci, and Gabriel seemed to prefer that. From rumor and Gabriel’s own mouth, he wanted nothing to do with his family’s mob activities and petty infighting, and Dean believed it. But just because Gabriel’s hands and nose were clean of the Lucci Organization’s crimes, it didn’t automatically make him a particularly nice guy. Gabriel had a knack, like his more infamous family members, for avoiding being actually charged with anything, and he was rumored to have been the murder of more than one unlucky son of a bitch who had the misfortune to cross his path, and meted out punishments out of proportion with the slights dealt him.
Dean was occasionally amused by the things he heard, but overall thought Gabriel was a scumbag and a man to tread lightly around. The only reason Dean didn’t sick Jo on him was that Gabriel ran a clean house --yes, Dean knew about the back rooms of the strip club where off-the-books activities took place-- and paid his employees fairly and fucked up anyone who fucked up what he considered his.
There were worse places Simon could have ended up.
“Detective Winchester, business or pleasure?” Gabriel had veered off course when he’d seen Dean coming to him, and now he lounged against a bar counter, a scantily clad brunette clinging to his arm and stroking his chest.
“Gabe!” Dean greeted disarmingly. “Always a pleasure. I like what you’ve done with the place.” He really did. Last time he’d been in The Glass Slipper, it had been decorated as a school room, complete with a chalkboard and strippers clad in plaid pleated miniskirts and pigtails. It got old fast. Not that Dean came there often.
“Aw, stop, you’re making me blush. You want one?” Gabriel indicated the girl pressed against his side. “On the house. I promise, no blackmail videos.”
Dean looked her up and down, swallowing dryly, eyes dilating further in the dim light as she ran a hand from her breast to pubic bone, swinging out a leg ever so slightly to reveal a dark space just below her dangerously short skirt, seductive between milky gartered thighs.
“I’m a . . . a sucker for a beautiful woman, but I’m gonna . . . I’m gonna have to pass.” Sometimes Dean hated being a police officer.
Another woman slid into the space on Gabriel’s right, dressed conservatively in a dark blue pants-suit. “Gabe, who’s your friend?” She had short dark hair, elegant full curls, heavily-lidded brown eyes and a severe mouth.
“Dean, meet Alice, my business partner. Alice, Detective Winchester.”
“Detective,” Alice murmured, unimpressed, although there was a spark of interest as she looked him up and down. Her eyes flicked over Dean’s shoulder, and he felt something cold skitter over his skin. “I think your friend requires attention.”
Dean turned quickly and caught sight of the crowd parting as Castiel was dragged by the collar towards the front of the club. Dean pushed through the crowd and flashed his badge at the bouncer, who let go of his meaty grip and Dean smoothly said, “I’ll take it from here, champ.” Dean twisted Castiel’s arm behind his back and frog-marched him out of the main room. He dropped the act once he was sure the bouncer was no longer looking and relaxed his grip on Castiel’s collar and turned it into a reassuring press forward as he hustled them both past Gabriel and Alice, past the front bar and out into the early evening air.
Dean couldn’t help but laugh and Castiel shoved him angrily.
“You left me!”
“Oh cry more, you big baby. What did you do?”
Castiel glared and Dean tried to stifle his giggles as he waited for Castiel to unlock the SUV.
Once inside Dean asked, “Did you get a hold of--”
“Yes, Dean. I located Simon. Despite what you might think, I’m not an incompetent child. I just don’t like . . . those . . . places.”
He accused again, “You left me.”
Dean had the decency to look ashamed, muttering, “Sorry.”
Then his mischievous smirk came back and he asked, “But, dude, seriously, what did you do to get thrown out of a strip club?”
Dean and Castiel were waiting in a parking lot on the other side of the block, just off Stuart Street and next to Jacob Wirth’s restaurant, where the mahogany bar was almost more famous than the food and they had a genuine piano man who played on Friday nights. Dean put in a call for take-out. The parking lot wound behind Wirth’s to a couple of dumpsters and a narrow alley that skirted the backside of The Glass Slipper and Centerfolds.
Simon slid into the back seat twenty minutes later.
“Dude, get a cell phone,” Dean grumbled. Castiel looked sharply at Dean, disliking immediately the casual tone of familiarity.
“I have a cell phone,” Simon responded lightly.
“Then give me the number, this is way too cloak and dagger.” Dean twisted around to glare at Simon, who was dressed in skinny jeans and a faded but embroidered button-down with short-sleeves.
“Are you sure that’s the only reason you want my number?” Simon’s grey eyes twinkled, and he finally glanced over at Castiel. He laughed, “You should tell your friend here that he’s not allowed to put his hands on the girls.”
Castiel finally spoke up, “She was touching me, how else was I supposed to remove her?” He truly disliked that Dean hadn’t introduced him yet, like he was only there as a driver and deliverer of messages, and nothing more.
“Cas doesn’t . . .” Dean began, then faltered as he looked at Castiel. “Like to be touched.”
Simon looked curiously between the two men in the front seat, eyes narrowing.
Dean shook himself, directing his gaze back to Simon, “So, still in school, I take it?”
Simon’s tragic decent into hooking and now stripping began when he came out to his affluent parents after his freshman year of college was over They immediately froze his accounts, canceled his tuition, and threw him out. Even after moving in with friends in the city and sending out scholarship applications, there wasn’t much money available for blond-haired, blue-eyed white boys with (unsupportive) rich parents and a BMW. He’d sold the car, but it hadn’t been enough, not to finish his degree and stay in housing and food and electricity.
“Taking some day classes over the summer, and I’ll have my doctorate in Psychology by end of the fall semester. Only took me eight years.”
“So, any news?” Dean prompted.
Simon got down to business, “Crowley’s in town. I’ve seen him twice now since he’s been back, which is far less often than usual. He’s stressed, drinking more, I think he’s starting to lose more hair . . . something’s definitely worrying him. Oh, and he’s really angry at the guy who shot you.”
“Really-- Cas?” Dean’s surprise over Crowley’s reaction turned to worry. Castiel didn’t need him to say anything else as he flipped open his cell phone and dialed the hospital.
As Castiel inquired about a patient brought in two weeks ago with a GSW to the left thigh, Dean turned back to Simon. “Anything else?”
Simon shook his head. “Like I said, stressed. With most of the signs and symptoms, including paranoia. He’s clamped down tight, doesn’t take anymore calls when I’m within earshot. He’s definitely rattled about something. But the general sense I get from the other Lucci mugs is that the organisation is in a tizzy. They’re angry, confused, disorganized. You and your brother have been cutting off too many arms, and the whole beast is falling apart. Also, I’ve been hearing rumours of internal squabbles. I think the whole power balance is being slowly undermined and shit is going to hit the fan sooner rather than later.”
“In your expert opinion.”
Dean smiled, pleased. “Good.”
Castiel hung up, turning weary eyes to Dean and shook his head. “Dead. Anna says he was recovering in ICU. He suffered from a pulmonary embolism two nights ago.”
“Sonuvabitch,” Dean growled. He was getting tired of the people he arrested winding up dead.
“Dean,” Castiel cautioned. “It may not have been Crowley. Blood clots are not uncommon after surgery.” He wondered that if he’d spent more time in surgery with the man, he’d have lived. But then he wouldn’t have been with Dean when he collapsed, and Dean would probably have bled out in the hospital waiting room. But if he’d had a choice . . .
“Simon,” Dean said urgently. “I don’t want you seeing Crowley again. Tell him your busy at the club or school or something. I don’t want you around him if he snaps.”
“Relax, Dean, I know when it’s time to cut and run. I already gave him his Dear John letter and we parted amicably.”
“Good,” Dean said, relieved.
His phone beeped. “I’ll be right back,” Dean said and slipped stiffly out of the SUV.
An awkward silence filled the car. Mostly on Castiel’s part. Simon looked vaguely amused.
“You’re in school?” Castiel asked, looking to the side.
Simon smirked, “It’s not like I actually like doing this. But college is expensive, and this is the best pay in town.”
Castiel flushed. “How did you meet Dean?”
“Busted me for solicitation back when he was in Vice,” Simon replied. He didn’t add that it was Dean that Simon had solicited, he had a feeling this Cas guy wouldn’t appreciate it. Simon leaned forward, draping one arm over the back of Castiel’s seat, making Castiel flinch and move slightly towards the driver’s window.
“I’m not going to bite,” Simon murmured. “You know Dean’s straight, right?” Dean was the most heterosexual man Simon had ever met. Simon’d been trying to get into Dean’s pants for years, and even loose with alcohol Dean would always push Simon away with amusement.
“I don’t understand the relevance of that statement.” Castiel stared straight ahead, shoulders tense. “We’re just friends.”
The passenger door opened before Simon could say anything else, and he sank languidly back into his seat.
Dean looked between Simon and Castiel and glared at Simon with disapproval. Simon looked back with wide innocent eyes, but was intrigued by Dean’s protectiveness. Dean didn’t buy the innocent act for a second as he closed the door and passed back a white paper bag.
“What’s this?” Simon asked with anticipation.
“This is you’re-too-fucking-skinny, is what.”
Simon unwrapped his burger as Dean passed a bag to Castiel, who murmured a thank you.
“So what’s with this Alice chick?” Dean asked right before he took a huge bite out of his own sandwich, a bacon egg and cheeseburger.
Simon finished chewing, wiping delicately at his mouth before answering. “She hooked up with Gabe a couple of months ago. Convinced him to get with the program, broaden the appeal to include a different demographic, by which I mean fags, fired a couple of the girls. That’s how me and a couple of other guys got in the door. Why?”
“No reason, she just creeped me out.”
“There is that, but I’m not beating the street anymore, so I’m not going to complain.” Simon wrapped up the remaining half of the sandwich and put it back in the bag for later. He passed a scrap of paper to Castiel and scooted over to the door. “Well, it’s been a pleasure, gentlemen. Cas, call me if you ever need to talk.” With that he slid out and closed the door.
Dean rolled down the window and shouted, “Dolores sends her love!”
Simon only laughed as he sauntered away.
Dean snatched the scrap of paper with Simon’s number on it away from Castiel. “That’s mine. Why the hell would you need to call him?”
“Perhaps he found me attractive,” Castiel muttered.
“Whatever, eat your burger.”
Castiel wasn’t hungry.
It was Saturday, and Dean decided to celebrate being drug-free by operating heavy machinery and drinking lots of alcohol. This meant that Sam was cursing at him in the passenger seat of the Impala as Dean sped along the turnpike into the city, red and blues flashing.
Slainte’s Bar used to be the 6 House, and before that Triple O’s, and it’s old reputation of being tied to the mob kept a lot of people away. Too many deaths. Dean liked it as a quiet place for a early evening start to a bar crawl, but knew to avoid it after six, when the creeps and low-lifes started to show up. Also, it was lesbian night, which always made Dean happy. Sam rolled his eyes and acted embarrassed by it all, but was secretly just glad that Dean was recovering.
Sam had gotten up to use the restroom and had been gone mere seconds when a hand clamped down on Dean’s shoulder.
Dean’s eyes widened and his whole body tensed.
“Boss wants to have a friendly sit-down with you in the back.”
Dean carefully put his beer down, dried the condensation from the bottle off on a napkin, and let himself be dragged up and away from the bar.
“Hey Crowley, how’s tricks?”
“Above your paygrade,” Crowley replied, swirling a tumbler of whiskey behind the small bar meant for serving small, private parties. As always, he was dressed in a smart, dark pinstripe suit, black shirt, black tie.
Crowley, head of the Lucci Organisation, wasn’t actually a member of the family. Crowley, or Fergus McLeod to his mother, took on the name of Lucci in order to maintain stability when Nicholas Lucci was sent to prison. It had worked, power changing hands smoothly to Nicholas’s right-hand man.
Nicholas, or Nicky, had been known as the Quiet Man, and for years had stumped and impressed law enforcement officials with his stealth. Nicky’s influence had been felt far and wide, but his voice had never been heard, not even during his trial. He had been private, sophisticated, unassumingly classy, and low-key. So low-key that even when Nicky had been a capo regime, alleged members of the local mob had complained of not even knowing what he looked like. A real-life Kaiser Soze.
Crowley, on the other hand, while just as sophisticated, if not moreso, had absolutely no problem making his presence known. Or declaring himself the self-appointed king of this slice of hell that was the northeastern seaboard.
“I have an offer for you, Dean.”
“Not interested, thanks.” Dean had another minute before Sam noticed he was missing and not in the restroom or outside chatting up the smokers.
“Sit down and hear me out, I think you’ll be interested.”
“I think bite me.”
The hand was back on Dean’s shoulder with the addition of a thumb pressed into his back, unerringly finding the bullet-wound. Dean gritted his teeth, back arching instinctively away from the pain, and he found himself thumping heavily down onto the stool, almost falling off when the grip on his shoulder eased off.
“Here’s the situation, my dear boy. I,” he sniffed at his glass of whiskey with a pleased expression. “Have information on a pair of psychotic, psychopathic, sociopathic killers running loose in our fine city. In exchange, you and your little brother--”
The door to the back room slammed open, “Dean!”
“Speak of the devil!” Crowley said in delight.
Dean shook his head frantically at Sam, wordlessly begging him to back off as the thug tightened his grip. Sam could take them all easy, he wasn’t worried about that, but then they’d be in a world of hurt with a bar full of witnesses who had seen Dean and Sam come back here. Dean was worried about having to explain the dead bodies.
Sam’s eyes glinted yellow briefly in the lamplight.
“I’d listen to your brother, Samuel. No need to cause a fuss when I just want a friendly chat.”
Sam shrugged off the hand of another thug and sat himself next to Dean.
Crowley clapped his hands together. “As I was telling your brother, before you rather rudely interrupted, that I have information that I know you’d be extremely interested in. In exchange for both of you agreeing to back off.”
“Thanks, that’s, well, that’s generous, and tempting, but I’m gonna have to decline. I don’t make deals with devils.”
“Ah,” Crowley replied, unfazed. “But, the devil you know, and all that.” His expression darkened. “Let me tell you what happens if you refuse me. If you continue to destabilize my empire. Nature abhors a vacuum, and I promise that you will not like what rises up in my stead.”
Dean simply glared at Crowley.
“No?” Crowley asked, as if it was all Dean’s loss. “Well, lovely chatting with you lads, I do regret that we couldn’t come to an agreement.” He finished off his whiskey and raised an eyebrow at the thug holding Dean.
Dean doubled over as a fist slammed into his kidney, and then he was seeing stars as his forward motion was continued into the bar-top with a little extra help by a hand at the back of his head twisting in his hair.
Sam was at his side in an instant, keeping Dean from sliding off the stool.
As Crowley strode past, casual and unhurried, he said, “For appearances sake, you understand. I can’t have people thinking that I’m friendly with the law. It’d terrible for my reputation.”
Crowley paused at the doorway, a thoughtful expression on his face.
“If you take me and mine down, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”