“I’m fine,” Jack said as he sat back down in the booth, but his pale face said otherwise.
Castiel rolled his eyes nearly to Heaven, how was Jack so like Dean in the most infuriating ways sometimes?
“Hey, see, look at that. Everyone’s fine,” Dean added with a mirthless smirk.
Castiel leveled Dean with a look that had the hunter averting his eyes to his coffee. Oh, they were definitely not done with this conversation. Not by a long shot.
“What?” Jack asked.
“Huh, nothing,” Dean muttered.
While Castiel may be an angel of the Lord, he did not have the patience of a saint, so he threw his hands up with an exasperated sigh. This would have to wait until they were no longer in Jack’s presence.
So they dove into the details of the ritualistic killings they were tracking. That was until Sam had called Dean to say they may have made a break in the case. Castiel exchanged a nod with the hunter and the three began to scooch out of their booth. Dean glanced back at the table and patted his pockets, a familiar move Castiel noticed the brothers did all the time before leaving any place. It was a gesture often accompanied with the mumbled mantra ‘Phone. Keys. Wallet. Check.’ But this time, Dean’s pat down was interrupted.
With his back turned, Dean didn’t see the man muddling down the aisle they were blocking until the hunter spun around and nearly knocked him over. With reflexes polished from over thirty years of having creatures with sharp things sneak up on him, Dean reached out his arms and caught the man just before he fell into the .
“Whoa, hey--” Dean began with a laugh.
“Watch where you’re going, man,” this stranger muttered as he wrenched out of the hunter’s hands.
Dean’s features hardened in a second, and though the man had an inch or two on Dean when he stood to full height, the hunter squared his shoulders nonetheless. The man was solidly built, with light hair and looked to be only a few years younger than the hunter. Dean raised his chin in defiance. Castiel clenched his jaw and sidestepped Jack, the boy’s face started to pinch in confusion.
“The hell’s your problem, buddy? It was an accident,” Dean snapped back.
“You should be more careful, is all,” the man returned, setting his own shoulders, the two nearly touching at their puffed out chests.
The whole display had Castiel flaring his nostrils at how much it reminded him of similar posturing the humans’ cave-dwelling ancestors once took up when they were angry but had yet to invent the words to express it. Some things never changed, he supposed.
“Who do you think--” Dean started, his voice edging dangerously close to a growl.
“ Dean ,” Castiel intervened. He gripped the hunter’s shoulder, and pointedly looked at all the eyes staring at them in the lightly-filled diner, “We should be on our way.”
This gave the stranger in front of Dean pause. Castiel’s brow furrowed when the man seemed to rake his eyes over himself and the hunter. His gaze landed on the hand Castiel had on Dean’s shoulder and a smug smile took over his face. Dean tensed under his grip but did not shrug the angel off, an action that caught Castiel off guard. Dean tended to become uncomfortable whenever Castiel expressed himself with physical touch in public spaces, but something akin to determination set into the hunter’s features. Dean met the man’s eyes, daring him to say something. Say what, Cas wasn’t quite sure.
Castiel felt Jack loosely grip the back of his coat.
“What’s happening?” Jack whispered, voice tight with confusion.
That seemed enough to break Dean from whatever battle of wits he was playing out in his mind.
“We’re leaving, Jack. Come on,” This time, Dean was growling.
The angel let his hand fall to his side as Dean roughly pushed past the man, Cas and Jack in tow.
One of the things that Jack had not gleaned from Dean quite yet was the ability to--as Dean called it--’read the room’.
“Goodbye!” Jack exclaimed, with a small wave as they passed Dean’s adversary.
Castiel grabbed the sleeve of Jack’s jacket and did his best to pull him along. He kept a hand in between Dean’s shoulder blades--not pushing, just guiding towards them all towards the door.
“Weird-ass queers,” the man muttered.
Castiel had hoped that it was only his angelically-enhanced hearing that had allowed him to hear the remark, but suddenly Dean was stopping in his tracks and the angel crashed into him. Cas cringed.
“Dean--” The angel knew his words were pointless even as they left his mouth.
Dean had rounded on the man in a second. Castiel reached out with his other hand to grab Dean’s forearm, but this time the hunter easily twisted out of his grip.
“You got something to say to me, douchebag?” Dean’s voice sliced through the air and the thud of his boots seemed to ricochet off the walls. The diner had fallen completely silent and any eyes not on them before were now, “‘Cause I’d really love to hear it!”
Though the man seemed startled at first that Dean was, in fact, calling him out on his words, any uncertainty was gone in a heartbeat and he swiped a lock of hair out of his face. He set his feet apart and puffed out his chest even more.
“Oh, I ain’t your buddy, you dick,” Dean said.
“Why don’t you, and your boyfriend, and your little homo kid there just walk right on outta here,” The man’s words dripped with venom.
If Dean had angelic abilities, Castiel was almost certain that the hunter’s eyes would be glowing and the fluorescent lights above them would have exploded. But as it was, Dean stood there, nearly shaking in barely-held-in anger.
“Homo?” Jack questioned, innocent curiosity lacing his voice.
Dean broke the death glare his eyes bore into the man and glanced over his shoulder at Jack’s doe-eyes (another phrase Dean had used to describe the particularly inquisitive face Jack made). Amusement only seemed to sizzle in the stranger’s eyes, and Castiel gave the loathsome man his own death glare this time.
Dean leaned in, slightly closer, and gave the man an acidic smile “I’d take your ass out to the parking lot if the kid weren’t here. Teach you some damn respect.”
“You wouldn’t take my ass anywhere, you little bitch,” the man met Dean’s smile with a taunting one of his own.
Dean was vibrating with rage, his fists balled at his sides, and he let his weight fall onto his back foot. Castiel immediately recognized the familiar motion--Dean was winding up.
Enough was enough.
Before the hunter could let the first punch fly, Castiel had let go of Jack’s sleeve and wound an arm around Dean’s middle--sufficiently forcing Dean’s arm to stay at his side.
“We are leaving. Now, Dean. ”
The hunter was trying to push through Castiel’s hold, but the angel had absolutely no qualms with utilizing his heavenly strength to keep Dean held back.
“Let me at ‘im, Cas!”
But Castiel continued to pull the hunter along towards the diner’s doors.
“Jack, keep moving,” Castiel called to Jack when he simply stared and squinted at the exchange.
Jack seemed to snap his attention away at the commanding tone in Castiel’s voice. Jack followed close behind, effectively blocking Dean’s view of the smirking man. Castiel dragged his family out of the diner’s doors, exasperation causing his eyes to roll back into his skull.
“I’ll be back with my freakin’ angel blade, you son of a bitch!” Dean called as the glass doors slammed behind them.
“An angel blade won’t fix stupid, Dean,” Castiel sighed.