Castiel sat on the balcony of his bedroom in the house that he shared with his siblings, scribbling on the tablet in his hand and staring up at the stars. He didn't look down at his drawings; his eyes were trained on the lenses of his slim goggles which busily took measurements and data as he moved his head. He had always liked the night sky. There was something about the stars that made him feel whole, like he was part of something. He didn't know why though. What would he be doing in the sky?
His brother's voice startled him and he turned around to see Gabriel standing behind him, dressed in rather shabby looking clothes. His goggles displayed the elder brother's height and weight, as well as a description of some of his other statistics.
“Has Michael seen you dressed like that?” he inquired.
“No, and he isn't going to. I'm going out, and you're coming too.”
“Hmm, no.” Cas responded. “I'm content as I am, thank you.” He looked Gabriel over one more time. “Besides, it doesn't look like you're going anywhere tasteful.”
“Shit, you really need to get out. You've gotten even more boring than last time.”
“I'm sorry you feel that way.”
“Come on, Cas, just one night?”
Cas looked back at the sky, and then back to Gabriel again, making his goggles display static for a moment.
“Yes! Good, we are going to shake off all that dust you've collected sitting up in your room staring at some stupid stars!”
Cas sighed and took the goggles off. He followed Gabriel back into the bedroom and down the stairs to where some other of his brothers stood dressed in similar grunge style to Gabe. A couple of them looked nervous.
“You're letting him come out dressed like that?” Balthazar was pointing at him, but locking eyes with Gabe. “He's going to look too out of place, he has to change.”
“We don't have time for that.” Gabriel stated.
Cas looked down at his clothes. He wore a white button shirt with a blue sweater pulled over it, and black slacks. He was also wearing slippers.
“Just lose the sweater.”
Gabe and Balthazar glanced over at the new comer walking up to them from the front of the group gathered around the front door.
“You're the last person I expected to see coming with us, Luci.” said Gabe. “What happened to following Daddy's rules?”
“Father didn't make this rule, Michael did. And I don't plan on following his rules if I don't want to.”
“So you're being rebellious.”
“So are you.”
“No, I'm out to have some fun. You are purposely breaking the rules.”
Lucifer loomed over him.
“Are you actually going to argue with me?” His eyes narrowed. Gabe's smile faltered a little bit but he didn't shrink back.
“Good. We've wasted enough time. Take his sweater off.”
Cas nodded nervously and pulled the sweater over his head and handed it to Balthazar.
“I... I don't have shoes on...” He said quietly, afraid to turn his brother's aggression onto him.
“I have some boots.” declared Balthazar, as he headed to the nearest closet to hide the sweater. “Here.”
He tossed the sweater away and tossed the boots to Cas in one swift motion. Cas fumbled but managed not to drop them.
Lucifer had since walked away, but Gabe lingered near where Cas sat down on the stairs to tie the boots.
“Where are we going?” Cas questioned.
“There's a nightclub in Sector Eight.”
“Sector Eight?!” Cas shouted, only to be shushed by a couple of his brothers. He finished with his shoes and stood up. Next to Gabe, he was pretty tall. He was pretty tall normally, but Gabe made him seem even taller.
The door opened and the group exited onto the night street.
“Gabriel, you cannot be serious!”
“Don't play dumb, you know what Sector Eight is! It's crawling with criminals and illegal activities, and not to mention bacteria!”
Gabriel took off his jacket and handed it to Cas.
“Then you might want to wear this to cover up your white shirt.”
Cas sighed and slid into the jacket. He had all sorts of complaints about going into Sector Eight. He had all sorts of complaints about even going into Sector Two. If he never had to leave his comfortable bedroom in Sector One, and could stare up at the clear, well treated sky of his well-to-do neighborhood forever, he would certainly endeavor to do so. It was dangerous to venture into the more poor areas, even if they were only one level below his. He didn't want to risk himself. At this point, however, it looked like he had no choice.
Cas winced as a large, sweaty man bumped into him in the dirty Sector Eight street. He burrowed tighter into Gabriel's jacket, trying not to ruin his white shirt by splashing in the perpetual wetness that was the ground here. He watched his feet, sliding through the muck in Balthazar's boots, so that he wouldn't trip and fall or step on anything he'd regret. He didn't understand why Gabriel and his other brothers would want to come to a place like this. It was disgusting. There was all sorts of trash and waste in the streets. The wetness was certainly not just water. He gradually moved more into the group for protection.
“Here we are.” Stated Lucifer. The group stopped. Cas read the sign, blinking in neon above his head.
“The Cavern?” he inquired as most of the others headed inside.
“Yeah,” said Gabriel. “It's one of the more popular ones, and the music's supposed to be great.”
“Hurry up, it isn't safe to stand alone in the street. I wouldn't want you to get robbed.”
“By anyone but you.” Cas added following him in.
“Yes, only I can steal from you.” He smiled.
Most of the other brothers had dispersed into the crowd, leaving Cas and Gabe to stand alone near the back. The Cavern was an old looking place that was packed almost wall to wall with people in dirty looking clothes- though most clothes outside of the first three sectors looked dirty to Cas- in various states of dress rocking to the music coming from a stage at the other side of the room.
Cas felt Gabe nudge him and, though he couldn't hear him, he could see him mouthing to move into the crowd when he turned to look at him. Cas wasn't thrilled about sharing a space with these raunchy people, but he was less thrilled about the chance of being robbed or killed in the event he left Gabe. He hesitantly pushed after his brother until he could clearly see the man singing on the stage in front of him. Gabe swayed next to him, unable to dance with anymore moments in the crowd. Cas stayed still and fixed his eyes on the stage. The singer was dressed in a faded leather jacket and dark, ripped jeans. His plain black tee shirt was also ripped in places. A metal amulet hung on a thin leather rope around his neck, moving with him as he sang. He looked like he had been wearing the same clothes for years, and, living in Sector Eight, he probably had. There was a drummer behind him with black hair, and a short haired blonde girl on a guitar to his right. The girl glanced down and seemed to be looking at him. She winked and he blushed and looked back at the singer.
The singer caught his eye then. His perfectly green eyes locked with Cas's blue ones for a split second and Cas saw a fire in them that he had never seen in the eyes of anyone from Sector One.
The singer smiled- no smirked- at him and broke the eye contact. Cas stood there and continued to watch him, looking over the way he held the microphone, moved his feet with the rhythm, and the way his mouth formed the words to songs he didn't know but assumed were from an era long passed. This was a man from a world he didn't know, nor did he understand.
But he wanted to understand. He wanted to know where the fire in this rough, disheveled looking man's eyes came from despite the Sector in which he made his home.
The show ended and Cas and Gabe could see their brothers gathering near the exit. Before he could make his way to them, however, a hand clapped onto Cas's shoulder. He panicked and attempted to recall what he as taught to do in a threatening situation. All thoughts but fear escaped him though, so he just swung around quickly and tried to connect a fist to his so-called assailant’s face. He failed. The man blocked his fist easily, and gently moved it to the side.
“Whoa, easy now, Buddy.”
Cas found himself locking eyes once again from the singer.
“W-what do you want from me?” He stuttered, looking for a person he could rely on if he was actually assaulted.
Gabe and Balthazar stood by the door watching closely. The others were nowhere in sight.
“I just want to talk.” The singer raised his hands to show he meant no harm, but with his arms raised, Cas could see the gun on his belt that had been hidden by his leather jacket.
“About what?” Cas narrowed his eyes, trying not to look as intimidated as he felt.
“I noticed you from the stage to night. You look different.”
“I look different? How? Have you seen me before?” Cas became even more nervous.
“No, no, I mean, you don't look like the other people around here. You stick out in a crowd, even among the people you walked in with. You know, the ones at the door that look ready to try and kick my ass?”
“Maybe I'm not from around here?”
“Obviously you aren't or I would've seen you before. Your shirt under that jacket is clean white, and you're wearing dress pants. You might have a dirty jacket and boots on, but they don't really suit you. Your hair looks like it was messed up in a hurry. You seem more like you should be sitting around in a sweater drinking fancy tea than going out to a Sector Eight nightclub.”
Cas flashed back to Lucifer telling him to lose the sweater.
“So what? I wanted to come out to see what it was like to do it. Is that not allowed?”
“Probably not in your sector. I'd throw you in with the higher-ups. Two or Three maybe. Sector One is going out on a limb, but you could. I'd have to see you cleaned up. I bet you'd look hot. I mean... “spiffy.” That's a high sector word right?”
Cas's cheeks turned different shades of red. He couldn't tell if it was anger over this low-life insulting his lifestyle, or that fact that he said he might look hot. Either way he was flustered.
“Why don't you leave me alone?” Cas grumbled. “I need to get home. My brothers are waiting.”
“Tell them to go home, and you stay here, have a drink or two with me.”
“You insult my home, then expect me to drink with you? Are you insane?”
“Maybe just a little.” He smirked and Cas's stomach flipped. “I'll make sure you get home safe. I'll personally escort you all the way into Sector Five if you'd like.”
Cas mentally kicked himself for letting his fascination with his man get the better of him. The kick didn't stop him from nodding and walking over to Gabe and Balthazar, and then telling them to head on home.
He walked back over to the singer, then they walked to the bar together, which was now clearly visible as the club cleared of the night's patrons.
“Not that it matters much,” said Cas, “But did you plan on telling me your name? I'd like to know who's treating me.”
“Ooo you must be a higher-up kind of guy. I don't recall saying that the drinks were on me!”
“You trash!” Cas hissed. “I don't want to be here, so why would I pay to stay?!”
“Trash, huh?” the singer looked at him without a readable expression. “It couldn't have been just the idea of a free drink that made you stay with me. I think you clean-cut people in your sanitary technology filled world might be pretty fascinated by the idea of trash.”
He had seen through Cas again.
“But, cool your jets, Sector One, I was going to buy your drink.”
Cas fumed. “My name isn't 'Sector One,' it's Castiel. And I don't recall ever telling you I was from Sector One.”
“Okay, 'Castiel.' Are you from Sector One?” The singer raised two fingers to the girl at the bar and she set out two beers.
“I'm not going to tell you that. At least not until you give me your name.”
“Yeah, that's what I said.”
Cas nodded. “Okay fine.” He leaned in closer to Dean and whispered to him. “Yes, I am from Sector One.”
“I doesn't take a genius to figure that one out, Castiel.” He seemed to stutter over Cas's full name. “And you don't have to whisper. I'm not going to come to your castle in the middle of the night and rob you, either is Jo.” he gestured to the bartender.
“I don't live in a castle, Dean. I live in a house.”
“A huge-ass house probably.”
“Yes, I suppose it is rather large, but-”
“Do you see what sort of houses are around here? You don't? That's right, there are none. I live in a car, and that's more than most people in Sector Eight have. Dude, you live in a castle.”
“Did you just pick me out of the crowd to complain about how horrible your life is, maybe beg me to make Sector One do something about it? Because if that's the case, I'm leaving right now.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “No, Cas, I'm just trying to talk to you.”
Cas was surprised by the way Dean shortened his name, even though everyone he talked to casually did it. Only his older brothers called him 'Castiel' but still it seemed odd to be called a nickname by this stranger.
Cas sipped his drink and winced. It was a cheap, awful tasting beer. He set it back down.
“This is horrible.”
“You'll have to take me out for some rich-people drinks in your fancy castle sometime then.”
“Who says I want to see you again?”
“That twinkle in your eye whenever you experience something new, something that's been a part of my life since I can remember, something that makes you think about the different world outside of Sector One. You're in deep now. You aren't just going to go back to your cozy bed and pretend that this didn't happen.”
Dean was right. Cas was more than hooked. He would be back. He didn't know when, and he didn't know how, but he would see Dean again.
“I'll buy you another shitty drink next time, you can tell me about your pampered life.”
“Why can't I tell you now?”
“Eager suddenly?” Dean raised an eyebrow and Cas recoiled. Oops. He didn't mean to look eager. “It's late, Cas. You should go back home.” He stood. “C'mon, I'll drive you to Sector Five. You can catch a cab there and get back to Sector Two. From there it's a short walk.”
“How does someone from Sector Eight know so much about the upper sectors?” Cas questioned as he followed him outside. Why was he doing that? He must be an idiot. He was in the criminal sector, this guy was going to get him comfortable, then take him outside and rob him, or worse. He couldn't help but to trust him. Dean didn't make him nervous. Actually, that was a lie. Dean made him very nervous, but not in a bad way. He was nervous with excitement.
“My dad.” Dean lead him to an alleyway where what seemed to be a car was parked under a tarp. “He told my brother and me a lot of stuff before he died.”
“You have a brother?”
“Why wouldn't I? You think you're the only one with brothers? Or that only upper sector people have families?”
“No, I- you didn't mention him at all.”
“He's younger. His name's Sam, he lives in another sector.”
Dean leaned on the car and held his arms out. “This. All of this. The Sector Eight life.”
Dean sighed. “On the way home.” he said. “Let's get in the car.”
Cas nodded and Dean pulled the tarp off of his car. It was a very old style black car, though it looked brand new. No wonder he had to hide it. Cas had never seen a car that looked like it. Dean seemed to notice him being befuddled and smiled.
“My Baby.” Dean said, proudly.
“What is that?”
“I suppose... How old is this car?”
“She's from 1967.”
“1967?! How was she not destroyed by now?!”
“You'd be amazed what you can find in a Sector Eight junk lot. Or at least, what my dad could.”
“This was your dad's car?”
“Yep. Okay, get in.” He climbed into the driver's seat. Cas nervously walked around to the passenger seat and also got it.
“So, what do you want to know about me?” Dean said once the car was started and they were moving out of the alley.
“Tell me about your brother and your father.”
“Okay well, my mom died when I was little, so my dad raised us in Sector Eight. He had a job, and that was what killed him.”
“What was that job?”
“Nothing. I don't want to go into that particular past.”
“Okay, anyway, he raised Sam and me, and then Sam decided he wasn't into our dad's job, so he just left.”
Dean crossed the Sector Seven borderline. Cas noticed the area darken without all of Sector Eight's neon lights and whatnot. He was alone in the darkness with Dean now, other than the dashboard lights.
“He was a smart kid. Still is actually. He wandered into Sector Seven at around sixteen and worked his way into the school system. When he graduated, he got a scholarship to a Sector Three university. He's going to school there right now, probably.”
“He's an amazing guy.” Dean smiled to himself. Even in the darkness, Cas could see he looked rather sad though.
“Are you okay?”
“I'm fine. I miss him sometimes. He's the only family that I've got.”
“I understand. Sort of. I lost my father, too.”
They crossed into Sector Six.
“He died and left all of those kids alone?”
“It wouldn't be as bad if he had died. He just left us alone.”
“He just walked out on you? Did he have a wife?”
“I don't remember my mother at all. If I had one at all, she feels like a dream.”
“I remember mine. She was great. But she was killed. That's why we moved to Sector Eight from Five.”
“She was killed in a break-in which ended in an arson. Our house burned down, and we left. My dad took us off to Sector Eight, and I've been there ever since.”
“Why would he take you there?”
“Lots of reasons. I can't explain it to you now, were almost there.”
“You have to tell me about your brothers the next time I see you. Just stop by the Cavern, and I'll meet you after the show.”
They crossed into Sector Five. Dean kept driving though.
“Okay.” Cas said.
Dean began to slow the car after driving almost the entire length of Sector Five in dark silence. When he came to a stop, it was near the Sector Four borderline, in front of a still lit house.
“This is my old house.”
“It's not burned down...?”
“No. It was saved and restored. A new family lives there.”
“It was nicer when mom lived there.”
“I don't doubt that.”
“I've kept you long enough. You should get home to bed.”
“Thank you for the ride, Dean.”
“Anytime. Night, Cas.”
Cas exited the car and stood on the side of the road as Dean pulled around and did a U-turn in the almost empty street. He stood and watched until the car was out of sight, her clean, black paint job reflecting all of the night stars, and then he felt whole, more whole than sitting up on his balcony staring up at them. He didn't fell like he was watching the stars from down below anymore. He felt like he was part of them. He had touched the stars, and his night sky was now driving down the dark Sector Five street housed by a 1967 Chevrolet.