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All the Broken Pieces 2015 SPN J2 Big Bang, NC-17 Jared/Jensen, background Misha/Gen, A/B/O: Omegas are a blessing and Alphas are a curse.  Jensen has been told this his whole life, in the minds of others it goes to justify why all Alphas are enslaved and treated like nothing more than animals.  Jensen is an omega and despite what society and his parents may want him to believe he has never been able to see the slavery system as anything but barbaric.  Despite the circumstances he falls deeply, hopelessly in love with his Alpha slave Jared.  When a slave revolt leaves Jared free and Jensen in danger what they share will be put to the test.
Art byuke_sama_sensei Art Post

One Wrong Step NC-17 Jared/Jensen, Jared/Others A/B/O: werewolves don't typically have mated pairs. Packs have open relationships, and in a healthy pack sex can be an expression of anything from love, to comfort, or simply for pleasure. Jared's pack is anything but healthy. He is beaten and abused by the Alphas in his pack, and when they are seeking new lands he inadvertently winds up in a hunters trap. He is left behind by his pack, and saved by Jensen. The new pack embraces Jared and helps him heal. He enjoys exploring new, healthy, sexual adventures, but he still likes Jensen best.

My Heart Beats For You NC-17 Jared/Jensen From the moment Jared sees the reclusive Jensen he knows, without a doubt that they are meant to be together forever. And he will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

When Jensen's attempts to escape from his stalker unintentionally manages to bring them closer together the line between obsession and love starts to blur. Soon Jensen is no longer sure if he can escape from Jared, or if he really wants to.

Gods Among Men PG-13 Jared/Jensen/Misha Jensen lives a simple, but happy life teaching mythology at a university. But when Jared and Misha both come into his life he starts to understand that love takes many forms, and the gods of mythology he so dearly loves may have a more personal interest in him than he ever imagined.


Little Bird G Dean/Castiel In the future, after the world doesn't end, Dean, Castiel and Sam buy a house and retire from hunting. Castiel spends his time reading, Sam is happy to embrace a quieter way of life, and Dean tries to adjust to life without hunting.

White Collar

Father's Day G Gen Neal and Peter celebrate Father’s Day together.
Title: Counting Stars
Word count: ~12,000
Rating: PG-13
Pairing/Character: Dean/Castiel, Charlie, Dick Roman
Warning: Language, past abuse (non-graphic), minor character death (not graphic), canon character death in non-canon ways, referenced suicide.

Summary:  It was supposed to be simple.  When Dean planned it out, it had all made sense.  He was going to kidnap Castiel Roman, son of the 'philanthropist' Dick Roman and use the ransom money to fix what Dick had broken in the first place.  Not many people knew the monster Dick really was, not the way Dean did.  But his plans he didn't expect, and the more he gets to know Castiel the more he understands he has much reason to hate Dick Roman as Dean himself.  Soon they both must decide what - and who - matters most and exactly how far they are willing to go to get what they want.

A/N: I'd like to thank my absolutely wonderful artist lotrspnfangirl who made me the most amazing art for my story!  Her images really made my story come alive and I am in awe of what she was able to create.  If you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to do so and let her know how ubelievably talented she is, she deserves all the praise!

My eteranl grattitude to my beta salparadiselost whose honest critques and helpful advice made my story many times better than it was.  I am extremely happy I was able to work with such a talented beta who could help me make my story into what I wanted it to be.

Few stories have ever given me as much trouble as this one did but I'm glad I preserved.  I love the way it all came together and the art I was able to recieve made the whole thing more than worth it.  This was my first time participating in the Dean Cas Mini/Big Bang and it certainly won't be my last. :)

AO3 - This will absolutely be posted to AO3, but due to technically difficulties I probably won't have it posted on there until sometime tommorrow.

Counting Stars Chapter Four

Castiel stood contemplating the house he knew so well. For most of his life it had felt like a prison, the walls closing in on him. But now it felt somehow underwhelming, just wood and mortar, not the stifling cage he had once seen it as.
When he walked in his father was waiting for him, unsurprisingly given the amount of surveillance the man had invested in.
“You’re alive.” His tone was one of a man commenting on the weather.
“I am…I managed to escape.”
“I can see that.” He hadn’t exactly expected a warm reception, but he had half expected that his father would at least pretend to be happy to see him. “Do you know who took you?”
“I don’t. I never saw their face.”
“Well, then I suppose that’s the end of it. I’m just glad you’re safe.” This time he managed to muster enough emotion to sound almost sincere. “What are you wearing?” This time he sounded genuinely horrified as he looked Castiel over.
He was stilling wearing Dean’s clothes. He had grown used to feeling of denim and the soft material of the hoodie that he had forgotten to retrieve his own clothes before he left.
“It’s…a long story. But that’s not what’s important. I thought I was going to die, and it brought clarity. It made me realize how small and vulnerable I am on my own. I saw for the first time what you’ve been trying to show me. Without power I’m nothing. I…I want to take over the company, like you wanted. If you still are willing.”
A smile that tugged at the corner of his father’s mouth and he put one hand on Cas’s shoulder, “Of course son. I’m proud of you, I knew you’d come around eventually.”
It was the first time he had ever told Cas he was proud of him, and it took a good deal of effort not to pull away from the hand that was grasping his shoulder. He doubted his father could see how bitter and broke Castiel’s smile was. All he could see was the good son who had finally become what he was supposed to be.

A bell above the door rang softly as he opened the door and stepped inside the small shop. The woman at the counter looked up smiling. “Hi, can I help you with anything?”
“I saw the sign in the window. Are you still looking for someone?”
Her smile brightened, “That I am. It’s a small town and not many people are looking to work in a bookstore these days. It’s all about e-books, no one appreciates the beauty of ink and paper anymore.”
He looked around the shop, it was a small shop, but clean and the neat rows of books lined up gave it a charm all its own. The shop was free of flash and didn’t try to draw attention to itself, sitting quietly minding it’s own business, much like its owner. It was nothing like what he was used to, and exactly what he needed in his life.
She looked at him quizzically, “Are you sure? You don’t sound thrilled about it.”
“It’s…uh…my legal name, but I don’t usually go by it.” The name still didn’t fit him right. It was the name on his ID, so he was going to have to get used to it. But it didn’t feel like him.
“Okay…’Clarence.’ Is there something else I can call you?”
“Cas.” Lilith had told him he could choose another name, something to go by if not his new ‘legal’ name. But there was nothing else that fit him quite right.
“Nice to meet you, Cas. I’m Anna. Tell me, why do you want to work here? Have you ever worked in a bookstore before?”
“Not exactly. I guess I need a change. I need something quiet. Books make people happy. And that’s all I want, to do something that helps people.”
Anna nodded, “I can respect that. Well congratulations, Cas, you’re hired.”
“Just like that?” He had expected much more of a process. Everything had been a fight for him, he wasn’t sure he could trust anything that went easily.
“Sure, you seem nice and you want the job. If things don’t work out, we can renegotiate. But I believe in giving people a chance and you certainly seem like you could use one.
A new name, a new town, a new life. It was everything he had once wanted. But now sitting in a café in a small town where no one knew him, he could only think of his old life and of a man with green eyes. He had officially started his new life as a “Clarence Novak” a little over a week ago and he was finding his new life to be less satisfying than he had expected. He liked the quiet, the peace, and most of all the freedom. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Dean. It was better this way, he wasn’t good for Dean. His father would never stop looking for him. He knew it wouldn’t take much for the man to figure out what had happened, and the true depths of Castiel’s betrayal. And Dick was not a man who gave up easily. As long as he was associated with Dean and Charlie he would only put them in danger. Castiel wasn’t fooling himself, his freedom was only going to be short lived. It wouldn’t be long before…he wasn’t exactly sure what would happen. Before he came face to face with his father once more? Before he was found dead in a ditch? Before he mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again? Whatever happened, it wouldn’t be good. A man as powerful and connected as his father was would inevitably find him. As long as Dick was alive, Castiel would never be safe. The only thing he could was distance himself from the people he cared about.
He sipped his coffee and scrolled through the news on his phone. It still brought him a deep sense of satisfaction witnessing evidence of Dick’s fall from grace. Everything he cared about most had been stripped away. One headline jumped out and Castiel froze. “Renowned ‘philanthropist’ found dead.” He couldn’t stop the way his hand shook as he clicked on the article scrolling down,
“The case involving Dick Roman continues to unfold. He was found dead this morning, and while investigations continue, it is rumored that it was suicide. After it became public that he had embezzled millions from what was supposed to be a charitable organization, along with accusations of more serious allegations, Mr. Roman was not available for comment. It now appears that the infamy of his name, and the dissolution of his empire proved to be too much for him to handle.”

He couldn’t bring himself to read any farther. A chill ran through him and his racing thoughts began to quiet until only one remained: It was over. It was finally over. He felt suddenly exposed, like a light was shining on him, and everyone must be watching him. He stumbled to his feet, nearly knocking his chair over. A quick look around told him that even this had drawn little attention. No one knew him, no one cared about him. Something significant had happened, everything he had been fighting for, everything he had been through, and it was finally over. This should be momentous, there should be something, but to everyone else it was another day, and Castiel another stranger in a coffee shop.
It wasn’t a long walk to the small apartment he was renting. Each step felt heavy, he waited for some sense of relief or happiness, or hell, even sadness to grip him. Instead he felt empty and cold. He was free of his father’s rule forever. It still didn’t feel real. But with each step it felt as if a weight was pressing him down. He had cut off all ties from Dean, he had made sure there was nothing left to connect them. He had done it all to protect him, and now the danger was gone, and he was alone. He had broken all ties with his old life, and he felt untethered, lost with a way back to the only man he had ever truly cared about.
He made his way up the flight of stairs, listening to the soft murmur of voices behind closed doors. He unlocked his door and walked inside, dropping his keys onto the table, the soft clink breaking the quiet. His empty apartment greeted him, welcoming him into the emptiness of his life. Even Amadeus hadn’t come to greet him. It seemed even his cat had decided to abandon him when he needed someone the most.
Feeling sorry for himself wasn’t going to do any good. But it was hard for him to feel motivated to do anything else.
“Get the fuck off me. What the fuck is wrong with you?!” The sharp voice broke the silence like a gunshot and Castiel looked up to see Dean emerge from his bedroom attempting to dislodge his cat from his leg.
“Cas, I hate to break it to you, but I think your cat is a demon.”
Castiel stood in shocked silence, was this real? Or maybe he had finally lost his mind and was hallucinating, yeah, that seemed more likely.
“Damn. That would have been so cool. I was going to wait for you to come home then surprise you with something a lot more dignifned. Whatever. Apparently your cat hates me.”
“Amadeus.” It was all Castiel could bring himself to say.
“What? Are you possessed to? Is that why you left?”
Castiel shook his head, feeling like he was waking from a dream. “The cat’s name is Amadeus. It means ‘love of God.’ He was a stray I found wandering around outside, half starved, so I took him in.” Was this really happening? It felt surreal, standing talking to a man he never thought he’d see again, about his cat of all things.
“Okay, that’s fine and all. But I gotta be honest, if we have kids we’re not going to name them after angels, or whatever. We’re giving them nice, normal sounding names.”
Castiel looked up at that, meeting Dean’s eyes. Amadeus had made his way over to Castiel, sitting next to him, eyes narrowed at the intruder, indicating his clear displeasure. “Kids?”
Dean shifted, looking suddenly uncertain of himself. “Yeah, I mean, that’s a long way off, I haven’t forgiven you for leaving yet.”
Castiel tried to swallow past the lump in his throat. He wanted to close the gap between them, but couldn’t bring himself to move. They stood the distance between them interminable now as Castiel tried to find the words to make Dean understand.
But he didn’t need to say anything, Dean crossed the space between them and pulled Castiel against him. The kiss was slow and possessive, as if Dean would never let Castiel go.
The day Castiel had met Dean his life had ended and began anew. And now Castiel was going to learn what it really meant to live.

Counting Stars Chapter Three

He wanted to forget about his problems, and Dean had a solution, maybe not the one Castiel wanted, but one that seemed sufficient at the time.
So really it was Dean’s fault. That night he said he needed a drink, and what started with one shot turned into two. It wasn’t Castiel’s fault that he might have had one too many shots. Or perhaps three too many.
Dean watched with amusement as Castiel knocked over his glass and attempted to right it, only to give up. “Come on Cas, I think it’s time to get you to bed.”
Cas put his arms around Dean’s neck, pushing against him clumsily. His tone remained light, only slightly slurring his words. His smile was sloppy, and he smelled like whiskey. He had to give him credit, he wasn’t nearly as drunk as Dean had thought he would be by this point. But he was still drunk, and this was wrong. The other man was a warm weight against him, and as Cas leaned in closer, it took an effort to make himself push him away. “Cas, we can’t. This whole thing is too fucked up as it is. It wouldn't be right.” The last part was as much of a reminder to himself as it was Cas. He had never been one to run from temptation, rather as Charlie had once accused him, he was more likely ‘to follow temptation home like a lost puppy.’ And the way Cas was one temptation he didn’t want to run from.
Cas made a frustrated noise, eyes narrowing, looking a bit like a pissed off cat. “Now you’ve decided to take the moral high ground.”
Dean sighed, feeling suddenly very tired. This was all his fault, from the kidnapping to the whiskey, he couldn’t seem to get it right. “Cas, you're drunk.” He didn’t try to hide the weariness in his tone.
“I know.” Cas snapped, “and who’s fault is that?” Dean was having decidedly mixed feelings over drunken Cas. “You’re more than happy to mess up my life, it’s okay as long as you’re in control. But when it comes to what I want you suddenly discover a conscious. I had an out. I worked hard to escape my father, then you came along messed it all up. I’m not going back to the way things were before, I’m never going back.” There was a dark bitterness in his voice that cut through him. He felt the painful twist of guilt starting to sober him a little.
“Look, I’m sorry, about everything. But this isn't about you or me, it's about fixing what Dick fucking Roman broke.
"And what is that exactly? What is did you think you'd accomplish anyway?"
“He killed my mom.” There was a part of Dean’s brain that knew he shouldn’t be giving away too much detail about himself. But that part was losing out to the part that was soaked in whiskey. He wanted Cas to know, he wanted him to understand why he had done all of this, that he wasn’t a monster. “She worked for him, for one of his charities. She started to see discrepancies and when she looked deeper she discovered somethings she wasn’t supposed to know. So he had her killed. There wasn’t enough evidence to prove that it was him, but it was. My dad became obsessed with proving what happened, and when he started to get close, he was killed in a car accident. I couldn’t just let it go. I started making a fuss, trying to get people to at least look at the man, see who he really was. I didn’t care what happened to me. But I wasn’t the one he went after. My brother, Sammy, he’s in college, or he was. He had a full ride scholarship, but Dick pulled some strings and got that taken away. Apparently killing off the entire Winchester clan might have brought up too many suspicions. So he punished Sam to make a point. The money I wanted for ransom, it’s enough for Sammy to finish college and start a new life. He’s deserves that much. He doesn’t deserve to suffer for my mistakes.”
Cas looked slightly, and only slightly, more sober after Dean finished talking. “Dean, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I knew, I knew my father had done something. I saw you on a video once. Someone had taken it off you talking about what a monster he was. I remember my father talking about what to do about you. That was back when he still thought I would take over. I never forgot that desperation, that pain. I knew whatever he had done to you, it must be bad, but I never imagined….”
“Shit. You know my name?” It was like a bucket of cold water, here he thought he had been so careful and Castiel knew him the whole time.
“And who exactly am I going to tell, Dean? As far as I’m concerned my father is the one who deserves to be in jail, not you. I’ll never be free of him. He’ll be the dark shadow hanging over me until the day I die.”
It appeared Cas had crossed from ‘fun drunk’ to ‘hopeless drunk.’ Dean knew that state well and nothing good ever came of it.
“Okay, yeah, I think this was a bad idea all around. Let’s get you to bed.” Castiel didn’t resist this time, letting Dean half carry, half drag him to the old bed that had apparently become his. It was far more comfortable than the sofa Dean had been sleeping on.
Dean woke up feeling surprisingly comfortable, and warm. There was a warm solid weight lying against him. Just as he came to realize he had apparently fallen asleep, fully clothed, snuggled up with Cas, he also noticed they had a witness.
Charlie was standing in the door way smirking at him and when their eyes met she gave him a “really?” look. Dean did his best to carefully extricate himself from Castiel without waking the sleeping man and followed her into the kitchen.
“We need to talk.” Charlie began, then hesitated, it wasn’t like her to not say what was on her mind,
whatever it was must be serious.
“Oh Charlie, are you breaking up with me, after everything we’ve been through, that’s cold.” He
kept his tone light despite the gnawing concern inside him.
She rolled her eyes at that, “It’s about Castiel….I think we made a mistake when we “borrowed’ him. I
don’t think we can go through with our original plan, at this point it feels wrong.”
Dean felt like a weight had been lifted off of him, he had been trying to find a way to bring up this exact
subject. He had been pre$y sure Charlie would feel the same way, but she was in this as deep as he was
and he had been afraid she might not be having second thoughts like he was.
“I couldn’t agree more.” At his words he could see some of the tension leave Charlie as well, apparently
she had been as worried about this conversaon as he had been.
“Cas has no idea where this cabin is, and I have a pretty good feeling he’s pretty motivated not to go to the cops. We could cut our losses and get out. Cas isn’t going to do anything to draw attention to himself, so he isn’t exactly going to make a fuss about the whole kidnapping thing. We can take him back to town, drop him off and be on our way. He never has to anywhere we are going and we never see each other again. I know it’s not exactly what you wanted but given what we know now, I think it’s the best solution for everyone involved. We part ways and never see each other again.”
Dean shifted, feeling uncertain. She was right, it was the best solution for everyone. No harm, no loss. But he couldn’t go back to the way things were. It couldn’t end. He needed justice for his family if he was ever to know peace. But it was more than that…
“I can’t walk away. Not now. I’m in too deep to get out.”
Charlie narrowed her eyes at him, “Have you developed Stockholm syndrome? Is that what this is about?”
“I don’t think that’s how that works. I’m pretty sure only the victim develops Stockholm syndrome, besides, doesn’t that take a long time? I don’t think a week’s enough.”
She stared at him for a moment before speaking, “That wasn’t really my point. You want to save him, don’t you?”
“I’m not going to ‘rescue’ anyone. I’m not a knight in shining armor and Cas isn’t a princess in a tower….but yeah, I want to help him. I think we owe it to him. I mean, he was doing fine before we came along, but we can’t leave it the way it is. He needs us, if we can help him, I think we have an obligation to.”
Once Cas was finally awake and Dean had given him his fool proof hanger over cure, he sat Cas down to talk to him about what he and Charlie had decided to do.
“Charlie and I,” Since Cas already knew who he was, he had given up on the presence of fake names, “we have a plan. Do you trust me?”
“I do trust you, perhaps I shouldn’t, but I do. I don’t believe many people have ever treated me as well as you have.”
“Okay, that’s a whole level of fucked up we are going to set aside to deal with later. For now we have a downfall to plot.”
Dean glanced between Cas and Charlie. Honestly, it had never occurred to him that Dick Roman wouldn’t pay up. His family had their issues, but he knew that his dad would have done anything to keep him and Sam safe. “Actually, this whole ‘kidnapping thing’ was our plan B. I mean, it wasn’t like kidnapping was my first choice.”
Castiel perked up at that, “What was plan A?”
It had been something he had been thinking about, there was a small glimmer of hope that his plan might actually work. But it would require the help of Cas, a possibility that had seemed impossible. “Charlie created this program sort of thing.” He didn’t entirely understand most of what she did, but he did know that she was the best at what she did. No one was quite like her. “If she could get it installed in Dick’s computer than she could hack him, clear out his bank accounts, have access to everything. The only problem is Dick is too careful. He has too many security measures in place. Every time she tried to gain access, he blocked her out. If we could get close enough to him that someone could put a thumbdrive in his computer then Charlie could gain access. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen. But now… you could get me in. Tell me everything, security codes, weaknesses, the whole nine yards and I could gain access to Dick’s computer.”
It would be perfect, he barely dared hope that it could finally end.
“No.” Cas’ reply came through him like a knife.
“What do you mean ‘no’?” Dean’s eyes narrowed, a dangerous tone to his voice.
“I…uh…I mean no. It’s too dangerous. He would catch you and that would be the end of it. He could make you disappear. But he wouldn’t even have to. If someone like him catches an intruder in his home, it would be an easy thing for him to claim self-defense if something unfortunate happened. You can’t do it….but I can. I can tell him that I escaped. He doesn’t exactly trust me, but I he wouldn’t be suspicious of me either. He thinks he has me properly cowed. I could do it and he wouldn’t suspect a thing until it was too late.”
“And what about afterwards? What would happen when he realized what had happened, right after your miraculous return home? You think he wouldn’t suspect you then?”
“I could –“
“No. Fuck no.”
“But Dean –“
“No. End of story.”
There was a tense moment when he thought Cas was going to keep arguing with him, but with a breath he could see all the fight leave the other man.
“Fine. We’ll do it your way.”
The glimmer of hope in Dean flared into a beacon, this was happening, he could get everything he wanted, and keep Cas safe while he was at it. Dean’s celebration was short lived though.
“But I want out. I’m done. If you're going to risk your life, then fine, that’s your prerogative. But then I don’t want to be a part of it. I want that packet that Lilith gave me, and once I’m on my way to a new life, then I’ll text Charlie everything you need to know.” There was a dark edge to Cas’ voice and Dean knew he wasn’t messing around.
“Cas, we can talk about this.” He hated how desperate he sounded.
“I think I’ve had enough of controlling men.”
Dean’s clenched his teeth together to prevent himself from speaking rashly. After a beat he replied, “Fine. I’ll go get it.” He turned and walked out without waiting for a reply.
The drive to the bus station was a quiet one for the most part. Cas was slumped over against the door staring out the window. His normal rigid posture had relaxed and right now it made the man look like he was weighed down unable to sit straight. Dean shifted, feeling restless as he drove. He reached for the dial to play music, then had second thoughts and withdrew his hand. He started to speak, then stopped. He wasn’t sure what the right thing to say was, and honestly he didn’t know what he wanted to say. Given the circumstances nothing seemed quite right.
“I’m sorry.” Castiel didn’t look away from the window as he spoke and voice sounded as defeated as his posture made him look.
“You’re sorry?” His voice betrayed his shock and disbelief. “What are you sorry for? Wait…is this Stockholm syndrome? Is that what’s going on?” He hadn’t ever given someone Stockholm syndrome before and he wasn’t entirely sure what to do about it if he did.
Cas did look over at that, “no, I don’t have Stockholm syndrome.” ‘You idiot’ was not stated outright, but was clearly sub textual given Cas’s tone. “Stockholm syndrome would require an extremely long period of captivity, and even then is quite rare.”
“Well, I’m sorry then. I didn’t exactly read up on Stockholm syndrome. It didn’t occur to me beforehand….you know what? That’s not the point. What are you sorry about?”
Cas sat silently and Dean wondered if he had reconsidered what he was going to say. “I’m sorry for everything. I was selfish. I wanted to get away from my father. I didn’t think about all of his victims. That’s not true. I did think about it, but I didn’t try to fix it. I only thought about myself. I’m sorry you were caught up in all of this.”
“Cas, this is not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. Evil men like him are to blame, people who think they can do whatever the hell they want without consequence.”
Castiel looked at him for a long moment but didn’t respond, and the silence filled the confined space before Cas looked away, back out the window. Dean wanted to understand what was going on in his head, what he was thinking, but he knew he had no right to ask.
They arrived at their destination and Dean turned off the engine. He took a deep breath and tried to draw out the last few moments they had together.
“Where will you go?”
“It’s probably best you don’t know.” Castiel’s voice was even, but it cut through Dean like a knife.
“Okay.” His reply was curt but if Cas noticed he didn’t say anything.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve been kidnapped.” The non sequitur surprised him, but he didn’t respond and Cas continued.
“I was 10. It wasn’t too long after my mom died, I was out at the park with my nanny and a man grabbed me. I was so scared, but he took me to this old house with a creaky porch and gave me candy and I watched TV with his sister. I had so much fun that I begged them not to give me back. I didn’t want to leave and return to my father. I think his sister was considering it, but he talked her out of it. My father is a dangerous man, and they had already crossed him, I think he thought ransom was one thing; actually keeping a child was too dangerous. My dad paid the ransom; I cried the day they returned me to him. I refused to tell the police–or him–anything. I told them that I didn’t see who took me and that I had no information to give them. I don’t think my father believed me, but he couldn’t prove anything. But there was something about that day. He was so happy to have me back that I think he was scared for me. It was the first time in a long time that I started to feel like he loved me. My nanny was fired, and he was good to me for a little while after that. I even began to believe he might have changed. But then he went back to being his old self, not all at once, by degrees. But eventually his true nature reasserted itself. That’s what it comes down to I think, people can pretend to be something they are not, but who they are will present itself, eventually.”
Dean sat silently for a few moments, uncertain what to say to that. He finally settled on, “So is this the part where you ask me not to let you go? Just keep you here with me.” He kept his tone flippant but there was a knot in his chest as he waited for an answer.
Castiel gave a soft sigh, “I’m not a child, or a lost dog Dean. I don’t expect you to keep me, or save me. I can take care of myself. As it happens, I was doing a pretty good job getting away from my father on my own. At least, that’s what I was telling myself. But I’ll never be free. He isn’t the sort of person who lets people go. He would have found me eventually, and even I did get away, it would have meant living with the guilt that I didn’t do anything to try to stop him. I’ll never be free of him, not as long as I’m alive–or he is.”
He wanted to say something, he wanted to promise Castiel everything would be okay. He wanted to tell him he had a plan, and that soon enough everything would be over. But he couldn’t promise that, and the last thing Castiel needed was one more person making promises they couldn’t keep. But what he could do was help Castiel take control of his own life.
“Then I suggest you get going. The sooner you're safely off to wherever the fuck you're going, the sooner Charlie and I can take care of our end.” There was no point in drawing this out any longer.
Castiel just nodded and opened the door, stepping out, before closing it behind him with a sound of finality.
Dean paced back and forth across the floor, the old wooden boards creaking in protest with each heavy step.
“It hasn’t been that long, Dean, he’ll come through.”
“It’s been hours Charlie, fucking hours. Maybe that whole ‘woe is me’ thing was an act. Maybe he went straight back to Dick fucking Roman and called the cops or something.”
“You don’t really believe that. And even if he did, you didn’t exactly have a choice. Dick was going to pony up ransom and you couldn’t exactly drag Castiel around with you for the rest of your life.”
Dean narrowed his eyes at her and started to reply, then stopped. She was right, of course he knew that. It didn’t change the fact that he could have let his best and only shot at taking down Dick slip away.
“Are you worried he won’t come through? Or are you worried something might have happened to him?”
“Cas is fine.” He snapped. He was fine, he had to be.
“Okay, sorry I said anything.” Charlie put her hands up in mock surrender and left Dean to return to his pacing.

Counting Stars Chapter Two

He went in and out of consciousness, never able to achieve a deep sleep, rather patches of restless sleep that eventually brought him to morning.

He was awoken by the sound of Deans voice.
Deans voice faced once more he laid still contemplating his situation. He had wanted to be free of his father, and now he was. It might not be the way he had been expecting, but here he was, far from the man who had controlled every aspect of his life. He closed his eyes, moving into a more comfortable position. He listened listening to the sounds of the forest, so different from the constant thrum of noise of the city. Under other circumstances it would have been peaceful, ideal.
He couldn’t quite make out the words but he could hear his voice was heated, and he was pacing again. There was the sound of another voice, higher than his, and he knew this must be the mysterious associate his kidnapper had been talking about. The pacing stopped, then started again. Eventually they moved further into the cabin and he wasn’t able to hear anything else. He listened to the silence for a while, and this time when he fell asleep he didn’t awake until it was light out.
He moved his stiff muscles protesting the awkward sleeping position. He sat up, trying to fix his clothes that had bunched and twisted in uncomfortable ways while he slept. He wasn’t awake long before he heard the sound of footsteps coming towards him. He unconsciously sat up ramrod straight, something his father had drilled into him, to always maintain good posture. It was the only reason he always wore a suit. His father firmly believed that, Castiel was a reflection on the company and maintaining a proper appearance was paramount. No need for anyone to know what went on behind closed doors as long as the outward appearance was a favorable one.
Dean, 'Smith', as Castiel needed to remember to call him, walked into his room and leaned against the door frame, “Sleep well?” He asked. Castiel didn’t know what to say, so stayed silent, looking down rather than at the other man.
“Fine, have it your way.” He walked towards the bed and Castiel couldn’t stop pushing back, away from him, towards the wall. But Dean was undeterred and didn’t comment as he unlocked the cuffs from Castiel’s wrist, and put a hand on his arm to pull him up. "Come on,” was all he gave in way of explanation as he led Castiel into the cabin. He walked along obediently, and felt no small amount of relief when he was led the bathroom, opening the door and gesturing for him to enter. “Go on, you can clean up and take a shower. I can’t guarantee the water will be hot, the plumbing system in this place is a bit iffy at best.” There was a fond affection in the man’s voice when he talked about the cabin and Castiel wondered what this place meant to him. But he knew better than to ask, instead walking into the bathroom, grateful for the time alone, the closing behind him.
He felt a good deal of relief as he shed his layers of clothes and studied himself in the mirror. Bruises and scars, old and new, covered his body. Nothing he wasn’t used to. But his wrist was sore and raw from the cuffs, he must have been having nightmares and had thrashed hard against the metal. He rarely remembered his dreams, and they came back to him as an impression of pain and a pervasive, consuming darkness.
There was nothing in the bathroom, not even a toothbrush. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap were the only commodities left him. He supposed this was a precaution done to ensure he didn’t try to arm himself. The idea was almost amusing. Dean had a gun, and he was afraid that what, Castiel would try to stab him with a toothbrush? It didn’t matter anyway, Castiel wasn’t going to try to escape. He had no idea where he was, and his survival instinct was too strong to take any chances. That was one thing Castiel was good at it, he might not be selfless or brave, but he was a survivor.

He climbed into the shower and was pleased to find that Dean’s prediction about the water was incorrect, it was actually quite warm. He showered, enjoying the water thoroughly and stayed in as long as he felt like he could justify. When he stepped out, he found a towel and clothes waiting for him. His clothes were still present in a pile on the floor, but on the counter there was a folded t-shirt, hoodie and jeans. He hesitated, looking between the two. Giving him clothes to change into was a kindness he hadn’t expected from the man who had taken him. And as much as he wanted to make a point by putting his own clothes back on, he loathed the thought of getting back into the suit.

When he emerged from the bathroom, as he expected, Dean was waiting outside the door for him. “Good, I was hoping the clothes would fit, they are a little big, but not too bad.” He paused before adding, “You look shorter somehow, out of the suit.”

Castiel tried to keep his expression blank, but must have given something away because the other man smirked before adding, “It’s a good look on you. You look less stuffy and uptight out of the suit.”

He did feel better like this. Physically at least, he was still fighting against the growing panic of his situation.

“Look, things have become a bit more…complicated. This might take a bit longer than I anticipated. I know the accommodations aren’t exactly the ritz, probably a pretty far cry from what you're used to, but I think we can make it work for a little longer. Anything I should I know about, any allergies? I don’t want to accidentally poison you.”

Castiel fixated on the word complicated. He was going to be here longer than Dean had expected. There weren’t many things that could cause ‘complications’…except. “My father wouldn’t pay the ransom, would he?” He blurted it out without thinking. As soon as he said it he wished he could take the words back. He already knew the answer, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear confirmation.

Dean shifted, looking uncomfortable. “No. My associate thinks your father thinks we’re bluffing, she thinks if we give it a day or two he’ll come around. Or maybe he’s already contacted the police or something.” He said it as if he was trying to reassure Castiel as much as he was trying to convince himself. Castiel nodded, as if he believed that was true. He didn’t ask, and didn’t want to know, what they had told his father, what threat he believed they were ‘bluffing’ over. He wanted to believe his father was biding his time that he truly cared about getting Castiel back. But a part of him had always expected this. Perhaps his father was relieved to be done with Castiel once and for all.

Dean let out a soft curse and Castiel looked up, uncertain what he was doing. “Your hand looks terrible, come on, I can get that patched up.” He led Castiel into the living room and sat down on a beaten up old flannel sofa, indicating for Castiel to sit by him. Dean pulled out a duffle bag and got out gauze and antiseptic and set to work cleaning the cuts and scrapes where the metal had cut into him.

Something had changed. Dean’s demeanor was different now, his actions seemed softer, less severe. Even the smiling skull of the bandana covering his face looked less intimidating. He wondered what had caused the change of heart. He had thought that being denied ransom would have made him angrier, he had expected to feel the full weight of the man’s wrath. Dean fixed up how wrist in silence, working with a practiced precision that made Castiel wonder if Dean had experience mending wounds.
Dean looked up when he was done, “there, that should feel better. Look, as long as you promise not to go anywhere, we can do away with the cuffs. I mean, honestly, I don’t see you getting very far, anyway. We are pretty far from civilization.”
“Why are you doing?” Cas’s voice was soft and he didn’t look up from the bandage on his hand. He could feel Dean’s eyes assessing him, and he doubted the other man missed the bruises and marks he tried to hide.
“It’s not about the money, if that’s what you’re thinking. I mean, it is about the money, but mostly it’s about making things right. Dick Roman isn’t a good man. But I suspect you already know that.” Dean was silent, as if waiting for an answer. When he didn’t get one, he continued, “I’m guessing you know first hand exactly what kind of a monster he is. But why stay silent? Why not tell the world what he’s really like?”
Castiel shifted, uncertain of how to make Dean understand. “He’s controlled my life. He made sure I was never in a position to talk to anyone that mattered, not without supervision. He rarely lets me leave the house. He has been trying to groom me into his successor since I was a child. For a long time I went along, because it was easier that way. But as I got older and his expectations of me became….darker, I began to resist his control. He didn’t take it well.”
“So that’s why you have the fake IDs? Trying to get away?”
“Yes. It took me a long time to find a way out, to find someone who, I couldn’t trust exactly, but I was reasonably sure wouldn’t turn me in. You can’t send me back to him. Even if he does pay the ransom, I can’t go back. Tell him I’m dead, tell him you killed me or I ran away, anything. Please.” He hated the desperation in his voice, and when he was met with silence he looked up. He didn’t expect to see Dean looking sad and for a moment Castiel thought he might give in.
“I can’t do that. Not yet. There’s still a chance Dick might pay if he thinks you’re alive. If he does…we’ll figure something out.”
It wasn’t exactly the answer he was hoping for, but it was more than he had been expecting.
The next few days passed in a sort of haze for Castiel. He was allowed more freedom, Dean even let him go outside. Castiel wanted to believe it was because Dean was beginning to see Castiel was not like his father, and was a good person. But he knew it was most likely because Castiel had no way of finding his way to civilization, even if he wasn’t locked up. He was supervised, Dean would stay close wherever he went. He found his presence felt less ominous, and he began to become accustomed to the man’s presence.
Dean’s “associate” started streaming movies on her laptop and introduced Castiel to a show called “Dr. Sexy M.D.” Dean would sigh and roll his eyes every time he saw them watching it.
As the days passed and Castiel remained unsurprised that his father had no interest in helping him. It would be easier this way, if Castiel just went away. Perhaps it should have, but it didn’t bother Castiel overly much. What did bother him was Dean’s continued refusal to give a definite answer as to what was going to happen.

Counting Stars Chapter One

He had been hearing the constant ticking of the countdown in his head for days. ‘In three days his life would be over.’ ‘In two days his life would be over…one day….thirteen hours…” And now it was finally time. And here he was standing alone in a dark alley behind a disreputable bar, very seriously wondering if this was all a set up. Maybe this was all a way to get his money. Hell, maybe this was aa plot by his father to once and for all test his loyalties. All his planning and plotting and hard work might all be for nothing. One way or another It would be over soon. Either his plan would come to fruition and he would be free, or this would all be a set up and he would be right back under his father’s control. There was no turning back now.
He met her behind a bar, somewhere he had never been before, and would never be again if all went according to plan. It wasn’t him. And in a way he still couldn’t believe he was going to do this. The creeping sense of impending doom hadn’t left him, he expected something to happen. He thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye, he could swear the shadows were getting longer, stretching menacingly over him. He took a few deep breaths, trying to steady his nerves. It was times like this that he wished he smoked. Wasn’t that what people did? When something was going down, they would light up a cigarette to steady their frayed nerves. He supposed he could take it up. He could do anything now. Who he was, was about to die, and he could reinvent himself.

He waited long enough that he wondered if she wasn't going to show after all. He jumped he heard the soft sound of footsteps, when his contact approached, her soft steps not giving her presence away until she was close.
"You need to calm, down,” she said, “it would be a shame for you to go through all of this only to die of a heart attack."
“I’m fine.” His voice was terse and at her quizzical look he had to bite back the impulse to apologize. He had a right to be on edge and he didn’t suppose Lilith was the sort to be easily offended. He let out a breath and his voice was less harsh this time, “can we get this over with?"
He had been expecting something more cloak and dagger. He had been expecting to drop the money off at some undisclosed location at the stroke of midnight, instead he had been given an account number with instructions to deposit a rather sizeable sum of money.
She shrugged and pulled a package out of her jacket and handed it to him. “This is everything you need, passport, IDs, documents, the whole nine yards. These are the best fakes money can buy. They even come with a past. You attended elementary school, you are college graduate, and for a time you held a library card. If anyone looks into your past, they will find evidence that you did exist. You didn’t just appear out the ether. But, be careful, these are still fakes and too much research will raise questions. If anyone wants to they will be able to figure out you aren’t who you are supposed to be. Nothing is bullet-proof, but this is about as good as it gets. You could still be recognized of course, but that shouldn’t be an issue as long as you go somewhere far, far away.”

He wasn’t too worried about being recognized. He had been careful to stay out of the eye of the media, unlike his father, he hated being under the spotlight and had taken measures to protect his privacy. Besides, no one cared about him. He lived in the shadow of a more powerful man, and he was only too happy to do so. He never wanted to outshine his father, he only wanted to be away from him.

He looked through the packet pulling out a driver’s license to see his new name. He looked up at the woman, his eyes narrowed. “Clarence, really? You couldn’t have come up with something…less old fashioned?”

“What?” Her eyes were wide with feigned innocence. “Didn’t you say your mom was fond over angels? I thought you’d appreciate it. Besides, it’s not as if Castiel is such an unextraordinary name.”
It was true, his mom had believed that angels watched over them, kept them safe. He had been born on a Thursday and she believed naming him after the angel of Thursdays would bring him luck through his life. She used to tell him that angels were always watching over him, and no matter how bad things got, there would be someone looking out for him. Looked like she had been wrong. Talking about her now made him feel ill at ease. He wondered if she was watching him, now, what she would think of what had transpired.

“Besides,” Lilith continued, “It’s just a name on an ID. This is your chance to redefine yourself. You can be whoever you want to be. A lot of people go by something besides their legal name. No one will think it too odd if you choose a new one. If I could give you a piece of advice…”

He didn’t think he could stop her.

“If you want to leave your life behind, then you don’t want anyone to look too closely at you. Don’t do anything that might draw attention, from the police or anyone else. Don’t be interesting, don’t be extraordinary. Don’t be amazing, don’t do anything to draw anyone’s attention. Live an uninteresting, unextraordinary life.”

“That’s all I’ve ever wanted.” It was true, being away from his father, being free to do what he wanted, that’s all he wanted. He didn’t need an extraordinary life as long as his life could be his. “You need to be careful. My father, Dick Roman is a very dangerous man, few can see who he is. If he finds out you helped me….”

“You let me worry about that. He may be dangerous, but so are the people I work for.” Her voice was flippant, but it softened then, he doubted many people were ever particularly concerned with her safety. “I’ll be fine, trust me. You worry about yourself. As far as anyone’s concerned, we never met.” She produced a business card from an inner pocket. It was a plain white card with a number in black print on the front. “It would be better for everyone involved if you go somewhere far away and fade away into a life of mediocrity. But in the event that you do find yourself in trouble, call this number, and I guarantee we will be able help you.” He reached for the card but she pulled back, just out of his reach.

“Remember, this isn’t charity, we will be able to help, but it will cost you. Now that you’re cut off from daddy’s money…”

“The only thing I need from that man is to get away from him.” He snapped, he didn’t need to rely on his money and the last thing he wanted was to be in debt to him.

“Okay, sorry I said anything.” Her voice was placating, and she handed him the card. He almost gave it back; he didn’t want to risk anything connecting him to his old life or anyone disreputable. But it didn’t hurt to have it as a precaution.
“Then as of right now, Castiel Roman no longer exists. Enjoy your life Mr. Novak.”
When he turned to leave, he heard her voice behind him.
“I’m sorry.” She said, her voice almost sincere. He looked back, the feeling of ill ease growing inside him.
“Sorry for what exactly.” She didn’t respond, but he didn’t have long to wait. Without any further warning a strong arm encircled him and a cloth with something that smelled strongly was put over his mouth and nose. He struggled to no avail and soon the blackness took him. **************************
After a brief struggle the other man went limp in his arms. The sudden dead weight was difficult to hold, and Dean looked at the woman who was watching him with detached curiosity. “You want to help me get him in the car? Or will that be extra?”
She gave a long suffering sigh and rolled her eyes before finally acquiescing. She picked up the other man’s feet and together they were able to maneuver the unwieldy weight into the trunk of his car. It wasn’t the most dignified way to transport someone, but he didn’t know how long the chloroform would last and he couldn’t risk being seen by anyone who might raise an alarm. He had come this far, there was no turning back, and he didn’t want to risk anyone trying to stop him. He took out zip ties and bound the man’s hands adding a gag for good measure. He had planned this out in every detail, he had accounted for every possible eventuality that he could think of. But now that it was actually happening… it felt different than he had expected. He had a kind of restless anxiety, the persistent small voice telling him to back out while he still could was getting louder and more difficult to ignore. He had never done anything like this before and his resolve was growing thin, now that it was too late to change his mind. He took a deep breath to try to steady his nerves before looking over at Lilith. “Do I need to be worried about you? You going to sell me out to the highest bidder?” He didn’t expect her to tell him the truth, but he was pretty good at telling when someone was lying and he needed to get a gauge on her.
She raised one eyebrow her voice deadpan, “I think I know how to keep a secret.”
“You sold him out,” he gestured to the poor bastard in his trunk, “for next to nothing. How do I know you will not do the same to me?”
“You don’t. Let’s just say you aren’t the only one who has a beef with Mr. Roman. And before you ask, no I don’t mean me. But I work for some very powerful, very dangerous people, who wouldn’t exactly shed any tears if Mr. Roman was brought down. I can keep a secret if you can…..Or don’t. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. The people I work for, they aren’t to be messed with. Don’t get any ideas about trying to screw them over, take of Mr. Roman here and we’ll call it even.”
He didn’t respond. He had no love for people like that, people who only looked out for themselves, with no concern for others. But right now her interests lined up with his and he wasn’t going to press the matter. He took one last look at this ‘victim’ and slammed the trunk shut.
The drive through the city was a tense one for Dean. His anxiety was growing with each passing minute. It took effort to maintain the speed limit. Everything in him wanted to get to his destination as quickly as possible and get this over with. But the last thing he needed was the cops pulling him over and finding out what was in the trunk. If he was caught it would be over, and he owed it to Sam to follow through with this plan. It took longer than he expected before he started to hear banging and movement from the back of his Chevy. It came as a relief in a way, he had begun to worry that he had overdone the chloroform. Maybe it was shock, or maybe he had overestimated its effectiveness. Either way, the drive had been a silent one up until this point. He turned on the radio, then turned it up to try to drown out the sound. He couldn’t do this. He shouldn’t do this. All his research and planning, it had all seemed so simple. But he had been detached, distanced from the reality of what he was doing. This wasn’t him. He didn’t do things like this. He gripped the steering wheel and focused on the trees passing by, lit up by his headlights. He remembered why he was doing this, tried to focus on the good that would come of it and it helped to calm his nerves and strengthen his resolve. He had come too far to turn back now.
He turned up the music a little more and focused on the familiar lyrics as he drove the rest of the distance to Bobby’s cabin. The old man was a paranoid, apocalyptic type, and he kept the old cabin well stocked at all times, ‘just in case.’ He wouldn’t be back there for a while, and it served Dean’s purposes perfectly. And, in all honesty, even if the old man did discover what he was doing, Dean was pretty sure he’d be more than happy to help. But the fewer people involved the fewer people liable if this went south, the better for everyone.

He parked outside the cabin and turned off his lights. He sat still in the darkness drawing in a long, slow breath. He could do this, and in a few days it would be over, no harm done to anyone. Well, anyone who didn’t deserve it. The sounds from the trunk had stopped, but now, in the silence they resumed. It wasn’t the hard knocking it was before, just soft shuffling, like someone moving around. He brought up the hood of his hoodie and tied a bandana around the lower half his face, trying to obscure his facial features as much as possible. He opened his door, and listened to the sound of his boots against the ground as he walked, drawing out the last few moments of semi normalcy. There was no going back for him. He put the key in the trunk and lifted the it up, looking down at the shadowed form within. His captive, he hated that word but there was no getting around it, wearing a ridiculous long trench coat like some sort of flasher, and a suit that probably cost more than Dean made in a year. His eyes were adjusted to the darkness enough that he could see the other man blinking up at him.

“Hi Cas.” His voice was muffled through the bandana, but he thought the other man could understand well enough. The other man cringed, evidence enough that he could. Dean rolled his eyes, he hadn’t even done anything. This was what happened when someone grew up as rich and entitled as Castiel Roman. It would take a lot more than this to phase someone like Dean. And yeah, there were times he wondered if that was a good thing, but still. At least he knew how to handle himself in a crisis.

“Here’s how this is going to work. We are going to go into that cabin over there for a few days, I’m going to send a message to Dick and if all goes well, everyone can go their separate ways. It’s in your best interest to cooperate. Understand?” The other man looked up at him his face blank. "Understand?” he repeated himself. This was going to be a lot less complicated if Castiel got with the program. The other man nodded mutely. “Good. Okay, let’s get you out of there. This part is going to be a little tricky.” He reached down, causing another flinch from the other man who had pushed himself as far back into the trunk as he could get. Dean grabbed his bound hands and half pulled half dragged the other man into a kneeling position. From there Castiel was able to, only somewhat ungainly, climb out of the trunk. “Good boy.” Dean crooned, earning himself a dirty look.

This was going much more smoothly than he had expected, he hadn’t even had to pull his gun out yet. He had honestly been expecting much more of a fight, not that he was complaining. He had planned for many contingencies, he had given up believing this might actually go well.

He kept one hand on the other man’s arm, his grip firm to ensure he didn’t try to run. He led Castiel towards the cabin and the other man gave no indication he planned on fighting back. With each step Dean felt an increasing sense of relief, it was finally happening, and much better than he had ever hoped for. He hadn't been lying, when he got what he wanted everyone would go their separate ways, no real harm done. The sooner that happened, the better for everyone involved.

He could hear Castiel's breathing coming unnaturally fast, the only indication of what he must be feeling. Despite himself dean felt sorry for the other man. He resisted to urge to offer some form of comfort, it likely wouldn't help and showing weakness at this moment could only work against him.

When they reached the door, Dean reached into his pocket with one hand and pulled out his keys, never lessening his grip. He maybe cooperative now but dean was going to give Castiel the smallest opportunity to escape. Not that he'd fry very far, but it would be a complication dean didn't need. He unlocked the door and only after they were across the threshold and the locked door again, did he start to relax. The first stage was over at least.

He led Castiel deeper into the house, into a small bedroom. He didn't give Castiel a chance to get a feel for his surroundings. Not that it mattered, they were out in the middle of nowhere and Bobby had registered the cabin under a fake name. There was nothing to tie Dean to it. Like Bobby, Dean tended to err on the side of being overly cautious.

In the room there was a bed with a heavy iron frame. He half led, half pushed Castiel onto the bed. A brief flicker of fear crossed over his features, breaking the stoic veneer of his features. But as quickly as it came it gone.
This was a bad situation for anyone, even someone like Castiel, perhaps especially for someone like him, even if he did deserve what was coming to him. But that didn't mean Dean was a monster, he didn't need to scare him anymore than necessary.
“Look, just relax. Everything’s going to be okay. Do as I say, and you will not get hurt, I promise.” His reassurance probably didn’t mean a lot, given the circumstances. And he couldn't say Castiel looked relaxed exactly, but his rigid posture seemed slightly less tense. Dean chose to take that as a good sign.
“Stay here and don’t try anything. I’m not going far.”
Dean left the room, leaving Castiel alone with his thoughts. He studied the handcuffs carefully, he knew how to pick a lock. It was a skill he had picked up as a teenager as a precaution for just such a situation. It wasn’t a skill he actually thought he would have to use, but he had thought it would be helpful to have just in case. His life had been defined by caution and the constant underlying sense of waiting for the next crisis. Now as he studied the lock he realized how useless it was. Dean had had the forethought to search him and remove his keys, phone and anything else he had on him. And, unlike what TV shows would have him believing, there was no conveniently placed sharp objects lying around that he could use to free himself. He experimentally pulled on the handcuff, but he could feel it would stay fast, and the bed frame was heavy, with no way to slip the cuff out the bottom, even if he could move it. The sound of footsteps told him that Dean was returning sooner than Castiel expected. He sat up straight and ridged, trying hard to look innocent and as if he hadn’t been testing out ways to escape. The best way to avoid making a situation worse was the remain neutral and not let his expression betray his emotion. Years of practice had honed his skills to perfection. Without thought he sat straight, his posture perfect. His fathers perfect son, straight and rigid like a toy soldier.

If Dean could tell what he had been up to, he didn’t say anything. He tossed a paper bag onto the bed next to him, with a falsely cheerful announcement of, "Dinner!”

Castiel eyed the bag surreptitiously, before Dean, as if reading his thoughts said, “It’s not poison.”

No, he supposed it wasn’t. If Dean was going to kill him, there was easier ways to do it than trying to put something in his food. It was probably best not to snub this small kindness, and he was very hungry. Hungry enough that the contents of the greasy bag smelled undeniably appealing. It was a little awkward to maneuver the bag open with one hand cuffed, but with a little effort he managed it. He took out a wrapped hamburger and unwrapped it enough to be able to take a bite. He tried to ignore the fact that Dean was watching him with interest.

“I’m sure it’s not exactly what you’re used to, but it will have to do. It’s all I can afford on an honest wage. Not that you’d know anything about that.”

What Castiel was used to, was making his own meals. He had been cooking for himself since he was a child. His father never had time for such menial tasks and Castiel never took well to fancy restaurants that his father frequented. He didn’t like being watched and whenever he was out with his father, all eyes were on them, his father made sure of it. For a time Anna had cooked for him, even taught him a good deal, but that time was long past now. The inherent unfairness of the words, and the whole situation burned bitterly through him. He bit his tongue before he said anything he would certainly regret. He didn’t need to provoke Dean. He already had some deep resentment towards the Roman family, and there was no need to make it worse. And Deans anger wasn't without reason, Castiel reminded himself. Despite all his hard work to come across as the altruist he pretended to be, Dick Roman had managed to do a lot of harm to a lot of people. Deans anger was justified, albeit misplaced. Castiel ate his food in silence, unable to escape the looming presence of the man before him.

“I gotta ask, why 'Castiel'? Is there a story behind that? Or did your parents hate you?”
Castiel bit back his initial response to that, trying to push down the pain and anger this brought up in him. He did his best to keep his voice neutral, but couldn't the tremor that betrayed him. My mother named me. She was very religious. I was born on a Thursday so she named me after the angel of Thursdays. She thought it would bring me protection and happiness throughout my life.”
“Yeah, and how did that work out?”
Castiel looked up at him, considering all the events that had transpired over his life, “not well.”
Silence stretched out between them before Castiel broke it. "And what do I call you?” He didn’t expect to get a real name, but he needed to call the man something.
The other man studied for a moment before finally saying, “Smith. Call me Smith.”
“Okay.” Castiel didn’t comment further, he had found in his life it was best to say as little as possible. The less he said, he less likely he was to say something wrong and set off his father. If there was one thing he had experience with, it was dealing with violent men.
“What do you want from me?” Castiel didn't try to hide the desperation in his voice. It wasn’t a challenge, he wanted to know what the other man wanted from him so he could do it. The clearer he was on Deans expectations of him, the more likely he was to get out of this alive.
“What I want is your cooperation. You behave yourself and let me handle the rest.” ‘Smith’ said, he sounded tired and Castiel wondered if he had done this before. Given what, admittedly little, he already knew he could surmise that Dean wasn't a hardened criminal. Rather, a man pushed past his limits. Castiel wasn't sure if that was reassuring or not.
“I’ve got some things to do,” Dean said waving vaguely out into the cabin proper, “Just sit tight and try not to cause any trouble.” Castiel nodded dutifully as if he had any choice in the matter.
His kidnapper studied him for a moment, looking as if he was going to say something else, but stayed silent as he turned and left.
It was awkward, but Castiel managed to move himself so that he lay down on the bed, despite the way he was cuffed. It wasn’t incredibly comfortable having his hand attached to the railing, the way it was. But he was able to settle in well enough. He didn’t try to get under the blankets, and with the cold that was creeping in through every crack in the cabin, he was grateful for the layers he was wearing. The suit and trench coat were not the most comfortable things to wear, particular to sleep in. But they were warm enough.

He wondered if he were outside if he could see the stars. It was his first memory, his mom holding him on her lap and pointing out various constellations to him. She used to say that each star was a soul that had gone to heaven and shone their light down on earth. For a time he had believed that, the lights in the sky felt warm and close. He could imagine they would be beautiful out here as secluded as they were. There would be no light pollution to take away from their shining beauty. But he couldn’t see outside, and he wondered if he would ever have the chance to see the stars again. The though made a hard knot settle his stomach. He longed for the escape of sleep, but it was slow to come. He thought about the life he had led. He wondered what he had done to deserve what had happened to him. And he wished the answer was harder to find. He wasn't sure how long he laid in the silence, listening to the wind creaking the old cabin, before the darkness of a dreamless sleep finally took him.
Castiel could hear Dean talking on the phone while pacing back and forth outside of the room he was in. The cabin was small enough that he could overhear pieces of Dean’s conversation.
“It went better than expected. No one saw me, no one followed me….Yes I’m sure.” The next part was lost as Dean walked a little further away. Then he came back into range and Castiel heard, “I know, I just want to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible…. that shouldn’t be necessary, I don’t think Castiel is going to cause any trouble.” There was another length of silence while Dean listened to the person on the other line then, “no he doesn’t know who I am. Why would he? I told you, you were being paranoid, it’s fine.” Castiel realized then that he had been holding his breath. Dean didn’t know he recognized him. He didn’t know what the man would do if he knew that Castiel knew him, or at least knew about him. Well, he had a pretty good guess what would happen, but it was best not to think too much about that.
"Yeah, okay. Get over here as soon as you can. I don’t think I can do this without you.” Castiel wondered who exactly his captor was talking to and what they planned to do. If Dean was telling the truth, it sounded like this would be a pretty basic ransom request, then they would let him go. If he was lying, or if his father decided Castiel's life wasn't worth what was asked...no use dwelling too long on that possibility. He could only hope Dean was a man of his word.

Crazy in Love Masterpost

Title: Crazy in Love
Word Count: ~10k
Rating: PG-13
Pairing/Characters: Nick/Adalind
Warning: Dub-con due to a spell, obsession, canon events in non-canon ways

Note: This is set in season one in an AU where Nick and Juliette were never together and Adalind decides to go after Nick instead of Hank.

This was written for the Small Fandom Bang. My eternal gratitude to the smallfandombang mod who was more than understanding in allowing my to post after my assigned date, when real life issues prevented me from posting when I was supposed to.

Thank you also to my wonderful beta (who doesn't have an LJ account) who made this story better than it would have been otherwise. <3

Summary: Adalind goes after Nick, using a zaubertrank to make him obsessed with her. But as his obsession grows Adalind begins to understand the Grimm better than ever and realizes he may not be the only one feeling something he can't explain. When the spell is broken and the emotions still linger, they both begin to question what is real and what was the spell.

AO3: Coming soon!|FF: Coming soon! Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6|Chapter 7 Art

Crazy in Love Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

When she woke up the cold grey light of morning was streaming through the shades of her window. She stretched out in her bed, feeling better than she had in a while.  She reached out, almost unconsciously seeking out Nick.  But her bed was cold and the place where Nick had been was empty, the crumpled sheets the only sign he was ever there. Images of the night before flashed through her mind, the way he smelled, the feel of him. She wanted to be glad he was gone. It was better this way, she had been on her own for most of her life, no reason that should change now. She tried not to think about him, the sound of his voice, the way he looked at her. He was a Grimm, it would never work out. She had been playing him and that was all.  It was ridiculous she had ever allowed herself to entertain thoughts to the contrary. She got dressed and wondered if she would see him again.  She supposed there was a chance she would see him around.  Not that it mattered; his absence was a clear indication of how he felt about her.  At least it had turned out better than she would have expected an encounter with a Grimm to go.  She put her hand against her stomach thinking about what this would mean for their child.  She had grown up without a father and she had turned out fine.  Maybe not fine exactly, but she was self-sufficient and her child wouldn’t have a mother that was a cold hearted bitch.  That had to count for something.  She walked out of her bedroom and into her living room.
 It turned out she would see Nick a lot sooner than she had thought. The sound of dishes clicking and the smell of something cooking hit her as soon as she entered the room. She walked into the kitchen to find Nick making breakfast. He didn’t look up when she entered the room, but she saw the way his shoulders tensed, the only indication that he knew he was no longer alone.
“Morning.” His voice was still sleep rough and she could guess he hadn’t been up that much longer than her. Her heart beat a little faster when she heard his voice. Her hadn’t abandoned her, it would seem.  Someone in her life had decided to stick around, that was a first.
“Good morning. I didn’t expect you to still be here.” Maybe it was a bad idea to admit it, but she wasn’t feeling quite herself around him. She was done trying to play the Grimm, she knew now without a doubt she was no longer the one in control, not since she had started feeling something she couldn’t quite explain for Nick. Or maybe it was something she didn’t want to explain.
“Did you sleep okay?”
“Yes,  I did, thank you.” She lied. She hadn’t even gone a day before breaking her promise to be honest with him. “Sorry, quite badly, actually. I barely slept last night.”
His mouth turned down at the corners, “Me neither. I’m not sure what it was, but I couldn’t seem to sleep.” He looked back down at the pan and she slid up onto a chair next to the counter. They both politely didn’t acknowledge how awkward the situation was.
There was a long silence that stretched on long enough for Adalind to start to speak a few times, each time, deciding against it.
“How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?” Nick asked, the concern in his voice sounding genuine.
“No, not all. My mother said she never had a problem with that, and I’ve heard that sort of thing is genetic.” Speaking of her mother made her feel a little sick at the memory of her betrayal and she looked down, trying to hold back the flood of pain she felt. Her mother had taught her to always be strong, and that emotion was a weakness. It looked like Adalind had failed her mother in more ways than one.
He looked back at that, watching her appraisingly. Before looking away again. “We need to talk.”
There it was, the speech she had heard a million times. ‘This was great, you were great, but this was a one time thing. We had something special, but it’s time to move on.’ Usually she was the one giving it, not the one of the receiving end. And usually it didn’t make her stomach drop the way it didn’t when Nick said it. She took a breath and braced herself, she would act like she didn’t care. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her hurt. Maybe this had all been a game, a way to pull her in just to cut her loose. Maybe he just wanted to hurt her, and maybe she deserved it.
“It isn’t safe for you here. Since you lost your powers you’re vulnerable.  And I’m guessing there’s more than one person you pissed off. Once it gets around that you don’t have your powers anymore there might be a lot of wesen who want to take advantage of that. It isn’t safe for you to stay here, especially in your condition. I can’t protect you here. You need to pack a bag and come with me. You can stay with me.  With everything that’s happened we need to find a more secure place to live, someone where no one can find us, if we don’t want them to.  Until then my house will have to do.  And I talked to Rosalee, she said you could stay at the spice shop if need be.”
She didn’t know what to say.  It wasn’t phrased like a request. A part of her wanted to argue, to tell him to go to Hell, that she could take care of herself. But she knew he was right, she was vulnerable now, in a way she had never been before.  But he was wrong about one thing; it wasn’t losing her powers that put her in danger.  For the first time in her life she had something important to her, more important than her own wellbeing.
The thought of being with Nick, of seeing him every day, of not having to say goodbye, it was more appealing than she wanted to admit. She didn’t know if he planned on giving her a choice in the matter, but either way the answer would be yes.
She stood without responding for a beat, and it prompted him to look at her, a question in his eyes. “You want… to keep me safe?” She asked stupidly, it wasn’t the right response, but it was the only one she had at that moment.
“Of course I do. I don’t know what you did to me. I don’t know if it’s the lingering side effects of the spell, or something else. But I can’t stand the thought of you getting hurt. And if you are pregnant then your child is innocent. Whatever you may have done, that will never change.”
It hadn’t escaped her that he had said “if”. He still wasn’t sure he believed she was carrying his child, but all the same, he wanted to keep her safe. In her whole life no one had ever truly wanted to protect her. In her world a person’s investment in her only extended as far as she was able to do something for them. But Nick wanted to keep her safe, because he… what, he cared?  The spell was broken, and yet here he was, offering her everything she had never known she wanted.
She didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything, and Nick didn’t seem to need a response. Her corporation seemed a forgone conclusion to him.
They ate breakfast in relative silence. Beyond thanking Nick for his efforts there wasn’t much to say. She still found herself wanting to touch him, move closer to him. She wondered if Nick was feeling the same way. She knew it wasn’t the spell, her powers were gone, and with it the spell she had cast over them. It would appear there was another sort of magic at work here.
After breakfast she started to pack anything she would need. It was mostly just clothes. Packing made her realize how little she had that held sentimental value to her.  She had things from her mother, brushes and items for spell work. She took the latter, because it could be valuable, not because of any lingering emotion she held for her mother. There were no pictures that she needed to take, there was no one in her life that she wanted to remember or needed a reminder of, no one except for Nick. And, it would appear, he wasn’t going anywhere. Nick waited for her in the living room. She didn’t know what she would do with the things that remained or with her apartment for that matter. She supposed it would depend on how it all worked out. She would keep it for the time being so that she would have a place to go… just in case. But it felt empty and hollow to her now, devoid of anything meaningful. She had always lived a transient life, never strongly tied to anyone or anything. Looking back now, the idea suddenly felt pointless.
When she was done she had one bag with her clothes and another with what remained of the hexenbeist she had been – vials, books, and the like. Perhaps Rosalee could make use of it.
“Ready?” Nick asked and reached out to take her bags from her. She nodded her assent and followed him outside. She took the time to lock up before she went and took one last look at the home she had known. It felt like she was leaving behind more than just the life she had known, she was leaving behind a part of who she was. It should be sad, but right now all she felt was free.

Chapter Six

Chapter Six

There was a pounding on her door. She didn’t answer it, didn’t go to look to see who it was. It didn’t matter who it was, it was no one good. She knew that without a shadow of a doubt because right now she didn’t have a friend in the world. There was not one person in the god-forsaken world who would want to talk to her right now, that she would want to talk to. She ignored the increasing insistence of the knocking. She wondered if she could call the cops. It might help, but it might not. Nick had influence and so did Sean. Even if she called the cops it would be easy enough for Sean to intervene, say that Adalind had been causing trouble and she was lying, no matter what she said. The knocking stopped. There was a sound, and she knew what was coming. She grabbed her cellphone off the table and began to dial as the door opened. She moved back holding one hand up to her intruder while the call went through.
“Do you think that’s going to make a difference?” His smile was twisted and unkind while he reached for her. She stumbled back, and he followed her, grabbed the phone from her hand and held it up to his ear listening to the voice on the other side.
“This is Burkhardt; I was in the area when I saw something happening. I’ve got it covered; I’ll call if I need backup.” With that he hung up the phone and threw it down on the counter. It was just them now.
“What do you want from me?” Her voice was desperate; she didn’t try to hide her fear. There was no point. But she didn’t understand why he was here. He had already taken everything from her. She had nothing left.
He took a step closer to her, and she took a step back. She backed away until she felt the wall at her back. He stalked towards her slowly; everything about him spoke to the predator that she now understood he was. She had thought she was in control, she had thought she could manipulate him and play him. But now she understood she had never been in control. He was her natural enemy, and all she had done was make him hate more than he had before. She had played with forces she couldn’t control and now it was her turn to pay. Her hand slid back along the counter trying to feel for a knife or something to defend herself with. His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist, stopping her.
“I want to know what you did to me.” He spoke slowly, leaning in. “Tell me what you did.”
“You know what I did. And what does it matter now, Rosalee fixed you. It’s over now, why won’t you just leave me alone?”
“Not that. What did you do me since then? There’s something wrong with me, and you have to be the cause. You need to fix me. Now.”
She shook her head in denial to his words and to the whole situation. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t do anything to you. I couldn’t do anything to you. I don’t have my powers anymore, you made sure of that. If there’s something wrong with you then it has nothing to do with me.”
“No. It has to be you. It’s like before, I can’t stop thinking about you. You’re in my head, in my dreams. I can’t get rid of you. It’s like you’re there all the time. I can’t look at anyone else; all I can think of is you.”
Her eyes widened at that. Is that what this was about? She felt a small thrill in the pit of his stomach, something deep that had been growing in her since she first saw Nick. Something she had desperately wanted to deny. It couldn’t be real, what she felt, it couldn’t be real. But if Nick felt it too she might be able to use it to her advantage.
“Maybe… Maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s not obsession or spells. Maybe it’s something else. Nick, I think it might be love.” It was a stretch, and she held her breath for a beat while she waited for an answer. She saw surprise then suspicion pass over his features.
“This isn’t love. Do you even know what love is?” His voice was sharp. She had betrayed him. It struck her with an unexpected force. She had put him under her spell, manipulated and twisted him. But somewhere in there the spark of something deep and real had been ignited. And when he found out what she had done it had been a betrayal. She thought of the way she felt about Sean. That hadn’t been love, it had been something deep and intense, but never love. But he was wrong; she did understand what love was. It had taken her a long time to understand, but she finally knew.
Her free hand went to her stomach in an unconsciously protective gesture. “Yes, I think I do.” His eyes narrowed, and she wondered if he thought she was playing him again. “Nick, tell me what you want me to do. Tell me how to fix this.”
“Tell me the truth, that’s all I want.” There was an impossibly deep hurt in his voice when he spoke to her. She hated herself for causing him that pain and in that moment she would have done anything to take it away.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. That’s the truth. I didn’t do anything to you, not since you took away my powers, I can’t. You are the only person who has ever been good to me and I ruined all of that. If I could take it back I would. Please, Nick, I’m sorry.” She wanted to pretend she was playing him still. She wanted to believe she was telling him what he wanted to know to keep herself safe. But everything had been taken away from her, and for the first time she was beyond games or lies. Nick had seen a side of her she had never let anyone see before. It might already be too late to salvage anything between them, but all her deceits had been stripped away and perhaps for the first time she was being honest. She reached her free hand up towards him but hesitated a moment before reaching out to press her palm against his cheek. He closed his eyes and leaned into the touch and for a moment she could feel the weight of everything she could have had with him. But then the moment was gone, and he pulled away.
She took his hand then and placed it over her stomach, for a moment she thought he was going to pull away again, but she placed her hand over his. “Nick, I’m pregnant. And it’s yours. I know it wasn’t what either of us planned to happen, but I want this child. And I want you. Please, forgive me, if not for my sake, for the sake of our child.”
He no longer looked angry, he just looked empty.
“If you’re lying…”
“I’m not I swear.”
He was studying her carefully and for a moment she thought he might just leave, leave her alone with her pain and her guilt.
“Why should I trust you? Even without your powers you can still do damage to me, to those I care about.” She hated that she was no longer a part of the latter category.
The fear that had started ebb away began to creep back in.
“What are you going to do?” She tried to keep her voice steady but she could hear the way it shook.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t think straight when it comes to you.” He looked lost and in that moment she could see the Nick she loved. He wanted to do the right thing, he just didn’t know what it was.
He looked down at the place where their hands had joined. There were connected now, in a way that neither of them had ever expected.
“If you believe nothing else, believe in this.” She wasn’t sure he would even believe her, but the anger was gone, leaving only pain behind. She hated seeing her Grimm like this and she hated herself for being the one who caused that pain.
She reached her hand up again and cradled his cheek, this time he didn’t pull away from her touch. “I know I hurt you, but I can make it better. Stop fighting against what you know you want. I can give you what you want. I can make the pain go away.” She leaned up, slowly, hesitantly; she still wasn’t sure how he would react. But he was still and made no move to stop her. She closed the distance between them and pressed her lips against his in a soft kiss. He grabbed her arm and for a moment she thought he intended to push her away. Instead he pulled her in crushing their lips together in a painful kiss. He pulled her body hard against his and she went willingly. He wasn’t gentle and she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Crazy in Love Chapter Five

Chapter Five

The next few days passed in a sort of haze for her. Nick told her that he had told Rosalee and Monroe that they were together and unsurprisingly, they weren’t too keen on them being together. Nick couldn’t seem to understand why. In his mind they were perfect together, and he didn’t know why his friends weren’t being more supportive.  It was a good thing; he needed to be cut off from them.  If anyone could find a way to break the spell she had cast on him, it would be Rosalee.   Her and Nick were always together.  He went with her whenever he was free, and called her when he was at work.  He had initially suggested not going at all so he could stay with her and protect her.  But she had insisted, ostensibly because what he did was important, and the precinct needed him.  But the reality was if he started skipping work, people would notice.  And it would do no one any good if people started getting suspicious over what was going on between them.
She used the time he was at work to search his house for the key his Aunt had had in her possession and that must surely be in his.  But she couldn’t find anything in his home.  And he wouldn’t tell her where his trailer was, he didn’t want her involved in side of his life.  He thought it was too dangerous for her, little did he know she wasn’t the one that needed protecting.
Sean was growing increasingly impatient with her lack of progress.  Not more than a week into her experiment he had summoned her to the precinct.  She had told him not to show up at her place anymore, it would be hard to explain to Nick if he saw Sean at her place.  She had only deigned to show up to tell him exactly how far gone with her the Grimm was.
“Have you made any progress at all?” Sean asked, not trying to hide the scepticism in his voice.
“Yes, the Grimm is quite taken with me.  He’s been my shadow, wherever I am, he isn’t far behind.  He has already attested that he will do anything for me.”  If she sounded smug, she had a right to be.
Sean didn’t look at her, sorting through papers on his desk as if she was of little consequence to him.
“But have you made any practical progress?  Nick is a cop, convincing him to help the helpless is hardly an accomplishment.  Has he told you anything, have you seen his trailer yet?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact.  I’d share, but after the way you doubted me, I’m not feeling particularly inclined to share with the class.”
Sean looked up, his eyes narrowed.  “You’re lying.  My mother is a powerful hexenbeist, she taught me how tell when someone is lying to me.  Don’t try to play me Adalind that is a game you will not win.”
“Fine.”  Her voice was venomous, “I need more time.  He’s gotten it into his head that he needs to protect me.  He isn’t willing to involve me in anything that might put me in harm’s way, and apparently that includes all things Grimm.  It is only a matter of time until I have exactly what I want.”
“Are you even looking?  Or have you become trapped in your own web and fallen for Nick?”
“No, of course not.  Don’t be ridiculous.”  Her denial came a beat too late, and Sean was too smart to have missed the hesitation.
“I’m done with this.  I shouldn’t have let you do this at all.  I’m ending it.”
“And how do you expect to do that?”  Without knowing what she gave Nick to make him fall for her, there was only one way to break the spell.  And even Sean wouldn’t go that far.
“That is none of your concern.  You tried it your way and failed, as I predicted.  Leave it to me.”
Adalind all but rolled her eyes at that.  It didn’t matter what Sean thought, her plan wasn’t working out as she wanted, she would get what she wanted, and it would only take time.  Adalind left Sean to whatever Machiavellian plot he was no doubt cooking up.  She tried to catch a glimpse of Nick on her way out, but as she suspected he was nowhere to be seen.  She had figured Sean wouldn’t have called her in unless Nick was safely off making the world a safer place.
She found that increasingly she thought about Nick, she dreamed about him at night. The only time she felt right was when they were together.  She would get what she wanted in time, she just wasn’t positive that what that was anymore.
She paced the length of her apartment, thinking about what Sean had said.  She didn’t want to admit that he had gotten to her.  But she knew he was clever enough and vindictive enough that he was someone she didn’t want as an enemy.  She had been skirting the line by outright going against him.  But as long as she got results he would come around in the end.  Her continued failure meant Sean had no reason to tolerate her anymore.  She wondered what he was going to do, how he planned on “ending” her involvement with the Grimm.  It hadn’t escaped her that he intended to end her.  Or the Grimm.  She wasn’t sure which bothered her more.
When she heard the key turn and saw Nick in the doorway she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“Nick, welcome home.  I was getting worried about you.”  She tried kept her voice calmer than she felt; she didn’t want him to see how scared she had been.  “I saw Sean today, and I think he’s going to come after us.  He can’t stand seeing us together, and I’m worried what he might do.”
Nick locked the door behind him and put down his keys, taking his gun out of the holster and setting it down as well, before he finally looked at her.
“He called me in to his office today.  He told me things about you, about you’re past.  I think he was trying to scare me.”
She wanted to tell him it was all lies, but it was likely true.  She doubted there were any lies Sean could come up with would be worse than the truth.  “What he said…”
“I don’t care if it is true or not.  I know you, Adalind.  I know the real you.  I don’t care what you’ve done or who were you before.  That doesn’t matter anymore.”
She froze, that was not what she had been expecting.  It looked like her Grimm was full of surprises.  “You don’t care?  Nick, there’s something you should know.”
“You don’t have to be defined by your past.   Rosalee was a drug addict, and Monroe, well to be honest I don’t want the details of what Monroe used to do.  But they aren’t those people anymore.  They don’t have be held back by their past.  And the fact that Sean thought I would hate you because of what you might have done before only goes to show that he doesn’t know you like I do.”
It was such a beautiful sentiment; she wished that she could believe him.  Perhaps he believed it, but she knew better.  People only cared for her to the degree that she was useful, and she returned the favour.  She didn’t believe anyone could care for her without wanting something in return, but perhaps she could pretend; if only for a little longer.
He put his hand in hers and pulled her in against him, kissing her.  She felt herself relaxing into him, when she was close to him, it felt like nothing else mattered, only they existed.
There was sharp copper taste of blood on his tongue and she pulled away too late.  She stumbled back, already feeling something happening.  She touched her lip and her hand came away red, it was his blood.  Had this all been a long con for him, had he done all of this just to get close to her, to do this to her?
She felt his hands on her, steadying her, and she tried to pull away, but he held her fast.
“Adalind, I’m sorry.  I know you don’t understand, but it’s going to be okay.  I talked to Rosalee, she said Sean did something to you.  He gave you something, and my blood was the only way to cure you.  It’s going to be okay.”
She fell into him all the strength leaving her.  It felt like she was being ripped apart from the inside out.  “I’ll do anything to protect you,” Nick’s voice sounded like it was coming from a great distance.  “I love you.”  It was the last thing she heard before the darkness took her.
Chapter Six
She took a desperate breath as she came too.  The warmth of Nick’s grasp was gone, and she was lying alone on the cold floor.  She felt different, as if she had died and come back incomplete.  Her hexenbeist was dead.  She was human now.  “Nick…” She didn’t know if she was calling him or accusing him now.  She was alive, but she felt empty where her hexenbeist had been ripped out of her.  She pulled herself into a sitting position and looked up to see the Grimm standing over him.
“I can’t believe I was so blind.”  There was no warmth in his voice.  “You did this me, you tricked me and lied to me, and drugged me.  I guess Rosalee was right, my blood was the only way to break the spell.  I can’t believe I thought I was saving you, that you needed to be saved at all.”
He looked at her like she was a monster, and maybe she was.  She didn’t try to stop him when he turned and walked out, slamming the door behind him.
She pulled herself up, and reached for her phone.  Right now all she wanted was to hear a familiar voice, talk to someone who didn’t hate her.  She dialled the number and her call was picked up almost immediately.
“Mother.  Something happened.”
“Adalind, what happened?”
She explained everything, what she had done, what Sean had wanted, what Nick had done.  Once she stopped talking there was a long silence on the other end.
“How could you let this happen to you?  How were you careless enough not to anticipate this possibility?”
“I think… I think I was starting to fall for him.  I never thought he would do anything like this.  I guess I wasn’t thinking.”
“I thought I taught you better than that.  Love is a weakness.  Fortunately, it is not a weakness that we both share.”  And with that the line went dead, leaving Adalind alone.