Jo admits to herself that he may not possess a conventional appearance, but for some reason, she does not find that revolting in the slightest. Instead, she regards the entire situation, including the rather strange man before her, thrilling, as if it was one of the elegant plot twists within her favorite novels.
Another reason she is so at ease with the odd man is because she had been acquainted with several men prior to this situation that many women would deem rather attractive, but Jo was thoroughly repulsed by their arrogant behavior and disregard for anyone else. It had become a rather tedious pattern, and not one that Jo encouraged in the slightest.
She chuckles along with him, the sound of her free laugh mingling with his deeper one that sounded as if he had not laughed in a long while. “Y’know, I’m not sure you can tell my curiosity to be quiet. Otherwise I would’ve done it a long time ago. Gets me in trouble sometimes, especially when I just can’t resist.” She shoots him a quirky grin, her eyes gleaming with amusement at the entire situation.
She shakes his hand without hesitation, already too enthralled with everything that was happening to be disgusted by his unseemly appearance. Her desire for adventure, longing for a unique story, and unrestrained curiosity overwrites any other emotion at the moment. When she releases his hand from hers, she allows it to drop limply to her side before her gaze once again scans her surroundings.
This is by far the most adventurous thing that Jo Harvelle has ever done, and she can feel adrenaline, though not as concentrated as when she was being brutally pursued by wolves, pulsing through her veins at the thought of staying in the same mansion as this stranger. She notices that every hallway is dark, and, instead of questioning him about it now and making him uncomfortable, puts the question away for a better time, vowing not to forget it. While she is thinking about questions to ask in the future, she also makes a mental note to ask about what he means regarding his statement about the various paintings.
“I, uh,” Jo says, stumbling slightly as she becomes somewhat nervous, “Yeah. That’d be great.” She flashes him another brief smile before her attention is captured by the busts lining the hallway, and her gaze carefully trails each individual one before wandering to the shadowy hallways.
Dean nodded to the stranger, taking a quick glance around the mansion in hopes of remembering where he could have possibly stowed his oil lamp. He couldn’t seem to recall the last time he had an excuse to use the damned thing, aside from one instance when he had a gnawing paranoia of rats living and breeding in his pantry; Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, but it seemed to him that the pantry was the first viable location to check for the missing item.
"One sec." He sighed and took a few steps toward the wall nearest to him, artlessly feeling for a button and humming contentedly when he came across the small knob. With a gentle press of his index finger, a dim illumination dawned over the vast building, the underused gas lights that adorned each of the hallways finally coming into play. Above them, the grand foyer’s chandelier glistened and radiated with elegance. The tired man brought a fragile hand to his temples, massaging them as if he desperately needed to find solace elsewhere.
"Yikes," He remarked, his pupils dilating violently and a dull headache needling its way into his noggin. Even though the lights were far too weak in comparison to, say, a pub’s at this time of night, the unfortunate recluse hadn’t allowed himself much exposure to them.
The abode was once teetering with a sunny, polished atmosphere, his mother and father often dancing to pieces by the great Igor Stravinsky as covered by his multi-talented younger brother, Samuel Winchester. Since his parents’ brutal murders in the home, his only sibling had fled to a far western sect of France to live with a family friend for the remainder of his university years; A wise choice, bearing in mind the way Dean had originally chosen to live his life: Frequent carousing, mistresses, and far too much sex for any single person to be deemed as “decent”.
Now all that was left were the tattered remains of Dean’s childhood, early adulthood, and emotional health. His days were typically spent in a secluded study, sharing the company of a single candle and a multitude of meaningless books he couldn’t convince himself to care for— but at the very least, the characters would never judge him. Not like his dark visitor’s guests would, anyway. He was tired of the slurs thrown at him: Ogre, beast, blasphemous devi—
He snapped himself back into reality, shaking off the jaded thoughts that nearly stole him away. Dean offered the blonde a weak smile, gesturing to the corridor narrowing into the kitchen.
"If you’re a fan of grub, you’ll love the kitchen," He started casually, leading her to the area. "I have enough food in there to feed a village for a month; Or me for a week, but that’s a whole ‘nother story."
He didn’t bother to glance back at the girl when they reached the destination, assuming that if she wanted to make a run for it, she very well could have by then. He continued to speak while making long strides toward the pantry, spotting the aforementioned object without so much of a momentary glance.
"If you’re hungry, you’re free to raid the pantry here any time you want. There’s tons in the icebox and some canned fruit by the window,"
Dean exited the confined space and set the lamp onto a table top. He twisted the knob on the side and fished for a box of matches in his pocket, carefully extracting it and lighting a flame. The lamp soon blew into life, the tiny fire flickering just a bit before settling into a stable pattern.
He held the lamp by its handle and offered it to Jo with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders.
"In case it’s too dark in here or you feel like hitting me over the head with it sometime."
Sorry if my replies come 99999x slower than usual and sound like gibberish. I have a hell of a headache right now, and I think I’m getting sick.
UuUuUGH If any of you need me, feel free to shoot a message my way. I might try taking a nap before I type out more verbal diarrhea.
Castiel listened intently. He hung onto each word the boy spoke, eager to hear what he had to say. His focus was turned to the teacher when he reminded them there was only a minute left to get to their next class.
"Oh..um, I’m actually going there, too. I’ll take you…if you want, I mean. But it’s on the other side of the building, so if we want to get there on time, we should probably head out," Castiel’s words were rushed and mushed together. He tried to casually shove his free hand into his jacket pocket. Got to appear nonchalant, he reminded himself repeatedly in his head.
Dean lit up instantaneously, nodding his head and swinging his bag over his shoulder as he stepped toward the door. “Yeah, that’d be awesome. Thanks, man.” He spoke in his usual low tone, deliberately keeping his body open toward his counterpart. With such a stance, he’d allow himself more room to intake the rather unique features that graced before him.
He held the entrance way open for the other boy, having a second thought only when he realized that it was something he reserved for chicks he was pretty into— Not that he would ever admit that he was into the guy since they just met about two minutes ago, and he was, undoubtedly, of the same gender. He decided that it was just a force of habit.
He waved the thought off completely, giving a moment’s acknowledgement to the grumpy old man that was still waiting on them to get the hell out of his advisory period.
When Dean got to his feet, Jedi’s senses went into high alert. This was all the confirmation that she needed to be told that they were in fact dealing with a ghost. She’d never actually seen one before, only on photographs and she’d done reading about it, but that was it.
She didn’t comment on Dean stepping in front of her or the fact that he was being incoherent about what he was trying to say. All she could do was look around, trying to see what was going to happen and whether something was going to be tossed at them.
She watched him darting from table to table, heading for the salt shakers. “What good is salt going to do?” She asked. “I don’t know! This place shouldn’t he haunted! I made sure of it! I used a herbal mixture to seal the diner that a wiccan friend told me about. Nothing should be able to get in! It’s lokced down. There aren’t violent deaths that happened here.” The words were spilling out of her mouth faster than her brain was even able to process, panic helping in this.
She watched Dean returning to her side, uncapping the salt shakers and spilling the salt into a circle around her. “What the hell are you doing? What good is this going to do?!”
She couldn’t help the yell that escaped her, seeing the kitchen igniting with fire, hearing the smoke alarm give one beep before falling silent again. Immediatly her nose and eyes started to get irritated, knowing that there were chemicals there that would just fill the air along with the fire. She stepped back, trying to get away from the heat of the fire and away from the toxins, unaware that she was stepping out of the salt circle, coughing for air.
"We got to get out of here!" She gasped.
Dean’s thought process was going haywire. First, a ghost. Okay, he could handle that. It was nothing new. Next, a fire. Check mark, got it. Maybe it hit a little too close to home, but hey; It wouldn’t hinder his work ethic. What he was never good at was dealing with emotionally distressed people. Personally, he preferred to stick to the good ol’ method of burying issues till they suffocated and died, but in this case, it wasn’t an option.
He discarded the fleeting notion that Jedi was a fellow hunter when he took her frequent and panicked remarks into account. He shook his head when he heard the word ‘Wiccan’, the brief term leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. Leave it to the damn witches to screw with someone else’s life.
"Word of the wise: Don’t trust witches," He muffled out loudly from underneath his denim jacket’s sleeve, noticing by at this point, Jedi had stepped square out of the circle he’d just told her not to leave.
"I’ll explain later, just—"
There was a small, but deafening click of the door’s lock coming from behind them and an identical sound echoing from the manager’s office near the back.
By the time Dean had processed this new information, he felt the familiar sensation of blood escaping his new wound, a kitchen knife now protruding from the wall behind him. He winced in pain, his free hand instinctively flying to the open laceration and his lungs inhaling the noxious fumes in the process.
With sputtering coughs, he dodged the next several pieces of silverware, pushing Jedi out of the way when one seemed to be aimed in her direction.
"Stay low!" He croaked, blinking furiously when he saw a dark figure loom within the smoke, standing right beside an old photograph the diner proudly displayed atop of the registry.
There were two young men dressed up in what looked like the same uniform the waitress was wearing, except the style was much more dated and flashy. They stood in front of the same building, their smiles wide and their happiness blatant.
Dean ogled at the area where the painting resided, noticing that it was the only one in the vicinity that was not encompassed by smoke or flame. The dark figure standing beside it began creeping closer, a second one emerging from the depths only a few seconds afterwards.
"That picture above the registry— Who’s in it? Hurry, Jedi. We ain’t got much time."
Yeah, Jedi certainly was embarrassed now. She’d been a little too obvious about saying what she thought about Dean. She could feel her cheeks getting hot and she was sure that she was blushing.
She started biting at her lip at his compliments though, not used to getting those. No-one really said that she was pretty; people only ever looked her with pity because of losing her parents at a young age.
“I’m not denying that I wasn’t rocking out. I didn’t think you could hear me sing though… I don’t think people would flock over to me though.”
She watched him leaning back, clearly thinking about the pun. Even though he was probably going to come up with something she’d heard before, she contemplated just giving him free coffee anyway, it wasn’t every day that someone came in and flirted with her. The regulars didn’t even bother anymore and they rarely got outsiders in the small town where she lived.
She stared at the spot where condensation was appearing on the window, seeing Dean slowly looking at it and letting out a massive sigh.
“That’s not what I think it is… is it?” She asked, starting to get a little nervous. “That’s not what I think it is… is it?”
Her mind started racing. This couldn’t be happening, it was just not possible, she’d made sure of it.
The condensation spread, getting bigger and bigger and spreading to the next window. Condensation in time with Jedi’s and Dean’s breathing was starting to appear.
“That’s not supposed to be possible; I made sure ghosts can’t get in myself.”
Dean’s breath came out in opaque puffs of white, the visibility somehow fueling forth more irritation in the calloused hunter. All he wanted was a nice, filling meal, a sure-fire way to end a case, and maybe to flirt with a pretty freakin’ fascinating waitress with the Star Wars name; was that too much to ask? Now he had a case and an inconvenient ghost haunting to boot.
He looked at Jedi with concern in his eyes, stepping protectively in front of her as he scanned the room for any signs of abnormalities. No items had been thrown at them yet, no weird noises or hands clasped around their throats.
"Yeah, it’s probably what you think it is." He started gently, making his best attempt at sugar coating the potentially life-threatening situation. "But don’t worry, it’s—"
His eyes widened in surprised as her next words rang in his ears, the implications impressing him all on their own.
"Wait, you— I just. Did you… Yeah. Okay." He made a discontented grunt, fully aware of how idiotic his senseless babbling must have sounded, so he tried again.
"All right, I’d hate to suddenly pounce a game of twenty questions on you, but we’re kinda running short on time." Dean said urgently, his attention fully dedicated to his new acquaintance despite darting from table to table, hoarding every salt shaker on the way.
"Did you know this place is haunted? What did you do to prevent the ghosts from coming in? Who would haunt this place and why?" He inquired speedily, raising his voice from across the diner in order to be heard.
He returned to Jedi’s side as quickly as he could, desperately turning the caps of the shakers loose as he set the remainder onto the table, spilling the contents into a circle around the waitress.
"Whatever happens, stay in this circle," He demanded firmly, suddenly feeling a burning sensation trickling down the crook of his neck.
A fire welled from inside the kitchen, setting off the smoke alarm for a split second before it was silenced, filling the air with polluted toxins.
Dean coughed, shielding his nose and mouth as his eyes watered slightly from irritation.
"Oh, come on!"
Jedi laughed. “Well, I’ll pass on the Britney if you don’t mind, I can’t stand pop music. But you know, you could always preform in front of the whole town, I could easily arrange that, as small as we are. I’d only have to shout it down the streets and it’ll be done. Especially if I yell something like, “handsome man singing here”. The women here will be flocking over.”
She started to blush, unable to believe that she’d just basically called her customer handsome to his face, something she never ever did. She suspected though that it was because of the fact that the man was really easy going.
“I’d rather not that you’d vomit though, I’m the one who has to clean it up.” She winked. “It’s nice to meet you, Dean. Why don’t you surprise me with a good pun though, I always make it a challenge to see whether I get to hear something original. If you’re original, coffee’s on me.”
Jedi stared past Dean. She could see the window starting to fog over, which was strange as it wasn’t even cold outside and there wasn’t a heater on in the building, it was the middle of summer during the middle of the day.
“That’s weird…” She said slowly.
Dean raised his eyebrows, more than mildly amused at Jedi’s little Freudian slip. He could tell she hadn’t meant to say it by the way her cheeks flared into the damndest shade of pink, and frankly the hunter thought it was too endearing for her own good.
"Nice pass on the queen of pop, she ain’t my style, either. Though I think more people would flock to you than to me once they got outside, if we’re being honest here. Pretty, redheaded girl with a voice of an angel calling out to a town? Yeah, it’s obvious what the center of attention would be." He paused for emphasis, ending the brief silence with a wink. "Don’t act like you weren’t rockin’ out earlier, too. It’s too late to take it back."
He leaned his back into the comfortable booth, putting both arms behind his head as he deeply contemplated an ‘original’ pun. It was going to be rather difficult for him, considering how Star Wars was definitely more Sam’s speed than his own— And speaking of which, why hadn’t the over sized moose appeared yet?
He didn’t have a chance to contemplate it for long, though. At the sight of new found confusion on the waitress’s face, he sat up right, instinctively going into a more defensive mindset.
Dean slowly turned his attention toward where Jedi was staring and let loose the mother of all sighs. He ran a hand through his hair frustratingly, the area underneath his eyes practically darkening when the realization hit.
"Damn it, not again…" He muttered absently.
Jedi smiled at the man.
“Well, I think that you’ve got a nice voice. I don’t know how you do on other songs but rock? Yeah, you’re good.”
She smiled when he buried his face, looking embarrassed of himself. She didn’t really think that it was anything to be embarrassed about; it wasn’t like there was anyone in the diner at the moment other than the two of them.
“No need to be embarrassed, y’know.” Jedi said. “It’s not like there’s anyone else here besides us.”
She watched him straightening up again. He was cute while he was being bashful. Honestly spoken though she thought he was one of the macho type of men who didn’t want to admit that they were capable of being bashful.
She laughed at his compliments. “I’ll agree with you on the music and hobby, but kick ass cooking prowess? You might wanna reconsider that one until you’ve eaten.”
She flipped her hair away from her nametag which had been hidden underneath her hair on the right side of her torso.
“Jedi, my name is Jedi.” She flashed him a smile. “What’s yours?”
"I don’t think I can see myself getting down with some Britney Spears or anything, so thanks. I’ll stick with rock." He deadpanned. The airy chuckle he was sporting completely contradicted the dire tone of his statement, but he couldn’t find it in him to mind the minor slip up.
Dean, as proud of a figure as he was, made a spirited flubbering sound with his lips, accompanied by a playful eye roll and an audacious smile. “Pfft. Me? Embarrassed? Nah. It’s just a shame that the rest of the town couldn’t get an earful. How selfish of me.”
He gestured toward the kitchen with a head tilt, not quite conceding to the redhead’s claims. “With a smell like that, it’s got to be good. Innocent till proven guilty… or proven to be vomit inducing, which I don’t think is likely.”
He nodded his head courteously, the iridescent emerald green of his eyes brightening. “Dean. First time I’ve ever met someone named Jedi. I take it you’re sick and tired of all the Star Wars puns by now, huh?”
The glass window beside Dean’s seat began to mist itself in a thick fog, the condensation cracking it ever so slightly as the arctic chill worked its way through the crevices— Only it wasn’t cold outside.
Making the order in this case was a little different for Jedi as she had to prepare everything herself but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t have fun with it.
She quietly sang along with the song, her body starting to move to the music while she cooked. If there was one thing she loved, I was cooking and seeing as Mike the cook wasn’t there, this was perfect for her. She flipped over the burger to cook the other side of it before moving over to the counter so that she could start preparing the salad for the man’s brother.
She was confident in her abilities to make sure that the orders were ready by the time that the customer’s brother was ready, but that didn’t mean that she was rushing around with it. She dumped the chips into the fryer and moved back to the counter to prepare the bun for the burger.
That’s when she heard it. it sounded like someone was singing along with the song on the radio and by the sounds of it, they were really getting into it. She drifted over to the door back into the diner. Sure enough, she saw that the customer was the one singing along with the song while he was looking through his father’s journal.
“You’re a good singer.” She said, smiling.
The song had taken on a whole new meaning for Dean now that he had, in fact, literally sprang back from hell itself. In a figurative sense, earth wasn’t too far off from the burning pit in that there were plenty of sick bastards roaming about making people’s lives miserable. All they were missing was a rack.
The tired hunter smelled the familiar scent of fried goods and sizzling meat hitting a greased up stove, the lurching feeling in his stomach returning with a vengeance. It rumbled ominously, almost earning itself a stern reprimand before the waitress peered at him as she returned from the kitchen. He was caught mid-song, as his ever-so-brilliant gracefulness often allowed, and burst out into a fit of laughter, throwing his head back at the innocent gesture.
"You’re kidding," He sputtered out between hearty chuckles, repositioning himself accordingly. "I’m practically tone deaf. I forgot I was performing for an audience,"
With a small lurch forward, he buried his face into his hand, using his elbow to prop himself onto the table top, a healthy dose of humility and embarrassment straining at his features. It’s one thing to sing to his heart’s content in front of the people who knew him too well, but it was a whole ‘nother to jam out like it was no one’s business in the middle of a diner, company and all. It just goes to show that even Dean Winchester, self proclaimed manly man and prideful classic rock fan, is capable of feeling bashful, even if it’s only a little bit.
Recollecting himself, he straightened his posture and coughed, hoping to gather what was left of his dignity. Dean, unsuccessfully, looked for a name tag on the woman, only to be met with zilch. He shook his head, still in good spirits.
"So let me get this straight: You’ve got impeccable taste in music, an interesting hobby, kick ass cooking prowess, and I still don’t know your name?"
Castiel took the time to take in the boy’s appearance. He had the most intricate jawline and the most outstanding green eyes. His physique was very muscular and suited him well.
Cas blushed once again when he realized the guy had been staring at him all this time. He kept his eyes on the textbooks he had knelt to retrieve as he spoke. “Y-Yes,” he replied nervously. “I love to read the Sherlock Holmes books and short stories…” Castiel rubbed the back of his neck nervously after he stood up. He carefully took the book out of the stranger’s hands. As he did, their hands touched for what seemed like a millennia before Cas finally pulled away with his book.
Castiel never had a girlfriend—or boyfriend in that matter. He hadn’t felt such embarrassment at the slightest touch or action or even a single word like he had with the new kid. With him, it was completely different this time.
"That’s cool," Dean responded, his focus unwavering as he observed the other boy’s timid movements, his breath rate just barely increasing when their hands brushed against each others during the brief exchange. "I read some of Doyle’s stuff while I was away, never got to Sherlock Holmes, though. No one I know’s ever given me the run-down,"
At the sound of a brash cough, he looked up to see the same teacher standing a few feet from where the two were standing, his shoe tapping impatiently against the floor as he pointed toward his wristwatch. With an indignant sigh, Dean readjusted his attention back onto the blue-eyed student, a pleasant smile blooming onto his face. “Sorry for keeping you here, pal. You should probably get to class or something.”
He reached toward his pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheet a paper, the forgotten item indicating his new schedule for the semester. He smoothed the fibers out as best as he could, eying the small, black font as he made a discontented face. “I just gotta figure out where the theater room is.”
Castiel was taken back by the sudden force coming through the door. A boy about his age, who seemed to have just about every girl swooning in the classroom. The teacher reprimanded the stranger as the boy swore under his breath.
After he finished packing up his things, Castiel got up to head for his next class when he ended up tripping over a bulky boot, causing his things to fall onto the floor. He had barely managed to utter an apology without his face turning the slightest shade of pink.
Dean hardly listened to the, rather bulky looking teacher, throwing a disapproving glare his way as he went on a public tangent about the importance of showing up to class on time; Not that it stopped any of the girls from practically swooning in their seats, hesitant to run off to their next class as their eyes remained glued onto the young man.
He gave the teacher a placating smile, not bothering to divide his attention before he heard multiple, rough clunks flail against the tiled floors following some poor shmuck tripping over his boot. He glanced at the scrabbled mess that had just been created and bent over beside it, gathering the items into his hands as he looked up at the stranger with the most remarkable pair of eyes he’d ever seen.
They were an almost electric blue, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the hues crackled off of the celestial orbs themselves, lighting up the afternoon sky into blinding proportions. The boy had dark, raven colored hair, accompanied by fair skin that hinted at the slightest shade of pink. It was awfully adorable— And what the hell, did Dean, straight as a ruler and bangs nearly every chick, Winchester, just think a guy was adorable?
Nevertheless he grinned, standing to his feet and offering the books to him with fervor. “My fault, shouldn’t have been in your way.” He conceded thoughtfully, scanning over a title. “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? You read this for fun?”