and winter came;
Set at some point after 5.10 “Abandon All Hope”.
Something wakes Dean up in the middle of the night.
He isn’t sure what wakes him; eyes sliding open to peer unseeingly into the darkness of his motel room, his ears prickling for the softest of sounds echoing from the space around him- (Sam's gentle snuffling as he puffs breaths of air against his pillow; the low tick-ticking of a bedside clock; the silent sound of snow falling thick and heavy out with their motel room, a sound he hears in his mind as his eyes focus in the night and he spies, through badly drawn curtains, the telltale flakes of white as they sail past the window).
All seems well. All is quite and peaceful. And yet… something has woken him. Something has pulled him from the depths of sleep and roused him to full wakefulness.
He lies still a moment, his ears ringing with the silence as he strains them to pick out sounds further afield than their motel room- (a lone car passing slowly by the motel, its engine grumbling against the cold and a stick shift in the wrong gear; the harsh whisper of arguing voices further up the lot before a door is sharply closed) –and then silence reigns once more.
Pulling himself from his sleep-warmed bed, suppressing the shiver as bare feet touch against the cold of a wooden floor, Dean stands and stretches; his eyes wide and searching as he tip-toes his way towards the window and flicks the curtains aside a little more, peering out against the gloom of a parking lot with its insubstantial lighting.
His gaze slips automatically towards his car, his girl sitting there just where he left her; her pristine exterior slowly but steadily being buried beneath layer of fine layer of snow. He smiles, a quick quirking of the lips, as he shakes his head and turns, ready to call himself on his own paranoia and foolishness and return to bed, when suddenly he sees him.
Or thinks that he does.
A swishing of a tan trenchcoat glanced out the corner of an eye, but when he turns quickly back- face pressing up against the chilled glass, the breath from his nostrils misting at the glass- he sees nothing. He sees no one. No thing except… he frowns then, pulling away from the window and scrubbing his hands over the chill that has seeped into his face.
There, left so innocently in a spot just beside his car, lies a pair of footprints. Footprints pressed into at least four inches of snow already with none leading either to or from them. Two footprints left, he is as sure of it as he is his own name, by an angel keeping watch.
He feels a shiver steal up his spine as he steps back from the window. Feet falling more heavily against the wood of the floor as he stumbles his way back towards his bed. He sits heavily, legs drawn up from the cold, and frowns into his knees.
It was Castiel. He knows it was Castiel. The very same angel of the lord who has been avoiding them like the plague since having rescued his brother and himself from their most recent encounter with Lucifer.
He lies himself down upon his bed, pulls the covers to his chin, and tries not to think, for the hundredth time, about why that might be.