Sam busied himself by looking around at the surprisingly tidy bathroom. He walked over to the towel rack where there was three large towels, along with three smaller towels, neatly folded over the rails. One of the large towels was slightly damp, carrying a hint of musk. "He must have had a shower."
"Yeah. Gotta say one thing about him. Dude does smell nice." Dean didn't look up from his lock picking. "Nothing worse than getting close to someone and they smell. You know? And believe me, we've smelt some terrible things over the years, haven't we?"
Sam made a face, although he was tempted to point out that Cas smelled nice too, when he ever got close to him. "Yeah. Okay. Are you done?"
"Give me a second," Dean said, cheering quietly when the lock clicked open. "Done."
"About time." Sam said as they opened the door carefully and crept into Bardulf's room. The first thing Sam noticed about it was how tidy it was.
"Neat freak," Dean muttered as they moved over towards the bed. "People keep their secrets under the bed. Maybe we'll find his porn collection there."
"Not everyone ke..," Sam trailed off as there was the sound of keys in the lock outside. "Under the bed," he whispered, dragging Dean under the bed with him. They quickly shifted about, making sure no parts of them were visible before the door opened and Bardulf walked in, shutting the door behind him, not bothering to lock it. He walked over to the bed and flopped down on it with a loud sigh.
Sam winced as the bed shifted and creaked above him, causing the wooden slats to dig into his shoulder but he didn't dare make a sound. How would he explain what he and Dean were doing hiding under Bardlf's bed. Especially since Dean had picked the lock to get into the room. A dark green sweater hit the floor by the bed.
Bardulf suddenly stood up, narrowly missing Dean's hand with his foot and there was the sound of a zipper and suddenly his pants hit the floor, exposing pale muscular legs, which what looked like to be a tattoo of dark red and gold detailed feathers, all the way down the back of both his legs to his ankles. He kicked the pants into the corner. "That's so much better," Bardulf said out aloud as he flopped back on the bed.
The door suddenly flew open and someone entered. "Ah, there you are."
"Barty! Haven't you heard of knocking or is that concept too alien for you? I could've been naked. What the hell are you doing here?"
Wait! Hold the phone. Since when were Barty and Bardulf talking? When did Barty willingly seek out Bardulf's company?
"I wouldn't mind." A long pause. "Does that go all the way up your legs?"
"Pervert. Now that you're here, shut the damn door."
Cas' voice suddenly piped up. "Hello." Sam was glad that Cas couldn't see his face as he was blushing at the sound of the angel's voice.
"Do I have a sign on my door saying 'open to all' or something? Not that I'm not glad to see you, Cas," Bardulf's voice spoke above them, "but my room is not a meeting place. What are you doing here?"
"It's a free country," Barty retorted. "Shift over. Let Cas sit down." A pause. "Don't do anything I won't do. At least not without letting me join in."
The bed shifted again, pressing down harder on Sam's shoulder. He maneuvered his body so he was lying on his stomach.
"You'd like that, wouldn't you, you kinky bastard," Bardulf stated, sounding amused.
"What was the expression? The more the merrier," Barty retorted. "I believe I have heard a certain brother of mine say that quite often."
"You're not invited."
"Are there whips and chains involved? If so, I am definitely invited."
"Well, I was thinking of breaking out the ropes and the gag so I can tie you up and gag you..."
"...So I don't have to listen to your voice any more."
"Meanie. Everybody loves me."
"Liar." A pause. "Any way, I'm going to poke around in your wardrobe and see what boring stuff you have in here."
Dean lifted the bed skirt slightly and saw a pair of black clad legs make their way towards Bardulf's closet. The closet door opened and there was a loud crash as something fell down onto the floor. It sounded like a drum kit including a set of cymbals. Why Bardulf had a drum kit in his closet was anybody's guess. Sam was glad that they hadn't managed to open the closet if something was going to fall out.
"Careful, Barty!" Bardulf scolded. "I hope none of it's damaged."
"Sorry. Shouldn't have your drums in the wardrobe then."
"Well, where else am I going to put them?"
"Have them set up." There was the sound of someone, presumably Barty, assembling the drum kit. "Now to be nosy." There was the sound of clothes being shifted around on their hangers. "Boring, boring, oooh, now this looks interesting, boring, I want to nick this, boring, mmm, you know, you have a lot of boring clothes in here. You should wear this. What do you think, Cas?"
"Hey! Get your mangy paws off my clothes, Barty. How would you like it if I poked around in your clothes?"
"I'd let you borrow anything you like... as long as I get it back and it's not torn or have holes in it."
Sam wondered if Bardulf could fit into Barty's clothes and what the red head would look like in said clothes. His mind then wandered to the mental image of Cas in Barty's clothes and he had to bite down on his lip to stifle the sigh that threatened to escape.
"I think he should wear whatever is comfortable," Castiel said, a hint of frostiness in his voice. "And what pleases him, not to suit others."
"He should at least ditch the long sleeves at least once in a while. Wear something a little more form fitting. Like this for example. That'll make everyone stand up and take notice. Wear what he's wearing right now."
"I don't want to attract attention to myself. You know the reason why I wear long sleeves."
"What? You get sunburnt? Is that the line you're using?"
"It is a perfectly valid reason and it has a smidge of truth to it as I do burn in the sun. That is one of the reasons I wear long sleeves. This is the other reason I wear them out in public."
"What's a few scars? Oh come on! You might get asked how far up those feathers go. You never did answer my question."
A sigh. "Fine. If you must know..." Bardulf stood up, turned his back towards Barty and pulled up the back of his shirt, exposing his back to Barty. "Happy now?" he asked, tugging his shirt down but not bothering to tuck it in.
"Yeah. Why don't you go around like that more often? You'd attract more attention like that."
"I don't want attention. I'm happy just fading into the background."
"Is that why you don't say much in class?" Barty asked. "Are you afraid that your accent would slip again?"
"Why do you hate Sam?" Cas asked, derailing the conversation.
"Yeah, I mean, it looked like you wanted to strangle him with a guitar string earlier on," Barty interjected.
Underneath the bed, Sam's ears pricked up as he waited for Bardulf's reply.
"I don't hate Sam. I mean, yeah, he keeps kicking my chair with his freakishly long legs which is annoying but I don't hate him. He makes me feel short and I'm six foot one and a half, that's pretty hard to do but he's managed it." A pause. "Cas, don't look at me like that. You look like a confused kitten like that."
"I am not a kitten," Cas huffed, covering up Dean's stifled laugh from under the bed.
"Fine. You're a tiger in kitten's clothing," Barty said, joining in on the teasing.
Bardulf laughed, a deep rich sound. "Turning the question back to you, Cas, why do you hate Barty?"
"I don't hate him. I just don't like that Sam and Dean spend a lot of time with him."
Barty sighed. "I'll tell them that they need to pencil you into their diaries. You should spend time with your friends and family and catch up on stuff." He sounded like he was dropping a hint with that comment. "Don't you think?"
"Thank you, Barty," Cas sounded strained as if it took a lot of effort to say those three words.
"So which of them do you like?" Bardulf asked, stressing the word 'like' as if it had some hidden meaning. He sounded like he wanted Cas to confess to something.
"I like both of them," Cas sounded confused now. Sam could see Cas tilting his head with that adorable confused look on his face.
"I mean, which of them do you really like? As in want to date."
"Oh. I... I'd prefer not to say."
"Both of them?" Barty interjected. "Holy love triangle, Batman. Did I say that right, James?"
Sam thought Barty was being rude by referring to Bardulf by his surname, but as their names sounded somewhat similar, he could see why Barty was doing it.
"Yep," Bardulf replied.
"Well, I know that one of the Winchesters likes you, Cas. I was there when he confessed his feelings to the other."
Sam wondered if Barty was going to mention who it was that said they liked Cas.
"Well, at least you picked some hotties to drool over. Dean reminds me of a cat. Wonder if he'd purr if I scratched him behind the ears."
"You and your cat obsession," Barty muttered. "Bet you'd get him a catnip mouse so he can rub himself all over it. Maybe a flea collar as well."
Sam had to clench his teeth to stop the laugh that threatened to escape. He could just imagine the pissed off look on Dean's face at the comments.
"With a little bell."
"And Sam is cute... in a puppy sort of way," Bardulf pointed out, shifting on the bed. "Maybe you could get him a dog collar for his birthday."
Dean stifled a laugh and Sam nudged him.
"Or some dog biscuits." Barty added with a laugh.
"A chew toy."
"A dog bowl."
"With 'Fido' written on the side. No wait! A bright pink bowl with 'Foofoo' on it. In silver writing."
"I do not believe that Sam or Dean would appreciate those particular gifts," Cas, bless him, said, sounding slightly amused at the other two's antics. Either that, or Cas was taking their advice to heart. Sam hoped that that didn't mean there were flea collars and dog bowls in the future for them.
"True. So, James, why are you so grumpy in the mornings?" Barty questioned, changing the subject.
"You'd be grumpy too if your neighbours decided that playing loud music until the early hours of the morning too."
"Thought you could sleep through anything."
"Not Celine Dion or any other type of whishy washy songs that they seem to love. I've complained about it but they haven't done anything."
"Poor James. Seems to be living on coffee and four hours of sleep each night. You should get them back by playing your music loudly. Or maybe just play the drums or your guitar every time they start. Maybe they'd get the hint."
Bardulf laughed. "I'd get in so much trouble... but it would so be worth it."
"Thought I was supposed to be the evil one."
"Yeah, well, I'm taking your title."
"You are both evil... in a devious way," Castiel piped up. "You are too much alike, even though you hide it well."
"Well, we are, you know..."
Sam wondered what they were talking about and whether Cas knew.
"Yes and at this moment it is very obvious."
"Changing the subject. How did Mr Willis find out you were a Pink Floyd fan?"
Bardulf sounded embarrassed. "He caught me...playing 'Another Brick in the Wall' on the guitar and singing along. He told me he admired my taste in music. We had a good long chat. And, yes, Barty, he knows. Before you ask."
"You wanted to keep it secret. You wanted to hide it. Of course he does. You haven't changed that much."
"Yes, well. I don't care. He won't tell anybody...He just told me that when I'm ready to tell, he'll be behind me." Bardulf sighed. "I thought it would be a laugh but now, I'm not so sure."
"You dug your own grave there."
"You're telling me. Oh well, once it comes out, I wonder if then they'll do something about my crappy neighbours..."
"Maybe. For the sake of our sanity..."
"Not that you have much of that."
"I hope they do."
"Well, they should, but you know them, they wouldn't want to upset the princess."
"Princess? Ha! She's no princess."
"True. Cas is more a princess than she is."
"I'm not even going to say what popped into my head right then."
"I think I can guess," Cas said, sounding unamused. "Your mind's a twisted place."
"Barty, your roots are showing," Bardulf blurted out suddenly.
"Oh. How much?"
"Not too much at the mo, but you'll need to buy some more dye soon. What shade is that by the way?"
"Why? Planning on dyeing your own then to match?"
"no, if I did dye my hair, I would make sure it is the exact opposite to you."
"That would be blond then. Sure your IQ won't drop if you dye it that shade?" Barty paused. "What you need, Bro, is a drink or two."
"Last time I got drunk, I ended up with a pink Dalek wearing a green feather boa in my room and I was covered head to toe in blue body paint," Bardulf commented. "I blame Jack."
Sam frowned as the mental image of the reserved teenager wearing body paint popped into his mind and his mind wandered towards Cas in said body paint. He also wondered if the body paint was the edible type.
"No Daleks this time," Barty promised, "although blue body paint might come in to it somewhere. C'mon J, please. I'll buy the drinks. Cas, you in?"
"No, someone has to keep an eye on Sam and Dean."
"Okay. Just don't keep a too close eye on them, unless you film it and show me later," Barty stated.
"What?" Barty asked innocently. He sighed. "I need a shag."
"Go out on the fire escape! Last thing I want is for the fire alarm to go off."
"Fine. Sheesh!" The bed shifted as if someone was standing on the bed. "Coming James?" There was a rattling sound. "What was the last time you had one."
"Is that not illegal?" Cas questioned. "And outside too?"
"It's okay, Cas. I know what he means." Bardulf said. "I could do with one. I mean, a cigarette."
Wait a minute, Bardulf smokes and Barty knows this? What is going on here?
"Ah, I see. Why did you not just say that you wanted to smoke on the fire escape?"
"Brit slang." The bed shifted again as if the bed was being stood on again. "I can't believe I'm climbing out the window to have a cigarette in my underwear with Barty," Bardulf commented. There was the sound of what sounded like a blow torch lighting. Presumably he wasn't using a blow torch to light his cigarette but Sam wasn't exactly sure.
There was the sound of footsteps on the fire escape, approaching Bardulf's window at nearly a run. A cheerful voice, that Sam recognized as Darcy, rang out. "Nice legs! You should wear that more often."
Bardulf sounded suspicious. "What did you do, Darce?"
"What makes you think I did anything? I can't hang out with my friend now? Oh, hi Cas. Barty."
"Hi," Barty said softly.
The bed dipped as if someone had launched themselves through the window onto the bed. "Sorry, Cas," Darcy said. "Didn't mean to elbow you there."
"I feel as if my room has become King's Cross Station with people barging in left and right. I could've been naked for all you three know," Bardulf stated. He must have been leaning in through the window to talk to Cas and Darcy.
"Don't get your boxers in a bunch. If you had been naked, you wouldn't have been on the fire escape, smoking. Not unless you're secretly a nudist."
"What did you do?"
"Nothing." Darcy changed the subject around. "So what are you doing in here? Were you plaiting each other's hair and discussing boys?"
"We were discussing the Winchesters..."
"I knew it! So which one do you like, Cas? I could be your tazer wielding cupid. Could tazer your beloved into liking you."
Under the bed, Sam and Dean froze at Darcy's words. Sam did not want to be tazered by Darcy, even though she wouldn't have to tazer him into liking Cas as he was already there. That is if Cas liked him and not Dean. He hoped that she wouldn't tazer Dean either, if Dean was the one that Cas liked, because he knew that his brother didn't like Cas in that way. He wouldn't have suggested this crazy plot if he had any inking of attraction towards Cas. No, Sam suspected that Dean's attraction was pointed elsewhere.
"You have too many clothes on to be a cupid. And I do not think Sam or Dean would appreciate that course of action." Cas paused. "And I'd prefer not to say."
"Aw, c'mon Cas. Inquiring minds wanna know."
Bardulf sighed. "I think I need that drink now."
"See, I told you that's what you needed," Barty sounded jubilant. "You need to drop the act and be your usual flirty self. Everyone needs to get drunk once in a while. What about you Darcy? What do you have planned?"
"I'm going to be in my room. I have an idea for a crossbow that's based on my tazer."
"That's awesome. You must let me try it out if you get it to work."
"You can't... I mean, I can see I'd be your first victim," Barty protested.
"What dear Barty is trying to say is that he thinks I'd use the taser on him. Isn't that right?" Bardulf answered, obviously used to translating 'Barty Speak'.
"Come out with us for a drink," Barty persisted. "It'll do you good and it might help... If only to keep him over there from getting his hands on a new weapon."
"You can invite Zeb, if you wish," Bardulf added. "Cas, you sure you don't want to come?"
"I'll keep an eye on Dean and Sam."
"Well, Dean copped off with Britney earlier," Darcy said. "I overheard Britney telling her friends about it."
Sam felt Dean's body stiffen behind him as his name was mentioned.
"Oh, is that what it was? I thought someone had run over a seagull with a lawnmower. What? I am right next door to her, y'know, and these walls aren't exactly thick. Why can't she swap with you, Darce and then at least I'll get some sleep?"
"Wish I could. What does he see in her anyway?"
"Apart from the obvious," Barty snorted.
"Yeah, apart from that."
"Are you speaking about Britney's 'assets'?" Cas asked, verbally adding quote-marks around the last two words. "Dean has said that the way to his heart is through pie," he added.
"Really? Well, isn't that interesting?" Darcy commented. "Apparently next Home Ec lesson, we're going to be learning how to make pies. People are already saying how hard it's going to be."
"Not that hard," Bardulf said. "You just cook the fruit, make the pastry. Then you line a pie tin with the pastry and put the fruit in the pastry. Cover it with pastry, sprinkle sugar on the top and stick it in the oven until it's cooked. Easy as pie. No pun intended."
Sam shook his head, thinking that the red head was showing off his skills in the kitchen. All right, he admitted it, he was jealous.
"For you, maybe," Darcy said. "You've got experience. Some of them don't know one end of a whisk from the other."
"Are we going out, or what?" Barty said impatiently, changing the subject.
"Yeah, all right, keep your boxers on." Bardulf said, clambering over the bed, followed closely by Barty. "I hate to love you and leave you but..."
"You two can come if you want."
"Someone has to keep an eye on Dean and Sam."
Darcy sighed. "Okay, but only for a little while."
"Attagirl. Let's go to Vegas."
"Cousin," Barty said, opening Bardulf's closet. "Put this on."
"Fine, but I'm going to have a shower first and get changed in the bathroom." Bardulf growled.
"Now now, you must put on a happy face."
"I'll show you a happy face with my foot up your..."
A door slamming was Barty's answer. "He'll be fine. Just needs to unwind a bit. Get laid."
Sam privately thought that Bardulf really needed to unwind a lot. He hoped that the night out would make the red head mellow a bit. He wondered if he, Dean and Cas could also go out to try and unwind. Maybe if he got drunk enough, he could tell Cas how he feels. First, he and Dean had to get out of there. He carefully turned around to face Dean, nudging Dean to get his attention. "We need to get the hell out of here."
Dean nodded to show he understood the message. "When?" he mouthed back. "They don't seem to be going anywhere soon."
There was a shuffling above them. "Well, if we're going to hit the town tonight, I better get my glad rags on," Darcy said. "God, I sounded so British then. Must be hanging around you two for so long."
There was a snort of laughter from Barty. "Such a bad influence on you."
"You are." Darcy stood up and her footsteps could be heard walking to the bathroom. There was the sound of the bathroom door opening. "I'm gonna get... Oops, sorry. I forgot that you were going to have a shower and be so... naked." There was a muffled reply to Darcy's statement over the sound of running water and she laughed. "Nice tattoo." Another muffled reply. "Now, I don't know what you just said but I'm sure it meant 'Darcy, you're so awesome. Please stare at my butt a bit more'. Am I right?"
"No!" That was heard clearly as it was said very loudly. "Darcy, quit it!"
"What? I can't be curious on what you hide under those clothes?"
"I thought you were going to change, Darcy," Barty said, moving from the bed, towards the bathroom. "Nice tattoo, Bro." There was the sound of something plastic hitting the door. "Don't you need that? Now he's throwing things at me. Cas, come sort him out."
Sam clenched his fists, hoping that Cas wasn't about to join Bardulf in the shower.
"I believe that that would be counter-productive," Cas said. "I believe that your spying on him is agitating him."
"Uh, yeah. I'll just go and change," Darcy said, sounded distracted. "See you in a bit."
"I should go too. Make sure that Dean and Sam haven't got themselves into trouble," Cas said, moving to the bathroom door. "I will talk to you later... When you aren't so... unclothed."
"Okay. See you later."
"Yeah, Bye Cas."
"Goodbye Barty. Have a good night."
There was the sound of a door opening and shutting behind Cas.
Two down and one to go. All Sam and Dean had to do now, was waiting until Barty leaves and then they could sneak out.
"J, I'm going to need the shower soon. So hurry up. I know you like to spend ages in there but I need to use it too," Barty said. A muffled reply was his only answer. "Oh, and here's the shower gel that you threw at me. Almost took my head off."
"Why don't you ask Sam if you can borrow his?"
"I'm not even going there. Look, I'm just going to wait in here until you get out so you better hurry up... or else." Barty's voice was echoing slightly, indicating he had moved fully into the bathroom.
Sam lifted the bedskirt and looked around. He didn't see anyone and he decided to seize the moment. "Come on, Dean. Let's get out of here," he whispered as he crawled out from under the bed.
"Bout time," Dean said, scrambling out from under the bed.
Together they crept to the door and quietly opened the door. After they had exited the room, they shut it carefully behind them so it shut with a quiet click.
They quickly walked down an empty corridor and breathed a sigh of relief.
"So what does that mean?" Sam asked, catching a hold of Dean's sleeve. "We didn't learn anything new from spying on him."
"Yes, we did. We learned that he has a tattoo on his legs and he's friendly with Barty."
"Yeah, but nothing useful."
"We did. We heard that he has a sense of humor. Even if he did threaten to get us flea collars and dog bowls." Dean paused. "And you're missing one piece of the puzzle here."
"You're supposed to be the smart one. James knows that Cas likes someone else."
"Yeah, but, he didn't say any... Did you just call him James?"
"Uh, yeah. According to Cas, that's his first name but anyway, he knows Cas likes someone else..."
"What if it's you?"
"Me? Why would it be me?"
"Well, you have that whole 'profound bond' thing going on."
"In the unlikely event that Cas likes me like that, he's not my type."
"Kinda figured that. I bet I know who is your type though. A certain rock star's younger brother, perhaps? Or the rock star himself?"
"Shut up, Sammy. You breathe a word to anyone about this and I will tell everyone about your adoration for our awkward ex-angel."
Sam nodded. "I won't."
"Good. Besides, you can't go wrong with a sexy Scottish accent like J and Barty have." Dean paused for a moment. "You know, when James mocked Barty's accent, even he sounded sexy." He sighed.
Sam turned to face Dean. "Dean, are you saying you'd sleep with Bardulf if he had a Scottish accent?"
"What? No! He is not my type. Of course, if he wore tighter clothes, messed his hair up and lost his glasses then he might be good looking. Maybe not on the scale of J Brightwolf or Barty though."
Sam paused as a thought hit him. "Hey, Dean?"
"What is the 'J' short for in J Brightwolf's name?"
"Dunno. Ask Barty if you want to know."
"He's your roommate."
"He's your fake boyfriend." Dean sighed. "Why?"
"You've got your 'I must research this' face on."
"Yeah. I just want to know more about him. Especially when I'm fake dating his brother."
"Ah. Well, have fun." Dean said. "I'm going to find something to do while you're researching."
Sam shook his head. He knew what Dean's idea of 'having fun' entailed. He entered his room and started up his laptop. He opened his internet browser and typed in the address for Google. He typed in the word 'Bardulf meaning' and hit enter.
When the results came up, Sam stared at his computer in shock before exclaiming, "I knew it!" He ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't stand a chance with Cas now." He paused. "I need a drink." He wondered if Dean was thinking the same thing.
As if his thoughts summoned his brother to the door, there was a knock. "Sammy, come on. Tear yourself from your My Little Pony collection and let's go out. We need a drink. Just saw Cas and he wants one too."
Sam smiled and headed towards the door. "Shut up."
"Gonna tell him?"
"If it comes up."