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How to Take Care of Angels and Little Animals

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+++

      The room is dark, the smell of cheap detergent and gun oil heavy in the air. And it’s soft… everywhere.

      Castiel feels around the room but he keeps on tripping and falling flat on his stomach, his feet tangling in things he couldn’t see. When he closes his eyes and wills himself somewhere else, he finds his wings crippled and his grace bound. He’s trapped.

      He sits down on the floor where his bottom feels oddly comfortable against the soft layers of whatever is underneath him. He tries to remember what had happened before he blacked out and found himself here, wherever here was.

      Then it hits him.

      Gabriel.

+++

Earlier that night…

 

      Gabriel rolls his eyes at his brother currently moping on his sofa for the umpteenth time that night. This is turning in to one of those nights—the nights when Castiel would fly in uninvited at Gabriel luxurious mansion at some secure, undisclosed location and spill his frustrations about the Winchesters all over the obscenely expensive carpet. But this time, it’s different. This time, it’s worse. “Will you stop your whining? ‘Dean only calls me when he needs help. Dean doesn’t appreciate all that I do for him. Dean thinks my trench coat smells—“

       “I said nothing of the sort—“ Castiel cuts in.

       “—Dean denies his big, gay love for me—“ Gabriel continues and the look Castiel shoots at him is nothing short of murderous. Gabriel grins. “Hit the bull’s eye on that one, huh?” he says smugly.

       “Gabriel…” Castiel says in warning. “Please do not make light of these things that are troubling me…”

       “What things?” Gabriel feigns innocence. “You mean the thing where you had Dean Winchester’s tongue down your throat?”

      Castiel visibly flinches on that one, but Gabriel’s feeling a bit spiteful that night, so he goes on.

       “Or wait, was it the thing that happened after? What was it again? Oh right… you on your ass in the rain after he pushed you off him just when it was gettin’ good and telling you to ‘forget this ever happened’?”

       “I only caught him off-guard. He was confused… it was my fault,” Castiel tells him, the guilt practically coming off him in waves.

       “Dean Winchester’s a dick! You know that, right?” Gabriel asks.

       “I was wrong… I shouldn’t have approached him like that—” Castiel continues, shaking his head.

       “Oh please!” Gabriel cuts him off with an irritated wave of a hand. “Believe me, you couldn’t have stopped it even if you wanted to. I could see that kiss comin’ from a hundred miles away. What I don’t understand is why you still came back to help them on that hunt even after he stamped ‘REJECTED’ all over your face.”

       “They needed my help,” Castiel says weakly.

       “They always need your help! But you gotta keep a bit more self respect than that, bro. The guy dumped you and yet you still came to his rescue? That’s gotta be a new low even for you,” Gabriel says and immediately regrets it when Cas looks at him like a kicked puppy before he slumps his shoulders dejectedly and completely deflates. Gabriel sighs. He loves his brother, he does. But sometimes he just wants to kick his feathery behind for being so irritatingly clueless.

      He pops a caramel candy in his mouth and lets his irritation out on chewing through the sticky mess. Then suddenly, as if a switch is flicked open, Gabriel’s eyes light up and his usual mischievous grin takes over his face. “You know what you need? Divine intervention!” he says before swallowing the remnants of his candy.

      Castiel looks up at Gabriel standing by the table overflowing with chocolates and sweets. “I don’t understand what you mean,” he tells his brother. He watches Gabriel select a bonbon from a bowl and chew on it with that same scheming grin on his face.

       “You gotta learn a thing or two about humans, bro. One: if you’re always there, they won’t miss you. And two…” he stops to raise a hand in front of him, and with a wiggle of his eyebrows, he snaps his fingers.

      In an instant, Castiel feels Gabriel’s power enter his body, and the room grows bigger around him. He opens his mouth to protest but a small sound he couldn’t recognize escapes from his throat instead.

       “… If you want them to love you, you shouldn’t be afraid to get a little hairy,” Gabriel says cryptically.

      Castiel cants his head to the side, “What did you do, Gabriel?” he asks, but all that comes out again is that sound. He watches as Gabriel—now too large and too intimidating—walks toward him and wraps something heavy and leathery around his neck. He hears a jingle, and before he can look down, Gabriel holds his head in his now gigantic hands.

      Gabriel smiles down at him fondly. “Aww… aren’t you the cutest thing? Like this, who could say ‘no’ to you?” he says before he snaps again and the world around Castiel dissolves into black.

+++

      Castiel feels the world tilt around him as he realizes what Gabriel had done. He had changed him into… something, and Cas is powerless to change himself back.

      He feels the world tilt again, and Castiel tumbles as the room sways several times. He hears footsteps on gravel, clinking keys, the click of a door unlocking, and suddenly, the floor below him gives in and he’s suspended in air for a split second before gravity comes crashing back and he falls on his face, buried under the layers of soft material he was sitting on before. He struggles to free himself, then he hears a voice, loud like it was coming from everywhere around him, and Cas struggles harder, hope rising in his chest. There is no mistaking that voice. It’s Dean!

+++

       “I’m tellin’ you, Sammy, that crazy old lady’s keepin’ her husband’s skull in the basement,” Dean says as he tosses his duffel bag onto the bed. “We’ve torched the rest of his bones, but he ain’t stopping from haunting that place until we get rid of his skull, too.”

       “Dean, we’ve looked everywhere in that house,” Sam points out, depositing his own bags on the foot of his bed. “It was clean. And short of tying the old lady to a chair and interrogating her, we’re not gonna find out where she kept the skull.”

       “Well… we’ve got rope in the trunk…” Dean says with a lopsided grin, and Sam looks at him like he is the crazy one. He sits on his bed and proceeds to untie his boot laces. “We could threaten her a bit, y’know? With a little bit of persuasion—“

       “Uh, Dean…?” Sam asks cautiously.

       “What? I could be very persuasive y’know?” Dean says, but stops when he sees Sam’s hand poised on the shotgun in his pack, an alarmed expression on his face. Dean turns slowly behind him, but sees nothing but the bed and the wall behind it. Then, a movement catches his eye and he looks down at the duffel bag beside him. There’s something angrily scratching and scrambling around inside. Dean glances at Sam to see him ready with the shotgun with salt rounds in it, before he breathes in deeply and yanks the zip of his bag open.

+++

       The sound of a zipper flying open rings in Castiel’s ears and suddenly his vision is flooded with light. He catches a glimpse of Dean looming above him and he leaps out of the gap, exhilarated by his newfound freedom. “Dean!” he gasps, but all that comes out is that sound again as his leap propels him straight toward the hunter.

+++

       Dean braces himself for whatever surprise lay inside for him when he sees a flash of black… and all of a sudden there are claws digging into his face and scalp. He gasps in surprise as he tumbles back onto the bed, hands flying to whatever it is clawing at his face. He yanks at the creature with so much force, he sends it flying across the room. It slams onto the opposite wall and slides down to the floor. He hears Sam shriek, “What the heck, Dean! Are you insane?!” before he sees him drop the shotgun on the bed and hurry to the unmoving attacker.

       “What the fuck was that?!” he asks Sam, wiping a trickle of blood from a nasty scratch on his forehead. “Damn thing was tearing my face off!”

+++

       For a moment, Castiel is shaken, and he tries to wrap his mind around what happened. For some reason, the moment he saw Dean, his instincts told him to grab hold of whatever part of him he could, and the next instant, he felt a very large hand on his back pulling him and tossing him across the room like he weighed nothing.

       He sees Sam next, a worried expression on his face as he crouches on the floor before him. Castiel’s eyes grow wide at the sight of him. Sam is… large. Gigantic even. Cas has always thought the younger Winchester was tall, but now tall didn’t even begin to cover it. Even crouching like this, Sam towers over him like a mountain. A mountain with very, very large hands reaching out for him, and Castiel finds his body shivering in fear all on its own.

       “It’s a kitten, Dean. A KITTEN!” Sam says, and Castiel freezes on the spot.

       A kitten? Gabriel turned him into a kitten?

       Cas looks down at his body for the first time that night, and sees a ball of black fluff. He moves his arms and sees tiny kitten feet wiggling in front of him instead of his vessel’s hands. He’s a kitten. A kitten!

       “Sam!” he tries to speak but it comes out as that small sound again, and Castiel finally recognizes it. A meow. “Sam, I need your help,” he tries again, and it comes out as an even longer meow.

       He feels those gigantic hands lift him off the floor and begin to quickly roam all over his body, checking for visible signs of injury and Cas tries to squirm out of his grasp. Sam Winchester has just managed to fondle him in places no other being has ever touched before, and Castiel’s not sure how much more ‘touching’ he can take. He curls into a tight ball as Sam moves to cradle him like a baby in his tree trunk-sized arms.

+++

       When he’s sure the kitten isn’t hurt, Sam cradles the frightened little thing gently and stands up. He turns around and shows Dean the ball of black fur in his arms.

       Dean has that skeptical look when he cautiously leans in to get a good look at it. Sure enough, it’s a kitten with pure black fur and unusual folded ears like a dog’s, and when it looks up at him, Dean finds himself melting at the sight of possibly the biggest, brightest blue eyes he has ever seen. Well, second biggest and brightest. That honor goes to someone else Dean would rather not think about at the moment, except that he still ends up thinking about him regardless.

       He remembers how the blue of Castiel’s eyes practically glowed with emotion just before he leaned in and pressed a chaste kiss on Dean’s lips. Before Dean knew it, he was the one deepening the kiss and moving way past chaste, grabbing the lapel of Castiel’s trench coat to pull his body closer.

       He even remembers how the blue of Castiel’s eyes shone with so much hurt the moment Dean told him to forget they even kissed, and how that same bright blue eyes looked at him sadly, almost wistfully when he returned to help them kill off the last of the demons in the town. The image of those sad blue eyes was the last Dean saw before Castiel disappeared with a beat of his powerful wings.

       That was two days ago.

       “I can’t believe you threw a kitten ten feet in the air!”

       The sound of Sam voice jolts Dean out of his thoughts and for once, he is grateful for Sam’s bitching. “Huh? What did y’say?” Dean asks, tearing his gaze away from the kitten’s eerily similar blue eyes.

       “I said I can’t believe you threw this poor kitten ten feet in the air!” Sam repeats, the tone of his voice bordering on outrage.

       Dean looks back at that tiny face and those innocent blue eyes and feels the beginnings of guilt bubble up in his chest. He clears his throat and pretends he isn’t the least bit smitten with the little creature. “It’s alive, so there’s no problem, right?” he says flippantly.

       Sam rolls his eyes.

       The kitten chooses that moment to meow again, and Sam strokes the fur on its back to soothe it. “He seems fine,” Sam says. “Which is lucky for you, since you don’t want to add animal cruelty to your rap sheet.”

       “Animal cruelty?! Hey, I’m the victim here,” Dean says. “Look what it did to my face! I’m bleeding.”

       “You should get those scratches cleaned,” Sam points out, and the kitten meows again, almost like it’s calling out for someone.

       Dean gives Sam the “Ya think?!” look before he stomps into the bathroom. “How’d it get into my bag anyway?” he asks loud enough for Sam to hear outside.

       Sam sits down on the bed and continues to run his fingers through the kitten’s fur to calm it down. “I don’t know, Dean. It could’ve gotten into the Impala when we were at the park… and you must’ve accidentally trapped it in your bag or something,” Sam says.

       “Damn strays. There better not be any more of those hiding in the Impala…” Dean says, shuddering at the thought of those claws on his baby’s upholstery.

       “Well, it looks like it’s not a stray,” Sam tells Dean when he notices the collar around its neck. He looks at the nametag with the name “Bonbon” embossed on it and flips it to see if there’s an address at the back. “It’s got a collar, and I’ve got an address and a number for the owner!” he announces.

       “Great. You could turn it in and maybe we’ll get a bit of cash for our trouble,” Dean quips.

       Sam ignores Dean and scratches the kitten’s tiny chin. “Hang in there, Bonbon. We’ll get you back to your owner,” he tells the kitten, who meows in response.

+++

       Cas looks down at the collar and sees an unfamiliar address on the back. Is he supposed to be some stranger’s pet? Is this all part of Gabriel’s plan? To have the Winchesters give him away?

       He sees Sam reach for his phone and Castiel feels the beginnings of panic. “No, don’t call that number! It could be a trick!” Castiel tries to tell him, but Sam scratches his chin again and he feels himself melt into the touch. Why is he feeling anxious again? He can’t exactly remember.

       He hardly notices Sam dial the number until he hears Sam speak again.

       “Hi,” Sam says. “Uh, I have a black kitten here with me, Bonbon? The collar has your number and address on it.”

       “No!” Cas gasps as he jerks his head away from Sam’s touch. They can’t give him away!

+++

       “Yeah, that’s the address written here…” Sam confirms for the man on the other end of the line.

       “Yeah… that’s probably the previous tenant’s cat. I just moved in here yesterday,” the gruff-voiced man says.

       “Oh. Do you know where we could contact—“

       “Nope, sorry. ‘Sides, it was a little old cat lady. She died a couple weeks ago, as far as I know.”

       “Oh,” Sam says again, and before he could say anything else, the man hangs up on him.

       Dean emerges from the bathroom that moment and looks at Sam expectantly, “So?”

       “Dead end,” Sam says.

       “Well then it’s off to the animal shelter for the little fella, huh?” Dean says with a satisfied smirk.

       The kitten meows loudly as if protesting the idea, and Sam pets it again to try and calm it down, but this time it doesn’t work. It meows and meows as if it’s telling them something. “Well, it’s late and we could drop it off a shelter tomorrow morning…” Sam says, and the kitten meows again, almost angrily. “…but he can stay here tonight, right?” Sam looks up at Dean, the hopeful look on his face telling Dean just how attached Sam has become to the kitten in less than an hour. He finds that look hard to say ‘no’ to.

       “Yeah, sure,” Dean shrugs. “But if it doesn’t shut up, I’m throwin’ him out of the room,” he warns, and as if understanding what he said, the kitten suddenly stops meowing and looks at him with big, grateful eyes. Dean smiles. “Heh. At least you’re smart enough to know what’s good for you.”

+++

       Castiel watches the Winchesters sleep from the table where Sam had deposited him for the night. He’s sitting on a make-shift bed made from an old shirt of Dean’s that he had inadvertently scratched holes into while he was stuck inside the bag. Dean griped about the unfortunate shirt all night, and threatened to throw Castiel out again, but Sam convinced him one way or another to let the kitten stay indoors.

       Kitten.

       Castiel glances at the fluffy black fur and his tiny paws and feels his anger well up again at the thought of Gabriel trapping him in a kitten’s body. ‘What is Gabriel planning?’ he thinks. He hates it that he’s rendered helpless by his brother’s latest trick. He can’t fly, he can’t use any of his powers, and he can’t change himself back. What’s more is that he can’t even talk! Every time he tries, it comes out as a meow and as far as he knows, Sam and Dean don’t speak cat. Worse even, are the strange sensations he’s experiencing thanks to his new kitty senses.

       A few times that night, he finds himself licking his paws without even thinking about it and he immediately stops himself. He realizes it is natural for cats to bathe themselves with their saliva, but he’s not a cat. Not really. So he makes a conscious effort not to lick himself, but it’s harder than it looks, and before he knows it, his tongue is darting out to lick a stripe on his arm— no, leg—yet again.

       If only the strange urges ended there.

       He suddenly finds the touch of Sam’s fingers very soothing, and he loses all train of thought once Sam begins to scratch his chin. He even finds himself wishing for Dean to touch him as well, craving the warmth of his hand on his head. He’s saddened every time Dean passes by him and ignores him completely. He doesn’t even pet him on the head like Sam does, and if anything, Cas wants nothing more than a long petting session from Dean.

       Castiel’s eye twitches when he realizes just how ridiculous his thoughts have become.

       Then he feels it.

       Like there’s something itchy and large stuck in his throat. He tries to get it out, but it’s stuck. He finds breathing get harder as he starts hacking and heaving, his whole body lifting off the make-shift bed. What is happening? Is he sick? Did he somehow contract a virus that kills cats? Oh no, is he dying?

       Cas is not one to panic at the slightest of things. But he allows himself to panic right about now.

+++

       Dean jolts out of bed, his instincts kicking in as a response to the strange sound. “What the fuck’s going on?!” he asks, and he looks around the room despite the heaviness of his eyelids. “Sonnovabich!” he grumbles when he realizes the sounds are coming from the kitten heaving on the table. “Sam, your pet’s dying!” he says before he drops back down on the bed.

       “It’s not dying Dean,” he hears Sam’s sleep-laden voice say. “It’s just puking out a hairball…”

       “Ugh… gross…” Dean manages to say before he completely tunes out the hacking sounds and falls back to sleep.

+++

       Dean and Sam leave Castiel in the motel that morning to go back to the old lady’s house in search of the missing skull.

       Castiel had wanted to go with them but they locked him in the room before he could follow. Now a couple of hours have passed and Cas still has no clue what to do. He tried calling for Gabriel, praying that his brother would show up and change him back, but nothing happened.

       Heaving a frustrated sigh, Cas lies down on the bed—Dean’s bed—and soon he finds himself rolling around as he contemplates his next move. He eyes the bowl of water and the small platter of cat food Sam had left for him and contemplates eating even if he finds himself as uninterested in food now as a kitten as he was in a human vessel. This interesting tidbit leads Cas to believe he still has a small portion of his grace available to him in this form, and he wonders how he could use it to his advantage.

       He still has his wings, as well, but they’re mostly useless now, he thinks as he stretches his wings experimentally. He still feels them there, feels the power of his limbs as they spread behind him, first the left then the right. When he tries to flap them, however, they weaken and collapse behind him.

       What magic had Gabriel performed on him to trap him in such a tiny vessel, not to mention bind his wings and his grace, Cas ponders as he rolls around on the bed again. It’s the kitten who enjoys the softness of the bed, though he has to admit rolling around had a calming effect on him. Another roll and he hears the jingle of the bells on his collar. He looks down and sees the tag glint in the sunlight pouring in from the window and soon, he finds himself smiling a little as an idea begins to form in his head.

       He jumps to the bedside table where the ratty old motel phone sits, and with much effort, he manages to dislodge the receiver. He tries punching in the number written on his tag but he keeps on pressing two numbers at the same time with his paws. Little though they are, his paws are still bigger than the average human finger.

       It must have been his tenth or twelfth try when the call pushes through and he hears the ringing on the other end of the line. He jumps to sit near the mouthpiece, cat ears easily able to pick up the sound filtering through the earpiece near his tail.

       A gruff male voice answers, the same voice he heard flit through Sam’s cell phone the night before. But this time, he could hear the man’s voice more clearly and he is struck with a revelation. “Gabriel!” he hisses. “That’s you, isn’t it?”

       The line goes silent for a while and Castiel realizes belatedly that he’s only speaking in his mind. Every word is coming out as a meow and whoever is on the other line probably can’t understand him.

       Then he hears the man chuckle and his voice gradually changes to the more familiar voice of Gabriel’s vessel. “You’re a smart little kitty, aren’t you?” he says.

       “You… understand me?” Castiel meows.

       “Of course, bro. What do you think I am? Human?”

       Castiel frowns. “Change me back, Gabriel.”

       “Wow, you waste no time, do you? Sorry, but no can do. Besides, you seem fine and dandy on your own.”

       “You changed me into a kitten, Gabriel! A kitten!”

       “Yeah. I did, didn’t I?” he hears Gabriel chuckle again.

       “This is not funny.”

       “Oh it most definitely is!” Gabriel counters. “Look, you got what you wanted, right?”

       Castiel scrunches his nose. “What do you mean?”

       “You’ve always wanted the Winchesters to appreciate you more. Well, here you go. I bet they’re just crazy about you now, huh?”

       “This is NOT what I wanted,” Castiel tells him.

       “Really? Coz I could’ve sworn you were acting like their obedient little pet all this time because you actually wanted to be one.”

       Castiel frowns again. “Is it so wrong for me to want to help them even if I get nothing in return?” he says, anger and confusion evident even in his tiny meows. “I always come to their aid because it is the right thing to do and not because I want them to shower me with affection and gratitude—“

       “But I bet it’d feel good though, huh? To be treated as more than just their go-to-guy when they fuck up?”

       “I do it…“ Castiel says, trying ignoring Gabriel’s latest quip. “…I do it because…” he pauses, and sighs, feeling all the fight drain from his body at Gabriel’s words. Yes. He wonders how that would actually feel like. To know with certainty that all his sacrifices mean something to them. To be sure of his place in the Winchesters’ lives. To feel, for once, that he belongs. “I do it… because they are important to me…” he softly adds after some time.

       “And Dean?”

       “What about Dean?” Castiel asks.

       “You’re seriously telling me you’re okay with Dean pretending nothing happened the other day. You’re okay with Dean ignoring this thing between you two?”

       Castiel thinks for a while. He knows Dean is special to him, had known since the moment he laid eyes on his tattered soul and saved him from hell. He knows Dean makes him feel… different things. Burning heat and overflowing affection. And he knows that Dean knows this; he knows Dean feels the same way he does. He’s sure of it.

       But, Castiel also knows the conflicting emotions that plague Dean every day. He knows that Dean is not ready to admit to anything between them. And Castiel understands it. Even if it makes him feel a pain in his chest unlike anything he has ever felt before, he understands it. And accepts it. “If it keeps him from pushing me away again… then yes, I am okay with it,” he says, hoping the tremble in his voice is just because of the kitten’s now scratchy throat.

       Gabriel sighs. “Ugh, you’re hopeless,” he hears Gabriel say, and Castiel could almost see him rolling his eyes. “Fine. I’m still not gonna turn you back coz that would ruin all my hard work… but I’ll give you a hint that might help you return to your old, trench coat clad vessel.”

       Little folded ears twitch and Castiel finds himself inching closer to the earpiece to hear what Gabriel has to say.

       “It’s all gonna depend on Dean,” Gabriel tells him.

       “What does Dean have to do with this?” Castiel asks.

       “Everything,” Gabriel says. “Dean holds the key to your triumphant return to your old self.”

       “What does he need to do?”

       “Mmm… he has to say a few magic words, but I can’t tell you what they are coz you’ll end up spilling it to Dean, and we don’t want that.”

       “Even if I wanted to, he won’t be able to understand me.”

       “Ah-ah-ah. See, I know you. You’re smarter than your average kitty. You’ll find a way to tell him, I’m sure.”

       Castiel glares at the phone imagining it’s Gabriel he’s glaring at. “So you said you’ll give me a clue and yet you won’t tell me what it is?”

       “Aw, don’t be a sour puss, Castiel. I did give you a clue, didn’t I? It’s all up to Dean Winchester now.”

       “But… he doesn’t even like me…” Castiel mutters under his breath.

       “Doesn’t like you?! What a shocker!” Gabriel says in mock surprise.

       “He does not seem to be as affectionate to small animals as Sam Winchester is,” Castiel informs Gabriel, who only laughs at his brother’s predicament.

       “Then you’ve got your work cut out for you, little bro. Oh and one more thing… Dean has to discover for himself who you are. You manage to somehow tell Dean your true identity and you’ll stay in kitty land forever.”

       “How can Dean help me if he doesn’t know it’s me?” Castiel asks, but he doesn’t hear Gabriel’s reply because suddenly there’s a hand on his nape lifting him off the table and the next thing he knows, he’s face to face with a very suspicious Dean Winchester.

+++

       Dean stares intently at the kitten’s face, studying his features for some tell-tale signs of anything weird. He had just returned from successfully digging out the skull from the basement and torching it all while the old lady was at some church meeting. It had all gone according to plan, so much so that Dean thought it was somehow anticlimactic.

       He was still waiting for the other shoe to drop when he entered the motel room and found the kitten apparently locked in a conversation with someone on the phone. It would’ve been cute for someone else, but for Dean, it was very suspicious and it sent all his alarm bells ringing.

       “Something wrong, Dean?” Sam asks the moment he steps into the motel room and sees his brother having a staring match with the kitten.

       “I’m not sure,” Dean says tentatively. His other hand moves to the phone handset lying on the table, his eyes never leaving the kitten’s face. He brings it to his ear and hears the beep beep beep of a phone that’s been left open and idle for a while. Returning the handset on the phone’s cradle, he hands the kitten to Sam cautiously, still eyeing the little creature with distrust. “I walked in on it meowing to the phone. It was like he was talking to someone,” he says seriously.

       “Dean,” Sam gets out before he bursts out laughing. “You… you saw the cat talking on the phone?” He manages to say once he caught enough of his breath to form words.

       “I know what I saw, okay?” Dean huffs out indignantly. “I’m watchin’ you,” he warns the kitten before stalking into the bathroom.

       “Who were you talking to, Mr. Bonbon?” Sam asks, scratching the kitten’s fluffy tummy. “Did you dial your mommy’s number?”

       The kitten meows before practically melting in Sam’s hands. Sam just chuckles and continues to fondly scratch the cat’s tummy.

+++

       Dean and Sam walk up to the dilapidated building that housed the local animal shelter that afternoon. Dean absently rubs at a fresh scratch on his arm from his latest scuffle with the kitten. At first, the kitten seemed very pleased when Dean picked it up. It even started purring when Dean glided his hand down its back. But when he told Sam that he found the address to the nearest animal shelter, the kitten jumped out of his grasp and went postal on him, clawing and scratching at any part of Dean it can reach before scurrying under the bed as if to tell them he didn’t want to go anywhere. It took them a good half hour and several scratches more to coax the kitten out and calm it enough to get it into a pink pouch bag Dean snatched from the motel’s front desk.

       “I swear I have an easier time killing demons than capturing this little bastard,” Dean mumbles as he recalls their earlier scuffle. He throws a glare at the round, black head sticking out from the bag, and the kitten just innocently looks at him with wide blue eyes and cants its head to the side in an oddly familiar way.

       “You and me both…” Sam agrees with a small smile, clutching the pouch bag a little tighter.

       They reach the door and Dean moves to yank at the handle before he reads the sign. “Fuck, it’s closed.”

       “Says here most of the shelter employees caught some sort of flu-like virus and all of the animals have been transferred to another shelter across state,” Sam says after reading the note attached to the door.

       “Well that’s just our luck, huh? We can’t even get rid of a tiny kitten,” Dean grumbles as he stomps back to the Impala.

       “Looks like you’ll be stuck with us for a little while longer, huh?” Sam tells the kitten and Dean can’t help but notice the happy note to his voice. Sam is officially attached to the little devil, and it’s gonna be ten times harder now to separate them, Dean thinks as he enters the Impala and puts the key in the ignition.

+++

       “You’re not serious!”

       “I am,” Dean says, trying his hardest not to look at the puppy dog eyes Sam is making right now.

       “We’re leaving the kitten. Here. At a motel,” Sam repeats in disbelief.

       “Yes. We are,” Dean says, hauling his bag over his shoulder. “You know we can’t bring a pet with us. We sleep in motels, Sammy. Most of ‘em don’t accept pets.”

       “I’m pretty sure they’re not keen on accepting hunters who lug around big guns and kill demons either,” Sam says, just to prove a point.

       “That’s the problem, we’re hunters. Not regular folk. We’re busy huntin’ monsters and demons most of the time. We already have a hard time watching our backs… we can’t watch out for a cat too.”

       “I know that. But we can at least drop it off at the next shelter,” Sam argues.

       “Which is across the state! Besides, think about the little thing for a sec. You think it’ll be happy being cooped up in a car for hours at a time?” Dean asks and Sam doesn’t answer him. He just looks back at the kitten sitting on the table and frowns. “I’m sure someone’ll find it eventually and take care of it,” Dean says, and walks out of the room to let Sam think it through.

       He packs their bags in the trunk and climbs in the driver’s seat. A couple minutes later, Sam climbs in beside him. “You’re right. What was I thinking?” Sam tells him. “Let’s go.”

       “Alright. Let’s go kill us some vampires,” Dean says as he starts the ignition and pulls out of the parking spot.

+++

       Castiel is panicking. He can’t believe how much he’s panicked in just a day, but now he’s panicking again. Dean and Sam are leaving him. They can’t leave him!

       “You can’t leave, Sam. You have to help me return to my true vessel,” he says, even though he knows Sam wouldn’t understand.

       Sam looks at him with pity before he pats him on the head. “You’ll be fine, Mr. Bonbon. I’ll see you around…” he says before he turns around and starts walking away.

       “No!” Castiel calls out as he leaps off the table and starts running after him. He tries to reach the door before it closes behind Sam, but he is a split-second too late and ends up slamming face first onto the solid wooden door.

       Shaken but not deterred, he stands up and quickly scans the room for a way out. He sees the window beside the door first. It’s one of those sliding windows with a lock embedded in the handle. He studies it for a second before he’s leaping up to the windowsill and, with an accuracy and dexterity a normal kitten shouldn’t have, he reaches for the lock with tiny paws and flicks it open. Then he puts all his strength in sliding the window open, but it doesn’t budge. He tries again and again, but it still would not move.

       He looks out the window and sees the Impala start to back out of the parking space several doors to the left. “They are not leaving without me,” Cas says under his breath. “I am not staying a cat forever,” he says before he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He looks within him for any way to tap into his grace. He may be bound to this form, but there might still be a chance that he can use some of his power. With one last, valiant attempt, Castiel grips the edge of the window with sharp claws and pulls.

       To Castiel’s utter amazement, the window gives and opens a couple of inches. He pulls again and it opens an inch more, which is all he really needed. He squirms and contorts his way out of the window and before he knows it, he’s landed on the motel driveway. Relief floods him for all but a second when he turns to his left and sees the Impala and its massive tires heading straight for him.

+++

       “Where exactly are we hunting vampires at?” Sam asks.

       Dean looks at the sour expression on Sam’s face. “Aww come on, you’re not excited to go hunt something besides demons and crazy ghosts for once?”

       Sam’s reply dies in his throat and horror flashes on his face when he sees something jump onto the road before them. “Dean!” he shouts, his hands flying in front of him in alarm.

       Dean doesn’t spare a second to look at the windshield and slams on the brakes hard instead. Before he could wrap his mind around what had just happened, Sam is already jumping out of the passenger seat and running to the front of the car. “Shit,” Dean curses as he, too, climbs out of the Impala. “What is it?” he asks. “Did I hit it?”

       Sam picks something up from the pavement and turns around to face Dean with quite possibly one of his most epic bitch faces yet. “I can’t believe you almost ran over the kitten!”

       Dean gapes at Sam, then looks down at the bundle in Sam’s hands, and sure enough, that same furry black face and innocent blue eyes are looking up at him. “How the hell did you get outta that room?” Dean asks, more of shock than actual curiosity, which earns him Sam’s second most epic bitch face.

       “That’s it. He’s comin’ with us,” Sam says with finality.

       “Wait, he is?” Dean asks in confusion.

       “Dean, you almost killed him twice. I’d say you owe the little guy. Big time.”

       “I do?” Dean asks dumbly.

       “Yes!” Sam says with such finality that Dean immediately knows he’s already lost this round.

+++

       Cas thinks he really got lucky this time, as he finds himself comfortably seated on Sam’s lap for probably a couple hours now. He was able to find a way out of the motel room, he is unscathed after almost getting run over by the Impala, and now he’s back with Sam and Dean, the only ones who can help change him back. If he doesn’t know any better, he’d think someone out there’s watching out for him. Which okay, it’s probably true, because what are the odds that the animal shelter was closed when Dean and Sam went there to turn him in? Castiel would bet Gabriel had everything to do with the recent turn of events, and this thought comforts him a bit. However, he also knows how pigheaded Gabriel could be at times, and he would also bet Gabriel wouldn’t change him back until he got exactly what he wants out of this, whatever it is.

       “See… he seems fine being cooped up in a car for a few hours,” he hears Sam say.

       “Yes, I’ll be fine as long as you don’t leave me behind again,” Castiel tells them. He knows they don’t understand him, but it still gives him an odd feeling of comfort to voice out whatever he wanted to say.

       “And he doesn’t seem to poop or pee all that much too,” Sam remarks, and Dean grimaces.

       “I hope not. Coz if that cat stinks up my baby, I’m tossin’ it out the window—even while I’m driving,” Dean says.

       Castiel glares at Dean, but he’s not sure it translates very well given his current state. He does find, however, that the hairs on his back have stood up in what apparently is a show of anger. Sam notices and glides a soothing hand through Cas’ fur. “He’s not really gonna do that,” Sam tells Cas fondly. “If he did… I’d seriously consider having him institutionalized,” Sam says next, directing his words to Dean. “I don’t know what you have against the kitten. He’s done nothing wrong.”

       Dean glances over to him and Castiel tilts his head to the side, a gesture that comes naturally to him even in his human vessel. “That cat’s just weird, okay?” Dean says as he turns his gaze back onto the road.

       “He’s not weird, Dean. It could just because he has these unusual ears,” Sam points out. “Mr.Bonbon’s probably a Scottish Fold.”

       “What?!”

       “A Scottish fold… it’s a breed. I read about it once. Explains the folded ears,” Sam elaborates.

       “Yeah, I get that. I was askin’ about the name. Mr. Bonbon?” Dean asks incredulously. “So now the cutesy name isn’t enough, you have to add a mister to it?”

       “I thought it suited him,” Sam says with a shrug.

       “How are you even sure it’s a ‘mister’ and not a ‘miss’?” Dean comments.

       Sam gently flips the cat onto its back and points between his short legs. “It’s got male kitty bits, see…”

       Cas feels embarrassed as Dean glances down at him and he squirms and flips back onto his belly. He doesn’t know why it should bother him so much. He’s naked and a cat, after all.

       Dean turns his gaze back onto the road. “Well, the name’s weird. You’re weird. That cat’s weird!” Dean grumbles.

       Sam just rolls his eyes at him. “Whatever.”

+++

       “You can’t bring animals in here,” the thin, balding man at the motel’s reception desk tells them.

       Dean looks at Sam with his ‘I told you so’ face.

       Sam just frowns and looks down at the kitten in his arms. It slipped his mind how some motels turn away guests with animals, and makes a mental note to hide the kitten the next time. “He’s trained and really docile,” Sam lies and pleads his case. “And if he breaks anything, we promise to pay for it.”

       “Wait, we do?” Dean asks in surprise.

       “That’s not the point. Our policy is—“

       “Why are you turning them away, Hector?” a woman coming out of the office asks. She’s a burly lady, almost twice the size of the man, and from the look of terror flashing in the man’s eyes, Dean knows she’s the one in charge. “We don’t turn away their kind,” she tells the man quietly, but Dean and Sam still hear everything.

       “Uh, excuse me?” Sam asks even before Dean’s expression fully evolves to his epic what-the-fuck face.

       “Oh, yes, you can go to your room now,” she says to them in a sickly sweet tone. “Your kitten can come in, too. We wouldn’t want to inconvenience your family by refusing this cute little baby,” she says, wiggling her large, sausage-like fingers in front of the cat’s face.

       Sam pauses. “Thanks…” he says tentatively as the man hands them their motel key.

       They just started walking to their room when they hear the woman sigh, “What a beautiful looking couple.”

       “Why’d you let the cat in too?” the man complains.

       “Idiot. That’s their lovechild. You can’t let their kid stay in the car. Jeez!”

       Sam and Dean exchange brief, awkward glances before looking down at the kitten in Sam’s arms. “Next time, hide the cat,” Dean says and Sam nods in agreement.

       They never talk about that incident ever again.

+++

       That night, Dean wakes up from a restless sleep to see the kitten sitting on the table quietly and watching him with eyes that almost glowed in the dim light. Besides the fact that the kitten doesn’t seem to feel the need to sleep, or to avert his gaze from Dean, he is also sitting like a person would, with his rump on the table, his back leaning against the wall, and his front paws resting on his tummy.

       Dean narrows his eyes suspiciously at the kitten, waiting for it to pounce and attack him, or to change into a vicious tiger and devour them in their beds, but naturally, nothing happens, and Dean’s left wondering why he is so paranoid around the little creature.

       He sighs and gets up to go to the bathroom. He continues to watch the kitten with distrust, and the kitten continues to stare right back at him in a way that seems very familiar and very unsettling at the same time. “Sam better be in one piece when I get back, alright?” he threatens half-heartedly as he passes by the kitten. The kitten meows once in response and turns his head to stare at Sam’s sleeping form instead. Dean shakes his head and enters the bathroom.

       When he comes out a minute later, the kitten is still peacefully sitting there on the table. He glances up at Dean with the same innocent big blue eyes and Dean’s left feeling stupid again for even thinking that the kitten has been sent by demons to kill them in their sleep. Instead, it even looks like the little thing is watching over them while they sleep and Dean sighs as he reaches a hand out to ruffle the fur on the kitten’s head. “Good boy,” Dean says before he climbs back onto his bed.

+++

       That morning, Dean finds the kitten curled up at his feet, not asleep, just lying on the bed and watching him with hooded eyes. If Dean finds that weird, he doesn’t say anything, and Sam counts that as a victory for Mr. Bonbon.

+++

       A few days, several states, and a couple of run-of-the-mill hunts later, Dean and Sam retire to their motel room for the night with dirt and grime sticking to their clothes and every exposed inch of their skin. “Dibs on the shower!” Dean announces like a little kid as soon as they step into the room. Sam mutters a ‘fine, go ahead,’ and watches as Dean quickly shucks off his jacket and practically kicks of his boots in haste. The bathroom door slams behind Dean, and a few seconds later, Sam hears the shower running.

       Sam grabs a bottle of water and drinks by the kitchenette when he hears a loud yelp of “Jesus Christ!” erupt from the bathroom. “Dean?” he calls out in confusion and concern, and a handful of seconds later, the bathroom door opens and Sam sees Dean’s outstretched foot shoving Mr. Bonbon out of the bathroom. “Damn thing’s watchin’ me shower. It’s giving me the creeps!” he hears Dean say before the bathroom door slams hard behind the kitten, who just looks up at Sam like he had no idea what had just happened.

+++

       Cas doesn’t mean to spy on Dean as he undressed and stepped into the shower. He was in the process of exploring every nook and cranny of the motel room since he had nothing else to do, and when he turned around, there was a half-naked Dean getting progressively more naked right in front of him.

       Sure, he has spied on the brothers on more than one occasion, but never when they were in their private moments—when they were in the shower or when Dean or Sam hooked up with a girl from the bar. So it is definitely something new for Cas to see Dean naked again since he rebuilt each cell of his body from scratch. And really, he would’ve appreciated seeing it more had he not been a few inches tall and covered in fur.

       To see Dean freak out over a cat seeing him naked is something new for Cas as well, and as Dean shoves him out of the bathroom with a foot, Cas can’t say he regrets anything from that particular experience.

       “I’m sorry you had to see that,” Sam says to Cas with a grimace.

       “I’m not,” Cas meows before he takes his spot on Dean’s bed for the night.

+++

       “I can’t believe Cas didn’t show up,” Dean complains as they return from killing off a couple of demons that possessed kindergarten school teachers and were planning to hold a classroom full of students hostage.

       Castiel’s ears twitch at the sound of his name, and he sits up from his now usual spot on Dean’s bed and listens attentively as Dean continues to gripe.

       “I get that he’s probably busy but fuck man, there were twenty kids in that classroom. We could’ve used an extra hand,” Dean says before he flops onto the bed beside Cas and starts to undo his laces. Cas looks up at him curiously.

       “You called for me?” Cas asks in disbelief and the meow distracts Dean for a moment. “But I didn’t hear—“

       “It’s nothin’, little kitty,” Dean says as he pats Cas’ head. “Someone I counted on to help me didn’t show up,” he grumbles.

       Castiel suddenly feels like he betrayed Dean’s trust by not being there. Dean needed him, and for the first time in a long while, he couldn’t be there to help him. He feels lost all of a sudden as waves of emotion run through him, making him lightheaded. He feels anger at Gabriel for putting him in this situation, feels guilty and ashamed for being so weak as to be trapped in this body in the first place, and feels the heavy weight of helplessness descend on him again when he realizes he still can’t do anything to change himself back.

       “You two didn’t happen to have an argument the last time, did you?” Sam asks from across the room.

       Cas turns his head towards Sam’s direction in surprise. Sam doesn’t know? Then it occurs to him that Dean wants to forget their kiss happened, so it’s natural that he’d keep that little information from Sam. Castiel isn’t sure if he’s disappointed or relieved about that. He looks back at Dean and waits for his reply.

       “An argument? No man. Nothin’ like that,” Dean lies through his teeth, and Sam shoots him a look that clearly shows he’s not buying any of Dean’s bullshit. “Seriously, man,” Dean goes on. “Why would you think—“

       “I don’t know, maybe because the last time he helped us, he hardly said a word and left. And all that time you kept on avoiding him and—oh come on, don’t look at me like that Dean, I know what I saw. And ever since then, you just seem a bit more, I dunno, high strung, I guess. You even take it out on the kitten!” Sam gestures toward Cas, and Cas looks from Sam to Dean and back.

       Is that why Dean is sometimes mean to him? And why he’s more hot-headed than usual? Because he’s… affected by what happened? He hasn’t… forgotten… like he wanted to, and Cas feels a glimmer of hope in his chest at that.

       “So that must mean only one thing. Something happened and you’re not telling me,” Sam says him.

       “Nothing happened, okay?” Dean says with venom this time. “So can we just drop it?”

       “Whatever, man. Just stop complaining about Cas not answering your call for once. He’s probably got a lot more things to worry about than to help us with a couple of demons.”

       “Yeah, yeah. You’re right. We took care of those demons without him anyway. We’ll be fine,” Dean agrees, and Cas wonders if it’s right that he feels miserable because of that.

+++

       The second time that Dean calls for Cas’ help and he doesn’t show, Dean no longer complains. He just glowers and goes to the bar across the street for a drink.

       He comes back to the motel shit-faced and would not have made it inside the room if Sam hadn’t gotten up and opened the door for him. Dean collapses on the bed and nearly crushes Cas with his weight if the kitten hadn’t leapt out of the way at the last moment.

+++

       The third time they needed assistance, Dean refuses to call Cas, and Sam ends up calling for the angel’s help instead. When, again, Cas does not show up, Dean goes straight to the nearest bar to get properly wasted.

       “Seriously, Dean,” Sam says, shaking his head after he helped his brother onto his bed for the second time in a week. “If nothing happened… why the heck are you moping around like a lovesick puppy?” he asks, but by this time Dean’s already snoring heavily and Sam is just left sighing to an almost empty room.

       The kitten sitting Buddha-style on the foot of Dean’s bed looks up at Sam with eyes that almost look sad, and Sam wonders if the cat can sense that something’s not quite right. “You see it too, huh?” Sam asks the kitten. “How stupid Dean can be,” Sam says with another shake of his head before he closes the light and goes back to sleep.

+++

       ‘There has to be another way to change me back,’ Cas thinks the next morning. He’s endured being a cat for a little over two weeks now, and he’s not that much closer to finding a solution to his predicament.

       He moves out of the way as Dean shifts on the bed. ‘He snores louder when he’s drunk,’ Cas observes, and apparently Sam is aware of this as well, if the dark circles under his eyes are any indication. He watches as Sam yawns in front of his laptop for the fifth time since he started searching for leads in their current case. A handful of minutes later and Sam is standing up and grabbing his jacket.

       “I need coffee…” Sam mutters before heading out of the room, leaving his laptop open on the table.

       An idea builds in Cas’ mind and he hops off the bed and onto the table. ‘Maybe…’ Cas thinks as he presses his paws onto the keyboard. At first nothing happens, so he stomps his paws a few more times before something pops up with a weird name. ‘Google?’ Cas asks, head tilting curiously. ‘I’ve heard of this before…’ he says as he presses his paws onto the keyboard once more. His eyes grow wide when he sees letters appear on a small box in the middle of the page. “This is like that text messaging feature on cell phones!” Cas says excitedly.

       He tries pressing the key with ‘backspace’ written on it, and the letters start disappearing one by one. He presses the long bar and a space appears. “I see how this works…” he says, and with newfound determination, he angles his paw just right and tries to hit just a single letter. He ends up pressing several at once, and he erases it with the convenient backspace key and tries again. ‘This might need some getting used to,’ he thinks, as he tries again and again, practicing to hit one key at a time. He is starting to get the hang of it when he feels something move behind him, and when he turns around, Dean is already sitting up on the bed and looking at him with suspicious, yet still very groggy, eyes. “What’re you doing, kitty?” Dean asks before he buries his head in his hands and groans. “Ugh… I think I’m gonna—“ he doesn’t finish the sentence and leans over the side of the bed to a conveniently placed waste basket and hurls.

+++

       “Your cat seems to like pressing buttons…” Dean remarks the moment Sam enters the room.

       “What do you mean?” Sam asks and when Dean points at his laptop, Sam’s jaw drops, fearing the worst. “Oh my god, Dean…” he gasps, placing the cups of coffee he bought on the far end of the table and rushing to his precious laptop. The kitten jumps out of the way and settles back onto the foot of Dean’s bed.

       “I saw him stomping his feet all over your keyboard. You might want to check if he didn’t dislodge a letter and eat it or something,” Dean tells him before he reluctantly stands up from the bed and makes his way to the bathroom.

       Sam quickly inspects his laptop for damages but finds none except for a few black strands of cat hair. “Everything seems to be okay,” Sam says with a relieved smile.

       “Yeah? Well, maybe he emailed Bobby naked pictures of you,” Dean quips from inside the bathroom.

       Sam takes a second look at his screen and sees the browser opened to a Google search that didn’t match anything. “Nah, just a bunch of key smashes…” Sam says. “You like pressing keys, Mr. Bonbon?” he asks the kitten sitting on the bed. The kitten meows and Sam chuckles as he looks back at the screen. Then, he notices it.

       It could just be his imagination, a way for his brain to make sense of things that normally don’t need making sense of, but he still sees it. Towards the end of the jumbled letters and numbers he sees “saml/,; he3lp,m, e24,” and he can’t help but see the words they possibly spell out.

       Sam, help me.

       Sam looks at the kitten with a hint of suspicion, and the kitten looks back at him almost expectantly, like he’s waiting for something good to happen. Sam tears his gaze away from the kitten’s hopeful face and back at the screen. No matter how many times he looks at it, those words still keep on popping out for him.

       “Dude, did you get me breakfast?” he hears Dean say, and Sam shakes his head and chuckles.

       “That’s impossible,” he mutters under his breath, and closes the browser before he starts sounding as crazy as Dean. “No breakfast, just coffee,” Sam tells Dean before he stands up to hand one of the cups to Dean.

+++

       Cas went from excited to disappointed in a matter of seconds the moment he saw Sam dismiss his message just like that. He gets over his disappointment fairly easily though, and no sooner had Sam and Dean left to chase down a lead that Cas is plotting ways to tell Sam of his identity. Because Gabriel might’ve warned him against telling Dean, but he didn’t say anything about telling Sam instead.

       He looks forward to trying his paws at typing on Sam’s laptop again, but he finds that although Sam left his laptop in the room, he also left it closed. And Cas has no idea how to operate it, especially now that he lacks opposable thumbs.

       Everything would have been easier if Gabriel had left him with the rest of his grace intact. Then again, with his grace, he could also turn himself back given enough time. As it stands, the amount of grace he can tap into is just enough to render him somewhat invulnerable to pain and hunger and make him slightly stronger than an average cat.

       Sam and Dean apparently think he eats insects and other small mammals aside from the cat food Sam buys him, and they just think he hides his refuse somewhere they can’t see or smell. Cas is beginning to see that Dean is right when he said that having a pet does not suit their lifestyle. If he had been a normal cat, they’d probably lost him already, or maybe he’d have already died of starvation or something similar (Sam had asked Dean to leave the kitten some food and water the other day and Dean forgot. They didn’t come back for almost two days).

       Nevertheless, he is still very grateful he retained some of his grace and the consciousness of an angel. He hasn’t figured out a way to use that to his advantage yet.

+++

       Cas is left thinking up ways to somehow get his message across to Sam for the rest of the day, and before he knows it, night has fallen and he hears the roar of the Impala’s engine pulling up in front of the room.

       Cas gets up from the bed to give them his usual greeting— by rubbing up on their legs (Dean had tripped on him a couple of times and had since sworn that if he trips one more time, he’s not going to be responsible for not-so-accidentally stepping on any part of the cat). However, when he reaches the door, he hears Dean’s voice along with someone else’s, and when the door swings open, Cas is kicked to the side (accidentally, this time) by two pairs of shoes stumbling on each other: Dean’s heavy boots… and some woman’s red stilettos.

       Blue eyes widen in shock when he sees Dean drop onto the bed with a curvy brunette on top of him. He sees her pull off her tight dress, and her hair falls in delicate waves behind her pale back. He sees Dean’s fingers wrap around her tiny waist and—Cas can’t take any more of this and averts his gaze.

       He hides under the table and suddenly he feels sick, which is weird because he still has his grace and he should not be susceptible to disease. He feels like puking, and it’s a different sensation than when he was purging out a hairball that time. This is much worse. He feels like his heart has sunk to his stomach and it’s rolling around there and making him all kinds of sick. He hears the woman moan and he feels his chest tighten unbearably, making it hard for him to breathe. He doesn’t know what’s happening to him, all he knows is he feels nauseous and he wants to be anywhere but here.

       He’s seen Dean bring home girls more times than he can count. He has known for a long time how healthy Dean’s sexual appetite could be, and though he has never approved of any of Dean’s depravities, he has usually acted indifferent toward them. So to feel less-than-indifferent about this now should strike Castiel as very unusual, except it really doesn’t, because he knows exactly why he is feeling this way.

       It’s the same feeling he had when Dean shoved him away and told him to forget they had just kissed. Forget that Dean looked at him with so much emotion just before their lips touched. Forget that Dean clung onto him and kissed him deeper and with more passion than he had ever thought possible. Forget that even for a short while, Dean made him feel like he loved him back.

       But now Castiel is here, a scared kitten hiding under a table, and Dean is just a few feet away, kissing someone else. In bed with someone else. Is this his punishment? For putting the Winchesters above everything else, even above Heaven itself? It must be. Because he doesn’t think anything could be worse than this.

       “Gabriel, please… if you’re listening. Take me away. Just this once,” he pleads as silently as he could, paws to his ears as he tries to muffle the sounds coming from the bed.

       Gabriel doesn’t come for him, nor do the terrible feelings in his gut and chest stop.

       He does, however, hear a sharp sound, like a cry, and before he knows it, he’s whipping his head towards the direction of the bed. He knows he probably shouldn’t have done that. Who knows what he could see? It could probably break him forever. But his dread melds into confusion when he sees the girl sit up on the bed and spit out an irritated, “Are you kidding me?!”

       No sooner had she said this that she’s getting off of Dean and grabbing her dress from the floor.

       “Sorry, Marie. Maybe next time,” Dean says with a forced grin.

       “It’s Mindy, and don’t even think about a next time,” she huffs out indignantly as she pulls her dress on hastily. Dean sits up on the bed to put his shirt back on and rubs his face with his hands. He doesn’t even look up as the woman stomps angrily out of the motel room and slams the door shut.

       A quiet minute passes with Dean’s face buried in his hands and Castiel quietly watching from under the table. He knows it’s wrong to delight in the misfortune of others, but he couldn’t help feeling relieved and happy about the turn of events. That is, until Dean zips up his jeans, stands up from the bed, and stalks to the table where Castiel is hiding. He crouches down and pulls Cas out by the scruff of his neck. He brings the kitten’s face up to his and stares straight into the round, blue eyes.

       Cas gulps nervously at the indecipherable look on Dean’s face. Then Dean sighs. “This is all your damn fault,” he says before he walks back to the bed and deposits the kitten in his usual spot at the foot of his bed.

       “My fault?” Cas meows quietly as he watches Dean trudge lazily to the bathroom.

+++

       “Lemme get this straight…” Sam says, fighting the urge to burst into fits of laughter as he looked to his side at Dean driving, to the kitten lying on his lap, and back at Dean. “You… you heard the cat meow and… you can’t…” he pauses, trying to school his features into some semblance of indifference. “You… can’t…”

       “I can’t get it up, alright?!” Dean blurts out angrily.

       At this, the sound of Sam’s laughter engulfs the whole Impala and Dean wants to strangle his brother right then and there.

       “I’m glad my problem is amusing for at least one of us,” Dean says with a fake smile.

       “Oh come on, Dean. You have to admit it’s funny. What is it about this cat that makes you… you know… unable to perform?”

       “Nothin’ alright!” Dean growls.

       Sam laughs again. “If it was nothin’, you would’ve had Molly to yourself all night.”

       “I’m pretty sure her name was Mandy…”

       “Mindy!” Cas chimes in even though he knows he wouldn’t be understood. He doesn’t care anyway. He seems to be in a very good mood this morning.

       “Whatever. The point is, you lost your uh, appetite… because of a cat. You’ve never been so affected before.”

       “I just don’t like it when there’s another pair of eyes in the room, okay? Just thinkin’ of that cat lookin’ while we… while I… ugh….” Dean shudders. “It just creeps me out, alright?”

       “Dean. He’s a kitten. You could’ve just locked him in the bathroom if you’re so worried you’ll taint his innocent eyes.”

       “I did think of that, but by that time… Mr. Happy’s not so happy anymore…”

       “Mr. Happy?” Sam says with a grimace.

       “Oh you know what I mean.”

       They drive in silence for a couple more minutes until Sam’s eyebrows knot as he recalls something. “There was an aquarium in one of our motel rooms a couple weeks back… you didn’t seem so creeped out by the little fishy eyes then when you brought back that red head…”

       “It’s not the ‘little fishy eyes’ that creep me out… it’s that kitten’s eyes. They look too much like Ca—“ Dean shuts his mouth before the name could completely form on his lips, his eyes wide with disbelief at what he almost said.

       “Like what?” Sam urges on, though he knows exactly what Dean was about to say.

       “Nothin’,” Dean says, his eyes staring intently, too intently, on the road ahead, ignoring the pensive, almost knowing look Sam must be flashing him at this very moment.

+++

       “They’re giant wolves,” Dean repeats as he talks to Sam on the phone. “Really. Giant wolves?”

       “That’s what the witness said. She claims she saw more than a dozen.”

       “A dozen? Shit, man. Maybe she was just exaggerating? You don’t think it could’ve been the shock of seeing her friends die?” he asks as he enters the motel room. Mr. Bonbon rubs against his legs and he ignores him and goes to sit on the bed.

       “I don’t know. She is pretty shaken. But the coroner confirms it as an animal attack, most likely of wolves. Big wolves. Even if they were ordinary wolves, it seems fishy. Seven dead just in a week? And no deaths before that. At first we thought it was werewolves right? But you saw the bodies… there was hardly anything left of them.”

       “And she swore they looked like wolves?” Dean asks again.

       “Yeah. Pretty much, except they were as big as grizzly bears, and had ‘yellow, glowing eyes.’ How’d she see a whole pack of wolves eating her friends and managed to escape?”

       Dean is stumped. Giant, man-eating wolves, a whole pack? “We should probably ask Bobby…”

       “I’m on it,” Sam says before hanging up.

       Dean sits on the bed, lost in thought as the kitten jumps up to sit beside him. He looks at the cat and its eerie wide eyes that reminded Dean too much of him. “An elderly couple went missing a week ago. And yesterday, five hikers were killed. One of them was a 15 year old kid,” he tells the kitten. “But this is the first time I’ve heard of giant wolves…” he thinks aloud.

       He sits quietly for a couple more minutes, then he looks up at the ceiling. “I’ve got nothing here,” he calls out. “Seven innocent people are dead. A lot more are in danger. So if you’re listening, you sonnovabitch, get your feathery ass down here.”

+++

       It takes Cas a couple of seconds to realize what Dean is doing. Hands clasped tightly in front of him, head tilted toward the ceiling, his Adam’s apple bobbing heavily with each word wrenched out of his throat. Dean is praying. For his help.

       “Cas… come on, help us out here,” Dean swallows the lump in his throat and adds, “Please.”

       A minute passes, then two, then five, and when nothing happens, Dean spits out a curse. “I knew it. You’re a vindictive son of a bitch, you know that? If you’re fucking angry at me, take it out on me some other way. Not like this. Not when people’s lives are at stake,” he tells the ceiling angrily. He breathes in, waiting for something, anything.

       “Dean! I’m right here.” Cas meows but it’s useless. He’s useless. He moves forward and scratches at Dean’s thigh to get his attention. He doesn’t know what he plans to achieve once he gets Dean to look at him, but he just wants to tell him somehow. Wants him to know he’s right here, has always been right here with him, even if he doesn’t know it.

       When Dean feels the soft paws scratching at his jeans, he turns to the cat and sighs, practically deflating on the bed.

       “ You don’t suppose you know where Cas is right now, do you?” he asks.

       Cas’ eyes light up the moment Dean turns his eyes toward him. “Yes, I’m right here Dean. Can’t you see?” he meows.

       “He’s not in any trouble, right? I mean, he’s been gone longer before, but… this time…” Dean says with another heavy sigh. “He’d come here if he needed help, right?” Dean asks the kitten.

       For a moment Cas is confused. Dean was just angry at him mere moments ago, and now, he’s wondering how he is doing. Is he hearing Dean correctly? Is Dean… worried about him?

       “Oh who am I kiddin, you don’t understand a word I say,” Dean says, picking Cas up and settling the kitten on his lap. He glides a hand down its back and finds the soft fur soothing. Then the kitten purrs and leans to his touch and Dean can’t help the smile that forms on his lips. “You’re still so small, where’s your family, baby?” he asks affectionately.

       Cas’ eyes roll back into his head at the heavenly feeling of Dean’s fingers running down his back. Everything gets so fuzzy when Sam does this to him, and it’s no different now that Dean’s the one giving him a bit of attention. He almost misses what Dean says next.

       “Don’t you miss ‘em?”

       Cas looks up at Dean and cants his head to the side. “Who?” Cas asks.

+++

       “You kinda remind me of him, you know?” Dean tells the kitten. “He can be a dick sometimes but sometimes, I just mi—“ the words die in his throat as his eyes lock with the kitten’s bright blue eyes. Something indefinable stirs inside Dean as he stares into the kitten’s eyes, like something’s not quite right, like there’s a trace of magic, of power he can’t see but he can feel heavy in the air.

       He picks the kitten up again, the same suspicion rising inside him as he brings its face closer to his. He stares straight into the kitten’s eyes, and the kitten stares right back at him, and he is drawn into the unfathomable depths of those eyes, blue going darker and darker the deeper he goes, then in the depths, a light, and the eyes glow electric blue. And there it is again. The same indefinable feeling. He sees galaxies swirl in those blue eyes, clouds and wings of white against a sky so blue and bright it hurts his eyes. He sees more than that. He sees friendship and recognition, affection and infinite knowledge, and then a glint of pain in the eyes of a tiny kitten.

       He barely registers the clink of keys and the door opening until Sam speaks. “Hey, so I talked to Bobby, and he hasn’t heard anything like it but he’ll ask around…”

       Dean jolts and drops the kitten to the floor, whatever spell woven in that space of time broken by Sam’s intrusion. He can still feel it though… the weird, supernatural aura surrounding the kitten, and he stands up, goes to the mini fridge and grabs a bottle of water.

       “You alright, Dean?” he hears Sam say.

       Dean gulps in almost all the water in one go. He wipes his mouth and turns around, eyes going back to the kitten. And for a moment he thinks his mind just made it up. Mr. Bonbon looks just like the ordinary kitten that he is. Except Dean still remembers that feeling. And his gut tells him he’s right and he’s been right all along.

       “I’ll be fine,” Dean says, eyes still locked onto the kitten, who, oddly enough, keeps its eyes locked at Dean as well, as if telling him something, challenging him to voice his concerns. And he does. “We should get rid of the cat,” Dean suddenly blurts out.

       Sam pauses from unpacking the print outs and other materials he got from the library and turns to look at Dean. “What? Where did that come from?”

       “Don’t you think it’s weird? It hardly eats or sleeps, and I’ve never seen it poop or pee anywhere. It uses the phone, types on your laptop… and it looks like he’s even listening to us… look, look at it. Tell me that doesn’t look like it understands us,” Dean points out.

       Sam looks at the cat then back at Dean. “Can you hear yourself, Dean? You sound insane.”

       “I’m not insane, man. I’m telling you there’s some weird shit going on with that cat!”

       Sam strides to the kitten and picks it up. “So you’re saying Mr. Bonbon is, what? Possessed?” he asks, looking into the kitten’s bright eyes.

       “No! I’m saying it’s weird, Sam. It stares at me like Ca—“Dean stops, mouth agape. He stomps to the bed and flops down onto it.

       “Like what, Dean?” Sam asks. “It stares at you like Cas does?” he ventures.

       “Yes! Kind of. I dunno. All I know is when I talk to him, he seems to understand exactly what I’m saying. And look at him. He’s staring again.”

       And Sam gets it. He looks down at the cat in his arms and the cat’s folded ears twitch, but his eyes never leave Dean. Blue and bright and intense and so much like Cas’, even Sam can see why Dean would feel uncomfortable. He sits down on the bed across from Dean’s and cradles the cat on his lap. “Don’t you think you’re thinking this way because…” Sam stops to hesitate.

       “Oh spill it Sam,” Dean says irritably.

       “You’re antsy Cas hasn’t showed up at all since that group of demons we killed three weeks ago. You’re pouring your frustrations on this kitten… and he does kinda look like Cas, now that you mention it.”

       “Dammit, Sam, this is not about Cas!”

       “It is, Dean. All of this is about Cas. That’s the only reason I could think of why you’re being all bitchy. Something happened back then and you’re not telling me, and I get it. Whatever it was, it’s between the two of you, but look, if you’re worried about him, we can ask around. I’m sure someone would know what’s happening up there…”

       “I’m not worried, alright? He can handle himself. Why should I be worried about someone who ignores all of our calls and doesn’t even bother to drop by even once? Come on, we have a pack of giant wolves to kill.”

+++

       ‘Dean’s starting to realize I’m not just a cat,’ Cas thinks happily as he watches the brothers pour through the materials they’ve gathered about the killings. ‘It won’t be long,’ he thinks. ‘If Dean is starting to see it… then maybe Sam won’t be far along as well.’

       “From the police reports and what the witness said, it all points to wolf attacks,” Sam says.

       “But it can’t be ordinary wolves,” Dean insists. “There are no wolves at this part of the country. Besides, if there really are giant wolves running around in these woods, there’d be more sightings of them. Certainly when they’re killing people and coming this close to the town.”

      Cas nods as he listens from the bed. ‘Dean is correct. This is not the work of ordinary wolves,’ he thinks. The moment they arrived at this little town, he felt it, despite the reduced state of his grace. A strong, sinister power. A danger far greater than a measly pack of wolves. He watches the window outside, watches the dark, heavy clouds that promise a deluge later in the day, watches the birds flying restlessly in the sky, sees that they, too, feel the power enveloping this wooded little town.

       “Well, I’m drawing a blank here,” Dean says, closing the folder of police reports and other files they gathered.

      Sam looks at his watch. “Let’s head out for lunch first, clear our heads or something.”

       “Great idea. They better have pie.”

+++

      Dean lays off the kitten for the rest of the day, and once he has eaten a couple of slices of the local diner’s apple pie, he’s back to his old self, much to Sam’s relief. Until that afternoon when they return to the motel and Dean spots the kitten again.

      Sam warily watches as Dean picks the cat up and stares at its small, round face. “You don’t think he’s a werecat, do you?” Dean asks even as he turns the kitten upside down, over and around, looking for any tell-tale signs of the supernatural.

       “You’re insane,” Sam tells him before plucking the kitten out of Dean’s fingers and cradling it possessively.

+++

      Sam calls out for Cas’ help when a day of investigating ends with two more people missing and no additional clues to help them find the killers.

      Dean watches him from across the motel room and snorts just as Sam finishes his prayer. “He’s not comin’,” Dean says darkly.

       “You don’t know that…”

       “Believe me, I tried. Practically begged for him to come this morning. He didn’t,” he says, standing up from his seat at the small dining room and grabbing the keys from the table.

       “Where’re you going?” Sam asks as Dean puts his jacket on and heads for the door. “Out,” Dean just says and slams the door behind him.

      Sam shakes his head in disapproval and spares a glance at the kitten on the bed. “Drinking again,” he tells the kitten, who looks at him as if he understands, and he, too, does not approve. Sam’s brows knot at that and maybe it’s because of Dean’s incessant claims that the kitten is not any ordinary kitten, but he suddenly sees where Dean may be coming from. There’s something… unusual about Mr. Bonbon, especially when he’s sitting like a Buddha statue and looking at him like he knows more than he’s letting on. He looks almost human and unearthly, innocent and darkly mysterious at the same time.

      Almost like Cas.

      It sounded ridiculous when Dean voiced it out, and it still sounds ridiculous even in Sam’s own mind. Yet, there’s just something nagging at him, refusing to let the thought rest now that it’s floating inside his mind. “You’d tell me if you were actually a werecat, right?” Sam asks the cat.

      The cat’s ears twitch suddenly and his eyes grow wide before he jumps to Sam all excited. Sam laughs. “So you are then? A werecat?” he asks and the cat meows. “Alright, alright. I don’t suppose you also know what happened to Cas, huh? So we can stop Dean from moping.”

      The cat meows loudly, enthusiastically and Sam is, for once, really concerned. He looks at the cat’s face, really, really looks at him. He stares into the cat’s eyes, and saw the warm light hidden in its blue depths, powerful and electric and ethereal like… like…

       “Oh my god!”

      He drops the cat on the floor and it yeowls.

       “Shit. This is insane,” Sam says, combing a hand through his hair. He paces back and forth a couple of times, spares a glance at the cat and shakes his head. He strides to the window to open it a crack, inhales the fresh scent of the forest air to clear his head. He looks back at the cat, and it stares back knowingly and he shivers. It’s no use. “I need a drink,” he says before promptly walking out of the room and leaving the cat on the floor.

+++

      Cas rubs at the slight throb on his head when Sam had dropped him. Whoever said cats always land on their feet had never met him. Then again, he isn’t a real cat anyway, so he doubts if he counts. Nevertheless, he’s thrilled that Sam’s beginning to realize who he is as well. He doesn’t know how exactly but they can see it, can sense his grace every time they stare into his eyes. Now, if only they realized what that powerful, glowing light in his eyes actually means, then they can finally help him get back to his old self.

+++

      The night grows steadily darker and both Sam and Dean are still nowhere to be seen. The rain started to pour a couple of hours earlier and now a cold, damp wind blows in from the window, making Cas’ small body shiver. He has never been susceptible to heat or cold, but somehow in his weakened state, he has grown sensitive to weather changes and to loud, sudden noises. A lightning strikes a few miles away and Cas cowers, covers his ears just in time for the earth-shaking thunder clap to slice through the air. He shivers again and he tries to burrow in the comforter at the foot of Dean’s bed but the air in the room is still too chilly even for his fur. Usually, he’d snuggle against Dean’s leg to get some warmth, sometimes Dean would even let him snuggle against his broad back at night. But Dean’s not here, and so is Sam.

      He stands up and stretches his wings behind him to cover himself with them. They may not be able to fly at the moment, but Cas has recently discovered they can be a good source of warmth. He feels his invisible limbs ache from disuse, and he slowly, carefully stretches the left, then the right, spreading his feathers as far as they can go. Then, a lightning strike quickly followed by thunder, and the room fills with light for an instant. Cas dives to cover his ears, but it’s too late. He hears keys dropping on the floor, and he looks up to see Sam, eyes wide and jaw slack, frozen in shock by the door.

       “Oh my god.”

+++

      Sam can’t believe what he just saw. It was only for a split second, but it was long enough for him to make out the weird shadows that formed behind the kitten’s back and spread onto the wall behind him. They were wings. Wings!

      Sam jolts from his shock, closes the door behind him without looking away from the kitten, and he says the thing that’s been bugging for the last few hours. “Oh my god,” he says again, “I must be drunker than I thought…” he says, shaking his head. “Cas, that’s you, isn’t it?”

+++

      Cas can’t believe what Sam just said, and he jumps up happily. “Yes!” he meows. “Finally!”

      Sam looks at him in shock again, and Cas realizes that isn’t the reaction the younger Winchester is looking for.

       “Oh my god…” Sam says for the third time that night. He walks with heavy feet to the other bed and sits across the kitten. Then his brows knot, and he looks at the kitten suspiciously. “How do I know that wasn’t just a coincidence… and I’m not just drunk and talking to a cat?”

      Cas tilts his head to the side in confusion. “How am I supposed to answer that?” he meows.

       “Hmm…” Sam says thoughtfully. “I have seen weirder things… okay, listen up kitty,” he tells Cas, leaning forward and pointing a finger at the ceiling. “One meow is for ‘yes’…” then, he shows him two fingers, “…two meows is for ‘no’. Understood?”

       ‘This is ridiculous…’ Cas thinks before saying ‘yes’. It comes out as a single meow.

      Sam’s eyes widen at that but he goes on. “You’re Cas, right?”

      One meow.

       “What are you then, Cas?” Sam tests. “A demon?”

      Two meows and an indignant look.

       “An angel?”

      Cas looks at Sam like he’s lost it and answers, with a bit more force than he intends, “YES!”

      And that is the only time Sam lets himself buy it. The blue eyes, the indignant look, and even that tone in the kitten’s voice sound so much like Cas now, Sam can no longer ignore it. Oh, and there were wings mere moments ago. “Shit. Cas. Really? All this time?” Sam says in disbelief.

       “Meow!”

       “Can you change back?”

       “Meow meow”

       “Who did this to you? Oh right, yes or no… Do we know who did this to you?”

       “Meow.”

       “Is it a demon?”

       “Meow meow”

       “An angel?”

      Cas meows loudly, angrily.

       “What? Seriously? Who’d play a silly trick like—“ Sam stops as it dawns on him. “Gabriel!” he hisses.

      The cat meows in agreement.

       “I should’ve known. Heh. Sorry for callin’ you Mr. Bonbon,” Sam smiles sheepishly. “You probably hated that.”

       “Not particularly,” Cas says with a shrug. It comes out as two meows.

      Then Sam realizes something. “Shit, Cas, you were in the bathroom while Dean showered. And that one time when he brought home that brunette… Oh my god, Cas. You were watching this whole time?”

       “Absolutely not!” and at that the cat seemed very angry.

       “Right, sorry. You probably didn’t have a choice, huh? So what do we do now… we gotta tell Dean.”

       “We can’t,” Cas tells him.

       “What do you mean ‘no’? We have to tell Dean. He can help us change you back.”

       “Just no.”

       “Ok, we don’t tell Dean. Will something terrible happen if we tell Dean?”

       “Yes.”

       “Fine. Let’s not. We have to find Gabriel then. Maybe he can change you back.”

       “He won’t,” Cas tells him.

       “Why not? How do we change you back, then?” Sam asks, and when Cas just looks blankly at him, he smiles sheepishly again. “Oh right. Uh… do you know how we can change you back?”

      Cas nods. “Yes.”

       “Well, that’s great. But… how can you tell me…” Sam says thoughtfully.

      Cas jumps off the bed and walks toward Sam’s bag. He scratches at it. “This. Open this,” he says.

      Sam looks in confusion at Cas then at the bag. “My laptop?” he asks. Then he remembers when Dean caught the kitten stomping on the keys, and that key smash he thought spelled out ‘Sam help me’. “So you were trying to type a message out back then,” Sam smiles as he gets his laptop out. “I thought I was only imagining it.”

      He opens the laptop and goes to a program with a white background Cas has seen Sam use before to type in words. “You can type here. Go ahead,” he says as he sets the laptop onto the table and watches as the kitten walks up to it and, with concentration etched on its face, it begins to gently step on keys with the tip of his paw. “This is still so surreal,” Sam says just as Mr. Bonbon—no, Cas—finishes his message. He looks at the screen and the word typed onto it.

       “Dean,” Sam reads. “Dean?” he asks Cas, and Cas meows once in response. “But I thought he can’t know it’s you.”

      Cas goes back to the keys and types another word.

       “Say,” Sam reads. “Dean… say… Dean has to say something?”

       “Yes!” Cas says excitedly.

       “Do you know what he has to say?”

       “Don’t know,” Cas meows.

       “Oh. I see, so you just know Dean has to say something… but you have no idea what it is?”

       “Exactly,” Cas replies.

       “You think it’s something like ‘I’m sorry’?” Sam asks. “Or, ‘I’m a dick’?” he guesses. “I love you?”

      Cas grimaces at that, but he doesn’t discount the possibility that it could be any one of those, or something as random as ‘I’m a pretty, pretty girl.’ But knowing Gabriel… and knowing that the kiss incident is at least part of the reason why he did this… he’d guess Sam is closer than he realizes, despite the fact that Dean would never say any of those words. Not to Cas at least.

       “This sucks. How do we get him to say something if we don’t know what it is? There’s gotta be a way…” Sam trails off, and just then, his phone rings. He looks at the number and frowns. “Wait a sec,” he tells Cas as he answers the phone. “Agent Young speaking. Yes, sheriff. No, it’s not too late…”

      Cas watches as Sam’s face grows darker as the sheriff tells Sam something Cas can only barely hear from where he is sitting. When the phone call ends, Sam’s mood has made a definite turn for the worst. “A trucker found the bodies of the two latest victims. They were at the side of the main road, in a ditch, mangled and half eaten,” Sam tells him. “That’s nine victims in less than two weeks.”

      Cas frowns as well. “It has struck again,” he says.

       “Do you have any idea what might be behind this? We were trying to call you… Dean, I think has tried twice just for this case… but now I guess I know why you never came,” Sam tells him. “He thinks you’re just ignoring him or something…”

       ‘Yes, I have seen how foul his behavior has been,’ Cas thinks as he moves to type something.

       “Guess?” Sam reads. “You have a guess about what’s behind this?” Sam says excitedly. “Go ahead. We need all the leads we can get.”

      Cas nods and types again.

      When Sam reads what Cas typed next, Sam’s face grows serious. “Witch… you think a witch may be behind this?” he asks.

       “Yes.”

       “Okay… that might be helpful. I can go ask Bobby if there’s anything in his books about witches that can control giant wolves or something…”

      But before he can call Bobby, Sam gets another call. This time, it’s from Dean. “Dean! Where have you been? I think I’ve got a lead…”

       “So do I,” Dean says. “I heard from the bartender that there’s this woman… she’s an old resident... been gone for quite some time but she recently returned just as the wolf attacks started.”

       “Yeah, and I have a pretty good idea a witch is behind this.”

       “A witch? It fits.”

       “Where are you now, Dean? Something big just happened,” Sam announces, and Cas meows in protest. “I know!” Sam mouths at him.

       “The Black Dog Pub.”

       “Alright, be there in five,” Sam says before he hangs up. He sees Cas looking at him curiously. “Well, while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to try and make him say stuff, right? Come here,” he says, gesturing for Cas to enter Sam’s bag. Cas looks skeptically at Sam before he follows, jumping into the bag.

+++

      The old lady who owns the motel lends the ‘good looking FBI agent’ her husband’s pickup, and Sam drives hastily through the heavy rain. He got Bobby on the phone just before he left, and the old hunter told him what he already suspected. “I’ll look it up, but I can tell you now, if she can control these giant wolves, you can be sure she’s got enough juice to finish yer asses off with one blow. Be careful, boy,” Bobby had said.

       “If we can return you to your old self, you can help us get rid of this witch,” Sam tells Cas, who has his head poking out of Sam’s bag on the passenger seat.

      Cas nods. ‘That might be the smarter way to go,’ he thinks, but he knows it will be harder than it sounds.

+++

      A couple minutes away from the pub, Sam gets a call from a frantic Dean. “One of the waitresses ran in crying, said the busboy was attacked by a wolf and carried off into the woods. I’m going after it,” Dean says.

       “No, wait Dean! You can’t go there alone! I’m almost there.”

       “No time. I might still be able to save him if I go now. Just get here as fast as you can,” Dean says before he abruptly hangs up.

       “Dammit, Dean!” Sam growls as he tosses the phone to the passenger side, narrowly missing Cas’ head. “He’s probably drunk… and definitely not thinking like himself,” Sam says angrily, worriedly, and Cas feels a chill run down his spine at the possibility that Dean may just screw this up majorly… and he might not get out of that forest alive. Sam floors the gas pedal and the pickup zooms through the deserted, rain-slick streets.

+++

      When they get to the pub, Sam immediately runs to the back where the waitresses told them Dean had run off to after the wolf. It is still raining heavily, and Sam can hardly see anything. He hears the howl of a wolf deeper into the forest… then another, and another, and it makes him shiver. “Shit, how am I supposed to find him here?” he asks. He reaches into his bag for the gun he knows is there, and Cas suddenly leaps out of the bag and runs in front of him.

       “Cas wait!” he calls out, but the kitten ignores him and runs faster. “Fuck,” Sam curses as he follows the cat blindly, realizing Cas might have a better chance of finding Dean than him.

+++

      Cas sniffs the air and runs faster, leaping over exposed roots and rocks. He concentrates and taps into his grace, letting his power propel his feet quicker on the slippery and uneven surface. Dean is close, he can sense him. But, he can also sense the wolves. They’re angry.

      A gunshot pierces through the air, and both Cas and Sam jolt in surprise. Cas stops for a moment, eyes wide as he sniffs the air again, harnesses as much of his grace as possible to find Dean. And then he sees him through the darkness and the rain. Sees exactly where he is. Sees giant wolves, maybe four or five of them, in front of Dean. He has managed to shoot down one of them, but the others are angry. One of them lunges forward and Dean shoots again. Then, the remaining three attack.

      Cas runs, his heart thumping heavy and quick in his chest, then he hears the click of Sam’s gun, and another gunshot rings in the air, and one wolf gets knocked down. Another gunshot, and another… but Cas does not wait to see if they reach their target… a big brown wolf lunges at Dean, Dean shoots at it but it continues, bearing fangs and claws bigger than Dean’s fists. Cas doesn’t think anymore. He leaps, unfurls his wings and envelops himself with all the grace he can summon and hits the wolf at the side of its head.

      The wolf stumbles away from Dean, like it has been hit by a large rock and it is knocked off balance for a moment. The wolf growls, and Cas doesn’t have time to get away before sharp claws and a paw the size of a dinner plate descends on him, swats at him with bone-crunching force, and he slams to the nearest tree with a sickening thump.

      Cas feels pain, tremendous pain, and he sees Dean for a split second, sees the anger in his eyes as he pulls the trigger of his gun again, before his vision fades and the world melts into darkness.

+++

       “Dean! Are you alright?” Sam asks breathlessly after checking on the lifeless body of the busboy. The wolves lay unmoving around them, though there could be more of them in the forest. “We have to get out of here,” he says as he helps Dean up.

       “I’ll be fine,” Dean says as he checks the scrapes and scratches on his own body. “Is he…?” he says, gesturing to the man’s unmoving body.

      Sam shakes his head. “He’s dead.”

       “Dammit,” Dean mutters, and suddenly, he remembers, and he whirls around, practically stumbles as he spots the cat lying eerily still between two protruding roots. He pales when he sees rain and mud... and blood matting the kitten’s black fur. “Shit, no…” he says as he reaches for the kitten.

       “Oh my god,” he hears Sam say from behind him.

       “Why’s he even here?” Dean asks as he touches the kitten tentatively. Then he withdraws his hand in surprise as the kitten twitches. “He’s alive!” he gasps. “Quickly, Sam, we have to take him back to town,” he says as he picks the kitten up as gently as he could.

       “Right, let’s go.”

+++

      The pub owner offers them clean towels to dry off and a backroom with a small bed and chair where they can clean their wounds and take care of the kitten.

      Dean carefully cleans the kitten’s visible wounds while Sam fetches bandages and disinfectant. “Dammit, who would bring a kitten to a hunt?” he shakes his head, angry at Sam for endangering the little creature’s life. He doesn’t know why he’s so affected. “And why the heck would you jump in front of a wolf to save me?” he asks the kitten next.

      Sam enters with the bandage and the disinfectant and gives it to Dean. “They called for a veterinarian, but he’s from two towns over and won’t be here for another half hour at least,” he tells Dean.

       “Mr. Bonbon might not make it in half an hour,” Dean tells him.

      Sam silently watches as Dean carefully places a splint and bandages one of the kitten’s legs. He wonders if he should tell Dean that the kitten is Cas, and despite how he looks now, it’s very likely he will heal his wounds eventually. He’s an angel after all. Right? ‘Gabriel wouldn’t let his brother die because of a trick, right?’ he thinks next. ‘He wouldn’t,’ he continues, though it gives him little comfort. “I’m gonna go get us a fresh set of clothes from the motel. You need anything else?” Sam asks.

      Dean shakes his head.

+++

       “I didn’t think you’d show your face… Gabriel,” Sam barely hides the anger in his voice as Gabriel materializes in the empty motel room.

       “How can I not, when you so lovingly prayed for my presence?” he teases.

       “Cas is hurt because of you,” Sam tells him. “Reverse whatever magic you did to him so he can heal himself properly.”

      Gabriel frowns. “I can’t do that.”

       “So you’d rather let your brother die than change him back?”

       “Like you probably already know,” Gabriel begins, bringing out a Twix bar and unwrapping it. “Dean’s the only one who can change him back,” he says nonchalantly as he bites off a chunk.

       “You son of a bitch,” Sam growls, stepping forward menacingly.

       “Hey, hey… there’s no need for violence,” Gabriel says, raising his hands in front of him. “I can’t directly change him back. There’s a trigger, and I can’t just bypass it. But I can help speed things up if you want.”

       “Do it,” Sam says angrily.

       “Mmm… why should I?”

       “Castiel has done nothing wrong! Why are you making him suffer like this?” Sam explodes.

       “I’m teaching him a lesson. I think he’s learned it enough. But I don’t think you two have learned yours…” Gabriel says cryptically.

       “What do you want us to do? Beg you? Cas has been nothing but helpful to us. He’s helped us save more lives than even you can manage. He’s saved our lives more times that we can count.”

       “Is that it?” Gabriel says, chomping on his Twix and sitting cross legged on the small dining table.

       “Dammit, Gabriel! He’s your brother. He’s our friend, no, he’s practically family to us. If he’s gone Dean will be devastated. I will be devastated. Don’t tell me you don’t care about him as much as we do…” Sam says.

      Gabriel smiles. “I’ve always known you were the smarter brother,” he says, finishing off his Twix and jumping off the table. Sam blinks as Gabriel smiles widely at him. “Now let’s see if we can drill the same lesson into Dean’s thick skull and get him to say something like that as well, hmm?” he says with that same smile.

       “That’s it? Those are the magic words?” Sam asks in confusion.

       “Mmm… more or less. Now I’m gonna need about five minutes. Be a good boy and stay away from the pub’s backroom while I work my magic, okay sweetie pie?” he says before he vanishes, leaving Sam alone and gaping at nothing but empty space.

+++

      Dean watches the kitten’s chest as it breathes in and out weakly. He looks at his watch, barely ten minutes have passed since they called for the vet, and he fears the kitten will die before the vet even reaches town.

      They’ve never had a pet longer than a few days, even as kids. They took home a stray dog back to their motel once, and John got very angry at them. He dropped the dog off at a shelter and Dean remembers how inconsolable Sam had been. Dean had been ten years old then, and even though it saddened him to see the dog go, he understood their father. They can’t have pets like the other kids did. It was just something that they could never experience for themselves.

      Now, looking at the frail kitten, he thinks how easy it had been to accept him into their lives, how he secretly enjoys it when the kitten brushes against his legs when he enters the room, and how he has grown to love the warmth of the kitten on his leg, or behind his back when he sleeps. It was something he didn’t know he wanted until he had it.

      And despite his usual complaints that the cat is weird, he adored the little thing. It reminded him of Cas, the same innocent yet mysterious look in their faces, and the same bright, blue eyes, eyes that held a warmth, a power he can’t describe. He misses Cas’ presence deeply, more than he’d care to admit even to himself and so much so that he thinks he’s becoming insane, but seeing the kitten somehow calms him. Those same beautiful eyes he loves in Cas couldn’t possibly shine bright in a kitten that randomly fell on their laps for no reason. He was meant to have this cat. How can he not adore the kitten more because of that?

       “Dammit,” he says as he buries his head in his hands. “Cas, come on…” he says before he looks up at the bare ceiling. “I know to you he might be insignificant, but this little kitten… he just saved my life. So please…” he stops as his voice breaks, “please, save him.”

      When nothing happens, Dean stands up, stares more intently at the ceiling. “Come on, Cas, where are you? What’s happening up there? Why aren’t you answering us anymore?” Dean breathes in deeply. “You’re mad, I get it. And I’m a dick, I know that. I shouldn’t have pushed you away. I was wrong… and I was stupid. I panicked and… just dammit, Cas, please, at least tell me you can hear me. Tell me you’re alright. Tell me nothing bad has happened to you. Please…” he pleads to the old, wooden ceiling of the room.

      He feels silly and helpless and he’s not sure anybody can even hear him, but he can’t help it. He’s sure he’s at least still half drunk, he’s sore from being a giant wolf’s punching bag, and he’s just really, really tired. But he feels it, prickling at the corners of his eyes, the heavy weight of unshed tears, and he hates it. Hates it with a vengeance. Hates it that only Cas can make him feel this way. “Please, I’ll stop bothering you if you don’t like it, just, Cas… just… tell me you’re okay.”

       “He can’t hear you.”

      Dean whirls around and sees Gabriel leaning by the door. “What are you doing here? Where’s Cas?”

      Gabriel cleans his ear with a finger and looks up at Dean. “Your big, little brother can be very persuasive, you know? He called me. Told me to bring Cas back.”

       “Bring Cas—wait, what happened to him? What did you do to Cas?” Dean says in anger.

       “I didn’t hurt him, not directly, if that’s what you’re getting at. Bu-ut… as I see it, he’s probably this close…” he brings his thumb and forefinger within an inch of each other, “…to biting the dust, as you say.”

       “You son of a bitch!” Dean spits out.

      Gabriel chuckles. “Sam said the exact same thing. Though I think you’d be the bigger son of a bitch here,” he tells Dean.

       “What the fuck are you saying?”

       “I’m saying…” Gabriel begins. He takes a step forward, and lets his grace be felt in the room, heavy and oppressing. “…that my brother is suffering, not because of me, but because of you.”

       “What are you getting at?” Dean asks, confusion evident in his voice.

       “Time and time again, he gives you everything you ask, does everything for you. And you take him for granted. You call on him only when you need help, and he comes, every single time to do your bidding. And the one time, the one time, he asks something of you… you push him away.”

       “What are you talking about? He’s never—“

       “I know about the kiss, Dean,” Gabriel tells him, and Dean stiffens. “I know the one time he asked you to love him back, you shoved him to the dirt. I know my brother loves you… and you know what? I also know you love him back, just as much. But you’re just too chicken to show it. And now my brother’s dying, again, for you, all for you. And you can’t even admit your feelings for my brother.”

       “That’s—“

       “None of my business? Oh, believe me, it becomes my business when some bastard hunter uses my brother and throws him away like trash.”

       “I didn’t, okay?!” Dean explodes. “And you have no right to come in here preaching to me about what I should or should not do. You know nothing about what I feel for Cas. You wouldn’t be able to understand even if I tell you. Cas is important to me. Next to Sam, he’s the most important thing in my life, and I value him more than you’ll ever know. So don’t tell me I treat him like trash, alright?”

       “Right. So that’s why you pushed him away…”

      Dean runs a shaky hand through his hair. “I was confused and surprised… and just… dammit. Can you see me, Gabriel? Can you seriously see me? I’m dirty and sinful. I steal, I lie, I cheat, I’ve been to hell and back, and I’ve tortured more souls than I can ever care to remember. Don’t tell me you think its right for me to be loved by an angel… by someone like Cas.”

      Gabriel gives him a lopsided smile. “That’s not for you to decide, you imbecile. That’s for him to decide. My brother may be many things, but we both know he’s not stupid enough to love someone he thinks is dirty and vile. So give yourself a little more credit, Dean Winchester. If you’re good enough in Castiel’s eyes, then you must really be good enough,” Gabriel tells him. “And seriously,” Gabriel adds with a roll of his eyes, “if you care for Castiel as much as you claim, you’ll let him love you. And you’ll stop being a tragic hero and admit you’re crazy for him and you can’t live without him. Otherwise, you’ll lose him forever.”

      Dean exhales loudly. “Is that what you want to hear? Will you save Cas, bring him back, wherever you took him if I say that? Then fine, yes, I admit it,” Dean says, swallowing the lump that forms in his throat, “…I miss him when he’s not around, I miss how he smiles at my jokes even if he barely understands half of them, I miss how fearless he can be in front of demons, but he cowers at the sight of a woman in skimpy clothes. I miss the sound of his wings when he arrives, and that slight smile on his lips when he says ‘hello’, and god, I miss the way he would look at me. Like I’m the most important thing in the world, like my sins and all the bad I’ve done don’t exist anymore. And dammit, I nearly die with worry every time I call and he doesn’t answer. Like I am right now. I’m dying here, and Gabriel, if you’re half the angel Cas is, you will stop this stupid game, whatever it is, and bring him back right now,” Dean pleads.

       “So… lemme get this straight… you’re saying you have a thing for Castiel?” Gabriel asks, wiggling his eyebrows playfully.

      Dean growls. “I love him, alright, you son of a bitch. I love Cas. And I swear if something happens to him—“

      Gabriel chuckles. “Now was that too hard to say?”he asks before he snaps and the atmosphere in the room lightens.

      Something moves behind Dean, and Dean whirls around, sees Mr. Bonbon lying there for a split second before he morphs, grows larger and larger right before Dean’s eyes, until the kitten is nowhere to be seen, and in its place lay a familiar dark-haired man, naked, bruised and beaten, but otherwise breathing normally. He hears Gabriel snap again, and a shirt, suit, and trench coat suddenly appears folded on the foot of the bed, worn black leather shoes and socks on the floor.

      He turns stunned eyes at Gabriel. “Cas… has been Mr. Bonbon… all this time?” he asks breathlessly.
       “Bingo. As I thought, you’d never be able to guess it,” Gabriel said. “Now that things are settled here, my brother’s on his way to a full recovery knowing he’s not unloved, you just spilled your heart and guts out on the floor, Sam’s nursing his third bottle of beer just outside the door… I think my job here is done. If you’ll excuse me…” Gabriel said, poising to fly away. He stops, though, and looks thoughtfully at Dean and Cas. “Word of advice. The next time you hurt my brother, I’m turning you into a snail and shipping you off to a French restaurant,” he says right before he vanishes into thin air.

       “I swear I’ll wring your little neck first for putting us through all of this,” Dean grumbles to the empty room. He turns back to Cas and sits back on the chair beside the bed. Even after only a minute or two, the bleeding has stopped and the bruises have begun to lighten and fade. Cas’ color has begun to return as well. Dean notices Cas shiver and grabs a blanket to cover his body.

      He still can’t believe Cas and the kitten had been one and the same. It makes him remember all the times he thought the kitten was weird, and feels a wave of guilt wash over him for all the times he cursed and got angry when Cas failed to show up. Especially now that he knows Castiel has been there all along.

      Dean watches Cas’ sleeping face for a moment, and a smile forms on his lips. “I hope you heard everything I just said to your bastard brother, coz I don’t think I can repeat all of that ever again.”

+++

       “I heard what you said, Dean,” are the first words out of Castiel’s mouth when he wakes up hours later. Weak but still better than before, Cas sits up on the bed, now in his usual white shirt and black dress pants.

      Dean looks down at his feet and Sam just looks at them confused. “The magic words Gabriel wanted him to say all this time?” Sam asks.

       “Uh yeah, that’s it,” Dean says, and if Sam didn’t know his brother that well, he’d miss the shy look and the slight blush that suddenly appeared on his face.

       “So what was it? ‘I’m sorry’, or was it, ‘I’m a dick’?” Sam asks.

       “Yeah, yeah… that’s what I said. ‘I’m sorry’, right Cas?” he turns to Cas, who looks back at them tentatively.

       “Uh… sure. That’s what he said,” Cas says with a straight face.

       “Right,” Sam feigns agreement. “I could’ve sworn I heard something like, ‘I love Cas,’ earlier though. Must’ve been just my imagination,” Sam says with a grin.

       “Don’t you have a report to make with the sheriff, Agent Young?” Dean says through gritted teeth as he pushes Sam out of the door.

       “Right, right. I’ll be back once I tell the good sheriff what happened last night. Except the part where our kitten turned into an angel, of course,” Sam says with a wink.

       “Well, get to it then!” Dean says before he finally manages to shove Sam’s big body out of the room. He shuts the door with a sigh and with a grin playing on his lips. He turns around. “So, you heard everything huh?” he asks Cas as he returns to the bedside.

       “Yes,” Cas nods with a small smile.

       “I meant everything I said, though. I didn’t say that just to get Gabriel to change you back,” Dean explains.

       “I know,” Cas’ smile widens.

       “And…?” Dean asks. “What do you have to say… after hearing all that?” he says, leaning closer to Cas.

      Cas thinks for a moment and frowns. Dean’s smile falters a bit at this. “Cas?” he asks in worry.

       “I think…” Cas begins. “I think I would like another kiss. One that does not involve shoving at the end.”

      The confusion fades from Dean’s face and he grins. “I think I can manage that,” he says, before leaning in closer and capturing Cas’ lips with his.

+++

      Their second kiss starts miles better than the first.

      It begins chastely. Just a press of lips against lips. Then Dean leans in more, pushes against Cas’ lips with his tongue, and Cas parts his lips slightly, allowing Dean to dive in deeper, to savor the flavor of Cas’ mouth. He feels Cas lift his arms, run his fingers through Dean’s hair before pushing against the back of his head to deepen the kiss. The touch of their tongues against each other is electric, sending shivers down Dean’s spine as he presses closer, half his body practically on top of Cas as he bites lightly on Cas’ bottom lip. It wrenches a groan out of the angel’s mouth, and the sound excites Dean more than he could ever imagine.

      Their second kiss ends miles and miles better than the first as well.

      It ends when the third kiss begins, and the fourth, and the fifth. It ends with clothes shed on the floor and Dean on top of Cas, showering him with more kisses down his neck. He kisses a quickly fading bruise on Castiel’s chest, the last evidence of the kitten’s heroic act the night before, and moves to lick circles around a nipple, pausing to lap his tongue against a freckle just to the side. Castiel shudders and Dean smiles, moves to the other nipple to shower it with the same attention.

      It ends with Cas’ fingers running all over Dean’s naked skin, with Dean gripping Cas’ erection and with Cas arching off the bed like a cat with a delicious stroke of Dean’s hand. Cas’ hands fumble against Dean’s body, finding anything to hold onto. He grabs Dean by each firm globe of his ass and pushes him down against him, hard, and Dean gasps when their cocks brush against each other.

       “I want…” Cas pants.

       Dean leans in further, bites at the soft flesh of his earlobe, “Anything, Cas… anything,” he whispers, hips thrusting against Cas, the precome on their cocks mixing and slicking their cocks as they slide against each other.

       “You…” Cas pants again. “I want you… all of you,” he says before he catches Dean’s lips for the start of their twelfth or thirteenth kiss, Cas doesn’t know. He’s lost count.

      Dean smiles against his lips. “You sure?”

       “Yes, Dean. I’m sure.”

      Their second kiss is forgotten after the fourteenth and fifteenth, and more so after the gentle press of slick fingers against Cas’ opening, the burn and stretch of them dulled by Cas’ slowly returning grace. Then there is pleasure, somewhere deep, and Dean smiles again when Cas’ back arches off the bed, moans in pleasure at the stroke of Dean’s fingers deep within him. Another finger joins the others, and Cas is writhing on the bed, begging for Dean to get on with it, and Dean happily complies.

      What could possibly be their twentieth kiss starts and ends with the slow press of Dean’s cock against Cas, the pressure hard and relenting until the blunt head breaches his opening. Cas’ jaw goes slack and he pants as Dean pushes all the way in, the slight pain mixing with the pleasurable drag of Dean’s cock inside of him.

      Dean pauses once he’s all the way in, breathing heavily on top of Cas. He shuts his eyes at the incredible feeling of Cas around him, hot and tight, of Cas fingers clutching at his arms almost desperately, one palm against that mark near his shoulder, slotting like a long lost puzzle piece, Cas’ legs wrapped tightly around his waist, and he knows he’s been a fool to deny himself any of this for so long. He moves, thrusts shallowly a few times and moans. He withdraws almost to the tip then pushes back in harder, dragging another low moan from Castiel’s lips. The raspy sound of Cas’ voice spurs Dean on and he thrusts faster, harder, until he feels the fingers clutching his arms tighten painfully, feels the scorching hot muscles hugging him quiver and clamp tighter around him.

      He reaches a hand out to stroke Cas’ cock in time with his thrusts, and Cas moans, whimpers even as Dean thumbs at the slit of Cas’ cock, spreading the leaking precome all over the head. And Cas can no longer take it. Unused to such intense pleasure and emotion, Castiel’s body goes rigid as he feels every fiber of his being spark and erupt like he’s about to explode and die, except it feels infinitely better than death, and his body sings with so much life it makes his eyes water. And when he opens his eyes, he sees Dean’s face, looking at him with so much love, he feels his chest start to ache again, a good ache, and that alone becomes enough and yet too much at the same time.

      What is to be their last kiss of that morning ends with a scream, Cas’ back arching off the bed yet again as he feels blinding hot pleasure overtake his senses, Dean groaning loudly as he feels the wet splash of Cas’ come between them. Dean thrusts once, twice, before he too is coming hot and hard and deep inside Cas. He collapses onto Cas, panting heavily, drained of almost all his energy.

       “I don’t want you to ever leave again, alright?” Dean whispers feebly into Cas’ ear, and Cas smiles weakly, brings an arm around Dean’s shoulder to hug him tight.

       “I never left, Dean, nor will I ever leave you again,” he replies.

      Dean falls asleep with a stupid grin on his face and the sound of Cas’ breathing in his ear.

+++

      Sam returns later that day to a sight he would never admit to seeing. Thankfully, a sheet is covering most of what Sam would deem as ‘hurtful’ to his eyes, but he still shudders at the sight of his brother naked in bed with his angel. He smiles though, when he sees their position—Dean facing the wall, and Castiel snuggled behind his back, an arm slung over his chest. It looks exactly the way the kitten used to sleep behind Dean’s back whenever it was particularly cold in the night. And Sam wonders, as he closes the door and gives the two a few more minutes alone, if the kitten will ever be completely gone from Castiel. He doubts that will be the case anytime soon.

+++

      In an old shack on the outskirts of town, a woman cowers on the corner of her room. “Loki… look, I’m not encroaching into your territory… so let me go, al-alright…?” she pleads as she clutches an old hex bag with the paw of a great wolf god inside.

       “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Sorry, no can do,” Gabriel says as he takes a step closer. “Nobody messes with my little bro and lives,” he says with a lopsided grin that sends chills down the witch’s spine. He brings his hand up and snaps.

+++

      That afternoon, residents claim to have heard a woman’s screams, along with the howling of several wolves somewhere in the woods, and when the police arrive to investigate, they find the mangled body of a woman tangled in electrical wires. The coroner finds she was killed by wolves, though how she got tangled in the high tension wires was something they cannot solve. Nor do they find any clues as to why she was found clutching an old broom, almost as if she was flying off on it.

      The two FBI agents who arrived earlier that week also bid their farewell that day, along with a man in a tan trench coat who was from the SPCA intending to see if any of the wolves were harmed. They don’t find a single trace of the wolves anywhere, though, and since then, the wolves were never seen again.

+++

      Castiel eventually leaves to do his ‘heavenly duty’ and Dean lets him, albeit not so willingly. However, the next time Dean prays for Castiel to come down, it isn’t for help in a case, or for clues to the newest killings in town.

      He calls him down for a small barbecue with Bobby and Sam, and when he accidentally (or not so accidentally) calls Cas “Mr. Bonbon,” and later on, “kitten,” while they eat their burgers among the cars, it’s only Bobby who looks at them weirdly and with brows arching heavenward. Sam just smiles and chuckles to himself, while Cas seems to not notice the slip and just obediently follows as Dean gives him his twelfth or thirteenth burger of the day. If Bobby notices Dean’s unusually wide grin and Dean’s hand discreetly groping Cas under the table, he doesn’t say anything as well, and Sam just smiles again and eats his burger in peace.

+++

THE END.