Gabriel was convulsing with laughter, Dean's eyes were practically bulging out of his head, and Castiel was confused. Last thing he knew, he had been staring down at his brother, demanding that he put an end to whatever game he was playing. They didn't have time for another one of Gabriel's...how did Dean put it once? Dog and pony shows. That was it.
Suddenly, he found himself on the floor, with no knowledge as to how he got there. Castiel didn't start to panic until he realized that he couldn't feel his wings. Everything felt...strange. Bigger, somehow. Almost...fuzzy.
He opened his mouth to demand an explanation, but the only sound that could be heard—other than Gabriel's incessant, grating peals of laughter—was a high-pitched "meow."
"Gabriel, what the fuck, man?"
"C'mon, Dean! He's been your pet for so long; might as well make it literal, right?" Gabriel was using the doorframe to keep himself vertical.
Castiel demanded an explanation again, but, again, nothing came out—nothing but that strange high-pitched sound. Dean was looking at him, jaw clenched, but there was a twitch. Just a twitch, but Castiel could read Dean's facial expressions as easily as he could read Enochian, and that twitch was one of amusement. Dean was amused by whatever Gabriel had done to him.
"Change him back."
Change me back? Meow.
Oh. Oh. Castiel looked down at the grimy motel carpet and saw what he could only assume to be his own paw. His own paw. It was black and furry and entirely unfamiliar. Experimentally, he tried to lift what would've usually been a human hand, and, sure enough, the black, furry paw lifted into the air. Gabriel turned him into a cat. A very small cat. Something like that shouldn't have been possible, but there was no denying it. Goodbye, Jimmy Novak; hello, Fluffy.
Gabriel mock-gasped. "Change him back? No, no, no, no, Dean! That would be ruining the fun!"
Lunging forward, Dean grabbed Gabriel by the lapels of his jacket and shoved him back against the wall. "Do it. Now."
"Touchy, touchy." At that point, Dean's expression read I'm about to wipe that smirk off of your face, you smug son of a bitch. Gabriel sighed, rolling his eyes and lifting his hands in surrender. "Oh, fine. Don't worry, little Cas won't be like that forever. You'll get your precious little boy-toy back as soon as he learns to stay out of my way." When Dean opened his mouth to protest, or possibly to make another demand, Gabriel placed a silencing finger over his lips—and action that made the fur along Castiel's spine stand on-end. "Ah, ah, ah. Everything in due time."
And with a snap of his fingers, Gabriel was gone.
Having not yet learned his lesson, Castiel tried to yell for his brother, tried to call him back, but what came out of his mouth—his suddenly small mouth filled with abnormally sharp teeth and a sandpapery tongue—was some kind of...hiss. He just hissed. And Dean was staring at him, seemingly unsure as to how to respond to the situation. There wasn't anything that Dean could do, but 'standing and staring' was one of the most unproductive options available, right above 'pointing and laughing.'
"Shit, Cas." Dean knelt on the floor next to him. The corners of his lips twitched as he attempted to fight off a grin. "I've seen some weird crap, but this kind of tops the list."
Dean, this isn't funny.
Dean practically snorted with laughter. "That was the most pathetic sound I've ever heard."
It was rather obvious by that point that Dean had no intention of doing anything helpful. Frustrated and somewhat dejected, Castiel obeyed his new body's urge to lie down on the carpet and curl up into a tight ball, face buried between what he assumed were arms. Or were they technically legs? He might have paid more attention to the terminology if he had ever suspected that he might one day be transformed into a small, helpless animal.
"Cas. C'mon, man, you're full-on sulking."
For all that either of them knew, Gabriel could have every intention of leaving Castiel in that form for a very long time. Nothing in any of the Winchesters' books would give them any relevant information; still, Castiel would have appreciated some effort to find a solution. Had Sam been turned into some animal, Dean would have done anything to get him back to normal as soon as possible. He likely would have insisted that Castiel take care of it. There was no one to take care of it for Castiel, so all that he could do was lie there listlessly. Surprisingly, it felt rather natural.
As he felt himself being lifted into the air, warning bells went off in his mind. He lost contact with the floor entirely and was suspended in the air, held by two hands—two very strong hands that were hardly smaller than he was. Castiel struggled, all four legs flailing, as he let out a pitiful squeak.
"Whoa, whoa, calm down!" Dean's voice was full of laughter, prompting Castiel to struggle even more.
Dean, this is not funny. Put me down.
But Dean didn't. Instead, he turned Castiel around to face him, hands wrapped lightly around his midsection, thumbs tucked under his front legs. Under different circumstances, Castiel likely would have welcomed the contact. There was something intimate about it; or, at least, there would have been, if he wasn't a cat.
Dean. Put me down, Dean.
"Y'know, this kinda suits you."
Following his new instincts, Castiel latched onto one of Dean's hands—beautiful hands—and sank his teeth into the flesh of the thumb, near the wrist. Dean inhaled sharply, more from surprise than from pain, but didn't relinquish his hold on the angel kitten. "Son of a bitch."
You deserve worse.
Glaring, Dean half-dropped, half-tossed Castiel onto the bed. Of course, he managed to land upright without any effort; the mattress was soft and giving beneath the pads of his feet. He felt that he should find some way to apologize to Dean, but his pride had already been wounded enough for one day. He knew that he had to look ridiculous—an angel of the Lord reduced to a kitten, curled up and moping at the foot of a motel bed.
The mattress dipped and the springs creaked as Dean sat about a foot away. "I get that this sucks for you, but you don't have to be such a bitch about it."
A bitch is a dog, Dean. I'm quite certain that I'm a cat.
"Gabriel will get bored soon and you'll be back to your trenchcoat in no time."
That was probably true. Gabriel got bored easily, and there was only so much entertainment that he could squeeze from the situation, especially if Castiel did nothing but sit and "full-on sulk." They just sat there, Castiel ignoring Dean and Dean staring at the wall. The bedsprings creaked again as Dean flopped onto his back, breathing out a deep sigh. Castiel braced himself; while the force of Dean hitting the bed wouldn't have affected his human form, it was almost enough to send his kitten form flying through the air. Reluctantly, he glanced over at Dean, instantly mesmerized by dim lamplight filtering through fluttering blonde eyelashes.
Before he knew what he was doing, Castiel was crawling over to Dean, whose closed eyes made his lashes look even thicker. After a moment's hesitation, he took one more step and stretched out his neck to nudge Dean's shoulder with his nose. He felt a little guilty about his initial reaction. It wasn't Dean's fault. They were friends, and it wasn't fair for Castiel to think the worst.
Eyes opening—beautiful, shining, green eyes that had never looked so large—Dean turned his head to the side, and the smile that suffused his whole face with warmth was the only reward that Castiel would ever need. The same hand that Castiel had bitten reached out, fingertips brushing the fur between Castiel's ears. Castiel couldn't help but press his head against Dean's hand, pleased when the light contact progressed to scratching that felt fantastic. After a few fleeting moments, Dean paused—almost froze, actually—and chuckled.
"This is fuckin' weird."
That's an understatement.
Still, Dean didn't get up to leave, not even when Castiel scooted closer, circled the same spot a couple of times, then curled up against Dean's chest in the crook of his arm. He could feel Dean stiffen and immediately regretted the decision, but then, slowly, Dean relaxed and curled a hand around Castiel's rounded spine, mumbling, "For a cat, you're not so bad, Cas."
Castiel didn't realize that he was purring until the motor-like rumbling filled his ears, drowning out everything else. As Dean stroked the fur at the back of his neck, the sound intensified. Instead of finding it grating, however, Castiel found that it had a lulling effect. He could feel himself drifting off to sleep—heartrate slowing, eyelids drooping. Despite his condition, he felt safe. Warm. Loved.
When he woke, his forehead—his human forehead—was pressed into the curve of Dean's neck. One of Dean's arms was draped across his side while the other encircled his waist beneath the trenchcoat. Dean was still asleep, chest rising and falling slowly underneath the palm of Castiel's hand. Even though he knew that he should untangle their legs and retreat, Castiel couldn't seem to gather the motivation to move. He was more comfortable than he had ever been—happier than he had ever been. Perhaps, when Dean awoke, he would have some explaining to do. Perhaps not.
Either way, Gabriel would get his entertainment.
Castiel had never been so content to let his brother win.