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Impatiens

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Chrissy was always better at tearing up flowers than at planting them.

Not that she could exactly be blamed, Castiel thought with a weary smile as he watched her tearing across the yard, laughing, with her arms outstretched and her hair flying out behind her. She was only a child, and she meant no harm. She simply had too much energy for her own good.

Of course, sometimes her mischief was enough to test even his patience, but that, he supposed, was why Dean needed his help to manage her.

“Christina,” he called as she turned and came running back towards him. “Could you come here and help me for a moment?”

“Okay, Papa!” she said brightly, and bounded over to sit beside him in the grass.

He handed her a pack of bright impatiens, which she held in both hands. “Do you want to help plant these?” he said. “This is how it should be done.”

She watched him as he dug into the ground and fit one of the plants into the hole, covering up the roots with soil again.

“Why don’t you try it?” he suggested.

“Okay,” she said, and set aside the plastic package in her hands to paw at the dirt with her fingers. When she decided she’d torn up enough, she tugged at the stem of one of the flowers, frowning as she tried to pull it free.

“No, like this,” Castiel corrected her, turning over the pack to push the plant out from the bottom. She took it back, dirt spilling from between her fingers, and shoved it in the ground, heaping earth over it with her other hand.

“There!” she said, grinning, and brushed the dirt from her palms onto the leaves of the flower before jumping to her feet and running off again to scramble up the apple tree.

Castiel shook his head, smiling to himself, and finished planting the others alone.

--

“Hey, Papa,” Chrissy said, sitting down on the grass with a cup of lemonade in her hand. “What are you doing?”

“Planting impatiens,” he said, looking up at her. It was remarkable how much like Dean she was, for having no blood relation to him—her casual, slouching posture, the sunlight in her hair, the light freckles across her nose and cheeks.

“You want some help?” she asked, leaning forward and curling her legs underneath her.

He blinked, surprised. “If you would like to help,” he replied. “Do you know how to plant them?”

“Of course I do,” she said, rolling her eyes and grabbing a pack of flowers. “It’s not like you haven’t shown me before.”

He watched as she dug a hole for the plant, apparently oblivious to the dirt gathering under her pink nails, and upended the plastic package to remove one of the flowers. With a look of focused determination, she packed the soil around it again, burying the roots completely.

“Is that okay?” she asked, looking up at him, her blue eyes brighter than the sky overhead.

“Perfect,” he told her, smiling.

“Great!” she said, and curled her fingers into the ground to start on another one.

It was nice to know, he thought, that patience was a thing that could be learned.