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“Dean! Hey!” Mindy smiled at him brightly. “The usual?”

“You know it, Mindy.” Dean lowered his shades as he approached the newsstand and smiled back just as brightly.

Mindy handed over a copy of the Weekly World News and turned to pour him a coffee. “You know, I can’t believe you still read this crap,” she chastised him.

Dean smirked and pointed at this week’s headline, which read ‘Attack of the OctoMen’. “You won’t be laughing when the OctoMen kill you and you haven’t read the survival guide.” He winked.

Mindy laughed and playfully slapped his shoulder before handing him his coffee. “Oh, you.” She reached for the donut display and packed up a powdered sugar one. “Here. I’ll start by fattening you up so they’ll eat you first.”

Dean patted his stomach and pouted. “You think I’m getting fat?”

Mindy rolled her eyes. “It’s beyond me how you have a boring office job and still look so fit. And you know it, so don’t go fishing for compliments, mister.”

Dean rubbed the back of his neck bashfully, but his eyes were twinkling with mirth. He paid her for the magazine and the coffee and accepted his free donut. “Thanks, babe.”

“Uhuh.” Mindy leaned forward, accentuating her cleavage. “You know, I’ve missed you these past few days.”

“Big audit at a branch in South Dakota,” Dean lied. “And speaking of, I’ve gotta get going. Type up my report and all. See you around.” With a wave, he turned towards the Credit Dauphine office building across the street where, for all Mindy knew, he was working as a data analyst.

Truth be told, he did have a report to type up. But instead of some boring audit, he’d cleared out a vampire nest his uncle Bobby had tipped him off about. And Dean still needed to find a way to keep Bobby out of the report.

Back when Henriksen started a special unit of the FBI dedicated to fighting the supernatural, he’d recruited as many hunters as he could find. Hunters who were still mentally acceptable to the FBI and hadn’t gone off the deep end, that was. Not that Bobby would have been rejected; he just didn’t trust Henriksen and wouldn’t even apply. Nevertheless, he’d encouraged Sam and Dean to take a chance – provided they’d still keep in touch with him and update him on the goings-on at the agency. In return, Bobby still helped them out on jobs and provided valuable intel the FBI didn’t have.

However, since Sam had stepped out of the field to become head analyst, it was rare for Bobby to know anything Sam hadn’t heard of already. And, thorough as Sam was, in two years he had created a vast virtual bestiary, making Bobby almost obsolete. And Dean was proud of his little nerd of a brother. Still. Dean missed the old days sometimes, which is why he’d gone to help out with Bobby’s nest.

Once inside the building, Dean took the elevator to the lower deck, which proclaimed to be the parking deck, even though there was no entry for cars coming off the street. A fact Dean still mourned over, since he had to park his beloved Impala out in the open and out of sight down the street. The door to the empty parking lot opened after a hidden compartment confirmed his handprint and Dean fought with his coffee and donut in one hand to fumble out his badge with the other.

Just when he’d snatched his bag up with his teeth, a helping hand came from Benny, who had appeared from the other direction. The back of the building held a biker bar to allow the shadier looking agents entry without arousing suspicion. “Benny you’re a lifesaver,” Dean followed the vampire to the elevator that would lead up to his actual office. “You working the day shift?”

Benny nodded the affirmative and looked into Dean’s bag, which he’d snatched earlier. “Brother, those will be the death of you someday.”

Dean snorted. “Yeah. High cholesterol is definitely gonna put me in an early grave.” He frowned a little though. This was the second person to comment on his donut intake today. Maybe he should lay off them for a while.

Benny grinned and clapped his shoulder. “So, I hear you’re getting partnered up today.”

Dean stopped. “I am?” He’d been waiting for this since he started in the new division Henriksen had started up six months ago. It was an experiment. Seasoned agents would work closely together with supes who’d proven themselves helpful and on the side of peace with the humans. Dean had been skeptical at first, but he’d gone on a few missions with Benny and the vampire had turned into a loyal friend.

His father would turn in his grave if he knew, but this wasn’t John’s world anymore. Actually, it might have never been as black and white as John liked to paint it when they were growing up. Dean realized this more and more, the more cases he actually researched instead of just going in and killing the monster, like he used to.

“Oh yeah,” Benny drawled, smirking at Dean. “They picked out someone real special for you.”

“You know who it is?” Dean asked. He knew it couldn’t be Benny, since he was already assigned to Jodie. And Jodie would never willingly switch.

Benny’s smirk widened. “Someone real special.”

Dean frowned, a little suspicious. But before he could dig further, they’d arrived on their floor, and Benny left him with a wink.

Dean had just dumped his things on his desk, when Henriksen’s door opened and he bellowed for “Winchester”

Everyone’s head snapped in Dean’s direction and he could see more than a few grins thrown his way. In response, Dean adopted his most cocky look and, head held high, he swaggered into the office as if he’d just won the lottery and was going to collect his cheque. And really, how bad could it be? He’d finally get his own supernatural partner. He’d waited six months for this.

Dean entered the office and looked around expectantly. “Sir?” he questioned.

“Sit down, Winchester,” Henriksen ordered.

Dean sat down in a chair and Henriksen perched on the edge of his desk, towering over Dean. Dean considered commenting on this blatant display of dominance, but he was trying to be a good agent now. He wasn’t a free-lance hunter anymore. And he didn’t really miss the hustling and leaving hospitals early before their insurance fraud could be detected. And without Sam, he’d be fucked if he actually got hurt.

“I know you’ve been getting impatient to get your partner,” Henriksen started, holding up his hand when Dean was about to protest. “It’s the whole reason I set this all up, after all.” He waved around, indicating the clandestine office space. Not a lot of agents knew about this, not even all of the previous hunters. “It’s why I got you here, specifically.”

Dean smiled. He’d been one of the only agents not required to apply. He was just re-assigned.

“And I’m confident I finally found the right partner for you,” Henriksen continued. “Dean, meet Castiel.”

Dean frowned, extremely confused. There was nobody else in the office with them. Unless they were talking about a ghost… holy shit! Dean’s face lit up. “You’re partnering me up with a ghost?” This was awesome; Dean knew how powerful ghosts could be.

“Uhm, no…” Henriksen frowned, his hand pointing towards the mug on his desk. And when Dean’s gaze followed, his eyes landed on a tiny… a tiny… thing.

A tiny thing that was clearing its throat, looking awkward. “Uhm, hello?” It said and Dean’s eyes widened. It looked like a mix between a merman and a squid and it wasn’t much larger than the mug on Henriksen’s table.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Dean muttered, passing his hand over his eyes. He was seeing things, wasn’t he? “What the fuck even is that?”

Henriksen shifted, clearly uncomfortable. “Uhm, that’s your new partner, Dean. That’s Castiel. He’s a ningkiling.”

Dean’s mouth opened and closed a few times, all the while Castiel was blinking owlishly at him. His eyes were blue, reminding Dean of an ocean - which might just be where Castiel actually came from. Dean had to laugh at that. “How in the world did that even get in here without anyone seeing it?”

“I travel through the sewage system,” Castiel explained in a deep, gravely voice. Dean was taken aback. He’d expected a high pitched squeak. This was deeply unsettling.

“Like a rat?” Dean asked. He gave a short bout of laughter again, then he glared at Henriksen. “You’re pairing me up with a sewer rat?”

“That’s quite enough now,” Henriksen warned. “You will apologize to your partner.”

“The fuck I will,” Dean crossed his arms in front of his chest. He hadn’t signed up for this. What powers could this tiny ting possibly possess? Now he understood why he’d been the butt of the joke this morning. He could just picture all of his colleagues laughing their asses off right now. Maybe this was a prank?

“Agent Winchester. You will apologize for calling Castiel a rat or you can just leave your badge and gun and get the fuck out of my office.” Henriksen had gotten up and walked behind his desk, standing firm.

“But why?” Castiel threw in. “Rats are highly intelligent beings. I did not take offence to the comparison. In fact, rats are highly adaptable and they have an enormous learning curve. One might argue that rats are more intelligent than humans, actually.”

Dean, who had been happily pointing at Castiel in full agreement when he’d started his speech, stopped short, eyes narrowing. “Are you saying I’m dumber than a rat?”

“I’m saying I did not take offence to being compared to such an intelligent creature.” Castiel was glaring right back at him. “I do, however, take offence at being referred to as an object. I am not an ‘it’, Dean, I am a fully sentient being.”

“That remains to be seen,” Dean mumbled under his breath, but then he wisened up. “Alright. I am sorry.” He took a long, hard look at Castiel again, noticing his purple tentacles and his gills and… were those wings on his back? “What powers does he have?” He looked at Henriksen.

“You may address me directly, Dean,” Castiel replied sourly, but then didn’t elaborate.

After another look at his boss, Dean sighed and leaned forward to be at an eye level with the tiny octopus. He’d already forgotten the name of his species. It ended in ‘killing’ though, which was just all kinds of ironic. The little thing surely couldn’t harm a grown man. Which, dammit, why did Dean get the useless partner? “What powers do you have?”

Castiel glanced at Henriksen and then back at Dean. “I’d rather not disclose the full extent of my powers just yet.”

Dean’s mouth fell open and this time, when he threw Henriksen an exasperated look, his boss had the decency to look guilty. “Castiel came to us, offering his help. He’s from an ancient species on the verge of extinction. They’re being hunted by other supernatural beings, so they’ve been in hiding.”

“But I have never heard of… of killing octupi before. They must have been mentioned somewhere?” Dean cocked his head. Even if they were the special snack of sirens. Or mermaids’ pets. The library at their disposal included books written by monsters. Someone must have included them.

“Ningkiling,” Castiel hissed through gritted teeth. “We erased every mention of us.” Turning his back on Dean, he faced Henriksen. “We were told you could help protect our species and I was fully willing to comply with the stipulations and partner up” – Castiel used air quotes for the word – “With your agent. Clearly this is not working out. If I am not appreciated, I shall take my leave and apply my help elsewhere.”

“No, no, no, Castiel,” Henriksen sent Dean a panicked look. “Please stay. Dean is just having a bad day. He just came back from a solo mission… And by the way,” Henriksen focused on Dean, his voice dropping to ice, “You still owe me a report on your unsanctioned operation.”

Dean gulped. “You’ll have it on your desk by five,” Dean reassured him. “Sir,” he added.

Henriksen nodded. “Castiel has passed all the tests to get into this program,” he explained to Dean. “And Dean is my best agent,” he placated Castiel. “I am sure you two will achieve great things together.”

Castiel huffed, but turned back to face Dean. “The best?” he asked.

Dean nodded with a smile. “The best.” So Castiel had passed all the tests? That meant he had gone on a mission with other agents and killed at least one supernatural being as well as proven vast knowledge on the topic. Dean sighed. Alright. Maybe he was doing him injustice. After all, size didn’t really matter. Fairies were nasty little shits. Then again, a fairy couldn’t help him kill a nest of vampires. “Alright,” Dean announced. “You can watch me type up my report.” He got up to leave the office, the matter over for now.

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” Castiel replied indignantly. “I’ll be at the archives, looking for a case.”

Dean’s face fell. “Alright,” he agreed sourly. Henriksen hadn’t intervened yet, so whatever. He didn’t need a squid to look over his shoulder as he was faking a report anyway. “Come find me when you’re done.” Dean got up and left the office before he would hurl some more insults at the octo-dwarf. His new partner.

Taking a deep breath, Dean steeled himself for his fellow agents and left the office with a shiny, happy smile, ignoring the whispers and various degrees of dolphin noises thrown his way.

***

Later, on his lunch break, he called his brother.

“I was wondering how long it would take you to call me,” was how Sam greeted him.

“Hello to you, too, Sammy.” Dean rolled his eyes. “And we spoke yesterday.” When he’d updated him how Bobby was doing.

“Yeah, but you met Castiel this morning, didn’t you?” Sam sounded smug.

“You knew?” Dean asked, kind of already knowing the answer.

“I’m level six,” Sam offered as way of explanation.

Dean rolled his eyes again. Ever since they’d started advancing in their clearance levels, Sam never failed to one-up him. As if shit like that ever mattered. “Wait. Don’t tell me you already knew about this when I called you last night?”

Sam’s silence told him all he needed to know. “Dean…” his brother started.

“I swear to god, if you say you couldn’t tell me because I don’t have level six clearance, I will come over to D.C. just so I can kick your giant ass,” Dean growled into the phone.

Sam huffed. “Listen. I need you to take this seriously. I recommended you for this partnership.”

“Come again?” Dean scowled. So it was thanks to Sam that he got stuck with the tiny squid?

“Is he with you?” Sam asked in a low voice.

“Who?” Dean frowned. “Sashimi?”

“I thought they partnered you with Cas…” Sam stopped, apparently getting the joke. “Hilarious, Dean,” he remarked dryly.

Dean chuckled at his own joke. “No, I’m alone.”

“I don’t trust them,” Sam remarked. “Those ningkiling, they just crawled out of the woodwork. How come no one’s ever heard of them before? I even had Bobby send out his feelers and he came up empty. Bobby, Dean.”

“I didn’t know you called him.” He’d have been the next person on Dean’s list. He wondered why Bobby didn’t mention anything when Dean was just with him.

“You’re not the only one who gets to tap that resource,” Sam said.

Dean frowned at the harsh wording. He knew Sam didn’t mean anything by it, but Bobby had practically raised them. He was more than a resource. “I didn’t see you helping with the nest last week.”

“You know why I stopped hunting, Dean,” Sam replied sourly. “Especially vampires.”

Dean held the phone away from his ear for a second and passed his hand over his face, taking a deep breath. “Never mind.” It was all the apology he could give, but he knew Sam would understand. “So the killers. You think they mean business?”

”Ningkiling,” Sam sighed. “I don’t want to assume. I hope they’re telling us the truth, but it just doesn’t make sense. They claim they want to help us fight monsters, but if they’re so good at that, then why are they going extinct? And why risk adding us on their list of possible murderers? I mean, they know we’re basically still hunters, even if we claim legality now.”

Dean bit his lip. Sam had basically voiced his own concerns and that was a bad sign. He’d just wanted to complain a bit and hear that Sam was on board, but this phone call was worrying. “What do you need me to do?”

“Pay attention. Write down their strengths and weaknesses and report to me as well as Henriksen,” Sam instructed. “Don’t keep too many official records. Not that this would be a problem for you.”

“So you’re giving me orders now and insulting my work ethics? How very level six of you,” Dean grumbled, but he wasn’t mad. Even though he was the older brother, he was pretty much used to Sam commanding him around.

Sam sighed. “Please, Dean.”

“Of course.” Dean closed his eyes and scratched the back of his neck. He could feel the muscles tensing up already.

“Promise me you’ll be careful,” Sam added in a soft voice.

“Always,” Dean replied cheerily, just like he did every time someone gave him that bullshit advice.

“I mean it, Dean,” Sam stressed. “We don’t know their agenda yet. For all we know they’re out to measure our weaknesses so they can kill us.”

“So we will measure their weaknesses and kill them first?” Dean started to get really sick of this crap. Sure, he hadn’t asked to be partnered up with an octopus, but Castiel was kind of cute. What if they were friendly creatures and Dean screwed it all up by being a suspicious ass and reporting the wrong information?

“Just take notes. Leave no traces. Be… friendly to Castiel. Don’t let him know we’re on to them.” Sam answered as if he was sure of the mission’s outcome already. And Dean had to admit, with their track record and Winchester luck, he was probably right to be wary.

“I’m always friendly,” Dean assured him, slipping back into his cocky, carefree persona.

Sam snorted. “I guess I don’t have to warn you not to be too friendly seeing as we’re talking about tiny octopus creatures here,” he said with a laugh.

Dean narrowed his eyes. Time to end this call before he said something he’d regret later. He knew Sam didn’t mean to offend him. He knew that. Still. “Alright, gotta go. I’ll update you later, Agent Winchester, Level Six.”

“By…” Dean ended the call before Sam could finish his goodbyes.

***

Dean ended his day with a beer at ‘Gates to Hell’, the bar at the back of the building. They always had some of the scarier looking agents hanging around outside to keep any random passers-by from entering. This usually made it a relaxing place for Dean to unwind. However, today his fellow agents kept looking over at him, sniggering.

At least Benny and Jodie shared a beer with him, trying to cheer him up. But seeing how disgustingly well they got along didn’t really help him at all. He wanted that. He missed having a partner he could rely on completely, someone who knew him inside out. He missed hunting with Sam.

He sighed and ordered another shot of bourbon, deciding this would be his last before heading in for the day. But before he could down his shot, his new partner joined him at the bar. Or rather, he flew in and landed on the wood in front of him.

Castiel peered into Dean’s glass and took a sniff, face distorting in disgust.

“Cas,” Dean greeted the odd creature cheerily. “Can I buy you a drink?”

Castiel paused, looking at him oddly. And Dean wondered what he did wrong now. “A glass of water?” Castiel asked eventually.

Dean snorted. “Sure. Do you want to drink it or take a dip in it?” He motioned for the barkeeper though.

“Nevermind.” Castiel huffed. “You should not be intoxicating yourself.”

“And why’s that?” Dean asked, purposefully downing his bourbon and ordering another, thinking, if the squid wanted water, he could order it himself.

“I found us a job. Vampire nest just out of town,” Castiel declared.

Dean groaned. Damn vampires. Ever since some son of a bitch decided to repopulate the species by going from town to town and biting members of large families or tight-knit communities, thinking they’d surely turn all their friends, they had to extinguish more nests than ever. He missed the days when he thought them just a myth.

On the positive side, all the out of control baby vampires scored them the help of some traditionalists who didn’t want their species becoming exposed. “How many?”

“Four,” Castiel replied.

“Are you sure? Maybe we should bring back-up?” Dean had just dealt with a nest and he was still feeling sore. And he failed to grasp how the tiny sea creature could help him.

Castiel crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I was told you were a formidable hunter. Was I misinformed?”

Dean raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Oh, I’m good.” He wondered if Henriksen pitched him to Castiel, if there’d been other choices. And if he could quote that in his next performance review. And fuck performance reviews. When did this become his life? He twirled his glass around.

Castiel hopped up on the rim of Dean’s glass to stop the movement. “It’s settled then.” His tentacles touched Dean’s fingers and Dean marvelled at how smooth they felt. But before he could discern the texture, Castiel had let go and hopped back onto the bar.

“Guess it is,” Dean shrugged. He looked at the remaining liquid in his glass but didn’t feel like drinking it anymore. He really should head home, especially if they were to hunt tomorrow. “I gotta hit the can,” he announced, getting up and making his way to the restrooms.

Castiel followed him, fly-hovering close to his face. His wings were fascinating. He wasn’t so much flapping them like a bird, but he was somehow gliding through the air, like he was swimming. Dean was reminded of a betta fish Sammy had won at a carnival once. Their father had flushed it down the toilet the next day and Dean had to convince a crying Sam that it was now fighting alligators in the sewers, since bettas were great warrior fish.

Castiel was not a fish though, nor were they under water. Dean wondered how this even worked, with the density and all. How much did Castiel weigh? He was tempted to reach out and touch, but Castiel must have sensed it, because he suddenly put more distance between them.

With an eye roll, Dean opened the door, Castiel still on his heels. He suddenly wondered why the squid was following him anyway and chose a stall instead of the more public urinals. However, just as he was about to pee, Castiel joined him by squeezing in from under the stall. Dean startled, almost missing his target. “Jesus fuck, Cas” he bellowed. “A little privacy here?”

But Castiel seemed unperturbed. On the contrary, he was flying closer to Dean’s privates. “I don’t understand,” he remarked. “Why is it so small? How are you able to procreate?”

Dean sputtered. “Did you just insult my dick?”

“How do you interlock tentacles?” Castiel asked, reaching out with his tentacles to touch Dean’s cock. “Does it elongate further?”

Dean made a noise somewhere between a squeak and a groan. But just as his dick showed interest in the silky-smooth feel of Castiel’s tentacles, something came out of Castiel’s forehead. Something like… a third eye? And it effectively killed Dean’s emerging boner. He whipped his dick away quickly.

Castiel looked up at him with somewhat of a pout, the odd eye retracting again. “What?” Castiel seemed confused.

Dean took a deep breath. “Ok, I’, gonna give you the benefit of being a freak species here.” He quickly tucked his dick away, the urge to pee vanished. “You do not touch a man’s dick.” Unless he asked you to, but that was besides the point here.

“Dick?” Castiel frowned. “Is that what your tentacle is called?”

“I see you’re a quick study.” Dean rubbed his hand over his face in exasperation. “I’ll also have you know that I am in no way small. But also, yes, it does… elongate further.” Castiel seemed happy with that knowledge and Dean remembered the part about interlocking tentacles. “But also, uh…” Dean continued. “I think we have different means of procreation. Like…” he stopped. “Why am I telling you this? Jesus.” Dean shook his head. “Go watch some porn.”

Castiel cocked his head, but then he nodded slowly. “Porn. Yes, ok.”

Dean narrowed his eyes but refused to acknowledge Castiel’s clear need for more education on the matter. This was… Yeah. He really needed to get home and drink some more. He left the stall and washed his hands, Castiel still hovering around awkwardly. “Yes?” Dean asked.

“Would you mind pulling up the plug?” Castiel requested.

“The plug?” Dean frowned, but then he remembered the way Castiel supposedly travelled - and the other options open to him in this restroom. One look at the urinal and Dean shuddered. “Alright.”

“Thank you,” Castiel replied happily when Dean had freed his exit. “I shall see you tomorrow.”

“Uhuh,” Dean watched dumbfounded as Castiel squeezed himself through the sink and vanished with a plop. He bent over and peered down the hole, not seeing anything but darkness. After a minute of staring, he felt really stupid and, leaving the plug on the side of the sink in case Castiel wanted to come back, he finally left the bar.

***

That night, Dean had very vivid dreams about Castiel wrapping his silky tentacles around his cock, moving up and down to watch it grow and then putting him in a delicious squeeze while he kept gliding up and down Dean’s hard length with a fascinated expression on his face.

Dean woke up hard and aching and he only had enough brain cells left to go jerk off in the shower and not make a mess of his sheets. He came with Cas’ name on his lips and after, while he panted and let the water pound over his back, he suddenly got weirdly paranoid about the squid having come through his pipes and watched the show.

He laughed at his silliness, but nevertheless finished quickly and got dressed faster than usual.

They hadn’t specified a meeting place for the day, so Dean went to the office as usual, which sadly meant he had to dress up in the suit. Once he arrived, Henriksen handed him a watercooler with a sulking Castiel inside. Dean held his laughter until after the lid was closed, but he felt a little bad for the poor guy. Then again, not like he could just freely float around outside and be seen by people.

Dean kept the cooler closed and only opened it once he had the Impala on the open road. Castiel jumped out of it immediately, zig-zagging around the car before settling on the dashboard still visibly shaking.

“Not a fan of closed spaces, huh?” Dean could relate.

Castiel shook himself and then jumped when a truck passed by them on the other side of the road. He quickly fled into the cooler again. “Don’t close the lid, please?”

Dean peered into it, hit by a pang of regret for not opening it sooner. “Don’t worry. It’s gonna stay open. I need my partner to help me with the nest.” Dean gave him a reassuring smile, happy when Cas beamed in return. Dean still wasn’t so sure just how Castiel was going to help though, small as he was. “You sure it’s only four vamps in there?”

“I watched the surveillance footage over a period of two weeks. There’s only ever four guys going in and out of the house,” Castiel explained.

Dean nodded. This was one of the main perks of his job with the FBI versus his old hunting days – pay and health care excluded, of course. They could just tap into all kinds of surveillance devices and rarely entered a situation blindly anymore. Of course shit could still go wrong and it often did, but the FBI had resources.

Another truck passed by, honking his horn. Probably a fan of the car. Dean was used to that and it always made him smile proudly and pat the dashboard. This time though, the honk was accompanied by a loud crash from inside the box. When Dean checked up on his partner, Castiel was huddled in the corner. “You don’t get out much, do you?” Dean asked.

“It’s imperative for our survival to not be seen,” Castiel hedged.

Dean was tempted to tell him his odds were a lot better if he knew just what to be afraid of and what not, but here they were, on their way to kill a nest of vampires, and Dean hoped to god that Castiel was just still traumatized from the cooler.

***

It didn’t take long until they reached the ramshackle building the vampires had built their nest in and Dean was surprised why nobody had taken them out before, seeing how close it was to their main office. Then again, maybe this was the easy test assignment. Dean would be offended, but he knew it was a test for Castiel and not himself.

He parked the Impala at a distance and opened the trunk to get out his machete. “You need anything, Cas?”

“No, I’m good.” Castiel replied confidently, leading the way to the building.

Dean shrugged and pushed an extra knife into his boots. Alright then, four vamps he could kill on his own if push came to shove. He was curious to see how the squid would fare.

After Dean kicked open the door, they attacked. The vampires were still sleeping and Dean beheaded the first one before they even knew what was happening. The second followed soon after and Dean turned around, looking to see how Castiel was doing.

Castiel, it turned out, was wielding a self-made stake from a broken chair and as Dean watched, he pushed it through the vampires heart. The vampire looked down in confusion, before he pulled the stake right out and grabbed for Castiel with a laugh on his face.

“Take off his head,” Dean yelled. “The head!” He just had time to block off the fourth guy coming at him when Castiel transformed. Castiel let a feral growl, his jaw widening, sharp teeth coming out and before the vampire had a chance to react, Castiel was on him like a piranha, biting off the vampire’s head in a quick succession of jabbing movements.

“Oh jeeze,” Dean winced, realizing his opponent was watching the same scene with an equal expression of shock on his face. It made Dean grin smugly instead. “That’s my partner,” he announced just before he brought down the machete, beheading the final vampire.

Dean turned, smiling brightly at Castiel, who just came up from the body of the vamp now lying on the floor. Castiel was covered in blood and his eyes were gleaming red and yellow instead of their usual blue. But before Dean could congratulate him on a job well done, Castiel was suddenly flying at him, still looking murderous.

“Cas?” Dean asked, flinching away. But Castiel went straight past him, attacking a female vampire that had just sneaked up behind Dean, ready to bite. Dean watched up close how the ningkiling bit off enough chunks of the vampire’s throat until he could detach the head, and it was truly impressive. He did live up to his killer name after all.

“I don’t understand,” Castiel wondered aloud after he’d come up again. “I watched all the tapes. There were only four of them.”

Dean shrugged. “It happens. She’s possibly recently turned and they kept her locked in here as a blood bag.”

“Blood bag?” Castiel asked, his head cocked. But then he nodded. “Oh.”

“Thank you,” Dean nodded at his partner.

“But I put you in danger. I had the wrong information.” Castiel sounded distressed.

“I didn’t die, that’s what counts.” Dean smirked, then mentally assessed his body. “Hell, I barely even got hurt. This was a very successful hunt.” He smiled when Castiel’s face lit up a little. “We need to talk about that stake though,” he added.

Castiel licked his lips, his piranha teeth slowly retracting. “I don’t understand. I watched the instructional videos. And it’s what Agent Summers used.”

“Agent Summers?” Dean frowned. Instructional videos?

Castiel nodded. “Yes. I wanted to be partnered up with her, but Special Agent Henriksen just laughed at me. I guess she’s heading her own division?”

“Wait,” Dean held up his hand, his lips twitching. “Buffy Summers?”

Castiel nodded vigorously, smiling brightly. “Yes. You know her?”

Dean couldn’t help but laugh, then he realized that Castiel was his partner now and he sobered up quickly. “Jesus fuck, Cas That’s a TV show. You realize that, right?” Though, apparently, he didn’t?

“TV show?” Castiel asked with a frown.

“It’s made up. It’s not reality. It’s definitely not a manual for anything we do.” Dean rubbed his hand over his face. “How did you even pass the test?”

“I, uh, I also read a lot?” he offered, clearly embarrassed. “Please don’t tell.”

Dean looked at the small creature, still covered in blood from where he’d just bit off two vampires’ heads. And he sighed. “New rules. Before we go in next time, you tell me what you think we’re dealing with and how to kill it and you listen to me when I tell you otherwise.”

Castiel vibrated a little and Dean smiled. He was starting to become fond of the squid. After they scoped out the rest of the house to make sure nobody else was in it, they decided to call it an early day and meet back at the office the next morning to write their report. It would be another doctored file, but Dean was getting used to telling half-truths. After all, who cared? The nest was wiped out and that was all that mattered.

Instead of taking him back in the car, Castiel insisted on travelling through the sewage system. Which was fine by Dean, since now he didn’t have to lock him up in the cooler again.

Later that night, he got a call from Sam, who wanted to know if Dean had any intel for him. Dean told him about the bad-ass way in which Cas had taken out the vampires, but didn’t mention that he tried to do it with a stake first. Nor did he talk about Castiel confusing TV with reality. That was odd, even if their species had lived very withdrawn lives so far. But before Dean himself could get to the bottom of it, he decided to keep it to himself.

Much as he’d longed for a different partner before, right now he didn’t want to trade.

***

Interlude

Castiel was hiding out in the little cubbyhole in the sewers he’d made his home. It was dry and he’d made himself a little nest out of paper towels and pieces of cloth. He was contemplating what Dean had told him, about TV shows and them not being reality. He wondered if everything they’d seen about this planet had been false information.

Their ship had received constant transmissions and it led to them deciding to infiltrate the planet and claim it as their own. It was supposed to be an easy mission. Castiel had just been sent ahead to scope out more on creatures other than humans and how they might be defeated, since the intel here was deemed to be missing key pieces. He was starting to realize just how true that was.

But he’d been sent into Special Agent Henriksen’s department with enough knowledge to pass. Knowledge and stories his superiors had provided him with, claiming they’d watched more videos than him. Now Castiel was starting to suspect they’d withheld a lot more information from him.

He was staring down at the stream of water morosely when he was suddenly joined by Uriel, his direct commanding officer. Castiel stiffened, bowing before his superior.

“Castiel,” Uriel nodded. “I come demanding a status report.”

Castiel’s first instinct was to defy him, because how dare he demand anything of him after today? But he quickly reigned himself in. “Vampires can not be killed with stakes,” Castiel explained. “Their heads need to be detached from their bodies.”

Uriel’s face gave nothing away. He nodded once. “And?”

“And I almost got my partner killed because I didn’t know,” Castiel couldn’t help but say.

“And?” Uriel repeated.

Castiel frowned. “Did you not hear me? I almost got my partner killed.”

”Humans are fully expendable. Why you care is beyond me, but I guess it’s part of why we chose you for this mission. So I’ll leave your insubordination be.” Uriel flew closer to him. “For now,” he added in a threatening voice.

Castiel flinched a little. But then he thought about Dean and it strengthened his composure. “You knew, didn’t you? You know there is no Agent Summers. You know about TV shows.”

Uriel smirked coldly. “This was not for you to know. We need you to appear as innocent as possible.”

”But…” Castiel’s protest was cut short by Uriel wiggling his tentacles impatiently.

“Do they trust you?” Uriel cut in.

“Yes,” Castiel admitted sadly. That was his whole problem.

“Good,” Uriel nodded. “Keep it that way. Don’t give away anything, don’t use your powers, and Castiel…” Uriel waited until he had Castiel’s undivided attention. “Do not make us regret sending you on this mission. If that partner of yours finds out too much, he becomes a problem.”

He didn’t have to say more, Castiel understood just fine. If he wasn’t careful, he’d get Dean killed. The question was just if it was by a monster, or by his own kin. Castiel also knew that he shouldn’t care. But he’d never fully agreed with their mission. He didn’t know why they couldn’t just share this planet. Why wipe out a whole species, when they might as well co-exist?

Uriel dismissed him and left Castiel alone to his thoughts.

***

The next day, they met up in the office. Dean was halfway through his powdered sugar donut when Castiel joined him at his desk. Dean stopped eating and held out the pastry to his partner. “You want a bite?”

Castiel came closer and sniffed the donut, then recoiled. “I don’t think so.”

Dean shrugged and devoured his treat. “What do you eat, anyway?”

Castiel seemed to hedge his reply. “Mostly sewer dwellers,” he admitted finally.

“Sewer dwellers?” Dean repeated. “Rats?” He shuddered in disgust.

“They provide acceptable nutritional value,” Castiel explained.

“Yeah, but what about their taste?” Dean made a face and vowed to force-feed the squid some of his donut the next day. The pastry surely wouldn’t kill him, when he usually ate rats, would it? Also, hadn’t he just boasted on the intelligence of rats the other day? Yet he ate them?

“You said we had a report to write?” Castiel changed the topic.

“Yeah,” Dean sighed, deciding not to muse on the rats too much. “The fun part of the job.”

Castiel perked up, but then he must have read Dean’s body language. “Oh. You did not mean that, did you?”

Dean chuckled. “You’re picking up quick, grasshopper.”

“Ningkiling,” Castiel corrected him. “I don’t know why this is so hard for you to remember.”

That made Dean laugh and he reached out to pat Castiel’s head. Again, he was taken aback at how silky his skin felt. “Alright, Cas. Let’s write that report.”

A few hours later, Dean had taught Castiel everything he knew about mandatory paperwork – and what leeway they had with the truth. It was almost time for lunch and Dean decided to start his break early by breaking out his copy of Weekly World News. If anyone asked, he was using every source at his disposal to do valuable research.

Dean was drawn to the article about the OctoMen and he snorted when he compared the blurry pictures to Castiel. The creatures in the article were almost twice as large as humans and the author claimed they’d come in spaceships, bent on taking over the world. This was just too good.

“Hey, Cas” Dean called his partner’s attention. Castiel looked up from a bestiary Dean had given him to study. “Look, here’s you.” He held up the magazine. “That even explains why you thought TV shows were real. The jig is up, buddy. I know you’re from outer space.”

Dean grinned, expecting indignation and a lecture on ningkilings, but instead, all the color drained from Castiel’s body and he squirted out a blue stream of… something. As the color was returning to his body, he shook so much, he practically vibrated in place. Dean had a brief flash of his dream the other night and added vibration to the fantasy before he could help it. Any arousal was quickly doused though, when he realized that whatever Cas had squirted was burning a large hole into the desk.

“Jesus fuck,” Dean jumped back, grabbing his coffee mug and watching the bestiary dissolve along with the desk. It was a good thing they only had a copy and the original was with Sam in D.C. “Cas?”

Castiel’s vibrating had stopped and he looked down at the desk with a horrified expression on his face. Then he let out a shrill sound and vanished into the direction of the restrooms in a flash of movement.

Before Dean could follow him, Jodie Mills stopped at his desk, steaming mug of coffee in her hand and eyebrows raised. “Your new partner is kind of bad-ass, huh?” she remarked dryly.

Dean looked at her dumbfounded, but then a sly smirk spread over his face. “You have no idea.”

“Please let me be here when Henriksen sees your desk,” Jodie said gleefully. Then she bent over to look at the hole more closely. “Eeesh, it seems to be spreading. You should pour some lye on it before it eats through the floor.”

“What?” Dean looked down as well. “Shit.” He quickly pushed up from his chair and went to the restrooms to fetch some soap in hopes that it’d neutralize whatever Cas squirted on his desk.

He found Castiel hovering over a drain, looking up when he heard Dean enter. Cas looked scared.

“Hey,” Dean approached him slowly so as not to spook him further. “You got any idea how to neutralize your, uh, stuff? It’s currently eating through the floor.”

Cas bit his lip, sinking a bit further down the drain. But with a sigh, he levelled himself back up. “I can stop it.” He hesitated though. “Will I be incarcerated when I go back out there?”

“What? Why?” Dean frowned, feeling bad for the squid. He still looked extremely scared.

“Because of what I did,” Castiel hovered closer to Dean. “Because of what I am,” he added more softly.

Dean raised his eyebrow. Because of what he was? He waved his hand dismissively though. “Don’t worry about it. You’re not the first agent to destroy equipment. I may have slammed a few doors hard enough to shatter glass.” Dean winked and leaned closer to Castiel. “One of the vampires shot at a screen the other week. And you don’t want to know what the werewolves did during a full moon once.”

“You sure?” Castiel asked.

“I promise nobody’s going to arrest you for this,” Dean smiled.

“Ok,” Castiel nodded. “I trust you, Dean.”

When Cas had left the restroom, Dean stayed and looked at himself in the mirror. He knew that he should probably report to Sam right now, share his growing suspicion that ningkilings were maybe not an ancient, forgotten race of monsters here on Earth but maybe aliens after all. But Cas trusted him. And somehow, he trusted him as well.

Back at his desk, Castiel was squatting above the floor, secreting a different colored liquid that seemed to neutralize the acid. “Are you peeing on the floor?” Dean asked incredulously.

“No, I’m…” Castiel looked up. “You wouldn’t understand.”

Dean snorted. “You’re peeing on the floor. First the damn wolves and now you, too. I need to ask for a re-assignment.” Dean rolled his eyes and sat back down.

“No, please don’t,” Castiel had come up again. “Do you not want to work with me anymore?”

Dean blinked. The squid sounded honestly distressed. “I’m joking, Cas. I’m fine right here.” He knocked on the desk. “With you,” he added, because Castiel seemed a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

“Oh,” Castiel gave him a small smile. “I am glad.”

***

Later that day, Henriksen called them into his office and reamed Cas a new one. But Dean had briefed him about this before and he took it all with demure ‘yes, sir’s’ and Henriksen was mostly pissed that Castiel hadn’t disclosed this talent of his before. He also gave them a case, and they’d be off to Nebraska the next day.

That night, Dean called his brother to tell him about the acid and antidote. Sam was in a good mood, so he chatted about Leonore and teased Dean about finding a significant other on his own. He was the older brother after all. When Sam called him a cat-lady-to-be, instead of being offended, Dean got an idea.

So the next day, he said goodbye to Mindy with the excuse that he’d be going to visit his brother, who was going to adopt a kitten from a co-worker, grabbed two donuts instead of one, and entered the office with a wicker cat carrier in hand.

It was meant to be an alternative to the cooler and Castiel gratefully entered the carrier, hiding in the back behind a blanket Dean had added for him. Henriksen rolled his eyes, but hopefully Cas would feel better if he got some fresh air and could see what was happening outside instead of being locked inside a box.

He carried him to the Impala and set the carrier down on the front seat, opening the door. Cas only came out when they were on the freeway though. “Thank you, Dean.” Cas carried the blanket with him and put it down on the seat before nestling into it.

“Don’t squirt acid on my seats,” Dean replied, secretly pleased that Cas was calm and happy.

“I would never!” Castiel assured him, looking at Dean with big blue eyes. Dean had to force his gaze away before he risked crashing the car.

For the rest of their drive, they discussed their case, trading theories. The town they were headed to had seen a lot of gruesome deaths in recent months, corpses so mutilated they were hard to identify. Autopsy reports suggested wild animals fed on them after their death, though early reports indicated most of those wounds were being inflicted prior to dying. Dean suspected recent reports had been purposefully neglecting this fact to keep a mass panic at bay.

The dates of the killings varied and were not in sync with moon cycles, so werewolves were out of the question. It didn’t appear to be a ghost’s M.O. either and there was a whole array of other creatures it could have been. Nothing was caught on camera this time, so they had to investigate old school – which would prove to be interesting, with a partner Dean couldn’t really bring along to interviews.

For lunch that first day, Dean stopped at a drive-through and then parked at a deserted picnic area so Cas could get out of the car with him. He insisted Cas try a donut and after a first, reluctant bite, it was soon devoured.

A few birds joined them in their lonely spot and Castiel was so interested, his third eye popped back out again as he was watching them. This time, Dean was mildly prepared and it didn’t gross him out as much. It was even amusing, when Cas tried talking to the birds.

It stopped being funny when a bee came along, trying to land on Castiel, presumably because of his blue coloring. Dean didn’t want to find out how ningkilings dealt with bee poison, so he quickly packed up and pretended they needed to be on their way due to a tight schedule. Cas was disappointed, but followed.

Back in the car, Dean mostly talked about his brother and how they came into hunting. Castiel was very interested in the hunts Dean described, but he also listened to Dean just rambling on about Sammy and his accomplishments in the bureau.

When they made it to a motel later that night, Dean had found out that Castiel wouldn’t sleep on a bed but was happy with a towel in the corner of the room. So Dean luxuriated in getting a king sized bed just for himself and asked for extra towels.

Just as he’d gotten the cat carrier out of the car, he was surprised by a little girl who became super excited to see his cat. Dean had to lie about having a very shy kitten, but that only excited her more. Castiel attempted to growl from behind his blankets, but it sounded so very unlike a cat, that Dean quickly turned tail, ignoring the confused girl.

“We need to work on that,” he informed Castiel as soon as they were behind closed doors.

“Sorry,” Cas apologized. “Should it be deeper?” He growled again, deep and menacing and Dean shuddered. Now he sounded more like a wolf.

“I’m gonna have to smuggle you into a pet shop one of these days.” Dean shook his head. “Just don't make any noise.”

“Oh.” Castiel nodded contritely.

“You really never got out, did you?” Dean felt bad for the squid. Then again, if he was only on this planet for a short while, that would make sense. Because for all Dean could tell, his species was anything but helpless.

“I haven’t been allowed outside for a very long time,” Castiel replied sadly.

Dean frowned. “Who ever made those rules? And why?”

“My superiors are not as accommodating as Special Agent Henriksen.” Castiel got a faraway look on his face and then visibly shook himself. “We should rest. You need to recuperate from driving.”

“I’m ok,” Dean shrugged. He’d rather hear more from Cas. But the squid ignored him and got comfortable with a blanket in the corner instead. “Alright, then. Guess it’s time for bed,” Dean replied dryly before throwing one of the pillows Cas’ way and disappearing to the bathroom to get ready.

When he came back out, Castiel was nestled deep in the towel on top of the pillow, only his purple hair showing. Dean was tempted to go over there and pet him, but Castiel was anything but a pet, cute as he might be. Dean went to bed thinking about the article and the picture of those super sized octomen, and how they were nothing like the tiny squid currently in the room with him.

***

Dean woke up in the middle of the night when a warm weight settled next to him. He turned around, still half-asleep, and wrapped his arms around the person joining him, only to realize he was touching the smoothness of Castiel’s skin. Castiel, who was suddenly human-sized and had joined him in bed?

“Cas?” Dean pulled back.

“Shhh,” Castiel rasped, placing a tentacle over Dean’s lips. “I’ve looked at porn, like you told me to. And ever since, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What I want to do with you. What I want to do to you.” The tentacle was gone and Castiel’s lips replaced it, kissing Dean tentatively. His slim tongue was explorative and wrapped around Dean’s in a way he’d never felt before.

Dean groaned and reciprocated, but when he came up for air, he pushed Castiel away softly. “But why are you my size?”

Castiel shushed him again. “Don’t tell anyone.” Two of his tentacles had snuck into Dean’s pants and they were slowly pushed down his legs.

“Ok,” Dean agreed, too out of it with want at the moment to really care. He wondered if Castiel oozed pheromones of some kind, or maybe it was just the tentacles that had him this stupidly aroused this fast.

“Spread your legs for me, Dean,” Castiel commanded in a husky voice.

Dean complied, moaning deeply when a tentacle slithered up, pushing at his entrance. It was lubricated with something Dean didn’t even want to know but he spread his legs wider, helped by two other tentacles which had wrapped around his thighs to keep him open.

The thick tentacle slid in with little resistance and Dean threw his head back, screaming out in pleasure.

“Shush,” Castiel shook his head. “Can’t have that.” And before Dean knew it, there was another tentacle sliding between his lips. Dean sucked on it immediately, his eyes closing in sheer bliss. And Castiel definitely must be oozing some kind of drug, because Dean wantonly clung to Castiel, unable to thrust back with the tentacles holding him in place. The pressure in his ass was delicious though, the thick tentacle slithering back and forth, kind of pulsing against his prostate.

Dean felt like it might never stop, just slithering back and forth until he was mad with it. He moaned around the tentacle in his mouth, trying to take it deeper, suck harder to get more of whatever it was oozing out.

“You’re so good for me, Dean,” Castiel whispered in his ear, his tongue flicking out and licking across his cheek. “You’ll make a great pet.” Castiel’s head dipped down, licking and sucking his way down Dean’s chest until he reached his nipples. When Castiel started nibbling on them, Dean grew rigid, needing more. Fast.

He could feel Castiel chuckling against his skin and another tentacle finally wrapped around Dean’s aching cock. It would have been enough, but then all of the tentacles started vibrating, just like Dean had seen in the office, and Dean came in a white hot flash, almost passing out from the force of it.

More liquid splashed down his throat and he could feel it squirting in his ass and on his body as well. It tingled pleasantly and when the tentacle slithered out of his mouth, he gulped in a deep breath, looking up at the ceiling dazedly. “Cas… Cas…” He didn’t even know what to say.

Castiel was eye-level again, licking over Dean’s lips. “Don’t think we’re done yet,” he promised. “I want to see if you can fit two.”

Before Dean could ask ‘two of what’, his question was answered by a second tentacle slowly spreading him open to slide in alongside the first. His ass was raised from the bed and he grabbed the bed sheets in a tight grip to ground himself. “Oh god,” Dean whispered, gulping in more air before the tentacle gag came back.

But instead of the expected thick tentacle, he was slapped in the face by a much thinner one.

“Dean? Dean? Are you okay?” Castiel asked him frantically.

Dean blinked his eyes open, coming face to face with a much tinier Cas, blue eyes open in worry. And… shit. Dean covered his face with both hands, roughly rubbing himself fully awake. “Yeah,” he croaked. “’M fine.”

“You were moaning loudly. I was afraid you were mortally wounded,” Castiel explained.

Dean coughed out a laugh, because this whole scene was just too painful not to. He really had to lay off the hentai porn. Jesus. He looked at Cas again. “Do you dream?”

Castiel looked away quickly, as if caught. “Yes.”

“What do you dream about?” Dean was honestly curious, but he also needed to occupy the squid for a while before he was able to get up out of bed.

“Oceans, mostly.” Castiel smiled. “Lately, uh…” he trailed off, biting his own lip while looking at Dean’s. “Oceans.”

Dean raised his eyebrow. If he wasn’t mistaken, the squid might just be having similar dreams to his. It made him feel better for perving on his not-so-innocent partner. “Yeah, me, too,” Dean replied. “I was dreaming of oceans.”

“Were you drowning?” Castiel asked, concerned.

Dean flushed, flashing back to the oozing tentacle he was happily drowning on. “Uh, no.”

“Oh,” Castiel cocked his head. “You sounded like you were dying.”

“I wasn’t,” Dean licked his lips, slightly disappointed to find them dry and chapped. No trace of whatever Cas had been oozing in his dream. He subtly reached down to make sure he was still wearing his pants. “I’m gonna take a shower,” Dean announced, swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

“I shall join you,” Castiel decided happily.

“No, you won’t.” Dean shook his head, holding up a hand to cut off any further protest. “Inappropriate.”

“Oh.” Castiel’s face fell a little, but he nodded, about to follow Dean into the bathroom anyway.

“The whole room, Cas,” Dean explained exasperatedly. “You wait out here. You can go in when I am finished.”

“But why?” Castiel protested.

Not bothering with a reply, Dean closed the door in Castiel’s face. He needed time alone to think. And to get his still aching hard-on back under control.

Dean opted for a cold shower, not wanting to risk Cas investigating any strange noises he might hear. When he was done, he turned the shower back on for Castiel, who had no qualms about the sounds he made, judging by the loud moans reaching Dean’s ears.

Castiel was smiling happily when he joined Dean back in the main room later. “The water here is so clean.”

“As opposed to sewer water?” Dean questioned.

Cas narrowed his eyes at the insult. “Less chlorine,” he offered as a short explanation before ending the conversation.

***

Castiel picked it back up when they were on the road again. “I did not freely choose to live in the sewage tunnels.”

“But it’s where you guys have to hide?” Dean suggested, feeling a little bad for teasing him earlier.

“No.” Castiel seemed to contemplate his next words. “It’s where I was sent to stay.”

“By whom?” Dean asked.

“My superiors,” Cas grumbled.

“Well, they suck, then,” Dean replied matter-of-factly. “Maybe Henriksen can arrange for something. Set you up somewhere nicer.” In theory, he could even offer Cas a place to stay at his apartment, but after that dream he had the other night and the one he had before, with Cas in his normal size… Not a good idea.

“You think so?” Castiel asked hopefully. But then his voice grew softer. “My superiors wouldn’t like it.”

“So?” Dean challenged. “You don’t always have to follow orders.”

“No.” It sounded hesitant at first. “No, I do not,” Castiel repeated in a steely voice.

“Where are they living anyway?” Dean didn’t want to sound like he was fishing for a location, so he added, “Bet it’s nicer than the sewers.”

Castiel nodded emphatically. “It is in a lake. We can see the fish from our windows.”

Dean wondered if ‘it’ was his spaceship, but it might just as well only be their building. If they were an ancient race as he said, who knew? “How often do you get to go home?”

“I am not allowed while on my assignment.” Castiel had taken up a spot by the window and was gazing out. They were on a mostly deserted highway, so Dean didn’t try and make him hide.

“That sucks.” Dean would go crazy if anyone tried to stop him from going to visit Sam or Bobby whenever he wanted. “So you’re all alone? No contact?” Did ningkilings own cellphones?

“My superior visits,” Castiel said.

“Oh, I bet those are fun visits,” Dean dead-panned.

“No.” Castiel sighed. “I like this assignment, though.” He perked back up. “I like spending time with you, Dean.”

“You know what, Cas?” Dean smiled at his partner. “I like spending time with you as well.”

Without disclosing too much on his species or where they came from, Castiel chatted a bit more about his friends and family. Apparently he had a lot of siblings, but he was only really close with his sister, Anna.

***

Before they knew it, they had reached their destination. And closing the case with Castiel as a partner was easier than Dean expected. While Dean talked to suspects and eye witnesses in their living rooms, Cas found a way to sneak around their places by coming in through the pipes or by squeezing through open windows or air shafts.

It was during one of those visits when Cas discovered a twin of the person Dean was interviewing upstairs in the basement, already dead and having been fed on like the other victims. Deeply confused, Castiel disclosed his findings when they met back up in the Impala. Dean cursed. “Ghouls. Man, I hate those things.”

After explaining to Cas that they could take on the form of their latest victim and had to be killed by decapitation, Castiel understandably asked if everything could be killed by taking off their heads.

“Pretty much,” Dean shrugged, realizing that Cas’ abilities came in very handy at hunting indeed.

Now that they knew what they were dealing with, it didn’t take them long to kill the two ghouls haunting the town and then they were on their way back. Dean thankfully didn’t have any more tentacle-related dreams while Castiel shared his room, but he wouldn’t mind having another as soon as he was back between his own four walls.

However, once Dean put his bag down in his apartment much later and reached for his cellphone to get his long overdue call to Sam out of the way, he had barely pressed the button to connect to his brother when he was hit over the head with something heavy. He could hear Sam answer on the other end when he was hit again. And then there was nothing but blackness.

He came to shackled to a beam protruding from the ceiling in what definitely had to be a spaceship. There were a lot of gleaming, blinking appliances but, oddly-enough, also a large front window through which he could see fish swimming by.

A dark purple colored ningkiling came to hover in front of him. “Ah, good. The human is awake. Bring in Castiel.”

Before Dean could ask what was going on, Castiel was led into the room by two other squids. His tentacles were bound together and he seemed to have trouble staying in the air. In fact, when the two squid-goons left his side, he plunked down to the ground. “Cas? You okay?”

“Dean” Castiel looked up at him in distress. “Uriel, you bastard I didn’t tell him anything. Let him go!”

“Such language,” the dark squid tutted. “And to think you were once one of our most noble warriors. But you betray us, and for what? A lowly human?” Uriel’s voice boomed and he was looking at what Dean assumed was a camera. Was this broadcasted?

“Uriel, please. Have mercy,” Castiel pleased.

“Let this be a lesson to all of you,” Uriel continued. “Humans are worthless. They’re weak and break easily, as you shall soon see.” He send a scathing look in Castiel’s direction. “And defying orders will lead to swift retributions.”

Dean struggled in his bonds, trying to find a weak spot, but it seemed futile. “Cas didn’t tell me anything,” Dean said. “Just let him go.”

“Why does it speak? Who gave you permission?” Uriel tried to intimidate him.

Dean snorted. “Really?” He looked directly at the camera. “Castiel is innocent. I only found out you guys are aliens when this dude here,” he nodded at Uriel, “kidnapped me and brought me to your frigging spaceship.”

“I do not believe you. Castiel is weak. He has gotten attached.” Uriel hovered close to Castiel, looking down at him. “And I warned you. Yet you continued to disclose our secrets. Did you know he reports everything back to his superior right away? It seems he has a higher work ethic than you. He reports quite frequently.”

Castiel looked betrayed and Dean quickly shook his head. “He means my brother. And I didn’t tell him much. I never even told him about the stake.” Dean felt like mentioning he also withheld his alien suspicions might not be a good idea at this point.

“I believe you, Dean.” Castiel gave him a brave smile.

“I do not. Nor do I care,” Uriel cut in again. “Dean Winchester needs to die and you shall watch. And then we will see how else to punish you.”

Castiel sagged in his bonds and Dean still failed to find a weak spot in his own shackles. This was not looking good for him. “Alright, fine. Just kill me but let him go. Castiel doesn’t deserve this. You had him stay all alone in the sewers, for fuck’s sake. Just let him go back to his family.”

Suddenly, the door burst open and a whole bunch of ningkilings entered the room. “That’s quite enough,” one of them announced. Her color was more in the reddish spectrum and Dean just assumed it was a female ningkiling. But he wasn’t quite sure.

“Anna,” Castiel breathed, confirming his suspicions.

Anna had an air of authority around her, more so than Uriel, who had just been a menacing dick. “Uriel. Who gave you the right for this spectacle? Did you think I would not intervene? Or did you hope I was still out on my own mission?” Her eyes narrowed and Uriel flinched visibly.

“My lady, I was only doing what I felt best. This human is…” Uriel tried to explain.

“This human is obviously loyal to Castiel and he might become a trusted ally in our first step at cohabiting this planet,” Anna explained. She nodded towards some of the ningkilings that had entered with her and they started working on freeing Dean immediately. “That is, if he still trusts us now after what you have done.” She glared at Uriel. “Shackle him, free Castiel,” she ordered.

As soon as Dean was free and back on his feet, Anna hovered close to him. “Thank you,” he said, rubbing his sore wrists.

Anna nodded. “I hope you can accept my sincerest apologies, Mr. Winchester.”

“Dean,” he offered. “What will happen to Cas?”

Anna smiled at his use of a nickname. “Castiel will be allowed to return to work with you, if he so chooses. If that’s what you were asking?”

Dean nodded. “He will not be punished?”

“Of course not.” Anna looked over her shoulder to check on the squid in question and as soon as Cas was free, he joined them.

“Anna,” Castiel greeted, touching the tips of his front tentacles to the tips of hers. “I am happy to see you.”

“Likewise,” Anna replied. “Though I wish it were under different circumstances. Uriel did not have my permission for this. In fact, I was away on my own mission to find out more about humans. I didn’t trust the reports. With good reason, it turns out.”

“Cohabitation?” Castiel asked hopefully.

“It’s a hope I have,” Anna replied. “And from what I have seen in recent days, humanity is not as rotten and hostile as we were led to believe.” Her attention focused on Dean again.

Dean scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. “Yeah, listen, I think you should talk to my brother and we’ll see what we can figure out.” He wasn’t so sure what this cohabitation would entail but he was fully aware that humans would freak if ningkilings just suddenly appeared on the street.

“I’d like that,” Anna nodded.

“But for now, am I allowed to go home?” Dean inquired. He felt tired and his head hurt something fierce. And as much as he loved sci-fi, this spaceship started to give him the heebie-jeebies. He’d rather not risk having more of Uriel’s kind bursting in and killing him after all.

“Of course,” Anna reassured him. “Castiel will take you.” She looked at Castiel in question.

“I’d like that,” Castiel confirmed. “But, Anna… How much am I allowed to disclose?”

Anna hesitated, looking at Dean again. “You may tell him the full extent of your powers. He’s bound to find out sooner or later.”

Castiel bowed in reply and then he led Dean out of the room. Uriel was still being restrained, spewing hate as they passed him. They both ignored him.

To Dean’s delight, he was brought to a smaller spaceship, which thankfully had enough room for him to fit in. It must have been how he was brought in, but he’d been unconscious for the ride. Castiel started it up and Dean looked on in awe as they were shot out of the mothership and through the ocean, flying smoothly once they were up in the air.

“How come nobody has reported sighting of a flying spaceship recently?” Dean marvelled.

“We have a cloaking device,” Castiel explained.

“Of course you do.” Dean chuckled. Every decent spaceship needed one of those. He suddenly realized that Castiel’s biggest secret was out and Dean would be allowed to ask questions and receive answers. This was going to be so awesome! “Hey, Cas?” Dean started. “What other powers do you have?”

Castiel looked up from piloting the ship. “You know that magazine you read? With the picture?”

“Don’t tell me that was real” Dean exclaimed.

“Uhm, well, not precisely,” Castiel hedged. “Some of us can grow though, to about your height. For a brief time.”

“How brief is brief?” Dean was beginning to squirm. Next thing Cas was telling him they could also enter dreams. He was so fucked.

“Couple days,” Castiel replied. “It depends on how strong one is.”

“A couple of days?” Dean pinched the bridge of his nose. So much sex they could be having. Already he was planning a long overdue vacation. Somewhere secluded. Maybe Bobby’s cabin in the woods.

“And I am very strong,” Castiel continued proudly. “I am part of the royal warrior caste.”

Dean bit his lip, wondering if Cas had any idea what he was doing to him right now. He leaned closer, reaching out to stroke one of Castiel’s tentacles.

“What are you doing, Dean?” Castiel looked at his fingers but he didn’t pull away.

“Hey, you don’t also happen to produce some kind of lubricant, do you?” Dean mused.

“What?” Castiel was utterly confused by now. “Maybe we should get you medical attention.”

“I’m fine,” Dean protested. But now that he was thinking about it, he did feel rather fuzzy and kind of high. He thought it was just the elation at being rescued but… Before he could finish his thought, he passed out.

***

Dean came to in the break room at the offices and the first thing he saw was Henriksen. He groaned, hands flying to his pounding head, trying to hold it together.

“You got a nice concussion there, Winchester,” Henriksen explained. “But with a thick skull like yours, you should be fine in a couple of days.”

Dean closed his eyes, trying to piece together what happened. He remembered Castiel and a spaceship and tentacles and it all seemed so crazy, for a second there he wondered if he’d dreamed it all up. But before he could be too disappointed, he heard Castiel’s voice.

“I am happy you are awake again, Dean.” Castiel hovered close. “I was scared.”

“Alright,” Henriksen got up. “Now that your partner’s here to take care of you, I’ll go back to my actual job. I expect a full report on my desk by Monday.”

Dean and Castiel both groaned in unison and it made Dean smile. “So, you’re staying? With the bureau?”

“Of course,” Castiel confirmed. “You’re my partner, Dean.”

“Of course.” Dean closed his eyes. “You know what, Cas? I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“Beginning?” Castiel frowned. “But I thought we were already…”

Dean’s laughter cut him off. “It’s a quote, Cas. Don’t worry. We’ll find you a new pad with a TV and then I’ll start a list with all of the instructional videos you still need to see.” He closed his eyes again, satisfied for the moment. He had really lucked out with his royal warrior partner, and Dean couldn’t wait to gloat about it later. But for now, all he wanted to do was sleep. He knew he was safe with Cas watching over him.