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Family Don't End in Species

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“Gabriel, please stop ‘decorating my antlers’,” Sam said, sighing in exasperation as his little dog friend laughed.

“But Sammoose,” the corgi, Gabriel, mock-whined, “you look so pretty with those flowers!” He barked amusedly, looking proud of the work he’s done to the moose’s antlers.

Sam, still sitting on the grass, huffed in amusement. He and Gabriel has been friends for a long time, and at this point the moose knows exactly what the welsh corgi was like. Happy-go-lucky, playful, prankish, and pretty nice...sometimes. The dog was a little jumpy, too, but that was completely understandable. His last owners often fight rather violently, and had tried to involve the terrified small dog (“I--I love them both. I couldn’t stand the fight, I couldn’t! So I ran,” the dog once let out when Sam asked)… or at least that’s what the moose gathered. Gabriel nearly always evade that conversation.

His brother--or should he say, best friend, but the squirrel felt a little more like a brother to Sam, really--Dean didn’t like the dog too much, maybe because dogs do tend to chase after squirrels. Or maybe it’s because of that human--Alastair?--with his honestly terrifying black rottweilers.

Sam watched as Gabriel ran excitedly around the field, barking to the birds and scaring them off.

A flap sounded behind him and Sam turned to find Castiel, the dark-feathered Canadian geese who rescued Dean from into Alastair’s garden when he fell (the squirrel still have the scar; Cas’ beak isn’t all that smooth), with Dean on his neck.

“Hey, Sammy!” the squirrel greeted, then promptly laughed. “‘s that Gabriel? He did that to your antlers?”

Castiel bowed his long neck to stifle his laughter, and Sam snorted. He’s nearly forgot about the array of leaves, tiny branches, flowers, fruits, and berries that weighed on his antlers. The tall moose shook his head in an attempt to remove the additional, completely unnecessary ‘decorations’ on his antlers.

“No, Sammich, No!! What are you doing?? You’re ruining it!” Ah, damn. Too late, Gabriel saw him. “Cassie, Dean-o, stop him! He’s ruining my masterpiece!”

The light-colored dog quickly ran back to the mismatched group and climbed Sam’s back to ‘fix the fabulous makeup’, whatever the last word meant. The moose sighed, but then smiled as he saw Dean and Cas laughing at his and Gabriel’s antics, then chatted animatedly. Well, animatedly for Dean. The stoic goose mostly just sat there, offering a few words of his own.

It was peaceful, and Sam felt content.

 

That was three springs ago, just before the small Pembroke Welsh corgi went missing. No traces, nothing. It was as if he vanished into thin air, if that’s even possible.

Dean and Castiel stays with Sam and tries their best to cheer the moose up, but sometimes Sam looks at them, at how close the squirrel and the geese are, and can’t help but wonders if Gabriel were here, laughing and wagging his tail like he usually did. He wonders if they could've had the profound bond like the other two has.

 

~~~

 

“Sammy, you gotta hear what me and Cas just did.” Dean says, grinning from ear to ear on top of the wooden human sitting place at the edge of the park, his small hands clutching a walnut.

The moose glances at Cas, who was bowing his head. Is that shame Sam sees? Oh, no. What have they done this time?

Dean huffs, swatting Sam’s right antler with his bushy tail after noticing Sam’s disapproval and cautiousness in his eyes. “Oh, come on, Sammy, live a little!” the small rodent exclaims, nudging Cas’ twitching dark-colored wings.

“Dean,” the moose glares at Dean, expression set in what Dean (and Gabriel) calls a ‘bitchface’. (Apparently that’s a human term, one that Gabriel questioned heavily. “Humans are stupid. The bitches I know don’t make those...human faces,” the corgi commented in disdain)

“Sam,” Castiel answers for Dean, who’s munching on the walnut “while I agree that Dean made a risky mistake--” the squirrel squeaks his protest, “--it was done. I was also there keeping watch.”

The squirrel then stuffs the nut to his cheeks. “Okhay, Sammy. Listen here,” he says, voice a little breathy and muffled with his cheeks full, “we broke into a human's house.”

“Are you crazy?!” Sam interjects in disbelief and something close to anger. “Last time, Crowley nearly pecked your eyes out, Dean!”

The goose clicks his beak, but Sam knows Cas can’t disprove that. “We went into a place full of broken parts of those…. fast, dangerous, smoke-producing things that humans call… cars,” he starts. Sam can’t believe he’s defending Dean, but well, it’s Cas. He’d probably do anything for the squirrel. “The owner, Robert Singer, the metal box in front of the garden read. He is kind. He has a small house on a stick in his garden, which was filled with nuts,” Castiel continues.

“Robert Singer...oh, Bobby?” Sam groans, half-relieved, “You were lucky, he’s a good human. Even Crowley likes him.” The moose paused. “...actually, he might even live there.” Who knows where the crow lives, anyway.

Dean grins in triumph, walnut finished. “See? Not everyone’s bad. Remember Ellen and her kitten Jo? The bobtail cats? Turns out they live there, and the cats loves him!” and his expression turns mischievous. The moose shifted his legs under him. That doesn’t look good.

“See, Sammy, not all humans are bad,” Dean continues, “So, for that one dare you’ve never done,” the squirrel chirps, “go and enter a human’s house. I dare you.”

Sam’s eyes widen significantly. A human’s house? Okay, sure, some are nice, but the odds…

“What, you chicken?” Dean laughs before Cas swats him. “Ow, Cas. What the hell?” the squirrel protests, nearly falling off his perch.

“Chickens are neither cowards nor they are jokes, Dean.” the goose disdainfully glares at Dean, clearly taking offense for his fellow avian kind. “They are fierce. Have you seen their talons? Especially the roosters’? They have a special claw, Dean, one pair of additional claws, one on each leg, which are used only to fight. In my migrations, I have seen cockfights--”

Resting his antlers on the side of the wooden human thing, Sam cuts Cas’ ramble. “No, but Dean--” he starts, but the rodent cut him off.

“Sammy, come on. You’re massive, no human’s gonna try and kill you,” he stated, “and if they even try you’ve got the big, strong antlers. Who’s going to even try?”

The moose bitterly mutters ‘Ruby’ under his breath, before letting loose a long exhale. Maybe he should try, for once, let loose and all. He is massive, after all, bigger than even most humans, and certainly stronger. Ruby was just a smart and sly human, and he’s learned since then. Right?

The huge moose closes his eyes, knowing for sure he’s going to regret this thing. “Fine,” he concedes, “but you two are coming with me. At least within earshot.”

Castiel cranes his long neck to the side in a typical birds’ gesture, then nods. “Of course, Sam.”

Dean scoffs. “Well yeah, of course! What, you think we’re just gonna believe you otherwise? Besides, I gotta keep my little brother safe.”

Sam laughs at the joke. Little brother. Ha. “Yeah, sure, Dean,” he replies, shaking his head slightly.

 

~~

 

“Um…. Whose house is this?” Sam asks, staring at the grey-colored house warily.

Castiel tilts his head in consideration. “I do not know. I believe Dean has picked a random house.”

“Exactly! That’s half the fun, Sammy!” Dean exclaims from on top of Sam’s head, laughing. “And I’m not sure. Saw the metal-box thing that humans use to put paper things, but pretty sure there’s nothing written on it.” Sam feels the squirrel shrugs and resists the urge to sigh. Typical Dean.

Sam grumbles, “If we get into trouble for this, I’m blaming you.”

The Canadian goose huffs out a breath and mutters something that suspiciously sounds like ‘It’s Dean. What do you expect’ and ‘very protective of you, Sam, as if his father commands him to do so with his life’. Sam’s not sure if he hears that right.

Ignoring his avian friend, Sam scans the building again, worry still prominent on his face, but then he steps forward, making the little rodent passenger on his head whoops in excitement.

“Yeah, Sammy!” Dean laughs as the moose steps into the garden, noticing its condition briefly.

“Some plants are dead,” Sam mutters sadly. The human can’t even take care of the small farm. Maybe they were lucky and the human’s away, or it’s an empty house.

Cas gives him a look. “...Sam, were you planning to eat the plants here?” the geese asks disapprovingly before launching himself to Sam’s back and sits.

“What… no!” the moose denies quickly. “No, I just thought maybe we’re lucky and the human’s not home,” he says, stopping in front of a rectangular wooden thing. What is it called… oh, right, door. A door.

“Sammy,” Dean groans after watching Sam nudging the door unsuccessfully with his head, “just push, and push hard.” Then the squirrel runs to his back and pulls Cas down to land on the rocky pathway. “There, you don’t worry about us. Push, Sammy!”

And he did.

When Sam pulls back to see what he’s accomplished, well… he kinda feel bad for the human. He really didn’t mean to break the door.

The moose then pokes his head through the hole--it was hard with the antlers, but he managed--and looks around.

“Sam?” he hears Castiel say, “are the lights on?”

The moose blinks. “Uh, well. I don’t see any source of light here… except for the windows.” Sam steps forward, curiosity feeding on his worries and fears, and fully entered the house. “Why, Cas?”

“Lights usually mean the human’s home,” Cas explains, walking until he gets in front of Sam, Dean on his back. “We will check upstairs. Go ahead and look around, Sam. We are lucky, it seems that no one is home.”

Cas flaps his wings, flying up to… upstairs? What does that mean? Human terms are confusing.

He walks and looks around, nudging things with his legs, like the big and soft human sitting thing. Moving along, he finds another room, where there’s what looks like an oval wooden thing with flat surface and there’s a white thing with some slightly withered flowers placed in it. Brushing over the white thing was a mistake; it’s so fragile, breaking loudly when it hits the floor.

“Sam?” he hears Cas’ call, answering “All okay” distractedly. Sam’s got to be a little more careful if all human things are as breakable as that one.

And then he hears it.

Sam stops in his tracks, ears twitching. What was that? He turns, trying to locate the sound earlier. Was he hearing things? Is that sound coming from some sort of human device? Maybe he’s just hearing things.

Then he hears it again, a muffled soft whine and sounds of...something...moving. Scratching.

Sam whirls around to face a door, not caring that his antlers has gotten tangled in some clear, solid, ice-like, dangling objects that hangs from the top of the house.

The moose shifts uncomfortably. It may be just a human device, but it can’t hurt to check, right?

Sam walks to the door, flinching when the ice-like things around his antlers broke and shatters when he pulls at it. Damn it, why is it that all human things are so damn fragile?

He pushes through the door, looking around the other room. “Anyone here?” Sam cautiously asks, and quickly moves as he got another muffled whine as a reply.

He turns around the corner and his breath catches.

There’s a dog.

A small dog, staring at him, sitting in a small cage, and is that a muzzle? And oh no, the dog--he? She?--is injured.

“DEAN?! CAS?!” he bellows, then immediately regrets it as the dog flinches and cries and moves to the corner of the cage...not that there’s a lot of space to do that.

“Hey, hey,” Sam softly says, moving closer to the small cage, not caring about what human stuff he breaks in the way. The giant animal crouches, wincing when the things around his antlers makes some small ‘ting-ting-ting’ sound.

“Hey,” he says again, “I’m not gonna hurt you. I was just calling my friends to help you out.” Sam focuses on the crying dog, noting the dark spots on the unkempt, dirty light-brown fur, and the sad, dull, but somewhat familiar honey-brown eyes--

Sam nearly jumps in surprise and shock.

“Oh God. Gabriel?” he whispers and stands up, surprise and horror clear. Gabriel whimpered and moves even further into the cage’s corner.

He hears a flapping of wings and sighs in relief.

“Sam?” Dean calls out probably still on top of Cas.” Oh, hey, what’s that?” the squirrel asks again.

“Gabriel,” Sam breathes out, and both Dean and Castiel jolts, startled. Maybe it’s because it’s been a long time since Sam last mentioned Gabriel, but it’s not like Sam (and the others, maybe) stops thinking about him.

Maybe they just never expected to find him like this.

The geese practically shoves Sam’s legs to the side, frantically flapping towards the metal cage. “Gabriel,” Cas nearly sobs, while Dean just stares at the scared dog.

“Shit, dude,” the squirrel finally says. “How do we get him out?”

“It is secured and locked,” Cas says, anguished, pecking desperately at the lock until Dean stops him before the goose injures his beak.

“Guys,” Sam interjects, mind reeling for ideas. “So get this. What if we bring the entire thing to Crowley?”

That question gets him twin baffled looks.

“Are you kidding me?” Dean exclaims, “Crowley? Crowley? The same bird that tried to peck my eyes out? Sammy, what the hell? That’s as ridiculous as whatever is that hanging from your antlers--”

Castiel shakes his head. “Perhaps we should take the cage to Robert Singer,” he pauses, “or Bobby, as you call him. He is human, he might know what to do with…” Cas’ deep voice breaks as his wings gestures at Gabriel’s entire predicament.

“But can you fly bringing… the entire thing?” Sam cautiously asks, sensing that the metal cage might just be too heavy for the black goose to carry. Not to mention it contains a friend, and Sam isn’t sure Cas’ is okay with the ‘emotional baggage’. The bird stays silent, and the moose sighs.

“Hey, Sammy,” Dean chimes in, “How ‘bout we get him to your back, and we can all help so the box won’t fall?”

Both Sam and Cas stares at Dean and then at each other. That… that could actually work.

So they does it.

--

It took time and a lot of effort (they really were lucky to enter the house while the humans are away), but they got the thing on Sam’s back.

Castiel secures it by sitting near the cage on Sam’s back, wings stopping it from moving too much, and Dean is giving the directions, sitting on Sam’s head.

 

(Despite Dean’s loud instructions, Sam can hear Castiel trying to calm the obviously distressed corgi to no avail. It’s saddening, but Sam can’t do anything about it right now. The moose can’t afford to be distracted, so Sam steels himself and walks a little faster to the car yard, hell bent on saving his small friend. People are maybe--definitely staring at them, but hell if Sam is going to let anyone stop him.)

 

They arrive at the car-filled yard after 30 minutes walking, and Dean hops to the ground, running to scratch on the door. Castiel follows the squirrel when Sam gets close enough, carefully flying down as he carried the cage to the door, then assists Dean in knocking.

Sam looks down to Gabriel, crouching and shivering, and his heart breaks a little more. Whoever dared to reduce his happy, sassy corgi to this state deserves the worst, and--

A soft meow stops Sam’s train of thought, and he waits anxiously.

The door opens and Bobby comes out, mouth open as if to yell before he sees the cage. He stares at it and then back at the three animals in front of his door.

“What…? Oh, balls,” he crouches down, taking a look at the muzzled dog crying inside the cage, and cursed. “What son of a bitch did this?!” and grabs the cage, ignoring Gabriel’s whines, and enters the house. Dean and Cas follows him, greeting the cats as they did so, and Sam...

Well, then.

He follows them in, this time careful not to touch anything in case he break… well, human objects.

“Sam!” he hears Jo call him from the floor, “Where-where did you find him? Is that--”

“Gabriel, yeah,” Sam sighs, walking to Bobby who’s sitting on the floor with an open box of… tools? Something. “We found him on that grey house near the small stream. Not sure whose house that is.”

“You mean ‘the demon house’?” a smooth voice with a weird accent cut in, and Sam jerks, surprised to see Crowley, “Michael and Lucifer used to live there, the bloody bastards. Heard they gave the first floor to another, though.”

Sam stares at the crow, who simply blinks.

“Hello, boys,” the crow drawls and smirks, probably relishing in the surprise Sam shows.

“You,” Dean says, while Cas squints his eyes at the smaller bird.

A loud clang! sounds, cutting any further conversation, followed by a sharp whine from Gabriel.

“Calm down, boy,” Bobby sighs, apparently manages to break the lock while Sam was talking to Crowley. He looks up. “Guys -- why is the moose inside my house?!”

Sam cowers at the raised voice and Dean quickly jumps in front of him in a protective stance, making Jo laugh with the ridiculousness of the gesture. Even Crowley keeps opening and closing his beak, speechless at the sight of a small squirrel seemingly trying to protect a gigantic moose, while Castiel… just sits there with his normal stoic expression.

“No one’s going to hurt Sammy!” Dean growls.

“Ya idjit,” Bobby says, facepalming, but Sam can see that even the human’s trying not to laugh. “Fine, fine, the moose stays. Just don’t break anything, ya hear?”

Sam grunts out a ‘yes’, knowing how fragile human things are. He shook his antlers, the small clinking sound of the broken human crystal thing on his antlers capturing everyone’s attention, even Gabriel’s.

The human frowns, his hands opening Gabriel’s cage forcefully, making the dog jump in fear.

“Hey, dog,” Bobby’s gruff voice sounded, hands reaching out to pick Gabriel up forcefully. “Oh, come on, ya idjit. I’m gonna take that thing off your face.”

Everyone winces as Gabriel cries and whimpers, terrified, but really, it was for his own good.

“I’m calling mom,” Jo meows softly, “she’ll know how to calm him down.” And then she runs off.

Castiel just stares at Gabriel in sadness, and both Dean and Sam can understand that. They’re kind of similar to the odd pair, after all, brotherly jokes and all. It’s not like Castiel’s actual flock acts like he’s their family, anyway; or as Dean says, they’re a bunch of dicks.

A loud snap! sounds as Bobby successfully cut the wide, strong strap (leather, he heard Bobby muttering) and take off the muzzle off Gabriel’s snout, and the corgi falls silent. Sam watches him anxiously as Gabriel looks around in confusion and something akin to hope, and it doesn’t take long until those light brown eyes becomes fixated on the moose.

“Gabriel,” Sam hesitantly says, ears twitching, “do you remember me? It’s--It’s Sam.” Please, Gabriel. Please, do you remember me?

The little dog doesn’t say anything. He runs towards the moose, settling near Sam’s front legs and whimpers quietly. “Sam,” he chokes out, “Sammich. Sammoose. Didn’t forget. Never did.”

Sam beams, barely noticing how Crowley rolls his eyes and flies off, muttering something like ‘ugh, feelings’ while Dean and Cas moves closer to them.

“Gabe,” Sam starts, trying to comfort the crying corgi, “it’s okay. It’s okay.” Then he feels a brush of Castiel’s wings, and he looks down to see how the goose gently places his wing on Gabriel’s head in his own avian brand of comfort attempt, while Dean stays silent.

Sam stares hard at him. ‘Dean, why aren’t you doing anything???’

Dean stares back incredulously. ‘No chick flick moments, Sammy.’ Then gestures to Jo--who he didn’t even realize was there--with Ellen, and is now being dragged back and away by her mom. ‘even the cats feel the tension.’

Sam rolls his eyes before getting his attention back to Gabriel.

“So, ya idjits,” Bobby suddenly interrupts, making Gabriel jump and Castiel fly over to his squirrel, “you took him from the grey one near the small river?” The statement has Sam, Dean, and Cas in shock, to which Crowley caws, apparently back.

“Yes, I told him,” the crow says, smirking, “because I can. Unlike you three, I can read and point--” Sam snorts, because they all can read and point, “--and I did.” Crowley finished, pointing over to the open bag of… letters near his feet, spelling ‘G2-R1-E1-Y4 H4-O1-U1-S1-E1 R1-I1-V4-E1-R1’ on the floor and stares at the now embarrassed moose for not thinking about that kind of solution.

“Whatever you’re all talking about, I’m calling Jody. I ain’t a vet or a police,” Bobby states, pulling out a metal thing… phone, Sam thinks, and pressed something into the small flat surface. “Crowley, put the scrabbles back,” the human says distractedly, placing the phone to his ear. The bird blinks, scowls, and squawks, but does as he’s told.

Castiel paddles back to Gabriel with Dean on his back. “Gabriel,” he calls in the deep, monotone voice of his, then paused, beak opening and closing uncertainty.

“Gabriel, what happened to you?” Sam decides to ask. Seeing Cas’ nod he realizes that the bird wanted to ask it, too, but he probably wasn’t sure to risk it.

Gabriel shakes his head slowly and whimpers, which Sam infers to be: he’s not ready to talk about it. Sam sighs, not pushing it, even if he knows that they’ll have to talk about it. One day.

“Jody’s going to arrest the bastards in the house,” Bobby’s rough voice says, “and I called a vet in. Kate. The dog’s gonna be okay, ya hear?” he looks over to the animals.
“God, I’m talking to animals,” the old human mutters, shaking his head.

Sam looks down. “Hear that? You’re going to be okay.”

“Sammich…?” Gabriel calls out in a whisper, “Thank-thank you.” The dog tilts his head, mouth set in a ghost of a smile that Sam saw a long time ago, and softly says, “You look so pretty with those...things...on your antler.”

Sam smiles, chuckling. They’re going to be okay.

 

~~

 

EPILOGUE

“Okay, now get outta my house,” Bobby gruffly says to the group of mismatched animals, causing the vet, Kate, to laugh as she tidies her medical tools.

It was more than surprising when she entered the house to see a squirrel on top of a Canadian goose, standing so close to a Canadian moose with a small corgi near said moose’s legs in a house, and she remembers her frankly embarrassing shriek when a crow flew a little too close to her head.

It’s surreal, Kate muses now as she helps Bobby lead the animals out with promises of food. She is a little cautious around the dog, as he has been injured, but really, the group is good for him: very protective, as if the dog is their family or something. Well, probably except for the squirrel, who for some reason stays a little further away. Maybe the rodent hates blood? Do squirrels hate blood?

“Oh, Jody!” she calls out when she sees a woman stepping out of a police car near the fence. “Don’t mind the animals, I’m just helping them out,” she continues, slightly wincing when she hears the moose’s antlers scratching the door frame as it--he--tries to get out. The moose is pretty adorable, she has to admit, even with the chandelier remains caught on his antlers. Especially with the chandelier remains caught on his antlers. Still, she had to clean that up. Can’t have him littering around, right?

Bobby told her about how this group of animals rescued the dog she healed, all by themselves, and she’s impressed. Frankly, it makes her love her job more.

The sheriff laughs. “And you have experience with that, don’t you?” Jody grins, “With Adam, I mean.”

Kate sputters. Her son is a good child! Stubborn, yes, but please. Every child is stubborn.

“Jody? You got ‘em?” Bobby asks as he gets the pair of squirrel and goose out of his door.

The mentioned woman grins, gesturing at the car. “You bet. We got…” Jody pauses, “Michael and Lucifer Shurley, and their housemate, Asmodeus.” She grimaces. “Who the hell names their kid Lucifer, anyway? And what kind of name is Asmodeus?”

The veterinarian laughs. “Well I’m glad you caught them. It’s their turn to be caged,” Kate jokes, earning a groan from Jody and an “You idjit” coming from Bobby.

She glances at the animals who are standing near the car. The dog, understandably, cowers and whimpers when he sees the men, but the rest of the group looks downright pissed, especially the moose. Said mammal grunts and knocks the car window with his antlers--and for one second, Kate’s actually scared he’s going to ruin Jody’s police car--before the sheriff approaches them and ‘shoo!’ them away from her car.

Kate smiles when the group moves. The dog is placed in the middle of the group protectively, occasionally letting out a bark, probably participating in animal conversation or something. The rest... well, they look victorious.

The group looks happy, is what Kate gets. They’re going to be okay.