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Through a Mirror Darkly

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Dean tapped his pen against the library table as Castiel and Sam dug through the lore, trying to figure out who or what kept moving them through space and time. Castiel had been with them the last time they reality shifted, and he thought he had felt Enochian magic or grace in the bubble of energy that was formed around them as they moved back to their own world. Castiel had been able to see the energy waves, but they were invisible to Sam and Dean.

Dean had a book propped open in front of him, diligently trying to help them, but failing. He absentmindedly tapped his pen some more. Sam glared at him and growled, "We're out of beer. Go get some."

Dean exclaimed, "Thank, God," as he stood up. "Cas, you coming with?"

Castiel, without looking up from his book, said, "No, thank you, Dean. Some of us have work to get done."

Dean snorted, "Smart ass."

Castiel's eyes flickered up at him for a second and the corner of his mouth quirked up into a tiny smile, "Better than being a dumb ass."

Dean frowned, as he headed towards the Impala. He was pretty sure somewhere along the way, he had been a bad influence on Castiel in the sarcasm department. As he slid into the Impala, the wave of nausea and dizziness of a reality shift hit him. He awoke to Castiel yelling, "Dean, get your feathery ass in here."

Dean staggered to his feet. He stumbled from the living room he had woken up in down a hallway and into a kitchen. Castiel sat on the ground with Sam cradled in his lap, blood came out of the corner of Sam's mouth and nose. "Can you heal him, Dean?"

Dean looked at Castiel blankly. "Can't you?"

"What the hell, Dean? Sam's bleeding here. Stop joking around. Has your grace regenerated enough to heal him or not?"

"Not. We need to get him to a hospital."

Dean pulled Sam up against him, while Castiel got on the other side. They dragged him to the Impala. Dean looked for his keys in his pocket and came up empty. Castiel pulled out keys from his pocket, unlocked the car, and opened the back door. "Can you get in the back seat with him, Dean?"

"Shouldn't I drive?"

Castiel looked at him strangely, "You don't drive. You fly places, Dean. Get in."

Dean slid in the car and held Sam. "What happened to him?"

Castiel got into driver's side, put the car into gear, and backed up into the road. After he figured out where the hospital was using Siri, he sped in that direction and responded, "Vengeful spirit. I was able to burn it, but not before he went a few rounds with Sam. What the hell were you doing?"

Dean decided to go with the truth since they were obviously hunters and used to dealing with weird. "I'm not your Dean. I'm from another reality. I changed places with your Dean."

Castiel gave him a disbelieving look before understanding dawned in his eyes. "Like the time Balthazar sent me and Sam into that world where I was married to fake Meg."

Dean felt uncomfortable with that thought, "Yeah, like that."

"And you aren’t an angel?"

"Human."

"Well, that's damn inconvenient." Castiel grumbled. "How's Sammy doing?"

"His pulse is strong, but he's still out like a light. I think he has a broken rib or two."

"Damn little brothers."

Dean blinked, "You're brothers?"

"Yeah, what show have you been watching?" Castiel pulled up in front of a hospital.

After they entered, Castiel gave them Sam's information. Castiel and Dean settled in the waiting room. Castiel stared at him intently with his head tilted. He scrunched up his eyes. "So, if you aren't an angel, what are you back at home?"

"Hunter."

"Well, that's different. You're different. Less…intense mostly. Although you still have the personal space issue," he said, gesturing at how Dean's hand had naturally travelled to Castiel's knee.

"Oh," Dean withdrew his hand, stung a bit by the rude tone. Then, he internally shrugged his shoulders as he wondered how many times he had used the same exact tone with his Castiel.

"So, are we a trio of hunters in your world? Hunters don't usually travel in threes. I don't know why. It seems like a third hunter would add better grip and stability like a third wheel."

"Yes, and no. The three of us hunt together. You're an angel though."

Castiel looked shocked before snorting, "I'm no angel. My halo would have fallen off long ago."

"Well, my Cas' halo is a bit bent, but not completely broken. I'm a bad influence."

Castiel laughed, "You? You couldn't influence a puppy to be bad."

"I influenced you to rebel against heaven and become a stubborn, contrary, sarcastic bastard."

Castiel rolled his eyes, "I was born a stubborn, contrary, sarcastic bastard."

A doctor came out of the door leading to the treatment rooms. Castiel and Dean stood up at the same time and asked, "How's Sam?"

"He'll be fine. When he fell, he broke three ribs, got a slight concussion, and broke his nose. He just needs some rest. I want to keep him overnight for observation. You can go back to see him now."

Both Castiel and Dean looked relieved when the entered the room and Sam was sitting in the bed, half loopy from the drugs they had given him for the pain.

Castiel sat down, "You shoulda dodged better, bitch."

Sam snorted, "You shoulda burned it faster, jerk."

Dean felt awkward. He wondered if Castiel felt like this when he and his Sam went into the 'bro zone.' He said, "I'll just wait over here then." He leaned against the wall in the corner, watching the two talk about what went wrong in the hunt, jokingly blaming the other.

When Sam drifted off to sleep, Dean walked over and put a hand on Castiel. "You should go grab an hour or two of sleep in the car, Cas. I'll watch over him."

Castiel stretched and got out of the chair. "Sounds like a plan. And, Dean…"

"Yes, Cas?"

"I probably don't say thank you enough and stuff, you know. Your help is always appreciated."

Dean smiled, "Nice speech, but you should save it for your Dean."

Castiel shook his head, "I'm still just trying to imagine you as a hunter, and I'm drawing blanks. My Dean has always has a stick shoved up his ass."

"He'll get better. Just… make him feel like he's part of the family early on. Never take him for granted. And for God's sake, never let Lucifer stand behind him."

Dean settled in the chair next to Sam after Castiel left and watched him sleep, deep in thought. Sam said sleepily, "What are you thinking about, Dean?" Sam's eyes were barely open, as he tried to look at Dean.

Dean smiled, "Cas."

"Tell him how you feel, man. I know my brother won't make the first move, but if you do, Dean, he'll go with it. Trust me, I know my brother better than I know anyone else in the world."

Dean's eyes narrowed, "I told you how I felt?"

Sam snorted, "About the third time we ever talked. " Sam yawned and drifted back off to sleep.

When Castiel returned a couple of hours later, Dean stood up. He walked into the hallway and into the hospital chapter. He felt silly as he prayed to himself, "Ok, Dean. You see, here's the deal. You take care of the two of them, even if they are confusing, contrary, obstinate, and dumbasses. Take the friggin' stick out of your ass and become part of their family. They need you, and you need them."

Dean felt the familiar wave of energy surround him, as he blacked out. When he woke up, Sam was squatting next to him, "Dean, are you ok?" He looked at him worriedly.

Dean looked at Sam, "Did Cas tell you how he felt about me ten years ago?"

Sam bit his lip and said, "Maybe."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"It was his story to tell. He was confused when he started having feelings. It was right before they yanked him back to Heaven to recondition him that first time. So, I certainly wasn't going to say anything then. But really, Dean, he opened up to me. Even though he thought I was an abomination at the time, he was trying to figure you out and needed to talk to someone."

Dean sat with his back against the Impala, as he mulled it over.

Castiel walked into the garage. "I think I found something. But it doesn't have to do with magic, it has to do with quantum physics. I'm working on the math."

Dean snorted and looked at Sam, "He's working on the math."

Castiel tilted his head and glared at Dean, "Do I need to remind you that quantum physics involves wavelengths. And, underneath the 'holy tax accountant' attire, I'm a wavelength of celestial intent." Castiel used his fingers to put air quotes around holy tax accountant.

Sam offered Dean a hand and pulled him to his feet. Dean said, "Can we all go get a burger before you do the math? Come let's take your wavelength out for a ride."

Castiel looked at Dean fondly, "As you wish."