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Wizard of Oz, Suck It!

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*

Angels, cops, and kids! Oh my! If only Dean’s life was as easy as following some freaky ass yellow brick road. At least there aren’t any green bitches he had to gank. Witches, man. Freakin’ skeevey.

Lately, though, disturbing kid’s movies aside, Dean’s life is actually pretty freaking weird. Even for him. He was on good, semi-friendly terms with two cops and he had so many kids following him around he felt like one of the dogs in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Yes, he’s seen the movie. It’s hard not to when he’s surrounded by kids nearly 24/7 all of them with puppy eyes when combined, could crumble dictatorships. Dean hadn’t stood a chance.

Needless to say he has now seen practically every single animated film made in the last hundred years. Nobody has to know that he actually kind of liked them. That’s a secret he’ll take to his grave.

Apart from the cops and the kids, the weirdest part of his life at this moment in time is the angels. Angels that seem to suddenly pop out of nowhere like some kind of angelic game of “Where’s Waldo”. It started with Alfie and it hasn’t shown any sign of stopping any time soon. After the third angel that just watched him in utter fascination like he was particularly interesting bug they were happy to look at but didn’t want to touch, Dean just stopped asking why they were following him around.

Some of them, when he did try to ask them wouldn’t even tell him their names before they flittered away. If Alfie wasn’t so eager to hang around when he was on duty Dean wouldn’t know anything about the other angels. He got a little loose lipped when he was distracted by the incomprehensible rules of children’s games.

None of them were actually assigned to “watch over” Dean; they just wanted to hang around on earth creepily staring at him on their own time. Something would flash out of the corner of his eyes and he’d look over to see a new angel watching him try to keep his kids in relatively the same area when out in public, which was about as easy as herding cats. Or he’d see them while running errands; from across the street or at the end of the cereal aisle or whatever, it never failed, he’d spot one while trying to decide between dairy milk or soy. He’d even caught one standing outside the kitchen window watching him do the dishes. He’d nearly shot a hole through the window before he realized it wasn’t a supernatural fugly or a burglar staking out the house. Nope, just a newbie angel.

Some of them were better at being inconspicuous than others. After Alfie, he was constantly spotting angels left right and center; never two on the same day, never more than three in two weeks. He had lost count and couldn’t keep track of what they all looked like. Everyone else around him never seemed to notice them sneaking around so Dean finally decided that unless they gave him a reason he was just going to ignore his angelic shadows.

Besides Alfie, Dean only recognized three other angels. He didn’t know their names or why they were staring at him raptly on their day off or whatever, but they were the ones that showed up the most. All they did was watch him intently (a family trait, apparently), they never try to talk to him or Alfie if he was around. They didn’t even seem to want to get too close to other humans much less the kids. Dean had watched in disbelief as a stiff unhappy looking angel wearing what looked like an uptight librarian with glasses hanging off her neck actually ran away when one of his kids wandered too close.

If it wasn’t so wrong to see an angel retreat from an excitable little boy in a Sponge Bob t-shirt, Dean would have been laughing his ass off. As it was, Dean was starting to get weirded out by the entire thing.

He had kids around him nearly all week and now that school had started he was picking kids up from sometimes three different schools, to look after until their parents got off work. He had nearly regular Friday night beers with Detective Hart; Ashley Boltz making an appearance more often than not. He had an actual income for the first time in his life, and Lisa had stopped looking at him like he was a grenade a pulled pin away from exploding.

If his new life hadn’t already sent his nomadic, perpetually poor, antisocial hunter’s mindset into a burning tail spin, the angels constantly pinging his radar would have tipped the scales from “teetering on the brink” over to “Mayday! Mayday! We’re going down!”

His imminent freak-out aside, Dean still had a job to do and by God he was going to do it, damn it!

*

Pulling up to Westside Elementary, Dean slowed the Impala to a stop once he’d entered the suicide parent pick up lane in front of the school. He already had Ben, Errol, Nathan, and Thomas in the car from his trip to Southside Elementary. He’d gotten a call from Jenny Meyer asking him to pick up Thomas since she had to take another shift at her job at the baby plant nursery or whatever, Dean didn’t even know. Legit jobs were weird.

Before he was able to even walk out the door, Shelly St. James had called and requested that he pick up Nathan as well. There wasn’t an explanation given since he was on less familiar terms with her than with Jenny and they both preferred it that way. They had a mutual respect and they both knew Dean had a soft spot for Nathan and would pick him regardless of the short notice.

Of course, he had a soft spot for all of his kids and would be there at light speed if any of them needed him.

Dean had even gotten together with Rosa, Dana Flynn’s maid, to flesh out a rough itinerary for Dana’s periodic returns home. It was generally expected that he would pick up Errol everyday regardless of when his mother was in town. The difference was whether Dean would be dropping Errol off at home or taking him to Lisa’s.

So, Dean was parked in front of the second elementary school on his list today waiting patiently for Justin and Emily to run out the doors. Hart had called him while he was on the road to Southside and begged him, or a Jeffery Hart approximation thereof, to pick up his kids and watch them for a couple of hours. He was stuck at a crime scene and couldn’t get away.

He was tapping along to BOC’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, staring at the oversized SUV in front of him, and listening to the four boys in the backseat chattering. Suddenly a flash in the corner of his eye caught his attention. Turning his head, Dean saw a blindingly bright humanoid figure with two burning rings around both wrists; two faces, a blank human mask and a turtle. It had four wings made of ocean currents and tides.

He blinked and watched as the blond woman in a power suit with stiletto heels and a knee length pencil skirt watched him. She was intent and practically burning a hole through the car with her eyes to stare at him. Dean got the distinct feeling that she was uncomfortable and agitated, strange for one of the angels. He recognized her as one of his regulars and she usually seemed very stoic and unfeeling.

The passenger side door opened and Dean was distracted as Justin and Emily piled in. When he’d first started towing kids around like their personal chauffeur, he’d hunted up the long forgotten seatbelts in the Impala replacing the ones that were broken, and installing extra ones for when he was toting around a large, probably illegal, number of kids.

Emily scooted all the way over until she was in the middle between him and Justin tugging on the bet and buckling it in, grinning in delight as she did it. The kids always got a kick out the old fashioned seatbelts. He caught a few playing with them like they were strapping into a space ship. He didn’t care how they did it as long as they eventually got the things buckled. No way was he going to have to watch one of his kids fly through the windshield if another possessed trucker decided to accordion his beloved car.

Everyone buckled in and chatting so loudly Dean just turned off the radio since he couldn’t hear it anyway, he turned Baby toward home. He completely forgot about the angel lurking outside the elementary school.

*

After supervising homework for at least thirty minutes (he had already suffered looks when the parents had discovered that he didn’t actually care about homework and resolved never to feel that chastised again) He let the kids have free reign of the tv and yard.

He only really supervised the kids in the backyard because Lisa’s cable was child locked and the only movies Dean had out of the cabinet were kid friendly. The last thing he wanted was to get yelled at ‘cause his parents had been woken up in the middle of the night by their kid’s nightmares because he let them watch Poltergeist or something. Plus, it wasn’t like the patio doors weren’t see-through anyway. The kids knew he could check up on their viewing choices with a turn of his head.

Justin and Nathan were the only kids outside and they had decided to jump on the trampoline, so Dean was lounging on a lounger sipping iced tea, he figured it wasn’t a good idea to drink beer in front of kids that didn’t actually belonged to him, and absently making sure neither of them got broken bones or necks.

They’d been out there for a good fifteen minutes when a disturbance on Dean’s supernatural radar had him getting up and walking toward the side of fence facing the street. Grabbing the top he hoisted himself up far enough to see whatever was bugging him.

Huh. It was the angel he’d seen earlier at the school. She must have followed them all the way back to Lisa’s. Dean stared at her for a moment and frowned. She still seemed agitated, but now it was competing with stress and nearly overwhelming anxiety. If Dean didn’t know any better, he would have sworn she was a baby step away from hyperventilating. Either that or going postal, but for the sake of his own sanity he decided to go with the less violent option.

Sighing heavily, Dean hopped back down and let his head fall back against the fence. Why? Why did he have to get the reject angels?

Even though he really didn’t want to, Dean knew that Cas, if he ever actually showed up, would stare at him with big blue disappointed eyes if he didn’t at least try to help the angel.

Dean banged his head against the fence in frustration before straightened up. He yelled for Nathan and Justin to head inside as he walked back toward the house. He didn’t want to leave the boys out in the yard without supervision –wasn’t he suddenly all responsible- and followed them inside.

Instructing Ben to call him the moment there was a problem Dean snagged his cell from the entrance table and locked the front door behind him. The angel saw him coming and looked like she was about to take off, but seemed to pause at the last minute looking bewildered on top of her burgeoning panic attack. Dean jogged over to her and stopped.

Up close it was way more apparent that she was a second away from crumbling entirely. Her face was white as a sheet, which shouldn’t even be possible since she was in a vessel, and her hair looked messy and tangled. Most angels had perpetually windswept hair, Dean figured it had something to do with the fact that they flew everywhere, but hers looked less windswept and more like she’d been tearing it out.

Okay, so that was a bit worrying and Dean felt a little bit glad that he had decided to not just ignore her.

“I saw you at the school earlier.” Dean said. He wanted to see if he could lead the angel into telling him what her major malfunction was without asking.

She just stared at him. Stared at him with a blank look and utter incomprehension like she couldn’t even understand what he was saying. Which he knew was impossible since Cas had told him angels had a universal translator and spoke every language ever invented by man, and a few that weren’t.

“You followed me home.” Like a lost puppy. He didn’t dare say that to her considering the fact that she seemed on the verge of doing something that was sure to be catastrophic to the humans nearby. The sad thing was that he didn’t even think she would do it on purpose she was that far gone.

Silence stretched and Dean tried again. “Why did you follow me?”

Most angels popped up, stared for a couple hours then popped away again. She had actually followed him and had probably been standing outside his house for a while before he actually realized she was there.

The angel opened her mouth, closed it and looked like she was in actual pain trying to find words. “I-I- $#@%&!” A hoarse screech under laid with a tremor and coated with feedback rushed out of her mouth.

Dean blinked in surprise. Okay, that was definitely not English, but he thought he got the general gist of the incomprehensible noise. Coupled with the tormented looked in her eyes and devastating confusion on her face, Dean figured I don’t know was an accurate interpretation.

He blew out a breath and steeled himself for what he was about to do. It was possibly the stupidest thing he’d ever done since deciding to stop the Apocalypse, but he was going to do it anyway. Regardless of his silent promise to Cas to at least try, seeing up close and personal how messed up this angel was he couldn’t just leave her out here to suffer alone.

“What’s your name?” He asked.

Her eyelids fluttered in concentration, probably trying to translate Angel into English enough not to burst his eardrums. A quivering sigh escaped her lips and she swallowed dry and heavy a couple times before she even attempted to answer.

“My name is Hester,” she said.

Dean nodded. It was one of the most normal names for an angel he’d ever heard, but he pushed the thought away and concentrated on keeping her away from the deep end.

“Okay. Hester, you’re going to make yourself visible to everyone and then you’re going to follow me inside and you’re going to sit down and watch a kid’s movie. You’re not going to think about whatever it is that’s bothering you for the entire movie and then you’re going to help me make a snack and you’re still not going to think what’s bothering you. We’ll figure out where to go from there.” He told her. The more orders he gave her the more tension visibly drained away. She still looked like she was about to jump off a cliff but at least she was a good five feet back and not standing on the edge anymore.

Hester closed her eyes and stood perfectly still for a long moment before she opened them again, she straightened her shoulders a miniscule amount and met his gaze. She didn’t try to speak this time, she just nodded.

Giving her an approving nod in return, Dean turned to the house and started back across the street. He knew she would follow.

Unlocking the door, Dean waited for her to cross the threshold then locked it again and continued on into the living room dumping his phone on the collect-all table on the way.

A few of the kids looked up when he entered their eyes moving past him to Hester curiously.

“Kiddos.” Dean called gaining the attention of all the kids. Ben muted the cartoon they’d been watching and turned around as well.

“This is Hester.” Dean said, pointed over his shoulder at her with a thumb. “She’s going to stay awhile. Don’t bother her. Got it?”

They all looked puzzled, but they trusted Dean completely so they didn’t ask any questions.

Dean sat on the couch gesturing for Hester to sit as well then told the kids to pick out a movie and stick it in. “I have veto power.”

They first picked out Finding Nemo, but Dean didn’t think that was really a good choice considering it was about a father looking for his son so he vetoed. Plus he’d seen it a million times by now that he could quote the damn thing.

Dean vetoed The Lion King, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Turbo, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, and Land Before Time. Every single one of them had a dead father and an evil uncle, an evil mother, a dick father, a dick brother, an absent father and dead mother, a bumbling father, and a lost mother in that order. It was all parents and siblings. Hester wouldn’t get most of the references, but she’d understand the plot and Dean didn’t think any of that was beneficial to her current frame of mind.

They finally settled on Shrek. Hester wouldn’t get any of the pop culture references, but it didn’t have any parents or siblings. Dean figured it would be safe enough.

Hester sat completely silent and unnaturally still through the entire next two hours. The kids would periodically glance over at her, but they followed Dean’s order and didn’t talk to her. Dean realized thirty minutes in that she was actually watching the movie. Granted it was with way more seriousness and concentration than a DreamWorks film really required, but he figured angels were programmed to follow orders to the letter and that’s pretty much what she’d done. He’d ordered her to watch a movie and so she watched the movie.

She watched it like her life depended on and Dean figured that wasn’t far from the truth.

When it was over, Hester looked toward him obviously waiting for him to give her the next order: snack making. The kids had noticed how unnaturally she’d been acting and now were looking at Dean like they couldn’t understand how they knew she was off.

“Go in the kitchen, open the fridge, and pull out the watermelon and blue berries. Put ‘em on the counter and wait for me.”

She stood without a word and glided through the kitchen doorway. Even halfway crazy, angels were freakishly graceful.

Dean watched her go then turned back to the kids’ expectant faces.

“She’s weird.” Errol, ever the blunt one in the group, was the first to speak.

“Yeah.” Dean agreed. “She is. You know Alfie and that friend of mine I told you about in defense class this summer?”

“The one that’s an angel?” Emily asked. She and the other girls had seemed especially taken with the knowledge that angels were real.

“Castiel, yeah. Well, Hester is one of their siblings and she’s having a hard time right now. I’m looking after her until the other angels can come take her home.”

“Like you do with us?” Thomas asked tilting his head in a way that reminded Dean amusingly of Cas.

“Yep. Exactly like that.” Dean stood up and started toward the kitchen. “Pick out another movie to watch with your snack.”

The noise level picked up by the time he made it into the kitchen to find Hester standing still as a statue in front of the counted and staring at the fruit bewildered.

Rolling his eyes, Dean reconciled himself to the knowledge that he was going to have to give her step by step instructions. “Slice up the watermelon and cut off the rind. Dump it a bowl then wash the blue berries.”

She turned back to the watermelon, a determined look on her face then she flicked her wrist. Her silver angel sword materialized in her hand and Dean’s eyes widened. She brandished it like a dagger and started to plunge it into the fruit.

Dean lunged across the kitchen and grabbed her wrist before she could follow through. “Whoa! No, stop.”

Hester jerked her head around and looked at him with surprise. “Do you no longer wish for the fruit to be prepared?” She asked, frowning in confusion.

With a sigh of relief he slowly relaxed, holding her wrist until she no longer looked like she was about to go Psycho on a melon. “No, no. I just don’t think you should do it with an angel blade.” He reached across her to the knife block and pulled one free holding it out to her handle first.

“Use a knife. Less chance of you accidentally smiting the kitchen.”

She tilted her head in confusion again. It must be another family trait. “Angel swords are not part of the process of smiting. Smiting involves a series of intricate highly complex-”

“Yeah, yeah.” Dean interrupted before she could explain the “complex mathematical equations” or whatever involved in angelically exploding something. “Just use the knife, okay? That way I don’t have to explain why Lisa’s countertop is sliced in half.”

She still seemed mildly bewildered by the request and looked at the knife like she didn’t know what to do with it. Dean expected she’d figure it out pretty quickly and turned back to churning out a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. They weren’t any pussy American cheese wannabe sandwiches either; they were grade A sharp cheddar melted between two expertly buttered (with real butter!) and toasted slices of bread.

Mmm, his mouth was even watering while he waited for them to get perfectly brown.

He’d momentarily forgotten about the angel struggling with the concept of human cooking utensils until she made a sharp distressed sound.

Turning away from the stove, Dean saw that she had a pile of perfectly sliced perfectly symmetrical pieces of watermelon, but Hester looked like she was about to start panicking as she looked around wildly for something.

It took a second, but Dean realized that she didn’t have a bowl to put it all in. Quickly, because he really didn’t want to deal with an angel melt down over Tupperware, Dean yanked open a cabinet and pulled out a big plastic bowl.

“Sorry about that.” He said as if her little freak out hadn’t even happened. “Here, throw it all in there.”

Hester took the bowl and visibly stamped down her anxiety. It looked a little painful but Dean didn’t say anything. Pulling out a smaller bowl, Dean decided to preempt another incident of angelic distress and placed it on the counter next to the blue berries. “Use this bowl for the blue berries.”

She looked marginally calm now so he turned back to his sandwiches. He did, however keep an eye on her for the rest of the preparation. Thankfully there didn’t seem to be any more speed bumps.

When the sandwiches were done and plated up Dean looked over at Hester standing at the counter with the fruit in the bowls waiting for his next instruction.

Dean looked over her shoulder on his way to the kitchen table and blinked in surprise. Hester hadn’t simply dumped the fruit into the bowls, she’d placed them layer by layer in concentric circles until she’d run out of fruit.

Wow. Talk about overachieving.

Glancing up, Hester was apparently waiting with bated breath -weird ‘cause angels didn’t even need to breathe- for his approval.

Dean patted her on the shoulder. “Good job. It’s very… neat.”

For the first time since he’d spotted her at school, Hester gave a small, barely there, but obviously pleased little smile. Dean couldn’t help but give her one in return. She didn’t seem so weighed down now; her eyes were clearer, less clouded with overwhelming emotions.

“Come on. Let’s get all this on the table.” He nodded toward it. Hester followed him obediently.

The smell of grilled cheese sandwiches wafting into the living room was as good as ringing the dinner bell. The kids fell on the snacks like locusts. Dean almost didn’t get his hands away from the plate fast enough. There for a second there he thought Nathan was going to take off one of his fingers.

Even Hester, unflappable angel she was supposed to be, look taken aback at the ravenous mini-humans swarming the table.

Standing back well out of the way Dean watched it all with a deep sense of satisfaction. He always enjoyed the fact that the kids seemed to love his cooking. He would never admit it, even under pain of death, but it made him feel kinda warm and fuzzy inside. And if you tell anyone he said that he’ll hunt you down and kill you… Just kidding. But not really.

Absorbed in the scene before him, Dean almost didn’t notice the angel’s change in demeanor. She no longer gave off vibes of imminent implosion. Now she just seemed tired and defeated. It was not a good feeling and Dean watched her patiently, waiting for her to break the silence between them.

“Everything has changed so much.” She said. Her voice was hoarse and quiet. “Heaven is struggling to adapt. We are struggling to adapt. Angels were not made to have freewill. We… I do not know how to…”

She trailed off seemingly at a loss as how to even voice her thoughts. Dean could tell it went against every instinct, every lesson she’d ever had to admit to such a weakness as uncertainty. To admit that she, a being of great power and righteousness, once so secure in the knowledge of her purpose, no necessity or desire to deviate from her path, could feel confusion had set her completely adrift.

Dean, unfortunately, could relate. He had felt all of that when he’d first been resurrected and he was struggling to find his footing in the living world once more. When he’d watched his brother sacrifice his self for humanity leaving Dean to try and function without him. He could relate.

“You feel like you don’t even know how to function, right? How to even be yourself when everything you knew is changing or just gone.” Dean put her feelings into words and shined a light on them since she couldn’t.

She made another screeching sound, quiet and thankfully marginally less burdened. Turning her head to face him, she said “Yes.”

“That’s pretty normal; feeling completely overwhelmed.” Dean assured her even though she hadn’t admitted to needing it. “It helps if you only focus on one thing at a time.”

“I do not understand.” Hester looked like his voice was the only thing keeping her up right now that all her anxiety, frustration, and emotional chaos had melted into absolute exhaustion.

“Pick something you don’t understand, something that you’re having an especially hard time with. Focus on it until you don’t feel like it’s an anvil weighing you down anymore. Then pick something else and do it again.” He said, revealing a secret he hadn’t told anyone, not even Sam. Just taking it one day at a time, one trouble at a time was the only thing post-Hell that kept him from curling up in the fetal position and crying. And later after the apocalypse-that-wasn’t it kept him from blowing his brains out.

If it could stop him from doing that, then he reckoned it would work pretty well for keeping an angel from going full on Mount St. Helens.

Hester seemed to contemplate his words like they were Revelation itself. They lapsed into silence and it was two minutes before she spoke again.

“I will try this method of adapting.”

“Good.” Dean gave her an approving grin and she answered with a quirk of her lips. “It’s always good to ask for help too. If you just can’t get something ask an angel that does.”

It was hypocritical advice since he would rather chopped his own arm off than ask for help, but he figured Hester didn’t need to know that. Plus, whatever kept her from acting like a disgruntled postal employee was definitely a good thing.

She nodded to him. “That is wise advice.”

“Hasn’t Cas been helping ya’ll with this? I thought he was supposed to be the new sheriff in town or something.” He asked, reluctantly curious as to why an angel had to seek out an “insignificant” human for help with angel problems.

“Castiel has many duties.” Hester answered, now on firm ground with the subject matter. “I am one of his Lieutenants. It would be improper to seek his attention when he must give it to so many others.”

“You mean he’s too busy to notice that one of his friends is going crazy?” He demanded angrily. “That’s fucked up.”

Hester seemed a little insulted on her and Castiel’s behalf. “Castiel is the first angel that was granted freewill. He was twice resurrected by God and he is a Leader to our brethren. He must travel to Earth to gain even a moment’s respite from his duties.” She rebuked, reflecting a little of that angelic wrath that had been absent before.

It’s been a long time since Dean had felt scolded like a naughty child in the principal’s office. The last time had also been by an angel; a little nerdy angel beating him unconscious in a dirty alley because he’d almost said, Yes.

He thought the simplest thing to do was remain silent. She seemed to accept his wordless apology because she stayed silent too.

Soon the kids had finished their snacks and had wandered back into living room leaving the table looking like a carcass long since picked over by vultures. Dean snorted in amusement and started clearing away the bones of snack time. Hester followed his lead without having to be ordered.

It was progress. Tiny, microscopic progress, but she seemed to have reined her emotions in and regained some of her innate angelic confidence. Dean hid a smile and explained how to use a dishtowel to dry the dishes while he squirted soap into the sink.

They worked in companionable silence. Hester was drying the last plate and placing it meticulously with the others in the cabinet. Dean decided it was safe to bring up Heaven again.

“So, are you ready to go back home?”

She paused in the process of folding her dishtowel with military precision. It took her a long moment to think his question over. Finally, she looked up, determination and resolve in her expression.

“I believe I am ready.”

“Good.” Dean flashed her a pleased grin, raising a hand to grasp her shoulder for a second, firm and steadying. “I’m going to call Alfie and get him to fly you home.”

“There is no angel named Alfie and I do not need an escort. I am capable of returning to Heaven alone.” Hester protested stoically.

“I would feel better knowing he was flying with you.” Dean said and started praying not giving her a chance to argue.

“Hey, Alfie, my man. I need you to come down here and pick up Hester.” He prayed out loud with eyes scrunched up, his hands held palms up out to his sides.

Hester watched this display with a look that clearly said she thought he was little bit unstable himself.

Dean peeked an eye open when he was met with silence and geared up to get frustrated that he was being ignored. Then there was a fluttering behind him.

“Dean, I received your prayer. What has happened to Hester? Is she wounded?” Alfie sounded worried, alarmed that one of his siblings wasn’t able to fly themselves to Heaven.

“Hester’s fine.” Dean assured him, gesturing to said angel as proof. Alfie gazed at her intently, like he could see through her vessel to her true form. Actually, Dean was pretty sure that’s exactly what he was doing.

“Sister, you are not wounded. Why can you not fly?” He asked her, puzzled now instead of concerned.

“I can fly. I do not require an escort, Samandriel.” Hester answered sounding annoyed. She flicked a half-hearted glare at Dean, but he just rolled his eyes.

“Everything’s fine, Alfie. Hester’s just had a bad day. She needs some company on the trip home.”

Alfie furrowed his brow and tilted his head. Yeah, definitely a family trait. “I do not understand.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Dean waved an unconcerned hand at both angels. “Humor the illogical human and go home already. I’ve filled my quota of head shrinking for the day.”

Neither angel understood the reference, but they both decided it would be simpler to just indulge him.

Dean could tell Alfie was still confused, but he nodded anyway. “Come sister, I will fly home with you. Goodbye, Dean Winchester.” He didn’t wait for a reply, just fluttered away. Dean knew he was still hovering close by so he didn’t bother being annoyed.

Hester hesitated before following him. Dean was a little surprised by that. She seemed like the kind of angel that didn’t bother with human eccentricities like goodbyes.

“I am grateful to you, Dean Winchester.”

“Yeah, sure. No problem.” Between one blink and the next she had fluttered away.

Dean stood in the quiet kitchen, the noise from the kids and the tv filtering in like white noise. He thought about Hester and how she was practically drowning, utterly overwhelmed by the upheaval in Heaven.

It hit him in a place he usually reserved for his kids. He rolled his eyes at himself. He’d always had a problem reigning in his protective instincts.

Dean shook his and headed back into the living room. One single thought slicing though Heaven and piercing its target dead center.

Cas, buddy. You need to look after your angels better.

*

End