Set in some kind of, I don't know, crazy alternate universe. NO, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE AND I DON'T CARE. And my friend unreckless made me do it. I guess.

WARNINGS: Crackity crack crack. And I say "fuck" a lot. And also I subscribe to poor character development a la a fairytale.

--

Something About Toads

--

So it starts with this toad, okay? This fat ugly little toad, mottled green and brown, and Sam nearly stepping on it. Two inches to the left and it would've been an ex-toad. It was just sitting there, next to the car, puffing in and out with its rapid little toad breaths.

Normally, this is the sort of thing that Dean would've noted-assessed-forgotten, except this fucking toad ends up being important to the story. No, seriously. It's fucking Chekhov's toad.

Right, anyway.

So Sam and Dean are just doing the normal stuff, the eat-sleep-research thing when nothing in particular is pressing. There's been weird shit going down in the area. Nothing major, a couple of disappearances and once the moon came up purple.

They head off for the library to read old newspapers and figure out if this is bad mojo or just another weird little town.

The toad twists its tiny flabby body to watch the car drive off.

--

Dean gets out of the Impala, grabs the bag of fast food, and heads for the motel room door. He's about to reach the threshold when suddenly he has to hop on one foot to avoid squishing this flat toad huddled against the door. He nudges it to make it move. It just swells up and buries its little brown head between its little brown feet.

Finally, he just flips it out of the way and goes inside. Sam looks a bit sympathetic as it waves its little toad legs helplessly in the air, but it puffs itself right side up before he thinks to intervene.

Don't worry, the toad forgives them. It's got a very forgiving spirit.

--

Halfway through Dr. Sexy M.D. ("dude, there's like literally nothing else on, I swear"), this croaking starts up. On the scale of toad sounds, from "I am the happiest amphibian in the world, look at all this pond scum and these fat june bugs" to "woe is me, fish have eaten all of my eggs, I have lost a leg, and there is a psychopathic cat the next farm over," this is a heartbreaking serenade of toad misery.

It pretty much just sounds like normal croaking, though. Whatever. Anyway. The toad is sad. It expresses its sadness by annoying the hell out of Dean.

"I will bet you ten-to-anything that is the same damn frog from earlier," he says when the show cuts over to a Verizon commercial.

"Actually—" Sam starts.

"No. I don't care. It's a frog," Dean says, stomping over to the door.

Indeed, the selfsame toad is sitting there, inflating and deflating with groans. Dean's not a toadstomper, but for a second he can kind of see the appeal. He carefully gauges how long the commercial break will continue, scoops up the toad, clomps over the parking lot, and gently lobs the toad into the drainage ditch. It makes a plopping splash in the dark.

Dr. Sexy M.D. has a very moving conclusion.

The toad is undeterred.

--

Dean wakes up to this weird soft poking at his face, this cool scraping at the two-day fuzz on his cheek. He kinda swats at it, encounters something solid, and makes an unattractively sleepy "buh?" face as he cranes his neck to see what's up. There, perched on his shoulder and tentatively stretching one sticky little foot towards his face, is the motherfucking toad.

Said motherfucking toad is in the next moment halfway across the room and totally dazed out of its little toad mind.

After an hour or so of salt rings, silver needle-pricks, Latin incantations, and a liberal dose of holy water, Sam dumps the wet, salty toad into a Big Mac box and snaps it shut.

Dean scrubs extra hard at his face in the shower because he can feel these phantom slimy toad feet, and Sam laughs his ass off when Dean comes out shiny pink.

--

So Sam goes off to research the indigenous amphibians of the area and leaves Dean to watch the Big Mac box. This means, of course, eating cold burgers and watching sports highlights.

Every now and then the box rustles, and once a pitiful croak escapes.

Four hours later the daytime infomercials can no longer hold Dean's attention, and he cautiously leans over and pokes the cardboard box. There's no response.

He sits himself down at the table and pops the lid on the container. The toad is staring at him, all hang-dog. Hang-toad. Look, the toad just seems miserable, okay? Okay.

So the toad just kinda stares back at Dean, and he grimaces. It looks like a pretty normal toad.

"Okay," he says, and he throws a quick glace behind him to make sure Sam's not coming back yet. "Okay, so you're a frog. Toad, whatever."

The toad looks at him.

"Why are you following me?"

The toad inflates slowly.

"You know you need a lot more buddies for a plague, right?"

The toad deflates.

"You…are a ghost sent to warn about a burial mound under the motel."

The toad extends its tongue to wash at one eyeball.

"That is absolutely disgusting."

It stops.

"You're my spirit guide."

If it's possible for a toad to look unimpressed, that's what this toad looks like.

"You're, hm. You're a fairytale prince, cursed by an evil sorceress to roam the world as a frog until the kiss of a beautiful maiden breaks the enchantment."

The toad goes fucking insane.

--

So Dean has spent the past twenty minutes contemplating the shaking Big Mac box. The critter inside hasn't really calmed down, which is starting to become worrisome. Not worrisome in the, y'know, "scary" way, but in the "am I going to regret this?" way.

Finally, he reaches over and grabs the box. The quivering subsides. He pops the lid. The toad stares at him, puffing in and out.

"You will never speak of this," he tells it. It stares at him. "I swear I will drop you off at the nearest Chinese buffet if Sam ever finds out."

That is how Dean finds himself about to kiss a toad. Which is absolutely ridiculous, of course, because princes don't appear in Indiana and Dean isn't a beautiful maiden by any definition. So there are some serious logical flaws in the plan.

This means it comes as even more of a surprise when, after a brief second of cool rough toad-skin, Dean finds himself firmly lip-locked with somebody soft and warm and pink and human-sized, somebody whose fingertips are now locked against all of the curves of Dean's jaw.

After a moment, this somebody pulls away and says calmly, "Thank you, Dean Winchester."

--

The course of the next couple of hours goes something like this:

Dean flips the fuck out.

--

Okay, so in more detail, the course of the next couple of hours goes something like this:

Dean shoves the dude off of his lap and proceeds to draw a gun just about faster than he ever has in his life.

Dean then draws a circle of salt around the guy, followed by a ring of goofer dust, and then sketches some symbols onto the motel notepad and arranges them in a five-pointed star just in case.

The dude inside the circle gets thoroughly drenched in holy water while he's still sprawled half-senseless on the floor.

This is how Sam comes home with a couple of books on local fauna to find a wet, naked guy sitting on their floor while Dean prowls around him, wild-eyed and running through every spell he knows.

When Sam arrives, the dude stands up and steps out of the barriers like they're nothing, greeting him by name.

This is how they finally find out they're dealing with the angel Castiel.

Dean calls bullshit, because in sane realities toads don't turn into angels.

Castiel launches into the story of how he was surprised by a local witch.

Sam interrupts to give the angel some sweats, which makes things more or less awkward, depending on how you look at it.

--

Castiel's story goes like this:

Certain signs that the angels were picking up indicated that there might be a mid-level demon in the vicinity. Castiel was sent to check it out. When an initial search of the area revealed no demonic activity, he decided to do a detailed search.

Unfortunately, his presence had been noted by the actual culprit—a talented witch. While following the aftereffects of a spell to her whereabouts, he'd accidentally stepped right into a trap.

Being somewhat more tricksy than cruel, she stripped him of his powers and—thus defanged—he was turned into a toad, left to wander the Indiana countryside.

Since he too belonged to a world of fairytales, he would only be righted, she said, when he could locate his true love and gain a kiss—

--

"You're full of shit," Dean says.

Castiel is all earnestness. "No, you truly did rescue me, Dean Winchester. I am very grateful."

It takes Sam maybe three seconds to put everything together and start laughing hysterically.

With the same earnest expression but a biting undertone, Castiel adds, "I hope you won't follow through on your threats of abandonment at a buffet?"

Dean seethes.

--

So Castiel's stuck for a little while, apparently. He tried poofing away, or whatever it is angels do, and just succeeded in looking very determined for a minute. He then decides that the witch needs to be destroyed before he gets his angel voodoo back, and that his best chance of that happening lies with the Winchesters.

Later that night, when Sam's in the shower, Dean spins the angel around by the shoulder.

"Let's get something straight, flyboy," he says. "I am not your true love. That bile-spewing bitch was messing with you."

"Certainly," Castiel replies mildly.

Dean narrows his eyes. "No, you don't understand. I am one-hundred-ten-percent straight. Like, I thought you were probably a girl frog."

"I understand completely, Dean." Castiel places a hand lightly on his shoulder. "It's quite natural for you to be defensive. I take no offense."

This does not make Dean any happier.

--

Okay, so maybe it turns out Cas isn't all that bad. He's really nice, which is weird, and he follows Dean around like a puppy. But he'll run errands for them and he can stay up all night reading and he generally tries to be really helpful. Which isn't to say that Dean likes having him around or whatever.

Sam's taken to him like nothing, though. All, "Castiel, can I get you a beer?" and "Castiel, did you want to take a shower?" and "Castiel, where was the last place you remember seeing this witch?" Dean is kind of convinced that Sam's doing it just to be a dick.

Dean, meanwhile, is way too busy having this big gay freakout over the fact that he might actually be some angel's fairytale twoo wuv, because a) he's a dude and b) aren't angels supposed to be like these chaste creatures anyway and c) since when in fuck did angels even exist, goddamn it?

And then Castiel brings Dean the beer Sam just handed him and Dean takes it without thinking and smiles at the angel and the angel just smiles right back and for a second Dean feels all fuzzy like kittens inside and fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

--

So Dean and Castiel are sitting side-by-side on one of the beds, and Dean is showing the angel how to properly clean his gun. No, not like that, you guys, god.

Castiel frowns. "I am not sure I need to learn this. I am quite capable of taking care of problems my own way."

"You got yourself wasted by a witch."

The angel looks affronted. "I did not know she would be expecting me."

Dean is not buying it. "You're supposed to be this heaven-fairy, yeah? With all of the cataclysmic might you're trying to tell me heaven has, you're not able to scope out this one human witch?"

"It was not one of my prouder moments, certainly." Then, as regally as he can, Castiel measures out, "And I am not a 'fairy'—I am an angel of the Lord, one that should command your respect."

The effect is kinda ruined by the fact that he's pretty much a slight little dude, and Sam's spare sweats make him look like a posterboy for Goodwill.

Dean totally croaks at him, and Castiel turns bright pink.

It's kind of maybe a little adorable, but Sam swears he's researching on the laptop and totally not at all watching them and cataloging this for future mocking-material.

--

Six amazingly long days later, they find the witch. She's been hiding in a little cabin out in the woods, laying pretty low pretty successfully.

Except these are Winchesters, right, which means that eventually she was screwed. It's just the way the story goes.

Anyway.

This witch, out in the woods. Sam and Dean come busting in, guns blazing. Castiel manages not to shoot himself somehow, which is good enough I suppose. And since Dean's having such a shitty week anyway, it turns out they don't even get to waste her.

She turns out to be one of those annoying not-so-bad witches. She ends up only being responsible for two of the disappearances, one of whom tried to mug her so she turned him into a rat. She lays full claim to the purple moon, though, saying she was trying for blue and got the ingredients a little off.

This is particularly irritating to Dean and Castiel. Dean, see, wants the stress relief associated with her going boom, and Castiel would like to have his angelic powers back, thanks very much. Sammy, ever the monster apologist, brokers a deal in which the witch gets to keep her brains inside her skull and Castiel gets his angel juice back. She's more than happy to oblige, especially once she recognizes that Cas must've found love for him to be a non-toad.

Dean once again calls very loud bullshit.

Nobody cares. Deal goes down. Castiel is full-fledged angel again. Sam is pleased no one is dead. Witch is pleased not to be dead.

Everybody's happy, save Dean. Which is, he's quite sure, par for the course.

--

Castiel thanks them both again and takes off that evening. One moment he's there, one moment he's not. And then it's just Sam and Dean again, the two of them, sans angel.

Sam seems perfectly fine, although a bit miffed to have lost an errand-boy.

Dean swears up and down that he's relieved to be rid of Cas. Needy, he claims. Needy and with absolutely no concept of personal space. And also distracting. How's he supposed to concentrate on anything with the angel nearby, sitting next to him watching TV or asking how something is made or just generally being tousled and attractive and—

FUCK.

And anyway, Castiel had gotten himself into trouble before. What's there to prevent him from getting turned into, like, some sort of mongoose or something? What if he ends up as roadkill and there's no one to kiss him back to life?

It's just goddamn stressful, is what it is.

Fucking angel and his fucking way of making Dean care.

--

"Dean." Castiel says, from about a foot away.

"Christ," Dean hisses, tumbling backwards.

The angel frowns slightly. "Do you miss me yet?"

Dean regains sure footing and growls, "The hell do you mean?"

"I have heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have been away from you for three days and seven hours, which has been very hard, as I am quite invested in your wellbeing. Thus, I am curious to know if you have come to terms with your feelings for me yet."

Dean grits his teeth and says, "Maybe another three days? Or three hundred? Or never?"

Castiel raises an eyebrow and vanishes.

--

Another three days pass, and Castiel does not appear. Dean is making himself sick over it. He can't sleep, he can't eat.

Well, no, that's totally a lie. His appetite is fine. But he's still worried.

Four days pass, then a week. Then another week.

Just as Dean is starting to seriously suspect that Castiel is a vaguely possum-shaped smear on a West Virginia backroad, the angel flutters onto the bed across from him. They're somewhere in Texas, and he's dressed completely wrong, with a long coat and about eighteen layers of semi-formalwear.

Dean quickly chokes down his gladness to focus on a good death glare. "Back again?"

Castiel leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees. "I don't mean to keep harassing you, Dean, when you have made your desires quite clear. I was wondering about something, however."

Dean's silent.

"We didn't…dispose…of that witch, and I have lately become suspicious that I might still be under something of a curse. I heard a rumor that, should I be kissed again, I might return to my previous amphibian state. As you can imagine, this is quite concerning to—"

"You are a terrible angel," Dean snorts. When Castiel blinks owlishly at him, he elaborates. "First, you're not really interested in being chaste at all, are you?"

Castiel shifts, then says flatly, "No, not really. A common misconception."

"Second, you were taken down by a witch."

Cas scowls.

"And third, you're lying to me because you want some."

Castiel opens his mouth to retort but Dean has kind of already gotten over his big gay freakout and just decides to kiss him right then.

In actuality, Dean had gotten over his big gay freakout about a week before when he realized that Cas was really pretty attractive for a dude and he kind of I guess actually liked him as a being and there were worse things than being the fairytale true love or whatever girly bullshit this whole thing equaled out to.

He'd just been waiting for Castiel to get back, which—by the way—had been excruciating. No, seriously. Try reevaluating a part of your person that you heretofore thought fundamental to your self and then realizing you can't act upon your new findings because you were pretty much a dick to the guy you've recently realized you'd very much like to press hard into the nearest mattress. It sucks. Honest.

Anyway, so speaking of things that suck, Dean is basically sucking Castiel's face off, which doesn't really sound all that sexy, but it's Dean so he probably has a way to make it sexy.

"Dude," Sam says from the table by the window, "I am right here."

Dean chucks him the car keys and because Sam is a good brother (never let anyone tell you he isn't), he makes himself scarce for a while.

A few minutes and a few of Cas's layers later, Dean kinda smiles. "I guess being Prince Charming isn't all bad."

Castiel tilts his head. "Prince Charming? I believe that is me. You are the princess."

Dean pauses. "What."

"Unless I'm getting the tale wrong, I was the toad, which makes me the prince and you the princess."

"Sonuva—"

--

So it ends with this angel, right? This dense, loyal, pretty angel who's simply mad over Dean. Which is weird, man.

And, honestly? Pretty fucking sweet.