Title: Can We Keep Them?

Author: phar_ahkmenrah (halfblood alchemist)

Rating: PG-13

Genre/ Characters: Fluff/schmoop, Dean/Castiel, Sam

Word Count: 4027

Warnings/spoilers: No warnings, slight spoiler for 5.16

Summary: Post Apocalypse AU-ish; Castiel didn't go back to heaven and Dean grew a pair and actually started dating him LOL. Dean and Cas come across some unexpected victims in a vampire raid.

A/N: Written in tribute to my dog, Dodger and my friend Kathy's dog, Chyna. Please enjoy, our pups will be sorely missed.


Dean panted rather heavily, rubbing his hand down his face in a gesture of exhaustion. They had been tailing the vampires the entire night, trying to pick up any minute clues to their location. After much deliberation they had discovered their whereabouts in an old, nearly ancient cemetery. Unfortunately, it was one of those huge plots with the mausoleums scattered everywhere. And with vampires, those things could hide pretty damn well.

Castiel's attention was glued to the ground in front of him, brow furrowed slightly as his keen eye scanned the ground thoroughly for any sort of signs they might have missed. Their information had lead them to the conclusion that the vamps were gathering for a blood ritual of some kind, and from what they knew, they had already taken their victims.

Dean glanced down at his watch, groaning. It was already almost midnight; if they didn't hurry, the vamps would be done and off like bats out of… well you know- before they even had a fighting chance to stop them. "Cas, how much further?" He asked, looking up to his partner for any sort of recognition.

Castiel suddenly stopped in his tracks, raising a hand to stop him. "Dean… wait… I sense something."

Dean stopped, staring at the back of the angel's head curiously. Before he could fit a word in edge-wise, Cas suddenly veered off the beaten path, into the thick of the trees. Dean groaned, following him into the thick underbrush. "Cas!" he hissed, making greater strides to catch up with the thoroughly intent angel. "Hold up there, Cas…" he started, grabbing his shoulder.

However, before Dean could continue, his eyes fell on what the angel had been staring at for the past long moments.

In the thick of the surrounding woods, lay an open clearing, and in said clearing was a large bonfire. Several people were standing around the fire, wearing ridiculous black outfits and laughing raucously. Dean's eyes narrowed slightly as he stared at the group in the clearing. "Those are the supposed vampires aren't they?" he whispered to his partner, looking over at Castiel.

Castiel nodded, blue eyes dancing eerily in the shadowed firelight. After hours of searching the woods, both hunters were more than thoroughly annoyed to find that they had been tailing a group of drunken teenagers the whole time.

Dean huffed slightly, leaning back against a tree to slouch his annoyance to the angel. "So this was a total waste of time. If this is what post-apocalyptic hunts are going to be like, I hang up my gun now…" he grumbled, looking back up at Castiel. "Come on, let's get back to the motel. I wanna crawl into bed and never wake up again"

"That would be highly impractical Dean, seeing as how I would be in the bed with you, and I do not require sleep. I would only keep you awake at times."

Dean smirked. "Oh but that's not always a bad thing, if you know what I mean." The half-hidden smirk that elicited told Dean that he did indeed understand him.

Dean yawned obnoxiously then, stretching as he slung an arm around Castiel's shoulders. "C'mon, lets blow this place and get more comfortable…" he started, steering the angel away.

Suddenly, Castiel froze, eyes locked on the clearing again. The sudden change in the angel's demeanor immediately worried Dean, as he too turned and looked into the clearing. What he saw froze his blood instantly.

Two teenagers were dragging ropes into the clearing and in the tangle of knots and twine there struggled two dogs, paws tied unnaturally together. The smaller of the two dogs, a young chocolate Labrador whined slightly as she struggled in the ropes. The other, older dog –a black Labrador- growled deep in his chest, snapping at the drunken hands around him before flopping over protectively to the younger dog.

One of the teens laughed slightly, grabbing the younger dog by the scruff and dragging her over to the fire. He drew a large hunting knife from his pocket and waved it leeringly in front of the chocolate's face, smiling devilishly to see her shiver.

The blackie snarled at the teen, barking savagely at him as another boy pinned him to the ground, hooting for joy when his knee dug painfully into the blackie's back, holding him fast.

Dean looked at Castiel, just as the angel's face literally drained of all color at the realization. That alone alerted Dean to the dire situation; if the angel could be this spooked and haunted by the display before them, then surely they had to do something. "We gotta stop them!"

The words barely left Dean's mouth before Castiel was off, storming headlong into the clearing. Dean followed quickly, drawing his gun from the backs of his jeans. Not that he would probably need it; when Castiel was pissed, there was no stopping him.

Two of the teenagers looked up to see the two men storming into their little bon-fire party, and they laughed. "Lookit these assholes… " one jeered as the other jumped to his feet unsteadily, pointing at them.

"You have no business bustin' in on our little blood ritual, big shot!" he laughed as Castiel came to a stop before them. He didn't fail to notice the gun in Dean's hand, however as he backed up slightly to stand next to his companion.

"Release those creatures at once." Cas ordered, his voice dangerously low. His blue eyes blazed furiously, blue irises flashing slightly.

Dean dropped his weapon to his side, but stood strong next to his angel. "You heard the man. Let the dogs go and we'll let you guys off with a warning; otherwise my friend here's gonna get nasty."

By this time, both dogs had fallen silent, staring at the two new men in the clearing with them. The blackie whimpered slightly to Castiel as the chocolate struggled slightly in the ropes.

Castiel's hands loosened from the clenched fists as he glared at the teen. He was obviously the ringleader of the whole group. He could easily teach them a lesson, although a good smiting seemed to be in order. He looked over at Dean and nodded. "Back up, please."

The teens gave them a confused look when Dean easily obeyed that small order, before turning their attention back on the nerd standing in front of them. They watched as Castiel raised a hand before himself, fingers loosely clawed in the direction of the leader. Suddenly the whole clearing filled with a strange sensation, almost like the air was vibrating, and the gang grew uneasy.

All of a suddenly, the ringleader screamed slightly as he was thrown backwards towards the massive blaze by an unseen force. Castiel's eyes bore deeply into him, rage flashing in the blue depths. Just before the boy crashed headlong into the massive inferno, he froze in midflight, hovering dangerously over the licking flames. "HELP! SOMEONE GET ME AWAY FROM HERE!" he yelped, begging his friends for help. None of them moved, too shocked by the sight.

Castiel stepped closer, his hand still trained on him. When he was mere inches from him, he glared down at the teen, face twisted into barely reined fury. "Will you release them now?" he asked, voice masked in forced calm.

"YES! YES I WILL JUST GET ME DOWN FROM HERE!" he begged, struggling against the invisible force. Castiel gave him a once over before nodding and stepping back. With a flick of his wrist, he righted the teen and released him from his hold, stepping back.

Almost immediately, the whole gang bolted from the clearing and away from "the freak in the trenchcoat", leaving only Dean, Cas, and the dogs in their wake.

Dean didn't help the struggle dogs right away; he was too busy laughing his ass off at the sight. "OH MAN HIS FACE WAS PRICELESS!" he hooted, wiping his eyes off dramatically.

Castiel smirked at Dean, striding over to the two dogs. He loosened the knots and pulled the ropes away, as Dean scoured the area for anything the gang might have left behind. The angel smiled as the dogs stood and shook themselves out of the remainder of their bonds. "You are free now." he said, smiling slightly as the chocolate yapped in delight at being free. Castiel looked at each dog, the younger hyper chocolate and then the older, more docile blackie, before reaching out with a tentative hand.

Both dogs sniffed his hand curiously, taking in the scent of the angel. Castiel looked down at them with loving eyes, letting the dogs sniff him and get used to him. "It's alright. I will not harm you…" he almost cooed patiently.

The chocolate suddenly barked again, leaping forward to enthusiastically lick the kneeling man in the face, crawling onto his lap to shower him with her grateful affection. She was certainly an armful, tail wagging frantically as she whimpered and whined, begging Castiel to pet her. Castiel laughed –honest-to-God laughed as the dog showered him with kisses, nosing him slightly in the cheek as she did so.

The blackie, on the other hand, simply sat next to the angel, caramel eyes hopeful as he whined low in his chest, hoping to receive as much affection as his young friend. When it seemed that the chocolate was hogging the attention indefinitely, the blackie leaned forward and nosed his way under Castiel's hand, snuffling against his palm until the angel got the picture and began to pet him as well. The blackie sighed contentedly, letting the angel pet him while being ravaged silly by the other dog.

"Cas, it looks like I can't find a damn thing around here. No dog tags, no collars, nothing. I think these were strays. "Dean called, turning back to the fire and his partner. After a moment, he rather wished he hadn't. The sight that lay before him only bode ill for him later. "Cas?"

"Dean, you said they were strays…" The angel began, his voice slow as he contemplated the words. Suddenly, much to Dean's chagrin, his eyes lit up as he looked up at Dean hopefully. "May we take them with us back to the motel? They have no one to watch out for them, and they… well… they seem to have taken a liking to me."

Dean stared at him for a moment, his brain not quite working right. "… no. No, Cas we can't take them!" he started, throwing his arms up into the air. "We can't! We don't have room for dogs, and… and…" he stopped, his eyes landing back on the three before him.

The two dogs were staring up at him, each of them in Castiel's arms as he knelt behind them. He, too, stared up at Dean, his eyes nearly as big as the dogs'. "Please, Dean? Can we keep them?" He asked again, laying on the hopefulness thick.

Dean blinked a few times before covering his face with his hands. He counted to ten, took three deep breaths and finally exhaled one last time, shaking his head. "Cas… I…"

Suddenly he felt something on his leg. He looked down to see the chocolate puppy standing next to him, her front paws resting on his thigh as she stared up at him, tongue lolling out lazily. She barked up at him, wagging her tail expectantly. Dean stared at her for a moment, before looking back over at Castiel. The angel had his arms wrapped around the blackie, the older lab nuzzling underneath the angel's chin calmly as the angel continued to stare at Dean with huge, hopeful eyes.

Dean cracked. He sighed, running his fingertips over the chocolate's head. "Alright… alright, we can take them. Come on, let's get them back to the Impala."


Sam was sitting up in the motel room, staring tiredly at the laptop in front of him. His head drooped slightly before snapping back up as he fought off sleep. He blinked heavily, rubbing his eyes as he waited for his brother and his angel to return from the hunt.

It wasn't long before he head the Impala roar into the nearest parking spot, and two doors shut. He looked up when he heard the motel door open, smiling slightly. "Hey, guys, how did the..." he stopped, staring at the sight.

Two dogs flanked Castiel as Dean bustled into the room, toeing off his boots as he flopped onto the bed. He looked up expectantly at Castiel, waiting for him to join him in bed, but was joined by a disappointing sight.

Castiel was kneeling on the motel room floor, rubbing the chocolate's stomach as she wormed under his touch, panting happily. The blackie, on the other hand, sat stoically next to the angel, his head cocked in a frighteningly familiar fashion. Sam blinked at the two dogs before looking over at Dean. "Why are there dogs in our motel room?"

"We rescued them… or rather, Cas rescued them. I just stood there looking badass with my gun." At the confused look on Sam's face, Dean laughed and sat up. "Those vamps we were tailing weren't vamps; Just a group of drunken teens trying to look all cool and gothic by trying to sacrifice these two dogs to the vodka gods. We intervened, and now they're here."

Sam shook his head, looking over at the two dogs. "But their owners might be missing them…"

"Already checked, Sammy. No collars, no tags, no missing dog signs. These gotta just be some strays."

Sam nodded, putting his laptop to the side as he stood up. He knelt down next to the two dogs, staring at them before reaching out and rubbing the blackie on the head. He laughed slightly at the indignant yap from the chocolate for being ignored, which he remedied by scratching her tummy as well. "So, you two. What's your names…"

"Dodger and Chyna." Castiel replied immediately, expression lacking emotion once again. Sam looked up at him, raising an eyebrow slightly." Uh… and you know this how?"

"I asked them." Castiel shrugged, returning his attention to the dogs. Dean shot Sam a look that read "Don't ask" before kneeling down next to the chocolate.

"So… I'm assuming this is Chyna…." The hunter said slowly, watching as the young Lab leapt to her feet and barked happily before the onslaught of kisses came.

Cas nodded, turning his attention to the blackie next to him. "Yes. And this is Dodger. He is protecting her, since she is so young; but he feels confident that you will not harm her, Dean, so you are free to play with her as you will."

Dean would have responded, if he didn't have a lap full of dog at the moment, licking his face excitedly. He didn't want to admit it, but her spunk and energy was already beginning to rub off on him. He smiled as she circled impatiently, hoping to play with him as he knelt on the floor. "Hey, girl. Calm down now, you're gonna pace a hole in the carpet." He laughed, reaching out to grab her around the neck.

Dodger growled slightly, seeing Dean grab her like that, but he looked up at Castiel for approval, whining slightly.

Cas nodded, wrapping his own arms around Dodger's neck, hugging him gently. "It is alright, boy. He will not harm her. Dean is a good man; he will take care of her."

Dodger responded with a hearty lick to the angel's cheek, barking slightly. His tail thumped happily on the floor as Cas laughed once again, scratching the top of his head affectionately.

Sam smiled, reclined on the bed as he watched his brother and his angel playing with the dogs. It was creepy how similar each respective canine was to his/her new human companion, yet it was totally perfect. He sighed, resting the back of his head on his hands as he watched them. Looks like they added two more to their little rag-tag gang, and for once, Sam was rather glad.


SEVERAL WEEKS LATER

Chyna yapped happily, seeing Dean pull up to the motel room through the window. She leapt down from the chair, running circles around the room as she waited for her master to come through that door. Dodger lifted his head from where he was lying on Dean and Castiel's bed, huffing slightly at his young friend's antics. He barked once at her, before he too heard the car doors slam shut.

Dodger leapt from the bed, standing patiently in front of the door as he waited for Castiel to enter as well. His tail made slow circles as he panted happily, Chyna nosing her way under his chin as they waited for the door to open.

The minute it did, both dogs leapt on their respective masters, Chyna yipping loudly, while Dodger nuzzled his way into Castiel's embrace.

Dean laughed, kneeling down to rub Chyna's back vigorously. "Hey girl! Look what we got you two!" he said, pulling out a bag. He reached inside, grabbing one of the items and passing it to Castiel.

The angel practically beamed as he took the item and wrapped it around Dodger's neck, clasping it as Dean followed suit with Chyna. "New collars!" Cas exclaimed, admiring to the light blue belt around Dodger's neck.

The nametags glinted in the sunlight streaming through the door. Chyna bit at her neck for a moment, confused as to the new item.

"Hey, no. Don't bite at it, Chyna." Dean chided, petting her gently. Her green collar was a nice contrast to her light brown fur, and he smiled. "Think we should take them to that dog park we saw earlier?" He asked, looking up at Sam and then at Castiel. He smirked. The angel was too busy fussing over his dog to notice.

Sam nodded. "Sure why not? They've been cooped up all day, they should run around and play for a bit." At this admission, Dean stood and clapped his hand on his thigh slightly. "C'mon Chyna! Car ride!"

Instantly, both dogs were on their feet and barking their way out the motel room door. Castiel stood and smiled at Dean, taking his hand quietly as they followed the hyperactive dogs out of the room. "Sam, will you be joining us?" the angel asked, turning to look back at the younger Winchester.

Sam shrugged. "Sure, if you guys want." He replied, following them to the Impala.

Dean crawled into the driver's seat, looking back at the two dogs seated on either side of Sam. "You be good. If I find a mess in the back seat, you're in big trouble. That means you too, Sam." He added with a smirk.

Sam punched the back of Dean's seat playfully in response, laughing at the confused look on Castiel's face. "Jerk."

"Bitch."

One hectic car ride later, the two men plus angel found themselves at the dog park, watching in amusement as Dodger and Chyna ran about the park playfully, sniffing other dogs around them, digging holes, general dog behavior.

Castiel smiled as he threw a stick for Dodger, watching happily as the blackie caught the stick in midair. "Good job, Dodger!" He cheered as the dog trotted back over triumphantly, dropping the stick in front of him in expectancy.

Dean, on the other hand was running around the park with Chyna, dodging her tackles as she chased him. He laughed as he fell to the ground, face full of lapping dog as Chyna licked him to death, tail all a flutter. "Good girl! Good girl!" he laughed, jumping up and running away again.

Sam watched his brother and his partner play with their dogs, sighing slightly. He rested his chin in his hands, smiling good naturedly. After several weeks, he had grown to love the dogs as well, but they weren't 'his' dogs. They were, after all, Castiel's and Dean's. They had found them and taken them in; it was only fair that they would be close.

It was funny to see how similar each dog was to his master. Chyna was rambunctious and playful, always getting into trouble, while Dodger was calm and stoic, only getting excited when the moment called for it. They were near perfect for their masters.

Castiel looked up at Sam, his smile fading slightly as he saw the disappointed look on his face. "Sam? Are you well?" he asked, getting up. Dodger obediently heeled up to him, nudging his thigh as they walked over. Dean, too, saw the look on Sam's face and trotted over, nearly tripping on Chyna as she begged to be played with.

"Eh, I'm ok." Sam said reassuringly, smiling up at them. "Guess I'm just feeling a little tired right now."

Castiel and Dean both caught the almost-longing look on Sam's face as he glanced over at the two dogs beside them. They knew.

Dean opened his mouth to respond, when Cas' hand suddenly shot out, grabbing Dean's wrist. "Don't worry, Sam. Everything will turn out. You won't have a reason to feel alone." The angel said, cryptically.

Sam raised an eyebrow, looking up at his older brother for confirmation. Dean only shrugged, looking just as confused. Having no answers, they returned to their visit in the park, watching the dogs play until the sun finally began its descent into dusk.

"Chyna! Come on, girl let's go!" Dean called, as Castiel walked with Dodger back to the Impala. Sam also followed, watching as the dogs jumped into the backseat and laid down, curling around each other. Sam smirked, petting them as he got in. "Looks like they tuckered themselves out today."

"That's good, they'll sleep pretty well tonight then." Dean replied, resting his hand on Castiel's knee as he backed out of the slot and drove back to the motel. He shot a grin at his partner, feeling a flutter as the angel returned it, squeezing his hand slightly.

True enough, the ride was relatively silent, both dogs sleeping soundly as Sam ran thoughtful fingers over their haunches. Castiel never released his grip from Dean's hand, and said hunter didn't even bother to put a cassette it. It was a lovely quiet ride, and all involved enjoyed it.

Upon returning to the motel, Sam crawled out, and gently nudged the dogs awake as Dean and Cas clambered out of the front seat.

"What do you guys want for grub tonight?" Dean asked, pulling the motel room key from his back pocket, twirling it on his finger.

"I have no preference, as you know Dean." Castiel said, his eyes glued to the motel room door. Dean gave him an odd look, wondering why he was staring at the door so intently. He shrugged, turning to Sam as the three of them lead the sleepy dogs towards the room.

"I think we should just order in, we shouldn't lea-" Sam broke off, freezing as he entered the motel room. Dean followed quickly; alert to whatever it was Sam saw. He too, froze, staring at the sight. It was something he had only seen once before, up in heaven. Inside the room was a beautiful golden retriever, lying sprawled on Sam's bed. The dog raised his head and looked at Sam, barking happily.

"BONES!" Sam cried, overjoyed as he dashed into the room. He threw his arms around the dog's neck as Bones licked his face happily, wagging tail and all. He laughed happily as the dog practically pinned him to the floor, rolling about in mock wrestling with the dog; HIS dog.

Dean's face split into a huge grin as he turned to his partner. "You did this, didn't you…" he said, knowingly as he slung an arm around his angel.

Castiel grinned up at him, twining his fingers into Dean's hand. "I have no idea what you're talking about…" He responded cryptically again, the couple watching as Dodger and Chyna joined Sam and Bones on the floor playing with their new companion. Their gang had grown by one, and now they felt like a whole family again.