A/N: So there I was, playing solitaire on my iPod on the bus, as per usual. My iPod was throwing out songs from my high school years. And Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla popped up. And I tried to reflect on how my life was when this song first hit. But no. This fic appeared in my head instead. *shakes fist at brain* Please note that I do not disagree with street preachers or the message that they spread. I do not disagree with fundamentalists, but I do find Jack Chick Tracts extremely amusing. My intent is not to insult anyones beliefs.
"Fifteen!" Castiel squealed and pointed to a blue Toyota as it drove by them on the street. Dean smiled and ruffled his hair.
"You're not giving up this game, are you?" He asked affectionately. Five year old Castiel shook his head and jumped over a crack in the sidewalk.
"Rejoice, young man, in thy youth!" A man holding pamphlets and a bible said to Castiel. "Let thy heart cheer thee in these days." The street preacher handed Dean a flyer for a church. Castiel tilted his head at the man and narrowed his eyes.
"You said it wrong." Castiel said. "It is 'Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of youth.'" Castiel emphasized the words left out by the preacher. Dean bit his lip to keep himself from laughing. The preacher smiled.
"You know your scripture, young man." He said, giving Dean an odd look. "Does your father read you the Good Book?" Castiel tilted his head at different angle.
"Dean is not my Father." Castiel said in a matter of fact tone. The preacher turned his attention to Dean.
"He's adopted." Dean said quickly. The preacher nodded and smiled.
"Such generosity does not go unnoticed or unrewarded." The preacher said. He extended his hand. "Pastor Gregory Wilson." Dean shook the man's hand politely.
"Dean." He said. He pointed at Castiel, who was now reading one of the many pamphlets. "This is Castiel."
"You are named after the angel of Thursday." Pastor Gregory said to Castiel. Castiel gave him his signature humans-are-foolish look.
"I am the Angel of Thursday." Castiel handed the man back the pamphlet he was looking at. Pastor Gregory flipped through the pile.
"Do you like comic books?" Pastor Gregory asked. Castiel nodded enthusiastically. "Here is a special one I'd like you to read." Castiel smiled and took the small booklet.
"Come on, Cas." Dean said, placing his hand on Castiel's shoulder. "We gotta get going." Dean nodded at the Pastor and steered Castiel down the street.
"Sixteen!" Castiel shouted, pointing at another blue car driving by.
Dean thought that after a year, he'd be used to this. He's still not.
After Sam wrestled Lucifer, and Michael and Adam, back into the cage, Dean thought he'd be alone. He saw Castiel blown to bits before his eyes. But God works in mysterious fucking ways and brought him back. Again.
This time, God brought Castiel back as a four year old child. A four year old child with vague memories of being an angel, fully pumped with angelic Grace, and ironically a devil may care attitude.
Most of the time, Castiel acted like a normal child. Like today, hopping over the cracks in the sidewalks and counting blue cars. Castiel only counted blue cars, because that was the color of his eyes. He asked Dean to count green cars, and Dean did once, just to make him happy.
Sometimes, the angel he was would shine through, like the conversation with the Pastor. Back and forth he went, from child to millennia old being in the blink of an eye.
"Dean, why would people think that God hates role playing games?" Castiel asked, handing him the comic. Dean rolled his eyes. Of course the man had to have Jack Chick tracts on him.
"Because role playing games are strange to most people." Dean answered. Castiel nodded, continuing to read the comic.
"Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons?" He asked, jumping over another crack. Dean laughed.
"No, but Sammy used to." Dean said.
"Did Sammy ever get invited to a witch's coven and given dark, demonic powers?" Castiel asked. Dean swallowed.
"No. He never developed demonic powers from playing a silly game where he pretended to be an elf." Dean said. Castiel threw the book into a garbage can.
"Why do people always get the word of the Lord wrong?" Castiel asked, taking Dean's hand. Dean groaned inwardly. He hated these conversations with Castiel.
"Because people interpret things differently." Dean said, lifting the tiny angel over a puddle of water. "Like how you say that Bron-Y-Aur Stomp is about two people who live in the woods getting old together, when it's really about a guy walking his dog." Castiel mulled over the thought as they turned down a side street.
"I suppose you're right." He said after a few moments of quiet contemplation. "But people have taken God's words completely out of context!" Castiel ran up to a lamppost and swung around it.
"Hey, Gene Kelly! Watch it!" Dean called. Castiel finished his swing and collided with a man in a business suit, falling to the ground.
"Easy there, kiddo!" The man said, helping Castiel off the sidewalk.
"Sorry." Dean said, taking the angel's hand again. Castiel fixed his inquisitive gaze on the man.
"Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." Castiel smiled. "What do you think that means?"
"What?" The man said, looking at Dean. Dean shrugged and tugged on Castiel's hand.
"Sorry. He asks weird questions." Dean mumbled, quickening his pace. When they were a half block away from the stunned man, who was shaking his head, Dean leaned down to the angel. "What have I told you about quoting the bible at strangers?" Castiel's shoulders sagged.
"That I should be careful." He said in a quiet voice. "Not everyone likes talking about stuff like that." Castiel perked up and pointed.
Dean rolled his eyes and ushered the angel into a small occult shop.
"Dean!" The Indian man behind the counter greeted. "You brought a friend!"
"Hey, Rahim." Dean nodded. Castiel let go of Dean's hand to look at jars of herbs. "That's Castiel." Rahim's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "Yes, it's him. Don't ask." Dean said. Rahim eyed the angel as he inspected the jars.
"Got those hex boxes you wanted." He said, reaching under the counter. "Could only get three." He placed three wooden boxes covered in meticulous symbols on the counter. Dean inspected them, nodding as the store owner wrapped them in black fabric as the bell tinkled above the door. Two teenage girls wearing too much black makeup walked in. Castiel was suddenly beside Dean.
"They don't know what they're doing." Castiel whispered. "They think they do, but they could do something dangerous." Dean patted Castiel's tiny shoulder.
"Let Rahim handle it, okay." Dean said. Castiel nodded and walked to the other side of the store. Dean rolled his eyes. "He feels the need to save everyone." Rahim laughed.
"Of course he does. Look at who he is!" The Indian's good natured laugh died down and he leaned forward on the counter. "So, when are you going to sell me Singer's book collection?" The round face lit up with a hopeful smile.
"Never." Dean said. He fiddled with an amulet with three women in a circle on it. Dean's attention turned to the two girls, who were giggling, talking to Castiel.
"I don't think God hates Dungeons and Dragons." One of the girls said. Dean and Rahim started laughing. Rahim placed the wrapped hex boxes in a fabric bag and handed them to Dean.
"Let's go, kiddo." Dean said, placing an ornately carved wand on the counter from his jacket. Rahim's eyes danced with excitement. "Acceptable payment?" Dean asked with a grin. The store owner nodded vigorously as he carefully picked up the wand. Castiel appeared beside Dean, a ruffling noise following him. "Don't do that!" Dean hissed. Castiel grinned sheepishly as they walked to the door.
"Later!" Dean tossed over his shoulder.
The sun had dropped further, making their shadows appear long on the pavement. Castiel took a wide step to avoid another crack. Castiel took Dean's free hand and looked up at him.
"Do you think God will let me go back to Heaven?" He asked softly.
"Probably." Dean said, rounding the corner back to the Impala.
"I'll only go if you can come too." Castiel said, kicking an empty soda can towards Dean. Dean kicked it back at the angel. Castiel laughed and chased after it, kicking it towards Dean again.
"Eighteen!" Castiel shouted. Dean laughed.