Title: A Different Vessel
Author: TardisIsTheOnlyWayToTravel
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Season 4 & 5 in general, although it only follows canon fairly loosely...
Summary: What if Castiel had taken a different Vessel? Clairestiel!fic. Crack!fic, kinda.
Author notes: There'll be a part two at some point. Also, I'm trying to think of a better title for this, so if you get any ideas…

A Different Vessel

Part One

Dean, Sam and Bobby stared at the doors, waiting for whatever had resurrected Dean to break through.

The doors burst open and a figure strode in, all confidence and purpose.

The fact that it was a small girl in a My Little Pony shirt was kind of unexpected.

"The fuck?" Dean managed, staring at the being so powerful and badass that it had pulled him from Hell and burned out Pamela's eyes.

"I am Castiel, angel of the Lord," the little girl intoned, in what was clearly supposed to be a low, mature voice, but failed miserably. "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition."

She gave him an intense green-eyed stare.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Sam, the giant fucker, chose that moment to double over in uncontrollable laughter.

"Dean," Sam said later, when the alleged angel was gone, "You were saved from Hell by a six year old girl in a My Little Pony shirt."

"Sam," Dean said, with a kind of violent calm, "I will punch you in the face."

The announcement didn't dampen Sam's joy any, as he had gone back to snickering.

"Now Sam, we're talking about a being powerful enough to haul Dean's ass outta the hot seat," Bobby said.

"Thank you!" Dean declared in validation.

"If she wants to play tea parties and braid his hair, there ain't a thing we can do about it," Bobby continued, smirking.

"Oh, fuck you both very much!" Dean snapped angrily, as Sam descended into great honking bursts of laughter.

"I can't breathe," Sam wheezed out, "oh God you are never living this down."

Dean made a strangled angry noise and stomped out of the room as the other two both cracked up.

"So, you're really an angel?" Sam asked.

"Yes," Castiel said indignantly, giving him an affronted stare, and inadvertently looking adorable.

Sam's lips twitched at the sight.


"So why the girl scout look?" Dean asked.

A perplexed stare answered him.

"He means why do you look like a six year old girl," Sam translated.

"My Vessel is seven years old," Castiel explained.

Suddenly this shit wasn't even a little amusing.

"You're possessing a kid?" Dean demanded.

"She gave her consent," Castiel said, like she couldn't understand what the problem was.

"And that makes it okay?" Dean said furiously.

Castiel tilted her head.

"You are angry."

"No shit, Sherlock!"

"Doesn't she have parents, people who'll miss her?" Sam asked, trying to stay calm and reasonable.

"Claire's parents were killed almost two years ago," Castiel stated. "She was living in foster care. When I offered her a chance to act as my Vessel and promised her a guaranteed place in Heaven, she accepted."

Dean squeezed his eyes shut. There were so many things wrong with this that he didn't even know where to start.

"She says you're all mean jerks," Castiel added, on a note of information.

Dean's eyes flew open.

"Wait, what?"

"She's aware and unharmed in there?" Sam asked sharply.

Castiel nodded solemnly.

"She wanted to be aware of what was happening, except for those events she found frightening. Otherwise, she is unaffected."

She scrutinised Sam with a dispassionate eye, like she was listening to some kind of inner commentary and forming her own opinion.

"She likes your hair," Castiel told him dutifully. "It is flippy."

She stared at him.

"Uh, thanks?" Sam said uncertainly.

She turned to Dean.

"And you have pretty eyes," Castiel added, "But you say bad words, so you're naughty."

Sam gave a strangled snort at her tone of grave, reproving dignity.

"Okay, tell her I'll try not to say them anymore," Dean said slowly.

There was something about your back-up being a small girl in a Miley Cyrus t-shirt and a huge pink hat that failed to strike fear into your enemies.

"Let them go," Castiel told the demons sternly, looking fierce.

The demons were laughing too hard to really reply.

As usual, Castiel looked put out that her foes didn't seem to appreciate the threat she represented.

She glared out from underneath the brim of her enormous hat, and her bottom lip jutted out the tiniest bit.

The demons laughed even harder.

Looking pissed and bewildered, Castiel looked over at Sam, who didn't have a hand wrapped around his throat.

"Why are they laughing?" she demanded, a little petulantly.

"You're a tiny girl in a big pink hat," Dean managed to choke out, before Sam could say something diplomatic and all lies, because the angel needed to know.

Castiel thought about this for a moment, frowning, before she nodded, clearly consigning this fact to the mental box marked 'strange inexplicable human things.'

The next moment she was exorcising demons like some kind of four-foot tall heavenly ninja, and the demon that had been slowly throttling Dean let go and tried to escape, but was sent back to Hell with a touch of the fingers and a mutter of Enochian.

Castiel tried to check Dean for injuries, standing on tip-toe and peering up at him.

"I'm just fine, don't worry about me, or anything," Sam bitched.

"I was aware that you are unharmed," Castiel said to Sam, looking into Dean's eyes like she could see his soul in there, which was as unnerving as it sounded. "I could not be certain that Dean had not sustained injury, however."

She stepped back from Dean, satisfied that he hadn't been hurt.

On impulse Dean tugged on the brim of her hat.

"Tell Claire the hat looks good on you guys," he said.

Castiel looked mystified, but responded,

"Claire is pleased, and thinks your jacket looks nice."

"Thanks Claire, Cas," Dean said, a little amused.

Castiel tilted her head in confusion at the nickname, looked like she was listening to something only she could hear, and finally said,

"You are welcome. I like you also, Dean," before she did her instant-vanishing thing.

"How did she get 'I like you' from my calling her Cas?" Dean asked Sam, genuinely lost.

Sam just gave Dean his 'I am such a genius that it makes me wonder how you little people can tie your own shoelaces, and some day my head might actually explode from my ginormous brain' face, which was kind of exasperated and pitying and smug all at once, and also really obnoxious. Dean was pretty sure it was that face that had gotten Sam shoved in lockers all the time in high school, until he turned into a giant that no one wanted to mess with.

"Because you nickname people you like, Dean," Sam said, like it was obvious.

Yeah, okay, that made sense.

Uriel was a complete dick, and Dean hated just being in the room with him, but it was almost worth it to see the scowling black dude getting ordered around by a little girl who didn't even come up to his shoulder.

"Uriel," Cas said warningly, and the other angel subsided, looking mutinous and sullen.

Cas, Dean thought, made for the most badass seven year old kid Dean had ever met.

Dean was eating pie when Cas bamfed in.

"You are eating pie," she said.

She stared intensely at the pie, like suddenly it was the centre of her universe.

"...you like pie?" Dean finally asked, because the staring was getting to him.

"Claire is very fond of pie," Castiel said evasively, which was probably a yes, because angels were apparently repressed as all hell, and actually liking something was taboo or whatever. "Particularly apple pie," she added meaningly.

All without looking away from Dean's delicious apple pie.

Dean sighed.

"Claire, Cas, would you like a slice of pie?" he asked grudgingly, because Cas had manage to make her eyes look big and sad.

Instantly the sad look vanished.

"Thank you, Dean."

Rolling his eyes, Dean cut Cas a slice of pie.

Normally the angel didn't show much emotion, but at the first mouthful Cas's eyes went huge with delight and she made blissful noises.

Cas ate her slice of pie with utter relish, looking absurdly happy.

Then she looked wistfully at the rest of Dean's pie.

"No more pie!" Dean told her, pointing his fork at her accusingly. "I already sacrificed some of my precious pie for you."

"It was generous of you," Cas agreed, but her eyes were all huge and tragic again, like she was thinking sad thoughts about starving children in Africa, or drowned kittens.

It was like some irresistible angel superpower.

"Dammit! Fine! You can have some more. Shut up, Sam!"

Sam kept sniggering until his jacket hit him in the face.

Castiel just ate her pie in deep contentment.

One minute Dean was yelling at Chuck, frustration bubbling over; the next something collided with his shin with enormous force.

"Aargh!" Dean crumpled to the floor in pain as his leg was kicked out from under him.

"This man is a prophet of the Lord, Dean," Castiel said, wearing her 'every time I leave you alone, I come back to find you doing something I disapprove of deeply' face.

"Cas," Dean asked, with incredulous anger, "did you just kick me in the shin?"

"It was Claire's suggestion. I found it to be effective."

"Wow," Chuck said, staring at Castiel and looking more freaked out than ever, "That's... even more creepy than I imagined."

"Cas is not creepy!" Dean barked, glaring at the prophet.

Chuck quailed.

"I didn't mean anything," he muttered uneasily, "it's just... I mean, she looks like a little kid, but..."

He gestured at Cas's Serious Face #3, the one that suggested that she was listening to you, but she wasn't sure why, because you were spouting out useless babble that served no purpose.

Okay, maybe Chuck had a point, but still.

"I'm a huge fan of your work," Cas said soulfully, her big eyes trained on Chuck with a respectful look. "So is Claire, although I prevent her from reading the sections that are unsuitable for a child her age."

"Oh," Chuck said helplessly. "That's... great."

He made a grab for the whisky bottle and chugged.

Dean woke up to the sound of a child's voice mumbling to itself.

Cas, his brain supplied, but that wasn't right, because Cas always tried to speak in a deep serious voice that always made Dean want to grin, and this voice just sounded like a normal kid.

He sat up and opened his eyes, to see Castiel sitting on the floor playing with a couple of toy ponies.

She glanced up.

"Dean!" she said happily, with a big bright smile.

"Claire?" Dean hazarded a guess.

Claire nodded.

"Castiel had to go somewhere, but she said you'll look after me." she held up her ponies. "This is Princess Baby Sunsparkle, and this is Baby Minty."

"Where did they come from?" Dean asked.

Claire patted the miniature trench coat that Cas had taken to wearing everywhere.

"Castiel put them in my pocket so we can take them everywhere," Claire explained.

"Wait, everywhere? So, when Cas is fighting demons, or on important angel business or whatever, she's flying around with a pocketful of ponies?"

Claire nodded.

Dean snorted, and couldn't hold back his grin.

"That's awesome." He swung his legs out of bed and stood up. "You feel like some breakfast, Claire?"

Claire nodded, brightening. Poor kid was probably starving.

"I'll just change, and then we can head down to the diner I saw yesterday."

Dean looked at Sam, who was lying there with one exposed foot hanging off the edge of the bed, his ridiculous hair flopping everywhere, and filling the room with that soft, strangely penetrating snore of his.

"We can grab something for Sleeping Beauty and bring it back when we're done."

Claire studied Sam.

"He looks silly when he's sleeping," she said critically.

Dean grinned.

"He does, doesn't he? Come on. Let's go get some pie for breakfast."