This little bunny peeked shyly out from behind my tea mug as I was finishing up 'You Gotta Be Kidding'. It's one of those really annoying ones that's insistent enough that you have to listen to it, but it doesn't actually give you enough detail to work out exactly how a story might pan out. But sometimes, just getting down the first bit can encourage it, and more inspiration follows, so, I'll put a first chapter out there, and see what the Denizens of the Jimiverse think, and add to it if the bunny co-operates. I think it has potential.

DISCLAIMER: None of it is mine, I just dunk them in custard and throw them to the fangirls for the amusement of others.

TITLE: The Consultant

SUMMARY: When a third Cupid is reduced to tears by a tough mission, Castiel, with his 'Sheriff of Heaven' hat on, decides to take a leaf from human businesses, and hire a specialist. All he needs is some jargon. But will Dean agree to wear the company 'uniform'? No slash here, people, move along, move along...

RATING: T, just in case, because if this story does progress, you know that Dean will open his mouth sooner or later.

BLAME: I lay the blame for pestering me with these DAMNED PLOT BUNNIES squarely at the feet of the Denizens, Visitors, Lurkers and Occasional Droppers-In of the Jimiverse. You are MERCILESS. I used to do garden. And crochet. And organise my bookshelves. Now I spend my time desperately attempting to expunge plot bunnies that drive me nuts. That, or I'm a shameless review addict who is constantly on the scrounge for her next fix...

Chapter 1

Castiel regarded the angel standing in front of him compassionately.

"Please do not blame yourself, Temeriel," he said gently, "You tried your very hardest. Nobody could have done more than you."

"I'm so s-s-s-sorry, Castiel," sobbed the Cupid, "I know this mission was i-i-important, but I just couldn't get them to, to, to," he broke off, and started howling in distress. "I've let everybody down," he wailed, "I've let them down, I've let humanity down, I've let you down, I've let Father down..."

"I do not believe that," Castiel told him firmly, "I do not believe that our Father would feel let down by you. I believe that your efforts and persistence would please Him. I believe that He would be proud of you, and your attempts in the face of such a difficult mission."

"You think?" sniffled Temeriel."

"I know," Castiel reassured him. He hated to see a little brother so upset, especially a Cupid. He stretched out his Grace in what Dean Winchester would no doubt refer to as a 'Heavenly chick-flick moment', and reassured the Temeriel.

He liked the junior cherubs; whether it was because of their very nature, or whether it was because of their work, they were usually happy, cheerful, friendly and optimistic, always looking for the best in people. And unlike some of the higher ranked angels, they were without haughtiness, guile or pride – they were contented with their lot. Humans would describe them as 'comfortable in their own skins'.

In fact, they were so comfortable, that even in the Heavenly realm, as multi-dimensional waveforms of celestial intent, they managed to get around in a state that would most closely be rendered into human understanding as 'undressed'.

Poor Temeriel burst into angelic tears again, wrapping his own subordinate Grace back around Castiel's, allowing himself to be consoled by the 'hug'. "I really wish I could've pulled it off," he cried, "They would make such a wonderful couple, if they would just let themselves see it..."

Castiel smiled. "If it is meant to be, we will find a way," he assured the Cupid. "This mission has been hard on you," he went on, "You need some time to recuperate. There is a vacation camp taking place that I would like you to attend to. I know that you and your brethren always find such missions... fulfilling."

Temeriel managed a little smile. "Ah, puppy love," he sighed, a little wistfully. "So wonderful at the time, but it never lasts, you know."

"Of course it does not," Castiel smiled gently, "It is not meant to endure. But the experience is beneficial in assisting those young people to mature into emotionally literate adults."

"They do enjoy it, though," the Cupid smiled, "A first hug, a first kiss, such novelty, such revelation!" He sighed again, happily this time. "When do I leave?" he asked eagerly.

"As soon as you have filed your report," Castiel replied. Temeriel's face fell again. "If we are to tackle this problem with a different strategy, we will need all the information you can provide," he reassured the Cupid, "It is in no way intended to reflect badly upon you, or imply that any sort of failure must be explained."

"Danael in Reception is scary," said Temeriel in a small voice. "She goes through my reports with a red pen."

"Danael is that she is," Castiel sympathised with his brother – the odd report he'd filed had come back covered with Danael's carefully penned corrections, in her imposing handwriting with serifs – "And to refrain from judging her shows humility." He paused. "A human I know once described her as 'A cranky old maiden aunt Virtue who's a Virtue because nobody would want to take her Virtue away'," he confided, "But that's because she does not approve of the vulgar language he sometimes includes in his prayers."

"She probably needs a hug," decided Temeriel, with a big smile. "Thank you, Castiel. I will go complete my report immediately."

"Your diligence, as ever, does you credit," Castiel praised him. "I look forward to the report from you next mission."

Temeriel took his leave. He would try to 'hug' Danael. And he would succeed. He always did. All the Cupids always did. Danael would scowl, and complain, and stand on her considerable dignity and seniority, and wave her red pen ferociously, but Castiel had a suspicion that she rather enjoyed the junior angels' affection, and he was far too charitable ever to call her on it.

However, that still left him with the problem of the mission. Temeriel had been the third Cupid to be assigned to it. He was one of the most experienced, and most successful Cupids in the Host, and for him to finally, tearfully, admit defeat, it had to be a difficult case.

Castiel turned the problem over in his mind. Sending a more powerful angel would, ultimately, not work. Oh, through application of brute force, a senior angel could accomplish the job, but most angels would balk at doing such a 'lowly' task, and do it grudgingly. And if it was not done with compassion and goodwill, and the benevolent finesse that was the Cupids' special talent, the match would never last. No, more Heavenly power would not work. The whole exercise turned on being able to prompt, persuade and prevail upon both parties to realise that they were attracted to each other. The bumbling, happy, good-natured beagle with adorable floppy ears would accomplish what the pit-bull with the bear-trap jaw could not.

Humans. They were intriguing. In some ways, so unvarying, and in others, utterly unpredictable. Angels, on the whole, had never been hugely successful in dealing with the unpredictability of humans. It was probably to do with free will. Or climate change. If you really wanted to understand what a human was thinking, you had a better chance if you just asked another human...

Castiel paused in his train of thought. It occurred to him that he did actually know a human who was extremely well versed in the male-meets-female idiom. Indeed, not only was he an expert in the field of male-meets-female, he was also highly skilled in the domain of male-copulates-with-female...

Human businesses did it all the time, he reasoned: they didn't have someone with a particular skill needed for a particular project, so they employed a specialist for a short time. A contractor. An advisor. A... consultant. All it seemed to require was an incantation in a very stylised, impenetrably esoteric form of language called 'jargon'.

As soon as Temeriel was done with his vacation camp mission, Castiel called upon him again.

"I have been thinking upon the matter of your previous mission," he told the Cupid, "And have decided that you should collaborate with a specialist in the area."

Temeriel looked confused. "We do not usually work in teams," he sounded doubtful, "Although if you think it would work, I will of course try my very best. I am sure that Kariel would be eager to assist, she has had much success with particularly socially inept subjects, and Nameniel is young, but very diligent and shows great patience, having proven to be most inventive when dealing with subjects with unfortunately pungent body odour..."

"I was not suggesting that you collaborate with other cherubs," Castiel clarified, "I was thinking that you could collaborate with a human specialist in the area. A consultant, if you will."

Temeriel's eyes went wide. "You mean... manifest before a human?" he sounded awed, "And... work with them?" His mind digested that idea the way an AP class Physics student might respond if asked, 'Hey, do you want to leave your schoolwork for a while and go do a project in Stephen Hawkings's lab instead?' "Wow," the Cupid breathed, "That would be... astonishing..."

"I believe it may be worth the attempt," Castiel said. "If we can persuade the right person to assist us. I would like you to observe closely, and learn as much as you can. It would be like serving an... internship, or perhaps a post-graduate course."

"Do you have a particular human in mind?" asked Temeriel reverently, "Who is it? A professor of psychology? A behavioural scientist? A Nobel laureate of medicine?"

"No." Castiel smiled at the eager cherub. "Temeriel, I am taking you to meet the Righteous Man."

Overwhelmed by the honour being done to him, a lowly cherub, Temeriel fainted.

Castiel cocked his head, using what had been referred to as his 'angel radar' to locate the human he wished to approach. Given the man's abilities, and Temeriel's diligence, he had high hopes that they could yet complete the mission.

Although, given the way Dean Winchester usually operated, it was extremely likely that Danael would burn any subsequent report.

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