help me adjust to this madness

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Castiel's eyes flicker open under the harsh sunlight. Purple dots dance in front of his eyes, and he pushes himself up, fingers gripping at the grass he's lying on. He wobbles a bit, but finally manages to sit up. He looks around, not recognizing the lake he's sitting beside. Suddenly, he remembers the Leviathan and Dean and Sam and Bobby.

He stands, pants and shirt looser than ever around him. His knees buckle, and he falls to the ground. He splays his hands out to break his fall, and shouts when he catches sight of his hands. They're small, and delicate. Feminine. Perfect nails, slim digits. He holds the hands up to his face, not believing what he's seeing.

He presses a hand to his face, and it's not the face he remembers having before sinking into the water. His nose is small, there's no stubble on his chin, his cheeks are round, his jet black, pin straight hair reaches the end of his chin. He sits back on his haunches, and stares up at the sky. He'd been given a new body. One to replace his dead, drowned one.

He instantly misses his Jimmy Novak vessel. He stops, then, and realizes he'd be referring to himself as a 'he' when now, 'he' is a 'she'.

He, er, she tiredly rubs her eyes. This is going to be confusing. She can't imagine the look on Dean's face when he finds out. She runs a hand through her short hair, and stands, now steady on her new, longer legs.

She wonders briefly where Dean is, but then quickly files that to a second priority. First, she has to blend in.

She steals into a women's store in the dead of the night, picking things she'd seen girls wearing off of the racks. She slides on a pair of new jeans, and then slips into a black long-sleeved shirt. She picks a pair of shoes that Dean called 'Chucks' and slips her little feet into them. She wiggles her toes, staring down at her new pink 'Chucks'.

Castiel grows uneasy as she walks through the throngs of people on the sidewalk. She's much smaller than she had been before, and everyone towers over her. She wonders how tall Sam will seem.

She stops in her tracks, and she thinks of the Winchesters again. Shames floods her small body as she remembers the last time she'd seen them. She had been there, inside, when the Leviathan had taken charge of Jimmy Novak. She'd screamed and screamed for them to hear her.

They hadn't.

Castiel walks for hours, not knowing exactly where she's going, but she knows that she has to keep walking. Whatever, or whoever, is leading her finally turns her towards a town four counties over from the lake she'd woken up beside.

She stops in front of a hotel, and something inside of her leads her to room 343. She stands outside of the door, listening intently.

There's the sound of the TV, and then, just when she's about to give up, there it is. Dean's gravelly voice. He's speaking to someone, Sam most likely, and her insides jump with excitement she realizes that she's this close to seeing them again.

She knocks on the door, sticking her slim hands into the back pockets of her jeans. There's a grumble, probably from Sam, and then the door opens.

She stares up at the youngest Winchester. She was right, he's colossal compared to her. He smiles warmly at her, "Can I help you, miss?" he asks.

"Sam." she breathes, hoping those words can convert everything. Who she is, what's happened to her.

He instantly stills, and she realizes she's said the wrong thing as his eyes narrow. "Who are you?"

"Sam," she repeats, pleading this time. "Sam, please. I—"

"Wait, look at me." Sam murmurs, and she lifts her chin to look at him. He stares into her eyes for a moment, "It can't be." he muses, "But your eyes—Castiel?"

A smile breaks out over her face. "Yes." she nods vigorously. He grabs her up, holding her tightly.

"Hey, Sam. Who's the cutie you're molesting?" Dean's voice comes from inside the hotel room.

Sam pulls Castiel inside, and shuts the door. He pushes her forward towards Dean, who's lying on the bed, beer in hand. She bites her lip.

Dean stares at her, incredulous eyes roving over her. Then he stands, stepping towards her. "Cas?" he says in disbelief.

A even bigger smile than before breaks over her face when he grasps her chin, his own smile forming.

Dean puts a hand on her shoulder, and leads her outside. The car they stop at is a strange one, but Dean makes no move to explain, so she doesn't ask. He pops the trunk, and hands her the folded up trench coat she'd worn when she was Jimmy Novak.

"Thought you might want this back." he says gruffly, "Even though you're, ah, not a dude anymore."

Castiel holds the coat tightly to her chest, and nods. "Thank you." she breathes, more at home when she's near the coat than she is in her new skin.

Dean's lips tilt up, and he leads her back to the hotel room.

Things change, subtly.

She grows comfortable in her new jeans and t-shirt combo. She likes the pink Chucks, especially.

She has to walk fast to keep up with their long strides, but she doesn't really mind. Most of the time, she just catches the back of Dean's jacket, using it to help her keep pace with them. Sam takes to picking her up when she can't keep up with them, and he carries her under his arm or across his back.

She feels...like part of the family.

She learns to fire a gun.

She still has a hold on some of her angelic fighting skills, but it's harder to apply them in this new body.

She keeps a knife on her at all times at Dean's request. He seems to think that now, now that she's not man-shaped, she's fragile and weak. It irks her to no end. She's exactly the same as she was before, she's just smaller.

"Why'd she have to come back as such a babe?" Dean groans when Castiel disappears into the bathroom for a shower.

"To torture you." Sam says without looking up from his computer.

Castiel likes going on hunts with her boys, as Bobby's taken to calling them.

She gets to do research with Sam and she cleans weapons with Dean, and she wonders why she hadn't done this before.

Dean hovers, though. When they're hunting. He's always asking her if she's okay, if she needs anything. It's ridiculous. She'll grit her teeth whenever he asks and say yes, she's fine, and no, shedoesn't want to skip this hunt to watch Desperate Housewives.

They're doing what Dean calls the 'usual' when Castiel gets her first taste of feminine hormones.

They're digging for bones to burn when it happens. Dean's shoveling dirt out of the hole at an alarming rate. He shrugs out of his jacket and tosses it to her. Without thinking, she slips it on, immersing herself inDean. Sweat beads on his forehead, and he wipes a hand over his skin.

Her stomach burns with...something. Her legs tingle and goosebumps rise on her skin. She licks her lips. She's always known Dean was attractive. She'd heard it enough from Dean himself. But she'd never really...she'd never really thought that much of it. Maybe once or twice when she was Jimmy, but nothing more than a fleeting thought.

He groans, tossing the shovel away. He holds a hand out to her and she grabs it, hauling him out of the hole. He's close to her now, shoulder brushing hers. He smells like Old Spice and Dean;musky, fresh air, clean. He wipes a bead of sweat away from his forehead, and she looks away before she does something she'll regret.

"Bait?" Castiel repeats, tilting her head.

Sam nods, "Yeah, you just get in there and lure the vamp out here, and we'll take care of the rest."

She bites her lip, "What if something—"

"Nothing will happen." Sam reassures her.

Reluctantly, she finds herself agreeing to be the 'bait'.

"I don't like this." Dean says, crossing his arms over his chest.

"You don't like anything." Sam says, rolling his eyes. The pair start bickering, and she sits down on one of the beds, pulling up her legs and wrapping her arms around her knees.

"You look..." Dean whistles low.

Castiel smooths her hands down the red dress Sam had bought her. She doesn't like it. She misses her jeans and her Chucks. The dress stops mid-thigh, and she feels more exposed than ever.

Dean's staring at her, eyes transfixed on the expanse of skin she's showing. She swallows uncomfortably and that seems to shock him out of his mood. "...great." he finishes finally, "You look great." he sounds a little bitter about it.

"You'll do fine." Sam assures her.

Dean glares at him.

She plays her part well, enthralling the vampire and leading him from the bar. If she can get him into the alleyway, the Winchesters will take care of him. She only has to put up with his gropey hands until then.

He plants his lips on her neck as she leads them to the alleyway, and a look of disgust passes over her face before she slaps a smile in its place. They reach the alley, and Dean steps out of the shadows.

The vampire is headless and staked in seventeen seconds. She doesn't know how he moved so fast. She moves to ask him, but he brushes past her, stalking away. "Dean?" she calls after him, but he keeps walking.

He ignores her for the next two days.

On the third day, she corners him in their hotel room when Sam's out getting dinner. "Why are you ignoring me?" she asks, arms folded across her chest. She pouts, and Dean's eyes fall to her lips before they revert back to her eyes.

He shrugs, and makes a move to walk away, but she slaps at his chest. "Give me a reason! A good, solid reason!"

Dean stares at her for a moment, taking in the frazzled look she has plastered across her face and the way she's nervously biting her lip. "Because," he starts, "because you let that vampire put his sloppy mouth all over you, and you didn't try to stop him." he says gruffly.

Castiel's mouth falls open, "That's—that's what you're so angry about? I was playing a part! I was being the bait!" she shakes her head at him. "You're stupid, Dean Winchester."

He deflates. "Yeah." he agrees.

Dean watches her for a moment. Something flashes across his face, and then he's cupping her face in his hands and bringing his mouth to hers.

On their own accord, her arms fly up, wrapping around his neck. He stands up straight, bringing her with him. Her long, slim legs wrap around his middle, and is this what she's been missing out on? She feels herself falling, and her mouth detaches itself from his. He's dropped her on one of the beds in the room, and now he's guiding her legs apart and sliding in between them.

Her eyes roll into the back of her head when he slips a warm hand under her shirt, and she's glad for this new, feminine body.

Sometime later, Sam opens the door, bags of groceries in hand. He takes one look inside the room, and then shouts, "Oh my god! At least put a sock on the door or something!" before he's throwing the bags inside and slamming the door shut, waking away and muttering something about angels and stupid brothers.

fin.