Author's Note: I decided that I wanted to go through and write an entire story by hand, and since the Dean/Castiel juices have been flowing more for me lately, I decided to write one of them. Warning, this contains kitten!Cas. It's set after "The Real Ghostbusters" (Episode 5x09) but before "Abandon All Hope…" (Episode 5x10). Those of you who haven't watched Supernatural or don't really like it, feel free to leave now. I won't take it personally… (at least, I'll try my best not to).
Oh, and I used to think that it'd be impossible for me to read or write slash, but man. Dean (played by Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (played by Misha Collins) are seriously perfect creatures, and I wouldn't have them paired up with anyone else (on the show I mean… they are happily married—to other people, sadly—in real life).
And one last thing. Today, January 24th, is Dean's birthday! What is he now, thirty-three? Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dean!
Fur and Feathers
Dean was just beginning to wake up when he felt his bed dip slightly. Very slowly, he slid his hand underneath his pillow, reaching for his knife.
A soft mewling sound made him freeze, and then something furry brushed against his arm. He tensed and closed his fist around the handle of the knife. There was a louder meow, this time right by his face.
He opened his eyes and saw a tiny ball of grey fluff as it extended a paw toward his cheek.
"Whoa!" he grunted, inching backward and then sitting up.
The kitten seemed unworried, walking over to his hand and turning its head upward so that it could look up at him.
"Sam!" Dean said.
His brother groaned in response and opened his eyes a crack.
"Sam, I thought I told you. No strays."
It wasn't the first time Sam had let an animal into the motel room. Sometimes Dean wondered if it was because Sam was part dog himself—those puppy-eyes had to have come from somewhere.
"Stray?" Sam said, sitting up and rubbing his left eye with the back of his hand. "What stray?"
Dean looked back down at the grey cat and saw that it was still looking up at him. Now that he was more awake, he observed that the lower half of its face was actually white, as were its paws, and by extension, probably most of its under-side.
As the kitten tilted its head slightly to the left, Dean noticed its round, unnaturally blue eyes. Another set of brilliant blue eyes immediately surfaced in his mind, but he pushed the image away.
"What the hell?" he murmured to himself.
"How'd that kitten get in here?" Sam asked, sounding much more alert now.
Dean looked away from the eyes, feeling a bit unnerved. "Beats me," he said to Sam. "But it's going right back outside."
At these words, the kitten hissed loudly and sunk its claws into the mattress.
Sam shook his head and reached over, scooping the kitten into his hand. It immediately hissed, spat, and extended its claws. Sam yelped and released it. The cat landed on its feet just barely and tilted its head up, seeming to glare back and forth between the brothers.
"You're kidding me, right?" Dean said to no one in particular.
"It just doesn't want to leave," Sam said. But he looked more wary of the little ball of fur, too.
"What if it's some kind of monster?"
Sam just looked at Dean. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Well hey, maybe it's learned to evolve into something that humans would let down their guards with."
"What, like an advanced version of werewolves? A werecat?"
"There you go! There's gotta be some lore on those, right?"
A loud meow interrupted them, and then the kitten leapt back up onto Dean's bed, fixing those eyes on him.
"Why are you so convinced it's not just a stray cat?" Sam asked.
"For one, how did it get in the room? And… it won't stop staring at me!"
The kitten climbed onto one of Dean's legs, and—why were those eyes so goddamn blue? Dean lifted a hand to nudge the kitten off, but Sam grabbed his forearm, stopping him. It was a good thing Dean's legs were still under the covers, because the kitten started extending its claws again.
"What?" said Dean, looking up at his brother. When had he gotten to his feet? And when had he gotten so freakin' huge?
"Oh, come on. This is the first time an animal has decided to reach out to you, Dean. It might be the last. Savor it," Sam said, grinning.
"I don't need reassurance that I'm a good person from little furry creatures. But I know you do. Don't worry—I get it."
Sam's expression soured slightly. "Jerk."
The response was automatic, like a knee-jerk reflex.
The cat mewled again, almost impatiently. It stood and turned around in a tiny circle before turning back to continue staring up at Dean.
Sam chuckled and headed for the bathroom.
"Hey! You're gonna leave me out here with a werecat?" Dean called.
Sam only laughed harder and shut the bathroom door behind him.
"That son of a bitch."
Dean glanced back down at the kitten, which continued to look back up at him expectantly.
"What are you lookin' at me for? I've got no food for you, if that's what you want. Sam will feed you later."
The kitten mewled again, and Dean frowned. Did cats need to blink? Because so far, Dean couldn't remember seeing this one blinking.
"If you were really a werecat, you'd say something, right?"
It looked impatient again, and Dean sighed. Without really thinking about it, he scooped the kitten off his leg. Then he winced, waiting for claws to sink in, and was surprised when the kitten just sat in his hand, curling up with its back against his fingers. Its head rested by his thumb, and its eyes gazed up at him.
Animals never chose him over Sam. There had to be something wrong with this cat. Dean lifted his hand, bringing the cat to eye level.
"What's wrong with you?"
It mewled in response without looking away. Dean frowned and got to his feet, then set the cat down. As he pulled his hand away, its eyes got a bit wider, looking at him… imploringly? He rolled his eyes and reached back down to pat its head. He scratched the top of its small head with two fingers, and it let out a low sound, vibrating beneath his touch.
The thing was purring.
This was getting a bit weird… maybe it was time to give Bobby a call, just to check for lore on werecats. Who knew? Maybe their existence was possible. He shrugged and pulled his phone out of his pocket.
Better safe than sorry, right?
Five minutes later, Dean hung up on an annoyed Bobby after being called an idjit far more times than he'd like to admit. So there were a few drawbacks to double-checking, after all.
A meow drew his attention, and Dean looked down at the cat, which was—as expected—staring again.
"Looks like you're clean," Dean said.
The kitten mewled loudly and moved to the edge of the bed closest to Dean. Those eyes were really getting to him… It had been several days since he'd last seen Cas, and he wondered how the search for God was going. After all, Cas hadn't said anything when Gabriel—fuck, they'd cornered a friggin' archangel without even knowing it—taunted him about it.
Dean shook his head and returned his attention to the tiny ball of fur that was sitting on his bed, looking up at him unblinkingly. He'd never been so pinned down by a pair of eyes before—well, except by Cas, but that didn't really count, because Dean wasn't about to start thinking about that.
He blinked a few times. How had the thing gotten into the motel room if Sam hadn't let it in?
"What are you?" he muttered.
The cat meowed in response and gave Dean that same head tilt, as though it expected him to understand.
Then the shower switched off, and Dean breathed a sigh of relief. Sam would deal with the kitten while Dean took his shower. With any luck, they'd be outta town and rid of the thing in less than an hour.
When Dean exited the bathroom, he saw Sam sitting in the chair, but it was facing away from the desk. Before Dean could ask, Sam pointed to the little grey kitten.
"It won't eat," he said, frowning.
"Where'd you get the food?" Dean asked.
"Bought it. Obviously."
Dean rolled his eyes and resisted the urge to bitch about the money. Hustling pool wasn't that difficult, he guessed. "Who cares if it doesn't eat?" he said. "Let's hit the road."
He walked over to his bed and picked up his bag—he'd packed before going in to shower. Slinging it over his shoulder, he moved toward the door.
Dean sighed and paused but didn't turn around. "What, Sam?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.
"We're not just gonna leave it here."
"I'm not putting a shedding mess in my baby," Dean said, half-turning to look at Sam.
Bad idea. The puppy-dog eyes were out, and when Dean glanced back at the kitten, it had widened its startlingly blue eyes and tilted its head to the side yet again.
"Fine, the cat can come," he grunted finally. "I'm already putting up with you and your mutt hair, anyway. Might as well take on a cat. But we're dropping him off at the nearest shelter, got it?"
Sam pouted—actually pouted. "It's only a kitten, Dean."
"Exactly. We don't have time to play nanny to a cat."
As Dean walked out, he heard Sam say, "You'd better let me pick you up now. I just convinced Dean to let you stay with us."
"Talking to your kitty-cat friend, Sammy?" Dean called as he tossed his bag into the trunk of the Impala.
Sam joined Dean less than a minute later, and Dean was surprised to see the little fluffy kitten perched on his overgrown brother's left shoulder.
"What?" Dean said, standing by the driver's side.
Dean chuckled as he and Sam got into the car. He reached forward and started the car.
As they drove out of the parking lot, Sam moved the kitten from his shoulder to his thigh, where it walked slowly in a few circles before finally curling up in a little ball. It rested its head on its paws and fixed its eyes on Dean.
"It's doing that creepy staring thing again," Dean muttered.
"Maybe it likes you."
"Or maybe it's plotting how best to kill me."
"Paranoid." Sam petted the kitten. "We should give it a name.
"Helping people is so important. Why can't we help out a kitten, too?"
"When did you get so touchy-feely about animals? Never mind, don't answer that. I don't wanna know."
"Very funny, Dean."
Dean only smiled in response, keeping his eyes on the road.
"Seriously. I'm gonna name him."
"Don't get attached," Dean warned. "I don't care if you name him Zeppelin. He's still getting dropped off as soon as we have time."
There was a loud meow of what sounded like protest.
"See? He doesn't want to leave," said Sam.
"Dude. It's not like the damn thing can understand a word we're saying."
"I won't look at you disapprovingly whenever you order your heart-attack-inducing meals," Sam offered.
"Sammy…" Dean growled in a warning tone.
"Yeah, all right."
Sam seemed to concede easily enough, but Dean sighed. This only meant he would be bringing it up again, and probably soon. Next stop, Dean was gonna look up an animal shelter and leave that ball of trouble behind. They really didn't have time to take care of a baby cat.
But part of him wanted to keep it. The thing reminded him… it reminded him of Cas, and—damn it all—he really did miss the son of a bitch. But it wasn't as though he could call Cas to him just to have a few drinks and chat.
Maybe it wouldn't be so terrible to keep the cat around…
Just over a week later, Dean woke with a light pressure on his chest. He lifted his head a bit—just enough to check that it was the kitten—before letting his head fall back against the pillow.
But before he'd had a chance to drift off, the weight shifted, and he felt Zeppelin—damn Sammy for really naming the cat that, just to give Dean extra incentive to keep him—crawling up his chest and slightly to the side. The kitten stepped off his shoulder and onto the bed, then nuzzled into Dean's neck.
"Wow. Zeppelin really likes you."
Dean groaned. "Sammy, what're you doing up?"
"Nothing. Just… thinking."
"Cas. Why wouldn't he respond? We need his help to find this… Crowley."
"Cas is busy on his wild goose chase, looking for God. And we can try another crossroad demon. They can't all be that hard to crack."
Dean sighed and reached up to pet Zeppelin, but he backed away. Dean stretched and then sat up, looking down at the kitten.
"Have you noticed that it never seems to sleep?" Sam asked.
"Is that the only weird thing that you've noticed about the damn thing? Because I could probably write a list a mile long," Dean replied. "Bobby said that any werecat lore wasn't legit, though."
"Maybe it's something else, then."
The cat's eyes were wide and fixed on Dean again.
"Does he ever stare at you like that?" Dean asked Sam.
"Nope, just you."
Dean looked at the small, furry creature. "Stop staring at me," he muttered. Then he glanced back up at Sam. "I still think it would've been better to leave him at the shelter."
"He had a fit when we took him out of the car. You saw it."
Dean sighed. The kitten really had had a bitchfit when they pulled up in front of an animal shelter a few days before. Sam had a few ugly scratches on his left hand and arm. Dean had also gotten nicked on his right arm.
"I'll um… feed Zeppelin," Sam said. "Try giving Cas another call. Maybe he'll be able to come."
Dean opened his mouth to speak, but Sam cut him off.
"I know you don't like asking for his help all the time, but we could really use some help this time. Who knows how long it might take for us to track down Crowley on our own?"
"Yeah, all right."
Dean scooped Zeppelin up off the bed and got to his feet, stooping to put the kitten on the floor. Straightening, he looked around their motel room and located his phone on the desk.
When Cas didn't pick up, Dean left an impatient voicemail and hung up, feeling more than slightly irritated.
"Maybe he uh…" Sam began, but he sighed and stopped upon seeing the look on Dean's face. "It might not be his fault," he tried.
Dean shook his head. "How much time would it take for him to answer a damn phone call? It's not as though he has to lift a finger to get anywhere. How behind schedule would a few words put him?"
Zeppelin mewled loudly, and Dean looked down in time to see the kitten pawing at the hem of his pant leg, abnormally bright blue eyes fixed on him, as usual.
"See? Even Zeppelin wants you to forgive Cas," Sam said.
The kitten's eyes got a fraction wider, and he meowed again.
"Sometimes I wonder if you speak cat," Dean grumbled, reaching down to pick Zeppelin up.
Sam laughed. "Maybe I do."
"Wouldn't be surprised."
Zeppelin climbed onto Dean's shoulder and sat there, curling his tail around the back of Dean's neck. He sighed and sat back down on his bed.
"I'm gonna go out for a run," Sam announced, walking over to his bag and pulling out a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. "I'd ask you to come, but I wouldn't want to break it up between you and Zep."
"Oh, shut up. And you named him Zeppelin, so call him Zeppelin. Not Zep."
Sam finished changing and headed for the door. "See you later, man."
The door closed behind Sam, and Dean fell back onto the mattress. Zeppelin gave a disgruntled yowl as he was thrown off Dean's shoulder, and Dean bit back the apology that immediately formed on the tip of his tongue. He didn't have to apologize to a freakin' cat.
But apparently Zeppelin didn't need an apology, because an instant later, he crawled back over to Dean and climbed onto his chest, settling down over his sternum.
Dean closed his eyes and lifted a hand so that he could rub Zeppelin's head with his thumb, letting the rest of his hand rest lightly over the kitten's body. He wondered where it had come from and why it had decided to choose Dean, rather than Sam.
After the botched attempt to leave Zeppelin at a shelter, Dean had waited until Sam was showering before taking little Zeppelin and introducing him to salt, iron, silver, holy water—hell, he'd even drawn a Devil's trap on a piece of paper and plopped the indignant kitten down right in the middle of it. Zeppelin had walked right off the page and hopped down into Dean's lap.
So, as far as Dean was concerned, Zeppelin was just a grey-and-white kitten with too-blue eyes and a few little quirks. The staring still got to him, though.
Then his cell phone rang, interrupting his thoughts.
He realized that Zeppelin had been purring, vibrating gently as he absentmindedly petted him. Dean sighed and started to sit up, getting a soft mewl of protest from the ball of fur on his chest. He gently nudged Zeppelin away and reached over to the nightstand, grabbing his phone.
The word, "Cas," blinked at him in white, pixilated letters.
"Where the hell have you been, Cas?" he demanded, placing the phone at his ear.
"Why hello there, Dean-o!"
It was the wrong voice, and Dean paused, startled. But it only took a few seconds for him to place the tone.
"Gabriel," he snarled.
"The one and only!" the archangel proclaimed cheerfully.
"What have you done with Cas? Where is he?"
"Wow. You really have no idea, do you?"
Gabriel sounded amused, which only served to piss Dean off further. He balled his free hand into a fist and imagined smashing it into the damned archangel's face.
"Where is he?" he repeated.
Dean heard Gabriel laughing on the other end and started seeing red. He became aware of the loud, incessant meowing right in front of him just in time to feel two sets of claws dig into his left thigh through the denim of his jeans.
"Hey!" he grunted, shoving the cat out of his way.
It landed on the ground, on all fours, and hissed up at him, those huge, blue eyes seemingly filled with anger.
"Not now, Zeppelin," Dean growled. "Gabriel, stop laughing or so help me, I'll make you wish you'd never been… created!"
It took a moment for the archangel to quiet down, and Dean got to his feet to pace as he fumed. Zeppelin was also quiet, and he glowered up at Dean, tail flicking slowly and precisely from side to side as though he, too, was fuming.
How the cat managed to look so pissed off was beyond Dean.
"You done now?" Dean said gruffly into his cell phone.
Gabriel chuckled. "Come on, Dean. Do you really think I'd give up the answer so easily?"
"What do you want from me, then?"
Dean frowned. That didn't make any sense… "Nothing? What do you mean, nothing? You must have kidnapped my angel for a reason."
And then he clapped his free hand over his mouth. Had he really just referred to Cas as his angel? Son of a bitch.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Zeppelin and turned to face him. The kitten had gone very still—unnaturally still.
Something in his mind seemed to click into place.
"Still there, Dean?" Gabriel said.
"Yeah. You son of a bitch, what have you done to Cas?"
"As if you don't already suspect it."
A feeling somewhere between terror and dread churned in Dean's gut, and he looked at the grey-and-white kitten, which still hadn't moved even a fraction of an inch—it could have been carved of stone.
"So, what have I done with… your angel?" Gabriel taunted.
Dean swallowed hard. "Gabriel, please tell me you didn't… turn Cas, into a cat."
"But—I don't—how the hell—why?" Dean spluttered.
"Do I really need a reason why? I am the Trickster. I just love messing with people."
"Well, then you've had your fun. Now change him back."
"No, I don't think so."
"What can I do to get you to change him back, then?"
"Absolutely nothing. Have fun with your pet, Dean."
"Hey—" Dean began, but there was a click on the other end, and then a dial tone.
Dean swore and dropped the phone on the bed before turning to look down at Zep—Cas. Holy crap. Cas. The kitten was looking at the floor now, motionless as before, except in a different pose.
"Um… Cas?" Dean said tentatively.
The kitten didn't move.
Dean squatted down in front of the kitten and reached toward it, slowly. Had Gabriel screwed with Cas's mind? Did Cas remember being an angel? It certainly seemed like Cas could understand what Dean had been saying… and this transformation thing definitely explained the eyes and the staring…
The tips of Dean's fingers came into contact with the soft fur on the top of the kitten's head, but it still wouldn't move.
"Cas? Are you… is it you?"
Goddamn it, if Gabriel was lying and this was all just part of some joke, Dean would kill him. Then again, he didn't feel particularly averse to the notion of killing the bastard anytime, with or without an excuse.
The kitten—Cas—mewled softly and lifted his head, pinning Dean down with that stare again.
"Cas, I… Damn it, I almost left you at a shelter!"
He owed Sammy a million freaking thank-you's.
"Look, let me give Bobby a call. Maybe he'll know what to do. Don't worry, Cas, I'll fix you. We'll get you back to normal."
The blue eyes softened, and Dean sensed that Cas was thanking him. He snatched his phone up from the bed and dialed Bobby's number.
He had just hung up the phone when Sam reentered the crappy motel room.
"Perfect timing, Sammy. We've gotta go," Dean said.
"Go? Wait—what's going on?"
"It's… it's Cas. Gabriel called me using his cell phone."
"I know. He… he turned Cas into… into…" Dean couldn't finish the sentence and gestured lamely to the lump of fur on the ground.
Sam's eyes widened. "You're kidding, right?"
"Do I look like I'm kidding?" Dean growled, trying to school his features into a less panicked expression. He didn't want Sam to know just how upset he was about all this.
"You're saying that Gabriel, the archangel, called you… and transformed Cas into a cat?" Sam said skeptically.
"Yeah, that sounds about right."
"I don't believe it."
"Neither do I, but—"
"No—Dean, I mean that I literally don't believe it. That cat… Zeppelin can't be Cas," Sam said.
Dean sighed and beckoned for Cas to hop onto the edge of the bed. "Is there anything you can do to prove to Sam that you're really you?" he asked.
The kitten—Cas, Dean reminded himself—tilted his head slightly to the left before shutting his eyes. Sam shook his head and rolled his eyes and Dean, but Dean only frowned back.
A sudden burst of light blinded him momentarily.
"What the—" he and Sam barked simultaneously.
But the light faded as quickly as it had come, and Dean looked at Sam pointedly.
"Angelic enough for you?"
Seeing the surprised expression on Sam's face, he frowned and turned his attention back to the angelic infant feline sitting on the bed.
Two dark streaks now ran down the length of Cas's back, and Dean involuntarily sucked in a deep breath. It was one thing to be told that his angel pal had been mojo-ed into a cat. It was another to see that said cat could magically change colors, at will.
Upon closer inspection, the two dark streaks appeared to ripple and move slightly, even though Cas was sitting motionlessly. They… couldn't be his… his wings? Those blue eyes were staring, as always, at Dean, but there was a sense of smugness in them this time around.
"Okay," Sam muttered. "So… that's Cas."
Dean nodded. "It's him, all right. Now let's get the hell out of here—we're going to Bobby's to fix him."
"I just got back from a run, Dean. I—"
"Our friend is a goddamn cat, Sam. I already packed your stuff while I was on the phone with Bobby, so let's get going."
Sam groaned. "Fine. Don't complain when I stink up the car."
"As if you don't do that anyway."
Dean exited the room and wasn't surprised when Cas bounded past him, headed for the Impala.
"You know, he's been like that for more than a week," Sam said as he followed Dean toward the car. "Why do you think he hasn't tried to give us any hints?"
Dean shrugged. It wasn't something he wanted to think about. "Maybe he couldn't remember," he suggested.
"No, I'm pretty sure he did, because he definitely picked you over me. And I've been… not particularly well-liked by him, in the past."
"I don't know, then. Look, can we just focus on getting him back to normal?" Dean said as he got into the driver's seat.
Sammy climbed into shotgun and let Cas hop onto his thigh before closing the door. Dean stuck the key in the ignition but didn't turn it, glancing over at Sam instead. As expected, his little brother was blushing, and Dean knew exactly what that was about—Sam was nervous because a friggin' angel was curling up on his leg.
Dean couldn't help but chuckle at his brother's obvious discomfort, and Sam glowered at him.
"This is awkward," Sam muttered under his breath.
Before Dean could reply, Cas hopped from Sam's thigh up onto the dash.
"Cas, that's stupid. You'll fall when the car starts moving," Dean pointed out.
Cas turned to level a glare at him in response, and Dean wondered how the hell he'd managed to miss the fact that this cat was Cas. Sighing, he started the car, and Cas immediately leaped off the dash in Dean's direction. He landed on Dean's upper thigh and sunk his claws in.
"Damn it, Cas!" Dean growled, plucking the kitten off his leg and handing him over to Sam.
"I think you startled him," Sam said.
"We haven't even started moving yet. And it's not like this is the first time he's gotten a ride in my baby."
Dean maneuvered his way out of the parking lot in relative silence. But of course, it was not to last.
"Did Gabriel say why he did it?"
"No," Dean replied tiredly.
"What did Bobby say?"
Out of the corner of his eye, Dean saw Cas's ears perk up. "Nothing," he lied. "Said he was gonna do a bit of research for us."
"Hmm," Sam grunted. "Do you really think there's any way—"
"Bobby can find out anything," Dean interrupted. "We'll find our way out of this mess, okay?"
"Okay, Dean. All I'm trying to say is that we might end up having to go back to Gabriel on this one. We should keep that in mind, in case we can't find anything."
Dean chose not to reply and turned the stereo on. AC/DC's "Back in Black" blared over the speakers. Didn't quite suit his mood, but he wasn't gonna complain.
"I'm just gonna knock out," Sam announced.
"Yeah, go ahead. I'll wake you when it's your turn to drive."
They arrived at Bobby's just before dawn the next day—they'd driven the whole night, stopping only to switch drivers or to get gas and snacks.
"Just get in here—door's unlocked!" Bobby called in response to their knocks.
Dean turned the knob and pushed the door open with his free hand—he held Cas in the other. Apparently, even though angels didn't sleep, kitten-angels slept, and Cas refused to wake up.
"Bobby, hey," Sam said as they entered the house.
Bobby looked up at the brothers and sighed. "You two must be natural-born idjits. How'd you get your angel friend into this kind o' trouble?"
"Hey, it wasn't us," Dean said.
"Wait a minute," Bobby said, eyes zeroing in on the small clump of warm fur that was currently nestled in Dean's palm. "Is that him? That… tiny…"
"Yeah, it's him," Dean said resignedly. "He's even got marks on his back that might represent his wings, or something."
"They move, too," Sam said—he and Dean had discussed his on the ride over.
Bobby just turned his wheelchair around and started wheeling away. "Come on," he said gruffly.
"What, do you have anything for us?" Dean asked as he and Sam followed Bobby through the house and into his study.
"But there's something, right?"
Bobby grunted noncommittally. "You won't like it," he said.
The brothers exchanged brief glances before looking at Bobby expectantly.
"Basically, only another angel can fix him."
"What, that's it? Bobby, that's nothing!" Dean complained.
"Quit moanin' and listen. I couldn't find any ways to summon angels, but I do know that they listen to prayers."
"So if we tricked one into coming and then trapped it with holy oil…" said Sam.
"…then we could make it change Cas back," Dean finished. "Awesome. Let's get some holy oil and trap ourselves an angel."
"Now hold on a minute," Bobby said. "It's not that simple. Right now, you two can't just be showin' yourselves to the angels. You're the vessels—they won't let you go once they have you."
"Which is why we're gonna trap 'em as soon as they show up," Dean said. "We've got Devil's traps around the house, right? Let's do holy oil in the same places, so we'll know where they all are, and—"
"There's no foolproof way to trap an angel, Dean," Sam interrupted.
"Then what are we s'posed to do? Cas is a friggin' cat. I'm not gonna just sit here and wait until Gabriel decides to stop being a dick."
Sam sighed. "Let's just… think this over more carefully. Cas already carved the sigil into our ribs, so we can't be found. Do you think it means they wouldn't be able to detect us, even if they honed in here?"
Dean just groaned and walked toward the kitchen. "I'm grabbing a beer. Anyone else want one?" he called out before realizing belatedly that he only had one free hand—somehow he'd managed to forget that Cas was curled up in his left hand.
"Nah, I'm good," Sam replied as Dean pulled the fridge open.
Dean grabbed an extra beer anyway, figuring Bobby wouldn't turn it down. Then he kicked the fridge shut and headed back into the study.
"We're agreed that the sigil should protect us as long as we're not seen by them," Sam said to Dean as he returned.
"Great. So?" Dean replied, placing the two beers on the desk in front of Bobby. When the old man looked up at him with a frown, Dean lifted the hand that held Cas, reminding Bobby that he didn't have two hands to open the bottles.
"So we can stay hidden while Bobby prays for an angel," Sam said as Bobby opened the bottles and picked one up to drink from it.
Dean snatched his bottle but refrained from drinking for a moment. "And when the angel shows up, we light up some holy oil and trap him."
Sam nodded. "That's the plan."
The sleepy mewl came from the fluffy lump still curled up on Dean's palm. As Dean lifted his hand to eye level, Cas opened one eye just enough for Dean to catch a sliver of brilliant blue.
Bobby was frowning. "Dean, shouldn't you put 'im down? That's not really a kitten. It's an angel."
Dean promptly forgot his witty retort when the jaws on the tiny, feline face in front of him opened wide, exposing two rows of small, sharp teeth. Cas was full-on yawning, adorable—Dean flinched as he thought the word—scrunchy, squinty eyes and everything.
"Dean?" Sam prodded.
"Oh—yeah. Right," Dean said. He quickly moved over to the couch and carefully placed Cas on the armrest.
The kitten stretched lazily before sitting up straight, looking as stiff and composed as only Cas could be. But Dean cut his thoughts off there. He was not going to open that can of worms while Cas was still stuck in cat form. Hell, he never wanted to go there…
"All right. So holy oil," Dean said, turning back to the other two. "Let's go get some."
Somehow, Cas had managed to sound like he was asking a question. What the hell?
"What's wrong, Cas?" Dean asked.
"He can't talk, ya idjit, he's a cat," Bobby said.
"Yeah, thanks for the newsflash, Ironsides," Dean shot back.
"Cas, don't worry," Sam said. "We've got a plan all figured out. You'll be back to normal in an hour."
Dean smiled when Cas tilted his head as if to ask how that was possible. Sam exited the room to get some oil to bless, and Dean took a swig from his beer.
"Are you sure they'll come? People pray all the goddamn time," Dean said.
"I'll just have to come up with the right incentive," Bobby said. "Hell, I don't even need to make something up. I'll just say that Cas is here. I'm sure someone will be interested in picked up an angel-gone-rogue."
Suddenly something very small barreled into Dean's back with a surprisingly large amount of force, and he took two large steps forward to keep his balance. Claws dug into his back as Cas climbed up onto Dean's right shoulder, ignoring Dean's curses and mewling loudly.
"What the hell, Cas?" Dean demanded even though he knew Cas couldn't respond.
The kitten just continued to meow.
"What the hell is wrong with him?" Dean asked, directing his gaze toward Bobby, who—not unexpectedly—gave Dean a look that clearly said: how the hell should I know?
Then Sam was back with a can of holy oil.
"What happened to Cas?" he asked.
"I have no idea. Bobby, what did you say right before he freaked out?" Dean asked, forcefully tugging Cas off his shoulder. He winced as Cas's claws broke the skin in a few places, and Cas's round, blue eyes actually looked… almost remorseful.
"I was just talking about how to get an angel interested in coming here to answer my prayers," Bobby replied.
Cas squirmed in Dean's grip—this was rare. As Zeppelin, Cas had always been quiet and cooperative when Dean was handling him. But now he was struggling to get away, and Dean didn't like it. He put down his drink and boxed the kitten in with his hands.
"Let's get this show on the road," Sam said. "Dean, you've had the most interactions with angels. Where do you think an angel would most likely show up?"
Dean shrugged. "I haven't been around many more than you have. And you pay more attention than me."
Sam rolled his eyes. "All right, we'll just match the circles to the Devil's traps, then."
"You will," Dean said. "I'll make sure Cas doesn't go anywhere."
And yes, it was necessary, because Cas the kitten was being a pain in the ass and thrashing around in the cage of Dean's hands. Thankfully though, he'd put his claws away, so when he pawed insistently at Dean's palm, where his tiny paws had been trapped, he didn't hurt Dean.
That was more proof than almost anything else that this kitten really was Cas. Unwillingness to hurt Dean…
Dean shook the thoughts away and started going upstairs—it'd be easier to charge down a flight of steps rather than up, so they'd have a bigger chance of getting the jump on an angel from above.
"Stop squirming," he growled as he reached the top of the steps.
Cas yowled one more time in protest before going still, so still that had Dean been unaware that he was holding an angel-cat, he would have thought it had died.
"I'm going to put you down. Promise not to make a racket, will you?" Dean said. As an afterthought, he added, "And no more protesting, or clawing me."
Then Sam was coming up the steps.
"Angel blade?" Dean asked.
"I gave it to Bobby. Pretty sure he'll need it more to defend himself, if we're goin' to be hidden anyway," Sam answered.
Suddenly Cas's body burned white hot, and Dean released him with a startled yelp, a sound that he would forever deny making.
"Son of a bitch!"
Dean reached for Cas, but the kitten zoomed down the steps in a grey-and-white blur, and Sam grabbed onto Dean to stop him from going after him.
"Bobby's about to start," he hissed.
Dean glared at Sam but nodded once, pulling out his lighter and preparing to make a run for it. He suddenly realized that he couldn't remember exactly where the Devil's traps were—it had been a while. He closed his eyes and mapped out the room in his head.
Then they heard the low rumble of Bobby's voice and the familiar tone he used for sarcasm—well, he was always a bit cynical, wasn't he?
Dean started creeping down the staircase, motioning with one hand for Sam to stay put—if Dean showed up, the angels wouldn't hurt him, because he was Michael's vessel. Sam, on the other hand…
Then a familiar voice made him freeze in his tracks.
"How did Castiel become a quadruped? And an infantile one, at that!"
Dean's insides felt like they were boiling with fury. He clenched his free hand into a fist and managed to reach the bottom step silently.
"Some witch's spell," Bobby grunted. "I read that only an angel would have the mojo to put him back, so—"
"So you called me," Zachariah interrupted. "Well? I won't do a favor just because you ask me nicely. Do you have anything for me? The whereabouts of the Winchesters, perhaps?"
Sam nudged gently at Dean's back, then mouthed that he was going to wait on the other side, taking the long way around the house.
As Dean nodded in acknowledgement, Cas meowed loudly, and Zachariah laughed.
Oh, Dean could not wait to trap him.
"Castiel, Castiel. When will you ever learn your lesson? You serve God, not the Winchesters." Cas started mewling again, but Zachariah only took a few steps toward the kitten before continuing, talking over the noise, "What is it about that sick, codependent pair of—"
"Shut yer trap, Zachariah," Bobby snapped.
The angel wheeled around to face Bobby at his desk, and Dean realized that he was standing directly beneath a Devil's trap.
Dean took one large step forward, lighting his lighter and tossing it down on the ground, hoping that he wouldn't miss. He wasn't disappointed—flames sparked to life and made a nice circle around the angel.
"Dean," Zachariah said as he turned around to face his captor.
To Dean's dismay, the angel seemed completely unperturbed.
"It's nice to see you again, really."
"Cut the crap. Now change Cas back, or I'm gonna deep fry myself an angel."
Zachariah smiled. "No."
Dean refused to let the surprise show on his face. And then Cas mewled a few times, heading toward the part of the house that Sam was supposed to be coming from.
"Damn it," breathed Bobby.
"Where's Sam?" Dean demanded.
"Let me go, and say yes to Michael. Then we'll bring your little brother back."
Dean clenched his jaw. "No."
"Fine," Zachariah said nonchalantly. "Then Sam dies, and Castiel stays a feline. Though I doubt he'd mind being your pet. He already heeded your every word, even as an angel."
"If you kill Sam, I will end you," Dean threatened. "Now bring him back!"
"Let me go. Then we'll talk."
The sound of an explosion interrupted Dean before he could respond, and then they heard grunts and punching, clear indications of a scuffle.
"Sammy?" Dean called, glancing down the hall.
Sam appeared from around the corner, looking slightly winded but otherwise unharmed. Dean looked back at the trapped angel and noted that he no longer looked smug.
"What happened?" Bobby asked.
Before Sam could explain, the answer presented itself—or rather, himself.
"Hello, Dean-o! Nice to see you again so soon."
Completely forgetting about Zachariah for a moment, Dean stalked toward the archangel, a snarl escaping his lips. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cas heading for Gabriel as well. But while Sam stopped Dean from reaching his destination, no one got in Cas's way, and Gabriel let out an undignified squawk as he was pelted in the face by a storm of fur and claws.
"You son of a bitch, change Cas back—now!" Dean shouted.
Gabriel shoved Cas off him easily and held him in place, mute, and Dean seethed. But he bit his tongue and waited. Maybe, just maybe, the goddamn archangel would change his mind.
Instead, he just clicked his tongue. "Temper, temper. You should watch it—don't give yourself a stroke."
"Shut up and fix Cas," Sam said.
"All in good time," Gabriel said, waving his hand dismissively.
"All in good—all in—all in good time?" Dean spluttered. "What the hell do you want?"
But Gabriel's attention was now focused on Zachariah, and when Dean followed his line of vision, he had to admit that the gobsmacked look on the smug bastard's face was pretty priceless.
Gabriel's lips quirked a bit to the side. "Hey, bro."
"Gabriel…" Zachariah breathed.
"Right you are, my fair-feathered friend," Gabriel said flippantly.
"Oh, I've been everywhere. You wouldn't believe all the fun I've had down here. Earth is a delightful little planet."
"You should be supporting Michael, our brother—"
"Perhaps it slipped your mind that Lucifer is our brother as well," Gabriel said, sounding a shade more solemn. But the darkness eased out of his tone almost instantly, and he said with a smile, "Now… what should I do with you?"
Sam and Dean exchanged glances.
"We can't let him go," Sam said.
Gabriel half-turned to look at Sam, seemingly interested in what he had to say, and Dean caught his brother avoiding the archangel's eyes.
"It would blow your cover, wouldn't it?" Sam said to Gabriel, still avoiding his gaze.
The archangel smirked. "Eh, what the hell. I've already had a couple thousand years of fun. I might as well let Michael and Raphael in on the secret, let them know I'm still around. It'll make things a bit more… exciting, for them."
Having made up his mind, Gabriel turned back and extended a hand in Zachariah's direction, extinguishing the flames.
"Hey, wait a second—" Bobby said.
But it was too late—as soon as the last of the flames flickered out, Zachariah vanished.
"Damn it, Gabriel!" Dean said.
"Idjit," Bobby muttered. Sam and Dean had filled him in on the true identity of the "Trickster" almost as soon as they'd discovered it.
"All right, now for the rest of this silly drama," Gabriel said. "I've been watching over you, and I thought… I thought about what you said, Dean."
"I say a lot of things."
"About standing up to my family," Gabriel said, rolling his eyes. "Look, I'm not going to join the fight on either side. Not Michael's not Lucy's, and not yours, whatever your side is."
"Then why—" Sam started to speak.
"Because I want out."
"We haven't asked—" began Dean.
"Your cat started pestering me nonstop about helping him on the search for Dad. So I gave him a little punishment and dumped him on you two. And besides, after watching you for so long, it was about time I gave things a little bit of a shove."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Dean demanded.
Gabriel just sighed and shook his head. Dean glanced at Cas and saws that he was still fixed in the same position as before. He shot a dark look at Gabriel.
"Look, I'm sorry. Sort of. But Castiel is not coming back until you two promise that you'll talk him out of coming after me. And if he does… I'll turn the whole lot of you into kittens. Hell, Bobby, too!"
"Leave me outta this," Bobby growled. "Now either get fixin', or get the hell off o' my property."
"Fine, we'll talk to him," Dean said. "Just change him back. Now."
Gabriel pointed his right finger in Cas's direction and snapped the fingers of his left hand. But nothing happened immediately, and Dean caught a mischievous glint in the archangel's eyes.
"Damn it, Gabriel, what now?" he groaned.
Sam, Dean, and Bobby all glared at him as one.
"You—" Gabriel pointed his left finger at Dean "—have to kiss Castiel, within the hour, or he'll turn back into a cat, indefinitely. Even I won't have the power to change him back."
Dean's jaw dropped. He was aware that Sam and Bobby's eyes were on him, but he couldn't seem to do anything but gape like a fish.
Gabriel had already started walking away, but he paused and turned back around. "Oh right, I almost forgot. It's gonna have to be a good one, mouth-to-mouth. My brother's a bit inexperienced, so I'll leave his education on the art of using tongue in your capable hands… or should I say, tongue?"
With a final wink and a flap of invisible wings, the archangel was gone, leaving behind three utterly bewildered humans and—as soon as the spell released him—one very angry cat.
"He can't be serious!" Dean growled over Cas's yowls.
"Shut up, you two! You're makin' a racket loud enough to wake the Devil," Bobby said gruffly.
Then Cas started glowing, and Dean turned away, closing his eyes.
"Shut your eyes!" he called out to Sam and Bobby.
The light was so bright that it felt as thought it was streaming through his eyelids, even though he had turned the other way. But soon it faded away, and he slowly opened his eyes and turned around.
Cas stood in the spot where he'd been before, restored to his human form.
"Sorry," he muttered, looking a bit sheepish. "I merely wanted some assistance to—"
"Cas, it's okay. We get it," Dean interrupted.
Then Cas's eyes met his, unblincking and intense as ever, and goddamnit, Dean felt his cheeks heating up.
Sam cleared his throat awkwardly. "I think I'll go lie down for a bit upstairs," he said, turning and walking away.
Bobby just looked between Dean and Cas, shook his head, and wheeled away, muttering something—most likely "idjits"—under his breath.
Dean swallowed once, hard. "We uh… we should probably just get this over with quickly."
He peeked at Cas's face and found those blue eyes still focused on him. His eyes strayed down to Cas's mouth, and before he even realized he was doing it, he licked his own lips.
"We don't have to do this if you are uncomfortable, Dean."
"What? Cas, you heard him. You'll be a cat forever if we don't…"
For some reason, Dean couldn't say it aloud. But he'd be lying if he didn't admit that he'd thought about what it'd be like… The thing was, he'd never allowed himself to dwell on those thoughts before, and now he was going to have to act on them.
Damn it, Gabriel.
Dean looked up at Cas and saw that the angel was, for once, avoiding his eyes. Taking a deep breath, Dean started walking toward his friend. Cas definitely looked uncomfortable, eyes fixed on the ground to the right of Dean.
When Dean was close enough, he lifted a hand and placed it on Cas's shoulder, trying to ignore how Cas flinched at his touch.
"Cas, look at me," he said, taking another step forward.
The angel complied, and Dean suddenly had a flash of those exact same eyes on Zeppelin. Cas took a tiny step back, but Dean moved with him without breaking eye contact. In a few steps, Cas backed into a wall.
"I… do not think this is wise," Cas said.
But the slight hitch in his voice and the steady dilating of his pupils suggested otherwise. Dean let his gaze drop to Cas's lips and noticed when they twitched slightly. His eyes flitted back up to the darkening blue irises in front of him, and he leaned in just a bit closer.
"Why?" he breathed, his voice barely above a whisper.
Cas's lips parted to respond, but before he could get a sound out, Dean leaned forward and closed the gap between them, catching Cas off-guard. Dean hadn't thought the angel could possibly get any more rigid, but apparently, he could.
But in the next moment, all thoughts flew out of his head as Cas sprung into action, hands gripping the back of Dean's head as he kissed back for all he was worth. A jolt of heat shot through Dean's body when their tongues met, and Dean growled low in his throat.
He couldn't—couldn't—feel what he felt right now, but there was no stopping the thrill that coursed through him when he started tongue-fucking Cas's mouth, earning a deep growl from the angel. Damn it all, he wanted this angel. As Cas's hand slotted into its place on Dean's shoulder, the need spiked, an Dean broke the kiss to let out a strangled moan.
Cas's voice had somehow gotten even rougher than usual, and Dean opened his eyes to see desire on Cas's face—lips parted, breath coming in uneven pants, pupils blown. Then again, Dean doubted he looked much more composed.
Cas's grip tightened over the handprint, and Dean let out another moan, dropping his forehead to Cas's shoulder as he gripped the angel's hips and thrust against him once. Cas's breath stuttered, and if the bulge pressing into Dean was anything to go by, Cas was just about as far gone as he was.
Emboldened by that realization, Dean slowly rolled his hips against Cas's, establishing a rhythm and savoring the gasps that his emotions elicited. Dean suddenly felt an urge to mark Cas as his and moved to kiss along his jaw, then down his neck. Meanwhile, his fingers made quick work of the first few buttons on Cas's shirt—when had he done away with the tie, again?
Dean mouthed along Cas's collarbone before latching onto the base of his neck and sucking—hard. Cas moaned and let his head fall back, hitting the wall behind them. Dean finally backed away slightly, pressing a kiss to the angry red mark he'd left behind, before tugging Cas's head to his for another kiss.
Dean had taken the lead on their first kiss, and though he initiated this one as well, he was completely unprepared for Cas's assault on his mouth. This kiss was rough, demanding, dirty, and the fact that an angel of the freaking Lord was ravaging his mouth like this just screamed sin and made his blood roil in his veins.
He became aware of Cas pushing his jacket off and then unbuttoning his shirt, but he could only grip Cas's bare biceps—where had the angel's shirt and trenchcoat gone?—and hang on, barely keeping up with the kiss that had his mind reeling and his entire body thrumming.
Then Cas's palm pressed directly onto the scar, flesh against flesh, and Dean jolted in response, just barely stopping himself from coming in his pants.
"Fuck…" he gasped, pressing his forehead against Cas's, eyes still closed as he started running his hands up Cas's arms and down his chest, memorizing the way Cas's skin felt so smooth, so soft beneath his fingertips. Cas explored Dean similarly as they regained control over their breathing, over the situation.
Dean slid his hands around Cas's waist, pulled him even closer so that they were chest-to-chest, and slipped his hands upward, mapping out the hard angles of Cas's back.
And then he froze, hands halfway up Cas's back, because he's felt—
"Feathers," he whispered, not daring to open his eyes. If he saw them, that would make this too real. He'd wanted—still wanted—to fuck an angel. An angel who, as far as Dean knew, probably hadn't ever even kissed anyone before, up until a few minutes ago.
But even though Dean's grip had slackened, Cas was still holding him tightly. "Sorry," the angel managed, still in that low tone. "I can—"
"No—don't," Dean muttered, telling himself to stop being such a girl.
He backed his head away from Cas and opened his eyes to see massive, glossy, black wings extending from behind Cas. His wingspan had to be twice as long as Sammy was tall—so maybe over twelve feet. Dean knew he had to look like an idiot, gaping at Cas's wings, but Cas only seemed amused.
Without really thinking about it, Dean pulled his right hand back and reached out, running his fingers through the soft, soft feathers. He winced and froze, realizing that he hadn't asked permission, but Cas had closed his eyes and was making a low, rumbling sound.
Suddenly it became pretty obvious why Cas hadn't cared too much about being a cat. Dean relaxed and chuckled, stroking through the feathers again.
"What's so funny?" Cas asked in his gravelly tone.
"You," Dean replied, grinning as Cas opened those sparkling, blue eyes. "You were purring."
Cas started to scowl at this, but Dean pressed their lips together again, and Cas didn't seem to care anymore.
"Oh, my god."
Dean started pulling away at the sound of Sam's voice, but Cas held him in place, rapidly taking over this kiss as well. There was a rustling sound, and then Dean felt feathers brushing against his back, cocooning him in their warmth.
"Um… guys? There are bedrooms upstairs where you wouldn't have to scar me for life," Sam said.
Cas relinquished control over Dean's mouth with a regretful sigh and a soft pout, and Dean had to actively focus on pulling air into his lungs—such a girl, seriously.
"I apologize, Sam," Cas said in a composed tone, withdrawing his wings and folding them behind him as he took a step back from Dean.
Now that the black feathers were out of the way, Dean saw a look of awe mixed with disgust on his little brother's face. He knew Sam had wanted to see angel wings, so this was probably huge for him. Of course, the disgust had to be because Dean was well on his way to banging an angel.
Speaking of which…
"Come on, Cas," Dean said, snatching the angel's hand and leading him toward the stairs.
They were at the top when Sam called out to them again.
"Try to keep it down, all right?"
Dean grinned at Cas and shouted back, "Like hell we will!"
Author's Note: Oh man, this turned out to be rather long. Took much longer than I expected to transfer it into the computer. But I'm pretty satisfied with the result. What do you guys think? Leave me a review and let me know! (: