A/N: Friends, Second Destiel fic. Squee! I'm 23 …really. This was actually inspired by an NCIS episode. I feel weird describing this as slash because …well …once you read it you'll understand what I mean. As per usual I tried to be as canon as possible and edited best I could. I'm fairly certain Cas says something in the show about not being to earth for a really long amount of time prior to Novak but eh …it's a little AU for that. Enjoy and please review!

Disclaimer:This story is based on characters and situations created and owned byEric Kripke, Ben Edlund, Robert Singer, John Shiban, and Laurence Andries. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Pairing:Cas/Dean Kinda …really it could be viewed as canon and not slash.

Rating:K (like I said …this is slash but really doesn't read like it.)

Summary: Destiel(?) Castiel's first memory of a four year old Dean. It's a little sad but I tried to end it on a happy note.

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Believe

Castiel remembers the first moment he saw Dean Winchester.

He had yet to meet his future vessel James Novak and was then inhabiting a young man by the name of Jacob Andrews. Later, much later, he would realize the physical likenesses Jacob and James shared. It seemed to Castiel that despite his own denial, even then he had a certain fondness for being known.

For being recognized.

By Dean.

The eldest Winchester was so very young then, so very much younger then he seemed now.

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Autumn had settled early in Lawrence, Kansas and though he was not cold Castiel had taken kind to wrap himself in a heavy coat, adjusting it now and then as he was not used to clothing at all. He remembered the feel of the wind around him, brushing his new flesh and carding through his transparent wings. He remembered the solid sound of his shoes connecting with the ground but most of all he remembered the first contact he had with a human then.

"Stop!" A little voice yelled, halting Castiel's movement as he felt a small body step into his path and shove him away. He looked down curiously and came face to face with the greenest eyes he had ever seen. Not that he had much experience with eye color as he and his siblings possessed no need for bulbus oculi in their true form. But even then he knew there was no color greener, no color more pure then that of four year old Dean Winchesters eyes. "You almost stepped on him!"

Little Dean was standing as tall as he could, arms stretched out to their full length, effectively stopping Castiel from moving forward.

"Stepped on whom?" Castiel asked after a moment, head cocked gently to the side. He couldn't imagine how he had almost stepped on someone without having noticed.

The child worked his mouth for a moment, seeming to think about what he was going to say before whipping around quickly and gesturing to what appeared to be a small bird lying in the middle of Castiel's path.

"The bird acourse!"

The Angel lifted his head in acknowledgement and glanced at the still bird; "Passer domesticus." He mumbled to himself, taking note of the small body, dark beak, and red markings around its wings.

"What?" Little Dean turned his head up to look at Castiel, confusion painted clearly across his face.

Castiel paused, remembering suddenly that this little human, who was Michael's vessel, was nothing more than a child now. "The bird is a Passer domesticus."

"Is that his name?" Was the response and Castiel looked at little Dean, more than slightly confused. Why would a bird need a name? "Cause that's a real long name." He blinked up at Castiel and moved to kneel down next to the bird. "I think he's sick mister, cause he's not movin'."

After a moments deliberation Castiel followed suit and crouched at Dean's side. "Perhaps he is deceased?" He offered helpfully.

Immediately Castiel knew he had said something amiss when sorrow filled green eyes turned to him, tears spilling down youthfully smooth cheeks. "What?" Dean croaked out weakly.

A great swell filled Castiel's chest and he felt the need to reach out and touch the little boy in kindness. "Perhaps not?" He tried again, which seemed to do nothing to deter the child from crying even more.

"He's dead?" Dean asked, little voice quaking with tears.

"I am not certain of that." Castiel confessed quickly, still puzzled as to what to do to wipe the tears from the little boy's face.

Dean sniffed and rubbed his nose, the sadness dissipating somewhat. "Can't chu check mister?"

Castiel looked at the boy and blinked. "I do not know how."

Again those too green eyes brimmed. "Oh." Castiel watched as Dean brought his small hands up, palms flat against each other and shut his eyes. His pale eyebrows drew together in concentration and his little mouth began to move soundlessly.

"What are you doing?" Castiel inquired and Dean cracked a look at him.

" 'm prayin' to the Angels." He whispered, shutting his open eye and going back to the task at hand. "You don't know what to do and I don't know what to do and Momma isn't here. Maybe the Angels can help the birdy." Something …something Castiel couldn't understand settled in his throat and he wondered briefly what would happen if he opened his mouth and let it out. Little fingers suddenly gripped his hands and Castiel watched in wonder as the child maneuvered his hands to match Dean's praying ones. "You gotta do it too mister, sometimes one voice isn't enough." The little boy implored, absently brushing his blond hair off of his forehead and resuming his previously position.

"Oh, yes. Of course." Castiel nodded in agreement and mimicked Dean's movements. As Castiel had never had reason to pray he sat there uncomfortably for moment, unsure of what to say to …himself …to his brothers and sisters. "What should I say?" He questioned finally and Dean sighed, looking at him in what could only be described as exasperation.

"You gotta ask 'em to watch out for the little bird." Dean told him, as though it were the most obvious answer in the world. Which it was not.

"Ah." Castiel watched as Dean, once again, shut his eyes. "Watch out for the little bird." The Angel said aloud and looked to the child for approval.

Dean sighed again, much louder this time. "Ya can't just tell them mister. Ya gotta ask 'em, real nicely."

Castiel blinked, "My apologies."

Dean's face twisted in confusion, "You talk funny." He informed Castiel and blew out an impatient breath of air. "Okay …you can just copy my prayin'. I don't think the Angels will mind long as you mean it okay?"

Castiel dipped his head in acknowledgement. "Very well."

"Dear Angels …" Dean started, eyes clenched shut in concentration.

"Dear Angels …" The Angel repeated dutifully and felt something bump his side gently. He looked down at the nudging object and saw it was Dean's elbow.

"You gotta shut your eyes mister, they hear better when you do." Now that made no sense at all but Castiel followed the little boy's instructions just the same. "Okay. Dear Angels …" Dean repeated and Castiel did the same. "We was wonderin' if you could watch out for the little bird cause we don't know if he's dead or not."

Castiel nodded even though he was certain Dean's eyes were still closed. "We were wondering if you could watch out for the little bird because we do not know if he is dead or not."

"Good job mister, you're good at this prayin' stuff." Dean whispered and Castiel began to repeat him again until he heard something that sounded like laughter. He opened his eyes and found the little boy giggling, his hands over his mouth. "I was sayin' you was good at praying mister …you wasn't supposed to repeat it."

"My apologies." Castiel said again. "And thank you."

"Yup. 'Kay, close your eyes again, we're not done yet."

"Of course." Castiel consented, waiting patiently for his next instruction.

"Angels," Dean addressed seriously. "Thanks for watchin' out for the little bird. I love you."

That pressure in Castiel's throat intensified tenfold and he struggled to swallow around it, wanting nothing more than to repeat the same words Dean had just spoken. "Angels," He rasped out, unsure why his voice was shaking so much. "Thank you for watching out for the little bird. I …I love you." In those last three words he opened his own eyes and looked at the little boy in wonder.

A soft noise came from the sidewalk next to them and he watched as Dean's eyes opened and followed his gaze when a bright smile lit up his little features. The bird was standing up and after a looking at the pair kneeling over him, he spread his wings and took off in flight.

"It worked! It worked!" Dean shot to his feet and waved exuberantly after the bird. "Bye! Bye birdy!" He looked at the Angel, smiling so widely Castiel himself felt his mouth mimic the action before he could even think of it. "See mister? When things get sad you just gotta pray to the Angels like my Momma says …they'll always help you."

Before he could think, he responded by grabbing the child's little hands in his own larger ones. "Yes Dean, they will always help you. Please remember that."

And so much like the innocent child he was,Little Dean Winchester nodded in agreement. "Okay mister. I'll always 'member."

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Two months later, Mary Winchester was killed by a yellow-eyed demon.

Dean stopped praying to the Angels.

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The memory sputtered out and Castiel was left standing across the hotel room staring at the sleeping form of Dean Winchester, aged twenty eight years.

And that tightness Castiel felt all those years ago, the same tightness he always seemed to feel around the Hunter, twisted that much more in his chest and he put a hand over it.

"I'm sorry Dean …I am so, so sorry."

"Cas?" The man in question husked out sleepily.

"My apologies Dean, I did not mean to wake you."

The Hunter sat up, rubbing his eyes and for a moment, Castiel caught a glimpse of that same four year old he had met so many years ago. "Naw man … it's cool." He stood and arched his back, trying to stretch out the sore muscles. "We got news of the Angel variety?" And despite his question, Castiel could see the exhaustion in Dean's eyes.

"No Dean …no news. Go back to sleep."

"Nah Cas … 'm good." He protested and Castiel placed his hand on Dean's shoulder, over the scar he had left when he pulled the Hunter from Hell.

"Please Dean, you are tired." He pushed gently, guiding Dean back to the mattress. "Sleep now, I will watch over you." Dean paused, considering; and went down, lying back against the bed and watching in wonderment as the Angel pulled the sheet up and over his body. "Sleep." Castiel said softly. "I am here."

Dean's eyes began to shut and he took a deep breath, relaxing. "I know Cas. You're always here …" He sighed softly and rolled onto his side, facing toward Castiel. "For me …" He mumbled. "You're always here for me."

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fin