Title: If you go down to the woods today...
author: tari_roo
artist: angelus2hot
recipient: stolen_childe
Beta: ficwriter1996
Disclaimer: I have read much fantasy, I make no excuses. I own nothing... but I dream, oh, how I dream.
Word count: 2500
Genre: Gen
Characters: Dean, Sam, Cas
Spoilers: You have to know who Cas is but there are no specific spoilers at all beyond that.

Summary: What came first? The dragon or the egg? Sam's sense of self preservation equals Dean's newest experience. Cas is bemused (but slightly smitten)

AN: Ever since reading the Pern series I have wanted to impress a dragon or firelizard. This ... is pure selfish wish fulfilment, so thanks stolen_childe for the great prompt!

Link to art post (go see more great stuff by angelus2hot)

Prompt: Dean gets transformed into a miniature dragon; the first person he sees as Dragon!Dean is Castiel and he imprints on the angel – Sam's a little jealous (No Wincest hints please – just good old brother bond).

Sam slammed the Impala door shut with a bang, the sound echoing in the empty parking lot. Wincing, belatedly, Sam patted the Impala's roof and sighed, "Sorry, girl." Taking his frustrations out on the car was not helping, and only served to further spike his torrent of guilt. Dean was missing – because of him.

Whether it was angels, demons, hunters or monsters, they were all after the Winchesters for one reason or the other... but it usually all boiled down to - Sam. But today in particular, Dean's disappearance was all Sam's fault. Seven frantic hours of searching and still nothing. No clue, no evidence, no rumours, no people running in the streets...

Shoving his hands in his pockets, Sam stalked towards the motel room of the moment, number 7 of the EZ Stay Motel. Maybe, just maybe his urgently sent out queries on 'certain' blogs and forums would have yielded some answers. One could only hope at this stage for a minor miracle.

The heralding rush of wings and motion announced Castiel's arrival as Sam opened the door. "Sam."

"Did you find him?"

"No. Nor do I understand how this could have happened."

Castiel did not seem overly perturbed, his expression did not exude 'quiet restrained worry'. Rather he was projecting the usual brand of confusion and incomprehension around human matters. Sam waved aside the question, slightly colouring as he did so. "Like I said on the phone, cursed book, our usual luck. Dean missing."

Turning to follow Sam's movement as he hustled to his laptop, Castiel nodded slowly, "Yes, you said as much. However..."

Sam did that annoying 'please hold' gesture, one finger raised in supplication for silence. Castiel sighed. Sam's attention was focused on the computer and no longer on his visitor and fellow searcher, already muttering under his breath as he read.

Castiel studied this most recent habitation choice and had to acknowledge it was not one of Dean's most unusual decisions. The decor was restrained and muted, so perhaps Sam had chosen this motel. A small motion caught Castiel's attention and he tensed and prepared for immediate action, eyes and senses scanning to find the source of movement. There, on the bed, near the pillows so that it blended in somewhat, was an egg. A fairly large egg, larger than an ostrich egg but not so large as to suggest something monstrous inside.

Checking if Sam had noted the egg or if he was already aware of it, Castiel approached it, noting it was gently rocking. Perhaps Dean had secured himself some mutant chicken egg for an oversized omelette. Castiel was on the verge of calling out to Sam to alert him to the odd presence of a giant egg, the single step he'd taken bringing him to within smiting distance, when the egg cracked, a long, deep crevasse shattering its surface.

"Sa..."

The egg broke, shards of eggshell splintering and scattering all over the bed, and the creature that emerged momentarily floored Castiel into stunned silence. A diminutive winged reptile still moist from the egg sac flopped and flapped onto the bed cover and struggled to co-ordinate its limbs and wings.

It mewled softly, a pitiful squawk of dismay, long neck twisting and turning, its head searching ... for something, pink little tongue emerging out of its mouth, big black eyes darting over its surroundings. Without thinking about it, acting out of an instinct born of protection and duty, Castiel reached out and picked up the little dragon.

Instantly it stopped mewling, and looked up at him, its tiny claws pricking his fingers, soft wings falling over his hands, tail wrapped around his thumb. It blinked, eyes wide, and chirped a query.

"No, I am not your mother."

Another chirp, tail tightening, claws scrambling up his wrist and the dragon nuzzled the base of his tail-free thumb.

"Yes, I have wings. Immaterial. You... are a ..."

Comprehension dawned on Castiel like the sunrise over the celestial plane – bright and all encompassing.

Staring at the diminutive creature cradled in his hands, Castiel called out softly, "Sam, I believe I have found Dean." The stunned silence behind him spoke volumes, as Sam no doubt dragged his disbelieving eyes up from the mysterious world of 'the web' and digested the visual evidence before him. This was followed by an explosion of motion as Sam put the pieces together and hurried over.

"What? How... I mean..."

"The egg was on the bed." Castiel calmly indicated the evidence strewn about.

"And you just picked him up!"

"It seemed the opportune thing to do."

"Give him here."

Sam's large hands opened, demanding the dragon, and Castiel felt his feathers ruffle, his 'not visible on this plane of existence' wings rise in defence, and the dragon (Dean) hissed and growled. Dean dug his claws into Castiel's hands, tail a garrotte around his thumb, wings arched and flapping in dismay. Sam paused at the twin growls... Cas's barely audible.

"I think it'd be best if I keep... holding him," Castiel murmured reassuringly.

Sam stared at Cas, no doubt searching for a sign as to his state of mind, and shot the little dragon covert, worried looks.

"He's my brother."

"Undisputed. But at present he wishes to remain here." The long considering look Sam Winchester gave the both of them was restrained, and contemplative. But he could not hide the flash of hurt, and Castiel noted it, and felt a momentary flare of guilt. This emotion instantly died as Dean the dragon burrowed into his hands, purring like a kitten and making further happy, contented sounds.

Directing his attention to the small thing, Castiel said firmly, "I repeat, I am not your mother, wings aside."

Perhaps searching for something to say that did not sound petulant, Sam grumbled, "I thought dragons were born hungry."

"It appears not."

Castiel found a handy, available chair and sat down, cradling the dragon to his chest. Sam stood staring at them, probably at a loss as to what to do now that the immediate rush and urgency to find Dean was gone. Now found, the question remained – what to do about his present, cute state. Castile looked up at Sam and asked with genuine interest, "Is this permanent, temporary or for an undetermined period?"

Sighing, Sam sat down on the egg shell covered bed, and shrugged. "Temporary, I suppose. I'm just glad we didn't find him on the 9 o'clock news, destroying downtown Lima."

"Peru?"

"Ohio."

At this piece of uninformative clarification, Castiel nodded and returned to his gentle stroking of Dean the dragon. Dean particularly enjoyed being scratched on his neck and head, the rumble of dragon purrs vibrating through Castiel's arm. Sam was staring at them, hands clenching like he was resisting the urge to leap up and reclaim his brother.

"How long is this... temporary transformation?"

Sam coloured, his cheeks turning a fetching shade of pink. "Well," he mumbled, "it depends..."

In true Dean fashion, he had grown bored with the stroking, and he began to climb up Castiel's chest, wings outstretched, tiny claws pin-pricking their way up his coat. Undeterred by his current status as a tree/climbing post, Castiel pressed Sam for further information. "Depends on what?"

Looking at the ceiling, as if it held the answers to his dilemma, Sam sighed. "We were looking for a book, a cursed book. Once you had read the cursed sentence, whatever you were thinking about came true. And like all good curses, it comes true but would ... also torment you."

"Ah," Castiel said, looking askance at Dean who had reached his neck and was peering at his face, dark eyes fascinated with his features. Before Cas could ask how having a dragon for a brother was what Sam wanted let alone how it would torment him, Sam continued. "It's Dean fault, actually. He kept threatening to turn me into a frog or sasquatch or something ridiculous, if he found the book first. So I was thinking about... well..."

"Dragons," Castiel supplied, wincing as Dean climbed onto his head, tail tickling his ear, pin prick claws on his scalp. For a split second, Castiel hoped Dean was not looking for a litter box but uppermost in his mind was the curiosity as to why Sam thought turning Dean into a dragon would be recompense for being turned into a frog.

Perhaps Sam knew him as well as Dean did, because Sam supplied the answer before Castiel could ask. "It was just my luck that I found the cursed book and read the 'cursed' sentence when I was thinking that it'd serve us both right if Dean turned into Godzilla and crushed the town. So when Dean disappeared... I thought..."

"What is a Godzilla?"

"Giant Japanese dinosaur. Likes to destroy Tokyo."

Before Castiel could investigate city destroying monsters further, Dean from atop his perch began to yowl and howl, neck outstretched, tiny mouth open, emitting a sound far too large for such a small creature.

"Is this the tormenting part?" Castiel hissed. Sam shrugged, wincing at some of the notes Dean was reaching.

"Maybe he's hungry?"

Sam did not stick around to find out if Cas agreed and exited the room promptly, slamming the door behind him. Cas tried to soothe the crying beast, but Dean would not have any of it, writhing like a winged snake, hissing and spitting as Cas tried to corral him off his head. Standing, Castiel startled Dean enough that his yowl became a squawk and Cas said sternly, "That is enough. Food will be procured shortly, cease this caterwauling."

Dean chirped, and peered down at Cas, long neck making an eyeball to eyeball chat possible even from atop a head. "No, you are not adorable."

In the all too brief time before Sam returned, Dean chirped a great many more questions – mostly about flying, which he was uncertain was natural. Cas tried to answer his questions honestly and openly, as any good parent should.

"Gravity is not out to get you."

"Penguins do not have wings, they have flippers."

"Polar bears do not eat penguins – because they do not live in the South Pole. No, I am not wrong."

"Bats are quite friendly, I assure you."

Sam's return was heralded by the stomping of boots and grumbling at the door. As Sam opened the door and the delicious aromas of medium rare cheeseburger filled the room, the debate over whether Dean was meant to fly was rendered moot as Dean launched himself at Sam with a cry reminiscent of a starving pterodactyl.

Caught off guard by the aerial attack, and exhibiting a distinct lack of self-preservation instincts for a hunter, Sam flung up his hands to protect himself, with a strangled, "Arghhhh..." As no doubt planned, the burgers fell to the floor and Dean, his first flight immensely successful, fell upon the paper wrapping and began what could only be called an ungodly feasting.

Still recovering from his near heart attack, Sam staggered towards Cas and sat down. "Shit. I... you could have warned me."

Castiel shrugged, "I was caught as off guard as you."

To this honest statement, Sam gave Castiel a disbelieving glare. "Well, at least his appetite is unchanged."

"Truly."

Diminutive though he was, Dean devoured two cheeseburgers in their entirety in what Castiel considered a time destined to cause indigestion. Apparently sated, Dean looked up and chirp/burped then launched himself into the air again, apparently over his fear of flying.

Sam instinctively ducked but Dean was trying out his wings, circling the room happily, trilling to himself and Cas. "Yes, I see. Very clever."

Sam, though, was edging out of the way, and at Cas's look, muttered for his ears only, "I don't plan on being dragonshit on."

It took a good half an hour to coax Dean off the ceiling. He seemed keen to escape the room and hunt down bugs or bats (the conversation about bats being bugs was short and Cas suspected dDean was being deliberately obtuse). Neither Castiel nor Sam was keen to let Dean out into the open air and a hundred miles of possible danger.

Instead, Castiel managed to tempt Dean down by offering him more food and a pile of quarters to sleep on. In the end, Dean was only satisfied when Cas offered to put both the burger meat and the quarters in his coat pocket. Once accomplished, Dean crawled into the pocket, and became a strange purring lump, contentedly snoring to himself, with the odd belch.

Cas sat perfectly still, watching the breathing lump, and slowly dissected the stream of unusual emotions surging through his host. Contentment. Amazed pride that he was chosen, honoured. Ridiculous delight. Sam was lying prone on the bed, one arm draped over his eyes, the picture of dejected depression. Into the silence accompanied by the odd dragon snore, Castiel asked, "Are you tormented enough?"

From beneath his arm, Sam nodded, "Yep. I suppose he'll be back to normal tomorrow morning." Castiel pondered on whether it was his place to draw out Sam's reasoning or thoughts as to 'how' this evening at been a torment to him. However, the reference to 'normal' prompted Castiel to slowly, gently remove his coat and put it and its slumbering occupant on the bed. "Then, I shall depart..."

"No, stay. He obviously prefers you."

Castiel snorted. "If you believe that, Sam Winchester, you are a greater fool than I supposed."

"Thanks," Sam muttered, sarcastically, not deigning to look at Castiel.

Was that it? As simple as that? Younger sibling jealousy. The raw unbridled jealousy of a younger brother when his cute.. er, draconic older brother chose the company of another. Staring at Sam, Castiel mused that it was not surprising, given that Heaven had been divided by sibling rivalry and jealousy but Castiel had thought Sam had moved beyond such petty emotions.

Perhaps Sam was as surprised by the cursed induced emotions.

Dean the dragon snorted and let out a literally fiery belch, signing the inside of the coat pocket. Castiel feared for his coat... and his hair if Dean did not return to human form soon.

Slumber claimed Sam as well, its soft touches soothing the worry and fear from his face, leaving a slightly younger man. Watching both Winchesters sleep, no matter how small one of them was at present, was a favourite past time of Castiel's. Dean said it was creepy. Sam did not comment but probably shared the notion. However, it was fortunate that Castiel was in the habit of doing so, because as the clock struck midnight... from within the coat pocket, Dean began to glow.

One bright flash of magic light later, Dean was returned to his human self, entangled in his coat. Cas sighed, and covered his naked friend with a blanket from the closet.

As Cas watched over them the remainder of the night, he could still feel pin prick claws in his scalp, and the rumble of dragon purr under his thumb.

Strange creatures, these Winchesters.

End. Fin. Finito.

Reviews are like cute itty bitty dragons...