AN: Picked out a name for Gabe and Cas's mom. 'Only angel with a feminine name' –Wikipedia. Also, I'm sorry I take forever to update.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
Cufflinks
.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Gabriel had summoned a large table for everyone to sit at for dinner. Karen and Crowley sat on either end. To Crowley's right sat Castiel, followed by Gabriel, Sam, and Dean. Dean had tried to convince Gabriel to switch, but was shot down by a menacing glare from Crowley. From Karen it continued to Bobby, Balthazar, Anna, and Meg. Neither of the latter were particularly thrilled with the other. Meg and Anna forced smiles after being told to play nice by both Karen and Crowley.

Bobby and Crowley made it a point to not look at each other—not that Crowley had to try, his eyes were glued to the light, red mark on Dean's neck. He desperately wanted to reach over the table and carve the mark off with a fork, but, aside from such actions not being proper dinner table etiquette, he and Meg were stuck in a devil's trap at their corner of the table.

Out of the group, Balthazar was the most talkative, refusing to let them eat in silence. He kept the conversation light and mostly focused on complimenting Karen's ability to cook.

Dean kept receiving confused images of meatloaf and hamburgers and had to bite his cheek to keep from laughing. He focused his own thoughts and tried to explain the difference.

'Giraffe?' Castiel said, shooting Dean a confused look.

Dean leaned forward to look at Castiel, but Crowley caught his gaze instead.

Crowley pointed his fork at Dean. 'If Gabriel and Castiel are not permitted to have private conversations during dinner, then neither are you,' he calmly stated before turning his attention to Castiel. 'And you, stop encouraging him.'

Castiel ducked his head and nodded, blushing lightly as he poked at his food.

Bobby cleared his throat, drawing everyone's attention. 'So, what can we expect from Lucifer and Michael? I get that they're angels, but do you know what they're gonna try?' he asked.

Crowley sighed and tapped his fork lightly against his plate. 'Well…Michael is a self-righteous prick,' he replied. 'He thinks he's doing the "right thing." Free all the angels, kill all the demons… To him, humans are inconsequential.'

'And he gets pissed off about everything,' Gabriel added.

'And he doesn't like to be turned down,' Castiel said.

'He has control issues. Nothing I did was ever good enough. He'd always harp on about how I needed to learn to focus my power more and contribute to the fight,' Gabriel said as he helped himself to another serving of potatoes. 'He kept harassing Mom about me. Said she was a shitty parent for raising me around demons.'

'He still tries to maintain contact with Gabriel,' Crowley said in irritation. 'Even Lucifer is trying to recruit him. And now that Castiel's existence is known…' He trailed off, shaking his head.

'They'll be tryin' to get him to join as well,' Bobby said.

'If we're lucky,' Crowley scoffed.

'We believe Lucifer will want me on his side,' Castiel clarified. 'Michael, however, will call for my death.'

'What?!' Karen cried out.

'Why?!' Dean shouted at the same time.

Castiel bit at his lip and stared at his lap. 'I'm…unnatural,' he quietly replied.

'You're not unnatural,' Dean quickly stated. 'So, don't say it. You're just different.'

Crowley regarded Dean for a moment before speaking. 'There has never been a demon-angel hybrid. There have been rumors that Lucifer and his followers were attempting to breed one, but with no luck.'

'Then how did you and…?' Karen trailed off, glancing at Castiel and waving her hand in the air in a vague motion.

'I don't know,' Crowley admitted with a shrug. 'Castiel's birth shouldn't have been possible.'

'Mom said it was the power of love!' Gabriel said around a mouth full of food.

Crowley rolled his eyes in disgust. 'Ever the romantic.'

'Where is she now?' Bobby quietly asked, having already guessed the answer.

'Dead,' Crowley replied with a sigh. 'Fifteen years now.'

'How?' Karen asked. Her wings sagged at the thought of Castiel and Gabriel losing their mother so young.

Crowley tilted his head back as he watched Karen's wings. The more he observed of the Hunters and their domesticated angel, the more he had to admit that his boys had lucked out. They certainly could have done much worse.

'Lucifer's forces knew she was Michael's main squeeze, so they targeted her,' he replied. 'We have the offices and a few buildings full of apartments, each warded against specific creatures. They caught her when she left the main building… They tortured her and killed her.' He sighed as he shook his head. 'I was too late. Lucifer's not a demon, so…at least the torture was minimal.'

He glanced at Gabriel and Castiel, who each had a wing tucked against the other. 'But, had it been prolonged, she might still be alive.'

'Lucifer wanted to send a message to Michael,' Castiel said, voice barely above a whisper. 'He knew nothing of Father's relationship with Mother.'

'At least, not until Dad flipped out,' Gabriel added.

'I did not "flip out,"' Crowley growled, flashing red eyes at Gabriel.

'Of course not,' Meg said, nodding in agreement. 'Dismemberment isn't flipping out.' She gasped and winced as she felt Crowley's power settle over her, restricting her air supply. 'I mean it! I'd be dead if you weren't in control!' She rubbed at her throat when she was released.

'You should be dead!' Anna shouted. 'You switched sides once. Who's to say you won't do it again when it's convenient? Once a traitor, always a traitor!'

'I'm not!' Meg shouted back. She grabbed her knife and made to attack Anna, but was met with resistance from the devil's trap. She growled in frustration and tossed the knife back onto the table.

'She's not,' Castiel agreed, looking up to meet Anna's eyes.

'How do you know?' Dean asked.

Castiel sucked in a breath. 'She… There's no ill-intent. If Meg…'

'I'd be dead the moment I touched Cas,' Meg said, crossing her arms, trying to ignore Anna's smug aura.

Castiel nodded. 'I'm prone to having accidents with those who are evil or wish me to suffer,' he said. He looked to Dean and gave a shy, uncertain smile. 'Remember? I explained it…albeit not very well…'

'Shouldn't that be all demons, then?' Sam asked with a frown. He winced at the glared he received from Crowley and Meg.

'You'd think so, but angels are just as susceptible to Cas's mood swings,' Balthazar said lightly. He groaned in delight as he took another bite of meatloaf.

'What?!' Gabriel stared at Castiel in shock. 'You…you never told me that!'

Castiel shank away and he pulled his wings around himself. 'Lenore was…unkind.'

Gabriel blinked and pulled a face as he tried to remember an angel named Lenore. His mind supplied him with a kind, old low angel that always smiled at him and gave him licorice. He frowned as he remembered when Crowley announced that she had been relocated. It was about the same time that Castiel's right wing had been broken. For months, there had been a good chunk of missing feathers.

He shot up and slammed his hands on the table. 'That fucking bitch! She's the one that fucked up your wing! You…you lied to me!' He stared down at Castiel in betrayal.

'I didn't want you to worry…,' Castiel whispered as he hugged himself.

'Cas, you—!' Gabriel grabbed Castiel and pressed their foreheads together, drawing a small gasp from his brother.

The three Hunters at the table looked around in confusion as the angels and demons went about eating as if nothing had happened. Even Karen was calmly slicing more meatloaf.

Sam jumped when Gabriel released Castiel and slammed his fist on the table. 'Gabriel?'

Gabriel looked around the table at the Hunters staring at him curiously. He looked back at Castiel and received a sad shrug. He shook his head and sighed. He had seen a lot more than just Castiel's confrontation with Lenore. 'I…I don't know what to make of this.'

'First retaliatory death,' Crowley said as he picked up his glass. 'It's something that should be celebrated. So, we celebrated.'

Gabriel frowned at Crowley and his eyes narrowed. 'The fucking cake.'

Karen clapped her hands together in realization. 'Oh! Like a breakthrough!'

'Right,' Crowley replied with a nod. 'However, we demons usually discover our power under…less fortunate circumstances.'

Karen gave Castiel an apologetic grimace.

'How old were you?' Bobby asked.

'Six.'

'I can't believe Mom made you a cake for that!' Gabriel shouted in frustration before storming out the room.

Sam watched Gabriel leave, not sure whether or not he should follow.

'That is kinda weird,' Dean commented.

Castiel shifted uncomfortably at the images Dean was sending him. Cakes declaring 'Congrats on the killing!' littered his mind. 'He's just upset that Mother made a cake when I hadn't actually had a breakthrough.'

'He still hasn't!' Gabriel shouted from the hallway.

Castiel ducked his head and hugged himself. He looked up when an arm wrapped around his shoulders. Dean had taken Gabriel's seat and was send Crowley a challenging stare.

'You haven't broken through yet?' Karen asked. She had been seven when she first materialized a pair of solid, rudimentary blades in either hand. She had always been quick and agile and able to summon a small, blunt object, but her true power had manifested in her blades.

'It's just finding out what you're good at, right?' Dean asked as he gave Castiel a reassuring squeeze. 'I have a pretty good idea what that is.'

Castiel glanced at Bobby and Karen. He quickly looked to his father and received a nonchalant shrug. 'But I…I can't control it,' he quietly replied. 'It's not just coming into your powers… It's being able to control them.'

'Lailah and I figured his powers were only half discovered,' Crowley said. 'Once he gets the other half, everything will click.'

Castiel rubbed his arm self-consciously and leaned into Dean's hold. He hoped his father was right.

Dean raised a brow at Crowley. 'What could possibly be the other half of smite-n-go?' he asked. He felt a sharp flare of irritation come from Castiel.

'Smite…and…go…?' Karen's nose crinkled as she spoke, wrapping her mind around Dean had just said. 'Smite?!'

Dean bit his lip and sent Castiel a silent apology. He was relieved when he received a warm reply.

Sam pinched the bridge of his nose when it became clear that no one else was going to explain. 'Cas can smite things and he…doesn't need any recovery time,' he said.

'What?!' Bobby leaned forward and looked from Sam to Castiel. He watched as Castiel hid behind his wings and leaned even further into Dean.

'That's…impossible,' Karen insisted. 'I've only met two angels capable of smiting and they… They're…'

'Useless after they blow their load?' Balthazar suggested with a cheeky grin.

Karen huffed at the crassness, but nodded. 'Well, yes.'

Crowley beamed proudly and Castiel. 'Castiel may not have the best control,' he said, 'but he certainly makes up for it with power.'

Anna snorted, pulling everyone's attention to herself. 'He can barely perform simple tasks. I'm surprised he can even summon clean clothes!'

Dean brought his other arm around Castiel, protectively holding the angel in his arms. Through their connection, he could feel how Castiel thought Anna's words were true. He placed a soft kiss on Castiel's head. 'She's just jealous,' he whispered. Even if Castiel didn't believe it, Dean could tell the sentiment was appreciated.

Meg tried again to reach for Anna, but was stopped by the devil's trap. She growled in frustration as she strained against the invisible wall.

'Is there something on your mind, Anna?' Crowley calmly asked.

Anna glanced quickly around the table. Eyes were darting back and forth between her and Crowley. They were expecting him to lash out at her. She breathed in steadily and directed her attention to Crowley. She had tried to voice her concerns before, but had been blown off and ignored. Maybe, since her employer was currently trapped, she would finally be heard.

'He needs to be trained,' she said. 'How is he supposed to learn anything if you just let him sit around and watch cartoons all day? In your need to protect him, he's lost the ability to protect himself!'

'I do just fine, thank you!' Castiel replied defensively. It was true. He could protect himself quite well. Though it tended to be at the last minute.

Anna sat straighter in her chair. 'You lack control.'

Crowley turned his attention to his glass. He did have a habit of spoiling his boys. Even Gabriel had trouble focusing his power at times. He let out a sigh before speaking. 'She has a point, Castiel. Anna, you're in charge of training him.'

Anna stood quickly, her chair screeching loudly on the floor. 'W-what?! I wasn't suggesting—'

Crowley cut her off with a hard stare. 'Do I make myself clear?'

Anna's shoulders slumped in resignation. 'Yes, sir.'

Castiel pulled himself from Dean's arms and leaned toward his father. 'I don't need training,' he insisted. He looked over to Anna and narrowed his eyes. 'And certainly not from an amputee.'

Anna crossed her arms and looked away, glaring at the wall.

'I'm not giving you a choice,' Crowley said in an exasperated tone. 'You begin tomorrow. Anna, do what you have to. If you need any targets, I'll arrange for them to be sent.'

Castiel settled back against his chair as Anna gave a determined nod. He tried to reach out to Gabriel, but received no response, so he sent his misery Dean's way. His wings got ruffled as Dean replied with happy thoughts.

'Hey, I'll be right there with you,' Dean said. 'It won't be that bad.'

'No, it'll be worse,' Balthazar put in with a grin.