[Fic] Thursday's Child (9/12)

Author: wyntereyez

Fandom: Supernatural

Rating: T

Characters/Pairings: Dean Winchester, Castiel, Sam Winchester, Bobby Singer, Jody Mills, Hester, Inias, Dean/Castiel

Beta: None, though that would've been a damn good idea, don't you think?

Spoilers: AU after 'The Man Who Would Be King,' contains spoilers for 'Let It Bleed.'

Disclaimer: I don't own them, obviously.

Warnings: References to past mpreg (I can't believe I'm doing this…), discussion of the smiting of a Nephil baby

Summary: Castiel brings a surprise home to Dean. It's gooey. And has tentacles.

Chapter Summary: In which we have the calm before the storm.

A/N: There's a bit of a time jump in this one; time needs to actually advance, otherwise, this story would be a hundred chapters of everyone being cute and maybe two chapters of actual plot. I certainly wasn't expecting it to hit one hundred pages!

Nine - Let It Bleed

Jody arrives an hour later, cutting Castiel's nap short. She's carrying a couple of Wal-Mart bags and a box of books, which Dean immediately takes from her and carries inside. The bags have the promised formula, along with a few more toys she'd thought Danielle would like, including a rattle, a teething ring (which she might not need yet, but it gives her something else to suck on), some very soft colorful plastic blocks, and a couple more plush toys: a bunny that played music, and the angel bear that Dean had previously rejected. Danielle loves it all (though Dean suspects the rattle is going to drive him nuts.) The books are predominantly the promised Dr. Seuss, though there are other childhood classics mixed in. There are even a few DVDs, though Jody entreats him not to watch Finding Nemo in her presence; it had been her son's favorite, and she doesn't think she can handle it.

Castiel continues to be baffled that a baby needs so much, despite Jody's assurance that it's all part of her mental stimulation, and it's not going to hurt her to be a little spoiled.

Jody submits to the tests, though this time, Dean just presses the blade of the silver knife to her flesh rather than cutting her. After all, any monster vulnerable to silver would have been hurt just by the contact.

While Jody continues her talk with Cas, Dean goes back to work making Bobby's house safe for a baby. The dust bunny infestations aren't the only thing Danielle could encounter; while Bobby doesn't usually leave weapons or dangerous herbs laying about, there's enough junk lying around that could cause problems for the already mobile Nephil.

The thought of those curious, probing tentacles finding Bobby's knives or poisonous herbs terrifies him.

Today, he's decided to tackle the kitchen.

It's a decision comes to regret ten minutes after making it, when he's pulled out the fridge and found the thriving colony of cockroaches (which he's pretty damn sure have fed on Bobby's spell components and leftover chili and have mutated as a result. His years as a hunter have not prepared him for this.)

He plays some Zeppelin as he works, keeping the music low so it doesn't interfere with Jody and Castiel's talk, but loud enough that he can give them the illusion of privacy. As he sweeps away the dead things that have accumulated and mummified behind the refrigerator over the years (Holy shit, is that a freaking cat? No, it's a rat! A freaking Sasquatch zombie rat! Gonna have to salt and burn that bitch later…) and clears out the cobwebs (Are tarantulas native to South Dakota? 'Cause there's no way this all came from that dinky little spider!) he find's he's almost… relaxed. There's something strangely cathartic about doing hard labor and making the house safe for his daughter. It's like hunting, in a way, but without the blood (except where he'd cut himself on a piece of glass; fuck, this isn't a good time for Cas and his magical anti-bacterial powers to be out of commission, and he'll never live it down if he dies from an infection incurred while cleaning) or the monsters (though he's pretty damned sure those dust bunnies have eyes and they're watching him hungrily.)

Finally, the area behind the fridge is… well, not spotless, or even clean enough to eat off of, but it doesn't look like the lair of a master race of mutant cockroaches anymore, either. So he shoves the fridge back against the wall and pulls out stove, and discovers that what's evolving behind there is even more terrifying than what he'd found behind the fridge. So Dean decides that, screw it, he's going to check in on Castiel and Jody.

Dean peeks in on them, and has to snort back a laugh at what he finds. They're both seated on the couch, and Castiel has his back to Jody. His eyes are closed and his back is arched towards her. It takes Dean a moment to realize that she's giving him a backrub, and he's leaning into it with all the enthusiasm of a cat. Also, Danielle is on Jody's lap, a display of trust by Castiel that surprises Dean. "So you're letting her hold Dani now?" Dean asks.

The angel doesn't even open his eyes as he says in a slightly slurred voice, "I like her, Dean."

"So I see," Dean smirks.

"He's really tense and sore," Jody explains. "Especially around his… wings," she adds, sounding amazed.

"I usually tuck my wings in another plane of existence," Castiel says muzzily. "But I have been keeping them out for protection; my wings are both weapon and shield, as well as being a source of comfort for the Nephil. I have felt the need to keep them out for her safety, and it is putting stress on my vessel."

Jody pats his shoulder. "For someone who has no idea what he's doing, you have good instincts," she says.

Castiel opens his eyes and looks over his shoulder at her. "Thank you," he says, sounding touched.

Dean leaves them alone and goes back to his cleaning, and tries very hard not to be jealous of the pleased noises Jody's fingers are getting out of Castiel.

He takes out his frustrations on the vermin graveyard, which he thinks should all just be salted and burned, but he imagines Bobby wouldn't be too thrilled to come back to find his house had been burned down. Maybe an exorcism…?

"I don't think this kitchen's ever been this clean," Jody's amused voice is a welcome distraction, and Dean shuffles out from behind the stove.

"Me neither. You don't wanna see some of the things I found back here. I'm pretty sure the vermin were all interbreeding to create some sort of supervermin." Dean is debating the merits of grabbing his gun, 'cause there's something behind the stove that's moving, and it's smarter than your average mold/rat/cockroach hybrid. "How's Cas doin'?"

"My magic fingers put him to sleep," she says smugly, wiggling her fingers at him. "I've still got it."

"That, and you interrupted his nap when you came over." Dean glances in the direction of the sleeping angel.

"And he didn't smite me for it. That's gotta be a good sign." She stands there for a long moment, silent, and Dean girds himself for whatever it is she really wants to talk to him about. "Castiel told me that you had an argument," she says carefully.

Dean rubs the back of his grubby neck and sighs. "It wasn't supposed to be one. I was just being me and he took offense. He's never reacted like that before."

Jody nods. "He mentioned that his emotions seem to be amplified lately, and he's really confused by them. If he weren't an energy being, I'd think he was hormonal. Reminds me a bit of my body image issues after my son was born, actually."

"Who knows, with Cas? Having emotions is new to him; could just be that he's experiencing new ones and it's freaking him out." Dean purses his lips in thought. "He's never had any reaction to comments about his appearance before." At least, not until Dean had started calling him an elktopus or teased him about being Cthulhu.

It suddenly occurs to Dean that, before Danielle came into their lives, he'd had no idea what Castiel looked like, and no way of ever knowing without his eyes melting. Now, Dean has some frame of reference, and his barbs about Castiel's appearance hit home.

Fuck. He really is a douche bag, isn't he?

"It's probably too much to ask that you be just a little more careful?" Jody asks wryly. "I know it's hard for you not to be so… you," Jody saysjabbing his shoulder, and Dean wonders if he should take offense, "and it's hard to know what could spark one of his mood swings, but maybe you could hold off on the comments about Danielle's appearance, at least? Or his, for that matter?"

Dean had already come to that decision; after all, he hates hearing others talk about Dani that way, so why does he keep doing it?

Dean sighs. Because that's just how he communicates. Because the more he loves someone, the more he hurts them, it seems. Sam gives as good as he gets, and Cas (usually) doesn't even seem to notice when he's being insulted - or if he does, he's just so supremely confident about his angel of the Lord badassery that puny human insults mean nothing to him.

There's no reason whatsoever he should be making comments about Danielle. Especially since Dean does think she's adorable, in her own unique way.

"Yeah," Dean says finally. "Yeah… I can do that. I hope I can." Because he can't guarantee something will slip out, or that he won't drink too much and forget to guard his tongue.

Jody hmphs and head back into the living room.

Dean finishes cleaning behind the stove and pushes it back in place, then, after thoroughly washing and sanitizing his hands (because he can't help but think about Castiel's admission that he's been healing their infections all along and that he no longer can) and goes to check on Jody and Cas, who's awake by now.

Jody is sitting on the couch with Danielle again in her lap and a copy of Cat in the Hat open on her knees where the Nephil can see it. Castiel is beside her, brow furrowed as he leans over and studies the illustrations on the page. When he spots Dean, he says, "I don't understand this book." Jody's obviously trying not to laugh.

Dean remembers reading Dr. Seuss books to Sam when he was little, and he's thrilled at the thought of reading them to the next generation of Winchester. Sam had had a lot of questions, too (such as what kind of cat would let anyone put a hat on it; when he'd tried that with a neighbor's cat, it had scratched him.) This would be just like reading to his little brother.

"You might not have noticed, but Cas has no sense of personal space. At all."

Castiel looks sheepish and shuffles back an inch. "I am sorry; I didn't realize I was that close."

"It's okay, Castiel. It's been awhile since I had a handsome man hanging on to my every word," Jody grins.

"I do not understand why these children would let this cat into their home," Castiel continues. "It is obviously a Trickster, rather than a true feline, and it has already caused a great deal of mischief. Why has their baby-sitter not summoned a hunter to deal with this threat?"

"Perhaps she's off with the pizza man," Dean suggests.

Castiel looks scandalized.

Dean raises his eyebrow at Jody. "Has he been like this for the whole book?"

Jody snorts. "You should have heard his objections to Yertle the Turtle."

"Turtles do not stack themselves in such a way," Castiel huffs. "The closest a turtle comes to such a position is when they copulate. So many turtles stacked atop one another suggest an orgy, and that is not appropriate for a child."

Okay. This is nothing like reading Dr. Seuss to Sam. He can't stop himself; he bursts out laughing, and Jody joins in. Danielle joins in with excited chirps. Castiel just looks confused. "Don't ever change, Cas," Dean says, when his laughter finally subsides.

At that moment, a phone rings. Dean, not recognizing the ring tone, immediately turns to Jody. "That yours?" he asks, when she makes no move to answer.

But it's Castiel who fishes a phone out of his pocket (earning a raised eyebrow from Jody) and he heads to the next room (still in Danielle's line of sight), speaking in a low voice in what is probably Enochian. After a terse exchange, Castiel closes his phone and turns to Dean.

"That was Balthazar," Castiel says slowly. "He needs to speak with me. Immediately."

~oOo~

Balthazar is waiting for them in the spot where they'd trapped him the previous day. Four hampers are pushed off to the side, the promised 6 o'clock dinner. Behind him stand Hester and Inias in what looks almost like a military at ease stance. Hester pointedly ignores Dean, while Inias comes as close to the wards as he dares, trying to get a look at Danielle. Dean steps between them, remembering that unlike Balthazar and Hester, Inias never had to temper his Nephil-killing impulses.

"She is… not how I pictured a Nephil," Inias says. "She's incredible!" He sounds amazed rather than disgusted, and Dean decides he kinda likes Inias. He's not bad. For an angel.

Doesn't mean Dean trusts him any further than he could throw him.

Hester glances at Danielle, scrunches her nose, then resumes her watchful air. She's wary, but is more intent on protecting Balthazar than Nephil-smiting. That's a good sign.

Still, he tightens his grip on the angel blade he holds, and paces the space between Castiel and the edge of the wards. "Why are you hear, Balthazar?" Dean demands, when the angel isn't forthcoming. "You didn't drag us out here to show off Danielle."

The angel opens his mouth, meets Dean's angry gaze and Castiel's suspicious one, and swallows back whatever pithy retort he'd been about to make, and instead says quietly, "I've been spreading word around that you bore a Nephil."

Castiel's arms immediately tighten around Danielle, eyes going very wide. Danielle, in response to Castiel's surge of emotions, begins creeling in distress.

"You son of a bitch! You just painted a target on Cas' back!" Dean snarls, and it takes an effort of will not to throw the angel blade into Balthazar's heart. "We trusted you!"

"Castiel, tell your gorilla to calm down before he ruptures something," Balthazar sighs.

"I would like to hear why you thought our people needed to know I've been ruined," Castiel says stiffly. "I had thought you shared my feeling that it would destroy morale."

"It was going to come out sooner or later," Balthazar defends. "I decided that if it happened sooner, it would be under our terms."

Dean seethes. Waiting for the big reveal would have given Castiel more time to recover his strength and his mojo, as well as giving them time to derail the whole Purgatory plan. Now, they'll have to contend with angelic exterminators as well as demons. "Fuck! Couldn't you have held off for a couple more days? And maybe given us a warning?" Castiel is scanning the skies, as though he expects to be attacked immediately. Though he can't see them, he suspects the angel's wings are spread and ready for flight at the first sign of danger.

"No. If we waited too long, Raphael would spread his version of the story - and I guarantee, any lies he'd tell would be far more persuasive, more demoralizing, and would fail to include his own involvement. Now… now the entire Host knows the truth."

Castiel shakes his head and says wearily, "Raphael's lies would be far more convincing. They wouldn't believe our version of the truth."

"They would when it comes from Amatiel."

The name obviously means something to Castiel, because he stiffens. "Amatiel has taken a neutral stance in the war. How did you convince her to speak on our behalf?"

Balthazar preens. "I can be very persuasive." At Castiel's stern look, he sighs. "I cornered her and forced her to listen. Once she realized what Raphael had done, she realized she couldn't remain neutral any longer. Her words have been heard throughout Heaven, by all sides."

"So… this Amatiel chick… why would they believe her and not Cas?"

"Amatiel is the Angel of Truth," Castiel explains. "She speaks only the truth, and she can detect lies, even second-hand ones. She would know I spoke the truth to Balthazar, and all who hear her will know of Raphael's role and believe."

"And… this is a good thing how? Cas said being the victim here doesn't matter, according to your fucked up laws."

"Because our 'fucked up' laws aren't just against the birth of a Nephil, but the creation of one." Balthazar grins savagely.

"Oh…" Castiel breathes.

Dean gets it. Raphael may not have been Danielle's parent, but she owed her existence entirely to the archangel. By creating a Nephil, he'd doomed himself in the process. "And Raphael didn't think this would come back to bite him in the ass?" Raphael might be a dick, but Dean had thought he was smarter than this!

"Raphael was counting on Castiel giving birth in Heaven, where he would have been torn apart before the baby had the chance to draw its first breath. No one would ever have known the truth."

"Seems to be a Hell of a risk, doesn't it? 'Specially when dealing with Cas, who don't exactly play by the rules. It's what makes him better than the rest of you feather-dusters."

"Thank you," Castiel says uncertainly.

"I mean," Dean continues, "Cas has proven he thinks for himself. Why would Raphael expect him to act like any other angel?"

"Because Raphael is incapable of understanding Castiel. Because any other angel, afraid and in pain like Cassy was, would have immediately gone to one of our healers for help. Going it alone is unthinkable."

Castiel shuffles uncomfortably, one hand pressed to his abdomen in memory. "I never even considered an angelic healer; I knew only that I had to get far away from Raphael and Heaven."

"So what does this mean, besides the fact that now all of Heaven is aware of Danielle's existence and is probably going to come after her and Cas?" Dean growls.

"What it means is that Raphael's army is deserting him."

Castiel stares. "How many has he lost?"

"A third of his army has abandoned him, with more angels going AWOL every day. The most crippling loss, though, is Gadriel and his garrison." Before Dean can ask, Balthazar adds, "Gadriel is an Angel of War. For him to walk away from battle is unheard of."

"And how many has our side lost?"

Balthazar's glee fades. "Less than half, which is better than I was expecting. At least they're not joining Raphael's army. More and more angels are taking a neutral stance in the war."

Castiel is silent for a long moment. "They would have been lost to us no matter who broke the news," he says finally. "At least a crippling blow was struck against Raphael's army, as well. You made a wise decision, Balthazar."

Dean reluctantly agrees; though he's not going to be able to sleep tonight until he paints a few strategically placed angel banishing sigils and Cas strengthens the wards again.

Dean doesn't retrieve the food hampers until Balthazar and co. leave, but he still feels like he's being watched as they head back to the house.

~oOo~

The rest of the night pasts uneventfully, the only bit of excitement being when Sam calls to let Dean know they'd arrived in Providence and their investigation would begin bright and early the next day. The update is followed by a lengthy conversation between Sam and Dani, which seems to consist primarily of happy squeals and raspberries. Sam's finally met his mental match.

The next day is little different; Dean retrieves the breakfast hampers and is allowed to take whatever he wants (choosing this time the single most gorgeously decadent and overstuffed omelet he's ever seen), and then he goes back to cleaning while Castiel alternates between napping and watching TV. Somehow, all the laundry in the house is clean, the books are in… well, not in order, or even particularly organized, but they're either shelved or in neat(ish) stacks.

If Dean ever quits hunting, he could have a brilliant career as a maid.

Around noon, as Castiel is finishing off what's left of the food, Bobby calls with an update. Castiel stops eating and looks up with obvious interest. Dean tries not to look like he's attempting to muffle the conversation so Cas can't hear. He suspects that may be a lost cause, anyway; he's noticing that the angel has uncanny hearing.

"How's the research going?" Dean asks in a low voice.

"Not good… Lovecraft's letters are gone. Stolen."

"That can't be a coincidence," Dean groans.

"Nope. Turns out I wasn't the only one interested in the letters. Said some British collector with a superiority complex and a taste for expensive scotch came to look at them two days ago, and offered to buy them. Sound like anyone we know?"

"Crowley," Dean says flatly. Castiel's head shoots upward, and his eyes meet Dean's. "He knows how to crack Purgatory."

"Not yet… our self-proclaimed expert here says there weren't any descriptions of rituals in Lovecraft's letters - said he was very careful not to say anything at all about the events of March 10, as a matter of fact, probably to keep others from repeating his mistake. Guess he had some sense, after all."

"So this was a dead end?" Dean asks, with a quick look at Castiel. The angel's expression is unreadable.

"Maybe not. I've got another lead I'm followin', and maybe Sam's found somethin' in the university collection, though if Lovecraft's been careful, then I doubt it."

Dean hangs up, then turns to meet Castiel's eyes. "Guess you heard that, huh? You could've warned us that we were racing against Crowley."

"I didn't tell him anything about Lovecraft or the journal," Castiel says. "I hadn't even had the chance to read the journal to determine if there was anything useful, much less pass the knowledge along to Crowley."

"So how did he make the connection to Lovecraft? He didn't bug us again, did he?" Fuck. That would be a disaster.

"No, I sensed no demonic devices either in the house or any of the cars." Castiel ducks his head guiltily. "The journal. I… lost track of it when Danielle emerged. I may have left it in the wreckage of that restaurant. A demon could easily have retrieved it."

As much as Dean wants to yell at him for letting something valuable fall into Crowley's hands, he can't exactly blame Castiel; after all, he'd sort of been busy giving birth.

Still… Crowley may now have a potent weapon at his command, and Castiel won't be there to keep Crowley from using the souls of Purgatory to start another Apocalypse.

~oOo~

The next couple of days pass peacefully. The expected attacks by angels or demons don't come, Purgatory isn't opened, and the Apocalypse doesn't resume. Dean knows this is only the calm before the storm, but he's going to enjoy it while he can.

He just… never expected the enjoyment to come from having a clean house for his baby. He'd even shampooed the carpets, thanks to Jody loaning him a rug shampooer. Though it's not all housework he's doing; there are always vehicles that need to be worked on, cars and trucks that were junked but are still in decent shape. Bobby restores them and sells them, and Dean doesn't mind giving Bobby a hand. Castiel joins him whenever he's working outside, spreading out a blanket for him and Danielle to share so they can sit and watch.

Dean's actually enjoying the (almost) normal family life. It's the first opportunity he's had to really play house like this. His time with Lisa barely counts; his entire time with her, he'd been mourning his brother, and hadn't given her and Ben the attention they deserved. He regrets that now… he'd never really given them a chance. He likes domesticity, probably because it's so different from the life he'd grown up in.

Although, he could do without the eternal battle against the dust bunnies. He swears the things spawn faster than real bunnies and have some sort of malevolent intelligence.

More startling than his own domesticity is the change in Castiel.

Castiel seems… content. It's the first time Dean's ever seen the angel when there's no hidden agenda, no immediate life-or-death crisis. No fear that Dean's going to toss him and their child to the wolves. Though the threat of Raphael and the Apocalypse still exists, it's no longer Castiel's problem. Balthazar has been keeping up a steady supply of food, so Cas no longer looks like a walking skeleton, and Jody has been coming over daily to give advice and provide moral support, and as a result, Castiel is more confident in his handling of Danielle. He still doesn't talk to her like he should, and his attitude toward her is more detached than Dean would like, but Dean's still confident that Castiel will come to love her as a parent should.

And Dean finally feels like he has his friend back.

Cas had never been the kind of friend he could take to a bar, drag to some sporting event, or hunt for women with, but they'd shared a quiet camaraderie that comes from being brothers in arms in the end of the world. They'd relied on each other, fought for each other, and would even die for each other (which Cas had, twice.) And Castiel was a good listener, even if he was crap at giving advice. Dean could unload on the angel, get everything off his chest, and know that Cas wouldn't judge him, or repeat what he said to anyone else.

It was good for Dean to have someone who would just be there for him, someone who wasn't Sam, since Sam was often the thing Dean most needed to talk about.

He hadn't realized just how much he missed that.

This time, though, it's Castiel who unloads on Dean, telling him about the war and the toll it's taking on Heaven, and how it's threatening to spill over and affect the souls residing there. He tells Dean about the angels he'd known who'd died, and the battlegrounds forever ruined by their warring.

Dean listens. And he almost understands Castiel's need to go nuclear to end the war once and for all, before Heaven is utterly destroyed.

They'd even talked about Castiel's raising of Sam from Hell. Castiel had sounded genuinely remorseful over bring Sam back soulless; he'd simply wanted to rescue his friend, and hadn't noticed Sam's soulless condition until much later. He'd known there was no way he could enter the Cage a second time; he'd barely escaped when he'd had the element of surprise on his side. When Dean had demanded to know why Cas hadn't just told them the truth, he'd said that Crowley had convinced him it would be better not to, that by keeping the means of Sam's resurrection mysterious, it would be easier to convince the Winchesters to cooperate in finding alphas.

After that conversation, Dean has to go and clean out the bathrooms, because killing germs and mold is better than screaming at an angel cradling a sleepy newborn. The tile shines by the time he's done, from the force of his scrubbing.

Despite these hitches, they're working out their issues. With a little work, their relationship may be closer than it ever has been before - which is essential, if they're going to raise Danielle together. Dean's glad to have Castiel as family again, as a friend again.

Even if Castiel does prefer My Little Pony to Chuck Norris.

It feels almost normal now, waking up next to Cas and Danielle. Dean's never really been a cuddler, but there's something reassuring about falling asleep next to the two of them every night, and knowing they'll still be there when Dean wakes up. He's still a bit uncomfortable with the fact that Castiel clings to him like a tenacious octopus at night, but it's better than sharing a bed with Sam, who kicks and hogs the covers.

And giving Castiel back rubs is helping him work through any remaining hang-ups he has about touching the outwardly male angel. Cas clearly enjoys them, and it turns out to be an effective method of heading off any arguments or emotional outbursts. If Dean had known rubbing the base of an angel's wings put them in such a blissed-out, semi-catatonic state, he might have given Zachariah a back rub or two.

Well, no, probably not.

The only low point of their time off comes when Jody brings a playpen over for Danielle. Castiel is oddly reluctant to put her inside, even though it's well-padded with blankets and holds all her toys.

For someone who is merely 'attached' to his child, Castiel gets severe separation anxiety. As soon as he places her at the bottom of the pen and backs away, he begins shaking. And as soon as she's out of sight, he panics.

Danielle isn't any better. At first she'd settled into the nest of blankets and pulled all her toys close and began to babble at them. But as Castiel stepped further away, she'd fallen silent, and then a tremulous "Peep?" had sounded. When no one had immediately appeared, she'd started peeping frantically until Castiel was in sight again. They'd talked it over with Jody, and she'd recommended they start it slow. Dean grudgingly agreed; after all, Cas can't hold Danielle forever, and it would probably do him some good to have 'alone time.'

But when Dean finds Castiel sitting as close to the playpen he can without actually being inside, and Danielle pressed against him, her tentacles poking through the loose weave to wrap around his arm, Dean decides that, Hell with it, they're not ready for even this degree of separation.

Domestic bliss lasts for three days, until, finally, Dean hears the sound of Bobby's Chevelle pulling up the drive.

The three of them went outside to greet the returning hunters, Dean holding a bottle of holy water and a silver knife, Castiel holding a blanket-wrapped, sleeping Danielle in one hand and keeping a white-knuckled grip on his blade with the other.

They manage to get through the tests before Danielle abruptly wakes up and gives a shrill cry, thrashing around until her blanket falls away. Danielle launches herself at Sam, splatting against his face and wrapping her tentacles around his head. He gives a muffled yelp and staggers backward, arms flailing. All the while, Danielle coos happily into his neck. Sam gasps something that could be "Dani, I can't breathe!" or may have just been baby-talk. Dean decides not to take that risk, especially since Sam's visible skin is starting to turn blue.

"C'mon, Dani, you can play alien face-hugger with him later. Right now, Sammy needs to breathe." Danielle allows herself to be pulled from Sam's face, but she slips from Dean's fingers so she can plop into Sam's arms.

Sam blinks goo out of his eyes, and smiles down at the happily trilling Danielle. "I'm glad to see you, too," he says. "How's my favorite girl?" he asks in a high, syrupy voice that makes Dean want to check if he'd grown boobs during the hunt.

Bobby snorts and heads towards the house. "When you ladies are done here, we can talk about everything we discovered." He gives Danielle a surprisingly soft smile before stalking off towards the house.

"Watch out," Sam says, his tone not altering from its high-pitched baby-talk level, "he's in a mood."

"When isn't he?" Dean asks dryly. "What happened now?" They'd been light on details during their calls on the return trip.

"Turns out an old girlfriend of his is a 900-year-old Purgatory monster," Sam says. His mouth makes a funny twist, like he's not sure if he should be horrified or amused.

Dean tries to decide if he wants to know. On the one hand, he really doesn't want to contemplate Bobby's sex life. On the other hand? If he doesn't know the truth, his dirty imagination will fill in the details, and he's pretty sure the mental image of Bobby naked with some tentacle monster is scarring. Dean's about to demand to know the whole story when they're interrupted by a yell.

Bobby's voice is audible all the way outside. "What the Hell happened to my house?"

~tbc~

Apologies to anyone who would have liked to have seen Dean and Cas actually talk things out; reconciliations over the events of season six have been done to death in other fan fics, and I don't have anything new to contribute. I'd just be rehashing what other people have written, and probably not as well.

I should probably mention that much of my angelic lore comes from A Dictionary of Angels by Gustav Davidson. I knew it and I were going to get along just fine when I first opened it to a random page and that page happened to have the entry for Castiel.

Oh, and I'm going out of town for awhile, hopefully to find an out of state job and escape the miserable area in which I live. I have no idea if I'll have time to write, or when the next chapter will go up.