A/N: don't worry, i'm still working on my other fics-i just got an idea for this one and decided to put it into action. it won't be terribly long as it only takes place during a certain section of season 4. but here ya go.

i imagine it takes place between the episodes "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "On the Head of a Pin".

btw i'm sorry for ending the chapter at a not-very-suspenseful place... i promise it will get better. more adventures to come my friends c:

DEAN

Dean slammed the door shut behind him. Sam was off picking up some food for the two of them, so for a second, he was standing tense and alone in the dank little motel room. Then, after the sound of flapping wings, he wasn't.

"You're upset," said the gravelly voice of Castiel. The angel was watching him steadily, not moving from the center of the room where he'd appeared.

"I called for you," said Dean menacingly. "I needed you. We both needed you."

Castiel's downward glance suggested guilt, but his voice was strong as he replied, "I was… preoccupied."

Dean stalked across the room to the desk. "Yeah, well, a little fucking help now and then would be awesome," snapped Dean, slamming his dad's diary down on the wooden surface. "Peter died. Because you couldn't bother to drag your ass over here in time."

At a passing glance, Castiel's expression would not have appeared to change, but Dean recognized the subtle tension in his brow that made his blue eyes glint dangerously. "I tried, Dean," he replied, with just a hint of a snarl. "I was assisting Uriel in dealing with Lilith. Forgive me for believing that preventing the apocalypse was of greater priority." The last sentence had a bite to it that made Dean clench his jaw. "Besides, you handled it well. I was not needed," he added firmly, before Dean could slip in another remark.

"'Handled it'?" Dean repeated incredulously, his shoulders rigid. "Sam almost died!" He wanted to shout the words in Castiel's face, to rage and scream at the angel, but he knew whatever he did that that even blue gaze would remain unchanged. And it did. Dean found no sympathy in his cold, stony eyes; it was like yelling at a marble statue. The fact that Castiel didn't appear to care about the life of his brother only made him more frustrated—and hurt. "Peter did die! A good hunter, Cas, and Bobby's friend!"

Still the angel's face remained impassive. Dean tried to say something else, but words failed him. Castiel had dragged him out of Hell, had patched his broken soul back together and had given him a purpose with his first new breath, but for the life of him, he couldn't understand the guy. He couldn't see how angels could be such massive dicks all the time and still sort of save humanity. It was annoying as hell. And, though Dean would never admit it out loud, it was painful—painful to see someone he could almost consider a friend not give a damn about his little brother.

Castiel was about to say something, possibly a few apologetic words if the look on his face was anything to go by; but he froze at the rustling, crinkling sound of a candy wrapper being stripped from whatever treat it contained. Both angel and human turned quickly towards the sound to see that the two of them were no longer alone.

A man with an inherently mischievous face and brown hair almost as long as Sam's was sitting calmly on the desk, swinging his feet idly as he took a bite of a Butterfingers. Apparently just noticing the attention he was attracting, he looked up with a mildly surprised expression. "Oh, please, go on," he said through a mouthful of chocolate, gesturing for them to continue with a casual wave of his hand. "Don't mind me, I'm just enjoying the show." He gave a cocky little smirk that made Dean grit his teeth involuntarily. "It's like watching an interspecies soap opera."

Castiel looked very confused. His eyebrows came together in a questioning glance as he looked to Dean, pointing in the stranger's direction. Dean didn't need to hear his hesitant query to know what he was asking: "Do you know this man?"

"Yeah," answered Dean, grimacing at their new acquaintance. "The Trickster, right?" he asked, looking towards the stranger, who smiled wider in an affirmative sort of way. The fucking Trickster. Fantastic. "What do you want?" he barked harshly. According to Sam, this guy had killed him at least a thousand different times, in at least a thousand different ways, though he didn't remember a single one. In his book, that counted as being one untrustworthy dude, even discounting his first encounter with the guy.

"Oh, I'm not here for me," replied the Trickster in fake surprise. "I'm here to help you, Dean." He turned to Castiel. "Both of you, actually."

Dean struggled to grasp onto what little of his violently abused patience he had left. He really didn't like where this conversation was going. "The last time you tried to help any of us, you nearly drove my brother off the deep end," he said in a voice low with barely-contained rage.

That insufferable grin was back, but stretched wider this time. "Yeah, I did, didn't I?" he said, clearly enjoying the memory. "Don't worry. This time it'll be more fun." Dean and Castiel exchanged a glance. The look on his face seemed to say, Attack now? Dean responded with a little nod, and the angel started forward into Smiting Mode, bringing his hand up before him, ready to press it against the Trickster's forehead—

Then the jackass snapped his fingers, and Castiel was halted in his tracks as ropes appeared out of thin air, yanking his hands behind his back and binding them together so tightly that even Dean winced.

"Not so fast," said the Trickster, still grinning cheekily. "Come on, you two, don't you know not to bite the hand that feeds you? I told you, I'm helping you." Before Dean could slip in a growled remark, the Trickster continued, "See, I don't think you two appreciate each other like you should. And for a pair of idiots trying to stop the rise of Lucifer, it's important you function like a team, isn't it? The world is at stake, after all."

"What the hell are you talking about?" asked Dean, a bit of suspicion creeping into his tone.

The Trickster hopped off the desk, rewrapping the candy bar and putting it noisily back into his pocket. He didn't answer, but the smug grin still plastered on his face told Dean plenty as he stepped up to the two of them. Castiel was still struggling with his bonds, which seemed to get steadily tighter the more he moved, and Dean found as he tried to back away that he seemed to be rooted in place, his feet stuck to the floor.

"Hang on just a—" he started as the Trickster raised his hands until they were level with their faces. Before he could even finish his sentence, however, he felt a soft tap against his forehead and everything went black.

-x-

CASTIEL

As soon as he felt the "Trickster" tap his forehead, Castiel knew there was something amiss. This man—whoever he was—was more than what he claimed. What he was exactly, the angel didn't know yet. He hadn't had much time to think about it, what with being unconscious. One second he was standing there, his wrists screaming painful protests as the ropes cut off their circulation; the next, he was lying on something soft, and the ropes were gone.

He stirred. His eyes flew open. Something was dreadfully wrong.

It was a motel room—the exact same one, in fact, in which he'd just been standing. Dusty, dirty, bland… Ordinarily he'd be able to look at a room like this and see its history: see the stories of the prostitutes and drug-dealers, of the cheating ex-husbands and the unemployed travellers all written in the walls, like watching ghosts reenact their own deaths. Now, though, he saw it like anyone else would see it: a cheap hotel with two beds and ugly wallpaper. Sam was sleeping soundly on the other bed, his covers pulled up to his armpits, his hair rumpled. Dean was nowhere to be found, but that wasn't Castiel's prime cause of concern.

Where there was normally a warm glow in his heart, he instead felt a cold, hollow pit. The sound the wind would make blowing over it seemed to echo in his ears in absence of the "angel network," as Dean called it. He could hear none of his brethren, neither could he sense them. All was silent above. It was the strangest feeling—to be accompanied all his life by the murmurs of his kin like soft rock playing gently through the Impala's speakers, and then to have it vanish one day… He'd grown accustomed to the white noise, to the constancy of it.

For a moment, he thought something had happened to the hosts of Heaven, but when he sat up and felt the unfamiliar stiffness of his muscles and the heavy feeling that dragged at him, he knew it was something different. The realization hit him so abruptly that he felt like he'd been punched in the chest by an archangel. He was frozen in place, his chest suddenly heaving as he tried to wrap his now-cut-off mind around the fact.

His grace was gone.

He was human.

Sam, apparently roused by his labored breaths, groaned and turned his head, squinting at the former-angel. "Cas?" he said hesitantly. "You have a nightmare or something?"

"This isn't right," said Castiel in a tone bordering panic. "This cannot be happening. I—I obeyed all the orders they gave me. I don't understand—I didn't rebel—"

"Cas, what're you talking about?" asked Sam blearily, pushing himself up and rubbing his eyes.

"I don't understand!" repeated Castiel, now frantic as he stared, wide-eyed, down at his hands. He'd never really noticed how many lines covered a human's hands before. Now they seemed prominent. Would he age? Would he, Castiel, the angel who had barely fathomed rebellion, turn wrinkled and stiff and gray like every other human being? "Why did they do this? Why—" His voice cracked and he swallowed back what would've been a loud sob.

"Whoa, hey, Cas," said Sam, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and staring at the other man in concern. "Hey, it was just a dream, okay? Relax."

"I didn't do anything!" shouted Castiel, turning his anxious gaze heavenward. He got up from the bed, still staring past the ceiling with a look of terror. "Why are you doing this to me? Please—!" He choked on the request, unable to continue. It was outrageous. It was terrifying. It was shameful and disgusting. "Why—" His shoulders were shaking, his breath hitching, his eyes wet. He was crying. How human. He didn't like it.

Then he heard half-alarmed, half-soothing voices from Sam and felt one outrageously long arm drape over his shoulder, pulling him closer to the warm body of Sam. "Talk to me, Cas," he said softly. "Tell me what happened. Why are you upset?"

His fear and confusion turned abruptly to frustration. It wasn't obvious? The absence of his grace was screaming at him like wind down a long tunnel—how could the Winchester not hear it? "Because I am human, Sam," he growled in a voice that shook disgracefully. Sam retracted slightly. Castiel tried to portray the seriousness of the situation through a fiercely steady gaze. "Because I am human and I do not know why."

The younger Winchester didn't seem to understand, and Castiel found he wasn't surprised by the confused expression on the tall man's face. He seemed to be trying to process what he'd just heard.

Castiel pulled away from Sam's embrace, drying the wetness on his face with his sleeve. He had to pull himself together—find someone he could talk to who might be able to tell him something. Maybe Dean would know something about it. They had, after all, both encountered this "Trickster" being. "Where is your brother?" he asked in as steady a monotone as he could manage—a difficult feat when fear, confusion, shock, and rage were all vying for dominance in his head.

Castiel could practically hear the worry lines in Sam's face deepening, and a sense of foreboding preceded the Winchester's next words: "Cas, you're my brother."

The angel—well, former-angel, now—turned to face the taller man, staring at him for a moment in stunned silence. "Is this some form of sarcasm?" he asked uncertainly. "I am still having trouble identifying when…" He trailed off at Sam's raised eyebrows, like he had no idea what Castiel was saying.

"Cas, are you okay?" he asked again. He looked genuinely worried. In any other circumstance it might have been touching.

"No," replied Castiel with an immensely heavy sigh. Of course he was not "okay." Nothing about this was "okay." "Where is Dean?"

The name had scarcely fallen from his lips when there was the sound of flapping wings from behind him. It was so achingly familiar that he almost cried out in relief. Perhaps it was a messenger or someone from the garrison who could tell him what he'd done wrong. He turned with a hopeful expression on his face, but what he saw instead made his mouth fall half-open in pure shock, something which didn't happen very often to him.

Dean Winchester was standing not three feet away, looking as though he had no idea how he'd gotten there.

For a moment, all was silent. Then the shorter Winchester said, in a voice dead-even between disbelief and complete awe, "Dude."

-x-

DEAN

He was dead. He was dead, and he'd gone to Heaven, however he'd managed to pull that one. That had to be what happened. That had to be why he felt so damn good all of a sudden.

He was lying on something soft—but not creaky mattress soft; more like plush carpet soft. Maybe it was grass. He didn't know, and he didn't much care. All he knew was that the sun was shining on him so warmly he couldn't find it in him to even move.

Eventually, though, he got bored. There wasn't much to think about here other than how fucking lovely it was and he didn't seem tired enough to sleep anymore, so he sat up slowly, rubbing his eyes against the bright light. What he saw when he opened them, however, made very little sense. For a moment, he thought he'd gone blind or something—everything looked blank and white, like some kind of thick fog. But he could see the ground he was sitting on—well, sort of. He couldn't see the ground exactly, and he didn't appear to be casting any sort of shadow, but he could definitely see his hands as he held them in front of his face, and he could definitely see his feet, making indentations into the soft surface.

He stared at his hands for a moment. The scrape he'd gotten last week across the back of his left hand was completely gone, as was the slice down the center of his thumb. The purplish bruise he'd gotten on his forearm from a demon grabbing it with a vice grip had also vanished. Other than that, though, they were definitely his hands and arms. His own body, too, as far as he could tell—so why did he feel so… whole? There was fire in his veins the likes of which he had never felt before—and he didn't mean that in Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" kind of way. He was strong. Capable. More than capable—he was powerful.

The word surfaced in his mind at about the same time as he realized there was a slight extra weight on his shoulders, and not in the metaphorical sense, thankfully. It was a weird feeling—whatever it was, it was a part of him, like an extra pair of arms or something. Curious, he reached his right hand over his opposite shoulder, fingers groping—

There. They brushed something soft and wispy-feeling. There was a sharp, involuntary intake of breath as he realized what it was: feathers.

Wings. He had wings.

Suddenly hyper-aware of them, he hesitantly tried to expand them. The appendages obeyed his whim, as would his arms or legs, stretching to their full extent. Judging by feeling, he guessed he had a wingspan—wow, that was weird to think about—of about ten feet. He turned to get a look at them, but couldn't see them. Why was that? Were they invisible, like Cas's? I want to see them.

No sooner had he thought it than they shimmered into existence, massive and feathered and cool as fuck. For the most part, they were the same dark, dusty brown color as his hair, but they were lightly dappled with paler and darker shades, and Dean thought as he flexed them that they looked like a hawk's.

It was only then that he started to wonder how he'd gotten a hold of a pair of suckers like these. Think, Dean. His brain didn't currently seem capable of registering concern, but gradually he goaded it onto the track of figuring out where the hell he was and why he'd turned into one of the X-Men.

What even was he? He searched back in his memory for something else with wings, but the only other option he could think of was Cas, and Cas was an angel. Was Dean an angel now, too? It seemed too weird, even from his experience, but it seemed to be the only option. But then, if he was an angel, this must be Heaven, right? Was that good or bad?

Now the worry started to creep back, like a bunch of weeds slowly taking over an abandoned house. What the hell was he doing here? How had this happened? The last thing he could remember was the stupid grin on that sunovabitch's face—

The Trickster. He had to be behind this. "What the hell?" Dean muttered, looking over his wings one last time before making them invisible once more. He was starting to realize just how bad this really was. He was a fucking angel. That wasn't right. And where the hell did Cas end up? And—"Sammy," he breathed. He had to find his brother and figure out what was going on and how to stop it. But how could he even get out of here? All he could see was white fog.

His question was answered before he even asked it. In that very moment, he heard his name called. It sounded like it came from the other side of the world and right next to him at the same time. Just the spoken name seemed to be pulling him forward, calling him onward into another dimension; before he could so much as question who it had come from or why it had sounded that way, his invisible wings unfurled and, with a few mighty flaps, had left the whiteness behind in the blink of an eye. Somewhere in his head he knew that someone had called him by name, and resisting was well-past useless.

He was both shocked and unsurprised to find himself suddenly standing in the old motel room he and Sam had been staying in during their job with Peter. Standing in front of him, just turning to face him, was Cas, and, a little ways away, Sam. His eyes met Cas's first, and somehow he could see through the angel to see that he was no longer an angel. The abnormal (but not uncomfortable) heat he felt inside of him was not mirrored in Castiel.

His eyes widened as he realized: he was an angel, and Cas was human.

"Dude."

-x-

SAM

Cas and Dean had shared plenty of significant looks in the short time they'd known each other, but something was different this time. They were staring at each other like they'd never seen each other before. He could read awe, confusion, astonishment, even fear in their expressions and they seemed to be having an entire conversation with only their eyes.

"Guys?" said Sam experimentally, raising his eyebrows. They'd never acted like this before.

Dean looked towards the Winchester with a slightly dazed look, like he'd just been pulled away from a good movie. The haze cleared almost instantly, however, replaced by determination and grave urgency. "Okay, Sammy, listen up—something's—"

Sam cut him off. "Don't call me Sammy," he said, a little weirded out. Cas was the only one who'd ever called him that, and the fact that Dean had suddenly decided to after no apparent emotional connection to him was, in his eyes, very strange. Maybe it was different with angels, he didn't know; but whatever the case, he didn't like it. It felt unnatural.

Dean raised his eyebrows in an Excuse me? kind of way. "I've always called you Sammy," he said gruffly. "Ever since we were kids, remember?"

Okay, that was definitely weird. "No, you didn't," said Sam.

"Yeah, I did," replied Dean firmly.

"No, you really didn't," said Sam, concerned, but at the same time unable to hold back a half-hearted scoff. "I didn't even know you existed until a couple weeks ago."

He could still remember first meeting Dean—it was branded rather unpleasantly in his memories. According to Cas, Dean was the angel who had pulled him out of Hell, and while Sam was—and would be—eternally grateful for that, he couldn't forget the disappointment he'd felt upon meeting his first angel. Dean had seemed very immature for some kind of ageless being, and his eyes held nothing but disinterest—and even a tinge of contempt—when they landed on Sam. Sam, the younger brother of "the righteous man," doomed to stand in his brother's shadow cast by the light of Heaven itself. He didn't resent Cas for it, but he definitely resented the angels. The image he'd always had of these kind, tender beings had shattered by the appearance of Dean.

They'd been sitting in the Impala, and Sam was driving with Cas in the passenger's seat; all of a sudden, a gruff voice had said from the back seat, "Dude, you can't just drive a badass car like this and blast this sissy crap out the windows. You're sending people mixed signals."

Sam had nearly crashed the car, much to the disapproval of the stranger in the back seat. Even from the start he'd been deliberately uncivilized and unreasonable—only slightly less so when dealing with Cas, Sam had noticed. The favoritism was there, and it was obvious. The looks he gave Sam were indicative enough about how he felt about the other Winchester. "If I didn't know you, I'd want to hunt you." While Sam had never actually heard Dean say this, it sounded oddly familiar in a way, and it definitely seemed to fit his outlook on Sam.

Dean looked even more confused now, and a little angry, too, but that was no surprise. "What do y—" he started.

"It must have been the Trickster," interrupted Cas, directing his words at Dean. The Trickster? thought Sam, starting to share some of Dean's puzzlement. The last time he'd seen that dickbag, he'd lived through about a thousand more Tuesdays than he cared to remember. "It seems that he has literally switched our places. Sam believes that I am his brother."

"He can do that?" asked Dean, reluctantly awed.

"Apparently," replied Cas.

"But you are my brother," persisted Sam, ignoring their last exchange. No matter how far back he went in his memories, he could remember Cas being there, whether he was protecting Sam or just annoying the crap out of him. "Cas, what's going on? You're acting like you don't even know me all of a sudden."

"Oh, that is all kinds of wrong," muttered Dean, plenty loud enough for Sam to hear.

"Sam, listen to me," said Cas, turning so that he was completely facing the younger Winchester. "Something—" he started, but he broke off, apparently unable to finish the thought. He tried again: "This isn't real. I am not your brother. Dean is not an angel. Well, he wasn't, anyway." He seemed to be expecting Sam to object, but the Winchester had decided to hear him out—a decision which seemed to be throwing off Cas's train of thought. "I—we ran into—that is to say—"

"Sam, I'm your brother," said Dean, apparently taking over for Cas. "I sold my soul to save your life, and I went to Hell, and Cas dragged me back out. Cas is the angel here, not me." Even as he said it, however, Sam opened his mouth to protest; before he could get so much as a syllable out, though, a glass which had been sitting on a side table was knocked from its place and shattered on the floor.

Sam reached instinctively for the knife at his belt. "What was that?"

Dean looked something between embarrassed and reluctant. "My, uh, wing knocked it," he said, averting his gaze. "Sorry."

"Right," said Sam, raising an eyebrow. "You still think 'Cas is the angel'?"

At this, Dean seemed to lose track of what he was initially trying to say. This seemed to happen a lot with the angel, though Sam had gotten a sense from the beginning that he often knew more than he let on—if he did, though, he kept it very well-hidden.

Sam, while exasperated by the vain attempt to keep up the farce, was also troubled by their behavior. If this was a joke of some sort, it was a very poorly executed one. Anyway, they seemed to genuinely believe whatever kind of bullshit they were spouting. He cast around quickly for some kind of creature that could give them that level of an identity crisis, but nothing sprung immediately to mind.

Instead of trying to salvage whatever he'd attempted to start, Dean turned instead to Cas, and the pair exchanged another of those silent face-conversations. "Can you give us a second?" Dean asked Sam, taking Cas by his upper arm and steering him towards the door.

This gave Sam another opportunity to consider the possibilities. Cas had mentioned the Trickster—and while he didn't put it past the Trickster's abilities to mess with their heads like this, he found it very hard to believe he would bother. What motives could he have for making Dean think he was Sam's brother instead of Cas? There had to be a better explanation.

There had been a few spirits he and Cas had tangled with who had been able to convince them of things that weren't real or inspire emotions in them that weren't there before. But so far, neither Dean nor Cas had attempted anything malevolent or shown any evidence that their minds were being tampered with by something so evil. If anything, it was more like the ghost sickness Dean had so recently contracted—mostly harmless at first, but most likely dangerous if allowed to continue. And if ectoplasm was involved, he'd have seen some leaking from their ears or something by now. A shapeshifter was a possibility, but a slim one; Sam liked to think he would've woken up if a shapeshifter had stolen into the room overnight, taken on Cas's form, and then disposed of his either dead or unconscious body. As for Dean—well, there had to be some kind of law against shifting into an angel, didn't there?

He put it out of his mind for the time being, deciding to wait and see what kind of explanation they'd come up with.

-x-

CASTIEL

Dean wasted no time delving into the topic as soon as the front door closed behind them. "Sam doesn't have any idea about what happened."

It sounded like a statement, but he seemed to be searching for a confirmation, so Castiel nodded.

"Do you think the Trickster did this?" asked Dean.

Castiel nodded again, his gaze steady and earnest. "It seems that he has… altered everyone's perception of us." He paused. "I think we should explain this to Sam."

Dean hesitated before shaking his head. "No, he already thinks were crazy. Listen, let's just play this by ear and wait a while, and hopefully that douchebag will set things right." The prospect of this alarmed Castiel, and some of it must've shown on his face, because Dean continued, "Look, it shouldn't be too hard, right? We pretend to be who everyone else thinks we are until we can find the Trickster and make him fix this."

Castiel shook his head urgently. "Dean, I don't think you realize how serious this is. Do you know anything about being an angel?" Dean shrugged a little sheepishly and started to protest half-heartedly, but Castiel interrupted, "And my inexperience in your 'hunting' will be obvious enough from the moment Sam hands me my first gun."

"Oh, trust me, it'll be way more evident before that," said Dean with a knowing grin that quickly slid from his features at Castiel's continually grave expression. "Look, hopefully it won't be that long, okay? And we can teach each other a few things along the way. I'll show you how to use a gun, and you can teach me how to do… whatever it is you angels do. So let's just go in there, play along, and hopefully we can figure this out, okay?"

After a moment's hesitation, Castiel nodded, flicking his gaze downwards. He didn't like this idea—Sam would be better off knowing why they were the way they were, even if it meant risking him thinking they were insane.

Dean seemed to have realized what they'd just spent the past ten minutes talking about. "My God, it's like freakin' Freaky Friday here…"

Castiel did not understand what he meant by this. "Today is Wednesday," the former angel stated with a slightly confused expression.

"It was a—never mind," said Dean quickly.

Castiel turned to head back inside, but stopped as he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he saw that Dean had an uncharacteristically anxious expression on his face.

"Hey, how're you holding out?" he asked. "With the whole being human thing, I mean. You're like Superman wearing a Kryptonite suit."

Castiel didn't bother questioning who "Superman" was or what "Kryptonite" meant. He was slowly learning that inquiring after Dean's pop culture references often distracted him from more important aspects of the conversation. "Don't be concerned," he said, which wasn't a straight answer, he knew. He was grateful for this small show of care for him, but it wasn't, at the moment, a matter open for discussion. They had more important things to do.

Dean seemed to recognize that he was evading the question, but before the former-human could point it out, Castiel had turned and was about to open the door once more when he paused. Without turning to look at Dean, he stated simply, "I do not like the idea of lying to your brother."

"Neither do I," admitted Dean after a moment. "But we'll have to. For now, at least."

Castiel didn't answer as he opened the door and stepped back inside. Sam, who had not moved from where he stood, was watching them expectantly, waiting for an explanation.

"My apologies," said Castiel, refusing to meet the younger Winchester's eyes. "I had a nightmare and I… was confused."

Sam didn't seem to buy it at first, but before he could make any objection, one of his cell phones rang. He pulled the device (the workings of which Castiel was still trying to understand) out of his pocket and answered, "Hello?" There was a pause. "Yeah, we'll check it out. It's not far from where we're at." Another moment of silence. "Yeah, thanks, Bobby." He hung up and turned to Castiel. "Apparently there are some weird murders going on at the other side of state. Bobby wants us to investigate."

Castiel, who wasn't accustomed to having such statements directed at him, simply stared back, half-expecting Dean to intervene.

"Well, start packing," said Sam, gesturing to the suitcase at the foot of the bed which Castiel took to assume was his.

The former-angel blinked in surprise. "Right." Though he was currently wearing the outfit he was so accustomed to (including the trench coat, of course), there seemed to be quite a lot of other clothes packed away in the small dufflebag. He did not care for most of them, but then, he supposed, he couldn't continue wearing the same thing every day now that automatic cleanliness was no longer an option.

Both Sam and Castiel went around collecting their things—a task which, overall, didn't take longer than five minutes, though Castiel had to stop frequently, holding up an object and looking questioningly at Dean, who would either nod or shake his head. Apparently, he'd have to learn the difference between the things which belonged to him, Sam, and the motel.

As he was zipping up the dufflebag, he glanced up as Dean appeared to cringe. "Ow—okay, okay! What!" he shouted, seemingly at nothing as he jumped up from the chair where he'd been sitting.

Castiel glanced at Sam. He hadn't known Dean for very long, but it was obvious that this wasn't a normal human pastime. This observation was only confirmed by the alarmed expression mirrored in Sam's face. "You think this is some kind of angel thing?" he asked in a low voice to Castiel, who looked doubtfully back at Dean. The older Winchester had turned away from them and seemed to be standing still, as if listening intently to something.

"Excuse me?" he asked to no one in the room, sounding incredulous. "You want me to just—" He stopped. When he spoke again, his voice had dropped to a low growl. "Alright, alright. Hold onto your feathers, okay? I'll be up there in a—" Castiel assumed he was about to say "second," but the Winchester had vanished with a gust of wind before he got the word out.

"What was that all about?" said Sam.

"I think he got called up by my—" he stopped, correcting himself, "—by his superiors."

"You mean the other angels? I've never seen him do that before though…"

Castiel didn't answer as he and Sam both slung their bags over their shoulders and headed outside to the Impala.