AN: I give up on making this chapter longer. Italicized within quotes is telepathy or whatever. That, or Dean's finally gone crazy.
Dean set the scruffy, black cat in the center of the tub. He stared critically for a moment before pointing at Castiel. 'Stay!'
Castiel crouched down and looked up at Dean miserably.
Dean vanished through the door and soon returned with scissors. He locked the door as laughter erupted from the other room. 'And don't you dare scratch me,' Dean threatened as he knelt down and ran his free hand over Castiel's back.
It took everything Castiel had to not lean into the touch. He felt a tug on his fur, and he flattened his ears as the scissors began snipping away. He pressed his head into the floor of the tub as Dean clipped his way along the fur. His ear was taken between two fingers, and he cringed, expecting the worst.
'Jesus, Cas…,' Dean muttered. The cat looked tentatively up at him. 'Did you lose a fight with a lawn mower or something? Your ears are all torn up, and I'm finding scars under all these damn mats!'
Castiel looked away. His cat-friend had led a hard life, and she had been very territorial. He flinched as Dean pulled at another mat, getting ready to cut it away. 'Gently!'
'Did you just say something?' Dean stared at the cat in shock. He could have sworn he had just heard Castiel's voice. Distant and echoey, but still close.
Castiel's head shot up, and he stared at Dean. Hesitantly, he reached out to Dean's mind. 'You can hear me?'
Dean frowned at Castiel. 'Yeah…,' he replied. 'Fuck… Am I psychic?'
Castiel's tail twitched quickly as he stood. 'Of course not,' he replied. 'A witch and familiar share a close connection. It…it means you're more open to me. More…accepting…' He trailed off as he crouched back down and turned his ears back.
Dean sighed and he scratched at Castiel's head. 'Yeah, I guess. Look, I'm still pissed at you, but this whole…magic…thing… Well, I can see how it'd have its perks,' he admitted.
'You mustn't abuse your power!' Castiel warned with a purr. 'I would prefer you to not be dark.'
'I don't wanna be evil, either. So, uh…what, exactly, do I need to avoid?' Dean asked as he went back to clipping mats.
'Dishonest acts, mostly. Creating false currency. You are permitted to create jewels and metals, but not for the sake of profit,' Castiel explained. 'Avoid love spells and potions…anything that would change the personality of another individual or would take away their freedom.'
Dean nodded and paused in his grooming. 'Wait. So, like, "harm none and do as you will"?' he asked. 'That sorta thing?'
'That is decent explanation, yes. Where did you get it from?' Castiel allowed Dean to turn him over and start work on his belly.
Dean grimaced at the matted fur on Castiel's underside. It was much worse than the back. 'One of those new agey, metaphysical stores,' he replied. 'It's on all their shit.'
Castiel blinked slowly at Dean. 'A…shop for witches?' he asked. 'And non-magical persons may enter it?'
'It's…well…' Dean finished up Castiel's stomach and flipped him back over. 'I dunno… I woulda thought it was just people that thought they were witches, but now…'
'Do they sell proper supplies?'
Dean pulled down the shower head and turned on the water. 'Crystals, pentagrams, incense, tarot cards… That sorta crap,' he replied. Once satisfied with the water temperature, he pointed the stream of water at Castiel.
Castiel cringed as the water hit him. Every instinct told him to get away, but he remained. 'No…those are tools that can be used to channel your power while you're learning,' he replied. He let out a pathetic meow. 'Dean, I don't like this!'
Dean smirked as he grabbed the shampoo and squirted some on Castiel's back. 'Good.' He worked up a lather, careful to avoid Castiel's eyes. 'So, what are "proper supplies"?'
Castiel began pacing in the tub when Dean stopped scrubbing him. 'Plants grown in special areas, tools made of specific materials, parts of creatures…' He shivered and let out a distressed yowl as he was hit with water again. 'I-ingredients to potions. Things like that…'
Dean was enjoying himself immensely. The only problem he was having was Castiel's thin form. 'We seriously need to fatten you up, Cas,' he said grabbed Castiel by the scruff of the neck and held him up to spray off more soap. 'Is your human form this skinny under all the clothes?'
Castiel tried not to struggle, but his limbs were outstretched, and his claws were splayed. 'Dean, this is uncomfortable.' He only got a grunt in response. 'When I was summoned, I received a healthy vessel, so no. I'm not malnourished.'
Dean rinsed Castiel head to tail again, going as slow as possible. 'Uh-huh… So can we fatten up your cat side? I mean, I'm sure there's a lot of witches out there that wish they had a mangy, black cat, but you could stand to gain a pound or two.'
Castiel leapt out of the tub the moment Dean turned off the water. He shook his paws out, but could still feel water between his toes.
'Don't you dare change back,' Dean said as he dried his hands off.
'You want me to forgive you for tricking me and lying to me?' Dean asked as he knelt down and ran a towel over the cat.
'Yes,' he quickly replied. He struggled to get away from the towel, but Dean kept hold of him. 'Please, Dean, you're making it worse!'
Dean laughed softly. He pulled the towel back and admired his handiwork. 'All right. Stay like that until you're completely dry.'
'As a cat. And no cheating with magic.'
Castiel hung his head and curled his tail around himself.
Dean opened the door and stared expectantly at Castiel. 'Go on,' he said. 'Get out there.'
'I'd rather not…'
'Get out, or I'll carry you out.'
Castiel stared at the floor as he slowly left the bathroom, shaking his legs as he went. He shrank away as Gabriel's laughter rang out. He sat against the wall next to the bathroom door, avoiding everyone's gaze.
Sam had to cover his mouth to keep from laughing out loud. He felt a little sorry for Castiel, but from the look on Dean's face, the two were getting along much better now.
'Oh, no, you don't,' Dean said as he bent down and scooped Castiel up. He placed his familiar on top of the dresser and grinned. 'You get to stay right there, where everyone can see you.' He turned to look at Sam. 'Where's your camera?'
Sam reached into his bag and tossed his small, digital camera to Dean. He sent Castiel an apologetic smile.
Castiel meowed in protest as Dean ruffled his fur. 'Dean, please!' he whined. He looked up and blinked curiously at the small object Dean held. A bright flash of light went off, and he was momentarily blinded. He blinked away the spots and turned his back on everyone.
Gabriel hurried up to his brother and began running his fingers through the wet fur. 'Lookit you!' he exclaimed and rubbed his face against Castiel, earning a hiss. 'You smell so pretty!' He quickly backed away as sharp claws swiped at his face. He looked to Dean. 'You might wanna clip his nails.'
Dean made himself comfortable on one of the beds. 'As long as he's not clawing at me, we're good,' Dean replied. He looked from Gabriel to Sam. 'So…why did we have to come to this crap mystery spot?'
Sam ducked his head as he sat on the edge of the other bed. 'Sorry,' he mumbled. 'It's just… I wanted to know more, and you weren't willing to know anything!'
'That doesn't mean you had to lie,' Dean pointed out.
Sam sighed as he pushed his hair back. 'Would you have listened?' he asked. 'I mean, you've never been into the occult. You always groaned about checking out a new location… And you were so mean to Cas. Of course I didn't wanna say anything.'
Dean frowned as he looked away. His eyes fell onto Castiel, who was busy cleaning himself. 'Good crotch?'
Castiel looked up and stared at Dean before hissing and going back to cleaning himself.