Author's note: Many thanks to Treeni for beta reading!
It was a very little known fact that Castiel had never lost contact to Gabriel after the entire TV-land fiasco. In fact, the seraph had been back in the warehouse even before the sprinkler system had managed to extinguish the flames of holy oil; both holy fire and Castiel could be persistent like that.
To the angel's credit, he had acknowledged that his older brother refused to get caught up in the entire Apocalypse business, but he had insisted on wanting a way to get into contact with Gabriel again, if anything new and possibly mind-changing came up. The archangel had agreed, if only – or mostly – because Castiel's courage was rather admirable. Not to mention that he could very easily ditch the tracking device – a stone with the required Enochian symbols on it – if he ever changed his mind or if Castiel wanted to chat too often for his liking.
Of course, it wasn't even a month before the seraph stood in front of his door, metaphorically spoken. It didn't seem like he even knew what doors were for and didn't understand that it was common courtesy to wait outside until you were asked to come inside.
"I require your assistance!" Castiel stated in the way of greeting, cementing the archangel's belief that his brother was both socially awkward and terribly rude once and for all.
Really, who just popped into their relative's flat without any sort of warning? An hour earlier and the strippers Gabriel had snapped into existence would have still been there for crying out loud! Not that the archangel would have cared too much about his brother walking in. People who didn't know how to knock deserved all the mental scaring they got, in his opinion.
"'Course you do," Gabriel replied, throwing his arms in the air showily which seemed to confuse his brother instead of letting him know that he was disturbing the archangel's daily milkshake feast and was walking on thin ice, "I'm awesome like that."
That he was only crossing his arms in front of his chest instead of snapping his fingers to send the seraph to some undisclosed location of his choosing showed that he at least had some manners. It also showed that he was slightly curious to hear what exactly the little one thought was important enough to risk annoying him into breaking off all contact again. Okay, he wasn't all too tempted to go that far, even if Castiel should overstep some boundaries, but the other man didn't know that.
"This is no laughing matter!" the dark-haired angel insisted in a slightly frustrated tone, "An unknown force has worked a spell over Dean and Sam. They have both been transformed into a prepubescent state."
To make matters worse Castiel had only arrived in time to grab both Winchesters and get them to a safe place, but not in time to see what had actually happened. All he knew was that someone had done something that had altered their usual appearance and personalities considerably.
"What do you mean 'this is no laughing matter'? It's freaking hilarious!" Gabriel laughed, plopping down into his sixties style wingchair. He didn't have enough information to picture what dumb and dumber would look like that very moment, but every option he could come up with was funnier than the last.
"Brother, I am begging you, they are completely defenseless!" Castiel pleaded with the archangel. Surely, Gabriel would have to see how serious the situation was. The Winchesters were much to open to attack as things were! If Heaven and Hell got their hands on them, it would be much too easy to trick them into giving their consent to being the vessels for Michael and Lucifer, as well. While it was questionable at best that Gabriel would lift a finger to prevent that from happening, even the archangel had to see that the circumstances were simply wrong.
"Damn straight they are, you left the kiddies all on their own somewhere," Gabriel chuckled, snapping once to conjure up a cherry flavored lollipop. "Hate to break it to you, Cassy, but you're not a particularly good babysitter," he added, his words slightly muffled because of the sweet treat.
Oh, the archangel understood what his little brother wanted from him perfectly, but he wasn't terribly inclined to give in just like that. He was however inclined to see the miniature Winchesters for himself, not that he would let Castiel know that getting involved in this a little would actually please him.
"I have already said that I require your assistance," the dark-haired angel repeated, obviously thinking that he had made his point, but his older brother liked to see him squirm a little too much.
"I have left them in the All Tucked Inn motel in Delaware," Castiel added, fixing his baby blue and thoroughly pleading eyes on his brother's golden ones, "Dean assured me that they would be fine on their own as long as I allowed them to watch television and left them some quarters."
The angel hadn't liked the idea of leaving his two charges behind in their state, but taking them along would not have been the best idea, either. Luckily, the older Winchester had been positive that nothing could go wrong, if he simply provided them with some entertainment and made them promise not to leave the room before he returned. He had not exactly seen the point in getting both children to promise something to him after they had told him that he would have to make them promise themselves, but since Sam had also agreed that it was vital he had accepted it as part of a necessary ritual.
"I bet he did," Gabriel snorted, shaking his head. He was pretty sure that the Winchesters hadn't only been shrunken down but that their minds were matching their current form as well. Going only by what Castiel had told him, Dean might still have been his usual self, however. It just proved that the older Winchester had hardly matured since his childhood.
"I can only beg you again," Castiel repeated, ducking his head slightly in a show of respect and submissiveness. He might not understand most of the pop-culture references Dean and Gabriel were so fond of and sometimes strange sayings confused him, but nobody could say that he wasn't observant and so he had had no troubles noticing that his older brother was intrigued at least.
"You'll owe me big time, Castiel!" Gabriel stated seriously. The seraph wasn't only asking him to babysit two shrunken hunters, he also asked him to put the entire Apocalypse business aside and worst of all he also asked him to not abuse the situation for all it was worth!
Castiel nodded gravely. If he had seen any other option, he would have used it, but Bobby Singer's house was the place everyone would think to look for them first and it was unclear how the older hunter would fare against an unknown enemy while protecting two children and god help them if Michael or Lucifer got wind. There was no one else the seraph could trust and who was able to protect the humans from basically anything and everything. Gabriel might not have looked like the obvious choice from the outside, but that was one of the reasons why he was perfect for the job. The most important one was that nobody knew that the archangel was involved with anything in the first place, of course.
"This ought to be so much fun," Gabriel smirked just before he disappeared into thin air. The slightly panicky look on his younger brother's face was the cherry on top of the cake.
"Leave me alone, Dean!" an awfully young sounding voice complained loud enough that Gabriel wouldn't have had to be an archangel to hear it from where he was standing in front of their hotel room door.
Castiel hadn't told him what room number the two Weechesters had, but it wasn't that hard to figure out that they were in the one room that was warded heavily. Their loud squabbling had helped as well, of course.
"I'm not doing nothing," Dean insisted in the petulant voice only pre-teens could handle. Not that teenagers were any less petulant, they just tended to have deeper voices, or squeakier voices if they were unlucky enough to be in the most awkward stages of puberty.
"That's a double negative!" Sam pointed out with a huff. Judged by the sounds that came next their brotherly fight had just taken a turn for the more physical. The way the younger younger Winchester squeaked "Stop it!" was a good indication for that, too.
"I'm not even touching you, Sammy," his brother claimed in a through and through smug voice, "See, not touching you!"
"Dean!" Sam yelled, stretching the other boy's name for all it was worth.
As much fun as listening to them going on and on had been, Gabriel still decided that it was high time he got involved into this. He couldn't promise that he'd keep them from arguing on, but he wanted to have the visuals to the sound for sure!
The archangel shook his head in amusement and raised his arm to knock on the door. It took two tries before the brats even heard him over the sound of their quarrelling.
"Who the hell is there?" Dean asked, shushing his brother and trying to make his voice sound deeper and more adult. Apparently, he had some understanding of the dangers two kids alone in a pretty run down motel could face. It would be interesting to find out what exactly they did and didn't know, anyway.
"The pizza man," Gabriel replied just for the heck of it.
Looking at how the older Winchester nearly immediately opened the door just a little after that announcement spoke for them not remembering anything much about angels, demons and other monsters. Then again, most of those wouldn't impersonate a pizza delivery person to get to them. Gabriel refused to think that his brothers or their mortal enemies had sunk that low when it came to the Winchesters. Then again, if word got out that someone had turned them into children…
"Who the fuck are you?" Dean wanted to know, peeking through the door he had opened only wide enough to be able to look outside. His brother was still completely shielded from view as things were. Some things just didn't change, apparently.
"You realize that you don't need to curse in every sentence, right?" the archangel countered not even trying to sound reprimanding. Dean Winchester technically was thirty years old, after all. He could curse all he wanted. And even if he had been the age he looked – roughly twelve years old – Gabriel wouldn't have been the one to tell him to watch the language. He might have agreed to babysit, being a good responsible adult was another thing entirely.
"Whatever," the older Winchester huffed, crossing his arms in front of his chest, "Where's the pizza?"
Gabriel began to understand why Castiel had been so worried. Once Dean Winchester stopped being concerned with 'stranger danger' for the most part team free will was pretty much screwed. They could hardly count on Sam in that respect. It was a fair shot to say the younger Winchester had never been concerned enough with stuff like that to begin with, if the entire disaster with Ruby was any indication.
"I don't want pizza, Dean! You promised I could have chicken nuggets!" Sam finally protested, pulling on his older brother's shirt to catch his attention. That was how Gabriel caught his first glimpse of an even more considerably shrunken down Sam Winchester. Damn, even for an eight year old – give or take a few months – he was pretty damn short!
"For the love of all that's holy, what do they feed you, kid?" the archangel exclaimed before he could stop himself, "You're so… short!"
Sam frowned deeply, obviously trying to hide his wobbly lip. Gabriel, honest to God, hadn't meant to hurt the kid's feelings, but it was pretty easy to see that he had done exactly that. Dean's loud laughter didn't help, either.
"Okay, short version," the archangel started to speak again when an inconveniently placed pause intensified the wobbling in the younger boy's lip and the amusement in his brother's face. It surely hadn't helped that the angel hadn't been able to stop himself from throwing a side glance toward Sam, either.
"Castiel asked me to look after the two of you," Gabriel explained quickly, trying to distract Sam from getting all gloomy and Dean from having too much fun at his brother's expenses. Hell, two minutes of this and already he was starting to be more responsible than he thought he would be! "And now you two get your jackets and we go and get your chicken nuggets."
The mention of the dark-haired angel's name was enough to prompt them both to do as he had suggested which again was a good sign for how screwed they would have been had anyone else stood in front of their door. Gabriel still vowed to keep away from the entire Apocalypse business, but he had to admit that Castiel had been right. Using the brothers' current predicament against them was plain wrong. So yeah, as long as the two of them were half a Winchester each, he'd keep them out of all types of troubles. All kinds of trouble that had anything to do with the Apocalypse at least.