"Lock the doors, lock the windows, don't open the door for anyone but you, look out for Sammy," Dean repeats.
"I'll be back in a few days." John finishes packing the guns away and leaves one by the front door for Dean. "I'll uh- bring some presents with me."
"Yes, sir." Dean knows he won't.
John leaves without saying goodbye. As soon as the door clicks shut Dean dashes off to the motel's bed room and slides next to the bed. Sam, who was only pretending to be asleep looks over the edge of the bed and watches Dean slip a hand under the bed. "You can come out now, he's gone."
Castiel crawls out from under the bed and shakes his wings to get rid of the dirt his wings had dusted off the bed. "I don't think I can hide from your much longer."
"Sorry, Cas." Sam climbs down off the bed and smiles at the angel.
"I'll tell him. Just, when he's in a better mood…"Dean trails off and the other two boys nod understandably, even though Sam knows that day will probably never come. "But Dad left some decorations!"
Sam brightens up and runs over to the small box next to the pathetic tree they had. Dean is sure it is actually just the top of another Christmas tree that got chopped off to fit inside someone's house. But it's the first tree they've had since mom died. Sam puts all the decorations on by himself, there wasn't that many to begin with anyways. The tiny tree bends beneath the weight of the shiny ornaments and Dean cracks open a can of tuna for the three of them. They offer some to Castiel who taste a small bit, makes a face and refuses to eat any more, like he does every time they try to get him to eat.
Dean really has no idea how he's going to convince his dad that Castiel's okay, his dad only see's humans and monsters and it doesn't matter that Castiel is the only friend Dean's ever really had. His dad hasn't been around much, so he'd only have to hide Castiel for a few days at a time and have week's in-between where they were safe.
"You look troubled, Dean." Castiel always talked a little funny but the more time he spends with Dean and Sam the more he sounds like a regular little boy. Still it makes Dean smile when he tilts his head and blinks in confusion.
"It's nothing, Cas." Dean pats Castiel on the back and hands Sam the tuna can. "Hey, you ever make a snow angel before?"
"Snow angels?" Castiel crinkles his nose the way it always does when Dean talks about angels. Castiel used to correct him but now he shakes his head and ignored it. "No, I've only been on earth for a week or so."
"Well, they're pretty fun." Dean stands up and goes to get Sammy some socks to go outside in. "And I think you will make the best ones, you already have wings!"
"I really shouldn't get them wet…" Castiel runs his hand through the feathers on his left wing and looks at the falling snow wearily. "They get poufy then."
Dean puts Sam in his lap and pulls his socks on, doubling up because he doesn't have winter boots, and then shoves his arms inside his coat. "It's just the three of us, who cares if you look goofy."
It turns out that Castiel wasn't joking about the puffiness. When they get back in, all soaking wet from the sludge that had passed as snow, Sam and Dean offer to help dry Castiel's wings and the angel very reluctantly agrees. They rub scratchy motel towels over the wet feathers and Castiel tries not to burst into laughter at the weird feeling. The once tiny wings balloon up to twice their size, two giant balls of fluff that look absolutely ridiculous. Sam laughs at the angel, Castiel huffs and tries to draw his wings around his body but the messy feathers tickle his face. "I told you this would happen. I refuse to be used as an object for your amusement."
"Don't be such a nerd." Dean ruffles Castiel's feathers and tugs on Sam's sleeve to guide him to bed. "They don't look that bad."
"We are never doing that again," Castiel decides.
"It would be better if we had real snow," Sam tells him.
"Come on, little brother." Dean pulls back the covers and ushers Sam beneath them. "It's way past your bed time."
"Can't I stay up just a little longer?" Sam gives his best puppy dog eyes and when Dean shakes his head he looks at Castiel instead. "Do I have to go to bed?"
Castiel gives him a blank stare and purses his lips, trying to think up an answer. "Well, if you think you're old enough to stay awake…"
"Castiel!" Dean snaps when Sam's face brightens up.
"Of course you would risk being put on Santa Claus's naughty list." Sam instantly pales and pulls the covers up over his body, burying his face in the pillow and squeezing his eyes shut. "Good night, Sam."
The little boy doesn't reply, trying to fall asleep as fast as possible and the other two boys go back out into the tiny living room. Dean flops down on the lumpy couch and smiles at Castiel. "I didn't think angel would get visits from Santa too."
"We don't, I just hear you talking about him." Castiel sits down next to Dean and pauses before continuing. "You are aware that Santa Claus is not real, right?"
"Sh, Sammy might hear you," Dean shushes. Castiel gives him a light smile and the boy stretches out a yawns. "Been a long day."
"You should sleep," Castiel tells him, laying a hand on his shoulder. "I will watch over you and Sam."
Dean nods mutely and lays his head on the arm of the couch. It's nice having Castiel around just for the fact that Dean doesn't always have to constantly be watching over his brother. He knows it's still his responsibility but before Castiel he'd be up all night and miserable, at least now he gets some sleep and he doesn't feel so alone.
There's no angel on the top of their tree but there's one on the couch and that's good enough for Dean.
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