Dean sank down onto the sofa with a huff.
It was nine in the morning and the Winchester brothers had just got back from a hunt…one massive cock-up of a hunt. You name it, it had gone wrong.
Dean had just spent the past twenty minutes stitching up a deep gash in his leg and had been forced to take a freezing cold shower as Sam had used up all of the hot water washing his hair.
His brother was such a girl!
But at least there was one thing that he could always fall back on.
He was just about to enjoy a cool beer and get some shut eye when he heard an all too familiar flutter of wings coming from the lounge area of their motel room – it had been the only room available and although it cost more, Dean and Sam had been pleased with the small rest area, kitchenette and larger bathroom than usual. It made a nice change for Sam to be able to fit his gigantor frame into a room comfortably without constantly banging into things and bruising his elbows!
With a sigh he went back out into the lounge, where he saw a hunched over figure on the floor, clutching something to his chest with Sam peering over him concernedly.
But the figure was not wearing an oversized beige trenchcoat.
Great, that just left…
Dean groaned when he recognized the khaki green jacket and black shirt that the arch angel was wearing.
It was bad enough when Cas popped up out of nowhere and invaded their personal space, but Gabriel…well that was going way too far.
"Gabriel, what the hell are you…?"
"Dean! Sam! Damn am I glad to see you boys."
"Yeah, well, great we aint glad to see you!"
"Now is not the time for joking about!" Gabriel stumbled to his feet, still clinging onto the bundle in his arms.
"Are you serious…you, telling us not to joke about?"
"I am deadly serious."
Gabriel's legs began to buckle again and he nearly fell, tightening his grip on the bundled up blanket with one arm and clutching at his side with the other.
Then the Winchesters noticed it, Gabriel was practically holding his own guts in.
There was blood everywhere.
That would explain why he didn't look as cocky as usual!
"Woah, what the hell happened?"
"Not hell, heaven. Look, please, I don't have long, I need to go and sort some things out. Look after my brother."
Gabriel thrust the bundle of blankets into Dean's automatically outstretching arms before staggering backwards a little.
"What, no way, you can't just…"
There was a flutter of wings.
"…leave us without explaining what is going on."
"Dude, did he just dump a baby on you?"
"Oh…um, wow…you, holding a baby. Now there's a sight I never thought I'd see!"
Dean looked at the baby, which he was holding at arms length and shot Sam a dirty look.
"Hey, I'm amazing with kids!"
"Well that's debatable."
"Need I remind you that I am a qualified teddy bear doctor?! And besides, I looked after your scrawny ass for years and you didn't turn out so bad."
"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence Dean!"
"Anytime little brother."
Sam smiled before cautiously approaching Dean and the baby. The tiny child was staring up at his older brother in fascination, his pudgy hand reaching out for Dean in an attempt to make the man hold him closer, but his expression was completely blank…typical angel!
"Does he look familiar to you?" Sam stared at the child, his face tilted in concentration.
There was definitely something…familiar.
"Uh, no, not really. I don't know any babies." The tiny child in his hands gurgled and Dean held him further away from his body.
"I don't think your holding him right, aren't you meant to support his neck or something." Dean pulled the baby closer to his chest, still wary that it might bite him or do something equally unpleasant…like puke on his jacket.
"Well, I guess that's better, but take a closer look at his eyes." Dean did so, peering at the baby's face for a moment and smirking when the child made a soft gurgling sound and blew bubbles of spit.
"Uh, what about them?"
"Yeah, and...oh no way. You don't think?"
"Son of a –"
"You can't swear in front of a baby!"
"It's not a baby, it's an angel! Hell, it's Cas!"
"It, is a he and he, well Castiel, is a baby angel, which makes it even worse to swear in front of him. You know how up tight he is about that sort of thing!"
"He's always uptight about everything!"
"But he's a baby now, he's all cute and innocent- god I never thought I'd say that. Aww, look at him…he's smiling."
"I don't think that's a smile, it's more of a wicked, I'm gonna make your life hell smirk."
"He's a baby, not some evil plotting dick with wings."
"Well, he'll grow into one. Well, apart from the evil part."
"It's Castiel. He's the least dickish of all of them, at least he means well"
"Only you could come up with that logic Sammy."
"Yeah, cos I'm the one with all of the brains."
"That's my word!"
"Well I need something to insult you with."
"Hmmm. What are we going to do with him?"
"Dunno. Put him up for adoption?" Castiel's tiny face screwed up with tears and he let out a sudden high pitched wail.
It wasn't dissimilar to the noise he had made in his true form at that shop or in the motel room.
"Shh, Cas, don't…shhhhhh, please!"
"Dean! Oh now look, you made him cry!" Sam sighed and sank down onto his bed, opening his laptop to do some research into how to look after a baby. It wasn’t as if either of them had a lot of experience – they were so not qualified for this sort of thing. Knowing their luck they would accidentally kill Castiel by giving him the wrong food, or something equally stupid.
Cas’ sobs increased in pitch, making Sam wince. But he was so not going to deal with it. Dean had made Castiel cry, so Dean could deal with it.
"Did not! Hey buddy, I didn't mean it, I promise I won't trade you in!" Castiel continued to sob, flailing his tiny arms and eventually reducing himself to tiny sniffles when no more tears would come.
Dean gave Sam a desperate look, silently asking him what to do.
"Don't look at me."
Dean sighed and thought back to how his mother always used to comfort him when he was little. He couldn't remember much but knew that she would often sing to him and cuddle him, rocking him slightly. So Dean decided to do the same.
After four Metallica songs Castiel had stopped whimpering and was now looking straight at Dean with his mouth open in an awestruck 'O.'
Dean had to admit that he looked damned cute, his huge blue eyes and long dark eyelashes standing out against his milk white skin.
To be honest, the baby version of Cas was perfect.
Dean pulled him a little closer and cuddled Castiel close, allowing Cas to rest his head on his shoulder and nuzzling his nose into the babies mess of near-black hair. He smelt fresh, like passion fruit shampoo with a hint of something else…vanilla?
"Don't ever repeat this, but you're kinda cute like this." Castiel's toothless mouth split into a smile and he let out a gurgle of pleasure at the complement, his pudgy hand reaching out and grasping at Dean's face.
"Woah, easy there man, personal space." The baby cooed and blew more bubbles, but he didn’t relinquish his grip on Dean's chin.
"Yeah, yeah, real cute. I get it!"
After a while of Dean standing awkwardly without a clue what to do, Cas closed his eyes and began to doze in Dean's arms.
At least that made his life easier.
Dean walked into the sectioned off twin bedroom and placed the baby down in amongst the pillows on his bed before turning his attention to Sam in the mini lounge area.
"Who said I am bad with kids…I'm a pro!"
"Hmm, right. I've found a great website."
"Busty Asian Beauties?" Dean looked up hopefully and sank onto the sofa next to Sam.
"No Dean, try to use your upstairs brain for once. It's called 'How to Look after a Baby-For Dummies.'"
"Speak for yourself."
"Who's the one who went to college?"
"Whatever, geekboy…what does it say?"
"There are five top tips about how to look after a six month old baby."
"How do you know how old he is?"
"By how tall he is, but then again, he's quite skinny, apart from his hands, so he could be younger than that."
"I guess you're probably right. He's always been as thin as a rake…know it all."
"Well, the first instruction is to never leave a baby out of your sight." Dean bit his lip and headed back into the bedroom, scooping Castiel back up in his arms before slumping on the sofa again.
Well, that was easy enough.
"Right, it also says that you need to feed your baby 1 teaspoon to half a cup of fruit in 2-3 feedings, 1 teaspoon of vegetables to half a cup in 2-3 feedings as well as 3 to 9 tablespoons of cereal, in 2 or 3 feedings."
"So basically, a load of bland tasteless crap two to three times a day."
Sam didn't bother picking up on the swearing, Cas was asleep and he knew Dean would never fully quit the habit.
"Well, that's one way of putting it. I've written it all down on a shopping list with some recommended types of baby food. We should also get some formula milk, just in case he is younger than we think."
"Great, that sounds expensive. How much do you think we'll need?" Dean looked down at Cas in resignation as the tiny child began to wriggle in his sleep and made soft gurgling noises.
Knowing Dean's luck he was probably waking up again.
"No idea, how long do you think it will take Gabriel to come back and sort him out."
"Uh, a few days?"
"Hopefully. What else does the laptop say?"
"Well, the website also says that you have to give your babies lots of love and cuddles, skin to skin contact is very important to encourage love and trust, as well as helping children develop well so they are social later in life."
"Cas, social. Now that would be a sight for sore eyes."
Sam chuckled softly.
"You should bathe your baby twice a week…"
"Well that can be your job later, Samantha."
"Yeah way, you're the soccer mummy; I'm the cool uncle or something…"
"We'll see about that."
"So what's step number five?"
"Regularly check diapers to see if they are soiled and change them as soon as possible after wees or poos to avoid nappy rash and urinary tract infections."
"That is defiantly your job. Now, if you're done with your pearls of wisdom, I'm gonna head out and buy some stuff, you can bathe cuddles here."
Dean gently eased Cas away from his chest, groaning when he saw the patch of drool on his shirt.
"Ugh, that's gross!"
Sam snorted with laugher and reached out to take Castiel, but as soon as the tiny baby was in his arms, Cas woke fully and began to scream, kicking and flailing wildly with tears pouring down his face.
"Dude, tell me you didn't drop him." Dean turned around from his duffel to check that Cas wasn't flattened on the ground, but to his amusement a wild-puppy-dog-eyed Sam was desperately rocking Cas back and forth, stroking a hand through his hair in an attempt to stop the baby from crying.
It wasn't working.
"Dean, what do I do? I don't understand."
"Hah, looks like your maternal hormones are failing ya."
"Well that makes you Mum after all." Dean groaned.
Sam smirked to try and hide the hurt that he was feeling.
He knew that Cas and Dean shared a profound bond and all that, and that Cas didn't think much of him after the demon blood thing…but still. It did hurt a little.
He passed Cas back to Dean and wandered over to the kitchenette to grab a beer, noting how the crying stopped immediately.
"Have fun shopping."
"Thanks a bunch."
Dean looked down at the baby and sighed.
"Looks like were going shopping, angel cakes."
Cas mumbled something unintelligible and settled down in Dean's arms, still wrapped up in the blankets.
And damn, even Dean couldn't lie; Cas was adorable as a baby.