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Happiness and Shame

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All he had been doing was exploring the odd contraption that was set up in the middle of the park. The contraption was sprawling with young humans, and it reminded Castiel of an anthill. Despite the crowd, Cas approached what he heard the other children calling a "jungle gym" and scaled the plastic rock wall.

Reaching the top, Castiel froze. "This is very high." His lack of wings means that a fall from this height would surely result in damage to his vessel- or actually, his body.

"It's okay, mister. You won't fall." Cas looked down at the small child. "Want to see me go down the slide?" The child was buzzing with energy and excitement. Castiel turned to examine the slide that twisted all the way down to the mulch. He's never been on a slide before. It would probably be a good idea to observe the proper technique.

"Lead the way." Castiel gestured to the slide with his arm as he stepped out of the way. The child bounded past Cas and threw her small frame down the slide, feet first. A wave of anxiety washed over him as he sat at the mouth of the slide and straightened his legs out in front of him. What if he fell out? Castiel took a deep breath and began a tentative descent down the slide.

"What the hell are you doing?" Castiel startled at the angry voice coming from the ground. He was already sliding quickly down the slide, much faster than the child. So fast, he did not put his feet on the ground in time and fell on his bottom in the mulch. A large, angry woman was looming over him.

"What kind of pervert are you? Playing on a playground with a bunch of kids around! Castiel stared up at her and suddenly felt very foolish. All the other adults in the area were hovering around the perimeter of the mulched area. It seems he's violated another social rule that humans live by.

"I-I'm- "

"Don't talk to me! You can answer to the cop." Cop?

As if she'd summoned him, a cop came walking from the treeline-hidden trail, towed in by another assumingly angry mother. The woman by Castiel stormed away from him, and he scurried to his feet. He didn't want to be loomed over and talked down to again.

The cop looked to be Jimmy's age, dressed in all blue with a hint of male-patterned baldness sweeping over his hatless head. He appraised Castiel's person, taking in the ragged and dirty clothes, greasy hair, and tired eyes. Cas shrunk under his gaze.

"What are you doing over here, man?" The cop placed his hand on his hips and lazily tilted his head, waiting for an answer.

"I-I climbed the jungle gym and went down the slide..." Castiel replied meekly. He caught out of his peripheral the energetic child that taught him how to go down the slide earlier. Her expression seemed apologetic. The cop raised his eyebrows.

"You...were climbing the jungle gym...and going down the slide?" Castiel wasn't sure if the question was rhetorical or not.

"Yes." Cas was finding it hard to maintain eye contact with the cop. The cop sighed.

"Okay, look. I don't know what your deal is, but this is a busy park and you're freaking people out." The cop's face had suddenly turned serious.

"I'm freaking people out?" Castiel was discouraged by the words. He has been trying so hard to fit within normal human standards.

"Yep. So, I'm gonna take you in. Disturbing the peace and all that. But you'll get a free meal and a bed for the night. Turn around and place your hands behind your head."

Take him in where? Castiel didn't understand what was happening, but it seems he has just been promised food and a place to sleep. He'll take that offer.

Cas turned around and did as he was ordered to do. The cop locked one wrist at a time into sturdy handcuffs and lead him to a police car that happened to just pull up to the curb.

****

The small jail was dark and dreary, but Castiel was seated on a small cot that would make a great bed, his belly was full of warm food, and he even got to talk to Dean! He was escorted to a phone and told he was allowed one phone call, so he dialed the only number he knew. He was surprised when Dean picked up and introduced himself as one of his aliases, but Castiel was happy to greet him and explain his predicament to the hunter.

Dean seemed put out by the news, but promised to pick Cas up in the morning anyhow. He placed the phone back on the receiver feeling like this was the best day he's had in awhile. It was about 8:30 pm now, so he figured he would go to sleep and be well rested for Dean in the morning.

****

"Hey! Buddy."

Castiel startled and whipped his head to the open peephole in the door. He has only been in the cell for about a half an hour and wasn't tired enough to fall asleep yet.

"Hey, stand up." The man through the door ordered. Knowing it was ill-advised to refuse orders from authority, Cas stood from his cot and faced the door.

"You settling in okay?" The voice asked. Castiel blinked and looked at his surroundings. A bed, a sink, a toilet. All things he was gracious to have been given.

"Yes, thank you." The man through the door nodded, but it was hard to see his expression, if he was making one.

"Good. Now toss your clothes on the floor." The man ordered.

Castiel blanched for a second. He looked around the small space.

"Here?" The man rolled his eyes.

"Were you expecting a dressing room? We don't have any. Now lose the clothes."

Castiel may not be properly schooled in social situations, but he knew disrobing in front of strangers was a taboo practice.

"In front of you?" Cas asked. The man just glared through the door. Castiel begrudgingly shook his arms out of his jacket and wrestled with his shirt for a moment. The man seemed impatient, saying 'let's go, let's go' through the door. He started whistling a light tune as well, passing the time.

Finally, Castiel's shirt fell on the cot, joining his jacket. He looked back to the door and still couldn't read the man's expression.

"What's that shit around your neck? Take it off." Cas looked down and clutched the rusted pendant he found in the street.

"It's Mary, the mother of God." Cas couldn’t help but be defensive. The man chuckled.

"I don't give a fuck whose mother it is. Take it off." Castiel gazed down at the pendant. He likes to think it symbolizes safety. He pulled it over his head and laid it gently on the cot. He looked back up expectantly at the man.

"Now your pants." His pants?

"Why?" Castiel was reluctant to remove his last barrier against the chill of the cement walls.

"Don't make me ask again, buddy. Don't forget about the shoes." Castiel pursed his lips and toed off his sneakers and socks. He made slow work of his belt, but eventually stood in just his boxer shorts. Goosebumps erupted over his skin. Castiel gave the man a look of exasperation.

The man was silent for a few long moments. He leaned closer to the door and whispered, "Everything."

Castiel blinked.

"You want me to stand here naked?"

"Now you're catching on! I knew you hobos weren't as dumb as everyone says." The man's tone was friendly and joking, but his words were patronizing.

Without preamble, Cas stooped and pulled his boxers down his legs. He stepped out of them and kicked them to the side. He turned his palms out in questioning.

"Now what?"

The man stared through the peephole. He was silent for a few short moments. Then, he smirked.

"Get dressed." The peephole was shut once again.

****

Dean showed up with doughnuts.

Castiel regaled the tale that landed him in jail, to which Dean snorted at.

"How was it in jail, though? You didn't drop the soap did ya?" Dean chuckled. Cas couldn't conceal a small smile. He missed Dean.

"No, but a guard ordered me to disrobe in front of him. For seemingly no reason, might I add." Castiel watched the trees zip past through the window. Dean glanced over, eyebrows raised.

"What, really?" Castiel nodded. He was humiliated and ashamed following the incident, but after putting his clothes back on, he lay in his cot admiring his Mother Mary pendant and considering his full stomach. He was too happy and grateful for what he had in that moment to feel ashamed.

"Bastards. You okay?" Dean kept glancing over at Cas worriedly.

"Yes, Dean. I have doughnuts for breakfast." He made his point by digging a blueberry cake doughnut out of the box that lie between them and taking a bite.

Dean smiled sadly, but reached over and patted Cas on the shoulder before picking out another doughnut for himself.

"If you say so, man."