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Little Bit

Chapter Text

97°F, the thermometer on the dashboard of Cas’s SUV read as he pulled into the parking lot of the local supermarket. He groaned and loosened his tie as he prepared himself to step out of the pleasantly air conditioned car interior into the oppressively humid summer air. The heat index had been remarkably high this year, the news even warning people to stay hydrated as it reported the daily highs. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the goddamn humidity.
Pulling the keys out of the ignition, Cas slid out of the impressive vehicle, shiny loafers meeting the heat radiating furnace the pavement becomes in the late afternoon during this time of year. He squinted up at the sun in contempt as he shut his car door. It felt like he was swimming in the soup of some giant creature’s moist morning breath. Blegh.

“Just perfect,” Cas sighed as he thought about the leather of his car seats baking in the unforgiving heat, just waiting to burn his ass when he returned from grocery shopping.

He was about to begin walking towards the store, and the promise of a reprise from the sun, when he noticed the car parked next to his and drew up short. It was an old muscle car, sleek and black and shiny with beautiful curves. Despite the flashy exterior, it was what was inside the vehicle that had caught Cas’s attention. There was a very pretty young boy, fuck Cas guessed he looked about 16, in the passenger seat. A very pretty young boy who looked very very hot. There was sweat dripping from the boy’s damp hair down his face and onto the worn stuffed leopard he was holding close regardless of how uncomfortable it must have been.

The boy was clearly a Little. If his innocent face and slight frame did nothing to betray it, the thumb planted firmly between his lips sure was a dead giveaway. Cas felt his inner Caregiver roar to life as he watched the frustrated expression on the Little’s face contort as if the boy were about to cry. What kind of a shitty caregiver could be so irresponsible as to leave a Little out in a car in this heat? Without even a window cracked! Anger and indignation surged through Cas but was quickly replaced by concern as the boy finally noticed his observer and turned to meet Cas’s eyes with his own startlingly green ones.

Shit, Cas’s heart all but melted at the curious-but-shy look this green-eyed cutie was giving him. He had always had a soft spot for the innocent, for those that were in need of help or care. That was why it was far from a surprise to anybody when he officially identified as a Caregiver at 15, two full years earlier than the required declaration age of 17.

The two just looked at each other for a moment, until the smaller’s face crumpled and the boy began to cry in earnest, effectively breaking the enchanted daze Cas had fallen into. Poor thing must be roasting alive in that goddam car, thought Cas as he watched the Little tug at the door handle and let out discouraged wails. Nobody with a heart would let even a dog sit out here with no water or way to escape the burning sun. His anger returning, he tugged his phone from his pants pocket. Cas dialed 911 and impatiently listened to the phone ring.

As he informed the operator of the unattended Little in danger of heat stroke or potentially worse, Cas glanced around the parking lot for any sign of the owner of the vehicle that was now more effectively a death trap than a car. There was barely anybody in the parking lot to begin with, and nobody coming towards him. Cas sighed and thanked the woman who promised help and an ambulance were on their way.
Putting his phone away he glanced back down to find that the boy had attempted to take off his shirt. His hair was mussed and he had one arm out of its sleeve and the shirt twisted around his torso. Tears were still flowing freely, leaving tracks down the distraught kid’s face as he gave up and put his arm back through its sleeve. Cas’s stomach knotted at the sight. Christ, what was this kid doing to him? He crouched so that his face was right next to the window of the car the boy was in. The Little watched him warily, letting out a strangled little hiccup that had Cas chuckling to himself.

“Hey there bud,” he crooned with a small wave and a disarming smile. “My name is Castiel, what’s yours huh?” It was kind of awkward seeing as he had to speak louder than normal so the kid could hear him through the glass separating them, but Cas just kept his eyes trained on the agitated creature in front of him.

“’M D’n,” the boy sniffed and stuffed his thumb back in his mouth as his body shook with that signature ‘I’ve-been-crying-really-hard’ rattling inhale.

“Dean?” Cas clarified. The boy just nodded and continued to suck on the digit between his pouty lips. Cas found himself staring, he found the boy mesmerizing, before he snapped himself out of it enough to focus on the task at hand.
Keeping his voice lighthearted, Cas continued, “Okay Dean, you must be pretty hot in there, arentcha? Let’s see if we can’t get you out hm?” He sustained a steady stream of little reassurances that seemed to relax the Little – Dean – ever so slightly until Cas saw what he was looking for.

“Alright Dean do you see this little metal rod right here?” Cas tapped the window where the locking mechanism on the door was located. Dean gave a tentative nod and scooted closer, attention focused on Cas. “That’s good honey. Now I’m gonna need you to pinch it with your hand like this,” He made the ‘OK’ symbol with his hand and mimed plucking something from the bottom edge of the window. He felt like an idiot, but the kid seemed to be getting the message. That was the thing about littlespace. For some, it reverted them to a place where they wouldn’t be able to think through things like they would as their adult selves. Regression could affect any type of development whether physical, emotional, or mental; most often it was a combination of all three. Dean watched carefully and put his slim thumb and forefinger on the locking mechanism, looking back up to Cas for further instruction.

“Yep just like that you got it! Okay and now pull up!” Cas made a lifting motion with his hands. Dean looked unsure, almost guilty, and hesitated with his hand still poised. His brows furrowed and he looked as if he was going through an internal struggle. Cas was at a loss, what could be holding the boy back from escaping his prison? Then he realized, Dean had most likely been directed to stay inside the car. Disobeying generally went against most Little’s instincts and Cas figured that must be what Dean was struggling with. Besides, he himself was a stranger and Dean really had no reason to trust Cas. Hell the boy had most likely been given lectures on ‘stranger danger’.

“Hey Dean?” Cas figured he’d try again. He could see how red the boy’s face was becoming in the sweltering heat. A wave of urgency crashed over Cas. He needed to get Dean out of that car, now.

Dean just kept his head down and sucked harder on his thumb. He took his hand off the locking mechanism to wipe at the sweat that was getting into his eyes and was about to put it back on the metal piece when he seemed to think twice. When he put his hand in his lap was when Cas pulled out his trick card.

“Dean? Hey I promise you won’t get in trouble if you do this, okay?” Dean lifted his head to glare (oh god, it was fucking adorable) doubtfully at Cas. And who was he kidding, Cas wasn’t really in a position to be making such promises but at least he had gotten the Little’s attention. “Dean you need to listen to me, it is dangerous in there and I know that your mommy or daddy would want you to get out of there rather than hurt yourself,” Cas put all the sincerity he could muster into his voice. Though given Dean’s current situation Cas wasn’t sure he could say much for the wishes of the boy’s parents or Caregiver.

After a skeptical eyebrow raise, it seemed like Dean decided he could take the loophole Cas was offering him. He scrunched up his face in concentration and tugged at the rod, his fingers slipping up and off of it. He made a startled noise and then looked to Cas who could see a twinkle of worry in the boy’s eyes. Cas was quick to reassure and after a few more attempts Dean was finally able to pop the lock on the door. It took no coaxing on Cas’s part for the boy to quickly open the passenger side door…setting of the fantastically loud car alarm.

The squeal of delight Dean had let out at being freed from his prison turned into a shriek of surprise at the blaring noises coming from the car. Cas sighed wearily and pinched the bridge of his nose. Of course the fucking car alarm would go off, just great. As if things wouldn’t be awkward enough with whomever Dean belonged to.

Cas ran a hand through his already tousled hair when he felt a little tug at the hem of his untucked button down. Glancing low, Cas found himself looking at a wide-eyed Dean. The boy only came up to Cas’s shoulders. Poor kid probably could use some comfort right about now. Cas smiled wearily at the Little clinging to his side and stroked dark golden locks that promptly buried themselves and the face they were attached to into his armpit. Cas cringed, imagining the smell and hoped his deodorant was enough to combat all the sweating he’d done in the late afternoon heat. Dean, however, seemed not to mind at all as he snuffled against the stiff fabric of Cas’s dress shirt.

As touching as Cas was finding Dean’s display of affection, the car alarm was starting to attract the attention of the few other shoppers in the parking lot and Cas was beginning to feel anxious. He was only here to grab some milk and other necessities to last him and Sam the rest of the week and now he had inadvertently caught himself up in…this situation. Though how much longer he would be a part of said situation was in question as a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot and Cas flagged it down. He felt a twinge of annoyance at the absence of an ambulance, even though Dean seemed to be fine, his personal philosophy was better safe than really flippin’ sorry later.

The police car trundled to a stop in the middle of the lane behind Cas’s and Dean’s cars and out stepped a female officer. Her eyes drifted over the form of the little, still tucked into Cas, and then up to Cas. She glanced at the squawking car before smirking and turning back to the other adult.

“Officer Meg Masters,” she introduced herself over the honking.

“Castiel Novak,” offered Cas in the same strained half-yell.

“A pleasure, Clarence. You must be the one that found the ankle-biter,” she rounded to the trunk of her vehicle and rummaged around.

Cas rolled his eyes at the term. “Yeah I noticed him when I parked my car next to the one he was locked inside. He’s still pretty hot,” Cas looks over the sweat dampened hair and the flushed neck of the occupant residing in the folds of his shirt. “I was told there would be an ambulance?”

Meg emerged with an icepack and a bottle of water. “Sorry Clarence, we get a lot of these types of calls with the heat lately. Can’t be sending out emergency vehicles every time Jonny thinks his mom has sun poisoning when really all she needs is a drink of water,” she told him, flashing her mischievous, irritating Castiel thought, smirk and holding out the water bottle.

Just then the wailing car went silent, and the sudden quiet weighed on Cas’s ears like he had just plunged into deep water.

“Hey!” Came a shout from the direction of the store. “Hey what the hell are you doing to my car?!”

A middle aged man pushing a shopping cart filled with bags was heading in their direction. “Did the alarm fuck with your ears? I asked what the hell you’re doing to my car, bub,” spat the newcomer, who Cas could only assume was Dean’s Caregiver.

Feeling indignant, Cas unconsciously puffed up his chest a little. Could this moron not see his Little in the arms of a stranger? Or was he only concerned with his car’s paint job? Still, Cas needed to keep a level head, it would help no one if he couldn’t be civil. He took a deep breath, “Listen, sir, I found Dean here locked in your car. It is entirely too hot for anybody to be sitting in direct sunlight without water or cool air, let alone to be cooking in a car oven,” Cas let his disapproval seep into his voice as he eyed this new man. He was scraggly with three day old stubble and rumpled clothes. His cart was full of groceries but also shovels, rope, lighter fluid and… a fifty pound bag of rock salt? They were in the throes of the dog days of summer for Christ’s sake.

“Hey buddy I don’t appreciate people touching my things without my permission. Capisce?” The man glared at Cas and only then seemed to register Dean’s presence. “Kid what have I told you about staying put? Look at me when I’m talking huh?” He growled. Dean trembled a little against Cas’s side but turned to face his presumed caregiver.

Meg, who had been watching the whole exchange with something close to disinterested amusement plastered on her face, chose that moment to intervene. “Im sorry sir,” she began, not sounding apologetic in the slightest, “but would you be the owner of this vehicle?” She gestured towards the sleek muscle car.

The man grunted “Isn’t that what I been sayin, lady?”

“Then do you know that in this state it is considered a crime of neglect to leave children, Littles, or pets unattended in a vehicle?”

“Well someone wasn’t supposed to be Little today, were they? In fact, he wasn’t supposed to be a Little at all!” If possible, Dean’s face grew even redder and he hid his eyes from the daggers his caregiver was shooting him by bringing his leopard up to his face. Cas reached for the distressed boy’s shoulder with the hand not already wrapped around his waist, but the minute his fingers brushed Dean the kid stiffened and stepped away from Cas’ hold. Dean was obviously fighting his regression instinct because of what this man had said.

Cas felt his veins turn to ice as he regarded the man. “Just because your alpha complex is so large it impairs your intelligence, doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it,” Cas informed him calmly, even though the ice throughout him was ferocious.
Scraggly stubble took a menacing step towards Cas and Cas was surprised to feel himself raring to go. He didn’t step back.

“Okie dokie boys, let’s put our junk away and save the measuring for later,” Meg suggested. Though her stature was relaxed, her hand was casually rested on her holster and this gave both men pause.

“P-papa?” Asked the stuffed leopard in the moment of silence. “Papa ’re y’mad ame?”

“Shut up, Dean. What have I said about you calling me that?” This ‘papa’, Cas scoffed, snapped and the leopard began to tremble and sob. It was Heartbreaking for Castiel, but he knew Dean would only shy away again if he offered comfort.
“Alllllrighty then. Clarence and um…,” Meg looked expectantly at Giant Dickbag, as the scruffy man was named in Cas’ mind.

“John. Jon Winchester,” Giant Dickbag provided importantly.

“Right. Well all of you will need to accompany me down to the station so we can sort this mess out,” Meg raised a hand in the direction of Dickbag, fine, John, who had opened his mouth with what seemed to Castiel like a characteristic argumentative spark in his expression. Dean continued to sniffle into his stuffed toy as Castiel could only feel a strange mix of excitement and dread at the prospect of spending more time with the boy, but having to deal with John. Boy was he going to have a lot to tell Sam when he got home tonight.

Chapter Text

“Johnny and baby boy, you two can ride in the back. Clarence-”

“It’s actually Ca-”

“Clarence will ride up front with me,” smirked Meg. Castiel scowled. He wasn’t the only one with a sour expression though.

“You think I’m getting in the back of that thing like I’m some sort of delinquent?” John scoffed and crossed his arms, glaring at the cruiser.

“I think that you don’t have a choice,” Meg informed him, her voice venomously sweet.

“It’s okay, I can ride in the back,” Cas was quick to placate. He didn’t want John anywhere near Dean. If he was being completely honest Cas was being a smidge selfish in his motives to sit with the Little. He couldn't give to shakes of a rat’s ass about what John wanted.

“But what about my groceries?” John challenged, a tinge petulantly. “I can’t just leave them here, they’ll spoil!”

“Should’ve thought of that before you went and broke the law, Johnny boy. Now quit whining, who’s the Little here anyway?” Meg asked with a roll of her eyes. Cas could’ve sworn he saw the corner of Dean’s mouth that wasn’t concealed by his leopard twitch upwards at Meg’s antics.

“Now for the fun part,” Meg reached for her handcuffs. “John Winchester you are under arrest for willfully leaving a Little unattended and at high risk.” The look on the asshole’s face was priceless and Cas had to swallow his snort, though he didn’t think he did a very good job of it. When John made no move to present his hands to Meg’s expectantly outstretched handcuffs, a hard gleam flashed in the officer’s eyes. “We can do this like in the movies where I slam you against that monstrosity you call a car and forcibly cuff you in front of your kid…or you can just cooperate. What’s it gonna be, Johnny Appleseed?”

Now all 120 pounds of Meg ‘slamming’ John Winchester into anything would be a sight Cas would pay, and bring popcorn, to see. After a few intense seconds during which Cas was almost sure John would push Meg to her limit, the gruff man turned around and put his hands behind his back. “Good choice, seems like you have an inkling of intelligence in that head of yours,” said Meg with her signature smirk. She was beginning to grow on Castiel.

After much grouching and grumbling they were finally all in the police car heading down to the station, Dean sporting the ice pack on the back of his neck. Meg told them she would need statements from both adults and to question Dean so that she could write a report for her superiors. Castiel absentmindedly wondered how long all this was going to take when he felt himself being watched.

Cas turned to Dean, only to catch a glimpse of a flash of green as the boy quickly ducked his head away. Huh, he hadn’t seemed this shy when Cas had found him. Then again he hadn’t seemed this mature either. Dean’s posture was now more that of a teenager’s slouch, though he was more curled in on himself, probably due to the strangeness of his current circumstances. His thumb was no longer a resident of his mouth, but he was fiddling around with his fingers, the way a nervous person might wring their hands. Placed carefully over his lap was Dean’s leopard, Cas guessed it acted as Dean’s comfort object even when he was outside his Littlespace.

Cas was suddenly overcome with the stifling awkwardness of the situation. To Dean it must be a thousand times worse. The boy was trying to push himself out of his headspace. Cas knew from experience that trying to ignore your classification instincts was like trying to swim against the current right before a waterfall. The thing that broke his heart was that Dean seemed skilled in repressing his Little self. It was in the way the boy looked weary, as if he were going through well practiced motions. He supposed Dean had to have learned a few tricks to keep himself sane, living with an asshole like John.

Speaking of John, Cas couldn’t quite figure out the relationship between the older guy and Dean. It was clear that John was no Caregiver, not by any stretch of the imagination could he be considered even a Daddy Dom, so then what was he to Dean? He was definitely old enough to be Dean’s father, though why anybody would treat their child, especially one as sweet as Dean seemed, so horribly was beyond Cas. He imagined he’d still feel protective over the Little even without his instincts, Dean was just damn adorable, in Littlespace or not.

There was also the thing about John’s groceries. Mostly normal stuff, but that rock salt? And what was with the shovels? He also seemed strangely at ease when dealing with law enforcement. Castiel shivered as the back of his mind whispered that there might be more to John Winchester than meets the eye.

He was jolted out of his musings as they turned into the station’s parking lot. After herding them all out of the cruiser and into the main lobby of the compact brick building, Meg directed Castiel to one of the not-so-inviting chairs that lined the wall opposite the welcome desk. He was left to his own devices while Meg went through the motions of processing John and handing Dean, watery ice pack and all, over to an on-site paramedic.

Cas pulled out his cell phone, wanting to let Sam know what he was up to. Sam Campbell was Cas’ beloved fiancé. They had met in their senior year of college and had been dating for four years before Sam had popped the question. They were a good fit for each other, Sam being a Daddy Dom and Castiel being a Caregiver. They had most of the same instincts and needs and got along well. Only recently Sam had brought up the topic of starting a family, but Castiel had shut him down. They still had a wedding to get through before they could start thinking about those kinds of things! It was one thing to care for and help those in need, but to have someone you are completely responsible for, that depends entirely on you? Cas didn’t know if he was ready for that.

Cas lifted the phone to his ear after pressing the contact labeled ‘Sasquatch’, Sam stood at the impressive height of 6’4”, and idly listened to it trill while he waited for his husband-to-be to pick up.

“Yello,” came Sam’s voice from the phone.

“Hey you,” Cas smiled, the sound of Sam’s voice relaxing him a little.

“How’s the grocery shopping going? Did you forget what we needed, or did you just miss me?” Sam teased lightly. That was the thing that Cas loved about Sam, his lightheartedness and penchant for fun.

“Actually, funny story,” began Castiel as he proceeded to tell Sam about where he was and why.

“So I guess it’s those pop tarts for breakfast tomorrow, seeing as we’re out of milk. And bread. And eggs. Jeesh,” laughed Sam. “But I’m so proud of you Cassie, you’re practically a hero, saving that kid and all.”

“I take it you’ll be wanting my autograph when I get home then?”

“Knock it off, I’m serious!”

They were both laughing when Castiel looked up to see Meg approaching him. “Hey, babe, I gotta go okay? Love you, see you when I get home,” Cas rushed to finish his goodbye, hanging up the phone by the time the officer reached his side. She quirked a knowing eyebrow at him but said nothing about his phone call, for that Cas was thankful.

Cas was taken behind the welcome desk, down a fluorescent lit hallway, and into a tiny square room with a simple wooden table and another one of the hard chairs in which he had spent his time in the lobby. Meg told him that they needed him to write a witness statement concerning the events of that afternoon, and after offering him something to drink she left him alone with just the statement sheet and a pen for company.

Cas picked up the pen and sighed. What exactly had happened? It all seemed so surreal. Rubbing the point between his eyebrows, he began to write about how he had found Dean in apparent distress, and the actions he had taken consequentially, all the way up until Meg had arrived at the scene. He reread his statement and felt the sense of unreality wash over him again. It all seemed rather trivial written down on an eight-and-a-half-by-eleven sheet of paper.

Now that he was finished he was unsure of what to do. Meg had left the door to the little windowless room open, so Castiel took that as an unofficial invitation to exit the area. He walked down the hallway in search of Meg. Instead he found Dean sitting at one of the long tables behind the welcome desk with a pretty brunette woman who was talking to him in low, soothing tones. Cas took in Dean’s uncomfortable, almost irritable, expression, and assumed he was looking at ‘big’ Dean. For some reason he felt guilty, like he should be the one at Dean’s side, offering support instead of awkwardly watching from a distance.

“There you are,” came Meg’s voice from behind him.

“Ah, sorry Officer I was trying to find you. I’ve finished my statement,” Cas held up the blue sheet of paper by way of explanation.

“Thank you, Clarence,” said Meg, plucking the paper from Castiel’s hands. “I see you filled out the contact information, you are aware that we may use this to contact you in the case there is a trial and your testimony is needed?”

“It’s actually Castiel, and yeah, I understand,” Cas glanced over his shoulder back at Dean and the nameless woman.

“That’s Ruby, our social worker. She helps out a lot on cases like these,” Meg answered his unasked question. Cas watched as Ruby tried to place a hand on Dean’s arm and was rewarded with Dean scooting his chair further away from her. Castiel couldn’t help but chuckle slightly to himself at the kid’s stubbornness.

“Um, what will happen to him?” He ventured to ask. “Dean, I mean,” Cas coughed a bit, trying to appear to be only mildly interested. He sheepishly scratched his ear as Meg gave him a shrewd smirk.

“Well, we couldn’t find any relatives that would be able to take him, so he’ll be sent to a state run home for Littles in the meantime,” Meg informed him a touch too impersonally for Castiel’s taste. Just thinking about Dean surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar environment had guilt making another guest appearance in Cas’s chest. But what could he do?

Meg told him she’d be in touch and swaggered away, Castiel watching her. Just then, little fingers tapped on Cas’ shoulder and he turned around to find himself face to face, well more like chest to face, with the reason he felt so confused. “Dean,” he breathed, looking the boy over. His hair was no longer damp from sweat and Cas could see a light dusting of freckles along his nose and cheekbones now that the red flush had left Dean’s face. He was still clutching tight to his leopard companion however, Cas noticed as he felt a tug on his heart.

“Um, I-uh, I just wanted to say thanks for, y’know,” Dean murmured, eyes cast low, his free hand rubbing the back of his neck. It was such an adult gesture, and the way Dean was talking was a far cry from the lisping speech Cas had heard the boy use before.

Cas’ face softened and the corners of his eyes crinkled as he smiled at Dean. “Hey, no need to thank me, bud. I’m just glad I could help out,” spoke Cas as Dean glanced up and blushed when he met Cas’ eyes. Like Cas said earlier, friggin’ adorable.

In that moment, his inner Caregiver was screaming at him to sweep Dean up in a tight embrace and shield him from all harm. Castiel swallowed thickly. Those green eyes were staring into his soul, and he started talking before his brain could catch up to what he was saying. “Listen, Dean, if you ever need anything,” Cas started, pulling a crumpled receipt from his pocket. “You just call this number, okay?” He still had the pen from earlier in his hand and wrote down his cell phone number on the back of the wrinkled slip.

Straightening up from where he had stooped over to write on the flat surface of one of the tables, Cas pressed the sorry piece of paper into Dean’s hand. At first Dean just looked at their hands and Cas was afraid that the Little might not take his offering, but then Dean closed his slender fingers around Cas’ number and offered the taller a shy smile. Cas didn’t know why, but he felt relieved, and felt himself grin in return.

“Well Dean, who’s this?” The voice startled Dean and he broke eye contact with Cas, going back to shuffling his feet. Cas was unaware that they had been being observed by Ruby, she had abandoned the other table and was now right behind Dean, looking expectantly at him. All he offered her was a frustrated shrug and a glare.

“Castiel. Castiel Novak,” supplied Cas, eyeing Ruby. “I’m the one who found Dean,” he added dumbly as an afterthought. He cringed, now it just sounded like he was looking for praise.

“I see. What an interesting name, it’s nice to meet you Castiel, I’m Ruby,” she turns to Dean. “Would you like it if Castiel could come visit you at Alastair’s?” Again, all she received was a mildly irritated shrug, but she had piqued Cas’ interest.

“Alastair’s?” He questioned, forcing his eyes away from Dean and up to meet Ruby’s.

“Alastair’s Home for Littles,” Ruby provided. Can’t leave these guys to their own devices, now can we?” She attempted to make light of the situation. Cas thought she did a rather poor job of it. Dean was looking like he would enjoy showing her just what he was capable of when left to his own devices. As was the case with John, Castiel seemed to think there was more to Dean than appeared.

Ruby opened her bag and pulled out a business card. “I’m a social worker for the House as well,” she explained giving the card, which had the address for Alastair’s as well as a phone number for the social worker printed on it, to Cas. He pocketed the scrap of cardstock and thanked her.

“Well, Dean and I need to get going,” Ruby sighed glancing at the clock on the far wall. It was a little after seven, Cas couldn’t believe how much time had passed. Dean looked pissed at the prospect of going anywhere with Ruby, but Cas kept this observation to himself. “Say goodbye, honey,” she prompted Dean.

“Um, bye, uh Casseel,” stumbling over Cas' name, the kid looked longingly at him for a second and then snapped his head to face Ruby. “And I’m not a little kid! Don’t call me that,” He hissed at her and she chuckled lightly.

“Okay tiger, let’s go,” Ruby placed a hand on Dean’s lower back, and Castiel couldn’t understand the feeling of dread that was creeping its way into his heart as he watched Dean being herded out of the station and out into the claws of the night.

Chapter Text

By the time Castiel got home, he was a mess. He ended up having to take two buses back to the supermarket from the police station. When he had gotten there, his and John’s had been the only cars left in the lot. As he climbed into his SUV, Cas paused a moment to regard the other vehicle. It was pure coincidence that he had parked next to this car out of all the others that had been in the lot, he was grateful for small miracles.

From the supermarket, he drove home, but ended up having to take a longer route due to road construction. Needless to say, Cas was exhausted and ready to collapse into bed after a nice, hot shower. However, the prospect of getting some well deserved rest wasn’t enough to stop him from worrying about Dean the entire drive home. He really needed to get the kid out of his head. Besides he had done all he could’ve, right? He wasn’t so sure.

So when he walked through the front door of the modest two story house, he couldn’t help the overwhelming sense of relief he felt at being home.

***

At the same time as Cas was making his way home, Dean sat in the back of Ruby’s sedan, watching trees and houses go by. She hadn’t said anything to Dean since ushering him out of the station and into her car, not that Dean was complaining. The woman treated him like he couldn’t take care of himself. Well he had news for her.

He wondered how long it would take for his dad to bust him out of this ‘Home’ that he was en route to. Then he found himself asking whether or not John would even bother. His father had always made it clear he wasn’t in the business of hand-holding, and Dean seemed to have an increasing need for such coddling, as John called it, lately.

It had started about a year ago, when he had turned seventeen. Since they moved around so much, Dean never had the opportunity to officially declare a classification. As his dad had said, what was the point when you weren’t in one place for more than a couple weeks. Since his birthday, he had started becoming shyer and more withdrawn. Sensitive, even. It was an embarrassment, and his father had done nothing to help the matter, scoffing when Dean tried to talk to him.

Dean had always assumed he would be some sort of a Dom like his father. Even though he never really had the chance to explore his inner nature, it had been becoming increasingly clear since puberty hit that a Dom identification was not in the cards for him. He was always deferring to others, and if it weren’t for hunting, he would practically be docile. Dean had struggled and fought to regain his old confidence and swagger, not realizing what was happening.

The clincher came three months after he turned seventeen. They had been hunting a shifter in New Hampshire, the thing was holed up in the mountains. They had split up to cover more ground, and it had been Dean who had found the small, unassuming cabin. He was about to enter the dwelling when the monster had caught him from behind, it had been coming back from hunting in the small town down the side of the mountain.

It had grabbed the back of his neck and slammed him against the side of its cabin. Dean was so startled, when his head made impact with the logs he had dropped his gun. He had been weaponless and alone, at the mercy of the shifter. He had felt the icy wings of fear spreading in his chest and he fought pathetically against his captor’s hold while the monster laughed at his struggling.

Abruptly, the laughing had stopped and the hand on the scruff of Dean’s neck fell away. He turned around on shaky legs just in time to see his father’s triumphant smile melt into a look of disgust. That was when he felt the warm dampness on the front of his thighs and he realized.

He had pissed himself.

It had only gotten worse from there. Dean sighed, remembering how he would sometimes wake up in the motels they were staying at to cold, wet sheets. He would feel so ashamed and move to the other side of the bed, praying the sheets would dry before morning and John saw. It was one thing for a hunter to be a Sub, but to be a Little? That was unheard of. Dean was sure John had hated him from the first time he had slipped and called him ‘papa’. This didn’t stop him from craving his father’s approval, however. So Dean buried his Littleness as best he could.

Sometimes it would come out, like earlier today. He just couldn’t help it. He was constantly exhausted from always fronting. Never getting the affection he craved from his hard-ass of a dad. Maybe things would’ve been different if John was a different kind of father. Hell, Dean often found himself fantasizing about what life would be like had his mother not passed away when he was merely four years old. He knew she would have accepted him.

But it was pointless to wish for those kinds of things now. He was a hunter, he had to keep himself in check. You won’t catch him being Little again. No sir, Dean was determined to be as big as possible through this entire nightmare. Maybe then they would see he was capable of independence and release him from the state’s care.

Yeah right. He was just a big, useless baby. His eyes pooled with tears he refused to let fall. He hugged Cubby, his leopard, close. Cubby was the one indulgence he always allowed himself, the toy helped to keep him sane when he felt his emotions spiraling out of control.

Ruby was driving through downtown now. Dean rested his forehead against the glass of the window and watched the streetlights. He was tired. And hungry. He hoped wherever this place was, it had cheeseburgers on the menu. He would need to get one for Cubby too, his leopard was just as hungry as he was.

They pulled to a stop in front of an old brick building that seemed strangely squat for standing six stories tall. Maybe it was the fact that it was sandwiched between two impressive office buildings. All Dean really cared about was scoping out his new digs so he could get some rest before John came to bust him out. If John came to bust him out.

Ruby turned around in the front seat and gave him a smile he found unsettling. He looked back at the Home and suddenly felt uneasy. Nonetheless he exited the car and climbed up the front steps with Ruby, not exactly fearful of what awaited him on the other side of the solid looking oak doors, but not too hopeful either.

***
Cas hazily opened his eyes to half-mast the next morning. Thank god for the weekend and sleeping in. He saw the shape of Sam lying next to him and lazily smiled, about to shut his eyes again when he heard “Good morning sleeping beauty.”

Cas opened his eyes all the way and squinted at the sunlight streaming into the room. He shifted so he was propped up on his elbows. He was sure his hair was a rat’s nest, though Sam seemed to like it when his hair was tousled. “Ungh, what time is it?” Cas stifled a yawn. “And were you watching me sleep, you perv?”

“I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors of that nature,” quipped Sam, far too bright eyed and bushy tailed for Castiel’s tastes. “It’s eleven-thirty, time to get your rear in gear.”

“Yeah yeah, okay I’m up,” Cas arched his back and slid out from under the duvet. He padded into the en suite bathroom while Sam went to the kitchen to make some much-needed coffee. Cas splashed water on his face, which helped to wake him up a little. He looked in the mirror after patting his face dry with a towel, and scratched at the stubble decorating his chin. He let out a puff of air, he would have to shave today.

Coming downstairs and to the kitchen, Cas found a plate with two strawberry pop tarts and a glass of juice waiting for him on the bar. He smiled and pulled back his stool, settling in to have his breakfast.

“I hope you like it, I got up at the crack of dawn and toiled in the kitchen to make you a meal fit for a king,” said Sam playfully, opening his own package of the sugary breakfast food. Cas snorted, Sam was the type who preferred to eat organic, farm fresh produce for every meal if he could.

“Yeah, sorry about that, I’ll actually go grocery shopping today, mkay?” The mention of groceries had Cas thinking about the events of yesterday. He wondered how Dean was doing now. Was he alone and afraid? Or maybe he was happy to be away from that asshole, John. Cas hoped the boy was all right and did his best to swallow the foreboding feeling that was trying to claw its way up his throat.

After helping Sam clean up from their dismal little breakfast, Cas poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch with his laptop. He couldn’t help himself, and he googled ‘Alastair’s Home for Little’s' while he nursed his mug of joe.

The results popped up right away. Apparently the building was a fairly old orphanage dating back to the early 1800’s. It had been an abandoned eyesore until it was recently purchased by Alastair Rolston and refurbished into a privately run Home for Littles. Two years ago, the Home had partnered with the state and began working with the local police forces and social workers to take in Littles who came from abusive relationships and other unsavory situations.

There was a picture of the man himself at the bottom of the webpage. He was an older man with graying hair and a sharp edge to his gaze. Castiel found something eerie about the way Alastair Rolston grinned at him out of the computer screen. He shut his laptop quickly and sat for a moment before moving on with his day. The place seemed harmless enough, even if its namesake did make Cas feel a little off kilter. Never judge a book by its cover, right?

As it turns out, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
***
Dean had long memorized the number on the back of the receipt Cas had given him. His first night in the home, he had kept folding and unfolding the scrap, worrying it until it became so wrinkled and flexible it was like cloth. As he laid in his cot, Dean remembered how he had come to be in this situation:

Ruby had taken him inside the building and into a dark-wooded office. The whole place had an old-timey vibe about it, with the ornate carpeting that lined the hallways to the faded yet classic wallpaper that adorned the walls. There were sconces for chrissake. But the place was nice. Dean had honestly been expecting cracked concrete and cockroaches. He wondered how a state funded facility was so lavishly furnished.

“Hello there,” came a nasally voice from the doorway. It sent a chill down Dean’s spine like somebody had dropped an ice cube down the back of his shirt. He gripped Cubby tightly, knuckles turning white. He didn’t turn around.

“Good evening, sir,” that was Ruby. “I’ve brought you a new-ah, addition, for your home.” Dean didn’t like the sound of that. He was a person, not a collectible. The newcomer, Dean could only assume this was Alastair, entered Dean’s vision as the man prowled around him, looking him up and down. Dean felt like he was being stalked by a lion ready to pounce, but kept a stoic face.

“Oho my my, he is a pretty little thing, isn’t he?” Alastair said with a predatory gleam in his eye. Dean glared defiantly at the creep, determined not to be scared. Where was his dad? Where was the nice man with the messy dark hair? Dean wished he wasn’t alone. “He’s got a spark of spirit there too I see,” the man reminded Dean of a giant snake. He bent down so he was looking Dean in the eye, “I hope you won’t make trouble for yourself now,” he smiled poisonously and Dean felt sick.

Ruby gripped Dean’s upper arm in a painfully tight hold and began to march him towards the far end of the room where a blank blue cork board was set up on a portion of the wall. Dean tugged free of the woman’s grasp and was rewarded with a smack to his cheek. Tears stung his eyes, he was exhausted and he didn’t understand what was going on.

“Tsk. Dean we do not tolerate misbehavior here,” said Alastair, mock disapprovingly, as if he were reprimanding a naughty child. “Any and all transgressions will be swiftly punished. We are civilized, we have rules, and we expect you and all the other children here to follow them.” Dean shivered at the mention of punishments, wondering what the snake-like man meant.

This time when Ruby gripped his arm he didn’t fight back.

They positioned him in front of the cork board looking thing and then snapped his picture. They took his weight and height measurements and even checked his teeth and ears. When ruby told him to take off his clothes, Dean panicked a little and backed against the wall, glaring at the woman as though he could burn her to cinders if he just concentrated hard enough. A menacing chuckle from Alastair gave Dean pause, and had him reluctantly comply.

As he stripped he wondered how this man had gained so much authority over him already. It wasn’t as though Dean wasn’t capable of taking him down, he was a fifty something year old creepy man and Dean was a young and healthy seventeen year old. Not very big, but he knew how to throw his weight around if need be. So why did this man frighten him so much? A flash. They had snapped another picture of him, but this time naked. Dean felt his face fill with blood as embarrassment flooded through him.

When they brought out the syringe was when Dean really started freaking out. The minute he saw the gleam of the needle he went full on hunter, and started using the closest thing he could get his hands on, a stapler, as a weapon.

He swung the object at Ruby, catching her on the chin and knocking her backwards so that she collided with Alastair. Dean ran for the door while the two adults detangled themselves from one another. He was reaching for the handle when something hit him on the base of his skull and he felt himself growing fuzzy and light, like he was floating.

He was fairly certain he was on the ground when his eyes began to flutter. He saw two hazy shapes converge on him and then felt the muted prick of a needle in the crook of his elbow.

His world went dark.

Chapter Text

Castiel thought a lot about Dean in the beginning. How loveable and sweet the kid was. How with just a look of those clear green eyes, his inner caregiver would thrum with affection. He thought about Dean more than was probably appropriate. Drifting off in the middle of working idly at his desk, his face glowing blue and white from the computer screen. His eyes glazing over with the memory of the boy every time he visited the grocery store. Just catching a glimpse of another Little had Castiel off in I-wonder-how-Dean-is-doing Land.

He would talk to Sam about the boy and voice his concerns. What if Dean was lonely? What if he was going to be placed back in the custody of John? His lover had reassured and soothed Cas with infinite patience. Cas suspected it had to do with the way he had been acting ever since what has now come to be known as ‘The Incident’ had occurred. He had felt himself giving out a more ‘Dom vibe’ lately. It was as though Dean had awakened and intensified his classification instincts, and now he was broadcasting his need to act as provider of care.

Before, Castiel had felt compelled to guide and offer advice to those in need. He had compassion to give to everyone he met. However he could pretty well curb the desire to bend down and tie the shoe of every clumsy child that walked past with trailing laces. Now he was going out of his way to nurture and console and befriend anyone remotely in need of care. He stopped to talk to and feed the homeless on the street. He doubled the hours he spent volunteering at the local retirement home. He was the first to offer when any of his and Sam’s friends needed a babysitter. But nothing was enough to satiate the beast inside of him. Though beast was a rather strong word. If Cas’ Caregiver was a beast, it had pink fuzzy fur and liked to give out hugs.

Sam said his lack of satisfaction came from the fact he didn’t have a little one to call his own. Castiel may or may not have told Sam to fuck off. The topic of having his own child scared the ever living daylights out of him and he had no idea why. Sam would spend hours arguing how absolutely perfect of a daddy Cas would make to any little boy or girl. But this would only serve to prod at Cas’ insecurities and he would retreat from the topic altogether. That’s why it was practically considered a taboo subject in their home. At least he was sure Sam had mentally filed it away until after they had the wedding. Dean was messing up his whole world, and yet Cas still missed him.

As the weeks wore on and Cas received no frantic phone calls from a sobbing Dean, his blazing worry died down into a low, but steady, flame of fondness that he carried inside of him. His heart ached to be torn to pieces and stitched together again by that shy smile. It confused him to no end how someone he had known for such a short period of time could have such a big impact on his life.

Sam had done some googling, and had come across the term ‘imprinting’. It was an uncommon, but not rare, phenomenon where one person from a Dom or Sub classification almost immediately bonds with another person of the opposite classification. Sam was certain this was what was going on with Cas, and Cas could sense that his partner was up to something.

He was relaxing on the couch after dinner, half watching one of those house-hunting shows on television when the screen blinked off. Cas turned to find Sam standing behind the couch with the remote in his hand and a determined look in his eye. Castiel groaned internally. Sam was a Daddy Dom and, consequentially, marginally more dominant that Cas. He took charge of situations and liked control while still being a nurturing presence. Cas was far more laid back, but appreciated the structure Sam could provide for him. However, now it seemed as though he was going to be having a discussion with Sam’s Dom all out in the open.

“We need to talk,” Sam broke the silence.

“What an original way to open a discussion nobody wants to have,” bit out Cas.

“Cassie don’t be like that with me, you know I’m only trying to help.” It was true, and Cas knew it. He deflated.

“I’m sorry,” he rubbed a hand across his forehead. “I don’t know where my head’s been at lately.”

“Well I do. And it’s okay, babe,” Sam gave him a concerned look, puppy eyes on full display. “It’s natural. I don’t know why you won’t admit to your obvious need for the kid.”

“I don’t need anything, okay,” Cas was beginning to feel as though he was being backed into a corner.

“Yeah, but what about what you want?” Sam gave him a hard look. “You know I’ve always wanted a family from the minute we started dating. And I had been meaning to ask you about maybe adopting a Little instead of a traditional child for, I don’t know, the last couple months. But you’re so touchy on the subject I have to walk on fucking eggshells around you. Well I’m done with it, Cas.”

Cas knew what Sam was saying was justified, but it didn’t make it sting any less. His lover was right. Why couldn’t he just admit that he wanted a kid? (Not just any kid, but he shut that thought off the minute is slithered into his head) Why was he being so difficult?

“I’m sorry Sam,” Cas said in a small voice. “It’s just, we haven’t even had the wedding yet and I don’t know, I don’t want to rush into anything and mess it up. I would never forgive myself if I screwed up Dean-I mean, our kid,” he blushed. Sam looked triumphant.

“See, he’s practically all you think about. If I didn’t know better I’d be jealous,” Sam tried to lighten the mood. Cas continued to frown. Letting out a sigh, Sam continued. “As for the wedding, that’s only three months away, Cassie. Wouldn’t it be the sweetest thing you ever saw if we had our own little guy as the ring bearer? We have most of the wedding plans set anyhow so we have plenty of time to devote to a child. I make more than enough at the law firm for you to quit selling insurance and stay home. Please Cassie you need this so bad.”

Cas was silent. Even if every fiber of his being was screaming at him that he did need it, that little doubtful part of his brain continued to deny. What if this whole supposed ‘imprinting’ fiasco was one-sided and he was pining after a Little who had forgotten him the moment he was out of sight? What if Dean was already back with John? He hadn’t gotten any calls from the station about a trial so it was possible John had been released. Besides, Dean was something he wanted, and you can’t just have what you want. It ruins the fantasy.

“No.”

“Well that’s too bad because I already called the Home and we have an appointment tomorrow,” Sam said coolly.

“You what?” Cas’ voice was hoarse, his eyes wide.

“You heard me, Castiel. And you’re going, no ifs ands or buts about it,” Sam stated with finality. Usually Cas loved it when Sam got all domineering, but now he just felt hustled.

He couldn’t help but feel a little thrill as well, but he was careful to keep it in check.

The rest of the night was spent in silence. It wasn’t the bitter kind, Cas just had a lot to think about and Sam seemed to know and respect that, leaving Cas to marinate. They still went to bed together and Cas still cuddled up to Sam as always.

But that night while Sam lightly snored, Cas lay awake, nervously jiggling his foot up and down where it hung over the side of the bed. When he finally did drift off, his sleep was restless and plagued with visions of green eyes and stuffed leopards mocking him.


***


The next morning Cas and Sam were in the car by nine thirty. They were dressed casually, but nicely. Sam said they should try to make as good of a first impression as possible, so khakis and button ups it was. Not that Cas disagreed with Sam, he was just so nervous at the prospect of meeting Dean he had thrown a sweatshirt on over his pajamas and thought he was ready. He had barely touched any food that morning either, his stomach in twisted knots.

Sam reached across the console with the hand that wasn’t on the steering wheel and took Cas’ hand in his own large one, offering a sympathetic smile. Cas relaxed marginally and tried to talk himself down from his anxious high, counting the cars they passed on the highway into the city.

All too soon they were parking on the side of the street in front of your cliché looking orphanage. Cas inhaled sharply, his head buzzing.

“Hey,” came Sam’s voice. “This is gonna be great. It’ll do you a world of good. Besides I’ve been dying to meet Dean.”

“Yeah,” Cas smiled at Sam, his rock, his everything, and was so grateful to have such an understanding and loving partner. “I love you, Sammy.”

“Aw I love you too honey. All right you sap, enough stalling, they’re expecting us.”

They got out of the car and headed up towards the building, still holding hands. They were met at the entrance by a pleasant looking young lady. Exchanging pleasantries, Cas looked around the foyer. It was old fashioned but warm and inviting.

The woman led them into what Cas assumed was Alastair’s office. The man himself was sitting behind a large desk that looked as though it were mahogany. Cas couldn’t help but be impressed by the guys digs. The paintings in the room looked expensive, collectible, and the fish tank in the corner was filled with exotic fish. Alastair put down some papers he was looking over and removed a pair of glasses, grinning up at the two newcomers. All Cas could see was the man’s teeth.

When his eyes met with the older man’s, Cas felt that shiver of unease return, but quickly dismissed it. He had to stay focused.

“Hello gentlemen,” Alastair stood up and came around his desk to shake their hands. Cas found himself repulsed by the high and nasal voice of the man, but carefully schooled his features. “My name is Alastair Rolston, how can I help you today,” said the man with an oily smile.

“Well Mr. Rolston, my fiancé and I are interested in starting a family with a Little of our own,” Sam said in his charming lawyer voice.

“Of course. It’s a big commitment, taking on a child of any kind. We here at my home strive to create healthy and happy families…” Alastair went on giving his pitch as Cas’ mind wandered. He thought Dean must be happy here, if he was still here. He and Sam had decided against outright asking to see Dean as it might be seen as inappropriate. They didn’t want to come across as obsessive or single minded. Cas tuned back into what the owner was saying in time to catch “…Eve will show you around our facility. You came at an opportune time as the Littles have free time before lunch. You can observe them if you like, see if any particular child catches your eye.”

They thanked him and shook hands again, leaving the office behind the young lady, Eve, as Alastair had called her. She walked them down the hall and up to the second floor, which she told them was used as an activity space for the Littles. There was a large yellow room with large windows on the side that hugged the hallway so prospective parents could ‘observe without disturbing’ as Eve explained it.

Cas looked in on the Littles. All ages seemed to be represented from infancy to around 8 years old. There were boys and girls alike, all wearing the same navy shorts and white cotton top. But the scene was off, Cas could only think to describe it as artificial. The room was bright and filled with all sorts of toys and activities but instead of lively playing, the Littles seemed subdued. Three rather large and intimidating men stood like sentries in the corners of the room. When he asked Eve about them, she dismissively explained that they were security.

The longer Cas looked at the activity space the more he felt he was looking at a prison yard. Sam shifted on Cas’ right and he could tell his fiancé was feeling uncomfortable with the view before them as well. It was a pretty ring, but the stone was only plastic.
And then he saw Dean. Crouched in a corner with his faithful companion the leopard. Dean looked listless and Cas ached to go to him. Sam saw who he was looking at. “Oh my god, is that him Cassie? He’s adorable,” Sam gushed.

“We’ve been having problems with that one,” Eve said a with a tinge of sadness that Cas thought seemed a tinge phony, like everything else in this place.

“What do you mean, problems?” He asked.

“He’s been stealing salt from the kitchens and scaring the others with talk about demons and ghost stories. He’s also remarkably recalcitrant,” she informed him. Stealing salt? Demons? Cas blinked at her, but ultimately turned his attention back to the little boy.

“Could we, um could we see him maybe?” Cas asked, trying to keep his eagerness on a leash. “Are we allowed to go inside?”

“If you’re sure,” Eve quirked an eyebrow at him.

“Absolutely,” Sam answered for him.

Eve opened the door to the room for them and they entered the play space. It was much more quiet than it should have been. They passed one girl who was just sitting and humming emptily. She looked up with eyes that stared straight through them. It set Cas’ nerves on edge.
Cas approached Dean cautiously, Sam by his side. Would the boy be glad to see him? Or maybe upset that Cas had abandoned him? No that was a silly way to think, but Cas couldn’t help but be nervous. All too soon he was crouching in front of the kid.

“Hey bud,” he said softly.

Dean looked up from the play mat he was sitting on and when he saw Cas his eyes widened. The two just gazed at each other for a moment before Dean burst into loud and ugly wails, launching himself at Cas. Taken by surprise, Cas caught the Little but fell back on his rear.

“Hey, hey shhhh,” he soothed, confused. He wrapped his arms around the shaking body curled against him and pressed the boy close, feeling relieved to finally have Dean in his embrace. Sam kneeled down with concern filled eyes. He cast a questioning look at Cas, but Cas could only helplessly shrug in return as he cupped the back of Dean’s head.

Cas could feel Dean’s little hands tightly fisting the back of his shirt and felt his Dom roar. Whatever was the cause of Dean’s tears better run and hide because Cas was going to tear it to shreds. But If Cas was being completely honest he would have to admit that part of him was preening
that Dean was looking to him for comfort. He hugged Dean closer to him, petting his head and whispering “It’s okay, I gotcha. I’m here. It’ll be all right. Shhhh,” while the boy sobbed into his neck.

Unfortunately Dean’s little display attracted the attention of the ‘security’. But heaven hath no fury like a mama bear with a distressed cub, and Cas would be damned if he let anyone pry Dean away from him. He continued to stroke Dean and murmur into his ear as he heard Sam arguing with one of the beefy men.

“Sir, I’m going to ask you to step away from the Little,” came the gruff voice of a different one of the guards, or whatever they were. Well you know what? Fuck this place, Cas thought. He carefully got to his feet, one of his arms supporting underneath Dean’s thighs as the boy straddled Cas’ waist and kept his face buried in the crook of Cas’ neck. Dean’s wails had died down, Cas’ presence seemed to have calmed him, but he was still quietly sniffling and crying.

“I think I’ll hold onto him if it’s all the same,” Cas said darkly and felt Sam come up behind him and protectively place his arm around Cas’ hips. “Now somebody owes me an explanation. And I want it now.”

The man took a step towards them but stopped. Eve had placed a hand on the man’s shoulder and Cas caught her minutely shaking her head at him. The guy backed down.

“I’m so sorry Mr. Novak, as I told you, we’ve been having trouble with Dean,” she said in a placating tone. “But he needs to take his medicine now and get some rest, I’m sure he’s exhausted himself after a scene like that.”

Cas turned so his body was shielding Dean and gave her a hard look.

“Mr. Novak I would really prefer if you let us handle this situation without having to call the police,” there was a strained smile on Eve’s face. Cas felt Sam place a hand on his shoulder.

“C’mon babe. I don’t like this any more than you do, but if we want to take Dean home with us we have to play by their rules,” Sam apologetically murmured into Cas’ ear. Cas knew Sam was right but fuck, something about giving Dean over to these people seemed like betrayal.

Cas sighed and gently pulled away from Dean so he could look at the boy. The sight of his tear streaked face and mussed hair paired with those pouty lips and the way Dean was still clutching at Cas stoked his inner Caregiver. He had to fight the urge to protect though. “Hey bud, I’m real sorry but you have to let these people take care of you for just a little while longer.” Dean looked at Cas, confused. “Don’t worry honey, I’ll be back for you later mkay?” Cas tried to sound light hearted.

“Y’pr-promise?” Pleaded Dean with a stuttering inhale.

“I swear. Cross my heart,” Cas touched his forehead to Dean’s and gave the boy a bounce in his hold, getting a watery smile for his effort. “I’m gonna setcha down now, big boy,” Cas reluctantly turned back around and gently lowered Dean to the ground where the Little still clung to his neck.

When one of the orderlies unhooked Dean’s hands from around Cas and another tried to lead him away, the Little began to cry again, looking at Cas with pleading eyes. “No! No, noooooo,” one of the men had picked Dean up and was being yelled at and kicked at by his charge.

“Hang on a second,” that was Sam. What was Cas’ lover up to? Sam went up to Dean and crouched so he was looking the kid in the eye. “Hi Dean, I’m Sam. Cas has told me so much about you! We just need you to be brave for us while we take care of some grownup stuff okay? I know you can do it, Cas says you’re really courageous.” Cas marveled at the way Dean was intently listening to Sam, hanging on to his every word. Eventually Dean nodded to Sam. “There’s a boy,” Sam smiled and tapped Dean on the nose. Dean giggled shyly. “Okay,” Sam nodded at the guard.

Dean was carried out of the room, still sniffling, leaving Cas and Sam alone with Eve and the other Littles who had barley batted an eye at Dean’s outburst. What was going on in this place? In the end it didn’t matter because Cas had already made up his mind, and looking at Sam, he could tell his fiancé had too. They weren’t leaving here today if it wasn’t with Dean.

“Eve,” began Sam. “Please inform Mr. Rolston that we would like to adopt Dean. Right away.”

Chapter Text

Sam was sure he had never seen Cas more aggravated in all the time he had known him. Not that Sam could blame him, witnessing Dean’s distress had done a number on him as well. It killed him he couldn’t eradicate the source of Dean’s pain, make the unhappiness melt away. Sam could sense a Cas-style meltdown on the horizon and quickly pulled the shorter male into his arms, trying to give his fiancé a sense of security and stability amidst the emotions that must be running rampant inside him.

They were back in Alastair’s office, waiting to speak with the man. Sam steeled himself against the shudder that threatened to wrack his body at the thought of the smarmy director of the home. He had to stay stoic for Cas’ sake, even if Alastair did give him the creeps.

As Cas leaned into his chest, Sam’s thoughts wandered to Dean. It had been nothing short of precious to see Cas and Dean together. Even though Sam had only just met the boy, he understood how Cas had come to care for Dean. The kid was adorable for chrissake. Sam’s heart had melted at the way Dean had clung to his Cassie. He was already starting to think of them as his boys.

And anyone who messed with his boys could answer to him, thank you very much.

Just then, Alastair chose to grace them with his presence. He slithered behind his impressive desk, expression unreadable.

“I hear you gentlemen had a run-in with one of our newer Littles,” he said in that god-awful voice of his. It reminded Sam of when you rub two pieces of Styrofoam together, annoying to say the least.

“His name is Dean,” corrected Sam coolly. “And maybe you can explain to us just what is going on here,” it should’ve been a question, but it came out more like a demand.

Alastair’s face split into a repulsive grin, his eyes bugging and teeth flashing. “My dear man, whatever do you mean?” His tone was a medley of mock confusion and innocence, paired with the smile stretched on the man’s face it was quite the scene. One Sam had seen several times before on the faces of defendants who were without a doubt guilty, but felt they could get away with their crimes. Well Sam was an expert at cracking said criminals, it was his job as a prosecution lawyer after all. But he had more important things to focus on at the moment.

“Dean,” he said, getting right to the heart of the matter. “He seemed agitated, unhappy,” Sam paused to harshly asses the man before him. “Castiel and I have decided we would like to take him under our care. If you would be so kind as to aid us in the process,” he continued with forced politeness.

“You see I would love to, but Dean just isn’t ready for adoption,” Alastair’s grin stretched even further. Sam felt Cas tense up against him. “You witnessed that he is not capable of handling his emotions—“

“He’s a little boy! They’re not supposed to handle their emotions!” Cas cried. Sam was inclined to agree. Lack of emotional control was a fundamental part of what made a Little, well, little. They laughed loud and unashamedly when they were happy. They didn’t hold back or become passive aggressive when they were angry. And they cried when they were frustrated or upset. Like Dean had cried.

“Be that as it may, Dean is in no position to leave this facility now or in the near future, and that is my call as director of this establishment.”

Sam could feel Cas shaking with anger. He knew he had to do something, if not only for his lover, then for Dean as well. Sam pulled away from Cas and clasped his hands behind his back, pacing in front of Alistair’s desk. He was going into what Cas jokingly called his ‘lawyer mode’.

“Mr. Rolston, can you please tell me Dean’s age?” Sam asked as he stopped his pacing to quirk an eyebrow at the man behind the desk. Cas made a noise behind him and Sam knew the shorter male had caught on to what he was doing. Cas had seen Dean’s file at the police station, just a quick glance, but enough to garner that the kid was seventeen years old.

“Well I don’t see what that has to do with anything,” Alistair looked miffed. Sam smiled.

“You see, Mr. Rolston, I happen know for a fact that Dean is over the age of seventeen and is no longer considered a minor by legal terms,” Sam resumed pacing. “He may be a Little and choose to stay at such an establishment as yours, but all the same it is his own choice to make. What my fiancé and I are asking for is not a child adoption, but a Little adoption in which discretion lies with the adoptee and not the facility in which they reside,” Sam finished with a triumphant gleam in his eye. He could feel Cas’ eyes on him, and turned around to take Cas’ hand in his own, not missing the grateful shine in the other’s gaze. “Therefore if you would allow us to see Dean and ask him ourselves, it would be much appreciated.”

Alistair sat in silence for a few moments, his lips pressed together in a thin line. Cas seemed nervous, but Sam was confident that the man wouldn’t risk legal trouble. Anybody who had something to hide wouldn’t want police poking around, asking legal questions and sticking their noses into whatever twisted operation he had going on here.

Finally he relented, but not without a good helping of petulance. He called Eve in and asked her to retrieve Dean. She looked unsure and hesitated, but jumped and scurried out of the room when Alistair barked at her to hurry along.

Sam looked over at Cas who was barely controlling the smile on his face. He felt the same. He couldn’t wait to get their boy home.

***

Dean was lying on his cot, curled around Cubby. After being carried out of the play room and away from Cas and the man with the floppy hair called Sam, he had been given some juice. Now he felt all floaty. It had been easier to just obey after that. He was limp through the orderlies changing his diaper and didn’t fight when they raised the bars on his cot.

Diapers, amongst many other things, had been a new experience for Dean. He reflected on when he had awoken in this very cot on his first night here:

His eyes fluttered open, but his vision was fuzzy. Where the hell was he? He put the heel of his hand to his eyes and arched his back, snuffling into Cubby. That’s when he realized there were bars around his bed, and when it all came flooding back.

Alistair, Ruby, the pictures, the needle.

Dean broke out in a cold sweat. He had to get out of here. He sat up quickly, fully alert with adrenaline, and tried to gather his surroundings. He was in a room filled with other beds just like his. Not really cribs, but more like cots that had railing attachments. He could make out the forms of other Littles sleeping, and it freaked him out. Had they been drugged like him? Taken? At least Alistair had let him keep Cubby, Dean hugged the leopard close.

He looked down at his clothes, they must have dressed him when he was passed out. He was wearing a plain white tee and navy shorts that came down to mid-thigh.  But he was also wearing something underneath those shorts, something he didn’t want to think about. John’s disapproving face came to mind, unbidden and unwanted. Dean felt his cheeks burn with shame.

With the shorts revealing so much of his legs, Dean could see that he had no leg hair anymore. What the fuck. In fact, his whole body was smooth, from his cheeks and chin right down to his toes. Dean ran his hands over his arms and legs and face, trying to get used to the sensation. He was seriously going to have a breakdown here.

Dean closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Willing the tears that were pricking his eyes to evaporate. Whoo, the drugs must not be completely out of his system, his emotions were so much more intense. He had to think, to calm down. He was a hunter, goddammit, he could get himself out of this situation. Shakily he stood up, grasping the top of the railing for stability. He chalked up his weakened state to whatever shit they had injected him with.

Throwing Cubby over the edge of the bars, Dean hoisted himself up with great effort. Eventually he was straddling the railing and went to flip his other leg over the side when his arms shook and he lost his balance, hitting the floor with a dull thump.

He resisted the urge to cry out. Damn he could take more pain than this, he had to quit being such a baby. He lay still, crumpled on the ground for a moment, waiting for Ruby or Alistair or some other creep to bust into the room and shoot him up with more sleeping juice. When a minute passed and he wasn’t struggling against another needle, he cautiously poked his head out into the aisle down the middle of the room between the beds.

It was a big room with ten cots on either side of it. Dean couldn’t see much in the low light but every one of the beds seemed to be occupied. He felt like a thief, surrounded by all the sleeping kids. Taking Cubby by the paw, Dean crept down the walkway, feeling a nervous thrill fluttering in his chest.

Even though it was a bedroom for Littles, the place had no decorations or details other than the crib-cot things to identify it as such. There were no toys or drawings, no typical ‘Little’ things. The walls were a pale blue, almost gray, ghostly in the dim light coming from the window and under the door. It gave Dean goosebumps.

His first thought was to go out the window, but after checking, it seemed he was on the fourth floor. So that left the door at the opposite end of the room as his only option. Dean headed back down the aisle, treading with care. Although the building was undoubtedly old, it wasn’t creaky, and Dean found himself thanking God for that.

He crept up to the door and pressed his ear against it. There were shuffling sounds on the other side, and if Dean squashed one eye shut and peered through the keyhole beneath the knob with the other, he was just able to make out a hulking figure standing with its back to the door. Crap. The guy was standing a fair amount away from the door though, and Dean thought he may be able to sneak by him if he was fast enough. Getting the door open would be the tricky part.

He clasped his sweaty fingers around the cool metal of the handle and slowly, slowly, twisted. When he couldn’t twist any further, he painstakingly tugged the door back a millimeter at a time, praying it wouldn’t squeak. The place had excellent maintenance though, and as with the floorboards, not a single sound escaped from the door hinges.

When there was a sizeable crack between the door and the wall, Dean paused to check on the sentry. The man was tall and thick with muscle. Dean was confident in his abilities, but felt uncertain as to whether or not he could take someone of this guy’s stature, especially in the condition he was in. Fortunately, the man seemed more intent on his fingernails, biting and scraping imaginary dirt out from under them, than anything else.

Keeping low, Dean stretched his head out into the hallway for a better look. There was a corner he could duck around that was only a few feet from the door. If he timed it right he could make it. He waited, crouched with bated breath. When the guard started to yawn, Dean made his move.

He moved silently and swiftly, not quite shutting the door behind him, but closing it enough to avoid being obvious. A few quick steps and he and Cubby were safe around the corner. Dean breathed a sigh of relief. He looked around. Now what? He had to get downstairs, so he walked the halls looking for any sign of a stairway, Cubby would watch his back and alert him to any trouble from behind.

Eventually he found the stairs and made his way down to the bottom floor, keeping a watchful eye and a strained ear the whole way. The stairs deposited him in a little boxed in foyer beside a back door. Dean grinned and reached out to the handle. It didn’t turn. The door was locked. Of course, just his luck.

Wondering what to do next, a heavy black door on the other side of the little indented foyer caught his attention. It looked important. Just then Dean heard footsteps coming down the stairs and panicked. He swung open the door with a little grunt and scurried inside, quick to close it behind him. There were more descending stairs that seemed to lead to a basement. Usually basements terrified him, but he was less afraid of the dark than he was of whoever was coming to get him.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Dean could feel that he was not in a typical basement. There was carpet beneath his bare feet, and it wasn’t dank and drafty. He fumbled for a light switch, thinking there might be a fire exit somewhere if he could just see. He found one and the room was flooded with light.

It was not what he expected at all.

It was wide open with what looked like a stage at the far end opposite the stairs he had come down, and a…was that a bar along the wall beside him? There were rows of fancy folding chairs that had red velvet cushions and were all facing the stage. At the leftmost end of the elevated platform was a podium. Moving towards the right end of the stage behind the podium were sturdy looking poles numbered one to ten. The poles had shackles connected to them. What the hell.

Then Dean saw the bidder’s cards on a short end table next to the railing of the stairs, and he realized what he was looking at.

This was an auction house.

Alistair was selling Littles.

Holy shit.

That explained the pictures and the medical examination. They would want to have a profile on their ‘merchandise’, make sure it was desirable and healthy. It also explained the drugs. Got to keep your livestock complacent. Fuck. Dean felt sick. No wonder things were so lavish in Alistair's office.

He was so lost in his realization that he failed to run from the men coming down the stairs toward him. The moment their hands touched him, his daze broke and he put up a fight, but was still pretty woozy. The beefy meatheads had him by his arms on either side when Ruby cam strutting down the stairs.

“Tsk,” she tittered, looking over Dean with a predatory gaze, “I thought it might be you wandering around where little boys have no business being, looks like we didn’t give someone enough medicine, huh?” she said in a sickeningly sweet tone, caressing his face. Dean threw his head to the side, trying to avoid the she-devil’s claws, and glared at her.

“You need to be taught a lesson Dean,” smirked Ruby. “One I will enjoy teaching you very much.”

The prick of a needle. The blackness was back.

He had woken up for the second time after being drugged in a similar bed. But this time he was still all floaty and light from what Ruby had called his medicine. He couldn’t think straight, but he knew he had a feeling of dread about this place and that he wasn’t safe. He couldn’t remember why though.

He spent a week in his cot, which they had moved to an empty room. He was only fed sippy cups of some protein shake like liquid that he was pretty sure was laced with whatever kept him feeling like a feather. It was solitary confinement with nothing to occupy his time. He had cried and screamed, his emotions running wild, but nothing got him out of his punishment. When Ruby cam to take him back to the others she told him next time they wouldn’t be as forgiving.

“You’re lucky you’re so pretty, kid,” she told him.

It wasn’t as hard after that. They kept him pumped full whatever it was that they called medicine. He was docile, but he didn’t interact with the other Littles. None of them seemed very interested in him either. He got in trouble again for taking salt shakers from the kitchen/cafeteria area. He was just trying to protect himself, dammit, couldn’t these people understand?

Turns out, they couldn’t.

After that Dean hadn’t given anyone any trouble. He had been listless though, feeling doomed to be carted off by the highest bidder when the time came. He didn’t want to be bought by some pervert. He wanted the nice man from the parking lot. Cas. He wanted Cas. Hell he would even go back to John.

So Dean just kept his head down and waited for the inevitable. He had seen others disappear. A bunch of them would be herded out of the bedroom right before lights out and some would come back, but others wouldn’t be heard from again. He spent most of his time trying to keep down the intense fear and distress he felt.

That’s why when he saw that familiar face, he had lost it. He had let go of all of his pent up feelings. He felt safe around Cas. He needed to be near him and so he did the first thing that came to mind and launched himself at the man with the messy hair. It had felt so good to be in his embrace, Dean never wanted to let go. But he had had to. And now he was here. Waiting.

That’s when one of the nurses, Eve, Dean thought her name was, came beside his cot. He gazed at her with half-lidded eyes, still loopy from his medicine. She looked angry, but Dean couldn’t really register her emotions while keeping track of his at the same time. He whined. She huffed as she lowered the railing on his cot and grabbed his hand.

Dean sniffed and sat up. They were going somewhere? Maybe back to see Cas and his tall friend? Dean smiled lazily at the thought and slid off his cot and trailed clumsily behind Eve as she led him downstairs and into Alistair’s office.

As soon as Dean saw Cas and the other man, Sam, he thought, he broke free of Eve and scurried over to the two men, stumbling on the way. He held up his arms and waited. One of those two goons better pick him up, he pouted.

“Heya sweetie,” he heard as strong hands gripped him underneath the armpits. He was in the air and then against something warm and solid. Dean was practically purring as he settled against Cas’s chest. This felt right. This was how it was supposed to be.

“Hey big boy, can you look at me for a second, I have something real important to ask you,” that was Cas’ tall friend. But Dean would rather keep his eyes closed and snuggle Cas at the moment thanks very much.

“C’mon baby, for me?” Cas’ voice pleaded. Dean cracked an eye open and could see Sam from where his head rested on Cas’ shoulder. Something about the man exuded the feeling of safety over Dean. He felt protected when this man was around, even if Alistair was in the same room watching with a grim expression.

“There’s those pretty green eyes,” Sam tapped his nose like before and Dean felt a rush through his stomach. He giggled a little at the tingly feeling. He liked this man. Almost as much as he liked Cas. He couldn’t explain what it was about the man with the messy hair, just that every time he was around him, he felt inexplicably complete. It was weird that he had come to trust him so quickly, but Dean didn’t question it too hard.

“Dean,” Sam said in a tone that had him perking up. “Cas and I were wondering if you would like to come home with us? That is, to become a part of our family?” Dean looked into the taller man’s eyes and saw genuine fondness in them. He pulled back from Cas and observed a similar affection written on the man’s face. He felt overwhelmed. He sniffed and began to cry.

Why would these people want him? He was useless, couldn’t even get himself out of this embarrassing situation. He wanted to go with these nice people so badly, but he didn’t think he deserved it.

“Hey, hey now bud,” soothed Cas. “Why’re you crying? We wanna make you happy!” He said exaggerating his facial expressions. As if he were talking to a baby, Dean thought, and cried a little harder. “Baby we need you to say yes,” Cas pleaded.

Through his tears, Dean felt himself nodding. He wanted to be with Cas and Sam. He needed that. At least for now. He didn’t know what happened after that, as he had cried himself to sleep on Cas’ shoulder.

Chapter Text

Cas could only keep himself together while he carried Dean out of that awful home after completing the paperwork, and strapped the conked out boy in the back seat of Sam’s Prius. As soon as he had Dean all set, the kid had whined a little at the loss of contact, he took a few shaky breaths and let a couple tears leak from his eyes.

Sam was beside him in an instant, murmuring sweet nothings in his ear, and holding him while he collapsed in relief. He was so overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, letting Dean be taken to this place, and happiness at getting him out.

“Hey baby, I know this has been hard on all of us, but right now we need to get the little one home, wouldn’t you agree?” Sam said, no doubt trying to bring Cas out of his head and back into the present. Cas liked that Sam helped to ground him, to keep him focused. He sniffed and squeezed the larger man one last time before wiping his eyes and nodding. They climbed into the little car and began the drive towards home.

“Something just wasn’t right back there, Sam. I didn’t like it even a little bit,” Cas vented, quietly, so as not to disturb their sleeping passenger.

“I know Cassie,” Sam agreed. “That place definitely had a weird vibe to it.”

They sat in silence, both just thinking things over.

“Oh my Land, Sam,” Cas gasped suddenly. “We don’t have anything, diapers, a crib…anything, for Dean at home!” It was true. Their household was devoid of any of the necessary items to raise and nurture a Little of Dean’s age. They hadn’t really been planning on adopting today, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled, Cas guessed. Sam bit his lip and gazed out the windshield at the road. It was still early, they had plenty of time to stop on the way home, but was Dean ready for that?

Cas turned around in his seat to check on the newest member of his little family. Dean’s face was smushed against the window, his limbs askew and hair a mess. His thumb had found its way back up to his mouth, but the awkward position his face was in meant his mouth wasn’t totally closed around it, and he was drooling slightly. His leopard was sandwiched between his arm and the car door. Cas chuckled fondly at the sight and smiled softly at the boy, his boy. The thought sent his heart into a flutter.

“Okay, let’s do this. I’ll run into that little convenience store on the corner by the gas station and get a few essentials while you stay out here with Dean. That way we don’t have to wake him. We’ll just have to manage with not having everything for a little bit,” Sam said to Cas, who nodded in agreement.

“I’m so happy he’s with us,” Cas said softly. He really was. There was such a warm feeling in his chest, he thought he might actually burst with affection.

“I am too, honey,” Sam agreed tenderly. “He’s just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, that is, besides you,” he grinned with his tongue between his teeth and his eyebrows raised in playfulness.

“Oh, be quiet you big cheeseball,” Cas laughed as the Prius swung into the parking lot of the store.

Once Cas was alone with Dean he felt some of his earlier nervousness creep back into the base of his skull. Was he sure that he was right for Dean? It definitely felt that way. He imagined waking up and spending every day with Dean, a faint smile played on his lips. He just didn’t want to let anyone down, and was afraid of his own expectations getting out of hand. From what he had seen of Dean, the boy had a hard time accepting his Little self except in times of distress. It would be interesting to see what he would be like once they got him home.

Cas sighed and scratched his nose, looking out the window, waiting for Sam. He hoped the tall man would have the foresight to pick up a pacifier while he was in the store, Dean’s teeth were going to be ruined if he continued to suck his thumb. Then again that was pretty forward thinking, thought Cas. They would have to see how things played out.

True to his word, Sam was fast. Cas had only been sitting with Dean for maybe, ten minutes, when he saw Sam exit through the automatic doors, laden with bags. After depositing his haul in the trunk, the taller man came back around the side of the vehicle and clambered into the driver’s seat. Cas always thought it was silly how big Sam looked inside of his tiny car, but Sam insisted that the Prius was better for the environment than Cas’ gas guzzling company car.  That was his long haired hippie husband-to-be, all right. Cas smiled to himself at the thought.

After a little more driving, they finally pulled into their driveway. It was only midday, but Cas felt like more time had passed with all the events of that morning. He turned to Sam.

“I’ll get Dean inside if you want to get the bags from the trunk?”

Sam nodded his agreement and slid out of the small car while Cas did the same on the other side of the vehicle. Cas stopped at the back door, considering the Little sleeping inside for a moment. This was a big step, and the massiveness of bringing Dean home was really starting to sink in. Cas tried to get himself to relax as he gently eased the car door open and deftly caught Dean’s head as it drooped out of the side of the car. Cradling the back of the boy’s neck, Cas crouched so he could gather the rest of Dean into his arms bridal style.

Dean shifted a little in his arms and cracked an eye open to peek up at Cas from where he was nestled into the man’s shoulder. Cas touched his forehead to Dean’s, quietly shushing the boy even though he hadn’t really made any noise. Dean must have sensed he was safe and secure, because he settled back down into Cas with droopy eyes.

Cas carried the boneless Little in through the front door and into the foyer of his and Sam’s house. It would soon be Dean’s home too if they could convince him to stay with them. Cas was uneasy about the prospect of facing ‘Big’ Dean, but he had to take this one step at a time. And right now, he had a tired little boy in his arms.

Walking up the stairs to the guest bedroom, Cas decided his first order of business as Dean’s new caregiver would be to get rid of the clothes the boy was wearing. They reminded him too much of the Home and the vacant Littles there.

He laid Dean down on the bed that he and Sam kept made in case Gabriel ever stopped by and began undressing him. It was such an intimate thing to do, and Cas worried he would spook Dean, but the Little just meekly cooperated and moved with Castiel instead of against him.

Sam entered as Cas was removing Dean’s shorts.

“Here hon,” he brandished a clean diaper and one of his own sweatshirts at Cas who took the proffered items gratefully. With his hands free, Sam began shuffling through one of the bags in his hands for wipes and powder while Cas put his hands on the tabs of Dean’s diaper. He took a deep breath. He had changed god knows how many diapers with the amount he babysat for friends and family, he could do this.

The second his fingers gripped the plastic strips to peel them back, Dean began to squirm and whine. Cas forged on, determined not to let a little whining deter him. However when Dean let out a little cry of “no!”, he paused. There was something wrong with this picture. Something missing. Then the lightbulb above his head lit up.

“Sam,” Cas got the taller man’s attention. “I think I left his leopard down in the car can you run and grab it for me?”

“Sure thing, babe,” Sam was quick to acquiesce to his lover’s request. In Sam’s absence, Cas concentrated on soothing the agitated Little in front of him. He lightly traced his fingers over Dean’s tummy and smoothed his hand through dark gold locks. Dean looked up at Castiel and shivered. Even though it was sweltering outside, their house was air-conditioned and it must be uncomfortable to be without clothes.

“Hey now, we’ll getcha into some clothes real soon, bud,” Cas spoke lowly. “You’re gonna love it here. Sam already thinks you’re something special, so between you and me, I think you can have him wrapped around your finger in no time. Just don’t go using your powers for evil, y’hear?” He accentuated his point by tickling Dean’s sides. The boy let out a peal of laughter that had Cas chuckling along.

“What’s this?” Came Sam’s voice from behind. “I leave for two minutes and you two start having fun without me?” He overdramatically pouted. Cas rolled his eyes but Dean sat up and grinned real wide at Sam. He stretched out his arms expectantly. “Okay, okay, here’s your stuffie, champ,” Sam handed over the leopard.

“Cubby,” Dean stated plainly. Cas and Sam looked at each other for a moment, confused. Dean held out the leopard to Cas. “Cubby,” he repeated.

“Is that your leopard’s name?” Asked Cas, stroking the plushie’s fur.

“Mhm,” Dean hummed appreciatively at Cas’ actions. “He likes you,” he informed Cas seriously. Cas’s face lit up and he continued to pet Cubby, telling Dean that he was pleased to make the toy’s acquaintance. Dean let out a small giggle.

Sam stood there watching over them with a fond look etched into his face. With Cubby present, changing Dean’s diaper was no problem at all, although the boy did go quiet and hide his face in the leopard’s fur while he was naked. Cas couldn’t really blame the kid, he and Sam were still practically strangers. But he really ached to change that.

Sam laughed out loud at the picture Dean in the oversized hoodie made. The boy was practically swimming in fabric, but he definitely looked comfortable, all snuggled into the soft red fleece. Deans eyes were steadily growing more closed as he rubbed Cubby’s ear over his nose and mouth. Cas internally cooed at the sight, it was such a Little thing to do. He found himself hoping to see more of Dean in his headspace with the days to come, it was just precious.

When the boy was asleep again, Sam and Cas snuck out of the room, leaving the door open behind them. They didn’t want Dean to feel confined or trapped. Without saying anything Cas tugged at the collar of Sam’s shirt, bringing his tall fiancé’s head level with his own, and smashed his lips into Sam’s. Sam reciprocated with the same amount of passion and they had a full on make out session right there in the hall way. After a few minutes, Cas pulled away grinning like a maniac.

“I’m so in love with him, Sammy. I’m so in love with you. Thank you,” he bowed his head and pressed his crown into Sam’s chest, just enjoying the feeling of being with his lover while their little boy slept in the next room.

Sam tilted his own head so it was resting on top of Cas’. “Who’s the cheeseball now, eh?” He good-naturedly teased and Cas couldn’t help but think everything was perfect.

***

Dean lay awake in Cas and Sam’s guest room, lazily looking at his surroundings. The light was that rich deep golden color of the time between late afternoon and evening. He had woken up from his nap some time ago, but didn’t want to abandon the warm folds of the comforter. He played with Cubby’s paws as he thought over how the two men had been so kind to him, even when he was Little and clingy.

He had really let himself go back at the Home when Cas and Sam had come to get him. He knew he should’ve tried to pull out of his headspace, but a very large part of him just didn’t want to. And when the two men had been so free with their affection towards him, it was easy to just fall prey to his instincts.

After sleeping he was much more alert and aware, Littleness drifting away more and more as the minutes passed and he was alone with his thoughts. He felt blood rise to his cheeks as he remembered Cas changing him and tickling him and Sam goofing off and just the genuineness and the sincerity of the whole thing. These people cared. They actually cared. About him.

But they shouldn’t. He wasn’t their responsibility. They didn’t owe him anything.

Fuck, now he owed them. But what did he have to give? He didn’t even own the clothes on his back anymore. All he had was Cubby, and he’d be damned if he handed over his faithful friend to anybody.

But the most confusing thing was, Dean felt safe with these men. And Dean never felt safe. That’s what being a hunter was. Always on edge, always preparing for the worst case scenario. So what was it about Cas and Sam that made him just want to let down his guard and be (he shuddered) domestic? He knew the two were Dominants, but his dad had been a Dom too and he hadn’t felt this way around him.

Dean rubbed a hand across his eyes, feeling frustrated. He was reluctant to go back to his old life, but it was what he knew how to do. He would thank Cas and Sam and then leave them be, maybe he would go to Bobby’s. He had hitchhiked farther distances. Resigning himself to the fact that he would probably never see Cas or Sam again, he slipped out from under the duvet.

Once standing, Dean realized he had no pants on, Sam’s sweatshirt was so big on him it came down to mid-thigh. That still didn’t curb his embarrassment at what he was wearing underneath (don’t think about it oh my god) the hoodie. Uggghhh he was dying inside. He couldn’t believe he had made Cas change his freaking diaper, he didn’t even need them. Kinda.

Dean opened the drawers in the bureau across the room from the bed, but found no clothes. So there was no way he was getting out of his infantile get up yet. Perfect. Steeling himself, he padded out into the hallway and down the stairs. He was deposited in the living room behind the couch. On said couch were the two people that Dean least wanted to see and most wanted to cling to forever (shut up).

“Um,” Dean began weakly. Neither of the men turned around from whatever show was on the television. Dean scolded himself, where was that hunter confidence he possessed? He coughed a little and tried again. “Uh hey…guys,” it felt so wrong to call them that, but he had gotten Sam’s attention. The tall man beamed so brightly at him that Dean ducked his head a little.

“Dean! How was your nap, slugger?” At the sound of Sam’s voice, Cas turned as well, providing an equally sunny smile for Dean to contend with. He almost caved at the looks on their faces, but even though it wavered, his resolve stayed firm.

“It was okay, thanks,” Dean said lamely. He felt awkward standing there with Cubby under one arm and no pants on. “Listen I…,” he felt his throat constricting. He couldn’t look Sam or Cas in the eye, instead looking at his bare feet.

Suddenly there was a hand on his chin, raising his face to look up at Sam’s concerned expression. “What’s the matter, bud?” The giant asked softly, swiping his thumb on the skin right beneath Dean’s lower lip. Dean struggled to swallow.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” That was Cas. And didn’t they get it? They were the problem. Them and their caring and their nicknames and their stupid niceness. Dean couldn’t take it anymore.

Don’t, call me that. I…just, don’t, okay?” He pleaded. He couldn’t think, he was supposed to be composed right now. He was supposed to be leaving. Get it together Winchester. He felt dirty as a shadow of hurt flashed across Cas’ features. “I, I mean I’m sorry,” he tried. “I just came down here to tell you that I’m really thankful for you guys saving me from that awful place, but I’ll get out of your hair now. I, uh, just need some pants and then I swear I’ll leave you alone, I’m sorry,” he rambled. He didn’t realize his hands had been shaking until Sam’s large steady ones encased his own.

Dean, there is absolutely no need to apologize. Cas and I would do it all over again, cross our hearts,” Sam’s solid gaze had Dean’s eyes glued to the taller man’s. “We meant what we said when we asked you to be a part of our family,” gentle were the words that Sam spoke.

“No, you don’t understand I, I’m not like other Littles,” Dean had to contain this situation before it got out of hand, the word family echoing around inside his skull. Sam led Dean over to the couch and sat him down between the two men. They looked at him expectantly. Dean took a deep breath. “I have a very important job, one that doesn’t let me be Little. I really don’t mind it, honest, but I can’t be doing things like this,” he waved his hands around, gesturing at the domestic scene.

Cas placed a hand on his thigh, and Dean would be lying if he said he didn’t a little bit lean into the touch. “What could be so important that you have to deny who you are?”

“I, you-- it’s not something I talk about, but it’s more important than me just sitting around and acting like a toddler,” he couldn’t meet either man’s eyes. It felt wrong to keep things from them. Why did it feel wrong? He was so done with this confusing bullshit.

“Dean, being Little is nothing to be ashamed of,” that was Sam. “Just like there’s nothing wrong with me being a Daddy Dom. It’s all natural, and it’s important that you allow yourself what you need. Dean, your job may be important, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect yourself,” Dean could feel Sam’s Dom exuding itself in his words and he felt compelled to obey. He ducked his head for what seemed like the millionth time that day. These people wouldn’t understand them unless he told them the truth. And once he did they surely would send him on his way. Who wanted a Little that could shoot a gun and was skilled at hand to hand combat?

“Listen,” he began, feeling tears in his eyes. He did not have time for this shit, he raked the sleeve of the ridiculously large sweatshirt he was wearing over his eyes angrily. “Listen, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I kill monsters, I save people. That’s why, that’s why I just can’t be Little,” his voice broke a little and he kept his eyes cast down as he waited for the men to scoff at him.

“Are you…a hunter, Dean?” Sam’s voice asked softly. Dean blanched. What? They knew? How? Sam chuckled at the surprised look on Dean’s face. “I come from a long line of hunters, the Campbells. I myself, was never really keen on the lifestyle and so I left to go to Stanford, which is where I met Cassie,” the man paused to shoot Cas a grin, “and the rest is history. When Eve mentioned you’d been stealing salt and talking about demons, the puzzle pieces sorta clicked into place for me,” Sam explained with his head tilted a little to the side.

Dean didn’t really know what to think. “So then you know why I have to leave,” he said.

“Quite the opposite actually,” Sam said cavalierly. “This makes me even more determined to get you to stay. Dean, the life of a hunter is exhausting and dangerous, and you are clearly wearing yourself out. It’s not healthy to ignore your instincts.”

“But I-”

“No buts, Dean. You aren’t responsible for saving the world, you’ve already done enough good. I’m willing to bet you’ve never freely allowed yourself to go fully into your headspace. That’s not good for your body or your soul. Cas and I can give you what you need, just stay with us.”

“I, I can’t…I,” Dean felt overwhelmed. He saw two little dark circles appear on the red fabric covering his lap and realized he had begun to cry. He couldn’t right? But what Sam had said sounded so nice. And he wanted it so bad. But he wished he didn’t. He felt arms around him and someone rocking him back and forth while they rubbed his back. When he calmed down enough to pull back, he saw the arms belonged to Cas. He gave the man a watery smile.

“How about this,” Cas said with sudden inspiration. “Stay with us for a month Dean. If nothing else you can just think of it as a break, but you should try exploring your headspace. Let Sam and I care for you. Just for a month, and then if you want to stay longer, you’re more than welcome,” the man looked so hopeful that Dean really couldn’t break his heart. Besides, what was the harm? He was trying to convince himself, and he knew it, but he couldn’t help but want to be with these two men.

“I…okay,” he whispered, tears welling up again. Letting the relief of making a decision wash over him. Letting Cas and Sam beam at him and hug him. Letting himself sink into that feeling of home that had been settling in the bottom of his stomach ever since he woke up.

Letting himself cry, because he was finally letting himself have what he wanted.

 

Chapter Text

Sam was relieved that Cas had managed to find a compromise that allowed Dean to give into what he clearly wanted and needed. As he watched Cas hug and cradle their boy while he worked through his emotions, Sam’s heart clenched. He couldn’t even begin to imagine what Dean had been through. He was a hunter but he was so young. And his eyes. They were the eyes of a war veteran, they were eyes that had seen some serious shit. Sam wished he could make all of that go away, but he knew it was an important part of Dean’s identity that couldn’t, and shouldn’t, be erased. They would figure out a way to cope.

However, something Dean had said was niggling away at the back of Sam’s brain. Something that just didn’t sit right. When the Little’s sobbing slowed to the occasional hitched breath, Sam reached out a hand and rubbed Dean’s shoulder.

“Dean,” he spoke lowly. “Dean, what did you mean when you thanked us for saving you from the Home?” Sam knew there was something weird going on, but the way Dean had made it seem like he and Cas were rescuers made his stomach shrivel with unease.

At Sam’s words Dean sat bolt upright, his eyes wide, his chest caving in on itself in the way it does when you’ve forgotten something important. His eyes shifted so that they met Sam’s and then: “We have to- I have to…Oh my god,” he let out in a rush of air scrambling to his feet and batting away Cas’ hands.

Sam’s concern only elevated and Dean put his hands up to his head and grabbed fistfuls of his hair. “Woah woah, let’s calm down,” Sam needed to stop this from escalating. Cas was gently trying to pry Dean’s fingers away from where they were tugging at his sandy locks. Just looking at Dean was agitating Sam and he stood up from the couch, becoming restless.

“Dean, honey, can you tell us what’s wrong? What we need to do?” Cas asked gently. Dean took a shaky breath, but at least he had lowered his hands.

“I-I should’ve helped them,” Dean whispered, looking at the floor with haunted eyes.

“Dean, you need to let us know what’s happening,” Sam was growing impatient and let his Dom seep into his words. “Otherwise we won’t be able to fix whatever’s the matter.”

Dean looked up at Sam with a pained expression, Sam thought it looked almost guilty. He wanted scoop up the boy and take him somewhere nobody would so much as look at him cross-eyed.

“It’s, the Home- they, Alistair-” Dean was struggling to get words out. It seemed like so much wanted to tumble out of his mouth that his words were tripping over each other. He took a deep breath and tried again. “The Home isn’t a Home,” Dean began, and continued to tell the two men about what was going on behind locked doors.

Sam’s throat closed up and his hands turned into fists as he listened to Dean’s story. He needed to punch something. Ah the loveseat cushions would do nicely. He drove his fist deep into the forgiving pillows, wow that was unsatisfying. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Cas attempting to pull Dean back onto his lap. Sam felt useless, like a fool. He had known something was wrong back at Alistair’s but hadn’t followed his instincts. Fuck.

 He smushed the heels of his hands into his eyes and took a deep breath. Time to screw his head back on and do what he did best. Put away the baddies.

“Okay,” he said calmly, removing his hands from his face. Cas had managed to corral Dean into his hold, but the boy looked like he was going to throw up. “Okay, here’s what we are going to do. We’re going to call the police and let them know they’ve basically been supplying a human trafficking operation,” Sam’s teeth clenched a little. “If that doesn’t get them to act quickly I don’t know what will. In the meantime, Dean, we are going to have some tea and calm down. It won’t help anything if we get worked up.”

Dean looked like the kid with stage fright in the mandatory school play who’s forgotten his only line. He gave a shaky nod and then sat up, ramrod straight, on Cas’ lap. Sam watched as Dean tore out of Cas’ hold and ran to the farmhouse sink in the kitchen and promptly emptied his stomach into it. Sam glanced at Cas as the boy continued to retch. His lover was watching Dean with distress, his eyebrows knit together and mouth twisted in a frown. It shouldn’t be like this. Sam’s family should be smiling and happy. He should make it so that they never have to worry about anything. His Dom was prodding uncomfortably into his gut, telling him to do something.

Tossing his cell phone at Cas, Sam made his way over to Dean. He placed one of his hands on the boy’s back and used the other to turn on the faucet. He rubbed small circles between Dean’s shoulder blades, looking at how big his hand was on the Little’s slight frame. A fierce surge of minechildprotect ripped through Sam’s bloodstream and punched his sternum outwards. He gripped Dean by the sides and pressed the boy’s back into his stomach, wrapping both arms around the wracking body in front of him.

As Dean’s dry heaving petered out, Sam could just make out the sound of Cas’ voice talking on the phone over the running water. He felt Dean twist in his grip and looked down, being greeted by moist green eyes. Sam smiled tenderly at the boy in his arms and brought one of his hands up to cup the base of Dean’s head, smoothing his thumb over the short hairs at the top of the Little’s neck. Dean hiccupped a little and damn if that small sound didn’t make Sam’s heart quiver with affection. The people who had hurt Dean would pay. He would make sure of it.

“I hafta go help them,” Dean’s whisper floated in the scarce space between them, filling it with the distinct tang of desperation. “Can’t jus wait here,” he said with pleading eyes.

Sam pushed Dean’s face into his shoulder and the boy hunched into him. “I know,” Sam murmured, lowering his head so his face came to rest right beside Dean’s ear. “I know, it’s hard. But we’ve done what we can to help, Cas is on the phone with the police right now and-”

“No! You don’t unnerstand! ’S my fault!” Dean pressed his face further into Sam’s broad chest, voice pitching and hands clenching. “I din’ do anythin’ an, an, an I din’ tell you sooner an now ’s too late an-”

“Hey hey hey, shhhh,” Sam soothed the worked up Little in his arms. “Shhh, Dean this is not your fault do you understand me? You were recovering, you didn’t mean not to tell us right away, and you have now so we’re taking care of it shhhh. I’ve got you,” Sam swayed back and forth, rocking Dean a little where they stood in the kitchen with the faucet still running. Sam stared at the stream of water pouring into the sink. It made sense that Dean would blame himself. If he was a hunter, that meant putting others’ needs before his own, as Sam recalled his grandfather telling him on countless occasions back when he’d still been in the business. Those other Littles at the Home were in danger, and Dean had understood that but couldn’t do anything to help. It must be tearing him apart inside. Sam hugged the boy to him tighter.

Eventually, Sam reached out and turned the faucet off. Without the steady stream of water, he could easily hear Cas on the phone from the living room. He could also see Cas, their house was open concept and there were barely any walls on the ground floor.

“-Okay, yes…thank you. Uh-huh. Okay, bye,” Sam watched as his fiancé hung up his cell phone and sagged back into the couch cushions. I had been a rough day.

Now it was time for that tea he had promised Dean.

***

Motherfucker.

Dean felt like his chest had been hollowed out with a large spoon. Like when you carve a pumpkin and scoop out the guts. What had he been thinking? Well, obviously, he hadn’t been. First thing anybody would have done would have been to call the police on Alistair’s ass. But noooo, Dean had to go and take a nap. Nice one, Winchester.

He was back on the couch in the living room with a mug of lemon tea sitting in front of him on the coffee table and some innocuous cartoon playing on the TV. Cas had put that on for him. Cas. Sam. What were they to him? He wasn’t ready to think about that yet, instead settling for picking at the toe of the socks Sam had found for him. He was still pants-less.

It had been a couple hours and the tea was more than likely cold by now. Dean hadn’t touched it. Sam and Cas (god it’s not right to call them that) were in the kitchen making dinner. Dean vaguely remembered something being said about macaroni and cheese.

Then the phone rang.

He heard Sam pick it up and then quickly walk into the office and shut the door behind him. Dean glanced over at Cas who gave him a small smile.

“Don’t worry honey. Dinner will be ready soon,” the man all but hummed at him. And he wasn’t worried. Was he? Dean supposed he was anxious, but that was only because he here, sitting around, while the police do whatever it is they do. He should be helping.

He had kicked up quite a fuss when he had tried to leave and Sam had stopped him. Screaming and trying to push himself out of Sam’s hold until he had tired himself out. Now he was here. On the couch. Watching kiddie television.

Just then, Sam emerged from the study, face somber, phone clutched in his hand. Dean eyed the large man warily as he went and whispered something to Cas who gripped the pot he was stirring tightly at Sam’s words. Dean felt left out.

“Come on to the table, Dean,” Cas said in a cheerfully strained voice.

Dean rose from his place on the couch feeling more awkward than ever. He didn’t really know these two men and now he had burdened them with not only himself, but a slew of other problems as well. He tightened his chest, trying to force the feeling of being a nuisance down, and padded his way over to a chair at the table.

Cas set a steaming bowl of cheesy pasta in front him and Dean inhaled deeply. How long had it been since he’d had an honest to god home cooked meal? This wasn’t the cheap boxed stuff, this mac n cheese was the real deal. His mouth watered. He didn’t even care that Sam had given him milk in a sippy cup. Well, not too much, anyway.

“Dean,” Sam said in a tone of voice that made him stop mid-forkful of pasta. “That was the police station on the phone.”

It didn’t sound like good news. An elbow noodle fell off the end of Dean’s fork into the bowl of cheesy goop and he imagined his heart dropping in the same way. Right off the tines of his ribs and into the mush of his guts below. Dean swallowed forcefully.

“The police got there just in time, bud. Apparently they were loading the rest of the Littles onto a bus and were intending to take them out of the state when the cops showed up. They were able to apprehend the workers of the Home, the nurses and the so-called security or whatever, they even got Ruby,” Sam was watching him carefully. Dean was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. “But...,” he knew it. “They didn’t manage to find Alistair, he flew the coop long before they arrived.”

Dean set his fork down. His head followed soon after, thunking on the table next to his almost-empty bowl. That bastard was as good as gone, thanks to him.

He could feel  Cas and Sam silently communicating across the table from him. He felt a crackle of annoyance fizz through him but he was too drained for it to bubble over. Instead he just sighed and tried to think of ways to make this stupid situation right. Then he had an idea. It was rash. But it was worth a shot.

Lifting his head from the wood of the table, Dean saw that Sam was still holding the landline.

“Can I-,” he faltered a little when the adults (when had he started to think of them as the adults? He was one too?) turned their attention on him. “Um, I mean, can I use your phone?” Damn he even sounded like a little boy. He cleared his throat.

Sam stared at him a second before shrugging and passing over the cordless phone. “Sure, sport.”

Dean blushed at the name, but dialed the number he had known for years. As he listened to the phone ring he became acutely aware of the two men watching him. Tripping a little, he left his chair and went into the study like he had seen Sam do, desperate to get away from curious eyes. Thankfully neither man followed him.

“Hello?” Came a gruff voice from the telephone.

“D-Dad?”

“Dean? Is that you?”

“Yeah ’s me,” Dean mumbled before he remembered he was supposed to be the son of the John Winchester, hard-ass extraordinaire, right now. “Ahem, I mean, yes sir,” there. That was more like it.

“You gotta lotta nerve calling after the crap you landed me in, kid. You’re lucky I was able to bust out,” Dean winced at the sharp tone of his father’s voice.

“Yeah, I know dad, I’m really sorry about that. I mean it,” he mustered all the sincerity he could possibly bear into his voice.

“Ah kid, what am I gonna do with you, Dean?” Apparently his dad was in a forgiving mood. Hip hip hooray and all that.

“I dunno, dad. But I found someplace to stay awhile, gonna work on controlling myself, yknow,” Dean ached for that grumpy approval, that brusque affection.

“That’s good Dean. Can’t let yourself get sloppy,” he could hear a touch of, was that tenderness, in John’s voice. God he just wished they could be a normal family. But now wasn’t the time.

“Listen, dad, I-uh, I’m calling because I need you to help me track someone down,” Dean hoped he didn’t sound as desperate as he was.

“Gone and found yourself a hunt already?” John chuckled on the other end of the line.

“Kind of…,” Dean trailed off and John gave an inquisitive grunt. “Well, the thing is this guy is a real monster, even if he isn’t supernatural,” he felt his voice tremble a little. Shit.

“Dean…this guy…did he, do something? To you?”

Dean felt his throat constrict. He tried to laugh but it sounded more like he was` choking. “Um yeah. I mean, no… not really. All that matters is that we find this guy, okay?”

“…All right, Dean,” he heard his father sigh, and let one of his own push past his lips. After giving John the details he hung up the phone and sank into one of the leather armchairs that faced the desk in the room.

He felt lighter now. His dad was on the case, and John wouldn’t screw up, he had confidence in that. His father wasn’t always such a bad guy, Dean knew, he just had expectations and didn’t always know how to handle things tactfully when they weren’t met.

Dean jumped a little when a knock sounded on the door to the study. It was a french door so he could see that it was Cas standing outside, looking concerned. Dean’s heart sped up a little (stop that) at the sight of the man with the messy hair. He didn’t really think, just knew that his Little craved for the embrace of this man, and he leapt from the armchair and threw open the door to the study, barreling into Cas.

“Woah there,” Cas laughed above where Dean’s head was practically plastered to his chest. “Who were ya talkin to there, tater tot?”

Dean couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled in his chest. “Tater tot?” He asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“Tater tot,” said Cas solemnly. Dean laughed again and then felt his lungs stretch open in a great yawn.

“Somebody’s had a long day,” Dean peered over Cas’ shoulder to see Sam. “Looks like it’s bedtime for all those named ‘Dean’,” Sam smiled at him and Dean felt himself sink into that warm fuzzy place he doesn’t let himself go often. He nosed his face back into the folds of Cas’ shirt and heard both men chuckle.

Cas was stroking his hair and it felt so nice. He closed his eyes and felt the rumble of Cas’ chest as he spoke, but didn’t care enough to listen to the words the man was speaking.

Next thing he knew he was balanced on Cas’ hip, going up the stairs. He snuffled into Cas’ neck, clasping his hands around the man’s shoulders and going boneless against him. He could get used to this. They came to a stop outside of the guest –or rather what Dean thought was now his-bedroom.

“Baby do you need to go potty?” Dean blushed all kinds of red and ducked his head into his own armpit, nodding.

“Okie dokie, fuzz butt,” Cas bounced him and continued walking down the hall. Dean just had to giggle, Cas’ names were ridiculous! He didn’t have any fuzz on his butt!

When they got to the bathroom, Cas deposited Dean on the floor and crouched in front of him. “Do you want help with your diaper, baby?” Cas asked. The question was innocent enough, but it tugged that old friend shame up from the depths of Dean’s gut. He felt his eyes glaze over with tears. Damn he’s cried more today than he has in the last ten years of his life.

“Hey now,” said Cas sternly, chucking the bottom of his chin. “None of that, little one. Now lift up your sweatshirt for Daddy.”

Daddy. Daddy.

The word was like an explosion contained inside of his body. Everything was expanding then turning to mush in an instant. Daddy. Dean’s breath hitched dangerously, but he slowly lowered his hands to grab the hem of Sam’s (Daddy?) red sweater and lifted it above his belly button.

Cas (Daddy) reached out and undid the tabs of his diaper and guided him over to the toilet. He was still too star struck from that word to feel shame. Before he knew it Daddy was helping him wash his hands and then taping a new diaper around his hips.

They were back in the guest room. Sam had been waiting there for them with a smile and a sippy cup in his hand. In the cup was warm milk, Daddy had held him while he drank, his eyelids slowly lowering as he sucked down his drink. He was mutedly aware of Sam humming and something plastic and rubbery taking the place of the spout of the sippy cup.

Dean’s eyes were fully closed now. He was warm. He was safe. He was…loved? It sure felt that way. He was happy enough to pretend that was the case for now.

 

Chapter Text

Cas hadn’t really been thinking when he had blurted out that word. Daddy. Christ, the look on the kid’s face was something else. Cas wasn’t sure if the other emotion behind the shock was intrigue or revulsion. Either way the boy had been kinda out of it after Cas’d opened his big mouth. He had been getting way ahead of himself and Lord knows he didn’t want to rush into things with Dean, he just couldn’t help himself.

Daddy had just felt so right. He hadn’t even thought about it until after it tumbled out of his mouth. But there it was, like a confession, hanging in the air between them. He could still feel a little of the excitement it had brought him. And the nausea. God, he didn’t think he could keep himself from melting like a Cascicle in the sun if he ever got to hear Dean call him that. Of course it hadn’t happened. He’d be silly to get his hopes up.

Cas sighed, swiping a hand over his face. It had been one hell of a day, and now he lie awake, next to a slumbering Sam. Dean had been surprisingly cooperative for his first bedtime, Cas thought. Well he should be thankful for small miracles for now, something told him things wouldn’t be so easy going forward.

From what he had seen, Dean seemed like a fiercely independent soul. Cas didn’t really know much about hunting besides what Sam had told him, but it didn’t seem like any sort of thing a kid should be involved in. And therein laid the problem, didn’t it? Because Dean was a kid. Even without being a Little to boot.

The boy obviously knew how to take care of himself, seeing as he had survived for so long, but it didn’t sit right with Cas that his boy felt like he had to deny his true nature. Ha, listen to him, calling Dean his boy in less than twenty four hours of bringing him home. So much for taking things slow.

Cas flipped his pillow and turned over on his side, staring at the wall in the darkness of the bedroom. The quiet and time to think came together to haul those old friends, insecurities, to the forefront of Cas’ mind. How could he properly care for Dean if he couldn’t even get a grip on his own emotional response to the boy? What if he had scared Dean with that stupid ‘Daddy’ move? His idea for Dean to stay a month wouldn’t work out, would it? Ughhh. Cas smushed his face into the pillow so that he had to breathe through the fabric and stuffing.

Instead of focusing on all of his potential shortcomings, Cas decided to make up a mental checklist of all the things he and Sam would need to get for Dean. Of course there were the obvious things like diapers and bottles and clothes, but would they need a crib? Would Dean be staying that long? And toys? It will probably be a bitch trying to get Dean to pick out, let alone play with, anything. What does Dean like to eat? He seemed to really enjoy the mac n’ cheese, but everybody likes mac n’ cheese. Cas let out a frustrated puff of air. This was not helping to calm him down.

He closed his eyes and tried to relax, thinking of all the times he had been able to hold Dean. Remembering the weight in his chest that settles just right, in the middle of his ribs, whenever Dean smiles at him. Cas’s lips twitched up at the image in his head of Dean’s face cracked wide open in the biggest grin in the entire world, sun in his hair and not a care in the world to hunch his shoulders. How it should be.

Unfortunately he had seen more of Dean crying and being reticent than happy. The boy had positively thrown a fit when Sam forbade him to go back to the Home. Cas had seen ‘Big’ Dean force his way through and ink over the eyes of the little boy. He had wiped the vomit from his lips and had stepped back from Sam, talking without a lisp about his duty and what he owed.

He had even tried to shove past Sam after things became heated, but Cas suspected Sam had much the same effect on Dean’s psyche as he did in that it was harder for Dean to keep his Little self in check around him. Dean may have been small, but the kid sure knew how to throw his weight around. Unfortunately for him, Sam was much bigger. When Sam had Dean caged in his arms, Littleness won out, but it had still carried the displeasure of the big guy, and Cas would be impressed the day he saw a bigger temper tantrum.

Kicking, screaming, the whole shebang. Dean had been so worn out by the end of his spectacle that it was easy to get some socks on him and some tea in front of him while he came down from his emotional whirlwind.

Cas was sure the boy’s emotions had been like a rollercoaster, and not the fun kind, for the past couple of weeks. Not that he could blame the kid, but he did find himself wondering about how things would be when Dean’s emotional state levelled out.

 Cas yawned.

It was a problem for another day (or night) then.

Still thinking of Dean, he drifted off to sleep.

***

Dean was wrenched awake with hot tendrils of panic and adrenaline curling around him.

It was just a dream. Phew. It was still dark out, so nighttime then. Or maybe early morning? Coming down from his fear induced high, he let out a puff of air. Or rather, he tried to. What was that in his mouth?

Dean spat out the offending object into his waiting hand.

 A fucking pacifier.

He stared at the plastic item for a ten second eternity and then, filled with a nameless anger, he chucked the thing away from himself as hard as he could. As he heard the less than satisfactory twick of the shield of the pacifier hitting the wall, he felt a tiny bit of loss and—woah woah woah, he was just gonna stop that thought right there, thanks. Who had even said it was okay for those to jokers to give him a pacifier anyway?

Nobody named Dean Winchester, that was for sure.

As Dean shook the last vestiges of sleep from his head, he became more aware of himself. He reached up a hand to wipe away the moisture on his cheeks and saw purple tinge his vision at the realization that he had been crying in his sleep. How much more babyish could he get?

Then Dean shifted and felt the reason he should never ask questions he didn’t want answers to.

Fuck.

This was just adding insult to injury.

That nameless anger was back, only it had evolved into a fiery rage. Dean practically catapulted himself out from underneath the comforter. Standing with his feet sunken in the soft carpet, he ripped the tabs of his—no, the—diaper with a vehemence he had only felt a few times before in his life.  

The spongey material fell to the ground and sat there on the carpet like an accusation.

One that Dean couldn’t bring himself to confess to, even if the truth was glaringly obvious. Not wanting to look at the thing a second longer, Dean grabbed the garment off the floor and shoved it into the wastebasket that resided in the corner of the room. He pulled a couple tissues out from their box on the nightstand and used them to cover his shame in the trashcan.

He took a step back.

He felt dirty. And alone.

He felt that part of him stir to life, urging him to go to Cas, to Daddy.

It was like a bolt of white hot lightning had zapped him at that thought. Dean jolted like he was trying to put distance between himself and the feeling. Daddy? He felt sick. He gripped his Little by the throat and shoved its head down, down, down past his chest and stomach until he couldn’t hear its pleas anymore.

This shit is why he shouldn’t let himself fall into that place. He did crap without thinking.

Taking a deep breath, Dean rubbed his temples. He had to think clearly. He could take care of himself, dammit. Looking around the room like it would provide answers, Dean sighed. Well he might as well clean himself off. He padded to the door and opened it slowly, not really sure why he was so apprehensive. Maybe he was still on edge from his dream.

It was so surreal, walking down the hallway to the bathroom. Like a charade. He was playing house. Dean’s mind grappled with the concept that he had actually agreed to do this for an entire month as he dampened a paper towel under warm water and proceeded to clean between his legs.

Then again, it was like he was a whole ’nother person around Cas and Sam. They made him want to do all sorts of things he’d sworn to hate. And his Little was so head over heels in love with the pair. Dean was normally confident in his ability to choke down his instincts, but this development had him worried. He’s been more Little (or as close to it as he’d ever come) in the short time he’s known the men than he had been since puberty. It was confusing.

He felt like he wanted to scream.

Instead he splashed water on his face and went back to bed.

***

Dean awoke the second time to the sound of someone opening the door and approaching his bed. He instinctively went for the knife he kept under his pillow, only to come up with a fistful of sheets.

“Good morning, big guy,” he heard the intruder speak, and then remembered where he was. He groaned and turned to face Cas with tired eyes.

“Morning,” he grunted, wiping the crust from his eyes. He looked up in time to see the somewhat crestfallen expression on Cas’ face. Dean felt a flash of guilt. Yeah, well, he wasn’t about to just up and be Little all the time, he reasoned with himself. Although that part of him was purring at the sight of Cas. He shushed it.

Cas face quickly melted into a smile, and Dean felt a tingle behind his navel. Godammit, now he was tingling in places a man should never tingle. Wait, men shouldn’t tingle at all, Dean decided. And yet…

“I bet you’d like some clothes,” Cas, to Dean’s surprise, spoke without a hint of childish inflection. Appreciativeness billowed in Dean’s veins.

“Yeah,” he couldn’t help ducking his head, turning over one of Cubby’s paws in his hands. He heard Cas exit the room and took the opportunity to stretch, arching his back and rolling his shoulders as he yawned.

“You get enough sleep last night?” Dean’s eyes snapped back open to take in Cas standing in the doorway with jeans and a green t-shirt draped over his arm, a hint of concern on his face. Mother hen much?

“Mm-hmm, yeah,” Dean scrubbed a hand over his face. He looked back up at Cas to see the man had made no further move to enter the room, but instead lingered uncertainly in the doorway. An arched eyebrow was Dean’s way of asking why.

“I, uh,” Cas began in a cautious tone. “Wasn’t entirely sure about what you would want, but I brought you, um, briefs. For now,” Cas cleared his throat a little, looking at Dean’s chest. Dean thought it must be because Cas could see his heart pounding in embarrassment under his ribcage. He couldn’t help but guiltily glance at the wastebasket, blushing furiously. “Did you want help?” Dean snapped up a little straighter at the question.

“No!” He practically squealed for chrissake. “I, I mean, no thank you,” he tried again, cringing. “Where’s Sam?” He asked, desperate for a change of topic.

“He’s downstairs, making eggs and bacon,” Cas smiled.

“Man after my own heart,” muttered Dean good-naturedly.

“I’ll leave you to it, then,” Cas said, depositing the clothes at the end of the bed Dean was still half tucked into, and exiting the room.

Dean watched the man go and sighed. He couldn’t explain the overwhelming dread he had felt when his hand had failed to grasp the handle of a knife earlier. That was the problem with this place. Sure it was nice and homey and all, but Dean was practically a sitting duck. He thought Sam had said he used to be a hunter? Must’ve been a pretty crappy hunter to not have learned to always ward and protect your base of operations. Ugh things were going to have to change around here if the one Dean Winchester would be making this place his home for the next month.

Sliding out from underneath the comforter, Dean shivered a little as his legs were bared to the open air. He inspected the clothing Cas has left for him, holding up a pair of blue boxer briefs that looked like they would be a bit big on him, but they would do. Dean slid them up his legs. They rode low on his waist, but at least they were underwear instead of a diaper.

Next came the jeans, which were definitely a size and half too big, and Dean had to roll up the ends so he wouldn’t trip over the trailing denim. These clothes had to be Cas’, there was no way he could even begin to think about remotely fitting into Sam’s gigantor apparel. He hoisted the pants over his hips, feeling very insecure with the waistband around his hips. He would have to ask Cas for a belt.

Lastly, the t-shirt. Dean was reluctant to remove the fleecy comfort of the overlarge sweatshirt, it was so nice and soft. But he would look ridiculous wearing this, so he glumly pulled the sweater over his head and yanked the t-shirt on over his torso. Again, too big, but nothing that wouldn’t work fine until he could get clothes in his size. Dean shook out and folded up Sam’s sweatshirt, intending on returning it when he went down for breakfast, but part of him didn’t want to let the thing go. After a moment’s deliberation, Dean carefully placed the folded fleece on top of his pillow and put Cubby atop the red garment, just in case. With one last look around the room, Dean thought he was maybe actually ready to face his first day with Cas and Sam.

***

Sam was sliding scrambled eggs and crispy bacon onto plates when Dean ambled into the kitchen. The kid looked unsure of himself, standing there in clothes that swamped him, making him look even smaller than he actually was. Sam offered a disarming smile as Cas urged Dean to come sit down at the breakfast bar.

Sam knew his lover was nervous, and he would be lying if he said he didn’t feel a little of the same anxiety. They had decided that morning they would establish some rules and guidelines for helping Dean into his headspace. Cas had been dead-set against it at first, wanting things to ‘just happen in their own time’. Sam had argued that it was their job to provide a structured environment for the boy and to help him with his Little side as he wasn’t letting it out naturally. In the end, Cas had agreed, seeing the benefit of Sam’s perspective. That still didn’t stop the messy-haired man from bouncing his leg anxiously as he ate his breakfast, Sam observed.

Dean finished his food all too soon. That boy ate like a starving wolf. He had eaten three helpings of eggs and almost all of the bacon Sam had cooked. Sam suspected the only reason there was any bacon left at all was because Dean was trying to be polite and leave some for him and Cas. For someone so little he sure packed it away.

As Dean’s silverware clattered onto his empty plate and he thanked the men for breakfast, Sam shared a look with Cas, who was cleaning up, and cleared his throat.

“Dean, Cas and I would like to speak with you in the living room please,” he told the boy, being rewarded with a cautious appraisal by green eyes. That green tee really brought out Dean’s eyes, Sam found himself thinking.

“Uh, yeah. Sure thing,” Sam watched as Dean’s eyes flicked back and forth between him and Cas, trying to read the situation. Assessing, just like a hunter would. Sam hoped that some of that tenseness would be relieved with the techniques they were about to propose. He slid off of his stool and saw Dean follow suit out of the corner of his eye. Cas was still puttering around in the kitchen, putting dishes in the washer.

Sam sat on the couch and watched as Dean made his way to the love seat. The kid was perfect. No, Sam wasn’t biased, he was just stating facts, thanks. Little enough to be picked up with ease, the cutest expressions you ever laid eyes on, and a shy-yet-sweet Little demeanor; Dean had it all. Sam was even coming to appreciate the fierce presence that was Big Dean.

Cas finally joined them, sitting beside Sam, and the three just looked at each other for a moment before Sam finally spoke up.

“Cas and I,” Sam began, laying a hand on Cas’ lower thigh and squeezing. “Are so happy to have you here, Dean. We want you to be comfortable, and that means feeling like you can be yourself. So no matter what,” Sam held Dean’s gaze firmly, “you shouldn’t be embarrassed or feel ashamed. That’s the first thing you should know.”

Dean gave a little nod, a slight pink to his cheeks.

“On that note, we have some suggestions and rules we’d like you to hear and give your input on. We felt it was important that you not be in headspace for this discussion as it will impact you greatly and we want your complete and full consent to try the ideas we have,” Sam continues, slipping slightly into ‘lawyer mode’ as he does when he’s trying to be a persuading presence.

Dean looked a little haunted, and Sam watched the boy’s throat bob as he swallowed.

They would get through this.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT CHAPTER…

Chapter Text

“Firstly, Cas and I have decided it will really benefit you to have clear structure while you try out your headspace. For this reason, you will have a couple hours of designated time each day where we expect you to try and allow yourself into Littlespace,” Sam said gently but firmly. He was watching Dean and could tell the boy was already uncomfortable, but wasn’t willing to abandon his and Cas’s mission.

“Even if you just sit with one of us and watch cartoons,” Cas added, ever trying to soothe. “We just want you to try actively tuning into your instincts and listening to your body’s needs, Dean.”

“We’re going to start out with three hours a day, and progress from there as you become more and more acclimated,” Sam continued. He watched Dean pull his feet up onto the cushion of the loveseat and hug his knees. The Little wasn’t looking at either him or Cas, but Sam had no doubt that he was giving them his undivided listening attention. “As to what time of day your Little time will be, that’s up to you, bud.”

Dean raised his head to give Sam a questioning look. “Honestly Dean, we don’t want to force you to do anything and would really prefer if you came to us when you feel ready,” Sam could see Cas nodding in agreement in his peripheral vision. Dean gave him a look as if to say good luck with that since he’d never be ready, but still ducked his head in a little show of deferral to the two Doms in the room. “Though I’m still going to insist that you do find the time to try this each day whether or not you feel like it.”

Dean shot him a glare, looking up through his scrunched brow. Sam bit back a smile at how much it reminded him of a disgruntled kitten.

“If you want we can make up a cue, so that we know when you’re ready,” Cas offered, and Sam had to admit it was a good idea. Dean wouldn’t have to be explicit about it, hopefully resulting in marginally less embarrassment. “That way you can use it if you want to be Little for longer too?” Cas’s voice was laced with subtle hope. Sam didn’t blame him, he wanted to see Dean comfortable enough to be Little whenever the mood struck him. He thought he’d like it if the mood struck Dean often.

Dean almost looked affronted, and opened his mouth, but seemed to think better of it and just slouched his shoulders and scowled.

Sam took the opportunity to move on to the next item on their list. “Apart from your designated Little time, you will have an hour long nap each day after lunch and-”

“Woah, okay no,” Dean cut in. “I do not need to take naps,” he defiantly crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at Cas. Sam fought the urge to grin, Dean was already seeking Cas when Sam told the boy something he didn’t want to hear. Cas had a pushover streak a mile wide, but Sam was there to balance that out. Dean would learn all in good time, Sam thought humorously.  

“It isn’t a question of whether or not you necessarily need a nap,” Sam placated, saving his lover from Dean’s glare. “It’s about establishing a healthy routine, giving you quiet time to think and reflect.”

Dean huffed and slid his eyes away from Sam’s, but made no further attempt to argue. Sam watched Dean’s throat swell as the boy swallowed, and was reminded how uncomfortable and foreign even the concept of accepting his Little self was to Dean. To Sam’s other side sat Cas, perched on the very edge of the couch, as tightly wound as a spring. Sam felt like the filling of an angst sandwich.

“Right!” Sam clapped his hands, attempting to dispel some of the underlying tension. “The rest of your time is your own, but there are a few ground rules Cas and I have come up with,” he said and noticed Dean stiffen.

“One, you must always listen to Cas and me.” The second the last word left Sam’s mouth, Dean was opening his own, but Sam didn’t have time to squabble. “Dean, Cas and I both understand that you are more than capable of taking care of yourself, that’s not a question. We simply feel that in order for you to relax and find yourself, it would be better if you tried to rely on somebody else for a change. We will not force you to do anything you are not ready for and we promise not to ask anything unreasonable of you.”

“We need you to trust us, Dean,” Cas spoke up. “We can help you.”

Dean snorted. “I ain’t some damsel who needs to be saved,” his words were hot with indignation, but the way he was hugging his knees tinged the scene with insecurity. “I’m not this goddam baby everybody thinks I am!”

Watching Cas’ face crease, Sam locked eyes with a insolent Dean and felt his Dom bubbling up from his stomach into his chest. Nobody talked to Cas like that in front of Sam and got away with it. Not even heartbreakingly adorable little boys.

“Neither Cas, nor I, said any such thing, but if I do remember correctly it was Cas who helped you out of that hot car not too long ago. And now, Cas is using his saved vacation time to stay home with you for this month,” Sam’s already deep voice dropped an octave. “You will show some respect.”

The hard line of Dean’s brow softened a little at that.

“And as for swearing, I hope you’ve gotten it all out of your system because that kind of language will not be permitted in this household,” The long haired man continued as Dean’s shoulders rolled forward and up towards his ears.

Sam knew he was kinda laying his Dom on thick, but Dean needed to reign himself in. These outbursts were clearly a product of ‘classification frustration’. Dean was battling his submissive nature with displays of pseudo-dominance. Admittedly, the kid’s perseverance was something to admire, but the walls he had built on the shaky foundation of denial were beginning to crumble. And the more Dean tried to repair them, the more harmful it was to the Little he was hiding away inside. It was apparent how much the boy was struggling even now, going from all bravado to meekly hunched the instant Sam put some bass in his voice.

“Dean, we really just want the best for you,” Cas implored gently. “I know it’s going to be hard for you, but you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I classified as a Caregiver at the age of fifteen, taking care of people is in my blood, my DNA. It’s a really big part of me! Just like being Little is a part of you. And every part of you deserves love,” the quiver in Cas’ voice was almost undetectable but Sam could feel how strongly his emotional fiancé meant what he said.

Judging by the wateriness of Dean’s eyes, the boy had felt it too.

“M’sorry,” came the whisper, floating like a feather from those sweet lips. “I really do appreciate everything and I,” Dean paused to take a shuddery breath. “I want to try to make this work but I just can’t let go like that.” Removing his hands from his shins so that they could cup opposite elbows, Dean looked up at Sam and a surge of overwhelming tenderness eclipsed Sam’s Dom.

“That’s what we’re here for,” the tall man reassured gently. “Ever since Cas came home from the police station the day he met you, I’ve seen a fire inside of him. Dean, I don’t think you understand how important you are to us, Cas especially.” Sam felt Cas lean into his side as he continued, “And I saw how you reacted to Cas at Alistair’s. You two need each other.”

Sam could practically feel the connection between Cas and Dean as the boy and his lover held each other’s gaze. Then all of a sudden-

“What about you?” Green, uncertain eyes were back on Sam.

Eyes that were ready to snap into hard glass in an instant, but held a glimmer of longing beneath the surface.

“Me? Dean, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you based on Cas’ love alone. And even then, when I first saw you my only thought was to protect you. Call that being a territorial Dominant, but it’s true,” Sam spoke with what he hoped came across as utmost sincerity. “I want you here Dean. I want to get to know you and your Little side. I want to be here for you.”

Dean bit his lip and lowered his head to stare at his lap as Cas squeezed Sam’s bicep. They hadn’t even gone over bedtime or, god forbid, consequences for breaking the rules yet and things were already coming apart like wet bread. But, Sam supposed, this is what you sign up for when you take in an emotionally constipated Little who insists on being Big. Besides, he meant what he had said, he did want Dean in his life. Hell, right now Dean was, at least in legal terms, Cas’ and his adopted Little and if that didn’t mean something to the boy then Sam didn’t know how else they could prove themselves.

When Dean looked up again, he was unquestionably Little. His cheeks were flushed and there were tears swimming in his green eyes, all traces of anger gone as though a switch had been flipped. Sam’s heart thrummed at the sight.

Dean reached out, mouth quivering, and in an instant Cas was up and over to him, shushing with tender touches. The corners of Sam’s lips twitched upwards at the sight, his shoulders relaxing and eyebrows arching the way they do when affection pushes all other emotions out of your chest.

Dean was now on top of Cas’ lap, sniffling into the dark haired man’s neck, one hand fisted in Cas’ shirt as the dark haired man whispered things Sam couldn’t hear into the boy’s ear.

Sam stood up without a word and reached for the throw they kept folded over the back of the couch. He placed the blanket around his boys with a wry smile; the rest of this discussion could wait.

***

Dean was so confused!

He thought they were supposed to be discussing rules and how his stay would work when Sam went and made things emotional. Dean didn’t deal well with emotions, dammit! Usually he could choke them down until he could be alone somewhere but with these two…

Regardless.

Now he was stuck somewhere between headspaces with too many tough things to think about. He just wanted Cubby. He didn’t want naptimes or stupid designated quiet time or whatever… did he?

Dean startled a little as a hand carded through his hair.

“Shhh,” it was just Cas.

Cas.

Daddy?

Dean groaned, his head hurt. He remembered Cas said that Dean should trust him and Sam. But the thing was, Dean already did.

And that was a problem.

Dean didn’t trust anybody (with the exception of Cubby, of course). He couldn’t afford to, not in his line of business. Plus, the way he saw it, people didn’t deserve his trust anyway. The world was filled with people looking out only for themselves and that meant the world was filled with people looking for ways to take advantage of Dean. And he wouldn’t be taken advantage of if he had anything to say about it, thank you very much.

But Cas and Sam, they didn’t give off that vibe. Even just thinking about them made the world seem so much bigger and Dean so much smaller, but not in a bad way. In a way that made Dean want to be held and cuddled.

Clearly. Seeing as he was snuggling Cas on the couch right now, Dean rolled his eyes at himself. It felt so nice though. The low rumble of Cas’ chest when he talked and the way he stroked Dean’s hair was nothing short of perfect. Having this all the time wouldn’t be half bad. You two need each other, Dean remembered Sam's words, and a small (okay very large), helpless, needy part of him couldn't help but to agree with at least half of that statement. Dean just needed to figure out how to not be an ass was all, he guessed. Cas and Sam deserved more.

Well, the least he could do was agree to the house rules. Dean felt a prickle of nervous excitement dance through him at the thought and jolted a little, prompting Cas to shush him again. All of these unwanted feelings were just too much right now!

Dean felt himself slipping further as Cas (Daddy) continued rhythmically caressing his hair, giving more control over to the child inside of him. The child that he was.

Fighting, and losing, the urge to bring his thumb up to his mouth, Dean slowly sank into a dreamless sleep.