Author's Note: I love to poke at Dean. Don't you? Poke, poke, pokey-poke. It makes me happy. Here, try it...it's so much fun!


THREE

Dean stood there, shifting from foot to foot, trying not to worry. Cas would find Mela and everything would be fine.

But what if he didn't? A little voice niggled him. What if she's lost forever?

Oh my God.

Dean's knees grew wobbly. Why hadn't he hung on tighter to the little girl? Sure he'd been afraid she was about to kick him in the junk, but that was no reason to let her bop off and sail away during Angel Travel.

His phone rang; he lifted it up and read the screen. It was Sam. Of course. He answered it anyway. "Hey, Sammy." He tried to smile.

"Hey, Dean. It's not Sam. It's Annie. I'm just checking in. I was just worried about Amelia."

"Worried? Why would you be worried?" Dean worried.

"Actually, I was more worried about you. How are you holding up?"

"Me? Oh. I'm fine. Just fine. Everything's fine. How are you?" Dean looked around. Maybe the girl was actually in a play tube or something. He started off across the tot park to the tubed slide. As he got closer, he had a vague, fuzzy memory of it; it had been much larger. Now, however…he realized it was the one he'd seen on the video, the one Cas had gotten stuck in. What had the angel been thinking? There was no way he'd fit in there, even without the wings.

"We're okay. We're almost to the cabin, Sam says. It's really wooded up here. Beautiful," Annie answered.

He peeked inside; no Mela. "Uh-huh." Dean straightened. There were tons of other little kids around, jumping, climbing, running, playing—it was possible Mela was actually here and not lost in the space between time and dimensions.

But Dean knew in his heart that she wasn't. Holy crap. Mela was lost in the Twilight Zone, and it was all his fault. Peeeep! A weird noise escaped Dean's throat. His knees buckled and he sort of folded up to sit on the rubberized mat carpeting the tot park.

"What the hell was that? Was that some kind of bird or…Dean? Are you okay?" Annie said.

"Huh? Yes. I'm fine." Mela's probably not, but I'm just dandy. He struggled not to vomit, and wondered at the reaction. He was a Hunter. He didn't throw up when faced with a little stress. Like losing a two-year-old in a void that spanned space and time. Erp.

"Dean?" Sam's voice barked unexpectedly; obviously HisAnnie had handed over the phone. "What's going on? Annie said you made a strange noise."

"So? A man makes a noise, suddenly there's a problem?" Dean frowned. Sitting here panicking and trying not to puke wasn't going to find the girl.

It didn't look cool, either.

"Everything's fine, here, Sam. Stop worrying. Go get your geek on with your girl and stop bothering me with your nonsense." He pressed the End button and climbed to his feet. Cas, where are you? Answer me, dammit!

He took a deep breath. Calm. He'd be calm. Sure, Cas was taking a hell of a long time but everything was probably fine. Mela was okay. She'd come back, safe and sound with her little glittery shoes and tutu-shirt and they'd read books for the next two days and never leave Bobby's house again. C'mon, Cas. C'mon! The phone rang again a few moments later. Good. He lifted the phone to his ear. "Thank God, Cas. Did you find her?"

"Dean! What the hell, dude!" It was Sam calling back, not Cas. Oops. That was the trouble with knowing someone who could hear your prayers as well as dial your number; you just assumed they'd phone you when you needed to talk to them. "What do you mean, 'Did you find her?' Her, who? Is Melia okay? Did you lose her? What's going on?"

Dean scrambled to find the appropriate lie as panic clawed at him like a Hellhound. "Calm down, Sammy. What's the problem? I just lost you for a minute. Bad connection. We're at the tot park. See?" He held up his phone so his brother could hear the terrified screams of small children and their mommies coming from the other end of the…wait a minute… "Sammy? Yeah. She's fine. Everyone's fine. But—I gotta go." He clicked the phone off and ran toward the sound. When he rounded a climby thingy that looked sort of like a dinosaur, he saw Cas. His wings were plainly visible, black and iridescent and wrapped around a cute, teenage girl.

She was naked.

And she looked pissed.

0-0-0-0-0

It only took a moment for Cas to flash them back to Bobby's, where Dean tried not to look at the girl sitting on the sofa and huddled up in the blanket that usually perched on the couch's back. She was glaring at him, and it was nerve-wracking. "Are you sure it's her?" he asked Cas.

"I am, Dean," the angel intoned in his usual monotone voice.

"Yeah, but how can you tell? Mela was blonde and this chick's got dark hair." And the same blueberry-blue eyes.

"Her soul, Dean. You should know that. The body is only a covering; what I see is a human's soul. And it's definitely Mela." Cas turned to peer at her.

"Mela not happy," she said, then. "Mela mad at you, Ass. And Dee. You not my fwiend."

"Oh. Well. There's that, too." Dean winced. Her body had grown; her speech hadn't. "Calm down, Mela. We'll get this fixed soon."

"Dee no fix. Dee a poop head."

Hey. That's just rude. "All-righty there, young lady. I'm not a—"

Thhhpt. She raspberried him.

"Hey. That's not—"

"I no talk a you." She pulled the blanket over her head and all Dean's doubts about her identity vanished. He turned to the angel.

"Okay. So now what do we do?"

"Well...we could have some duice and kwakahs..."

Dean stared at Cas, who was clearly losing his mind. "We could do what?"

Mela tugged the blanket off her head and her hair stood on end. He noticed a small pink clip still clinging to the strands. "I wike animah kwahkahs!" she chirped.

"Ooh!" Cas bounced up and down in apparent excitement. "Yes! And duice! I know. We could have twopica fwoot duice boxes with animah kwakahs—"

"Cas, are you out of your fucking—oh, okay..." Dean trailed off, unable to squelch the excited joy in the angel's eyes. He sighed. "We'll have crackers—"

"Animah ones—"

"Whatever. And...juice?" Maybe Cas was sane and he was losing his mind. Dean wondered what level of crazy he'd achieve. Maybe talking-to-himself-in-public crazy, or perhaps sitting-on-a-park-bench-tossing-bread-crumbs-at-himself crazy or... "You mean 'juice', right?"

"Twopica fwoot!" Cas bounced again.

"Knock it off before you break something." Dean rolled his eyes. "Whatever. And then, we'll figure out what to do next with Mela."

"We could play blocks."

"No, I don't mean what we're going to do next next, I mean what we're going to do with her."

Cas' forehead wrinkled. "I thought we'd play blocks. I just said that."

"I mean, what about her problem?"

"Mela has a problem?" He tilted his head and peered at her with concern. She looked back at him; some kind of strange, wordless communication occurred between them, Dean was sure of it. Something like:

So, if we keep going like this, he's going to lose his mind?

Yes! We'll be obscure and stupid and then his head will explode and we'll have duice and kwahkahs. And then we'll scare the crap out of your mommy and Uncle Sammy because you don't look like a little girl anymore.

Yaaaaay!

He shook himself. No, they weren't plotting, they were just...Naive was the nice way to think of it, he supposed. But mostly, it was just annoying as fuck. "Cas! She's like sixteen or something. And she's supposed to be, like, two. What the hell are we going to do to fix it before Sam and Annie get back?"

"Oh." Cas turned back to face him. "That's a problem?"

Yes, it was definitely a ploy to make him insane. It had to be. There was no other explanation. He chewed on the inside of his lip. I need a drink."You don't see that?"

"I don't, Dean. Her soul is intact. It's just that her earthly shell has changed slightly."

"Slightly!" Dean tried not to raise his voice, but it was nearly impossible. "She's got boobs, Cas! You don't see that as a cause for concern?" He felt his face flush; he hadn't meant to notice the boobage, but as soon as the angel had fluttered his wings from around the girl's body, they were hard to miss. If it wasn't absolutely perverted, Dean would have actually thought Mela's ta-tas quite bodacious. But this was a little girl in a woman's body and no matter how attractive she might be, it wasn't the sort of thing he should notice. Not that he could help it. Boobs, after all, were hard to ignore.

I am going to Hell. Again.

Beside him, Cas shrugged. "She's healthy and intact. I don't think Sam and Annie will mind that Mela's grown breasts."

Dean clenched his teeth. "Please. Cas. Don't say 'breasts'."

"Why not, Dean?"

"Because it's...it sounds so...because it's making me...just don't, okay?" Because the word breasts sounds so...breast-y. It reminded him of breast-feeding, which reminded him of nipples, which made it impossible not to think about boobs, which made him— Blam! There. See? My head just exploded. Welcome to Crazy Town, population: Me.

"All right, Dean. Whatever you say." The angel settled on the couch beside Mela, radiating good will and cheer. Dean wanted to strangle him. "Can we have the kwakahs now?"

0-0-0-0-0

After admonishing the clueless couple not to leave the house (and hopefully not the couch), he drove to the closest market. He went in and bought the requested animal crackers and juice boxes (making sure he got tropical fruit-flavored punch; he remembered how getting the wrong flavor of anything became a life or death struggle with Sam when he was younger and with Ben, somewhat, too). He also made sure he bought a bottle of Hunter's Helper, as well, because he had a feeling he was going to need it.

On the way back, his phone rang again. Predicatably, it was Sam. "Hey Sammy," Dean said, hoping to sound casual. "You there, yet?"

"Yeah we...hey, is everything all right?"

"What makes you say that? Everything's fine. What are you worried about?" Nothing's wrong. No problems. Everything is awesome. Awesome! Maybe if he told himself that enough, he'd believe it and then Sam would believe it, too. Dean looked over at the grocery bag on the seat beside him. "I'm just on my way back to Bobby's. I went to get the kids some animal crackers and juice boxes, and they're going to play blocks."

"You left them alone? Cas and Melia? Do you think that's a good idea?" Sam bitched.

"Of course I did. Dude's a warrior angel of the Lord. He's two thousand years old. What could possible go wrong?" Dean winced. He shouldn't have asked that question. He already knew what could go wrong...and was already wondering what else could go wrong. He swallowed back his fear and put on a smile. Nothing could go wrong. Everything is. AWESOME. "You get laid yet, or what?"

"Dean!" Sam sounded appalled.

Dean smiled. At least something was right in his world; being able to make Sammy uncomfortable brought him a sense of control and serenity. "Aw, come on. Don't be all bitchy about it."

"Jerk," Sam muttered, but Dean could hear the grin in his little brother's voice.

"Yeah, yeah. Listen, you go back to whatever you weren't doing. I'm just pulling up to Bobby's now."

"Okay. I just wanted to let you know we were here. If you need anything, like more clothes or some of Melia's toys, Cas can just zap you into Annie's. I put up some demon traps, but there are no angel wards so you're free to come and go."

"Awesome." Dean put Baby in park and peered at the house. Oh, shit. Shit. No! "Okay, Sammy. I gotta let you go. If I don't get this duice in to the kids soon, there's gonna be a riot." Fucking shit shit.

Sam huffed a laughed. "Let me guess. Fwoot?"

"You know it, little bro. Now stop talking about juice and go have sex like a normal boy." Dean chortled with what he hoped was confidence, then pressed the End key before vaulting from the car and racing inside the house.


Duhn duhn duhn duuuuuuhn...

Poor Dean. The fun never stops for him, does it? (Poke, poke. Poke!)

Incidentally, Flutterby Cupcake thinks this story is loaded with subliminal Destiel. If we squint, maybe we can see it...Hmmmm...wait. Turn your monitor sideways...oh! Is that...no...wait...hmmmmm...

If you enjoy that type of thing (Destiel, not squinting), I recommend reading her story, Fifty First Dates as well as the third story in her Cassandra Teal trilogy, Faith. And for extremely hot Destiel (with or without subliminal messages), you can read her recently uploaded The Pizza Man.

And while you do that, I'm going to wrestle with Dean and my OFC, Isolde, in my other story, Dirty Deeds. They're giving me trouble; they keep trying to get rid of Sam so they can be alone even though I have plot points to get to. I keep thinking how happy they'd be if they could get to Rufus' cabin in this story, though it might be awkward for Sam and Annie. Maybe they could go to that story. But then, what would happen to Sam there?

Never mind. My head hurts. Anyhow, I also need to figure out where the heck Mela and Cas have gotten to in THIS story. It can't be far; Mela needs clothes. Maybe Cas will let her borrow The Trenchcoat. (And then she will look like a flasher. That won't cause angst for Dean at all, will it? Pokey-poke.)

If you're not terribly confused, please leave a review. Thank you!