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29 March 2017 @ 04:58 pm
Ficlet: Missing (SPN)  
Hey peoples! It's been a looooooong time since I've posted anything here. This is a little SPN AU flash-ficlet I wrote up this afternoon.

Rating: Teen and Up
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters/Pairings: Dean Winchester/Castiel Novak, Claire Novak, Bobby Singer
Summary: How had he failed as a parent so quickly?
Notes: Destiel, AU, kid!fic, angst with happy ending; This is also posted at my tumblr
Word Count: 963

Castiel watched the setting sun with a feeling of dread. All around him, people were moving, talking, focused on one thing, but that sun was the deadline. He slumped.

Police Chief Singer walked up and put a hand on Castiel's shoulder. "I know you're worried right now, but we will find her. This early run of mild weather is working in our favor, even if we can't get her back tonight."

Castiel nodded. The temperature would remain warm enough that Claire freezing to death in the woods overnight wasn't a significant risk. But she would still be alone, in the dark, and scared. She had only just started sleeping through the night after the accident that taken her parents months ago.

Only months. How had he failed as a parent so quickly?

The Chief was still talking. "Is she the type to keep walking around, trying to find home? Or will she stay put and wait for someone to find her?"

"Assuming she can still walk around," he muttered. "Assuming that she hasn't fallen and broken a bone, or been attacked by some animal --"

"Yes, we are assuming that, Mr. Novak. And I can assure you that animal attacks almost never occur in this area. But to my question..."

He sighed and shook his head slowly. He didn't know. He didn't even know how she'd slipped away in the 10 seconds he'd turned away to count for Hide and Seek. "I don't know. I've only had her a few months now, since her father died. My brother."

Oh Jimmy, please help her.

The Chief's radio crackled.

"Bobby, we found her. She's ok -- a little scared, but she's gonna be brave just a little while longer. We'll be back soon." The voice on the radio segued easily into a soothing tone, obviously trying to calm Claire as he spoke. It kind of calmed Castiel as well.

He followed Singer back to the treeline, assuming the Chief knew where the unknown voice would be exiting the woods. And sure enough, about 10 minutes later, a man emerged from the shadows, three-year-old Claire in his arms. Her arms were wrapped so tightly around his neck that Castiel worried for his breathing. There were twigs and leaves in her hair and on her clothes, and smudges of dirt along her clothes and skin, but she was whole and safe. The stranger spoke softly to her, and she lifted her head and looked around. Her eyes lit up when she saw Castiel, and she reached toward him.

"Papa Cas!" she cried. Her rescuer moved quickly to Castiel's side to hand the toddler off before she tipped out of his grasp. She promptly pressed her face into Castiel's shoulder and burst into tears. He held her tightly, leaning down to bury his nose in her hair, searching for that unique Clair scent under the pine and leaves and dirt.

When he finally looked up, the man who had found her was still standing there, watching them with a soft smile.

"I don't know what to say. You found her," Castiel said in a choked voice.

"Always happy to help such a brave girl."

Claire tilted her head to look at him and gave a watery smile. "Thank you, Mr. Dean," she said through the remnants of her tears.

"Dean?" Castiel confirmed.

"That's me."

"Well, thank you, Dean."

Shifting Claire to a slightly more comfortable position, Castiel got his first calm look at the man who had rescued his niece. He was, in a word, gorgeous. Tall, well-built, with green eyes sparkling even in the dim twilight, and it was probably just the adrenaline talking, but Castiel suddenly was overcome with the desire to know exactly what those hands would feel like on his skin.

Dean's lips quirked as he returned Castiel's stare. They both started when Chief Singer called over, "Hey Winchester, stop lollygagging and come help pack up the truck."

"Hold your horses, old man," Dean yelled back, then looked at Castiel sheepishly.

"I gotta ... " Dean started at the same time that Claire said, "Papa Cas, m'hungry."

Castiel rubbed her back. "We'll eat soon, sweetie."

Dean had taken a step back, then hesitated. "Hey, Cas? You're new around here?"

It was a little disconcerting to hear Claire's nickname for him in Dean's deep voice, but Castiel found he didn't mind it so much. "Yes, we moved here ... recently." Moved, run away from staggering loss; to-may-to, to-mah-to. Castiel suppressed a slightly hysterical laugh, as the events of the day, of the year, resonated through his mind.

"Well, I grew up around here, and I know all the best places to eat. Why don't you hang around for a minute, and I'll take you guys someplace good."

Claire looked up, interested. "Mr. Dean come for dinner?"

Castiel nodded. "Yeah, Claire-bear. I think we're going to go have dinner with Mr. Dean."

"Awesome." Dean's smile was huge as he held up a finger. "Don't go anywhere." He loped over to where Singer was supervising and spoke briefly with him, pointing back at Castiel and Claire a couple of times. A minute later, Dean was ushering the two of them toward the road where everyone's cars were parked.

Castiel followed Dean to the restaurant, a beat-up building with the unassuming name of 'The Roadhouse,' which turned out to have excellent burgers, as well as a staff that just doted on Claire. By the time the meal was over, she was her usual bubbly self, albeit rather tired.

And although Castiel restrained himself from attempting a kiss as he said goodbye to Dean by the cars (it seemed inappropriate with Claire trying to climb over his head), he was quite happy to accept Dean's phone number.

And even happier when he used it.