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Now that she's back from that soul vacation

Tracing her way through the constellation...

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Star Catcher (12/16)
bros, hitting means love
murkyfragments
Title: Star Catcher
Rating: G
Characters: Dean, Castiel, Sam
Genre: Friendship
Summary: A time-traveling mishap will make two children and a fledgling realize that the unexpected can sometimes be a good thing.



Prologue - Fall For A Shooting Star
Chapter 1 - Some Have Silver Linings
Chapter 2 - Not Your Carpet Ride
Chapter 3 - Host of Heaven, Sing Over Me
Chapter 4 - Moonbeams and Fairy Tales
Chapter 5 - I was Soaring Ever Higher
Chapter 6 - Go and Play with the Thunder
Chapter 7 - Heaven is Overrated
Chapter 8 - Hear the Stars' Ovation
Chapter 9 - Stars Cry the Blackest Tears
Chapter 10 - Stars that Fill Polluted Skies




AN: A MILLION APOLOGIES FOR THE LACK OF UPDATES! I'M SORRY, I'M SO SORRY! D:


Chapter 11 - Children of Light that Never Dims

8:00 AM

"You okay, Conner?" Sam asked as carefully as he could manage.

"Yes, I'm fine." replied Conner, showing a smile so trivial that it was more likely to be a forced one.

The three of them were at the table, having an unusually quiet breakfast. The weight from yesterday had yet to leave their troubled minds, although the heaviness varied with each person. Sam was concerned because he had been there when Conner broke down in the playground. Dean, meanwhile, acted like his typical casual self, but deep down, he was absolutely tense, because there was no telling when Conner would be put in another lethally dangerous situation, whether he was aware of what was happening or not.

Dean did not tell Sam what took place last night; he did not dare tell him that Conner nearly fell off the rooftop in a crazed effort to reach his family. Sleep became hard to come by for Dean during the hours that followed. One reason was that he had to struggle to recover from the rush of adrenalin and emotions after his friend had a brush with death. The other reason was that he had the urge to watch over Conner for the remainder of the night, just in case anything came up. The fact that Conner passed out the instant they settled into Dean's bed had been a relief. Nonetheless, that did not stop Dean from keeping a close eye on him until the crack of dawn.

Conner still had no memory of his sleepwalking incident, something Dean discovered (and was grateful for) after asking him subtle questions about last night. Dean decided to leave it at that; Conner would be better off not knowing just how desperate he truly was regarding his family.

"If you need more hugs, I can give you a bazillion of them!" said Sam enthusiastically.

"Thank you, but I don't think that would be necessary." said Conner. He bent his head and transferred his attention to his bowl of cereal.

"Come on, Sam. Stop smothering him with all your mush." said Dean.

He appreciated that his brother wanted to help, but Conner needed room to breathe and the chance to think a little straighter. He cannot do any of those with Sam suffocating him with his Care Bear, chick-flick way Conner's shoulders slacked a little convinced Dean that his friend was thankful to be spared from another one of Sam's bone-crushing affection.

The room went silent again – save for the clang of spoons and a noisy slurp or two – and Dean could not prevent himself from being immersed in his thoughts. It did not matter that they more or less already accepted Conner into their weird lives, nor did it matter that Conner was getting a semblance of happiness with them. Yesterday, or last night, made it obvious that Conner was not fine, not really. His family may be a crappy one, but he missed it dearly nevertheless. Dean thought that, if he were in Conner's shoes, he would be feeling the same way.

Dean let out the barest of sighs and reached for the box of cereal in the middle of the table. He tipped it into his bowl, and as the colorful flakes came pouring, something bigger crashed into the pile that sent milk splashing across the table. Sam yelped in surprise and Conner glanced upward with mild confusion in his eyes. The irritation that Dean felt lasted quite briefly as he learned what the thing in the cereal box was exactly.

"Holy crap." he muttered under his breath.

Sam wiped a couple of flecks of milk from his arm. "Dean?" he ventured, a bit anxious.

"I got the Batman mask!" Dean proclaimed, holding the object high above his head for the others to marvel at. "See? I got it! I actually got it!" He could hardly believe it. In an extremely rare instance, he was lucky; one of the things he had been hoping for really came true. To top it all off, the mask looked just like the kick-ass picture on the box (and not like the prizes that turned out to be a total, floppy disappointment).

It took a while for Dean to put down the mask and acknowledge the existence of the people in the room with him. "You know what this means, right?" he asked excitedly.

There was a moment of silence from the two.

"Your face is gonna smell like peanut butter?" Sam piped up, referring to the flavor of the cereal.

Dean frowned and took the mask off the table to protect its integrity. "No," he said deliberately. "It means that we can score big on tonight's trick-or-treating!"

Instantlyecstatic, Sam giggled and the noise that came out was essentially a high-pitched girly squeal. He abandoned his breakfast and sprinted toward the bedroom, whether to search for any fun clothes he could wear or money to be used to buy costumes. Conner, on the other hand, remained in his seat appearing as oblivious as always, but there was a hint of excitement in his features, as if he was fully aware they were going to do something entertaining, though unsure what that would be.

For Dean, he was simply glad that they were going trick-or-treating. To be honest, he had been uncertain for days if they should go out on Halloween, albeit now there was an incentive. He would let them celebrate Halloween like normal kids, for Conner. This will be as good an opportunity as any to help him cheer up, and if running around in wacky costumes would not work out for him, there was always the candy to look forward to.

Besides, this was the perfect excuse to finally try out his Batman voice (which he totally had not been practicing for weeks, and certainly not in the closet of motel rooms).

11:31 AM

It took some time before they found a store that sold costumes and a bunch of other junk with prices their severely limited budget could afford. Sam, of course, ran straight inside and disappeared a few seconds after Dean and Conner made it through the door. The place smelled of old cardboard and fresh leather, and while most people would describe the air as stale, Dean would classify it as an invitation to overlooked and underestimated treasures.

"Conner, if you don't hurry up, you'll run out of good costumes to choose from!" hollered Dean over his shoulder.

His friend picked up the pace and caught up with him at the third aisle. "I still don't understand how clothing can make people throw food out of their homes." said Conner. "Are you certain we're not declaring war on random strangers?" he asked.

"For the last time, people are only gonna give us candy and other treats, not their entire food supply. And they're doing that 'cuz they wantto, not 'cuz they have to give a peace offering, or sacrifice or whatever." said Dean. He sighed and went further into the store, Conner tagging along like a shadow.

"So I won't be needing this?" asked Conner.

Turning to see what Conner had, Dean was shocked to find a crowbar in his friend's hand. "How did you even get that in here?" he hissed so as to not draw attention from the other shoppers. He did not even notice Conner pick it up from somewhere on their way here.

"That involves a very long story." said Conner impassively. The way he answered was so nonchalant it was as if openly carrying a potential weapon around was an everyday thing for him, and that was slightlydisconcerting.

Dean snatched the crowbar from his hand and shoved it inthe nearest hiding place he could pinpoint, which in this case happened to be under a pile of baby's clothes. He hoped that that would not lead to any consequences.

"Dean! Look what I found!" Sam proclaimed, jogging toward them. He was wearing a pair of long, furry feet and a brown tail was haphazardly attached behind him; he also carried with him a matching brown suit and a pair of ears. "I'm gonna go as a kangaroo!" he said happily.

"I thought we agreed that you'd go as Robin." said Dean.

"But I don't wanna be Robin." moped Sam.

"I put on a hippo costume for you last year. This year, you're gonna be Robin." asserted Dean. That was one memory he did not want to relive. "Besides, what's so scary about a kangaroo? Kangaroos can't scare off bad guys or kick their asses." he said.

"Kangaroos can still kick!" argued Sam. He hopped around in his big kangaroo feet and started kicking at random directions to prove his point.

The realization that this would be going nowhere hit Dean like a prick from a thorn. "Tell you what, if you can find a better costume, I'll let you off as Robin. Deal?" he offered.

"Deal!" said Sam. With that, he ran off and vanished once more amidst the shelves and the scant number of people in the store.

"Too bad all the good stuff don't come in his size." muttered Deanwickedly. He had checked the other aisles, and so far the only option for his brother would be the Robin getup.

With Sam momentarily distracted, Dean faced Conner, who was inquisitively poking at a snow-globe. "Alright, you still need a costume too." he said.

Conner tore his gaze from the snow-globe. "But – "

"Don't make me get you a fairy princess outfit." Dean cut in. Before Conner could utter a reply, he dragged him to the other parts of the store.

They passed shelf after shelf, and every so often, Dean would find something interesting and dump it into Conner's unsuspecting arms. A Frankenstein's monster costume, an astronaut costume, a mini soldier's uniform, a zombie costume… Eventually, Dean was hardly even considering what he was getting his hands on, so long as he was giving Conner a lot of options. It was his first Halloween after all (or at least that was what Dean assumed when Conner threw him yet another blank look), so he wanted to nudge him to the right direction. Sam already had plenty of Halloween experiences, so Dean allowed him to go off on his own.

Ten minutes later, the two of them reached the end of the store where the tiny dressing rooms were located. By now, the heap of clothes Conner had was high enough to obscure most of his upper body, right to the extent that the tufts of his messy hair were solely visible.

"Okay, try these on and pick out whatever you like best." said Dean, guiding Conner into one of the dressing rooms. Each of the costumes had a small instruction tag on how to wear all the bits and pieces in the proper order and style, so Dean was luckily spared the task of dressing Conner up in a dozen costumes. Surely even someone as naïve as Conner could follow instructions on a paper.

Conner met Dean's eyes as he began to close the door. "Are these truly nece– ?"

"Conner," sighed Dean edgily.

At that, Conner reluctantly shut the door. Dean was getting ready to wait for him to emerge when Sam's familiar, eager footsteps reached his ears.

"Dean, what about this?" asked Sam, spinning in place so that Dean could see his entire costume.

"What are you supposed to be?" responded Dean. Sam appeared to be a jello and plastic experiment gone wrong, and he truly wondered what possessed him to even put it on.

"I'm a blob monster!" said Sam.

Dean stared at his brother for a long moment. "Nope." he said.

"Huh?"

"Blob monster's lame."

A bitch-face made itself apparent on Sam's features, but that was to be expected. "You're lame." he mumbled. In spite of that, he sulked back to the aisles to find another costume.

There was a sudden crash in Conner's dressing room and Dean was forced to return his attention to him. The noise behind the door sounded dull, similar to something (or someone) falling onto soft layers.

"How you doin', Conner?" inquired Dean.

Conner let out a moan, then replied, "I don't like the big glass bowl."

Glass bowl? He must have meant the astronaut helmet. Now that Dean thought about it, that helmet was kind of heavy, so Conner could have lost his balance and crashed into the wall when he wore it.

"Guess you're not cut out to be an astronaut then." he commented.

A minute passed and Sam returned wearing a (slightly large) werewolf costume and a proud expression. "How about this?" he said.

"I've seen ten kids wear that costume today already." replied Dean. In fact, he was pretty sure he had seen more than that but lost count when he summarized that it was really, annoyingly popular in the town this year.

"So I'll go as the best one!" declared Sam.

"You're about as terrifying as a poodle. You can't pull this off." said Dean.

In all honesty, Sam resembled a puppy in that costume more than anything else; it was the equivalent of attempting to convince people that a dandelion can beutilized to stab an elephant. Even with the teeth and claws, he could not wipe the pudgy cuteness away. Sam huffed in frustration and resumed his search.

During the next few minutes, there was no progress report from both Sam and Conner, and with the idea of trick-or-treating in a matter of hours, Dean was unable to repress his growing impatience. They still had to examine the neighborhood, figure out which houses were likely to give out the really big candy, and even assess the competition (if there were any other Batmans out there, Dean would need to put his sabotaging skills into use).

"Dean?" Conner's voice drifted out from the opposite side of the door.

"Yeah?" replied Dean.

"I think I like this one."

It was about time. "Let's see it." said Dean.

The door cracked open and Conner slowly walked into view… as Superman.

Dean's eyes widened and a low whistle escaped his lips. "Nice." he commented.

With all the costumes Dean swiped from the shelves, he did not even realize that he had gotten his hands on a Superman outfit and tossed it into the rest of the mix. It was rather strange that Conner preferred the costume related to his name, or the name they dubbed him with anyway. Dean wondered if Conner did that on purpose, albeit he sincerely doubted that he would do this just to tease actually looked good in the blue and red tights; if anything, he seemed almost ready to fly into the clouds and zoom off to another country. In addition, Conner's innocence complemented Superman's sense of purity rather well so the whole thing was sort of… perfect for him.

"Hey, now he really is like Superboy!" said Sam, who had just returned.

Conner's head titled to the side and his brow knitted together inbafflement. "Is that a good thing?" he asked.

"Yeah, it is." answered Dean. "Now we can kick bad guy butts together! Batman and Superman! …Or Batboy and Super– oh, whatever. You get the idea."

"And I'll be the moose!" yelled Sam as he showed off the antlers on his head. He also had the hoof-gloves on his hands, while the rest of the suit was rolled up in a bundle in his arms.

"Seriously?" exclaimed Dean. If Sam had shown him that he was interested in the moose costume much earlier, Dean would have permitted him to be the blob monster instead, because at least that had the word 'monster' connected to it.

"I wanna be the moose! I wanna be the moose!" cried Sam, stomping his foot as a sign of his tantrum starting.

"What can a moose do anyway?" asked Dean. The fact that the moose was kind of related to the animals on Santa's sleigh was not helping him consider this as an appropriate costume for Halloween. Plus, the moose was… too Canadian for Dean.

"The moose is actually a formidable animal. Its antlers can be used as weapons, and its bulk alone has the potential to crush or fatally injury a full-grown human." said Conner.

Sam and Dean stared at Conner for a while. This was simply another testament that Conner knew a lot about matters that most people would deem unimportant (and yet somehow knew little of the basic things in life). For now, he provided Sam with the ammo he needed.

"What he said!" said Sam.

Dean rolled his eyes and felt the urge to rant his problems to anyone who could listen. But Halloween was upon them and they cannot afford to waste more time. "Fine. I'll get you the stupid moose costume. Now take that stuff off." he grumbled.

6:45 PM

Not to brag or anything, but Dean thought he looked awesome in his Batman costume, especially since he had to be 'creative' when it came to the other parts of his getup. With them being low on money, he had to exclude himself from buying an actual costume at the store unlike Sam and Conner.

His cape was a black sheet he stole from a decorative grim reaper at someone's front lawn. He scrounged around dumpsters for cigarette packs and painted them yellow for a more authentic utility belt; there were six boxes in total, and in each he put all the necessities like a pouch of salt, his army knife, a mini flashlight, matches, a tiny can of Silly String and his slingshot, because Batman (and a hunter) should be prepared for anything. He also made sure to put a special holder for the Batarang he had gotten from his cereal a few days ago. The bat insignia was a piece of cardboard he painted on, cut out, and taped to his chest. And the remainder of his costume had been improvised using the clothes he already had.

On Dean's right, Conner was in his Superman costume, looking great (but not as great as Dean, of course) and practically emitting the classic goody two-shoes vibe. Dean initially expected Conner to trip over his cape because it was longer than it should be, although he was oddly a natural walking with it.

On Dean's left was Sam in his moose costume… scratching vigorously at this bum.

"Sam, would you stop scratching your butt? It's getting embarrassing." rebuked Dean. They were already close to the houses and some people were throwing funny looks at them, Sam in particular.

"But it itches." complained Sam. Every couple of scratches led to a bit of fake moose fur flying off the suit, and it seemed possible that Sam's furry bottom would be left bare.

"Should've thought of that when you turned down that Robin costume." said Dean.

Sam briefly stopped scratching. "Then my butt would've been cold." he said, referring to the fact that Robin did not wear pants.

"You are such a whiny baby." Dean commented with a sigh.

They crossed the road and were soon standing in front of the first house of the street. It was an average home: the Halloween decorations were simple and kid-friendly enough to suggest that a morally-decent group of people lived there, but the fact that there were Halloween stuff in their yard in the first place was a sign that they supported the holiday, so they were not one of those folks who yelled at trick-or-treaters or lectured them about the 'satanic dangers' and 'brainwashing cults' running rampant tonight.

"Conner, why don't you take the first house?" asked Dean, nudging Conner with his elbow.

Conner's body went tense. "Me?"

"This your first Halloween, right?" Dean was met with a nod. "Think of this as an initiation." he said. The house measured up to the standards of 'normal' so there really should not be anything Conner ought to be nervous about.

In spite of that, Conner was staring at the house with absolute doubt.

"You either go there on your own or I'm dragging you all the way to the front porch." said Dean, giving Conner a push forward to get him moving.

Once Conner recovered his footing (and what amount of dignity he lost after being pushed around in a Superman outfit), he slowly set off to the door of the house. Dean and Sam lurked by the mailbox to track Conner's progress, which was near enough to watch what was occurring yet far enough to not really interfere. Conner held his trick-or-treating bag like a shield in front of him, something which made Dean question if his friend was even fit to wear the costume and carry out its symbolism anymore.

Eventually, Conner was on the porch and ringing the doorbell. A couple materialized at the door, and though Dean could not hear what they were saying, he was sure that they were using the 'baby voice' on Conner as they pinched his cheek and ruffled his hair. He almost felt sorry for Conner; but then again, this was an experience that would 'help build character,' as his dad called it.

Approximately two minutes later, Conner was on his way back like a soldier returning from a mission and marching toward base camp.

"What'd you get?" asked Sam eagerly.

Conner reached into his bag and fished out a plump, red object. "An apple." he replied. All of a sudden, his impassive expression was replaced by one of glee. "I got an apple!" he repeated, as if he had just won the war or something and the fruit was his proud trophy.

"Great, good for you." humored Dean. It was Conner's first Halloween treat after all, so he might as well play nice and hold back on the teasing for now. At least he and Sam could give all the 'treats' they did not like to Conner.

7:13 PM

Dean was standing outside a public restroom since Sam said he really, really had to go. Fortunately, Conner agreed to accompany his brother, which involved getting Sam out of and into the moose suit so Dean considered saving him a bar of Crunch and three pieces of Pixie Stix for his troubles.

To say that he was jealous of the other kids who were freely trick-or-treating at this moment would be an understatement. He had been waiting for over fifteen minutes, and that was already fifteen minutes' worth of candy lost to them. Trick-or-treating was serious business and time was crucial. If Sam and Conner will not hurry up, the decent candy would end up in the bags of those who were less deserving, like the ones in the fairy princess attires.

In his irritation, Dean turned to the wall so he would not have to see the kids and their bags so close to bursting with sweets. The feeling of boredom returned a short while later and he discovered himself locating any source of entertainment. His eyes then fell on his shadow splayed across the wall, and with the kind of lighting available, his outline appeared much larger and much more threatening than average. Dressing up as Batman could not have come at a better time.

Dean spread his makeshift cape and whispered to himself, "I'm Batman."

A sense of giddiness made his heart beat a tad faster. He stretched his body a little more so that his shadow would become bigger. "I'm Batman." he said, louder than the first.

He was energized now. Dean struck a theatrical pose and just as dramatically cried out, "I… am Batman!"

The shadow he was projecting looked beyond awesome, practically as if he were Batman himself patrolling the city. Dean ran a short distance, leaped, tucked and rolled, punched the air a few times and concluded his performance with an amateur flying kick. "I AM BAT– !"

He awkwardly stumbled to the ground when he noticed that Conner and Sam were judging him. They were scrutinizing him in a manner similar to doctors pondering over the fate of the guy in the straight-jacket.

"Do you require medical assistance?" inquired Conner anxiously.

Dean gradually stood up and dusted the dirt off his costume. "This never happened." he said lowly. He grabbed his bag of candy and went on to search for their next house.

TBC


Thank you to everyone still reading this story!




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Yes Dean, it did happen lol!

And Conner's line "Do you require medical assistance?" was brillent!

Loved it!

I will always keep reading this story, no matter how slow you update :) I like it a lot!
I also caught up with last chapter and I'm so happy that you included Gabriel and that he's keeping an eye out for little Cas!

I wonder if they will ever realize they know each other so long? Will Cas recognize Dean when he pulls him out of hell?

Thank you! *hug*

Gabe will always look out for his family, especially his baby siblings :D

...hmm, perhaps? ;)



Batman, Supermah, and........Moose! I'm trying not fall out in a puddle of laughter at just how much this reflects current canon. LOL I did love the final scene in which Dean got caught impersonating the Dark Knight just a little too seriously.

Loved it! :)

They just really, really need to dress up like them. It would be so perfect and beautiful and then all will be right in the world! :D

LOL, Dean isn't given a lot of opportunities to be Batman, so he'd like to take as much advantage as he can out of it, if only for a very limited time XD

This is... insanely adorable. The whole thing. I love Gabriel's appearance in the earlier chapters and Cas is just too cute!

I can't wait to see what you will write next. I am also curious as to whether John will be making an appearance (and also his reaction to the newly-befriended, missing person/angel that his boys seem to be rather attached to.)

Thank you so much! :D

Hopefully, I get to update this story pretty soon. I haven't been able to write much since school started X_X

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