Now available in a hilarious Chinese translation by asukajude:
Title: Confucius Says
Author: Renata Lord (snowlight)
Pairing: Dean/Castiel, Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer et al
Word Count: ~1200
Disclaimer: Not mine don't sue etc.
"I am. Not. Talking to you." Uriel declared before returning to his attack on the pile of General Tso's Chicken on his plate. "You tried to kill me!"
Castiel furrowed his brows.
"Only because you tried to kill me first. You almost did."
Uriel sighed and leaned over to the man seated to his left. "Bro, please tell Cas here that what I did is not important. What's important is what heand his humandid."
"I remember what they did." Raphael put the chopsticks down and shot a rather murderous stare across the table. "I smelled like holy oil for weeks."
Castiel narrowed his eyes. Though he squabbled with all his brothers over the Apocalypse and all that, Raphael was the one who made it personal on an unprecedented scale.
"Raphael, I told you before and I will say it again"
He didn't get to finish that sentence because he was kicked under the table. Hard. Across the table, with his mouth full with marinated chicken feet, Gabriel grinned at them all too cheerfully.
"Don't you just love the New Year? The whole family coming together and all that." Gabriel's grin was so shiny it practically glittered as he dumped a steaming teapot in front of Raphael. "There. Have some tea, bro."
Raphael glowered at him but took the teapot without protest.
Having squashed another potential fratricide, Gabriel turned his attention back to Michael, who was sitting to his left. There was an empty seat between the eldest brother and Castiel, the youngest.
"So, is Luci coming?"
"I was hoping he would," Michael smiled amiably, sipping the tea. "He sent me some moon cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival. I would like to thank him in person."
Castiel very nearly said, "As opposed to smiting down his messenger?", but he bit his tongue at the last second. Being a smartass with Michael was generally a bad idea, partly because Michael himself was the biggest one of them all.
Taking another bite out from the shrimp toast, Castiel decided to cut to the chase. As far as he could tell, his brothers weren't about to literally smoke him or each other, and even if they were, he'd have to chance this. It was now or never.
He cleared his throat. It was an unconscious gesture, but perhaps just a little too human. All four heads turned to him at once, clearly expectant, and the room got a bit smaller.
"I was thinking, maybe next time I can bring Dean."
He said it as casually as he could, but his brothers were no fools and immediately the statement's true meaning registered on their faces. Both Uriel and Raphael looked properly disgusted, Gabriel appeared more amused than horrified, and Michael…well, Michael was just his usual imperturbable self.
"Are you certain that is what you want?" Michael replied after a little pause. It wasn't an outright refusal, but Castiel heard the real question behind that gentle tone. Come literally hell or high water, do you believe you will never regret it?
Truth be told, he had no idea. Usually Dean was the one talking about angel mojos, but to Castiel the world itself felt different when he's with Dean, and it was almost as if the human put a kind of spell over him. Things made more sense when he's around the Winchester brothers, however unpleasant they may be; but here and now, surrounded by his siblings, Castiel found that he was uncertain, in doubt.
But even doubt itself was something Dean had taught him. It seemed that everything he did these days went back to Dean, no matter what.
Which was why Castiel had the urge to choke Gabriel when the latter made a face at him and said: "Read my lips. N-O. No."
He looked to Michael, desperate for some form of intervention. His oldest brother, however, merely shrugged.
"Gabby is right, darling. He's not good for you. Not by a long shot."
Before he could open his mouth to ask "why", Castiel caught the expression on Gabriel's face. Hot anger lurked underneath the shallow amusement, and Castiel was reminded once again that Gabriel was no longer the healer and mediator between the siblings. A lot had happened since Luci (he can't stop thinking of him as Luci, here) ran away, and a lot more was still to come.
"Listen, Cassie. We've all seen you around the guy, and it's not pretty. You're a sick puppy in love and you don't know how to say no to him." Gabriel looked to Michael, who said nothing. "You're like his enabler. And you'd turn him into some kind of abusive boyfriend. You wouldn't want that to happen, would you?"
He had to deny that. It wasn't fair to Dean or himself. It was—wrong, for Gabriel to twist it like that.
"That's not true. Dean and I—we have our arguments, but we always work them out." Yes, and biting your lips is making you look really confident in front of your asshole brothers. "In case you haven't noticed, he's a little wrapped up in saving the world from the Apocalypse and all."
Gabriel rolled his eyes a la Homer Simpson. "Yeah, and look just how many points he's winning for that one."
"We will see about that." Castiel said. He stood up and pushed the chair back in. The high-backed mahogany chair made a squeaking sound against the floor. He took the teacup and drank it down, tasting the full bitterness.
"You are leaving?" Michael asked magnanimously.
"Somebody can't handle the heat." There was a whistle from the other side of the table.
"Shut up, Raphael." said Castiel evenly. "Aside from Michael, every single one of you have tried to beat me up or downright smite me, so I will not have you lecturing me about how Dean is detrimental to my health."
"Touche, little bro." Gabriel snickered. "But consider this: You don't get to choose your family. Not the same with boyfriends. Might want to raise your standard a bit there."
However, Castiel was already out of the door.
Outside the restaurant, his second eldest brother was waiting for him. The fallen angel, who leaned against a lamp post with a Camel cigarette in hand, was the very picture of carefreeness.
"I take it didn't go so well."
At Lucifer's almost-sympathetic smile, Castiel allowed his shoulders to sag a little.
"No. I guess it didn't."
"Hey, at least you came out in one piece. That's better than I expected." Lucifer threw the cigarette butt on the ground and extinguished it with a foot. He patted Castiel on one shoulder. "Trust me, the food here isn't very good. You aren't missing much at all."
"I like pies better anyway." Castiel replied with a small grin. "Are you going to go in now?"
Lucifer beamed at him.
"Of course. Uriel still owes me five bucks. How else am I going to collect it?"
Well, Castiel thought to himself as he walked away, like Confucius said, nothing gets the New Year going like a little smiting and hellfire.
Judging from the sound coming from the restaurant behind him, his brothers agreed with the sage wholeheartedly.