Log in

No account? Create an account
31 December 2009 @ 04:30 pm
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Epilogue  
Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Epilogue
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: Because eventually they had to have that talk.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: here.

They returned to a ranch home with flowers piled up on the porch so high they actually had to clear them to get to the door.

News of Bobby Singer's death had traveled fast. It turned out that for every hunter who came along on the journey to Lawrence, there were ten who couldn't get away. And for every hunter who sent flowers from his or her corner of the universe, there were ten people who just knew Bobby as the gentle man who lived on the ranch and fixed cars and always had a gruff but kind word for everyone.

"Pillar of the community. Who'd have thought?" Dean commented as he made his way through the cards and bouquets. Sam looked at him as though he were about to say something, but then thought better of it and continued sorting through the gifts.

If it weren't for Sam, they never would have gotten through the week that followed. Sam was good at the little, normal things that needed doing. Announcing Bobby's death in the local papers, putting the word out, contacting his insurance and bank, making funeral arrangements... all the nitty-gritty that Dean had never bothered to learn. Somehow or another the days rolled around to the day of the funeral, and that's when Dean's eyes bugged out and he nodded dumbly as the church filled with hundreds of friends and neighbors and people Bobby had helped out over the years. Half of them figured Dean was his son. He let them think it. To all intents and purposes, he was.

It hurt like hell to put Bobby in the ground. Normally a hunter wanted his body burned-- too much mischief could be made with bones still intact-- but it was too hard to pull off with this many respectable types watching. So Castiel and Sam worked hard on placing warding charms on the body to prevent haunting or possession, and they laid Bobby to rest six feet under, like everyone else in the world. As the coffin was lowered, Dean fell forward to his knees and buried his face in his hands. Sam and Castiel flanked him the whole way home, making sure he had shoulders to lean on aplenty. But Dean took it hard. It was as though seeing just how much of a difference Bobby had made, how many people mourned him, drove home the fact that his friend and surrogate father wouldn't be calling him back, snapping at him in that sharp tone of his, calling him names or helping him calm down anymore. Dean had lost an anchor, and he didn't know how to keep from drifting without it.

Sam and Castiel were relegated to the day-to-day duties of managing Bobby's estate -- if estate it could indeed be called, with its roomfuls of books and random car parts -- while Dean took his time in recovering. Castiel would turn mournful eyes up to the bedroom where Dean had shut himself in, and Sam would watch Castiel carefully, weighing whether or not to make a suggestion.

"Why don't you go up and talk to him?" he said finally one evening.

Castiel's eyes lowered to Sam's and immediately flitted away again, as though the gaze were too intense for him to match. "I don't know," he said. "I don't think I can. I don't know what to say."

"Just tell him you care about him and want to help," Sam said.

"In that case, why don't you go?" Castiel said rigidly. The discomfort he was feeling was all new to him, and he didn't know how to handle it.

"Because you're the one who wants to. I know Dean. He'll be fine, eventually. It's you I'm worried about."

"Me?" Castiel dropped the dishcloth he'd been holding. He found drying dishes remarkably soothing, now that he was privy to the jangles of human nerves. "Why?"

Sam smiled. "You and he still haven't had that talk."

"Oh. Oh." Castiel turned red, and Sam stifled a snicker. "No. I thought it would be better to wait. Until he's ready..."

He jumped back. He suddenly had Sam in his face. The younger Winchester brother had leaned over the counter and was staring at him at very close range.

"He'll never be ready until you force him into it," he said. "Don't you know that about him by now?"


The knock on Dean's door made him jump, not because it was loud but just because he hadn't had knocks on his door outside of mealtimes for the past few days. Yeah, he was being a ridiculous shut-in, but it was hard to face life these days. He didn't have an army to keep steady for anymore, and he didn't have a world to save. He only had himself, and memories, and loneliness for company, and that was a very poor cast of characters for any kind of play. So he didn't see the need to move.

"Yeah, come on in," he said, surprised at how rough his voice sounded. He hadn't used it in several hours.

Castiel's scruffy head of hair poked in, followed by his searching black eyes. He was sliding in on a diagonal slant, as though sticking his whole head in the door would be too bold a move for him. This from the same guy who used to make Dean cut himself shaving because he'd suddenly show up two inches away. It was downright ridiculous.

"How are you?" Castiel asked timidly.

Dean mustered up a huge grin. "I'm OK. Come have a seat." He slid over on the bed to make room.

Castiel looked around the room nervously. "It's dark in here," he said, making his slow way over.

"Yeah, sorry about that. I sort of forget to turn the lights on." Dean looked up at the nervous face and felt a pang of guilt. "Man, I'm sorry. I have been all tied up in myself and haven't been thinking of you guys at all."

"You've had a lot to deal with," Castiel said. "Lucifer, the army, all of this--"

But Dean was in full self-recrimination mode at this point. "No, no excuse," he said. "God damn it. I completely forgot what a tough time you were having of it. I've been selfish. I'm sorry. Are you going to sit down?"

Castiel looked at him dubiously and then settled, stiffly, onto the edge of the bed.

Dean scooted forward next to him. "So how's life as a human treating you?" he said. "Used to it yet?"

"It's very intense," Castiel said, looking at his thumbs. "I'm experiencing things differently."

Leaning forward with interest, Dean narrowed his eyes to peer at his friend. "How so?"

"Well..." Castiel glimpsed at him and considered, for just a moment, explaining how Dean looked to him now that these human's eyes were his. But he couldn't possibly say that. "Food, for instance," he said. "It's very... full of taste."

This, and the ensuing distortion of Castiel's face by equal memories of sweet and sour varieties, brought a short laugh to Dean's lips. "I'll bet you're weaker to alcohol now, too," he said, nudging Castiel in the ribs. "I'll have to get you drunk sometime to see if you like it."

Castiel's face edged into a smile. "I'd be willing to try that," he said. For a moment, their mirroring smiles brought a flicker of warmth to the room that hadn't been there before, and it felt like taking a deep breath, felt renewing. Castiel's heart swelled.

"I worry about you," he confessed.

"I know." Dean looked away quickly. Regret pinched his features, and the light in them faded away. "I'm sorry." He paused, then settled comfortably against the headboard of the bed and began to speak in a low voice. "I went through this once, already, when Dad died," he said. "I thought that if I just shut myself away, if I just didn't let myself feel and just went to sleep, I'd wake up the next morning and it'd all be over, all the pain would be gone. Doesn't work that way. But I keep thinking, what's easier? To stay up here and hurt, or to go down there, and try to talk to people, and just..." A tear sparkled in one eye, and he pressed his lips together, trying hard to suppress the sob behind his words. "...just everything down there reminding me that I'm still here, he's gone, and somehow I've got to keep on going--"

He broke off and passed a hand over his wet eyes, unable to look at Castiel or to continue speaking.

Castiel's fingers ached. No, his whole chest ached now, with pain he'd never felt before -- pain that came completely from watching another person suffer. This was sympathy, pure and selfless, his first experience of the emotion. Angels were incapable of it. He didn't know what to do with it.

"Dean," he finally said, feeling like a great fool, "could I hold you?"

Dean's eyes widened, and a few errant tears spilled. He forced a smile to his lips. "Jeez," he said, "we still haven't talked about--" Screwing up his face, he shook out the tension and tried again. "If you mean can you give me a hug, sure," he said, trying to sound casual.

Castiel reached forward and slid his arms around Dean's shoulders, pulling him forward into an embrace. His heart began to thud as soon as they made contact, and he was very nearly distracted by it, it was so loud and so jarring in his ears and chest. But Dean was warm, and slowly relaxing into his arms, and Castiel kept himself focused on giving all the love and warmth he had in his soul to Dean, who so desperately needed it. As long as he could stay focused on that, he could ignore how wildly his pulse was beating and how he itched to deepen the embrace, to touch the gaunt smoothness of Dean's face, to tip up his chin to kiss the slack mouth that now pressed unknowingly into his shoulder--

"We don't have to talk," he said quietly. "About us. Not until you're ready."

Dean nodded. "Thanks for understanding," he said. But it wasn't any sympathy or concern that had driven Castiel to say that. It was simply that he didn't need Dean's help to figure it out any longer. He knew what he was feeling.


The time came, of course, that Dean was ready. It was after he managed to rejoin the real world, a short time after Sam had started organizing all of Bobby's old files to try and reconstruct the ad hoc hunter dispatching service he'd run out of his home. "Actually," he said to Dean and Castiel, "I think I might like to do half and half. You know, go out on the job sometimes, but there's so much good stuff in here--" He gestured at the endless shelves of books and papers "--and I think I could really be a help. Not just to you guys, but to all the other hunters out there."

"You want to be Oracle," Dean said. "I guess I can dig that."

"What?" said Castiel and Sam at the same time.

"Oh, read a comic book once in a while." Dean rolled his eyes. Sam shrugged at Castiel, who gave a halfhearted, clueless smile back. Dean grumbled at the both of them and headed to the kitchen to grab a beer.

With a glass of water in tow, Castiel joined him out back, standing on the step just behind where Dean had taken a seat and was staring out at the yard. "I think it's a good idea," he said. "With this much information at our fingertips, it would be a waste not to use it to our advantage."

"I think he's just trying to make us go on the road together," Dean said. He took a swig and belched, then pounded on his chest with a round fist. "He thinks he's doing me some good."

"I would like to spend some time here as well," Castiel said. "I could benefit from learning some of the lore that isn't based in Heaven."

"Not if Sammy has anything to say about it." Dean let out a hiss of breath. "Don't you get it? He's trying to make us have that talk. He's convinced we're destined to go all Brokeback on his ass. No, never mind," he added without even turning to see Castiel's befuddled expression. "You don't wanna know. Anyway, I suppose he's got a point. I'm just putting off having to talk about it."

"We don't have to talk about it until you're ready," Castiel reminded him. "I'm quite happy with things as they are."

"Are you?" Dean tilted his head up toward Castiel's expression and found only contentment there. Disbelieving it, he heaved a heavy sigh. "Yeah, I know how these things go. You say everything's OK, but it's not. You gotta face reality. We might as well just get it over with. Go on, Cas, let me have it."

He was holding the beer bottle tight enough to pulverize the thing. It was shaking, and small beads of condensation were falling from its brim, wetting Dean's clutching hands. Castiel watched for a moment and then came to sit down beside him.

"How I feel about you hasn't changed," he said quietly. "I told you that I loved you and that's still the truth."

"Yeah, but like how?" Dean said. His eyes kept flying up and down, like looking at Castiel for too long might burn him. "You know, things were pretty intense back there, we were both scared, and now that things have calmed down, well, I don't know. I just-- Jesus." He laughed shakily. "You'd think I would have had time to prepare myself for this."

"For what?" Castiel's tone was level, but there was a soft touch to it that he hadn't had before he became human. "For me telling you how I feel? Dean, nothing has to change. I just told you. I'm happy as things are. Just to be here with you, to be starting a brand-new life... that's all I wanted. It wasn't just you I fell in love with. It was this place, this life, all of the people we met. As long as I'm able to spend the rest of my days with you and with them, I don't need anything else."

Dean had turned red. "OK, you just blasted things up another notch, you know that, right?" he mumbled. Castiel stared at him, frowning. Dean's head shrank down into his shoulders, like he was trying to go inside a turtle shell he didn't have the luxury of owning. "You just said--" His next words were completely incomprehensible.

"Huh?" Castiel's eyebrows hitched quizzically.

"....youjusedjuwernluvithme," Dean mumbled.

"Dean, I can't read your mind anymore. Would you mind speaking out loud?"

Dean was the color of an overripe strawberry at this point. "You just said you were-- were-- in love--" he said in between a series of wheezy breaths. "That's kind of different than just-- you know!" He angled his whole body away from Castiel, hiding his face.

Castiel twisted his lips in thought. "I see," he said. "I hadn't realized... Look. Dean." In the underbrush at the edge of the property, a bluejay warbled its rude interruption of the scene. Castiel took a deep breath. "The fact is, I don't think there's any way I don't love you. As a friend, as family, as someone I want to be with-- I just... I feel it all. You changed my whole life. So, yes, I'm in love with you. But that's not all there is to it."

He put a hand on Dean's shoulder, just minimal pressure. To his surprise, Dean didn't flinch, didn't pull away. That gave him strength, and he went on. "All I need is to be with you. I don't need to hold your hand or do any of those other things that you're afraid I'm going to do. Just having a drink with you out here once in a while... that's enough for me. Really."

Dean's shoulders did move this time, an inch of twisting spine bringing Dean's profile into view again. He was biting his lip. Castiel sat back and watched him war within his own head for control over his next words.  He had no idea what they'd be, and nervousness shook his fingers as he pulled back, watched, waited, and went over a million possible things that Dean might say next.

None of them were what he actually said.

Dean looked at him, his face plaintive all of a sudden, and burst out with, "What if it's not enough for me?"

Silence then. Castiel caught his breath. The bluejay went through another aria and hopped away into the next yard.

Even after a minute, "Dean" was the only word Castiel could manage.

"I know, I'm going nuts, right?" A sad smile. "But, you know, you mean something to me, Cas. And I look at you sometimes and I think, well, what if? So I don't know. I don't know if I'm just depending on you and I shouldn't read too much into it, or if this is something real, or what it is." He made a pair of fists and clenched them tight in his lap. "But the point is... I think I'm willing to try."

Castiel's expression was blank. His  mind was blank. This did not compute. It just didn't process. "What... what are you telling me, Dean?" he said.

Dean gazed at him, the crinkles around his eyes echoing the warmth in his smile. "Guess telling you isn't gonna really do the trick," he said with a self-deprecating chuckle.

He slipped his arm around Castiel's shoulder and leaned toward him. Castiel panicked. Which way should he tilt his head? What if Sam was watching them? What if this was some sort of prank and Dean was going to laugh his head off at him later? What did he do now? All the questions came up at once, in that annoying human way they did, and he wanted to take a fly swatter to his brain and force it back into focus. Dean was about to kiss him. Dean was going to kiss him. Dean. Kiss. Him. Oh. This was the most amazing moment he'd ever experienced. If only he could calm down and enjoy it.

Dean paused a half-moment from his lips. "You know what?" he murmured. "I still can't believe I'm doing this, but so far it feels okay."

"Okay--" Castiel began to echo, but with the oh his lips were pursed and Dean's were on them.

His eyes closed. The world shifted into a slow-moving dreamtime. There was nothing but Dean's kiss and the low, drowsy pleasure suffusing his limbs, spreading throughout his whole body. A sweet, brief moment that lasted forever.

When it ended, Dean was the one who uttered, "Oh."

They stared at each other. The quiet landscape rumbled with the sound of a slow-moving car driving by somewhere in the distance.

"Still feel okay?" Castiel asked gingerly. The smile he got in return answered him just fine.

Dean leaned his head against Castiel's. "Yeah, okay," he said. His arm remained tight around Castiel's shoulders. Afternoon rolled into twilight in South Dakota. The world, one without end, still had plenty of beginnings in store.

the end

The Soul is:: contentcontent
reading_is_inreading_is_in on January 17th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
This was an excellent story. Thank you for writing and posting it. I especially liked the in-character quips like 'read a comic book once in a while' that came right to the end.
If there was a god in the SPN universe, then I guess yeah, it would totally manifest as John. Personally, I don't see one - it just isn't, to coin a phrase, justified, but of course the point of fanfic is that you interpret it however you want. I'll be fascinated to see how it plays out in canon...
I loved the part when Castiel phoned Dean from behind the door. And yeah, he should totally go human. He likes it down here! :D
Tiptoe39: hooray! - katamaritiptoe39 on January 20th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
Hey! I have been on vacation but it was a delightful surprise to come back and see all your kind words on the fic! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it <3 It will be fun to see canon catch up to the glut of fic, eh? :D

Thanks for reading and for your sweet comments!