I woke up to my shoulders being shaken. I felt sore and a cold and a little damp, as though I had slept on dirt and grass. Then my brain woke up. I had slept on dirt and grass and… something stiffer and colder. Why in the hell had I done that? What had happened last night? I had the foggiest recollections of bad, bad things happening, but… They couldn't have happened. Things like that only happened in my worst nightmares.
I opened my eyes slowly, uncertain as to why I was on the ground. "Kylie," it was Dean's voice. "Kylie, you need to turn over and get up."
"Dean?" I asked, looking over at the Hunter. I blinked a few times, adjusting to the morning light. He looked… worried. Somber. More uncertain and even a little afraid. Why was he afraid? "I… I had the… the worst dream." I stopped for a second. "Where's Cas? I… I need to talk with him."
"Kylie…" He looked past me, and when I turned back to see what was next to me…
It was him.
It was Cas. On the ground. With angel wings burnt in to the Earth around him.
"No." I whispered, looking down at his… his… his body. "No. No no no no no. That… That can't be him."
"I'm sorry, Kylie." Dean's voice was soft, but I kept shaking my head.
"No! It can't be him. It can't be. That's not Cas, it can't be him!" I sat up to grip Castiel's shoulders, to look down at his face.
That was when I realized I could move. I shouldn't be moving. I shouldn't be able to move, not like this. I was… I was dying last night. I should've died last night.
I looked down at myself, and saw that… I was fine. No injuries. No pains or cuts or bullet wounds or breaks or scratches anywhere on my body. I looked from Castiel to Dean, confused. "I…" I took a shaky breath. "Dean, I…"
"I know." He said. That was all he needed to say. No questions as to why I was suddenly fine. No accusations or questions on my magic. No questions at all. Just… Just understanding.
He helped me up slowly, and once I stood he caught me tight in a hug. That was when I started to cry, the tears flowing as freely as a river from my eyes. Dean held me there for a long time, neither of us wanting or able to let go.
Finally, though, I stopped bawling long enough to pull away. "Where," I sniffled a little. "Where's Sam?"
"He's cleaning up the house." Dean answered. "Kelly is… She's gone too."
"Everybody's gone." I muttered, looking back at… At Castiel.
"Not everybody." Dean assured me. "I'm still here. Sam is still here. You're still here."
"What about Jack?" I asked. From the expression on Dean's face, I could tell he didn't have an answer.
"He's MIA." Dean finally said. "We don't know where he is. Once we're done inside we're going to go look for him. Do you want to come with us?" I nodded automatically at that.
"Yeah, yeah, of course." I muttered. "I'll help with the clean up, get my spell things fixed and put away." I looked back over at Cas. "Can I… Can I have a second please?" I asked. I knew Dean would need a minute too, I was fully aware of that, but… I just wanted to do one kind thing.
I just wanted to close his eyes.
Dean allowed me that, and I kneeled beside Cas, swallowing back every tear I had in me. I gently placed my fingers over his eyelids, and moved them so that they would be shut. "You promised you would be fine, Cas." I whispered. "You were supposed to be fine. You… You're supposed to be here, not me."
"Kylie," Dean's voice was quiet, but firm. "Don't say that."
"No, it's not." He argued. "And I don't care how true you think it is, because it's not. You were both supposed to be here. And now… Now I don't think we'd make it if you were gone too." His voice broke just the barest amount as he spoke, just enough for me to hear before he swept it under the rug. He coughed once, twice, working to clear his throat. "Come on, we need to get inside and finish up."
I leaned over to kiss his cheek one more time, taking a breath after I did. "I love you." I whispered, picking up the blade beside him. This one was… mine, and had been the one that Crowley had used.
The one that Crowley and Lucifer had both used.
Dean and I went inside the house, and started cleaning everything up. I don't think either of us knew what else to do. His mom was gone, stuck in a parallel universe with Lucifer. Crowley was dead. Castiel was dead. Everyone was… dead. All we could do for now was just… wipe off the wardings that could be wiped off, clean up the blood and horror, and pack up what was ours. Sam joined us maybe a minute or two later, gripping me in the same kind of hug as Dean had when he saw me.
"I'm sorry." I whispered, unable to bite back another round of tears.
"It's not your fault." Sam assured me. "It's OK."
When we were finished, we all piled in the Impala. We had to go try and find Jack after all. Dean wasn't the biggest supporter of this idea, but it was better to try than to not.
"Kylie, can you…" Sam looked for a moment to find the best phrasing of his question. "Can you do anything to look for him?"
"You mean can I do the magic stuff?" I asked. After a second's hesitation, he nodded. I raised a hand up, trying to feel for, well… anything. I'd been so in tune with the way magic flowed in the world, it's sources and fluctuations and movements, but now…
It was nothing. I couldn't feel anything.
I shook my head, looking at him with sorrow. "I can't." I said. "There's something wrong with my powers. I don't even know what I can and can't do anymore."
"Well, we'll figure it out later." Dean promised. "Besides, we'll take you either way, magical or not."
"Thanks." I slumped in the back seat as Dean put the car in gear, feeling utterly defeated. I had stopped crying at this point. It was useless. Utterly useless. It wouldn't bring Crowley back. It wouldn't help me open that rift back up for the time I would need to yank their mother back through and replace her spot in the parallel universe with me. It wouldn't bring Kelly back. It wouldn't make my magic work again.
Crying wouldn't bring Castiel back.
It wouldn't do anything.
So I stopped, laying in the backseat of Dean's Impala, feeling hollowed out and empty inside. I reached for the ring with my other hand, twisting it gently around my finger. All I could think of was just… Was everything that should've happened in my life; everything I should've told Castiel.
Dean stopped at some sort of food shack, and Sam got out. "You two stay here." Sam ordered. "I'll ask around and try to snag some food." Dean and I nodded, but I couldn't quite meet Sam's eyes. I saw his face, out of the corner of my eye, and his concerned expression that he shared with Dean, but he still went inside. Once he entered the building, Dean spoke up.
"How're you holding up?" He asked. I didn't answer for a minute, just thinking. Finally, though, I told him what I was thinking.
"I should've married him." The words were hollow as I spoke, but they were true. "I should've married him."
"A lot of things should've happened." Dean replied. "There's no point in thinking on them now."
"I should've told Crowley I forgave him, too." I added. "I think he knew, but I should've told him anyways, just to make sure."
"Kylie," Dean's voice didn't sound firm for once, like it always did. This time it sounded… Like he was giving up. Like he knew what he was about to say wouldn't change things, but he was going to say it anyways because it needed to be said at least once. "Don't do this to yourself. There's no point in getting caught up with should-have scenarios."
"I don't know what else to do, then." I admitted. "All I can think is right now is that I should've married Cas, I should've said that I forgave Crowley, I should've been there for Rowena, I should've done a lot of things that I never did and I won't be able to do now." I shook my head. "I should've intervened before Billie died. I should've never worked with the Men of Letters. I should've never left, or at the very least had the decency to actually die in the damn Arctic." I huffed out a bit of air. There were so many things I should've done.
I should've married Castiel when Chuck offered it. We could've done it in the Bunker, in front of the people that mattered to us. Hell, I had enough juice. If I wanted to I could've teleported us all to a damn beach. We could've looked at a beautiful sunset before we saved the world, and walked out of it married.
I should've told Crowley I forgave him. He taught me everything, practically saved my life after Billie pulled me out of freezing to death. He kept my secrets, kept me safe, dear GOD Crowley continuously saved my ass. He kept me out of Lucifer's grasp when he could. He came with the cavalry when Lucifer had that damn witchcatcher around my neck. He supported my decision to join the Men of Letters.
I should've told Mary thank you. Thank you for also being supportive. Thank you for being so kind. Thank you for accepting me as a part of your family. Thank you for so much.
I should've told a lot of people a lot of things.
"Dean," I said, my voice quiet. "Thank you."
"For what, kid?"
"For everything." I said. "If you hadn't picked up the phone those years ago… I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be the person I am today." I held up a hand, and tried to get a small fire or something going within the palm. Nothing happened, though. Absolutely nothing. "I couldn't do any of this. I wouldn't have met…" I couldn't do it. I couldn't even say his name. He had just died in front of me. I couldn't do it. I could say Crowley's name, but I hadn't been in love with him. He had almost become more like an uncle figure in my head. And I'd said his name earlier, but now as I spoke… The syllables and letters stopped themselves in my throat and refused to move. "Everyone." I finally chose a word. "Thank you for listening to your voicemails. Thank you for calling me."
"You're not dying in the backseat of my car." Dean stated, the firmness in his voice back. "So if that's what this is then you better stop talking right now. I've seen enough people die today, I'm not willing to let one more go in Baby." He rubbed his steering wheel for a moment. "She's special. People don't die in this car. People live in this car and make it out and survive."
"I'm not dying." I promised, but that was a bit of a half-lie. I was living, technically. Beating heart. Breath in my lungs. Blood through my veins. But inside… My heart was broken and still, each breath another reminder that I was still living while so many other good people weren't around us, my blood turned to ice at seeing Castiel… and still not thawed, because of how much blood was spilled today.
I was living, but I wasn't alive. Not really.
"Good." Dean said. "Now we're gonna find Jack, we're gonna get everything sorted and get back to the Bunker, we're gonna figure out what's going on with your mojo," he paused, thinking. "And we'll go from there."
"Dean, I don't… I can't feel my power." I said. "I can't heal, I can't sense, I can't even light a flame in the palm of my hand."
"Then we'll deal with it." He said. "Your notebooks are still back at the Bunker, same with tons of freaking books, you can take a look through them and see if they help."
"What if I can't do it anymore?" I asked. "What if… What if it's gone?"
"We'll figure that out too." He promised, turning in his seat to look at me and offer an attempt at a confident smile. "You didn't start out as a witch, and if you can't get back to it then you're just stuck with being a normal human like the rest of us. We'll get it all figured out in time, don't worry. OK?"
No I wasn't OK with this. I wasn't OK with any of this. There were so many loose ends, so many things to be figured out and dealt with. Crowley deserved a funeral. So did Rowena. And Mary. And Kelly. And T.J. and Karma and Mick and Mrs. Tran and Billie and Louis and… and… and…
Cas was going to get a funeral. I had to go to a funeral for Castiel. After we found Jack…
I could feel myself falling in to a deep, dark hole. There was a storm cloud in my head that started raining; raining and swirling around and just… Matching my mood. I was falling in to my own storm of fear and sorrow and loathing that I was still here, and everyone else was gone.
Everyone was gone.
The only people I had left in the world were Sam and Dean. I had just… I had just lost everyone all over again. I needed something to hold on to, needed any sort of hope or light or answer or lifeline to stop me from chasing down a bottle. Eventually, I knew that Dean would as well.
"OK." I agreed. "OK. Your plan."
"Our plan." He corrected. "You're a part of the getting everything figured out plan too. Our plan. We're doing this together."
"OK." I agreed again. "Our plan. Find Jack. See what's up. Go from there."
"Go from there." Dean agreed.
"You won't go chasing whiskey bottles, right?" I asked.
"No, of course not." He was lying. I knew he was lying. He knew he was lying. He was just saying it to make me feel better.
"Because I can't do this alone. I can't do the world alone again." My voice didn't stop sounding hollow as I admitted this. "I just… I need a person, Dean. I… I can't." I took a deep breath, keeping my voice steady. "I can't."
"OK." Dean said. His voice was much more serious this time. "OK."
"I promise." He said. "No alcoholism for me. No hopelessness for you."
"Deal." I agreed. "Our plan. Get stuff figured out. Stay sober. Go from there."
"Go from there." Dean repeated.
"What do we do to go from there?" He sat back down facing forwards, thinking on an answer. "Because I don't quite know what I can do."
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." He decided. "Just take it one day at a time, Kylie. Don't try to look too far ahead right now. Just one day at a time, and we can do this."
"OK." I opened my hand again, trying to bring back something, anything. Fire was the first thing I started with and… I could do this. I'd done it before, I could do it again. "One day at a time."
"Here, I'll be right back." Dean said, leaving the car idling as he opened the door. I watched him reach forwards for a minute, and insert a tape in the player. "Take a second to relax. Stay in the car and wait for Sam." There were a few clicks as the tape did, well, whatever cassette tapes do in a cassette player as Dean exited the car and shut the door. When the first notes hit, I froze for maybe a moment before I laid my head back. I smiled through the tears as a memory arose. We were in the truck, Castiel's truck. He was playing a track from the playlist Dean had given him, a good one. Castiel hadn't understood why I laughed at this song when he played it, not at first, but it only made him play it more because he knew I liked it.
"There's a lady who's sure,"
"What do you want to do, then?" Castiel, back in the beginning. I had questions. He was helpful, making sure I didn't feel left out alone or in the dark. He did a lot to make sure I was alright.
"Can I ask some questions?"
"Sure." He helped me sit back down, and offered me his seat so that my back was to that God-awful projector. I didn't know how to deal with what I'd seen from it, so I couldn't look at it. Death was a big deal to me then.
"All that glitters is gold,"
The one that would, under normal circumstances, not even make me question whether he was human or not. The first thing I had ever seen about him that was human, without the sarcasm and petulant anger underneath it from April. It glittered and shone in the sunlight like his eyes did, as though every part of him had been hand-crafted by God.
Then again, he had been, hadn't he?
"And she's buying a stairway to heaven."
The end of our first date. Castiel had brought some of my favorite movies he'd bought, and popcorn, and had a liter of my favorite soda that we shared. We'd cuddled and watched movies all night and just fell asleep together. It was my Heaven, my happiness, right there with him doing little things.
"When she gets there, she knows,"
"Don't, Cas, just… Just don't. Please, just don't." I begged, barely keeping my voice together. I was so scared then. I didn't realize how lucky I would be to get more time with him. I thought time together had been much shorter back then, without his grace. "I… I can't imagine a world without you, so don't even try to make me ok with one, alright? I will not lose you. I absolutely will not lose you." I thought that I knew, then. I thought that I knew I could do anything, that I could save him and keep saving him and that when it came down to it I would still be able to save him, and he could never die. He was an angel. He was the one angel that wasn't going to die, because I wouldn't let him.
It didn't matter what I said, though. It didn't matter what I told him, didn't matter what I thought, didn't matter what I believed or did or anything. All things are lost in the end, I just hadn't come to know that fact just yet.
"If the stores are all closed,"
The ride to the library hadn't been perfect, but it hadn't been awful either. I was with Cas, I couldn't ask for much better than Metatron getting the hell out of our lives. I was just happy to be with him, just happy that he was about to get his grace back. The library itself was closed and run-down, but Castiel's grace was there. It hurt like hell to feel him get it, and used to only be topped by one thing – the pain of a witchbag.
But it gave me the only thing I had had left of Castiel, his grace. And now that was gone too.
Now it was topped by two things.
"With a word she can get what she came for."
"Angels do not normally fall in love. It is very rare, and very often looked down upon. For so long I sought to maintain my place among my brethren, to remain accepted as one of them, but being among humanity and within your company has taught me that there is much more to being alive than just that. I have been alive for a very, very long time, and I have watched humans experience this kind of happiness and life, but never imagined it for myself. Now that I get to experience it and truly live within it, I cannot say that if presented with the choice, I would return to heaven. If I was given the option to go back, as though I had never left, and as though nothing had changed, I would not make that choice. I would choose this dinner that is probably getting cold right now, or anything in the world other than heaven, as long as it was with you. So, what I am saying is that I am grateful to live a life with you, and that I would like to continue this life, however you wish to continue it, with you." He took a deep breath. "What I am saying is..." That was when he stood up in our little apartment – the one I hadn't been back to in so long, the one we'd talked about getting again – and moved back our little table that we'd picked out together off the corner of the street. He didn't let me help him move it. He wanted me to stay seated so he could do this properly, on one knee, with everything.
"Kylie Dianne Dillinger," he said, drawing my attention back to him. "Will you marry me?"
"Yes." I cried. I couldn't help it. I was crying and nodding and flinging my arms around him and still crying and nodding but I said yes. I was going to marry him. This was the man I wanted to marry.
I should've married him.
I should have married him.
I felt one more tear fight its way down my face. I understood why it was so important for Castiel to tell me all these things when he came back, all these things he hadn't said before but couldn't wait to once he had the chance.
I wished I could've gone back and changed it, gone back and said yes and married him and been happy with him.
But Castiel was dead, and I couldn't do that.
I would have to live with that regret for the rest of my life.