(Author's Note: Hello, everyone! Welcome to the grand finale of the Purpose Series! :D Before you start this part, I want to inform all the new readers that this is the 7th part of a Destiel/Sabriel series. It's not entirely necessary for you to read the first six parts, (Purpose, Seeds, Home, Normal, History, and Devotion) but some themes in this fic may be difficult to understand if you haven't read them, such as the addition of certain characters and events that have caused changes to this universe's canon. If you would like to start reading here though, feel free! :) Either way, I hope you enjoy!)
Jude's room was nearly silent when Castiel crept through the open door. Everything inside was arranged in a familiarly unkempt fashion. Boots and socks were carelessly tossed about on the floor, the laundry basket in the corner was overflowing with dirty clothes, and the dresser along the left wall was cluttered with gum wrappers and writing utensils, which were scattered all around framed photos of the family. But a twin-sized bed at the center of this disarrayed cluster held Castiel's reason for entering.
The angel could feel a smile on his own lips as he inched closer to his teenage son. It was eerily uncanny how similar Jude and Dean were when it came to sleep. If Cas only spared a single glance at Jude, he could have mistaken the teenager for his father. Single arm tucked under his pillow, mouth slightly open and snoring, spiked oak hair tossed in all directions, freckled nose scrunching every so often, closed eyelids flickering... Jude was Dean made over. But of his physical attributes, there was still one thing that drastically separated the two of them.
"Jude," Castiel whispered softly.
The angel eased down to sit on the edge of his son's bed and reached out to comb a hand through the teenager's warm hair. Jude only stirred a little, flinching under the contact but refusing to fully acknowledge it. His defiant reluctance to wake up was nothing new to his angelic father. Castiel had to call his name several times to wake him each morning.
"Jude," Castiel said again, "It's time to wake up, son."
Cas leaned far over to plant a very small kiss to the edge of Jude's temple, and the affectionate gesture seemed to be just enough to encourage him to start the day. Jude finally opened his eyes, which revealed the breathtaking sapphire that Castiel had been waiting to see. There it was; the main difference between Dean and his child. Jude might have heavily favored Dean in terms of looks, but his eyes belonged to the angel that had carried him.
"Good morning," Castiel hummed with a smile.
On the bed, Jude made a face and stretched with a grunt – something that Dean also did every morning, as he was a very grumpy sleeper – before adjusting himself to look up at Castiel properly. He was wearing a strange expression this morning; a bit of annoyance mixed with playfulness.
"Pop," Jude grumbled, his voice so much deeper than Castiel remembered, "You don't have to wake me up every single day, you know. I can just set an alarm or something."
"Yes, I know," Castiel acknowledged, resting his hand on his child's arm, "but it has been my honor and privilege to do so for the past seventeen years."
The mention of the number seventeen seemed to make Jude's lovely eyes grow, which caused Castiel's smile to widen in the process.
"Happy birthday," the angel stated in the most loving and proud tone he could muster.
Jude sighed and smiled before covering his face with both hands and plopping his head back down on his pillow. Apparently, he had forgotten that today marked the seventeenth year since his birth. But the event was permanently ingrained into Castiel's memory forever. Sitting on the floor of that cabin, surrounded in blood, aching with pain, and holding Jude's tiny body close to his own heart was something that Castiel would never forget. That was the day his true purpose began...
"You're still in bed?!"
Jude raised back up and Castiel turned to peer at the door when they heard the sound of Dean's loud voice. Dean – still wearing his robe and holding a mug of steaming coffee – walked into their son's room with a playful look in his eye.
"It's nine-thirty! What's wrong with you, kid? Don't you know what day it is?" Dean asked.
"Yes, Dad. I know what day it is," Jude mumbled from his pillow, face still adorned with a grin.
"Then why are you still laying here?" Dean asked, bracing his free hand on his hip, "Dude, if you don't get up soon, Gabe's gonna eat your entire cake. I can't hold him off much longer. He's already stolen one of the candy letters. Now, it just says 'Happy Birthday Superma'."
As was Dean's ultimate goal, Jude chuckled, seeming amused by the story. Castiel, on the other hand, was honestly worried. Did Gabriel actually deface Jude's birthday cake? Surely he knew better than to ruin anything related to Jude's party, right? On the bed, Jude shifted to sit up, finally raising to stretch once more and toss his legs over the side.
"Okay. I get it. I'm up," the teenager promised groggily.
Dean's smirk faded into a more genuine smile as he reached out to ruffle Jude's already-messy hair.
"I'll alert the media that Superman is on his way," Dean said, pausing to sip from his coffee and gesture for Castiel to rise, "C'mon, Pops. Let's go so our little man can get suited up."
Castiel obliged his husband's request and quickly stood to follow him toward the door. In the meantime, Jude stood and rolled his eyes.
"I'm not little anymore, Dad," Jude reminded sweetly as he watched his parents go.
"Yes you are," Dean replied over his shoulder, "See you in the kitchen in ten, little man."
Castiel was glad to see that Dean's emphasis of Jude's nickname only made the teenager smile brighter. While Jude turned to look at the cell phone on his night stand, Castiel caught Dean by the arm just outside his bedroom door.
"Did Gabriel honestly ruin Jude's cake, Dean?" the angel asked in an urgent whisper.
Luckily, Dean's smile remained intact.
"No, baby. I was just playing around. Everything's fine," Dean promised.
The mention of 'everything' made Castiel wonder about the rest of the events they had planned for Jude later that day.
"What about Bobby?" Cas asked, "Is he still bringing the - ?"
Dean's hand shot up to cover Castiel's mouth in an instant. The man's wide green eyes flickered toward their son a few feet away and Cas's blue eyes soon followed. It seemed that Jude was too busy texting on his phone to have heard what his parents were saying. After making sure that the surprise wasn't spoiled, Dean lowered his hand.
"Yeah, he's got it covered," Dean whispered back, "Relax, Cas. Jude's birthday will be amazing this year. Super seventeen."
As he stared at Castiel, Dean seemed to realize the magnitude of what he just said because his smile slowly faded.
"Holy shit... Our son is seventeen..." the man breathed, his green eyes dropping, "Damn, I'm getting old..."
Castiel tilted his own head and narrowed his eyes. Getting old? Cas never associated the concept of aging with his husband – partly because he could see the man's soul, which never aged. And while Dean may have been on the further end of the scale in terms of a human life span, the idea never bothered Castiel. He knew that their souls would remain bound together for all eternity. And when it came to eternity, Dean had a very long way to go. Especially considering how ancient Castiel was...
"You'll always be young to me, Dean," the angel admitted.
Castiel's reply must have been nice to hear, because Dean lifted his sight to gaze at the angel with loving admiration.
"Thanks, babe," he muttered, briefly caressing Castiel's cheek, "I'm gonna go get dressed. You can help me, if you want..."
Castiel gulped as he watched his husband wink and turn to wander down the hall. While Dean's suggestive comment intrigued him, the angel lingered back to take one last look at their son. Now that Jude was standing by his bed, Castiel could see just how much he had grown. He was so very tall now. Gone were the days of Castiel peering down at his child; of holding him in his arms, singing lullabies to him, and kissing his face on a whim. Jude was nearly an adult, and it was a very bittersweet notion to the angel that had given birth to him.
Castiel's hand instinctively rose to his own abdomen, where the scar on his stomach was hidden by clothing. He truly hoped that the ache in his heart was a good thing. He hoped that this wonderful, yet so very painful, emotion was something that every parent experienced.
Jude's fingers tapped nervously on his denim pants leg as he sat in the backseat of his dad's Impala. His parents were in the front seat – Dad driving, of course, with Papa right at his side – but he was alone behind them. Sam, Gabe, and Jessie had left the bunker early to 'go pick up Ollie.' But Jude knew better than that. His cousin and uncles probably left early to go set up his birthday party somewhere. Everyone was trying to keep the party a secret, like they did every year. And for the most part, Jude didn't try to get any answers out of his parents. He just let them spoil him with surprises. Besides, he had other things to worry about.
Like the fact that Clarence wasn't answering his text messages.
Jude looked back down at his phone for the millionth time that morning, hoping to see a reply on the screen, but it was still blank. The mobile silence was pretty upsetting because Clarence usually always texted right back, even in the middle of the night. And whenever Jude sent him a 'good morning' text – like he did a few hours before – the reply was almost instantaneous. Today, Jude was even expecting some kind of 'Happy Birthday' message from him, but no. Nothing. The lack of response was starting to worry Jude. What if something happened to Clarence? What if he lost his phone? Or Bobby grounded him or something? How was Jude supposed to know if he couldn't reach him?
Though he was tempted to panic, Jude shoved his phone back into his jacket pocket and tried to relax. For all he knew, Clarence might already be at the party with Jessie and Ollie. Jude attempted to let the idea simmer in his mind while he stared out the window and fiddled with his necklace. It was the Superman necklace that he got a long time ago from his Grandpa; the one that lit up, just like his dad's. He decided to wear it today since 'Superman' sounded like the party theme. Now that he imagined Clarence with his other friends, Jude was starting to get excited. He couldn't wait to see them all at once.
Although it was fifty degrees in mid-February, it looked like Jude's party was outdoors. The teenager leaned closer to the front seat to peer through the windshield, where he saw the local park come into view. It was the same park where he and Jessie first met Ollie when they were little. Dad drove the Impala down the wooded lane to get to the playground and picnic area in the back. As the benches and colorful playground equipment came into view, Jude could see the bright red balloons and blue table cloths concentrated in one spot – along with the rest of Jude's family. His uncles, Sam and Gabe, were chatting with Ollie's mom while flipping some burgers on the grill. Jessie and Ollie, however, had already spotted the Impala and were running over to meet them on the sidewalk... But there was no sign of uncle Bobby, Crowley, or Rowena. Which meant that Clarence wasn't there either. Jude was tempted to start worrying again, but the sweet sound of Jessie's voice distracted him a while longer.
"Hey, Jude!" Jess sang, dashing up to lean inside the window, "I betcha can't guess what today is."
Jude beamed warmly at his lovely cousin, whose really long golden curls were dancing around her purple jacket in the breeze.
"Wednesday?" Jude replied sneakily as he slid toward the door.
"It's your birthday!" Ollie announced proudly, as if he thought Jude really forgot.
Jude and Jessie both laughed a little bit, equally amused that Ollie didn't get they were 'forgetting' on purpose. When Jude's parents got out of the car, Papa walked over to him with a smile and gestured toward the decorated picnic tables.
"I hope that this is an adequate space for your birthday celebration, Jude," Papa murmured in a worried tone, "If you'd like to have it somewhere else, I could try to get -"
"No, no," Jude immediately interrupted, "This is great, Pa. Honestly. It's too much."
Jude was glad to see a touch of awe and gratefulness appear on his Papa's expression again. With a gentle tug, Papa pulled Jude close to peck a kiss to his cheek, which made Jude's face burn with heat. Ugh! Why did Papa still have to kiss him on the cheek like that? He was too old for that! What if someone at the park saw?
"Papa," Jude grumbled, feeling embarrassed as he pulled away to brush off his face.
Jessie and Ollie hid their smiles with their hands and turned away, probably fighting off the urge to laugh. Luckily, Papa seemed to understand that Jude was uncomfortable with receiving kisses in public, because he nodded respectfully and backed up. Dad came around the car just in time to put his arm around Papa and lead him toward the tables, all while planting a kiss to his cheek to make him feel better. In the meantime, Ms. Jane walked passed them with a large gift bag in her hand. Her brown eyes and big smile made Jude's bubbly feeling return.
"Hola, Jude! Happy birthday!" She hummed, pausing to wrap him into a big, loving hug, "Oh, you're almost a man now. Between you and Oliver, I can't keep up."
"Thanks, Ms. Jane," Jude mumbled.
"Here," she sighed, backing up to hold out the gift, "You'll have to open it now, sweetheart. I got called into work again, but I want to see your face before I go."
Jude spared a glance at his friends nearby as he took the gift bag and pulled out the tissue paper. As Jude expected, there was an entire new outfit down inside – only this time, it was a suit. Jude reached in to remove the black suit jacket and held it up, looking at the faint gray pinstripes in the sun. Holy cow! This suit must have cost Ms. Jane a fortune! Why would she get Jude something so expensive? The question must have been on his face because she smiled and shrugged.
"Gabriel mentioned that you might go into the family business one day," she explained, "and while I still don't know what business they're in, I see your fathers wearing suits all the time. And I figured you would need one of your own."
Jude gulped, feeling so proud. It was so nice of Ollie's mom to get him something like this, even without ever knowing what his parents' real job was. After gently stashing the jacket back into the bag, Jude wrapped Ms. Jane into a giant hug.
"Thank you so much," he said quietly.
"Of course, Guapo," Ms. Jane replied, softly patting his back, "I hope you have a wonderful day."
She pulled back from the hug to give him one last soft smile before turning to look at Ollie.
"Calabaza, you call me when it's over, okay? Let me know when you get home," she warned sternly.
"I will, Mom. Promise," Ollie nodded.
Once she gave each teenager another hug, Ms. Jane smiled and waved to all the adults before heading over to her silver car. Jude could tell that she didn't want to leave, but he supposed that she couldn't miss work. Not while she was still a single mom with a mortgage... Now alone with this friends, Jude stepped close to whisper to them.
"Have you guys seen Clarence yet?" he asked, feeling his worry begin to resurface.
Jessie and Ollie both looked at each other with scrunched eyebrows before shaking their heads in unison. Jude's heart deflated at the sight. Oh no, they hadn't heard from him either? Why not? Jessie reached out to pat his shoulder and gave him a reassuring look.
"He's probably on his way here with uncle Bobby," she reminded.
Jude nodded, but the suggestion didn't really comfort him. If Clarence was on his way here, he still would have gotten Jude's text messages. Did he leave his phone at home? Or drop it in some water or something? Jessie and Ollie joined hands – which made Jude ache to see Clarence even more – before pulling him along toward the decorated tables.
"Food should help take your mind off things," Ollie said playfully, "Maybe he'll be here by the time you eat."
Jude sighed and placed Ms. Jane's gift on the table, where both of his uncles were arranging burgers and hotdogs on the table cloth. Dickie ended up stealing a hotdog and running away with it while Sam wasn't looking; charging off toward the swing set with a wiener wobbling from his mouth. Jude was pleased to see that the giant cake on the table had a complete message. Unlike Dad said that morning, none of the letters were missing from the "Happy Birthday Superman" written on top. They were all neatly placed around the red and yellow icing logo, but instead of the original 'S' for Superman, it had the letter 'J'. Jude smiled down at the first letter of his own name and wondered which adult was responsible for creating such an awesome design. Across the table, Papa beamed at him again.
"That was your father's doing," he explained quietly, even though Jude never asked out loud.
The two of them shared a small look of private amusement – before the rumble of a truck caught their attention. Jude instantly spun around to look toward the parking lot, knowing exactly which vehicle made the sound. Uncle Bobby's old Chevy pickup truck rolled into a spot near the playground with a trailer in tow. Jude's heart leaped into his throat as he scanned the cab full of people. He searched for Clarence's wild blonde hair amongst the many heads in the vehicle – but the half demon was nowhere to be found. Jude dashed to the edge of the sidewalk to watch everyone climb out of the truck, hoping that Clarence was just hiding between them. But still no Clarence. Jude swallowed harshly, feeling the sting of disappointment and worry ache through his chest again. Where the heck was Clarence?!
"Oi! My sweet birthday bumpkin!" Aunt Rowena grinned, rushing over as fast as her small feet and tight dress would allow to tackle Jude with a hug, "All grown up and oh-so handsome! Ya take after yer great-aunt Rowena in that department, love."
Though Jude was flattered by the witch's compliments, he was more concerned about Clarence missing from their group.
"Hi, guys. Wh – where's Clare?" he asked, forcing himself to sound calm, even though he was dying to know the answer.
Uncle Bobby removed his hat long enough to scratch his balding head with a sigh as he walked up.
"Apparently, he's 'too cool' to ride with a bunch of old people," he huffed.
"Old people? Speak for yourself, darling," Crowley grumbled next to him.
"He followed us here on his bike," Bobby finished, ignoring Crowley's comment.
Jude gulped, feeling confused. Clarence followed them here on a bike? What bike? Before Jude could ask the question out loud, a new rumble echoed across the park. This one was much deeper and angrier than the sound of Bobby's truck. Everyone standing at the picnic table turned to see the source coming through the treeline. A huge, jet-black motorcycle coasted its way down the lane, carrying a single passenger. All Jude could see of them was denim jeans, a black leather jacket, a black helmet – and a very familiar guitar case. Jude's heart was hammering in his chest by the time the bike rolled up to the sidewalk and growled at the group of people standing there. Jude couldn't take his eyes away. It was the shiniest, sexiest motorcycle he had ever seen in his life.
After revving the engine once more and turning it off, the driver kicked up the stand and leaned the bike to the side. He swung his leg off as he stood up, maneuvering around his guitar case strapped to his back before starting to remove his helmet. The moment Jude saw the mess of blonde hair shake away to reveal Clarence's chestnut eyes and pretty smile, he forgot how to breathe. Holy hell. Jude almost couldn't believe that the sexy motorcycle driver was his own boyfriend...
"Does he always have to make a grand entrance?" Ollie whispered behind Jude, which caused Jessie to giggle.
Although Jude heard his friends talking, he was too focused on the sight of Clarence to pay attention to them. His body was suddenly moving on its own, dashing across the sidewalk with arms wide open. Clare's arms spread to welcome Jude as he crashed into him. Clare's clothes were chilly, probably from where he had been riding out in the cold wind, but his neck was warm and his soft hair smelled so good. Jude wiggled both of his hands behind the guy's guitar case to hug him properly, and in return, Clare's arms slid up Jude's back. Jude didn't need any of the gifts on the table behind him. This hug was all he needed and more.
"Mmm," Clare hummed in Jude's ear as he squeezed him tight, "It's so damn good to see you again, Jaybird."
Jude held down a sudden laugh inside their hug. He loved hearing Clarence say things like that. The teenager gave his boyfriend one more squeeze before inching back to see his face again. Clare looked so good; so healthy and handsome. His eyes were crystal clear and his lips were plump and full, just the way Jude remembered. Jude felt the strongest urge to raise up and plant his mouth to Clare's – but he didn't. He wanted to wait until there were less eyes watching before he gave him a proper kiss.
"I – it's good to see you too," Jude grinned, "I've been trying to text you all morning."
"Oh," Clare muttered.
He reached into his pocket to pull out his phone – the phone that Dad got him over a year ago, which had an awesome Led Zeppelin case – to look at the screen, where all of Jude's worried texts were sprawled on the screen.
"Oops," Clare chuckled, "Sorry. I couldn't hear it over the sound of my bike. Pretty rad, isn't it? I finally got it running. I've been following Bobby's truck all day to get here. Wasn't gonna miss this party for anything."
Jude could feel a blush on his own face. Clarence was so sweet when he said things like that... A short whistle came from the picnic table and the two teenage boys turned around to see that the entire family was staring at them. Jude's dad waved them over with a flat look.
"You two get over here. We've got presents to open," he called.
"And delicious food to eat, in case you didn't notice," uncle Gabe added, gesturing to the full table, "Chop-chop, gumdrops."
Jude shared a small smile with Clarence before leading him over to the picnic table by the hand. Now that Clare was there, Jude wasn't about to let him go anytime soon. Jessie waved at Clarence with her free hand, wearing a radiant smile. Beside her, Ollie seemed a little intimidated by Clarence and his badass arrival. But Clarence was just as friendly to Ollie as he was to everyone else.
"Sup, Barbie? Ginger-ale? Long time no see," Clare winked toward Jessie and Ollie.
"Hiya, Clare. Nice wheels," Jessie complimented.
"Thanks. I rebuilt it myself," Clarence shrugged.
Nearby, Bobby suddenly coughed dramatically, giving Clarence a set of narrowed eyes from under the bill of his hat.
"... with help from Singer," Clarence added.
"Damn right," Bobby mumbled with a smile.
In the midst of his family's small talk, Jude noticed that his parents had dug something out of a bag and were starting to walk toward him with it in hand. By the controlled excitement on their faces, Jude could tell that whatever they had was his birthday present.
"Jude," Dad began, gaining almost everyone's attention, "I know you were probably expecting lots of gifts this year, but we all sort of pitched in to get you one big thing."
Jude gulped again and looked around, seeing everyone's large eyes on him. One thing? Oh boy, it was probably expensive. Was it a game console? A laptop, like uncle Sam's? A stereo system? Jude had no idea. While his mind raced with possibilities, Dad stepped forward to hold out the very flat object. He didn't say anything; just winked and left it in Jude's hand. Extremely curious, Jude ripped away the wrapping paper to reveal a very thin, rectangular-shaped piece of metal. The front was airbrushed with an awesome Superman logo, with bright, vivid colors. It was really beautiful, but Jude was confused. What was it for? It seemed like some kind of license plate. But that couldn't be right. Jude didn't have a car...
"Um... Thank you," Jude offered shyly.
Dad grinned and shook his head, stepping forward to rest his hand on Jude's shoulder.
"That's not the gift, buddy," he said.
Jude only had time to scrunch his nose before his dad gently spun him around to face the parking lot. A few yards away, uncle Bobby and Crowley had walked over to the trailer hitched onto the back of their Chevy truck, where they started to roll down a tarp. Underneath the gray cover was a shiny, dark blue vehicle that looked just like Dad's. Jude's jaw fell as he soaked in the sight the car from across the park. Holy cow! That was an old Impala, just like Dad's baby! Except it was blue instead of black! Behind Jude, his dad leaned close to whisper in his ear.
"That's your gift," he hummed.
Jude's heart beat faster in his chest, even though he was too stunned to breathe. What?! That car was his?! No way! It couldn't be his! He didn't even have a license yet! Jude turned back to look up at his parents in shock, where he found them both grinning and nodding their heads.
"But – ! I – ! That's too - ! How – ?!" Jude stuttered in disbelief.
"I found it online," uncle Sam proudly announced from the back, raising his hand.
"I picked the color!" Jessie added.
"And Bobby and I have been working on it at the salvage yard," Clarence mentioned.
"But it still needs a little work," Dad admitted, "That's why Bobby brought it over on a trailer. I figured you and I could get her running in the bunker garage."
"Yeah!" Jude nearly shouted, feeling like he could burst out of his skin at any moment, "I mean, I can't believe you guys got me a car, Dad! Thank you so much!"
Jude almost tackled both of his parents with a giant hug, yanking them close with both of his arms, before turning to dash for the vehicle across the parking lot. He couldn't wait to see the car up close. His car! He couldn't believe it! Jude met his uncle Bobby at the front of the trailer and reached out to touch the glossy blue metal side, just above the wheel. How in the world did everyone afford this car? It must have been quite the restoration job. Uncle Bobby proudly reached out to pat Jude's shoulder.
"Happy birthday, kid," the old man smiled, "She's got plenty of character. Purrs like a kitten."
Jude chuckled with excitement. Oh man, he couldn't wait to hear what his new car sounded like!
"Can I take it for a ride, uncle Bobby? Just around the parking lot? I won't go fast. I promise," Jude asked, unable to contain himself.
"It doesn't run right now, Jude," Dad reminded, walking up with Papa and Clarence at his sides, "We still have to tinker with the engine and the break system, but you'll get the first test drive when it's done."
Jude turned back to his parents and nodded. He was still super happy about his car, but he was slightly bummed about not being able to take it for a ride yet. Dad was right, though. The best things in life were earned, and getting to drive something that he helped work hard on seemed more rewarding. Clarence seemed to be the only one in the group that noticed Jude's hint of disappointment, because he stepped over to Bobby's truck and opened the door to reach inside.
"But, if you really want to take a ride," Clarence smirked at Jude as he pulled out a spare helmet, "I could always give you one."
With his hand still resting on his new car, Jude could feel heat explode in his chest and on his own face. Clarence was offering Jude a ride on his new motorcycle. He even had a helmet for him and everything. But while Jude was totally ecstatic about going on a ride with his handsome boyfriend, his parents seemed a little suspicious.
"A ride?" Papa repeated, his eyes narrowing, "To where?"
"Anywhere he wants to go. It's his birthday," Clarence answered simply, still wearing a cheeky grin.
Dad glanced between Jude and Clarence and Jude tried his best to make his own eyes as big and innocent as possible. He really hoped that his parents would let him have some alone time with Clare. Luckily, Jude's dad let out an exhausted sigh and turned to look at the blonde demon holding the spare helmet.
"Fine," he allowed, "but you better be careful with my son. He's still a minor. And you better be back in twenty minutes. We still have candles for him to blow out."
"Deal," Clarence grinned.
After Jude received his spare helmet, Dad gave Clarence a subtle look; clearly telling him to give him and Jude a moment alone, even though he didn't say it. Thankfully, Clarence obliged and started off toward his motorcycle parked nearby. While he was gone, Dad reached into his pocket and leaned very close to Jude to whisper.
"Here," Dad said, holding out a condom, "Take this."
Jude gasped when he looked down to see the tiny square wrapper. A condom?! Seriously?! Jude didn't need that! He was still a virgin! He and Clare never did that kind of stuff!
"Dad, I – I don't need -"
"Just take it," Dad interrupted, shoving it into Jude's free hand with a stern look, "I've been your age before. I know what boys like to do. And if you're gonna be messing around, you need to use one, okay? We don't need anymore surprises around here."
Jude swallowed roughly. Surprises? Oh man, why did Dad have to make Jude blush so hard? Even though he was pretty sure that he wasn't going to be doing anything naughty with Clarence, Jude took the condom and quickly stuffed it in his jacket pocket. Dad took a deep breath of relief and patted Jude's shoulder with a look of gratefulness.
Luckily, before either of them could say anything else, the deep rumble of Clarence's motorcycle cut their conversation short. The blonde demon – who left his guitar case with Jessie at the picnic table and was now wearing his own helmet – carefully guided his loud bike out of the parking space and came around to pick up Jude. He purposefully revved the engine a few times when he paused, which made Dad roll his eyes in annoyance. Fighting laughter, Jude slipped the spare helmet onto his own head and stepped up to throw a leg over Clare's bike; straddling it and sliding up to wrap both arms around Clare's warm torso. Once Jude was in position, Clarence quickly pulled the bike away, speeding off toward the main road while Jude waved goodbye to his parents behind them.
When Dad, Papa, and the rest of his family was out of sight, Jude turned his full attention to Clarence's warm body in front of him. The heavy vibration of the bike mixed with the loud growl of the engine made Jude's whole body tingle. The faster the bike went, the tighter Jude held on, and the hotter the fire in his stomach raged. Getting a new car from his family was amazing – but taking this adrenaline-fueled ride with Clare was just as awesome.
Jude was being honest when he tried to tell his Dad that he didn't need a condom. He and Clarence had never had sex before. The closest they ever got was a few shirtless kisses during a 'shirts vs. skins' basketball game at Ollie's house last summer. Most of Jude and Clarence's relationship was based on laughing, flirting, calling, texting, and playing around. Besides, Jude was too nervous and shy to bring up the intimate topic... but that didn't mean that he didn't want to have sex with Clarence. Because he did. He thought about it all the time, especially when they texted each other at bedtime. And now that there was an actual condom in his pocket, and he was all alone with Clarence, Jude's head was filling with possibilities...
Clarence drove his motorcycle just a few miles down the road and pulled off on a dirt path, which led them into a small stream surrounded by forest. The bike engine echoed through the trees, making birds and small animals scatter as it came through. When the bike came up to a wooden bridge, Clarence slowly pulled over and shut the bike off, making everything quiet again. When he started to take off his helmet, Jude copied him, getting rid of the obstructions so that they could see each others' faces again. Clare got off first and held a hand out to Jude, who smiled shyly before letting his boyfriend help him up.
"I wanted to have you to myself for a bit," Clarence said, which sort of explained their seemingly random stop.
Jude nodded, but didn't say anything. He was too busy staring at Clare's pretty face and thinking about the small item in his pocket... When they were both standing, Clare took Jude by the hand and wandered over toward the wooden bridge. The sound of soft trickling water played around them when Clare spoke again.
"That's a kick-ass necklace," he purred, reaching up to flick the Superman pendant on Jude's chest, "Is it one of your new presents?"
"No," Jude answered, glancing down at it, "My grandpa gave it to me."
"Grandpa? I thought you said he was dead," Clarence replied.
It took Jude a moment of thinking to realize who Clarence was talking about.
"Oh. No, that was Dad's dad. This necklace came from Papa's dad," Jude explained as plainly as possible.
Clarence gave Jude a strange look as they shuffled closer to the middle of the bridge.
"Cas's dad?" he repeated, "Cas is an angel. So, you're saying that God gave you that?"
Jude smiled and nodded proudly, remembering the night clearly in his mind. He thought that Clarence would be impressed to find out that Jude's grandfather was God – but, surprisingly, Clarence just laughed and shook his head.
"Yeah. Okay. Whatever," he muttered.
It seemed like Clare didn't believe him at all. Jude opened his mouth to ask Clarence why he found it so funny, but Clarence started talking first. He finally paused on the bridge to turn around with a softer look.
"You know, there's actually a reason I brought you out here, Jay," he began, using one hand to fiddle with Jude's fingers and the other to reach into his jacket pocket.
Jude felt his heart picking up speed again. Oh boy. Why did Clare bring him here? The handsome demon smiled at the look of curiosity on Jude's face.
"I made you a gift," Clarence admitted, "It's not much, but I thought it would be a pretty cool birthday present for a superhero."
Jude watched Clare's hand slip from his pocket and noticed the small bottle in his fingers. It was a glass bottle, barely big enough to hold eight ounces, that contained some kind of red-orange liquid. The portable jar was closed off at the top with a tiny cork, which had a gold chain and small pentagram charm on the side. Jude blinked a the bottle in wonder. It was so pretty, but what was it? Jude raised his eyes to Clare's face for the answer.
"It's a potion," the demon explained, "A courage potion. From one of Rowena's books. Took me three weeks and twenty-seven ingredients to brew. I figured that if you're gonna go around playing Superman, you might need a little extra bravery now and then. And this oughta do the trick."
Jude's mouth slowly fell open as he carefully took the bottle from Clare's hand to look at it closely. When the liquid slashed around, more golden tones appeared near the edges that quickly faded back into red. It was so beautiful. Magical. And Clarence had spent several weeks making it. That was so sweet...
"It really works," Clarence promised confidently, "I tried a sip before I bottled it up, and I was pretty sure that I could fight a hive of bees with my bare hands."
A giggle escaped Jude's smiling lips. A bee hive? Really? That must have been some crazy-strong courage. Jude's eyes dropped back to the bottle in his hands and he just couldn't help himself. He really wanted to see if it worked, but more importantly, he wanted to see what it tasted like... The teenager gently popped the cork out of the bottle and brought it up to smell the contents. Rich hints of cinnamon, ginseng, and clover tickled his nose and made his mouth water a bit.
"Careful, Jay. It's strong as hell," Clarence warned.
Jude nodded to acknowledge the statement before raising up the bottle to steal a tiny sip. It was just enough to coat his tongue – and he found out that Clare was right. Man, that burned! 'Courage' tasted a lot like hot sauce and mouthwash. Jude coughed a bit and shoved the cork back into the bottle as he smacked his lips together. Clarence was watching him closely; biting down a grin and staring at him as if he was waiting for something to happen... and after a few seconds, Jude could actually feel it. Huh. What was the big deal about being afraid? There was nothing to be afraid of. No reason to be shy or hold back words. For the first time in his life, Jude actually felt like Superman.
"Well?" Clare prompted, "Are you ready to fight a hive of bees or what?"
Jude turned to his boyfriend and smiled. Fight a hive of bees? No. He didn't have any desire to fight. Quite the opposite, Jude had the urge to love. And now that he literally had the courage to overcome his shyness, Jude wasn't afraid to give it either. The teenager gently placed the bottle of red liquid into his jacket pocket – next to the condom – before stepping over to plunge his mouth against Clare's. He could feel that Clarence was smiling inside their kiss, even as Jude's hand slid up beyond Clare's shirt to touch his bare skin.
"Mmm," Clare hummed, "You really are brave..."
Jude didn't reply with words. He simply guided his tongue back inside Clarence's mouth and let his hands keep working. Clarence's torso felt so much better than it did when they first met. He was no longer boney and frail, but meaty and toned. Working with Bobby in the salvage yard and being fed by Rowena seemed to really beef him up. And feeling along his warm stomach made Jude's own body react. He could feel himself responding to the touch of Clare's body; heart racing and underwear tightening. And the best part was that he wasn't afraid. In fact, he wanted to go farther. Jude hummed a little bit inside their kiss as he reached down to grab the belt on Clare's pants...
But then, Clare's hands shot up to grab him by the wrists. The demon yanked his own mouth free and turned his blonde head away to pant in another direction. Jude also panted, making Clare's hair move around with the hot air as he blinked repeatedly. What happened? Was Jude going too fast? Could Clare taste the potion, too? What was wrong? After a second or two, Clarence carefully tossed Jude's hands away and straightened his own clothes; covering up his bare skin and refusing to look Jude in the eye. The sight broke Jude's heart. Did Clarence not want to have sex with him? Did he not want to go that far at all? But why? An awkward silence settled between them as the birds chirped and the stream of water babbled. Jude wished that there was something he could say. Should he apologize? Try to explain his actions? Thankfully, Clarence turned back just enough to shake his head.
"... I can't," he almost whispered.
Jude swallowed hard and forced a nod. Maybe Clarence wasn't ready. Maybe now wasn't the time. Since it seemed like there was nothing more to say on the matter, Clarence took a breath and gestured toward the bike nearby. Jude could tell that he was trying his best not to let the discomfort linger between them.
"C'mon, Jude," he mumbled, "I've gotta get you back to the party before your parents hunt me down."
Though Jude was worried about Clare's distant behavior, he followed him back to the bike without a word. He still loved him with all his heart and was proud to hold his hand.
(Author's Note: Happy (early) Valentine's Day, everyone! I'm finally back with the big finale! :D How many of you remember this time two years ago? Back when the very first chapter of this long story was published? It's crazy to think that the same little baby that Castiel gave birth to in that first fic is now 17 years old with a boyfriend and a car of his own, isn't it? :') (Sorry. I'm tearing up again over here. Lol) As you can tell, Jude and Clare are closer than ever, as are Jessie and Ollie. Rowena is still hanging around with her son, Ms. Jane is still single, and Dickie is still a pervert. Not much as changed in the year and a half since the last story. Lol. :D But the road ahead will be long and full of angst, which is why I'm warning you now. Also, *Minor Spoiler Alert* All of the teenagers will be losing their virginity this time, (Jude with Clarence, and Jessie with Ollie) which means there will be some underage smut scenes. I say 'underage' because they are still teenagers. So if that isn't your kind of thing, at least I warned you ahead of time so you can skip it. ;) *End Spoiler* With all that in mind, I really hope that you guys enjoy this big finale! There will be at least 14 chapters. And, as always, I will try to post every Friday morning until it's finished. :) I cannot thank you guys enough for following this story for so long (two whole years!) and I hope that you will continue to enjoy it until the very last sentence. :) Again, Happy Valentine's Day to you all! I love you with all my heart! *kisses and hugs* The next chapter – which kicks off the angst – will be out soon! :)