For Kate

Just 'cause.

Dean's deal comes true on the twentieth of April. It's a beautiful day, the last one Dean will ever see as a human being, and he and Sam spend most of it getting drunk on the hood of the Impala.

By midmorning they've abandoned the pretense of being strong, manly men and are curled in each other's arms, watching helplessly as the sun starts sinking behind the mountains. (They're in Virginia. Sam hates Virginia but Dean loves it; he loves the way the light hits the trees and the way the soft grass whistles during the summer.) When the voice on the radio cuts off the last three seconds of Def Leppard to announce that it's noon and there's a traffic jam on I-85, Sam untangles himself and stumbles a few yards away to puke.

Dean watches impassively and then closes his eyes, leaning against the windshield and soaking in the orange sun.

On his hands and knees, Sam stares at the ground. He wonders idly how many thousands of feet below the Hell Hounds will drag Dean, how long it will take to get there. When he crawls back to the car Dean helps him, using the bumper as a step-up. He smiles sadly, for no particular reason, and ruffles his little brother's hair. There are faint snarls on the wind. He shakes his head. "I've got some more fight left in me, Sammy," he says, and then adds sarcastically, "I give it to God."

They sit in silence until the moon rises. The snarls get louder until, "Well, well, well. Time's up, Dean-o."

This crossroads demon wears a feral smile and reaches out her hand. Dean tosses Sam a sad look. "Love you, little brother," he whispers, clutching him in a hug. Then, fiercely, "I'm not sorry. Not ever."

He pulls away and reaches out a hand to clasp the demon's.

As soon as their fingers touch, the demon screams. There's white, searing light and burning heat; Sam squeezes his eyes shut and reaches blindly for his brother, yelling, "Dean! Dean!"

Then it folds inward, swallowing itself and leaving behind a tiny pile of ashes where a demon and her dogs used to be. And standing where Dean should be are two enormous wings attached to a body.

The man turns around, looking at his hands. "Dude," he says slowly, "What the hell?"

Sam's jaw drops to the floor and he's left staring at Dean—or not Dean, or a man who looks like Dean except for the, you know, wings—with wide eyes. "What—what are you?" He asks, voice trembling, reaching out to touch the silk feathers.

Dean blinks. "I have no idea," he says slowly. "Unless…" his voice cracks and then suddenly he's laughing, hard. "Dude. Dude. God rocks."

Sam waits a beat, and then a little smile overtakes his own mouth. "Whatever fight you have left…" he says slowly. "You gave it to God."

"He had to know I was kidding. You know I was kidding, right?" Dean turns his face upward, questioning. "I mean, I'm grateful. These wings are going to be so good for getting some a—ow!" He breaks off, hand flying to his shoulder blade. Sam jumps off the hood of the car, expression worried. "It bit me!"

"…It's a pair of wings, dude, I don't think they bite."

"I know when I'm being bitten, Sam. And that was more than just a love nibble!"

Sam is laughing too hard to answer. And then he's throwing his arms around his brother's shoulders, awkward as it is with the wings in the way, and blubbering like a little baby into Dean's neck. "You're not in Hell," he's bawling, "You're not in Hell."

"No," Dean agrees, clinging on just as tightly. "I'm still here. Looks like my contract got switched from the Devil's hands to God's." He pauses. "And I dare you to call me an angel, bitch. I dare you." A pause. "Ow! It bit me again! Jesus! Ahh! Stop that!"

"Don't take the Lord's name in vain, Dean," Sam says through his laughter, pulling away. "Be angelic."

"Don't tell me to be fucking—OW! What the fuc—STOP!" Abruptly, the wings begin to beat against Dean's back, their huge span unfolding so wide that Sam takes a step back. And slowly, ever so slowly, Dean's feet leave the ground. "Oh, no," he murmurs, his voice faint. "Dude. No. I hate flying. No. No no no no no, I'm sorry, I'll stop swearing, okay? I'll stop. Forever. Just put me back on the ground!"

The wings obey.

Sam shakes his head, curling himself into the driver's seat of the car. "Looks like I'm driving," he declares cheerfully, before pausing. When he speaks, his voice is full of breathless awe. "Which I guess makes you… the wingman!"

Dean scowls. "Very funny, Sam. Very funny." The wings fold into themselves as he sits. They pull out onto the road as Sam fiddles with the radio. There is a blissful ten minutes of silence until Dean bursts out, "Oh, for the love of everything holy, Sam, at least choose a good station!"

"Dude, this is good. Better than AC/Suck C, anyway."

"Do. Not. Insult. AC/DC." Dean glowers. "I'll beat your ass from here back to Califo—" He cuts off with a miserable whimper. "It bit me again," he whines, rubbing at his shoulder. "Who knew being an angel sucked so bad?"

"Well, being on God's Team has got to help with the whole… saving people thing."

"Don't look so smug, smartass. Ow."

"Stop swearing and they'll stop biting you, Dean."

"Well maybe if these things would stop being such pussies … ow! Damnit!"

Sam's laughter punctuates the end of the twentieth, and Dean's loud cursing heralds in the twenty-first.


"Where are we going, anyway?" Dean asks after a while, curling the wings around him like a blanket.

Sam sends him a side grin. "Bobby's," he answers with a smirk. "He's going to laugh his ass off."