Title: Heavenly Fathers
Author: May Robinson
Summary: 4.07 Episode Tag. Castiel makes another appearance and a sleep-deprived Dean finds out more about why and, more importantly, how he got where he is today. Buckets 'o angst within.
Rating: PG13, T (harsh language)
Pairing/Characters: Genfic, no pairings. Dean Winchester, Castiel, Sam Winchester
Spoilers: 4.07 obviously, assume anything up until then, particularly season 4
Disclaimers: See my profile page
A/N: Major thanks to pdragon76 for her encouragement, awesome beta skills, and most especially for whipping me back into shape and hiding the bullets ;). Thanks also to tahirire for her eagle-eye and jiffy-quick fact checking, maychorian too for the latter, Ultraviolet9a for some food for thought and, Jennie for the input I've relied on for almost a decade. I've tweaked though so all mistakes are mine. Folks, this is pure, unadulterated, self-indulgent, based-in-canon pap fantasy that includes wild speculation on my part, hope, and even a hint of rose-colored glasses. But, since my SPN muse hasn't blinked, let alone spoken to me, in almost a full year, I'll take what I can get. Oh, and as often as I whump Dean, this is actually the first time I've written from his POV and, in another first, I'm trying Castiel on for size too. I pray I do them and Sam justice. Thank-you for reading.
by May Robinson
Castiel was gone again. Vanished to be more precise.
Typical. Drop another bomb and then hop a transporter to the clouds. Or the U.S.S. Enterprise. Or where-the-fuck-ever.
Fine. Good riddance.
Still reeling from the weight of the angel's words, Dean slumped back against the park bench, scrubbed a shaky hand through his hair and tried desperately to zone out for a while, just watch the kids before him play.
A shriek sent him bolt upright and familiar flashes of heatfireflameburning interspersed within unfathomable aloneafraidabandonedagony lingered much too long before his brain finally re-engaged. The sharp squeals were nothing more than the happy sounds of children playing, but that knowledge did little to extinguish Dean's desire to sprint for the Impala and the sanctuary it offered. Or slow his wildly racing heart.
Okay. So, ixnay on the zoning out. He should've known better. He couldn't shut his mind down entirely no matter how hard or how often he tried.
There was a time when his dad and Sam would've argued that Dean's default setting was either food or sex. Now, not so much. Nothing nearly as appealing.
Now? Well, he wasn't going there… willingly.
Shaking off the residual tremors still coursing through him, Dean shifted, turning his attention to the motel's parking lot in the distance behind him. To the closed door he could just make out opposite the Impala. He figured Sam was packing up, which could take freakin' forever these days given the OCD he seemed to have developed during Dean's, uh, absence. Wondered if the kid would pack his gear too, then immediately trashed the idea. His old Sam would've. This Sam? Doubtful. This Sam was every bit as pissed at and disappointed in Dean as Dean was with him. No, Dean'd be packing up his own ginch once he made his way back to the room.
Fine. Like cleaning his guns, or driving his baby, it was something he could do by rote.
Anything more challenging and he'd be toast. God, was he exhausted. Saving his fellow mud monkeys was hard work, even when a body was getting decent sleep. And Dean's shut-eye hadn't approached anything close to decent since Castiel had plucked him from perdition. Between that, taking on those ghosts and Romano film-fest rejects and, oh, let's not forget, trying and failing to keep his demon-blooded little brother on the straight and narrow, Dean had just about shot his wad.
And Castiel 'didn't envy the weight on his shoulders'. Well now, didn't that make everything just hunky-dory then? Christ, when the freakin' angel that God Himself sent to haul your ass out of Hell thinks you're up shit's creek, wasn't it pretty much a given that you were well and truly fucked?
It was no wonder Sammy was so damn disillusioned by them. These angels, with their cryptic words, arrogance, and bullshit field tests, did so not deserve their place on top of Christmas trees. Fucking sanctimonious dicks.
Oh, and like Dean needed to hear that there were more challenges to look forward to 'in the coming months'. More tests, more decisions. Yada yada yada. Same shit, different pile.
And just how in the hell was he supposed to save humanity anyway, when just ten minutes apart from Sam had resulted in a hemorrhaging kid brother mind-fucking a super-sized demon?
God, how could he save the world when he couldn't even save his little brother?
"Don't give up on him, Dean."
Dean tried not to jump. Okay, so maybe he'd flinched. "What are you doing back? I thought you'd fucked off to perch on a flagpole or something."
"Don't mock my wings, Dean."
They sat in silence for a while -- Dean Winchester and his rumpled, trench-coat-wearing Columbo-wannabe angel by his side -- sharing the same bench this time. Dean let out a soft chuckle, dropped his head in enduring disbelief. Angels… it got funnier every time he heard it.
Okay, so maybe it didn't.
This silence though, with Castiel's solid, steady presence mere inches from Dean's shoulder, was more comfortable than Dean wanted to admit. More companionable than the brooding silence he'd left behind with his brother in their motel room. And that realization, unsettling as it was, robbed Dean of the last vestiges of comfort he'd been grasping onto -- of course.
With tension seeping back into his bones, Dean adjusted his position, forcibly straightening shoulders still wanting to wilt in defeat. His back now to Castiel. Pointedly ignoring him.
"Don't give up on yourself either."
"You still here?"
He was so not in the mood for this. Needed a break. A cold beer and a good fuck. Was that too much to ask?
Apparently so. "Seriously, man. Why don't you save your pep talk for someone who can actually win your battles." Anger and frustration heated his words, defeat shattered those that followed. "Someone who hasn't already lost."
"My Father chose you, Dean Winchester. He would not have chosen a loser."
There it was again… that infuriating conviction of the righteous. "Yeah, well, guess He's a lousy judge of character, huh?"
The fabric of the trench-coat telegraphed the movement but even without the rustling, Dean could tell the angel had shifted, leaned forward. Was giving Dean that penetrating, quizzical look. "Then what of your father? Would you say the same of him?"
Dean bristled at the reference, fingers of his right hand digging into the bench beneath them. This was the second time Castiel had brought up John Winchester and Dean damn well didn't appreciate it. Finally facing the angel, green eyes squared off against blue. "Look, shut up about my dad, alright. Leave him out of this." He didn't need to be reminded of the guilt he was feeling for spending much of his last year alive pissed at the man. The same man who'd suffered longer in Hell than his son -- for that son. Dean felt shitty enough, thanks. Besides, as much as he missed his father, needed his guidance more than ever, Dean was almost grateful that he wasn't around to witness just how badly his first born had fucked up both his sons' lives.
Castiel just stared at Dean, apparently waiting for more. And all Dean could offer was a shame-filled, "Can't you just let him rest in peace?"
The angel finally blinked then. Lowered his head before meeting Dean's imploring gaze once again, this time with one of sympathy. Compassion. And even before Castiel spoke the words, Dean felt his stomach begin to roil. "Do you honestly believe your father's at peace right now?"
No. Nonononono. Panic, terror filled his gut and Dean felt liquid lava race up his throat, blistering his insides. And though he knew escape was futile, he found himself standing, lurching, toward the nearest tree. God, no. His father couldn't be back in Hell. They'd watched the light take him away. He had to be out of there. He simply had to.
Castiel stood next to him, his grip on Dean's shoulder equal parts gentle and firm. Calming. Dean relaxed his grasp on the tree he hadn't realized he'd been clinging to, but didn't let go, pressing his face against its rough bark, frantically trying to vanquish the images of his bloodied father, spread-eagled in chains, impaled by meat-hooks and suspended over a cavernous pit.
Screaming in terror.
His own voice small, its strength robbed by dread and the scorching bile he'd expelled half-way between the bench and here, still Dean gathered the courage to ask. "What are you saying? Why wouldn't he be?" Oh, please. Please tell me he and mom are just arguing over what wallpaper pattern best matches the clouds.
"Of course he's not."
There was enough condescension in Castiel's tone that Dean snapped out of his grief and the fear and straightened his stance.
"How could he be?" Castiel continued, pity now making Dean want to gag. "Knowing the burden you have to bear. What both his sons have suffered."
Dean slumped back against the tree, its trunk giving him the support his knees were denying him.
"He knows? Everything?" And, God, wouldn't Dean have hurled again if he'd had anything at all left on his insides.
Infuriatingly, Castiel didn't answer the question. Slipped back into cryptic with one of his own. "Dean… why haven't you asked me why you were made to endure your torment for four months before I raised you?"
"I dunno. Beggars can't be choosers, maybe?" He wasn't entirely being a smart-ass here, despite the look of Sammy-like exasperation that played across Castiel's features. Truthfully, even though Dean had actually wondered why it had taken so damn long, he didn't exactly feel he had the right to ask.
Castiel expelled a heavy sigh and, okay, so now Dean was getting irritated too. Just what did this have to do with John Winchester anyway?
"Look, I said I don't know, okay? Haven't really thought about it."
Castiel raised both eyebrows at the lie.
Dean bristled at being caught, and then tossed out, "Fine. Let me guess… bureaucratic red tape?" with as much sarcasm as he could muster.
Castiel's laugh was far from the response he'd expected.
"Care to share with the rest of the class?"
With a short nod as his reply, the angel schooled his features, settling on his standard M.O.… the face of serious sincerity. Or was it sincere seriousness? Dean hadn't figured that one out yet.
"You're closer than you could possibly imagine."
"Yes, come. Let's sit down again." Lightly grasping Dean's elbow, Castiel ushered Dean back to the bench he'd so hurriedly vacated before he'd purged ten pounds of Halloween candy from his guts. Dean didn't resist. If the angel thought the next bombshell he was about to drop was worthy of sitting down, Dean wasn't going to launch a protest.
Seated side-by-side once again, the silence this time hummed with apprehension and Dean felt himself tense -- his muscles and his mind. "Just cut to the chase, Castiel." Challenge in his voice, despite how uneasy he felt.
The colloquialism didn't help speed things along. Apparently it threw Castiel enough so that he cocked his head like that RCA Victor dog from the old LPs Dean had seen at Jim Murphy's place years ago. Clearly puzzled, the angel drew his brows together, but then his face softened, as though he'd let the mystery slide. Or solved it somehow.
Dean's vision was nearly swimming with anxiety as he braced himself for yet another blow. Instead of expected heartache though, the angel's words only instilled confusion, as did the reverence Dean could hear in his voice.
"It's because it took considerable time for your father to gain an audience, make his plea and then await a decision."
"What?" Dean didn't understand. Wasn't sure he wanted to. "Gain an audience with who?"
"You already know the answer, Dean."
Again with the cryptic shit. Only this time Dean did know exactly what the angel was implying. Or rather Who the angel was implying. The man upstairs. The big kahuna. Dean got it. He was just having one helluva time buying it.
"His faith in you is astounding. And his arguments were compelling."
Okay, Dean had had enough of this little fantasy. Hell, he was starting to wonder if inside Castiel's coat might be a hidden crack pipe. "Wait a minute. Are you honestly trying to tell me that John Winchester, that… that my father, was able to have a one-on-one with God and convinced Him to spring me from the pit?"
Castiel's expression softened even further. Head canted only slightly this time, mouth pursed in a near smile. Still with all that sincerity but with a little extra warmth thrown in, especially in the way he softened his voice. Like a father talking to his child. But instead of taking offense, Dean found it oddly comforting. "Yes, Dean. That is what I'm telling you." Castiel almost smiled again. Almost. "Honestly."
"You shittin' me?"
"Should I assume you're being rhetorical and that I don't have to respond to that?"
Aside from a soft chuckle, Dean didn't answer either, lost as he was in his own thoughts. Warmth he hadn't felt since an all-too-brief family reunion in Chicago flowed through Dean's joints, flooded his heart and spread a rush of affection, of pride, of love so strong, he was certain his face and ears must be glowing bright red.
But after a rush that intense, then came the inevitable crash. Always. It's why Dean had forsaken pharmaceuticals a long time ago. Castiel's words had come back to him quickly, had registered: "faith in you" and "compelling arguments". Not "love". And Dean's blood grew cold.
Hands clenched in tight fists, Dean stood again, this time on steady legs, and faced his savior. "What arguments? What did my dad say to God?"
Castiel looked a little stunned, still seated as he was and looking up now at Dean. And maybe it wasn't too smart to loom over a freakin' angel but Dean was past sitting down now. He needed to stand. Needed to take it, whatever Castiel had to say, like a man.
The angel stood too, reached out for Dean's shoulder in bewildered concern, but Dean backed away. Castiel didn't try again, just looked a little disappointed then finally answered Dean's question. "He said that you could stop Sam's path. That you could save him."
So this was all about Sam.
Fuckin' bastard did it to me again.
Only this time, Dean had the apocalypse, and Lucifer himself, breathing down his neck too.
"So, let me get this straight… God granted me a get-out-of-Hell-free card just so I could save Dad's precious Sammy?" Dean was furious, so bitterly angry that he refused to regret his callous words. Livid enough to rekindle long extinguished childhood jealousies and the hurt that fuelled them. And mad enough to deny he knew his accusations were partial-truths at worst, blatant lies at best.
Dean fully expected a reprimand, maybe even another threat, but instead Castiel just stepped toward him, reaching for him once again. And because Dean was still fuming and a stubborn sonovabitch to boot, he still denied the angel the contact.
Castiel dropped his outstretched hand, rubbed his other across his stubbled chin. His confusion was crystal clear, blue eyes appearing dark beneath his furrowed brow as he spoke, "I don't understand this ire, Dean. This rage."
"You didn't answer my question." Dean's response was clipped, cold, and he knew he was skating on thin ice. Didn't give a flying fuck.
Confusion was sliding into irritation but Castiel answered, which was all that mattered to Dean. "In some ways, yes. Yes, God raised you to save your brother from the path Azazel set out for him."
Dean scoffed and this time Castiel raised a hand that silenced him. Okay, so maybe Dean wasn't so suicidal after all.
"If in saving Sam, mankind survives as well," the angel continued, "isn't that what you'd want? Isn't protecting Sam, saving him, what you've strived your whole life to do?"
"Yes!" Beyond frustrated, Dean knew he'd never be able to explain himself. He still had to try. "Don't you get it? Saving Sam is my choice. Not Dad's, not yours and not God's, all right!"
Between his anger and frustration, he'd shouted loud enough to draw the attention of the kids and parents over at the nearby jungle-gym. The adults were now busy hustling the protesting kids away, no doubt disturbed by the sight of the trench-coat creep and the ranting lunatic facing off against each other. Dean immediately regretted his outburst. One look at the intensity of scorn playing across Castiel's features, and Dean wondered if he might end up regretting it for all eternity.
"That's enough, Dean."
The familiar voice was suddenly colder and felt infinitely more ancient. Oh, yeah, Dean had crossed the line and trench-coat creep was more than capable of scaring him shitless when he put his mind to it.
Thunder suddenly rumbled overhead and Dean ducked, just barely stifling a yelp. Had the good sense to apologize before getting himself skewered by a lightning bolt. "Hey, c'mon. Sorry, man."
Castiel actually looked amused. Raised his gaze to the sky before shrugging his shoulders. "Coincidence."
"You should head back to the motel. Before the rain begins." Dean didn't argue. Though more often than not he found it cloying, he'd take Castiel's concern over his wrath any day.
They walked across the park in silence, the intensity of Dean's anger slowly dissipating with every step they took. Maybe he'd needed to vent like that. God knew his volatile temper these days was a direct side-effect of his lack of sleep. Better he'd ranted at Castiel than Sam. Of course he could say that now, now that he knew he'd survive it.
Dean was still upset though.
As if sensing it, Castiel lightly grabbed Dean's arm, steering them to a stop and facing each other.
"Dean, is it your belief that your father has chosen Sam over you?" Apparently Dean wasn't the only one still mulling over their conversation.
"Yes. No, of course not. He loves -- loved -- us both." Wow, could Dean have said that with any more conviction?
Castiel had the decency not to call him on it. "Yes. Yes he does love you both. Equally, Dean."
Now there… that was conviction.
Unnerved as he was by the angel's certainty, Dean wanted to believe Castiel in the worst way. Despite his weakest moments, Dean never truly doubted his father's love. And if there was one good thing that came out of his tenure in Hell, it was that he'd never, ever doubt it again. But Sammy was the baby, was special, and Dean couldn't really begrudge his father that favoritism. Except… in his weakest moments.
To hear Castiel's assertion though? Dean felt all of twelve years old and he desperately wanted it to be true. But he needed to know what made Castiel so damn sure. "How do you know?" Christ, he even sounded twelve.
And the angel responded with such tenderness in his blue eyes, Dean had to give himself a once-over, just to check and make sure he hadn't somehow morphed into a child when he hadn't been paying attention.
"I simply know. It's something I can see."
It wasn't enough. God forgive Dean, but Castiel's word just wasn't good enough.
Dean tried to hide his disappointment, revert from helpless, hurting child, back to a strong, capable… helpless, hurting man.
Fuck. He really was a pussy, wasn't he?
Apparently recognizing Dean's inner turmoil for what it was, Castiel extended a life-line. "Dean, John Winchester has always been your advocate. Long before the Hellhounds and Lilith came for you, your father had begun appealing for your release… first from the crossroads' contract and then, having failed in his persuasion, fighting for your freedom from perdition."
The angel paused then and Dean didn't know if Castiel was expecting him to say anything or not. If he was, he'd have a long wait. Dean's throat had closed up and about the only thing that could escape his throat now would've been a sob.
It took a minute, and Dean wasn't about to believe that the angel's hesitancy had anything to do with gathering his own composure, but Castiel finally started up again, adamant. "Dean, you must believe me. From the moment he'd learned of your fate, your father has granted himself no rest, no peace. Only the agony of knowing your suffering and the helpless impotency to do anything but rage and shed tears."
It looked like Castiel was finished this time, and Dean didn't know what to say. Still didn't know if he was even capable. Though it would take him a while to get used to the idea, Dean did believe Castiel now. Absolutely. And though he couldn't deny the incredible balm the angel's words had just provided for his soul, it also killed Dean to know that his dad had suffered so much on his behalf. Again.
He knew he had to say something though. Thank Castiel, if nothing else.
"Wow, impressive. Have you been practicing or did you just wing it?" Oh, crap. That was so not how he'd meant that to come out.
Dean cringed at Castiel's scowl, but on closer observation, the angel seemed more baffled than ballistic.
"You wouldn't be ridiculing my wings again, would you?"
Dean froze, unwilling to risk damnation courtesy of his smart mouth.
Before he could come up with a safe response though, Castiel relaxed his stance, allowed a small smile to quirk his lips and Dean suddenly realized he'd just been had.
By an angel.
And so Dean did the only thing he could, and threw his head back and barked out a good laugh.
Not surprisingly, Castiel didn't join in so, at Dean's prompting, they continued on their way. Despite his faith in Castiel's words, Dean found he had more questions brewing. He needed to know more, to understand how he got here.
"So tears, huh?"
"I believe his strongest were attributed mistakenly here to -- Ike?"
Dean stumbled, nearly went down. Felt Castiel grip his arm but recovered on his own and brushed the angel off with a quick, "Thanks, I got it," and kept on walking.
Castiel had to be pulling Dean's leg again, right? Right? He was so not going to look at him. Afraid of what he might see. Like the truth.
His step faltered again when the angel resumed speaking. Fuck, he was jumpy all of a sudden.
"Is it forgivable then, that a gifted tactician such as your father was able to take advantage of the circumstances surrounding the judgment of your brother and ultimately win your freedom?"
"Yeah, sure. Of course." Dean was already beginning to figure that out. Come to terms with it. "Wait, what judgment?"
This time it was Dean's grip on Castiel's arm preventing their advance. Castiel stopped moving, threw Dean a disapproving look so strong it made him squirm. Reminded him of his dad when he was pissed, and Dean instantly let go. Raised both hands in supplication. He still needed an answer though. "What were you saying about my brother?"
Castiel still looked stern, grim even, but Dean didn't think he was annoyed with him anymore. "Dean, as soon as Sam started working to hone his powers with Ruby, Uriel was commissioned to stop him. End him." It was Castiel who looked apologetic now. "I'm afraid his over-zealous nature has made him eager to carry out those orders still."
And now it was Dean's turn to be pissed. Though, he kept his cool this time. Mostly. "Yeah, well, you tell your specialist to keep his fucking hands off Sam…" Nobody touches my brother. Nobody… "I got it, all right. I'll get it done."
Dean hadn't felt that kind of resolve in a long time. It felt damn good. Attainable.
"Both our fathers believe you will, Dean. That's why you're here -- now. They have faith in you. And if you can't have faith yet in mine, have faith in yours."
Dean had lost that faith for a while. Though maybe misplaced was actually a better word for it. Honestly, how could he have ever doubted the force of nature that was John Winchester?
Literally. Dean huffed out a laugh. Or maybe it was a sob.
Somewhere along the way, they'd started walking again and Dean suddenly found himself standing next to his car. He turned to Castiel then, felt he should say something. Owed the man that much. But the angel was already gone.
That was okay. Castiel wasn't the man Dean was referring to anyway.
"I always will, Dad." Though the words were softly whispered, they were powerful, and Dean's heart felt lighter just having said them out loud.
"Always will what?"
Dean startled and spun around. His view of clouds on the horizon quickly replaced by that of Sam, or rather his ginormous chest. Damn it, now Sam was doing it to him too.
Clearing his throat, Dean stepped back, took in the sight of his brother. Fully anticipating defiance, what he saw in those dark hazel eyes, in the angle of his chin, was a mixture of curiosity and concern. Growing concern. Maybe even a little regret thrown in.
"Uh, nothin'… just thinking about Dad." Dean wasn't going to lie. Was just too damn tired to rehash everything right now. "Guess I was talking to myself."
Sam nodded his understanding, acceptance. Didn't say anything more. Just stood there with his duffel bag weighing down even his massive shoulders. Or maybe it was something else. The silence stretched on, longer than Dean was comfortable with and he hated it. Hated that it was becoming easier to talk to Castiel, or even his dead father, than it was talking to Sam.
Knowing that he'd have a better shot at getting Sam to open up once they hit the road, Dean broke the silence. Acknowledging his brother's duffel, he gave the kid's arm a quick swipe and made to walk past. "Go ahead and load up, I'll be packed and ready to rock in no time."
"You're already packed." The familiar sound of one of the Impala's doors screeching open almost drowned out the kid's words. And Dean wasn't sure he heard what he thought he'd heard. Turning back, he watched as Sam swung the bag into the back seat.
Sam straightened, met Dean's eyes briefly then closed the car door. Used that action, Dean was sure, as an excuse to look away. "I-- uh-- already packed your stuff." Shrugged his shoulders and then added, "It's already loaded."
Aw, Sammy. Dean resisted the urge to say that out loud. Blinked back a sudden prickle of tears. He had to say something though. Get his brother to actually look at him.
"Hey, Sammy." He threw a little of Dad's command voice into the words. It had the desired effect and Sam finally looked at Dean, holding his gaze. Dean made sure his own was soft, warm, welcoming. It wasn't hard. That came natural as breathing most of the time where his kid brother was concerned. "Thanks, dude."
Sam looked a little embarrassed. Ducking his head like he used to back when he was little and Dean had given him any kind of praise. "Don't mention it," he replied, scuffing the toe of his boot against the lot's pavement. He laughed lightly, still self-conscious, though he was willing to meet Dean's eyes again. "I got a little carried away with the folding."
Yeah, I'll bet.
Dean let his own concern slide. Took little brother's confession for what it was. Packing up Dean's gear had been an olive branch. The admission was an invitation. And Dean was more than happy to RSVP and let fly with his opening salvo.
"Tell me you did not fold my shorts?"
"Dude, come on! Don't you know a man's ginch is sacred?"
"Dean, there is nothing sacred about your underwear. Trust me, I should know."
Dean shook his head, playing appalled to the hilt. "That is so so wrong."
"Don't even go there, jerk."
They were both grinning like idiots now and Dean would've kept it up if he could have, but he was hopelessly running out of steam. Between his total lack of restful sleep, his bruises from last night, and the utter release and relief of today, he felt used up. His reserves were depleted and he was about to hit the wall. But he had a feeling, a hope at least, that the dizzying headiness he was experiencing right now would mix with his exhaustion and provide him with the perfect cocktail for a truly peaceful sleep.
"What?" Laughter still rang in Sam's voice and Dean reconsidered what he was about to do. He didn't want to see the inevitable change in his brother, the worry on his face. He even hesitated but, as another wave of you're running on fumes slammed into him, Dean knew he had no choice.
"You think you can do me another favor?"
He had Sam's full attention, and Dean felt a twinge of nostalgia for the eager, bright-eyed little brother who'd wanted nothing more than to please him.
"Yeah, sure. Of course."
Handing Sam his keys, Dean swung the passenger side door open. Tried to sound casual as he climbed inside. "Good. I'm calling shotgun. See if I can catch some zees."
Dean made to close the door and met resistance. Abruptly, though not at all unexpectedly, Sam's worried face appeared next to him, his brother crouching down to Dean's level in the space between the door and front seat. "Hey, are you all right?"
Lightly patting the large hand resting against his chest, Dean considered bullshitting Sam but ultimately figured it was futile. "Yeah, just tired, Sammy. Sleep's just not coming too easy these days." Christ he really was beat. He hadn't meant to admit that last part.
"No shit, dude." Well, so much for Dean's big secret. "You really think you can sleep now?"
Oh, yeah. He was half-way there already. "Yeah. Yeah, Sammy, I really think I can."
"That's great, Dean."
Dean already had his eyes closed, but he could hear the pleasure in his brother's voice, knew he was wearing a smile. The kid finally broke contact, closed the door, and a second or two later slid into the Impala too. Listening to the familiar sounds of Sam starting her up and pulling away, Dean let himself drift off. Taking comfort in his brother's presence and in the knowledge that, though he and Sam were on the front lines, they had Castiel, God and Dad watching their backs.
Lucifer didn't stand a chance.