A Year and a Day Chapter 20

Disclaimer - I don't own them - and now that Kripke has gone who does?

A/N The Archangel Michael in my story is MY Michael. As is Castiel and by that I mean that they won't necessarily run true to canon. I'm afraid I am of the old school, I like my angels a little more good and a little less manipulative. I suppose I had John Travolta's Michael in mind as I wrote his scenes in case anyone cares : ) though of course the original Castiel belongs to Kripke ( and God of course)

A/N I write because I love it but I only do what RL allows me to do and it hasn't been very accommodating of late so sorry. I've also been toying with an idea for a disabled yet strong Dean story with unredeemable jerk Sam and supportive or possibly slash Caleb and supportive John - let me know what you think ( without flaming ) It'll be a bit of a rambling tale, heavy on angst and hope with a happy ending and non romantic oc's but won't be for Sam fans.

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Dean was bored. B.O.R.E.D bored.

It had only taken a few days before the novelty of being back in his own body had worn off. Even the regained ability to pee standing up had lost it's simple pleasure, although he could well imagine that as the baby bump grew bigger he might have to re-think that particular function due to aiming issues! He had tried to keep himself busy but Bobby had shooed him away in horror when he'd found him under the Impala half way through a tune up. Something about his 'delicate condition'. And Dean, much as he loved the old coot would have hit him for that if he hadn't already been so mad at Sam who was watching him like a hawk for no apparent reason. He would glare at him and then in the blink of an eye the angry expression would morph into wounded puppy level concern. Honestly! Wasn't the pregnant male meant to be the one with the mood swings?

The sound of the doorbell immediately put the elder hunter on the alert but also brought a hopeful end to his monotony. It couldn't be Bobby because he was out on a hunt and Missouri had her key. Sam was upstairs and was probably asleep after being on his laptop all night researching God knew what and Caleb… Caleb was heading toward the door gun in hand, which was okay if their caller was an angry spirit, or Ruby - but she would have set off the wards like any other demon ho. However if their caller was selling girl scout cookies it was a bit of an overkill, they didn't taste that bad! Dean took a leap over the couch and practically skidded to a stop with his hand on the doorknob before Caleb could do much more than give him an exasperated glare.

"Hello Ma'am, can I help you?"

Doctor Miranda Calder stood on the doorstep, aware that she was making what would probably be the strangest house call of her career. She was no stranger to the weird and often not so wonderful world of the supernatural, her father had been a hunter and had died when there was nobody to treat his unique demon inflicted injuries. She had made it her mission in life to make sure that his fellow hunters had at least one recourse to aid in their world and had treated everything from broken toes due to tripping over gravestones to vampire induced blood loss. Over the years she had helped train more medics to treat the unusual and bizarre but never, never had she had to deal with a pregnant male. She took a deep breath and smiled.

"Hello, you must be Dean. I'm Doctor Calder. Bobby called me about your… situation."

The doctor resisted the urge to turn her professional smile into a grin as a hand automatically moved protectively across the distended stomach of the young man before her. Even if the handsome man hadn't acknowledged his identity with a nod that action was an admission. It also told her everything she needed to know. This man wanted to keep his baby. She had doubted Bobby's claim. She couldn't believe that a man would voluntarily carry a baby to term, especially given the circumstances of it's conception - and that was something that she would keep to herself for while she knew that Dean had given his surrogate uncle permission to discuss such things with her she was also aware that it wasn't common knowledge. Her respect for this particular Winchester, famous already in their world for his integrity and passion for helping people ( and not every hunter had such pure motives for their lives of violence) increased.

"Please come in Doctor, we weren't expecting you until tomorrow."

Miranda tactfully ignored the loaded gun in Dean's companion's hands as she entered the house, no doubt having passed under or over a devils trap and took a seat on the indicated couch. Given their circumstances she didn't blame them for their caution. She gratefully accepted the proffered glass of what she was pretty sure was holy water from the protective older man. In fact she almost presumed that he was Dean's brother but she knew for a fact that Sam was the younger sibling. She was glad that Dean obviously had such a close friend because he would certainly need all the support he could get, this was uncharted territory for all of them.

Caleb relaxed slightly as the doctor passed the holy water test. She had already walked over the devils trap that was painted on the floorboards under the oriental style rug. Just because they were expecting her didn't mean they could relax their guard and with Sam away with the fairies and Dean having enough on his plate he figured that it was up to him to be the cautious one. Still, he had been raised to treat his guests with respect so with an unspoken conversation with his honorary brother he felt okay in leaving doctor and patient together while he made tea. Luckily, after enquiring, Doctor Calder opted for the Earl Grey. Coffee was off the menu whenever Dean was in the house because it made him nauseous still.

Without Caleb's presence Dean found himself unexpectedly, and unusually, at a loss for words. He hated doctors at the best of times and this was hardly the best of times.

"Um… well I guess they didn't prepare you for this kind of thing at medical school huh?"

Miranda's heart went out to the young man. Hunters made notoriously bad patients but after all that Dean had been through he deserved not to have to suffer further humiliation. Unfortunately medical supervision at this stage of his pregnancy was vital especially given his gestational diabetes.

"No, I can honestly say that I was never offered classes in male pregnancy… although many men do suffer sympathetic pregnancies along with their pregnant partners."

"Guess that must be really embarrassing" 'But at least it's vaguely normal' he thought morosely as the full weight of his condition, or at least how his condition must be perceived by others, hit him. He resisted the urge to curl his hand protectively over his stomach at the thought of how many people, and other creatures, would not want this baby to be born.

"Yes, but it certainly gives them an appreciation for what their partners are going through" Miranda replied lightly although she had seen the shadow pass across the hunter's features… I'll do everything I can to ensure that this experience goes okay for you Dean - I am on your side, yours and the baby's."

'Pull yourself together Winchester' The thought was Dean's but somehow the voice was his fathers. Miranda watched as whatever thoughts had been worrying Dean were banished.

"So Doc, what do we do?"

Caleb chose the moment of Deans question to bring the tea tray through and Dean brightened as he smirked at the sight of his waitress and wondered if he would survive mentioning how 'adorable' his friend would look in a frilly apron. He decided against it as Caleb delivered a glare his way, not that he could have known what he was thinking… well probably not.

After Caleb had poured and Dean had congratulated him on his baking skills as he nibbled a chocolate chip cookie - 'bastard knows they came in a packet' Caleb ground his teeth and smiled while the doctor watched with the same amusement she would give to two nine year olds she decided it was time to get down to business.

"So Dean why don't you tell me how this pregnancy has been going for you so far, and don't worry about the paranormal aspects, Bobby already covered that; just concentrate on how you feel about it all.

"He did?" Dean couldn't hide the nervousness from his voice and Caleb was now paying back the smirk in spades. "What exactly did he say?" Bobby was the greatest guy in the world but he wasn't the most diplomatic.

Miranda's smile grew into a grin. "It went something like 'A bastard forced this baby on him; God took it back and an Angel returned it and now he's whining 'cause his pants don't fit'"

Despite the brevity of Bobby's summary neither man could find fault with it so they merely shrugged and Dean snatched another cookie. If his pants were going to betray him he might as well give them a good reason… he WAS eating for two after all!

"Well I guess the problems really started when I fell down the stairs….."

SpNSpNSpN

Sam pushed himself away from the desk and the laptop that was about as useful as a chocolate coffeepot.

Nothing! How could something so important, so apocalyptic as this not throw up one red flag on the many sites devoted to the supernatural?

Sam ran his hand shakily through his unruly hair, the shaking due as much to frustration as the God knew how many cups of coffee he had consumed during the night. He just couldn't understand how there was no activity. Ruby had said that the underworld was buzzing with gossip and speculation but nothing had filtered out to the 'real' world. Just one site warning that the antichrist was coming and that the world would end half way through Oprah - but that site had been predicting the apocalypse since 1969. He lay back on his bed vaguely aware of voices downstairs but too absorbed to do anything about it. Caleb was with Dean so he would be safe… for now.

Sleep failed to come, not that his spinning thoughts gave Morpheus much of a chance to work his magic. Something was just not right. Sam felt like everyone was keeping secrets, like everyone was lying to him. But they were his family, they wouldn't do that.

"You did."

Sam shot upright and reached automatically for the shotgun propped up against the wall. His hand fell away slowly as he recognized the voice… a voice that until now he had heard only inside his head.

"You're Castiel."

Castiel raised an eyebrow at Sam's accusation, for accusation it was. It actually made quite a refreshing change from the normal awe his presence inspired.

"I am aware of that thank you."

Sam hadn't liked the mouthy angel when he was inside his head and his opinion hadn't changed any.

"What are you doing here? How did you get in? What the hell do you want with us?" Sam's lips twitched in satisfaction at the wince his blasphemous reference triggered. It was a short lived satisfaction as the angel stood, seeming suddenly so much bigger than his average human height would suggest. The younger Winchester's unease grew as the man, who was so obviously more than a man began to glow with an ethereal cold light, an impression of massive white wings shimmering at the angels back.

"YOU DARE QUESTION ME?"

Sam felt as though his eardrums were about to burst and wondered why nobody was rushing up the stairs to his aid before realising that the voice was inside his head… he really hated that. Nevertheless his anger gave way to fear as the sheer weight of the angel's power and authority weighed down on him, on his soul. Sam lowered his head in submission and not a little shame. He had always been the one in their small family who had believed, who had prayed and now he was the one questioning God's representative… brilliant move!

"It is not your questions that anger me Samuel, it is your attitude."

The words might well have been his fathers so often had he been told the same thing over the years but at least the decibels had reduced and the burning light had reduced to a shimmering glow.

"I'm sorry" he replied, his contrition genuine even though his curiosity was undiminished.

"I know."

Sam glanced sharply at the angel, was that a hint of… of smugness? Could angels even be smug? Was that allowed?

"And in answer to your questions I am here because my help is needed; I got in because nothing can keep a representative of the Lord out and as to what I want…. I wish to serve. I am an Angel of the Lord, to serve is my reason for being."

'Well that told me exactly nothing' Sam noted with frustration. He tried again.

"And who do you want to serve" having an angel on side might be a good thing… but then if the baby were normal would an angel even have turned up? Although his voice had been pestering him for a long time now, certainly before the re-transformation…. But then again….God! His head was beginning to ache.

"I serve my Father.""Then what does God want?" Sam was getting beyond frustrated now and he couldn't believe he had just asked that question… and by the expression of amused disbelief on his rather handsome yet ordinary face neither could the Angel.

"You expect me to question the motives of the Father?"

"No." The word was borne on a tired and defeated sigh.

"So what do you want with me?"

That, it seemed, had been a much better question, at least from the Angels point of view.

"Please sit down."

Sam sat back on the edge of the bed, he had a feeling that it hadn't been a request and that to do as he was told would be more productive in the long run. He almost smiled as the thought occurred to him that this celestial being reminded him of Dad… John Winchester being likened to an angel, yeah right! Castiels next words took the smile straight off his face and he clenched his hands into tight enough fists to mark his palms as he fought to keep his temper under control.

" Your brother needs you and you are failing him."

Sam willed himself to remain seated and calm, outwardly at any rate, but his anger was obvious in his tightly controlled, clipped tones.

"I love my brother. I would do anything for him… I would die for him and I'm doing my best to help but you do not understand what's at stake here" his eyes narrowed at the lack of curiosity on the bland features of the angel. "Or do you?" His anger wouldn't let him stay still and he was suddenly in front of Castiel, up close and personal. Even through his anger he registered surprise that he was taller than the angel.

"Well? Is that what this is? You playing some sort of sick game with Dean as the pawn? Because if you are then God or no God you'll regret taking on the Winchesters!"

Sam's inner common sense was screaming at him not to piss off the Angel but Castiel obviously knew more than he was letting on and Sam had been feeling increasingly out of the loop. He may have been a little emotionally charged lately and maybe a touch intolerant… well a lot, but how was he supposed to react when people kept secrets from him, not trusting him to protect his brother… after all last he heard Caleb's last name wasn't Winchester!

"No games Sam. If any games are being played they are not being played by me or my kin. And Dean's safety is my only priority."

The calm delivery and the obvious sincerity humbled the youngest Winchester but there also seemed to be an underlying meaning to the angels words that he couldn't quite grasp. He put it aside to ponder over later.

"So what do you want from me?"

Castiel relaxed a little. He knew that Sam would come through but was pleased that the sharp intellectual brain hadn't ruled over his naturally caring heart for once. The Angel took a moment to gather his thoughts. He needed Sam to be totally behind his brother and to see the demon for what she was but he knew that Dean would never put his little brother through such emotional turmoil. In a way Dean's greatest strength, his protectiveness and loyalty to family which filtered down into his defence of innocent strangers for no other reason than that they too had families, was also his greatest weakness. Sam needed to see the truth but he doubted whether Dean would ever tell him and those in the know were too afraid of hurting the already emotionally fragile elder Winchester to do the job. But the rules of what Sam had more accurately than he knew had called 'the game' prevented him from interfering in Sam or Dean's free will. Still, a little nudge couldn't hurt… well actually it would hurt but it was necessary to heal the wounds that Ruby had caused.

"I need you to… to stop using your brain so much."Sam rocked back on his heels in shock. Well, he hadn't expected that!

"Huh?"

"Your brother operates on what he would call gut instinct. He trusts those instincts implicitly and they seldom prove him wrong….""I'm not my brother." The answering glare told Sam that it was obviously very not the done thing to interrupt a messenger from God. He tried to look contrite although his irritation was bubbling up again.

"No you're not." Sam frowned at the hint of wistfulness in Castiel's tone and the Angel bit down on the smile that threatened. "You use your intellect to come to the same conclusions that your brother comes to with his gut. You research and analyse… and you do it exceptionally well" he added before Sam could let rip again. "But sometimes Dean jumps into a situation without all the information he needs and sometimes you miss the subtle details because you are too intent on getting every possible detail in the whole picture."Sam couldn't argue with that but if the Angel was trying to get him to see something he had missed why didn't he just come out with it. For all her faults Ruby was at least direct in telling him what he wanted to know. Sam felt a shiver along his spine at that thought but he couldn't figure that out either. He added it to all the other things that were puzzling him to work out when he had a millenium or so to spare!

"So what do I do?"

"You are a Winchester Sam. Instinct is strong in all of you. Try embracing it and see where it sends you… then use that intellect to figure out what you're missing."

Sam nodded. So he HAD missed something. His attention was drawn back to the Angel by the sudden serious, one might almost say portentous tone in his voice.

"But don't take too long figuring it out Sam. Everything is at stake and time is running out."

Sam felt his blood run cold but before he could ask any more questions Castiel popped out of existence as suddenly as he had arrived. Sam had a lot to figure out and it was pretty obvious that failure to do so would end in tragedy.

No pressure then.

SpNSpNSpN

Miranda checked the blood glucose reading.

"Not bad, a little high though I can't think why" she said while staring pointedly at the half a cookie in Dean's hand. He put it down with all the guilt of a child caught with his hand in said confectionary jar. Dean glared at Caleb when he snatched the cookie up and munched it noisily. Huh! Some best friend.

"Seriously Dean, you're going to have to take better care of yourself. It won't be for long; after the baby is born your blood sugar levels should return to normal." Seeing the look of concern on the hunter's face she smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, you're on the right track and all the other checks I've done show a healthy pregnancy."

Dean breathed a sigh of relief which quickly turned into an embarrassed gulp at her next words.

"Now if you just pop upstairs I'll get my box of tricks out of the car and we'll see just what this little miracle is up to."

Dean exchanged a look with Caleb that was part fear and part excitement. He was actually going to SEE his baby. Suddenly it all seemed only too real… real and scary.

SpNSpNSpN

Sam moved away from the window. He didn't recognize the woman who, With Caleb's help, was extracting some sort of equipment from her car but he figured that she wasn't a threat, mainly because Caleb hadn't shot her yet. She was probably the doctor. He felt a little twinge of jealousy that Dean hadn't called him down to be with him but he felt he was close to some kind of breakthrough and let it go. He sat back on the bed and worked through what Castiel had told him… and what he hadn't told him. Those instincts that he had been urged to use were telling him that there was more than one issue that he was missing so he concentrated on any feelings he had been having about the deal and Dean in his girl stage first since the most recent problems couldn't have triggered the sense of unease he had developed since… since when? He concentrated, putting everything aside except his interactions with his brother…

Nothing! Well nothing except seeing what an idiot he had been these past few months. He owed Dean a massive apology. He went back over the events once again but this time factored in Missouri, Bobby and Caleb. His heart began to beat faster as he recalled how their attitude had changed a little before Dean had fallen pregnant. They had become sombre and very protective… but why? Nobody had known about the baby then. Dean hadn't exactly covered himself in glory, sleeping around without protection so why were the others not behaving more… well, more like he had. Dean had been the female version of the love 'em and leave 'em Dean they all knew so well…

Except he wasn't.

Sam shot up off the bed and began to pace.

Dean did like to spread himself around but he wasn't indiscriminate and he never, ever failed to use protection no matter how much he had to drink….

And Dee hadn't had that much to drink. Okay so she was a girl but she hadn't had time to have more than a couple of drinks. And she was still Dean so she wouldn't have just gone off with some stranger she hadn't known for more than a few minutes, not knowing how potentially vulnerable she was in her female state….

Vulnerable! Dean as a girl was vulnerable! It was so easy for guys to spike a girls drink and….

"Oh God! Oh God NO!"

Sam dropped to his knees and held his head in his hands. His body shook with the shock of his sudden realisation.

"How could I have been so blind?"

SpNSpNSpN

Dean's stomach tensed as the cold gel hit his skin. His head turned to the monitor by the side of the bed and then over to Caleb who was also concentrating on the blank screen and looked, if anything, even more nervous than he did.

"Sorry it's so cold" The doctor used the device in her hand to spread the gel and they could immediately hear a swooshing sound as a fuzzy image appeared.

"Looks like a poltergeist on a foggy night" Caleb muttered as he twisted his head this way and that in an attempt to see anything that resembled a baby.

Miranda laughed. "Well that's certainly a little different to most of my clients first impression but given your jobs I'm not surprised. But if you look here…" she traced a finger around the shape and Dean drew in a sharp breath as a recognizable form appeared. He could hear by Caleb's similar reaction that he could see it too.

"My baby."

"Yes Dean, your baby. And from all the indications I would say that the pregnancy is progressing perfectly normally. Congratulations Dean."

Dean nodded but his eyes remained transfixed by the image on the screen. Moisture filled his eyes and a tear slid down his face.

Sam sat on the floor of his bedroom and hugged his knees to his chest. Tears ran freely down his face but his were tears of rage and guilt. His brother had been raped. He was sure of it. His gut told him so and his intellect backed up the conclusion. His brother had gone through that torment and he hadn't been there for him. Dean hadn't felt able to confide in his only brother… and Sam couldn't blame him, but he could certainly blame himself. What kind of a brother was he? A lousy one came the unbidden answer.

'No Sam, just a human one'

Sam smiled sadly as Castiel's voice whispered in his mind and for the first time was consoling and not critical. Somehow he couldn't bring himself to believe that he deserved it.

The Archangel Michael stepped up to the front door just as Missouri Mosely put her key into the lock.

"Ma'am" he uttered, trying for non-obtrusive nonchalance.

"Oh Dear Lord!"

Michael smiled. Some Angels just weren't created to be ignored and he was one of them. It was very handy for putting the fear of God into folks.

"Not quite Ms Mosely. If we could come in I believe we have some business to discuss…""We? Who's we? And what business?" Missouri jumped as another 'man' who hadn't been there a moment ago appeared.

"Castiel ma'am, and this is Michael… I'd like to say he's harmless but he really isn't." Castiel looked a little long suffering which somehow made Missouri feel a little less nervous. A feeling which didn't last long as Michael added cheerfully.

"And we're here to protect Dean Winchester… and stop an apocolypse.""Oh!" There really wasn't much she could say so she finished opening the door and stepped inside… to be met by the non - supernatural version of all hell breaking loose.

"I love the smell of conflict in the morning!"

Castiel sighed at Michael's enthusiasm. He and Dean were going to get along famously…

God help them all!

TBC

A/N Hope that was okay. We're on the home straight now, just a few chapters to go if I can restrain Michael long enough to get the job done… that boy does love his work LOL