All right. So this is the end. You know, I was really surprised that people reacted to this story the way they did. I wasn't so sure about it it at first. Thanks so much for all the awesome reviews, and thanks for reading!
Five Years Later
Sam Winchester pulled onto the dirt drive, passing the small white mailbox indicating the turn-off to his friends' house.
He glanced into the backseat, at the large plastic trash bag that held the gifts he'd purchased for the people that had helped save his life. He'd been so devastated after his brother's death in the war, so broken. Lucas and Deanna and had taken him in, though. They'd tended his wounds, healed his heart, and always treated him like part of the family. They could never replace Johnny, but they could fill some of the holes in Sam's heart.
"He remembers everything, technically. You were both raised the same, but you went by a shortened version of your first name. Anna was the angel that pulled you from Hell. You and she both perished in the war. I'm sorry, Dean."
The little cabin was set off into the woods, the roof covered by glistening snow, looking like something from a Thomas Kinkade painting.
It was beautiful, and Sam had to wonder how the Godsends had been able to afford such a nice little place, so far from everything. As far as he knew, hunting, mechanic work, and preaching didn't pay well enough to keep things running.
He never asked, though. It was impolite, and he'd depended on them so much throughout the years that he couldn't be turned away. It would ruin him.
The angel looked tired, but Sam didn't care. Dean was a fucking girl, and the house looked like new, and sometimes Sam just couldn't understand his brother's particular level of stupidity.
Castiel approached him, and Sam drew himself up to his full height. He wouldn't be intimidated by a Fallen angel.
Fingers brushed his forehead, and Sam forgot his anger.
Sam forgot everything.
Sam liked stopping by their place. It made him feel like Johnny was still alive. Like Haniel had never died. Like everything was right.
He adjusted the bag over his shoulder and rang the doorbell. He waited, breath puffing out in front of him, visible in the chill air.
The door was wrenched open, and he found himself staring at the most beautiful girl in the world. Blonde hair, freckles, blue eyes. Her parents' Miracle. Aptly named little girl, if you asked him. Smart and funny and cute as a button.
"Hey, Mary. Your mommy and daddy home?"
Miracle smiled up at him, revealing a missing front tooth. "Yep." She eyed the trash bag. "Are those presents?"
"Wouldn't be much of a Christmas without them," he answered, stepping past her and into the cabin. There was a fire in the fireplace, and some forgotten Christmas special playing on the TV. It felt like home.
He'd always wanted a home.
His Grace was almost gone. He would have happily spent it on Aaron, on bringing his boy back, but Dean was staring at him, begging him. For what, he didn't know. He just hated to see that look in his lover's eyes.
He stared at her, trying to make her understand. Her eyes widened, saddened, and she nodded. She knew what he was saying. One thing or the other. Baby or brother.
He marched up to Sam, and drained himself of his Grace.
He'd never imagined Falling would be so satisfying.
"Cas! Dean!" He would never understand the nicknames. They sounded so familiar, so comfortable rolling off his tongue.
Sam was greeted with hugs, with smiles, with Dean's sad eyes. She always seemed so sad when he was around. He just couldn't understand why.
Sam knew something was wrong as soon as the house came into view. It wasn't falling apart anymore. It was whole and new and clean.
He ran up the front steps and into the house to find Castiel sitting with his head on the table. A blonde woman was sitting across from him.
"You've gotta be fucking kidding me," he snapped, glaring at his brother. "Really?"
"It's ok, Sammy," Dean said, smiling as if he hadn't just undone all of Sam's hard work. "He's Falling."
Like that made it better. Like that made it right. Like that made it peachy.
He shook his head. "No."
"It doesn't matter," he argued. "He can't love you."
Finally, finally, Dean got it. Sam could see it in his brother's eyes. It was wrong, and Sam wasn't giving up until it was made right again. Until Dean was Dean and Cas had gone back to sitting on a cloud and everything was normal again. Just the two of them. A small, miserable, fractured family.
He could hear her crying sometimes at night. Dean. Deanna. Cas' wife of five years. The mother of a miracle nicknamed Mary.
Apparently, they hadn't been expecting kids. He'd asked Cas about it once, was informed of a messy miscarriage and a fear of trying again. Mary was their only child, and, as far as Sam knew, she was going to stay that way.
Still, he could hear Dean crying sometimes. He rolled off of the couch and padded across the dark living room, past the stairs leading up to the loft that acted as Miracle's bedroom, and to the door of the room that Dean and Cas shared.
He opened the door a crack and peaked in. Dean was sitting on the edge of the bed with Cas' arm wrapped around her shoulders.
"I miss him," she whispered. "It's like he's here, but he's not the same."
"I know," her husband replied, running fingers through her hair. "But it's for the best."
"Yeah. I get that, but… I just always wanted my brother to be at my wedding, you know? To stand up there with me… to be there when his niece was born. He's missed so much, and I worry about him being out on his own."
Sam frowned. That didn't make sense. As far as he knew - as far as he'd been told - Dean's brother had died in the war, fighting off the Apocalypse. That was why they'd bonded. That was why they'd become such good friends, wasn't it? He'd lost his brother, and Dean had lost his… her brother, too.
He didn't know why he slipped like that sometimes. Why he had dreams of fighting with Dean over Cas' true intentions. Why, in his dreams, he kept referring to Dean as his brother. She obviously wasn't.
She was Deanna Godsend. She was a wife and a mother, a mechanic and a hunter. She was a woman.
She was happy, even if she cried sometimes. Even if she always looked so sad when he came around. She was happy, overall. He could tell. He could feel it.
So he ignored his dreams, and that little nagging voice in the back of his head telling him that something was wrong. He walked back to the couch and laid down. Tomorrow, he would celebrate Christmas with his family.
The angel stood and stared at him.
Sam stared back.
And they would all be happy, forever after.