Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
A/N: This is in response to the Guild of the Fantastic Quill's Song challenge, Bonus Round. Different aspects of this story (characters, plot, setting) were influence by four songs. If you want more info on that, feel free to ask.
Setting: Not very important for the Buffy verse. You can make your assumptions by what I mention. For Supernatural, the waking scenes are from early season 4, as you can probably gather.
"Carry on. . ."
That's what the voice always said, the one in his mind. It tucked him in bed every night. It let him get some sleep. It brought the dreams.
He'd told himself, for the longest time, that it was his father's voice. But he knew that wasn't quite true. One night he'd woken, hearing Sam struggling in a nightmare, and he'd known then that the voice was a woman's.
"Carry on. . ."
Before Hell, after Hell, her message was the same. He hadn't told anyone. They didn't need to know. They didn't need to hear that the drive he had, the need to keep going, keep fighting, keep hunting came from a woman's voice in his dreams.
He'd started remembering the voice a few years back, but even then, even after he'd recognized it as forming words, he knew that he'd heard it before, in the past. When he was sure it wasn't his father's, he thought it must be his mother's. It was her, he thought. That's why she was so familiar.
The nights he'd struggled for sleep, rare nights, as the sand was moving fast, his year almost up, she's spoken to him. A face had come to him. He saw the blond hair and wanted to touch it; then he'd saw the face, from a distance, from a dream away.
She'd knocked the breath from him, woke him, her words still in his ears. "Heaven waits," she said, as if she knew for sure.
He'd sat up in a cold sweat. Heaven didn't wait. That had been a month before Hell came knockin'.
Now, after coming back, he wondered again at her words. And again thought of that distant face. It hadn't been his mother's. It had been a girl's, no a woman's. A young woman's, small and heart shaped. Beautiful.
And she'd had nothing in her eyes, nothing but fire.
The dreams were more vivid of late. A part of him wondered why. Was it because he'd died, was that it? For some reason, he thought that might make him closer to her. He wasn't sure why.
And he wasn't sure why she appeared, over and over. Why did he deserve the chance to see her?
In that, he remembered the angel's words. Did he think he wasn't worthy of her? He shook his head, putting his head against his pillow, his hands over his stomach. Wet eyes danced over the shadowed ceiling above him.
Sam was snoring. Dean wondered if Castiel would drop in tonight.
He closed his eyes. She would, he knew.
Sometimes she spoke words to him. Other times, it was as if she couldn't see him, as if she were awake, living her life, and he was a fly on the wall watching her.
He saw her make love to a man. And her eyes showed nothing when they looked his way.
He saw her cry when a door shut behind her. And her eyes showed nothing.
He watched her fight. And her eyes were full of fire.
Dean knew he could find that fire again, if he ever met her.
It chilled him to the bone, the thought of her.
Dean sat at the small table, downing an overloaded burger, wiping his face with the back of his hand. Sammy was rattling on, his eyes roaming his laptop as he spoke. Dean wasn't listening. He was thinking.
The dream last night had been different. He'd finally hear her name. He couldn't help but think he'd heard it before: Buffy.
She wasn't talking to him. Someone had shouted it at her, begging her to turn around.
When she had, she had said what she was, a slayer.
Dean wasn't sure what that meant. But he'd seen so many fragments in his dreams, so many fights . She moved like a predator in a dancer's body. She overcame with her advisories easily, breaking them, cutting them, destroying them. She took on the bad guys, Dean knew. He had seen their faces sometimes, mangled and fanged. Monsters, almost all of them.
And she killed with that fire in her eyes.
Dean swallowed, sitting down his sandwich. Sam looked up quickly.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"What?" Dean smirked when he realized what had caught his brother's attention. "A man can't be full?"
Sam raised a brow.
Dean frowned. "I'm fine," he grunted.
But he'd lost his appetite when he'd thought of her, her lithe body moving in for a kill. She wasn't human. She wasn't anywhere near it. And a part of her, for some reason, reminded him of a demon.
Dean cleaned the shotgun, laying it carefully out on the table with the other weapons. It was time for housekeeping.
Buffy was back again, fighting harder than ever. But last night had been different. He'd been with her somewhere, in a desert. The sun had been hot, and there was something there with them, something at the corner of his eye.
It was a woman, black skinned with white stripes painted on her face. She was fierce. An animal. She was Buffy's fire. Dean hadn't been able to move.
He'd awoken with a jerk, pulling out the knife under his pillow. Sam had been watching TV. Dean had been forced to make up something up, to lie to his brother. He couldn't tell him the truth, not about Buffy. Or the thing inside her.
Dean ran a finger along the trigger of the gun, his face tense, his eyes burning.
"Buffy," he said.
He'd be the death of her, if he ever met her. Dean wasn't sure why that scared him.
Buffy's eyes were wet with unshed tears. She shook her head.
"Why do you say that?" she asked.
Dean winced. It was too bright here. The room was too white. All he could see was her face, so close to his.
"Why," she repeated. A tear slid down her cheek. She was trying to be angry with him and failing. "Why do you keep telling me that?"
Dean shook his head. "Telling you what?"
"Carry on," Buffy whispered. "Why should I carry on?"
Dean could feel himself slipping from the dream but her eyes held him. There was something there, something aside from the fire.
"Heaven waits," he said. Hoping. Knowing.
Dean's eyes opened, and he rolled off of his stomach, sitting up on the bed. Sam was in the single next to him, sprawled out with the day's clothes still on, only his boots at the foot of the bed. Dean knew someone was there.
He stood, walking toward the door. Without bothering to grab a shirt, he stepped out into the chill night. Castiel was waiting for him, beneath a too bright light that threw shadows over the sidewalk. They were alone.
"Sorry to wake you," Castiel said, staring off at a half moon.
Dean shook his head. "As much as I'm enjoying these late night visits. . ."
Castiel cut him off with a look. The angel turned to face the hunter. Dean shut the door behind him.
"Dean," he said, sad eyes staring through him, "God has many warriors. You're one of them. No matter how different these warriors are, they all have similarities." Castiel looked down, as if gathering his thoughts. When he looked back up, his expression was one of pity. "His champions, all of them, know the meaning of the word sacrifice."
Dean felt his mouth go dry. "Guess so," he replied.
"Sometimes," Castiel said, "the greatest sacrifice is carrying on."
The hunter leaned back, his back against the cool wall behind him. He rolled his to the side, shaking it slightly.
"You know her," Dean said. He wasn't sure why it hurt him to say the words. "Buffy."
Castiel put his hands in his pockets, smiling gently.
"Where is she?" Dean asked.
"Far away," Castiel answered.
"Will I ever meet her?"
Castiel turned back to stare at the starry sky. The motel was rural, far from the light of the cities, so the night was bright, vivid.
"Here?" Castiel breathed.
Castiel didn't look at him, already knowing his answer.
"No," the angel replied.
He didn't need to say more. Dean closed his eyes, breathing through is nose. He knew Castiel was already gone. He swallowed deeply.
Dean knew the answer to the question, the one floating on the edge of his mind.
"Heaven waits," he said. And smiled when there was no reply.