A/N: I'm excited yet sad to post this last chapter. I'm excited I stuck with this story long enough to finish it, but I will really miss hearing from you guys! Over the past year, you have encouraged me to keep writing, not only to continue this little Supernatural fanfic, but you've motivated me enough to entertain thoughts of writing a novel someday. I can't thank you enough. I don't know if I'll write a sequel. I might write a completely different kind of fanfic. In the meantime, I'd love to see you guys on twitter. I'm twhittsen there too. Take care, everyone! It's been fun!
Steiner Medical Center,
Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The next day.
Dean Winchester was happy.
He'd killed the yellow-eyed demon, the monster who'd murdered his mother in Sam's nursery, the creature he'd spent his whole life hunting. The heartless son of a bitch that had taken the lives of so many people he cared about was finally dead, and he'd been the one to pull the trigger. He'd kept the promise he made to Jennifer in that motel room in Antioch. He'd finished the job his dad had left him.
Now, his younger brother sat in the recliner on the opposite side of the private hospital room, beaming at him. His wife slept peacefully in the bed. And he sat at her bedside, cradling his newborn son in his arms for the first time.
He'd never felt so proud. So fulfilled. Everything was perfect.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Come in," Sam said, being the one nearest the door.
Jennifer's eyes opened at the noise.
The door pushed inward as Bobby stepped inside.
"Hey, Bobby," Sam said. He stood to his feet and shook the man's hand.
"Picked this up in the gift shop," Bobby said, holding up a cute pastel-colored gift bag with a cartoon stork on the front. White tissue paper with tiny blue diaper pins printed across it filled the open space, hiding the bag's contents. When he saw the brothers eyeing the well-coordinated wrappings questioningly, he clarified, "What? The lady at the counter wrapped it."
Sam grinned. "Of course."
Bobby handed the bag to Jennifer.
"That was so sweet, Bobby," she told him, raising herself up into a sitting position. "Thank you."
Dean tilted his son upward so he could watch his mother unwrap the gift. "Look, Rob, Grandpa Bobby's already spoilin' you."
Jennifer smiled as she removed the tissue paper and pulled out an adorable stuffed giraffe. "Oh, it's so cute!"
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Wow. Mr. Sleepytime Giraffe," he read the tag on the animal's ear. "Did the lady at the counter pick this out too?"
Bobby frowned at him.
Jennifer thanked him once more for the gift as he settled into the other empty chair in the room.
"How're you doin'?" Bobby asked her somewhat hesitantly.
"Great," she replied. "The doctors say you did everything right. I just can't thank you enough."
Dean held the baby close as he looked at Bobby. "Yeah, about that. You actually…delivered him?"
Bobby shrugged his shoulders.
"That must have been an incredible experience," Sam said thoughtfully. "What was it like?"
There was a long silence, then Bobby said, "Ever seen Alien?"
Sam chuckled. "Wow…"
"Yeah, nice and graphic," Dean said. "Thanks for that, Bobby."
Blushing slightly, Jennifer gave Bobby a chiding look. "Jeez, Bobby. It's not too late to change his name, you know."
It was Bobby's turn to blush. She and Dean had decided to name the baby Robert, whom they would call 'Rob', in honor of him. He didn't let on in front of them, but it had thrilled him to tears.
A few minutes later, Sam ended their cheesy family moment with a question no one had wanted to ask. "So, what happened, Bobby? Those demons that popped up all over. Where'd they go?"
"Back to Hell, I guess," Bobby replied with a sigh. "Seeing as how the Apocalypse got canceled. That musta been what they were here for. Waitin' for Lucifer to give 'em orders."
"Thank goodness he never got the chance," Jennifer said.
Bobby started to say something else, but a faint fluttering sound distracted him. Everyone glanced up. Castiel had appeared at the foot of the bed and was now staring at them.
"Hey, Cas," Dean welcomed him.
Without acknowledging Dean's greeting, Castiel marched forward and pressed his right hand against the center of Dean's chest and his left hand against Jennifer's.
"What the hell?" Dean gasped.
"It's for protection," Castiel explained, letting his arms drop to his sides.
"What's for protection?" Dean demanded. "What'd you just do?"
"I carved Enochian sigils into your ribs. They will hide you from every angel in creation, including Lucifer." He glanced down at the baby in Dean's arms. "May I?"
Dean awkwardly extended baby Rob toward the angel.
Castiel peeled back the powder blue blanket that enveloped the baby and placed his open palm over the baby's heart. He stared at the infant for a moment, his eyes wide with fascination. "I am pleased to see that the child is safe," he said. He looked up at Dean. "That all of you are safe. Given the circumstances, I feared the worst." He turned away from Rob and his father and positioned his hand on Bobby's chest. "I was afraid someone would have gotten here before I could."
"Don't see how that's possible," Dean said. He carefully returned Rob to the crook of his arm.
"You do not understand," Castiel argued, moving to Sam. He placed a hand on his chest and marked him as well. "You will be hunted now more than ever. Both sides, Heaven and Hell, will be after you."
"Well, at least thanks to you, we've got a force-field around us now. That's great. Problem solved."
"Not in the least. You must take every precaution or the demons will find this boy, and Lucifer will twist him into what he wants. You cannot allow that to happen."
"How can Lucifer get to him if Lilith's death has to bust him out?" Dean asked. "She's got her own cage with sixty-six seals, remember? You're the one that put her in it."
"Yes. But once the demons figure out what has happened, those seals can be broken. And in time, we will be back where we began; one seal away from Lucifer's rising." Castiel heaved a sigh. "Azazel may be dead, but there are other demons willing to step up and take his place. And whoever that may be, they will be after Sam again, coaxing him to give his consent."
"So what do you expect us to do?" Dean asked. "Buy a house in some remote mountain village, homeschool Rob, and sit around wearing gas masks in the basement with the lights off, hoping nobody ever finds us?"
"That seems a wise option."
"No. No way," Dean argued. "That's not the way we roll. We don't run and hide." He glanced at his brother, his wife, his unofficially adoptive father for reinforcement. They shared the same looks of determination, and though they didn't speak, they didn't argue either.
"This is different," Castiel said. "We have not stopped the Apocalypse. Only delayed it. And in the process of it all, we have started a war of the likes no one has ever seen."
The group was quiet.
At last, Dean drew in a deep breath and looked at the others. "Well, then," he sighed, with a glimmer in his eye and the beginnings of a grin on his face, "I guess we've got work to do."