Disclaimer: As per usual, I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters or related content. Nor do I own "This is my idea" the song from Swan Princess, which this story was inspired by.
Author's Note: Last Chapter of this story. Enjoy :)
What a good idea, such a powerful and magic potion, this is exactly my idea of love.
Dean Winchester had never been one for huge romantic gestures. He had never had to be very romantic, nor had he ever had to make a huge gesture of affection for a woman before. Usually, he could handle a woman like a skilled painter could handle oils and a brush. He looked down into the show case skeptically. Silver, Gold, Topaz, Amethyst, Diamonds. A chupacabra was no match for Dean, but a fine jewelry store? The twenty-one year old Winchester sighed, and rested his head on his crossed arms. He should have just sent her a postcard and wished her luck with her new life, but no! He needed to do this.
In the three years since the Winchesters had stopped coming to Bobby's house for an annual visit, Dean had changed quite a lot. And he couldn't stop thinking about Ashton, or the way she had looked that day when he told her he was leaving. She had moved out to California on a permanent basis, and had carried on with her studies. She split her time equally between realistic portraits and photography. The only reason Dean knew any of this was because he had drilled his little brother. As if that was pitiful enough, here he was at a jewelry boutique attempting to do something nice.
He had saved up money from hustling pool, playing poker, and credit card scams just to do this for her and, if he was rejected like he thought he would be, it would all be for nothing. Dean opened his eyes and stared down in to the case.
"Can I help you, uh, sir?" A soft, older woman's voice asked him.
Dean stood up and looked her over. Her hair was an auburn color, her cheeks pale; yup, she seemed to know her jewelry. "I'm looking to get a ring for my... friend."
"What does your, friend, like?"
The tall male shrugged, "I haven't seen her in a few years. It's sort of an 'I apologize for being a dick, will you marry me?' kind of thing."
"Oh, my. Well, what kind of hobbies does she have? What's her skin tone?" The woman questioned; she was smiling now, her thin skin pulled high over her cheeks. Apparently, this thing was right up her alley.
"She likes drawing, photography, art, and fast cars. Her skin is ... tannish?" Dean questioned. He didn't see what these questions had to do with anything.
The woman scurried off without saying much and when she returned, Dean had found what he had been looking for.
Ashton was lying on her stomach facing her boyfriend of four years and wondering how life had gotten so simple. Evan, the hockey player from her teens, had traversed across half the country to tell her that he loved her and wanted to be with her; they had been together ever since. Ash understood that her Dad didn't understand the life she was living, in the studio her and Evan shared in San Diego, and didn't expect he ever would. What she didn't understand was why Dean Winchester had not even tried to pick up a damn phone and call her. That's all it would have taken to win her back, and he couldn't pull it off. She sighed to herself and got out of bed.
After a long shower that did little to relax her, she went to the spare closet in the guest room. Pulling out a box of things left over from South Dakota, she sat down against the wall. She set the cardboard cover aside and dug through old photographs of John, Sammy, and her father. Slips of paper also resided in the box, each had a different hunter's number on it, just in case something came looking for her - though she never expected that to happen. Finally, she found what she was looking for. The small, navy colored velvet box felt unnaturally heavy in her hand. She snapped the lid open while holding her breath, and looked at the thing inside skeptically. There was a silver double-banded ring inside, and there was a small inscription on the inside of the band. It was nothing too silly, but it embarrassed her nonetheless.
She could remember buying it two years before - the Winchesters had said they would drop by for Christmas - and remembered Bobby's peculiar look as he read the inscription. The small font read: 'Dum spiro, spero' Bobby was fluent in Latin and knew that it said, 'While I breathe, I hope.' Bobby thought it meant that she hoped that one day he would be able to give up the life that John had set forth for him, and just be with her. Her father was not far off; in fact, he was spot on.
Ash realized she had been tearing up, and wiped a stray away from her face as she shoved the velvet box back into the shoe box. The door bell rang, and she got up from the floor, the box still on the floor, lying open. John's and Bobby's and Sammy's face stared up at the ceiling blankly.
He followed Bobby's directions back to Ashton's studio. Bobby had given Dean his blessing, but also warned him if he ever had to watch his daughter cry like a little girl again, that he would break all of his fingers and both of his legs. Dean had not taken this threat lightly. Pulling up to the apartment building, John Winchester's eldest son got out of his Impala and made haste inside. Her apartment was on the fifth floor and the elevator ride felt excruciatingly long. He buzzed her door, and in a few short moments, there she was.
But he had lost everything he ever had to say to her, and she found her way into his arms regardless. He kissed her longingly, and when they broke apart, he sighed. "Ash, I'm sorry. I didn't want to leave. I –"
"Dean, I know that. Why didn't you just say so sooner?" She asked.
Dean Winchester sighed, "I didn't... have the courage to face you again, but now that I do." Dean pulled out the small turquoise colored box the woman at the jewelry shop had given him. He opened it, and Ashton stared down at it completely dumfounded. "Marry me."
The ring was beautiful, just like the man who had bought it, but the thought of a life like Dean's made her stomach churn. Evan was safe, reliable. He loved her, and he had not so much as looked at another woman while she was around. He supported her hobbies, hell he supported her. "Dean, I c-"
"Before you say that you can't. I'm not asking you to marry me today or tomorrow or even ten years from now. I'm just asking that you marry me one day; I can't leave here until you tell me that you can do that for me."
She was going to say something, but Dean cut her off again.
"I love you," He said simply, "And I know that you love me too. Dammit, we belong together and–"
"Dean Winchester, shut up." She said calmly, "If you want me, you can have me whenever you're ready." It wasn't fair to Evan, she knew that, but Evan knew all about Dean. He had figured it out long ago, and had done little to change her mind. "Oh. Wait a minute!"
When she came back, she handed Dean the navy box.
"Men aren't supposed to get engagement rings." Dean said, raising a brow.
She sighed and shook her head. Dean never failed to be a smartass, even now. "I got it for you for Christmas, two years ago. The year John said he'd show up, and left both my dad and I scratching our heads because he didn't. It's been rotting in my closet ever since."
Dean liked it, and liked it even more once he knew what the inscription meant. He felt the same way.
Evan looked down at the woman he had grown to love. One day, she was going to leave him for another man. Evan had known this since he met her as a teenager, but he just didn't know that he would ever meet that man. He briefly considered his odds if they got into a fight, and figured that he could win. He had two inches and thirty pounds on Dean Winchester, but he wouldn't even say a fighting word to him. Ashton loved him, and that mattered more to Evan than his own love for her.
It was a waiting game now. How long would it take for Dean to sweep her away onto some imaginary white horse? Five years? Ten? Forty? If forty was the case, then maybe he would be dead and not have to deal with it at all. Evan thought that was unlikely. Dean would come back to get her much sooner than that.
And in the end, Evan was right. It took twenty years, a resurrection, and a friendship with one really hot angel, but he did come back. His white horse was a black 1967 Chevy Impala, and his shining armor was a plaid flannel button up, but he was just as beautiful and charming as any Prince she could remember in the Disney movies she had so loved as a child.
She had not been forced to leave Evan as she had once thought she would have been. He had said that he didn't want to be around when Dean came back. He had said it would break his heart, and that it would be easier for all of them this way. No body would have to feel guilty. No body would have to have a strained relationship. And by the time that Dean came back around, Ashton had been alone for five years. Of course, Bobby had objected to this, had begged Ashton to just come home, but she had refused.
In all the years she had lived alone, things had come after her. Things she had not expected: gods and angels and demons. They had all wanted to hurt Dean in the only way they knew how. To hit a vulnerable spot. But Ash had always come out on the other end alright. Sometimes out of her own resourcefulness, sometimes with Bobby's help, and other times – well, other times was just plain dumb luck.
And, as Dean Winchester enveloped Ashton Singer in his warm arms for the first time in twenty years, she finally felt like she was home.