The Last Salute

Dedicated to Vonnie836.

You're the one that gave me the idea for this, so it's ALL YOUR FAULT! LOL!

Continuation from 'Dean By Name...'

Warning: Both boys are dead, but we now get to see something of what happens next...

I apologize for this total and unmitigated crap. I've taken a lot of liberties with pretty much everything.

It's just something I had to do...

Castiel watches the casket being slowly lowered into the grave. Sam Winchester is finally at peace with his family.

The Angel turns away, feeling a burst of happiness. Something he's only recently become accustomed to.

They all get the chance to start again. If they wish to take it. He looks to the skies and nods. Thank you my father, you are truly gracious.

&

Dean smiles at his brother in understanding. "This is God's waiting room, Sammy."

Sam stares around, his bare feet sinking into the plush carpet. He recognizes certain busts and ornaments, and is somewhat surprised that God's waiting room would contain Greek and Roman mythology. It just isn't what he expected.

"Ya see? These were all God, in some way," Dean whispers softly, hand gently rubbing Sam's shoulder. "The people... they just didn't know it at the time."

Sam blinks in confusion. "So... they didn't go to hell? For worshiping another idol, that is?"

Dean smiles and shakes his head. "At first, yes. But He rescued them."

Sam stares at Dean. "Why?"

"Because," Dean wraps an arm around Sam's shoulders this time, and tucks the kid's head under his chin. "He realized how scared we all are, that we are in no way perfect, and we make mistakes." He pauses, wondering how his kid brother will take this. "You're here now, Sammy, and everyone we love is here... including Jess."

Sam abruptly draws out of his brother's embrace, stunned and disgusted with himself.

"No. I don't deserve this..."

"Tell me why Sam?!"Dean begs, but regrets his outburst. He knows why Sam thinks this. It's no surprise to him that his brother feels this way, but it seems Sam will not accept that this is it.

Once that door opens, Heaven awaits Sam.

The youngster trembles with guilt and fear. "'Cos... what I did... I had no right..."

"No," Dean nods his agreement. "You didn't... but we both did it anyway, and I left you, Sam. I left you without a chance." He raises an eyebrow. "But you're stronger now, brother. So much stronger than you know."

Sam shakes his head, miserably. "I'm not, Dean. And never have been."

"Yes," Dean won't give anymore ground, will make him see the truth somehow. "You are."

Dean pulls him forward. There's a door opening up right in front of them, warping the bust of Caesar Augustus, and now it's time.

"We're here, Sammy, and we get fast tracked. We don't have to stand the riddles and prove ourselves anymore."

The door opens, and bright, blinding light seers into Sam's eyes.

It hurts.

It burns.

It's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen...

John, Mary, Jess, Caleb, Pastor Jim are suddenly standing before him, eye hooded, faces guarded. They are all deeply worried about him.

But Sam is too overwhelmed to see this for what is it.

He sees it as a kangaroo court, waiting to string him up, just like he deserves.

Sam backs away in fear of rejection, in fear of hatred.

He's running now, desperate to go to hell, where he feels sure he belongs.

But someone tackles him, pins him down. Dean's compassionate face appears right in front of his.

"Oh no you don't, little brother," he breathes into Sam's ear. "You ain't getting away this time. Just let us look after you, ok?"

Sam starts sobbing, relentlessly, unable to stop. "B-but y-you sh-ould h-hate me..."

His father's voice breaks through, moving Dean to the side, and dragging Sam into his arms.

"No more than I hate myself... my Sammy.... my son...."

A warm hand on his neck makes Sam look up into the deep, loving eyes of a mother he never knew.

"But you will, Sammy, I promise you," Mary Winchester declares softly to her baby boy, reading his mind with ease. "By the way, there's someone here who wants to talk to you..."

"J-Jess?" Sam whispers, weakly, when a beautiful blonde meets his gaze.

"Thank you, Sam." She whispers. "By coming back, you set me free..."

And with a whispered I love you, and always will, she's gone, disappearing in a white whisp.

Sam's grief isn't quite what he imagined. Somehow, he knows what this means.

He gazes up at his family noting, finally, the love and peace. Sam nods.

"She gets another chance... as it should be."

And though it hurts, badly, he can't fault her for it. She's been waiting for him all these years, and he knows that a second chance also awaits him.

But he's too tired to take it. And wants to stay here.

Dean can see the decision on Sam's face and hauls him into a tight hug.

"I know how hard that was for you."

Sam smiles up at his family, and buries his head in Dean's neck.

"Yeah. But I know she'll be ok this time around."

Sam falls asleep, but not before feeling Dean's kiss to the back of his head, or his Father, Mother, Caleb, Pastor Jim surrounding him.

Yeah. He might still feel undeserving, but things are looking better already.

&

Castiel watches her closely. He's been down here for six months, in bodyguard status, making sure Jessica Moore, AKA Babe Jennifer Moore, remains safe, as per Winchester orders.

In an unlikely set of events, Jess was reborn to her older sister, someone who's been mourning Jess's death to the point of depression and, incidentally, couldn't conceive a child.

Until nine months ago.

Cas smiles when he drops in unnoticed, and finds himself cooing over the baby.

"You really are rather sweet..." his smile drops into something akin to sadness, "I can see why Sam loved you so much... and will again, child."

&

Yeah I know. Stupid beyond belief...

Sorry if I've been lax on the review replies... I don't mean to be. Just feeling a big over-loaded by real life and depressed at the moment.

Love ST xxx