Disclaimer: If they were mine, their world would be Thomist. Just sayin'. Also, for the record, I'm not Catholic, just a medievalist (though I am a Christian).

A/N: Partially inspired by a short story in Agatha Christie's Star over Bethlehem. I had actually started this story after "Abandon All Hope," but that heartrending prayer at the end of "My Bloody Valentine" prompted me to rework the timing. The concept is almost certainly AU, but I for one am ready for the boys to receive some tangible mercy. (BTW, if you're looking for something different to read during the hiatus, look up G. K. Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse on Project Gutenberg... I'm hoping the Winchester saga has as happy a turn!)


To Them That Ask
By San Antonio Rose

The knock on the door surprised Dean, who was nursing a headache (that might or might not be related to hunger and lack of sleep) and was thus in no mood to be civil to anyone. But neither Bobby nor Castiel seemed inclined to answer, so he dragged himself out of the kitchen and opened the door to find a rather large group of men and women standing expectantly.

"Hail, righteous man," said the man at the front of the group, "and grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We understand you are in need of assistance."

Dean scowled. "Who the hell are you?"

They all smiled at that. "Oh, no," said one of the women. "Quite the opposite."

"My name is George," stated the first man. "My companions: Barbara, Blaise, Catherine, Christopher, Denis, Giles, Margaret, Eustace, Acacius, Cyriacus, Erasmus, Pantaleon, and Vitus."

Dean frowned and shook his head to clear it. "Those are some weird names."

"Dean," Castiel suddenly breathed beside him.

Dean turned to see the angel looking at the crowd in awe. "You know these guys, Cas?"

Castiel nodded. "The Fourteen. Friends, your pardon, please...."

"Do not apologize, Castiel," the woman--Barbara--replied. "We know what happened, that you are both weary and sick at heart. That is why we have come."

"Why didn't you come sooner?" Dean snapped.

"You hadn't asked for us until last night," Erasmus stated.

Dean stared.

"That is not to say that we have been idle," Cyriacus continued. "Catherine, Margaret, and I have been quite busy the last few days keeping you out of Famine's clutches, for example. But we were under strict orders not to show ourselves until you specifically asked for help. And you had fasted, too, though you hadn't intended it as a spiritual exercise."

Maybe it was the headache, but Dean's mind sputtered and stalled trying to process the implications of that statement. Finally, he gave up and roared, "Where were you in Carthage?!"

"Castiel had already warned you once that the Colt would not suffice," Erasmus noted. "Would you have listened to us?"

Dean glowered at him for a moment before sighing. "Probably not."

"Not only that," George added. "Lucifer is now confident that you do not have the means to defeat him; he's certain that you will never say yes to Michael and that Sam will be ripe for the taking in Detroit. You want your enemy to be overconfident, to underestimate you. The final battle is yet to come, but in the meantime, he thinks you are cut off and alone and thus no threat to him at all." He burst into a grin worthy of Hannibal Smith. "We've got him right where we want him."

"Who's 'we'?" Bobby's voice rumbled from behind Dean.

Denis stepped forward. "We were bidden to give you these signs." He snapped his fingers, and Sam appeared beside Dean, pale, shaking, and wild-eyed from withdrawal. Barbara and Catherine steadied Sam on either side while Denis produced a vial of anointing oil, inverted it on his finger, and drew a cross on Sam's forehead while murmuring something in Latin. The tremors stilled, and Sam regained a bit of his usual color. Denis then stepped back as Cyriacus stepped around him and laid his hand over Sam's pounding heart.

"May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus," Cyriacus said. "I bind this addiction in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

As Cyriacus made the sign of the cross over him, Sam swayed, and his face cleared completely. Before he could recover enough to speak, however, Barbara and Catherine stepped aside and Eustace motioned Dean forward while Cyriacus turned Sam toward him.

"Be ye reconciled one to another, as God in Christ has reconciled you to Himself," Eustace said gently.

"Sammy?" Dean whispered.

"Dean," Sam rasped. "I...."

Neither being able to voice what they felt, the brothers simply embraced for a long moment and let silent tears fall on each others' shoulders.

Bobby finally cleared his throat. "I wouldn't exactly call that," he pointed to Sam and Dean as they pounded each other's backs and ended the hug, "a miracle."

"Perhaps not," Pantaleon replied as he and Giles stepped past the others and walked up to Bobby. "But that is not our only token. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise and walk."

"What--" Bobby's protest was cut off by Sam's gasp as he involuntarily moved his leg. Bobby stared at it for a moment, then gingerly moved his feet off the footrests and onto the floor. Giles offered his hand, and when Bobby tentatively took it, Giles jerked the hunter out of his wheelchair and steadied him as the previously wasted legs became as sturdy as they had been before the paralysis.

"When you find God, tell Him to send legs," Sam quoted softly.

"Cas?" Dean asked, bewildered. The healings weren't angelic in style, and there'd been no attempt to give the destiny spiel again, but that had been the one thing Bobby had asked of God... just who or what were these people?

"They're saints, Dean," Castiel answered his unspoken question. "Humans with the power of Heaven at their command. These are the Fourteen Holy Helpers."

"You called for us, Dean," said George, walking up to the younger man. "The cavalry's here. Team Free Will is restored to you. You're not alone anymore." That grin spread over his face once more, and Dean fully expected him to pull a cigar out of nowhere. "And we've got a planet to save."

For the first time in weeks, Dean felt his spirit truly lighten, and he grinned back and shook the dragon-slayer's hand.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
-- Matthew 7:11 KJV