Author's Note: The final chapter... It has been great fun to write this story. I hope you enjoyed it too! Thanks so much for reading :-) I would be so happy if you left me a short comment!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters of Supernatural, unfortunately.
"I keep telling you, I'm sorry." Future Dean was sitting on the edge of his bed. "I really am."
"No you're not" Dean shook his head. He wasn't able to calm down, no matter how hard he tried. Instead he paced up and down the room. "I mean, how could you? For how long did you intent to keep me here? Do you even realize how scared I was that I might never be able to return again?"
"I'm sorry, Dean", his future self repeated, "but if I hadn't taken the phial you would have returned to the past being angry at Cas and me. You would have changed the future and I wouldn't want to live in a future without him." There was a begging seriousness in his eyes – his own eyes – that made Dean wince for a second.
"Well, now I'm leaving being angry at you, and how! So, great work. Excellent plan." There was a bittersweet sarcasm in his voice as he stopped and looked at his older version. "I mean it's not as if I hadn't suspected that. You did it when we were crawling around between the walls, didn't you? The perfect opportunity to pick my pocket."
Future Dean lowered his head.
"You know, the worst thing about this is actually that you were trying to force me and Cas together. Playing matchmaker is forgivable, but this… You made me play family as if I was some stupid jerk!"
"Can't you see I need him?" Future Dean's voice was a threatening growl as he suddenly jumped to his feet glaring at Dean with a menacing look. "Can't you see he needs me? He is everything I have and you threatened to take that away from me! I am an egoist, Dean. I've always been. And you know that."
Dean stared at him for a few seconds. "Son of a bitch" he snarled and left the room shutting the door noisily.
The worst thing about it was that he knew. He knew indeed. He could understand why his future self had done what he'd done, even though he was angry about it. But he understood. He would do just the same if someone threatened to change the past so that Sammy would never be born.
Without paying much attention he went outside the motel once again even though he felt tired. He took an uninterested glance at the watch around his wrist. 3:26 a.m. The sun would rise in a few hours. For a second he stared at the phial he was still clutching with his right hand. He would wait until tomorrow morning because it simply didn't feel right to leave without saying goodbye to everyone first.
Dean winced. He hadn't expected to meet anyone out here.
It was Sam, leaning against the wall.
"Sam" Dean walked towards him. "You're already awake. How are you feeling?"
"I'm okay" the future version of his brother replied. "I heard you having a fight with Dean just now."
"Aw…" Dean shook his head. "It's nothing. We just… don't get along very well."
Sam cracked a smile. "Sounds like a serious case of schizophrenia, hm?"
"Hey, I haven't had the chance to congratulate you properly on the baby yet."
"Thanks. I can't wait to return to Bobby's to see him again. He's two months old now."
"Hehe" Dean grinned. "I'm sure he's quite a handful if he takes after you. So, you've already got a name for him?"
Sam nodded and there was a proud smile curving his lips. "Daniel."
"Daniel" Dean repeated. "That's an angel's name, isn't it?"
"It's actually a prophet's name, but it can be used as an angel's name as well."
"Well, it's a pretty name. I like it."
Sam chuckled. "Of course you do. It was your idea."
"Really?" Dean looked at his brother. "Hey, can I ask you a question, Sam?" He had almost called him Sammy but somehow he felt as if this was not appropriate. After all, the Sammy he was talking to right now was almost six years older than he himself. So technically he was the little brother at the moment.
Dean hesitated. "You're happy here, aren't you? With Alice and Daniel?"
Sam smiled. "You're uncomfortable with the relationship between Cas and you."
"Thank God, finally someone who acknowledges that."
Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "I am happy here, Dean. And I know for a fact that you're too. But I don't want you to feel pressured to do something you're not comfortable doing."
Dean stared at his brother. "It's strange that you say that. Because Dean and Cas-"
"Yeah, Dean and Cas" Sam rolled his eyes knowingly. "They're… you know. Very… fond of each other. Every time something happens to one of them the other one goes crazy. We're all used to that. So please don't be too hard on them. It's just their usual ballyhoo."
Dean snorted shaking his head. There was a long silence until Dean started again: "And you're just… fine with that?"
"Fine with what?"
Dean swallowed. "You know… your brother being gay."
Sam grinned. "Dean."
"No, that's a valid question" Dean insisted. "Because if I went to Sam – my Sam – right now and told him that I had the hots for Cas, he would roll on the floor laughing."
"No he wouldn't."
"And how can you be so sure?"
"It's simple." Sam smiled. "Because I didn't."
Dean thought about his brother's words as he walked around the motel's garden. Sam had decided to go to bed once again, leaving Dean alone to brood in silence.
What did he really feel towards Castiel? He didn't know. Cas was a friend. The one who had rescued him from Hell. He was grateful to him. But did this mean he loved him? No, probably not. Although Dean wasn't sure anymore. There had been a strange distance between future Castiel and him because of the angel's relationship with his own future self. So right now, when he thought of Castiel, he realized that he was actually thinking of future Castiel. He had almost forgotten what it was like to be with his Castiel, the one who didn't know how to repair a drive belt. The one who wore a trench coat and not a pair of jeans. The one who didn't stare at Dean's necklace with a lovelorn look in his eyes.
The one who was just as oblivious as himself.
Dean turned around and decided to go back. Whatever all this meant, he still had to figure it out. Suddenly however he could hear muffled voices. Quietly he walked around the trees just to find future Dean and Castiel sitting on a small wall close to each other. He could only see their backs and was about to turn around, when his curiosity made him stay.
"Will you ever be able to forgive me?" Future Dean whispered so quietly that it was hard for Dean to understand. "He's going to change the future now and I'll lose you… I was such a fool. It's all my fault. I messed it up. As soon as he returns to the past, we'll be gone."
Castiel put his arms around his shoulder pulling Dean close to him. "It's not your fault, Dean. I understand why you did it." The angel let his head rest against Dean's. "I will always love you. No matter how much the present will change, what I feel for you now is real. All those memories we share are real. I will be with you no matter what."
"Thank you" Future Dean replied and touched the angel's cheek pulling him into a heartfelt kiss.
Dean swallowed and averted his eyes. He could not understand. Did those two really love each other that much? Would he actually be able to love somebody that deeply? A strange sadness started to weigh on his mind and somewhere… deep inside his heart… he wished for this love to be his.
The morning sun rose on the far horizon and everyone had gathered on the parking lot to say goodbye to Dean.
"Thanks so much for your help" Jo said with a grateful nod. "We'd still be the demons' hostages if you hadn't-" she paused and seemed to think about it for a second. "Well…"
"If I hadn't stolen the car" Dean completed her sentence with a shrug.
They laughed and Dean looked at their smiling faces. A happy family. His happy family.
"Hey" Future Dean took one step towards him. "You know, about the phial…"
Dean waved his hand. "Yeah, it's okay. I mean, it's not okay obviously, but you are, after all, a clever, sneaky bastard – just like me. And one piece of advice from your past self: You shouldn't worry too much about things that are not decided yet."
Future Dean and Castiel looked back at him with a puzzled expression, but Dean turned away. One last time he tried to memorize their faces. "I guess I'll see you around guys." He pulled the phial out of his pocket and opened it without hesitation.
"You have to visit us again soon!" Beth waved at him cheerfully.
A gentle blue glow started to wrap around Dean's body. He waved back at the little girl. Suddenly the force around him started to grow stronger and he closed his eyes as his feet seemed to lose ground.
"Dean!" His future self suddenly yelled "There is one last thing I need you to know! Remember, you asked me when it started, between Cas and me?" His voice was merely a distant noise. "I'll tell you: It started when I returned from the future!"
Dean's eyes widened at those last words and at the same moment the vision around him started to blur and vibrant noise filled his ears. For one second the world spun around him.
Dean tumbled back until his back hit a wall. The wall of the motel room. The same motel room of 2010 from where he had left.
He opened his eyes.
"Yes!" he yelled back. "I'm fine. Just give me a minute." Slowly he realized that it was Castiel who was looking at his face right now. "I'm back" he said with a hint of surprise in his voice. "I made it! Where is Sammy?"
"Out on a case" Castiel replied briefly. "What about the Apocalypse?" he demanded.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, you obviously care more about the Apocalypse than about me."
"Of course. The Apocalypse is of considerably greater importance at the moment. So?"
Dean couldn't suppress a chuckle. The old Castiel. He had him back. "You know, I've been thinking a lot lately, Cas." He put his hand on the angel's shoulder. "I'm really happy to have you back."
"What? Did you see the post-apocalyptic future again!" The angel turned around, distressed. "We failed once again!"
"Calm down, calm down!" Dean grinned. "We didn't fail, Cas. We found God."
Castiel paused for a moment and stared at him.
There was a gentle simile on Dean's lips. "You know, I've been thinking we should celebrate. You and me."
Castiel swallowed and Dean could read in his eyes that he was considering if this was too good to be true. "Tell me everything."
"Sure." Dean looked at the angel's beautiful face which was just about to be overwhelmed by joy. And the words left his mouth before he could think about their meaning. "I'd like to take you out for dinner. Would that be alright with you?"