A sequel to When Life Gives you Lemons and a tag to Point of No Return
Dean had been sick. He didn't say anything like he always did, but Sam knew. Dean was fighting off something. Sam tried to convince him that maybe they should stop for a while and rest, but Dean kept insisting he was okay, that he had probably gotten some angel version of the clap when he had ganked Zach. It made Sam smile. It felt good to have that rapport back with his brother. He had missed it, but now, all he could feel was worry that something was wrong with Dean. Winchesters just didn't get sick for no reason. It was part of their curse, in Sam's eyes, but he was the only one who believed that. Dean had never ascribed their life as cursed. When they had finally reached Bobby's, Dean rushed out of the car and into the yard. Sam heard the wretching sounds and was even more worried. When silence fell, Sam ran in to follow Dean. He'd found him leaning heavily on one of the cars.
"Dean? Are you okay?"
"Yeh, yeh," Dean said, breathing hard. "Must've been that burger I had. I'm okay. Let's get in and catch Bobby up."
Sam watched as Dean staggered, steadying himself upon each car he passed by. Sam didn't like it. Dean hardly ever got sick and whenever he was, it was from some kind of demon venom or from being shot or tossed. Sam used to joke that Dean had the strongest constitution on the planet. This wasn't normal, as least not Winchester normal.
Sam followed him into the house. Dean dropped into a couch, breathing as if he had just run a mile non-stop. Bobby rolled out and saw Dean looking pale and haggard.
"You look like death warmed over," Bobby commented.
"Nice," Dean said. "I just ate something that disagreed with me."
"Wouldn't be the first time," Bobby teased again, but Sam saw his face wrinkle with concern.
"Yeh, thanks for that trip down memory lane."
Sam caught Bobby up about their confrontation with Zachariah and he could tell that he had been relieved to hear that Dean had had a change of heart. By the time Sam was done, Dean had fallen asleep.
"Is he all right?" Bobby asked.
"I don't know," Sam said worried. "He's been sick since we left the beautiful room. Course he's just ignoring it…but he's never sick."
"Well, let him sleep whatever it is off. We could all use some."
Sam woke up the next morning cramped from sleeping in a nearby chair. He couldn't leave Dean alone, not because he didn't trust him, but because they had finally made progress beyond all the hurt and he didn't want to have that all end. Dean had made a commitment to stay on track with Sam and he knew Dean always kept his word except when he was going to say yes to Michael. That promise he broke and Sam was glad he had.
He then heard groans coming from the kitchen. He looked over and saw that Dean wasn't on the couch anymore. He quietly approached the kitchen, listening. He grabbed a gun from a table. They couldn't be too careful these days. They had a price on their heads. Anyone and anything seemed to be gunning for them, all for different reasons. As Sam approached, he recognized the back of someone bracing himself against the sink. He put the gun away and went towards Dean.
"Dean? What's wrong?"
Dean turned around and looked ashen, grimacing in pain.
"I don't…know. Woke up in pain…I don't know what's happening," Dean said with difficulty.
Sam guided him back to the couch, Dean twitching and trying to curl up in pain on the way. Sam helped him lay down on the couch.
"Maybe we should –"
"Know what you're thinking…can't go to the hospital…you know that…"
Sam nodded, but his instinct to help Dean overriding anything logical.
"Get Bobby," Dean struggled out.
Sam got Bobby up from sleep, afterwards making a mental note "note to self: Bobby is grumpy when awakened suddenly", but once Bobby grew to consciousness and understood what was happening, he hopped into his chair like lightening and followed Sam.
They found Dean in the middle of the floor on his hands and knees, coughing, a pool of vomit on the floor.
"Dean, you all right?" Bobby asked concerned.
"Sorry, Bobby…couldn't make it."
Bobby realized what Dean was referring to when Dean looked down at the vomit.
"That floor has seen worse, son. Let's get you back on the couch."
Sam helped Dean back. Dean's pallor was deathly and his ragged breathing was punctuated by grunts of pain. He then suddenly grabbed Bobby's shirt sleeve and looked up at him.
"For what?" Bobby said, knowing what Dean had wanted to say, but had long come to peace with what had happened between them.
Dean's eyes filled with tears, his face contorted in pain that went beyond the physical. He then smiled shakily and let go, knowing that Bobby understood.
Sam watched the exchange with admiration. Bobby had never let them down, even at their worst and despite his paralysis had always put away his needs for them.
"When this start, Dean?"
"After he ganked Zach and we got out of there," Sam said, seeing that Dean couldn't answer.
"I thought only angels could gank other angels?" Bobby asked.
Sam's eyes went wide with realization.
"You're right," Sam said. "And if Dean saw his visage…"
"He should have been blinded like Pamela was," Bobby finished.
"Hello…right here…you know," Dean joked.
Sam turned to Dean.
"Dean, when you ganked Zach –"
"Already…ahead…of you," Dean finished. "Nothing happened…just watched the bastard blow out his light."
"It's happening," a voice said behind them.
"Cas? You okay?" Dean asked immediately, recognizing the voice before anyone else.
Castiel walked over to Dean.
"I'm fine and…I'm sorry," Cas said, a look of shame across his face.
"Forget it…you had a right," Dean absolved, understanding all too well how Cas was feeling. He had been feeling the same thing with Sam.
"Cas, do you know what's happening?" Sam asked anxiously.
"You were right. Only angels can kill other angels."
"So? What? Does that make Dean –" Sam said.
"It's more accurate to say, he's transforming."
"Into what?" Dean struggled.
"A servant of Heaven."
"What?" Sam said.
"It's why you were able to kill the false prophet," Cas said.
Dean arched on the couch. It was like someone was carving out his insides.
"Dean!" Sam said as he went to Dean's side. " Isn't there something we can do?"
"I'm afraid not. The transformation has begun. Dean is experiencing the first stage of it. It's not unlike what a fallen angel experiences when it loses its grace. There is pain."
"Yeh, yeh, Anna…told us…kidney, butter knife. I get it," Dean said as the pain eased enough for him to talk. "Will it…take me out of the battle?"
"I don't know. There is no…precedent just legends," Cas said apologetically.
"I hate being a guinea pig…" Dean joked.
"I can relieve the suffering –" Cas said as he moved to place two fingers on Dean's forehead, but Dean stopped him.
"No, no, I need to keep my head in the game-"
"Dean –" Sam protested yet not surprised at Dean's decision.
"Sammy, this is my call…for whatever time I've got, I have to be here, not clocked out. Not going out that way…on our terms, remember?"
Sam looked at his brother and felt bereft.
"Okay, Dean," Sam said without any satisfaction in his voice.
"What am I in for, Cas?"
"Once the first stage is complete, the pain will end, but then a second stage will begin."
"How long?" Dean asked.
"Several hours, perhaps. Legends don't often give timetables."
"Did you just make a funny, Cas?" Dean grimaced.
Cas looked away embarrassed.
"What's stage 2?" Dean asked.
"Physical changes. You'll have powers."
"Like you do?" Sam asked.
"Not exactly. Each stage thereafter will bring a new ability."
Dean saw the look of concern on Sam's face.
"What happens when it's all said and done?" Dean asked.
"You will be an angel of the Lord."
"No, like Michael, like Lucifer."
All three men were then struck speechless.
FIN. Another sequel to come. Thanks for reading. Reviews welcome.