Title: Ever This Day
Summary: A series of one-shots of Dean as seen through the eyes of his overburdened, self-appointed guardian angel. Chapter 3, set after Abandon All Hope: Jo Harvelle, Ana and Castiel have all – at some point - heard Dean Winchester's best line.
First off, thanks to all who read, alerted, favorited and especially all who reviewed the previous installment of Ever this Day and the previous installment of my current work-in-progress, Less Traveled By. I was working on LTB actually and got stuck, so I started reading through some of my older fics to reacquaint myself with some ideas and styles that I was more comfortable with and then just stumbled into this unpublished chapter of Ever this Day. I realized I've been so busy (I was fandom-MIA for months and months, got swallowed up by RL haha) that Chapter 3 just sat there in my computer, essentially finished but forgotten. The current dating of this fic of when I finished writing it is just because I tweaked it a bit, but it's been mostly done for months, and I apologize for keeping those who have been following this fic waiting!
I hope this fic still interests those who have read chapters 1 and 2. For those who have not read them, you don't need to do that to read Chapter 3. I am also currently working on a fourth chapter :) Anyway, ramble ramble, I know. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and heartily welcome your c&c's. Without further ado, Chapter 3 of Ever this Day, "Commit Me Here:"
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Ever This Day
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Chapter 3: Commit Me Here
After Abandon All Hope: Jo Harvelle, Ana and Castiel have all – at some point - heard Dean Winchester's best line.
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The crisp, high-pitched, low-volume clinking sound pierced the late night quiet as he picked up the tiny glasses from on top of the wooden kitchen table. He placed one finger inside each shot glass, then pulled his digits together, clustering the glasses for a more efficient delivery to the sink. The smell of liquor was sweet-bitter acid, tickling his nose. Odd corners of the glasses were still moist, round drops of bereft alcoholic beverage and maybe just the remnants of the kiss of a woman's lips, on the rims.
He heard a shuffling behind him and for a long moment, he considered flitting away. But the fact that the intruder was already on his way over meant that he was already discovered anyway and so he held his ground, continued his work without pause.
"What do you think you're doing?" the breathy voice asked from behind him. Dean stood by the doors of Bobby Singer's kitchen, leaning on the frame. His clothes were rumpled, his hair sticking out over his head, all from much-needed sleep. But his eyes were clear, thoughtful.
"These have been laying out here for the last two days," Castiel replied of the glasses, taking them to the sink, "I partook of these drinks, and am now the only one left to clean up after us."
Dean cocked an eyebrow at him, "You're washing the glasses."
The angel shrugged, "I can do a great many things."
"Fair enough," Dean said. He pursed his lips in thought, walked over and offered Castiel a palm-up, "Gimme one of those, will you?"
Castiel frowned, but did as he was told, "Why?"
"Why do you think?" Dean asked back, turning his back on Castiel and the sink and picking up a bottle of tequila on the table. He poured himself a shot.
"Should you be doing that?" Castiel asked, "What with the medicine you've been taking."
"I'm not taking anything," Dean said automatically.
"The ones for your head," Castiel pointed out, "You are not supposed to-"
"I've had concussions before," Dean said, waving a dismissive hand at the issue, "This one ain't so bad. I'll live." He gave the angel a mocking salute, and then downed the shot in a gulp. He hissed in satisfaction at the burning line the liquor trailed down his throat. Once the sensation faded, he brought a finger to his lip thoughtfully and murmured, "Well what do you know. Lipstick."
"The glass you gave me," Dean cleared his throat, "It was Jo's. I can still taste her on it." The realization had him reaching for the bottle and another gulp, this time ditching the glass and laying it on top of the table.
"I am sorry," Castiel said carefully, "For the loss of your friends."
"Yeah," Dean said, before his eyes turned steely, "Hey I've been meaning to ask – where were you anyway, when all that shit was going down?"
Castiel stared at him for a long moment. The question was something Dean had asked him before, a number of times in the last few days, as a matter of fact. Sam explained that Dean had had hit his head and was forgetting things, but that he should be better soon. Dean would ask the same question the same way every time, and every time, Castiel kept looking for... he wasn't entirely sure. Accusation, maybe – why weren't you there, why did you leave them – and instead just finding... a question. A simple, straightforward question, with judgment to be reserved. It was surprisingly fair.
"I observed something anomalous," Castiel explained now as he had many times before in the last few days, "I excused myself to find out more, and found myself captured."
"About that," Dean said, and Castiel could tell by the glint in his eye and the build-up to his tone that he was going to attempt humor, "You're gonna sit down with Sammy and me one of these days and we're gonna watch a horror movie."
This was a new response to the days-old question and Castiel's unchanging answer, and the angel figured Dean must truly be feeling better now that he was being more clever. Castiel knowingly took the bait of being the straight man in the comedic pair, out of both mercy and for his own comfort, "Why would we do such a thing?"
"Everyone in a horror movie knows they're not supposed to split up and go off on their own," Dean said, "And you're also not supposed to say 'I'll be right back.'"
"I didn't say 'I'll be right back'," Castiel pointed out, feeling a little bit confused now.
Dean's face fell. "Never mind."
Castiel turned the water up, and the hissy splashing sound lorded over the quiet kitchen. It overwhelmed the subtle sound of wood scraping against floor, as Dean sat on top of the table behind him, legs swinging, bottle of liquor in his hand.
"Where'd you pick that up?" Dean asked, nodding in the direction of the dishwashing.
"It is simple and requires no tutelage," Castiel replied, "Maybe it is a distant memory of this vessel's. But I believe it is also natural instinct, to know to wash things."
"Yeah," Dean snorted, "Maybe there is something instinctive about using Dawn over there, in a fresh, clean orange-y scent."
"Baptism is a washing from original sin," Castiel expounded as he worked, "Floods too, have purified cities. And you know... God's Son Himself washed the feet of His disciples."
"Just wash the dishes, Cas," Dean sighed.
He did, one by one, and carefully.
"Is your head better?" Castiel asked into the quiet, not bothering to turn to face Dean and be lied to.
"Yes," came the expected reply, "I told you I've taken lots of hits before, and this wasn't so bad. Apparently, the devil can survive the gun that can kill almost everything else, but still hit like a girl."
"You've been sleeping most of the time since you got here," Castiel said, "And your brother and Bobby were getting worried."
"It's like having two wives at the same time," Dean agreed gravely.
"They mean well," Castiel responded mildly, "And it's not so strange for people to close ranks and keep those they love nearby almost fanatically, after so recent and so fierce a loss. I would indulge them, if I were you."
Dean just shrugged, "All that wife-nagging without the wife-sex? No thanks. Oh hey," he called out to Castiel as he tossed the glass he had ceased from using, "Head's up."
The angel caught it easily, just as he had caught the quick, goodbye-squeeze Dean had given the glass before tossing it Castiel's way. The same way he caught Dean's mild regret that he had caught the thing and it hadn't smashed to the floor in a mess of pieces.
The angel started washing the shotglass along with the others, mixed them up, hoping it would be indiscriminate and that he'd forget which one had been used by the dead girl.
"They were good people," Castiel said quietly.
"Yeah well," replied Dean, "Try getting clocked by that chick on the nose. Now that one, she hit like a linebacker on steroids," he winced in recollection, "Who took 'em with an acid chaser."
"They were very brave," Castiel went on, "And dignified."
"You're telling me," Dean said, pretending to be obtuse and trying to stay on shallower waters as he brought the bottle again to his lips, "I tried doing the 'last night on Earth' thing with Jo? And I crashed and burned."
"'Last night on Earth?'" Castiel echoed.
"You know," Dean expounded emphatically, "Dangerous mission coming, you can all die, so it's high time to eat, drink and be merry and whatever else you wanna get off your freaky head? Last night on earth."
"Ah," Castiel said, sounding enlightened, "You've tried that with me once."
Dean choked on his liquor, "Dude," he coughed, "I would never-no, what the heck are you talking about?"
"We were going to trap Raphael and speak with him," Castiel expounded, "And I told you it was not likely that I would emerge from the encounter alive. You said it was my last night on earth, and asked me what I wanted to do."
"Oh, right," Dean remembered, "I brought you to a whorehouse, Cas, that's different. I meant I tried to kiss Jo and so on, you know. So it's different. Sheesh. I wouldn't try that with you."
"You should have been more clear," Castiel told him.
"I'll remember that," Dean said wryly. He turned pensive after a moment, saying, "You know... I know more dead people than alive people." He drowned the rest of the thought with another gulp off of his drink. Castiel drowned it differently.
"You've had several last nights on earth," Castiel remarked, wanting to spare him from more drinking by attempting some levity, "It's kind of self-defeating."
"Well how was I supposed to know I would always survive?" Dean snapped, "Oh but you're right though. Huh. How about that. I mean there was Ana-"
"I do not wish to hear about that-"
"Awesome last night on Earth, that," Dean went on, "And then there's you, and this last one, with Jo. I'm like a freaking Ebola monkey."
"A carrier of the plague," Dean clarified, "Everything I touch, man..."
Somewhere in there the conversation shifted, and Dean had turned serious again, introspective. Maybe it was the abundance of the liquor he was consuming, maybe it was that compounded by the medicine he was taking. Maybe it was just this most recent, harrowing loss, picking at his scabs and exposing the wounds beneath.
"I tended to think about her like a kid," Dean said quietly, "I mean she was pretty and all, but... I don't know. Something about her. She was so... young. I think it's 'cos she had a mom whom I knew. Everyone who's got a mom is just a kid, no matter how old they are. 's that make sense?"
It made sense for people who looked at the world like an orphan, Castiel thought, but dared not say.
"I kissed her," Dean confessed, "She was dying and we all knew it, and she looked at me like it's all she wanted from me. No asking to save her, no asking to make her sacrifice count, just... just a goodbye kiss. That was all, like it was so simple. She was... she really was just a kid."
Dean sniffed a little, and laughed at himself, self-deprecating, "That sounds worse out loud than in my head. Like I'm blowing my own horn or whatever-"
- Castiel wasn't sure what that meant -
"- Singin' my own praises," Dean clarified almost automatically, catching the confusion of the uninitiated and adjusting his statement, "I'm not sayin' she thought I was the main event of her life or whatever or that she was in love with me. I'm just sayin'... she's just a girl, she's just a kid, the things she wanted in life, you know. And she didn't deserve to go out like that. Gut busted up, bleeding and in pain before... before she got saddled with blowing herself up. With her mother beside her. God, Cas. Now that sounds even worse out loud than in my head."
"They believed in what you were fighting for," Castiel told him, "They believed in you. People have died for far less."
"And a lot of good it did them," Dean said bitterly, "Or you, for that matter."
This time, Castiel faced him. "I could hate you only insofar as I can hate the truth; you were correct with what you said about knowing the difference between right and wrong. I knew it, and I recognized it, and I found no other recourse in good conscience but to follow it. I am certain the case had been the same for them. For some people... you can't not do the right thing, once you know what it is."
"I don't know what it is."
Castiel tilted his head at Dean thoughtfully, "Well they did. And I do. And for whatever reason, this has something to do with you."
Dean scratched at the back of his neck, uncomfortably, "You ever heard of the Pied Piper? About this dude with a flute of some kind who led rats all the way to go over the edge of a cliff."
Castiel wasn't entirely sure how the seemingly random statement applied, but hazarded a fair enough guess, "Well you must not worry so much about that - I happen to have wings."
November 10, 2010
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Next Installment to Ever this Day: Chapter 4 - "Angel of God"
After Free to Be You and Me: As the search for God continues, Castiel comes upon what he first thought to be a fairly simple solution – Let Dean die and wait for God to intervene, or make him look for God in Heaven. It is a loss much harder to bear than he anticipated.
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Thanks for reading. 'Til the next post!