MORNING WATCH

By Carver Edlund

"As a new dawn broke in the life of the Winchesters, I felt I couldn't leave. Theoretically my part in this story was done...but I suppose I'm never done. Not with these boys anyway. I know these books are never going to get published - not soon in any case. The Winchester Gospel will take years to be widely accepted. After all, how did I start? An underground cult following of devoted fans? Sounds about right. No, this one's just for me. These boys have been through enough, and it's time I really helped them for a change.

"Like I said, endings are never really endings. The end of one chapter can oh-so-easily become the beginning of a new one. The end of a story just tempts a sequel. For I am the End...the Omega...and now wasn't my time."


Sam looked towards the house, his face stoic and free from emotion. He'd pretty much used up all his emotion for the time being. He could see Dean sitting at Lisa's kitchen table, scotch in hand, truly smiling for the first time in months.

He knew what it was like to lose one's brother - those four months Dean had spent in Hell were harrowing. Sam wished he'd had someone to fall back on, not just Ruby.

He was glad he'd made Dean promise to do this. He was glad his brother was happy, even if it wasn't with him.

Sam left his position in front of the house, having not ever intended to disturb his brother. This was the life he'd always wanted, and he wasn't going to fuck it up. Dean not knowing his brother had returned would be the best thing for him.

He felt better now, now that it was all over. He felt more at peace, and stronger than ever.

Despite all this, he still didn't feel strong enough to leave Dean.

He knew he should be elsewhere; he knew he should be doing his duty and leaving him in peace...but he couldn't bring himself to. All his life, Dean had been the one to protect Sam, and the younger Winchester felt that now, it was his turn to protect Dean - to make sure he kept his promise. To make sure he lived the life he'd always wanted, and to make sure he was happy.

If Sam were to come back into his life, he'd only be reminded of all that angel, demon, apocalypse crap. And he couldn't do that to Dean. Not after all he'd been through.

With one last look at Lisa's house, Sam walked to the end of the street, beyond the orange glow of the street lamps and disappeared into the night.


Sam rarely slept anymore, not since he'd gotten out of the pit. Nor did he eat much - just enough for his body to function, and after years of living on the road that wasn't a whole lot. Ever since Gabriel died he'd had an odd craving for all things sweet, too...though he supposed that was hidden grief manifesting itself in a strange way.

Still, since he couldn't rely on the sanctuary of the Impala anymore, Sam felt he needed a home; a base of sorts. Somewhere close to Dean, in Cicero, but not so close he'd come snooping around and find him. The hunter's instinct flowed true in Dean's blood still - the whole 'run-towards-the-scream' compulsion. Sam knew he'd come looking around this place if he thought there was something suspicious there.

Not that Sam couldn't hide from Dean; he knew all his tricks, plus a few more Dean himself didn't even know. He wouldn't have any trouble disappearing if needs be.

So it was now, with a heavy heart, that he returned home - though this 'base' didn't exactly feel like home, it was the best he could do.

He settled down in a chair to slumber: Sam didn't really consider this sleep; it was more a watchful rest. He let his body recuperate while still being on guard. The house creaked like nobody's business. This annoyed Sam to no end, because he'd always been taught to jump at the slightest sound, and each time a tiny gust of wind made the ancient house shift in its foundations, he would wake, grabbing on to one of the many weapons he still instinctively carried around his coat pockets.

Not that he'd been bothered by a demon or anything for more than a month. With Lucifer down in the cage, most of them resigned and most went back to Hell...a few stayed but those rebellious ones were taken down: some by the angels, some by other hunters, a few by Sam himself.

Of spirits there were plenty. The Apocalypse had taken its toll on those with unfinished business. But Sam ignored them: most weren't causing trouble as their unfinished business was to say goodbye to their boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, brothers, et cetera. He'd let Jennifer Love Hewitt deal with those ones.

"Wow, Sammy, I didn't know you could get any gayer. Ghost Whisperer? Seriously?"

Sam bit back a sob as in his own head, Dean's reaction played out. He knew the guy so well, he could just imagine what he'd say to each of Sam's musings. He let no tears fall. He kept his emotions inside, like he had been forced to do from the moment he decided never to bother Dean again.

He closed his eyes again, drifting into his light slumber.

"Sam..."

The hunter jumped again, this time sure it wasn't the creaking house that had said his name. No, it was someone he knew; a voice he recognized.

"Sam...!"

The voice was almost a whisper, but Sam still heard it above the howling wind outside. Suddenly, he was crippled by a pounding headache and soon came to the realization that the voice was in his own head.

"Father?"

After Sam spoke he immediately sounded stupid - and felt it. His empty house was silent, and the voice in his head had disappeared. He felt ridiculous: it was common knowledge amongst the angels that God was either dead or incognito, and He certainly wasn't talking to Sam. He only talks to Joshua, everybody knew that.

"Sam?"

Yet there it was again! Clear as day...Sam knew he wasn't making things up, that he wasn't crazy. He knew it was his Father - he would recognize the voice, despite having never heard it.

"Yes?"

"Sam...I found you. Do you know who I am?"

"Of course, Father." Sam collapsed to his knees on the cold ground, making his jeans muddy. He could clean that up later. "What is it you require of me?"

The voice laughed awkwardly; a laugh Sam thought he recognized. "Well, I was hoping you could do me a favor." Sam pressed his eyes shut, and felt something glow inside him. "Do you remember when I resurrected you? Do you remember what I gave you in return for your services?"

"You made me an angel, Father." Sam smiled a little at this; it had been unprecedented - but not unwelcome - when he had gotten the same treatment as Castiel. He admired God's sense of irony at making him, of all people, an angel.

"I did. But you must have gotten lost on the way to Heaven. There's no need for angels on Earth anymore, Sam."

Sam bowed his head in shame.

"I'm sorry, Father. But... I couldn't leave Dean," he said, the crack in his voice betraying him.

There it was - the laugh again. Sam felt his Grace glow, and he sighed deeply. "That's who I came to see you about, Sam. Neither of you are happy in this current situation. I have a task for you."

"Anything, Father. Anything."