Disclaimer: The characters of Supernatural were created by Eric Kripke and are owned by the CW Network. No profit is being made.

Note to Readers: This story picks up at the end of the season 5 finale "Swan Song" and will most assuredly be AU once S6 starts up in the fall. I know it's been a while since I've written any fic, sorry. I wanted to thank everyone that has sent me a PM over this past year while I haven't written just checking in and asking me if I was okay. Thank you. Anyway, not sure where I'm headed with this story but it was scratching to be written after seeing the finale, so we'll see where it goes. I had another fic idea but put it on the back burner in lieu of this story. I hope my writing hasn't slipped in my year long hiatus from posting. My apologies if it has …

Side Note: The title of this story is from a song of the same name by "Within Temptation".

Our Solemn Hour

By Dawn Nyberg

"… Sacred justice moved my architect. I was raised here by divine omnipotence, primordial love and ultimate intellect…" ~ The Inferno, Canto III, Dante Alighieri

The streetlight flickered and went out and Sam stood in the shadows watching his big brother from a distance. The unreadable mask of his face slipped into one of longing and ache as he watched. Torn in need to be with his brother and the need to give Dean what he'd never had … a life, happiness but most of all peace. Sam had seen the far away look in his brother's face at the dinner table but Lisa had pulled him back into the light and although Sam couldn't hear what she had said to his brother he saw Dean snap back and a soft smile cross his face. He watched Dean smile and toss a dinner roll to Ben. Sam's eyes welled with tears and a small smile pulled at the corner of his mouth.

This he could do … give Dean a life … this he could do … be happy that Dean had kept his promise … this he could do … walk away.

His memory was clear like unblemished glass and unfortunately as sharp as a razor. He remembered Lucifer inside him scratching at his soul and the pit … pain … a pain absolute and then ascension. He felt a presence enter into the cage and a whisper inside his spirit, do not fear … and in that instant he felt Lucifer peeled away from him as if Lucifer was merely sunburned skin sloughing off and then he was at Lisa's … free from the pit but separate from the life he'd had before giving himself to the pit in order to lock Lucifer back in his cage.

Sam Winchester watched just a bit longer, his eyes bright with tears, he stepped back into the thick shadow, and away from the light he'd known his entire life, away from his brother. Dean was light and Sam withdrew into shadow where he felt he belonged.

Dean looked past Ben into the night outside and stared for a long moment, as something inside him stirred. "Dean? What is it?" Lisa followed Dean's line of sight. Dean shook his head briefly as he studied the darkness a moment longer.

"Nothing," he assured her when he saw the worry in her eyes. "It's nothing," he reaffirmed for her and offered a tentative smile of assurance.

Sam walked down the sidewalk not knowing where he was going … his mind filled with questions. Three blocks away he found a playground and stopped. He sat down on a swing and allowed the heaviness inside him to begin to consume him. There was a familiar rustle to his left and looked and Castiel sat beside him.

"How'd you know? What the sigils don't work anymore?"

"No of course not they are still intact and keep you hidden," Castiel responded easily. Sam rolled his eyes in frustration.

"You wanna elaborate Cas, if their still good how the hell are you here?"

"Joshua told me where to find you that you'd been saved from the cage."

"Joshua?" Sam remembered him. The angel that tended the Garden and the sounding board for God and Sam's eyes widened. "You mean God told him?"

Castiel nodded. "I believe so but he is a man of few words. He was simply conveying a message to me to come to you." Sam shook his head.

"Dammit Cas, no games, I want to know … I need to know …" he left the sentence unfinished.

Castiel was silent for a long moment and looked at Sam thoughtfully, "the answer you desire to hear is yes. There is only one being strong enough to descend into Hell, enter the cage and separate the essence of Lucifer from his vessel while sparing the vessel. Your sacrifice saved the world Sam and he pulled you free as a gift."

"For what," Sam lamented. "I don't deserve redemption. He should have left me there to rot."

"What you did took great strength Sam. You fought Lucifer and pushed him back." Sam shook his head.

"It was Dean, Cas, he saved everyone, he saved me … he would have stayed there and let Lucifer beat him to death, his only concern was to just get through enough to me to know that he was there for me and then I saw the toy soldier I crammed into the ashtray when I was six and …" Sam's voice choked. "I saw it all Cas, every moment with Dean, felt his love and that is what gave me the will to break through and push Lucifer back."

Castiel nodded. "You should go to him. His soul is broken in ways that only you can repair."

"No, Cas, he kept his promise. Let him have a life … if I knock on that door, he'll walk away from Lisa and Ben … things will just be more of the same, hunting, no let me be gone to him."

"You'll never be gone to him Sam. He will always be your brother and you his. He will mourn and ache your loss, your sacrifice every day. Despite the smiles and laughs, this new life you made him promise to embrace will give him there will always be a hole where you were." Sam turned and looked at Castiel long and hard.

"You been watching the Lifetime network dude, 'cause you were totally channeling the chick-flick moment?" Sam offered a shaky smile. Castiel quirked a confused eyebrow up

at Sam.

"What's a chick-flick moment and for that matter the Lifetime network?"

Sam snorted a small chuckle. "Never mind man."

"So, you'll return to him," Castiel responded matter of fact.

"No, he's better off, trust me," Sam stood up abruptly. "Time to leave."

"Where will you go?"

Sam shook his head and said nothing. "Bye Cas, do me a favor keep an eye on him, okay?" The angel nodded.

"I will."


Castiel watched Sam walk away and disappear around tall hedges and in a blink the playground was left empty the swings gently moving from the breeze caused by angel wings and all was silent.

To Be Continued …