Call me Home

"Dean," Lisa began casually one Sunday over a stack of pancakes, "I think my refrigerator may be possessed."

Dean lowered the edge of his paper. He had been reading the obituaries - just because he wasn't hunting anymore didn't mean he wasn't staying informed of strange deaths in his adopted neighborhood. That would be dangerous. And stupid. Plus an occasional precautionary salt and burn kept him grounded in this strange new life he was carving out for himself. Dean cast a neutral expression in Lisa's direction.

When he'd first shown up on her doorstep, sobbing and broken, there had been a week of marathon 'therapy' sessions. Lisa had persuaded (threatened, bribed and cajoled) Dean into telling her more about his life than he'd ever told a civilian before. Not all of it of course, no need to haunt her nightmares with visions of himself in hell or the fact of angels existing but being mostly jerks. And anytime she tried to talk about Sam… well, Dean shut down and walked out of the room without a word. Not the nicest thing to do to the woman who had generously taken him into her home and spare bedroom and asked for nothing in return, but she never called him on it.

But after that first week, with Dean insisting that he wanted a normal life, Lisa had put a moratorium on all things supernatural. Apparently normal people didn't drop references to windegos and the vast and varied uses for salt into everyday conversations.

So Dean was surprised and suspicious about Lisa's sudden concern for her kitchen appliances. He studied her expression closely as she spread some butter over her toast. She didn't look like she was joking, but she didn't seem overly concerned either. Not surprising either way - possibly a possessed refrigerator was less terrifying after you've had your son kidnapped and replaced with a changeling.

"Oh?" he said carefully, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Lisa shifted uncomfortably in her seat and looked over her shoulder at the object in question. "Maybe not the whole refrigerator. It could just be the magnets."

Well, that...made no kind of sense whatsoever. "The magnets," Dean repeated, fighting and failing to keep the sarcasm from his voice.

"Or it could be a ghost - spirit - whatever," Lisa said thoughtfully, "Can major appliances be haunted?"

"Stranger things have happened," Dean answered truthfully.

Lisa nodded with satisfaction and dug back into the stack in front of her, checking her watch once and looking toward the stairs to the second floor and Ben's room. "Is it natural for a boy his age to still be asleep?"

"Yes," Dean said shortly. "Lisa?"

Lisa hummed distractedly, still frowning in the direction of the staircase.

"Why do you think the refrigerator is haunted?"

Lisa turned her attention back to their discussion. "Well, because of the poetry of course," she answered. "I'm surprised you haven't said anything before now. At first I thought it must be you or Ben, but today's message... Well, I don't remember 'Dean' being in the set when I got it."

Dean blinked at her and then leaned to one side to inspect the refrigerator behind her. He'd noticed there was magnet poetry on the door when he'd first arrived of course, mixed in with a handful of fruit-shaped magnets holding up old artwork in childish scrawl, homework papers with big red 'A's on them, and grocery lists, but he hadn't paid much attention to the small lines of words beyond the fact that they were an obnoxious shade of pink. From here he could see that a handful of the normally scattered words were neatly lined up into a small block of text.

Dean put his paper aside and walked around the table for a closer look.

Pray me home, Dean.

Ask me to stay.

Dean stared at them blankly, hope and dread warring for dominance inside him. "What did the other messages say?" he asked, voice gone hoarse as he forced the words past a suddenly dry throat.

"I don't remember exactly," Lisa admitted, turning around to study the message again. "I'm not even sure when they started forming real phrases. Something about heaven's light and marks on the soul were the first ones to make me suspicious. I think I'm relieved it wasn't you. It was kind of cheesy to be honest."

Dean's left hand instinctively strayed up to cover the handprint on his right shoulder. Cas. It had to be.

"So, do you think it's the anguished spirit of a really terrible poet, doomed to haunt magnetic poetry until someone appreciates his art?" Lisa was asking, but Dean didn't answer her, couldn't because he was talking to someone else.

He closed his eyes and prayed, lips moving in supplication though the words were spoken only in his head. "Come back, Cas. Come home; come to me. Cas, please."

There was no sound or light to announce an angelic arrival, but Dean felt the weight of eyes on the back of his neck, welcome and familiar. He turned around, wary anticipation making his movements slow, to find Cas standing too close and looking as perfect and beautiful and otherworldly as he had when he'd disappeared from the Impala all those months ago. Cas - his friend, his angel, his might have been.

"Dean," Cas said. Warmth spread through Dean at the quiet joy that infused the single syllable of his name. He couldn't find his voice for a moment, lost in trying to decipher the unfathomable emotion he was seeing in the blue of Cas's eyes.

"Cas," he whispered back and he was pleased to note the answering flush spreading across Jimmy Novak's likeness.

An amused sounding cough from the table reminded him that they weren't alone. Both men startled and turned toward Lisa, who looked both bemused and indulgent. "Hi, are you the spirit haunting my refrigerator?"

Cas tipped his head in his humans confuse me gesture and Dean grinned at the familiarity of it all. "I am not a spirit," Cas told her seriously. "I am an Angel of the Lord." He glanced at the fridge once before turning back to Lisa. "But I have been manipulating your appliance decorations from my own use, yes."

Lisa eyebrows shot up in an uncanny echo of Dean at the word angel. "An Angel - an honest to God, angel?"

Dean laughed when Cas answered with his typical literal honesty, "All angels are honest to our Father, anything less would be disobedient."

Lisa looked as if she wanted to ask more, but she settled for circling around the table to smack Dean. "Why didn't you tell me you knew an angel? It'd have been nice to hear about the good things to balance out the bad."

Dean shrugged. "Angels are dicks." Cas didn't seem offended, but Dean quickly added, "Most of them. Not Cas. He saved..." everything Dean thought but settled for, "He saved me."

Cas beamed at him. "And you me," he said seriously and Dean's gaze was caught again in the brilliance of Cas's stare.

Lisa cleared her throat meaningfully. "You know, I think Ben's been in bed too long after all. I'm just gonna get him up now."

Dean nodded but didn't look away from Cas. "Okay."

"You two feel free to make yourselves comfortable and catch up, this could take awhile."

This time Cas answered, breaking their gaze to turn toward the stairs. "Thank you, Lisa Braden, for everything."

Dean got the feeling that Cas was talking about more than the invitation and her not-so-subtle attempt at granting them privacy. He glanced at Lisa and saw that she heard it too in gentle sad smile spreading across her face as she acknowledged the thanks with a nod.

The reality of being alone with Cas for the first time in months should have made Dean uncomfortable, but he found he was too grateful to be with his…Cas again to let awkwardness ruin anything.

"How's Heaven?" Dean asked.

Cas thought about it for awhile before settling on, "Tiresome." He hesitated briefly before adding, "Lonely."

"Don't you have thousands of brothers and sisters up there?" Dean asked.

"They are not you," Cas answered with all seriousness.

"Oh," Dean breathed, embarrassed and happy all at once. Searching for a new topic before his pride took over and made him cheapen the moment with a flippant word or sarcastic comment Dean asked, "So who's watching things while you're down here?"

"Gabriel is taking great joy in disciplining the more unruly of our siblings."

"Gabe, huh? I should have known he couldn't be killed so easily."

"Our Father has not returned, but He has rewarded the faithful," Cas answered easily.

"Like you," Dean said. Cas nodded solemnly. "Not that I'm not thrilled to see you, but why are you here?" Dean asked, kicking himself for his inability to just enjoy whatever time Cas was willing to give.

"I missed you," Cas answered, "and I have news for you."

Something in Dean's chest broke a little at that. "Just doing the messenger thing, huh? Then it's back to Heaven?"

"That depends," Cas said mildly.

"On?" Dean asked.

Cas didn't answer but his eyes slid briefly from Dean's face to something just over Dean's shoulder. Dean glanced back at the freezer door with its bright pink message still intact. "Oh." On him. It depended on him. That may have been the most terrifying thing he'd ever heard. But never let it be said that Dean Winchester didn't know how to man up when things got scary.

Turning around Dean surveyed his options before manipulating the remaining letters into a message of his own. When he stepped away his back bumped into Cas's front. Instead of stepping back Cas read the message over his shoulder. It wasn't perfect, but he thought it got his point across with the limitations pressed upon him by a set of magnetic poetry.

Please share my happy life

Cas's arms came around him from behind in a backwards embrace. "Stay?" Dean asked, just in case his message wasn't clear enough.

He felt Cas smile against the back of his neck, and he turned within Cas's embrace so that he could see it himself. It was a tiny smile, barely there, but it was as if the angel had his own source of light inside of him - which, Dean thought, he probably did. Cas pulled him tighter, closing the last remaining space between them; Dean's arms came up automatically to hold the angel in return.

Cas buried his face in Dean's neck and said, "Yes."