A.N. Final chapter! Hope you like it, if it's absolutely terrible, do let me know, and I'll do my best to fix it. Thank you so much for reading this story!
Disclaimer: Yeah, Supernatural's not mine.
Six months later
Dean stumbled out of the bedroom, his short hair as disheveled as it could get, and tried to set his clothes back to non-sexed-up look on his way to the door. Key word being tried. If the looks on Jessica and Emily's faces were anything to go by, he hadn't been entirely convincing.
At least Emily tried to hide her smile. Jessica was giving him a totally knowing grin that made Dean's ears burn.
"Uh…hello ladies." He cleared his throat.
"I hope we're not interrupting anything." Damn Jess. Well, two could play the same game.
"Nah, we're just about done. Give her a few minutes and she'll be ready." He replied with a sly grin.
Poor Emily went all red in the face, while Jessica narrowed her eyes before she burst out laughing and smacked his chest as she walked inside.
Around once a month, the girls made a little sleep over to braid their hair and watched chick flicks, ice cream included…but most importantly, gossip. Jess got to hear all sorts of things when the moms dropped off their kids at school, Emily was basically the confidant of every woman who walked into Gabriel's café, and Rachel was a nurse. Needless to say, she came across such an amount of gossip in a single day that was more than enough to make Dean's ears start hurting by the time she got to the second rumor.
When the girls had their monthly get-togethers, Dean, Sam and Cas took a couple days to do manly stuff. At least that's what Dean liked to think. If it were up to Sam, they'd spend the day discussing politics and his cases. Poor Cas was too nice to ever tell Sam to shut up (and Sam had been deprived of a good listener to drop his ranting on for years, apparently, because he often took time to see Cas and give him the weekly update on his lawyer-life). Dean had more than once taken it upon himself to rescue his friend from Gigantor and go out to get a greasy and delicious cheeseburger; which was about the one thing that might keep his brother away.
"So, I take it you guys will be staying at Cas's again." Jess grinned as she went to sit in the living room. Glancing up at Emily, who was walking over to sit next to her, she gave her a sympathetic look, "I don't know how you stand for this, Emy."
Dean sent a mock glare her way, and Emily laughed as she sat down, "Oh, they're not that bad." She glanced up at Dean, "They know not to make a mess if they want to have the house for their manly reunions."
The detective raised his eyebrows, "Wow, Emily, is that a threat?"
Emily grinned, and Jessica laughed and put an arm around her friend, "She's learning."
"Are you bullying the girls again, babe?" An amused voice called from behind, making Dean suppress a smile before looking over his shoulder at Rachel.
"I think it's fair to say they're the ones bullying me at this point."
"Oh, your poor ego," she cooed as she stood on the tip of her toes to kiss his cheek. "Nothing a night with the boys won't cure."
"Kicking me out, already? Alright, I see how it is." He nodded, smiling at their laughter before grabbing his duffel from the nearest armchair. "I'll see you ladies tomorrow then." He pointed at them, narrowing his eyes, "There better be ice cream left when I get back."
They waited until he was practically out the door to yell, "Don't count on it!"
Sam jumped to his feet at the sound of the doorbell. "I got it!" he yelled towards the kitchen, where Cas was finishing with the pizza and the Buffalo wings. They never ordered for these nights unless they were in the mood for a feast. Cas was really a great cook, and they'd discovered that he made a mouthwatering pizza. Of course, when Dean had found out that he also knew how to make chicken wings, he'd de-aged back to a five-year-old and demanded they have them every time the girls kicked them out for their monthly meet.
"I come bearing beer." Dean raised two six-packs as he strode past him and dropped his bag on the way to the kitchen.
Rolling his eyes with a smile, Sam grabbed the bag and took it to the living room before following his brother. Dean was looking over Castiel's shoulder at the pizza that had yet to be put in the oven.
"Did you put extra cheese on it?"
"What about sausage?"
"If you can't see it, I seriously worry about the state of your eyesight."
"Not my fault it looks weird before you put it in the oven."
"That's a sad excuse."
"Aw, come on!"
"Are you sure they're not ready? They smell ready."
"They are not ready, Dean."
"…How about the pie?"
"It's in the fridge."
Sam watched with amusement as Castiel threw a wooden spoon over his shoulder that hit Dean right on the back of his head before he'd even reached for the fridge. Without looking away from the pizza.
"Ow! Cas, what the hell!"
"Stay away from the pie."
"I was just gonna put the b—"
"Sam, could you put the beers in the fridge, please?"
"Sure thing, Cas." Dean gawked at the unfairness of this and immediately pointed an offended finger at Sam as he stomped back to Cas.
"What? How come you let Sam open the fridge?"
"I trust him not to eat the pie."
Sam met Dean's glare as he opened the fridge and gave him a nice view of the apple pie sitting proudly inside, before putting the beers in and closing it with a grin.
Both brothers hid their grins, Dean going back to pestering Cas about being hungry and Sam leaning on the counter. He never got tired of watching Dean and Castiel. His brother, for all that he joked around, was a very private person. He never completely let go of the soldier-persona that their father had trained him to develop. True, he relaxed when he was alone with Sam, but there was still that constant worry and protective look in his eyes that had been ingrained in him since they were kids.
It was different with Cas.
They were so at ease with each other that Sam had actually wondered at one point if they were more than friends. And, in a way, they were. Despite his no-chick-flick-moments motto, Dean was a pretty physical person; but it seemed like the older Winchester had grown to consider that a weakness. Or maybe it made him feel vulnerable. Over the past year and a half, Sam had watched as Dean went from putting a hand on Cas's shoulder, to pulling him into the tight hugs Dean only ever shared with family. Hell, upon discovering that Castiel was ticklish, Dean had practically tackled their friend to the ground in an outburst of playfulness that Sam hadn't seen in Dean since they were kids.
As Cas slapped Dean's hand away from the smoking chicken-wings while closing the oven with his foot, Sam found himself thinking of the Rachel and Emily. He and Jess had been worried that they wouldn't understand this…bond that Dean and Castiel shared. It could easily be mistaken for something it wasn't, and the last thing they wanted was for them to try and keep Dean and Cas away from each other. But Sam had been happy to be proved wrong.
Around New Year's Eve, Dean managed to get Cas the closest to drunk they've ever seen. Which is really just sort of tipsy. But for Cas that's like being shitfaced, so Dean and Gabriel were excited like a couple of kids on Christmas morning. Turns out Cas's Achilles' heel was purple nurples. Sam was scared to even think of what they put in that stuff. Sam heard Cas laugh more times that evening than in the year or so he'd known him before that. Dean of course only thought it fair to join him. When they all woke up late the morning of January 1st it was to find Dean and Cas snuggled together on the couch, practically sprawled one over the other. They were both absolutely dead to the world, and Sam can't remember seeing Dean look so peaceful in years—he also realized just how young Cas looks when all his walls are down. He looked like a child.
Sam and Jessica had looked at Emily and Rachel with worry, scared of what their reaction would be. Rachel had cooed and awwwed, and didn't stop talking of how cute they were for at least another hour. Emily had just smiled fondly and covered them both with a blanket. Sam would have to thank them both for understanding his brother and his friend so well.
"Dean, stop flirting with my lil' bro!" Dean all but jumped three feet in the air and turned around with a glare already firmly in place while the grinning pie maker observed with obvious satisfaction.
"Damn it Gabriel! Will you quit doing that!"
"Aww, come on, Dean-o!" Gabriel teased as he hopped onto the counter next to Sam. "You're too tense. You gotta lighten up, kiddo!"
"He's just pissed he's lost his touch." Sam snorted.
That turned the glare towards Sam, "I did not lose my touch. You two are just friggin' ninjas." He grumbled, crossing his arms like a perfectly mature man.
"Runs in the family." Gabriel shrugged, jumping down to stand at Castiel's other side. Without even bothering to be quick, he took a chicken wing and started gnawing on it.
Dean gaped like a goldfish for the better part of a minute before pointing at Gabriel indignantly. "Oh, so Gabriel can eat and I can't?"
Castiel took the chicken wings and turned towards them, then tilted his head, blue eyes wide and innocent. "But they're ready."
The small twitch of Cas's lips betrayed his innocence however, and Dean deflated and grabbed a wing, glaring halfheartedly at everyone before making his way towards the living room. "I hate you all."
"I guess Gabriel can have the rest then."
"I lied! Love you, Cas!"
Hours later, Sam was snoring away on the floor, tangled in a bunch of blankets and pillows. Gabriel had managed to defend one of the sofas from the evil Gigantor—Or Moose, like Crowley liked to call him; a nickname that Gabriel had fallen in love with from day one—and was sleeping comfortably in a bundle of blankets.
Dean stared at the ceiling, listening to the choir of snores in the room but unable to let sleep take him. Rolling over on his side, he looked at the abandoned blankets where Cas had been faking sleep until about an hour ago. Dean knew he did it every couple of weeks—more often when he was stressed or stricken by nightmares—, and always when they got together like this. Sometimes, Dean would fake sleep and wait until Cas came back and actually fell asleep. Other times however…he gave him some time before following him.
Heaving a quiet sigh, he stood and glanced at Sam and Gabriel one last time before quietly walking up the stairs to Cas' bathroom. A small smile tugged on his lips when he saw that the door was no completely closed, and he put a hand on the knob and slowly pushed it open.
Castiel stood shirtless with his back to the mirror, a hand on the scar on his side, his head turned to look at his reflection.
The scars on his shoulder blades were not that ugly stitched up mess they were when he'd left the hospital. The traces of Lucifer's torture had been reduced to pale rough patches of skin where bloody wounds had once attempted to drain the life from his friend.
"They look better." His voice was soft, whispering despite the safe distance between them and their brothers. Castiel met his eyes in the mirror and sighed, turning to face him.
"Yes…" he reached back over his shoulder to touch one of the scars. "I don't think I'll ever grow to like them though."
Taking this as an invitation, Dean stepped inside and closed the door behind him, leaning on it as Cas turned again to look at his back on the mirror. "Maybe in a few years," he tried to reassure him, "Getting used to scars like that takes time."
Giving up on his examination, Cas deflated and looked down, running a hand over the smaller scar on his abdomen. "Maybe."
Dean pushed himself off the door and walked behind his friend, raising a hand to his shoulder blades but not quite touching the marks of paler skin. "Do they still hurt?"
Castiel's voice was close to a whisper when he answered, "When it rains." His shoulders shook in a small chuckle, "Gabriel says I'm more reliable than the weather channel."
"You'd think he'd never miss it with all the crap he watches on TV." Dean smiled, and Castiel laughed quietly.
They stood in silence for a long moment. Dean would never really get used to how comfortable he was with Cas, especially in moments as intimate as this. It was something they never talked about, once they went back to their brothers and girlfriends they were back to the sarcastic detective and the quiet baker.
"Dean," Castiel's hesitant voice broke the stillness. Dean already knew what his friend would ask. But he replied anyway.
"Do you think…" he took a breath, "Do you think Lucifer will really leave me alone this time?"
Blue eyes met green in the mirror, pleading for honesty but hoping for reassurance at the same time. Dean heaved a sigh and finally let his hand touch the marred skin of Castiel's back, noting that he didn't tense like he used to.
"I don't know, Cas." He wouldn't lie to Castiel. Not about this. "I really hope to God he won't show his ass around here again. But I don't know."
Castiel nodded, and they sank back into a brief silence.
It was Dean who broke it this time.
"But if he does decide to pay you another visit," he assured, his voice rougher, not whispering anymore, "He's gonna get what's comin' to him. Crowley's got his ears open for any rumor of him going anywhere, and you know the annoying son of a bitch has good sources." He moved his hand to Castiel's shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly, "And Mike's finally got his head out of his ass and has put people around to make sure he doesn't step into town without being noticed. Still haven't met that ninja turtle brother of yours, but I'm sure he's getting something done too." He turned the man around to look at him directly in the eyes, "You're not alone this time, Cas. If that bastard tries to take you again, we'll be ready."
Castiel's mask broke just long enough for Dean to see the scared child looking up at him with hopeful eyes, but the walls closed off soon enough, and the only thing he could see in Cas's eyes was his genuine gratitude.
"Thank you." He closed his eyes briefly before glancing up at him again with a small smile.
"Don't mention it, man." Dean grinned back. "Now put your shirt on, I'm kinda hungry. Is there some of that pie left?"
"I think Sam's right. You have a black hole in your stomach." Castiel chuckled as they walked downstairs.
Meanwhile, in another town, in a different state, a man sat at a table in a barely lit room. Scattered over the table were pictures of a young boy. A small figure with a mop of dark hair and sparkling blue eyes as the child smiled at the camera.
Pale cheeks that were still round with youth were pinched by an older girl with fiery red hair, while in another one they were covered in chocolate as the child grinned at a boy with dark blond hair and mischievous eyes.
A young man just out of his teens—his hair the same dark color, and his eyes a darker blue—sat with the boy on his lap next to a dark skinned teenager struggling with his homework.
In the picture at the center, the boy was still just a toddler, held up high over a teenager's blond head, mouth open in shrieking laughter, his happiness mirrored by the wide smile on the blonde's face.
Lucifer glanced at the pictures with a wistful smile, his eyes lingering on the picture in the center. The smile faded as he glanced at the picture in his hand.
And old photograph of the whole family smiled back at him, he barely paid attention to the children, his eyes focusing on the beautiful woman sitting with a baby in her arms. Her hair dark like the eldest's, her eyes an ocean blue that shinned with the beauty of a new mother. Despite her happiness, she was pale, and the lines of exhaustion and sickness were easy to detect on her face if one knew to look for them.
To her left stood a man in an expensive-looking suit. His back straight and his hand placed solemnly on young Lucius' shoulder. The boy was beaming with pride at his father's favor, and expression that seemed unnoticed by the older blond man, turning a small smile to the camera.
His other hand was on his wife's shoulder, and the baby's eyes seemed full of curiosity as they studied the pristine hand on his mother.
A small smile threatened to pull through on Lucifer's face for a moment, but it died quickly.
Set to the side were three pictures.
One of a teenage boy with dark hair who couldn't have been over fifteen. A shredded t-shirt had been used as a makeshift gag, and his hands and legs were tied to the bedposts. The boy's face was flushed, his eyes looking agonized and pleading at the camera while tears streamed down his face. His narrow back was covered in blood from two long gashes on his shoulder blades, and an invasive hand that Lucifer had outgrown years ago was pulling the boy's pants down.
Lucifer looked at the picture, little Castiel's screams still fresh in his mind. He'd truly broken the boy then.
The second, newer picture no longer held a boy but a man, his hair a familiar dark color and his eyes a furious blue as they glared at the camera, no gag to keep him from screaming to his heart content this time but his jaws clenched tight in an obvious sign of resistance. There was no sign of that innocent boy in those eyes. No useless hope or pleads for mercy in the way his shoulder tensed as the knife reopened the wounds of his youth.
In the last photograph, his brother lied unconscious on the bloodied bed. His shoulders slack, his resistance gone. The fight had left his face, his sweaty bangs stuck to his forehead and his cheeks pale. But not even then did Castiel look like the child he'd been. The pain was still there, in the almost natural frown of his brows and the lines of agony over his face. He'd torn their father's grace out of his brother. He'd saved him. He'd made him fall.
His brother would be okay now.
Castiel would be alright now.
With a final smile, Lucifer tossed the pictures with the others and lit a match, letting it fall on what was left of his brother's innocence.
"You'll be alright now," he whispered, "Little brother."
A.N. I know it's a REALLY open ending, but I hope it's not too bad. Again, please let me know if it sucks (although feel free to tell me if it doesn't too :3)
A.N.2. I tried giving Dean and Cas a more intimate (cough-slash) moment, since some of you mentioned you'd hoped they'd get together. I kinda wanted to, but I'd already done the plot with Emily and Ray, and I didn't really wanna have to kill them off. I kinda like them. (Although if you're reading my other SPN story...I think I might give it a little push that way, SHHH).