Warings: Main charater dead!
Disclaimer: I do not own anyhing. Just borrow the characters to play with.
Author's note: This is a sequel to my story "Like a prayer" and you might want to read that one first because then this will make more sense. It will however work without it as well. I wrote this a long time ago. Before the season final so I was kind of guessing how it would end and it turned out I wasn't all that wrong. The reason I'm posting now is that my muse is slowly peaking out again and I kind of need the inspiration. So, please, read and review. :)
It's no beta on this one, which is kind of impolite, I know. But I just needed to get it of my chest right now and I hope there isn't too many errors...
It took exactly six months before he came back. There wasn't anything to indicate that day would be any different from any other day. Still, there he was, standing on her doorstep, smiling his usual smile. Sam stood close behind him, like a bodyguard.
They looked at each other for a long time, without a word, and then he said, "You look good."
"You too," she answered, but it wasn't true. Sure, his body was as sexy as ever but his eyes looked a hundred years old, and she wondered what had happened to him. She didn't ask, though. She never had. That's how they worked.
"Can you stay?"
He nodded. "For 48 hours."
She looked over at Sam, who smiled and nodded. Then he went into the Impala and drove away and she and Dean were finally alone.
They didn't talk much this time, although his eyes were telling tails she couldn't decipher. It was okay, though. The stories were not meant for her anyway. The sex was still great and still like a prayer. But not the deep and heartfelt one she remembered, more like a broken hallelujah, and once again, she found herself wondering what had happened to him. Still it was better than anything before and she felt blessed.
He left before dawn the second day. He tried to sneak out on her, but she woke up and when she called his name, he just turned around and gave her a knowing smile. As if he knew, he'd be busted. She followed him to Ben's room and watched him gently remove the necklace. He put it around his own neck. Then he carefully caressed his sons face and hair before softly kissing his forehead.
She realized he still didn't know Ben was his and suddenly it felt incredibly important that he knew. She took a shaky breath and whispered, "Dean."
He turned around, looking questioningly at her, and suddenly she lost her nerve and whispered, "Nothing."
He smiled at her, and for the first time since he came back, it reached his eyes. Before she could react, she was in his embrace, his lips against her hair as he whispered, "It's okay. I know. Sam told me. Thanks for taking care of him for me."
She titled her head back and caught his gaze. "Will you be back?"
"If I can," he said seriously and her heart broke at his words. She cried softly for a long time and it embarrassed her and made her feel like an idiot, because this was not who she where. She wasn't the clingy, needy kind of girl. But Dean seemed to understand and just held her tight until she stopped and then smiled, caressed her cheek and left.
It took her days to understand why she had cried as she did. It wasn't until the weather changed and every sign of the apocalypse she had ever heard of started to show that she understood. They were at war and she had just seen her solider off. She started praying that night.
Six months later the war was won. She knew because for the first time in six months, the sun was shining again, the world looked new, smelled new, and the economy and other things were getting better, too. The good guys had won, that she knew for sure. Now she only waited on news about casualties…
He came back to her on the third day, or to be correct, God brought him back to her on the third day. It was already dusk when there was a faint knock on the door, and when she opened, there was a man in a beige trench coat standing on her doorstep, with Dean in his arms. Dean didn't look like he was hurt, more like he was asleep. But he was too still in the man's arms, his freckles standing out and his eyelashes looking like black coal where they brushed his pale cheeks.
"Dean," she breathed and touched his cheek. He didn't stir.
She looked up at the man for guidance. He looked at her, his face a mask of indifference, but his bright blue eyes danced with emotions.
"The Lord wants you to heal him."
She stared at him in fear. "I can't heal people. If he's badly hurt you need to take him to the hospital."
"I healed his physical wounds days ago, but you need to heal him mentally. The Lord asks you to do it."
Again, she just stared at him. Nothing of this made sense, and still it did, but the question was, who was this guy? He had to be one of the good ones, right? After all, they had won the war.
"Who are you?"
There was a brief rustling sound, like the sound of wings, and then, there it was, a clear silhouette of big, majestic wings against the darkening sky. "I'm Castiel, an angle of the Lord and the Lord's wish is that you heal Dean."
She still didn't get. It wasn't the angel thing that bothered her. She realized that, deep down, she had known who he was the minute she opened the door. It was the healing thing that confused her. Healing each other wasn't what they did. Taking care of Dean was Sam's job, just as it was Dean's job to take care of Sam. Why would the Lord want her to heal Dean when Sam would do it so much better? Sam. She bowed her head and closed her eyes in agony when she realized what it meant.
She raised her head and looked at Castiel. "Sam. Is he…"
Castiel nodded, his eyes filled with something that looked like compassion and maybe grief. Could angels grieve?
"Did he…did he do the right thing?" she couldn't help but ask, because she had seen the darkness in Sam when he was alone.
"Yes. He did what the Lord asked him to."
Relief washed over her because she knew that if there had been any other outcome, she would never been able to heal Dean, no matter what the Lord wanted. This was bad enough.
She looked at Dean's pale face, slowly running her hand through his too long hair. He was cold to her touch and for the first time she realized just how bad the battle had been. How easily Dean could have been one of the causalities. How he probably had been…
She looked up at Castiel again. "Does he know?"
The angel nodded.
She sighed deeply and held the door open. "Bring him upstairs."
The angel carried Dean up the stairs and put him on her bed. They both watched him in silence for a while and then she whispered. "What if I can't heal him?"
"The Lord is convinced you can."
She smiled faintly. Funny how that didn't make her feel any better.
"How long do I have before you want him back on duty?" she asked around the lump in her throat. This wasn't how she'd pictured her life. She'd never lusted after men in uniform, never wanted to be a soldier's wife. But who really pictured herself as a wife to a soldier in God's army?
"We no longer need his services."
The relief she felt made her knees go weak. She didn't think she could have done it. Didn't think she could sit and wait for news about causalities again without going insane.
"So the war is really over?" she dared to ask.
The angel looked melancholic. "The war is never over, but this solider is retired. Take good care of him."
She nodded and then there was a slight breeze and he was gone.
Healing was a slow process, she realized. It took three days before he even woke up, three months before she could get him to say more than two words at the time, and six months before he even attempted to smile at anyone but Ben. There was sex of course. Sex was one of Dean's ways to express himself, a way to vent and unwind. But it was different, too. It was no longer a prayer, more like a drowning man's cry for help. But that was okay. She was okay with being the one holding him up. He did heal, though, a little bit at the time. His back getting straighter for every day, the smiles coming more frequently, and the day, almost a year and a half later, when she heard him laugh a heartfelt laugh while playing with Ben, she really truly believed he would be okay eventually.
They had never talked about anything connected with that day. Not about what had happened, not about Sam, not about God or an angel named Castiel, or about the fact that he was retired. She figured it didn't matter, reaching Dean's soul had never been about words anyway, and as long as there was progress, she knew she did something right.
Then the two-year anniversary of Sam's death came up and everything turned to dust, or at least that was what she thought. She found him on their bed, staring at a picture of Sam, a smiling Sam, a memory of happier times. He was crying. Silent stoic tears. So very Dean and it broke her heart. She could only imagine how much he must miss him. She missed him and she had only known him for fifteen minutes. Dean had known him his whole life. He had been Dean's whole life. She remembered the darkness in Sam and Dean's worried eyes and said the only thing she ever thought he needed to hear. The only thing that she thought shouldn't go unsaid.
"He did the right thing. You know that, right? He died like a hero, following God's will."
He looked up at her, his face and eyes so filled with raw grief that she started to cry, too, and then he just left.
Castiel came to her that night, when she was lying in the darkness, wondering where he was and cursing her own stupidity. She should have known better. She really should.
The angel sat down on her bed and just looked at her, his eyes kind. "You did well. You did the right thing."
She stared at him in disbelief. "I did? Then why did he leave."
"He just needs to time to process. He will be back."
"Is he okay – safe?"
Castiel nodded. "Don't worry. I'll look after him until he's ready to come back to you."
The angel nodded and with a faint rustle of wings, he was gone.
He was gone for seven days. When he came back, it was as if nothing had happened. He didn't say a word about it and she knew better than to ask. She'd learned her lesson. Some things really were better unsaid.
Whatever had happened when he was gone, whatever Castiel had done, had made a difference, though. Brought some kind of peace or closure, because Dean walked easier, looked happier and when he made love to her that night they were back to deep and heartfelt prayer.
It made her happy and proud. She had done what God asked for. She had healed his solider. Three weeks later she wasn't even a bit surprised when the line on the pregnancy test turned blue, or that she could see the fleeting image of Sam sitting on the edge of the bathtub, giving her thumbs up.