AN: The final instalment of Surviving December.

Surviving December:


Dark Side of the Moon

Castiel leaned against the wall separator in Sam and Dean's hotel room. Dean had called as soon as they had returned from heaven. As he had listened to their story … as he heard them explain what Joshua had said … his brain could not comprehend it. His father could not just abandon them. He could not throw away his creation.

"Maybe … maybe Joshua was lying," Castiel suggested, clinging for some reason.

"I don't think he was Cas. I'm sorry," Sam sighed.

Pushing himself away from the divider, Cas looked up towards the heavens. He felt a burning anger develop, how could his father abandon them? After all this time, all this searching … there was nothing.

"You son of a bitch, I believed in …" Cas faltered. Who was he trying to talk to? His father obviously didn't care. He had given everything and his father didn't care. What was the point in talking to someone who didn't listen?

Turning around and ignoring the worried looks on Sam and Deans face, Cas took the amulet out of his pocket. The worthless hunt for God …

"I don't need this anymore," he said, tossing it back to Dean, not making eye contact with anyone. As he turned to go he continued, "It's worthless."

He barely heard Sam say, "Cas, wait," as he took off, anywhere to be alone.

Castiel had never thought he could feel this way. This array of emotions which hurt. He did not need Sam or Dean's pity. He did not need empty human words of understanding. He needed to be alone.

He stopped in a park. He leaned against the chain-linked fence and bowed his head, trying to calm his emotions, trying to compartmentalize so he could focus. As children laughed and played in the background, Cas could not understand how his father could just doom them with his inaction, it just seemed to hopeless now.

Put it in your pocket and only when you feel like everything is going wrong can you open it. Promise me?

The words of Sarah came back to him, haunting him like it sometimes did.

Frowning he reached into his pocket and pulled out the envelope. He had not opened it. Now though … he tilted his head wondering if now was when she had wanted him to open it. Everything was going wrong, everything … and now with his father's abandonment, Cas felt something tug in his heart, making him long to open the letter.

Tearing open the envelope, Castiel pulled out the singular sheet.

Dear Cas, the letter started.

I feel kinda silly writing this when you are supposed to be here in 2 minutes. But yeah … I decided to give you some "futuristic help" if you will. You should have opened this letter only when things have gone to crap. If not and everything's just dandy, STOP READING!

So, you're probably feeling a bit upset and betrayed and upset right now. Since I can think of two times off the top of my head in the upcoming months when you might read this letter.

Castiel paused reading, he did not like the idea of feeling like this again soon.

So, I'll go general.

Advice #1 – Remember what you've got. You are surrounded by people who love you and would die for you. Sam, Dean, Bobby, Katie and of course me! No matter how much someone might disappoint you. Don't shut the rest of us out – or I will kick your ass. With love and tenderness of course.

Advice #2 – In the end, you guys do not need outside help. As long as you stay true to each other, things will work out. So DO NOT just give up. The way Katie and I saw you guys win the apocalypse … without giving too much away … wow, this is super hard. Just … know that you have all the players you need right now. Like, as of me writing the letter – right now.

There were so many lines which were crossed out and words changed, Castiel had a hard time reading it.

Okay, enough advice, because I am crap at it. Besides, you can just go talk to me to get more, it's not like I'm going anywhere.

So, it is time for my parting words! First, I know, this is like the worst present ever, I'll try to get something nicer next year. Anywho, I hope you realise how much you mean to me. I would never have survived these past 24 days (as of me writing this letter). You have helped me so much, just by being my friend. I know how dark times are going to get, and I know that it's probably infuriating with everything going on. Just know you are on the right path. Everything happens for a reason.

And above everything else –know I love you. If you ever need anyone to just talk to, or even some one to sit silently beside, you know where to find me. I could never repay you for the strength and friendship you have given me. I hope this advice gives you some comfort. Merry Christmas Cas!

All my love, Sarah Nadeau

Castiel lowered his hand, staring blankly at the letter. It seemed to only add to the hurt, knowing that he couldn't talk to Sarah. He couldn't just sit beside her. There would be no next Christmas for them. As for the advice, he did not understand how it would help end the apocalypse. Sarah and his father were both completely beyond his reach. Shoving the letter back into his pocket, Castiel looked around him.

Across the street was a liquor store … head tilting, he remembered all the times humans would drink their hurt away. Deciding he might as well try it himself, it was not like he had much to lose.

Point of No Return

Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose with one hand, trying to hold everything back. It was his time to be strong. He couldn't lean on Dean for support. Dean had finally cracked. For the first time in Sam's entire life, Dean was unable to carry on. Now it was on Sam to carry both their weights and burdens.

And it scared him, not that he would admit it. However, as he sat in Bobby's living room, with Dean locked into the panic room, Sam felt it tear at his stomach, the guilt and sorrow. He wondered if Dean had felt like this when it had been him that was locked up. Did he feel this doubt? Did he feel like his heart was ripped? Like he was failing horribly beating out the knowledge he was doing the only thing he could in this situation?

To make matters worse, Adam was missing. The brother he had never known about. Hostile, moody teenager who had no frigging clue the mind-games the angels were sure to be playing on him.

He had disappeared and according to Castiel, was being held in the same room they had kept Dean. They had a snowballs chance in hell of rescuing him.

Between the Adam scenario and Dean's … Sam felt completely useless. There was nothing he could do. He couldn't change Dean's mind. He couldn't save Adam. He couldn't stop this thing alone.

As he looked up, he gave a start when he realised he was sitting on Sarah's spot. For the past few months, no one had sat on this side of the couch. It had just felt wrong to sit there, as if Sarah and Katie should walk in and take up their spot. No one even used the throw … not that anyone besides Sarah and Katie had ever used it. Sam could not think of a time he had snuggled up on a couch with a throw over him. It was actually funny enough to picture it; a small tired chuckle escaped his lips.

He wondered if they had known. Had they known that their world would crumple so far? Had they known Dean would give up? That Adam was brought back? That Castiel would lose his faith? Or was this all changed because of their visit? Katie had told him many times that they couldn't be sure that the victory they had originally had would happen again. That it had been close. That they had almost lost everything and that their being there might have dire consequences.

Even if that was the case, even if the girls had tipped the balance, Sam was unable to find it in himself to feel anything but grateful. December, after losing Ellen and Jo could have been hell. Instead, he could not think of the last time he had had so much fun. Maybe those first few years of university?

It had also been the best Christmas Sam had ever celebrated.

Standing to his feet, he remembered the letter Sarah had given him. For some reason it had completely slipped out of his mind. Going into the hallway, where he had dropped his duffel bag, he ruffled through out, taking out the crumpled envelope with his name written on the front.

Quickly opening it, Sam started to read it.

Dear Sam,

I hope you are reading this when you are in a serious dilemma – not that I want you to be in a serious dilemma … that sounded wrong. Anyways, this letter in many ways is my attempt to think of something meaningful to give you guys for Christmas. It's kind of like advice from someone who knows the future.

Okay, so, Advice #1 – I know when I was drunk I told you love would save you, and it sounded super-duper corny. So, I won't say that again. Instead, I'll just tell you that in order to stop the apocalypse is – you and Dean NEED to have some faith in each other. I promise, no matter how close it gets, you won't regret it.

Advice #2 – Along the same lines as advice #1 but believe in yourself. If you think you can do something, then you can. So, before I give anything else away … I'll leave it at that.

And because my hand is starting to cramp up because of all this writing (it's as bad as exams I swear, I'm going to have claw-like hands by the time you guys get back from your hunt) – I am going to wrap this letter up.

In conclusion, you are a wonderful person and I am happy we are friends. I'll admit, you are a ton of more fun in person … all of you guys are. I know this is probably weird to read when Katie and I are probably right there giving you this advice in person, but maybe seeing it in writing can get it through the thick Winchester skull.

So, with love, your hand-crippled friend, Sarah Nadeau

PS – I thought of another one – but be warned, this advice is for AFTER the apocalypse! ADVICE #3 - let Dean be the jiminy cricket to your Pinocchio. Understand me? LET HIM BE YOUR JIMINY CRICKET, otherwise your other half will not be happy when it's returned. And let's face it, it will be eventually.

Thoroughly confused by the last part, Sam reread the whole thing over again. Deciding to ignore the third advice, he focused on the two top ones. Have faith in Dean? Dean who already escaped once and tried to say yes?

Folding the letter, Sam tried to think of why Sarah would give him that piece of advice. Feeling tired, he leaned against the wall, his head tilted back. Right now, with Dean locked up … maybe he was wrong. Dean kept saying he would say yes to Michael. He believed Sam would say yes to Lucifer eventually. But he wasn't going to. Dean was wrong about that. And it hurt knowing his brother didn't have faith in him. But then, how much faith did Sam have in Dean if he was keeping him tied up?

Sam opened it up and reread the first bit of advice. It seemed the most geared towards the current situation. Walking down to the bunker, grabbing the keys, Sam settled on the cot across from Dean. He watched his brother unconscious on the other cot, his hands handcuffed.

I promise, no matter how close it gets, you won't regret it.

Maybe, if he showed Dean that he had faith in him … maybe, just maybe … they could start to rebuild it. That unshakable belief in each other they used to have. Stuffing the letter into his pocket as Dean started to stir, Sam decided – he was going to un-cuff Dean and bring him with him as they tried to save Adam ….

Swan Song

Dean sat at Bobby's kitchen table and thought about what Bobby had said. Was he more scared of losing or losing his brother? In the end, if they lost … he would lose Sammy anyways. But would he lose him with his humanity in tact, or while he was being the devil's meat suit? Did it matter? He was not sure what to do. He could see Sam, off in the distance, lounging on the hood of the car, nursing a beer. This idea, to let Lucifer possess him and jump into the cage … it was the stupidest idea Dean had ever heard. The chances of it working were nil.

He looked down at the letter in his hand. After Katie and Sarah had left, he had hidden the letter away, determined to never read it. He did not want to be reminded of more people he had in some way lost. Now, he felt so lost, he had barely noticed he had gotten it out until it was in his hand.

Taking a steadying breath, Dean opened the letter.

Dear Dean,

Haha, your name is like one letter away from Dear … so did not realize that before! So, I've been trying to think all morning about ways I could get you guys a present when I am broker than broke and I have no giftable talents. So, I thought of writing a letter to each! Merry Christmas! Then I had to figure out what to write in said letters and then I thought of you. You and your thirst for future knowledge. So, I am going to impart some advice – see if you can read between the lines yourself. I just hope this helps you in some way. You're a great guy and you deserve all the happiness of the world.

Advice #1 – DON'T GIVE UP. I know you'll want to. Things will get bad in the next few months. You can't give up. Not on yourself, not on Sam and not on the people who love you – Bobby, Cas, Katie and me included.

Advice #2 – Belief in Sam. He might come up with a crazy, weird, horrifying, stupid idea – but believe in him, and stay with him. It'll work, but only if Sam beliefs he has you at his back.

Finally Advice #3 – try to remember why you're fighting. Might help with advice #1, if you got out and had some fun.

And yeah, I suck at advice. Oh well, what can you do? So, I don't know, go talk to me or something. I know I consider you a friend, and I hope by now, you consider me a friend as well. So, please don't feel like you need to carry the burden alone. There's me, Katie, Cas, Sam and Bobby. We want to help, but we can only do that if you let us.

I know this letter is probably just saying in writing what I have telling you in person – but yeah. Whatevs I've nothing else to give you – besides, you know, love, friendship, companionship and support … but you can't wrap those up under the tree!

Merry Christmas Dean!

Love lots, Sarah Nadeau

Frowning, Dean read the second bit of advice again. A crazy, weird, horrifying, stupid idea of Sam's? Dean could not think of anything more horrifying, weird, crazy or stupid then saying yes to Lucifer only to hopefully jump into hell. With a dread of certainty, Dean realised that Sarah and Katie must have known. All that time, a whole month, they knew Sam would come up with this plan. And they wanted Dean to say yes?

Putting the letter away he looked out at his brother. When had he gotten so adult looking? Where was the awkward looking teen? Or the little kid brother who he had to take care of? In some way, it almost felt like he was seeing Sam for the first time, like really seeing him. He was a twenty-seven year old. And Dean had to admit, he hadn't been treating him like one. Sighing, he knew what he had to do – especially if this was how Sarah and Katie had seen them defeat the whole apocalypse thing.

He walked steadily out the back door and made his way over to the car, his face scrunched as he had to keep convincing himself this was the best scenario.

"Hey," Sam said off-hand, as Dean reached into the cooler beside the Car and grabbed a cold beer. When Dean didn't answer, Sam turned slightly to get a better look at his brother. "Dean? What's going on?"

Taking a calming breathe, Dean steeled himself for what he had to say.

"I'm in."

AN: And NOW we're done. This is more of an extra wrap up for anyone who really, REALLY wanted to know what was in those letters. And also, to let you know that another reason I decided to write for the month of December (and for choosing the 5th Season) was that it let me keep it hypothetically canon. Kind of. Closer than I should have been able to get away with.

Thank you to all my reviewers to date: Shilo-shadow, Neka0189, maskedchick, Coloring the Sky, Marine246, zenatjuhh, Roadhouse Writer, huffle-bibin, Saturday bell, lalala, Nightshaide, x15trouble, RedbudInTheSky, Ehunter82, twilight121, Mrsbrdlv, Like It When We're Spinning, Ranga Jess, Sleeping Aryll, Dani, Julia Adele, shelbybelbie4936, Beth Winchester97, Adorkable93, NinjaGurl, Beatlesfan90, elusivepoet, Carolina, richardisawesome4life, miss fervent, Guiltypleasures Exposed, Candygal1. Not only have your reviews been enough to keep my writing everyday, but some of your names have made me chuckle. Kudos.

As for my last review responses … a lot of people have asked if I will be doing a sequel/writing anymore SPN fanfiction. So, sequel … I honestly don't know. I wish I could say yes or no, but (and without spoiling anyone) … I heard a rumour which made me think … huh … I could write a sequel if that happens. But if it doesn't then I probably won't. Okay, that was confusing. Ask me in March, let's leave it at that.

As for writing more SPN fanfiction? Yes, I think you people have made me addicted to it. That and take this epilogue for example, I planned on not writing today … and this is one of the longest chapters. Addicted I tell you. Addicted. I have a plan for a short story which I will start posting soon. It'll only be a couple of chapters and very, VERY different. More humour than anything else.

So thank you for reading. Happy 2011. And we can all now say we've survived December. Cheers everyone!