Author: Cheryl W.
Disclaimer: I do not own Dean or Sam or any rights to Supernatural, nor am I making any profit from this story.
Summary: AU of Season 5 - Dean's in charge of leading the heavenly army to victory.
Author's Note: Since you guys were so awesomely supportive of my updated snippet, I actually was able to put together the next chapter! And it's a bit longer than the others.
Chapter 6: Love One Another
Amid a thousand of my brothers, in the throes of battle so fierce I know it is like none that have come before, I feel alone, lost. Today, I have failed in my duty, not only to persevere in battle but to protect the Righteous Man. It is a testament to Castiel's desperation that he has tasked me with something as important as finding Sam Winchester and bringing him to his brother's side.
Confident that Sam would not have been far from his brother during the battle, I begin my search in a radius from our position. Dispatching any foes I find in my path with frustration instead of righteousness, I barely let the pain of my own wound register. I do not deserve such consideration. And then Samuel Winchester is before me. He fights as fiercely as his brother to rid us of our enemies, sword stroke by sword stroke.
I do not know what he sees in my eyes, what emotion reflects on my human vessel's face, but he stills, as if the very world has stopped. His very world has stopped. His first word is a broken, choked, "No."
The human words, they do not come easily, not from my essence or from my borrowed vocal chords. "Your brother is grievously injured. Castiel has bid me…"
Infinitely pale at my news, Sam steps in front of me, towers over my vessel's short stature and fiercely demands, "Take me to him!"
It is not the time to offer apologies, to confess my own guilt in what has transpired. So I reach forward, place my fingers against the tall man's forehead and transport us both to where Dean Winchester lies face down, pale and pained on a threadbare mattress in a burned out building.
At the wretched sight of his brother, Sam remains immobile but only for a breath and then he pushes by me, shoulders by Castiel who has risen from his crouch beside Dean's side. Dropping to his knees beside his brother's prone figure, Sam does not lift the blood soaked bandage to evaluate the extent of his brother's wound, does not demand explanations or apologies for the harm allowed to befall his brother.
There is half affection, half grief, all love in the name he beckons, "Dean." Sam's trembling hand reaches out, hesitantly comes to a light rest on his brother's bloodless cheek. But Dean's eyes flutter open at the voice, at the tender, familiar touch.
"Sammy," Dean whispers with affection, relief. Then he pulls in a rattling inhalation, as if he was waiting for his brother's arrival to determine if he could, should take another breath.
Sam's long fingers move up to stroke his brother's hair and he leans down so his own face is closer to his brother's, until their eyes solidly meet. "I'm here, Dean. I'm right here," Sam assures.
I have no right to be there, to watch the humans before me, to invade their privacy and to search out the emotions surging through them. But I cannot bear to leave, wonder if the same hold keeps Castiel stiff at my side.
I have never borne witness to such ministrations of gentle tender love between humans before. And I can almost not fathom the man kneeling beside his wounded brother once using his tainted, terrible strength on the same brother, wielding a knife that tore into his brother's flesh, reveling in his brother's pain.
The scene before me is a testament to my Father's forgiveness and Dean's own, of Sam's inherent goodness and his love for his brother. That they have overcome all that adversity, not by strength of will, but by the powers of love, it tells me more about Dean and Sam and the human race than I have ever known.
For the first time I know why we fight for these humans, why our lives are worth their own. Yes, they have evil within, but they also have goodness, our Father's imbued goodness. They love and they care for one another and they hurt fiercely when one that they hold dear is in pain, is on the verge of leaving this world, even if their destination is my Father's kingdom.
"I screwed up," Dean humbly confesses, his eyes holding his brother's.
And while I expect forgiveness from Sam, his words seem judgmental. "Yeah, looks like it." But his tone is gentle, offers unending absolution.
To my surprise, Dean nearly smiles and there is humor in his response. "Shut up."
For a fleeting moment, Sam's smile matches his brother's before it fades away, becomes a troubled crease of regret and fear and guilt. "Thought we agreed to not split up."
That admonishment, it belongs aimed at me. Dean left his brother's side for mine, sought to save me even as he made himself vulnerable. But even as I start forward, intent on having Sam Winchester place the blame rightful on my shoulders, Castiel's hand wraps around my wrist, keeps me immobile. When I look at him in confusion, he shakes his head, and though his eyes are dark with worry, I sense pride in his spirit as his eyes shift to the two humans, as if he bids me to wait, watch, wonder.
So I remain quiet and keep my distance from the two men. Remain a spectator to their exchange.
"We're not ….Siamese twins," Dean returns as if his words should be a defense for his actions.
"It's conjoined twins, Dean," Sam corrects with fond affection, hand lightly ruffling his brother's hair.
Dean's eyes flutter closed as if his brother's touch soothed his pain. "Whatever," he wheezes back.
Having been robbed of his brother's eye contact, Sam allows his focus to break from his brother's pain lined features and he carefully lifts the bandage from his brother's back. I don't have to be gifted with the ability to read thoughts to know that fear and horror is coursing through the man at the sight of the grave wound to his brother's flesh. My assumptions are confirmed when the man's eyes are suddenly upon myself and my companion. "Will the healer be here soon?" Sam directed his question to Castiel.
But it isn't Castiel who makes answer, steels all of our attention.
"Don't need one," Dean's words come out breathless and muffled but his resolve is firm. "I'll be Ok," and he opens his eyes to try and be convincing when he utters that particular untruth.
Sam's tight lipped expression fills the room with worry. Hand coming to rest on his brother's back below the wound, Sam's voice is hoarse and troubled when he makes his reply. "Well, you're not seeing what I am." Then his eyes are again falling on Castiel, a blatant plea in them that is not evident in the man's almost harsh demand. "Cas, get someone here to heal him. Now."
"No," Dean protests, makes as if he will rise up, physically stop a healer from being beckoned.
Castiel is already gone before Dean makes much progress moving. Dean is stilled by his brother's strong hands settling on his shoulder, not stealing strength but giving it.
"Too late," Sam announces, his words meant to be smug but convey only relief that help for his brother will soon be found.
Then Castiel returns and he is not alone, is accompanied by one of the most revered of our kind. But the angel that I have long admired, his features are fierce instead of benevolent and Castiel's very being thrums with turmoil. Though the interchange between the angels is not spoken in words, I understand their meaning with painful clarity. They argue the worth of Dean Winchester's life. The other contends that his time would be better spent remaining on the front line than healing the man that had ruled in Hell as a torturer and will do our cause no good, alive or dead.
True anger flares in Castiel and I fear that peace will be long in coming. Until Castiel reminds our brother that it is God who makes the choice, who perceives who will serve Him best and obey His will. There can be no disputing that holy decision but I still sense displeasure in the other angel as he steps toward the Righteous Man.
But he is halted in his path to the wounded man by Dean's brother. And though Sam stands before one of the most powerful servants of Heaven, he does not cower. Instead he threatens one of God's elite. "Don't think of leaving even a scar behind," he commands as if he recognizes the angel's averseness to healing his brother, fears that he will not perform his tasks as he should.
Then Sam steps away, draws to his brother's side, his hand again settling on Dean's head. His watchful eyes track the angel's motions as his healing touch is bestowed on Dean. And I never tire of the miraculous sight of pain and corrupted flesh being vanquished and made anew, so much like Our Father's gift to the souls of all mankind who will call upon His name.
Immediately, Dean's breathing is restored to an even tempo and I note that Sam's own breathing changes also. For the first time, I realize the fast pace the young human's breath maintained since learning of his brother's injuries, that only now is it slowing down, incredibly mirrors his brother's, nearly breath for breath. And then the taller human is smiling as he aids his brother to sit up. But his hands are not the only ones offering assistance.
With surprise, Sam's eyes fly to the angel that has healed his brother, an angel that seems almost loath to withdraw his hand from Dean. An angel that does not break his connection with the Righteous Man until Dean is sitting up, proven hale and the man's green eyes meet his own.
When Dean speaks to the angel for the first time, his sincerity is unmistakable. "Thank you."
I have not seen my kind astonished often, but that seems to happen much around Dean Winchester. Happens now and my brother can only nod in acceptance, can not find the words to make another reply. And when the Winchesters' attention turns solely to one another, the angel turns and his eyes land on Castiel and they glimmer with repentance, understanding and awe before he takes his leave, returns to the front line, much changed than when he left it.
I turn to Castiel, wish to understand too, to know what wrought the remarkable change in my fellow angel's opinion of the man that was to lead us to victory. Castiel answers the question I know not how to ask.
"He felt the goodness in Dean," Castiel reveals but his eyes, they are not on me.
No, Castiel's attention rest on the brothers who are now sitting beside each other on the bed. On the two humans who broke their world…and are not only destined but determined to right their wrongs. On the two men which I now know will do whatever they must to save all the lives they can, even if it costs them the life of the one they hold most dear.
"He sensed the goodness in both of them," Castiel finishes and to my surprise, my brother's heart is not heavy with the thought of the terrible task ahead but light and thankful.
Then Castiel leaves my side, heads for the brothers. At his approach, the brothers look up and then they do the unexpected, they move over, make space on the bed for one more occupant, one more member of their family. And it is when Castiel claims his spot on the other side of Dean Winchester that I know that my Father's most imperative commandant, it comes easily for the three of them: That they love one another, as God has loved them.
"…Rejected by men but chosen of God and precious to Him." ~ 1 Peter 2:4
"This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." ~ John 15:12
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