Authors :WelshWitch1011 and Silverspoon
A.N. –Updates are like buses… you wait a year for one to come along, and then 6 arrive altogether. Well, this is where you get off, readers. Hope you enjoyed the ride. Nothing says gratitude like a review.
Angels and Personal Demons
Five years later…
The infomercial seemed to go on forever, with a barrage of pointless celebrities and ex-soap opera actors that Dean only vaguely recalled ever existing. He wondered about the merits of under bed, vacuum packed storage containers only long enough to hunt out the remote control from underneath a nearby throw cushion.
The living room of the house was dark, save for the lights of the TV screen, and he toyed idly with the remote and stole a glance across the room at the woman sleeping in the armchair.
Her head lolled back against the cushions, and her blonde hair fell in waves across her cheek, partially hiding her face from view as she slumbered. Her hands rested protectively over her rounded stomach, and the gold wedding band on her hand caught the light from the screen. The ring was new and shone impressively in the darkness, and Dean smiled briefly at the owner, and the implication of the jewellery.
The ringing of his cell phone startled him, and he hastily dug around the couch cushions to search for the offending item before it woke his companion.
Glancing down at the screen, Dean noted the name flashing in neon green letters, and he flipped it open without a second thought.
"Hey, how's he doing?" he asked, his tone betraying his obvious concern.
He knew Jo would be shrugging at his question. "He's okay. Docs at the emergency room patched him up. They've given me some meds to take home, but his fever's gone and they said he should be as good as new in a couple of days."
Dean sighed in relief, "Okay. Uh, listen, tell him that I'll pick him up Saturday for the game, will you? And, if he needs anything, just call."
"He's fine, Dean. These things happen, but he's okay. He's sleeping right now and I'll tell him you'll see him this weekend. How's everything there?" Jo asked, and Dean heard her curse as the sound of a car horn caught his ear.
His lips twisted into a smirk despite the situation as he heard Jo remove her cell from her ear only long enough to scream a barrage of abuse at the other driver. When she returned to the phone, he could tell that her attention was now only half on the conversation, and half on the road ahead.
"I guess I better let you get back to…" he started, frowning as he heard a loud buzz of static, and Jo began to repeat his name in a somewhat testy tone. After several seconds, the telephone call abruptly cut out, and Dean was left listening to the dialling tone until he pressed the disconnect button on his cell.
He stared down at the cell phone in his hand and leant his head back against the couch. A careful glance at the sleeping blonde across the room told him she would not overhear his confession, and so his words drifted unheard into the darkness.
"I miss you, Jo."
Several hours later, the woman crept quietly up the stairs, her footfalls measured as she worked her way gradually along the hall until she arrived outside the bedroom door. Her hand fastened around the door knob, and she slipped silently into the room, surprised to find the bedside lamp still on, and two slumbering figures in the tiny twin bed.
Shaking her head with a smile, she sat down gently on the edge of the mattress and stared down in amusement at the sight before her.
The little girl lay curled up against Dean's chest, her blonde waves spilling out across the Disney Princess pillow beneath her as her rosebud lips puffed out slow, gentle breaths.
Dean's eyelids flickered open, and he rubbed his eyes with his free hand, then stared up at the woman with a blossoming smile.
"Hey sleepyheads," Jo teased, extending her hand to brush her fingertips through the toddler's hair before she leant down and pressed a kiss against her husband's lips.
"I'm up," Dean groaned, his lips twisted into a sleepy grin as he reached for Jo's hand and then, with a mischievous chuckle, pulled her down on top of his chest. The toddler bed groaned in protest under the weight of the two adult bodies it was not designed to support, but Dean settled back with Jo in his arms nonetheless, perhaps overconfident in his own carpentry skills.
"You get Bobby back home ok?" Dean checked, stifling a yawn. Jo gave a nod, busy with tracing her index finger across the tip of her daughter's nose as the child slept, one thumb hooked in her mouth.
"Yeah, he'll be just fine," she replied, shaking her head in chagrin as she added, "I think he kind of enjoyed Mom fussing over him."
"Pneumonia's a big deal for a guy his age," agreed Dean, lowering his tone as their daughter stirred and murmured something unintelligible in her sleep.
"Just make sure you don't say that to him, you know he's convinced he's still twenty-one," she said, smiling despite herself at the thought of Bobby's indignance at being dragged to the E.R. by she, her mother, and Sam for what he had maintained stubbornly was a little head cold.
"Where's Sam?" Dean asked, pausing in order to brush a kiss against the crown of Jo's head as she nestled into the crook of his arm before pulling the child flush against her own body. She grinned as corkscrew curls tickled her nostrils, and her warm breath ghosting across the little girl's cheek caused her to squirm in her sleep.
"He went to bed," she whispered, her smile broadening as she added, "he was kind of excited to see Jess. He'll probably say hey in the morning, once they're done with their wedded bliss and crap."
Dean smiled and tightened his embrace around his wife, "Well, personally I'm a big fan of wedded bliss."
Jo hummed in approval as he hugged her closer, and he kissed first her cheek and then her lips to emphasize his point. Hooking her finger through the cord of the necklace he wore, Jo arched an eyebrow and made a point of twisting her fingers through the leather string.
"You guys miss me?" she pressed, teasing him by inching closer as if to kiss him and then pulling her head back.
"Well, I can't speak for the two year old in the room, but I sure did," he replied, his gaze trained tellingly on her lips. He watched transfixed as she grazed her bottom lip with her teeth and stared up at him with impossibly big brown eyes.
"Hey, now I know my baby missed me," Jo countered, smiling as she kissed the top of her daughter's head, and the child's arms instinctively tightened around her.
Dean watched them with a sense of deep contentment, and a fluttering in his chest he had grown accustomed to over the last five years. Their daughter was beautiful; a perfect combination of her parents in both looks and personality. It made Dean's heart swell to watch Jo with their child, and his little family was everything he had ever allowed himself to dream of and more. If anybody had told him that this would one day be his life, he would have doused them in holy water and thrown salt in their faces. But here they were, five years after Jo had been returned, and Dean knew without doubt that he couldn't possibly be happier, or any more in love with the woman in his arms.
"We did good, Jo," he stated hoarsely, his arms encircling both of his girls as he kissed each blonde head and released a truly contented sigh.
Jo murmured in agreement and lay her head against his chest, "Yep. We really did, Dean-o."
Patting her hip gently, Dean gestured down to the snoring child in her arms, "What do you say we let the rugrat have her bed back, and move this to our room?"
Jo yawned into his shoulder and murmured in agreement, and she very carefully manoeuvred the slumbering toddler out of her arms, before she planted a goodnight kiss onto a chubby, warm cheek.
Hand in hand, Dean and Jo crept quietly down the long hallway of their home, past rows of pictures of wedding days, sonograms, and a fluffy haired newborn, to their bedroom. Although it was well into the early hours of the morning, and the first vestiges of sunlight filtered in through a chink in the curtains at the end of the corridor, Dean could hear Sam and Jessica deep in conversation. He consented to smile as a whispered affirmation of love was exchanged between the two.
Indeed, the Winchesters' fates had been altered, almost beyond recognition. The day that they were returned to their reality from Michael's holding pen, and Sam had first seen Jessica seated at Bobby's table, fear and confusion marring the features that had survived only in his dreams for so long, Sam had crumbled. The easy way in which she had slotted herself back into Sam's life, even after an impromptu resurrection from the grave, was a testament to how much she had and still did truly love him.
Despite this, it was Jo and Dean who had been the first to marry in a quiet ceremony at the local chapel, where the only absences acutely felt were Mary, John, and Bill. As Jo had begun her short walk down the aisle towards her future, a thin golden thread had slipped from the folds of the petals of the cream roses she carried. Just months later, it was Sam and Jessica's turn, and then life had truly begun to alter in ways in which the Winchester brothers could never have expected.
The golden threads of Fate's tapestry were soon discovered everywhere; on the welcome mat of their new home the day the four hunters moved in; atop the legal papers when Ellen signed over the land that the old roadhouse had once stood on to Jo, and again tied around the neck of the bottle of Glenfiddich they used to toast the opening of the new Winchester Roadhouse; and, perhaps most importantly to Dean and Jo, nestled between the blanket that Noah Mary Winchester had been wrapped in the evening they brought her home for the very first time.
Life was as perfect for Dean and Jo, and Sam and Jessica, as it could possibly get when one was aware of every last thing that could possibly go bump in the night. When Noah woke screaming about the monsters in her closet, Dean explored the situation with a loaded shotgun, and when raccoons made their home in the attic, Jess and Jo investigated armed with holy water and a full exorcism.
In less than three months, Jess and Sam expected a baby boy, and Sam's joy at impending fatherhood meant that the younger Winchester walked around smiling absently to himself all hours of the day and night. But of course, Dean understood all too well, because the life they now lived just seemed too good to be true. There was still a nagging fear within each of the brothers that, one day they would awake to find their new lives had all been a dream. Thus, they seized each new day as it arrived, and cherished their loved ones above all else; because they remembered how it had been to live without them.
Castiel was still a frequent visitor to the Winchesters, guiding them when he could on the hunts they elected to go on, or even babysitting his youngest charge, who he seemed to especially dote on.
The first time Noah slept in her nursery, Dean had stayed up the entire night, watching over the baby with a loaded shotgun whilst a palpable fear gripped at his heart like a vice. Castiel joined his friend in the vigil, and made Dean a solemn promise that he would always protect the little girl. Cas had been there to watch Noah take her first steps, and to sing her arguably out of tune lullabies during the months she had suffered with colic; Jo was still always amused to find the angel galloping the squealing child around the house on his shoulders.
On occasion, Dean was even sure he had seen the angel laughing.
"I swear, Bobby's worse than Noah when he's sick," Jo groused, kicking off her boots and simultaneously shrugging off her jacket as she sat down on the edge of their bed and yawned profusely.
Dean chuckled and nodded as he replied, "I'm sure Ellen will enjoy her week. You tell her to give us a call if they need anything?"
Jo nodded, rubbing at her bleary eyes even as she shed her clothing in favour of a pair of cotton shorts and a vest that would keep her cool in the balmy Nebraska morning. Together, Dean and Jo settled into their bed, each heaving sighs of pure contentment as they contemplated the next day that lay ahead of them, which would no doubt be filled with the laughter of a toddler, and the smiles of the people they held most dear.
Jo was asleep within minutes of her eyelids fluttering closed, but, before Dean allowed sleep to claim him, he paused to whisper the hushed words that had become his nightly mantra.
Dean had made good on Atropos' suggestion, and every night before he succumbed to sleep, he thanked God for the intervention in his life, and for the gifts he had seen fit to bestow upon him and his brother when they had been at their most broken.
Yes, in the wake of the life he had craved but thought beyond his reach, Dean Winchester always said his prayers.
This one was for SPN Mum - Sam's most enthusiastic cheerleader. Hope you liked the ending!