AN: Well, here it is. The Lila Bray 'verse season seven that I've been working on since the season started. I wasn't going to post this until next week, but eh, what the hell. I'm in a really good mood today. I just saw the most amazing Dean/Ruby video on Youtube (by bmania, who is just an epic vidder) and I've had a great day, so why the hell not, right? I suppose I should feel bad about starting a new story while I have so many other ones on the go, but I honestly don't feel bad at all. I've been working too hard on this trucker. It's my precious.
Now I'm sure you're all tired of me saying this, but this was supposed to be a oneshot... Kidding! No, I always knew this was going to be a multi-chapter story. My problem is that I've been trying to work out how many chapters it's going to be, but I still have no clue. I'm hoping to be able to post it all during the Hellatus, but who knows, right? Other than that, this story means a lot to me. I've been working really hard on it, so I hope it's a hit with you guys. Although, I do have to warn you that it's going to be a pretty bumpy ride. It's not going to be the...fluffiest story there ever was.
Amanda! This is for you! Consider this your (early) birthday present from me. I hope you're doing okay with everything and I hope you have a great birthday, sweetheart, because you deserve it. Love you!
Title: i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Summary: Lila Bray 'verse season seven. A series of misfortunes could lead to the downfall of Dean and Ruby's relationship.
Pairing(s): Dean/Ruby. Onesided Castiel/Ruby.
Characters: Dean, Ruby, Sam, Bobby, little bit of Cas, Lila Bray. Any other important season seven characters (such as Sheriff Jodie Mills) are fair game. I'm thinking Sarah Blake might make an appearance sometime down the line. (Remember: She is very important to the Lila Bray 'verse.)
Rating: T for now. Rating may change later on.
Timeline: Season seven.
Spoilers: Spoilers for all of season six and seven.
Warnings: Character death, pregnancy, alcohol abuse, lots of tears, unrequited love angsting, buckets and buckets of angst, etc. Some possible Leviathan!Dean/Ruby non-con, and other sensitive subject matter regarding domestic abuse and substance abuse. If there is anything else that you spot that you think needs to be warned for, I'll gladly add it. And there is one other thing that should be added to this list, but it would kind of spoil the entire story, so I won't be warning for it until right before it happens.
Notes: Title from the poem by e.e. cummings. This story is divided into sections. Each section has a different title, some from poems, some from songs.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Written by Becks Rylynn
i tell my love to wreck it all
The sun rises in South Dakota and the inside of the blindingly white hospital room glows as sunshine peeks through the flimsy curtains.
And Dean Winchester is left sitting stoically at a bedside with metaphorical blood on his hands. It is nothing new. Chaos has momentarily passed them by, and he has washed off all of the real blood on his hands, scrubbed until his hands were raw and he couldn't see straight, but the guilt still remains inside. Again; this is nothing new. The guilt always remains.
Head bowed slightly, he clings to her hand like it's a lifeline, like it's the only thing keeping her here and focuses on the beeping of the heart monitor beside her bed. It's soft and steady like a lullaby, gentle and soothing, and it is proof that she's still here. That she's still with him. She's beat up, bruised, battered and bloody, but she's alive. She looks like she's taken the worst beating of her life, bruises littering her skin like writing, lacerations scarring her previously perfect skin forever.
He's about eighty three percent sure that at least two of the nurses think he did it. Given the circumstances, they are not completely wrong. He did cause some of those cuts and bruises. He did not, however, inflict the stab wound in her stomach that left her bleeding out on a dirty floor, unable to heal herself like she normally would.
It's not the worst beating she has ever taken. She's had worse. That's a given. She's had much worse. But those bruises had faded almost instantly and most of the blood shed from previous fights had been washed down the drain, leaving behind nothing but quickly healing wounds that didn't scar.
Well, things are different now, aren't they? Things won't ever be the same again.
Four and a half years. They've been together for four and a half years. In four and a half years, neither one of them have ever bothered to come up with an emergency contingency plan for situations like this. They are not prepared for this. This is a totally shocking, unforeseen, bizarre, wacked the fuck out turn of events. Nobody could have seen this one coming. Nobody ever could have predicted this because this wasn't supposed to happen.
Dean lets out a shaky breath and lets go of her hand, leaning back in his chair. He scrubs a tired hand over his face and keeps his eyes focused on her, even when the air in the room shifts in that all too familiar way. His breathing speeds up and his teeth clench together. His fingers curl tightly around the arm rests, so tightly his knuckles turn white. ''You really don't want to be around me right now,'' he warns.
''Dean, I understand you're angry with me, but - ''
The chair scrapes back against the floor and Dean whips around, eyes flashing angrily. ''How could you do this?'' He demands, chest heaving. ''How could you do this to her?''
''I saved her life.''
''You violated her,'' Dean snarls.
Looking wounded, Cas takes a step back. He sends a glance at the body in the bed, eyebrows furrowed in concern. He sighs once, barely audible. ''I did what was necessary to save her.''
Dean closes his eyes briefly and has to rub at his tired eyes. Okay, look, his head is killing him right now, Ruby is unconscious in a hospital bed, and his daughter is probably scarred for life. He does not want to have this argument right now. ''You didn't even ask her, Cas,'' he tries to explain tiredly, collapsing back in his chair. ''You didn't even warn her. You didn't warn me. She didn't want this. You turned her into something she doesn't know how to be.''
''For a very long time, all you two wanted was to be normal,'' Cas retorts, somewhat desperately. ''To be like everybody else. And now she can be.''
''Castiel,'' Dean says shortly. ''Being a demon was her livelihood. Being a strong leader, being able to turn off her emotions, to do things we could never do, being able to make the hard decisions...being able to protect our daughter better than anyone else out there... Those are the things she needs. Those are the things that make her who she is.'' He shakes his head and looks at the pale figure lying in the bed, her chest rising and falling steadily. ''And you took that away from her without giving her a choice. You made her human without her consent. How do I even...'' He shrugs helplessly and can't bring himself to look at Cas. Not now. ''How do I know that the person who wakes up in this hospital bed is going to be my Ruby? Is it gonna be her, Cas? Or is it gonna be someone else entirely?''
''Maybe she isn't exactly like she was,'' Cas says quietly. When he moves closer to Ruby and places a hand on her forehead, Dean tenses and has to force himself not to push Cas away from her. ''But she is still Ruby. She still needs you. She's still going to love you...'' The tone of his voice is soft and sad, and leaves a lot of things left unsaid. Dean wonders, momentarily, if Cas is even still talking about Ruby. The angel draws his hand away from Ruby's forehead, fingers curling. ''She'll be fine. She should wake soon.'' Silence falls between them, uncomfortable and tense like never before. Cas keeps his attention on Ruby. His fingers brush her cheek gently and Dean looks away. He may not exactly be on Team Cas right at this moment in time, but Ruby will kill him dead if he kicks him out. There is something unspoken between Ruby and Castiel (an unspoken DeanandSam sort of thing) that Dean has given up trying to figure out. When Castiel's hand brushes lightly across her stomach, his entire body goes rigid and his lips part in something almost like shock. He lifts his gaze, eyes finding Dean's.
Dean jolts forwards, eyes narrowed in suspicion. ''What? What's wrong?''
Cas frowns, looks back and forth between Dean and Ruby for a moment, and then draws in a sharp intake of breath, shaking his head. ''Nothing.'' But he leaves his hand resting on her stomach for a moment too long, fingers splayed out across the hospital gown, and his lips are pursed in concentration.
Dean feels like there's something he is not being told.
''...I could have let her die,'' Cas says eventually, letting his hand fall away from her. There is a momentary pause, just a brief one, where Cas stares down at Ruby like she has all of the answers to the questions he's been asking. And then when he turns his attention back to Dean, he doesn't look so hurt anymore, frustration and rage clouding over in his eyes. Dean doesn't think he has ever seen him look so indignant. ''No,'' he says simply. ''You don't get to forsake me for this. I did what you could not. I saved her life, and I don't care whether or not you support what I did. I did what I had to do. I could have left her to die there,'' he repeats, more firmly this time. ''Could have left her to rot on that floor. Would you have preferred that, Dean? Would that have been all right with you?''
Dean swallows. ''I just wanted her to have a choice.''
''We don't always get a choice.''
Dean is silent for a long time, leaning forwards to take Ruby's hand again. ''I think you should go now.''
''Do you know what it's like when there are two demons inside of a human host, Dean? It is bloody uncomfortable, let me tell you.'' Grinning madly, the demon taking Ruby for a joyride kicks at Dean's prone form on the ground, crouching down and yanking him up by the collar of his jacket so that they're eye level. ''Hey, here's a question for you, big guy,'' it sneers. ''How exactly are you going to get rid of me?''
Bloody and beaten, Dean scowls at the thing, clenching his jaw tightly. ''Go to hell.''
''No, but seriously. Just think about it for a minute. Can't use her knife without killing her,'' it goes on, laughing jovially. ''Can't exorcise me without sending her straight back to Hell. Tell me, Rambo, what is your master plan this time? I mean, I'm kinda thinking you're screwed.'' Looking accomplished, it throws him backwards and laughs gleefully once again when he goes crashing to the ground.
On the floor, Dean rolls onto his stomach and tries to forget all about the pain. He shakes it off and shifts his attention to the little girl in the corner with her knees pulled up to her chest, her hands over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut, tears running in rivulets down her cheeks. All right. Plan B. Get Lila Bray out. It's gotta be all about Lila Bray now. That's what Ruby would do. When he starts to crawl forwards, the demon tries to grasp onto his shirt. Trying not to look at the body he's fighting, he kicks the demon in the gut. It loses its balance, stumbling backwards, and that gives him just enough time to get to his daughter.
She screams when he touches her, a mess of whimpers and sobs getting caught in her throat. ''Hey,'' he catches her flailing wrists, holding them tight. ''Lila Bray, it's me! It's Daddy, baby. Open your eyes.''
She cries out when she opens her eyes, throwing herself at him and wrapping her arms around his neck. He rises to his feet with some difficulty, keeping a tight hold on his daughter, and when he whirls around to see if the demon is charging them, he turns just in time to see it go flying backwards through the air as if thrown by some unseen force. It lands in a heap, hissing angrily, and the door bangs open.
When Dean sees Castiel standing in the doorway, he swallows. ''Lila Bray,'' he says slowly. ''Close your eyes.''
The demon tries to get up. Castiel throws his hand out and it falls back to the ground.
''Cas,'' Dean chokes out. ''What are you - ''
Castiel turns his gaze to Dean. In less than a second, Bray has vanished from his arms and Ruby's knife is being yanked out of his pocket and is sailing through the air, right into Castiel's hands. ''Lila is with Sam now,'' Castiel says. ''It might be beneficial for you to wait outside.''
''I'm not leaving her.''
Castiel looks at him for a long time and it's terrifying how Dean can't even see him anymore. The demon rises to its feet finally and rushes Castiel. It happens too quickly for Dean to do anything. He makes a move for Castiel, but in the blink of an eye, Castiel is behind the demon, grabbing it from behind and sinking the knife into Ruby's stomach. He never even hesitates. Not once.
''No!'' Dean's heart drops to his stomach and he shoves past Castiel, catching her as her body goes limp and slumps to the ground.
She's making an odd sort of gasping noise in his arms and when her shaking hands go to the stab wound in her stomach, he holds her tighter, eyes burning. No. No, no, no, no. This can't be it. This can't be the way it ends. Not like this. One of her shaking hands presses against the wound, the other blood coated and shaking hand grasps at his shirt weakly. ''D-Dean,'' she slurs, breaths coming in pants. Her eyes blink open, filled with confusion and searing pain. There's blood dripping from the corner of her mouth. ''Dean...''
He's going to remember the way her voice sounds as she lies there dying forever.
He whirls around to face Castiel, but there's no one there.
He's right beside her when she opens her eyes, whispering words he hopes are soothing in her ear, brushing hair out of her face and kissing her forehead. He does his best to be comforting to her, treating her like she's a fragile piece of glass even though she has been fully healed. But when she asks what happened... When she asks what's happening to her... Why she's so groggy, why she feels so different...
He doesn't know how to answer her.
hey there, you with the stars in your eyes
Ruby knows that this is a game changer. It changes everything. It changes their whole entire life and the foundation that their life has been built on. She knows that this is big. It's huge. Monumental. She's human. Human. Her. There is a part of her that almost wants to laugh at that. It sounds so crazy. Like someone is playing a nasty prank on her. She's been made human by an all powerful angel in a trench coat. It's fucking massive.
But to be perfectly frank, she doesn't care about any of it. She doesn't give a crap that she's human. She'll deal with that later. All she cares about right now is that little secret of hers that she's been keeping for over a month. (Here is the deepest secret nobody knows... She remembers that. She remembers reading that poem to Bray when she was a baby, her voice promising as she told the little girl, I carry your heart - I carry it in my heart. I am never without it - Anywhere I go, you go, my dear.) If she is to wager a guess on her tiny little secret, her rough estimate would be around three months. If there is anything left to wager a guess on, that is.
It's another accident. Isn't everything with them? They were a little too careless and maybe a little too hungry one night, but she's not as freaked out as she was last time. She's more disappointed that she didn't get the chance to plan for it. Or she was.
Now she's just utterly terrified that there won't be anything left to tell.
She knows what happened to her. She remembers the possession, the kick to the stomach; she remembers the knife plunging into her abdomen, the explosion of pain so bad. A kind of pain she had never felt before. There is no way it could have survived all of that. Miracles like that don't happen in her life.
While she is sitting alone in a hospital bed, confused and devastated and human, she tries to think about what comes next. All of the grief and the guilt that will eventually hit her after the numbness and shock wear off. It's healthy to grieve. It's not healthy to bottle it all up inside. It's what she has told Dean over and over again. But grieving would involve telling Dean and then he will feel guilty and he'll cry and probably go get drunk and she cannot handle that right now. She can't.
So she goes to sleep instead. It's not hard. Mind numbing grief is tiring. Also, drugs. Drugs help too.
But then she wakes up in a darkened hospital room and there's a man standing by the window in the moonlight. Still a little groggy from all the drugs that have been pumped into her (and probably from the fact that her body is still getting used to being human again) she starts to gingerly sit up, only to fall back into bed when he says, ''Lie back down. You need to rest.''
''Castiel,'' she pleads.
''You're fine,'' he promises her. ''I healed you.''
''But - ''
''I healed everything, Ruby.''
She lets out a breath and closes her eyes, collapsing heavily and running a hand through her greasy hair. Her eyes sting and her hands slide to her stomach. But when he looks at her, the relief coursing through her system drains, replaced by fear that she is going to lose him too. ''Castiel,'' she croaks out weakly. When he's close enough to her, she reaches out and grabs his arm, keeping him from floating away from her. ''Castiel, please... What's going on? What are you doing?''
''I wanted to see you,'' he tells her quietly. ''I wanted to tell you... I wanted you to know...'' But he never finishes his sentence, only shaking his head, looking, for a moment, quite stricken. ''Go back to sleep,'' he whispers. ''I shouldn't be here.''
''No, wait, please.'' Her eyes well up with tears and she sits up, trying to keep him from slipping through her fingers like he's already slipped through Dean's. ''Please...Please... Don't leave me. Don't make me lose you like I've lost everyone else. Please...''
He doesn't answer for a moment. ''You should tell Lila...'' He stops, swallows, and shakes his head. ''Don't tell her a thing. As she gets older, her memory will change. She'll forget. ...It's best if she forgets.''
''Forgets?'' She echoes bitterly. ''Forgets what, Cas? Forgets you?''
Instead of answering, he leans down to press a soft kiss to her forehead and says, ''Goodbye, Ruby.''
A sob gets caught in her throat and she reaches out to grasp onto the threads of his coat, but he's gone before she reaches him.
When Dean comes to pick her up from the hospital, tired and weary, voice rough with exhaustion when he greets her with a tired smile and a sloppy kiss pressed to the side of her mouth, she looks right at him and says, ''I'm pregnant.''
He rears back in shock, stares at her with wide eyes, and stammers out a shocked, ''Oh.''
She nods, teeth sinking into her lower lip. ''Yeah.''
He clears his throat. ''How far along?''
''Wow, that's...that's, uh...'' He clears his throat again. It's what he does when he doesn't know what to say. He drops his gaze to the floor for about a fraction of a second and then he looks up suddenly, something flashing through his eyes. ''Ruby, you were stabbed in the stomach. You were... Jesus, you were - ''
''I'm okay,'' she assures him quickly, small smile flickering across her face. ''We're okay. Cas... He healed us.''
Dean looks at her for a long time. She can almost see the wheels spinning in his head. After a moment of silent deliberation, he leans forwards and catches her lips in his own, one hand brushing across her stomach, the other cupping her cheek. ''Everything,'' he whispers when he pulls away, forehead resting against hers. ''Is going to be okay. It's going to be fine. We're going to be fine.''
He doesn't say it like a promise, she notices. He says it like a wish.
what did my fingers do before they held him?
Life has never been easy, but this is a new low.
Because of her brand new vulnerability, but mostly because she is pregnant, she is kept away from everything that happens with Castiel. She hates it, but her priorities need to be keeping Bray and the new baby safe. There is no other option. But she is there when he slips away quietly, so quietly she almost doesn't believe it's happening.
She may still technically have leftover demonic essence coiled away in her veins, in her bloodstream, and holy water may still leave an unpleasant hiss of burning pain, but she is - right now - very much human. And she has learned a few things about being human over the past few days. Like how when you feel, you feel it all. Don't get her wrong, she felt plenty when she was a full fledged member of the demonic party. She has always felt. That is how she got here. But humans...
They'll feel until it hurts because they just can't help it.
Everything is magnified when you're a human. On the plus side, sex is like whoa. On the down side, unfortunately, sorrow is also magnified about a thousand times until she can barely breathe and she can't feel her fingertips. That part is...unpleasant.
She is with him when he dies, fingers threaded through his in an attempt to make him stay. She has never told anyone else this out loud (although she doesn't think it's that much of a secret). She has told him, of course, but no one else because, even though she gets the feeling everyone knows, it is supposed to be something of theirs.
Her and Cas? They're a lot alike. More so than either of them was comfortable admitting at first. Because of that camaraderie, he has become, over the years, the closest thing to a best friend that she has. Sam and Bobby are family, Bray and Dean are her life, but Castiel is her best friend. Dean has his Sam. Ruby has her Castiel. It is as simple as that. She won't know what to do with herself if he's gone. Just like Dean can't function properly without Sam, Ruby doesn't work without Castiel.
These are the lives they have built for themselves, the patterns they have sewn into their skin, the maps they have mapped out and tattooed on their flesh.
And she tells him all of this, she does. She whispers it in his ear fast and quiet while he's on the floor dying, and she calls him honey and tells him it's okay, but it's not enough. It's not enough.
All he says is that he's sorry.
That says it all, really.
She supposes she is going to have to get used to Dean's new angel friend popping in whenever he feels like it.
Half of the time, she wonders if he is just lonely.
Her eyes peer over the top of the baby book and she greets him, when he opens his mouth to speak, with a, ''He's in the shower.''
Castiel nods. ''Ah, yes. Well.'' He glances around the pathetically sparse motel rom. ''I'll just...wait here then.''
Her lips quirk. ''Whatever suits your fancy, wings.''
He stands there awkwardly for two minutes, looking as if he's unsure of the proper way to stand, and then she takes pity on him and his crooked tie. She has always been a sucker for awkward puppy dog eyed men. Heaving a sigh, she tosses her book aside, throws back the covers, and struggles to her feet. He tenses, a barely noticeable shift in his stance. She rolls her eyes. ''Oh, relax.'' She crooks a finger at him impatiently. ''C'mere.'' When he doesn't move, frowning at her suspiciously, she huffs and strides towards him. Her fingers instantly find their way to his tie, undoing it. He stiffens, but when she begins to re-tie it, he relaxes. ''Is your tie perpetually crooked?'' She asks. ''Is it like a fashion statement or something? Like the Michael Jackson one gloved hand thing?''
''I don't know who that is,'' he says slowly. ''Is he one of your kind?''
She lets out a small laugh. ''No.'' She expertly fixes his tie for him and when she's finished, she automatically smoothes down his shirt, forgetting for a moment that he is not Dean or Sam and he may not be completely comfortable with a demon touching on him. Yet. She will win him over, though. It's her new goal. She's very pregnant so she's not exactly in the thick of things, hunting wise, so she needs something to do. ''There you go.'' She offers him a bright smile in an attempt to squash the frown on his face. ''All fixed.''
She gets absolutely nothing in return. Okaaay. So the whole bonding thing maybe isn't going to happen right away. Hey, it was worth a shot. She pats him on the shoulder quickly and turns to go, determined to crawl back into bed, only to stop in her tracks when the baby lands a swift kick to her left kidney. She groans quietly, doubling over slightly with one hand on her stomach and the other grasping the table. Well. Thank God Dean wasn't here to see that. He would've had a fit. The man has gotten so paranoid lately. If she even as much as sighs, he'll be at her side within a second, demanding to know if she's okay. It's sweet, but really quite annoying.
When she rights herself, taking in a long, slow calming breath, Castiel is standing right in front of her, looking down at her closely like he's trying to decode her and everything to do with her. ''Are you all right?'' He asks finally.
She nods brusquely. ''Fine. Just a kick.''
He tilts his head to the side. ''Did you know that while pregnant, a woman's uterus grows to five hundred times it's normal size?''
She stares at him, jaw slackened. ''...Thank you,'' she squeaks, ''that's...vaguely terrifying. Anything else I should know?''
''During conception, certain sexual positions may determine whether or not you have a girl or a boy.''
''Huh.'' She nods. ''Well, this kid was conceived in the back of Dean's car and he was on top. What does that tell us? Actually, it was kind of strange because when we did the nasty in his car, usually I was on top.''
Castiel presses his lips together and looks at her through his eyelashes.
She grins, laugh escaping her lips. ''You probably didn't need to know that.''
''No. Probably not.''
Another kick lands and her hand flies to her stomach out of instinct. He catches sight of the movement, eyes straying to her stomach. She spares a glance over his shoulder towards the bathroom door, where she can still hear the shower running, and then she sighs. One way or another, she is going to get Wings to look at her like she's something other than a nasty, filthy demon. Somewhat hesitantly, she takes his hand and places it on her rounded belly. ''Wait for it.'' She moves his hand, pressing her hand against his just as the baby delivers another kick to her insides. ''There.'' She gives him the most genuine smile she can muster up through her exhaustion. ''Did you feel that?''
He nods, eyes fixated on her stomach. ''Yes.'' He lets his hand fall away, looking up to meet her eyes. ''She seems to be very strong.''
''Well, no stronger than...'' She trails off and the bright smile drops off her lips in shock. She stares at him for a good long minute, trying to figure out if he realizes what he has just let slip, and her heart rate increases in her chest. A light blush creeps up in her cheeks and her throat closes up with all of the things she cannot name. Good things. ''She?''
He frowns at her. ''Did you not know?'' For a second, she swears he almost looks distressed by that. ''I apologize.''
''N-No,'' she hurries to reassure him, laying one hand on his arm without realizing what she's doing. ''Don't apologize. I'm just...'' She has to blink, one hand coming to rest on her stomach. A small, strangled sounding laugh tears out of her throat. ''It's a girl?''
He looks at her as if he wants to smile, but can't quite figure out how to do it. ''Yes. Your baby is a girl.''
Her eyes stray to her stomach and her cheeks burn with happiness. Somewhere in the distance, the squeaky shower tap turns and the sound of rushing water halts. Castiel perks up anxiously, looking over her shoulder at the bathroom door. He looks back at her one more time and she raises her eyes, catching his. She looks away first, opens her mouth to thank him, but when she looks back up, he's gone.
A startled yelp echoes through the air, followed by Dean's protest of, ''DAMN IT, CAS! GET OUT! WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT PERSONAL SPACE?''
Maybe it won't be so terrible with Wings around.
end part one
AN: And there you have it. Part one. I know I haven't really touched upon the Castiel/Ruby friendship that exists in this 'verse before, so I thought this was the perfect story to highlight it. What do you think? Any Cas/Ruby shippers out there? (Besides you, Kathey. I know you have a weakness for them, just like I do.)
The aftermath of losing one of their own.