Author's Note: THIS IS IT. The final chapter. Everyone who's reviewed, you guys are awesome. Especially the ones who ALL THE FEELS-ed with me. This ship will sail on forever and ever and ever on the sea of our feels.
This is a weird note. I think I'm just sad because it's over now, and I won't be able to write these silly notes for you guys anymore. (Oh it's such a shame, for us to pa-a-art.) Oh dear, looks like I'll have to start writing something new… I have a few ideas (well three, to be exact) circling around in my head, but I haven't really put them down in writing. Meanwhile I'm wondering if I owe it to my Dramione readers to go back and write something for that ship. Hum…
ANYWAY. I just wanted to say that you guys are awesometastic and I hope you liked reading this.
Chapter 40 – Going Back to the Start
I don't know how much time has passed. It could have been infinitely long, but it could have been infinitesimally short as well. There is no way of knowing in this darkness.
It's hard to feel anything. I can't see anything but black, and I can't help but wonder if I'm looking through a pair of eyes into the dark, or if I'm looking at the backs of my eyelids. Do I even have eyes? I can't tell. I can't move either.
All I have is this sense that something's gone wrong. That I really should be gone. My consciousness should have been snuffed out already. I think that I might have been gone for some time, because I… I do not remember anything beyond following Death away from the world of the living.
I can't have been brought back to life again, can I? The world isn't this dark. I suddenly get the phantom sensation of thrashing in thick, black goo, fighting as hard as I can to get free, but careful to keep one hand on the sigil that linked me to Balthazar. I would shudder if I could, but I have no form to tremble with.
I begin to suspect, worry nagging at the back of my mind, that this is some form of punishment for all that I did in the years that I was alive. But when I think back to any mistakes I made, they were either out of my control or… or just poorly judged, done because of love. How can love be a crime? Then again, perhaps I judge myself too leniently. After all, even Lucifer didn't have a guilty conscience.
What is this void? Where am I? What am I?
I'm certainly not an angel anymore—I cannot feel my Grace anywhere. So what? When? Where? Why? How?
So many questions, and not a single answer.
Madness. Perhaps I've gone mad. What if I've always been mad, and none of what I remember is real?
No—that cannot be. Because of Dean, and everything he is, everything he was. I can't have imagined him, can't have dreamed up him or his brother, his car, his world.
And the love between us… I refuse to believe that that was not real.
Could this possibly just be how it feels to be dead? But I'd always heard that we just burned out of existence, exploding in a brilliant flash of light before dissipating.
Have I been caught, trapped in some sort of limbo, then?
With only my thoughts to keep me company, I begin to recall pieces of my life, from the day I raised Dean Winchester from Perdition. I remember the surprise at actually observing firsthand the remarkable amount of self-loathing the man carried around. I remember the first time he made me feel something for him, for a human. The first time I admitted aloud that I had doubts about what we were doing, whether or not our missions were just.
But then I pause, distracted by the memory of a young Dean Winchester from an alternate universe, wide, innocent green eyes peering out the window of a car—his future car—to look at me. In retrospect, as I recall the scene, I saw no fear in his eyes when they locked with mine. Only surprise, which was probably what prompted him to duck out of sight.
What I wouldn't give to see that pair of eyes again.
Suddenly something clicks into place, something I had forgotten about until now. But the recollection of my travels between realities brought this memory to me, a memory of a reality in which Dean, Sam, Jo, Ellen, Bobby, and others were all present in one realm of Heaven. A reality in which I had died. A reality that may eventually become true reality, as I am now dead. And… and… the first thing that Dean had done after verifying my identity was to press my hand against his shoulder, wishing in vain to feel our bond again. That must have been it.
I think back to the implacable sorrow in that Dean's eyes, and grief consumes me. That is what the future holds for my Dean, the one I left behind.
But… at least this means that they will have completed the ritual and banished the Leviathans. Eremiel had mentioned God, but he could just as easily have been referring to the new God, Michael. The idea that the Winchesters and their friends will rest peacefully in Heaven is a comforting one.
How long has it been? How long have I been alone with my thoughts, formless and immobile?
Perhaps more importantly, how long will I remain trapped here?
Weeks, or seconds, or hours pass, but I have no way to measure time, so there is no way for me to guess how long I've existed in this strange state when I'm suddenly given a form to shape as I will, soft ground to sit down on, and a bit of light.
Having grown accustomed to shapelessness and sensory deprivation for an indeterminable length of time, I am assaulted by sensation as I mold myself into the figure I consider my own. My thoughts briefly swing toward Jimmy Novak, but they halt when a tall, thin figure approaches me.
"Apologies, Castiel, for storing you here."
"Death," I say, and it is strange to hear my own voice—to hear anyone's voice, really. "How long have I been here?"
"Honestly? I wouldn't be able to tell you. After Chronos stopped Time, all perception of time became skewed. I feel as though it has been only minutes since you came with me, yet it also seems as though as least two millennia have passed since I saw you last."
"I hate time paradoxes."
Death chuckles. "As do we all."
"Was the ritual successful?" I blurt out—I need to know. "Is Dean all right?"
"Yes, yes. All went well."
I let out a sigh of relief before turning to my current situation. "Why did you… 'store' me here? And where is 'here,' anyway?"
"I preserved your consciousness because I wanted to."
Because he wanted to? What is that even supposed to mean?
"As for where this is… we are currently in my mind," Death continues.
"Mind, yes. Now, God would like to speak with you privately."
"No. No, wait. God is—"
Oh—yes. I'd come to that conclusion on my own, though I cannot tell how long ago it was, and it appears that now I'll never know.
"That's not entirely true, I suppose," Death says, picking up on my thoughts. "I stayed in limbo longer than others, simply because I have existed for a longer amount of time. It is easier for me to drift away. It's been several days since they completed the ritual, and time started again. Now—"
"No," I interrupt. "You will not leave me with an answer so vague as 'because I wanted to.' What is that supposed to mean?"
"Ah, Castiel. You really are unique. Can't you accept a blessing when you've received one? I've kept you here so that you can speak to God again."
"Because I wanted to."
"Why are you allowed to act upon these whims, then?"
Death smiles. "I am old, Castiel. Very old."
"Yes—this is what you told Dean," I say.
"I lied when I said that no one knows who came first—God, or me," he says. "You see, God existed alone for an immeasurable amount of time. But even in his solitude, there were already set rules to existence. Everything that begins must end. In the instant that God completed his first creation, he unknowingly brought about my formation. I am Death—I am the Thing that ends all. If ever there is a day when I reap the very last being in existence, then I shall cease to exist as well."
I don't bother trying to wrap my head around this—it is too much for me to think about right now, and I've had enough thinking in this timeless place. "What is the relevance of this?" I ask.
"Well. I get to choose when things end," he responds. "I was the one who prompted God's vision that you would bring about His death. I was the one who would not take you after He'd tried to destroy you." Again, he smiles. "Did you really think that you, a common angel, could defy me?"
I frown. "Then… but Michael said—"
"You are different because God made you different, even though He did not realize it. I rejected your first form, the one that God hastily destroyed. And when He recreated you, He was afraid. He took more care with your Grace than He did with the angels before and after you."
"So you… tricked God. Why… why would you do that?"
"Why does anyone do anything?"
I open my mouth to tell him that that isn't an answer at all, but Death shakes his head, and my voice leaves me. "That is enough, Castiel. You already know far more than you rightfully should. Now, you will speak to our new God."
With these final words, the manifestation of Death vanishes.
I am frustrated with his answers—I'm sure that as soon as I have enough energy to sift through everything, I will have even more questions—but I understand that these are not matters to be shared lightly. Death is not to be trifled with.
I feel God's presence before He arrives, familiar but different, and compose myself, reorganizing my thoughts. All that I learned about Death can be saved for later. Then God manifests Himself before my eyes, taking the guise of young John Winchester—it appears that this shape is to Him what Jimmy Novak's is to me.
"Castiel," He says with a warm smile.
He frowns. "You should not call me that. You are my brother, Castiel."
"Then… what am I to call you?"
"Michael. As you've always called me."
"You say that as though we are old friends when in fact—"
"Stop," God—Michael commands. "I am sure that Death did not preserve your consciousness so that you and I could debate my title and the length of our brotherhood. I come to thank you."
"For giving your life, and not for the reason you think, although I am indeed grateful that you allowed the Leviathans to be banished. You see… there was a condition to my acceptance of this power, and it was that you had to die before I could become God."
I stare at Him for a long moment. Is this Death's doing as well? Or was it a stipulation from the old God—our Father? "Why?" I finally ask.
"I cannot say—just accept that you are different. When you were created, you caused our Father to feel panic for the first time. When you first laid eyes on our Father, He died. Isn't it to be expected that your death would be significant as well?" Michael reasons, and I wonder if He is simply parroting the information that Death gave to Him.
Though God possesses all the power in the world, Death is the true master at the center of the web.
"Very well. If that was all… you've thanked me, and you are welcome," I say. "Now will you let me die in peace?"
Michael laughs. "I hear Dean's influence on you." A smile lingers on His face as He continues, "I wish to grant you one request, as my thanks to you."
I'm on the verge of asking for my life back when I remember Dean—perfect, broken Dean whose life has had much more pain and sorrow than any man deserves. And I know exactly what to ask for.
"I want Dean to live a long, happy life."
Michael's eyebrows lift in surprise, but His smile widens, and I see that He is pleased.
When He doesn't speak, I open my mouth to ask Him what He's waiting for, but then He lifts a hand, and I silence myself. His hand comes up to rest on my cheek, and I feel Grace pouring into me, suffusing me with light. I look at Michael questioningly. Why—
"Nothing in the world could make him happier than this," He says.
Screams filter in from outside. I frown and look away from the written incantation. I've already memorized it, but it never hurts to review. Moving away from the table, I consider the source of the noise. Demon smoke comes close, blanketing the windows and, I presume, the rest of the building.
So Crowley has chosen to return, after all. Well, I can handle him.
"Never underestimate the King of Hell, darling," Crowley says, appearing in the room. "I know a lot of swell tricks. Now, I think it's time to re-renegotiate our terms."
I shift out of the room and land behind the demon. He turns to face me, and I place my hand on his forehead, intending to smite him.
"Sweaty hands, mate," Crowley says.
I pull my hand back. "I don't understand."
"You can palm me all you want. I'm safe and sound under the wing of my new partner," Crowley says, gesturing to his right.
Right on cue, my brother appears in his female vessel. "Hello, Castiel."
"Raphael," I respond. It's a good thing I prepared for this. "Consorting with demons," I say. "I thought that was beneath you."
"Heard you were doing it. Sounded like fun," Raphael quips.
"You know, Castiel y-you've said all sorts of shameful, appalling, scatological things about Raphael. I've found him, her, to be really quite reasonable," Crowley says.
"You fool. Raphael will deceive and destroy you at the speed of thought."
"Right, right, 'cause you're such a straight shooter," he says sarcastically. "She, he, has offered me protection against all comers."
"In exchange for what?" I ask.
"The Purgatory blood."
Raphael clicks his tongue. "Castiel, you really think I would let you open that door? Take in that much power? If anyone is going to be the new God, it's me."
"He's gonna bring the Apocalypse, and worse," I say to Crowley.
"Hey, this is your doing, mate. I'm merely grabbing the best offer on the table. Now, you have two options." He adopts a voice that I'm sure is supposed to be a parody of mine and says, "Flee, or die."
I pick up the jar of blood that I left sitting on the counter and toss it to Crowley before taking flight. I'd almost thought that Crowley wasn't going to come, but it's a good thing that I waited until the last minute. If I'd cleaned up the decoy, I wouldn't have been able to leave that room.
I land in a different abandoned warehouse, routinely checking my surroundings before placing a few precautionary wards so that others won't be able to find me. Then I take out the correct jar of blood and screw open the lid, dipping my fingers in to begin drawing sigils on the wall. I pause a few times to make sure I've drawn everything as instructed, and when I finish, I place the jar on the ground.
A moment later, the eclipse begins, and I recite the incantation from memory, keeping my pronunciation clear and formal. The entire incantation takes less than a minute to speak, and then the wall begins to crumble away. I brace myself for what's about to come.
As the first soul crosses the barrier, I spread my arms and wings wide, blocking its path and opening my vessel and Grace to accept it. The soul enters, soon followed by another, and another, and then several. The souls come in faster and faster, glowing brighter as they begin to cross in larger groups. The pressure in me grows steadily as the number of souls skyrockets—they're racing into me now.
It starts to hurt, to become too much, but I resist the urge to cry out. The stream is slowing down slightly now. The worst must be over.
And then they stop coming, and the door falls shut. For one disorienting moment, I'm lost between millions and millions of minds, but then the moment ends, and the pressure dies down.
All of these souls, all of this power… this is perfect.
Yes—this is how it was always meant to be. This is why I am different. I was made for this. I will create a new world, and all will bow down before me. Hell… I suppose Hell will have to remain, but I will shrink it down to a proper size. Earth can stay as well. And Heaven will be… however I wish it to be.
For it is a new era, and I am God.
But before I reach any of these goals, there are some lingering affairs to be settled.
I appear in the building that I had fled just a few minutes ago, holding my now-empty jar of blood. Funny how I'd been so worried about Raphael. With all of this power, I could squash him under my thumb.
None of the occupants of the room can see me, but I see and hear all of them.
Standing beside Raphael, Crowley is almost finished with the incantation. Dean and Bobby are on the ground, trying to recover from what Raphael or Crowley has surely done to them. See, they should have listened to me. Then they would not be in this mess. Their presence saddens me—Sam will suffer for their stubbornness. I remember deciding that I would save Sam nevertheless, but I see now that that sentiment is wrong. How else will Dean and Bobby learn to correct their stubborn and disobedient ways?
Then Crowley finishes the incantation, but nothing happens. I smile.
"Mhmm. Maybe I said it wrong," the demon muses.
I enter the human plane and say, "You said it perfectly. What you needed was this." I place the jar down on one of the tables and note that Dean and Bobby have recovered sufficiently to get to their feet.
Dean looks at me, and I can't classify what his expression means—is that worry? Or fear? Or concern? I look away from him and at Crowley and Raphael instead.
"I see," Crowley says. He walks over to the wall and runs a finger through the blood. "And we've been working with—" he lifts the finger to his mouth to taste it "—dog blood. Naturally."
I smile. I've tricked a demon. That's something that most angels cannot claim, as demons tend to be far more devious than angels.
"Enough of these games, Castiel. Give us the blood," Raphael says, ever the slow child of the bunch.
"You—" Crowley begins, but he cuts himself off and says instead, "Game's over. His jar's empty. So, Castiel, how'd your ritual go? Better than ours, I'll bet."
I close my eyes and allow the souls inside me to shine outward. I'm aware that this is ostentatious and would be considered showing off, but I really can't bring myself to care at the moment. I've won, and I might as well flaunt my victory, if only for a moment.
"You can't imagine what it's like," I say, restraining the souls yet again. "They're all inside me. Millions upon millions of souls."
"Sounds sexy. Exit stage Crowley," the demon says.
I decide to let him depart—I'll need someone to rule over Hell, and although Crowley tried to double-cross me, the Hell that he manages is much neater than it was before he took over.
Then I see Raphael spreading his large, gold wings in preparation to leave, and I ground him with a thought, pinning him in place. His eyes widen in surprise.
"Now what's the matter, Raphael? Somebody clip your wings?" I ask. To emphasize the point, I give each of his currently useless wings a gentle—almost playful—tug.
"Castiel, please," he says, and it's fitting that he's begging now. "You let the demon go, but not your own brother?"
He forfeited his position as my brother the day that he turned on me and demanded that I kneel before him. "The demon I have plans for," I say. "You on the other hand…"
I begin to apply pressure to my brother on all sides. Then I snap my fingers. His vessel explodes, and his Grace is ripped apart with it. His blade drops onto the ground and rolls a few feet.
"So you see," I say, walking away from Dean and Bobby, "I saved you."
"Sure thing, Cas. Thank you," Dean says cautiously.
"You doubted me, fought against me, but I was right all along," I say, turning back to face them with a smile.
"Okay, Cas, you were. We're sorry. Now let's just defuse you, okay?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're full of nuke. It's not safe. So, before the eclipse ends, let's get them souls back to where they belong," Dean explains.
"Oh no, they belong with me," I say.
"No, Cas, it's it—it's scrambling your brain."
"No, I'm not finished yet," I say. "Raphael had many followers, and I must… punish them all severely." Well, perhaps not all of them. I should be a merciful god—I'll give them chances to swear fealty to me. Yes, that would be good.
"Listen to me," Dean says, moving closer. "Listen, I know there's a lot of bad water under the bridge, but we were family once. I'd have died for you. I almost did a few times. So if that means anything to you…"
It might have once, but I have died, not almost-died, more than once for him, and that didn't stop him from abandoning me, disowning me, when I needed his support the most. As I think this, I sense a human entering the room, and—yes, it's Sam. I'm surprised that he made it here, quite honestly, but the Winchesters have always had talent for surprising me.
But Dean is still speaking, "Please. I've lost Lisa, I've lost Ben, and now I've lost Sam. Don't make me lose you too."
He's already lost me. He lost me the moment he looked at me and decided that I was no better than a demon.
"You don't need this kind o' juice anymore, Cas. Get rid of it before it kills us all," he finishes vehemently.
"You're just saying that because I won," I answer. "Because you're afraid. You're not my family, Dean. I have no family."
Just then, Raphael's blade slides into my back, parting the flesh of my human vessel. It does me no harm, though it does burn up three of the souls inside me. Behind me, Sam lets out a groan—his head must still be in colossal pain, even if he is up and functioning. I reach behind me and extract the sword from my back, placing it down on the table. Now, I have literally been stabbed in the back by the Winchesters.
"I'm glad you made it, Sam," I say, and I do mean this. I regretted putting his mind in such a state, and now I can't even fix it, because Dean and Bobby chose not to listen to me. "But the angel blade won't work," I continue, "because I'm not an angel anymore."
The three humans look surprised.
"I'm your new God," I announce. "A better one. So you will bow down and profess your love unto me, your Lord… or I shall destroy you."
Behind me, Sam staggers back a step. I just look at Dean and Bobby expectantly, but each passing moment tells me that they really don't have faith in me.
Then Bobby slowly lowers himself onto his knees. "Well, all right then," he says. "Is this good, or you want the whole 'forehead to the carpet' thing?" When I don't respond, he glances at Dean. "Guys?"
Dean and Sam start to follow suit, but I can't stand it.
"Stop," I say before they can actually get down to their knees. "What's the point if you don't mean it? You fear me. Not love, not respect, just fear."
"Cas…" Sam begins.
"Sam, you have nothing to say to me—you stabbed me in the back." He falls silent, and I look at Dean and Bobby. "Get up."
"Cas, come on, this isn't you," Dean says.
"The Castiel you knew is gone," I say. A small voice in my head adds, you didn't want him, Dean. I shake the sentiment away—I am not subject to his needs and desires. They are of no consequence to me, now.
"So what, then? Kill us?"
Who does he think he is? "What a brave little ant you are. You know you're powerless—you wouldn't dare move against me again. That would be pointless. So I have no need to kill you. Not now. Besides… once you were my favorite pets, before you turned and bit me."
"Who are you?" Dean asks, and I realize while he's asking the question that Sam's valiantly struggling to remain conscious.
"I'm God," I say—do I really have to say things twice for these humans to understand me? "And if you stay in your place, you may live in my kingdom. If you rise up, I will strike you down. Not doing so well, are you, Sam?"
"I'm fine," Sam says. He clears his throat before repeating, "I'm fine."
"You said you would fix him—you promised!" Dean barks.
"If you stood down, which you hardly did," I remind him. Sam's continued suffering is his doing, not mine. If he had just listened, I would be more than happy to fix Sam right now. "Be thankful for my mercy. I could have cast you back into the pit."
"Cas, come on, this is nuts! You can turn this around, please!" Dean says desperately.
Why does he think this is all so terrible? Perhaps it really is true that humans have a limited understanding of what is good and what is bad in the world.
"I hope for your sake this is the last you see me," I say right before taking off.
There is much work to be done.
The moment that I return into being, and the ones that follow, are bewildering and overwhelming. There is instant relief, followed by shock and disbelief, and then a strong bout of indignant anger. It takes me nearly a minute to sort through the nonsensical emotions, reconciling myself with my newly recreated vessel.
And then I know the sensations are Dean's and instantly allow the bond to guide me to him. I find myself grateful that the bond between us remained despite my latest trip to the other side.
I land in the room as Sam's lecturing Dean about the difference between having hope and being completely delusional—it seems that Dean has already told Sam that he felt my return, and Sam is now trying to convince him otherwise. Balthazar stands quietly to the side, and he starts when he detects my presence.
"Dean," I say, and he spins around to face me.
The instant that his eyes land on me, they darken with lust and anger, but beneath the swirl of stronger emotions lies an undercurrent of relief.
"You son of a bitch!" he says emphatically, stomping toward me. When he pushes at my chest, I allow him to slam me into the wall, hands fisted in the lapels of my coat.
"Dean, wait—" Sam begins.
"It's… really him," Balthazar breathes, cutting Sam off by laying a hand upon his shoulder.
I don't catch the next bit of conversation between the two because Dean slams his fist into my cheek, and I have to turn my head the other way to make sure he doesn't break his hand.
"Fuck," he hisses in pain.
"Dean," Sam says, wrenching his brother away from me.
But Dean shrugs Sam off, scowling at me. "What the hell did you think you were doing, offering yourself up like that? You promised me that you'd never… and—"
"He's back, isn't he?" Balthazar interrupts.
"That's not the point!" Dean shouts, turning on my brother.
"Dean, calm down," Sam says, gripping Dean's arm.
Balthazar steps around Dean and approaches me with a smile. "I thought I'd never see you again, brother."
"Yes, I know."
He smiles a little wider and spreads his arms out to either side. When I don't immediately step forward, he reaches out and pulls me into an embrace. His wings brush against mine gently. I feel a flare of jealousy from Dean and extricate myself from my brother's arms, but the sentiment remains.
"I would like to speak with Dean in private," I say.
Sam chuckles. "You don't have to ask permission, Cas. You're the reason why the world's not ending."
"The world's always ending, silly human," Balthazar says, and I don't miss the note of fondness in his tone. Then, to me, he projects, You'll have to tell me what happened when you're through with lover boy here.
Of course, I respond.
Sam looks between Dean and me before heading toward the door, and I notice for the first time that this appears to be Sam's room and not Dean's. Balthazar follows Sam out, and we are left alone.
"Don't hit me again," I say, keeping an eye on his fists. I don't want him to hurt himself.
Dean's jaw clenches, but he says nothing—the tirade from before seems to have fizzled out, leaving behind a silent glare.
"I'm sorry, Dean."
This is apparently the wrong thing to say, because anger resurges forcefully, and Dean steps forward to slam me against the wall again. I open my mouth to tell him to calm down, but his mouth covers mine in a harsh kiss, more teeth than tongue. I remain pliant and allow him to have his way with my mouth, wincing when his teeth sink into my bottom lip hard enough to draw blood.
And then he pulls back. "Sorry, Cas? You really think sorry is enough?" His lips press against mine again, just the briefest of touches, before he's speaking again. "I thought you—fuck. No, you—you were really dead! How could you do that to me?"
"You knew what would happen to me. You knew it. Fuck, Cas!"
"I had to," I say, annoyed now. "You and Sam could not have let each other die, and—"
"Oh, so you thought I could just let you die instead?"
I stare hard at him. "I know you," I say. "Sam is always going to be your priority. Do you deny it?"
He's silent for a moment, just continuing to glare at me.
"You know we had no time," I say. "I understand that you were in pain, and that it was my choice that caused you pain. But stop acting like it was the wrong decision. Can you do that, Dean?"
He lets out a long breath of air, eyes dropping away from mine. But he collects himself quickly—seconds later, he's pressing a soft kiss to the corner of my mouth.
"I was lost," he whispers, and it's a confession. "I don't know how long I was lost, but I… I'd never felt so empty before. Like a fucking zombie."
He sucks my lower lip into his mouth and gently tongues at the places where his teeth broke skin. And then he moans. I shudder, remembering another Dean who moaned in an eerily similar way when he tasted my blood.
"What the hell, Cas?" he murmurs against my lips.
I could explain that angel blood is obviously going to taste different from human blood, that it is almost like demon blood in this respect. I could say that the Grace of an angel would obviously alter the composition of its vessel in some way. But instead of responding verbally, I let my tongue slip out into his mouth, returning the kiss. My hands cruise up his sides gently, and I wish I could soothe his pain for all of eternity.
"Promise me you'll never leave me," he says when we part, his green eyes boring into mine.
"And mean it, this time. You're not allowed to die on me ever again."
"I understand," I say.
Dean breaks into a small, brief smile, but in it I see that he has faith in me. Dean, who lacked faith from the start, has finally found some in me.
As his lips travel over my face, mapping out my features, I smile, because I now know that regardless of what the future holds for us, we will have each other.
Author's Note: Please excuse me for the sappiest ending ever. I needed it after writing ALL THE PAIN. And now, I will thank you, for the last time, for reading this story. It's really been a pleasure.