Months had passed, and Sam and Dean had finally created a spell that would work for the new binding cuffs. After finding a proper combination of spells that would work, all it took was a small smear of Dean's blood across Gabriel's new cuff to deactivate all of the others. They had originally tried Sam's, but found out that the spell required the blood of the eldest living relative. The way they had found out that the chain reaction had actually worked came from the inhuman screech Karen had let loose.
After a good hour of being yelled at, Bobby saved the boys by presenting Karen with a beautiful gold ring that had the new binding spell engraved on it. He had even presented it on one knee. Bobby could not recall a time he had seen his angel so happy.
That night, their actions had made the news. Many Hunters and angels were thoroughly confused with what was going on. Some angels had taken the opportunity to enjoy their new freedom, and some chose to stay by their Hunter's side.
'We are live with Jo Harvell and her Lower Angel, Ash, at the famous Roadhouse,' spoke the woman holding the microphone on the TV.
'Um, hi,' Jo said with a small wave.
Dean laughed as the young Hunter appeared on screen. 'Hey, Sammy! Jo's on TV!' he shouted.
Sam and Bobby quickly entered the room to find the young blonde Hunter's awkward smile plastered across the television.
'You know her?' Castiel asked quietly. He ran his fingers across his cuff. He had missed the reassuring touch of carved metal for those few short months. It was nowhere near as scuffed as his original cuff, but it had the same devil's trap carved on the inside, and the same loving warmth of Dean's soul.
Dean nodded as he threw his arm around Castiel, pulling his angel close to make more room on the couch.
'Who's the loser angel with the mullet?' Gabriel asked through a mouthful of popcorn from his place on the floor in front of Castiel's legs. Gabriel and Castiel had rarely left each other's side after being reunited, going so far as to spend some nights huddled together on the couch rather than in their respective Hunter's bed.
'That's Ash,' Sam replied as he sat on the couch. 'Really smart. Jo's mom caught him about ten years ago and handed him down to her when she turned sixteen.'
Dean shushed Sam as Jo began to speak.
'Well, it was pretty surprisin'… Ash here came out of his room around lunchtime and just…set the cuff on the bar. Said he needed a new one.' Jo shrugged as Ash nodded along. 'We have no idea what's goin' on. Hunters have been showin' up all day since it happened, and, well… Everyone's real confused. Some are real scared.'
'And how do you feel about this turn in events, Ash?' the reporter asked.
Ash shrugged, his wings going with the movement. 'I was kinda diggin' my bond. Me 'n' Jo had a real groove goin' on. Like I told her 'n' Ellen: I need a new cuff. I've studied the spells on it, and all I can come up with is that the Witch's bloodline is responsible. No other explanation.'
'The Witch's…? The original Witch?! She has descendants?!'
'Course. Like she never got laid,' Ash said with a slight leer.
Just behind Jo, and older woman paced back and forth, a phone pressed to her ear. She began shouting, and the camera zoomed in as Jo turned to look. 'Mom, shh!'
'What's wrong Ellen?' Ash shouted, turning to look.
Ellen strode up to her daughter with a sour expression on her face. 'Them idiot Winchesters is what's wrong,' she snapped.
Sam and Dean both sank, cringing. 'Shit… Really wanted to avoid going public with this,' Dean muttered.
'Is it a problem?' Castiel asked.
'Interviews… Public knowledge of just who we are,' Dean replied.
'And not everyone will take the change too well,' Sam added.
'I'll protect you,' Gabriel promised.
'Ma'am, does this have anything to do with what's going on with binding cuffs?' the reporter asked.
Ellen looked from the reporter just off screen to the camera. 'Uh… Oh. I'm on TV,' she said into the phone.
Karen entered the living room, holding a phone. 'Is it okay if Ellen tells everyone the good news?' she asked giddily.
Sam and Dean stared at her with mouths wide open. Dean was the first to recover and he threw his hands up in frustration. 'Fine! Go ahead! Bury the fuckin' hatchet!'
Karen let out a delighted squeal. 'Bury the hatchet, Ellen!'
Sam and Dean watched in horror as Ellen hung up her phone with a heavy sigh. 'I think y'all need to be interviewin' one Dean Winchester.'
'What?! It wasn't just me!' Dean exclaimed. He pointed at Sam as he yelled at the television. 'He helped! It wasn't all my fault!'
'They can't hear you,' Castiel said as he tugged on Dean's shirt.
'Dean Winchester?' the reporter repeated.
Ellen nodded as Jo buried her face in her hands, shaking her head. 'Him and his brother are pretty well known in the Hunter world.'
As soon as Ellen spoke, Dean felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He slouched back into the couch, letting Castiel wrap around him. The various phones in the kitchen began ringing as well.
'Apparently they came up with a new binding cuff, voiding all the old ones,' Ellen said, placing her hands on her hips. She looked straight into the camera. 'You brought this on yourself, Dean Winchester. Dropping somethin' like that without any warning. You made your bed, and now you can lie in it.'
'More like I dug my grave,' Dean mumbled miserably.
The phones rang nonstop for a good three hours before Karen went outside with a pair of scissors and cut the line. Bobby kissed her when she returned.
'You coulda just unplugged them,' he said as she sat on the couch and tried to find a channel that was not talking about the recently freed angels.
'Wouldn't have been as satisfying,' she distractedly replied. 'There's a couple news vans out there…'
Bobby shook his head as he sat next to Karen. 'They'll keep 'til mornin'. Gabe's got the property on lockdown, and Crowley's sendin' PR agents. He already emailed Sam a prepared statement.'
'So who's going out there in the morning?' Karen asked.
Bobby sighed as he took of his ball cap and scratched his head. 'All of us, I guess. Cas say's he can keep his wings white for about an hour if he doesn't have to do anythin' else,' he replied. 'Keep answers short and questions to a minimum. Let them see that the cuff can be made from more than silver. And that it can be ring,' he said as he lifted Karen's hand and kissed her knuckles, just above her binding ring.
Karen smiled softly. 'I knew takin' those boys in would be the best decision we made.'
'Never doubted it.'
Gabriel bounced on the bed as he waited for Sam. 'I'm gonna be famous! You, too!'
'Yeah, and probably hunted,' Sam pointed out as he crawled onto the bed next to Gabriel.
'No angel would let anyone lay a hand on you or Dean. Not after what you guys just did,' Gabriel said softly. He pulled Sam on top of him and hooked his arms around Sam's neck. 'You freed us. We don't have to hide anymore. We can live real lives now! Although… Dad might get a little pissed because he'll end up losing some employees…'
Sam laughed and kissed Gabriel. 'He sent us approved answers to give the new stations,' he said. 'I think he saw this coming.'
'Dad sees everything coming. I seriously think he's psychic or something,' Gabriel replied in distaste. 'He gave me my plaque.'
'I don't care,' Sam said as he softly nipped at Gabriel's neck.
'And that makes five,' Gabriel moaned.
'Stop counting,' Sam grunted as he pulled at Gabriel's shirt and placed his knee between the angel's legs.
'Mmm… Oh! Six and seven!' Gabriel grinned cheekily when Sam looked up to give him a half-hearted glare. 'I love this new cuff.'
'I'm sure you do, but please. If you wanna get laid tonight, then stop counting.'
'I can't help it,' Gabriel whined. 'I feel them every time they climb the fence! Throwing them into the kiddie pool at the Y takes power.'
'The Y… Gabe, that's over five miles away!' Sam said, sitting up.
Gabriel pulled Sam back down. 'Yeah. Which is why I can't just ignore it. Takes effort to throw 'em that far and have 'em be safe.'
Sam kissed Gabriel deeply. 'Then how's about you give me your full attention, and toss them into the shallow end of the lake?'
'Oh! Good idea! There. Eight's in the lake,' Gabriel said. 'Now. Let's see just how well this thing gives incentive…'
'Everything's gonna be fine,' Castiel murmured into Dean's shoulder as he kissed his way across Dean's back.
'No, it's not,' Dean wailed miserably. 'Fuck. We shouldn't have changed it yet. Not without saying anything.'
'If you had told anyone, then you would have been in more danger by those that wouldn't want it to happen,' Castiel pointed out. 'You'll get the new spell out there, and it will all pass.'
Dean leaned back against Castiel and closed his eyes as Castiel stroked his hair. 'So…the new cuff's workin' pretty well, huh?' he asked, floating in a sea of Castiel's love. God, how he loved feeling Castiel's thoughts and emotions drifting through him. Even when Castiel was stressed out, it was still a comforting feeling.
'No. It's awful,' Castiel replied. He laughed as Dean stiffened in his arms in alarm.
'You liar,' Dean bit out, relaxing.
'You did a good job. I sent a picture to Father, and he was quite impressed,' Castiel said. He nibbled at Dean's earlobe and smiled as Dean moaned softly. 'Forget about them. Forget about the cuff. Tonight it's just you and me. Nothing else. No problems. No worries… Just us.'
Dean shifted and turned to face Castiel. He looked over his angel, his eyes resting on black wings. 'Cas… I never told you, but… When I…died. When I was in…in Heaven…'
Castiel held his breath. They hadn't spoken about Dean's death nor what he had seen. Castiel dreaded the topic. He had seen Dean staring at photographs of his mother, whispering to them with sad, wistful smiles. He swallowed as Dean's eyes shimmered with unshed tears.
'I saw my mom there,' Dean said with a tight voice. 'And…it was…perfect. She…she was there…waiting for me. And… Oh, God, Cas!' He pulled Castiel into a tight hug as his tears spilled. 'She looked so beautiful and happy… And…and everything was wonderful, and I didn't wanna leave…'
Castiel's stomach dropped at the confession, and he closed his eyes. He shouldn't have been so selfish. He shouldn't have ripped Dean out of Heaven. Even unknowingly. That was no excuse.
'But then… I heard your voice,' Dean whispered raggedly. 'There was…this warm light, and I heard you, and…Heaven wasn't good enough. Not without you.'
Castiel breathed in deeply. 'But…your mother…'
Dean chuckled softly as he pulled back, his cheeks wet. 'She said you must be somethin' if you could distract me from paradise.' He rested their foreheads together and held Castiel's hands in his own. 'She wants me to live my life. And I…I know she'll be there waiting. At the end. But for now… I'm here. With you. And I think I can handle this shit storm I've brought down as long you're with me.'
Castiel smiled softly and tilted his head. He pressed his lips against Dean's. 'And I'll be with you until the end and after.'
Thank you to everyone that's read this and stuck with me! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed (for the most part) writing it!