Authors note: Thank you readers, thank you for sticking with it, for the favs, and especially thank you to those who took the time to respond. I was terribly nervous about trying this – my first ever fiction nevermind my first ever fanfiction – and I needed the feedback to keep trying. Many, many thanks to my co-authoress without whom not a word would have been posted. With MummyMollyWeasley's encouragement and help, I have now written fight scenes, dialogue that sounds a lot better than quotes, – and, yes, she even convinced me that Dean would give in to his feelings for Cas and then be stubborn enough to not give him up, so she can have her evil laugh. I am determined also to try to write a brief interlude for Dean and Castiel, and I will try to not let her angst all over it. – mrstserc

Co-Author's Response to the Author's Note: I didn't touch this one. Nada. Nothing. She'll be shocked to see it. But I wanted to prove that I wouldn't tarnish her happily ever after (THIS TIME! Mwahahaha). Currently my hardworking co-author is scoffing at me because she can hear me typing onto her afterwards, and so I'm typing even more to bother her.

. . . Did I mention my sadistic sense of humor isn't just in written form?

Don't forget to check out my profile for "Before the Fall," "Afterwards" and "Incarceration," also all in this 'Verse. Meanwhile, we'll be back with more soon. Love to you all, see you next fic! – Mummy


It is so peaceful out in the Hill Country, so open and natural. Castiel wants to spend as much time as possible just being in it and allowing the peace of his Father's masterpiece to wash away some of the stain on his spirit. He heads out right after breakfast, following the quiet sounds of swift water flowing over rock, and he scrambles down onto a solid rock ledge about 10 feet down a cliff above the spring-fed stream on Mackey's property.

Even at the beginning of November, the morning temperature warms to a soothing 70 degrees as the angel settles there, gazing up at the branches of Cypress trees so tall and wide that they soar above the cliff from where their roots dip into the cool running water. His eyes, the same clear blue as the Texas sky, lazily watch a family of Red-tailed hawks circle in a hunting pattern.

There's a slight scuffling sound above him and Castiel stands up to watch as Dean carefully drops his crutches on the ground and eases his legs over the drop off. "Want me to go?" Dean asks quietly, not wanting to make his friend feel smothered.

Cas gives a small head shake and reaches his arms to ease the younger man down onto the ledge, allowing his lover's lean body to skim over his own gently - and enjoying the soft gasp he startles as he tightens his grip when he can reach Dean's lips, softly pressing a kiss before settling the taller man into a sitting position on the hard ledge. Cas feels even more peaceful now, as he lies back cushioning his head on Dean's good right thigh to resume his bird watching. It is Dean's turn to nurture, and he combs his fingers contentedly through Cas's dark waves.

Time must pass, but neither really cares right now; they are content just being there in contact with the other until the sun is directly overhead and the mild weather starts to feel too warm.

"Might be more difficult to get me out of here," Dean chuckles, as Cas stands and pulls Dean upright.

Fortunately for them, Sam has grown bored inside and hears them, heading over and taking one of Dean's arms as Cas scrambles up and takes the other to lift him back to the top of the cliff. Sam holds his brother upright and hands him his crutches so the three can head back toward the cabin.

"What were you doing down there," Sam asks.

"Talking," Cas replies.