I remember everything. Crowley escorting me to the pit. The brutal tortures of the seventh circle. The searing pains of my soul twisting, tarnishing into the demon version of me. Taking the throne beside Crowley as his Queen. A century and a half worth of these memories and I remember it all.
When I first gave my soul to Crowley, I thought I wanted to forget everything. Nearly a hundred and fifty years in the pit made me realize I wanted Castiel to suffer as he once made me suffer. I know I accomplished this, but not in the way I had intended. He blamed himself endlessly for my own selfish, ridiculous actions and when he came to rescue me, it wasn't self redemption he was after. All he wanted to do was to make me myself again.
I realized all of this when he wrapped his arms around me at the end of the eighth circle. This simple action sparked a flood of memories long abandoned at the gates of Hell, memories that reminded me of who I used to be. Who we used to be. And that, despite everything, he still loves me.
The moment my feet hit the earth, I began thanking God for everything I could think of. I thanked him for the daughter I hardly knew and His fallen son who fearlessly went up against Hell itself to rescue me. I thanked him for Dean Winchester and his companionship in the pit, which without I may have been a far more wicked demon than I was. I even thanked him for the sun, the air and the freaking trees.
I'm not sure what Castiel had planned once he had Dean and me topside. From the way he handed Dean his angel blade, it seems he didn't expect to survive the rescue mission. Now that he has, I'm still uncertain if there's an actual plan. Right now, sitting on the couch in Bobby Singer's living room with Castiel on my right and Cassandra on my left, I don't think I care. I'm more than content spending a few days just like this.
Meeting Bobby and Sam is strange yet refreshing. I can at last put faces to the names whose numbers occupied every cell phone Castiel ever gave me. Being introduced to Juliana is somewhat exhilarating, to say the least. I've never met a vampire before and I have a hard time not staring at her.
Bobby, Sam and Juliana listen to our story unfold with a quiet awe laced across their attentive faces. Castiel and our daughter, Cassandra, share how they marched through the nine circles unscathed while Dean throws in bits and pieces of his side of the tale. I add a comment or two from time to time, but mostly I remain silent as I enjoy the blissful comfort of my surroundings.
"Where did you get that last blast of energy from?" Sam questions Cassandra curiously. "And how are you still conscious?"
"I thought of things that made me happy," she explains with a simple, content breath. "And I'm too excited for sleep."
The seven of us chat for a while longer before Bobby excuses himself to attend to "business per usual", going between research for other hunters and the phones he keeps with labels like CIA and FBI. Dean and Sam find their way into the junk yard in the back, leaving Cassandra, Castiel, Juliana and myself sipping beer in the living room.
"So, what's next?" Juliana wants to know, glancing between the angel and myself. "Where do you go from here?"
"I have a man of God to thank and share stories with," Castiel replies. "And some lives to save."
"Don't forget that mansion you owe me," I playfully nudge him with my elbow and he smiles.
"How could I forget?" is his response and I smile up at him before my eyes can turn to Cassandra.
My daughter. She looks so much like me, it's almost like looking into a mirror. The love and pride I hold for this being is so intense I feel like I could explode at any moment. This girl, I made her, and she couldn't be more perfect.
"What about you, mom?" she asks me and I can't help but beam at the label.
"I hadn't thought that far yet," I admit. "I should probably go see my mom. Have you met your grandmother yet?"
"No," Cassandra confesses sheepishly. "I felt kind of awkward about it. I wasn't sure how or if she could take it."
"I'm sure she'd like to meet you," I assure my daughter who gives me a small smile.
"What about you, Cassie?" Juliana asks between sips of her beer. "What does an immortal half angel do with her earthly existence after a tour of Hell?"
"I'll probably go back to hunting," Cassandra replies. "Whatever Dean wants to do, really."
"Really?" Juliana seems genuinely surprised by my daughter's response.
"Of course," Cassandra replies. "Why wouldn't I?"
"I don't know," the vampire gives a small shrug. "I just figured you'd go do your own thing. I mean, you don't think it'll be hard to say goodbye when he reaches the end of his road?"
"I know for a fact it will be hard," my daughter acknowledges this. "But it would be hard to say goodbye at any point. Yeah, I'll live a good thousand or ten years longer than him. That just means I have to spend as much time with him as I can while he's alive."
Juliana doesn't say anything, not at first. Instead she carefully ponders these words, quietly sipping her beer.
"You know," the vampire slowly begins. "For as young as you are, you're pretty damn smart and inspiring."
"Thanks," Cassandra smiles as she speaks. "Why do you ask, anyway? You weren't thinking about taking off on us, were you?"
"I was, actually," Juliana confesses. "But you're right. I should stick around and enjoy as much time with Sam as I can." Pause. "Besides, it'd be nice to have a friend left when he's gone. Especially you."
"You mean that?" Sam's form appears in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, hope blazing in his eyes as he looks over his girlfriend. "You're going to stay?"
"If I'm still welcome," Juliana nods and Sam cannot contain the grin that forms across his face.
"Thank god," I can hear him mutter as he pulls her into a long, hard embrace.
Dean enters with a small smile on his lips directed at my daughter. He strides towards her and offers her his hand.
"Come on," he speaks as Cassandra lovingly places her own hand into his. "Let's go get some shut eye."
She glances at me before she rises to her still somewhat unstable feet and I smile.
"Go," I tell her. "I'll have your father bring me by later."
That felt so strange to say. Strange in a completely wonderful way.
Cassandra stoops over to give me a long embrace before she gives her father a long, hard look. After a moment of silence, she wraps her arms around him.
"I don't love some of the things you've done," she whispers. "But I do love you. Dad."
The stunned expression that crosses his face tells me this is the first time she's ever said that to him. A wide smile spreads across his lips as he is overcome with peace and joy.
"Let's go home," Sam speaks, his right arm wrapped around Juliana's shoulders as the four say their goodbyes.
"Should I take you to your mother's?" Castiel asks and I smile.
"Not yet," I tell him. "You remember that little lake near Whitefish?"
"Yes," he nods. "It was your Heaven."
"Let's go there for a while," I suggest and he smiles.
He places his lips upon mine for a blissful moment in time before he wraps his arms around me and, in the blink of an eye, we stand upon the rickety old dock that stretches into the cool, calm mountain waters.
In this moment I feel, for the first time in an incredibly long time, like everything is finally going to be okay. Because it is. My hope has been returned and, with Castiel returned to his wonderful old self and an amazing daughter, I finally have peace to go along with it.
AN: There you go. A happy ending. And it only took me three stories to get there.
I'd like to take this time to thank those of you who have continued to read & support what was supposed to be a short tale that took a life of its own. The fact that anyone read this in the first place is thrilling & those who took the time to supply me with such awesome reviews should know you inspired me to keep going.
So, thanks again for all the interest & support you've shown me & my story. This may be the end of one story, but I have more I intend on sharing with you. You know, if you're interested. Even if you're not, they'll be here at some point in the near future. ;)