Author's Note: And I'm back. I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this up. Long story short, I've been dealing with the fallout from the death of a family friend. Anyways, obviously, I'm not going to be able to finish this before the new season starts. So, I'm going to label this as season 9 AU. I probably won't be borrowing anything from the new season as I had this story planned out before the new season details started arriving. I hope you'll stick with me while I slowly, but surely, finish this story. Thanks for the support! Warning: This chapter deals with attempted suicide. If you wish to skip that, please skip the first section.


If I just breathe

Let it fill the space between

I'll know everything is all right

Breathe,

Every little piece of me

You'll see

Everything is all right

Michelle Branch, "Breathe"


Mariah does her best to remain calm as the car tires pull up on the road by the bunker. This is probably foolish—she was delivering Crowley right to the boys' hideout—but what choice did she really have? She wasn't prepared to exorcise him, never mind the fact that she had never even performed one before. The truth was, she was a doctor and not a hunter and she needed backup.

"Dr. Tate?" Hannah peeked at her curiously, her brow drawing up in confusion. "Where are we?" Crowley simply chuckled darkly and Mariah did her best to glare him into submission. It didn't work of course, but it was better to let her fear turn into anger rather than straight out panic.

"They're not here right now." Crowley informed her and Mariah ignored him. He was a demon; demons lied.

"Who's not?" Hannah questioned, seemingly becoming more perplexed as the seconds passed.

"Hannah, outside now." Mariah quickly exited the car and her assistant followed her, nearly jogging to keep up with how fast her mentor was walking. Crowley's dim laughter could be heard in the silent night and Hannah idly wondered why they were leaving him behind.

"Where are we going?" The doctor continued to move on into the forest that surrounded the bunker. One of the perks of this location was how easily hid the boys were from all forces that would want to hurt them. She may have delivered Crowley to their doorstep, but she knew the King of Hell would have a hard time getting in. The most powerful wards in existence protected this place and she was counting on those working tonight. "Dr. Tate?"

"Not now." They needed to get away from Crowley and then regroup. She would try to call the boys again or maybe she could find a way to track their cell signals. She was friends with a few cops that she had patched up; maybe they could help her out.

"Yes now!" Her protégé grabbed her elbow and pulled her harshly to a stop. "What the hell is going on?" Quickly adding on before Mariah could speak, "And don't say 'nothing'! You know what's happening and you are going to tell me before we go any—"

A crunch of wood caused Mariah to flinch and pull Hannah to her side. The doctor motioned for her to remain quiet and with a huff of protest Hannah did so. Taking a steady breath in, she waited to see what would come stumbling out. Were their other demons here? What was she supposed to do?

Yet, when the creature finally stepped out into the moonlight, Mariah realized it wasn't a creature at all. A young man with messy black hair and visible bags under his eyes staggered forward, seemingly exhausted and desperate. She felt like she had seen him sometime before and with a start she realized that this was Kevin. The prophet appeared worse for wear and he was turning something over in his palms. Only too late did Mariah see the glint of silver and she opened her mouth to call out.

"Stop!" To her surprise, Hannah had opted to go forward and with her hands out in a placating fashion, she took a few cautious steps towards Kevin. "You don't want to do that."

"Really? Why not?" Kevin challenged, bitterness evident in his tone.

"Because people care for you." At that, Kevin laughed mirthlessly, his eyes grew wild and Mariah feared that he might not only try to hurt himself, but Hannah as well. Still, she couldn't reveal herself yet and risk upsetting the prophet. While the two had never met—she had only seen his picture after the boys had sent it to her asking her to be on the look out for him—she did know his history, something he obviously hated.

"All the people who care about me are dead." He spat, but unfazed, Hannah continued to keep eye contact and took another step forward.

"But you're still here." She told him, a small smile gracing her lips. "Their legacies live with you."

"Where'd you get that? A Hallmark movie?" He questioned, voice dripping with resentment.

"My name is Hannah," She continued instead. "You are . . . ?"

Silence.

"Kevin." He finally told her.

"Then, you're wrong, Kevin. Not everyone who cares for you is dead." He tilted his head to the side in confusion. "I care about you now too."

"You've only just met me!" He protested, waving the dagger around.

"So, what?"

"What do you mean, 'so what'? I don't know you! You don't know me!"

"True," She conceded. "But I'd like to get to know you." He just gaped at her incredulously and without another word, Hannah bridged the gap between them and ever so calmly took the dagger away from him. Tossing it away from the two of them, she then pulled him into a hug. Shocked, Kevin just stood there, but Mariah could see the glimmer of relief in his eyes. Breaking off the hug, Hannah just beamed.

"I . . . I thought that I . . ." Then, without another warning, his eyes rolled back in his head and he went down. Mariah moved forward and quickly helped Hannah supported his surprisingly light frame.

"That was risky," Her mentor chided her. "He could've hurt you."

"No," She replied, pushing his bangs out of his eyes with a tenderness that Mariah had seen her use with all her patients. "He just needed something to hold on to." The doctor sighed, but secretly, she was relieved. On a night when she couldn't seem to save anyone, they had managed to give someone a reason to hold on. "What now?"

"Might I suggest we head inside for a bit?" Crowley emerged from the shadows and Mariah stiffened immediately. "I do believe he has a key."

"You can't go inside." She spat.

"Why not?" Hannah challenged.

"Afraid you're wrong," Crowley replied. "See, I'm not really a demon anymore. More like 10% demon and 90% human."

"Demon?" Hannah echoed incredulously.

"Like I'm supposed to believe that?" Mariah growled.

"Believe what you like," He informed her coolly. "But it's a bit cold out here and I do believe the prophet needs to get checked over."

"Prophet? Dr. Tate, what is he—?"

"Inside," Mariah interrupted, her eyes locked on Crowley's gaze. "We'll talk about this inside." Reaching down and grabbing the key from Kevin's pocket, the group slowly made their way to the bunker.

Mariah just hoped she was just making the right choice.


"Castiel?"

"Charlie." The former angel greeted as the red head took a seat at the cafeteria table. She glanced over him and frowned slightly. Pushing her tray of food over, she offered him her fork. He simply shook his head and continued to stare at the spot where Metatron had appeared to him.

"You've been here all night?" She asked and dimly, he realized that the sun had risen once more. Time had ceased to hold any meaning for him ever since he had seen his former angel.

"Yes."

"You need to rest," She admonished gently. "Come on, I'll take you—" She rose from the table and attempted to pull him along, but he refused to be moved.

"My place is here."

"In the cafeteria?" Her expression held a hint of amusement masked behind a wall of confusion.

"Yes. If this is where Dean wishes for me to be—"

"Castiel," She frowned, clearly saddened by this. "Dean was just angry, I'm sure he didn't—" His cerulean eyes pierced her gaze.

"You know he meant it." He ran a hand across his face and tried to push back the exhaustion that his now mortal body was suffering from.

"But time has passed—"

"He was right, Charlie," The former angel admitted. "I nearly caused Sam's death. I didn't listen to him, I didn't trust him and now look at what's happened." He gestured widely to the room. "Thousands of angels have fallen because of me. Sam is upstairs in that room because of me—"

"Not because of you," The redhead quickly interjected. "We both know the trials did that."

"Regardless, I'm still responsible for part of it." He let his gaze roam around the room. A few families sat, laughing as they ate their breakfast. One woman at another table was staring intently at her cellphone, as if doing that would magically make it give her some information. In the back of the room, a man sat silently crying, but not bothering to wipe his tears away. Angrily, Castiel stood up, nearly swaying. Charlie was there, a caring hand on his elbow, helping him up.

"Take it easy," She soothed. "You're human now, okay? You need to get some sleep and eat something."

"Not while Dean is still upset—"

"Enough about Dean!" She snapped and startled, he met her fiery gaze. "Listen to me, okay?" Her grip tightened ever so slightly. "I know right now things are fucked up to say the least," She chuckled softly at that. "But we all need to stay together if we're going to get through this. That means taking care of yourself."

"But—"

"No butts," She told him firmly. "I already booked two suites at a nearby hotel. I'll drop you off, you'll sleep and then you can take a later shift."

"Shift?" He echoed.

"You want to talk to Dean right?"

"Of course."

"Then, you can sit with him and Sam while I get some rest later today." She moved him towards the exit, guiding him effortlessly.

"But, he told me to stay out of his sight." In the parking lot, she pulled out her car keys and Castiel found himself in the passenger seat.

"Yeah, well, I love Dean, but he's pretty stubborn," She smiled warmly at him. "Some rules were made to be broken."

With that, she turned on the engine and away they went.


"How you holding up?"

"Fine."

Jody did her best not to roll her eyes and sigh. Dean's eyes were locked on the bed that his brother had been in just a few minutes before the doctors had come and whisked him away to get a few more tests done. Shakily, she rose from her seat and bridged the gap between the two of them. Placing a hand on his shoulder, she squeezed it gently.

"You wanna actually tell me the truth this time?" He actually laughed a bit at that and his rigid posture relaxed slightly. Rubbing comforting circles on his back, she marveled at well-composed Dean was. His brother—his last remaining family member—was dealing with heart failure and not once had Dean lost his cool with her. Of course, she had heard from the nice redhead—Charlie?—that Dean had punched out Castiel earlier. While she had never met the angel, she felt sorry for him. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off, protective Dean. Dean reached up and took her hand within his own and she silently offered him strength.

"I just keep thinking of Dad."

"Yeah?"

"He was in the hospital bed and he was talking and acting like nothing was wrong," Like Sam, Jody added silently. "And then he died not 30 minutes later."

"Sam's not going to die—"

"You don't know that." He interjected harshly and she sighed softly.

"Well, if he's as stubborn as his older brother, then he won't go down without a fight." That brought a tiny smile to Dean's lips and happiness coursed through Jody's system. Her boys were hurting, but she had no doubt that they would get through it.

"Thanks for coming, Jody."

"Anything for family, right?" He met her gaze and he nodded his head. "You know, I was thinking that—"

She never got to finish her thought for the door was thrown open and a nurse quickly ran in. Dean practically jumped out of the chair and with a sad expression, she spoke,

"It's Sam. He's had a seizure."

At that moment, Jody felt her heart break in half.


Author's Note: Cliffhanger, I know, but updates will be more frequent I promise. Please review if you have a second!