Darkest of Your Days

"If a great wave shall fall
it'll fall upon us all
and between the sand and stone...
can you make it on your own?
maybe I'll find out
the way to make it back someday...
to watch you, to guide you,
through the darkest of your days."

Author's Notes: This is an AU version of Chapter 20 of Song Remains the Same - the endverse Croatoan apocalypse world as shown in the episode The End. This will probably not make sense to you unless you read that story. So this is basically a HUGE alternate storyline and is centered on Castiel/Alex Winchester. Please lemme know what you think and I hope you like pain. Please read, review, and cry along with me. The song lyrics are from Charlene Soraia's cover of "Wherever You Will Go" and you really, really need to listen to it. Okay, onto the story. Warning: this fic contains (tasteful) smut.

Every little decision we ever make affects the outcome of our reality more than we know. A small, seemingly insignificant choice can alter everything. This is one such instance… when in 2009, the Winchester family had broken apart, Sam leaving his brother and sister to try and spare them from his struggle with demon blood. Without their brother, Alex and Dean were driving nonstop from one city to another, and she was begging her brother to please stop so they could rest. He planned to drive them all the way to Kansas City, and in most other versions of reality, he did. But in this version, he didn't. Instead of driving three hours more, they stopped in Omaha, crashed and fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon... woke up to a very different world and a very different time… and that decision to stop in Omaha instead of Kansas City changed everything.

August, 2014
Camp Chitaqua, Michigan

"What was that?" Dean asked in a voice just above a whisper, swiveling his head around to look behind himself. It was the dead of night—hot, humid, heavy.

Beside him, Cas had heard it too and turned—it was a soft metallic sound that they heard, like something was shaking the chain link fence bordering the camp. Cas took hold of the assault rifle that had been strapped idly across his body. "Croats?" he asked in a low whisper.

Dean shook his head, eyes narrowed and sharply moving over the fence to their left about twenty feet away. He pulled out his pistol slowly, glanced at Cas. "No, we'd hear croats coming a mile away." He jerked his head to the side. "You go left."

The men broke apart silently and moved in opposite directions, tensed and prepared for anything. These days, you had to be. Cas peered into the darkness, catching sight of a movement, and then hearing another telltale shiver of metal when someone moved through the chain link fence. He raised his weapon and crept closer. Definitely not croats… the intruders looked too calm and collected to be croatoans. Two figures—it looked like a man about Dean's size and a woman—were sneaking toward where Dean's old car was rusting and overgrown with grass. They must have found a hole in the fence or something. This wasn't good. More and more lurkers and drifters had been passing through and trying to steal supplies lately. Cas crept even closer to the intruders. He could make out Dean's familiar figure at his peripheral. The two trespassers were distracted. The bigger one was hunched down, examining the Impala and the smaller figure, lingering back near the fence, threw her arms out and hissed something unintelligible, like she was unhappy with what her companion was doing. Dean crept closer to the intruder at the car, and when he got up right behind him, he announced himself.

"Hey!" Dean shouted, and the guy whirled, got an uppercut to the jaw, and was laid flat out. Immediately, the girl made a move for a weapon and darted forward to attack Dean—and Cas, close enough to intervene without shooting, dashed forward, letting his gun drop to hang at his side as he knocked the woman over, flat onto her back, the force of the tackle sending the knife she'd drawn flying out of her hand harmlessly. He snatched up her wrists and felt her wrestling mightily underneath him. He was surprised at the ferocity and had to double his efforts to hold her down, pinning her wrists above her head and squeezing his thighs together tight, sandwiching her legs to keep her from kneeing him—which she had been trying to do.

"Hold still, Jesus Christ!" Cas exclaimed, completely exasperated at how strong she was and how wildly she was fighting him. It almost him reminded him of… Cas had an abrupt and jolting thought. Oh god, wait….

Dean shined a flashlight down into the woman's face and she went still momentarily. Both men froze, shocked—a very familiar, pretty face stared up at them, the brilliant hazel eyes flashing angrily as she squinted up into the bright light. Losing his grip slightly, gone slack with surprise, Cas's jaw had dropped open even as his stomach seemed to fall out of him completely. "A-Alex?"

She didn't seem to recognize him—she probably couldn't see with that light in her eyes. "Get off me!" she roared, yanking a wrist out of his hold on her and punching him in the jaw, grabbing his neck, flipping him off of her, snatching her knife back up as she scrambling to her feet. He just laid there, propped clumsily onto his elbows, his jaw stinging as he stared up at her breathlessly, heart racing, because he never thought this day would actually come, and now looking at her, he was scared shitless. He knew what her reappearance meant and he wasn't ready for this, even though he'd been waiting for it, too, dying for it almost, imagining what it would be like.

Clueless to what Cas was thinking, Alex whirled, knife clenched tightly. She faced down Dean, who was holding out a hand in her direction. He looked positively sickened and dumbfounded, but managed to keep his head on his shoulders. "Whoa, whoa, just take it easy!" he commanded, and she froze, squinted at him, looked at the other Dean passed out near her, and then back at the conscious Dean.

She was baffled. "Dean?"

Immediately she looked down at Cas, squinted, as if trying to recognize him and Dean seized the opportunity of her distraction, rushed her and knocked the knife out of her hand, twisting her arm behind her back and whirling her away from himself, putting her in a firm, painful hold. "Who the hell are you?" he demanded thunderously. "Shapeshifter? Ghoul? Skin walker?" He shook his sister hard and she protested, trying to break his grip, even as Cas shot up, tried to stop him.

"Stop, Dean, stop!" He held his hands out. "It's them, it's them!"

Dean stopped, relaxed his hold slightly. "How do you know that? They could be impostors," he said gruffly, looking at Cas closely.

"They're not," Cas insisted, because he recognized both of the Winchesters immediately. He may not have been an angel anymore, but could still sense souls, and these weren't impostors. Cas swallowed deeply and looked at Alex—her fiery expression, tousled brown hair, heaving chest, stony glare—she appeared extremely pissed about her arm being twisted behind her. She looked a little younger and thinner than she'd been when he last saw her, but it was her. Seeing her again almost made him incapable of speech and he was having to struggle to keep himself together. "W-what year are you from?" Cas asked her tremulously. If she said 2009, his theory would be confirmed.

She looked at him almost as if he were a stranger, and it broke his heart. "Two-thousand nine," she said, and Castiel's blood pressure doubled. It felt like all the air had been knocked out of him. He nodded in hollow disbelief. God, how was he supposed to do this? "It's them," he told Dean distractedly, and he had to turn away a little because the pain was surging up and choking his heart, stinging his eyes. He ran his palm downward over his mouth and let it rest on his chin. "You should remember, after all," he said, and Dean looked down at the unconscious version of himself.

Dean thought about what Cas had said and set his jaw firmly, turned his attention back to Alex. "Okay so if you're really Dean and Alex Winchester from two-thousand nine, riddle me this," Dean said, and leaned his face closer to Alex from behind where he held her in a tight grip. "What the hell are you two are doing here in twenty-fourteen?" he demanded. Cas knew that Dean would remember this from his own timeline and was testing her to see if the story matched up.

She struggled, spoke to him through gritted teeth. "Zachariah sent us, I dunno, he said he wanted us to see where our bad choices would lead us or some Doctor Phil crap like that, okay!? Now let—me—go!"

Dean complied roughly, suspicious of her and not hiding it. She gave him an evil eye, picked up her knife angrily and holstered it, went to her unconscious brother and dropped at his side, checking him. Dean and Cas exchanged a tense look. Dean was silently warning Cas not to say anything to Alex and Cas smirked cynically, humorlessly. Dean didn't even know the half of it. Alex looked over her shoulder at them, pissed.

Seeming to be satisfied that her brother was okay, she stood up, eyeing Castiel and Dean warily, but looking at Cas very oddly. "What... happened to you?" She looked at him oddly, taking in his outfit, hair, beard, general disarray. He knew this was a different look on him for this version of Alex. He no longer wore the trench coat and business suit. Instead, he wore hunting boots, faded cargo pants, a military style jacket. His hair was unkempt, he never bothered with shaving anymore—his beard was probably an inch long at this point, he wasn't even sure.

Cas could feel Dean's warning glare on him and he shook his head, shrugged. Summed it up what had happened to him without telling her anything at all. "A lot."

She made a slight face and he could almost hear her thinking no kidding. She looked at Dean. "So where's Sam in all this? Where am I?"

Dean's expression darkened and Cas looked down and away before she could look at him with those questioning eyes. "Not here," Dean said gruffly. "Come with us… Cas, you get unconscious me."

Dean led the way to his cabin, Cas propped the unconscious Dean onto the floor and 2014 Dean immediately cuffed him to the metal ladder that was built into the floor. "Hey, hey! Why are you cuffing him?" Alex demanded. Dean went over to her slowly and she looked at him guardedly.

"What, you think I trust myself?" He asked, amused and a little cynical. "I remember what I was thinking when I first wake up here." Her face showed confusion. His hand shot out and a cuff snapped over her wrist, he manhandled her to the ladder amidst her loud, colorful protests. Incensed, she yanked her cuffs loudly, rattling metal against metal. He shrugged. "I don't trust you either."

She became resigned but sullen about it, looked at her brother with a slight frown. "What's going on with you?" She looked at him in something like disappointment. "You seem... different."

"Yeah well I guess the apocalypse just does that to a guy," Dean retorted cynically. Alex rolled her eyes, looked down, saw the wedding band on his finger. She did a double take in shock. "Dean, what—are you married?"

Dean's face distorted, he looked down at the ring. "Uh, I… I was. She died." His jaw tensed, he looked upset. "I uh, you know, haven't gotten around to taking this thing off yet," he muttered, and then cleared his throat, turned on his heel, leaving his sister a shocked mess. He motioned to Cas. "With me, Cas, now."

Cas looked back at Alex who shrugged at him, silently asking him to help her and he looked away quickly, followed Dean outside. They shut the door behind themselves and the second it was shut, Dean rounded on Cas. "Don't say a damn thing to her about anything," he threatened Cas quietly. "It could mess up everything. I shouldn't have told her about Jo, dammit." He took his wedding ring off and looked at it mournfully then slipped it into his pocket.

"Dean…" Cas began.

Dean fixed him with an expression almost like a glare. "Look man, forget it. This is nuts. I didn't really think this would happen. I remember it happening, vaguely, but from his end, not this end." Dean looked positively overwhelmed and annoyed by the whole thing. "I'll tell Ellen the situation. Don't mess with Alex, okay? In fact, keep your fucking distance. She doesn't need to know about the shit that happens to you and her in this future, got that?"

Cas let out a cynical little huff. "Believe me Dean. I know that."

Dean looked at Cas with superior judgement glinting in his eyes. "I bet this is a real wakeup call, isn't it, Cas? What if Alex, the one from our time, could see who you are now? That Alex in there doesn't have a clue and I don't want her to, you got that? If she could see what you let happen to yourself, to your daughter... what do you think she'd say, man?"

At the mention of Lily, Cas darkened. "Dean, how many times have I told you this subject matter is off limits?"

Dean made an ugly face, shrugged. "Keep on saying it, Cas, but she was my sister and I got every right to hate what you did to her."

Cas struggled not to punch Dean in the face. He ground his teeth together, trying to slow his pounding pulse down. "I really don't appreciate your tone right now," he said in a dark voice.

Dean pulled a face. "Oh, you don't appreciate my tone. Good for you, Cas. I don't appreciate what you did, any of it—seducing her, getting her pregnant, getting her killed, letting down your little girl… if I didn't love that kid as much as I do, I would have sent you packing a long time ago. Now get back on patrol before I kick you in the face."

Cas grabbed and slammed Dean up against the side of the house angrily. "Watch how you speak to me," he told Dean angrily, but received little to no reaction. "You may be Alex's brother but I was her husband, and I'm tired of these pointless arguments about the past!"

Dean just stared at him coldly for a long moment. "You really wanna do this right now?" he asked quietly, dangerously. "Take your hands off me."

With a vigorous shove Cas did and Dean straightened his jacket with a snap of fabric. He headed to Ellen's cabin and Cas stood there on the porch for a moment. Dean told him to get back on patrol but he couldn't. Not yet. He waited until Dean disappeared, then went back into the cabin.

He stopped with the door halfway open—Alex had gotten her cuffs off with the lock pick she wore around her neck, was squatted down next to her unconscious brother, fiddling with his cuffs. When Cas opened the door, she stood up fast, caught, startled. He shut the door behind himself, held out a placating hand. "Relax, it's okay."

Seeing her again in person, alive and well and knowing what laid ahead for her was devastating. She regarded him warily. "You here to send us back to our year?" she asked, gesturing to her unconscious brother. Cas could see how she was trying to recognize him. He'd been a different person completely back in 2009.

"Uh, no," he said, smiling wanly, ashamed of himself, looking away. "I can't."

"Can't?" she asked, frowning.

He walked a little closer, trying not to look at her too closely, too rudely. "No battery power," he explained. She was within arms reach and looked so beautiful, so real and alive and he realized he was staring into her eyes with every bit of longing, desire, and remorse that he felt—and she was giving him a strange look because of it. He forced himself to look away.

"You smell like…" she sniffed once, looked at him in mild surprise. "Is that absinthe?"

More shame. "Uh, yeah, I might have had some earlier," Cas said, and rubbed the back of his neck absently, cleared his throat. Wondered exactly how bad he looked, pushed his messy hair to the side, attempting to make himself look even fractionally better. Alex looked at him intensely.

"Cas, what… what happened to you?" she asked softly and his eyes flickered up to meet hers. God. Not telling her everything, not breaking down and crying was beyond difficult.

"I'm not an angel anymore," he told her honestly, then shrugged in forced apathy. "In any sense of the word."

She was staring at his upper-center chest suddenly with a piercing stare and reaching out and grabbing what she saw glinting from the half-unbuttoned gap in the shirt there. The brush of her fingers against his skin froze him completely.

"What are you doing with these?" she demanded and stared up at him with wide, almost frightened eyes. At the end of the silver chain, her dad's wedding band she used to wear, her old silver whistle. She wasn't supposed to have seen those.

He swallowed, took hold of them and tucked them back into his shirt, his eyes flicking up to hers. "You, uh, you gave them to me."

She frowned. "Future-me gave you some of my most valuable things? Why would I do that?"

Cas tried to think of a convincing lie. "We were… friends?"

She looked at him like she knew that was a lie but she just made a soft little huff of air, a disbelieving and confused sound. She dropped the subject completely and looked around and raised her hands up halfway, briefly, a shrug. "Where am I, anyway?" She wanted to know where the future version of herself was.

Cas realized he needed to leave, soon. She was learning too much about all of this. "You're not here," he said honestly, trying to keep his tone inscrutable.

"Not here at the camp?" she asked, then suddenly seemed to think of something, narrowed her eyes greatly. "Or not here… not here?" She paused, staring at him, saw straight through him, probably because of the way his emotions betrayed him. "I'm dead?" She looked at him pleadingly. "Is Sam dead, too?" she asked, and he could see that she was getting upset.

And not even thinking, he took hold of her by either arm—and his touch had always calmed her down, centered her, but that had been his Alex. This Alex tensed, looked at him in shock, mouth dropping open slightly. Realizing his mistake but not willing to let go, not yet, Cas stared back at her, realized he could see that her pulse had picked up by the fluttering skin at the base of her neck. He had never seen anything more alluring or maddening and in a burst of motion, he yanked her lock pick necklace off, breaking it completely.

"Hey!" Alex protested, then gasped when he manhandled her back to the ladder, snapped the cuffs back onto her, his face inches from hers. He wanted to kiss her so badly but knew he shouldn't. Struggling against himself he stepped back as she yanked at her cuffs and looked at him with this wounded, how could you expression on her face.

"Sorry," he said tersely. "I can't let you out until Dean says so." He turned around to leave.

"Why?" She asked loudly. "What's the big deal? What the hell do you two think I'm gonna do, huh?" Cas looked at her sadly. He couldn't tell her the whole truth. She wouldn't understand. It would freak her out too much. He was so frustrated right now, with everything. "People would go nuts if they saw you, okay?" he said, a little harsher than he meant to.

"So explain the situation to them!" she said, voice raising as he walked out. "Cas. Cas! Let me outta these!" He left, shut the door behind himself, and put a hand over his face once he was out of her sight. His shoulders shook as he let out tears and sorrow he'd been holding inside. He'd known this day was coming, he remembered the day Alex came back from it, back in 2009. He remembered being so shocked when she'd suddenly been in front of him and he'd immediately known something had changed. That she was no longer a virgin and that she was pregnant. He found out later that when she'd been in the future, she'd lost her virginity to him—future him.

How was he supposed to do this? How was this supposed to even happen? Cas was confused and afraid, he didn't want to, almost, but he also wanted her more than anything. She was Alex, the woman he'd buried in the ground four months ago. He was wrecked by her loss. Wrecked. And their daughter was paying the price. Cas wept heavily, remembering everything and knowing that Lily was supposed to be conceived here in 2014. If he didn't go through with this, she wouldn't exist.

The Next Day

Alex was sneaking around camp in the middle of morning. The Dean from this time had come and gotten her Dean, taken him on some milk run mission, refused to take her for who knows what reason. Alex had painstakingly picked a nail out of the floorboard and used it to get herself out of the damn cuffs. Not that many people were around, but every time she saw someone, she stayed out of sight, hid. Just in case. She did figure that seeing someone who was supposed to be dead would be pretty disconcerting, after all. She found the graveyard of the camp—at the edge of the woods, a little plot of land with splintered wooden crosses dotting the area. None of them were marked, but one of them had some yellow flowers beside it. Some birds suddenly started and took off from somewhere behind Alex, and she ducked into the woods, realizing someone was coming. She could hear footsteps now, crunching on the gravel of the road that ran beside the little graveyard.

She peered out from behind the tree she'd hidden behind, saw an unexpected sight. Cas, walking up the road… holding the hand of a little brown-haired girl. In his other hand, he had a bunch of yellow flowers. The little girl looked up at Cas, was asking him something or saying something to him. The little girl was dressed in jeans, boots that looked a little too big for her, a little brown jacket—she came up to the middle of his upper leg. Cas smiled down fondly at his little companion, his eyes crinkling up. Alex noticed he'd shaved—his beard was still full, but it wasn't wiry and overgrown like it had been yesterday. His hair also looked better, like he'd run his fingers through it, attempted to style it halfway. He looked a little better than yesterday. The two of them came to stand in front of the grave that had the slightly wilted yellow flowers on it, and like she was used to the routine, the little girl reached for the fresh flowers and Cas handed them over, crouched down in front of her, took some twine out of his pocket.

"Here we go," he said, and tied a crappy bow around the flowers.

"You make bad bows, Daddy," the little girl said in a sweet, high-pitched voice, and Alex almost fell over.

Daddy? Cas was a dad?

"That's what Mommy always said," Cas said, a sad little smile on his face. He looked at the flowers, then into the little girl's face. "Okay, you know the drill." Alex watched with her mouth wide open. This was surreal. The little girl laid down the new flowers, took the old ones and handed them to Cas. "Mommy said angles are in the sky, Daddy, is Momma with the angles now?"

Cas looked so tenderhearted and slightly saddened. "It's angels, sweetheart and… no. Angels aren't real."

The little girl frowned, confused. "But Mommy said they were, she said you were one."

"I know she did. Lily, Mommy is in a good place now, okay?"

"A place with flowers?" Lily asked.

Cas swallowed, his voice wavered. "Yes, a place with flowers." He stood slowly, looked down at the grave with a tense, anxious expression. Lily took his hand again, in both of hers, leaned against the side of his leg, garnering a little smile from Cas at the gesture of affection.

"I think she must like how we leave her flowers, don't you Daddy?" Lily asked, and looked up, put her chin into Cas's leg. "Can she see these ones we maked today?"

Alex almost felt teary eyed watching this, especially when Cas looked down at his daughter and smiled softly for her benefit. "Yes baby, she can see these."

"Can she see the ones we leave the rest of the times?"

"Yes," Cas told her. There was a long silence, then Lily looked at the cross, her little face filled with the kind of sadness a child should never have to feel.

"I don't want her to be died, Daddy," Lily said, becoming tearful. "Why did she died?" Cas crouched down, circled an arm around her, gently rubbed her tiny back with his huge hand, sought his daughter's gaze. She sniffled and wiped her face, put her face into his shoulder, hugging him.

"Some things not even Daddy understands," he told her softly, ran a hand over the back of her head, kissed the side of her hair. They stayed like that a minute, then Cas ruffled her hair and stood up, taking her by the hand. "Come on, let's go home for awhile, okay?"

She stretched her short little arms up at him. "Pick me up, carry me Daddy!" she begged, and Cas chuckled, bent and swept her up easily, set her at his hip and she giggled, hugged her arms around his neck, smashed her face into the side of his. "I love you Daddy and your beardie tickles me," she said.

Cas rubbed his face into hers playfully as he walked away carrying her, and she shrieked with laughter, happily protesting "no, beardie, noooo!"

Cas chuckled affectionately. Alex was completely blown away watching Cas with his daughter—he seemed to really know what he was doing and it was a total shock. How the hell did that happen? Because last time she'd seen him, he'd been a stiff, seemingly emotionless guy. Well, not emotionless, just, really withdrawn or incapable. He seemed so masculine now and even though he seemed jaded, he also had this confidence and self-assurance she wasn't used to seeing him with. She had been attracted to Cas in 2009—awkward, strange, offbeat Cas in the backwards tie and trench coat—and this version of Cas was almost more alluring than the one she was used to back in her year.

Alex followed Cas and Lily at a distance. Cas's wife or partner or girlfriend was the one who they'd just left flowers for, she thought. She wondered who it had been.

Cas and Lily disappeared into a cabin that must have been Cas's. Outside, an old 90's SUV was parked. Alex crept around the back of the cabin and up onto the smallish back porch. She peeked in through the open back window. She saw the back of Lily's head. Lily was on the floor, coloring with some broken crayons, sprawled on her stomach.

"When can I come home with you?" Lily was asking.

Alex couldn't see Cas, could only hear him.

"You are home with me."

"But I wanna stay home not go away and away and away…. Mommy left now you left."

There was a heavy pause. "Daddy's just going through a very hard time and can't take care of you best right now." Cas sounded absolutely guilt-ridden and ashamed, and Alex felt sympathy and sadness shimmer through her. She shouldn't even be doing this, nosing around like this, but she was almost feeling jealous at the thought of her guardian angel falling in love with someone, having a kid with them… he must have loved the one he lost a lot.

"Why?" Lily asked innocently.

"Because, sweetheart."

"Because why?" She insisted.

Cas drew in a soft breath. "Because when Mommy went away… I got lost."

"How'd you got lost?" Lily asked, her sweet little girl's voice and question causing Alex to smile sadly.

"It's a metaphor," Cas told her, chuckling softly.

"What's a mega floor?" Lily asked.

"Uh… it's something that means something else, to put it succinctly."

"Suck sinkly?" Lily sounded exasperated, which was undeniably cute. "Daddy your words are funny and I don't understand them!"

Alex could hear the fond smile on Cas's face when he spoke next. "You can come home soon, sweetheart. I promise, okay? Daddy is going to try his best to get you back home soon."

Lily got up and ran with short little legs over to Cas, and she heard him laugh softly. She glanced their reflection in a tiny mirror she could see from where she was. Cas was grinning widely, Lily had her arms around his neck. "Ouch, you're so strong Lily bear!" Alex's heart melted a little. Geez. Who knew seeing Cas with kids would do this to her.

"I want to hug you forever and ever and ever and ever and EVER!" Lily said. "And when I can stay home forever I won't stop hugging you all-lllllll day long."

Alex could hear a knock on the front door on the opposite side of the cabin, then the sound of it opening. "Hey, gang!" Ellen's familiar voice said.

Lily seemed to be distressed by the sudden appearance and began to whimper. "No, nooo, I don't want to go yet, Daddy!"

"Let go of Daddy, pumpkin, we need to go back now," Ellen said, and Lily was crying now.

"No, Daddyyyyy," she howled. "I dun wanna go-oooo,"

"Shh, shh. I love you very much, Lily sweetie. Go with Aunt Ellen and be a good girl, okay? I'll see you soon."

Lily hiccuped. "Promise?" she asked sadly.

"Pinky promise," Cas said. That seemed to calm Lily down.

"All right, we'll see you tomorrow, Cas," Ellen said, and left with Lily. Alex stood there, decided she should probably get lost… and then Cas came out of the back door, scrubbing his face with his hand—she was pressed up against the wall next to the door, he didn't notice her, his eyes were closed as he rubbed the palm of his hand across his forehead over and over.

Well, this could get awkward fast. Alex cleared her throat, announcing her presence. Cas jumped, shocked, and then when he recognized her, his shock seemed to quadruple. Alex thought it was because she'd given his handcuffs the slip. "You have a kid, huh?" Alex asked, smiling slightly. "She's pretty cute."

"How long have you been out here?!" Cas asked, and he was suddenly looking around in a panic, like he didn't want her to be seen—he grabbed her shoulders, all but pushed her into his cabin. "What are you doing out of Dean's cabin?!"

Alex looked around the cabin curiously. It was pretty messy—and there were some kiddy drawings tacked to the wall, some construction-paper chains… and then Alex saw something that made her heart stop. "Oh my god."

Sitting beside the bed was a framed photo of Cas grinning, maybe laughing, his arms around a woman who laughing and holding a toddler Alex recognized as Lily. Alex almost fell over when she saw that she was the one holding Lily. "Oh my god!" she took two steps backward, almost falling over in shock.

Cas saw what she'd seen, his shoulders slumped and his eyes fell shut briefly as if he'd been defeated. "Alex, wait," he said, holding a hand out and looking at her beseechingly. And it made sense now, how he wore her ring around his neck and had been staring at her so soulfully this entire time oh god!

"W-we had a kid together?" Alex demanded incredulously. Her and Cas? Her and Cas?

"I… I was trying to keep that from you. I'm sorry," he said, appearing flustered. "I know it's a little shocking."

"A little? You and me? Cas I… " she trailed off, out of words. She looked around the cabin, not sure how she felt about this. "H-how old is she?"

Cas looked down briefly, his features contorted. "She'll be five in November." He looked at her sorrowfully. "I'm sorry but I can't tell you anything else."

"Why not?" she asked.

"I just can't."

Alex made a face. "So... we end up together? You and me?"

Cas seemed almost hurt. "Why does that seem so hard to believe?"

"Things must really take off fast soon in two-thousand nine, I mean…" she paused, became a little hesitant. "Y-you've never even touched me."

Cas's breathing seemed to hitch, he swallowed, his tongue darted out to wet his lips, his eyes flickered up to hers. And the way he was looking at her made her stomach flip suddenly. Like he wanted her. She'd never been looked at like that before and she felt herself reacting without even meaning to: breathing a little harder, flushing over a degree or two in warmth. Her mouth felt dry.

"All of that changes very soon," he said, further mystifying her, further arousing her. She tried to shut herself down, embarrassed at her reaction.

She cleared her throat, scratched the side of her neck absently. Her eyebrows pushed together slightly. "Meaning…?"

He shook his head, looked down, torn. "I can't say."

"Why not?" she asked, frustrated.

He looked back up at her. "You made me promise not to. You, here, a few months ago. Before you died."

Alex was getting annoyed. "This is some Doctor Who shit," she muttered.

He frowned deeply, looking more like the Cas she did know. "A what?" he asked.

She almost smiled at his confusion. She shook her head. "Never mind." She looked at him and drew in a deep breath. "Is that why you said I had to stay hidden away? Because of her?"

Cas's expression grew sadder. "If she saw you… she wouldn't understand. I barely do." The look in his eyes was haunting, and when he reached out to touch her bare arm, mournfully brush his thumb across the skin at the hinge of her arm, she stiffened. His touch, innocent and completely non-sexual, inspired the opposite reaction in her and she withered, alarmed at herself, at how the touch of his thumb had just warmed her so much. He saw her expression and took his hand away. "I'm sorry," he apologized sincerely, seeming to be upset with himself.

"I-it's okay," Alex said, but she was cursing herself inside for her uncontrollable reaction—she was still every bit a virgin for god's sake, she'd never even kissed Cas, how were she and Cas supposed to suddenly go from zero to all the way in the next month or two? Cas must have seen her fretful expression, because he was looking at her intently.

"What is it?" he asked.

"This is too much," she said. She couldn't be close to him, not with the way he kept looking at her. "I'll go back to Dean's cabin. I'll stay there. I didn't know about… about Lily." Saying her name out loud, Alex suddenly felt her eyes fill with tears. She realized, and her voice dropped to almost a whisper. "We named her that because of Mom, didn't we? That was her middle name."

Cas nodded and Alex dashed her tears away and turned, left the cabin, an emotional wreck. Cas followed to the door, unsure if he should go with her or not. He couldn't stand to see her in so much pain. And knowing she would leave again hurt so much. He looked toward the kitchen, where all the endless supply of alcohol waited. The reason he didn't want Lily with him right now. Because he spent so many days and nights in a drunken stupor.

Cas cursed himself and sat down on the end of his bed, the bed that was now empty. He barely ever slept in it anymore—he slept on the floor or he slept on the porch or in his car. Because being in the bed alone was just another reminder of how utterly alone he was. He would give anything to have her back.

Alex spent all day in Dean's cabin—Cas brought her some food around two o'clock, stared at her some more and made her blood pressure go through the roof—she wasn't sure if he knew he was looking at her the way he was: one second mournful and heartbroken, the next like he wanted to touch her and kiss her and… no. Alex needed to stop right away. She was pretty sure it was just twenty-six years of sexual frustration making her feel that way. Maybe.

Dean and Dean (how often would she get to think that?) came back around sunset, and with them… the Colt. The same gun they'd killed Azazel with. Apparently, the thing could kill Lucifer. Dean, the one from 2014, called a meeting in his cabin—Cas came along with a woman named Risa, and both Deans. "You're coming with me," Dean told the 2009 version of himself. "But Cas, Alex… staying here."

"What, why?" Alex protested.

"I can't risk your life," Dean said gruffly. "Sorry, but I'm not risking it. And Cas hasn't exactly been the best on missions here lately. Risa, get the grunts moving. We'll pow-wow over CB on the way there."

Alex stalked up to the future-Dean angrily. "Listen, I don't know who you think you are but—hey!" Dean snapped a metal bracelet around her wrist, yanked her over to the ladder and cuffed her wrist high up so that she couldn't bend down at all.

"Hey man, take it easy, would you?" Alex's Dean asked.

"Are you gonna just let him cuff me here?" Alex asked him, pissed.

"You'll survive," Dean told her, further incensing her. And everyone left the cabin, even Cas.

Alex growled in frustration. What, she was just supposed to stay like this all night? It was dark in here, too. About twenty minutes passed. The door creaked open. "It's me," Cas's voice said. "They just left."

Finally. "Get me outta these damn cuffs, please."

He came over to her, his footsteps quiet. She couldn't see him very well in the dark, but he was close to her. She could smell him—he smelled like a campfire, a touch of linseed oil. "I'm not supposed to," he said.

Alex rolled her eyes. "You friggin' defied Heaven for my family, don't you think you can just take me outta these things?" she asked.

She heard him give the softest little laugh, and saw him pull a lock pick out of his pocket. She felt him come closer, reach up to find her wrist—his chest brushed up against hers and Alex's breath caught. She could hear her heart beat quickening in her ears, she tried not to notice how warm she felt. In the dark, lit only by a small camping light in the far corner, it was hard to see details well, but she could see his dark eyes locking onto hers unabashedly—they both forgot the handcuffs. God, no one had ever looked at her like that, full of so much soulful longing. Underneath it, she felt intimidated and also intrigued, aroused, interested—and she remained frozen, hoping he would close the distance between them. What would Cas kiss like? What would those lips do with hers? His breaths were hitting against her lips, his hand skimmed down from where her wrist was cuffed, fingers trailing down the skin of her arm, giving her gooseflesh. When his eyes traveled the space of her face, rested on her lips, she knew he was going to kiss her and she moved her face forward fractionally, dying for it.

His hand came to the side of her neck, the pad of his thumb tracing her jaw. Cas leaned in, the side of his nose brushing against the side of hers as he softly pressed his lips down onto to hers, giving her a careful, measured, chaste kiss... holding himself back, a tortured expression on his face even as he gave the kiss to her. He'd only meant to kiss her like that once, one final touch of his lips to hers to quench the thirst he'd felt. But when he drew back, he was even thirstier than before, needed her even more. He couldn't help but lean in again and he breathed against the skin of her lips, watched her eyes flutter open, her gaze drop to his lips, and with his hand on the back of her head, he pulled her to him, kissing her again, softly, sensually—and the touch was maddening, it was infuriating and she seemed to think so too.

She suddenly pressed into him, tilting her chin up further, grabbing a fistful of his shirt as she kissed him fully, openly, almost desperately—her handcuffs rattled noisily as she strained against the hold it kept her right arm in. Her sudden actions unleashed something in Cas—there was a low sort of broken down moan from someplace deep in his throat, he dropped the lock pick thoughtlessly, he put a hand on the small of her back, crushing her firmly against himself. His other hand was tangling in the hair on the side of her head. He had forgotten what it felt like to kiss the sun itself, the only woman who could bring him to his knees and send him soaring in the sky all at once and he couldn't believe how she was kissing him—without hesitation, with eagerness.

His heartbeat thundered against her chest, fast. His mouth moved with hers now boldly, openly, taking her into a deeper kiss, and Alex felt like her body literally had been lit on fire. She couldn't concentrate on anyone thing—it was all so much—the way their mouths were entangled, the sound and feel of his labored breathing, the warmth and solidness of him everywhere against her, so indescribable, so beyond stunning, so unlike what she had imagined.

Their breathing was becoming heavy and noisy in each other's mouths, and the way he pulled at her, his hands on her back, then her waist, then her hips, was becoming more and more frantic—he needed her and couldn't help himself from touching her like she were already his. Alex let loose a moaning gasp as he pushed her back into the ladder. Castiel whimpered helplessly as his hands skimmed down to her hips and grabbed roughly, lifting her up easily, pinning her there almost brutally, his body pressed hard against hers. Maybe not remembering who she was, that she wasn't the Alex from his time, Cas kissed her harder, trying to find the end of his need, trying to be satisfied but only growing more frustrated. Higher up now, one of her arms circled his shoulder, she didn't even consciously realize that she wrapped her legs around his waist. Her free hand was gripping his head tightly, and she was inexplicably desperate for this, for him—she was completely and totally caught up in the way he kissed her: wild and free, desperate and hungry, with his whole body. Like she was the only thing he wanted in the world, like she was something that intoxicated him. As he held her like that and kissed her so furiously, so passionately, as she felt the very obvious evidence of how turned on he was, settled there between her legs… she couldn't deny it. She wanted him so, very, badly. And on instinct, she pressed her hips down into his and was rewarded with a low groaning growl from his mouth at the friction.

His hands were still on either side of her hip, one moved back and pressed against the small of her back, then moved up and boldly, thoughtlessly cupped against her breast through her shirt. She literally gasped into his mouth, stunned, startled, and he seemed shocked at himself too… he stared at her a moment, then let go, stumbled back from her, his expression clouding over with slightly-horrified realization and without a word, he turned, fled the building.

"Cas, wait!" Alex yanked at her handcuffs, stretched her arm down as far as she could, howled in frustration. Then saw the pen sitting on the kitchen counter beside her. She grabbed it, tore it apart until it was just parts, she climbed up a rung or two and used the little spring inside of the pen to get herself out of the cuffs, and the second she was free, she tore after him, heading to his cabin.

She found him there, pacing the floor cagily in the dark. Strips of moonlight laid across the bed and parts of the floor.

"Cas, what—" she tried, and he whirled, his expression frightening and warning.

"Get away from me," he told her, his shoulders heaving up and down.


"I said leave!" he thundered... flustered. "Because if you don't..." he looked at her openly, and his voice dropped an octave. "I want you, understand?" Alex's mouth dropped open at his blunt confession, her body warmed at the words—and at the thought that she wanted him, too. His chest moved up and down rapidly from shallow, impassioned breaths, he took a single step toward her, his eyes were dark and full of a baseline desire that made standing up difficult. "Here and now, right now." His expression wavered, torment shimmering across his features. "So just leave."

Alex almost got mad. She didn't want to leave. Deliberate, knowing exactly what she was doing and frightened by the thrill it inspired in her, she shook her head, narrowed her eyes. "I'm gonna stay."

"Alex…" he warned.

She looked at the man in front of her, made her decision. "Stop telling me what to do," she told him a little louder and more forcefully. She raised her chin a little, heart pounding wildly, making her dizzy and mindless. She knew that when she said this, she was probably going to open a floodgate. But she wanted it more than she'd ever wanted anything. Her voice lowered and softened with sensuality she didn't know she possessed. "And come here."

At her sultry command, he paused, slight disbelief darting across his handsome features… and then he practically charged her, knocking into her hard and kissing her bruisingly, lifting her up and slamming her against the dresser that she'd been standing in front of—everything fell over or off from the impact. He groaned frantically and she did too, scared and thrilled and out of her mind. She could feel how aroused he was and she whimpered from fear and desire alike, clutching him tightly, her entire body coursing with intense amounts of arousal and need.

Cas broke the kiss briefly, yanked his shirt off and over his head, threw it without looking, then pressed back against her, his mouth reclaiming hers as his warm chest burned through her shirt. He had a hand underneath her shirt, splayed against her stomach and moving up, to the side, over her ribcage, then curving around to her back, pulling her to him. He held her tight, kissing her wildly, passionately, a hand on the side of her face, securing her, and his entire body moved against hers as he kissed her—he was so in control and every little thing he did was making Alex crazy, insane, desperate for him—she gasped into his mouth, in heaven.

His fingers were threaded tightly into the hair on the side of her head, suddenly tugging her head sideways into a steep angle, exposing the side of her neck which he began to ardently kiss with his warm, wet mouth, sweet and fiery touches and scrapes of his teeth against the delicate skin there as he closed a rough hand over one of her breasts, pushing against it and grabbing, brusque in the way he touched her, like he couldn't hold back on his fervor. Crying out softly at what he was doing, her head fallen back in surrender, she let it happen and pretended she was this other Alex, the one he felt this way about.

Growling abruptly, Cas grabbed her and carried her across the room and to the bed and she was suddenly dropping down onto her back in the center of it, sideways—the pillows were beside her and Cas was over her, moving back and grabbing her bra through her shirt, pulling both articles of clothing up and over her head at the same time, casting them aside recklessly and crouching over her. Suddenly naked from the waist up with Cas on all fours above her, Alex breathed hard and stared up at him, startled at how rough and fast he was being, and she wasn't sure if she were as brave as she thought… and even as she thought that, he was bending down, he cupped a hand to the side of her bare breast and nuzzled his nose against the other side then moved his lips, closed his warm mouth over the nipple, drawing a surprised, intensely aroused gasp out of her. She forgot her reservations as he sucked inwards; at the exact same moment his hand slid down and rubbed against her between her legs through her jeans and the hot friction made her gasp; her back arched off the bed in shocked pleasure, her mouth fell open in a silent cry as he moved his mouth to her other nipple, flicking it with his tongue, cupping her other breast gently, thumbing the nipple in caress after caress, his other hand now grabbing the back of her upper thigh possessively. Jesus Christ! Alex was about to go crazy from what he was doing, holy shit!

He crawled up, kissing the skin of her neck again as one of his thumbs kept circling the bead of her nipple, drawing more gasps from her open mouth. "You are so beautiful," he breathed against her neck, and he sounded almost grieved when he said it. His other hand had slipped back to curve around her back and splay against the arch of her spine, he pulled her up against him and he ground his hips into hers, showing her exactly how much he wanted to have her. His mouth again suddenly sucked on the skin of her neck, hard, he drew the skin in between his teeth and she protested with a soft cry, one of her hands brushing the side of his face and he grabbed hold of the wrist, shut his eyes and pressed an earnest kiss into the center of her palm and then moved her hand toward him so that he could close his mouth over the tip of her thumb, suck inward lightly.

Shocked and shipwrecked with building amounts of pleasure, Alex left herself at his mercy, submitting completely as he began to kiss his way wetly down her body… trailing soft little touches down the center of her stomach and she shook with anticipation… oh god, was he going to…? She propped herself up onto her elbows to watch what he did, too curious to look away. His fingers curled into the waistband of her jeans and pulled down slowly, his nose brushed over one of her hip bones, he nipped gently as he took the jeans down past her thighs, and he kissed the top of one of her thighs lingeringly as he pushed her jeans past her knees now and then her ankles, nudging her legs apart with his hands and sucking on the sensitive skin on the inside of her left thigh, then her right thigh, his hands curving underneath her ass. Alex could barely breathe, she felt like she was going to faint from mortification and titillation alike. She'd never been naked in front of anyone, ever.

Every touch of his mouth, hand, fingers was making her crazy, was overloading her nerve endings; he was kissing further up her thigh now, achingly close to where she throbbed in torment… and she yelped in shock when his hot mouth suddenly came to cover her most sensitive area, she panted and stared, couldn't believe he was doing that, and then when his eyes flicked up to meet hers she almost died, but then his tongue moved and—"Ahh!" she clenched two fistfuls of bedspread on either side of herself, whimpering pathetically as he pressed his hot tongue down over her again and again. He made a soft little sound, like he was overcome by pleasure, too, and that made Alex even more of a lost cause. She bucked uncontrollably in response to what he was doing and he took one hand and gently, firmly held it over the center of her stomach, steadying her. She felt something pushing at her… and when she felt him slide a finger from his other hand into her, then another, she squirmed and gasped and bit her lip, made a sound of protest, her eyes screwing shut. The pressure was so amazing and she wanted more, oh god. She could feel him breathing against her as he stroked his fingers in and out of her slow and deep, gentle. Her hips angled upwards into him unconsciously and her head fell back as she gasped unashamedly, her eyes squeezing shut even further.

Cas made a low, appreciative sound and it vibrated through her as his tongue and fingers coaxed quickly heightening pleasure at an alarming pace. He slid another finger in, his tongue continuing to stroke against her. She whimpered in what almost sounded like alarm at his ministrations, her chest heaving with exertion. His fingers were now grinding into her faster and harder, careening her towards orgasm, and he seemed to know it too, because he suddenly slowed to an agonizing pace, his fingers no longer thrusting but instead circling the aching place inside of her… and she let out a soft, frustrated gasp. He sucked on her gently, and she responded with an unintelligible sound followed by noisy panting gasps. "Cas, uh!" she exclaimed uselessly, and he suddenly, roughly yanked her jeans off completely with one hand, throwing them aside and pulling one of her legs up over his shoulder and then the other so that she had her thighs on either side of his neck. She was exposed to him fully, totally his for the taking. He removed his fingers out of her, using both hands to hold her legs firmly in place. His entire body seemed invested in the way he began to worship her most intimate area, and his mouth oh god his mouth and tongue made her insane, he was literally blowing her away, she couldn't look at him, she bit her lip, anxious for release because he had her so damn close. Cas held her tighter like he could sense exactly what she was thinking; he moved his mouth and tongue on her more quickly, one of his hands curled down and around into the crease made by her leg and base of her hip, the other hand slipped away, and she had never experienced so much absolute bliss, it was piling up on top of itself, building up and rendering her body rigid and wretched, desperate for the moment when the dam would break. And when his eyes snapped up, when those brilliant crystal eyes met hers and two fingers abruptly pushed into her again she couldn't stop herself.

"Aah!" She lost it completely, head falling back and with enraptured, tortured, despairing sounds tearing out of her mouth Alex came, her body spasming wildly in erotic torment underneath Cas's mouth. She heard him make a soft little whimpering sound as he stayed right with her, racing her to the peak and then backing off and slowing down in perfect timing with her, like he could sense exactly what she was feeling, like he knew exactly how to draw it out. And draw it out he did: she'd never had such a long orgasm, ever; the intensity of it threw her body forward, she curled up off the bed into him, her hands grabbing onto the hair on the back of his head, her shoulders knocking into her own knees a couple times as she seized repeatedly in waves of indescribable, vast bliss—loud noises and whimpers tearing out of her mouth over and over. She was trying to hold on and not die from what he was doing to her, there seemed to be no end, it was impossible and she could only choke on her gasps and let it happen, try to survive—and then he reached up with his free hand and covered one of her hands that was fisted into his hair, laced his fingers through hers tightly. It was like he was reassuring her, anchoring her. Feelings of safety and completion surged over her like a tsunami and she felt loved beyond compare.

Finally it was over, he coaxed every last ounce of pleasure out of her and she collapsed back down onto the bed, trembling weakly from the earth-shattering, mind-numbing release. Holy shit. "God Alex," Cas whispered reverently, looking up at her like he'd never seen anything more beautiful or heartbreaking in his whole damn life. Breathless and a more than a little flustered by what he'd just done to her, feeling exhilarated and shy and unsure and so good, Alex just watched him as he untangled himself from her legs, looked down at her body. He slowly began to drop more kisses onto her hips, then the space between them. The feathery touches sent little thrills of electricity across her sensitive, livened skin. His hands traced warm, adoring sweeps across the tops and sides of her thighs, he kissed the soft give of her stomach, pressing his nose in, nuzzling her as he worked his way back up to her, and she could feel genuine, aching love in the touches. As he moved upwards, she briefly glimpsed how he strained forcefully against his pants, and the sight of that sent a surprising, faint surge of arousal through her.

His face was back in front of and above hers. He looked down at her and it was almost too much, that expression on his face… he seemed so tender and in love and he looked so boyish. He put a gentle large hand onto the side of her face and he kissed her again, sweet and aching, and she could taste herself in his mouth, on his tongue, and she withered, surprised by it. He made a low, anxious mmm sound into her mouth, pulled her hips upwards toward him, grinding himself against her through his pants and she gasped—shocked at how the pressure made her ache all over again for him, and she was astounded. His warm, bare chest pressed against hers as he kissed her deeply, that same tongue that had just shattered her now gently explored her mouth with increasing fervor, and the feeling of desire and dissatisfaction surged upwards in her, she groaned anxiously despite herself and circled her arms around his neck, returning the kiss and beginning to fight him for dominance as he ground himself into her a few more times, each time with more and more desperation and desire. He groaned lowly, brokenly, pulling away breathlessly. "I need to be inside of you," he told her despairingly, begging her, and oh god when he said it, she wanted it too. She didn't need any further encouragement. She boldly reached down to unbutton him, he didn't seem to believe it and looked at her in shock, amazed and holding stock still for a second before drawing his hips back a little, allowing her to unbutton and unzip him. She was very ungraceful with unsteady hands, staring at him uncertainly but wanting more… wanting him inside of her, fully aroused now at the thought. She wanted to know what he would be like, what it would be like, she wanted him and she didn't care about anything at the moment except having what she wanted.

He had to shift onto his side, laying beside her for a minute as he pushed his pants and boxers down to his ankles. She looked at him, momentarily in awe of what the clothing had concealed… she falteringly reached out to touch him, feeling bolder than she had ever felt as she took hold of the warm, hard flesh. Cas shuddered, grabbed her wrist, stopping her, his eyebrows slamming together. She swore she felt him stiffen even more in her grasp. "Ah, stop, don't," he said in a strained, gutted voice. Alex looked at him, confused and afraid she'd done something wrong. She let go. He just shook his head and swallowed, a hand on one of her arms. His eyes were dark with desire and came to gaze into hers intensely. "You don't know what you do to me," he whispered, and began to kiss her again, a hand on the side of her head as he pressed himself to her—chest to chest, hips to hips… and he slid between her legs seemingly by accident, hitting up against where she longed for him most and she gave a muffled moan at the hard velvet bulk sliding against her. He seemed to lose his mind slightly, suddenly rolling over on top of her dominantly, moaning her name into her mouth as his knees pushed hers apart and she felt the warm press of him between her legs and suddenly he was pushing into her, and a choked sound of pain and shock escaped her. It hurt so much and she hadn't been prepared for it.

He looked at her and was momentarily halted by faint horror, concern etched onto his features. "I'm sorry," he whispered, out of breath and shaking. Alex laid there underneath him grimacing, hands clenching onto his arms as she tried to process the pain. "I f-forgot," Cas said, clearly upset with himself.

"I'm okay," she told him in a strained voice, then let loose a little cry when he unintentionally shifted, increasing the tearing feeling again.

Cas held himself completely still. "I'm sorry," he repeated softly, then bowed his head down to hers, a hand stroking the side of her head soothingly. "Shh, it's okay. Shhhh."

He didn't move again, not yet, he just stayed where he was, allowing her to get used to the feeling of him. He shifted his head, dropped his lips down and he kissed her neck again, languidly and gently. One of his hands slowly skimmed down between their bodies, his palm flat to her skin—over her sternum, over her stomach, over her public bone, through the soft curls between her legs... and then he touched her gently where she was the warmest and wettest, fingers pressing against the sensitive bundle of nerves there and she gasped again, but this time in pleasure—she watched him with wide eyes, and he pulled his head away and stared right back at her, moved his fingers slowly, watching her face, her reaction. The pain began to fade in favor of intense feelings of ecstasy—he knew exactly how to touch her, and it felt so much better than when she'd ever touched herself and she just stared dumbly in rising ecstasy—how the hell did he know how to do this?!

She had never known she could even feel so much pleasure; it was too intense—underneath his hand she was on fire and almost mortified at how aroused she was, how easily he made her gasp—her tense state faded as the pain became a distant thought. The stretching pressure inside of her was beginning to feel good, she was starting to become anxious for him to move. He dropped another slow, wet kiss onto her neck, and his fingers were magic; she felt like she was losing her mind, she breathed faster and trembled violently, realizing she was going to come again if he kept going like that—and he realized too, because he backed off, slowed down, cutting her off—she felt him smile against her neck. And now she was desperate for more and groaned in frustration because his fingers had gone still. She pushed her hips forward, gritting her teeth against the discomfort, just wanting to get the pain over with so that he could give her what she needed. When she did that, his head hung down and there was a soft, anxiety-filled sound at the base of his throat.

Cas held himself over her with his forearms, moved in and out of her slowly, let loose a low growling moan. It hurt and Alex tried not to groan, but she did and he stopped again, touched her some more, his fingers causing her great, blissful distress. And he kept his hand there, balancing himself with one strong arm as he moved again inside of her, in and out, continuing to touch and caress her as he did so. Her head fell back, mouth fell open in absolute, stunned ecstasy—it hurt but it hurt good and she circled her arms around him tightly, trying to be as close to him as possible even as he whimpered, loud, long, slow, like he couldn't stand it, couldn't control himself.

And maybe he couldn't hold back any longer, because he abruptly snatched her wrists up in his hands and pinned them above her head at the edge of the bed, his fingers laced through hers now as he began to fuck her hard and deep, pressing down on her so weightily she wanted to break, she was gasping in pleasure and pain alike, he was moving inside her with a desperate soulfulness that was too much; she began to quake, his nose was pressed into the side of her neck and she could feel his hot, shallow breaths hitting against the curve where her shoulder and neck met. He was making desperate little whimpering cries through gritted teeth, he growled almost and then suddenly let go of her hands, slid his arms around her waist and was hefting her up with him as he sat back on his heels, effectively moving her so that she was sitting on him, her knees on either side of his legs.

She held onto his shoulders as he looked her in the eye, put a hand onto the side of her face, his thumb close to the corner of her mouth. He held her steady with a hand splayed against her lower back as he buried himself over and over into her, his expression was focused and pained, his skin was reflective with a thin sheen of sweat—and his thumb near her mouth gave her an idea in the midst of the passionate frenzy—she turned her head, closed her mouth over his thumb like he had done to her earlier, sucked it inwards, and he reacted by suddenly breathing harder as his brows slammed into each other, he was beginning to sound out of control and close to the edge and he began to almost pound her and Alex was so overcome by the intensity that she was almost screaming—digging her fingernails into him painfully. "Cas, ugh, please, ah!" He threw her back down onto the bed, a hand under her ass, angling her hips upward to him and she gasped because changing the angle like that exposed the sensitive little nub of nerves between her legs to being being impacted every time he slammed himself into her. He yanked one of her legs up by the crook of her knee, held it there against him and he ravished her completely, hard and fast and passionate and she felt herself losing ground; the ferocity of the thunderous pleasure was almost frightening. Like a thunderclap, her orgasm struck her and she cried out over and over again, clinging to Cas's sweat-damp back as he made her come again, and the second she started, he did too. Hearing the wretched, satisfied, gasping sob sounds he made into the side of her neck was exhilarating and horrible at the same time, Alex hung onto him as he carried them both through the tempest, his body seizing in powerful tremors as he spilled himself completely into her. He pressed even deeper into her as he shuddered, his body slackening finally with one final, lingering thrust. Exhausted, his head fell down to rest on her shoulder. They both struggled to breathe; she could feel his heart hammering wildly against her.

"I love you," he told her in an anguished whisper, and she could feel how he trembled—he was crying bitterly and trying not to. "I love you," he repeated. He had a hand cradling the back of her head with utmost tenderness, he wept softly into her shoulder, sounding ashamed and bitter. Shellshocked, Alex put a hesitant hand there against the back of his head, not sure if she would comfort him or make it worse. His hand tightened on the back of her head. He wasn't talking to her, she reminded herself… he was talking to an Alex she hadn't become yet.

This was too much and she didn't know what she'd just done—her body was spent and weak and her emotions felt like they were just below the surface, vulnerable. She could feel his warm tears running down the curve of her shoulder and she didn't know why, but she began to cry too, softly. He must have thought it was because she regretted it because his arms tightened around her and he shook his head.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he managed, and was suddenly pulling himself out of her and moving away, grabbing a loose throw blanket off the floor and covering himself, sitting on the edge of the bed with his back to her. He put his face into his hands. "I shouldn't have done that to you," he said, forlorn, maybe just talking to himself. "What kind of man does what I just did?"

She looked down, unsure what to tell him. She then saw the glinting silver chain poking out from underneath one of the pillows. Curious, she pulled on it. On the other end was a small silver band that looked like it was her size. She stared at it. Was this…? She closed her first around it and grabbed the loose sheet that was crumpled down at the end of the bed, held it up against herself modestly, looked at Cas's back. He looked back at her, his face a mask of emotional pain. And Alex didn't even know when it had happened but she was suddenly, irrevocably in love with this man who had just made love to her like he adored her above everything else. And she wanted to be close to him, to know him, she was suddenly afraid of losing this. Her eyes stung with surprised tears. He saw her tears and his pain increased measuredly, and he looked away again, unable to bear the sight of her.

She got up on shaky legs, came to his side and sat near him, seeking his gaze. She opened her hand up, showed him the ring she'd just found. She trembled, unsure what he'd say. "W-what's this?" she settled on, full of apprehension. But she thought she already knew.

He got quiet and didn't answer her for a long moment. Finally he looked her in the eye and answered. "It's… y-your wedding band." His expression wavered. "I keep it on your side of the bed and…" he couldn't hold himself together anymore, he broke down. She reached out to him instinctively and held him, he wept miserably, and she thought of the flowers on her grave and how he still wore his ring and kept hers close to him as he slept and how he'd made love to her with everything he possessed, heart mind body and soul and how he obviously loved their daughter. Overwhelmed, Alex pressed a kiss to his hair, close to tears again, never wanting to leave his side. She was reeling from the discovery of how tragic this was… that she'd just lost her virginity to the guy who was the husband who she wasn't even married to yet. That he'd been so passionate and loving because he'd been so in love with her, the woman who he'd married.

"All these years, I fought with myself about this, thought I would try and change it, hold myself back, not let this happen." His eyes flickered up to hers. "But I didn't know you'd want it so much, too."

Alex looked at him in confusion, not understanding. She tilted her head to the side. "W-what do you mean?"

"This." He gestured vaguely, heavily. "This always happened," he said mournfully, deep in thought and looking at the floor, like he wasn't sure what to make of it or how to react. "You and me tonight. This." He looked at her fully. "My first time with you in two-thousand ten... you'd already been with me. This me. He'll know right away when you get back to your year. He'll know and he'll be horrified." It was strange to hear Cas talk about himself like that, as a third person. He was grim but a soft little smile came over his face as he thought. "But you should know that even now I… he loves you. In his own way, the best he knows how to." He choked slightly, pained again. He looked away, his eye line restless, flickering over the place in front of him unseeingly. "Our story is very complicated, Alex. And we both knew it would end like this and…" he made the softest little cynical sound. "We did it anyway."

Mesmerized by what was was telling her, Alex shook her head, not understanding. "Why?"

He shrugged, maybe he wasn't totally sure about it himself. "We wanted to change it, we thought we could. We couldn't be with anyone else." He looked at her again, with that haunted, in love look again. "For me... it's always been you."

Alex gazed back at the broken man beside her, shook her head hollowly. Not understanding how this was possible. Only knowing what she felt. "Cas… I don't wanna leave you," she told him quietly, honestly. There were tears shining in both of their eyes.

He took hold of her hand gently. "I don't want you to leave, either." He looked down at her hand. His thumb brushed over it affectionately, morosely.

Her heart felt like it softened and burst and she wordlessly leaned in, kissed him simply, chastely, lost in his atmosphere. He seemed to relax against her, and when she pulled back, her throat caught. "I'm not leaving. Not yet."

He pulled her to him, settled her across his lap, and the sheets were tangled in between them, he circled his arms around her and kissed her burningly with a gentle possessiveness, like it was for the last time. Maybe it would have been. But Alex decided it wouldn't be. She pushed Cas down onto the bed and they made love to each other again, slow, long, deep, for what felt like hours. And when they were done again, she fell asleep in the circle of his arms. Cas stayed with her all night, watching her face, stroking her hair. Holding onto this and onto her, mourning her death all over again, wanting to tell her the secret that he knew he couldn't—Lily, and how tonight was the night she began to exist. He looked at the family picture beside the bed. His family. Their family. He couldn't even begin to put it into words, the way he loved this woman or the child they'd created together.

He wanted so badly to tell her, but knew that it was important that he didn't. Alex always told him she fell in love with him all over again in 2009 when he helped her through the shock of learning she was pregnant.

Cas traced errant patterns onto Alex's bare shoulder as he held her through the night. For her, this was just beginning and for him, this was the very end. That's why he refused to sleep, refused to miss even a second of this precious, last time he had with the one his wandering, lost soul loved. But in the latest hours of the night, with Alex warm against him and fatigue setting in, Castiel drifted off to sleep without meaning to.

When he woke up in the morning, Zachariah had taken Dean and Alex back to their year. And later that day, Castiel would die in an unexpected demon raid led by Lucifer—Dean had failed to kill him with the Colt, and Lucifer had traced their location back by torturing Risa. Ellen and Chuck got away with Lily, but Cas did not escape. He died saving them, serving as a distraction for them to get away. He perished without grand fanfare. Flickered out like a candle that had burned to the end of its wick.

Lily was raised by Ellen and never knew the true story of how her parents fell in love. But in her nineteenth year, she found an angel blade in her father's things when she went back to Camp Chitaqua and rummaged through the remains. She'd heard a rumor that this thing could kill the devil, had been looking for it. With the blade in hand, she and the last freedom fighters who remained summoned Lucifer into a ring of holy fire. And there, Lily Winchester killed the devil with her father's blade, made it right, finally. She barely remembered her parents, but she remembered that she had loved them very much.

Back in the year 2009, Alex Winchester remembered and loved the Castiel she'd fallen in love with in 2014. The years carried her back to that same Castiel and she loved him always: as an angel, as a man. It didn't matter; she just loved him.

In 2009, Castiel, still an angel, was shocked when he laid eyes upon Alex and knew, immediately, that she was different. No longer a virgin. And with child. He was the one who told her she was pregnant. And he was the one who stepped up to her side and, in the best way he knew how, helped her. He told a very flabbergasted and angry Dean that he was the father without knowing he really was, and when Alex told him he was the father… it had been a hard, confusing time for them, but as in any version of reality, the two of them were always meant to be in love. And they were.

In April of 2014 when a single gunshot rang out and Cas held his dying wife in his arms, she would tell him "it's okay Cas. You're gonna see me again." She'd held his hand, crying softly, trying not to be scared. Brave until the end.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he had told her over and over again through his wretched tears.

"I'm not," she told him, and she meant it. "You're the chance I'll always take." He's wept miserably when she said that, guilty. "Shh, it's okay. Shhhh." Through her tears, she smiled at him, courageous. "See you on the other side?" she had asked.

"No, Alex, not yet," he had protested through a soft sob. "Don't leave me."

"Never," she had said emphatically, through so much pain. But then she had. And Castiel was wracked by violent sobs, knowing there was no other side. That her soul fizzled out into nothing, went nowhere, just ceased to exist. He had almost killed himself several times after she died—but how could he leave Lily? He had tried to hang on, knowing that his daughter needed him and also that that he would see Alex again, just one more time. But then when Alex from 2009 had disappeared too, his misery had increased a hundredfold. He'd been almost happy when the bullets had ripped through him and his life had ebbed away as Lucifer stood overhead, smiling coldly. It was finally over, his endless torment.

Castiel's final thought had been of the one he loved. And how all he wished for was to see her once more. Just once more. Always once more. But he knew that he wouldn't.

So imagine his surprise when his eyes fell closed for the last time... and he awoke in a beautiful place—their cabin. And Cas had looked at it in confusion, how bright and neat it was—flowers in a vase, everything was clean and nice, like she was there again… was he dreaming?

And then he heard the rustle of the beaded door curtain and he turned to see Alex, beautiful and healthy, running to him. She threw her arms around his neck, kissed him, the ring around her neck pressing tightly into his skin. And when she pulled back to look at him, he gazed at her breathlessly, hardly daring to believe… "is this heaven? Are we in heaven?"

"Yes, of course we are," she told him. Her eyes were bright, sparkling at him, and he was overjoyed. "I've been waiting for you," she told him, almost playful. She kissed him again, and he was whole again. He was with the one he loved beyond reason, beyond measure, beyond time. When they pulled apart, he held her face in his hands, laughing almost from relief. And then, he remembered someone else.

"Is Lily here?" he asked, hopeful, scanning the cabin and seeing her sweet drawings plastering the wall, one of her hand-sewn dolls tossed on the floor. Alex took his hand in hers.

"Not quite yet," she said, smiling affectionately. "She's still down there, making a difference. Come on, I'll show you." Alex led him outside. And the two souls that were always meant to be together forever finally were.

They say that if you look up some nights, when it's really clear, you can see two stars that weren't always there—the light of two souls. The stars are indistinguishable from each other if you don't look closely… close beside each other for the rest of all eternity.

"I know now, just quite how my life and love might still go on.
In your heart, in your mind, I'll stay with you for all of time."