Dean stood outside Sam's room, listening. He could hear his brother breathing. Now that they had their own rooms, it was something Dean missed. Sam's noises. Sure, it was great to have his own space, but he'd grown up with Sam in the bed just over from him. He'd got used to Sam's noises. The restless rustling of sheets, the soft breaths, the small snores.
Dean put his hand on the doorknob and quietly turned it. He slowly pushed the door open just a crack, just enough for him to see inside. Just enough for him to see Sam. His brother was a mess of tangled sheets and legs. Big feet hanging over the end of the bed frame. Arm's spilling out everywhere. He looked like a giant 5 year old. He looked peaceful.
Dean smiled to himself, taking one more moment to breathe in the life force of his baby brother, before quietly pulling the door closed. He didn't move. He stood perfectly still, listening for just a little longer. Just a tiny bit longer. Just to hold on to the memory. Then he closed his eyes, swallowed hard, touched the door and whispered, "Bye Sammy."
In the middle of the bunker's operations room, Cass waited for him. Dean walked in and nodded to his friend.
"You don't have to do this, Dean."
"Yes I do Cass. I do. Because this is the only way it stops. Someone has to do it and this one's on me." He patted his friend on the shoulder. "I always knew the job would take me here eventually. It's okay."
"What about Sam? Do you think he'll understand?"
Dean chewed on his lip, thinking, "You know, actually he probably will. He'd do it. Hell he's done it. He'll be pissed. But he'll get it… and he'll be alive and bottom line, that's all that matters."
"I don't think I will ever understand yours and Sam's relationship, Dean. But I do understand that you only want the best for him. He is your brother. You are right. This is the only way and someone has to do it. If it wasn't you, it would be Sam."
Dean shook his head. "And that's not happening again… Nah. There's been too much death, Cass. Too much. This angel demon war has been tearing up this world far too long. Enough is enough. It's time."
The two stood in silence, lost in their own thoughts.
Dean cleared his throat. "What about you, Cass you ready? This'll be it buddy, no more burgers and porn."
Cass smiled at his friend trying to make a joke, "Yes Dean as you say, it's time."
"Okay then." Dean said walking forward, "Let's do this thing."
Dean reached into his back pocket and pulled out an envelope, holding it between his hands as he looked at it. Then he placed it gently on the table and smoothed it out. It had one word on the front… Sam.
Dean turned and looked at Cass and smiled. "You come look me up, okay man?"
"Of course, Dean. If I can, I will look you up."
Dean scrapped the knife across his skin, deeper than usual, just to feel the pain of life for one last time. He let his blood pour out into the bowl.
"And you're sure this'll work."
"Yes, Dean. It'll work."
Dean nodded again. "Okay then." He took a deep, shaky breath and uttered the spell…
"OLANI ZEN OL NIIS CORDZIZ NIIS OIAD AVINI OLANI HOATH OL IOLCI ETHARZI"
The heat started in his gut. A sharp, hot, throb. Then it grew, radiating out to every part of his body. Dean clenched his teeth struggling to keep his eyes open as pain seared its way through his torso, his arms, his legs, his head. He felt a rumble from deep within and suddenly a burst of light emanated from him, filling the room with gold and just like that, Castiel was gone.
Dean fell to his knees, trying desperately not to scream. He felt like his insides were melting. He lay on the floor twisting under the effort of not yelling out in agony. Then as quickly as it started, the pain stopped. Then there was silence. Dean swore he could hear his heart beating. Then… he couldn't.
Sam sat bolt upright in bed. Something woke him. His heart was racing. He felt like…like something was wrong. He looked at his clock; it was 2.22am. He tossed off his covers and was out the door and in the hall in two strides. Silence. He walked to Dean's room a sense of panic he didn't understand, tingling across his skin. He quietly pushed the door open. Dean's room was empty. His bed was made. Perfect as usual. Military perfect. Sam turned to walk out when something caught his eye. The photo of their mum, which Dean always had by his bed, was missing.
Fear gripped Sam's soul. He ran down the hall yelling his brother's name. "DEAN? DEAN!"
He ran up the small set of stairs into the bunker library. "Dean?"
He charged through to the bunker operations room and skidded to a stop as his brother's name died on his lips.
On the floor was Dean. The bowl of blood spilled out beside him.
"Dean". The word came out of Sam like a punch.
He rushed to his brother, and dropped to his knees. "Dean, DEAN. No no no no." Sam lifted his brother into his arms. "Dean, please. Dean… oh God. What did you do? Dean. What did you do?"
Sam didn't know how long he sat cradling his brother's head in his lap. His face was tight and raw from the long ago dried tears. He gently laid Dean's head back down on the bunker floor. Dean looked so peaceful. Just like he was sleeping.
Sam pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes and stood up. He didn't know what to do, where to go. He shook his head to clear it and inhaled sharply. It was then he saw the envelope on the table. He closed his eyes as he realised what it was.
Sam sat at the table, the envelope in his shaking hands. He ran his fingers across his name on the front. He turned it over and gingerly pulled the piece of paper out from inside. He unfolded it and saw Dean's writing. He swallowed hard and started to read…
Sammy, don't be pissed okay? Someone had to do it and this one was on me. The world couldn't go on like this. Too much death. It had to stop. So I stopped it. It's the job and I've never had illusions that it was ever gonna end any other way.
Sam, I know I'm leaving you alone, but you're tough, tougher than I ever was. Yeah, I know, I can't believe I'm saying it either, but it's the truth. You've been through so much; I sometimes wonder how you're still standing.
I know I've not always been the best brother. I know sometimes I've been hard on you, but I think you've always known how I feel. I hope that's always come through loud and clear. You've been the one thing that has kept me going. Without you, I would've packed it in long ago, and I have to thank you for that.
You once said to me you saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I never saw that light, Sam. The only thing I saw was your light. The light meant for you. So go find your light. Go live the life you were shooting for before I pulled you back into all this crap. Or become the best damn Man of Letters history has ever seen. Go live our legacy. I don't know. Just do what makes you happy, man. Do that. That's all I want. That's all I've ever wanted from day one, to see my little brother happy. Do what you want to do. Make your own life.
You know we'll see each other again; we destined to share our Heaven together, remember? So you're never really gonna be rid of me. You've got an eternity ahead of you to enjoy my awesome company. I'll be waiting for you when you get here, but do me a favour, take your time.
Sammy, I really am sorry to leave you like this. I know the coming days are gonna be hard. But I believe in you. I always have. When nothing else made sense in my world, there was always you. I will never be able to thank you enough for being the brother you've been to me... I'm proud of you, Sam.
Sam read the letter over and over, before folding it up gently and putting it back in the envelope. It was only then he saw that something else was inside. Dean had left the photo of their mum for Sam. Sam pulled the photo out and looked at it. He turned it over and saw Dean's writing on the back…
We'll both be looking over you.
Sam picked up the phone. "Yeah, Garth?"
"Hey Sam, how you doing?"
"I'm doing pretty good, what do you need?"
"I've got a sticky one, literally. Like there's this big pile of goo here and a handful of dead folk. Not sure what it could be. Wondered if any of those books of yours might have the answer?"
"I don't know. Not come across anything like that. Hey man, I'm gonna pass you on to Charlie okay? Tracey called; got some ghost situation she needs a hand with. I'll call you when I get back."
"Okay, man. Nice to be back to good ole' ghost hunts hey?"
"Yeah, not missing those angels and demons much." Sam said, laughing.
"Guess we've got Dean to thank for that one" Garth said, unable to cover the emotion in his voice.
"Yeah, we do." Sam said quietly. "Okay Garth, I'll just get Charlie, she'll give you a hand. Stay safe. Stay outta whatever that goo is!"
"You got it!"
Sam took the phone and went to look for Charlie. She was in the library, busily transferring the handwritten catalogue cards into their computer database.
"Half of these brilliant Men of Letters of yours didn't know how to operate a pen, it's like reading Klingon, which luckily, I happen to be fluent in."
Sam chuckled. "Thanks for doing this Charlie. It's gonna to be a hell of a lot easier to search for information."
Charlie beamed at Sam. She'd pretty much moved in to the bunker. She even had her own room. They were drawn together. Two orphans in this world.
"Hey, Garth's got a bit of a gooey problem, think you could help him out? I'm heading to meet Tracey. I'll check in later."
Charlie stood up and took the phone off Sam, "Gooey. Intriguing! Be safe, okay?"
Sam smiled at her. "Always."
It was a cold day. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Sam threw his duffle in the trunk of the Impala. He opened the door and slid into the drivers seat, rubbing his hands together to warm them up. He put the key in the ignition and started the car. As the engine roared to life, so did the radio. The car filled with the sounds of Metallica. Sam smiled and looked skyward…
Then… he kicked the car into gear. The family business was calling.
. THE END .