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27 December 2011 @ 09:08 pm
DCMB 2011: Scheherazade of the Super Eight (2/2)  
(part one)

--


When I was a kid, Dad would go off hunting and leave me and Sammy alone. Not at first. At first he would put us in daycare, or take us to family. We had family back then. We had a grandma on Dad’s side and an uncle on Mom’s side. But Mom didn’t have any brothers, so maybe he was her cousin and we just called him an uncle. Anyway, after Mom died, Dad didn’t want to see her family, because he was afraid that they’d ask questions about how she died. I guess at the time the police thought he mighta had something to do with it, I dunno. Personally I think that him keeping away from ‘em did more damage than good. Except now we know about Samuel and all that, so maybe my uncle woulda believed Dad after all. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I only remember him a little bit. My uncle, I mean. He had a house someplace far away, at least someplace that wasn’t Lawrence, so we didn’t visit him much. But he had this house, and it was blue, and it had a wrap-around porch. His wife, she used to hang ferns from the porch in the summertime. And they had this big mastiff, and I used to play with him, and he’d drool all over my hands and my face and my shirt. He was chocolate brown, and I loved him. I don’t even remember what my uncle looked like, but I loved that damn dog.

Anyway, after Mom died, Dad took us out to Indiana and kept us with Grandma for a while. But she passed away in ‘85 from some kinda cancer, and after that there was nobody but a string of babysitters and daycare centers. And by the time that Sammy reached preschool, there wasn’t even that usually. He’d just tell me to watch out for Sam, and then he’d leave.

I remember the feeling of sitting in a motel room or one of those by-the-month apartments and knowing that my dad was out there fighting monsters. You wanna be outside with him, to watch over him and know he’s all right. But at the same time, he’s got you scared so shitless of what those monsters could
do to a kid that you just wanna hide under the covers and pray he comes back in one piece.

There’s nothing worse than that, the waiting. You feel useless and alone. Nothing puts you in your place like being made to wait, being made to wonder.

Nothing worse than that.


--

Castiel comes and goes as he pleases, and every time he returns he has news to share of just how completely fucked things are outside of Dean’s four walls. So-and-so died yesterday, such-and-such scattering of dimensions have fallen. Dean can’t really understand most of it—he feels like a 2D character who’s being asked to imagine a cube. But he gets the gist well enough: things are bad and getting worse, and his fortunes are tethered to the losing side.

But still Castiel comes to him, makes the time for him, and at this point there’s this uneasy familiarity between them again, like in the early days when Dean was suspicious and Castiel was still Heaven’s bitch, back before they were friends.

Dean reminds himself that he can’t forget who’s really in power here.

“So,” he says, when Castiel has finished his current doomsday report, going through his mental list of story topics, “what do you know about Dracula?”

“Dracula is a fictional vampire,” Castiel replies instantly. “The character’s defining characteristics are a cape and a thick but generic eastern European accent.”

Dean makes a noise that can only begin to express his dismay and disappointment. “Okay, sit back, seems like today’s agenda is a crash course in Stoker.”


The Tale of a Group of Idiots Versus a Vampire
(adapted from Bram Stoker’s Dracula with more than a little amusement)

So this story starts with a guy named Jonathan, okay? And he gets sent to Transylvania to advise this count about land purchases or whatever. Except the whole way there, all of these people are like ‘dude, don’t go to that castle, the count is evil’ but Jonathan’s all stiff and British and everything and totally ignores them. And when he gets there, the count is totally evil, and there are wolves, and then three vampire chicks basically try to rape and/or kill him, and he finally realizes that oh hey, he’s in deep shit. Anyway, the count—who’s Dracula, by the way—saves Jonathan because he still needs help securing land in London. But at the first chance, Jonathan escapes, and that’s the last we hear of him for a while, so you’re all like “oh, is he dead?” and stuff. He’s not dead, I’ll spare you the suspense. But by the time this thing is over, you kinda wish he was, because he’s ridiculously boring.

Anyway, back in jolly old England, this ship washes up on shore with everybody missing or dead, so you know bad shit is going down. Apparently the only thing this ship was carrying is some silver—oh, and some
big crates of dirt from Transylvania. So enter our villain.

In less interesting news, we meet Mina and Lucy, who are friends. Apparently Mina and Jonathan are engaged, and Lucy is crazy popular or something. Three different dudes propose to her on the same day. The first one is Dr. Seward, who takes care of an asylum that houses this crazy Dracula fan. More on him in a minute. The second is Quincey Morris, who is the most stereotypical American ever. And the third is Arthur...something. I don’t remember. He becomes Lord Goldsomething later, too. He beats Jonathan Harker for sheer boringness. So obviously Lucy chooses to marry him.

Except, dun dun dun, Dracula has gotten to her first. So she starts wasting away, and everybody is all freaked out, so Seward calls in his old friend Van Helsing. Yes, that Van Helsing. And he’s all “oh, let’s hang garlic everywhere” and shit. So, basically, we get all of the bogus crap about vampires from Stoker, and to this day we have to deal with idiots waving crucifixes around.

Anyway.

So Lucy wastes away, but just when it looks like she maybe might not die horrifically, a wolf—who is also supposed to be Dracula, by the way, because apparently Stoker thought vampires could shapeshift—attacks her and her mom, and they both die. So yeah. And everybody mourns and all, then they stick her in this mausoleum with basically no protections whatsoever, and yet everybody’s surprised when suddenly kids start going missing or turning up all anemic.
My god, they say, could it be that our Lucy is doing this? Dumbasses.

So the suitors and Van Helsing go and stake her and cut her head off (they got that right at least), and it’s all very traumatic for them. And the good doctor reveals that there had to be somebody who turns the dearly re-departed Lucy into a bloodsucking hellbeast, so they form this “let’s kill Dracula” club.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Harker’s back, having not only escaped but also recovered and married Mina since the last time we saw him. Which means that our protagonist is so boring that the author couldn’t even be bothered to write about his life-changing events, so I’m not going to spend any more time on him.

Dracula finds out about the plot to murder him, and since he has a thing for sexually repressed 19th century Englishwomen anyway, he retaliates by starting to turn Mina. This is very disturbing for all the menfolk, especially since there are heaving bosoms involved, and everybody knows that sexiness equals evil.

Okay, so, for the whole novel, Dr. Seward has been keeping tabs on this guy named Renfield, who’s a patient at the asylum he runs. Renfield’s secretly working for Dracula, but apart from that he’s got this thing where he tries to accumulate, like, life force. He captures flies and feeds them to spiders, then the spiders to birds, and he wants to feed the birds to a cat, but they won’t give him a cat, so he eats the birds himself. It’s creepy. But he’s working for Dracula, but when he meets Mina and learns that she’s the new target, he has a magical bout of conscience! Thus he foils Dracula’s plans and gets offed for it.

So the gang clears out all of Dracula’s nests using a variety of tactics that don’t actually work in the real world, and the vampire flees back to Transylvania to avoid biting the dust. Except now Mina has a telepathic connection to him via the whole vampire blood thing, so they’re able to follow him. In a only somewhat climactic battle, they chase Dracula’s coffin down at sunset and kill him and a bunch of gypsies that are transporting him, losing Quincey Morris in the process.

Then everybody lives happily ever after, because Mina’s free from the curse and pops out a kid which they name after everybody--which means the kid has like six names--and Dracula is dead. Which is the end.


Castiel is silent for a moment, then says slowly, “I don’t feel like I know much more now than I did earlier.”

Dean scowls. “Whatever, that was all anyone needs to know about Dracula. Except when played by Bela Lugosi. That guy was classic.”

“You’re not a fan, I take it.”

“That was the worst quarter of high school lit ever. The teacher called my paper on why the story was wrong imaginative and gave me a D.”

Castiel makes a noise in his throat that almost seems amused, and Dean has to duck his head to hide a sudden smile.

“So what’s the point of this one?” Castiel asks.

“Pop culture?” Dean guesses. He’s still not sure why Castiel thinks that all of the things Dean tells him have to have morals. “Oh, oh, wait, I got it. ‘Do your homework.’”

“And try not to make it imaginative?” Castiel asks, and somewhere in the flat question Dean thinks he hears that amusement again.

“I was talking about Stoker, not me,” he counters, prickled.

“As you say.”

--

“Okay,” Dean says, “I think you’ll like this one.”

“If you say so,” Castiel replies, amiably enough. He’s noticed that lately the angel’s manner has softened. It’s like the incident after Jegudiel’s visit was the climax of his hostility. As time goes by, Dean finds himself slipping into more comfortable language, easier motions. Even as Heaven crumbles around them, things within the room start getting just a little easier each time.




The Tale of the Joke

Okay, so, this guy gets onto this plane, right? And he’s looking for a seat, and he sees that he’s been put on the inside of the aisle, next to the window. But he’s a big guy, okay, and he knows he’s gonna be cramped and miserable the whole way. So he sees who his aisle mates are—it’s a lady and her dog. The lady’s in the middle, and the dog’s the aisle. And it’s not just any dog, either. It’s this fluffy poodle, manicured within an inch of its life. You know the kind, the ones that eat better than most people.

So the guy, he say, “Hey lady, would you mind switching me seats so I can sit on the aisle?”

And she looks him up and down and sniffs, “My poor little Fifi becomes airsick if he doesn’t sit on the aisle.”

The guy splutters at that, but what can he do? The lady bought a ticket for the dog, which makes it a passenger, and he has to take his seat.

They take off, and the guy’s miserable, just as he thought. It doesn’t help that he and the lady next to him, they’re at each other’s throats immediately. Her purse is under his feet, his knees touch hers, she wants the armrest down and he wants it up—they’re just made to fight. So he takes out this cigar and lights it up, trying to settle himself down—


“Smoking isn’t permitted on commercial aircraft,” Castiel interrupts.

“It used to be,” Dean counters. “Work with me here.”

—anyway. So he lights up this cigar, and takes one puff, and the lady next to him gives him a look that could curdle milk.

“Put out that cigar,” she says. “Can’t you see it’s making my Fifi ill?”

The guy takes a look at her, long and slow, and he says, “I’ll get rid of my cigar if you’ll get rid of the dog.” He thinks he has her, see? Because he figures there’s no way she’ll ditch the dog.

But, to his surprise, the lady reaches over him, opens up the window—”


Castiel shifts and frowns. “Windows on aircraft aren’t made to open.”

Dean throws him a dark look. “It’s a fucking joke, okay? And anyway, how the hell would you know that? You don’t even know a sedan from an SUV, but now you’re some sort of expert on planes?”

“A hole that large would cause injury or fatality inside a pressurized cabin,” Castiel insists obstinately. “Rapid decompression could lead to hypoxia—”

Dean looks at him for a long moment before saying what in a flat tone of voice.

“There was a program last May, at Bobby’s, while you all slept. It was about British Airways Flight 5390. A cockpit window malfunctioned, leading to rapid decompression. The pilot was partially sucked from the aircraft. To let ignorant passengers control such a dangerous aspect of flight would be foolish.”

As if Dean needed another reason to be terrified of flying.

“Okay, look,” he said. “This is not based on real events. It’s supposed to be comedy. Go with it.”

“Go with it,” Castiel echoes, but Dean thinks he hears a trace of derision in the tone.

So the lady, she opens the window, reaches over, and chucks Fifi right out of the plane.

The guy, he can’t believe what he just saw. But he’s as good as his word, so he kinda dumbfoundedly tosses his cigar right out after the dog.

But then the lady, she gives this wicked little smile and holds up her hand. She’s clutching a leash.

So she bodily hauls Fifi back into the plane, but you know what the damn dog’s clutching in its mouth?

...a yellow brick.


Castiel stares at him blankly for a long moment. Dean desperately makes a “taa daa” gesture with his hands, waiting for the punchline to sink in. When he finally gets the feeling that maybe it’s not gonna sink in, he says, “A yellow brick, get it?”

After a minute, Castiel narrows his eyes. “The brick that never came down?”

“Yes!” Dean crows, relieved.

“You never mentioned that the stories could be linked,” Castiel says accusingly.

Dean sighs, then rubs at his forehead with the pads of his fingers. “What? No, it’s—it’s just supposed to be an element of surprise. That’s what makes it funny. You forget about the brick and then it reappears when you’re not expecting it to.”

Castiel is still staring skeptically. “Should I be expecting an upcoming housefire to have resulted from the cigar?”

“Oh for...” Dean mutters. “No. No, story’s over. No more. That was the payoff, for whatever it was worth.”

Castiel makes a noise low in his throat, but whether it’s annoyance or something else Dean just can’t tell.

That could have gone so much better.

--

Every so often, when Castiel isn’t around, Dean tries the door. He usually gives the window a wide berth, but the door has so far seemed safe enough. It’s always stuck, like the doorknob was never made to move at all, like the whole thing was made by somebody who’d seen a picture of a door once and never knew what it was supposed to be for.

But it’s a habit, something that breaks up the monotony of waiting for Castiel to reappear.

This time, though, when Dean shakes the handle, it twists loosely in his hand. Just like that. Of course, before he gets too excited—or hell, even too freaked out—he realizes that the door is leading out to the pre-dawn parking lot. Well, could be worse.

He doesn’t notice the fissure, not at first.

But when he steps outside, there’s a horrible, wrenching sensation. It feels like he’s falling at terminal velocity, or being ripped apart, or tumbling into fire. It’s like dying and being reborn and never living at all. There’s no air, he can’t breathe, and he has only enough time to realize that his lungs are a yard away from his face, tangling wetly with his intestines and his spinal cord before he comes crashing back together.

Then he’s standing on the sidewalk outside the motel room, and before he can help himself he looses a choked little sob.

“Mind the gap,” Jegudiel says dryly, from his spot to Dean’s left.

Dean scrubs a hand over his face and forces the rest of the hysterics down. Then he turns around and looks back at the door. Between the sidewalk and the threshold is a seam, an inch-wide black hole.

With as much sanity as he can muster, he hisses through a dry mouth, “What is that?”

“The cosmos,” Jegudiel replies. “The base matter of the universe. Actual heaven. I butted this place up against your room last time and Castiel could tell I’d been there. But if they don’t actually touch, well.”

“Oh my god,” Dean says, staring at the line across the ground. He notices that Jegudiel isn’t leaning against the wall this time, because the gap separates the ground from the building. Instead, he’s resting lightly against a post with a no smoking sign attached to it, casually lighting a cigarette. He stares back down at the gap and winces as he feels it scratching at him. It’s the same black from beyond the window, he’s sure of it. His skin is crawling just knowing that he went into it, even for a moment.

“Took you long enough,” Jegudiel breaks in, pocketing his Bic. “I’ve been waiting for you off and on for ages. Been doing a nice job, though, gotta say. Not a single one of us has bit it by the leader’s hand since you showed up.”

“Really?” Dean asks, his surprise taking the edge off his lingering horror.

“Really. As a special treat, I got you something.” Jegudiel pats his brown coat, then draws out a cell phone from an inner pocket and tosses it lightly over to Dean.

It’s ringing.

Without thinking, Dean presses the answer button and raises it to his ear.

“Dean?”

“Sam?” Dean asks, cupping his free hand over his other ear, trying to hear over the staticky connection.

“Oh thank god, Dean,” Sam’s voice rattles. “I thought maybe you weren’t still up there.”

Dean sags against a post himself. “Nah, I’m still here. I’m holding together. How’re you?”

Too quickly: “I’m okay.”

Dean snorts, then says, “You know that I’ve been able to tell when you’re lying since you were six, right?”

There’s the scrape of wood on wood—Sam pushing a chair away from the table. Footsteps—he’s pacing. Dean can almost see him, shoulders curled inward like he’s trying to keep himself together. “What do you want me to say, man? That I’m crashing in Bobby’s spare room, trying to come up with a way to jailbreak you outta heaven? That I had to come back to a dead brother, and it took almost a day before anybody showed up to tell me what happened? That I’ve got your body packed into the meat freezer in Bobby’s back shed? Is that what you wanna hear?”

Dean laughs mirthlessly. “Do I at least get the freezer to myself, or do you go and grab a bag of peas off my face every so often?”

“This isn’t funny.”

“I know,” Dean sighs. “I know. I’m working on it. He’s getting better, Sam. I think he really is.”

“Just promise me that if you get the chance, you’ll come back. Don’t stick around thinking you can fix him if you’ve got a shot to get back here. Promise me.”

He hesitates, just a moment too long.

“Oh, Dean.”

“I. I promise I’ll be careful,” he says, walking in tiny, frustrated circles.

“Jesus. Okay. Okay, as long as you promise. We miss you down here, man. I miss you like crazy. It feels like so long since I’ve really seen you.”

“I’ll be back,” Dean grits out, then the connection dies on him. “Shit. Shit.”

Jegudiel plucks the phone from him. “Can’t let you take this back with you.”

Dean cups his hand over his mouth and nods, replaying the conversation in his mind. Yeah, he didn’t say nearly as many things as he should’ve. Shit.

“Well, gotta go, battles to fight, archangels to usurp,” Jegudiel says leadingly. “Keep up the good work and all. Great representative for your species and so on.”

“Wait,” Dean says, actively not looking at the gap. “I can’t go back through that.”

But the parking lot’s already fading, melting at the edges into the same blackness.

“It’s better if you take a run at it,” Jegudiel advises, already looking insubstantial. “Makes the trip shorter.”

So Dean runs at it, and it’s worse than hell, worse than when Sam died that first time, worse than anything. But it is shorter, and there’s a bed for him on the other side, at least. That’s better than the outcome of most horrible things he’s experienced, he thinks, and for that split second it’s like his kidneys are nodding in agreement.

--

“So tell me,” Dean says casually, the next time that Castiel walks into the room. “You always come in through the door, but then you just poof away. Why not just miracle your way in, too?”

Castiel circles around the end of the bed and sits down opposite Dean. “This place is warded off. The only way in is through what you see as the door. Getting out is easier. This room wasn’t made to keep anyone in, just to keep them out.”

“Keeps me in well enough.”

Castiel smiles at that, just a faint tightening of his lips. “You know I wasn’t talking about someone like you.”

“So it keeps angels out?”

“Everyone but me,” Castiel confirms. “It would have been just as easy to leave an entrance for the room’s creator, whoever he is, but it would’ve have given him away.” At Dean’s look, he continues, “The sigils. The name would be in the sigils. And I searched them all, earlier on. No distinguishing characteristics, and certainly no names.”

So Jegudiel isn’t allowed in, Dean thinks. That made sense of why he had been making Dean come outside to talk. He must have put the last seal in place after he vanished from the room after the white place, leaving Dean alone and waiting.

It makes Dean feel lonelier than ever, knowing that probably only two creatures in all of existence even know where he’s being kept, and that of those two only Castiel could ever come to see him.

“And what’s outside?”

“Outside?” Castiel repeats, a frown forming.

“The window. There’s, uh, a blackness.” The base matter of the universe, Jegudiel had said. Actual heaven.

Castiel stands and walks over to the window. Dean flinches as he pulls back the curtain, but beyond the pane is a light grey fog. The tendrils are pressing up against the window, leaving condensation on the glass.

“What is that?” Dean demands. “That’s not what it was before.”

“No,” Castiel replies, and from his tone it sounds like an admission of guilt. “What it was before was a punishment, perhaps, or spite. I was...angry with you. For being here. For asking things of me. I changed it a while ago. I should’ve told you.”

Dean nods slowly. Truth be told, it makes him breathe a little easier, knowing that blackness is gone. But that’s only a tiny part of his worries, he tells himself. Can’t lose sight of the big picture.

“Could you, uh, could you take me out of here? If you wanted to?”

Castiel looks at him, expression betraying nothing. “I told you, it’s easy to get out. Do you want to leave, Dean?”

“No, no,” Dean replies quickly, cursing himself afterward. There’re few things in the world he wants more than to escape this 10’x16’ prison, to see daylight and nighttime again, watch TV, drive his car, eat something, sleep, see Sam.

Oh god, Sam...

But still, he can feel the end coming, the bone-weariness that’s boiling back up for the final assault. He can taste it in the air whenever Castiel visits, the stench of a battlefield and the staleness of every possible strategy compared and dissected until one of them is brought back to life and set into motion. Castiel may not be carrying the electrical haze of madness around with him anymore, but sometimes Dean thinks he can still see the beast in the angel’s shadow, circling and circling.

“Hey, lemme tell you a story,” he says, and the words are as familiar to him now as any exorcism used to be.

--

Days, years, or eons go by. Dean livens up the plots of B-grade horror movies, expounds upon the lyrics of rock songs, and talks for hours about growing up on the road. He finally gets to tell some westerns. He turns thirty-second commercials into two-hour narrative epics.

He thinks sometimes, he really does, that the Cas he knew during the apocalypse might be almost back. Sometimes the tone of voice is right, or the posture loosens, or a joke falls flat in just the right way. Sometimes, he thinks, he might just have gotten through.

He’s already miles and miles away from the birds and the locusts, he can tell. The person who sits across from him may not be human, but he’s easier to comprehend, and easier to deal with.

And it’s nice, too, he thinks, to have someone to talk to. He looks forward to seeing Castiel these days, instead of dreading it. Sometimes he worries that something has happened to him mentally, that he’s got that Stockholm thing. He goes long stretches at times when he doesn’t even think about getting out of here, just lies on his bed and ponders the next story, the next joke, the next introduction to pop culture. He wonders if he’s getting worse while Castiel is getting better, if they’re on some kind of sick seesaw of mental health.

But always in the back of his head is Sam, and Sam is about as close to home as he’s ever known, and just about true north on his life’s compass, so maybe he’s not quite as fucked up as he fears.

--

“Get up,” a voice says, urgent but faint.

Dean opens his eyes and looks around. The noise came from the door. He heaves himself to his feet and slips over to it. When he opens it and peers out, Jegudiel is waiting on the other side.

He looks strange, Dean thinks, like he hasn’t manifested his vessel’s shape quite right. All of his features are smudged and soft, his clothing nondescript. He looks like a bad photograph, complete with blurred background. It’s not the parking lot; it’s not anything. Dean can’t even make himself focus on it, because there’s nothing to focus on.

The gap separates them.

“Come on,” Jegudiel says, and even his voice sounds odd, muffled and far-away. “We need to get you out of here. It’s time. Shit, the whole thing’s falling apart. Come on.”

“What’s going on?”

“The last battle in the war,” Jegudiel hisses, his mouth a dark pink slash in his soft face. “It’s going to start any minute now, and if we don’t get you out of here, you’ll be obliterated.”

Dean licks his lips. “Why do you look like that?”

“You think it’s easy to conjure up a vessel you don’t currently live in? So I forgot to put on my foundation this morning, sue me. Come on.”

Dean hesitates, sparing a glance down at the gap.

Jegudiel’s face grows darker, angry. “We don’t have time for this! Get over here!”

“Where’s Castiel?” Dean asks.

“In a few minutes, it won’t matter. He doesn’t need you anymore. Come on.”

There’s something in Dean’s gut that tells him that this isn’t true. He just feels it. And what’d he told Sam? He’d try to stay safe, but if this was supposed to be it...

“No,” Dean says, finally. “I think I’ll wait for him here.”

“You’ll die.”

Dean scoffs. “I’m already dead, remember? I’ll risk it.”

That’s when it happens. Suddenly Jegudiel ceases to look anything at all like Jegudiel, and instead starts to look like some kind of horrific creature, slimy and wet, silvery and murk-green in the dim light. The pink slit of mouth widens and darkens, becoming huge and gasping, and behind the rubbery lips lie rows upon rows of sharp teeth. Only the very faintest traces of a human face remain, but what’s left opens its eyes and screams.

Dean stumbles backward in horror, heels catching on carpet, and he goes down on his ass.

The thing in front of him flaps its huge mouth in gasping, choking motions, but the voice that comes out is angel-high and powerful. “Come out! Dean Winchester, come out!”

Head ringing and adrenaline pumping, Dean watches as the beast throws itself up against the doorway. But it’s too big, awkwardly shaped, and it can’t get in. Dean lunges forward and slams the door shut.

“Dean Winchester!” the voice screeches, threatening to burst his eardrums, even through the door.

Without thinking, Dean throws the deadbolt on the door, and as soon as it clicks into place, the noise diminishes. It’s still there, but muted, almost silenced entirely.

What you see as the door, Castiel had said. The door was really a protected gateway. Maybe what he saw as the deadbolt was really just another protection set up to keep angels out. God, he hopes that’s true.

He slumps to the floor with his back against the cool metal of the door, and he listens to his heart race.

--

Not too much later—maybe half a day, but Dean’s sense of time is screwed all to hell—the door handle turns. Dean has a split second to panic, but the deadbolt holds and nothing happens.

After a moment, he hears Castiel’s voice from the other side. “Dean?”

Dean sucks in a breath and holds it, watching the door handle turn again.

“Dean?” comes the voice. “Are you all right? Open the door.”

“Who are you?” Dean asks the crack between the door and the frame, voice quiet and deadly serious. “Who are you really?”

A pause. “It’s Castiel. Open the door, Dean.”

“Prove it.” Dean’s shaking a little. It’s ridiculous, he knows it is. He’s looked death in the face more times than he can count, and he’s done it with a devil-may-care attitude more often than not. But there’s no one to impress here, and he hasn’t seen more than two faces in longer than he cares to know. And he finds that he’s afraid. He feels tiny, and alone, and afraid of what might be on the other side of a door that isn’t even real.

A heartbeat, then two, then a dozen. Finally, at long last, the voice on the other side says, “You’ve been on the road your whole life and you still don’t know if Oklahoma is west or not.”

Dean stands and unlocks the deadbolt. As he opens the door, he says, “You bastard, I meant I don’t know if it counts as the Old West.”

Castiel slips inside and shuts the door behind him. “It does.”

“Sure it’s not the Old Central? Unless we’re talking a world scale, of course.”

“Hm,” Castiel responds, which Dean figures is about as much of a laugh as he could expect. He moves to sit on the bed closer to the door, and Dean perches on the one opposite him. When they’re both seated, Castiel adds, “I came to say goodbye.”

Dean had just started to calm down, and suddenly his heart is back in his mouth. “Goodbye?”

“It’s coming faster than I expected—the last battle in the war,” Castiel says distantly, and that jogs Dean’s memory. It’s exactly what the thing that had looked like Jegudiel had said.

“Hey, speaking of that—have you, uh, have you seen an angel named Jegudiel lately?” Dean asks haltingly, worried about the consequences of asking.

Castiel tilts his head. “Was he the one who brought you here? I might have known.”

“Uh.”

“He’s dead,” Castiel murmurs, looking away. “For a while now. Raphael himself did it. He crushed two of Jegudiel’s faces with a blow from his sword, and the fire of his wrath consumed what was left. We could see him as torchlight across half the battlefield.”

“Oh fuck,” Dean breathes, against a sudden tightening in his chest. He’d barely known the guy, and yeah, he kinda thought he was a dick, but still... “How long ago?”

Castiel frowns. “Some small time. A week or two, maybe? It’s hard to tell, sometimes. Things are different here.”

That confirms Dean’s suspicions. “Somebody tried to get me to leave the room,” he says quietly. “They showed up acting like they were Jegudiel, but he looked wrong. When I wouldn’t come, he started to look...I don’t know. There were teeth and shit. Jesus. I think it was one of Raphael’s guys.”

Castiel’s eyebrows draw together and stares down at his hands. “So they know you’re here. That’s...not ideal.”

“But I’m safe in here, right?” Dean presses.

“If Heaven fell?” Castiel asks with the sort of grimness that lets Dean know exactly how safe he actually is.

“Shit. Can’t you just, uh, send me home? Before things get too hairy?”

Castiel makes a coughing noise that could be a dead man’s laugh. “We crossed that river a long time ago. If I tried to send you back now, Raphael would be waiting to ambush us both. The shift between the planes is a vulnerable place for us, especially when carrying a soul.”

“Great,” Dean says. He hates feeling helpless, hates it so goddamn much. “So I guess I just have to root for your side, then?”

Castiel makes a small noise, noncommittal. Dean wonders what it means. Would he be trapped here forever if Castiel bit it? Or would the protections fall away? They obviously stood up to Jegudiel’s death. But the thought of spending eternity trapped here, perfectly conscious and absolutely alone, it does something to him. It makes him want to scream, or cry, or—

“I loved you,” Castiel says, breaking through his thoughts.

“What?” Dean asks, because he’s sure he misheard.

Castiel isn’t looking at him. He’s staring at the dark television screen, frowning. “I loved you, last year. You and Sam were the only friends I had in the whole of creation. We weren’t always...kind to each other, I know.”

“Understatement.”

Castiel looks at him then, and Dean is startled by his expression. It’s different from a lot of what he’s looked like lately—there’s a lucidity, a humanity to his eyes that Dean almost finds unnerving.

“I’m sorry,” he says, turning away again. “I’m sorry that I did this to you.”

Dean swallows and stares intently at the dark screen too. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not okay. But thank you. You’ve helping. More than I thought you could help.”

“Cas—”

The angel laughs dryly. “I missed that. No one calls me that but you.”

“Sam does.”

“I miss Sam,” Castiel says suddenly. “You must miss him so much more. He’s a good man, you know. Better than the sum of his parts.”

“I know,” Dean says simply. He’s always known that, even during the dark times. That’s why they always hurt so much.

“You help him, too.”

“Sam’s always helped himself,” Dean counters. “Even when I didn’t wanna let him.”

Castiel mmms under his breath, like he doesn’t quite believe it.

They sit there for a while, looking at the television and the wall behind it. It’s the most comfortable Dean’s been since this whole thing started. It’s an easy silence, or as easy as a silence gets in a place like this with a guy like Cas.

“It’s the end,” Castiel says eventually. “One way or another.”

Dean doesn’t reply.

“Tell me one last story,” he adds, but it’s a request rather than a demand.

“All right.”

--

The Last Tale

When I was twenty-five, Dean starts, lying back on his bed and drawing up one knee, I was all alone. Now, I don’t mind it so much for short bursts. I don’t need somebody holding my hand, y’know. But when it goes on for a while, you get kinda lonely. You listen to the radio, or you call somebody, but the voices are all far away and fake-sounding. You miss people, and the road seems too long.

My dad was neck-deep in something he wasn’t sharing—turned out to be the yellow-eyes stuff, of course—and Sammy was off at college being happy and normal, so I was just drifting around, taking on the odd hunt or whatever.

I’d just left Richie’s—don’t think you ever met Richie; he’s dead now, got wasted by a demon, it was pretty awful—and I got a call from Caleb about a haunting the next state over.

Only it turned out to be not a haunting at all, but a nest of hags. I was fucked. Man, they threw me around like a rag doll. I thought, at one point, that I was toast. But then I remembered Sam, and Dad, and I figured, this ain’t how I’m supposed to go. I’m not gonna let them get me, and have somebody find my body all bloated and wasted, and make my dad burn me.

So I said fuck this, you bitches can’t have me. There was nowhere to go, just a window that was cut off by one of ‘em. But I figure, okay, better a small chance than no chance. So I lunge forward, and you know what?


Castiel gives a nearly imperceptible shake of his head, just the faintest encouragement to show that he’s an active listener.

Dean can’t help smiling. The floor gave way. I tumbled down to the first floor of the house, not even a sprained ankle from the fall. The damn hags never knew what happened. I just went down, then I was running for the car like my life depended on it. Which, y’know, it did.

So I torched the place, and here I stand.

The end.


“So it’s a story about a lucky escape?” Castiel asks thoughtfully.

“No, it’s about willpower. I wasn’t gonna die. Not then, not there,” Dean replies.

“You didn’t really have much control over the situation,” Castiel points out. “It was luck that the floor gave out like that.”

Dean snorts. “You don’t get it, do you? If I hadn’t kept going, I never woulda got to that part of the floor. And if it hadn’t collapsed, then I was gonna fight for the nearest window. If three years with us hasn’t taught you that you control your own fate, I don’t know what will. Honestly, dude.”

Castiel is hunched over himself on the opposite bed. “I still don’t—”

“You’d be amazed how far a good healthy chunk of rage can get you. Hell, last year rage and whiskey were the only things that kept me going.”

“Sounds healthy.”

Dean laughs at the unexpected reply, then sits up suddenly when Castiel tenses.

“Goodbye, Dean,” he says immediately, blue eyes wide. Dean can see that he’s already losing the angel, that battle plans and orders are pushing him to a distant and dusty corner of Castiel’s mind.

“Hey,” he snaps quickly, “back here a second.”

Castiel refocuses for a moment, and Dean leans forward and grabs his hand in a firm shake. “Give ‘em hell.”

There’s a warm feeling that goes up the ridge of Dean’s spine, a pleasant electric feeling like touching a plasma globe.

Then Castiel’s gone, and Dean wonders how much longer his afterlife will last.

--

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck,” Dean hisses. He’s hiding in the closet, just bracing his shoulders and palms against the walls. He remembers vaguely that if there’s an earthquake, you’re supposed to head for a closet or something. He’s not really sure how applicable that is when a) he’s already dead, b) it’s not an earthquake, it’s heavenly warfare, and c) the closet is just a construct added in to make him feel better about a) and b).

He has no idea how long he stays there. There’s not really any concept of time in heaven. Not like there is on earth, or even in hell. This could be the end, he tells himself, the end of the world and everything ever. Then he starts to wonder if heaven is only heaven for earth--what if there are other planets, and there are heavens for them too? Or is it just the universal? Everybody’s pretty vague on that, he thinks. Then another explosion rocks his motel-shaped construct and every philosophical thought flees his mind to be replaced with fuck fuck fuck fuck oh my god fuck.

Such is war.

--

The explosions have stopped for a good long while before Dean realizes that it must be over. He still exists, which is better than he was expecting, so he chalks that up as a win.

He starts contemplating opening the door back to the room proper, going through a mental list of rebuttals (the most prominent of which is “what if this is the only thing left in existence and I tumble out into that black stuff?”).

A clatter-clang from the room proper draws him out before the mental checklist is done. Dean cracks open the door and peers around the jamb. He has no idea what the fuck he’s going to do if it’s one of Raphael’s guys, but a bit of cautiousness in situations like this never hurt anybody.

Castiel is standing by the table, looking like a mess. Blood and ichor is splattered across his tattered clothing, and the blade he’s just dropped on the table looks even worse.

“Dean?” he says.

“Yo,” Dean replies, quickly stepping out. “You’re alive. That’s awesome.” And he really means that.

“I’m—yes.” He collapses onto his bed, looking more world-weary than Dean has ever seen him. “Raphael is dead.”

Dean swallows. “Dead? Like, dead-dead?”

The ghost of a smile tips up the corner of Castiel’s mouth. “As a doornail.”

“How...?” Dean starts, before he remembers that there are some things you don’t ask, some skin-of-the-teeth results you don’t question.

“You,” Castiel replies, without a hint of shame.

“Me?” Dean asks, a hint of panic in his chest. He doesn’t understand, and he hates not understanding.

“I was broken--I let them break me--and you didn’t give up on me.”

“It’s not like I had much of a choice,” Dean feels compelled to point out. “I was locked in a room.”

“But you never asked to go home, not until the very end. You could’ve, you know. You stayed, and you told me about your life, yours and Sam’s and everyone you ever loved, and I remembered loving, too. It brought me back, and I remembered how to refuse to give up. It’s a very human thing, you know.”

Dean coughs, the back of his neck hot. This is way too touchy-feely for him. Hell, he’s spent a small eternity locked in a room with just this guy, spilling his guts, and this is still too touchy-feely. He doesn’t want to hear how his love saved the world.

Even if it is the second time that’s happened.

Is that a good pick-up line?

Yeah, maybe it is.

“What are you thinking about?” Castiel asks, tilting his head a little as he stares up at Dean.

“Nothing,” Dean replies quickly, sitting down across from him. “So what now?”

“Now I get to rest, for a moment,” Cas replies. “And then I have to try to restore heaven to something that approaches order. I thought that would be difficult a year ago—now it seems nearly impossible.”

“But only nearly, right?” Dean smirks.

“Only nearly,” Cas agrees. He stands then, taking the half-step the separated him from Dean. “Thank you,” he adds in that low growl of his. It’s a familiar tone, deceptively human. Then he presses his lips to Dean’s forehead, lips dry but not unpleasant. The same electric feeling from before tingles through Dean’s blood and muscles, warming him.

Dean is surprised to find that it’s not even weird, the forehead kiss. Honestly, after everything else? It’s practically damn nice.

“Go home, Dean,” Cas says, a moment later, and before Dean can respond, the world falls away.

--

The first thing that registers with him is cold. A deep, aching, paralyzing cold. The second is darkness, then stiffness, then claustrophobia. He kicks out, instinctively, and one leg hits something immovable, but the other finds some give, and a sliver of light explodes briefly across Dean’s vision. He kicks upward again, and the lid to the meat freezer bangs open, hitting the side of Bobby’s shed.

Of course Cas would let him wake up in the fucking freezer. Of course he would.

Dean clambers out and hits the ground, too cold to shiver. He’s glad he’s not frozen solid.

He makes it halfway across Bobby’s backyard before one of the junkyard dogs gets wind of him and starts barking up a storm. After that, it’s an explosion of sound and movement. Bobby comes out with a shotgun, nearly drops it in shock, then Sam’s loping out of the house, using those freakishly long legs of his to eat the ground between them.

Sam crashes into him with enough force that Dean thinks he might shatter, then he’s caught in a the crushing sort of hug that it seems they reserve for resurrections, his shoulders folding in and his face pressed to the wear-soft cotton of Sam’s shirt.

“Oh my god, Dean, Dean,” Sam’s saying softly, followed by that sharp intake of air that means Sam suddenly realized he could breathe again. Dean knows how that feels. God, does he know.

Sam’s skin is fire-hot on Dean’s cheek and neck, and all it takes is that spark of warmth for him to fully realize how very cold he actually is. Suddenly he’s a mass of shivers, all his muscles contracting in agony as his body tries to raise its core temperature.

Fucking freezer, jesus.

They get him inside and wrap him up with half a dozen hot water bottles and force him to eat some Campbell’s chicken and noodle soup. He has to tell them everything twice because Bobby’s always getting up to answer his phone bank or Sam spends too much time fussing over reheating the water bottles, and one or the other of them’s always missing some crucial detail that they demand he repeat.

It’s ridiculous, Dean thinks. A guy’s dead for three months and they can’t even let him settle back into being corporeal in peace.

They settle down finally in the late hours of the night, and they leave Dean the couch for sleeping. Sam had offered the guest bed again and again, but Dean hasn’t seen a couch in months and he just wants to savor the feeling—even if it is Bobby’s swaybacked old relic.

As Sam heads upstairs for the night, Dean has a thought. “Hey,” he says, just loud enough to get Sam’s attention. “Do you, uh, do you remember when you were ten, and you broke your leg on that hunt in Montana?”

Sam tilts his head in that way he does when he’s trying to puzzle out your motives. God, Dean thinks suddenly, he’s missed the kid. The year after the showdown, and the months without Sam’s soul, and then the whole being dead thing—feels like forever since it’s been him and Sam, together. He has his brother back, and it makes something ache in his chest. He hopes it’s for good, this time. Nothing’s ever really permanent in their lives, he knows

“Montana?” Sam replies after a moment. “You mean the time Dad got that Ambrose Bierce tape for me so I wouldn’t have to think about my leg?”

“Yeah,” Dean says. “That time.”

“I remember,” Sam replies.

“You were a good kid,” Dean mumbles.

Sam’s eyes go soft, and his face takes on that earnest quality it gets when he says something mushy. “I’m glad you’re back, Dean. I’m really glad.”

“Yeah yeah. Sleep now, heartfelt speeches later,” Dean snorts, but there’s no heat.

Sam goes upstairs, and Dean finally, finally sleeps.

--

“Hello,” Castiel says. His clothes have been mended, and he seems slack and comfortable sitting on the other end of the couch.

Dean wonders if he actually looks that relaxed, or if it’s just a contrast to the raptor-like sharpness that had been haunting his posture up in heaven.

It looks to be early morning outside, and neither Sam not Bobby are up. Dean himself only snapped awake when he heard the rustle of wings.

“Hey,” he replies. “How’s it going?”

“Not terrible,” Cas replies.

They sit there in comfortable silence. Outside birds are chirping, and Dean can hear a dog thumping around under the porch. It’s a glorious contrast to the inert quietness of the motel room. It’s even a welcome change from the parking lot, where the birdsong rang hollow and false. Everything here seems so much more real, more actual. Right now Dean can hear the rumble of the refrigerator, the clicking of the ancient ceiling fan in the hallway, Cas’s breathing and his own.

“I’m going to miss you,” Cas says after a moment. “It’s been nice, seeing you again.”

“Hnn,” Dean murmurs. “Well, you know, there are ways to see people that don’t involve one party being locked in a metaphysical prison.”

Cas snorts in a way that could be a laugh.

Dean thinks about the second to last conversation they’d had, up in heaven. I loved you, Cas had said. Dean wonders if it was true, and if the past tense still held. It’s a strange and uncomfortable thing, but not the worst.

“You should stay for breakfast,” Dean says, after a moment. “I’m sure Sam would be happy to see you.”

Cas looks at him, mouth open just slightly. It looks like he’s trying to decide what to make of Dean’s statement. “All right,” he says, eventually. “I think I’d enjoy that.”

“Good,” Dean says.

“Good,” Cas echoes.

They sit for a while longer as the sun comes up, then the day begins.
 
 
Current Location: land of despair
Current Mood: hyperhinky
Current Music: Bartering Lines - Ryan Adams
 
 
 
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
aceofannwnaceofannwn on December 28th, 2011 07:36 am (UTC)
This is wonderful and lovely. I always like the way you write Cas, particularly - you always seem to get him completely, utterly in-character, but with an entire world of depth.

And I laughed and laughed and laughed at Dean's version of Dracula, by the way.

I really can't think of anything else to say that will express my joy and wonder at this fic, because I can never find the words when I actually genuinely adore something, so... thank you for posting it. :)
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
I really struggle with writing Castiel. He's nearly incomprehensible to me. .____.;; But I'm so glad that you think I do it well--perhaps it's not as bad as I always think!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my fic. It means so much. ♥
DarkJediQueendarkjediqueen on December 28th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
Comment!
pinch Estelle, dance with Jane: Supernatural - KNEEL BEFORE TODD!pyrebi on December 28th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Reply!
randomstasis: AB swirlrandomstasis on December 29th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
this was great- I loved Dean's stories and their halfassed morals, and how the angels rely on him to save them all, and how Dean wonders if that would be a good pickup line. He really never gives up, does he?
beautifully done!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
He really, really doesn't. xD

Thanks for reading my fic, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
ndmzero on December 29th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)
I really enjoy your fic (in general) so I'm very much looking forward to reading this - I've just grabbed it to read off line but fully intend to comment after.

Thank you for sharing.

pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! By the way, I also post at AO3, which has convenient formats for offline reading. Just in case you didn't know!
aliassmithaliassmith on December 29th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful premise! This was fantastic :)
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you very much! :D
Lethellethill on December 29th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
My god, were the mood and tone of this fic amazing! It was wonderful to read, thanks for sharing.
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
-blushes- Thank you so much. I was trying for a certain mood, but I kept second-guessing myself the whole time I was writing it. I'm thrilled that you thought it worked!
the plane crashed in my hair: Haruhi lost her purseepicureal on December 29th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
this is just absolutely wonderful. i especially loved the brick joke, and the description of the broken cas at the start :D
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, the brick joke. Bane of my childhood. xD Thank you, and I'm glad you liked!
Goodnight monsters, everywherehoneylocusttree on December 29th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
I forgot how engaging a story (or a bunch of stories) within a story can really be. This was really interesting, moved forward very well with no dead space, and was, yes, very engaging. I especially liked all the true-visage-of-angels stuff in the last part--anything about that (that's more interesting than tentacles) is guaranteed to get my attention, and it was really well rendered here. Very palpable, very real.

I'd totally read this again. Thanks for a neat, interesting read in a totally different vein than anything else I've read! Fantastic stuff!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Aw, but tentacles are fun! But no, I love angels. They're basically light and sound and fury badly crammed into some meat shells. That you end up with characters as different as Anna, Castiel, Michael, and Balthazar is just fascinating. (Also, the Jegudiel lookalike transformed into a vaguely fish-like appearance because traditionally one of Saint Raphael Archangel's attributes is a fish. So that was fun for me.)

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the fic, and thank you for taking to time to leave such a wonderful comment!
wickedvirtue on December 30th, 2011 07:14 am (UTC)
I don't know how to express how much I *love* understated horror, but this had it in spades and I just want to roll around in it. This was almost too good, I tell you!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Yessssss. I was trying to go for that, but I wasn't sure how well I'd succeeded. \o/

Thank you for reading~!
e313e313 on December 30th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
i love the writing in this. and i love the ...otherworldiness...the 'other'. well done! i had a wonderful time reading it, your characterizations were marvelous, and the little stories that Dean says, Dean saying them, it was touching and weird and brilliant. thank u for sharing this.
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
Ah, thank you so much! It's a bit different tone-wise from what I normally write, so I struggled with it. So glad you enjoyed the outcome!
sirensung: [spn] impalasirensung on December 30th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
This is awesome. :) I really love how you wrote Dean and Cas. Dean's stories were just so Dean, and crazy!Cas was fantastic. <3
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
I love Dean!voice. It comes to me easiest, and I had a lot of fn trying to decide what stories he'd tell. So happy you liked the fic! Thank you!
maychorianmaychorian on December 30th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Fantastic story, full of love and devotion. Loved your descriptions of the metaphysical parts, the horror of the black, so to speak, and poor, dickish Jegudiel. And I totally believe that Dean could save the world with his brotherly love twice. :D
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:04 pm (UTC)
JEGUDIEL. ♥ Ahem, sorry. I just liked the way he turned out in this. Too bad about the face-smashing. And Dean could totally save the world a ton of times with love (and asspulls), but don't tell him that. It's probably a lot of responsibility (and mortification) to put on his shoulders.

Anyhow, so happy that you liked the fic! :D
pebbles in columns: M | Laughter is the very best medicinequiddative on January 1st, 2012 06:23 am (UTC)
This was wonderful and heartwarming--just what I needed before bed :)

I loved your descriptions and Dean's narrative. You got his voice down really well. I was excited when I saw the summary and I wasn't disappointed. Again, this was absolutely wonderful!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! I'm glad I could provide some nice pre-bed reading. :D
The Cleaveragekel_reiley on January 1st, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
Loved every little bit of this! Perfect ending, too.

also: he feels like a 2D character who’s being asked to imagine a cube - that is just the best analogy right there
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, phew. I was so worried about the ending! I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! ♥
Liz Who?: Caslizfu on January 5th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
I'm extremely happy that I was finally able to read this! Totally worth the wait! (I've had this bookmarked since it first appeared on DCBB) I love the premise, the tales Dean spins, Jegudiel (who, yes, has a very stupid name, but I won't hold that against him, because he was so likeable), and how meanwhile on Planet Earth, Sam and Bobby stuck Dean's body in the freezer. Also, the tags - they're fabulous <3 Beautiful XD

Thank you so much for posting this! Will now rec it out the wazoo to anyone and everyone <3
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that you had such a long wait, but honored that you thought it was worth it. Thank you so much for waiting for the fic, and for still taking the time to leave such a nice comment. ♥
electricskeptic: !reccerelectricskeptic on January 9th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
You have been recced here at rec_hymenated!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
\o/
what a catch.: SPN: Cas [fire]rocketgirl2 on January 10th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
This is so wonderful. Your characterization is beautiful, and I love the way you weave all of the stories into this fic. ♥
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. The tales were the hardest part--I had most of the frame story done way before, and then making sure the stories fit in and at least sounded a bit like Dean was the difficult bit! So glad you liked!
monteseverusmonteseverus on January 10th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
This story makes so much sense it hurts! I can hear Dean now telling Cas all these stories to bring him back. Great Job!!!!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D I'm thrilled that you liked it!
Scarletscarletscarlet on January 10th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
Really loved your depiction of Castiel's insanity, from that incredible, overwhelming first brush with the storm of birds to his presence in the motel room. You brought his otherness out so well and made him pretty damned intimidating. And the stories, too, those odd little lessons/moments/memories from Dean. God, I love your voice for Dean. This was completely awesome :).

BTW, the poodle catching the brick? Yeah, I laughed out loud :D.
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad. I really wanted him to be intimidating, but not so far gone that he was impossible to like again. To hear that you liked the way I wrote it is such an honor (and a relief)! Thank you so much for this wonderful comment, I just wanna hug it. ♥
i'm on a website where people fuck fruitgeckoholic on January 12th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, that was... I have no idea what exactly that was, to be honest, but it was GOOD, that's for sure. SO DEAN. The way he told those stories, and the call to Sam, and the end, and this:

He doesn’t want to hear how his love saved the world.
Even if it is the second time that’s happened.
Is that a good pick-up line?


BRILLIANT. And true!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
That is pretty much exactly how I feel about this fic, give or take the "good" part. xD Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
lacking in glittertawg on January 14th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
This was a wonderfully exhausting read - Dean's stress and fear. I laughed at him hiding in the construct-closet, but I laughed harder at the joke with the dog and the brick. I loved that story most, I think, with Cas interjecting and challenging, and Dean just soldiering through it. The last moments were wonderfully painful - Cas talking about Dean in past tense and Dean pushing through that, letting him know that a stage in someone's life doesn't have to end.

Castiel was wonderfully written in this - so damaged and powerful and scary and hurt. And Dean was a perfect Dean - flawed and stubborn and desperate but still caring, despite everything, about this member of his family. I loved his reflections on the see-saw of mental health going on in the room, and how despite everything talking about feelings was still too much.

A flawless fic.
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
Gah, I don't even know what to do with this comment. I just want to wrap it up and put it under my pillow and love it forever. I am beyond humbled by your praise, and so happy that I could write a story that you enjoyed. Thank you so very much.
Lolryne: SPN Samlolryne on January 18th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
I loved this fic ♥ It was really sweet and nice, absolutely perfect : D I loved the stories and how Dean managed to bring Castiel back with time.
Also, you win at descriptions. Castiel's first appearance with the birds was mindblowing, ans so was the cosmos-gap.
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yay, the cosmos-gap! I have a deep-seated terror of black holes, and I think that might've, er, bled through a bit. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, and I'm glad that you liked the fic! :D
juppschmitzjuppschmitz on March 4th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
I loved this so so much!

Such an original idea. Keeping Dean in another "Green Room". Letting him fix the world. Again. His love for Cas and Cas' love for him. (And all - for a change - without smutty porn.)

This is so different from any fic I've read before. So refreshing. And thanks for giving them a happy ending. I loved the progression from absolutely terrifying Cas to him sitting on Bobby's couch with Dean agreeing to have breakfast with him.

I just want to wrap myself in this fic and never let go.

Also, Dean's recounting of Dracula was spot on and absolutely hilarious!
pinch Estelle, dance with Janepyrebi on April 7th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ugh, fuck Dracula. xD

I'm glad you liked the progression--I think porn would've been a little out of flow with the mood I was going for. To know it worked is so nice. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Etrixetrix on March 5th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
This was wonderful. I really like the juxtoposition of the stillness of Dean's room with the knowledge that soo much is happening outside somewhere. The stories were wonderful (I much prefer your version of Dracula!) and the jokes... Cas has my sympathies on those.

Adding to my bookmarks. =]
icarus_singicarus_sing on July 13th, 2012 07:59 am (UTC)
:)
So this is one of several of your stories I've read tonight while dealing with a bout of insomnia, and my dear this one was my favorite by far. I mean, JESUS. First, the title was so beautiful and matched the story perfectly, both for context and character. I love the spin you put on the war in heaven, and how Dean had to help Cas, You did such an amazing job and I'm sure I'll need to read it a dozen more times before the wonder wears off.

Yep :)

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