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13 February 2013 @ 07:23 pm
While Angels Watched: My Cup Runneth Over(Chapter 8)  
Dean felt warmth on his face


A/N: I dedicate this story to my guardian angels…my betas! Thank you Amanda—you who are in the thick of getting your Doctorate but still took time to beta for me again. I know, quite frankly, you were too busy for this, but you always treated your beta work as though it was the only thing on your plate. I know differently, though, and I thank you so much for sacrificing what little down-time you had in order to beta this story. Thank you especially for your medical expertise. Dean’s aphasia sounded as authentic as it did because of your gentle nudgings! Thank you Mel—you who juggled work and family obligations in order to give me feedback on each chapter, usually within 24 hours, no less. You’re about to become a mom for the first time, and still you gave me your undivided attention. You stood on the front lines of this story, getting the grimiest drafts, having to slog through my typos and idiot errors. Beyond that, you improved my work with solid criticism, sound suggestions and much-appreciated advice and encouragement. The angels would have come off sounding like Renaissance Festival rejects had it not been for you! Thank you for your honesty and your expertise. Both of you gals pushed me when I slacked off and pulled me back when I’d gone too far, and I thank you for that! Thank you to Becky for being a wonderful friend to share this journey with. You’re always a delight, brightening my inbox and my day with your cheerful wit and enthusiasm! Thank you all!

A/N: I also want to offer my most humble and heart-felt thanks to every individual who took the time to leave me a kind comment. Your support and kindness means the world to me!

A/N: Most importantly, I want to thank my husband, Brian. Without him making my little poster-art and preparing and loading my stories onto LJ, I simply would not have been able to post here. I swear to you, honey…I really DO love you more than Dean Winchester. Honest! ;) kk…kk…kk!

Enough gushing…last chappie!

While Angels Watched

Chapter Eight
My Cup Runneth Over




**O**


Dean felt warmth on his face, and despite his dwindling strength, he opened his eyes, raising himself on his elbows. The sun was climbing above the far horizon like a liquid ball of butterscotch, back-lighting the angel’s silhouette as he stood before the window. The sunlight gilded his wings, and despite the effort it took to keep his eyes open, Dean feasted his eyes and caught his breath. He groaned out, trying to roll over and sit up; the angel was at his side immediately.

“You are awake,” he said, bending down to help the boy.

Dean fended him off. “What gave it away, Sherlock?” Dean smiled grimly, teetering as he struggled to rise.

The angel squinted, tilting his head. “My name is not Sherlock,” he said. Dean rolled his eyes, and gripping the angel’s hand as it was offered a second time, he used it to lever himself into a sitting position.

“Thanks,” he said with a weary sigh. He tried to rub the fog out of his head, but his hands were limp and soggy and fell at his sides. He would have tipped over if the angel had not reached out and steadied him. “What’s wrong with me?” he asked groggily.

The angel softly smoothed the boy’s hair and Dean instinctively sought out the revitalizing droplets of light that softly fell from the angel’s wings. The teen’s head lolled against his friend’s chest and he breathed deep. The angel looked down at the boy with worried eyes. “You are still connected to your body, and it has reached its limit, I’m afraid. It’s becoming a drain on your soul. I’m sorry. I have tried to sustain you as you slept, but it is no longer enough. You need something stronger, but…” the angel hesitated.

“You’d have to have your dad’s permission,” Dean finished for him. “Yeah, I get it,” he sighed. He sat dully for a moment and then weakly looked up at the angel holding him. “Guess m’gonna die, then?” Dean’s eyes closed down and he strove to reopen them.

“My Father has not given permission to intervene on your behalf,” he said, and Dean could feel the angel shake with his words. He seemed angry—very angry. Dean shuddered to think what would happen if the angel chose not to restrain himself. “The situation is becoming very critical,” he admitted.

Dean finally peeled his eyes open. “Is my soul gonna die, too?” Dean asked hazily, trying to focus on the face above his.

“No Dean,” the angel replied with a shake of his head. “Your soul is not in danger. If your body does die, it will cease to be a drain. In time, your soul will recover. It’ll be much like the morning after having ingested copious amounts of alcohol.”

“So, you’re saying m’gonna have the mother of all hangovers? An’ I don’ even get t’drink?” the boy slurred.

“That is correct.”

“Well, where the hell’s the fun in that?” Dean breathed out waspishly and closed his eyes for another moment. His thoughts and consciousness wandered. When he stirred again, the angel was still holding him gently. He looked listlessly into the angel’s eyes. “M’tired,” he confessed. “D’I fall asleep on you?”

“It’s all right, Dean,” the angel said. “I’m keeping watch. You have nothing to fear. You can sleep if you’re tired.”

Dean studied the face above his and gave a crooked, hazy smile. “You’re all right for an angel, you know that?” he said.

The comment seemed to touch off the angel’s anxiety. He vacillated, frowning. “I have been of no assistance,” he said with a tick of frustration. “I have been ineffective. My father should have sent someone else, I’m afraid.” Dean shrugged tiredly.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “You made the decisions you thought were best.”

The angel looked distressed. “Did I?” he asked. “Is this what my Father wants?” The angel sighed. “I am so…unsettled,” he confided. “I do not feel that this is coming to an adequate conclusion.” He shook his head and closed his eyes, struggling. “I have never questioned my Father’s will before,” he said very quietly. “I don’t know what to do.”

Dean sighed, shifting away, pulling himself into a sitting position. He looked where his body was laying in the bed. His brows pleated. “Where’s Dad and Sammy?” he said. They were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a few doctors were hovering around the bed, talking quietly and attaching a bunch of electrodes to his bald head. “What’s going on?” He fought to get his feet under him.

The angel helped the boy up and braced him. “Your family is waiting in the hallway. The doctors are testing your brain function.”

“They gonna find anything?” Dean looked at the angel, but his friend’s troubled silence answered his question. The teen watched the doctors for a while, but standing was becoming nearly impossible, even with the aid of the angel. As the boy sighed heavily, he noticed that his breath steamed out. His skin suddenly prickled with cold. “Oh shit.”

Turning, he saw that the young girl—the reaper—was in the room again. She was standing in the corner, watching the doctors as they made their evaluation. Dean cried out and attempted to wave her off. He lurched away from the angel, shooing the reaper off. “Get away from me!” he shouted, stumbling to his knees, his hands flying out to break his fall. He looked up as the reaper turned her head to him. “I said get the hell away from me. I’m not going with you!” The girl gave him a peppermint smile.

“I’m not here to harm you,” she told him as she walked over.

“The hell you’re not!” he shouted, skittering back as she approached. The angel ran forward, stooping down and pulling Dean away from the reaper.

“Don’t touch him,” the angel warned. The reaper stopped and folded her arms defiantly in front of the angel.

“You don’t have authority over me, cousin,” she scolded. “His fate isn’t up to you. You have your orders. I have mine. He’s my charge now. He’s under my protection, and I’ll do what’s best for him.” The angel’s face was angry as his eyes sparred with hers. He finally broke, looking away, defeated. The reaper reached for Dean, but the angel’s wing folded itself around the boy, protectively.

“Wait,” the angel pled. “Please don’t take him yet. There is still time for my Father to step in.” The reaper slowly shook her head.

“No,” she said. “It’s time.” She pointed to the doctors near the bed. Silently pushing the wing back, she bent in and took hold of Dean’s hand.

Dean’s skin froze and he began trembling from the cold that radiated out from her. “Don’t!” he begged. “St—stay away! Too c—cold!” The reaper pulled her hand back, looking at him with pity. Dean suddenly felt the cold surrounding her diminish as though she, like the angel hiding his grace, subdued her power enough for him to remain comfortable in her presence. Dean looked into the girl’s eyes as she bent down to him.

“You have nothing to fear,” she said.

“That’s easy for you to say,” Dean continued trying to back away from her, pressing himself into the angel. “It’s not your life on the line; it’s mine,” he snapped.

“This is part of life,” she told him, kindly. “It is just as important as your birth and all the time in between.”

“I don’t care what it is or isn’t. I’m not leaving my family,” he said flatly. “I’m just not. Even if I die, I’m still not leaving them, so you can just go the hell away.” He looked toward the bed and saw that his dad and Sam were in the room again. There was a tailored woman and a frumpy man standing with them. “Dad!” he called out anxiously. He pushed the reaper’s hand away and slowly got to his feet and stood there wobbling. He tenuously moved toward his family. The angel began to pace around, agitated, but Dean barely noticed. His eyes were on his father.

His dad was bitching out the lady. I’ve signed, now take your consent form and get the hell out of here! the hunter said bitterly. He eyed the woman up and down with utter disgust. You don’t have a goddamned clue, lady. Closure? What the hell are you talking about? There will never be closure. Never. His dad’s chin quivered. And take the pastor with you. He’s not welcome here. Dean’s an atheist. And so am I. Dean was shocked at his father’s appearance, the loss and hopelessness in the man’s eyes was crushing.

“I wish he had never prayed for me,” Dean said, his eyes watering. “Then he wouldn’t have had to know that God didn’t care enough to answer.” He saw the angel shift and stiffen and then go back to his pacing. The teen looked at Sam. Tears ran down the little boy’s cheeks, but he stood next to his father, tall and quiet, saying nothing.

“Come Dean,” the reaper said softly. “It’s almost time.” She reached out her hand to him, and Dean felt the unaccountable urge to take it. He pulled back just before touching her.

“No, dammit. I’m not going,” he said angrily. Everyone had left the room other than his father and Sam. He watched them approach the foot of his bed. Dean moved to walk over to them, but his body wouldn’t obey. His legs went out from under him, and the angel flew over and caught him, setting him lightly on the floor. From the shelter of the angel’s arms, the teen watched his father lift the sheet and kiss his foot before tucking it back in. That tore at Dean’s heart.

“Aw, Dad,” he said brokenly. “I’m here!” he called out. “I’m here! I’m not gonna leave you. I swear I won’t.” He saw the reaper give the angel a cautionary look, and she shook her head slowly. She knelt down by Dean and the angel. Dean tiredly turned away from her, looking to his father for strength and guidance. Eventually, the hunter spoke.

You did real good, Dean. You fought hard. I know you did. But you listen to me, bud. Listen to me, OK? Don’t hang around. You go on. We’ll be all right. I know you. I know what you’re thinking, but you can’t do it, Dean. His dad gripped his hand and rubbed it lovingly. Dean’s shoulders slumped, his spirit devastated.

“Dad,” he cried out. “No! Please don’t make me go, Dad. Please! I can’t leave Sammy! Who’s going to look after things? You need me!” he begged.

Sammy and me, we’re going to miss you more than words can say, but it’s not right to try and stay. You go on, now. That’s an order. We clear? Go see your mom.

Dean tried to lever himself up, tried to run away, tried to unhear the words his father had spoken. Despite his father’s grief, Dean recognized that commanding tone. The man meant what he said; Dean knew that. This was his father’s final order, and it was one that the teen didn’t know if he had the strength to carry out. But he was his father’s son. He didn’t know how he could not obey. He felt both the angel and the reaper draw close. He was leaning against the angel, but he felt an inexplicable pull toward the reaper.

You give her a hug from me. She’ll have some tomato-rice soup ready for you, yeah? I know you’ll like that. We’ll be all right. We’ll catch up with you later. You did real, real good. I’m so proud of you, Dean. It has been a privilege and an honor, son. I didn’t deserve you, but I’m glad I had you for as long as I did. I love you, Dean. I love you so goddamned much.

“Dad…” Dean begged. “I can’t. Dad, please.” The angel was shuddering now as if he, too, had begun to weep. Dean felt the reaper stroke his hair and despite his grief and defiance, he leaned into her touch. It soothed like frozen aloe—drained away his will to resist. He felt her shift him away from the angel until he was fully cradled in her arms, his head limply resting on her slight bosom. His eyes darkened and closed. His father’s words continued to echo around him and within him.

Remember now, no hanging around. If there’s a reaper there, you go with him. I know you’re scared and I know you don’t want to go, but it’s the right thing to do. I’ll look after Sammy. I promise.

And that was it. The order had been given, and Dean couldn’t fight anymore. He was tired. So damn tired. The reaper caressed him, while the angel’s wings flapped out their unease and agitation.

Sam? Don’t let this moment pass without telling him how you feel.

“Sammy?” Dean said dreamily, his unseeing eyes opening wide for a moment. A weak smile swept across his face, and it seemed to him that he actually felt his brother’s lips on his cheek, kissing him. He languidly reached up and touched his face, expecting his brother to be right there. He could feel the little boy’s warm breath in his ear, could hear his brother’s whispered words penetrate through the haze. “Oh Sammy,” he said, his voice caught, trembling. Dean’s fading eyes sought out the angel, beckoning him to come close. The angel bent down on one knee, his wings arching high above his head.

“What is it, Dean?” he asked.

His voice was nothing more than a whisper. “Sammy wants—Sammy wants to know wh—why Heaven needs me more than he does,” he said haltingly. “M’only asking ‘cause he wanted me to ask you,” Dean said and closed his eyes again. He relaxed back into the arms of the reaper. She pet him and spoke soft, soothing words into his ear.

The angel, however, remained kneeling, poised, taut and tense like a gravestone statue bent in thought. His face reflected a deep inner struggle, striving to find a suitable answer, but there was none. None. “It doesn’t,” he said plainly. “It doesn’t,” he repeated.

Dean and the girl paid no more attention. Dean looked up into the dark eyes of the reaper as she bent over him, her fingers brushing against his cheek. The touch was too compelling to deny, and he surrendered to her.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

Dean’s breath hitched and he nodded, at peace, craving release. He swallowed convulsively. “Do it,” he said.

She smiled at him and used her thumb to tilt his face to meet hers. As she bent in for her final kiss, Dean gazed at her, returning the smile. His breath was a white cloud. He was ready. So, so ready.

“No!” the angel’s voice reverberated through the room. Dean could feel the power of the word. It trembled in his core. Dean heard the angel extend his wings, unfurling and flexing them, light and power exploding outward as they spanned the room. Even with his eyes closed, white-hot radiance stabbed Dean’s eyes, and he felt the air crackle and surge with angel-grace. He gasped, eyes flung wide. Through the blinding light, Dean saw the angel standing by the bed, tall and fierce and resolute. The angel’s beauty was absolute—violent and commanding. Dean watched his friend turn and look him in the eye. There were stars in the palms of his hands.

“You are needed elsewhere, Dean Winchester.” The angel’s words resounded and the earth quaked. And his supernova hands descended onto Dean’s chest where he lay in the hospital bed. The body glowed, and Dean’s soul responded.

At first, the sensation was pleasant, much like the warm droplets of angel-grace that had always helped revive him, but the sudden flow soon became far too intense and it seared him, magma hot. He pitched up, gasping, sizzling as the power poured into him, welding white, filling every chamber, every particle and wave of him. He could contain no more and still the power continued to Niagra into him, the excess spilling out, billowing into the air around him, until he was surrounded by an aura of ivory flame. Through the rage, he heard the reaper wail in distress.

“You can’t do this!” she cried out, angry, horrified. “Get away from him!”

It was the last thing Dean heard before he was suddenly pinwheeling through space, hurtling like a burning meteor toward his body. When body and soul collided, there was a sickening explosion of molten agony in the back of his head, and his senses reeled and fled. Yet, even as darkness overtook him, Dean knew with absolute certainty that he was himself—that he was not lost—that he was not going with the reaper. He was where he was needed. And so he yielded to the void, allowing it to take him wherever it would.




**O**


“No!” Sam shouted, and John jumped, startled by the outburst. The surgeon took his hand off the switch, perhaps fearing that Sam was not ready or wondering, maybe, if it would be better if the child were removed from the room.

Oh God, not now, Sam, John thought. Both Dr. Metzger and John looked at the child. The hunter was puzzled by the look on the boy’s face. Instead of grief and denial, John saw wonder and wild surprise. Sam lifted a shaky finger and pointed to Dean.

“Sam,” the hunter said as gently as he could, but Sam shook his head, stuttering and pointing.

“Th—the Light!” He looked around in awe and gasped again. “Feel that? Oh! Do you feel it? Oh wow! Dean! H—he…he moved! He moved!” he shouted. “There! Right there! His fingers moved!”

John looked where Sam was pointing but saw nothing. “Sam,” he said brokenly, fearing that the child was having some sort of breakdown. “Don’t…” he began, but then he stopped dead in his tracks. John still had Dean’s other hand gripped tightly in his own, and he suddenly felt a twitch. A thrill of adrenaline shot through John’s body. He looked down and it happened again. Dean’s fingers flexed and quivered a little before relaxing again. John looked at his son’s face. The boy’s eyebrows twinged and then knotted a moment before relaxing.

“Jesus!” John said with a start. “Dean? Son?” he said breathlessly. He could barely grasp what was unfolding. He bent in close, stroking his son’s cheek, fear and hope storming across his face, taking over his body. Without thought, he instinctively reached out and tried to gather Dean into his arms, upsetting the equipment. The doctor acted quickly and pulled him away.

The surgeon moved John aside and bent in, looking at the boy. When Dean’s eyelids began to flutter, the doctor lifted them and flashed a penlight into each pupil. John sucked in a breath. Both irises were front and center. They reflected disorientation, pain, and shock, yes—but they also reflected Dean. The boy even flinched and tried to retreat from the annoying light. John’s hand covered his mouth and fresh tears stung his eyes. He was looking at his son. Dean was right there, right now. Sam moved forward to get to his brother, but John pulled him back so that the doctor could work.

“Dean?” the doctor called his name near the boy’s face. Dean’s eyes fluttered again and opened about halfway before closing down. The doctor scraped his knuckles across Dean’s sternum and the teen’s arms curled inward reflexively from the pain. Dr. Michael’s face went ashen, and he shook his head, clearly at a loss. He hit the call-button and soon several people were swarming the room. John and Sam were quickly ushered away despite their protests, forced once more to wait outside until further word. A steady stream of doctors, nurses and technicians entered and exited the room in a flurry of activity. The EEG machine was soon rolled back into the room and John and Sam stood stunned and silent. It was pure torture, but this time, however, John knew that every second that passed was another moment that Dean was alive. Every second that lapsed increased John’s hope—and worry. Surely, they would not be kept away if the doctor had not found some basis to keep the ventilator on. John was convinced that he had seen his son in those dazed, green eyes. Sam’s small voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Did God just heal Dean?” he asked, his red eyes aflame with wonder. John looked at the boy, taking a slow moment to concentrate on what he had asked.

“God?” he asked, confused. “I don’t know, Sam. I don’t know what’s going on. But something’s happening.”

“But didn’t you feel it?” Sam asked, looking at his father strangely.

“Feel what?”

Sam raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean what? How could you miss it? Didn’t you feel the power? It was like sticking your finger in a light socket only it didn’t burn. It was warm—like sunshine, only a lot, lot brighter. It was all over Dean, Dad. You really didn’t feel it?”

John stared at the boy. He had no clue what the kid was talking about. Sam had been in such a state of shock earlier that John was worried that he was imagining things, possibly even hallucinating. He didn’t want to argue, though—not now.

“I didn’t feel anything,” he said. Sam was just about to say something else when the door opened. They stepped back as several people began moving the bed out of the room. Dr. Metzger pulled the Winchesters aside.

“We have to take Dean down for another CT scan right away.” The man looked as shaken as they were.

“What is it?” John pressed, his fear and anxiety spiking. “What’s happening to him?”

The doctor scratched his head. “We performed another EEG and there is…” The doctor seemed torn between elation and confusion. “It’s showing brain activity. A lot of it, in fact. We’ve stabilized him, but we need to see what’s happening as quickly as we can.”

“Is he awake?” Sam asked.

The doctor shook his head. “No, but he’s responding to touch and his reflexes are…” Again the doctor paused to shake his head, stymied by his own admission. “His reflexes are actually very good.” He moved to follow the bed. “We’re going to be running several tests. Why don’t you head down to the dayroom and have a seat. I’ll be back to talk to you as soon as I can.” The bewildered doctor left them with another shake of his head.

John and Sam were left bobbing and burbling in the wake of the activity as the entourage moved down the hall. Sam looked up at his father.

“God heard our prayers,” he said in awe. John looked down at the boy. He didn’t know quite what to think at this point, but he was suddenly terrified for Dean all over again. He could feel his knees start to buckle from the rollercoaster he was riding. He looked at Sam blankly.

“You’ll see, Dad,” the boy said emphatically. “God knew we needed him more.”




**O**


The moon kept its quiet vigil over the dark, sleeping sea. The angel stood long and then stretched his wings; he turned from the window and moved to stand near Dean’s bed. John and Sam Winchester were slumped in nearby chairs. It had been without question one of the most stressful days that either had ever endured. Added to the considerable exhaustion they’d already been suffering, both were now completely out, sleeping so deeply that the angel sensed no dreams or thoughts coming from either one of them. It was the same for Dean, who had not yet awakened from the trauma of having been healed.

It had been an intense ordeal for all involved. Even the reaper had been shocked and appalled by the events. The angel couldn’t help but smile just a little bit, thinking of her horrified face and hostile departure. He did not regret his decision, but he did at least acknowledge that he had allowed events to spiral out of control before taking action. The boy had been too close to death, and healed or not, that would leave a mark on his soul. That was something the angel could not undo, and Dean would have to recover his strength of spirit as well as his strength of body. The angel knew, at least, that Dean’s family would be there to help revive him. That would be much better medicine than anything he could have contrived, anyway. He bent in close to Dean, listening for any thoughts or soul-chatter, but all was quiet within. All three of the Winchesters were resting, and that was very encouraging indeed.

As the angel stood erect, taking up his solitary watch, he felt a rumble beneath his feet and heard the flap of feathers not far behind him. He sighed and closed his eyes but did not turn. He continued to look at Dean’s sleeping face. The room remained static and tense for a long moment. The angel could feel the animosity radiating off of the newcomer.

“I thought your orders were clear,” the seraph said with a quiet, deadly anger.

The angel nodded as he continued to watch Dean. He knew this was not going to be pleasant, but he stood tall, sound in his decision, regretting nothing, willing to do the same all over again if given the choice. “They were,” he said, eyes on the boy.

“You were told to observe and nothing more.”

“I was,” the angel admitted.

The seraph moved closer. He was seething. “Be very careful my brother,” he said disdainfully. “Many angels have fallen or been cast down for less than what you have just done. You would have already been thrown out of the garrison had my counsel prevailed.”

The angel shrugged ever so slightly. He turned to the seraph, looking at the contempt in his face before turning back to the sleeping boy. “I hear you, brother,” he said. “I judged the situation as best I could. I wasn’t going to let him die.” He paused a moment. “Besides, I didn’t fix everything,” he said. “I wasn’t that conspicuous. I only fixed the problems that were caused by the bleeding and swelling in his brain. He still has to recover from the surgery itself.” The angel bent close again, studying the body. “He is also developing an infection in his lungs from the breathing machine he is attached to. The doctors will have to treat him for it.” The angel looked at the seraph. “He has a long row to hoe, but he is needed here more. He is too valuable. I made the right choice.”

The seraph came up to his side and looked at the unconscious teen. “It wasn’t your choice to make. You have coddled this thing,” he huffed. “And if Lucifer is loosed, Michael will have to rely upon a subpar vehicle. The fate of the world rests with this body. What good is a vessel if it doesn’t have the strength to accomplish what it was made for?”

“The fortitude of the vessel shouldn’t be measured by the strength of one single artery. Dean Winchester is stronger than you can possibly conceive. Protecting Michael’s vessel should rank as a higher priority than you seem to give it. How many times have I heard both you and Uriel say it? This is our brother’s one true vessel, and our greatest hope,” the angel said passionately.

“This vessel is weak. We can’t hope to win the battle ahead with this thing. Too much is riding on it. Better to just start over from scratch.” The seraph dismissed the body in the bed with a flick of his wrist and turned away.

The angels spun on the seraph, eyes blazing. “He isn’t a thing. He isn’t a vessel. His name is Dean. You accuse me of being blinded by his light, but I believe you are being willfully blind to it. You fail to see his value, for what reason, I cannot begin to guess. Petty jealousy? Vindictiveness? I don’t know. But you know just as well as I that any slight physical defect of the vessel could be and would be completely eradicated by its host, and Michael is the strongest among us. But even Michael cannot alter a soul. And this boy’s soul is stronger and brighter than any human I have yet come across. Michael will not just need a strong vessel; he will need a strong soul to interact with, to bind himself to.” The seraph angrily rolled his shoulders and turned away. The angel circled around forcing the seraph to look him in the eye. “We may be able to nourish and comfort—even heal, but no angel—not Michael himself—can create a soul. That is the sole domain of our Father. We cannot rely on just any vessel. Such an important task should not be entrusted to an understudy.” The angel shook his head, disgusted by the seraph. “If I didn’t know better, I would think you did not want us to defeat Lucifer.”

“You know nothing, little brother,” the seraph laughed angrily. “Perhaps you should go back to watching the tide and counting flowers and butterflies instead of interfering in affairs you don’t have the wisdom to comprehend.”

“I didn’t interfere. I was told to come here.”

“You were told to watch events and report what unfolded, not use it as a springboard for your own ambition. Trying to hoist yourself above the ruck, are you? Trying to earn a reputation for yourself, maybe—I mean, aside from your already established reputation for being shockingly naïve?” the seraph said snidely. “Our Father was testing the vessel, and you corrupted everything.”

“He wasn’t testing the vessel. He was testing us. Can’t you see that? Perhaps he was testing me,” the angel said with heat.

“And you failed.”

“Did I? Where is Joshua? What is his counsel? Surely, if our Father was angry, then Joshua would have sent you here to cast me down. Has he done so?” The angel watched as the seraph shifted uncomfortably and smugly folded his wings in front of him. He had nothing to say, telling the angel the truth of the matter. “I thought as much,” he said and turned back to watch his charge.

“Did you—did you just roll your eyes at me?” the seraph boomed. The angel made no response. “You should not spend much more time with humans—especially this one. You are picking up his truculence.”

“I sincerely disagree,” the angel said. “In fact, I believe he has taught me more about human nature in a few days than I have learned in a thousand years.”

“Your judgment is clearly being clouded,” the seraph said, refusing to give the angel the last word. He cast a flinty eye on the teen in the bed. “They are filthy creatures—smelly, horny, and prone to disease. If it weren’t for us working on their behalf they would be utterly unworthy of Heaven.”

The angel’s wings flared and his eyes shone bright. “Isn’t it odd, then, that we must attach ourselves to them in order to truly experience an earthly existence? We can’t walk among them; we can’t interact with the world without their permission and generosity. We can’t even hope to defeat an evil that they had no hand in creating without their assistance and cooperation. They may be unworthy of Heaven, but it seems that we are just as unworthy of Earth. Why else would our Father keep it from us? Our road to paradise will be paved with their sacrifices—and this boy’s in particular—yet you don’t even have the decency to call him by his name. You should be ashamed, Zachariah,” he admonished very quietly. The seraph was stunned into petulant silence. The angel reached out a hand and set it on Dean’s chest, feeling his strong heartbeat. He spoke again.

“It was the sage, Zarathustra, who once said that you could see the entire universe within a single grain of wheat. I believe it is much the same with Dean. I see my Father in him. I could not—I would not let such a soul pass from the earth for something as inconsequential as a piece of malformed, organic tissue.” He turned and faced his superior, looking him directly in his eyes. “I will accept whatever punishment my Father sees fit to bestow for my disobedience.”

The seraph stewed, having no snappy comeback. “I will go seek His revelation, then,” he said bitterly.

“You do that, brother,” the angel said with a small snort. “I will be right here, watching.”




**O**


The sun was slipping toward the horizon on the second day after Dean had miraculously come back from the brink. John watched his son twist and tick in his dreams. The boy had a low-grade fever and was being given an aggressive round of antibiotics to fight the pneumonia he’d contracted from the ventilator. John watched Dean flinch and wince in his light delirium. It was troubling to see his son continue to struggle day after day, but considering everything he’d endured, John was certain that Dean would beat this, too—handily.

After the shocking events when they’d nearly disconnected Dean from life-support, every specialist in the hospital had descended upon his son, poking, prodding, scanning, studying, probing. John finally had to bare his teeth and growl a few times to get people to back off. The boy had been through enough; he didn’t need to be dissected in order to try and find out why he’d lived. Dr. Metzger seemed profoundly baffled by the events—spooked even. After all the tests had been run and then run again, the surgeon had been left scratching his head over the data. The herniation in Dean’s head was gone—not merely reduced or subsided, but gone—as though if it had never been there at all. The brain showed no signs of bleeding from the rupture, no damage from a stroke. Even the Oculomotor Nerve Palsy in Dean’s eye had all but disappeared, and both pupils reacted equally to light. A second angiogram showed nothing beyond the clipped aneurysm. There was no other sign of insult beyond the surgery site where the skull had been drilled and sawed, and that was beginning to heal. Dean had fought against the ventilator so vehemently that first night that they’d simply removed it by morning, and other than the infection that was being dealt with, he was breathing well with just a little oxygen.

Sam, of course, was the only one completely unruffled. He knew what had occurred, or the kid thought he knew. He was adamant that God had performed a miracle. The child had convinced himself that he’d felt it happen, was sure he knew the exact moment when Dean had been healed. It was his skinwalker reasoning all over again. At this point, though, John let the kid have his delusions. He’d work him over later, condition his son to accept reality. A hunter couldn’t afford to cling to fantasies. But right now, there were other issues more pressing. He’d let Sam get his feet under him again. He’d gone through hell. John knew that; he’d been there himself. The hunter had, in fact, already found the nearest liquor store and had smuggled the bottle into the hospital under his jacket. If Sam needed his delusion to get him through the night, he’d let him have his crutch. For now.

More twitchy, fussy movements from Dean brought John out of his thoughts. The teen had been in and out of it all day, but he hadn’t shown any real recognition or coherence yet. Sam was anxious for his brother to wake up, but John was grateful for just being able to sit and hold his son’s fever-warm hand. It was enough. John watched Dean weave in and out of consciousness, patiently stroking his chest, patting it lightly. Dean grew more restless and fought harder against his dream.

“Shhhh, sport. You’re all right. Relax, buddy,” he soothed. The heart monitor began to spike, and Dean’s eyes flew open. His unfocused eyes roamed around until they landed on his father. Dean rasped out his first attempt at speech.

“Angel?” he said, but the word was so random John wasn’t sure he’d heard right. Dean’s voice had been so shredded by the ventilator it was hard to understand him. The teen’s eyes were glassy and confused.

“Easy son,” he said, but Dean was already struggling. Sam flew out of his chair and hovered close, reaching for Dean’s hand.

“You’re all right, Dean,” Sam said. “We’re here.” He patted his brother’s arm. “We’re here.”

“Where…?” Dean scraped out. He looked lost and his eyes searched the ceiling, tilting his head back and crying out when he was stopped by the pressure and pain in his head.

“You’re in the hospital, Dean,” John said. “You’ve been sick. They had to transfer you to Phoenix and perform surgery on the aneurysm, but you’re all right, son. You’re all right.” Tears filled John’s eyes as he repeated the words. “Don’t move, now.” Dean tried to shake his head but was again stopped cold by spikes of pain. He closed his eyes, retreating into himself. The teen wrenched out a pitiful groan.

“No…” Dean tried again after catching his breath. “Where…where’s the angel?” he said, straining to focus his thoughts. “Angel with big wings. Angel wings. You see him?”

John raised his eyebrows. He wasn’t sure if his son was still aphasic or if he was hallucinating from the fever. It didn’t matter. The boy was becoming too agitated. The nurse at the station noticed and winged over.

“How’s he doing?” she asked, fiddling with the heart monitor.

“He’s waking up, but he’s in pain and very confused,” he told the woman.

“Dad?” Dean said, his eyes opening again. “He here?”

“I’m here, buddy,” John tried to assure his son. “I’m here.”

Dean’s brows pleated. “No Dad…the angel. He here?”

“What angel, Dean?”

“Big one. Gold wings. You godda…tell’im,” he gulped out.

The nurse emptied a vial into his IV port and continued to watch his vitals. “Bless his soul,” she said kindly. “This will help,” she assured John as he looked at her with worry and gratitude.

“Dad…” Dean tried again, but the hunter could see the medication working quickly. “Tell him…y’godda tell him f’me.”

“Tell who what, Ace?” John said.

“The angel, Dad! Tell’im…tell’im…” Dean’s eyes slipped shut. “Tell’im thanks,” he said, and he was out again.

The nurse monitored the boy until she was satisfied and left the Winchesters to resume their vigil. Sam had been sitting quiet, trying to digest everything that had just happened. Finally he stirred and looked at his father.

“Holy shit!” he said, in jaw-dropping, wide-eyed awe. “An angel saved Dean! I knew it!”

John looked confused and a little frightened. “Watch your mouth,” he scolded. “And don’t be ridiculous. Dean’s delirious. There’s no such thing as angels.”




**O**


It was much easier than Dean thought it would be. Despite being weak and feverish, all he had to do was quietly focus as the morphine took hold, and he soon felt that familiar vibration in his spine, like the plucking of a steel string. There was a buzzing pressure in his head, and with a static pop he was out and falling through the tunnel. Just like that. The angel spun around from the window, his eyes growing large.

“Dean,” he said. His feathers tossed arcs of light into the air in his surprise. “What are you doing here?”

The boy tottered a moment. “Whoa…what a rush,” he said with an opiate smile. He shook his head a moment. “Kumbaya, dude. Know what I’m sayin’?” The angel was at his side in an instant, steadying him. Dean grinned drunkenly.

“No, I do not,” the angel said hesitantly. Dean laughed and patted his shoulder. The boy took a moment to come down from his journey through the tunnel. He finally straightened up.

“There, I’m good,” he said with a final shake of his head. “I guess I might just be getting the hang of this after all,” the teen laughed a little. “You never know, this could come in handy sometime.”

“You should not leave your body willingly,” the angel scolded. “I won’t always be here to watch over it. Many creatures prey upon abandoned bodies. Don’t make a habit of this. It’s dangerous.”

“Alright, alright,” the teen whistled out. “Geez, Grouchie McGroucherton,” he snickered. “I just wanted to come and thank you. I know what you did. I know you stuck your neck out for me, and…well…I’m really grateful, man. I owe you one.”

“You’re welcome, Dean,” he said. “You’re already looking much better.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Feeling like shit never felt so good,” he laughed. “But I’m on the mend,” he said. “And I know it was all you.” The angel and boy grew quiet as they watched each other. Dean cleared his throat and broke the silence. “So, did your dad go apeshit?”

The angel’s wings drooped slightly and his face seemed somewhat distressed. “My Father remains mute on the subject. I can’t figure out why. My brothers on the other hand…” He raised an eyebrow. “They have indeed defecated like apes.” Dean laughed out loud at that. “They’re very unhappy with me, but they will do nothing unless my Father tells them to. It is perhaps rather hypocritical of me, but I must confess I’m grateful for their obedience.”

Dean nodded and scratched his chin. “Yeah, I guess. So what happens now? Do I gotta do something for you? Am I gonna have to fulfill that prophecy or whatever? Am I stuck being Heaven’s bitch?”

“I don’t know what the future holds, truly,” the angel said. “Angels can plan for the future, but they can’t foresee it. I don’t know how things will unfold, but I didn’t heal you because of some destiny or because I wanted to fulfill prophecy.”

“Why did you do it, then?”

“I did it because your brother was right. You are needed here more,” he said. Then he paused. “But mostly I did it because that is what my heart told me to do.”

Dean looked at him with mock reproach. “Better watch yourself, you rebel,” he cautioned. “Next thing you know you’ll be smokin’ weed and havin’ orgies. Big damn, hippy angel. Get a haircut,” he teased.

“Indeed,” the angel conceded. “Then again, perhaps I’m not as rebellious as my actions would lead one to believe. Maybe it was my Father’s will all along.”

Dean nodded. “Maybe. I told you, dads can be really confusing. One minute you think you’ve completely screwed up, and the next they’re telling you that you made the right call. Who can figure ‘em out?”

“Truly,” the angel acknowledged.

Dean moved to the window and looked out as the sun set over the wheat field. “So, will I ever see you again?” The angel looked at him wistfully. Dean noticed for the first time that he was holding a small shaft of golden wheat in his hand. The angel turned and tossed it out of the window, and they both watched it dance and tumble away in the wind.

“Perhaps,” he said.

Dean was quiet for a moment. “Cool. You know, I never did even ask your name. You do have one, right?”

“I do,” the angel responded.

Dean waited a beat and then laughed. “That’s your cue, Einstein,” he nudged his friend. The angel turned and spoke his name, and Dean smiled. “Cool,” he said again and then grinned wide. “Kind of a wussy name if you ask me.” His eyes sparkled puckishly. “But it’s cool.”

“It is rather old fashioned,” the angel agreed. The angel stretched his wings and folded his arms. “It’s time that you went back. It’s not safe for you to be here any longer.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Dean said. “But, um, now that I’m getting the knack of this in-and-out business, you know…uh…maybe I can come visit once in a while, yeah? It’d be nice having an angel on my side, you know?” He scratched his head and looked awkward, “I mean, you’re kind of all right for a nerdy angel, even if you do talk like Gandalf.”

The angel shook his head placidly. “Maybe one day, but that time has not yet come. Until then…be well, my friend. You will not remember, but I promise that I will continue to watch over you,” he said very gently. And standing face to face, the angel extended two incandescent fingers and gently touched them to Dean’s surprised forehead.




**O**


They’d finally left Phoenix about three weeks after Dean’s surgery. The boy had weakened in the days after his initial, strange recovery due to a bout of vent-associated pneumonia. But after a dose of strong antibiotics, Dean slowly gained enough strength to leave without kicking up too much fuss from his doctor. Dr. Metzger had been so perplexed by the situation that he’d seemed to have given up trying to understand Dean’s recovery. Other than a nearly imperceptible wander to one of his eyes, Dean had suffered no permanent damage from the rupture and stroke. Truth to tell, John got the feeling that the surgeon was simply glad to see them go. Their presence seemed to make the doctor uncomfortable, as though he wanted to write the whole thing off and try and forget the inexplicable.

John understood that mentality. The hunter didn’t really care to know what had happened or why. It was enough just having Dean back with them. Some things were best left in the dark. Sam on the other hand…he was on the verge of storming the nearest church or calling the Weekly World News—one of the two.

Dean was still as weak as a kitten when they’d finally left the Barrow Institute and caught the midnight Greyhound up to Provo. He’d fallen asleep just after departing and slept the entire way back to Utah. He never once mentioned the Grand Canyon or asked to stop. John made a promise to himself, though, that as soon as Dean was well enough he’d take him there. He meant it this time. He really did.

Once back in Provo, though, they’d all been itchy and restless. John had called his boss and found that he’d been let go for not calling in, so to Sam’s and Dean’s utter delight, he’d contacted Bobby. The old hunter had bitched him up one side and down the other, using some of the most creative invectives John had ever heard. He’d then followed that up by ordering John to bring the boys and stay at his place as long as they needed while Dean recovered. The Impala was packed and they were ready to go. They just had one quick stop to make first, and then they would be on their way. John had no problem shaking the dust of Utah off his boots.

Sitting next to his father in the front seat, Dean was just glad to be on the road again. He felt much better with the Impala’s rumbled purr soothing him. He was tired as hell, but he was at peace—or would be if Sam would ever stop with his incessant inquisition.

“You’ve been smokin’ a little too much crack, there, little man,” Dean said. Weak or not, he was well enough to be cranky and irritable, and his brother didn’t seem to know when to give it a rest. Dean was positively sick of hearing about angels and miracles.

“But when you first woke up you said so. You said you’d been talking to an angel. Maybe he put a whammie on you to forget everything. It’s probably against the rules to know all about angels. Don’t you think?” Sam insisted.

“Dude, I was talkin’ out of my head,” Dean snorted. “I was on every drug known to man, and I had just had brain surgery. Don’t you remember when I had the chicken pox? I swore up and down that Dad had gummy-bears jumping out of his ears. Cut me some slack, will ya? I was…” Dean whistled like a coo-coo and swirled his finger around his ear.

“You really don’t remember, Dean?” Sam asked.

“Dude, what part of being comatose and having brain-surgery don’t you understand?”

Sam remained undaunted. “Then how did you get better? How did he get better, Dad?” Sam turned to his father who was maneuvering the Impala off the freeway.

“Oh Lord, he’s after you now, Dad,” Dean laughed.

“Well?” Sam prompted. “How’d he get better? You know how bad it was, Dad.” John looked at the boy through the rearview mirror, and they shared a pained glance, reliving those cruel days they’d spent together at Dean’s bedside. They hadn’t been able to clearly convey to Dean what they had endured during those dark hours. It had just been too hard for them, and neither wanted the reminder. Dean rolled his eyes.

“I told you. I’m Batman. Nothing keeps me down,” he said, reaching back to take a swipe at his brother. He missed, but he didn’t have the strength or inclination to try again. He curled his arm behind his head and leaned against the window watching the foothills of Provo blur past him until his eyes slipped shut.

After a few more minutes, John turned the car into the hospital parking lot. “We’re here, Dean,” he said. The boy’s eyes opened and he looked up at the building. It was a long way up to Pediatrics. “You want me to go get a chair?” John asked, having heard the kid’s tired sigh.

Dean let his glare do the talking for him. John shook his head and jumped out of the car, hopping around to the passenger side. He gripped Dean’s elbow and helped him out of the car. Even bundled in the thick hoodie he was wearing, he was still cold and frail. The hood was pulled up over his head, strings slightly drawn—enough so that his bandages couldn’t be seen. Dean was very self-conscious about his head. The thick bandages had all been removed except for a thin, sterile cap, but he didn’t like people seeing it and chose to keep his hood up even when he was in the house.

“Maybe we should just go,” Dean said, nervously. “They probably won’t even remember who I am,” he said, on the verge of chickening out.

“You said you wanted to thank them. They know you’re coming. They’re expecting you, Dean. Now, move your ass.” John slipped his arm around the teen’s waist and helped him into the building. They moved slowly, but the threesome eventually found their way up to the Pediatrics Unit. Dean was disappointed when they reached the nurse’s station. He didn’t recognize anyone.

“Hi,” John said. “This is Dean Winchester. We’re here to see Dr. Michaels.”

“Oh, Mr. Winchester,” she said. “Yes, he’s waiting for you in Conference Room 10B; it’s right at the end of the hall, there.” She pointed and gave John a knowing smile. “You can go right on in.” John gave her a nod and a wink. As they walked away, following her directions, she reached for her phone.

Dean clicked his tongue. “Man, what a jip. I was hoping to see Angie again.” He gave his father a cock-eyed grin. “And Layla and Nan. Mmm-mm-mm!” he hummed at the memory. “Best freakin’ massages in the world, dude. They could open a spa.”

“Uh huh,” John said, rolling his eyes. He stopped in front of the conference room. Pushing the door open, he put his hands on Dean’s shoulders from behind and steered him into the dark room.

“Um, Dad?” he said. “Wrong room.” Just then the lights flipped on.

“Surprise!” a chorus of voices rang out, and Dean was hit by a poof of streamers and glitter from hand-held confetti launchers. The boy looked around in complete and utter amazement and confusion. There was a huge Happy Birthday Dean! banner sagging between the walls. He saw a large cake, a pile of presents, balloons, and several beaming faces in ridiculous, cone-shaped party hats. Dr. Michaels was there, and Angie, too. Dean saw Nan and Layla, Sophia and her garrison of nurses from the ICU, even Muriel, the mean nurse who had scolded him non-stop the entire week he’d been on her floor. They were all there.

“What the…” Dean marveled. He looked amazed, embarrassed and more than a little flustered. “It’s not my birthday,” he broke the news to them. They laughed.

“We know,” Angie said, coming to him and giving him a hug. “We heard that you got sick on your birthday and weren’t able to celebrate. We wanted to make sure you got your party. Sixteen years old!” she blew out a breath. “That’s a pretty awesome milestone!”

“Here,” Layla said with a laugh. “Let’s all take a picture in front of the cake and presents and then we can all dig in!” The young, beautiful nurse gave Dean a kiss on his cheek. “You are looking so good, sweetheart,” she said. “We were all praying for you.” Everyone nodded. They pulled Dean to them and gathered around. Muriel handed her camera to John so that he could snap the photo.

Dean was abashed but deeply, deeply touched. “You guys are the best,” he said shyly. He cleared his throat and stood there, shifting awkwardly. Finally he looked up at them. “I heard what you guys did, and…” he fumbled. “And I know I wouldn’t be here now if it hadn’t been for all of you. You all went out on a limb for me, and I just,” he pulled at the strings of his hoodie, dithering. “I just really want to say thanks. You didn’t even know me, but you saved my life, and that’s…” He stood still, overcome and embarrassed. The room quieted. “That’s a lot. I really…just…thank you. All of you.” He cleared his throat again. Muriel reached for a tissue and wiped her eye.

“Come on, now,” John scolded with a laugh. “I can’t take this picture until I see some smiling faces.”

“Here, Dean,” Nan grabbed him. “You stand right in the middle,” she said. Everyone else drew in close, flanking him, creating a halo of happy faces around his.

And as his father snapped that picture, Dean couldn’t help but think about how unfortunate it was that he always felt the need to shut people out. He’d spent his life feeling so isolated and separate and different. Perhaps it was the way his family lived or the things he knew that most people didn’t—the things that he didn’t want them to ever know about. He knew that real evil existed in the world, and he wanted to protect them from it. Part of doing that meant keeping a safe distance from all of them. As hard as the last month had been, he’d learned a lot about humans from this experience. He’d never known until now just how truly good people could be. They really were wondrous, complicated creatures.

His brother was convinced that angels had been involved, that somehow Dean had been miraculously healed by divine intervention. Maybe Sam was right; maybe he wasn’t. Maybe the angels in this story had all been wearing white lab coats and scrubs instead of robes and sparkling wings. Maybe they had been his miracle. Maybe he wasn’t as alone as he thought he was. Maybe angels were watching.

The End


 
 
 
dearheartx0x0dearheartx0x0 on February 14th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Sooooo many emotions right now. My mom passed away here at home on Saturday and I....ugh. Reading 3 chapters in a row is just......wow. Truly amazing story. I'll leave a better comment later. <3
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 14th, 2013 03:45 am (UTC)
I honestly don't even quite know what to say. I'm so desperately sorry for your loss. I lost my mother 17 years ago. I am not where you are right now...but please know that I was once *there*...so I have an inkling what you are going through. I wish I could say something that would make things better for you, but we both know that I can't. So I'm sending you a long-distance *hug*. Take good care of yourself. Remember to eat. You will smile again. You will. /hugs.
(no subject) - dearheartx0x0 on February 14th, 2013 04:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thruterryseyes on February 14th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
gypsy_atavarigypsy_atavari on February 14th, 2013 02:17 am (UTC)
Loves so much! *hugs the boys*
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 14th, 2013 03:46 am (UTC)
Whee! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Happy endings are few and far between. I couldn't resist. :P
jpgr: SPN Family Businessjpgr on February 14th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
Awwww!!!

Roller coaster. I was crying, tears streaming, when Dean heard John's good-bye. Smiling when Cas stood up to Zachariah. I love how you had Sam see the healing light. Oh, and when Dean called Cas a bad boy rebel, saying next thing he'd be smoling weed and having orgies, all I could picture was him in "The End" - which is what I hope you were aiming for.

Again, wonderful, magnificent job!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 14th, 2013 03:49 am (UTC)
Yep, the allusion to "The End" was exactly what I was going for. I didn't really want to *name* the angel outright (although, the version that my betas saw did, in fact name him...I wound up pulling that part out because it was stilted and strained), but if people didn't know who he was, then really failed big time. ;)

So glad you enjoyed! Thanks so much for commenting and keeping me company week in and week out. You're so awesome to have done that! /hugs
Kallielkalliel on February 14th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
“Sammy wants—Sammy wants to know wh—why Heaven needs me more than he does,” he said haltingly. “M’only asking ‘cause he wanted me to ask you,” Dean said and closed his eyes again. He relaxed back into the arms of the reaper. She pet him and spoke soft, soothing words into his ear.

The angel, however, remained kneeling, poised, taut and tense like a gravestone statue bent in thought. His face reflected a deep inner struggle, striving to find a suitable answer, but there was none. None. “It doesn’t,” he said plainly. “It doesn’t,” he repeated.


OH GOD. ;____; What a lovely emotional rollercoaster this story has been. Great job, and congratulations on your final chapter! Such a wonderful accomplishment. :) Thank you for writing this~
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so fantastically happy that you enjoyed it. It was a joyful experience...I had a lot of fun with this one and am keen to do it again soon. :)
(no subject) - kalliel on February 15th, 2013 12:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
gluisa88gluisa88 on February 14th, 2013 09:10 pm (UTC)
Wow, such an emotional story- I loved every word of it!

Thank you for sharing your stories with us- it's obvious that you put a ton of time and hard work and effort in them and I will read whatever future projects you write!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
Thanks so much gluisa, it was a pleasure to chat with you while posting the story! I'm very glad you enjoyed.

I absolutely plan on more stories. I'm not a very fast writer, though, so it might be a while before I crank out another, but I definitely have more planned. Thanks tons!
lidia1991_anlidia1991_an on February 14th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)

Beautiful,touching,amazing story! Can't wait for the next!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 12:27 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, lidia. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it. There will be a next story for sure, but as I said to gluisa, I'm a pretty slow writer. Hehe. So it might be a while. Until then, please be well!
(Anonymous) on February 15th, 2013 02:05 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this story. It has truly been an amazing ride!
I especially like how you convey so many emotions while also keeping the story fresh and eve witty. Not given the angel´s name was also a good touch, although we do know who he is!
And like you, let me thank your betas too, I have read some of their stories, and they are spectacular, so what a great combo there!
Now, I´m going to start reading all of your stories, and while I´m doing that, you better start planning a new one!
Love, Cecile
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 03:26 am (UTC)
Aw Cecile, thank you SO much for that. Yes, I certainly hoped that the angel's identity wouldn't need to be verbalized. Hehe!

Oh YES, man, did I totally win the Beta lottery or WHAT?! Seriously, these women are so unbelievably talented, I feel so honored that they agreed to beta for me. Numpty just sent me the first chapter of her newest story that she's writing, and I am SO stoked for it. Everyone is going to love it. Fantastic stuff.

Ha! Enjoy the other stories. Let me know how you liked them. I am very much planning a new story. I am not a very fast writer, though, so it'll be a few months. I don't like to post until the story is complete (don't like people waiting for weeks in between chapters...and I'm an infernal tinkerer and continually write the story backwards and forwards...heh), but I should have something out by sometime in the summer.

Until then, you be very well. Thank you so much for your incredible generosity.

Kat
tifachingtifaching on February 15th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC)
You had to replay John's words to Dean...I'd barely gotten over them from last time!

Such a wonderful ending to the story. Your angels were perfect.

“If I didn’t know better, I would think you did not want us to defeat Lucifer.” Hold that thought, Cas.

Emotional and tense and heartbreaking and just fantasticl. I love all your words!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
Poor T! I couldn't resist the replay through Dean's eyes. :)

I am so glad you liked this story. It wasn't one that I really had planned...it just came to me and I figured it would be a nice *short* story to do. So my two chapter, 15k story turned into eight chapters and 60k words. God, I am such a damn wind-bag. LOL. I'm embarrassed. Heh.

Thank you so very, very much for all of your support. I get so neurotic when I post a story, but people like you always put a smile on my face. It really means more to me than you really know. Thanks. :)
Haleh KV_HaleH_V on February 15th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
Amazing story and the last chapter killed me!!! nice job! :)
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 03:32 am (UTC)
/performs CPR on you. No dyin' on my watch! ;) Thank you very much for the lovely comment. You've put a huge smile on my face.
ayane42ayane42 on February 15th, 2013 06:43 am (UTC)
What an incredible story!!

Very emotional!! Wow!! Stirred up a lot of old memories for me of losses I've had. Very real!

Loved this!!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yes...unfortunately, grief is pretty universal and most people can relate, even though we don't really talk about it in everyday conversations. I definitely revisited my own losses while writing.

Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know you enjoyed the story. That means the world to me. :)
stazzijenstazzijen on February 15th, 2013 07:30 am (UTC)
Wonderful. This has been so emotional and moved me to tears on many occasions. You captured the characters beautifully.Absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this. You are very talented indeed.

Thanks and hugs to you
xxxx

sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 01:31 pm (UTC)
Aw stazzigen, thank you so much! I'm beyond happy that you enjoyed this. You've encouraged me greatly with all of your wonderful comments and enthusiasm.

Hugs right back atcha. :)
I do not think it means what you think it means.tcs1121 on February 15th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
That was painful, haunting, and brilliant. I felt every emotion you threw at me.

It's hard to find an author talented enough to write a story this intense without going over the top in any direction. But you pulled it off masterfully.

Thank you for writing this and sharing your time and talent with all of us in the SPN community.

Beautifully done.

sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
Wow, THANK you for that. It is extremely difficult to gauge when you're writing...how close to that fine, fine line you are getting. I was always very frightened of slipping over. Thank blazes that I had two betas with sharp, sharp eyes and enough courage to tell me "um...a little too much, Kat..." LOL. And they DID tell me that a time or two.

Thank YOU for reading and for letting me know you enjoyed the story. I can't tell you how much that means to me. It's like CPR for writers. :) Thanks again and take good care.
(Anonymous) on February 15th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
Damn you, you made me cry. But it was the good kind. I can't even put what I feel about this story into words.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 15th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it was good tears this time! :) Thank you SO much for taking to comment. I'm so glad you liked the story. I truly appreciate it so very dadgum much! /hugs
achoo987achoo987 on February 16th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Please tell me you are having a pdf made for this wonderful fic. Loved everything about this even when you broke my heart, then made it better only to shatter it again, but it's better now since he is on the road to recovery.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 16th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
You bet there is a PDF made. Just look in the master post for the story. There is a PDF clicky-thing right there. You can also find the story on AO3 (pen name is just "Sharlot" there), so if that is a better format for you...you can always go there. But yes...PDF is already made. Just click on story name in the right-hand margin, and that should take you to the master post. If you have trouble finding it, let me know.

And thank you very much for your kind words. I'm so happy the story worked for you (you know...after having broken you a couple of times. :P) I understand, though. But I tend to be a sucker for happy (or...happy-ish) endings.

Thanks again!
(no subject) - achoo987 on February 17th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sharlot1926 on February 17th, 2013 05:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
arafel979 on February 16th, 2013 03:07 am (UTC)
"Dean fended him off. “What gave it away, Sherlock?” Dean smiled grimly, teetering as he struggled to rise.

The angel squinted, tilting his head. “My name is not Sherlock,” he said. Dean rolled his eyes, and gripping the angel’s hand as it was offered a second time, he used it to lever himself into a sitting position.

“Thanks,” he said with a weary sigh. He tried to rub the fog out of his head, but his hands were limp and soggy and fell at his sides. He would have tipped over if the angel had not reached out and steadied him. “What’s wrong with me?” he asked groggily.

The angel softly smoothed the boy’s hair and Dean instinctively sought out the revitalizing droplets of light that softly fell from the angel’s wings. The teen’s head lolled against his friend’s chest and he breathed deep. The angel looked down at the boy with worried eyes. “You are still connected to your body, and it has reached its limit, I’m afraid. It’s becoming a drain on your soul. I’m sorry. I have tried to sustain you as you slept, but it is no longer enough. You need something stronger, but…” the angel hesitated.

“You’d have to have your dad’s permission,” Dean finished for him. “Yeah, I get it,” he sighed. He sat dully for a moment and then weakly looked up at the angel holding him. “Guess m’gonna die, then?” Dean’s eyes closed down and he strove to reopen them.

“My Father has not given permission to intervene on your behalf,” he said, and Dean could feel the angel shake with his words. He seemed angry—very angry. Dean shuddered to think what would happen if the angel chose not to restrain himself. “The situation is becoming very critical,” he admitted.

Dean finally peeled his eyes open. “Is my soul gonna die, too?” Dean asked hazily, trying to focus on the face above his."

This conversation was so true to both characters, but only at another, earlier time. I absolutely love how you have captured that. Your YoungDean is perfection and what can I say about his mysterious angel friend and protector except...yeah, the same...perfection. Wonderful characterizations.

Dean listening to John telling him to move on?-I was SO! hoping you would go there...and you did. A wonderfully moving read. Thank you.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on February 16th, 2013 04:09 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for that! I was honestly pretty scared try and tackle teen!Dean and pre-Jimmyl!Cas. Heh. It was hard to balance what each would know at that given time...or how they would react...and even how they would react to each other. So, I'm glad that these versions worked for you. I did ultimately enjoy writing young!Dean very much and plan to revisit this era again sometime. But I generally tend to enjoy writing stories set in the early years before the mytharc became a little confining, anyway...so this was a good way to play with Cas...who I would normally not get to write.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the story. That is as good as chocolate. :)