Kisses by Sunflower Beds
It’s not like Cas didn’t know it would happen eventually, inevitably. Maybe he thought he’d be the first to go. He’s the immortal one, but the Winchesters did have a knack for surviving.
Still, knowing that something is going to happen, knowing that Sam and Dean would not live forever even though it felt like they should, doesn’t prepare him for when it does happen.
Sam and Dean go out like they always promised they would. Fighting. It’s an honourable death but what is the point of an honourable death, Cas wonders, when your loved ones are lost to you.
In his last moments, Dean sees his life flash before his eyes which is how he knows that this time it will stick, knows it’s for good and there’s no coming back from this one.
In truth, he doesn’t actually see his life but feels it. He’s overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment and he associates it to every time he took care of Sammy when they were children, got them through the night, got his kid brother to laugh instead of ask questions. He associates it with the first time he shot a firearm and his dad called him a natural. The first time he saved a life. The first time he saved the world. The first time he made Cas come.
A wave of joy hits him after that. Prank wars with Sam. Antics with Charlie. Driving Baby. His first lazy sunday with Cas. Every lazy sunday with Cas after that.
With his dying breath, Dean smells motor oil and pie and sex and honey and it all smells good. It smells perfect melded together, though it shouldn’t, and if it were bottled the label would read Life of Dean Winchester. He doesn’t smell blood or burning flesh or sulfur.
He hears his favourite tune along with Cas’ clumsy mumble and Sam’s off key singing.
Dean feels his life slip away with all his senses save for sight. That’s not to say he doesn’t see anything. He sees tree twigs that look big in the chubby hands of children, he sees long dark hair he hasn’t encountered before, a stone path and a bed of sunflowers and the sight of an ugly yellow backpack in Baby’s backseat. He doesn’t remember any of these things, not really, but he still somehow recognises them. They feel like memories that belong to him.
He doesn’t spare it much more thought than that. Oddly enough, Dean’s last thought is of the botanical garden Cas had wanted- insisted on- them going to. Dean didn’t care much for it but agreed because he wasn’t one to deny Cas anything. Still, it took them years to find the time to make the trip.
Sam decided to come along because there’s a library in the area that has a whole section on south american lore, something the men of letters bunker was lacking. He knew he was essentially crashing their date so Sam offered shotgun to Cas.
He was a little cramped in the backseat and had to angle his body sideways to make room for his legs but he noticed how when Dean’s hand wasn’t on the gear shift it was in Cas’ so he didn’t mind so much.
Halfway there was when they got the call that lead the brothers to their final case. To this final moment where Dean’s only regret is that he doesn’t get the chance to be led around between patches of greenery by Cas as the angel prattles on about one fact or another.
Castiel drives the impala back to the bunker. He could have flown it but that didn’t feel right. He gets pulled over once and he thinks the officer takes pity on him. Cas can imagine what he looks like, the blue of his puffy eyes contrasting with the veiny red, hair looking like it’s been tugged at- because it has, his chapped gnawed-at lower lip stained red from the blood he can taste.
He doesn’t make it to the bed he shares with Dean. He pretends it’s because the bedroom is so far down the hall and he’s so tired and but it’s because he can’t bear the sight of it. He stumbles- he is exhausted- into a random room, sheds his trench coat halfway to the bed before he lands on it. Or lands on something on the bed.
SUPERNATURAL by Carver Edlund
It’s the room Charlie would stay in, he knows now. He doesn’t mean to, but he ends up cracking open the book and reading all about the time Sam and Dean came across the croatoan virus for the first time.
It’s the real Dean, the depiction is accurate and these are real events from the hunter’s life but it’s not really Dean. It grows the already too wide hole inside of Cas. He can’t bring Dean back. But he can’t be without him. So Cas leaves to meet versions of Dean he hasn’t come across before, versions of Dean even Chuck didn’t take the time to write about.
Dean is three, almost four, when Cas, invisible, appears in the boy’s Lawrence home. Dean is kneeling on the sofa beside a pregnant Mary who keeps telling him that it’s ok to touch.
“It’s your little brother in there, Dean,” She says.
Dean purses his still thin lips, scratches a hair full of hair that’s only blond like Mary’s in the summer, and says, “That’s where daddy put him?”
Mary chokes a little when she laughs and moves into a tamed explanation of the birds and the bees.
Cas doesn’t listen, his eyes are peeled on Dean. This little boy who has no idea he’ll one day save a dying sun. This little boy that scrunches his face just like his Dean does, that shakily places a hand on his mother’s belly all false bravado, that has freckles splayed across his cheeks.
All Cas wants to do is to move closer. Is to stare. Is to see if three year-old Dean has all the freckles his Dean has or if some appeared with time. All Cas wants is to hold this boy. To tell him he’s perfect. To tell him he is loved. Cas can’t do any of these things.
He decides that’s unacceptable.
At eight Dean already knows how to shoot a firearm, so when the kids in his class want to pretend the sticks they find along the fence of the school lot are guns he’s happy that one boy wants to stack twigs as high as he can instead.
Every recess, Dean looks for a pair of blue eyes and the darkest hair on the playground and the two go off together. Cas- though Dean calls him Scottie in this vessel- recounts to Dean these wild stories about a pair of heroes, and they run around reenacting them.