Chapter 2: Sacrifice & Miracles

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Chapter 2. Sacrifice & Miracles.

The world kept turning.

That's the long and short of it. They were prepared--always prepared--to go down swinging. To take themselves to pieces to put the world back together. To bend even the gods to their own damn will, because the world deserved better.

It's what they did. What Winchesters did. Saving people. Hunting things.

***

The fact is none of them expected to walk away. Oh, Sam promised Dean not to do anything rash. That he would have a stupid funeral for his stupid brother. And he knew Dean well enough to know Dean was marching to his death dreaming of Sam fat and old and retired, with a dog and a blonde and a kid or something equally ridiculous.

It's a problem Dean had--he never could remember when Sam out grew things.

He outgrew the dream of normal somewhere between the guilt of leaving his brothers in purgatory and the weight of the trials.

But Dean marched out to face the Darkness with a hundred thousand souls burning in his chest and Sam? Quietly plotted how he would end it. A gun, a single round, when Cas was away.

Not when Cas was there. It wouldn't be fair to the angel.

Not that any of this was fair.

But then. An amazing thing happened. Even for a Winchester, it was a miracle.

****

Cas wasn't stupid. He knew exactly what Sam planned. He just couldn't be bothered to stop him. He almost wanted to hand him a gun and an angel blade and ask that they go together.

If he couldn't go with Dean, perhaps Sam would grant him that one last thing...

He has spent too many years with the Winchester brothers to imagine a world without them. The world didn't end. It spun stupid and slow and infuriating and he wanted to scream and to throw it into the sun, wanted to blast his grace through every city that ranted about the sun's odd behavior and stupid, ridiculous scientific explanations.

He wanted to paint Dean's face on their eyes in blood and ash, because if he must die to save them, they should know.

They should care.

He can feel himself fraying.

He knows that he is as on edge as when he held every soul in purgatory. And just as dangerous.

Desperate men with nothing to lose are the scary kind of dangerous.

Desperate angels are worse.

He shivers as he steps into the bunker behind Sam, and feels the heavy, empty air. Feels Sam's fury and despair.

"Sam," he starts to say, but the Winchester is cutting him off, shaking his big shaggy head, and Castiel falls silent.

Dean called him brother before he left. But Sam is the true brother, and Cas feels like an unwanted intruder on his grief.

He turns away.

****

Dean isn't sure which is more amazing. That he just talked Chuck and Amara away from the ledge, or that he's alive. He stumbles through the underbrush with no fucking clue where he is, and a deep need to get back to Kansas.

Glances at his phone again--still no service.

Amara said she was going to give him what he needed most. And then she was gone and so was Chuck and he was in the middle of fucking nowhere with no cell service and a brother who thinks he's dead.

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