Title: Push, Pull, Stay - posted April 21, 2009
Author: Lacey McBain
Pairing: Gen - Dean, Castiel
Rating: PG (language)
Word Count: ~5078
Summary: Episode tag to 4.16, "On the Head of a Pin" - Castiel sits at Dean's bedside through a long night.
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Kripke and Co. I'm just playing. Spoilers up to 4.16. Some lines of dialogue taken directly from the episode, 4.16.

Push, Pull, Stay

Castiel walks up to the doorway of the hospital room where Dean is lying, ventilator helping him breathe, bandages concealing the worst of the damage Alastair inflicted. He keeps walking when he sees Sam sitting there, six feet plus of barely contained anger, and Castiel isn’t surprised to hear the scrape of the chair, the pad of rubber soles on linoleum. Sam’s fate may be unknowable at the moment, but Castiel believes without a doubt that Sam loves his brother more than anything in heaven or on earth.

And Sam Winchester is angry. Castiel turns to face him.

“Sam,” Castiel acknowledges quietly, hoping Sam will take a cue from his demeanor and keep his voice low. Surely Dean has been witness to enough today without adding another argument. Sam’s face is full of accusation and righteous rage; not without cause, Castiel admits, if only to himself.

“Get in there and heal him. Miracle. Now!”

Sam’s furious, and Castiel cannot blame him for it. He understands the difficulty of seeing Dean helpless and hurt; he appreciates Sam’s position probably far better than Sam will ever understand.

“I can’t,” Castiel says, wishing he had another answer to give. The gnawing unease that’s been dogging him all day is guilt. He thinks he understands the Winchesters a little better than he should.

“You and Uriel put him in there—” Sam’s voice is gaining volume and strength.

“No.” It isn’t meant to be a denial of his responsibility, although he can see by Sam’s face that’s how he understands the word. Castiel is simply reiterating that he cannot heal Dean. It isn’t allowed under circumstances such as these; Castiel knows because he’s asked.

“—because you can’t keep a simple Devil’s Trap together.”

It was not the Devil’s Trap that failed, although Castiel hasn’t yet worked out what power disrupted the circle laid by an angel in a building protected by holy wards. He doesn’t understand the symbol’s failure, so he can hardly impugn Sam for his anger and distrust. Sam’s conclusions are logical based on the information he has; his blame is aptly placed on Castiel’s shoulders. The angel only wishes he had an explanation to give, but he doesn’t.


Dean’s sure they don’t think he can hear them, but the hospital is quiet, and they’re right outside the door.

“Get in there and heal him. Miracle. Now!”

Dean’s got a pretty good idea that Castiel’s quiet resistance is just going to make Sam angrier, and although he doesn’t think Sam’s about to punch out an angel, he can hear the frustration in Sam’s voice as it grows louder. Yelling at Castiel isn’t going to change anything, though—Dean could’ve told him that. The angel’s not going to walk through the door and lay hands on him, isn’t about to take away the pain and the bruises Alastair left just because Sam throws a hissy fit. And Dean’s almost positive Cas can’t do anything to restore his wounded pride, either. Dean let Alastair get to him, let him wear away Dean’s defenses until he was distracted enough not to notice the trap weakening, then breaking.

He knows Cas isn’t going to heal him, the same way he knows why he had to claw his way out of a coffin and steal a car to get to Bobby’s. Heaven isn’t there to make it easy for him. God might have a plan, but it seems to rest on humans being human, and in Dean’s experience, you don’t want things that sound too good to be true, anyway. There’s always a catch.

A thousand times Dean’s wished that someone would take away his memories of Hell, and he’s wished a hundred just today that his jaw would stop aching, his head would stop pounding, and that incessant beep from the heart monitor would please, for the love of God, short out and fall silent. But Dean doesn’t expect to get what he asks for; he’d be suspicious if Cas walked in and offered him healing with no strings attached. He’s gotten a couple of decent nights’ sleep, nights when he’s sure Cas was there, hovering in the shadows just beyond the bed. He’s woken to the movement of air, the simple knowing that someone’s been watching over him, which still creeps him out a little. But if they took those memories, those god-awful nightmares from him, it would change him. He is who he is because of everything he’s seen and done, everything he’s experienced. Everything. The good, the bad, and the downright horrific. To take any of it away would be to deny his existence, and Dean was never the kid who lied to avoid getting punished. He took his licks like a man ‘cause he’d earned them. ‘Cause that’s what Winchesters did.

Sam stomps back into the room, and Dean shuts his eyes. He doesn’t want to hear about it—not yet. He empties his mind and tries for sleep.


Castiel knows the scripture regarding the Seals intimately, and it comes as no real surprise when Dean finally asks him, “Is it true? Did I break the first seal? Did I start all this?”

The only answer he can offer Dean is the truth, even though Castiel knows the truth carries consequences for them all. He tries to assure Dean he bears no responsibility, but it’s evident how the knowledge guts Dean as effectively as one of Alastair’s blades. Dean blinks rapidly and Castiel recognizes the action as a precursor to tears. It takes a lot for a man like Dean to cry, and he suppresses another rush of guilt. In spite of what Anna believes, Castiel has long been acquainted with these feelings; he has simply been careful not to let them overwhelm his divine purpose.

Dean’s cheeks are damp, and he won’t meet Castiel’s eyes even as he demands answers. Castiel doesn’t have any to offer.

“Bull,” Dean says.

“I don’t,” Castiel repeats honestly. “Dean, they don’t tell me much. I know our fate rests with you.”

And truly that thought has been the one that’s buoyed Castiel through his moments of uncertainty, his concern over orders and disobedience. He wishes he’d realized earlier that Uriel was working against them; perhaps he could have prevented Dean’s injuries, prevented the pain Alastair’s revelations have brought about. He has never felt more alone in this mission.

Castiel considers again how cruel and logical Uriel’s plan was—how easy to put Dean in a position where he would not only fail, but would learn truths that would make the journey ahead that much more difficult. Worse, he used Castiel’s trust in their orders and Dean’s trust in Castiel to ensure Dean was a willing part of the plan. For that, Castiel is uncertain if he can find forgiveness in his heart for his fallen brother. That fact is also troubling him.

Dean’s voice shakes, but he pushes the words out. “Well, then you guys are screwed. I can’t do it, Cas. It’s too big. Alastair was right. I’m not all here, I’m not—I’m not strong enough.” A tear rolls down Dean’s face, and Castiel wishes he could offer comfort without it being perceived as proof of Dean’s weakness. “I guess I’m not the man either of our dads wanted me to be. Find someone else. It’s not me.”

The angel sits in silence as Dean steadies his heart rate, calms his breathing. Dean wipes at his eyes with the back of a hand, takes a drink of water from a plastic cup at the bedside. Castiel senses the conversation is over—there is nothing he can say that will temper Dean’s disposition at the moment—but he feels no compulsion to leave.

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” Dean asks, stealing a sideways glance at Castiel.


“It figures. So, what’re you gonna do? Sit there and watch me sleep? That’s real exciting.”

“I can leave if my presence bothers you,” Castiel says, having no intention of leaving, even if Dean tells him to. He will merely veil his presence until Dean has fallen asleep.

“No, it’s fine.” Dean’s face tells the story of someone who has spent an inordinate amount of time in hospitals. He’s died once in a hospital, seen his father die there too. He doesn’t like to be alone in such places, although he would never admit as much, but Castiel has watched him for a long time. He thinks he’s beginning to understand.

“I will endeavour not to disturb your rest.” Castiel folds his hands on his lap and prepares to seek revelation.

Dean glances at him and shakes his head. Castiel has come to recognize the gesture as an indication of disbelief, but in this instance he doesn’t know exactly what Dean feels is not believable.

“Alright,” Dean says, settling back against the pillows, his eyes drifting closed. “But if the duty nurse catches you here after visiting hours, she’ll kick your ass to the curb, angel or not.”

“She will not even know I’m here,” the angel whispers, and then begins to pray.


When Dean wakes up the room is dark except for the faint light from the hallway. Castiel’s still there, sitting in the same position, trench coat tucked around him.

“You’re gonna wreck your back sitting in that chair so long,” Dean says. “I know. Hospital chairs aren’t designed to be comfortable.”

Castiel turns his head. “Why?”

“Guess they don’t want folks hanging around too long, tiring out the patients.”

Dean sees understanding register and senses the angel’s about to fly the coop again.

“I’m not tired,” Dean says quickly, sitting up before Castiel can disappear. There’s still a long night ahead, and Dean’s never been fond of hospitals. Ever since Tessa gave him his memories back, he’s been even less thrilled with the possibility of ending up in a place like this. He was supposed to die back then. He was supposed to be in hell for all eternity. He’s not sure how many more chances he’s going to get to evade the inevitable.

“You should rest.”

“Cas, all I’ve been doing is resting. Sam comes and sits in that chair and doesn’t say anything important. You do the same. Nobody’s telling me anything, and it’s driving me freakin’ nuts. Just—I don’t know, just tell me something, anything. Tell me what you did today.”

Castiel seems puzzled by the question, his brow furrowing as he considers an answer.

“Come on, Cas, it can’t be that hard.”

“I don’t understand time in the same way that you do.”

“Okay, so what did you do before you showed up here?”

“I observed Sam in the hotel room. He was restless and angry.”

“Yeah, well, he’s like that a lot these days.”

“He has grown considerably more powerful.”

“Yeah?” Dean gives Castiel a measured look and leans forward. “How do you mean?”

It’s clear from his expression that Castiel didn’t mean to reveal anything, which only makes Dean more concerned. He knows he doesn’t always have the best judgment, and when it comes to Sammy, he’s more than a little blind, but even Dean can see Sam’s changed a lot. Sam can deny it till he’s blue in the face, but Dean knows the siren got to them both—dug so far down into what they felt that it couldn’t help but come out as absolute truth. Sam thinks Dean’s a liability now, and maybe he’s right, but Dean will be damned before he gives up on Sam, even if Sam’s already given up on him.

Castiel looks troubled, and Dean’s positive that can’t be good. Sure, Cas is always a little on the serious side, but he’s also never given Dean reason to believe things are worse than they are. His concern is obvious.

“I’d hoped to speak with you after I had ascertained the details of the situation fully.”

“What situation?” Dean never likes when the angel’s consider Sam a “situation” to be taken care of.

“I don’t believe there’s any reason for alarm,” Castiel says, and Dean can feel his heart rate spike. Yeah, an angel with a face like that tells you not to be concerned, and he’s trying to be kind about it, Dean knows there’s good reason to be concerned. What in hell has Sam done now? Why can’t he just make an effort to do the right thing?

“What do you mean? Did you see Sam do something?”

Castiel nods reluctantly and meets Dean’s worried eyes. “It was Sam who saved us both from Alastair.”

“But you—”

“When I realized you were in danger, I interceded, but Alastair is very powerful, and I have never been a fighter. My vessel does not have the muscle memory of such skills, and I find I’m at a loss when called upon to respond with physical force.”

“Looks like we’re going to have to teach you some angel-fu, Cas.”

Castiel looks away. “Alistair was about to send me back to heaven when Sam intervened.”

“You told me Alastair was dead. Dead. Not just back in the Pit, but gone.”


“Are you telling me—are you saying that Sam did that?”

Castiel nods gravely. “Yes.”

“Jesus. How—”

“I don’t know, Dean. But Sam is more powerful than he’s ever been. He compelled Alastair to reveal what he knew about the angel deaths, then—”


“It was not an exorcism. He spoke no words, but I could feel the moment the demon ceased to be.”

“Sam killed him?”

“More than that. Alastair was destroyed, erased from existence.”

Dean takes a deep breath, and finds himself nodding. “Can’t say I’m broken up about it.”

“I understand, Dean, but the fact remains that a human mortal should not be able to wield such power. It’s … unnatural.”

“And demons aren’t?”

“They are merely the result of one’s choices. Some, like Lucifer, are angels who have cast out their grace and fallen. Others are humans who chose corrupt paths, whose souls have rotted until there is nothing left of their humanity. Very few demons are the product of the purely supernatural.”

Dean feels a shiver of fear. “Is that what’s happening to Sam? His soul’s rotting whenever he uses his powers?”

“I’m uncertain as to the exact process, Dean. Usually a soul’s corruption is gradual. Sam was at a disadvantage because of Azazel’s pact with your mother; the drops of demon blood have had time to take root in his system, to grow and multiply.”

“But nothing’s for certain, right?” Dean knows his face is too hopeful. He can see it in the sadness Castiel mirrors back at him.

“There is always a choice,” Castiel murmurs, laying a hand over Dean’s. “There is always hope that Sam will make the right choice.”

Dean looks at the face of the angel, at the hand covering his own in a gesture of comfort, and knows that hope is faint at best. He turns his head back into his pillow, and murmurs something about sleep.

Castiel doesn’t leave; he doesn’t let go of Dean’s hand.


While Dean sleeps, Castiel considers how fragile the human body is. He knows it contains 206 bones, 27 in the hand alone. Dean’s knuckles are scraped, scabs forming at the joints. His nails are bitten down, and ragged hangnails are visible. Castiel can see the line where Dean usually wears a silver ring. The doctors had made him remove it; Castiel believes Sam is keeping it for him. Yet, Dean’s hands remain strong and sure. Even in rest, they have strength—Castiel feels Dean’s fingers curl around his own, and responds in kind with a gentle squeeze. Dean murmurs in his sleep, then settles back down.

Castiel has seen Dean’s hands do miraculous things. They can start a car, smash through glass, and dig their way out of six feet of angelically loosened dirt. He’s also seen those same hands offer comfort and pleasure to Anna in the wide backseat beneath the moon. Castiel does not spy—he is not an angelic “Peeping Tom” as Dean has accused—but it is almost impossible for him not to know the actions of Dean’s life. He’s become highly attuned to Dean’s presence in the universe, the particular beat of his heart, the sound of his voice, loud or whispered. The moment Dean’s heart asks something of the universe, whether Dean believes it a prayer or not, Castiel hears. Sometimes there is nothing he can do, and he’s come to understand that Dean bargains with the universe as a way of life. He will strike a deal to ensure there is bacon available at the next diner down the road or to ensure the radio doesn’t continue to play “techno crap.” The habit made Castiel nervous at first, but he’s come to understand that Dean Winchester doesn’t expect the universe to answer, nor to provide him anything. These deals are a way of occupying his thoughts with more light-hearted fare instead of dwelling on the things that frighten him.

Like Sam. As much as Dean loves his brother, and Castiel understands that kind of love, Dean cannot hide the fact that Sam frightens him. Dean will not say it, but Castiel knows his biggest fear is that he will have to kill Sam to save the world, to save Sam from himself. He’s thought about it enough that Castiel understands Dean will not survive the ordeal. If Sam must die, Dean will die as well—by one hand or another.

Castiel lays his other hand over Dean’s and holds it tightly between his palms. He bows his head and prays.


It’s sometime past midnight when Dean wakes up again, his hair wet, the hospital gown clinging damply to his shoulders.

Cas is sitting on the edge of the narrow bed, pressed against Dean’s hip, and holding both his shoulders with strong hands.

“You’re safe, Dean. It’s only a nightmare,” the angel says.

“Yeah.” He’s embarrassed to realize his hands are clutching Castiel’s trench coat, but he can’t bring himself to let go quite yet.

“I will not leave,” Castiel says, looking at Dean’s tight fists, and that does it, Dean lets go and lies back.

“Dude, if you’ve got places to be—”

“I am needed here.”

Dean snorts, but it’s weak and he knows it. All he needs is an angel trying to comfort him. Cas sucks at fighting, but apparently he’s not much better at getting the hint. He’s holding Dean firmly, staring at him with those blue, blue eyes, and Dean licks his lips, and tries to pretend he’s perfectly fine.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Dean,” Castiel says. “I only wish you had no reason for bad dreams.”

“That would be real nice,” Dean agrees. He closes his eyes, and takes deep breaths, but Castiel’s hands remain where they are until Dean finally looks at him pointedly and says, “I’m fine. Really. I’m not going to break if you let me go, and it’s going to be pretty damn hard to get back to sleep with you hanging on to me like that.”

Castiel releases Dean’s shoulders and drifts back to his chair. “If you wish to speak of your nightmare, I am a good listener.”

Dean laughs. “No shit? Who told you that? If it was Uriel, I seriously wouldn’t put much stock in that, dude.”

Castiel doesn’t seem to understand, and Dean knows he should just stop trying to educate the angel about humour. “I merely wish you to know that if you want to unburden yourself, you can do so with me.”

“Wow, Cas, I didn’t know you felt that way! I’m practically tingly all over.”

Castiel simply peers at him with concerned eyes, and Dean’s seen that look before, usually from girls about to say something profound like “can’t you take anything seriously?” or “do you always have to act like a jerk?” Dean knows the answers to those questions are "no" and “yes,” respectively.


“Don’t get your wings in a twist. Look, I know I’m being an ass. I know. But I’m not talking about it, okay? Believe me, if I ever feel the need to unburden myself, you’ll be the last to know.”

Castiel looks hurt, and Dean sighs. Of course, he’d be sent the most sensitive angel ever, who also manages to routinely scare the holy fuck out of him because in spite of all his bravado, Dean doesn’t think he’ll survive a trip back to the Pit even if Alastair’s really dead and gone. Right now, Dean knows there are a hundred demons jockeying for the position of Grand Inquisitor down under, and every one of them will be trying to be worse than Alastair. Dean can’t forget the fact that Castiel raised him from Hell, and yeah, he can throw him back. At this moment that makes his angel the scariest son-of-a-bitch around.

“I’m going to sleep.”

“Rest.” Castiel touches his fingers lightly to Dean’s forehead. “Be untroubled.”

Dean closes his eyes and sleeps.


The nurse comes and goes every few hours. She checks that Dean’s resting comfortably, that the machines monitoring his condition are working properly. He’s been off the ventilator for some time now, and Castiel suspects they’ll release Dean in the morning. There’s little the hospital staff can do for the bruises or the sore spots. Dean simply needs time to heal.

Dean’s a light sleeper, and her presence pulls him from sleep each time. Castiel wonders how anyone manages to heal properly in such a place where interruptions are constant and rest is elusive. Dean looks towards him and murmurs “Cas?” before he realizes there’s a nurse in the room.

She’s pretty with dark hair and eyes, and she smiles. “I’m Jennie,” she says, taking advantage of Dean’s sudden awakening to pop a thermometer into his mouth. He’s now wide awake, and Castiel knows Dean’s taking in the empty chair and wondering how long he’s been alone. Castiel wishes Dean had more faith.

“Temperature’s normal,” Jennie says, then helps straighten the blankets on the bed. She asks Dean if she can get him anything, if he’s having any pain. He shakes his head, not really looking at her. He’s staring at the empty chair, and Castiel sees the girl glance over in puzzlement.

“Is Cass your girlfriend? Was she visiting earlier?”

Dean snorts. “Yeah, that’s it. Held my hand and everything. Guess I thought she was still around.”

“Visiting hours were over ages ago—you must’ve been dreaming.”

“Yeah. Of course.” Dean’s agreeable, but there’s an undercurrent of resignation in his tone.

“Well, try to get some sleep. If you need anything, just press the call button.”

“Thanks, Jennie.”

As soon as she’s clear of the doorway, Dean turns and glares at the empty space. Castiel has simply veiled his presence, and he knows he should reappear, but it’s intriguing to watch Dean’s face change when he believes he’s unobserved. He seems uncharacteristically sad.

Castiel is about to solidify his presence when Dean sighs and turns his eyes ceiling-ward. “I was so damned scared,” he whispers.

Castiel waits, hovering on the edge of the mortal plane. Prayer is sacred, and Dean’s particularly so because he doesn’t often allow himself to speak freely. Castiel finds himself torn between wanting to reappear and offer comfort, and knowing that his presence will result in Dean’s sudden unwillingness to speak. He maintains his veil, knowing that no word or gesture can provide Dean with any measure of comfort right now.

“God, I was more scared than I’ve been since—when I turned around and Alastair was right there, right the fuck there, I thought somehow it’d all been a dream. That I was still there in the Pit, on the rack, and I’d imagined it all—Sammy and Cas, getting out, having a chance to pay Alastair back for what he did to me.” Tears start to form again, and Dean rubs angrily at his eyes. “I don’t get why you think I can do your work, you know? So I’m the guy that started it all—okay, I get that. Payback’s a bitch and you need me to fight the apocalypse because some holy scripture says that’s how it’s gotta be, but honestly, honestly? You don’t want me. I’ll only screw it up, make it worse. I haven’t been able to keep Sammy out of trouble. I stabbed your freakin’ angel the first time I met him, and believe me, there’ve been times since when I’ve wanted to stab him all over again, but he’s trying. I get that. And he’s honest—more freakin’ honest than Sam’s been with me, and it’s pretty messed up when demons and angels are telling you more than your own flesh and blood.”

Dean clears his throat, smoothes the rumpled sheets. “Oh, and my dad? A hundred years, and he never broke. Not once. Wasn’t even tempted, and—and how am I supposed to live with that? I broke. I broke, and I did terrible things.” Dean shudders. “And Cas can say I’m forgiven, can tell me it’s not my fault, but I don’t believe him. I don’t. I want to tell him to leave me the fuck alone because I’m not worth it—you guys have made a mistake—but he keeps looking at me with those big eyes and that absolute faith, and Jesus, what am I supposed to do? Tell me, what the fuck am I supposed to do?”


Dean hates the sound of his own voice in the empty room. Weak, pathetic, and what does he know about praying anyway? Sammy was always the one who believed in that stuff—now Dean’s the one with an angel on his shoulder, and Sam’s spending his nights doing the horizontal mambo with a soulless demon. It doesn’t seem fair. Sam deserves much better than this.

Dean rubs at his eyes again, and looks at the chair where Castiel had been when he’d fallen asleep. Sure, the angel’s famous for his disappearing acts, but Dean had kind of gotten used to him being here during the night, and it was unsettling to wake up and find him gone. Dean thinks maybe he’s gone to check on Sam, or maybe they’re having some kind of angel funeral for Uriel. Who knows what angels do?

For a second, Dean gets the feeling he’s not alone, and he cranes his neck towards the doorway, but the nurse isn’t there. The feeling doesn’t go away, and Dean’s been a hunter long enough to trust his gut. He closes his eyes and concentrates on the feeling. It’s familiar. A sense of something hidden in plain sight.

Dean narrows his eyes and says, “How long you been playing invisible angel?”

Castiel allows the veil to drop. “Not long.”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Dean says, resentment in his tone.

“The nurse came to check on you,” Castiel explains, “and you had advised me not to be seen lest I be cast out.”

“So is this what you usually do when you disappear? Hang out and eavesdrop?”

Castiel steels himself against Dean’s anger, but pushes ahead. Perhaps he was not meant to hear Dean’s lament, but he respects Dean too much to let him continue to harbor resentment for his actions. “You should not compare your experience to your father’s.”

Dean rolls his eyes, and lets out a huff of breath. “He never broke. He never gave up. A hundred years, and still he didn’t—”

“John Winchester knew the consequences of breaking.”

Dean stops cold. “What?”

“Your father knew about the seals. He understood what would happen if he were to break.”


“No, Dean. Listen. Your father was a strong man, yes, but he had reason to be strong. He had made the deal with Azazel to save your life. You and Sam were the most important things to him, and he would have done anything for the two of you. He couldn’t very well sacrifice his soul only to allow his next failure to bring about the apocalypse. He held out for all that time because he had something to hold on to—he had you and Sam. As long as he didn’t break, the two of you would be safe.”

“I didn’t know anything about the seals. I didn’t know—”

“We know that, Dean. That’s why there is no blame for your actions.” Castiel leans forward, and lays a hand on Dean’s arm. It’s warm to the touch, and Castiel can feel the blood pumping through his veins. “Your father understood the consequences—all of them. When the Devil’s Gate was opened and he was able to escape, he witnessed Azazel’s death. He felt the tide had turned. It was time for him to find eternal rest.”

“You’re saying he’s—he’s in Heaven?” Dean’s eyes are wide and skeptical.

“He has passed beyond the mortal plane. There is nothing further I can tell you.”

Dean shakes his head, not satisfied. “Why didn’t he tell me? Why didn’t someone tell me? About the seals? If I’d known—”

“You would have tried to resist Alastair’s torture. I know, Dean. We tried to get to you, but Hell was determined to have you. There were many obstacles placed in our path. It is not your failure that we didn't reach you in time. You’re a good man.”

“No, Cas,” Dean says. “I’m not. I’m really not.”

“I know every sin you believe you have committed, and I know the guilt you have heaped upon your soul because of it.” Castiel holds Dean gaze and refuses to let him look away. “Believe me when I tell you, God has forgiven you. It is only you that cannot forgive.”

Castiel stands and reaches out a hand. He traces a cross lightly on Dean’s forehead, then again on his lips, and once more on his chest over his beating heart. “You are a child of God. You have been chosen, and I believe you will do what you must do. I have faith in you, Dean Winchester.”

Dean bows his head and accepts Castiel’s hand laid gently atop his crown. Dean can’t forgive himself yet, but Castiel believes it is only a matter of time. With enough faith, trust, and love, Dean will be able to conquer his demons. He will find the strength to follow the path set before him.

And Castiel will not abandon him.



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