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Fic: Everything We've Yet to Break (10/30)

Title: Everything We've Yet to Break (10: Dia de los Inocentes)
Author: zuben_eschamali
Rating: R (language, violence)
Genre: Gen
Length: under 30K total; this chapter, 802 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Four
Summary: What if Sam and Dean knew one crucial piece of information about the future before Dean's deal came due? Would it have changed everything, or would the end result have been the same? AU version of Season Four, written for spn_30snapshots .

Master table is here. Prompt for this chapter: autumn.

10. Dia de los Inocentes

Dean looked out over the playground, watching the shrieking children shedding their winter coats as the early November sun grew steadily warmer. The leaves were mostly gone from the trees, but a few stubborn shreds of orange and red still hung here and there. Stubborn bastards don't know when their time is up, he thought with no small amount of irony.

Underneath the shuffle of fallen leaves being blown about by the wind, he heard a different kind of rustle, and he was unsurprised a second later to see out of the corner of his eye that Castiel was sitting on the bench next to him. The angel and his buddy Uriel had been nothing but pains in the asses the past few days, acting ridiculously rude to Sam when he showed nothing but deference to them, and insisting that wiping out an entire town was the right way to do things.

Instead, he and Sam had failed spectacularly at keeping the seal intact, only barely managing to kill Samhain and keep him from terrorizing the town.

"You here to say 'I told you so'?" he asked sharply.

"I am not here to judge you, Dean," Castiel calmly replied.

"Then why are you here?" Dean instantly asked.

There was a short pause. "Our orders were not to stop the summoning of Samhain. They were to do whatever you told us to do."

Dean stared back at him. "Your orders were to follow my orders?"

"It was a test," Castiel said. "To see how you would perform under…battlefield conditions, you might say."

Dean shook his head and turned away to look at the kids on the swings. "You're really the one who got me out of Hell?"

"It is my handprint on your shoulder," came the reply in that same level voice.

Dean repressed a shiver. "So you saw what I did down there?" he asked roughly.

Castiel paused again, this time as if weighing his words. "Dean, I wish with all of my heart that I had been able to get to you sooner. You should not have had to endure the things that you did, but…it was not an easy thing to find you."

He let out a huff of breath and said bitterly, "You would have had to get to me a hell of a lot sooner to keep me from enduring anything."

"What you endured was not only what was inflicted upon you. It was also what you were forced to do to others."

"I wasn't forced to do anything." Dean met the bright blue eyes, finding it hard not to flinch at the compassion they showed. "It was my choice to get off that rack. My decision. So if you're looking for a general, someone who's going to lead on the battlefield, someone who's going to be able to tell angels what to do…" Dean trailed off and shook his head. "You better look somewhere else, buddy. 'Cause that's not me."

Castiel looked confused. "If you are concerned that your judgment is flawed—"

"My judgment?" he practically shouted. "You're damn right it's flawed." Suddenly aware of the proximity of a young mother pushing a stroller, he lowered his voice and leaned closer to Castiel. "Listen, you want to fuck something up, you hand it to me. Otherwise, find yourself another soldier."

There was silence. Then Castiel turned to look at the playground. "According to the Catholic tradition, today and tomorrow are All Saints' and All Souls' Day. The merging of this tradition with the beliefs of the indigenous Mexican population led to the two-day celebration of El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead."

Dean stared at his profile, bewildered. "Thanks for the anthropology lesson."

"The first day is known as Día de los Inocentes, the Day of the Innocents." Castiel inclined his head towards the children laughing on the merry-go-round. "Their souls would be among those celebrated this very day if not for you."

"And Sam," Dean automatically added.

Castiel nodded, only slightly reluctantly. "And your brother. So do not speak to me about your flawed decision-making abilities, Dean. There are one thousand, two hundred and fourteen people alive today because of you, two hundred and sixty-eight of whom are children."

He couldn't let that small victory erase the horror of what he'd done. "And one less seal that keeps Lucifer locked away."

"There are other seals. We did not expect to keep them all intact, but we must fight as if every one was the last." Castiel turned to look at him again, his dark hair ruffled slightly by the autumn wind. "I have faith in you, Dean," he said simply.

The next time he turned his head, Dean was alone on the bench, only the dry rustle of dead leaves beside him.

(Next chapter)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
Wheee. It took me a bit to catch up, but I have now and I'm enjoying this very much. Poor Dean. He's having such a hard time believing in himself.
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
Wheee! Nice to hear from you, and yes, poor Dean indeed. :(
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
*hugs him*
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
Yes! I know it makes little difference, but listen to what Castiel says, Dean.
*pets him*

*he needs a lot of petting*
Nov. 20th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
One could even say he needs some heavy petting. (!)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )