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Good Times

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And as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan's spell.

These are Dean's good times:

When the Impala crests a hill going sixty and the tires hum on the asphalt and a moment of free-fall curls in his belly and he's lifted, exultant, flying high on nothing but speed and his baby.

When he sees his brother in the corner of his eye and catches Sam's hidden little smile, the one he doesn't like Dean to see, the one that means that this, right now, right here, is actually okay.

When an evil son-of-bitch dies beneath his blade or bullet or the words from his mouth, and he knows that another innocent will not die because of what he has done tonight.

When blue eyes light above a hesitant smile slowly beginning to emerge in a mouth that has never known laughter, responding to something that Dean has done or said.

When the burger is moist and juicy and the lettuce and tomato are cool and fresh and the bun is toasted warm from the oven and the onion rings are that perfect mix of crispy and grease and the strawberry in the milkshake practically explodes in his mouth.

When a bearded face presses into his neck and strong corded arms that feel like Dad pull him in tight and hard and the smell of whiskey and dusty books says, "Here you are again, welcome home."

When the moon rides high above the prairie like another hunter looking down on all there is to see and dawn is coming and the guns are loaded and the knives are sharp.

When a curtain of blond hair falls over a laughing mouth to hide a teasing voice full of promise; when the only woman who ever made him think of his mother commands him to do a better job of keeping in touch or she'll kick his ass, dammit.

These are Sam's good times:

When pieces of research from five different sources snap together in his mind in a moment of truth and clarity, weaving themselves into a blade to kill whatever monster they're hunting now.

When the sun touches the horizon in a flash of gold and bronze and orange, and another day has passed without disaster, without death and destruction brought down by his foolish, foolish mistakes.

When thunder rumbles dark in the midnight sky, hidden behind flimsy curtains, and the room is warm and pulsing with the sound of his brother's heavy night breathing.

When sunlight gleams off the raised roof of the Impala as Dean changes the oil while Sam sits on Bobby's porch with lemonade and a book, his heels propped loose on the wooden boards.

When a hand folds around his and another joins it, both holding warm and kind, telling him that all is not lost, all is not broken, there's hope for him yet despite everything.

When Dean throws his head back in raucous laughter, the column of his throat pale and exposed, eyes squeezed shut, little wrinkles trailing out from the corners, and there's hope that those wrinkles might get a chance to sink in with age.

When a slim finger touches his lips, crossing them, before he has a chance to apologize, lithe young shoulders lift in a shrug, and he knows that he's forgiven before he even asks.

These are Bobby's good times:

When the bank of phones fails to ring and he knows that all is well by that silence, and when he lifts a receiver marked "FBI" or "CDC" or "CIA" and knows just what to say.

When he finds a rare volume in the stacks far back in a crowded old store, dust drifting in the slanting light of the window, showing him the words he's been looking for.

When the lost, abandoned, busted-up old dog he found limping by the side of the road is warm and fed and clean again, and he feels the wet press of its tongue on his hand for the first time.

When those stupid idjit boys drive up in their stupid idjit car and clatter up his porch steps like a herd of stupid idjit elephants and pound him on the back and ask him how he's been.

When the whiskey burns smooth and hot on the back of his tongue and the fire crackles on the hearth and he has nothing he needs to read but the newspaper.

When a friend he's known and loved for many long years takes a belt of holy water and there's no smoke, no screaming, no black eyes and twisted tongue and hell in his living room.

These are Castiel's good times:

When he raises his voice with a thousand thousand brethren in joyful harmony, singing peace and unity and praise and glory against the stars and spinning planets.

When children run and chase and laugh and play, and he sees brilliant shards of light dancing over the grass and can only marvel at the wonder his Father has created.

When doubt and confusion and turmoil and the words of his superiors finally cease churning through his mind, replaced with a single flare of crystal-clear understanding that life is precious, worth everything he can give to protect it.

When Dean and Sam tell him to get in the car as if that's where he should have been all along, and he learns through their easy bickering that Dean threatened an archangel to make him give Castiel back.

When two women who should be nothing but strangers to him accept him as their own without even the slightest frisson of unease, making him feel connected, peaceful, at home with comrades once again.

These are not their good times:

When two small kisses are nowhere near enough to say all Dean wants to say, but that's all they have time for, all they have left.

When flames climb into the night sky and the creature who wants to own Sam's body gives him an easy smile, completely unruffled.

When the radio crackles into Dean's voice, heavy with grief and fear and loss, and Bobby knows that he's lost yet another part of his heart.

When Castiel's rescue comes too late for two of his friends, and so he learns once again that angels can feel, because this must be pain.

And as flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died.