“Hang on babe, we’re almost there,” Dean said, reaching across the seat of the coach to grab Cas’ hand. Cas weakly twined their fingers together. Dean bit his lip, holding back the shaky sigh that threatened to escape him. Cas’ grip was getting more frail as the days passed. It wasn’t hyperbole to say that Dean could almost see Cas slipping away from him.
“I have faith in you, Dean,” Cas softly said. “I always have.” His fingers lightly traced the top of Dean’s hand, the once tan fingers now a pale white.
Fingernails digging into the wheel, Dean kept his eyes resolutely on the road, searching for the hidden turnoff. He had promised himself that he wasn’t going to cry in front of Cas. He would not make this harder than it already was.
Dean carefully navigated the potholes on the narrow dirt road, silently murmuring an apology to Baby. A low hiss escaped Cas when Dean failed to avoid a hole.
“I’m sorry babe. We’re almost there. Just,” Dean sucked in a deep breath. “Just hold on a little bit longer, okay?”
The dark woods lining the path began to lighten. When the cabin came into view, the Impala sped up slightly until it was fully in the glow of the intricately carved lanterns surrounding the clearing. He refrained from sliding across the hood but he couldn’t resist hefting Cas into his arms. Cradling his angel to his chest, he kicked at the wooden door.
“Hold on,” a voice trilled.
“It’s an emergency!” Dean yelled.
When the door creaked open, Dean locked eyes with the petite redhead. “Please help him.”
Brows knitted in concern, Rowena motioned them inside. “Put him on the table in the next room. I’ll need to grab a few things.”
Laying Cas on the table, Dean smoothed the dark tangles back. “We’re here now babe. We made it.”
Rowena began pacing around the table, murmuring under her breath. Finally, she straightened and looked at Dean.
“There’s nothing I can do,” she stated.
“What?” Dean said, chest tightening. “What the hell do you mean? You’re the most gifted witch of this age! Everyone recommended you and you...you’re telling me that you’re useless?” His chest heaved as he tried to get oxygen into his lungs.
Cas lay between them, breaths rattling in his chest eerily. He could barely keep his eyes open, much less participate in the conversation.
Rowena tossed back her copper curls. “My dear, you misunderstand me. I can’t help him because the cure has been here all along. And,” she held her hands up, “before you threaten me again, I will explain. You’ve always been the key to saving him. You just had to unlock that within you. Didn’t you ever wonder if there was something special about you, Winchester?”
Dean raised an eyebrow at her. “How did you know my last name?”
“Och, you don’t take a giant moose under your tutelage without learning a wee bit here and there about his family. Or,” she rolled her eyes, “in his case, everything about his wonderful older brother Dean and his Castiel. Plus, you both have the same look of determination and jawline.”
“Oh,” Dean breathed. “I haven’t spoken to Sammy in years. I would have thought he would have forgotten about me by now.”
“Ah dear one, he could never forget you. But let’s get your man healed back up and we can have a wee reunion if you’d like,” Rowena smiled at him before grabbing his hands.
“You have power inside you, Dean Winchester. Natural born magic is one of the most powerful magics, especially when combined with true love. Now,” she admonished as Dean opened his mouth, “let me finish. You and I both know that you love this man with your whole heart. Focus on that love and repeat after me:
Through fire and rain,
Battle and bloodshed,
Though the storms may lash,
Though the tide may rise,
Forever we will be,
Bring my love back to me.
“Is that it?” Dean said.
Rowena shot him an icy glare so he began repeating after her until he knew the words by heart.
Dean kept chanting, turning it into a song with his continued repetition. After the first repetition, Rowena had moved his hands to Castiel’s chest. Dean had slid them down until he was grasping both of Cas’ hands in his own. Feverishly he kept chanting, eyes screwed tightly shut.
Suddenly, fingers gripped his tightly. Dean’s eyes flew open and locked with Castiel’s. Cas’ eyes were brighter and bluer than they had been in ages. His skin had smoothed and no longer carried that ashen, wan look.
“Hello, my love,” Cas rasped, before crinkling his nose. “I guess true love can’t heal raspy voices.”
“Oh shut up, you idiot,” Dean said before wrapping his arms around Cas tightly. Leaning back slightly, he pressed his forehead against Cas’. “Never do that to me again, you hear?”
“Don’t die. Got it,” Cas whispered before pressing his lips to Dean’s.