Regrets and Remembrances

"I can't... Can't lose you. Not like this."

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1. If Tomorrow Never Comes

"Cas, watch out," Dean called out.


Crowley had decided to send a "welcome back Castiel" gift. It couldn't just be a demon. Or a wendigo. Not something easy. No, he had to send a horde of demons. So now he, Sam, and Cas were fighting like their lives depended on it. There were about 8 demons altogether, but they had caught the boys by surprise. The demons had the advantage. Now there were three demons left, one for each of them. Dean was finishing up with his as he sees another demon come up behind Castiel. His warning came too late. Dean watched as the demon sunk the knife into Castiel's back. By that time, Dean was running and cut the demon's head off as he ran to catch the collapsing Castiel.


"Son of a bitch," Dean muttered.


He lowered Cas to the ground gently, putting pressure right over the wound.


"Damn it, Cas," he said. "I can't... Can't lose you. Not like this." The wound was right next to his heart, and Dean wasn't sure why Cas was affected by it but not dead. "They can't have used an angel blade. You'd be dead."


Cas shrugged weakly. "I don't know. But it hurts, and I want you to stand up, walk about ten feet back, and let me die." Dean stiffened.


"I'm not letting you die, don't even think about it," he said firmly. "I'm not. You can't. I can't do that." I'm not letting you die because of me. The unspoken words hung in the air for a minute, then Cas let out a weak laugh.


"This is not your fault, Dean," he said. "You've never been to blame. I want to help you, I want to keep you safe. I'm just glad it's not you here."


Dean closed his eyes for a second, refusing to cry.


"I can't. I can't let you die, Cas." He paused, trying to think. "I mean, you're still a virgin. You can't... Can't die yet." Cas moved his hand around until he found the one of Dean's not pressing against his wound.


"It doesn't mean that much to me, Dean. I wouldn't want to lose it to a stranger, anyway. There's only one thing I regret not doing." He looked up at Dean and gave him a weak smile.


"The only thing I regret is not kissing you when I had the chance." He gave one last squeeze to Dean's hand before telling him, "Now please. I'm begging you. Don't let me die on you. Walk away. Don't look back." Dean shook his head mutely, still unable to process that Cas wanted to kiss him.


"It isn't too late to get rid of your regret," he said. Cas looked up at him with wide eyes.
"I couldn't do that to you, Dean." Dean leaned in close.


"I would rather have you and kiss you for one minute than to have you and not hold you for the rest of my life." Cas nodded, consenting.


Dean leaned in, closing the distance between the two. He pressed his lips against Castiel's gently, chastely, holding them there.


Cas sighed a relieved breath, then pulled away, saying, "I'm sorry. I needed you, too. Don't feel guilty. You were the best thing to happen to me." Cas tried one last time to pull away, to distance himself from Dean, but Dean held tight, not wanting to let go of the one thing in his life that was his. Cas fell back against Dean, closing his eyes and relaxing.


After a few seconds, there was a flash of light and Dean felt something burn across his chest and arms, and Cas was dead, and nothing mattered. Dean sat there for a while, and Sam kept his distance. Sam said his goodbyes to Castiel in his heart, thanking him for his brother and for everything Castiel had brought to their little family. And that is what it was. It was a family.


Dean would eventually get up from that spot, carrying Castiel's body back to the Impala, putting it in the back seat -because he couldn't bring himself to put Cas in the trunk- and tell Sammy to get in. They would eventually end up back at the Men of Letters house, where Dean would insist on burying Cas. He didn't want to break the last possible link between Cas' soul and body. He wasn't ready to let go. Not yet. So Dean would go out and dig a hole deep enough and wide enough, and he would put Castiel in a coffin that he found in one of the rooms, and he would fill that hole in the ground and place a cross in the place (with an anti-possession symbol carved into the center) and then he would go home and he would take a shower, and he would look down at his chest as he washes and cleans and see a bright red burn across his chest and upper arms. Hell go to the mirror after cleaning off, and he'll see that its wings, and then maybe he'll start to cry, and he'll realize why Cas wanted him to back away, but he won't regret holding on, because now he has a piece of Cas with him.


And then he'll go to bed and stare at the ceiling all night, praying to Cas and tracing the wing marks, even though he knows it isn't going to do anything, and he wouldn't get a good night's sleep for a few years, until one Christmas, when Sammy buys him a guardian angel statue with the phrase "Angels are watching over you." He would hold it in his hands and just stare at it for a few minutes, then set it carefully next to him. He wouldn't look at it again that day until it was bed time, when he would grab it and place it next to his bed. He'll end up getting a good night's sleep that night, and dream of Castiel. He'll dream of him hanging out with Samandriel and Gabriel and Balthazar, and finally, that heavy weight he's felt for years will ease up quite a lot. He will wake up, and he'll make Sammy breakfast, and flash a real smile for the first time since that night, and finally think that everything might end up alright.

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