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24 September 2008 @ 05:15 pm
Supernatural Fic: The Price of Peace  
Posted to supernaturalfic
Crossposted to spn_castiel


Title: The Price of Peace
Pairing/Characters: Dean, Castiel
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Seasons 1-3, Lazarus Rising
Summary: Dean and Castiel’s conversation continues (Lazarus Rising Post-Ep)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


There are things Dean believes, sure as salt: that nothing is more important than family, that he'd do anything to protect his brother and that his father really did escape from Hell. He believes his parents are no longer separated even if their final destination was oblivion.

But Dean doesn't believe in angels.

This world is so blackened by evil that everything seems tinged with gray, getting darker all the time. He’s rescued people being held captive as snack food in vampire nests. He's exorcised humans ravaged by demon possession until only battered bodies remained. He's returned traumatized children to parents who always promised their kids monsters weren't real.

He's held a baby in his arms who would never know his mother.

Too many families have been torn apart, too many he couldn't save. If any so-called supreme being, some force of good, was working for humankind Dean would have seen evidence of it already. He hasn’t, so it doesn’t exist. This is his kind of logic.

As far as he's seen it's just hunters, all out there on their own. No God watching their back. They rely on each other and that’s the only good Dean’s ever been able to count on in his life. God didn’t save his mother from the yellow-eyed demon. God didn’t stop his father from sacrificing himself. God did nothing when Sam died in his arms. God let everyone he loved die then let him go to Hell after spending his whole life fighting evil. There is no God.

Dean's eyes can't help but flick from Castiel's placid face to Bobby lying still on the floor. The sight twists his gut; once again he's powerless to help someone he loves. A fresh wave of outrage surges up in him and he clenches his hands into fists to stay in control. Castiel moves forward, drawing his attention back instinctively. Watching him to gauge any potential threat he realizes this supposed angel's movements seem oddly slow. Deliberate… Patient. He's walked through a devil’s trap, shrugged off shotgun blasts and pulled their best weapon out of his heart. Nothing even remotely fazed him.

But Dean doesn't believe in angels.

Winchesters don’t surrender, not even when they’re out of weapons and ideas, so Dean never wavers. This Castiel may be powerful, but he and Bobby are walking out of here when it’s over, no matter what it takes.

"I don’t care if you call your boss God or Buddha or even freaking Howard," he scoffs, faking the confidence that was shattered when Castiel laid Bobby out with just a touch. "I'm not doing jack for you. As far as I know, you’re just another evil son of a bitch. You can claim to be sent by God, but you can’t prove it."

"Proof…" Castiel looks at him with a wistful sadness, a strange world-weariness from someone who claims to not be of the world. "So many demand it, yet faith needs no proof."

"Yeah, well you nailed it before…" Dean smirks grimly and spreads his hands in a kind of mock show of pride. "I'm the ye in 'ye of little faith.'"

Castiel examines Dean as if he’s a puzzle and Dean can’t help but be unnerved by the open gaze of the eyes staring at him, dissecting him.

"You desire proof, yes, but those who seek it will also find ways to explain it away. Thus the need for faith. Answering the call," he gestures to the trenchcoated body he is possessing, "is a blessing for those who believe."

"Not a blessing from where I'm standing," Dean says curtly, "and I sure as hell am not going be a meat puppet like this poor bastard. I don't care if he did sign up for this. I'm nobody's bitch. You got that?"

Castiel cocks his head, still examining Dean with a genuinely perplexed expression on his face. "God doesn't need you to believe in him, Dean. But perhaps?" He takes a step forward and Dean takes a step back, wary. "You need proof that God believes in you." He raises a hand slowly towards Dean's face and Dean jerks away, glaring. "You know I won't harm you," Castiel explains patiently.

"All I know is you yanked me out of Hell," Dean counters. "That’s it."

Castiel pauses, hand still outstretched.

"Hell… Do you remember Hell, Dean?"

Flashes blink behind Dean’s eyelids: cacophony, confusion, pain. For a split second, he's back there: eternally alone save the screams of distant souls suffering similar torment, barbs ripping into his flesh as savagely as if he were corporeal, bound tight with no chance of escape… Defenseless. Hell is a vast wasteland, a spider web where he is the captured prey shriveling away in his final resting place. He screams - begs even - but no one ever comes. No one.

"Yes."

"So much pain…" Castiel’s empathy is disarming as he moves to bring his hand to Dean's cheek. "Let me...."

His hand is warm and soft and it presses into Dean's jaw and cheek almost tenderly.

At first there is only a sensation of heat, which Dean finds unexpectedly soothing. The sensation spreads though and his eyes flutter and close as it fills him with warmth and contentedness. Sound and light all fall away as reality dissolves around him and he finds himself floating in a void: womb-like yet infinitely large. There's nothing there - even he has no real form or shape - yet he feels whole, complete, loved.

It's only then that he senses the love coming from somewhere. He recognizes it.

"Dad?" he breathes out, more a statement of wonder than a question. His throat seizes up and he chokes trying to get the next word out. "Mom?"

Then he feels it: a greater love just beyond theirs, one so vast and powerful he feels it all around him, everywhere, inside him. He surrenders, letting it take him in, letting it erase all the doubt and fear until all that’s left is bliss.

Dean's held a memory since childhood of his mother holding him in her arms after a nightmare, comforting him with her soft voice, her calming touch, her unwavering love. It's sustained him for decades, that memory of perfect maternal love. This is all that and so much more.

He's overwhelmed by pure love and even without his senses he knows he would be happy like this for eternity.

He finally puts a name to the way this feels, such an unfamiliar emotion he'd forgotten it existed: peace.

He comes back to the room, to himself, only slightly less jarringly than his exit from Hell to find Castiel removing his hand with a single nod of acknowledgment. He staggers, mind reeling from the transition back, nerves singing in protest at being bound by his body once more. Existence feels hard, harsh, cold. He feels heavy, like gravity threatens to suck him back down into the pit, yet feels the hollow emptiness of his loss: bereft.

The love is gone and already he craves it, wants it back, wants all of it: his parents, the peace, God.

"Do you understand now?" Castiel asks as Dean remembers how to be alive all over again.

He more than understands now.

Dean believes.

Shaken, he manages the few steps over to the table and sits, taking a shuddering breath before lifting his eyes to Castiel’s, both in awe and question.

"We need to talk," Castiel reminds him gently.

"Okay," Dean manages, blinking away the last of his disorientation. He takes a deep breath, looks at the angel before him with fresh eyes. "Let's talk."

~
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
Confession
I rewrote the hell out of this fic (pun intended, only not quite so funny from my end) and it still doesn't meet up with what my betas tried to encourage me to achieve.

/grumbles/

I call time. I'm giving up. If I wait one more day the fic will be moot thanks to new canon. As it is I wrote it on Friday the 19th. At some point you have to just go with what you've got and not beat yourself up over it.

FWIW I like the idea. I just could never find the words and phrases worthy of it and despite a heroic effort from both my betas I couldn't find my way even with their above and beyond the call of duty assistance. At least the fic is way better now than it was in first draft. I may not be happy with it, but it has improved.

It's a process, I tell myself. I don't get better on one fic. Patience...

I'm reminded of a quote: "Of course it's hard to read, it should be hard to read, it was hard to write." LOL

I confess I, like Kripke evidently, took inspiration from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Only I'm admitting it up front. ;-)

Very special thanks to betas melissima and gretazreta for their assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
Thanks! I really tried to fold it into the last scene in canon as seamlessly as I could despite it being fic and not a screenplay.
blackdoggy1 on September 25th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
Gorgeous! Two thumbs up!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
Oh thank Castiel god! I worked my ass off on this fic and there's no better reward than a "gorgeous"! Thank you so much!
melissima: Sam!melissima on September 25th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
\o/ I know what it's like to lose all patience with a story while trying to rewrite. (Which you know very well. *koff*Salt in the Wound*koff*) I think you did a fantastic job of rewriting this.

"Dad?" he breathes out, more a statement of wonder than a question. His throat seizes up and he chokes trying to get the next word out. "Mom?"

Then he feels it: a greater love just beyond theirs, one so vast and powerful he feels it all around him, everywhere, inside him. He surrenders, letting it take him in, letting it erase all the doubt and fear until all that’s left is bliss.

Dean's held a memory since childhood of his mother holding him in her arms after a nightmare, comforting him with her soft voice, her calming touch, her unwavering love. It's sustained him for decades, that memory of perfect maternal love. This is all that and so much more.


ZOMG! *goosebumps*


He comes back to the room, to himself, only slightly less jarringly than his exit from Hell to find Castiel removing his hand with a single nod of acknowledgment. He staggers, mind reeling from the transition back, nerves singing in protest at being bound by his body once more. Existence feels hard, harsh, cold. He feels heavy, like gravity threatens to suck him back down into the pit, yet feels the hollow emptiness of his loss: bereft.


*tears prickling*

I applaud your perseverance and hard labor that got us this beautiful story! Brava! /showers you with mini orange truffles/

&hearts
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Ack! What's that bonking on my head? Truffles? /is confused/ /reads your post/ Oh, they're from you! :-)

Thanks for putting up with my obstinance on this one. You kept trying to tell me things and I was super rigid in what I wanted to hear. Bad me. Grumpy me. LOL

I do think there are some good bits in this, just not enough, but I'm thrilled you had a "visceral" reaction. (ROFL at in joke.)

Honestly, I'm kind of just glad it's over. Now I just want a new episode and fresh canon.

Can it be Thursday now? I have an Angel of Thursday fix I need taken care of. Hehehe
(no subject) - melissima on September 25th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on September 25th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
vanillafluffy: Vivid heartvanillafluffy on September 25th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
OhDeanohDeanohDean...! It would be interesting to see how Dean would change as a result of an experience like this, although I'm not sure even Jensen's thespian skills would be able to convey such a profound experience. What a wake-up call. Love this!


Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC)
Thanks! I appreciate you coming over to read this.

My writing skills weren't up to conveying it so I'd feel for Jensen if he had to tackle this material in canon. That said, he was *great* in LR! Talk about heavy lifting: he had to carry pretty much the first ten minutes *alone*. First ten minutes of a premiere anxiously awaited by millions of fangirls? No pressure there! I recently went back and started watching again from the pilot and OMG! It's a *drastic* change. The boys, Jensen in particular, have gotten loads better over the years. S4 is going to be amazing.
laurel: dean 13sailorhathor on September 25th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
>>He's held a baby in his arms who would never know his mother.<<

Awwww. :( Very profound way to put it.

I like the line, "God doesn't need you to believe in him," because I truly believe that. I've debated this topic with people before and they're always bringing up examples from the Bible that they think means God is offended when we don't believe in him, that it "hurts his feelings." But I say a higher power doesn't have petty human feelings. It's a higher power!

Anyway, like I need another pairing to write, but I want me some Dean/Castiel.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
Hey Laurel! /waves/ Thanks for popping in to read this!

I debated taking that baby line out, but I think the motherless son thing is a huge deal for Dean and it informs his relationship with Sam.

As for the other one, I should have dropped a reference to the book Illusions in the Confession post. It's not as big an influence as Buffy, but the idea that the Is doesn't need a Messiah? Yeah, I remembered that.

I wasn't sure I could pull off true Dean/Castiel slash, but now that I've read a few? I'm kind of leaning towards something like Dean/Vessel. We'll see...

Am I a freak for wanting to write Demon!Bela back from the pit and on the job making life difficult for the Winchester boys?
(no subject) - sailorhathor on September 25th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on September 25th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sailorhathor on September 26th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
perhaps some frottage is in order: [bandom] Brendon mountainssororcula on September 25th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
Oh, ouch. Lovely.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
You read my SPN fic? Wow! /is all happy/ Is it my birthday? /checks calendar/ Close enough. /big grin/ Thanks!
synalottsynalott on September 25th, 2008 06:41 am (UTC)
This was lovely. Actually got a lump in my throat from this bit - He finally puts a name to the way this feels, such an unfamiliar emotion he'd forgotten it existed: peace. Dean definitely deserves some peace.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! I *really* believe that he does and I hate that I was so overtly inspired by Buffy in this fic, but honestly who deserves peace more than people who spend their lives destined to fight evil?
Tori Lovelostandalone22 on September 25th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
Great story!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

You know what? You and I keep running into each other over the years and we have *so* many fandoms/pairings in common I'm perplexed as to why I never got around to friending you. (Other than the fact that I'm lame at friending in general.)

We've totally got the brotherly love thing down pat and I've been meaning to add Jericho to my list all year since my favorite show ever is Skeet Ulrich's Miracles. That and I've been rewatching an old favorite series called John Doe that stars Prison Break brother Dominic Purcell (with hair! Hot!) which is another brother oriented fandom I need to cave in and finally watch.

Anyway, going to go friend you and try to make up for lost time.
is there protein powder in this margarita?: spn dean mouth:ismellsnowaudrarose on September 25th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, Dean. I find him utterly heart-breaking, and I really think you've captured the reason why here. Lovely, hon. :D
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yay, you came to read! /smishes/

I'm such a Dean girl, it's not even funny. He really does break my heart like that. I think I'll be hearing him yell out "SAM!" from hell in my head for months... /sniff/
Tangles: Winchestersentangled_now on September 25th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
You know I love this, the way you make Castiel so open, the way Dean wants to push back but Castiel blocks him at every turn. It's just lovely! And you have an excellent Dean voice.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I ♥ Dean so much, I'm glad you think I pull him off. Sam's harder for me, but I'm a Dean girl so I *want* to get him. I can't wait for more Castiel and I'm curious to see of all of us who wrote him who is going to end up closest to future canon. Yay Thursday!
devon99 on September 25th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
You're not happy with this Emma?

I liked it. A lot. Theres some lovely lines in here but I especially liked:

As far as he's seen it's just hunters, all out there on their own. No God watching their back. They rely on each other and that’s the only good Dean’s ever been able to count on in his life. God didn’t save his mother from the yellow-eyed demon. God didn’t stop his father from sacrificing himself. God did nothing when Sam died in his arms. God let everyone he loved die then let him go to Hell after spending his whole life fighting evil. There is no God.

Loved this section. Its everything that has shaped Deans life, everything that would make him question why there is a God, and everthing that would make him question why he was worthy of being saved, and not them.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I think I'm disappointed in it because where it should have gone in my head - and where my betas thought I could take it - was so much better. I just wasn't able to deliver on that promise after days of trying, so I gave up, discouraged. It's not a bad fic, it's just not as good as I'd wanted it to be.

Dean, more so than most people, has good reason to be an atheist. It's just incredibly lonely when you believe in dark forces yet no forces for good.

Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading!
heliokleia: CASTIEL IC - CREDOheliokleia on September 25th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
His first appearance was very impressive, and I have to confess, that Castiel scared me a bit. But then I read your fine fic, my dear Emma, and lost my fear (for Dean, too!).

And your description about he comforts our loneseme hunter, who doesn't believe in angels, is so hear-warming and made me smile.

Wonderful written, my friend. Thank you very much for posting & sharing. I love every single word!
*nods**nods*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 25th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
There are some scary Castiels out there in fic, but I chose to take him at his word and have him be a real angel come to help and to heal. When Dean says that good things don't happen - "Not in my experience" - my heart just breaks for him. He really deserves good things, but he'll never see it that way. Such horrible self esteem that one has. /cries for him/

Thanks for coming to read! I'm so pleased you liked it!
raputathebuta: Emo!Deanraputathebuta on September 25th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
Well I think it's beautiful.

He finally puts a name to the way this feels, such an unfamiliar emotion he'd forgotten it existed: peace. This makes me all weepy.

Nice job!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 26th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Aww! Thank you! It makes it worth all the effort to know someone felt what I was trying to evoke with the story.
iamstealthyoneiamstealthyone on September 26th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
Interesting look at what might have happened after the screen went black in 4.01. Dean definitely does seem to be the kind of person who would need proof of God's existence (and love) beyond just somebody's word.

Favorite lines:

He believes his parents are no longer separated even if their final destination was oblivion.

Aww, Dean ... Yeah, he'd definitely want to believe that.

"I'm the ye in 'ye of little faith.'"

*g* That's so very Dean.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 26th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sadly canon blasted my Castiel out of the water, but I can still enjoy this one in my head. :-)

I do think Dean's very much a take things as he sees them kind of guy, but it's always interested me that Sam's the one with seemingly unshakable faith.

It seems in the premiere they went on about how hard it was for Sam and for Bobby when Dean was in hell, but they seem to have forgotten Dean, of all people, would understand since his father went to hell for him and didn't get out for months too.

(no subject) - iamstealthyone on September 27th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on September 27th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - iamstealthyone on September 27th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on September 27th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - iamstealthyone on September 27th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)