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You Opened My Life to a New Paradise

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It was good to have everyone together. Summer had been surprisingly great, but Sam had missed his friends. With fall quarter starting, they were slowly coming back, settling into dorms or apartments. Almost everyone was back now, and Dean had stuck around to hang out with his little brothers until school started. Then he’d head out to meet up with John, but it wouldn’t be like it was the year before. Dean was welcome to drop by any time, John would let him go without having to sneak off, and Sam had agreed to a compromise where he wasn’t hunting but he wasn’t completely cutting himself off from that world, either.

The apartment was a little cramped with everyone there, but it was worth it. Sam was a little surprised the Warrens had come – Zach and Becky had only gotten back to Palo Alto that afternoon, and couldn’t have had time to unpack properly yet. Jess at least had gotten in that morning, and some of the others had gone to help her, at least.

Sam held out a beer to Zach, which he nearly dropped when Jess squealed and grabbed his arm. “Sam! What’s that?”

“It’s a beer? Because my older brother’s here to buy it for us and we’re off-campus so we don’t have RAs to come ruin our fun?” Sam glanced at his hand and then realized what Jess probably meant, but he was committed now. “You don’t have to drink any if you don’t want to, but I know Zach’s into it, and you’ve been around us at parties, you know at least some of us drink.”

“Not that, you jerk.” Jess let go of his arm and looked around. “Hey, Christi! Check Cas’s left hand!”

Christi rolled her eyes and glanced at Castiel’s hand, and nearly dropped her water when she looked again. “Silver ring, looks like a wing design, line of emeralds on the inner edge of the wing?”

“Well, Sam’s has… iolite?” Jess looked to Sam for confirmation. He nodded. “But other than that, yep. Are those what they look like, guys?”

“That would depend what they look like to you,” Castiel said without looking up from the textbook he had out.

“Matching rings like that? Sounds like engagement rings to me,” Becky said. “You guys are engaged?”

Sam fought down the smile. “No. They’re not engagement rings.”

“They’re wedding rings,” Dean interrupted before anyone could ask another question. “These two got married last week.”

The room erupted in squeals and shouts of “congratulations” and “I knew it” and “why didn’t you guys ever tell us you were together” and “I can’t believe you didn’t invite us to your wedding!” That last one made Sam roll his eyes. “We didn’t exactly invite a lot of people. We didn’t plan much. The guy who helped me apply to colleges without my dad finding out and pulling the plug happens to be a pastor, Minnesota doesn’t require a waiting period, so we got married, like, three days after we decided to.”

“And the only reason we waited three days is because it was going to take that long for Dean to get there, and Dean would never have forgiven us if we got married without him,” Castiel added.

“Damn straight,” Dean said. “I’m just glad you and Dad got stuff sorted out and he could be there, too.” He shook his head. “Can’t believe the two of you are already fighting again.”

“He…” Sam trailed off. He couldn’t say too much about this fight, not with all the civilians in the room. “He’s aggravating and he’s wrong and you know it.”

There was an uncomfortable pause, which Jing broke with a clap of her hands. “Okay, happier subject time! Where’d you two get those rings? They’re gorgeous!”

“They were a gift from my family,” Castiel said. “Sam and I were going to go with much plainer rings, simple silver bands, but Michael insisted.”

 

Sam was nervous at the prospect of meeting Michael. None of Castiel’s family had ever liked him. Most were openly hostile, although a few were at least courteous. He’d never met Michael, but from what little Castiel had said about him, Michael sounded a lot like his dad. He gave orders, and they were obeyed. If they were not obeyed, there was punishment. Questions were not welcomed. Nor were suggestions.

At least it was a distraction from the conversation right in front of him. He needed a witness to bring with him to visit Michael, and he couldn’t imagine asking anyone but Dean. That meant telling Dean the truth he’d carefully avoided all year. “You ready for this?” he asked Castiel before knocking. Castiel nodded and squeezed Sam’s other hand, so Sam knocked.

Dean answered. “Sammy? What’s up?”

“You, uh… you’re not gonna believe some of this. Can we come in?”

Dean stepped aside, allowing Sam and Castiel to pass, and then headed for the cooler, where he dug out two more beers. He tossed one to Sam and the other to Castiel and then settled on a corner of the desk. “What’s up?”

“Well, first of all, Cas and I are getting married as soon as we can get people to Blue Earth. Pastor Jim said he’d officiate, so we just need witnesses. Bobby’s gonna be there, Dad’s headed that way…” Which was going to be fun, John and Bobby being in the same room, but Sam had high hopes that John could behave himself and not ruin his son’s wedding. Bobby and John had both promised to behave themselves when Sam talked to them, but both men had a temper.

Dean scowled and crossed his arms. “What you’re saying is I’m the last one to know my little brother’s getting married.”

“Dean, chill. There’s a reason for that.” Sam looked over to Castiel, who nodded encouragingly at him. “For one thing, we’re inviting you in person instead of over the phone, but most importantly, we’re inviting you to our other wedding, too.”

“Other wedding? You’re getting married twice? What the hell, Sam?”

“No, not hell,” Castiel said. “Heaven. It seemed wise to have a separate wedding so that we could have separate guest lists.”

Dean reached behind him and picked up his beer. He drained half of it and set it back down. “Run that by me again?”

“I’m not human,” Castiel said. “I’m an Angel of the Lord. Sam’s death ends our marriage by human laws, so we’re having an angelic ceremony as well.”

“No such thing as angels.” Dean got to his feet, advancing on Castiel. “What are you really? And if the answer’s not human, explain to me why I should let you marry my brother instead of ganking you.”

“It’s not your place to ‘let’ Sam marry anyone. That choice is Sam’s alone,” Castiel started, and Sam fought back the smile. That sort of thinking was one of the reasons Sam loved him so much. “I really am an angel. I know you don’t believe, which is why we waited so long to tell you.” He let his wings spread out behind him, darkening the wall with the shadows that were all Sam or Dean could safely see. “If you wish to try to kill me, I won’t stop you, but it will be distressing for Sam to watch and unsuccessful.”

Dean ran a hand over his face, staring at the shadows of the wings. “Sammy? You believe him?”

“Yeah. I, uh… hard not to when you’ve experienced some of the things I have with him.” Being held in his wings for warmth, flying around the country, time travel… meeting God. If, of course, that was really God, but Castiel said so, and he trusted Castiel. “I know it’s hard to believe, Dean, but if you come to the wedding? You will.”

“When is it?”

“When can you come?” Castiel asked. “Michael’s on standby. If I let him know we’re coming, he can get everything together in half an hour, and there’s not much he’d consider more important than this.”

“Now’s good?” Dean asked. Castiel nodded. “Okay. Let’s do this.”

 

Having Dean at his side made it easier to face Michael. Seeing Michael, though, threw both Sam and Dean. “Dad?”

“No. I’m Michael. Well, yes and no.” Michael held out a hand to Sam. “In order not to burn your eyes with my true form, I required a vessel, and the Winchester bloodline is the only one that can properly hold me without irreparable damage. Your father, as he is now, would never agree, so I traveled back to a time before Mary’s death. When I put him back, I’ll block his memory of this. If you wish to have him remember, there will be a trigger phrase. If you have no better suggestion, I’m going to go with ‘remember my wedding.’”

“Oh. Um, thanks. It’s nice to meet you.” Sam shook Michael’s hand. “This is my brother Dean.”

“I’m aware,” Michael said with a faint smile. “Hello, Dean. I truly hope that I never need you.”

Dean bristled beside Sam. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that while any of your bloodline could hold me, you’re my perfect vessel. There are many who believe you existing at this time means that the Apocalypse is nigh, and if that happens, I’ll need you so I can kill my brother. I would prefer not to do that.” Michael glanced over at Sam, and then to Castiel. “Are we ready to do this?”

“Wait, hang on a sec,” Dean said. “What’s this about me meaning the Apocalypse is nigh? Revelations apocalypse? Lucifer laying waste to the Earth?”

“Yes, that Apocalypse. You’re one sign among several, but there is a very powerful sign that this is not, in fact, the intended time.” Michael looked Sam in the eyes. “If war between Heaven, Hell, and Earth were destined to break out, Castiel would never be permitted to bind himself to someone tainted with demon blood.”

“Demon blood?” Sam and Dean said in unison.

“You didn’t know?” Michael raised an eyebrow and looked to Castiel. “You didn’t tell Sam what, exactly, Azazel did to him all those years ago?”

“I saw no point in it. I’m aware that there are fears that Lucifer will rise soon, but I don’t know why that should involve Sam.” Castiel reached out to take Sam’s hands. “Sam, Azazel fed you his blood. Your mother caught him, and he killed her for it. We can talk more about this later, what exactly that means for you, but for right now, we have a ceremony to conduct.”

“Hold up. Back up.” Sam felt Castiel’s hands clench in irritation as Dean pushed his way in to poke Castiel in the chest. “You know what killed our mom and you never said anything about it? We could be done with the hunt!”

Dean.” Sam dropped Castiel’s hands to push his brother back. He was curious why Castiel had never said anything to him, but that could wait. “Don’t ruin my wedding with drama, huh?”

“He’s hidden this for a year, Sammy! Even knowing you want out of the hunt, off to a normal life. Best way to do that is to tell Dad what killed Mom and how to kill it, and Cas here knew all along!”

“And would you have believed me if I told you?” Castiel said. “Or would you and your father have decided to kill me as well?”

“You know exactly what Dad would’ve done. Don’t even try to deny it.” He stared Dean down, and Dean threw up his hands and turned away. “Michael, I’m sorry about that. Are we ready?”

“One moment.” Sam couldn’t perceive the signal, but suddenly there were several other angels in the room. “Sam, take Castiel’s hands.” Sam did as instructed. “Samuel Winchester and Castiel have come before us seeking to bond their existence together. Sam, this is not a human institution. Your death will not free you. Do you understand that? This is eternity, not till death do you part.”

“I understand.”

“Dean, do you believe your brother has the capacity to make a binding decision such as this? Does he understand?”

Sam held his breath. Dean could decide to be a complete ass here and derail the wedding. Dean’s hesitation did not reassure him, but when Dean finally spoke, it was good. “Not sure he has good judgment, but yeah, he’s capable of making that call.”

“Castiel, you are prepared to guard your mate against Hell’s temptations, and to retrieve him or join him there if he goes?”

“Of course.”

“You understand that it will be more difficult with him than with most.”

Sam flinched, but Castiel didn’t hesitate. “I understand.”

“Zachariah, as Castiel’s superior, do you believe that Castiel has the capacity to make this decision?”

Zachariah shot Sam a poisonous look. “Does it matter if I don’t? We all know this wedding’s going to happen.” Michael didn’t respond to that, and Sam smothered the smile at Castiel’s eyeroll. “Fine. Yes. Castiel is an idiot, but he’s not a stupid idiot.”

“Sam, do you consent to this marriage of your own free will?”

“I do.”

“The hand of God has been placed upon this union.” Michael placed his hands over Sam and Castiel’s joined hands. When he pulled them away, the rings were in place. Sam looked up, and gasped in shock. What, before, had been a room full of human-appearing people, had now become a room full of glowing beings. He focused on the closest one, a vaguely humanoid being that at once was small enough to be holding Sam’s hands and bigger than the biggest building Sam had ever seen. “Dean, cover your ears.” Once Dean had obeyed, Michael said in a very different-sounding voice, “I pronounce you bonded, in the name of my Father.”

Looking at Michael hurt his brain. Michael reached out and touched his temple, and the room went back to normal. “You can see our true forms and hear our true voices. Castiel will teach you how to manage it, but know that you can.”

 

“I thought your family hated Sam!" Jess said. “What happened?”

Castiel shrugged. “It seems our families have one thing in common – they enjoy breaking in. The head of the family broke into our dorm to give us his personal blessing to marry. With that done, my family had little choice but to fall in line and welcome Sam. I’m sure some of them are still going to hate him. One of my closest cousins and I had a falling out over it.”

“What?” Sam straightened up and looked at Castiel, eyes wide. “Which one?”

“Uriel.” Castiel came over to Sam and kissed his forehead. “He’s an assbutt. The falling out has been building since I came to Stanford. This was just the final straw. Between you and Uriel, I’m far happier with you.”

“Assbutt?” Brady teased. “Cas, dude, you’ve gotta get some better insults.”

“Hey, I think his insults are just fine,” Sam said. “Ignore him, Cas.”

Luis looked between them and cleared his throat. “Back to the wedding. Who was there, since none of us were invited? Your dad, Dean, the guy doing the ceremony, anyone else?”

“Yeah, one other person, an old friend of the family who we’d lost touch with. Used to be like an uncle to us, even another dad sometimes, until he and Dad got into a huge fight that ended up with Dad driving away while Bobby shot rock salt at the car.”

“Holy shit, three guests and major drama,” Becky said. “Everything go okay?”

 

Castiel flew Dean and Sam back to the motel room after the wedding. “Dean, if you can’t get to Blue Earth in time, say the word and I’ll fly you there.”

Dean waved him off. “I can make it, don’t worry about it. I kinda drive fast. Never have liked flying.”

True to his word, Dean made it to Blue Earth in plenty of time to be there when John arrived. There were hugs for his boys, and then a tense moment when they went into the church and John and Bobby were face to face. Bobby broke the tension by clearing his throat. “Look, John. You and me have our problems and we know it, but this ain’t about us. We’re both here for Sam, so can we act like it?”

“For Sammy,” John agreed. “Castiel? No best man?”

Sam and Castiel exchanged a quick glance. “No. My family has treated Sam quite badly, so I don’t want any of them here. They accept Sam as my partner, but I would prefer to avoid any tension between them and Dean, or you, when one of them inevitably forgets themself.” Those who had cared enough about Castiel to overlook their doubts had already gone to the wedding that would mean something to them, after all.

The wedding itself was short and sweet, although several times Sam had to bite his lip to keep from laughing at the prayers. God blessing the marriage was not a question. The kiss they shared was quick, as well, although they had considered the idea of going for it to torment Dean. Sam had decided against it when he realized it would affect Bobby and Jim as well.

 

“Awwwwwwwwwwwww!” Jess hugged Sam and Castiel. “So good to hear it wasn’t awful like it could have been! But if your dad behaved at the wedding, then why are the two of you fighting again?”

“Because Dad’s a dick,” Dean said before Sam could come up with any kind of plausible explanation. Sam took a deep breath, but decided against stopping Dean from at least trying to explain. “Since him and Sammy have been fighting since Sam left for school until a few days ago, he didn’t know much about Cas, just what I told him after coming out here to spy on Sam. Dunno how much Sam’s told you about Dad…”

“He’s told us that he was a great mechanic until your mom died, and then he kind of went nuts. Abandoned everything for his new bros Jim, Jack, and José, got all kinds of paranoid, had the weirdest mix of neglecting you guys and being insanely overprotective,” Brady said. “That enough to understand?”

“Hey, Dad was doing what he thought he had to to keep us safe,” Dean snapped. Sam rolled his eyes. Of course Dean would defend John like that. “Anyway, Dad asked Cas why none of his family came to the wedding.”

Castiel’s lips twitched into a bit of a smirk. “He didn’t like my answer that I was afraid they’d start something if he or Dean heard the way some of them talk about Sam. Sam gave him a brief overview, and next thing I knew, John had a gun aimed at my head.”

 

The wedding reception was heading down to the diner for burgers and beer. Castiel had developed a fondness for burgers early on, when Antonio and Brady had approached Sam in concern about Castiel never coming to meals. The truth, of course, was that Castiel didn’t need to eat because he was an angel, but they couldn’t say that. Eating was one of the things Castiel would have to do to properly blend in. Sam, though he’d started eating much better in the dorms, had grown up on diner food.

Once dinner was over, they headed for the hotel. Bobby had rolled his eyes when he heard Sam and Castiel were planning on spending their wedding night in the usual level of crappy motel. They weren’t, not really, Castiel was going to take Sam back to the dorm, but there was no way to explain that to Bobby.

“No family, Cas?” John asked when Bobby and Jim were both gone.

Castiel looked to Sam. Sam shrugged. He was going to trigger John’s memories anyway, so Castiel might as well tell the truth. “I have a very large family.”

“Why didn’t they come you your wedding? Can’t think of much that would keep me from coming to either of these two’s weddings.”

“Short of not telling you about it, anyway,” Sam muttered. This gave him the perfect opening, though. “Dad, Cas’s family was at our wedding. Remember our wedding.”

John’s eyes glazed over. Before he’d finished shaking it off, he had his gun out and aimed at Castiel. “I don’t know how you convinced Sammy to marry you, but you’re not human. You and your buddies can call yourselves angels if you want, but if you’re angels, then where the hell were you when Mary was dying?”

Sam moved to get between John and Castiel, but Castiel stepped to the side so he could speak to John. “Non-interference. If angels intervened in human affairs, it would defeat the purpose of you having free will.” Castiel had the grace to at least look regretful. “Given the involvement of Azazel, I would consider that a grey area, but my superiors forbade interference. You were a soldier. You understand the chain of command, and how little those higher up like having it questioned.”

“Sometimes orders deserve questioning.”

“Yes. I agree, now. My time with Sam has taught me to think differently than I used to.”

“Why didn’t you say anything when you and Sam met?”

“I still wanna know that one myself,” Dean grumbled, and Sam turned to face Castiel.

“If Sam had called you out of the blue to tell you that your wife was killed by a Prince of Hell and that there’s not much you can do to kill him, would you have believed him, or would you have had that gun aimed at him instead?”

John’s hand wavered, but he firmed it up. “You’re telling me you so-called angels can’t kill him?”

“I could. Michael certainly could. If you could convince him to do it, allowing Michael to possess you would be one of the two ways I can think of for you to kill Azazel.”

“And the other?” Dean demanded.

“There’s a gun, made by Samuel Colt. There are five things that it can’t kill. A Prince of Hell is not one of them.” Castiel stepped forward, putting a hand on Sam’s back. “I don’t know where it is, but I suspect that if anyone can find it, it would be you and Sam.”

John nodded sharply once. “Sammy, give me a reason not to put some bullets in your boyfriend.”

“Okay, for starters, he’s my husband now, not my boyfriend,” Sam spat. “You really wanna do this? We’ve been talking less than a week and you’re already determined to drive me away again? You’re not gonna hurt Cas, but you make me watch you shoot him, I’m walking out that door and not coming back.”

“This time, I’ll be right behind him,” Dean snarled. “Dad, Sam’s got something here he’s never gonna find anywhere else. I know he’s not human, but Cas loves him and he loves Cas. Don’t do this.”

John lowered the gun, turning and walking out without a word. Dean rolled his eyes. “Sorry about that, Sammy. He ain’t wrong to be pissed that Cas didn’t tell you about Mom, but there’s no reason to go threatening him over it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Sam asked. “I get why you didn’t think there would be much point in telling Dad or Dean, but why not me?”

“Because you would tell Dean, Dean would tell your father, and you might well still end up with your father pointing a gun in your face. Possibly even putting a bullet in you, if he found out about the demon blood.”

“Shouldn’t he know?” Dean interrupted. “He was there when Sam and I found out, so he should remember now.”

Castiel tilted his head. After a moment, he nodded in understanding. “Michael chose to keep that particular memory blocked. He believed that discovering it that way would quite possibly end with Sam taking bullets, and he wanted me to have a chance to spend time with my husband while he was alive.”

Sam snorted. “Yeah, that makes sense. Is now a good time to talk about that? What’s it mean for me?”

“You were born slightly different than most. You have inborn talents, and the blood would cause those abilities to develop along channels Azazel would prefer. The blood doesn’t give you the powers, it simply taps into what was already there. If you’d like, now that you know, I can help you figure out what those powers are and how to use them without hurting yourself in any way. If you’d rather just forget about them, I’ll keep an eye on you in case he has some kind of trigger to start things.”

Dean pulled Sam into a hug. “You were born human, Cas says you were born with the powers, I’ll trust him. You wanna explore them, go for it. Would recommend not letting Dad find out, but you don’t have to hide from me. Meantime, enjoy your wedding night. I’d better get going, see if there’s any damage control I can do with Dad.”

“I doubt it. But thanks.” Sam waved as Dean left, and then turned to Castiel, who for some reason had gone quite tense. “Stay here or go to the dorm?”

“Wedding night?”

Sam rolled his eyes. That explained it. “Dean’s being silly and making things weird. Traditionally, wedding nights are celebrated with lots of sex. We’re not some medieval royal alliance, we don’t have to consummate or anything like that. I know you’re working on getting over your fear, but there’s no way I’d have ever expected you to be over it less than a week later. Only thing I’m expecting to do tonight is for you to hold me when I go to sleep, and that’s only because we do that every night.”

 

Sam and Cas dealt with the hugs from their friends reasonably well, and Dean was perfectly happy to tolerate the hugs from the girls. The guys he was a little weirder about, but not too bad. “Dad’s still being an idiot about Cas’s family, but he’ll come around.”

“And if he doesn’t, well… long as he doesn’t try to make Dean pick a side, I’ll be fine,” Sam added. “He’s got his life, I’m making mine, don’t worry about it.”

“Still… I know you don’t really get along with your family, Cas, but what the hell are they, the Corleones?” Brady asked. “Getting a gun pointed at you on your wedding day because of them?”

“I have mentioned Dad’s paranoia,” Sam said. “I made the mistake of telling him about the time Balthazar threatened to kill me if I broke Cas’s heart, and he jumped to conclusions.”

“What are ‘Corleones’?” Castiel asked.

Ten jaws around the room dropped in unison. Christi recovered first. “You… you don’t… how have you never heard of the Corleones? I know we’ve made jokes about offers you can’t refuse and horse heads in your bed around you!”

“That’s it. Party plans have changed. We’re watching The Godfather,” Dean said. “If I have to go buy a VCR and the tape, we are watching Godfather.”

Zach hopped to his feet. “Dean, Becky, come with me, we’re going for movie watching supplies.”