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Fire in the Sky

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Dean can still remember the first time he asked his dad about what Mary was like; it was two years after she died, they were in some crappy motel in West Virginia and Sammy was napping as John filled salt rounds, Dean’s fumbling hands trying their best to help. He’d had to build his courage, was terrified that if he asked the wrong way, then he’d never get to know anything about her. Eventually, he’d stuttered the words out, jaw set stubbornly, and he’d almost dropped the bag of salt when John had looked at him and nodded his head before he started telling Dean about the day he met her, how he’d ended up on his ass and how embarrassed she’d been.

It came out in dribs and drabs and Dean soaked it all up, needing to know who she was, what she was like, the things she’d be interested in. Even then, his memories of her had been vague at best, blonde hair brushing against his face when she hugged him, the scent of apple pie and jasmine that floated around her, and a soft voice that sang to him when he was scared or sleepy.

Then. It stopped. As the hunt went on and they were no closer to finding what killed mom, as they went from town to town trying to kill anything they could find, John stopped talking about her. When he was thirteen, he’d wanted to know what mom thought of Deep Purple, John was drunk, and he backhanded Dean across the face for mentioning her name.

Dean stopped asking.

He didn’t forget her, he kept his mom locked up inside like a secret no one else would ever get to share with him. Sam didn’t remember her, and Dean—he clung to the small things he did remember, the things that Dad had told him, and kept them close to his heart. He found a copy of Cat’s Cradle in a secondhand bookshop Sam dragged him into and slipped it into his pocket, knowing that they didn’t have enough cash for that and whatever Sam would want to get.

It was little things, like knowing his mom’s favourite Zeppelin song was Tangerine, that kept him going when he’d be picking his Dad up after he’d drunk too much; when he’d be in the middle of Sam and Dad arguing, he knew he could escape a little by picking up a Vonnegut book, by listening to Zeppelin, by trying to piece together what little he knew of his mom to try and form a picture of her in his mind.

*

She’s still a Zeppelin fan, and Dean relishes the look on her face when he tells her they played again together in London a bunch of years back. She walks around the bunker like she’s unsure of her place, but put a weapon in her hand and she instinctively knows what to do with it. She’s nothing and everything that Dean expected.

“Tea, mom?” Dean asks in the kitchen, Sam sleeping off his wounds, and Cas busying himself with getting a room ready for Mary. Dean didn’t even have to ask him to do it.

“Coffee,” she says, tugging at the sleeves of the hoodie Dean gave her.

“Oh.” Dean stops, his hand halfway to the box of tea that Cas stashed there and moves to switch the coffee machine on instead. “Okay, then.”

“So, you live here?”

“Yeah.” Dean turns around to face her, leaning against the counter. “A few years now, we, uh. Didn’t really live anywhere before this, not after we left Lawrence.”

“You—” Mary shakes her head, taking that in. “The car,” she says. “You spent a lot of time in her?”

“She was pretty much home,” Dean says, getting mugs down and pouring out some coffee for her, filling a mug for himself as well. “Always had baby, no matter what.”

“Good. I’m—that’s good.”

“Mom, I know you don’t like how Sam and I were raised.” Dean hands the mug over to her and sits at the table opposite. “But we’re okay.”

“I had to help bandage up the wounds on my son today,” Mary says. “Because he’d been tortured. What’s okay about that?”

Dean winces. “Okay,” he says. “That’s fair. But we survive.”

“I don’t understand how to fold fitted sheets,” Cas says as he walks into the kitchen, an exasperated look on his face.

“No one understands how to fold fitted sheets, Cas,” Dean says. “There’s coffee, if you want.”

Mary watches Cas fill a mug, and Dean looks over at her, raising a questioning eyebrow. “I just—when I said there were angels watching over you, I didn’t expect them to be like him,” she says.

There’s a faint smile on her face as she takes a sip from her mug of coffee, and Dean looks over at Cas, taking in how well Cas fits in the kitchen, how he’s been so careful and caring when it comes to Mary. “Yeah,” Dean says, voice rough. “I didn’t either.”

Cas sits at the table with them and leans forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Sam’s still sleeping, I checked on him.”

“Thanks, Cas.”

“When he wakes up, I’ll heal what I can.” Cas rubs his fingers against his forehead and fixes both of them with a stare. “You should both rest while you can.”

Mary looks down on herself. “I don’t have anything to sleep in. Or to wear, really.”

“We’ll take you out tomorrow,” Dean says, standing up. “I’ll get you something to sleep in from my room, show you where you’re sleeping.”

Making their way through the bunker, Dean shows his mom to a room a few doors down from his own. Cas has piled it high with pillows, some freshly laundered blankets, and Dean gestures to it as Mary walks in. “Cas set it up,” he says. “I’ll get you some clothes to sleep in, uh, there’s a sink over there, toothbrush and toothpaste, it’s not fancy but until we can—”

“It’s fine, Dean,” Mary says, sitting on the edge of the bed, running her hands over the blankets. “I’m fine.”

“Are you?”

“Not really,” Mary says with a heavy exhale, looking up at Dean. “But you’re all making it easier.”

It’s like a hit to the heart and all Dean can do is lean down and press a kiss against his mom’s head. “We’ll be back in a moment,” he says. “Cas? Coming with?”

“Of course.”

*

Back in his room, Dean pulls out a pair of pj pants and a Deep Purple t-shirt for his mom, dropping them on the bed and rubbing a hand over his face. “Cas, I—what the hell?”

“Amara gave you back your mother, Dean.”

“Yeah, yes, I just—” Dean cuts himself off and shakes his head. “This is a lot, I don’t know if she’s back for good, or if I’m gonna lose her again, and if she is back for good, is she going to want to stay?”

“I don’t think there’s anywhere else she’d rather be,” Cas says. “You’re her family.”

“Yeah.” Dean looks at Cas and smiles softly. “Thanks for sticking around, Cas. Helping with Sam, with mom.”

“I want to be here,” Cas says, a frown crossing his face. “Unless you—”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Dean interrupts. “I want you here, I want—” Dean sits on the bed next to Cas, their thighs pressed together, and he grabs Cas’ hand firmly. “I need you here, Cas. Stay. Please.”

Before Cas can respond, the door opens and Mary walks in, her eyes flitting over their joined hands before looking at Dean. “Sorry,” she says. “You were taking a while and I’m beat.”

Every single atom in Dean is screaming to let go of Cas’ hand, the fear deep in him that this is going to be what makes her reject him; that she can live with the hunting and the way they grew up, but her kid with a—with Cas—that’s what will send her running from him. He doesn’t, though, because Cas deserves more than that, because he’s tired of pretending that this isn’t what it is, and because if his mom is going to get to know him, she deserves to know all of him, including the people he’s chosen to love. “It’s okay, mom.” Dean reaches for the clothes with his free hand and hands them to her. “Here.”

“Deep Purple,” she says, fingers tracing over the lettering of the logo. “I saw them play, the same week I met your father.”

“You got to see Ritchie Blackmore in person,” Dean says, almost to himself. “Damn.”

“Can I go to bed now?” Mary asks, an amused tone in her voice. “Or are we going to talk about this all night?”

Dean shakes his head. “No, no, yeah, go to bed, mom. We are going to talk about this tomorrow, though.”

“Okay.” Mary pauses and reaches out, tentatively, like she’s not sure she’s allowed, and brushes a hand over Dean’s hair. Dean can’t take his eyes off her, his grip on Cas’ hand tightening as her fingers trail down his face, her hand cupping his face for a moment. “I want you to be happy,” she says. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.”

“Thanks, mom,” Dean says quietly. “Sleep well, okay?”

Mary nods before walking out of the room. Dean watches her go, suppresses the urge to chase after her, to keep watching her incase she vanishes from the bunker. Even after fighting alongside her, having his mom back doesn’t feel real to Dean, and all he can do is hope that in the morning she’ll still be here.

“You should sleep,” Cas says, interrupting Dean’s thoughts. “You’re tired.”

“Yeah.” Dean turns his head and looks at Cas, involuntarily licking his lips. “I—stay? With me, I mean.” He can feel heat flushing his cheeks, but the way Cas is looking at him is worth whatever bit of embarrassment he’s feeling. There’s quiet, and Dean would swear he can feel a crackle in the air, but then Cas leans in slightly, his mouth firm against Dean’s and that’s—. It’s more than Dean thought he’d ever get.

“Yes,” Cas says, resting their foreheads together. “I’ll stay.”