You've sprung from so many cages it doesn't feel like anything new. Still, your throat chokes and your hands open like birds when you get out, and you want your brother, your mother, and a whiskey, in that order.
Come on, Sam, Cas says, and spirits you like he couldn’t before, guilt-heavy, pyrite in his angelglow, I’ve got Dean.
The sky opens with birds. It’s winter.
In the bunker you bewilder, like the past weeks didn’t happen, ankles worn from six-by-six, pacing; face still the color it always goes, you run into a lock you can’t pick.
What just happened, Dean says, stubbled and cave-pale; still your brother.
Don’t ask, you say, and rub your palm, the place between your brows.
Not that I’m not glad to have you back, Cas says, but—
Brother. Angel. Whiskey.
--we’ve got to get to Iowa by midnight, Cas says.
No, Rowena says, when you call.
Well, Rowena says, I've never midwifed for the devil before;I am Witch; hear me.
You hear her modulate, weather, sigh Samuel like it’s a curse.
Well, Rowena says, I’ll need some things, and so will you.
Sam, Dean says, we just got out and you gotta—
There’s more he won’t say.
We have to try, you say, and see him trembling, all that locked-up, Folsom rage.
Yeah, he says, and you watch him shoulder it, duffel-stuff with the socks.
I killed Hitler. We got him.
Your mother’s been looking for you, Cas said, she’ll meet us there.
You studied your brother’s face at that, look to Cas, powered down too low now to send you. Dean drives, mutters something about seven hours, and to jailbreak Damien.
That…metaphor, Cas says, is inexact, but it is what you'd call a bad storyline.
Dean hits a rut, rights Baby and pets her dash. Ground squirrels, you think, and then, no. Chains and barbed wire; water and fear and a cage. Light all night. Lucifer.
You’re weak, still. Angel-heal humming in your veins, in your brother’s.
Kansas opens like a prayer, buff-brown, hand-folded; flat and sweet.
There’s a motel in Iowa, where, warded--
Angelica, Kelly says to her unborn, rubs her belly with sage and the leaves of. Lights a white candle.
She’s alone. She knelt and prayed awhile, thought of a particular corner of the White House.
Umbels; white flowers.
Abomination, Cas said, and you flinched then. Takes one to know one.
Or, Cas said, not cure one but…
Not change its destiny but dick with its DNA, Dean said.
Or none of the above but you’ve always lit up for what, the antigenic.
For creatures. So many things have walked the earth.
When I found Kelly I told her, Cas says, I—
You brought her bags of weed, Dean says, smirks, pulls into a parking spot, exorcist motel.
No it’s not—Cas leans over your shoulder, electric-floral angel breath--it’s not marijuana, Dean.
Purifying herbs, you say, look up through the window at winter stars in Iowa, down again at your own hands.
It might be icing, not far from here. Your mother in the doorway to room 12, blade at her hip, droplets in her hair.
She holds you.
In all of your cages you held yourself apart. Braced yourself.
Midnight: Cas cuts himself.
Drink, Cas says, and you watch your brother avert his eyes, though this is nothing like blood. It effervesces. Grace twisted with witchery; Rowena’s hands. Cuts and chants and a guttural.
Your hands shake and liquid spreads in you, fledges out. Somewhere you split; elsewhere you think, somehow, about the genitive case; possession inalienable, alienable. It hurts.
Kelly moans and huffs and pants. Your mother and brother make sigils.
Caim, Rowena says, and repeats it, light slipping from fingertips, three times round the bed and magic helixes up, whiter and dark.
Your breath hurts on the way out. Heart in its clink of ribs; rattle-match.
Sam! Cas says. You breathe harder.The walls unsettle and Dean stands at your back.
If she could be purified. If you could send her father out of her. This--
nephilim, watcher, Bible-burning witch-crisped angel-child, anti-christos; angelica.
Your spine burns and there are your mother’s eyes, and Dean’s. This is a motel in Iowa; this is earth.
If your mother can see you like this and still—
Something slips down your face. Blood from your nose.
I’m not your demon child.
Angelica cried. Just new.
Her mother held her;knelt and prayed.
You left her in a church, near the altar. Little baby squalling in her arms.
Now your mother and an angel in the backseat of your first cradle. Somewhere far off the bars that braced you, fathers and men, powerful; pissed-off seraphim, a demon, disunited States; God.
Yeah, Amara was cute when she was pie-sized too, Dean says. But there’s something.
Something light in his eyes.
Home again, you wake up and need the sky.
The bunker smells like myrrh and hair gel, your brother’s. Pancakes, maybe. Mom’s stabs at bacon-burn. What passes for maple in Kansas.
Sammy, Dean says, elbows you at the table, gimme some.
When you were a baby, Dean says, stops at what isn’t for him, with your mother there, but his hand lands on you with all the road before, behind.
Mary stands, leans between. Angel on treetops; halo; star over your shoulders.