The Book of Daniel

Title: The Book of Daniel
Author:
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Dean/the Vessel
Warning: Post-series. Character death.
Word Count: 5500
Rating: Mature
Disclaimer: Kripke. Not me.
Summary: I know why Castiel let me remember you. Not all who wander are lost. Not all who are lost, wander.
Notes: A bookend of sorts to All Souls and Angels. What might happen after.

His name is Daniel.

That’s the first thing he thinks when he opens his eyes. My name is Daniel. He lies there quietly a moment and puts his hand over his eyes. He feels like he’s been asleep for too long, like if he looks outside the sun will be too high.

What time is it? He sits up, looks at his hands, his narrow wrists jutting out of the sleeves of his raincoat, has a moment of I have done such things . . . and then shakes his head. He lay down for a nap, that’s all, and slept the night through.

He stands slowly, takes off his raincoat and pulls loose his tie. He looks out the window at the quiet neighborhood, and frowns—something doesn’t seem right. It was September, the leaves were starting to turn, and now tulips are coming up. It’s spring.

Daniel tests the lights, the water, the telephone. All work. There is no pile of newspapers on the front porch, no bills spilling out of the mail box.

I was gone for months.

There’s no denying it: something happened between the day he fell to his knees, weeping and lost, praying for comfort, and the moment he woke up on his couch. But someone has also been looking after him, so that he could come back to his life as if nothing had changed.

He calls his office: his secretary is delighted to hear from him, asks how the monastery was, did he have a good sabbatical? He confirms he did and says he’ll be back on Monday.

He hangs up the phone and looks around the quiet house, knowing he won’t find answers here.

***

There is no fresh food in the house, just canned soup and frozen steaks, and the battery in his car is dead. Daniel tries the engine and tries it again, and leans his head against the wheel in frustration when he hears a car door slam.

"Need a little help?" someone calls from the end of the drive. It’s Nathan, one of his neighbors, his jacket slung over his shoulder after a long day in . . . Daniel can’t remember what he does for a living. Something administrative in a hospital, he thinks. "Welcome back," Nathan says and Daniel smiles, glad to have been missed.

Nathan pulls his car into the drive and they hook up the batteries, and Daniel promises to get a new one. He tells Nathan the monastery was quiet and peaceful, and he spent a lot of time meditating and praying. Nathan winces and advises him that the next time he needs a vacation he should try Cancun.

Daniel buys a new car battery—his bank account has not changed beyond the expected bills—and fresh food. Everything looks delicious in the store, solid as illustrations from a children’s book: red peppers and orange carrots and purple onions and green apples, loaves of bread that smell like home, salmon that shimmers with a rainbow in the fluorescent light. He treats himself to cookies and eats half the package while he’s in line to pay.

"Hungry?" the checker says with an amused sort of concern, and Daniel says, "I feel like I haven’t eaten for six months," because it’s true.

***

He cooks the salmon on the indoor grill. He watches the news, marveling at all that he’s missed. He showers, sluicing water over his skin. He doesn’t feel dirty—he doesn’t look dirty, either—but it’s a ritual of reassurance more than necessity.

He sleeps like the dead. If he dreamed, he doesn’t remember in the morning.

***

The sun is out the next morning, so he gets his tools from the shed and sets about weeding the flower beds. Whoever looked after his house thought of most things, but not to cover the rosebushes, and he has to cut off dead stems and branches. He cuts his thumb on a thorn, and stares at the drop of blood.

What have I done?

He remembers . . . no, it’s gone.

***

The day is quiet. Daniel cleans up the dust of an unoccupied house, makes phone calls to reassure his family that he’s home, he’s fine, he just needed time.

A call from his boss and Daniel tells him the same story, it was just a sabbatical and he’s back now. He assures and reassures that he’s fine, he just needed time to think.

After he hangs up the phone he stares out the front window, trying to remember something, anything, about where he’s been and what he’s done, wondering if he’s not fine, if he went mad—Right, Danny, he thinks, you went insane and then some kind-hearted soul paid your bills and mowed your lawn—and as he’s wondering he sees the car.

It’s big and black and heavy, a classic, not like the aluminum boxes they make now. It comes slowly down the street, lingers in front of his house, and then speeds away.

Someone lost, Daniel thinks, and decides to read for a while before he makes dinner.

***

The second night home, Daniel dreams.

He’s been afraid of dreams of violence, certain that while he was gone he hurt someone, or many someones; but the dream is not violent in any way. Still, he wakes up gasping and confused.

In his dream he was naked in bed with another man, who kissed him with a tenderness no one has shown him since his wife died, who touched him slowly and gently, who laughed in his arms.

Daniel can’t place his face. No one he knows, no one he’s seen, just a dream face with beautiful green eyes.

He gets up to wash his face. He stares into his reflection, at his eyes, as the water runs, and then splashes cold water onto his face and goes back to bed.

***

On Sunday he goes to church.

His friends in the congregation welcome him back, and he tells the same story: a spiritual retreat, he needed time away, he’s back now. His pastor is delighted to see him. They had always been close—Daniel cherished his counsel while he was mourning his wife—but now Daniel finds he can’t confess to him what happened, where he’s been, about the fears and dreams.

Monday, Daniel goes back to work. There’s a lot to catch up on, and a few people come to hear about the retreat and look at his vacation pictures, but they leave disappointed and he’s mostly left alone to read his email and return phone calls.

He dreamed twice more of the green-eyed man over the weekend: once more of making love to him, and once of fighting him, angry to the point of fists swinging. He bled in the dream, and when Daniel awoke—once again confused and gasping for breath—he thought he tasted blood.

There was no blood when he rinsed out his mouth.

Strange, though, how easily he falls back into his normal patterns. It’s almost as if he didn’t go away.

***

The black car comes by twice during the week. Daniel figures it must be a new boyfriend of one of the teenage girls on the block and hopes he’s not causing the girl any heartache. Bad boys drive cars like that, if high school is anything like when he was there.

He opens his journal, untouched since last fall, and writes, I was never a bad boy. I’ve never owned a leather jacket. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a fistfight.

He watches the black car ease down the street, pausing, as always, in front of his house as if the driver has to stop and count which house he’s looking for. He starts writing again, but looks up when he hears the engine stop. The driver gets out and stands beside the car, his hands on his hips, before he climbs the front steps and rings the bell.

Daniel tucks the pen into the journal and rises to answer it. "Can I help you?" he says when he opens the door, and the driver removes his sunglasses.

You, Daniel thinks.

"Hey," the driver says softly and gives an uncertain smile.

***

"I know this sounds crazy," he says for the third or fourth time as Daniel pours coffee and tries to keep his hands from shaking.

"I believe you," Daniel says. That’s the trouble.

His name is Dean. Dean Winchester, he says with a cocky grin as he holds out his hand, and Daniel shakes it and asks him in for coffee and listens as Dean tells him they were comrades, soldiers together in an unseen war, that they fought against the Apocalypse together. Dean tells him about ghosts and zombies and demons and witches, and Daniel drinks his coffee and finds himself nodding, yes, yes, of course.

Dean shows him scars. They are ragged, like tooth marks. He shows Daniel a tattoo on his chest—a protective symbol, he says, to ward off demons.

"Demons," Daniel says and drinks his coffee. "Angels. The Apocalypse."

"I know," Dean says. "I know how it sounds, Mr. McArthur."

"And I was a vessel for an angel," Daniel says, and adds, "Call me Daniel. Mr. McArthur makes me feel old."

"Okay. Daniel. Are you okay? Is this freaking you out?"

"No," Daniel says, "I’m fine." He finishes the cup. "If the Apocalypse is averted, why are you here?"

Dean drops his eyes and runs his fingers over the table top. "I was worried about you. I wanted to be sure you’re okay."

"I’m fine," Daniel repeats. "I’m settled back into my life like nothing happened."

Dean looks up at him and Daniel’s breath catches. He’s seen this in his dreams, he knows that look, in his dreams Dean looks at him like this just before he kisses him.

Daniel has to look away. "More coffee?"

"No, thanks. Are you sure you’re okay?"

"Yes," Daniel says. "Of course. I mean, I offered myself to God and I suppose I was made useful. That’s all anyone wants, right? To do some good in the world?"

Dean’s smile is not cocky, he was wrong about that. It’s wry. "That’s all a lot of people want, yeah. So you’re sleeping okay? Your family knows you’re back?"

"They know," Daniel says. "I’m sleeping just fine."

"Okay," Dean says and stands, picking up his jacket from the back of his chair. It’s leather, of course. It goes with the car. "Well, if you’re fine there’s nothing more for me to do here. I just wanted to know you’re okay."

"We must have been close," Daniel says and Dean pauses.

"Yeah. We were good friends. You—the angel, I mean—he was good to me."

Daniel’s fingers wrap more tightly around the cup as he remembers exactly how good they were together, Dean’s body arching with pleasure, his lips red from kisses and his eyes nearly black—he clears his throat and says quietly, "Okay. That’s good. I’m glad you were."

"Okay," says Dean and shrugs on his jacket, and Daniel stands to let him out—knowing that Dean will get into that big black car and drive away and Daniel will never see him again, and the memory, the dreams, will be all he will have of something beautiful and passionate and deep —

"Stay for dinner," he says, and Dean stops and the smile this time is pleased and sweet.

***

Daniel puts out two steaks to thaw and turns on the oven for baked potatoes. "I don’t really know how to cook," Dean says uncertainly, so Daniel assigns him the chopping of vegetables: mushrooms and onions for a sauté, tomatoes and radishes for a salad.

He watches Dean, even though he tries not to. Dean is tall and solid, his movements precise, no effort wasted. He’s not quite relaxed yet, and Daniel doesn’t blame him for that—he’s not quite relaxed either, wondering when Dean will broach the subject of their being lovers.

It surprises Daniel that he’s not angry at this knowledge, that the angel used his body for more than fighting. But if an angel can love a mortal, why not someone like Dean Winchester? Why not a fellow solider of God?

Dean pops a slice of radish in his mouth and then gives him a sheepish grin. Daniel smiles back and turns away to get the dishes from the cupboard.

"Tell me more," he says. "Tell me more about the angel."

"Well," Dean says and there’s a moment of crunching. "His name was Castiel. He was . . . odd. I mean, of course he was odd. Angels aren’t like us. But he was good, you know? Like, solidly good. Righteous. Not nice in any way, but just good. You know?"

"I think I do," Daniel said.

"He wasn’t always a dick," Dean adds quickly. "He could be really, um, comforting."

Daniel puts the plates on the table. "Well, that’s good to know."

"I liked him, most of the time," Dean says. "Damn, these are good. I haven’t had vegetables like this for weeks. Try this."

"I’ll take your word for it," Daniel says, amused, but Dean’s holding out a slice of radish right in front of his mouth anyway, so Daniel eats it. "Yeah," he says quietly once he’s chewed and swallowed. "It’s good."

Dean smiles and goes back to chopping, and Daniel puts the potatoes in the oven.

***

As they eat, Daniel tells Dean about his life. It seems terribly simple and small compared to what they were doing just a few short weeks ago. Dean listens, though, laughing sometimes as Daniel describes his nieces or the bagel guy in the office.

"So what do you, Dean? When you’re not saving the world?" The steak is delicious, so rich and savory. He wishes he’d thawed another.

"I . . . don’t really do anything else." He takes a swig of the iced tea Daniel made.

"How do you make a living, doing that?"

"You . . . don’t." Dean looks embarrassed and eats a mouthful of potato.

"Trust fund?" Daniel guesses and Dean snorts a laugh.

"Nah. Hustling pool, mostly."

"Oh." Daniel looks down at his plate a moment, poking the potato with his fork.

"I’m not here to make off with the family silver," Dean says dryly.

"I wasn’t thinking that." Dean looks away, shrugging one shoulder to dismiss it, and Daniel says quietly, "I’m not judging you. About anything. I mean it, Dean."

Dean fidgets with his knife and fork. "Okay," he says softly.

***

They both linger over supper and the cleaning up. Dean takes off his bracelet of wooden beads to help with the dishes, and Daniel wonders if that’s a protective totem of some kind like the tattoo on his clavicle.

He looks down at his own hands. The only jewelry he wears—the only jewelry he’s ever worn—is his wedding ring, now on the ring finger of his right hand.

Dean put the last pan in the drainer and turns to him, leaning back against the counter. "Well."

"Well," Daniel says.

"I’m glad you’re doing okay," Dean says. "I figured you would be. You’re—he would say you’re strong. I knew you were." He looks up at the ceiling a moment. "I knew you’d get right back into living just fine."

"And you?" Daniel says softly. "What are you going to do, Dean?"

"Oh. Finish the clean-up. There are still rogue demons out there, and there will probably be ghosts and other creepy-crawlies for a long time to come. I’ll always have something to do."

"Where do you call home, though? Surely you must have some kind of base. Someplace you go to rest."

Dean shrugs. "Sometimes I stay with family friends."

"And your parents? Your family?"

"Long gone." Something darkens his eyes. "No family left."

"I’m sorry," Daniel says softly, and it feels like being at the crossroads again. He could let Dean go and never see him again. Wash his hands of all this madness, go back to living in a world where God is the benign father and angels are stories in the Bible and ornaments on his Christmas tree, and demons are nothing more than a personification of fear.

Or he could ask him to stay.

And just . . . see what happened.

"It was good to finally meet you," Dean was saying. "I always wondered about you. I guess, now I know, and . . . and, yeah." He pulls on his jacket. "Goodbye, Daniel."

"Dean," Daniel says and can’t look at Dean’s face. It’s too overwhelming. "Stay."

Dean pauses. He doesn’t remove his jacket just yet. He says softly, "Daniel, I haven’t been completely honest with you."

"I know," Daniel says, softly too.

"You know?" He grips the sides of his jacket.

"I remember things. I remember you. He let me remember you."

Dean takes a deep breath. "What do you remember?"

"That he loved you," Daniel says and looks at Dean at last, at his bright eyes and handsome face, just in time to see Dean cross the kitchen and take his face in both hands. The kiss is hard and hungry, and every time Dean starts to pull away Daniel pulls him back, closer than before.

***

They’re both a little drunk, on wine, on each other, when the whole story comes spilling out. "He was so innocent, you wouldn’t believe it," Dean says. "He was like a kid sometimes. Only a kid who’s been around for thousands of years. Millions, maybe. He was fearless, though. Wanted to try everything."

"So you showed him." He couldn’t blame Castiel, though. If Dean lived the way he kissed—he ran his thumb over Dean’s mouth and was rewarded with another kiss.

"Well, we figured it out together. Getting off with a guy is one thing. Being, you know," he shrugs a shoulder.

"Intimate," Daniel says. "In love."

"Yeah. That. That’s different. That’s not just getting off. That’s –" He pushes himself up off Daniel’s chest and turns to look at him. "Castiel said you were devout. How come you’re not freaking out about this?"

Daniel has to laugh. "Because it feels like . . . it feels like remembering something I’d forgotten."

Dean frowns but settles back against Daniel’s chest again. "Okay."

"Though," Daniel says, stroking Dean’s hair, "you’re just here because you miss Castiel. Right?"

"No," Dean says, a little petulantly. "I’m here because I was worried about you." Daniel keeps on stroking his hair, and Dean adds, "I do miss you. Him. I miss him. But . . . you’re not that different from him, really."

"Oh? I’m odd and innocent?" He rests his chin on Dean’s head, smiling.

"No, not like that. Just, you’re calm. He was calm. He’d make me feel, you know, unknotted."

"What would he do?" Though he can imagine it.

Dean is quiet for a long moment. "He’d tell me I was bright and shining," he says softly. "He’d tell me I was a good man and had nothing to be afraid of. That he’d always be by my side."

"Do you believe him?" Daniel says, and the look Dean gives him in response is as hopeful as it is despairing.

"I don’t know." He hitches himself closer to Daniel. "When I look at you I see him—but I know you’re not him—but you remind me of him—I don’t know what to do, Cas—Daniel, Daniel, you’re Daniel—" He holds Daniel’s face again and kisses him desperately. Daniel strokes his face and wraps his arms around Dean’s neck, opens his mouth, pulls Dean closer with his legs.

"I’m not sure I can do this," he whispers. "I think I want to, but—Dean –"

"We can be as slow as you need," Dean whispers and kisses him harder. "We can be slow, Daniel, we can be so slow," though his hand on Daniel’s thigh says he hopes it’s not too slow. He arches up his hips to Dean’s hand, thinking that they won’t be very slow at all.

***

Dean falls asleep almost at once, but Daniel lies awake for hours, listening to him breathe. "It’s like starting over," Dean had whispered to him and Daniel didn’t ask what he meant, just was grateful for Dean’s patience.

Sex with a man was nothing like sex with a woman, and Daniel hadn’t had much experience even with that. "Just your wife?" Dean had said, eyes blinking in amazement, and Daniel shrugged and nodded and pulled him in for another kiss. He lost his virginity on his wedding night and isn’t ashamed of it, and he feels now that he is far more open to experience than he’d been fifteen years ago.

Sometimes you just fall in love, he thinks. Or lust.

He looks at Dean, sound asleep and beautiful. His arm is thrown over his head, his lips are parted, the sheets are low on his body to reveal his belly and a jutting hipbone. He’s strong but thin, Daniel thinks, like he’s been running too hard for far too long.

He needs someone to look after him.

Daniel blinks, wondering where that came from, and finally lays his head on Dean’s shoulder with a sigh. Dean’s arm curls around him and holds him closer for a moment, but he doesn’t wake.

Daniel sleeps.

***

Dean is dressing when Daniel wakes, and Daniel rests on his elbows and tries not to frown. "No rest for the wicked," Dean says, with a faint smile, and Daniel’s returning smile isn’t much stronger. "I—if you want me to come back, that is –"

"Yes," Daniel says. "Please."

Dean tries to hide the pleased smile as he laces up his boots.

Wrapped in his bathrobe, Daniel watches from the front door as the big black car purrs Dean away. In the cold light of dawn it occurs to him how insane last night was: Dean had a crazy story, may be a madman, may be a criminal; and Daniel not only invited him into his home, he slept with him.

"I’m going crazy," he mutters to the empty house, which seems very empty indeed without Dean’s presence.

Something happens then, something he doesn’t think has happened before. There’s a feeling of warmth across his shoulders, a sweet scent under his nose, as if someone has embraced him in comfort and support.

He exhales, closes his eyes. He feels better.

***

He goes through his work day like normal. No one notices anything amiss with him. He’s fine with that.

Three days pass without a word from Dean. He is not fine with that. He tries not to worry but every time an odd headlines catches his eye he wonders if that might be Dean, if Dean is in trouble, if Dean needs him, if Dean needed him how could Daniel contact him?

He writes in his journal, I can’t stop worrying, though there’s nothing I can do.

***

On the fourth night there’s a knock at the door. Daniel answers it, and embraces Dean without a word, holding him tight and trying not to shake. "Hey, hey," Dean says softly and holds him tight as well. "I’m okay. I’m back."

He’s bruised and cut, his knuckles are bloody and swollen, and he wolfs down a quick supper of stew and cornbread and falls asleep the moment his boots are off. Daniel sits up and watches him for a while, then quietly cleans what injuries he can and gets into bed beside him.

Sleep comes more easily this time.

In the morning he asks Dean about it carefully, but Dean tells the story easily enough while he scrambles eggs for the two of them. Ghosts roaming a small town, hurting people, and he had to find the bodies and "salt’n’burn ’em."

"Salt and burn?" Daniel tries not to wince.

"It’s the only way for spirits to rest." He’s quiet a moment. "You might want to start keeping bags of salt around, Daniel. To protect yourself. You pour it at windows and thresholds, see, and spirits are kept out."

"Salt," Daniel says, and he thinks he should be far more skeptical than he is. "Do you think ghosts are going to start coming after me?"

"Maybe," Dean says. He scoops the eggs onto plates. "Daniel . . . how did your wife die?"

"She was hit by a drunk driver." He puts toast on both their plates.

"Okay. Have you ever –"

"No," Daniel says shortly. "I’ve never felt her here." If he had, maybe he wouldn’t have felt so alone all this time.

"Okay," Dean says and kisses the top of his head. "Good. I’m glad. It’s better that they don’t wander, Daniel, it really is."

Daniel nods and drinks some coffee. He feels better after this, too.

***

Dean tries to cajole him, "Stay home, play with me," but Daniel tells him, "One of us has to make an honest living," and promises to be home that evening. He wonders what he’ll find, but the answer is simple enough: Dean asleep on the couch, lasagna in the oven (frozen lasagna, but edible, especially if you add lots of extra Parmesan) and the TV playing cartoons. Dean wakes with a smile and after supper and catching up, the sex is like a collision.

It becomes routine. Dean leaves every few days, Daniel tries not to worry too much, and when dean comes back they tease and eat and fall into bed. Daniel’s secretary says, hesitant, "You’re dating somebody, aren’t you?" and Daniel supposes he is.

"Who’s that guy?" his neighbor Nathan says to him. "The one who’s always around now, with that great car."

"My . . . friend. He needs a home base for a while."

"Huh," Nathan says and gives him an odd look that Daniel can’t quite name.

***

"Come to church with me," Daniel says to Dean one Saturday night. "I promise it won’t be horrible. My congregation’s pretty progressive."

Dean winces. He’s tracing his fingers up and down the bottom of Daniel’s foot, which should feel like tickling but instead just feels good. "Progressive like how?"

"Like, my pastor does commitment ceremonies."

"Oh." Dean doesn’t look too happy about that, though.

Daniel watches him. "You do realize, if you sleep with another guy regularly, you’re not really straight anymore."

"I’m fine with that part," Dean says. "It’s the people knowing part that I’m not so wild about."

"I promise not to make out with you in the vestibule."

Dean snorts and says, "Okay, maybe, I guess," and then distracts Daniel by sucking his toes.

In the morning, Dean comes to church with him, looking presentable in an ironed shirt and one of Daniel’s ties. He sits quietly beside Daniel, his hands folded, and when at the end of the service the congregation is exhorted to hug each other or shake hands and wish each other peace, Dean hugs Daniel tight and whispers, "Thanks. I needed this."

"I thought you might," Daniel whispers back.

***

Dean returns one night with a back that looks like someone dragged him over loose gravel, but refuses to go to a hospital even when Daniel threatens to drug him and take him to one forcibly. "What if you get gangrene? What if you die?" Daniel rages at him, and Dean just looks at him so wearily that Daniel is taken aback. He shuts his mouth and cleans the wounds, gives Dean a clean t-shirt to wear over the bandages, and rubs his head until Dean falls asleep.

In the morning Daniel says, "Maybe next time I should come with you," and it’s Dean’s turn to explode.

"Absolutely not. It’s too dangerous. I’ve been doing this since I was a fucking kid and I still get hurt. You’ve never done a thing in your life to learn the ropes and I can’t be watching you and fighting demons at the same time. You are not coming, Daniel. Ever. Period."

"Okay, okay," Daniel says, and when Dean leaves again a few days later Daniel wonders if he’ll come back this time.

He’s been praying every night, like he has most of his life, and after four days with no word from Dean Daniel gets on his knees and says, "I don’t know what You want from me now. I know Dean came to me for a reason, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I can do for him. I can’t help him in his calling. I’m no demon hunter. I’m just a man. I’m lost, Lord, I’m as lost as I ever was and I need guidance. Please. Please. Tell me what I can do for Dean."

He lies in bed, expecting to lie awake for hours, but falls quickly into sleep and just as quickly into a dream. In the dream there’s a Presence, someone terrifying but good, who lays a warm golden hand on his shoulder and tells him, Ask him about Sam. Then you’ll understand.

But what if he doesn’t come back? Daniel asks him.

He’ll come back. He feels warmth brush his forehead. You’re his only home.

***

After a week, Daniel wakes to the sound of the Impala coming to a stop in front of his house, and he goes downstairs to meet Dean. Dean usually just knocks on the door when he returns, but this time he doesn’t even get out of the car so Daniel goes down to the Impala and lets himself into the passenger side.

The radio is playing softly: I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time, and I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home. . . and Dean doesn’t look at him.

"Dean," Daniel says quietly.

"I just wanted to let you know I’m okay. I’m not going to stay."

"Why not?" He looks at Dean’s profile, the mouth he’s kissed a thousand times, the long eyelashes he’s felt blink against his cheek.

"I want you alive, that’s why. Not in danger because of what I do. Not dead because I brought something along with me that kills you. It’s better –" He swallows.

"Dean," Daniel says quietly, "tell me what happened to Sam," and Dean turns a face to him that’s full of rage and pain and grief.

"He died," Dean says bluntly. "For the Apocalypse to stop Sammy had to die. My baby brother –" He swallows again and looks away.

Daniel feels his eyes sting, and he takes Dean’s hand. Dean doesn’t pull away. The music plays.

"All my family’s gone," Dean says, his voice thick. "My parents are dead. My brother. My friends. I’m the only one who survived and I only survived because of Castiel. I’m the only one left. I’m the last hunter, Daniel. And I’m—I’m fucking exhausted."

Daniel says, "I know why Castiel let me remember you. Everything else is gone but you. I knew there had to be a reason but I didn’t know what it was until now."

"Yeah?" Dean says, gruff.

"Castiel knew you’d need someone to look after you. He knew I’d do it, given a good reason."

"And what’s that reason?" His hand is heavy in Daniel’s, his fingers limp, like he doesn’t even have the strength to grip anymore.

"Love," Daniel says. "The only reason."

There’s a long, silent moment.

Daniel squeezes Dean’s hand and lets it go. "Come inside already. It’s late and you need to sleep." He gets out of the car and starts for the house, expecting the engine to roar to life and Dean to drive out of his life forever.

Instead the engine turns off and the car door slams, and in a moment Dean is beside him, hands on his shoulders and mouth on his. Daniel holds Dean’s waist and kisses him back, relieved and grateful and certain that this is exactly right.

***

Dean comes to church with him again that Sunday, and this time Daniel introduces him to his pastor as his boyfriend. Dean rolls his eyes a little at this but doesn’t contradict him.

He has to leave again that afternoon, but this time there’s a goodbye kiss and Daniel says, "Play nice with the other children and don’t forget to call."

"Yeah, yeah," Dean says, but that night, he calls. He calls from the road, too, a few days later to tell Daniel the work is done and he’s coming home.

It’s hard to wait, knowing there are still days on the road between them, but Daniel waits, knowing neither of them are lost anymore.

End.

Lyrics are from "Can’t find my way home" by Blind Faith.

10 thoughts on “The Book of Daniel

  1. This is so incredibly good; this is one of the best supernatural stories I’ve read in quite some time. You’ve carried this unique idea off beautifully.

  2. Wonderful! Original idea, so well conceived and written! Stories like this give me hope for the world of fanfiction.

  3. This was only the second Dean/Castiel story that I read and I sent positive feedback to the first author. That’s something I’m ashamed to admit that I never do (send feedback, not the positive part…I’m not THAT bad). Anyway, I was compelled to send feedback to you as well because I especially liked your Daniel. Here, you took the outward appearance of a man whose only emotional description was “a devout man who prayed for this” and turned it into Daniel. You are a gifted writer and I hope you do more on these two. Thanks so much for this story. Please do more!
    Cleo

  4. Reading in 2016 because I remember loving this fic 🙂 I got scared when I saw the link I had was bad…Thanks for keeping it around somewhere!

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