Apocalyptic Love Songs 12


But I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you

—”Into My Arms,” Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

When Dean woke again it was morning — just after sunrise, from the look of the light and angle of the sun — and someone had left him fresh clothes as well as water and a washbasin and soap. It was tempting not to wash up, to keep the scent of Castiel on him for a little while longer, but he bathed anyway and put on the clothes. The other outfit was probably intended to be pajamas, he realized — these were made from a tougher weave and fit a little closer.

He inspected himself for burns as well, but it appeared he’d gotten nothing more than a few stray ashes on the back of his neck. He resolved to thank Castiel for that once he saw him again — one more thing to thank him for, and he’d say “Thank you for loving me” and that would make Castiel smile . . .

Dean left the little room and followed the main hall in the other direction than they’d gone the night before, and this brought him out to the gardens. It took only a moment of looking around to understand that while the house had its function, the gardens were where all the actual living took place. They were tiered and walled, with gravel paths and hedges, and there was at least one long aqueduct kind of structure or several small ones that carried water from the wells — Dean could count three just from where he was standing — to the trees and rose bushes and rows of vegetables.

It was warm here, too, warmer than he could remember being for months. The winter had been unbearably long back at home.

He followed one of the paths, which took him first past a well with a round wood cover and then past an enormous ash tree, and then finally to a strawberry patch where Maya knelt on the grass and put strawberries in a basket. For someone doing something as relaxing as gardening, she was digging with determination, as if she didn’t notice the dirt on her skirt or under her fingernails.

“Hi,” he said and sat cross-legged on the grass beside her.

“Good morning,” she said and hastily wiped her cheeks with her palms, leaving streaks of moist soil. She gave him a strawberry. “Do you like strawberries?”

“Love ’em,” Dean said and bit off the tip. It was still warm from being in the sun, and he chewed slowly, enjoying the sweetness. “Where’s Castiel?”

“He had to go. He’ll be back in a day or so.”

“Do you know where he went?” Dean took another bite of the strawberry.

“Yes. He said he had to interrogate someone.” She wiped some dirt off another strawberry and sat back on her heels to eat it.

Dean swallowed with a dry throat, suddenly feeling sick with worry. “Did he say who?”

“He did not,” Maya said. “However, there is something you should know about. Before he left, Castiel asked that you be allowed to stay here and we agreed.”

“I didn’t think you’d kick me out just because Cas was gone,” Dean said with a slightly hollow chuckle, still caught on where Castiel might be and what he might be doing to this person he had to interrogate. Was it about Sam? Was it about him? What if Castiel got caught, what if he got hurt?

“I mean forever, Dean. He wants you to stay here forever.”

Dean’s faint smile faded completely. “Why?”

“Because you’ll be safe here. Castiel thinks the battle is lost and if you go back and face Lilith you’ll be killed, so he wants you to stay here.”

“But,” Dean said and shook his head. “But all this time he’s been telling me I’m the only one who can stop the Apocalypse. The righteous man who began it is also the one who can end it. That’s what he said.”

“He doesn’t plan on stopping it,” Maya said. “Have another strawberry.” She held out one to him.

“No, thanks.” He waved it away. “I don’t understand this, Maya.”

She shrugged and ate the strawberry herself. “Castiel knows there are a few ways all of this can end, and none of them are good. So Castiel is going to do what we should have done from the start — he is going to steal the Grail back from Lilith and bring it here, where it will be safe.”

“But we’re supposed to leave the Grail on Earth.”

“I know,” she said sympathetically. “Even when the Grail was just on the Other Side the Earth suffered. Bringing it here will be . . . well, you have to admit very few people will really notice. God hasn’t spoken for so long.”

“But,” Dean said again, “all the work we’ve done, all the people we’ve lost. We just take the Grail away, all of that sacrifice will be meaningless.”

She tilted her head, curious. “Why do you think any of this has meaning?”

“Because it has to,” Dean whispered. “If there’s no meaning, what’s the point?”

“Sometimes the meaning is in the doing, not the result.”

“I don’t believe for a second you believe that.”

Leave a Reply