Apocalyptic Love Songs 13


Now, once more, I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the dream of what could be.

Excalibur, John Boorman/Rospo Pallenberg

They arrived in San Francisco in the late morning on Friday. Dean parked the Impala down the street from the cathedral, and he and Castiel walked to the church and had a look around the grounds. The outdoor labyrinth was easy to find — it was set apart by hedges, and a few people were slowly walking the path despite the misty weather. The cathedral was busy as well, which Dean supposed was normal for Good Friday.

“Tonight,” Castiel said. “It must be tonight.” He lowered his head and Dean put his hand on Castiel’s back. After a moment Castiel raised his head and said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. There may be earthquakes, storms, locusts . . . there may be only a girl with a cup.”

“And my brother,” Dean said.


“I feel like we’re getting ready to drop off a ransom or something.”

“In a way, we are.” He shoved his hands deep in his raincoat pockets. “Dean, if we can’t save Sam –”

“I know,” Dean said and swallowed. “I know. If I have to choose between Sam and the world, I have to choose the world.” He blinked hard and looked away, and Castiel stepped closer to him and leaned his head against Dean’s. “But I’m not going to give up on him,” he whispered and Castiel made a comforting sound. “I can’t give up until there’s no hope left.”

Castiel nodded slowly. “I don’t have a plan.”

“Neither do I.” He nodded to the church. “Do you want to have a peek?”

“Very much,” said Castiel, so they climbed the steps and looked first at the schedule of Holy Week events, including services throughout Friday.

“Is that bad news?” Dean said, frowning. “She could take hostages if she wanted.”

“I can protect the church.”

“Yeah,” Dean said, smiling at him. “I bet you can. No shotguns tonight. There’ll be too many people around. We can have salt in bags but no rock salt pellets.”

“And no traps,” Castiel murmured. “People will see them.” He pushed open the door to the church and they went inside. There was another labyrinth on the floor and stained glass windows in the walls, and they could hear the subdued sound of prayers as people waited to make confession.

Dean sighed, disappointed that there was no sign of Sam. Of course, that would be far too easy. Lilith would likely keep Sam hidden wherever she’d put him until she needed him. She probably wouldn’t let him out of her sight.

“If we cannot disturb the services tonight,” Castiel said softly, “I would prefer that.”

“Me too. Unless there’s earthquakes and everything you said.”

“I hope there are not earthquakes.” He sat in the very last pew, and after a moment Dean sat beside him. It was strange to him — he used religious relics and language all the time, but he spent little time in churches unless someone had died there.

Castiel took his hand. Dean gave him a look, but figured they were in San Francisco and people were used to it, and wove their fingers together. Castiel closed his eyes and Dean let him be, knowing that Castiel had his own ways of gathering strength.

Castiel said, after they sat in silence for several minutes, “If it comes to choosing between the world and you, I must also choose the world.”

“I know,” Dean said and squeezed Castiel’s hand. “It’s funny — I’m not worried about what’s going to happen to me. I’m worried about what’s going to happen to you and to Sam, but not to me.”

Castiel rubbed his thumb slowly over the back of Dean’s hand. “You are not allowed to sacrifice yourself, Dean.”

“Cas –”

“No.” He looked at Dean, serious. “I will not watch you die again.”

“Again?” Dean said softly. “You were there?”

“I witnessed it. I have told you, Dean — I have seen nearly every moment of your life.”

“And you still like me?” Dean started to smile.

“Very much.”

“Me too.” He looked out at the church again. He’d felt confident ever since they left the Fishers’ place, but it felt different in this peaceful setting, as the faithful prayed or contemplated around them. “Even though you are a puzzle to me, Cas.”

“I expect I shall remain so.” At Dean’s look he said, “If we fail, I expect I will be taken. If we succeed, I will need to go home.”

“Right away?” Dean said. “You can’t stay for a while and celebrate?”

“If the Apocalypse is stopped, my job is done.”

Dean waited for him to go on, and when he didn’t said, “That’s it? Your job’s done and you just go?”

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