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Apocalyptic Love Songs 13

“It is not my choice, Dean.”

“Right,” Dean said and his eyes stung a moment. He whispered, “I was hoping we could have more time.”

Castiel clasped Dean’s hand more tightly. “I am not supposed to be here.”

“I’m supposed to do this on my own?” Dean whispered harshly, and a few people in the pews turned around to look at him. Castiel just gazed at him, and Dean shook his head. “Your bosses . . .”

“Only you can stop it, Dean.”

“I know. I know. God, I know.”

“But I will not leave.”

Dean closed his eyes. “Cas. You’re risking death for me, aren’t you? The price for disobedience is death, right?”

“Yes,” Castiel said.

“So you’re going to risk your existence to help me, and just go back to be executed when we’re done.” He looked at Castiel, who didn’t answer, his eyes downcast. “This isn’t fair.”

“I suppose not. Nonetheless, it’s what I must do. I cannot run and hide.”

Dean shook his head again. “But I love you,” he whispered and felt his throat grow tight. “I don’t want you to go.”

“We are but two people, Dean.”

“I know,” Dean said and pulled his hand away. He got up from the pew and left the church, and stood on the steps with his hands shoved in his back pockets and his head down. If he failed, the whole world would descend into Hell — if he succeeded, he’d lose the one person who felt like home.

He walked out to the labyrinth and found the beginning of the path. People paced it slowly, some with open scriptures to read as they walked, some just with their heads bowed in thought. The people he was fighting for — good people, or people who were trying to be good.

How am I going to do this? he thought. I have to rescue Sam, get the Grail, send Lilith back to Hell — all without weapons and only one angel on my side.

He sensed Castiel behind him and turned back his head to acknowledge him. He leaned into Castiel as Castiel’s arm slid around his waist. “I don’t know what to do, Cas.”

“Do you have faith?”

“I’m not even sure I have that.”

“I have faith.” Castiel held him a little tighter. “We’ll know what to do when the time comes.”

“I hope so,” Dean said, glad for his comforting warmth.


By mid-afternoon the mist had become a storm and the outdoor labyrinth was deserted. Worshippers hurried through the rain to the afternoon liturgy, huddled under umbrellas.

At Castiel’s insistence Dean ate some lunch at a nearby cafe, and then they got salt and some small weapons from the Impala and went back to the park across the street from the cathedral grounds to wait and watch.

The trouble was, as it always was with demons, that Lilith could be anyone — she could be the tourist snapping pictures of the cathedral, she could be the businesswoman hurrying along the sidewalk, she could be the little girl hopping up the steps to the labyrinth, holding hands with her daddy.

Dean rose from the bench they’d been waiting on. The little girl’s daddy had familiar shaggy hair and mile-long legs, and Dean would know that jacket and those boots anywhere. He started towards them, and then felt Castiel’s hand clasp his.

“Patience,” Castiel said softly.

“It’s them!” Dean hissed. “It’s going to start any moment now, Cas.”

“Patience,” Castiel repeated and raised his hand towards the cathedral. There was a faint shimmer, just a moment, but enough for Dean to see castle walls and towers like the Fisher King’s castle in his dreams. “There it is,” Castiel said softly and finally rose from the bench. “We must be careful — it’s likely Lilith has many minions around.”

“Right,” Dean said. They crossed the street and followed up the steps to the labyrinth, and hid themselves behind the hedges. As they watched, Lilith tried to enter the labyrinth, but stopped as if a wall had sprung up in her way. “Is that you?” Dean whispered to Castiel, and Castiel shook his head.

“It’s the castle. No one unworthy can enter it.” He paused. “Well, there are ways . . .”

“Shh,” Dean whispered and ducked down. Lorcan Murphy, with the briefcase and his two thugs, was climbing the steps to join Lilith. First the big thug and then the little one tried to enter the labyrinth, and then Lorcan Murphy himself. All three were thwarted, and Lilith stamped her foot impatiently. Sam stood still, and Dean wanted to reach out for Sam, to signal to him that he was safe now.

Lorcan knelt on the pavement and one of the thugs held an umbrella over him as Lorcan set down the briefcase and spun the combination. “Now,” Castiel said and Dean stepped out of the hedge and shouted, “Lilith!”

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