cloudy_fic: (D and C by dreamawayx)
[personal profile] cloudy_fic
Title: Return
Author: CloudyJenn
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam/Jess
Rating: R
Word Count: 4,700+
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this fanfiction.
Warnings: some language
Summary: When Dean is captured in battle, Castiel believes that he has been killed and it's six long years before he finds out the truth.
Author's Notes: This is not a deathfic. I know that first section might freak some people out, but no worries. You guys know me, come on now. I’m posting this first introduction into this world because I want to play in it some more and well, this is the background needed. Plus, I’d forgotten about this verse and I liked it, so I thought I’d share it all in one place. Written on twitter, but I don’t remember exactly when. Thanks to logicallunancy for harvesting it off twitter.



"What story do you want?"

Patrick appeared to consider the question very carefully, his bright green eyes fixed on Castiel's collarbone.

"Hum...I wanna hear about Daddy."

"Very well," Castiel said, hiding the wash of melancholy he felt. Patrick deserved this story whenever he wanted. "Your daddy was tall, handsome and very brave," Castiel began even though it was a very sparse description of the man Dean had been. "He loved you very much."

"More than anything!" Patrick piped up. He knew this story well.

"Yes, more than anything," Castiel said with a smile. "He liked to hold you in his lap and sing a very old Earth song to help you sleep." Patrick snuggled down into his blankets and sighed happily, as if he recalling a sweet memory he couldn't possibly know. "His favorite thing in the world was to spend the afternoon with you and with Uncle Sam-"

"And you," Patrick said.

A wisp of the melancholy escaped into Castiel's smile. "Yes and me," he said softly. "When he was home on leave from the war." Castiel never spoke much about the Lunar war that took Dean from them. Patrick was old enough to understand that Dean died in battle, but he wasn't old enough for the details. He didn't need to know that Dean's ship exploded hundreds of miles above their home and that even if his men could have gotten to the wreckage, there wouldn't have been enough of him left to bury.

"Do I look like him?" Patrick asked.

"Oh yes."

So much it hurt every single day.

"I wish he was still here, papa," Patrick decided, not with sorrow, but with tremendous regret. He missed having his father rather than Dean for himself.

The smile died on Castiel's lips.

"Yes, I wish that as well."

*******************

The worst part was knowing they thought he was dead.

Dean had never trusted Lunars, but even he didn't think they'd be this cruel. But from the first moment they transported him aboard their prison ship, Dean had been treated with nothing but contempt and anger. They knew well he wasn't just another soldier. They knew he was Captain Winchester, the hero of the battle of Capricorn, the major turning point in the war. Dean didn't exactly enjoy thinking about it, but hundreds of Lunars died that day. A necessary evil to protect Earth...to protect his family...but one Dean didn't relish. Yet the Lunars seemed to think he did and they wanted revenge.

"You'll never see them again," a foul-breathed Lunar snarled in his ear that first night. "And they won't even be looking for ya. I bet it's not six months tops before that little teacher of yours is slutting around with some other man."

Dean had been put in isolation as punishment for breaking that Lunar's ribs.

In truth, Dean knew Cas could take care of himself and after the first year, he began desperately hoping Cas had moved on, just so he wasn't alone....so Patrick would have a father. But god, the aching. He missed them so much, it pressed hard against his chest, making him feel like he hadn't taken a good deep breath in years. That was the true punishment. Not the manual labor or the degrading living conditions or the never-ending taunts from their Lunar guards. None of that mattered in the face of knowing that his family grieved a death that never happened.

That was the truth that tortured Dean for six long helpless years.

*******************

Patrick didn't understand why people talked about Daddy with hushed voices. His teacher at school, Miss Rosen, always made sure to come over to Patrick when they talk about families and ask him if he was okay. But Patrick wasn't sad about having Daddy as his daddy. He was sad Daddy was gone, but he wasn't sad to be Patrick Winchester or to live alone with Papa. Especially not when people said in awed tones that daddy was a hero and that he helped make the Lunars go away.

There was a game the kids played at recess called War and when they play, Patrick always got to be Captain Winchester. The grassy area between the swing-set and the slide was the battle zone and when Captain Winchester marched across field, nothing could ever stop him. Because Patrick's daddy was the greatest hero ever and Patrick wouldn't trade him for anything.


*******************

Andy tried not to lose his temper. Something was seriously bugging the Cap today and not just the usual shitty food and endless mining. It'd been bad enough being cooped up on those prison ships. But in comparison to the Martian mines, Andy was desperate to get back. His back ached, his stomach was always empty and he couldn't get that fucking itchy red dust out of his hair and clothes.

But even so, Cap usually handled it way better than this. He'd been reading one of the very few books the Lunars allowed them and suddenly flung it against the wall. Not that he wasn't given to emotional displays, but Andy could usually guess the source.

"What's wrong?"

Cap gestured around the tiny cell they shared. "What's not wrong, corporal?"

Andy sometimes wondered why they even bothered keeping up the pretense of military rank. In the mines, they were all just another Earth slave that could be worked to death to add wealth to the Lunar government.

"Uh, yeah, I guess."

The silence that followed lasted for so long it crawled under Andy's skin, but he didn't know what to say. Cap stared at the ceiling in a sightless creepy way that made Andy's chest hurt. Whatever the problem, it was worse than the everyday irritations of this awful life they'd all grown used to.

"Cap?" he finally said.

"My kid turned six today," Cap finally muttered.

That just made Andy's chest hurt worse. All the Earthers missed their families, but god, the agony of leaving kids behind...especially little ones like that.

"Yeah," he said, voice strangled.

"I don't even know what he'd want as present," Cap continued, his own voice flat.

"Well, you know...kids that age...a baseball?" Andy said, drawing an unexpected snort from Cap.

"Not sure Cas or Sam would think to get him that."

Andy knew that Cas was the Captain's husband and Sam his brother. He heard both their names mumbled at night while Cap slept.

"Then you'll get him one when you get home."

Cap slanted a glance at him, his expression neutral. "You really think that's gonna happen?"

"Yeah," Andy said with false confidence. "And you believe it too," he ordered. "The earth government is going to fucking destroy the Lunars and they're going to find us and we're all going home. S'gonna happen sooner or later."

Another long pause filled the space between them and then, to Andy's relief, Cap relaxed a bit.

"Yeah," he agreed. "You're right."

And maybe neither of them really believed it, but just then, pretending was exactly what they needed.

***********************

"Aren't you ever going to date again?"

Castiel didn't even bother answering Sam's question, though he knew it came from a place of concern and very deep affection. After all, Castiel had been Sam' s best friend before he dated Dean. But his last attempt at dating had ended in disaster. Castiel hadn't left Dean. He hadn't seen a body or said goodbye. No matter the amount of time that passed, he still felt married to Dean. Not a very convenient sensation when you tried to date another person.

"Look, I know...well, no I don't know. I never lost a spouse, but I know you're really lonely," Sam said when Castiel remained silent. "And I know it's a damn cliché, but Dean wouldn't want you to be alone. So...there's this guy and-"

"No," Castiel said flatly.

"Cas-"

"I said no, Sam. I won't do that to another person." He turned away from Sam to start pulling cans out to start dinner.

"You don't have to stop loving him to love someone else," Sam said, ever stubborn.

"Yes, I know. But it's not that I still love him," he said, struggling to keep his voice steady. "It's that I never stopped being in love with him." He spared Sam a glance. "That's a little different, wouldn't you say?"

Sam drew in a deep breath and slowly let it out again.

"Yeah," he agreed softly. "I guess it is."

*******************


Dean hadn't been sitting on his hands for the past six years. That first year, he attempted to escape no less than ten times. But with no weapons and nowhere to go without stealing a ship, he'd been captured and punished every single time. Sometimes with isolation, others with outright beatings. Dean preferred the beatings. It was easier than dwelling on what he'd lost, which was invariably what happened to him in isolation. He never really stopped the attempts...and as such earned himself the reputation as a massive pain in the ass...but Dean did stop believing he'd ever make it out alive.

A part of him even wished he wouldn't. There are worse things than death.

Yet the greater part refused to give up. If he ever considered it, he'd see Sam's deep frown in his mind's eye and hear his voice. Dude, you can't just give up like a pussy. You got a family waiting on you to come back.

The Castiel in his mind never had to say anything at all. Dean would just see those pretty blue eyes smiling at him and he'd promise to try and make it through it one more day.

One day at a time and eventually, Dean could go home.

**********************
"Cas! Turn on the news," Sam said excitedly before Castiel could get out a greeting. His much larger brother-in-law pushed past him and dashed to Castiel's holo-unit. His fingers tapped a frantic pace that matched the beat of Castiel's heart. Sam's expression showed more excitement than alarm, but still Castiel had little tolerance for surprises.

"What is it?"

A reporter answered his question. She sat in a studio, but behind her, floating in front of Castiel's fireplace, there was a recording playing of what looked like Earther military extracting people from a building. The non-military people weren't wearing any identification, but Castiel only had to see the way wrath twisted their features to know they were Lunars.

"...heart of the Lunar empire," the reporter was saying. "No doubt this is the beginning of a very long process and certainly violence might break out again, but even so, the celebrations have already begun in every major city on Earth."

"Sam?" Castiel asked blankly.

"The war's over," Sam said, voice thick with emotion. "The Lunars surrendered sometime last night."

Castiel knew there was probably some sort of reaction he was supposed to be having. An expression of appropriate emotion, like the tears welling in Sam's eyes or the images of men and women shouting and embracing in the streets that had replaced the recording of the soldiers. Especially since ending the war was exactly what Dean had fought and died to accomplish.

But instead, he felt numb.

"....long time coming, but the inevitable end that started so many years ago with the Battle of Capricorn has finally arrived and in this moment, it's important to remember all those who were lost, the brave men and women who-"
Castiel snapped the machine off and walked to the door, pausing there with fists clenched.

"...Cas?" Sam asked softly.

"About fucking time," Castiel growled before marching up the stairs and into the bedroom he once shared with Dean.

Sam stared where Castiel had been standing for a very long time.

******************

The end, when it came, was a total surprise. One moment Dean was returning his tools to one of the Lunar guards that supervised the Earthers while they worked. The next moment, that same guard was gasping and slumping to the ground, his uniform scorched around a hole made by plasma weapons.

"Holy shit," Dean breathed.

"Show your hands!" A voice shouted and it was surprise more than anything that had Dean obeying. To his left, another set of Lunar guards went down.

"Who are you?" Dean asked, but the answer became immediately apparent when the person belonging to the voice stepped out of shadows. Dean didn't recognize the face, but oh god, he knew that uniform. Black and tan with a small Earth-shaped patch at the left shoulder. "Y-you're Earther," Dean said.

Behind him, he heard a fellow worker gasp. The man in the Earther uniform narrowed his eyes with suspicion. "Yes, I am and as of now, Earth is taking over this mining complex. You will be...Jesus Christ, you're Dean Winchester," he suddenly said, his eyes popping wide with surprise, though to his credit, his gun didn't waver. "You're supposed to be dead."

"Yeah, sorry to disappoint," Dean growled, but it was hiding the hard painful hope that rose up, nearly choking him. "What's going on?" he demanded, easily slipping back into his role as commander. Even if he did have several guns trained on him.

"Oh um well..."

"Spit it out, solder."

"Sorry, sir!" The man exclaimed. "Earth has taken the Lunar capital, sir. Our mission was hunt out the last of the previous Lunar rulers and take over their financial assets."

In other words, cripple the remaining hints of the Lunar empire.

In other words, they won the war.

In other words...Dean could go home.

His knees gave out on him and Dean stumbled to the nearest wall to keep himself from collapsing into nothing. The emotions pouring into him were so intense that Dean couldn't even feel them. All around him, he could hear Earther slaves starting to cheer and smash their tools into the expensive Lunar equipment. The Earth force might have a riot on their hands soon enough, but Dean didn't give a shit. All he could see was those damn smiling eyes in his head. Escape on his own had never been possible. But Dean had done what was necessary.
He’d survived.

"I made it, Cas," he murmured into his clenched fist. "I'm coming home."

********************

Sam and Castiel exchanged a look. The only people who ever visited this late were already in Castiel's home. Patrick slept upstairs while Sam and his wife Jess enjoyed one last drink with Castiel in his living room.

"Who could that be?" Sam asked.

"I don't know," Castiel said even as he stood to answer it. The last thing he expected to see was an Earther military officer. A major if Castiel was reading his collar correctly. The last time one had visited his home, he'd been told about Dean's death. So Castiel hoped he could be pardoned for his slightly icy tone when he said, "May I help you?"

"Castiel Winchester?"

"Yes," Castiel confirmed.

"May I come in?"

Castiel hated having anything military-related in his home, but he also knew the knowledge would displease Dean. His stupid brave reckless husband had adored his work. And it would be rude to turn the major away without at least finding out what this was about.

"Of course." Castiel led him into the living room.

"Perhaps we should speak alone-"

"Sam and Jess are my family. You couldn't possibly have anything to tell me that they can't hear," Castiel said sternly.

To his surprise, the major's eyes lit up. "Sam Winchester?"

"Yeah," Sam said warily.

The major grinned. "Then you'll want to hear this too. Mr. Winchester," he said, turning back to Castiel. "I'm overjoyed to inform you that four hours ago, members of the Earth force discovered your husband alive and well in a Lunar mining facility."

Castiel stared at him, his thoughts clogged and confused and stuck on 'husband alive.' He heard Sam make an odd strangled noise and Jess gasp sharply, but this couldn't be real. They shouldn't believe him because it was lie and they'd be devastated. Castiel would be devastated.

"What?" he asked stupidly.

The major's expression gentled and he reached over to grasp Castiel's wrist. "Dean is alive," he said, his tone low and absolutely genuine.

And the second Castiel finally understood the words being spoken to him, he did something he never done. Not when Dean supposedly died, not during his memorial, not in the all the years of raising Patrick alone.

Castiel burst into tears.

He sank to the ground or so he thought until he found himself in a pair of strong, but shaking arms.

"Cas," Sam said. "Oh my god, Cas."

The only thing Castiel could do was bury his face in Sam's neck and sob out six years worth of pain and grief and aching terrible loneliness.


*******************


Between the debriefings and health checks and the clusterfuck of trying to find out who'd survived the battle, Dean had been kept too occupied to get much more than a confirmation that Castiel, Sam and Patrick were all still safe and healthy. That was it. No one seemed to know or want to stop long enough to give him better information than this. Which of course meant that Dean threw his fit sooner rather than later.

"I swear to god, if someone doesn't tell me about my family," Dean said, his fingers clenched around the collar of a very frightened looking corporal. "I am going to fucking lose it."

Later that same hour, just as their vessel made Earth orbit, the corporal returned with a report, which he delivered with a slight hint of anxiety in the tremble of his hands.

"Your husband still lives at the address you had on your file, sir," he said.

"By himself?" Dean made himself ask. Because he couldn't blame Cas for moving on, but the idea of another man in his home with his family made bile rise in his throat.

"No, sir," the corporal answered and Dean's stomach dropped violently. "Your son lives there as well."

Dean slowly stood from his chair to tower over the kid. "Just the two of them?" he asked, teeth clenched.

"Yes...? Oh," the corporal said, realization dawning. "Oh! No, sir! I mean, yes, sir, your husband never remarried. But your brother was married two years ago, sir."

Which was great and kinda weird considering Sam had been having trouble keeping a woman, but fuck it, Dean just didn't give a shit right then. Castiel had waited for him. He sat back on the tiny bunk in his guest cabin, a huge satisfied grin on his face.

"Okay and we're docking...?"

"You'll be back on Earth in two hours, sir."

Two hours shouldn't have been anything after six long horrible years, but goddamn if Dean didn't think they'd ever end.

********************

Patrick was having a hard time understanding what had happened. "He didn't die?" Patrick asked for the fifth time that morning.

"No," Castiel confirmed, unable to stop the smile uncharacteristic grin the idea gave him. Dean was alive. The information kept leaping into his mind, waking him every twenty minutes the previous night. Dean was alive and would be arriving at the spaceport that very morning. Castiel's fingers itched to touch his face and his arms ached to hold him. The emotions were almost too much to be borne. But Castiel was more than happy for the chance to try.

"He was beamed out of his ship," Castiel explained again, retelling the story the major had given him. "They used a kind of technology Daddy's friends didn't recognize, so they thought he died."

"But he didn't?" Patrick asked again as he buttoned up his nicest striped dress shirt. Paired with his green corduroy pants, it was the best outfit Patrick had. Castiel wanted Patrick to look nice for Dean's return. He hadn't seen their child since Patrick was three months old. Castiel wanted him to be proud of how Castiel had raised him.

"Do you..." Patrick fussed with his shirt tails and fell silent.

"Do I what?" Castiel asked gently. Patrick finally lifted scared green eyes to Castiel's face.

"Do you think Daddy will like me?"

Castiel immediately knelt beside him and gathered him into a soothing hug. "I know he will. He's going to love playing with you and getting to know you, I promise."

Patrick clung to Castiel, obviously overwhelmed and confused. But then...Castiel preferred these problems than the acceptance of a missing father.

"Come now," Castiel said, pulling away to wipe at Patrick's wet eyes. "It's time to go and bring him home."

********************

When they walked out into the greeting area, the situation devolved into a kind of joyous chaos. Media cameras hovered in the air at the edge of the crowds as the lost soldiers and their families began running to each other. Dean heard a guttural sob from Andy just before the man broke away from Dean's side and trotted over to the girlfriend he'd left behind. He watched with a fond smile on his lips as Andy pressed his forehead to hers and began whispering something. He'd been right, Dean thought. They'd been rescued and around him, those who survived were returning to those who loved them best.

Oh, Dean knew it wasn't all roses and sunshine. A few of his soldiers had gotten bad news. Some learned of deaths while others learned of spouses who moved on. Dean had spent the ride down to Earth holding the hand of a crying woman who learned her husband had remarried and had children with another woman. But that only sharpened his relief to be standing on Earth soil once more. As well as darken his anger towards the Lunar people.

Dean glanced back to see if anyone had come to meet that soldier anyway and so he missed the child's approach until a small hand caught his sleeve and tugged gently.

"Daddy?" A timid voice said.

Dean's heart leapt into his throat as he turned forward again. There was no mistaking that sweet little face. Those familiar eyes and the spray of freckles across a sharp nose. This was definitely his kid. His freaking grown up kid who couldn't walk or talk the last time Dean saw him, but was now staring up at him with undisguised adoration.

"Hey, baby boy," Dean said past the lump in his throat. The name may not be accurate anymore, but it would never stop applying to his son. Before he could prepare himself, Patrick had thrown his skinny arms around Dean's waist and was hugging him with surprising strength.

"Daddy," Patrick sobbed. "I missed you so much."

Which was when Dean's heart pretty much broke. He fell to his knees and gathered Patrick into his arms, swallowing down a sob as Patrick's tears spilled down his neck.

"I missed you too," he said against Patrick's soft blond hair. "Every freaking day."

The crowd flowed around them and the noise grew ever louder, but in that moment, they belonged only to each other and didn't notice any of it.

*****************

"Where's your papa?" Dean finally asked because he'd expected Castiel to be with their son and fuck, he wanted to see him so damn bad. He climbed back to his feet, but made sure to keep one of Patrick's hands clasped in his own.

"I ran ahead of him," Patrick admitted. "I'm probably gonna get in trouble because-"

"Patrick!" A shiver instantly zipped up Dean's spine. Goddamn, it didn't matter that Castiel sounded pissed and worried. Dean hadn't heard that gorgeous voice in six years. "Patrick, what did I tell you about...oh," Castiel stopped short when he pushed past a hugging couple and saw Dean standing before him. "Oh," he repeated, sounding as wrecked as Dean felt. The years had done nothing to make Castiel any less beautiful.

"Hey, Cas," Dean said, his voice breaking on his husband's name. There was a short beat where neither moved and then Castiel shortened the space between them faster than Dean knew he could move. Patrick circled around to cling to Dean's side just in time to avoid being crushed by Castiel pressing himself into Dean's arms. That scent Dean had almost forgotten, that particular Castiel smell Dean could never really describe filled his nose and holy fuck, it was all so good. Smelling and hearing and feeling Castiel.

"My love," Castiel said softly, his lips brushing Dean's ear. Dean remembered blushing and shying away from those kind of words, the ones that climbed so easily into his heart, but now Dean welcomed them. Now Dean pulled Castiel as close as possible and slipped his other arm down to wrap around Patrick's shoulders.

"God, Cas, I missed you so damn much," Dean said and it wasn't nearly enough to explain how he'd felt. Not even close.

But he could explain it better later. They had time now.


*******************

Sam wasn't far behind Castiel. He only waited long enough for Castiel to put an inch of space between them before he was pulling Dean into his massive arms and blubbering into Dean's shoulder like a giant mangirl. Which okay, might have made Dean tear up a little too, but he was only human. Somewhere in there Sam managed to introduce Dean to a stunning blond woman named Jess who Sam claimed to have married. Dean said he didn't believe it, but Jess laughingly confirmed it. She gave Dean a sweet gentle hug and told him she was so happy he'd returned. And Dean was so overwhelmed by all this that he began to tremble.

"Sam," Castiel said, his tone commanding. "We need to leave here."

Sam got the message immediately and he turned to use his bulk to cut a path through the crowds. It was the first time...well, since the last time he saw Cas that Dean felt like someone was taking care of him.

"Thanks," Dean muttered. Castiel squeezed his hand and brought it up to kiss the palm. The only display of affection Cas would likely show in public aside from a hug.

"Come. I want you away from this crowd."

Dean couldn't agree more.


*********************


Patrick didn't stop talking the entire way home. He barely paused to draw breath through the chattering. "I go to first grade," he said, leaning into Dean's side and looking up at him with those damn eyes. Eyes that so closely resembled his own shouldn't make Dean want to melt into the floor. "I'm really good at school. Uncle Sam said I take after papa because you hated school, but I think he was just making fun. My friends and I play War and I get to be you! I always win because everyone says you're a hero."

Dean could only nod and stare at his kid. His baby had his own thoughts and personality. Granted, Dean couldn't gather much more than 'excitable', but still. Patrick was so different from the sweet sleepy infant Dean remembered. It was again overwhelming, though this time Castiel didn't intervene. And Dean was grateful. He never wanted to do anything to make Patrick stop being this open with him.

"Can we get a dog? Papa said no because it's just two of us, but now it's three and Uncle Sam said you had a dog when you was a kid, so that's good right?"

And he was already playing his parents off each other. That was definitely Dean Winchester's kid.

"Uh, well-"

"If we do, I wanna get a beagle and name him Robert. I think Robert is a good name for a dog, don't you? My best friend has a dog named Kallie and she's..."

Dean settled back against his seat and let Patrick's monologue wash over him, his hand still clamped firmly in Castiel's.

Life was good.
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