Chapter 20 - Carry On My Wayward Son, An Epilogue

They bury her beneath a willow tree on the battlefield three weeks to the day after Dean rumbles into the small town of Oriskany, New York to forever alter its destiny. It's a good place to lay her to rest and he carves a 'D' into the flesh of the tree, marking the place so the world will never forget that she existed for a time. It's fitting, he thinks, that they've chosen to put her ashes here. A battlefield suits her and he imagines that she will try to help the lost souls trapped here to guide them to the other side.

The willow tree is beside a stream in a peaceful valley and even though what they're doing is a felony, they break into the hard winter earth to make a small tomb for her box of ashes. A long and illustrious life concentrated down to dust that will feed the grass and the very tree under which they stand when spring revives the earth again. But for now the tree's limbs hang heavy and naked as the cold March wind blows and Dean stands beside the grave they have made for their friend as the sun begins to set.

Sam is beside him and a sense of peace descends down around him and he wonders if his brother can feel it to. It's as if she stands beside them in the dying light as dusk approaches and urges them to speak to one another. It's been so very long since they've taken the time to stop and just talk and Dean tests the waters first.

"Thank you for everything you did for me, Sam. I couldn't have gotten through all that without you there with me." He says, releasing his words out onto the wind and letting them drift where they will. Sam is a statue beside him and for a moment he worries that his brother won't participate in the game.

"You know, she told me something before she died. She said family is the most important thing in this life and I think I get that now. What I said to you back at the bunker was cruel and I didn't mean it, Dean. You will always be my brother and I will always love you." The force of his confession is concussive, and it reverberates around their shared space.

"And I know what I did with Gadreel was wrong, Sammy." He offers back, exchanging one affirmation for another in fair trade between them. "I tricked you into being possessed by him and it wasn't fair to you. I know how badly you want to prove yourself to the world, just please, be more careful because there's no me if there's no you." Sam looks over to him and smiles, the sinking sun cooling the air around them but unable to pull the warmth away from around their hearts and as the sun sets behind the clouds and covers Doris' valley in shadow, Dean puts a hand on his brother's shoulder and knows that everything will be alright.

After all, Doris said that it would be.

The End.

Author's note: A big huge thank you to all the people who followed along with me on the journey to get this story written and for all your wonderful reviews and messages of encouragement. I know I'm not going to make everybody happy with how this story ended, but I had to be true to Doris and see her character through to the end.

If you've reached the conclusion of this story and haven't yet left me your thoughts on what you thought of this, please take a minute to leave me a review below. It only takes a few seconds and it makes me oh so happy.

So until next time, keep creating and remember that you are important and that there is a plan and that universe will unfold as it should.