in the tender compassion of our God



In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke Chapter 1: 78-79, part of The Benedictus

"Did you know?"

"What? No, Sam. How could I know?"

"Jesus knew."

"I'm not fuckin' Jesus!"

"Three days, Dean."

"So? Three's always been a magical number--for both sides."

"The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

"All of which I don't believe in."

"You believe."

"Not fully."

"Enough to give power to your words."

"Heh. Those bastards couldn't get rid of me fast enough."

"I thought I was the one who memorized the exorcism."

"Back-up, Sam. I mean, what if you were unconscious or something?"

"And the Common Book of Prayer?"

"I was bored when you left for Stanford."

"Why didn't they shut you up?"

"Tried to. Jiggled those hooks in my body to make me scream... The name of God echoes a lot in a void."

"Should've removed your tongue."

"Listen to Mr. Suggestion, here. How long that thought been poking around your head, Sammy?"

"Ever since you started regaling me with your sexual conquests."

"As if you listen. And, yeah, they tried that. But I thought about the hellhounds tearing up my body and those wounds were nowhere to be found. Figured that meant I didn't have a body anymore, not really. So I couldn't be tongue-less, right?"

"So you just kept running your mouth."

"Added a guitar riff here and there. Those jokers couldn't get rid of me fast enough."

"Good thing I had your body on ice."

"You were supposed to burn me."

"I'm a Winchester. When have we ever done what we're supposed to?"

"True. Dad escaped through a hell gate, and I was escorted to the door. Guess you were wrong all those years, huh?"


"I'm not as annoying as Hell. I'm apparently worse."

"Trust you to be an overachiever at that."

"Gotta be good at something, Sammy. Wonder if it's worked for anyone else?"

"I think there's more to it than your big mouth. I think--I think my nursery wasn't the only one with a visitor in the middle of the night."


"Opposite direction, Dean."

"Roma Downey or Della Reese?"


"What? No. That's just--Touched by Clarence. That ain't right, Sam."

"Sometimes your eyes glow."

"Yellowish? Whitish? Blackish?"

"Greenish. Just more intense in color, that's all."


"I think I know why."

"Enlighten me, o one with great wisdom."

"Omniscience and balance."

"The upstairs neighbors knew what the downstairs neighbors were up to and...?"

"Decided to nip it in the bud, but without direct interference."

"Created a bodyguard--no, a soul guard. I can live with that, I guess."

"A guardian angel."

"Fuck that shit, Sam. No wings or feathers here."

"No cloven hooves here. Doesn't mean--"

"You think the others had guards, too? That Ava girl, Andy?"

"We know Max didn't."

"If Azazel was half as slick as he thought he was, he would've isolated every one of you to make you vulnerable, like Max was vulnerable."

"He tried. But Dad didn't make it easy. And you made it impossible."

"You were alone in California."

"Not really. I knew you were a phone call away."

"I'm sorry Dad--"

"Yeah, I know."

"I didn't choose him over you. I know it seemed that way."

"Everything seemed that way back then, Dean. Most teens are myopic; can't see further than their own zit-covered noses. I liked the power of making you choose between me and Dad. I apologize for that."

"You were going off to college; he was fighting monsters."

"You chose to stay with the one who seemed to need your help the most."

"Until he didn't want it."

"Which meant you were free to come to me. And you did."

"Just like Yellow-Eyes said--I needed to be needed."

"You needed to be a guardian angel."



"You know, Hell was no fun at all. Why the fuck would a group of angels give up a good gig like Heaven to slum it out in Hell?"


"Damn straight."

"Think you're tired enough to go to sleep now?"

"Aw, hell, Sam. You didn't have to stay up with me just because I get a little jittery in the dark."

"Maybe I stayed up with you because I get a little jittery in the dark. Maybe in the dark I start remembering what those three days without you were like. Maybe in the dark, I can't see you, can't see your chest moving up and down. Maybe in the dark, I start to think that you being here is a dream."

"I'm here, Sam. Give me your hand. Now, no matter how dark it gets, you can feel my heartbeat and each breath I take."

"Your body's warm."

"Correction—my body is hot! Or it will be after I heal. Damn hellhounds."

"Once an asshole..."

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, Sammy."

"Guess I couldn't really expect a trip to Hell to grant you the sanity you never had."

"Jealousy is an ugly color on you, bro, but I forgive you. Feels too good to lie here and hear more than just my own voice in the darkness to get caught up in petty emotions."

"Petty emotions? Was there a drama school in Hell?"

"Where do you think ninety-nine percent of today's actors graduate from? I mean—the Dukes of Hazzard movie was so wrong."

"Move over."


"I wanna sleep here. I promise not to kick you."


"I always wanted a feather pillow."

"No wings, Sam."

"So you say, big brother."

"So, tomorrow. Back on the horse? Back to the family business of saving people?"

"You've been back in the saddle since I found you huddled up in the Impala. How'd you find me anyway?"

"Knew you wouldn't be far away from where you stashed me. And what do you mean I've been back in the saddle?"

"Dean, your presence saves me every hour."

"Gone three days and you're already working for Hallmark?"


"Bitch. See? Angels don't talk like that."

"Angels are warriors. I'm sure that's exactly how they talk."

"You used to get this way as a kid: get an idea in your head and nobody could tell you that you were wrong until you figured it out for yourself. But you know what I learned in Hell? Patience."

"Three days, Dean."

"It seemed longer."

"Close your eyes. I'm here."

"I'm here, too, Sammy. Not there, but here."

"We'll rest for a while, then go see Bobby."

"Tell him to give me the holy water straight. Can't stand screws beer."

"I'll tell him, Dean."

"And we're...we're gonna get that bitch Lilith, too."

"I know we are."

"And you're not gonna go dark, either."

"I know that, brother. Too much light in my life now."


"Sleep, Dean. You've traveled a long way."

"But now...I'm home."

"We both are, Dean. We both are."


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