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They're sitting on the park bench where Dean used to sit with Castiel, and Jimmy is acutely aware of that, of being the other, here - of being the third wheel. He has vague body-memories of - well, they need not be mentioned.

"So, uh," says Dean, a burger wrapper crinkling in his hands. "How is it, I mean, how're you doing? Now."

'Now'? "Very well, thank you."

"You even talk like - " Dean stops. "Nah. Don't try to sell me that one, man. You're not doing all right. Obviously."

"Is it that obvious?"

"Um, yeah."

"I might have had a slight nervous breakdown - "

"You jumped off the ledge of your office building."

"I didn't jump, I - "

" - flew?"

Jimmy is silent.

"You thought you were flying. That's what you told the paramedics? Shit. You're damn lucky it was only the second floor."

"I was... unsound. I had memories, of - it was difficult, adjusting to being." Human, Jimmy doesn't say. "Wingless."

"I thought you weren't conscious, or, you know, even there. While he - while he was. Um. In you." Dean looks uncomfortable. "Man, that came out wrong. Bad and wrong."

Jimmy laughs. Or he thinks he does; his hands are quiet as fallen leaves on his knees. He's in the same trenchcoat; the same trousers; the same shoes. "I wasn't there. Well, not me, but my body was. And it - " should I say this? " - remembers."

It's Dean's turn to be quiet. "Oh," he says, after a moment. He tenses all over - once - and then relaxes, in jagged degrees, as if by force of will alone. "Right," he says. "Right. Yeah." He unclenches himself, like a fist.

"Sorry." Jimmy doesn't quite know why he says that, but. It seems appropriate. "Have you spoken to him, since - "

"No." The word is a slap.

Jimmy flinches. "I just. I thought he might have asked you to - to look out for me - "

"No," says Dean, again. "No, he - didn't. Can't. Speak to me." A breath. "Anymore."

"What?" Jimmy's stunned, or - or what, exactly, he can't be sure, but he can notice the small veins beneath Dean's tired eyes, on skin more delicate than it has any right to be. The knuckles on Dean's left hand are bruised. "Why - "

"You know, the whole glass-shattering thing. And the burning-out-your-damn-eyes thing." Dean shrugs. "Can't, anymore."

"Not without a vessel."

Dean does not look at him. He looks, instead, out over the grass that stretches before them, uneven and tender with new growth. "Yeah."

"I didn't - "

"Mean to. Come back. I get it." The wrapper ends up tossed - expertly - into the nearby trash can. Jimmy registers its presence with a certain sense of surprise; his eyes haven't seen it before, or else have failed to take note of it. Certainly, the previous occupant of this body had been focused on nothing except Dean, during their meetings here.

"I'm sorry."

"Stop saying that." Dean's mouth quirks, and his face is kind, but rough, like the bark of an old tree. Jimmy has the peculiar urge to touch him, to see if he feels like that, too. "Ain't your fault."

It isn't, but - "I didn't expect to return."

"Naw, you didn't. God decreed it." Dean makes a face. "That sounds even weirder when I say it."

"Yes." Jimmy considers smiling. "It does."

"You say it," says Dean, suddenly. "Makes more sense when you say it."

When he says it. "Of course." Jimmy recalls what his wife had said, before - before. About Jimmy's apparent insanity; about how nothing he did made any sense; that God had to make sense. "God decreed it, Dean."

Dean's shoulders ease. Imperceptibly. "Again."

"God decreed it."

"Yeah," Dean says, and closes his eyes. "He did."

They don't talk much, after that. Not about Amelia, who still isn't seeing him, or Claire, whose voice Jimmy has only heard on the phone, bird-sweet and distant, as if from the midst of one of those forests Jimmy had not-flown over. Jimmy doesn't ask about Lisa, because it's obvious, in the aloneness that covers Dean like a cloak, that she isn't in his life - and he doesn't ask about Heaven, or Destiny, or any words that begin with capital letters.

They've both had enough of those, Jimmy thinks.


(Sequel: Shore to Ocean.)

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