Every punch covered Sam's hands with Dean's blood. Every time Dean told him it was okay, he was here, he would stay with him.
Sam, encased in the prison of his own body, raged against the confines of his cage. He pulled at his ribs, trying to escape through the spaces in between. He followed his veins in the hope that, at the end of the line, he would find a way out. Sam did not give up. He fought and he would always keep fighting, right to the very end.
Lucifer thought it was funny to let Sam see Dean's face, let him know what it felt like to tear his family apart. Such a prideful thing to do. How human of the angel who hated them the most.
Dean was there. So was their home. The Impala held so many parts and pieces of the brothers, their memories stored inside. Every one of them brought Sam closer and closer to the surface, until it was Lucifer raging in the cage.
Dean was right. It was going to be okay. He hoped that Dean understood that, with his one final act, Sam's soul felt peace.
Cas drove Dean away from the cemetery. Away from Sam.
Dean was vaguely aware of Cas and Bobby talking, of Bobby taking off in his own car. The words didn't really register. The patch of grass where the portal closed looked so normal.
He felt Cas reach into his jacket pocket. He heard the jingle of keys. He followed Cas's pull at his shoulders and stood. He let Cas fold him into the passenger seat. He watched that same patch of grass as they drove away.
It's funny really, that all Dean could think about as Cas turned into the highway was that Dean didn't remember letting Cas drive the Impala. In fact, he was quite certain he never had. Yet, Cas drove her in a careful practiced manner that made Dean believe he'd been doing it for years.
He should have let Sam drive the Impala more.
Dean curled into a ball, pressing his body against the car door. He didn’t want to take up too much space. He watched the highway pass by him, every roadside the same. Still daylight. Hard to believe, but the sun was still up, shining bright enough to make Dean squint. Whatever. It was five o'clock somewhere.
He reached into his inner pocket and downed his flask. In respect of Cas’s sober living, Dean tended not to drink as much around him. Damn that angel, being a good influence on him. Today, however, Dean deserved an exception. He reached into the back seat, shoved aside all the food in the cooler and found a beer. He drank that too.
Cas didn’t say anything. He drove.
The alcohol warmed Dean’s insides. That was the only place it reached. Dean didn’t feel much. He felt empty. He felt like he was supposed to cry or scream or despair. He didn’t. He stared out the window, blank.
Cas didn’t say anything but he did look over to Dean every few miles. Dean sild across the seat, little by little, until he was lined up with Cas. The alcohol’s warmth could never hope to match the warmth of Cas’s body. Dean leaned into him and Cas took one hand off the wheel to wrap an arm around Dean’s shoulders, pulling him close. Dean may have felt empty inside but borrowing Cas’s warmth, so freely given, made him feel something. It bubbled beneath the surface. Dean didn’t have a name for it. He was only an empty shell.
Cas didn’t smell like smoke anymore. He smelled like rain, power, and lightning and Dean pressed in closer to find it. It couldn’t have been easy, driving with a full grown man clinging to his side, but Cas was up to the challenge, never taking his hand off Dean’s shoulder.
The something kept bubbling, kept threatening to bust through the surface. Dean didn’t have the energy to fight it. He tightened his grip on Cas and tried his damndest to hide the sob that forced it way out of his lungs. Cas kissed Dean’s forehead, whispered a few soft words to him, and continued to drive. Dean couldn’t hold it back after that, burying his face in Cas’s neck and making a mess of his coat. Cas held him.
Dean fell asleep. He must have. He awoke once, in a dark gas station, and didn’t remember the rest of the journey after that.
He did, however, remember the feel of Cas’s body against his own, of his strong hands pulling him out of the Impala and into Bobby house. He remembered being guided up the stairs. He remembered being led to the bed, of being stripped down into more comfortable clothing, of being tucked into bed. He remembered hearing Cas’s voice before he slept again.
That was all he remembered of the next few days. The rest of it passed in a haze. Dean blamed Bobby’s liquor cabinet for that.