The river rushed past him, its waters clean and full of fish, the life within it indicative of the Earth healing from the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse that almost happened. The Apocalypse which ended. The Apocalypse ended by Sam.
They won. It sure did not feel like it.
Castiel had to leave Bobby’s house for a while. He did as much as he could for two men determined to drown themselves in a bottle. Castiel did not blame them for their need to cope. Castiel had to leave before he started thinking it was a good idea himself. Though now, Castiel might need an entire state’s liquor stock before he could even feel a buzz, maybe the entire country's reserve to become drunk. That was probably a good thing. Castiel did not exactly have a good track record when it came to mind altering substances.
Thus, the river. Castiel sat on a bouder and watched the water flow across the land and into the horizon. Their actions-- Sam’s actions-- had protected countless pieces of creation just like this all over the world. A beauty worth saving, or so they believed.
Seeing Dean’s eyes, now devoid of the light Castiel had always admired, made Castiel question. He questioned the divine plan, the clash between Heaven and Hell. He questioned the suffering of those on Earth, of Dean and Sam. He questioned the reasoning behind making such beautiful creations-- humans-- and enacting a plan designed to wipe them all out.
Castiel questioned Him.
“This is it?” He stood, his feet placed at the edge of the riverbank. “This is all?” He looked up. “You give them free will then rage when they use it? You place them on this Earth, then abandon them?”
Castiel had regained his memories. He remembered why he fell. He remembered learning that Heaven was not led by God, had not been led by God for years. God had left them all, human and angel. He remembered hearing about the beginning of the end. He remembered not accepting that, tearing himself apart, and falling to Earth.
He remembered losing his way.
“They gave everything to win this fight. They sacrificed everything to keep your creation alive. They gave all to save billions of lives. Humans. Your greatest achievement. The ones you claim to love.”
The river flowed. Castiel followed it. He reached the edge of the cliff, where the water cascaded down. The water changed it song as it crashed against the rocks below, from a soft gentle solo to a powerful chorus. Castiel peered over the cliff’s edge. At the bottom, the water had become something new, something powerful, something beautiful. He jumped into the pool below and floated under the waterfall, listening to its song. The current pushed him out of the pool, firm but gentle, and Castiel washed ashore. He climbed out of the water, allowing his clothes to remain dripping wet.
“It can’t end like this,” Castiel whispered into the soft earth on the shore. “I won’t let it end like this.”
Castiel stood, his arms spread wide. He breathed deeply and his wings unfurled. Birds launched out of the treetops, every one of them looking his way.
When Castiel made his final call, the birds answered with a joyous scream.
Empty bottles flew from the shelves and rolled out the overflowing bin of beer cans. No matter how much or how hard Dean searched, he couldn’t find anything he hadn’t drank. He also couldn’t find Bobby or Cas. Dean choose to blame them for the lack of liquor left in the house.
After spending the last few weeks drinking and not thinking, Dean already felt the cumulative hangover start to hit him. He wasn’t drunk now so he grabbed his keys and headed outside with the intent to do a supply run. One supply.
He didn’t get far. He stepped out Bobby’s front door and walked in on the middle of a scene he wasn’t meant to witness. At first, Dean though he might still be drunk or he had yet another crazy dream, but when he rubbed at his eyes and pinched his cheeks, everything was still there.
The portal opened. The portal Sam jumped into, where he said his final goodbye. No way Dean could ever forget its blackness, the crackle in the air as it opened, how its power settled on the skin like frost biting at the skin. All around the portal stood angels: Anna, Hannah, Balthazar, and (Dean blinked a few times to make sure it wasn’t a trick) Gabriel. Death didn’t seem to stick to anyone these days. Except his brother.
The angels stood at the edge of the circle created by the portal, their faces serious, their clothes and hair blown back by the wind coming from below. Dean took one more step forward and saw Cas, his back directly to Dean, shout over the wind. The words were incomprehensible to Dean but the angels nodded, their faces staring into the abyss. A shout made the wind pick up and Dean shivered despite the bright sun.
Cas noticed Dean first. He looked up from the portal and slowly, so very slowly, turned his head. His eyes glowed a radioactive blue, all his power brought to the surface. Cas smiled at Dean.
“It’s going to be okay,” he said.
He spoke quietly, but Dean heard every word. Cas turned back around, the other angels watching him. He stood tall, his body glowing the same colour as his eyes. Lightning struck and Cas stepped over the edge of the abyss.
Dean didn’t shout, didn’t cry, didn’t reach out. He did, however, hit the ground. His legs just wouldn’t work anymore. The impact shot through his legs and up his knees but Dean had a hard time feeling it.
That was it. The two most important people in his life lost to the same pit. Maybe Bobby, wherever he was, would want to get in on it, too. A three for one sale on breaking Dean apart.
Dean wanted to be mad. He wanted to shout about how Cas never said anything about this plan, but Dean was well aware that any time Cas tried to talk to him the last few weeks Dean had brushed his off, pushed him away, and never tried to listen. Cas had only wanted to take care of him and Dean had only made time for alcohol.
That was it. Dean reached capacity. No more feelings. No more moving. No more anything.
Dean stayed where he was and watched the remaining angels close the gap Cas left behind, their hands joined. They formed a line around the portal, their power flowing through the air. Had Dean been capable of feeling anything else, his skin may have buzzed. As he was, he stared forward, watching the blackness that took his light away.