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This Is Not Our Goodbye

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‘Cause I see you in the daytime 

And I hear you at night

There’s a pale imitation burnt in my eyes 

I don’t want to be here 

I don’t know what to do 

Sometimes I’d rather be dead

At least then I’m with you 

 

--Amen, Amber Run 

 



His alarm buzzes and buzzes and buzzes, vibrating against the wooden nightstand. He reaches out, eyes still closed, and smacks his phone to snooze, then turns his face back into the pillow. Miracle whines, nuzzling at his face, sniffing and sneezing, and when he gets no response, he starts to lick incessantly. 

 

“Okay, okay,” Dean grunts, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. They’re crusty, and his throat is dry. He grabs the half-empty beer bottle that rests on his nightstand and takes a long swing. 

 

He stands, and his legs wobble like jelly. He grabs his dead guy robe off the hook and cinches it as the waist. He sticks his feet into his slippers. He walks past his desk, and he adamantly avoids looking at the bloody jacket that rests on the back of the chair. He takes Miracle up the stairs outside, where the bitter wind bites at Dean’s skin. 

 

Miracle does his business, and by the time Dean comes back inside, down the stairs, Sam is up and in the kitchen, banging pots and pans around. The smell of bacon sizzles. 

 

Dean watches from the doorway for a moment. EIleen sits at the bar counter, signing excitedly. Sam’s face is flush and he’s grinning wider than Dean’s seen in years. 

 

And then Sam notices Dean, and the smile melts. He clears his throat, back to serious-Sam, the Sam that’s hovered ever since they defeated Chuck and Jack left to go be in the rain or leaves or whatever. 

 

“Hey,” he says, sliding around the island. Eileen turns and signs good morning , grinning, but it’s nervous, stilted. 

 

“Hey,” Sam says, waving the tongs around in the air. “You want breakfast? Bacon’s almost done. I made pancakes too.”

 

Dean sniffs the air and his stomach churns. His esophagus burns. He shakes his head. “No, thanks.”

 

He feels Sam’s frown burning into his back.

 

“You’re turning down bacon?”

 

“Not hungry, Sam,” Dean says, pouring a cup of coffee. He takes a sip and grimaces; it’s weak. He reaches into the cabinet overhead, grabs the bottle of Jack Daniels, and pours a generous shot into his mug. 

 

“Dean.”

 

“What?” he snaps, bracing against the counter and taking a long sip. That’s much better.

 

Sam’s eyes are full of disappointment. He shakes his head. Eileen’s eyes are wide and worried. “It’s nine a.m., dude.”

 

“Well, you know what they say; it’s five o clock somewhere.”

 

“Yeah, and that somewhere is not here.”

 

“Are you okay?” EIleen asks.

 

“No, no I’m not okay, and no, I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to sit in my room, watch cartoons, and enjoy my coffee. Is that such a crime?”

 

Sam and Eileen share a look. Dean takes another long sip. 

 

“Dean, it’s been six months.”

 

“And?” he shrugs. 

 

“What you’re doing, it’s not healthy.” 

 

“And that’s my cue.” He exits the kitchen, ignoring Sam and EIleen calling after him. He settles back into bed, getting under the covers. He grabs his laptop and loads up Scooby-Doo . He tries to focus on the colors and the animation and the case the Scooby gang is working, but he finds himself drifting off, losing focus; when he comes back, he’s missed a few seconds, vital in a program that’s only twenty minutes long. 

 

So he tries even harder to focus, but the more he tries, the more difficult it becomes. His eyes keep drifting off to the jacket on his desk chair, that bloody handprint still as vibrant and red as the day — 

 

He takes another sip of his liquor infused coffee, throat now numb to the burn. 

 

Eventually the coffee runs out, so he finishes the beer on the nightstand. It’s half-empty, stale and lukewarm, but he finishes it down in just a few swallows, then grabs the case he keeps stashed under the bed. The liquid hisses when he twists the cap off. He aims for the trash can, but it bounces off the rim, and falls to the floor, joining the pile that’s collected in the corner of his room. 

 

A few hours later, he can’t ignore the stinging pain in his stomach. He cinches his robe tighter around his waist. He opens the door and almost trips over Miracle. 

 

“Sorry, boy,” Dean says, reaching down to run his fingers through the dog’s fur. It’s thick and soft — Sam must’ve just given him a bath, because he’s slightly damp. Miracle’s tail thumps against the concrete floor and he licks Dean’s face. “Okay, okay, that’s enough.”

He quietly walks into the kitchen, peers around the corner, and is relieved when he sees it’s empty. His stomach grumbles, but he doesn’t have the energy to cook. He goes to the pantry and grabs a box of cereal, and he eats it out of the box, dry, by handfuls. He briefly wonders where Sam and Eileen have gotten off to, between swallows. 

 

He wanders around the bunker, the box of cereal close to his chest. It’s been quiet these last six months. Not a peaceful quiet, or an eerie, foreboding quiet, like the kind that occurs before a tsunami smashes down on an unsuspecting beach. It’s been an anxious, itching quiet, the sort that leaves Dean awake tossing and turning most of the night, until he mixes beer with Ambien, the kind that leaves a wide, gaping hole in his chest, the kind that says, something’s missing, something’s missing, something’s missing — 

 

And then he finds himself in front of The Door. He waits. And waits. And his heart is tight and burning in his chest again, just like it was when Billie was crushing it from the inside. Except this time there’s no comfortable, familiar arm holding him up. No voice by his ear, reassuring, “I’ve got you, I’ve got you.” It’s just him, and The Door, and the pain that won’t go away, no matter how much he sleeps, or drinks, or wishes it would just stop

 

And his eyes are burning, and it’s hard to breath, and he knows what’s behind that door, sees it every night no matter how much he wishes he didn’t, no matter how hard he tries to focus on anything else, no matter how tightly he closes his eyes. They’re free, they’re supposed to be free, their life is their own now, for the first time ever, there is no puppet master, they’re free, they’re free — 

 

But was the cost worth it?

 

He puts his hand on the door and it burns. He yanks away, yelping, and he drops the box of cereal and the remnants spill everywhere. Miracle starts to happily eat at the droppings, but Dean’s heart is hammering against his ribs, his eyes are burning, his lungs are too small — 

 

He collapses to the floor and starts to sob.



He comes to when Sam starts shaking him. He pulls his head from his knees and blinks away the tears. Sam comes into focus slowly. His eyebrows are pressed together, frowning. 

 

“Dean?” 

 

Dean sniffs and rubs at his eyes. “What?” he barks.

 

Sam chews on his lip. “Dean, are you ever going to talk about it?” 

 

“There’s nothing to talk about,” he snaps. Then he notices that Sam is dressed up in a nice jacket, with a tie, and his hair is even slicked back with gel. It clicks then that it’s Saturday. Date night for Sam and Eileen. He rubs at his eyes again, fighting to compose his voice. “Better not be late for your date. Eileen might get pissed.”

 

“We don’t have to go out,” Sam says. “We can order pizza. Eileen will understand.”

 

“You don’t need to babysit me.”

 

“We’re worried about you.”

 

“Yeah, well,” he pushes himself to his feet, only stumbling a little. He leans his weight against the wall and avoids looking at The Door. “You can stop.”

 

Sam looks at The Door, then back to Dean. “What is with you and this room? Is this about what happened to Cas?”

 

“Don’t,” he says warningly. 

 

Sam’s about to say more, but then Eileen enters, her heels clacking against the floor. She’s wearing a long, red dress, and her hair is up in a bun. She looks beautiful. Dean’s happy for Sam, and jealous of him at the same time. And then he’s angry at himself for being jealous. Sam deserves happiness, he’s got his happiness, Dean should be happy for him — 

 

I always wondered, ever since I took that burden, that curse — I wondered what could it be? What my true happiness could even look like. 

 

Dean squeezes his eyes shut, but tears still manage to leak out. 

 

“Dean?” Eileen says. 

 

Happiness isn’t in the having; it’s just in saying it. 

 

And now Dean can never say it. How is he supposed to have his happiness if he can’t say it? How could Cas do that to him, leave him, like that ? How could he just say that and then leave, forever?

 

“You stupid son of a bitch!” Dean says, slamming his hand against the wall. 

 

“Hey, hey, hey,” Sam says, pulling Dean’s hand back. Sam looks over at Eileen; out of the corner of his eyes, Dean sees him sign something to Eileen. It’s hard to make out through his blurry vision. 

 

Eileen nods. “Of course.”

 

Sam signs thank you. He takes Dean’s shoulder and Dean yanks out of his grip. 

 

“Don’t touch me,” he hisses. 

 

“Well, what am I supposed to do, Dean? You barely eat, barely sleep. You won’t talk about it. You just drink and drink and stare at this door for hours every day! This isn’t healthy, this isn’t — “

 

“Don’t you fucking say it — “

 

“This isn’t what Cas would want for you!”

 

Dean punches him. Not as hard as he would like — his knuckles are bruised and aching from the wall, but it feels good. 

 

And then Eileen’s shoved him against the wall, her elbow pushed into his neck. “Stop,” she says, looking him dead in the eye. “Dean, you need help.” She looks over her shoulder. “Sam, are you okay?”

 

“Fine,” Sam says, nodding. He makes the sign for it as well, even though blood is pouring out his nose onto his tie. 

 

Eileen looks back at Dean. “Are you done?”

 

Dean nods. Eileen releases him, and Dean rubs at his throat. Damn, she’s strong. “You need to face it,” she says, walking towards the door. 

 

“Don’t,” Dean barely whispers. But Eileen opens the door, and it creaks loudly. He can look through to the other end, the dungeon, sees the spot that the black goo entered and shot out and — 

 

He bends over and vomits. 






He’s back in bed, head pounding. Miracle is resting by his feet, hot as a furnace. Dean stares at the bloody handprint on the jacket. 

 

Eventually, he forces himself out from under the covers and grabs the jacket, pinching the fabric beneath his fingers. He smells it. It smells like dust and nothing else. But Dean slips it on and leaves his room. It’s late. Sam and Eileen are in bed by now. He walks down the hallway and stands in front of the door to Cas’s. This time, he doesn’t hesitate. He pushes it open and steps inside. 

 

Despite the musty smell of being closed for so long, it’s military orderly. The bed is made, with the sheets tucked underneath the mattress. The pillows are fluffed. There’s nothing out of place. The only thing to even suggest that this room was once occupied are the small trinkets on the desk. Dean approaches it, runs his fingers over the large tome that reads On Deities and their Demise . There are some photos spread across the desktop. One of Sam and Dean on separate sides of the Impala’s hood, looking at a map. One of Claire and Kaia, that looks like a selfie. They’re pressed together, grinning. 

 

There’s one of Jack, smiling wide, eager, and innocent. He’s waving at the camera. 

 

Dean stares at that photo for a long time. Then, he crushes it in his hands and dumps it into the trash bin. 

 

He leaves Cas’s room, closing the door behind him, and heads to the armory. The walls are loaded with guns, knives, maces, nun-chucks, spears — weapons of all kinds, collected across the centuries. He ponders, running his fingers over various ones, testing the weight in his hands. But he doesn’t have the weapon he needs — he did once, but the image of it melting in Lilith’s hands like gold still sticks out vividly. Dean puts the spear back onto the rack, spins some, frowns. 

 

Is there anything in here that can wound God?

 

His eyes focus on the archangel blade hanging beside the collection of knives, katanas, karambits, and schmitas. He takes it off the rack, running his fingers over the spiraled blade. It’s light as a feather in his hands. He closes his eyes. 

 

“Jack,” he says, saying the same outloud for the first time in months. It feels foreign around his tongue. “Jack, you better got your ears on. And you better not fucking ignore me this time.”