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and in the end I'd do it all again

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You survive.

You survive, and Dean still treats you with affection and care, friendship--human friendship , and it feels like when you time travel too far and suddenly the oxygen level isn’t meant for your vessel, and you have to let your grace compensate. You second guess it a lot. It makes you feel wrong , somehow, to have these memories, yet still be alive. Would he have wanted you to take them away if he knew you were going to survive? Did he count on you dying?

All of the little discrepancies and confusions about human culture feel like blatant neon signs, like you’re walking in a minefield, like you cannot tell the difference between some random flame and one alit from holy fire. You try to stand far away from him, but he’s always standing so close to you. He touches you, and it feels static, electrons jumping around in their formations, and you can’t tell if it’s wrong that it makes you feel more alive than you’ve known, or if it’s normal, casual, mundane.

But it turns out Sam is Lucifer’s vessel, and Dean refuses to call him back. As much as it hurts, to think and think of how many mistakes you must have made to make him want you to erase his entire memory of it, there are bigger things on Dean’s mind, bigger narrative issues at stake. You want to find God to make sense of it all, but you’re starting to not understand how there could even be another answer. Whenever you think about all the suffering you’ve seen, blocked from being capable of intervening, just to lead to the evolution of these creatures, then what they do to each other, without any input, it just doesn’t seem excusable. Your entire existence is based in letting go of analysis, in trusting a higher power that knows , but the longer you stick around Dean and his brash scepticism and his bright smile, the more you realise maybe everything you’ve seen is simply atrocious.

And you really miss Sam.

It makes more and more sense, his failing, his humanity, his goodness yet the negative consequences laid for him. As much as Dean is the epitome of the humane philosophical shift in your perception, Sam is the epitome of goodness being marked evil in the name of the narrative. You want to tell him that, tell him you understand now, even if you can’t help judging him, can’t help seeing him as something unholy. But aren’t you also unholy, a fallen angel? You want to tell him he should forgive himself. Because Dean’s never going to get around to saying the words. But that’s different. That isn’t even because of Lucifer rising. Dean is stuck in his personal sense of betrayal.

You’re too scared to broach the subject, but you want to.

You save Dean from Zachariah, and he asks you not to change. There’s affection in his eyes. You’re pretty sure you’re reading it right. You want to be whatever he wants. You want to be whatever he needs. His hand is on you, and it feels more like home than Heaven ever did.

But you can’t stop his frustration, later that night, when he kicks the motel wall and leaves a hole, the noise loud in the night air. You can’t help his despair. He said he needed a couple of hours of sleep (but you’re pretty sure he’s grossly underestimating what humans need). Did he get it?

“What’s wrong?” you try, hoping it won’t come out wrong. 

“Well, my friggin’ foot hurts, that’s what’s wrong Dr. Katz,” Dean says. You’re unsure what that means. Is he upset that you can no longer heal him? Shame ignites across the exterior of your vessel from the centre up.

“I am sorry I cannot heal right now,” you say, and maybe the genuine dismay in your tone is that obvious because when Dean looks at you next, his expression softens. He sits on the bed, glancing between you and the hole in the wall.

“Sammy’s going to say yes,” Dean says.

“To Lucifer? He told you that? Dean, it is imperative he does not do that. With his true vessel Lucifer--”

“Yeah, Cas, I hear you,” Dean cuts him off, looking even more distressed, but if Sam told Dean he was going to say yes to the devil, then they need to hurry .

“His wards stop me from being able to find him. Do you know where he is? We must stop him--”

“Cas! Shut up for a minute!” Dean yells. You’re unsure what to do with that. You stand there, waiting, looking at him looking at you, the hole and the wall, and then watching his gaze settle for the ground. “He isn’t right now. I saw the future. And I don’t think I’m going to be able to stop it.”

“We should tell Sam about this immediately,” you say. That makes Dean’s expression shoot right at you, sharp, pointed. You use some of your grace to ensure your hands don’t shake.

“Don’t you dare suggest that bringing Sam on the loop with this is some smart plan,” Dean says. “If you don’t remember, he’s the one who released Satan in the first place. I couldn’t trust him if I was dangling off a cliff, and he had the rope.” You pause, try to absorb that.

“Keeping Sam close might make it easier to make sure he doesn’t say yes,” you say, thinking through the benefits. It makes Dean glare at you more, however.

“What? You think we should babysit him?”

“I don’t know , Dean, I am just trying to help.”

“I know Cas, shit,” Dean says. “It was jarring, alright? I just. I need my four hours? I didn’t expect the angelic back-to-the-future bullcrap.”

You let him rest, and you patch up the wall, certain that he won’t hear. You might not be able to save his brother from being possessed by the devil in any certainty, but you can try to fix the holes it leaves.

You want to call Sam, too. Really badly. But you’re already pretty sure you’ve done enough to invade Dean’s sense of privacy already. 

You wish he’d call you, though.

---

You work cases together. You get used to the fact he’s trying to replace the hole of Sam’s absence with you, and you get used to the feeling of oxygen and pressure calibration that seems to need to be redone by being around him. You’re obsessed with the way he smiles around you, the way he laughs with you, pats your shoulder and seems light despite the fact he’s trying to hold the whole world on his shoulders.

But he’s still growing colder. Like he’s not sure how to cope without his brother, like he never learnt how to. Or maybe it’s the news he listens to for hours on the radio, before you try to convince him to show you another one of his favourite classic rock albums instead of listening to more tragedy.

Your powers are failing, though. More and more by the day. Dean doesn’t mind you not flying anymore to retain grace because he seems to like you in the passenger seat anyways, but when you start needing to sleep it freaks him out. It seems to take him hours to notice, but he shakes you awake terrified in the impala, repeating your name, and you reacquaint yourself to the world. The worry in his eyes and the echo of pressure from his hands lingers, and you almost let yourself think he’s concerned about you, and not the fact you’re growing less and less useful to him.

It's a bleary night, and Dean’s pulled over to the side of the road in some part of rural America. The moon dimly hits his face.

You almost feel safe then, like the two of you have something. Like there is some sort of meaning to the beauty of your father’s world and creations in the way the night barely illuminates the man you love’s face. When things get still, when he’s cautious and not bitter and cruel, and the wind sounds hit trees or rush past his car in a way that is so far from flying, but you feel less trapped by his side anyways.

He lets you stay with him, gets two beds at the motels, and you find yourself always sleeping on the side that’s closer to him, and he always sleeps there too. Maybe it’s habit: get closer to Sam to protect him if there’s a threat. It certainly makes you feel safer even though you’re meant to be his saviour. 

But you are certainly not his saviour when it comes to saving him from the heartbreak of his brother’s absence or the apocalypse or the vampires who have you tied up on some case you could have ended in a blinding flash of light for most of your life.

The vampire with matted brown hair and a raspy voice from how much she was screaming when Dean killed her friends straddles your lap, and you realise you haven’t felt as helpless as this even when Alastair was chanting with your vessel on a hook. 

“I’m not a murderer like your boyfriend over there,” she says. You want to defend Dean, but you’re frozen now, uncomfortable with the way her body is on yours. She cuts her arm, and you try to reach for your wings, and they’re still there, you know they are, but you’re having trouble mobilising. She pinches your nose, but it’s okay, you have enough grace left not to need to breathe. She wants to turn you. Make you into a vampire. You imagine Dean chopping of your head in this human body. You wonder if it would kill you. Your grace isn’t adequate, the pristine homeostasis of life used to be easier to alter than this breathing, but now your head starts to get fuzzy. The vision of your head rolling on the ground with Dean looking down at it motivates you to make sure you don’t breathe manually, but then you see Dean in the distance, and your mouth opens in shock on instinct, and your taste is instantly flooded with blood. 

The sound of the machete cutting the air and slicing through her flesh shocks you. If you were falling from a tree instead of crashing like a comet, you think you’d hit a branch. You brace your body, spit out the blood, hope Dean unties you rather than instinctually colliding his weapon with your neck. 

You’re 98.74% you can’t be turned into a vampire anyways, but the image of Dean killing you so gruesomely stays strong in your mind as he unties the ropes.

“What a bitch !” he exclaims, and the sound of his voice echoes in the sheltered warehouse. He stalks out of the door without saying another word, and you do what you’ve trained yourself into doing, and you follow him.

 Dean had tuned up one of Bobby’s trucks because the Impala had grown too conspicuous, but Cas thinks it might have more to do with the fact he’d prefer someone else in that particular passenger seat. He’d made the decision a week after asking you to get him an ingredient in a spell from a tree in Europe, and you hadn’t been able to oblige. You try to not take it personally. Sometimes you think Dean makes you look too closely at things you normally wouldn’t. He eradicates all your prior delicate systems of information dissemination.

He stalks out to the care, and the light hits you bright, but it doesn’t harm you, and you’re now just a hair shy of 100% certain you’re not a vampire, and you want to reassure Dean, but he just gets into the truck, roughly opening the door then slamming it behind him. You always pay close attention to the soundwaves Dean emits when interacting with objects. It’s a good indicator of how angry he is. This time, it makes you flinch. 

You follow suit and get into the truck anyways, and it’s a musty old thing with garbage Dean never bothered to clear out at the feet and dust that billows into the air if you hit the seats. You decidedly prefer the Impala, but of course, you’re never going to mention it. Dean doesn’t move to drive, or really do anything, as the bright white light of a cloudy sky with the sun begging to pierce through illuminates his set jaw. You sit there in silence, unsure if he needs reassurance you’re not turned. You’re not human enough to fall victim to this particular disease.

“You really couldn’t fly a foot away so she wouldn’t have you tied up like that, Cas? It’s that bad?” he says, finally, and his tone is more sad than angry. He’s losing you, that part he cares about, and it still matters to him, what he’s losing. You feel emptied out.

“I feel very cut off from the plane I require to access for flight, yes. It’s... complicated, and I think I perhaps could if I wasn’t trying to maintain my vess--”

“Cas, shut up,” Dean says, and you do, abruptly. Here is the anger you were expecting. “So, you ingested the bitch’s blood, right?” he says. You bite the inside of your lip. You realise how human of you that is. You taste blood.

“Yes, but it didn’t have any effect on me. I’m not vulnerable to vampirism,” you say. 

“And how do I know you’re not lying?” Dean asks, and it shocks you, and you finally glance at him, feeling somewhat betrayed. 

“I am not lying,” you say. 

“That’s what someone who is lying would say.” You’re taken aback by it, but then Dean actually smirks at you. Rolls his eyes. “Okay, Cas just, open your mouth.”

“What?” you ask.

“I’ll check, for fangs, open your mouth.”

“Or you could trust me,” you say, unsure why it matters at all, but feeling something bright burn in your chest. It’s now a challenge, and you don’t want to back down.

“Well, I’m trusting you a whole lot less now,” Dean says, and it’s infuriating. Maybe you just can’t get rid of the image of him cutting your head off, of him being okay with you just dying , out of your mind. 

“This is ridiculous, Dean. I assure you I’m not a vampire. Can you please just drive?” You turn your face away defiantly, stare out the window, mind yourself with the dirt kicked up by wind and the sparse dead grass. Until, that is, his hand grabs your face as he forces you to look at him. You’re pretty sure it should make you angrier, but you always melt when he guides you. But you’re still going to glare because you still feel hurt .

“Open. Your. Mouth,” Dean says, green eyes hard, mouth set but almost upturned. You open your mouth almost instinctively, and he pauses at that, perhaps not thinking you’d actually relent, and for a small moment, he just stares at you with your mouth open and his fingertips still on your cheeks. You feel like you’re melting into the pressure, and you’re mesmerised when his hand then moves to hold your lip, pull it up, slight pressure on your gums. You faintly wonder why he had to do it himself, but instead, you’re laser-focused on the contact, and your breath catches faintly, remembering what it was like to kiss him. 

You know for a fact he is not thinking the same thing. 

“So you’re not a vamp,” he says, several fragmenting beats later, as if he’s also transfixed on where his hand still is. You probably look weird, you think, him holding your lip, but you’re not capable of pulling away. “ Cas ,” he says, still caught under some trance, until he slowly moves his fingers from your lip, but instead of retracting them, he instead pushes two fingers further into your open mouth.

Your whole body is now rigid, frozen, and you feel thrown back to exactly how you felt that night he cannot recall. You’re terrified you’re going to do something bad enough for him to want to forget all over again, so you don’t move, still lost in the human endorphins and the desire to close your mouth over his fingers.

“Suck,” Dean says faintly, looking at you like he’s dazzled by your reaction to this. You’re not entirely sure what he means, but instantly you find yourself sucking on his two fingers in your mouth. It also tastes faintly of blood. He pushes the fingers experimentally in more, and you run the back of your tongue over them, and he shudders, utterly spellbound looking at you now. You move your mouth over his fingers then, reminiscent of when you were sucking his cock, and his eyes are wide. For a moment, it seems like you responded right despite the way your brain feels hazy, but then he seems to come back to his sense, pulls his hand away from you, and you give out a breath, reeling from the sudden movement and the sudden absence.

“Wow, uh, Cas. Your mouth could give a guy ideas,” Dean says. He’s not looking at you anymore. You wonder if he is referring to blowjobs. It makes you feel brittle somehow, like you’re coming back to yourself, and it’s rigged with vulnerability. 

If he still wants you, that means that wasn’t what made him regret it. It must have been some failure on your part, or something personal about you he doesn’t want to associate sexual relations with. Which you guess makes sense: you know there are a lot of layers to human intimacy. It doesn’t stop how it makes you ache. 

“We should uh, go or,” Dean’s fumbling now. You’re not sure what to say until he’s grabbing the back of your head and kissing you again. You respond the best you can, in awe, shocked, because you never thought you would get to kiss him like this again. You kiss him back hungrily, letting yourself forget everything else for a minute, and he is caught up in it too, for a while, until he eventually pulls away, and you wait for the shoe to drop when he says your name, says wait...

“Cas, do you want this? Are you okay? I shouldn’t have made you open your mouth like that, and I--”

“Dean, I want this,” you say, and it’s not until you tell him that, does the dam burst in your chest. You want this. You’ve wanted this so badly and every empty bit of space between every atom between the two of you feels like incompletion. You’ve been holding back every thought, terrified they’re wrong, they’ll hurt him somehow, by virtue of existing, by virtue of you still existing when the two of you thought you’d die before you made these decisions last time.

“What, uhm... what exactly do you want?” Dean says, and it’s endearing to watch the different polarities of his assuredness and his flustered states.

“I want whatever you want,” you say, but it makes Dean pause and you realise immediately you fucked up from the shadow across his face.

“Cas, no, if we’re going to do this, I need to, know .” You suddenly feel very small.

“I mean, I could perform oral sex, or,” he didn’t like that last time . “You could penetrate my... anus.” You try, and he’s squinting at you.

“Didn’t expect you to want to move so fast,” he says, and you feel your face go hot with shame. He’s the one who decided to go that fast with you before. Why is he judging you for suggesting it now?

“I don’t know how all this works, Dean,” you say, feeling overwhelmed, suddenly wanting out of this situation entirely, despite how much your body is reacting to him.

“Okay then well,” Dean looks at your lips, back to your eyes, and you wonder distantly if you should have savoured the way you were kissing instead of just getting lost in it. “I want to fuck you.” You go still. You know logically you just voiced your desire for it, but something about the brash way he said it with the way he was looking at you had you fixated and immobilised again, but you manage to nod, anyways. 

He kisses you again, even more consumingly, and you’re lost on what set off his desire, but it’s a constant in you, thrumming beneath the surface, and, at least in this moment, you can match it. You grab his face, run your fingers through his hair, say his name out when he goes to kissing your neck instead, and he moves his hands down, starts towards your crotch, and you buck towards nothing which makes him kiss your neck more fiercely. He stops though, suddenly, and your body is ignited wondering what you did wrong.

“Fuck, we’re going to need lube,” he says. He opens up the glove compartment, checks under the car seats as if he’s remembered it as some necessity. “Just found a condom, but I’m guessing we both know each other’s history already for that,” he says.

“We could move forward without it?” 

“Cas, no way am I fucking you without lube,” Dean says, sounding somewhat appalled.

“Should we go to a store and get some then?” you suggest. 

“Maybe later,” he says. You nod, a little uncertain on his plan, but then he’s kissing you again, and you honestly do not care.

He’s so much slower this time, but he never moves to take your clothes off in the light. 

“Were you serious,” he eventually says, his hands still under your shirt, feeling your body (or Jimmy’s, you suppose, but he’s gone and your true body is in shambles). “About wanting to...” He gestured towards his crotch.

“Yes,” you say, and you move your hands to his jeans. It makes you feel somewhat more in your depth, to know you’ve done this before, even if you may have failed so badly he wanted to forget it. 

You push yourself farther this time, trying to extrapolate what he did seem to enjoy next time, throwing yourself into it and trying to get past the primal need to breathe that feels so much more real. You realise that your fear of messing up again has made the experience nowhere near as enjoyable, and you hope it doesn’t show, even if you utilise small amounts of grace to dampen the impact of your human gag reflex. 

His hand is in your hair though, gentle, and it’s grounding. You’re trying to speak your love to him all over again in this physical language, this one you’re learning now as opposed to knowing from the patterns. You think you’re doing good, that he is returning some form of care or appreciation in the sentiment. He’s at least moaning a lot, breathy and loud.

“God, Cas, you suck cock like a whore,” he says, and it almost makes you pause, but the terror of screwing up drags you on. You don’t know why it sits so twisted in your stomach while also igniting your arousal even more. When he comes, the bitter taste seems acrider, and you’re left feeling dirtier than before.

He seems to notice though, at least notice that you’re distressed, and once he regains his breath, he goes back to touching you like it’s a holy mission. You’re almost too overwhelmed by it. 

It’s not until his hand is on your cock that he says, “You know I didn’t mean anything by calling you that,” he says, and he obviously caught on or maybe he did mean it and this is his way of telling you he didn’t. You’re unsure what it even means in the contact because your perception is white-hot pleasure. You’re in no place to be capable of parsing out the intricacies of Dean Winchester’s language.

“You can call me whatever you want, but please don’t stop ,” you say, after he increases friction just to slow down again. At your pleading though, his hand stills, and you can help thrust up into his hands. “ Please Dean .” He looks really pleased at your desperation which just makes you feel even more wrecked. You half sob at the loss. 

His hand is then moving up and down again though, rapidly, waves of pleasure crescendoing so intense you can’t feel anything, until you’re coming all over his hands, gasping for breath. He grabs some napkins, attempts to clean you up, before you’re both fully clothed again, and he’s just lazily petting your hair.

“Sorry if I went too far with anything, should have made sure of what you did and didn’t like better,” Dean says.

“Did I do it wrong?” you ask. 

“No! No, Cas, I was just worried, you know, you’re my best friend, and I don’t want to screw shit up,” he says. You feel your anxiety melt into warmth. The next thing he says is quieter, more vulnerable, his hand motions still, and he’s looking at you intensely. “Didn’t want to screw up our first time together or whatever.”

“Well, it wasn’t really,” you say, and you say it before you really think if it’s smart or not to let that piece of information out. 

“I mean, I guess a sloppy handjob isn’t the best way to lose your virginity, assuming you didn’t sneak out to meet any women at bars I wasn’t aware of, but I personally still count it as sex,” Dean says.

“I would too,” you say. 

“Then what do you mean?” he asks.

“I don’t know if you’d like to know,” you say. You’re afraid. You realise it belatedly, as Dean is pulling away. 

“You gotta tell me now!”

“Dean, you very specifically do not want to know.”

“Know what? Is this your way of telling me you did in fact sleep with someone else? I’m not going to throw some tantrum, good for you,” Dean says. He’s angry right now, defences up.

“Dean, that’s not what I’m referring to.” The only other time I slept with someone, it was you .

“Cas, tell me,” Dean says, in a way that lets you know he’s not going to budge. You suppose you’re just listening to what he wants of you. But he doesn’t know how very blatantly he doesn’t want to know. You wonder if it’s changed now, now that you’ve had sex again. You’re not even sure if you could erase his memories this time.

“We had sex before,” you state simply, hoping the fallout won’t be catastrophic. 

“What,” Dean says, pulling away from you, and he’s immediately on offence. It sends chills through you, and your brain isn’t working fast enough to react right. “Cas, if someone’s too drunk to remember, you probably shouldn’t--”

“Dean!” you exclaim, appalled. Your hands shake. You’re surprised at what he’d assume of you. “How could you think that?”

“Think what? Apparently, we had sex, and I didn’t even remember? What, did you not notice a shifter wasn’t actually me? Too distracted by how horny you were? You know what. Fuck this.” Dean says, and he gets out of the truck fast, slamming the door shut behind him. You’re not sure what he’s doing, considering the only building in a twenty-mile radius was full of vampires you’d both killed, so you follow him out, legs feeling really weak for some reason.

“Dean, it’s not like that,” you say, trying to ignore how deeply the statements hurt you.

“Well, why don’t you tell me what it is like, since apparently, I can’t remember,” Dean says. 

“You don’t remember because you didn’t want to remember, so I removed your ability to,” you say, the words finally out in all their bitter glory. It takes approximately two seconds for Dean to process that, before he punches you square in the face. 

The crack against your face slams you into awareness of many things at once, but they’re all screaming a cacophony of bad , and you do not know how to cope with it or escape. They filter in angrily, demanding attention, you’re human enough for it to hurt this badly twisting to that means you’re useless now anyways, it hurts it hurts why does it hurt so badly now when physical pain is such a normalcy . Your body is still reacting to him making you orgasm not a few minutes earlier, and there’s a really strong urge to cry . In the end, the core of it comes down to Dean wants to hurt you. He wants you to hurt.

“What? Rebuilding my body wasn’t good enough? Had to get some action?” Dean asks, and his voice is spiteful, and you’re not sure how to respond to the fact he’s looking at you with hatred and the blood on your lip with curiosity.

“You were the one who initiated it,” you say, trying to give the full picture to his anger. You didn’t ask this of him. You were just obliging where he led you and what he wanted. Is it still not enough? Your lip stings, sparks comet vision bright sharp pain, and it feels like betrayal.

Dean is good at lashing out. You’re unsure why this throws you so off-balance.

“Really? Cas how on Earth am I supposed to trust you?” The wind blows dust into your face. It itches, brings water to your eyes.

“It was the night before we confronted Raphael. I think you only did it because you expected me to die,” you say, trying to keep your voice a steady monotone.

“Give me back my memories,” Dean insists. He’s glaring at you now, begging you to fight him. But you don’t want to fight. You want to be able to give him whatever he wants right now. It makes you angrier that you can’t.

“I don’t think I’m able to,” you admit tersely, focusing your words to the dirt ground. You feel the slam of his fist against your cheek, mechanical debridement meets shaking overcome. You’re knocked for your orbit again, collision in gravitation wake. 

“You will,” Dean says. “Look at me,” he says, and you force your gaze to his, trying to not lower them in the shame you feel. You don’t necessarily think you did something wrong this time, but your face is pulsating, yet not just long before Dean was touching you gently, wanting you to feel pleasure, so the shame and guilt come anyways. “You will, or I swear to God, Cas. I’m just going to drive off and leave you here. I refuse to be around you another second, and I genuinely do not give a fuck if that means never seeing you again.”

“Dean, I mean it literally, I do not know if I have enough power--”

“I do not give a fuck,” Dean interrupts. It is then that you are confronted with the fact that your life has absolutely zero value, that Dean sees your life with zero value, and you feel overwhelmed with shame and self-hatred that you kept letting yourself think otherwise just because he makes you feel so good .

“Okay,” you concede, and you feel empty. If he decides he still wants to ditch you after this, you’re certain you will die. It’s going to fry you out, and there’s no help in sight.

He looks wary as you step towards him, but lets you put your hands on his head. You strain yourself, trying a simple move that could be easily done not long back, but the attempt feels like your insides are being burnt up by a star’s nuclear core, like your vessel’s cells are rebelling on you. You watch Dean watch you crumbling in your effort, feel stickiness from perhaps blood from a nosebleed. You have to stop for a moment when your vision goes completely black. Dean still stares, expectant, waiting. 

So you try again, feel the tension of the cellular bonds rip in your mind, your vision sparkles and dances into darkness, and eventually, it disappears completely, and you’re lost in black.

---

When you wake up and realise you’re still alive, you’re intensely reminded of how Dean said he’d desert you, and terror grips your whole system. You’re scared to even open your eyes to realise he left you here to die. 

But then you feel pressure from someone’s hand on your shoulder, and you open your eyes to make out his face, and for a moment, everything isn’t so horrible. But your system is still in recovery, and a wave of sharp pain comes from nowhere, and you find yourself curling in on yourself in the dirt.

“Cas!” Dean exclaims, and you feel him stroke your arm, and it almost feels like some sort of relief to the pain.

You desperately want to ask him if he plans on leaving you here, like this, but you don’t, and take this mirage as something real, for a moment.

Eventually, the painful waves turn shallower, and you can focus on where you are and what’s going on now. Time has definitely passed: it’s getting closer to dusk, and Dean is here, and he smiles when your eyes meet his.

“I remember,” he says. And when he goes to hold your hand regardless, you let that be a sign he’s not going to abandon you here.

“So you remember you told me to, that I didn’t mean to invade your privacy,” you say. Suddenly, you’re sure the next words out of his mouth are going to be him asking you to make him forget all of this all over again. You think it would kill you.

“Yes, I mean, No. I’m not angry,” Dean says. It doesn’t make much sense, but you’ll take it. Dean often doesn’t make much sense to you, and you know you need to stop deciphering meaning from the way his hand might stroke against your thumb, but you can’t right now. You have to pretend it means something to have some sort of salve.

He helps you into the car, and you collapse into the passenger seat, the world spinning, fatigue hot in your eyes. You want to sleep more, but Dean hasn’t elaborated, and you want to say something, break the tension.

“Speaking of whores,” you start, and you see Dean avert his gaze from the road to look at you in surprise. “I am concerned about the lack of information we’ve found on the Whore of Babylon. There are wars springing up which we can contribute to the horsemen, but otherwise, we’ve heard very little on any others or the Whore.”

“Uhm, yeah, Cas. About her. Sam killed her.” This is certainly new information. It jars you more into awareness.

“I thought you weren’t speaking to your brother,” you say.

“I’m not. Sometimes he sends me texts. I should probably block him. But yeah, he killed the whore and he got some ring from famine.”

“I suppose that’s good news then.”

“Yeah.”

You can’t stay awake long after that. When you do wake up again, Dean tells you that you were asleep for over three days.