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Icarus

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The diner looked like any other across America: vinyl booths, paper placemats advertising local businesses, endless coffee refills and breakfast specials available all day.

But their waitress’s hand trembled as she poured Cas his coffee.

“Ready?” 

“Yeah, I’ll have the Western omelette, side of bacon, hash browns with onions,” Dean said.

“Coffee is fine.” She briefly met Cas’s eyes, then nodded and hurried to the kitchen.

Cas frowned. “I should go.”

“What? You just got here.”

“Sam will arrive by noon, and you’d be better off working this job without me.” Cas looked around the diner, caught more nervous glances. The energy in the entire room was tense. Fearful. “These people...they recognize me.”

“From what? Where?”

“From when I believed I could be God.”

Dean blinked, then stiffened and looked down. Cas understood; he hated being reminded of that time as well. “Any idea what you did here?”

“No. I remember little of that entire ordeal.” In truth, he tried not to poke at his memories of it, lest the horror consume him as the Leviathans had. “But it’s clear these people remember and I will only hinder your hunt by sticking around. I’m sorry, Dean.”

Cas stood to leave. If he still had functional wings he’d fly away. Instead, he would have to rely on his old rattly vehicle that Dean loathed so much. “Call me if there’s trouble; I won’t be far.”

“Cas—” Dean reached out to stop him and Cas paused, Dean gripping his forearm. Cas waited for what Dean could possibly say, but there was nothing to be said. Dean sighed and then, “Alright. I’ll check in with you later.”

Cas felt a weight lifting as soon as he was outside, away from accusing eyes. His car was right across the road in the motel parking lot. He waited for the light to change to cross, but then…

“Castiel?”

He turned. It was the waitress, nervously wringing her hands. “That is your name, isn’t it? I remember you. You came to our church, said you were the new God. Killed our priest when he wouldn’t bow to you.”

Cas lowered his head. “I am no god. Only a fallen angel who reached for too much power and thought he could save the world.”

“Don’t know about the world, but you saved my son. That priest, he’d...he’d been doing bad things to him. Other boys, too. But my Tommy...he’s at college now and doin’ real well, but...he told me he was so ashamed at the time he’d considered killing himself. Until you showed up and said no abusers would be tolerated in your name.”

“I killed a man when it wasn’t my place to do so. I was a monster.”

“You did what you did for love, didn’t you? You told us love mattered more than anything.”

Cas glanced back through the diner window, where Dean sat, coffee mug clasped in his hands.

“It does,” he said. “It also hurts most of all.”