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I Could Go With You

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The hug is sudden and completely unexpected. But, it's also something Dean hadn't known he needed until Castiel's arms were wrapped around him. Dean smiles lightly, hugging back. When they pull away from each other, so many emotions are bubbling up his throat. He feels so coiled up and full of regret. He hates that feeling. Dean's heart almost breaks the second Castiel opens his mouth. "I could go with you."

Of all the things Dean could do or say... Of all the infinite possibilities... Dean doesn't choose something everyone thinks he'd do. He doesn't make a self-deprecating joke to hide his real pain. He doesn't shut down Castiel's generous offer to be there for him before he dies, to provide comfort in his last moments... What Dean does, is more unexpected than the initial hug. With his heart thumping wildly underneath his ribs, he nervously licks his lips and reaches out to pull Castiel closer by the lapels of his trench coat. 

"I'm sorry I never did this before," Dean tells Castiel, whisper-soft. "I'm sorry I only got the courage because I'm gonna die. I'm sorry." And, so, he leans in and just a tiny bit down, because Castiel is just that tiny bit shorter than Dean. He doesn't give a fuck about the audience, either. At a time like this? Why should he?

Dean and Castiel's lips press together, lightly at first. The angel's lips are softer than Dean expected, but there's a jolt through Dean and a sense of yes, finally. Castiel gets the message pretty quickly. He sighs happily into Dean's mouth, going pliant as Dean wraps a steadying arm around Castiel's waist. In this moment, everything is okay. He forgets about dying and leaving Sammy all alone, with no family because, well, Castiel is family. Castiel will take care of Sam. Castiel's tongue is currently sliding against Dean's, though, electric and heady. Drowning out any other thoughts. 

It's overwhelming, the way Dean can feel Castiel in his bones. Possibly in his very soul. It's so much. Dean's body almost can't handle it; his mind barely can. He pulls away for air, shaky hands reaching up to cradle Castiel's jaw, thumbing at his spit-slick lower lip. Dean rests his forehead against Castiel's, just breathing his sunshine and clean air scent one last time. Dean's limbs are jelly, feeling hollow without Castiel's lips on his. He loves Castiel. He loves Castiel so fucking much. God, why didn't he realize this earlier? Why didn't Dean get his shit together years ago? Why did he have to wait so long? Dean regrets so much now. 

Dean doesn't waste another damn second. "I love you. I love you. I love you. God, I love you so fucking much, Cas. I love you." 

Castiel cries. He actually cries. Dean didn't know angels could even cry. Hot tears are spilling down Castiel's cheeks. Dean thumbs them away, kissing Castiel a few more times. Castiel's hands are clutching at Dean's forearms now, firm and desperate. "Dean..."

"I gotta go," Dean interrupts, swallowing the huge lump of regret and sadness in his throat. It hurts to let go. It hurts so fucking much. More than Dean ever thought it would. Dean's heart feels like it's being torn apart as he pries himself out of Castiel's grasp. "Bye, Cas."

There's actual pain in Castiel's choked-up voice. He knows Dean is intentionally not letting him speak. "Dean."

But, Dean can't. He can't hear Castiel say those words. If Castiel tells Dean he loves him, he'll never make it out of here. If he doesn't leave now, the world will fucking end. He can feel everyone's eyes on him, like prickles on his skin. Dean clears his throat and meets Castiel's burning blue eyes. Looking at Castiel hurts like hell, but he has to save the fucking world, dammit. He has to. If he wants Castiel to survive, he has to leave now. 

So... Dean leaves. 

***

TBC

Chapter Text

Sam and Castiel are alone now. Instead of leaving, Castiel stands there, still and silent with tears still falling down his face. Everything hurts. He's never felt like this before, and he's not quite sure what this sharp pain is in his chest, as if there were an angel blade stuck up under his sternum. Castiel presses into the pain, closing his eyes because there's nothing left to look at. Dean is gone. Dean is going to die. The thought makes Castiel's legs weak, and he falls to his knees. 

"Holy shit," Sam curses, eyebrows raised practically up to his eyebrows in shock. "Jesus, I didn't think Dean would finally do it." Castiel didn't think Dean would, either. He figured Dean would leave without another word, stone-faced and determined to hide every possible emotion. Instead, Dean had kissed him. It was the most heart-wrenching moment of Castiel's comparatively short life on Earth. He can almost still feel Dean's lips on his, and the way Dean's shaking hands had held him so reverently. It hurts to think he'll never be able to experience that again; he'll never experience what a sleep-rumpled Dean is like in the morning, or see his small smiles, hear his deep laughs or snarky comebacks ever again. Never again will Castiel get to lay a brave but reassuring hand on Dean's shoulder when the nights are especially unkind to him, or enter the bunker to see him sipping a beer, lounging comfortably with his brother as if they had no cares in the world. Castiel buries his face in his hands, causing Sam to rush over and kneel down to place a comforting arm around the angel's back. Castiel barely feels the weight of it, but he leans into the man anyway, desperate for comfort. "Fuck, Cas. I'm so sorry."

Sorry for what? Castiel thinks. For the fact that Dean and I wasted years; pining and never acknowledging that our relationship was always something different, something more? When it could've been that little bit more this whole time? Castiel wants to scream. Why now? Why did the world have to depend on Dean's death? Why like this? Castiel huddles into Sam's embrace, wanting nothing more than to have gone with Dean, to have died alongside him. He understands why he couldn't, though. He understands why this has to happen. He understands that he'll be the only family Sam will have left now, and Castiel is going to hold on to that. He just wishes there was a better way.

Sam sits with Castiel, sits there and keeps an arm around him while muttering halfhearted consolations; he knows how useless words can be at a time like this, so it's mostly reflex. Castiel doesn't know what to do. He's lived his whole life down here because of Dean. But he knows he can't do anything except stay with the only family he has left. Sam. Castiel finally peeks up at Sam, who's concerned puppy eyes look about as grim as Castiel feels. 

"I'm sorry," Castiel says, realizing that Sam is the one losing a brother. Something he thinks most humans would categorize as far more important or painful to lose.

"For what?" Sam replies, genuine confusion rippling through the sadness on his face.

Castiel takes a deep breath, Sam is such a kind soul. The heart inside Castiel actually hurts and he feels like he can't breathe. He shouldn't be the one crying, though. He should be comforting Sam. Not the other way around. "I'm not supposed to be the one getting consoled. Dean's your brother." He feels... inappropriately selfish. 

Sam just blinks at Castiel, a profoundly understanding expression on his face. He shakes his head at Castiel, pushing his long hair back a bit with his free hand. "We'll get through this together, Cas. You know as well as I do that this isn't the first time I've had to deal with Dean's death."

"That doesn't make it easier, Sam." 

"I know..."

Neither of them mention that, this time, it'll be permanent.

***

There may have only been the three of them staying in the bunker. But, without Dean, it feels so dark and empty. Much like how it probably was before anyone had inhabited it, before Sam and Dean first found it. Castiel looks around. It's so lonely, so desolate. He can tell that Sam feels it, too. What with the way he's casting pained glances towards all the vacant chairs and then taking generous gulps of whiskey. 

Sam and Castiel had both seen how the sun had went back to its normal brightness. They had both understood that that meant Dean is dead. Sure, the world is saved. Amara is no longer a threat. Great. Castiel feels grateful for that, he really does. There's just not much room for joy. Not when Dean Winchester isn't here to share it with. Castiel sighs, exhaustion creeping through his body. He shouldn't be exhausted. He shouldn't feel things like this. He's not supposed to feel this gaping hole inside him, dark and aching. He feels as empty and pathetic as the bunker.

The fact that his capacity to feel is Dean Winchester's fault is enough to make him cry again. If Dean Winchester hadn't been Dean Winchester. If he hadn't been strong, beautiful, brave, and caring. Castiel bangs his head down on the table. It's actually Castiel's fault. He doesn't know why anyone thought he could handle Dean. Why did they pick him? If he hadn't been the one chosen to bring Dean back from Hell. If he hadn't been the one to find out, all up-close and personal, how Dean Winchester really was the righteous man, soul always burning bright and intense, fierce in its unwavering purity and goodness no matter what Dean did or thought of himself. If Castiel hadn't fallen so hard and so completely, he wouldn't feel so utterly lost and broken right now. Castiel thinks it would be easier, so much easier, to not have met Dean at all. The thought of that, though, isn't one Castiel welcomes, as he finds that a life without Dean Winchester isn't much of a life at all. He very much understands Sam and Dean's consistent desire to bring each other back from the dead, neither wanting to be without the other.

He glances at Sam now, who's hair is hiding his face, and suddenly wants to be alone. He suspects that Sam would want some time to himself as well. They both need to mourn separately for a small while. 

"I'm going to get some rest. I still feel a little worn out from Lucifer..." Castiel says, suddenly rising up from his seat. Sam's head lolls to the side as he looks up at Castiel. He's already drunk; the bottle is almost empty. Castiel isn't sure he should let him drink it all but, well, he's not really one to tell Sam what to do. Not when he himself feels like drinking a couple of liquor stores. There isn't enough alcohol in this bunker to make Castiel forget the fact that Dean isn't coming back, that Castiel can't save him. Not this time.

"Goodnight, Cas," Sam slurs, eyes glassy with tears and inebriation.

Castiel smiles sadly down at Sam. "Goodnight, Sam."

He walks out of the library and maneuvers through the hallways. He, of course, doesn't make it to his own room because he sees that Dean's door is wide open. Castiel bites back tears as he takes a small step inside. Light off and door closed behind him, he heads straight to the bed and collapses onto it. Memory foam. Fuck. Castiel lets himself cry into the pillow. It smells like worn leather and crisp, green apples. He cries harder. 

***