A/N: And here's the second part to this little two-shot. In this Dean has lost Sam and everyone's favorite angel makes an appearance. You'll notice that a lot of the lines are the same, up to the point where Dean takes things a different direction. The diner is the same, as is the waitress, Lydia, but some of the descriptions are different because it is Dean's view of the world. Please let me know if I made any grammatical errors or errors in tense (you wouldn't believe how many times I was writing and realized that I switched tenses five paragraphs before). Enjoy and remember that reviews are love!
Disclaimer: Much as I would like to claim Supernatural as mine, my name is not Eric Kripke.
He limps into the diner, the bell on the door clanging cheerfully over his head. He slides into the nearest booth, his head down.
The waitress glides over. "Hello, sir. I'm Lydia and I'll be your server." She's pretty, with curly brown hair and a nice figure. His eyes run over her out of habit, because in another lifetime he would have smiled, winked, flirted. Now all he can do is try and muster a smile that falls flat and dead. "Would you like to hear our specials? Or would you like to look at the menu for a few minutes first?"
"Coffee, thanks." He says, his voice rough and scratchy. His throat is sore from screaming and it shows. "That's it."
"Right away." She says. She gives him a smile that he would have taken to heart before.
But that was all in another lifetime.
She walks away to get the coffee and he stares at the checkered-print of the table. He stares at the black and white boxes and watches as they move, watches as they blend together, watches as they transform into something else entirely.
She places the white mug in front of him and pours the hot, dark liquid. "Do you need anything else, sir?"
"No thanks." His voice is dark and quiet. He looks at her, holds her gaze for a moment, and tries again to smile, but this smile too lies dead and broken upon his lips, a twisted memory of what once was. She pauses for a moment, as though held there by some force, and then she bobs her head and walks away.
He holds the mug between his hands, feeling the burning heat. He lifts it to his lips, drinking down the bitter, scorching liquid with no regard for his tongue, for his throat. He doesn't feel the heat any more.
He looks to the side and sees the square white container, neatly stacked with little packets. White for sugar, pink for Sweet-and-Low, yellow for Splenda. He reaches out and plucks a white packet—it always had to be real sugar, not any of that sweetener crap—out of its resting place, holding it in his palm, staring. His hand contracts around the little white packet and he brings it to his lips, holding it there, a dam against the flood that overwhelms him.
Seized by violence he rips open the packet and watches the white stream of crystals fall into his coffee, dissolving in the heat. He rips open another and another, until there is a pile of discarded packets on the table beside him and a mound of dissolving sugar at the bottom of his cup. He lifts the mug to his lips and closes his eyes at the sugary substance that races down his throat.
How can you drink it like that?
How can you drink yours without anything in it?
With shaking hands he sets the mug on the table. The mug is white, just like the sugar packets, just like the white squares on the table top.
He doesn't have to look up to know that there is someone sitting across from him, and he doesn't have to look up to know who it is.
"Bring him back."
He raises his eyes to stare across at the angel-possessed man. He searches for any sign of regret, of remorse, of softness in the angel's face. He finds none. Angels, apparently, do not feel guilt; do not know the meaning of regret. They are too wound up in their high and mighty purpose.
He leans forward, hand wrapped around the mug, the other gripping the edge of the table.
"Bring him back."
Castiel leans forward, his eyes dark, his expression fixed. "I can't." He says again. "I can't, Dean."
He sits back, and then violently seizes the mug, raises it, smashes it to the tiled ground. It shatters into a dozen white shards, the dark brown liquid splattering the tiles, the half-disintegrated mound of sugar sitting limp where it landed. He sees the waitresses eyes widen, sees her mouth part, sees her scurry into the back.
"Bring him back!" He roars, trying to fill himself with violent rage and finding nothing within himself but a growing sense that everything is lost.
"I can't." Castiel says, his voice neither louder nor softer, just irrevocably the same. The same, unchanging, almost bored tone that has the power to destroy every last bit of hope within his soul.
He sinks back into his seat, staring, slumping down. His shoulders bend, his head droops.
"This is over, Dean. We won. There is no great threat to humanity anymore. There power is broken. I, and my brothers, are leaving."
"Bring him back." The words have been reduced to a monotone of pleas, to a rote of words that mean everything to him and nothing to the man sitting across from him.
"I can't. There is no turning back from this point. What has been undone in the past can no longer be undone. The world, as it stands now, is final. The dead must stay dead."
He sits there, staring, and the world presses around him. The last kernel of hope in him dies, and with it dies every sense of who he is or was. He stares at the angel with dark eyes, eyes devoid of hope, devoid of anger, devoid of everything except regret.
"What good are you, then?"
He sees the startled expression race across the angel's face. In another lifetime, it would have amused him, to realize that an angel actually could be startled. Now the humor falls into the black hole that has grown inside of him and is lost.
He leans forward, arms on the table. "What good are you? What good are you, angel, if you couldn't save the most important thing in the world?"
"The most important thing, Dean, was saving the world."
He shakes his head. "No. Because we lost the one thing most important, the one person most worth saving. I lost him and you lost him, and you won't even bring him back."
"Dean, if I could bring him back—."
He slams his hands down on the table. "If, if, if. You brought me back, now bring him."
He sits there and stares at the checkered table-top, at the little white square, like white sugar packets, surrounded by the black squares that close in, blocking the white it, containing it, destroying it.
"Then send me back."
He sees that expression of surprise flit across the angel's face again.
"No. Dean, you have done good work for the Lord—."
His hands curl into fists. "Send me back, Castiel, or I'll send myself."
The angel watches him, lips pressed together. "I will not send you back."
He reaches behind him, tugs his shirt up, pulls the heavy metal pistol out of the waistband of his jeans. He is never unprepared, never unarmed. He presses the barrel against his temple, finger unshaken on the trigger.
"Dean, don't do this."
He looks at the angel, and his eyes aren't green anymore. They are dark, dark, almost black, because he has lost something so vitally important and there are no reset buttons anymore, no second chances. This is the end of the game and there are no more lives to be squandered away.
"It's funny, how you can save everyone except the most important one. No matter how hard you try, that person just slips through your fingers. And it's you against the world. It's you just trying to survive. And then, when you have survived, you look around and realize that there's nothing worth surviving for."
"I could stop you."
For a half-second his lips quirk into a smirk that once graced the face of a man so violently alive and so violently fighting for that survival. "But you won't." He says.
He closes his eyes and his finger pulls the trigger, the way it has a thousand times.
A woman's scream chases him down as the dark things close around him, choking him, slashing him, destroying him bit by bit.
He keeps his eyes closed and abandons himself to the darkness and the torment. He doesn't scream and he doesn't fight, just swallows his brother's name when it bubbles in his throat.
They can't hurt him.
He is already destroyed.