DISCLAIMER: I still don't own anything and am still poor and not getting any richer writing this. I do it for love. =D

SPOILERS: 4.20 'The Rapture' - just so awesome. Made me love Misha even more.

A/N: Rated for language. And also, this uh, might be kind of depressing. But, um, suck it up? Lol. No really, enjoy it.


LIFE'S A MESS

Dean had swiped a bottle of Jack Daniels from Bobby's cabinet and taken to wandering through the junkyard. It was still dark out, stars still glittered overhead, hell, there were even crickets chirping somewhere. Rusted piles of crap and cars and more crap towered around him, they made him feel small, weary and totally insignificant. He was dragging his boots through dirt and gravel, and every now and then he'd viciously kick any random piece of something-or-other that dared show up in his path.

Dean needed to be away from the house. He couldn't take listening to Sam screaming anymore. It had been muffled by iron, but he'd still heard it. He could still imagine his baby brother banging against the cast iron door, begging, demanding to be let out. It was giving him a fucking heartache.

So he was out in the night, clear on the other side of the junkyard, liquor in hand. He felt like a real winner.

He found a spot on the very outside edge of the yard and settled down in the dirt. He pushed his back against a dirty old tire rim, still on a car but without an actual tire - and took a swig from the bottle.

Dean didn't think he would ever experience anything scarier than the first moments after he realized how utterly alone he was. The moment after - when he finally got how complete and unalterable that truth was. True enough to bypass being a feeling altogether. True enough to become a rock hard pain in his chest.

The feeling hadn't always been that way. Before, it had been manageable. He'd been able to forget about it at times. It had started as a pinprick somewhere in the bottom of his stomach, after Hell, after all Sam's lies. Then Alastair punched a fist through that tiny pinprick, because Dean wasn't all there anyway, and then it got worse. So much worse.

It became a sickening numbness that twisted it way through his stomach, ballooning into his chest. But it didn't stop there. Oh, no. It inched its way up his throat, constricting and painful, until it just exploded into his mind. It started ripping through memories and destroying any stray hopeful thought he might have. It took a shredder to his dreams and wishes and then, for good measure, it dug in it's claws and started squeezing.

And the only thought that escaped the rampaging aloneness? How am I still breathing? Because he really didn't know.

It seemed to Dean, that at some point his life had become a waste. That he was only on Earth to breathe someone else's air.

Dean was so lost, and so over it.

He was so screwed.

His brother was an addict, his angel was back to his old, dick-tacular self and Dean was just so beyond ready to sit back and welcome the end of existence.

When Dean had said he didn't care, that he was just so fucking tired, he meant it. There was nothing left. It wasn't so much about being tired as it was about being… empty. He didn't have anything more to give; he didn't have any fight left. He was desperate all the time. He woke up sad and hollow, he went through the motions - ate, smiled, killed evil - and then he went to bed feeling strained and even less whole than when he'd woken.

He wasn't himself anymore. He couldn't remember how it felt to smile a real smile. Or how to make a joke for any reason other than to ease the tension and hide his discomfort. He couldn't forget all the things he'd done wrong, and he couldn't seem to do anything right.

He wanted out. Out of everything - the war, this messed up life… his family. How was he supposed to look at Sam now? Sam with the demon blood smeared across his face.

Dean's outlook was so bleak, so tarnished; he just wanted to end it all. He really did. Everyday he lost a little more of who he thought he was, of who he thought he was supposed to be. Everyday was a little darker, a little more painful; everyday he sank a little deeper into despair. Someone was going to be dead by the end of this war. Him or Sam. That much he was certain of.

Somewhere, deep down in the darkness, is where what was left of Dean's soul was. And he didn't now how to get to it, how to pull it all back together, or if he even wanted to try. Things would be so much easier if he could just not give two shits.

And all of it was only made worse by the fact that Cas was holding out on him. The angel knew something, something big, even Anna said so, and he'd wanted to tell Dean. But now? Now Cas 'didn't serve' him. Whatever the hell that was supposed to mean, because Dean hadn't ever thought Cas was at his beck and call. He didn't expect to get a straight answer to anything he asked, and he really didn't expect to get much help from the angels, so why Cas was being a jackass, Dean had no idea.

Whatever the reason Castiel had been taken, whoever took him… Dean could only guess. And he could only guess at what they did to Cas to make the angel look at Dean the way he had. Like Dean was nothing.

And it stung, more than it should have. He should never have gotten used to Castiel. Shouldn't have started to think hey, maybe this angel is cool. Maybe he's really in it to help.

Sucker.

Dean felt used. He looked up into the sky, at all the stars and he couldn't fathom how, in the whole entire universe, so much bad shit could happen to one person. He couldn't even begin to make it seem fair, couldn't make it make sense.

He shifted against the pile of crap against his back and took another swig of JD.

"You're wasting time."

Dean started, and choked on the liquid burning it's way down his throat, and now, thanks to Castiel, into his lungs. He sputtered and coughed, and when he caught his breath, he realized he was just slightly more than miffed, and didn't feel like talking at the moment.

"Get lost." Dean said, his voice harsh with inhaled liquor. Cas wasn't the only one who could be an ass.

"Confining Sam-"

Dean glared up at the angel. "No. Not-uh." He got to his feet and faced his once almost-friend. "You don't want to help me; you won't tell me what you know? Then you don't get to say two damn words about Sam. I'm taking care of it."

Cas' eyes were darker now. Less vibrant. And that bugged the hell out of Dean, because whatever does that to an angel can't be good. And really, he just wanted to know what happened to his angel, but he'll be damned - well, more damned - if he's going to crawl around doing God's bidding after all of this. After what God did to one of His own angels, for crying out loud. How was he supposed to trust and have faith in that?

Dean held the bottle at his side, and shook his head at the angel. "What the hell happened to you, Cas?"

Castiel's eyes narrowed slightly. "Do not call me that."

Dean's head rocked back. "What? Cas?"

"It's not my name."

Dean scowled. "Well, maybe I should call you Jimmy, since that's the name of the guy you're wearing." He'd never asked about the vessel, what his story was, but now he knew. And he didn't understand how a man could pray to be used like that. How he could just willingly leave his family behind. Had Jimmy known that when he said yes, that it was forever. Literally. Castiel had said Jimmy wouldn't die. "Do you even care about those people back there? Jimmy's family? I mean, what? You're just gonna use him up? Someone's going to win this War, and he can't go back, even if it's us?" He waited for Castiel to say something. To drop his gaze, look quietly regretful, like he used to. But it never came. The angel just stood there, arms loose at his sides, gaze unwavering. "What the hell'd you come here for? You don't have anything to say to me, right? Go away."

He half expected the angel to try and explain to Dean how it was Jimmy's choice, and Jimmy had known the deal. His old angel would have. This angel didn't feel the need to let Dean in on anything.

Castiel's voice was heady with power. "There are things that need to be done."

"So go do 'em." Dean spat back, and then took another swig. He grimaced as the liquid made its way down, his throat was still hurting from earlier.

"Things that you need to do."

"Nah." He shook his head. "No thanks."

"You don't wish to listen."

"I wish for a lot of things, Cas. Like, for you to tell me what I asked to hear." He shrugged. "You know, for instance."

The angel worked Jimmy's jaw, pressed Jimmy's lips together. He was starting to get irritated, and Dean knew it was probably wrong to feel it, but he was glad. "You can't just walk away from this, Dean."

Dean, thinking it would be a smooth way of showing his resolve, started to walk towards the angel and then past him, saying over his shoulder, "Watch me."

"We're not here to clean up your mess, Dean." Castiel said in a cold voice.

Dean froze in mid-step. His shoulders tensed, his jaw clenched, his breathing hitched, and he could feel heat rising in his eyes. That was an amazingly low blow. Something Cas never would have said to him, never would have even thought about using against him.

He closed his eyes, taking a moment to collect himself, before he turned back to the angel. Castiel was standing just as he had been, except now his head was infinitesimally cocked to the side. "I thought it wasn't blame that fell on me." Dean couldn't keep the bitterness from his voice. "Anna said they dragged you back. So, tell me again, who's the fuck-up here?"

That got a reaction from the angel. Castiel's hands clenched into fists. But all he said was, "Confining your brother won't stop anything. It's too late. And you have not nearly finished your work."

Well, Sam wasn't getting out of the panic room, and he sure as hell wasn't getting anymore demon blood. Dean was going to save his brother, and that fact wouldn't be changed by the opinion of God himself, let alone His angels.

"What happened!?" Dean demanded. "You didn't go without a fight, Cas. I saw that place, it was demolished. So whatever you had to say to me, I'm betting it was big. The Cas I knew wouldn't hide something like that from me, he'd tell me. He'd help me."

"I'm here to make sure you do what you're destined to do. Noting else." Castiel replied.

"I don't buy that." Dean walked back toward the angel. "Who did it? Why? I mean… look, I know you don't answer to me, but you wanted to tell me. You were freaking out when you came to me, Cas. I've never seen you like that. You wanted to tell me."

"Do not call me that." The angel repeated. Dean thought he almost heard a silent please there, but he was probably just being hopeful, because there was no trace of please on his face or in his eyes.

Early on, Dean had been weirded out by Castiel's complete lack of facial expressions. Then Cas had started getting more in-tune with the way things were on Earth. He'd started to show emotions. Dean didn't think that was as terrible a thing as Uriel seemed to think, because hey, Anna was an okay chick, and Dean thought that concern and care were good looks for Castiel.

Now the angel looked even more strange and out of place. Maybe it was because he wasn't blinking.

"Don't make yourself suffer more than is necessary, Dean." He said.

Dean dropped his head back, and stared at the sky. "Oh, God. Bite me."

"Enough of this."

The eldest Winchester looked back at what was supposed to be his angel. He took another drink. "I just don't get it. Why… It just doesn't make sense to me."

"I'm not asking you to understand, Dean. I'm telling you to accept it."

"You're telling me? Maybe you should have tried asking, probably would have gotten you farther. I don't do tell well. Cas knew that." Dean turned on his heel and walked away.

He turned a corner, and started walking back towards the house. He was guzzling the JD as he walked, only partly trying to keep an eye on the ground. All he needed now was to trip and have a bottle of liquor shatter in his face. He made it past about six towers of old cars and twisted metal before he rounded a corner and had to stop short. Castiel was standing in his path.

He lowered the bottle, and gave serious thought to kicking the angel, because right at that moment Castiel was a piece of something-or-other in his way. Instead, he said, "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can wait. Mostly because it's going to have to."

Castiel replied, "Difficulties are a part of life, Dean. You have to deal with them."

"Yeah, you know all about life, huh?"

"Have fa-"

Dean held up a hand. "If you say have faith, so help me God, I will deck you."

"No. You won't." Castiel said.

Dean looked at the ground and closed his eyes for a long second. "Right, well, anything else you'd like to say before I tell you I don't care?" He looked back up and waited for a response. Any kind of response. Nothing. "Then you can just be quiet now and leave me alone." He started walking again, leaving the angel behind him.

He was more than half way back to the house, and he'd fully expected Castiel to show up again. He didn't.

Dean was standing at a crossroads of sorts. The old cars weren't really fashioned into rows; they were just piled here and there. Tall, tarnished silver and red brown heaps. Dean stopped in the midst of about five piles close enough together to make a real path.

He listened to the night. To the wind whistling through the old shells of cars, through weeds growing all over. He listened to the crickets and the skittering of the odd animal rummaging around the scrap yard. He was really listening for the rustle of wings.

He wasn't sure he'd hear them, even if Cas did come back. It had seemed lately, that when the angel showed up, he just showed. No rustle of wings announcing himself, just poof, Castiel.

Dean stood, and he waited for it. And it didn't come.

He chucked the bottle of JD as hard as he could into the nearest heap, and watched the glass and brown liquid explode out.

He dropped down to the dirt, sitting cross legged. He put his elbows to his knees and his head in hands. And he sat like that. Alone.


Has anyone else noticed that about Cas? When he shows up now you don't hear that sound like wings? It was really noticeable in 'Monster at the End…" when Dean prayed. Or maybe I just missed it, but I'm pretty sure it didn't happen. Hmmm…

Well, review anyway?? =D

If you guys like this, I might do a Cas POV, I kind of have an idea for it.