The sequel is here. So The Hand of Sorrow and Prayer have their follow up, I have places that I want to go with this arc, another one already planned after this one and possibly more after that, because this will not leave me alone and I think that my inner Cas is mad at me for putting him through what I am.

Lyrics are from Angel by Blue October, an incredible, haunting song that I chose before this was finished and while I'm not entirely convinced that it goes anymore, I can't find anything better. Please R&R, they help fuel the creative process, flames damage the environment, think of the trees!

Disclaimer: I do not own either song, nor show. I would not be writing fanfic if I did now would I?


I'm wishing the bath water clean
She hides in the back and is unseen
I take off the mask that surrounds me
Look me in the face
What do you see
I feel like a boy the age of 13
My body grows up
But my mind stays the same
Look me in the face
What do you see?

As they pull into the motel, both Sam and Dean are silent. There is nothing for them to celebrate here, nothing to crow over or show that anything has really been achieved. Even if they have freed Castiel, who is lying on the backseat, covered with a blanket that is now stained with his blood and the only indication that he is even alive under it is the occasional breathless moan or pain filled cry. Dean has not exactly been careful on this drive. His real interest here has been more in getting Castiel to the motel room, getting him patched up and getting them the hell away again, getting on the road and going on the run, putting motel and angelic assistance behind them for however long it may take.

Then again, Dean has never really needed angelic assistance, sneered at it when it was offered and complained about not receiving it when it came too late. Not so much fickle in his assessment of need or desire to see them as believing that if the angels were to have been useful allies they could have at least helped out once in a while. Of course now that he knows the truth, knows that the higher up angels were looking forward to letting Lucifer loose so that they could get on with bringing paradise and wiping out the mud-monkeys, he has realised that they were never going to be useful allies. Except for Castiel, even though he had a slight relapse, he came through for them in the end. Which has resulted in this tangled mess and a moment too long spent staring at a dark motel room while listening to Castiel's laboured breathing in the back seat.

When he pulls himself together, they get out of the car, moving with more wariness than speed, even though they know that time is short, they cannot risk that the angels are already there, already waiting for them. A quick check satisfies their immediate concerns, but getting Castiel out of the car and into the room proves almost as hard as it was to get him out of the building the angels had tortured him in. The angel is limp, in pain and Dean is acutely aware of the blood that stains his clothing, seeping through all his layers and drying, sticky and itchy, leaving an uncomfortable sensation between his shoulder blades and part of him knows that no matter how hard he tries to scrub himself clean, he will more than likely never feel like he has really washed Castiel's, Jimmy's, blood from him. He regrets this, all of it, regrets that it was action taken in his name that has made Castiel into this broken thing, regrets that he did not push Seraphiel harder for information, that he ignored his instincts and did not give Zachariah that ultimatum; free Cas, leave Sam alone and let him at Lucifer, or feel free to stand and watch as the world burns. Simply regrets that he was not strong enough.

Sam holds the door open as Dean shoulders his way through, holding Castiel tight against him until he all but drops the angel onto the bed nearest him, Sam's bed, the angel a dead weight in his arms and lack of sleep and worry and the drain of adrenaline from his system is taking it's toll on Dean. He is functioning on autopilot now. Gathering the first aid kit and taking it to the bed so that he can patch Cas up as best he can, wants to take him to a hospital, can see that even though the minor cuts and older bruises are healing before his eyes, the new cuts, the ones that he saw being inflicted on his friend, are not. They are still seeping and still open and Dean wonders at the fact that the angel has not died yet, that he is still breathing and still fighting to live even with all the things that have been done to him. So even though Dean wants to take Castiel to the hospital, they do not have the time, Dean will have to hope that he will be good enough at this to patch the angel up well enough that he can survive, can put himself back together. There is so much that Dean needs to ask, starting from 'why' and progressing to 'what', but he cannot and even were Castiel conscious he could not, could not engage in a discussion that would quickly lead to the dread chick flick moment.

So while Sam puts together the hex bags, Dean turns his attention completely to Cas, tells the unconscious angel that this is going to hurt like a son of a bitch, that he is sorry, does not want to hurt him anymore than he already is but he has to clean the wounds, stitch up the larger ones, wishes that he could take his time with them, but all too aware that time is a luxury that they do not have. He knows that they will need to dress Castiel, is hoping that the angel will wake up before they have to leave so that he can do it himself, is not looking forward to playing dress up with the angel and nor does he like the idea of trying to get him back into the car naked, all too aware that at the moment the only thing covering Cas is a thin sheet that will do nothing against the cold. It also serves to make him all the more aware of how much smaller than him, how much softer, the vessel, Jimmy, is and he finds himself hoping that Jimmy is not in there anymore, not because he has something against the man, he does not, he simply hopes that Jimmy is gone because no one should have to go through that, no one should have to suffer through torture. Dean should know.

Still, even though Dean is sure that unconsciousness is a new and far better place for Cas to be right now, he cannot help but want him to open his eyes. Is just rising to go and shower when the angel makes a sound, a groan, the mumble of Dean's name and the hunter stops in his tracks.

How do you tell an angel
That you don't believe in God?
Why do I feel
Like such a stranger
I look around
I look around
And all my friends are gone

Reviews are little Castiels that fly above our heads and mini Deans under the bed. A small Sam in hand and a tiny John by the chair, a review that can show how much you care.