Castiel, the angel, his angel, had left him. No, not left, but it felt like it. Maybe worse because it was in vain. Castiel had sacrificed himself so Dean could save the world, and he'd failed. Now the apocalypse was in full swing, Sam was in an impossible withdrawal, and with Cas gone, Bobby was Dean's only anchor in this world.

Sam was fighting through the urges and headaches to do his part, and as the firefight raged on, he, Dean and Bobby were crouched behind the Impala.

"This ain't right, Bobby." Dean said. "We're hunters, not cops." But they were using real bullets, with a limited supply, against a group of burglars. It was the first big sign on the apocalypse, all the other goings-on had been quiet and subtle to the rest of the world, but devastating to the hunters.

"Just shut your pie hole and keep shootin'" Bobby said.

"It doesn't seem right, Dean." Sam agreed, like it meant something. Sam's realization of his horrible mistake with Ruby and his understanding that they were both equally responsible for the mess they were in brought them back together, but neither thought they'd ever be as they were a year ago. Some things just couldn't be undone. The thieving punks were armed with handguns and stood unprotected in the middle of the street. Under different circumstances, Dean would've found this thrilling and new, but he had other things on his mind.

He barely had time to react when Castiel appeared beside them, looking down at his charge. Dean's eyes widened and his trigger finger paused.

"Cas..." he breathed, a faint smile on his face.

The angel didn't even get a chance to look over at the young criminals, before a bullet cut through his meat suit. Dean's mouth fell open as he watched his angel fall to the ground.

"Cas!" he shouted. He started to get up but Sam pulled him back down by the shoulder. Dean came back into the moment and realized he'd dropped his gun. Just as he picked it up and started to fire with a clearer head, two of the four criminal's magazines ran out. They yelled to the other two and the fire ceased as they took off down an alley. Bobby and Sam stopped firing but Dean kept on with determination

"Enough! Enough!" Bobby shouted. He pulled at Dean's arm and Dean dropped the gun again. He rushed to Castiel's side and knelt down.

"Cas?" was all he could say. There was a pool of blood around the angel's torso, the wound in his side was staining his trench coat.

"Dean." he said, looking up at him. Hearing that gruff voice again made the hunter feel something that he didn't pay much attention to. He put an arm under the angel's shoulders and lifted his top half into his arms.

Castiel's eyes fell closed and he went limp.

"Cas." Dean said again. "Don't you die on me, you son of a bitch." His eyes were watery.

Sam and Bobby just stood watching, a little thrown off, and listening as hard as they could.

"Come on, Cas, heal yourself."

"I can't." He opened his eyes and the look he gave Dean made him understand.

"You fell..." he said finally.

"It was the only way."

A second passed, as it hit Dean, and then he realized what would happen if he didn't act now.

"Bobby!" he barked over his shoulder. "You drive."

Bobby didn't question it, he ran around the running car and got in the driver's seat. Sam reached for the back door and opened it as Dean put an arm under Castiel's knees and picked him up. He slid him over into the backseat and in one smooth motion, got in and leaned Castiel over on him. Sam jumped in the passenger's seat and Bobby stepped on the gas. Dean talked to the wounded man the whole ride to the hospital.

"Stay with me, Cas, open your eyes. We're almost there, just hang on."

Bobby and Sam exchanged looks as Dean said, "I just got you back" with more emotion than they thought was intended.

At the hospital, Dean carried Cas into the ER and waited impatiently for word. He sat with his head down, rested on his hands, mumbling to himself. Sam heard him whispering "Just let him be alright." He wondered exactly who he was talking to.

The doctor finally came out and talked to Dean. "Your brother will be fine, Mr. Shaw." he told him. "The bullet just missed his lungs, no vitals were damaged, it did nick a rib though, he'll have to take it easy for a few weeks, but he can go home." Dean thanked him, they exchanged nods and the doctor went back through the double doors.

Bobby and Sam hung back while Dean went back to see him. He went straight for the bedside and was glad to see that Castiel was awake and alert. They watched each other as he crossed the room.

"You're gonna' be okay." Dean told him.

"That's what the doctor said." Castiel said slowly. He didn't seem to understand the words.

"Chuck said you died, you say you fell, what the hell happened?" Dean asked.

"The archangel defeated me. I was sent back to Heaven and the only choice I had was to fall."


"It was either stay in Heaven for eternity or live a mortal life on Earth."

"And you chose Earth." Dean sort of asked. He thought it was insane, but that didn't mean he wasn't glad.

"I chose you."

Dean's face changed. "You fell for me?" He ignored the humor in the phrase and waited for an answer.