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The Angelic Version of Small Talk
by wave obscura

Cas leaves Dean alone for what seems like a long time, lying face down on the Impala's hood, not really sleeping, not really awake, just kind of floating on sea of booze and ache. The angel grips the liquor bottle and holds it for just a moment and then tugs it from Dean's hand. With nothing to hold on to, Dean's fingers curl flaccidly into a fist.

"I've rendered him unconscious," Cas says, "You can come inside. His screaming won't cause you pain."

The truth makes Dean twitch. He opens his mouth to deny having feelings, which is just another auto-twitch, really, and then closes his mouth again because there's no point in saving face, not when he's already snotty and red.

"I'm good," Dean says, and through the snot only half his voice emerges.

"You're upset," Cas states. "While I understand your desire for solitude, the human body cannot withstand these temperatures, especially not while intoxicated."

Dean mumbles something not even he understands, and drags himself off the hood of the car. Now that the haze is starting to crisp up again, he takes a moment to wonder what the hell he was thinking, coming out here to cry to God, angels, Mommy, Daddy, whatever.

As he stumbles inside, Cas rests a hand on the small of his back-- an awkward, touchy-feely gesture that he probably learned from Sam.

They let themselves in, just like they let themselves in earlier, using the spare key Dean keeps in his wallet. Bobby had long been passed out drunk when they got there, had tipped himself from the wheelchair to the sofa in the study and was lying face down, snoring.

"You should rest," Cas says, as Dean is heading to the basement door. "I can make sure he doesn't harm himself."

Rest would be nice. But even after all of it--Ruby, the demon blood, everything--it's still Dean's job and no one else's.

Cas follows him down the steps. He wants to turn around, tell the angel to go the fuck away, leave he and his brother to wallow in their own mess like he used to, like when he used to disappear and reappear when they needed him the least. But the truth is, he doesn't want Cas to leave. If he's left alone with Sam in the panic room, he doesn't know what he'll do, what he'll say.

He'll probably just start bawling again, like the irreparably broken little baby that he is.

He looks into the little peep door to make sure Sam is still passed out. He's spread-eagle on the concrete floor like someone or something discarded him there, quiet except little whimpering noises with each exhale.

"If he's bloodied or has urinated on himself," Cas says, "I can cleanse him using very little of my power."

It's intended as a reassurance, a show of support-- something Cas obviously hasn't mastered yet. Dean looks at his brother and sees that thank god, he hasn't shit or pissed himself, not yet. So he says "thanks."

He kneels on the floor, then sits. Sam looks so fucking uncomfortable. He takes off his jacket, pillows it underneath Sam's head. Then he tosses the jacket aside and pulls Sam's head into his lap.

And then there's nothing to do but sit and be glad he can be near Sam at all. It's too dangerous to be in the room when Sam is seizing, or hallucinating, or screaming in pain. He gets strong. He bites, his teeth snap at nearby flesh. Dean learned that the first time. The hard way.

"Would you like to drink more alcohol?" Cas says, holding out the bottle.

Dean takes it gratefully. His forehead is feeling tight; a sobering headache. He kinda wishes he could chug and chug and just pass out here, on the floor.

"The alcohol," Cas says. "Does it make you feel... better?"

"No. It makes you feel nothing."

Cas nods knowingly, and says rather cheerfully, "nothing is what I feel, when I drink alcohol. I don't understand the appeal. The taste is not good, and you feel nothing. Why drink it at all?"

Dean rolls his eyes at this angelic version of small talk. "Not nothing. It... it makes you have no feelings."

"But you have already drank yourself to intoxication."

Dean takes a long pull from the bottle. "Yeah. And?"

"And yet you remain in agony. From your posture and facial expression, I would liken it to physical pain."

Dean snorts. "I wish it were physical pain."


"Shut up. You're gonna wake him up."

Cas cocks his head. "I have induced what you humans would call a 'coma.' He will not wake until the blood--"

"Your mouth," Dean snaps. "Shut it."


Christ. Sometimes it's like hanging out with a three-year-old. A three- year-old with throat cancer and no fashion sense.

"I wish it was physical because then it would go away, okay? Now shut up."

Cas laces his fingers, considering this for a moment. "This... emotional pain. It persists? Always?"

Sam's head jerks in Dean's lap, snapping from one side to another. He bears his teeth and moans.

"Easy, Sammy," Dean says under his breath. Then louder, to Cas: "I thought you said he was in a fucking coma. Why is he hurting?"

"Some agony is untouchable," Cas says.

Dean knows the angel's not much for symbolism, and that he wasn't drawing a connection, and that his statement had nothing at all to do with Dean's agony being untouchable. But it makes his heart thump in his chest anyway, because what if Cas and the goddamn horseman are right? What if it is?

"He listens, you know. He can hear you," Cas says. Dean hadn't noticed him move, but there he is, knelt on the floor behind him and his brother. "God can hear you."

"I wasn't talking to God. I wasn't... I wasn' t talking to anybody. Just being drunk and stupid."

"I see." Cas closes his mouth, after he says this, and Dean is silently relieved that the angel didn't elect to tell him the truth this time, that yes, he was talking to God, begging God, saying God we're never gonna find you so show yourself, help us saves us save me.

"What perplexes me," Cas says, "is the origin of your pain. It took tremendous strength, for Sam to say no to Famine, to resist the demon blood. It proves that he is still human, that his soul is intact. There is no reason to be upset. You should feel proud."

Dean looks down at Sam, at Sam's stupid floppy hair, hanging in his stupid face. He takes a lock of his bangs and moves it, studies his little brother's squinty eyes and pointy nose.

"This is what I raised, Cas. This is what I raised. This is what I did."

He wishes Cas had something stupid to say, right then. But Cas is quiet so Dean has no choice but to let it all burn hot, what he brought back with him from hell, burn until he's rocking himself and his brother back and forth like some kind of fucking lunatic, wishing it would just hurry up and swallow him already, eat him right up.

"Your brother has many admirable qualities," Cas says finally. "He wishes to be good and do good things. At the outset, it was his love for you that led him down the wrong path. There is no sin in that."

Cas's mouth curves into an awkward, unpracticed smile, like the statement is going to fix everything.

"No sin?" Dean spits. "Look where the fuck we are, Cas."

Because Dean knows what happens when people love him. And that? That is where the agony comes from.


The end.