Dean sat in the dimly lit dustiness of Lisa's garage – the place she had allotted for the remnants of his life as a hunter. He gazed lovingly at the shining black paint of his Baby, reaching out to caress the perfection of every scratch and ding on her. Character lines.

He pulled the tarp over her as he let out a pained sigh.

He thought back on all the memories he'd made with her –

Riding home with Mom and Dad from the hospital the morning after Sammy was born.

Dad teaching him the basics of driving at 14 – for those times when Dad couldn't drive.

Teaching Sam to drive a few years later, while their father was out on a hunt.

Rebuilding her, but keeping every beautiful flaw, after the accident with the semi.

All those nights on the road, with Sam at his side, going wherever she took them.

Those were just a handful of the hundreds of memories the Impala had for Dean.

His jade eyes glossed over for a moment and the world went blurry with tears.

But he let the tarp fall from his hands – in essence burying the Impala and its ties to his past life.

He sighed, wishing that things had ended differently. He prayed more than anything that Sam was free of the Pit, that he would come back and that they would return to the way things should be.

He wanted to be back out on the road, a gun under the front seat and ACDC blaring from the radio.

He wanted Sam to be asleep in the front seat beside him, with a dirty plastic spoon hanging from his lip.

He wanted to hear Bobby calling him an 'idjit' for angering a witch or for letting some rougarou escape.

Hell, he wanted to hear that familiar quiver of wings as Cas poofed into the backseat, ready to give them some update about his search for God or some message from Heaven.

But that was a ship that had sailed when his brothers had gone crashing down into the Pit, to be locked in Hell with Lucifer and Michael, and Castiel left to rebuild after the chaos in Heaven.

Even as Dean stood there, mourning his former life and those who had left him, he could have sworn he heard the tell-tale flapping of angel-wings just outside the garage.

He was so sure of this, in fact, that he ran out of the garage, trying to peer through the darkness of the night all around him for any sign of his guardian angel and comrade-in-arms, Castiel. Nothing.

But, as Dean trudged – defeated – back into the home he would share with Lisa and Ben, the one whose wings had alerted the former hunter watched from just down the block, standing under a flickering streetlamp.

Hands stuffed in a tan trench coat, his far-reaching gaze found Dean ascending the stairs and entering the bedroom he and Lisa slept in. And in that room, the man punched the wall furiously before sinking to his knees and letting out the sobs he had tried to ignore.

The angelic voyeur's blue eyes softened and he whispered, to himself more than anything, "Please, forgive me – if I could undo this suffering, I would, Dean. But it is as Father commands it."

The streetlamp ceased its flickering and, after another soft fluttering of wings, the angel was gone.