The night Dean wakes up to find an angel staring at him is his thirteenth night spent with Lisa. Sam's been dead for two weeks. Castiel's been gone for two weeks, less an hour. Bobby's been back home for thirteen days. That's how long his perfect life lasted, two weeks.
He's almost glad.
"Cas? What do you want?" He slides out of bed, careful not to wake Lisa up in the process. The room is almost totally dark. The only way he has of knowing that the man standing over him is Castiel is his distinctive silhouette against the light in the hall. When he follows the angel out onto the landing and into the light he gets a shock.
It's Castiel, but the wrong Castiel.
The Castiel he last saw preparing to enter a building crawling with demons and Croats, preparing to die. He watches him, waiting for the shock to pass. He's still wearing the same faded jeans, thin shirt and canvas jacket, still has the same unshaven face and unkempt hair. For a second Dean thinks it might be a nightmare, or worse, a demon in disguise, but he has the house fully protected. And all his nightmares feature Sam.
"I'm sorry for the intrusion, I had nowhere else to go." He says finally. As an afterthought he adds. "I see you trapped Lucifer."
"How are you here?" Is all he can think to say, to be fair it covers what he's feeling, and he has just woken up.
"You prevented the apocalypse Dean. Now the future, my future, never happened. Angels, even powerless fallen angels, can't just be blinked from existence." He's talking quickly, intensely and for a second Dean wonders why this surprises him. It takes a moment to register that Castiel isn't high, he seems sober, just human.
"My father is apparently very forgiving...and existent, which came as a surprise." His expression is still one of bleary misery but without the unfocused look he had last time they met. Definitely not stoned then, great.
"He resurrected me, and sent be back here so that I can redeem myself."
"Wouldn't it be better to just let you rest? I mean, everything that happened to you, you'd think he'd just let you ...oh." Dean get's it. Castiel nods.
"As a rule fallen angels tend not to get into heaven."
Dean leads the way downstairs. He finds the situation odd, sitting on the couch in a t-shirt and boxers opposite a fallen angel-junkie from the future.
It's almost like having his life back.
"So, what's the last thing you remember?" He's really hoping Castiel blacked out or something, or was maybe to out of it to remember his death. The look in the other mans eyes squashes his optimism.
"Bleeding out next to Chuck." He says quietly. "That's when I felt God, it's been years since I felt anything of his presence and then there it was. Right at the end."
"I'm sorry." Castiel just shakes his head. Dean decides to change the subject, if only by making it awkward in a different way.
"You seem more...aware now."
"By that I assume you mean I'm not stoned?" He almost smiles. "I'm clean, I think."
"Good, you were a little scary, just so you know"
"Thanks." The almost-smile is replaced by a familiar frown. "I'm not particularly proud of myself for that, for the things I remember anyway." He pauses. "I'm sorry that you witnessed it."
"No, I am. I should have..." another wave of bitter self-loathing flickers behind his eyes. "I should have done a lot of things differently."
"It doesn't matter now." Not as comforting as he would like, but then Castiel saw through lies fairly well. Even well intentioned ones. "So, redemption? Any plans on that?" Castiel's face sets itself and he looks determined suddenly, grimly so.
"Yes, whilst the Castiel who belongs here is occupied with heaven I will try to redress the balance of what he's left behind."
"You'll understand later."
And Dean does. The next day Castiel asks to borrow some money, not a lot, just enough for 'essentials'. Dean gives it to him, explains his presence to Lisa as best he can and offers Castiel a place to stay. He's gifted with the first genuine smile he's seen on Cas, ever. But it dies quickly as the former angel tells him he has somewhere he needs to be. When he leaves with the money, promising to return to say goodbye Dean still doesn't quite understand.
That evening Castiel returns, beardless and with neatly trimmed hair, his old clothes discarded. He's wearing a new suit, a blue tie and a trench coat.
Dean finally gets it.
"Do you need a ride?" Castiel meets his eyes and Dean sees the tiredness there, and the determination to go through with this, to do the right thing. Or what he believes is the right thing.
He drives him all the way to Pontiac, Illinois. Leaving just as Amelia Novak opens the door to her husband.