Disclaimer: it is in no way mine!

Title: Voice

Summary: Hippie!Cas has a voice in his head, and it's not happy with him.

Rating: T, because there are swears. If you can't take it, then… well, then you shouldn't be reading fanfic anyway. Go clean your room and do your homework!

A/N: Set in 'The End' 'verse. Inspired by poking a paper-assignment with my eyes shut and landing on the word 'voice'. Also, warnings of Dean/Cas. Don't like, too bad.

In the beginning, Castiel could hear the voice in the back of his mind, occasionally whispering helpful hints and explanations, things that he had sorely needed to function in the actual world. As he became accustomed to these new circumstances, he pushed the voice down, trying to spare Jimmy Novak any suffering from being possessed (er, 'occupied'. 'Possessed' had such a demonic flavor to it).

After… certain events, certain explosions, really… the voice was silent for a long time, and he began to think that, maybe, Jimmy was dead. He tried to ignore his guilt, since it was his fault if Jimmy was dead, but he didn't have time to dwell on the guilt.

The world was ending, after all.

A few years passed before Cas heard the voice of Jimmy Novak again, but this time, it was different. Cas knew that Jimmy was dead by now. The voice he was hearing wasn't real, and it wasn't Jimmy. He tried ignoring it, but it stubbornly remained in his head, whispering hate-filled poison in moments of doubt.

He couldn't blame Jimmy, or the voice, or whichever it was, for being so angry, even if it wasn't real. It was Cas' fault that the real voice of Jimmy Novak was dead, so it made sense that the fake voice would hate him too.

At least, it made sense to him. Granted, he wasn't really the poster-boy for sanity these days, what with the drugs and the drinking and the orgies…. But that's beside the point.

The point is, the not-real-anymore voice continued to kick at him when he was down, and he couldn't stop it. He couldn't even talk about it to anyone. The only person he could have talked to… well. That person was busy, too busy running things and saving people to be disturbed with the potential insanity of one broken-down, strung-out train-wreck like him.

So he sucked it up, and did his best to ignore the voice as it hissed, 'you failed, you miserable bastard. You killed me, for nothing. Now I'm dead, and you're a waste-product, and the world is royally fucked. I should've told you to go fuck yourself when you asked me for help. Hey, the world's gonna burn anyway, right? And I guess now you'll burn with it. Loser. Failure. Waste of space. Fallen. Worthless. I hope you die.'

The only way to make the voice shut up was to drink, or take drugs, or do any of the things that had once disgusted him. He passed it off to other people as an end-of-the-world thing, or a reaction to being human, but it was really because of that nasty, toxic voice.

The first time he heard it was the day that Sam said 'yes'. They'd had no idea at the time, but he realized what had happened not much later.

He hadn't even been doing anything in particular. Just… sitting, trying to bring his Grace back, when the voice spoke.

'Hello, you sonofabitch.'

Cas' eyes flew open. 'What–'

'No, it's not really me, Jimmy, seeing as I'm dead. Thanks for that, by the way. Jackass. I'm just what's left of me, the shreds left stuck in my – sorry, your – brain after that whole… explosion by an archangel thing. And buddy, you fucked it all up real good.'

Later, Cas would realize that the voice's appearance coincided not only with the fatal 'yes', but with the departure of the angels (who left because of the 'yes'), and his own fall to total humanity (which happened because the angels left).

'And you can't get rid of me, fly-boy. I'm basically… like a ghost, except only in your head. But there's just one way to shut me up, permanently, and it's to salt 'n' burn my bones. Oh, wait just a moment, I forgot. You're wearing them. Guess you'd have to kill yourself to make me go away.'

A pause, as he groped madly for words, or understanding, or anything, really.

'That's a thought, though. You kill yourself…. That could really be a good thing. You being an epic failure as it is, you can't possibly be useful at this point. Besides, you're probably just hurting your oh-so-precious "Righteous Man" with your very presence. A reminder of things that were, eh? Of his kid brother, who's all gone now. You remember that, right? That's probably your fault too. You should've killed him when you had the chance, before you became "friends" with the two of them, before you got all those pesky emotions. Guilt is fun, isn't it? I basically drowned in guilt when I left my family. And isn't that cute, you even feel a bit of guilt about me. Little ol' me. That's just adorable, really.'

He rose to his feet, determined to go to someone, maybe even Dean, for help –

'Oh, no. You can't do that, my friend. He's under so much strain lately… he can't take the time to worry about you. What if more people die while he's helping you? You want to pile more guilt on his shoulders? Oh, it'll really be yours, but he'll still blame himself. You know he will. He's just that kinda guy.'

Cas shifted awkwardly. This voice, unpleasant and possibly-not-real as it was, seemed to have a point….

'Of course I do, you dumb shit. Now, one pressing question: have you been using my body for certain things that neither I nor God are OK with?'

He flushed, and retorted, 'That was different! Love is–'

'This is not love, you bastard,' the voice snarled. 'This is convenience, lust, and, on his part, despair. He has nothing, and no one, so he turns to you as a poor second- or third-best. Now, I don't claim to know what God wants, but you, oh fallen angel, you should know better than most. Is God cool with two guys getting it on? Is he OK with an angel and a human fucking? Especially when they're both men? In my humble opinion, probably not. And you wonder why you fell.

'Now, related question: did you ever include that in what you told me you needed my body for, all that time ago? Because, honestly, I'm not cool with this. Two guys want to do it, fine, whatever, it's not my business. But I want nothing to do with it, on a personal, physical level, you douchebag!'

The words hit him in exactly the wrong place (or from the voice's perspective, the right place), and he dropped into his chair again, eyes wide, mind babbling incoherently under the continued assault of the nasty little voice.

'You are such a dumbass. Did you actually believe that you and… oh, you did, didn't you. You honestly thought that he cared! Oh, this is too perfect. Idiot, he doesn't give a shit about you. You're just a thing to keep him relatively sane. There's no real affection there, boyo. Just watch. He'll find some new whores soon, ones that are women, ones he might actually give a flying fuck about. And poor little you will be left out, alone, in the cold. Aww. So very sad.'

And, as time passed, Cas saw just that happen. But what he couldn't see, no matter how hard he tried, was why.

In some minds, physical intimacy was easier if you didn't actually care about the person. The ones you did care about, you kept at arm's length, so it hurt a bit less when they died. And Dean Winchester was one of the people who thought that way. At least, he did after everything with the Apocalypse, that is.

But Cas couldn't, or wouldn't, see that. He was preoccupied with his own despair, and that voice in his mind kept his thoughts there. The voice of not-Jimmy-Novak was very bitter, and, although Cas could understand the bitterness, and the reasoning behind it, he still wished that the voice would go away.

The day that Dean and Cas… well, 'broke up' wasn't exactly the right term for it. Either way, the day that they stopped was branded in Cas's memory, frequently dragged out by not-Jimmy to reinforce the fact that Cas was nothing, and no one.

It had happened, as Cas had half expected, early in the morning, before the sun rose. That was the only time he and Dean ever actually talked beyond the odd order or snarky remark.

"So… this thing," Dean had said awkwardly, gesturing his hand at the space between the two of them as they lay on the bed (not together, not anymore. Just on the same bed; and what a world of difference). "This, you and me thing."

Cas had said nothing, knowing what was coming and dreading it all the more.

"It's, uh. Well, it's gotta stop."

"Huh," Cas said noncommittally, keeping his gaze away from Dean.

"It's not, you know. A good idea. With everything that's… with the Apocalypse, and all that," Dean stumbled.

'Pfft, you were fucking when the Apocalypse was gearing up,' not-Jimmy piped up with impeccable timing. 'That's just an excuse. Told you he doesn't love you, like you thought. Moron.'

"Really," Cas said, staring idly at the ceiling.

"Yeah. So, uh, I mean, it's not that… I just think we should…." Dean trailed off awkwardly.

"So, just to be clear," Cas said blandly. "Are you kicking me out of your bed or the camp?"

'Probably wishes he could throw you out of the camp, but hey, you're not a Croat, and you can shoot, so why get rid of you all the way?' the voice hissed.

Dean tensed beside him.

"Ah, so just your bed, then. Still need me around, hmm? But, just for the mundane things. Shooting Croats and fetching supplies," Cas refused to make this easy on Dean, choosing his words carefully.

"Cas, I don't–"

"It's fine," Cas lied, lurching upright and grabbing his pants. "No, I get it. You can't afford anything to distract you from the matter at hand. The whole… Apocalypse. Thing. With Lucifer. And all that he entails." The old Cas wouldn't have mentioned any of this, as it skirted near the forbidden topic of Sam. This Cas didn't give a shit.

"Don't," Dean snarled, shying away, as always, from any mention of his lost brother. "Don't you fucking dare."

Cas laughed harshly, and made for the door, throwing his last remark over his shoulder so he wouldn't have to see Dean's face as he said it. "Why would I? Not like it's your fault, or anything."

Dean made as if to rise to his feet, but Cas was out the door, out of Dean's cabin, and long gone by the time Dean managed to form anything near coherency.

'Oh yeah, you burned your bridges there nicely,' the voice laughed. 'I can guarantee that he hates your guts.'

As the months rolled by, and more and more people died, Cas resigned himself to being alone except for the voice in his head. Until, one day, the past came walking through his door.

Dean Winchester, the not-quite-as-broken version, was standing before him, yanked out of 2009 and dropped into this shit-tastic war.

For one brief moment, as he stared incredulously at 2009-Dean, he thought that this is his way out; this is how he could tell someone about the voice and –

'Ah ah ah, no you can't,' the voice hissed. 'Look at him. Look at how he's acting. He's from before the two of you got… so very, wrongly, damnably close. He'd kick you aside, you know that. Besides, he doesn't have time to deal with you and your issues. Has to go back and stop all this from happening anyway. Too bad he can't save me; he's post-my-death. But if there's a way for him to stop all this… Apocalypse, and stuff, you have to let him do it. No added burdens, my friend. Just let the bastard save the world. You can die, but the world can't burn.'

Cas knew that the voice was just playing off his own fears and wants, but it made sense.

So he said nothing.

Until the moment when Present-Dean decked Past-Dean, and Cas realized that none of them were going to survive this fight.

"So," he said, gazing quizzically at the unconscious figure on the ground. "Punching yourself out is fun?"

Dean shrugged, not quite meeting Cas' eyes.

"You don't mean for any of us to survive, do you." It wasn't a question.

"If anyone does, it's an unexpected bonus," Dean responded, still staring at the ground.

"And you plan on dying?"

"Yep."

"Ah."

There was a moment of silence.

"I hear Jimmy Novak's voice in my head, even though he died years ago, and I'm not sure it's really him."

Silence fell again.

"I missed you."

"Same here."

"Too bad we're gonna die."

"I told you this plan was suicide."

"And you're still on board?"

"Always."

Their ending wasn't perfect. It was far from the 'happily ever after' heroes stereotypically tend to receive. But then, they weren't expecting anything less than not-perfect.

It was enough.

A/N: Ending isn't exactly what I wanted, but it's… it's close enough. Had to re-write it about eight times, but I got the little bugger as close to perfect as I could get it. Which, if you consider the ending and what it says, makes it OK that it's less than perfect. And, personally, I'm glad that they didn't do the whole 'I loved you the whole time', 'I did too', 'let's die in each others' arms' thing. Too melodramatic, really. This feels more right, to me. Please review and let me know what you think?