Dean grinned when he glanced at the phone and saw Cas' number blinking on the screen. Damn right the pompous son of a bitch was going to apologize first. "Go ahead and make it good."
But the voice on the line wasn't Castiel's. "Ah, this is Dean Winchester, then?" it said, slightly higher pitched than Cas', a vague, almost east-coast accent Dean couldn't place. "Well, I should have expected that."
"Who the hell is this?" His palms were sweating; this guy was an angel, had to be, and somehow he'd gotten his hands on Cas' phone. Dean didn't want to think any further than that. "Where's Cas?" He felt Sam glance at him and motioned at him to stay quiet.
The angel laughed. "Where are you, Dean Winchester? For some reason I'm having trouble getting a bead on your location."
That's because I've got angel-be-gone on my bones, you SOB. "I-78, westbound. Just passed exit 3." He was glad it was the middle of the night and the road was deserted, because a second later he had to slam on the brakes as a tall, blond man appeared in his lane. He looked younger than Cas - although Dean knew that didn't mean anything - and he was smirking that way angels had when they knew making you crash your car into them was only going to hurt the car.
And he was wearing Cas' coat.
Dean jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped, not even bothering to turn off the ignition. "Take that off." The angel's eyebrows rose in mock innocence. "That's not yours," Dean said, the words coming out in a growl, "fucking take it off."
The angel held out one side of the coat. "You don't think it suits me?" Dean punched him in the mouth and rocked back in pain as the angel tut-tut-ed him. "That's a good way to break your hand, you know."
Dean glared up at him. "Where's Cas, you son of a bitch?" The angel smiled; Dean's gaze slid down to his right hand and he felt cold sweat slide down his back. His mind reeled back to earlier that day; they'd argued, Dean complaining about Castiel taking his sweet time showing up at a hunt he'd promised to help out on until he'd lost his temper. I'm not at your beck and call, Dean, he'd hissed, inches from Dean's face. You have no idea the risks I take when I help you.
And Dean couldn't keep his mouth shut. You want me to stop calling you, fine, you got it. If all you're going to do is bitch, I don't need your help. You've got more important things to do, so get the hell out.
All Dean could think about was that was the last thing he'd said, because in the angel's right hand was one of their short silver swords stained with blood up to the hilt. And looking at the smug bastard's face, Dean didn't need to ask whose. "Where is he?"
"Does that really matter now?" Damn angels and their lack of personal space; the angel stepped forward and no way was Dean going to step back. "Why the melancholy look? It's no sin to kill a murderer, Dean. Only justice. It's only too bad you - what is the phrase?" That smile was back. "Backed the wrong horse." He leaned forward, close enough to whisper in Dean's ear. "Would you like to know the sound he made when I put this through his heart?"
Dean made a grab for the sword but the angel kept his grip and backhanded Dean across the face. He grabbed Dean by the collar. "Now I'll find out what sound you make."
A roar split the air; the angel staggered backward, his hand to his throat, and for a second Dean couldn't figure out what was going on. He looked back and saw Sam standing by the car, the Colt smoking in his hand; Dean looked back at the angel and saw his hand fall away, a bullet hole glowing in his throat. The light built until it exploded from him; Dean grabbed the coat from his shoulders as he dropped and watched as the black wings crackled and burned. He draped the coat over his arm, not looking at the drying blood staining the front lining, and stared down at the dead angel. Somewhere he knew Cas was lying like that, empty and cold with his wings scorched into the ground.
Dean had no idea how long he would've stood there if Sam hadn't come to get him. "You should have brought this," he said, handing Dean the Colt. When Dean didn't respond Sam just took him by the arm and led him back to the car, half-shoving him into the passenger seat. It took a few minutes for Dean to realize they were moving. "We have to find him," Dean said, and Sam just gave him a look.
"He could be anywhere on the planet, Dean," Sam said, the cold logic twisting Dean's stomach.
"We can't...we can't just leave him out there, Sam." Sam was right, the fight could have been anywhere, some God-forsaken place where no one might find him for weeks, if ever. Where animals might get at him. Dean didn't even remember if he still carried around Jimmy Novak's IDs; even if someone did find him he might wind up just one more John Doe, buried in some potter's field. No one would know who he was. What he was. "We have to find him."
Dean didn't know Sam could look so pitying. "We can't do anything tonight, Dean. In the morning we'll call Bobby, maybe he'll know someone who can help. A psychic. Something like that."
Would you like to know the sound he made when I put this through his heart? Dean dug his nails into the door. He'd seen angels die like that but he'd never thought about how much it looked like it hurt. The last thing Cas'd seen was that smirking bastard putting a knife in his chest and the last thing Dean had said to him was to get the hell out.
He didn't know they were back at the motel until Sam shook him. "You gonna be okay tonight?" he said, one eyebrow raised. "I could..."
"I'm fine, Sammy." He fished out his key and stumbled inside, insanely thankful the motel had only had single rooms vacant. He needed to drink, do a lot of drinking and he couldn't fall apart like that in front of Sam. He slammed the door and sank down to floor, his hands over his face, then took a long, burning swallow from his flask. "Dumb son of a bitch," he whispered, the empty coat a heavy weight on his arm.
From the corner of the room came a very, very faint sound. "...Dean?"
Dean jumped up from the floor like a shot. He crossed the room and felt his legs almost give out when he found Castiel huddled and shivering in the corner, his suit soaked through with blood.
He looked up at Dean, somehow mustering the energy to look reproachful. "You...you were gone a very long time."
"Holy shit." He dropped to his knees, taking off his flannel overshirt and pressing it against the stab wound . "Holy shit, Cas, I thought you were dead."
"I lost my phone," he said as Dean helped him sit against the wall, as if that was vitally important information Dean needed to know. His skin was pale and clammy and his eyes huge, staring at Dean with a vaguely dazed expression. "I can't find it."
"Shh, shh," Dean said. "Don't worry about that. I'll get you a better one." He kept his voice very calm; if a lifetime of hunting was good for anything, it was learning how to talk someone through shock. "Just relax."
Cas nodded. "He stole my coat," he said in a very small voice, as if he still couldn't believe that had happened.
"Yeah, I know, but I got it back for you," Dean said, showing him the trenchcoat still draped over his arm. "See? Safe and sound."
He reached out to touch the fabric, his hand shaking. "Oh. Thank you." His brow furrowed as he tried to piece together information. "You...met Ambriel," he worked out slowly.
"That his name? Yeah, we met him, the smirking son of a bitch."
"Did you..." He shuddered, one arm cradling against his chest as the other fumbled for Dean's shoulder.
"Steady, steady, Cas, stay with me here." Dean pressed his hand against the side of his neck, stroked his thumb along his jaw. "Relax, you gotta relax. I know it hurts. And yeah, we took care of him. He's not going to come after you again, promise." Dean remembered blood dripping from the tip of Ambriel's sword. "God, Cas," he whispered. "He said he'd put that sword through your heart. He said you were dead."
He shook his head. "Only wounded me. Didn't...stay to be sure." His lips twitched up. "Ambriel was...was always careless."
"Yeah, lucky for us."
"Happened...so fast. Forgot he was fast." Dean felt him draw in a pained, shaking breath. "Re...regretted our quarrel. I spoke rashly. I...Dean..."
He groaned, his eyelids fluttering and Dean cradled his head. "Keep your eyes open. Cas, look at me. You have to look at me," Dean said, until Castiel's eyes blinked back open. Dean pressed a quick kiss against his forehead. "I'm sorry too, buddy," he whispered. "I'm so fucking sorry, okay? I didn't mean it."
Cas touched Dean's face where Ambriel had back handed him. "He struck you," he murmured, tracing the edges of what Dean guessed was one hell of a bruise, and Dean realized he was planning on trying to heal it in just enough time to stop him.
"Hey," Dean said, gently pulling his hand away. "I appreciate the thought, but save it for when you're not bleeding all over the place." He could see Cas' eyes going in and out of focus. "Stay with me, Cas. I know it sucks but you've got to stay awake a while longer."
Castiel let out a soft whimper. "It hurts so much, Dean."
"I know it does. I'm here. I'm gonna take care of you, all right? You're gonna be okay." He let out a breath. "Okay, I'm going to help you over to the bed now, okay? I need a better look at that wound and you'll feel better lying down. You're going to have to stand up for just a little bit first. You think you can do that?"
He nodded and Dean wrapped his free arm under Cas' shoulders, pulling him carefully to his feet. His legs buckled almost immediately and Dean held him up. "I got you, I got you. You're doing great, Cas."
"Don't stop calling me," he whispered, so softly Dean barely caught it.
Dean tightened his grip as much as he dared, not wanting to hurt him further. It was a few seconds before he could speak. "Think you can get rid of me that easy? I'm gonna be a pain in your ass for a long time."
Castiel nodded, clutching onto Dean. "Good."