Bobby was dead, Cass was an exploded angel mess, and Sam and Adam had just fallen head first into the cage with two angels riding underneath their skins. Dean crawled towards the spot where his brother, who had taken Lucifer inside of himself to rid the world of an unspeakable evil that they would never know walked the Earth, fell and the ground swallowed him up whole, leaving nothing, not even a scratch on the ground to mark his brother's passing. He picked up the rings, and the tears fell unbidden onto the ground, and then he heard it. He turned. There were reporters everywhere. They were all standing outside of the gate, and it seemed as if they all had just gotten their wits about them because they were all beginning to speak, to report, to sensationalize what had just happened here.
A bold young reporter and her camera guy came hurrying towards Dean. She rushed to kneel beside him and thrust a microphone into his face. He had no idea what she had just said, much less knew what his answer was supposed to be. His ear was ringing from the pounding that Lucifer had given him. She shook the microphone in front of his face, and he looked up at her with his one good eye and she brought the microphone back to her mouth and repeated,
"Who was the man that fell into the ground?"
Dean, without a moment of hesitation said shakily, "My brother." And more tears fell from his eyes.
"How does it feel to have saved the world from the apocalypse?" She asked. Behind her the others, seeing her boldness, acquired some of their own and were hurrying through the cemetery gates and rushing behind her, sounding like a herd of screeching animals, all calling out questions.
"How did you know?" he asked breathlessly, and then they came, they circled him, caged him in, right around the spot where his brother had just fallen into the cage with pure evil. He covered his ears, unable to comprehend the noises, the losses too fresh, the cuts too deep. He closed his good eye and tried to force it all away, and he couldn't, all he could do was protect what was left of his face and body. The frustration welled up from his stomach, a lifetime of frustration, regret, sadness, and sacrifice, and he yelled "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Leave me alone!" And then just like that he was sitting on the floor of Bobby's living room, Cass hovering over him.
"Cass?" He asked bewildered.
"I'm better than that." He touched Dean's face and Dean felt his face get hot and tingle, and when Cass' hand left his face, the tingling stopped and he was able to open his right eye again. Dean touched his once battered and broken face, and only felt the familiar contours of bone, the familiar warmth of flesh, and the scratchy stubble. He pushed his hair from his face, felt a thin sliver of relief that Cass was back and full strength and then his guts twisted and knotted when he saw Bobby's lifeless form on the rug by the desk. Dean stood to go over to his fallen surrogate father and Cass stopped him and went to Bobby and crouched beside the grizzly old hunter and touched Bobby's forehead and Bobby took a sharp intake of breath and looked wildly around him, and sat up.
"Cass?" Bobby asked. Castiel smiled. Bobby looked around the room and his eyes settled on Dean and Sam wasn't standing beside the young man, and without Sam hovering just behind Dean, Dean looked smaller and like he was missing something.
"Sam?" Bobby asked. Cass looked to Dean and then back to Bobby.
"He's in the cage with Adam." Dean confirmed. Bobby looked up and bit the inside of his cheek, Dean didn't need to see him mourn, Dean was going to do enough of it on his own, Dean didn't need to worry about him.
"It worked?" Bobby asked finally.
"It did." Castiel confirmed. "My brothers are locked in the cage."
"Sam pulled Michael in."
"You mean Lucifer?"
"No. Sam came through Bobby, he pushed Lucifer back, and forced himself into the hole. He did it. Just like he said he would." Dean confirmed with a mix of awe, pride and sadness.
"It's over then."
"Yeah. Guess so." Dean licked his lips and ran a hand over his face. "But, Bobby, when I was there, when I was alone out there….there were reporters everywhere. That was real wasn't it Cass?" Castiel nodded. "How did they? Did you?" He asked Castiel.
"Did I alert the media of your impending failure?" Castiel asked. "No. I did not alert them."
"Then how did they know?"
"I am unaware."
"What are you talking about?" Bobby asked.
"When I was out there, trying to collect myself, reporters starting pouring in the cemetery and they were yelling out questions and wanting to know if I was the one who stopped the apocalypse."
"Hells Bells." Bobby said with a sigh. "If they know they are going to find you Dean. They aren't going to let this story go."
"Come on Bobby. You can't honestly tell me that they would believe that we stopped the apocalypse, you can't tell me that they knew it was happening. It is all too scifi fantasy for them."
"There's one way to find out." He said and turned on the television which was permanently on the news, and the video of Dean, beat to hell on the ground, answering the reporter's question with a simple "My brother" ran over and over again.
"This man, who is known by many alias', is one of the three that saved the world from the Biblical Apocalyps." The woman was handed a note and she read it quickly and then added, "His real name is rumored to be Dean Winchester. If anyone knows his whereabouts please contact…." Dean turned off the television.
"What the hell?"
"I don't know." Bobby shrugged.
"Seriously! What the hell? I mean, isn't' enough that I lost Sam today? Now I have to deal with this? Seriously."
"You can stay here." Bobby offered.
"And then what? Get you caught up in this media circus too?"
"I'm here for you son."
"I can't do that to you Bobby."
"Dean….it won't be that bad."
"How can I do my job if everyone knows my face and my real name."
Bobby paused. "Seems to me, Sam made you promise not to hunt anymore." Dean's face grew dark and he looked at Bobby angrily.
"How did you know that he made me promise?"
"Sam told me what he was going to make you promise. Your brother wanted me on board to make sure you did it."
"But this…" Dean gestured to the television. "This isn't a normal life."
"Dean, the world wants to give us kudos for saving their asses."
"I don't want it."
"You seriously want me to do this?"
"You do have the prettiest face out of all of us hunters."
Dean's eyes grew dark. "No. I can't. I won't. I just lost my brother. I can't do it. I won't do it." Dean turned to Cass. "Make it go away."
"It is not within my power."
"Yeah it is. You're a full blown angel again. You can do a Men In Black Thing, make 'em all forget and then give them a new pretty memory or something."
"I'm flattered that you think my powers are so great. But you have overestimated my abilities."
"We have to do something. This can't…I can't….Not without…." Dean looked frantically from one man to the other looking for all the world like a ten year old boy trying to get out of going to bed early.
Then the phone rang.
And it rang.
And it rang.
Bobby was on the phone for hours. Hunters were pissed.
Rule 1 of hunting: We do what we do and shut up about it.