"At a friend's house? Why ditch my birthday for anyone else? Am I that bad that even my own brother wants nothing to do with me? Then again, I was going to ditch my own birthday dinner, so I can't really blame him." Dean was back in his den, dwelling on Sam's absence. It was coming up on two a.m. It was Sunday, the 24th of January. Dean was officially 18 years old, and out of his parents' reach -well, legally anyway. And that meant one very important thing to Dean Winchester: getting his life back.

Dean picked up his bottle of meds and looked it over one last time. He was not going to miss that yellow tinted bottle or that childproof lid, not in the least. Dean spun in his chair, aimed, and tossed the bottle into the garbage can across the room. Dean picked up the second bottle off the desk, these were the Lithium pill perscribed to him for mood control. Supposedly without them, the antipsychotics would have left him predisposed to suicidal thoughts and depression. Goodbye mood stabilizers. Aim. Toss. Garbage.

Today his life began, and his first order of business was to get the hell out of this town. It would take time to work up the courage to face his parents about what they put him through. If your twelve year old son needs guidance, than talk to him! For the love of Christ, don't put him on heavy medication. Recent medicine periodicals have been releasing studies showing that the use of antipsychotics on children is severely under recorded, and the effects are vastly different than those seen in adults. But did that stop his parents from putting him on them? No. Did that stop them from upping the dosage when there was no evident change? No. They didn't even know there were consequences, as far as Dean knew.

Other reasons for leaving had to do with school. Dean graduated with many of the same people who mocked and teased him throughout highschool, after the remainder of middle school. The doctors he'd seen in this town all knew, and did nothing. Every small town store clerk and public persona knew about Dean's meds. The place was gossip central, and sticking around would only cause problems for Dean's journey to make something of himself.

And he'd already be gone on that journey if he'd just had a chance to talk to Sam. "Well, I guess I'll have to write Sammy a note." Dean turned back to the desk and grabbed a pen and a notepad.

Dear Sam,

I don't know how much you really care to read this, but I care enough about you to write it. I tossed my meds in the garbage -I'm never taking those damn pills again. I plan to regain the parts of my mind that I lost these past few years so I'm leaving town. I'll miss you, and I hope I can find you again when I come back.

Love,

Dean

"Short and sweet, and to the point. At least it's not a waste if he just throws it out." Dean folded the paper twice and quietly slipped upstairs. Slowly creaking open Sam's bedroom door, Dean left the note on his pillow and left. Everything he needed he had already packed throughout Saturday. Dean made three short trips from the basement to the trunk of his dad's '67 the keys up in the air and catching them for good measure, Dean hopped into the drivers seat, turned the key in the ignition and listened to the beautiful old car rumble to life.

Backing out of the driveway, Dean wondered what the chances were that he'd be caught -it wasn't as though 1967 Chevrolet Impala's were commonplace. Considering he planned on hopping more than a few states, the chances became slim, especially if he moved fast.

Six hours into the drive and Dean started to feel the effects of his antipsychotics wearing off. His head began to pound, and all the lights and colors of his surroundings took on an eye piercing clarity. The bright warm colors of the risen sun jumped at him like a full painters palet; a mix of reds, yellows, and oranges that he never had considered before. Those colors would have been the perfect fit to complete that hellfire painting back home.

The under-use of his dopamine receptors over the last couple developmental years had left them sensitive to the pleasure hormone, and the simple sounds of the car and the colors in the sky were enough to bring Dean joys he hadn't known for years. The hold of the anitpsychotics let loose quickly in some aspects -it had, afterall, require constant upkeep to maintain its effects in the first place.

The joys were quickly offset by the pains. Withdrawl acted just as quickly as recovery, and those same beautiful colors were causing one hell of a headache. The fact that Dean was tired and unrested didn't help matters any.

"I need to stop, or I'm going to crash." Dean pulled to the side of the road. Stopping in a town would be conspicuous, especially if there was a search out for John's car. Chances were John assumed Dean took it, and would try to find him before reporting the car as stolen. Dean had time, but still... there was no point in risking it.

After shutting off the ignition, Dean flipped over the seat into the back seat and got comfy, as much as he could in a car. "Whatever or whoever you are, please come back. I can feel again, so please come back." Dean sighed, finding himself a little silly asking the eather for assistance in communication. Dean waited for several minutes before he hiked up the collar of John's also-stolen leather jacket and went to sleep.

"-ean."

Dean's eyelids fluttered as conscious thought came flooding back to him. Who said that? Where was that voice coming from? For all the coherent thoughts in his head, the only incoherent word he could mutter was: "Huh?"

"Dean, I'm here."

"Who are you?" Dean squinted, trying to focus. Whoever it was was in his car, with his back conveniently facing the sun, allowing the light to obscure his face.

"It's good to see you again, Dean." It was the voice, the same deep, gravelly, rough voice. The sound of that voice alone washed over Dean and left him shivers of pleasure. Something was working upstairs, and Dean didn't doubt for a second that he was clear of the effects of his meds.

"I've never even seen your face. Who are you? What's your name?" Dean propped himself up on his elbow, his right hand raised to block the sun as he tried to make out the facial features of the stranger in his car. Realistically, he should've been scared and defensive of a strange man in his car, but the owner of this voice made him feel safe.

"Castiel. Dean, how is it that you disappeared for these last few years?" Castiel moved closer, out of the sun and Dean finally got a look at his face. The man was attractive, with a slight cleft chin beneath just the right amount of stubble. His lips were perfectly outlined by five o'clock shadow and Dean couldn't imagine a facial structure like that without it. But these weren't the details that were most striking. What stood out the most was the stunning blue eyes that peered out into the world, and directly at Dean.

"How did I disappear?" Dean asked somewhat incredulously. "I didn't go anywhere! You vanished, not me."

"No, I didn't. I was communing with your soul, Dean. But then it began to suffer and shrink. I tried to help... but you were smothered. I'm glad you survived." Cas reached a gentle had out and caressed Dean's cheek, concern evident in his eyes.

"My soul? Smothered?" Dean began methodically piecing together the different explanations. How he had felt during these last few years could easily be defined as soulless. No creativity, no social spark, no motivation, and no interest in life. But how could medicine effect something like a soul?

"Wait, wait, WAIT!" Dean shouted the last confused repetition while pinching the bridge of his nose. "How the hell can you commune with souls? What are you?"

Cas squinted his eyes a little and tilted his head to the side. "You truly haven't remembered a thing, have you? Oh Dean," Castiel sounded genuinely hurt as he wrapped his arms around Dean in a half comforting and half protective hug.

"I remember you from when I was twelve..."

"No, before that."

"What?" Dean pulled back and stared at Cas for a moment. Dean found that he'd been too accepting of this whole incident already. Since when was a soul talking, non-human something something ok to talk to? Or even a believable story? But something told Dean that Castiel wasn't lying.

Cas sighed in evident frustration. And pain. "Why?" He turned on Dean, tears in his eyes and sorrow deep in his voice. "Why did you have to be so stupid? Why did you leave me?"