I do not own Supernatural.

Mourning an angel

How did one mourn an angel? Were angels even meant to die? He'd never thought so, at least, not according to the legends. But in the last few years, Dean found out that angels weren't just legend. They were real. And they were not as invulnerable to death as he had thought. How many had he actually seen die? 10? 100? More than he could remember. But only one death mattered to him.

Dean had grown up with loss. It was nothing new to him. First his mother, then his father. Many times, he had lost his brother Sam, but he came back. One way or another, he always came back. Angels even came back.

Growing up a religious person means having a belief in something greater than yourself. Dean never had that. Dean knew only what he could see. And he saw Castiel. That night in the barn, the turning point came for the angel who was determined to make things right. In the end, he turned against his own kind who had turned against their Creator. But in turning against his brothers, Castiel turned toward humans, and that included Dean.

Both Dean and Castiel had father issues. Both had been abandoned, both felt deceived at times, and yet, both loved their fathers. Absent as they were, both were loved. Castiel related to Dean better than he did Sam, because Sam never faulted his father for anything. No matter how angry, he would still be his father's son. If a human and an angel could be brothers, Dean and Castiel were that. Dean taught Castiel to love hamburgers. He had tried to have him initiated into the world of sexual pleasures, until Castiel began to psychoanalyze the prostitute he was supposed to have sex with.

But the greatest thing Dean taught Castiel was the beauty of free will. As much as Cas felt he needed his father, he discovered that all children had to be free to live their lives, even while loving their parents. He would still defend his Father against anyone who spoke against him, but he could no longer sit at his feet.

Each time Cas disappeared, Dean would wait, because he knew the angel would be back. He had actually seen Lucifer blow his friend into a violent splash of red. Dean didn't shed a tear, because he knew Cas would be back. It wasn't that Dean didn't cry. He had cried before, for Sam. That was easy, because Sam was his brother. But he didn't cry for Cas, because Cas was an angel, and he always came back.

The Leviathans were new to his world, even though they were long in the tooth to the world itself. They were there in the beginning, created by God before any other beings. God never had much luck with his first creations. Like Lilith, the first woman and wife to Adam, the Leviathans were evil. They wanted to eat everything God created. So he locked them away. Cas was consumed by them from the inside out. He didn't have the strength to stop them. He was killed as his vessel was destroyed.

Dean had held out hope that Cas would defeat those who had taken control of him. He was fighting so hard, Dean could see that. When Cas smiled, he wanted to cheer, knowing everything would be alright. When Cas smiled again, it wasn't Cas the angel who smiled. It was the evil beings inside him. By the time Dean reached the place where Cas died, there was nothing left. It was over. The angel Castiel was gone. But Dean didn't cry. He knew deep down inside that Cas would be back.

Standing at the shore of the lake where a friendship had ended, Dean looked down to see the trenchcoat that was as much a part of Castiel the angel as his large wings had been. He bent down to pick up the wet, muddy coat. It was all that was left. Dean wondered why it hadn't sunk into the dark, cold waters of the lake. Why, out of all the miles of shoreline, had it ended up here, practically at his feet. Holding it up as it dripped water, Dean had said, "Ok, so he's gone." As he wound the coat into a more manageable package, he muttered, "Dumb son of a bitch", holding in everything he was screaming inside.

Bobby had stated, "Well, he was friends with us, wasn't he?" Even Bobby had grown fond of the angel. "Can't get much dumber than that." People who hung out with the Winchesters and company didn't have long life spans. But Cas was an angel, and he always came back.

Dean placed the folded coat on the backseat of the car. He remembered the times the angel had sat beside him in this car. How grim he seemed much of the time. But when he smiled, the world lit up a bit more.

Dean did not believe in God. Even if He existed, Dean didn't love him. But because of Cas' influence, Dean had actually prayed. It felt strange, and he wasn't sure if his prayer had been answered by God. Oftentimes, his saviors were Sam, Bobby, or one of the many hunters and believers. And Castiel.

Later on, when everyone had a moment to breathe, Dean and Sam had checked into one of the usual roadside motels they found themselves at. Dean begged off having supper, so Sam left him to his own devices.

Dean picked up the trenchcoat, and sat on his bedside. His hands held the coat as if it were Jesus' robe. This was no ordinary piece of clothing. How many times had it been bloodied and torn, only to be revived, clean and pressed once more. This time, there was nothing to remove the bloodstains, mud and wrinkles.

Cas, you idiot, why did you have to go let them win? You know how I felt about your father, and the rest of your mangy crowd. Ok, maybe there were exceptions. Anna. Gabriel, eventually. And you. But now you're gone. So...I guess my soul doesn't have a chance in Hell of being saved again. You made me feel like I could find something better, man. All the time I was teaching you about life, you were teaching me about living.

Dean touched the coat, smoothing some of the wrinkles. Then his hands grasped it tightly, squeezing. He shut his eyes, a few tears escaping down his cheeks.

Sammy's my brother. And Bobby...Bobby kinda takes Dad's place. But you...you were my friend, Cas. I don't have many of those. In this business, they don't seem to last long.

Dean opened his eyes and smiled ironically, shaking his head slightly.

I'll save it for you, man. Get it nice and clean and ironed. Until you get back, I'll keep it safe. You will be back, Cas. You always come back.

Dean placed the coat in his duffel. Next time he and Sam were in a town, he'd look up a 24 hour dry cleaners. For now, he'd go find Sammy, and join him for dinner. He couldn't fight Leviathans on an empty stomach. He'd just have to order a super-duper, jumbo double-decker hamburger, and dedicate it to Castiel.

As soon as you get back, Cas, we'll go out for the biggest hamburgers we can find.

Dean went off in search of his brother. They still had a lot of talking to do, and plans to make. Whoever was responsible for hurting Cas was going to get their butts kicked. Dean would see to that.

A/N: I miss Castiel and Misha!