A/N: Okay, so this one started out as a creative writing exercise for my English class: we were supposed to write a descriptive piece on a location through the use of character, and when it was done I thought how incredibly Dean-ish it was. So I started developing it and I uh, kinda lost control a little bit. It just grew. I swear, it was like watching mitosis occur on the page in front of me. But anyway, here it is, Dean thinking about his life. Usual disclaimers apply, hope I didn't take it too far off the reservation.

Dean leans back on the hood of the car, tilting his head up as he does so. Above him, he imagines he can see the whole of the galaxy spread out, stars scattering across the black velvet sky like flecks of glitter. He closes his eyes, listening. The field is silent, dark; empty save for the quiet breeze through the tall grass, carrying the sweet scent of fall grain on its breath. Somewhere in the distance, he can hear the traffic on the highway; but out here, in the stillness of the field, the sound is only a distant hum.

Shifting slightly, he tucks his hands behind his head, pressing them against the cool glass of the windshield. He shivers as the night breeze brushes down his bare arms. Peering up again through half lidded eyes, he tracks the path of a falling star as it tumbles its way across the heavens. Somewhere within him, in the quietest recesses of his psyche, he feels a slight flicker of something. Not quite hope, he thinks tiredly. Hope lies bundled up and cold in the moth-eaten trench coat slumbering in the Impala's trunk. No, he muses. More likeā€¦ a prayer, he decides. A prayer to one gone long before, who had seemed to come from the stars and who, all too soon, had returned to them.

Cas, whispers the tired little voice in his mind. Come home; come back to me. Dean has done his best to tamp these thoughts down, seal them up in the lead box that is his memories. But on nights like this, with the shooting stars like a spark of grace burning through the atmosphere, he can let them out a little. He closes his eyes and lets his view fill in gradually with flecks of dark hair and the bluest eyes. He remembers smiles and a quizzical tilt of the head that always made him knot up inside with something he didn't have words for. His minds runs from the inky darkness of wings against grayed-out wooden walls to that same darkness corrupted and congealed as it washes out into a reservoir. It all happened so soon.

Cas, whispers his fingertips as they recall the dry skin of lips unused to kissing, as Dean feathered his touch over them in alleyways and parking lots, anywhere they could be alone. Cas had reached up with such care to take Dean's wrist in his long, clever hands and Dean had huffed out a laugh as their noses gently pressed together. Come back; you are forgiven. At the edge of the horizon, the shooting star flashes down for a final second and is extinguished.

Cas, whispers the empty spaces in his heart. He remembers those first months after he lost him; the endless nights of staring at his phone, willing it to ring as his face grew paler and paler in the washed-out neon glow of too many motel signs. He'd never called, of course. Over time, Dean had stopped expecting it. But every so often, when Sam was tossing and whimpering and wrestling with his worn-out cotton sheets, Dean's hand would go to his pocket and trace a finger down his phone, like a talisman. Like a prayer. Come home, Castiel; come and find me. I'm so sorry Cas, God, I wish I could tell you how sorry I am. Across the years, across the highways and the motels and the whiskey and the stars, Dean pours out his apology; pours out his love.

Cas, whispers every atom of his body. He remembers Sammy explaining something to him once, kicking his feat against the worn leather of the Impala's backseat as Dean stared out at the asphalt flying past beneath them. All matter is created in the stars, Sam had told him. Every atom, every molecule, every grain of salt and every silver bullet. You, me, Dad, and the monsters. We're all made of stardust. Dean wonders if Cas is a part of the stars now, his blue eyes burning with ethereal light as he watches over the slumbering planet beneath him. Cas would like that, Dean thinks, to be a part of the universe he'd always wanted to explore. Be at peace, Castiel; we are all made of stardust, and I am made of you.

Dean breathes out gently, a soft sigh through parted lips, letting the calm of the night wash over him. Above him, the stars dance on; always beginning, always ending, keeping his secrets safe with them. Keeping Cas safe. Dean smiles, soft and sad. Cas, he whispers, and he imagines that somewhere up in the stars, this prayer is being heard. I will never stop loving you.