Dean oneshot set after Castiel's death in 7x02.

Supernatural is Kripke's, not mine.


The road is dark, glittering with a thousand raindrops, and Dean Winchester drives his way through life without taking any of it in.

If he opens that door and goes into that room, he will not like what comes out.

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

Sam's asleep in the passenger seat across from him, his head bumping rhythmically against the window, a calm on his face that is never there during waking hours.

He's gone wandering in dreamland, and Dean will go to Hell again before he takes that away from his little brother.

His mind changes directions in mid-air: that subject just takes him back to where he doesn't want to be.

He has been driving all night, and the tiredness he feels is just the aching, weary exhaustion that's there twenty-four seven, the usual heaviness of the heart that has nothing to do with the number of times he's died and everything to do with the number of times he's watched a good friend die.

He closes the door on that thought, locks it tight.

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

He's had times like these before, times when the darkness threatens to overwhelm him, times when he doesn't know how he'll get through the day, when he doesn't want to get through the day.

Times when he feels like yelling to the heavens at the unfairness of it all. At the futility.

And the blows just keep on coming.

'I see nothing but pain here.'

He sets his jaw against the onslaught of memories.

'I see inside you.'

You'd think he'd done enough.

'I see your guilt...'

You'd think he'd given enough.

'...your anger...'

You'd think he'd lost enough.

'...confusion...'

You'd think right.

'What's the matter?'

But it seems like God just doesn't see it that way.

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

The old trenchcoat is in the boot. It smells of lakewater and Heaven. It's buried under the guns and the salt and the talismans.

Buried beneath a layer of violence.

Hidden behind a wall of grief.

'You don't think you deserve to be saved.'

He's lost so damn much. But he won't complain. He has to be strong. He is always strong.

Dean Winchester. The man who was strong.

'We have work for you.'

But he never thought he'd lose Cas. That stupid, naïve, son of a bitch. That child.

He never thought there would come a day when he was truly alone.

He keeps his eyes on the road, ignoring the pricking of his eyes, emptying his mind of everything but the drive.

It's worked every time before now.

It should damn well work now.

So why isn't it?

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

Why does he see Castiel everywhere?

Why does his grief batter the wall he built to contain it?

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

His knuckles are white on the steering wheel.

'Good things do happen, Dean.'

'Not in my universe.'

His voice is dry, rasping, hitching in his throat as if it can't quite bring itself to be heard.

'Dammit, Cas.'

There's a hole in his chest that's been there since his mom died. He thought it was beginning to heal-

even after Dad-

after Ash-

and Ellen-

and Jo-

and Lisa-

and Ben-

even after Sammy.

But now he knows. A hole is a hole is a hole. And it's not going anywhere.

Not without his angel.

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

He's not crying.

Just you keep on driving; don't you dare look back.

'I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.'

Don't you dare look back.

'I'm sorry, Dean.'

Don't you dare look back.