A/N: Written for nevcolleil on comment_fic.
This came out a kind of funky and angsty, which pretty much sums up my feelings about the episode. Seriously, I have no idea how I feel about everything that happened. I think I need to watch it about ten more times and write fix-it fic before I'll know. On the other hand, I've finally written Dean/Cas, so, yay! :D
Dean isn't quite sure why he's hung onto Cas's coat for this long, shifting it from trunk to trunk, just one more thing that takes up precious space. There's nothing left of the angel in it. It's torn and bloodstained, and it doesn't even smell like Cas anymore, just brackish lake water and ozone.
It's comforting to have it close though, just like Dad's journal, and Bobby's flask. He's lost so many people—friends, family—over the years that the thought of giving up these little pieces feels like it'd be losing them all over again.
So, he keeps the coat, not to remember Cas-the-God, or even Cas-the-Sheriff-of-Heaven, but the Cas who had Fallen trying to save the world, who'd stood by Dean even when things looked darkest, the Cas who'd smiled, just once or twice, at Dean, and sparked something inside him that felt oddly like peace.
Castiel's died and come back so many times, and he remembers every single one. He remembers everything, and most of all, he remembers Dean. He almost wishes he didn't; it would be so much easier that way.
He doesn't know what he's done to deserve these second—third, fourth—chances, but he has to try and make things right. He can live with pain, but living without forgiveness is something else entirely.
Dean hates him now, he'd said as much out loud, for what he did to Sam, for what he did to all of them, and Castiel doesn't blame him. Still, as he shrugs on the remains of his old overcoat, the fabric still warm from Dean's hands, he can't help but hope.