Title: Lonesome Navigator
Author: Stolen Childe
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters do not belong to me. They belong to Kripke and Co.
Rating: PG
Warnings: mental health issues, language, angst, spoilers
Characters: Dean, Castiel and Sam
Spoilers: 7.21
Summary: Once upon a time it was all so simple.
Author's Notes: Well my soul was shattered just as I thought it would be with tonight's episode. This isn't a complete fix-it for 7.21 but hopefully it eases the pain. I hope you enjoy.


Lonesome Navigator

"Dean?" Sam stuck his head in the doorway, to see his brother as he usually found him, hunched and worn on the old couch, drink balanced on his knee. "Are you, okay?"

"Sure, Sam," Dean replied, not even trying to hide the resignation or sarcasm in his tone. "Never better."

Sam walked over and shifted restlessly as he stood before Dean. Peering down at his brother, Sam blinked, surprised. What he thought was a drink was really the vial of Castiel's blood. Dean was rocking is slowly back and forth on his knee watching, as the red liquid foamed pink as it was jostled.

"Ah… Dean?"

"You know when I went to get him from the dayroom, I fully intended to drag his ass out of there and maybe give him a good clock in the face for my trouble. I sat down in front of him instead, we played Sorry, or somewhat anyway. I got pissed off and knocked the game away. He got really upset and started picking up each card and each piece one-by-one when I know full well he could have waved a hand and had everything how it was. I mean the guy set the damn thing up by shaking the box. He gave me the red tokens and played with the blue. I half expected him to play with the green, you know? I don't know, maybe I…"

"Dean, I don't…" Sam trailed off, not sure if this was one of those conversations Dean had out loud with himself or if Sam was supposed to chime in. He chose to sit instead and waited. He watched Dean twist and turn the vial, trail a finger nail along the tiny cork, before he slid his fingers more firmly around it again.

"Always happy to bleed for a Winchester," Dean said quietly.

Sam winced, chose to keep quiet still. Castiel had done him a solid, had taken Lucifer away and saved his life. Sam was over his issues, but he knew Dean's ran deeper. Dean and I do share a more profound bond.

"He was such an idiot Sam, the whole fucking time, all last year he was an idiot. He didn't come to me once and I think he's realizing he should have. He told that other angel that we begged him not to go down the path he did, but I still don't know if he can feelSam. He says he's all right, but you saw him, there's no way in hell he's all right. Then he just goes… Again. Always fucking running out on—" Dean snapped his mouth shut and Sam imagined that if they didn't need that macabre little bottle, Dean would have hurled it into the fireplace and watched it go up in flames. There was no telling though, if they would get another chance to get more. Instead, Dean just held it tighter.

When Sam thought Dean was going to start speaking again, his brother surprised him by standing and striding from the cabin without a backwards glance. Sam closed his eyes briefly, knowing exactly what was really going on with Dean but also knowing that he wouldn't be able to say it. Dean didn't do sharing and caring, despite everything, when it got too emotional he closed up like bank vault.

"You gotta forgive yourself before you can forgive him, Dean. I did it, shouldn't that be enough for you to at least start?" Sam opted to drink the drink Dean would have under normal circumstances. It seemed like the best idea at present, anyway.


Dean was alone in the woods outside Rufus' cabin. It was May but the nights were still cold and he hunched further into his jacket, watching his breath mist before him in a tiny white cloud. Seeing those particles dance before him in the moonlight, he thought of Cas and all Cas could see now. All Dean imagined Castiel would see in that small cloud of exhaled oxygen and carbon dioxide.

"They fight to get back in."

Dean jumped, and spun around, relaxing immediately. "Jesus."

Castiel giggled. "No, not Him. The carbon and oxygen fight to get back in. It's warm inside. Bright."

"Where'd you go?" Dean asked, too defeated to be angry or civil, just flat.

"Around. Do you know there's a desert in Antarctica? Technically, it's all a desert by I mean sand. It's so cold there that the sand freezes in the shapes the wind blows it into. It looks like reaching claws stretching up to Heaven. Sometimes I think it's the graveyard of fallen angels and they try to get back home." Castiel frowned suddenly, looking down at his hospital issue sneakers. "Home's far, Dean. For both of us and I think… I think we lost our map. You think that?"

"No Cas, I don't," Dean said tiredly.

"You're very angry at me and you hear me say I'm sorry, but you don't listen. You never listened very well. I think you grew tired of listening and maybe you didn't have to with me. Hester was right you know, I was lost the moment I put my hand on you in Hell. I think that's why a piece stuck, but you've lost that too… Buried it actually. Far, far, far down."

Castiel was suddenly very close, mere inches away, a place Dean was far too familiar having him. Dean didn't even bother to take a step back or push Castiel away, it wouldn't do any good.

Castiel reached up a hand, stretching out to Dean's healed shoulder. When Castiel came back at Stull, he had healed allof Dean's marks. He had been clear and unblemished once again.

Dean watched with disinterest, as Castiel hovered his hand over Dean's shoulder, but then the angel shook his head slowly and took his hand away.

"No," Castiel said, as if chastising himself. Then he smiled, open like a child, eyes glittering and he gently bopped Dean on the nose with his index finger. "Buried. I can find it, maybe it's in Antarctica. Maybe if I found it earlier you would have visited me at the hospital. I can find it and maybe then you can hear me again, but you still won't listen, but you'll hear me Dean. I can start and I will. I'll look in Antarctica in the desert in the sand claws and I'll find your map and an 'x' will mark the spot and then you can findit again. You have my blood."

Castiel's attention was drawn by the vial, he stared at it unblinking, cocking his head like a cat. "It's so strange, my blood. So many things inside of it – Jimmy, Castiel, God, Leviathan, Emmanuel, Sam, Dean. All mixed up and mingling and happy. Blood and people should be just as happy. It does what it's supposed to do, but people never really do. I didn't. I think I got tired of listening too. When Dean told me no, I should have listened. I need to go find the map now. Maybe the honey bees can tell me."

Dean reached out just before Castiel flew off. "Cas, wait."

Castiel blinked, seemingly coming back to himself and staring intently at Dean, almost as he used to, but not quite. It hurt to look at. Dean felt cold and sick when he saw the look in Castiel's eyes.

"Yes, Dean?"

Dean opened his mouth but nothing came out. He dropped his hand and looked away, closing his fist tightly around the vial once again.

"Can I go Dean? Do you have something to say? I need to find your map," Castiel said.

"Cas, I…"I'm sorry. I screwed up. I wasn't there. I didn't see. I should have understood. I should have helped. I was scared. I miss you. "Ah…" Dean reached into his pocket and scribbled his current phone number on the crumbled gas receipt. "Here, here's a map for you. Don't get lost again."

Castiel's eyes widened as he reverently took the paper, then the bright child-like smile was across his face again. "Thank you, Dean. I'm glad I have a map. I'll bring you yours."

Castiel was gone before Dean could say anything else. Dean stood, staring at the empty space that once contained Cas, his shaking hand tight around the vial of Castiel's blood.

Dean wished all it would take was a map.