Levels of Insanity
It was like someone's idea of a bad joke, just like the rest of Dean's life, one really bad joke.
The angel stood there in front of him, a soppy smile Dean still wasn't used to on his face, his eyes open, pleading, and hopeful. "Don't you like your present?" he asked.
"I… I…" Dean looked at the thing Castiel had brought him. He'd appeared suddenly after they hadn't heard from him in weeks and dumped it at Dean's feet. It was like a pet cat bringing its master the dead bird it had caught. He'd looked so pleased with himself.
"You don't like it." Cas' face fell, and for a moment, Dean thought he was going to start to cry.
"No. It's just…" This was fucked up. What Cas had done wasn't technically wrong. In fact, it probably should have been done ages ago. It was one of those things Dean always tried hard not to think about. But now it was done, how was he supposed to deal with it on top of everything else.
"It's all about family," Castiel explained. He fidgeted as he talked, fingers twitching, feet shifting, eyes roving around the room. It was as if the change had made Cas go from one extreme to the other, stiff and still to constantly moving, taciturn to non-stop babbling. "Family's important. That's what you always say, except maybe when it comes to me and my family. But family is important to you. I thought this could help make up for what I've done, not that anything could really make up for all the death and what happened to Sam, but I hoped this might make things a bit better, make you a little less angry, because I know you're still angry even after I fixed Sam. I don't like it when you're angry."
Dean rubbed a hand across his face. He knew he shouldn't but he was beginning to think some problems were better locked away. "Jesus, Cas. Could you have at least told us first before you… You could've gotten yourself killed."
"I've done it before, twice." Cas held up two fingers to emphasize the point. "Not that you seemed particularly pleased with me either time I told you what I'd done."
"But you can't just…"
They were interrupted by a scream. It came from the thing, the person Castiel had brought. The man had been doing that on and off ever since he'd arrived. It was the first thing he had done after scrabbling away from them on all fours to hide in a corner. He crouched there sobbing.
"I was extra careful this time, made sure I didn't leave anything behind."
The man began banging his head against the wall and scraping his fingers against the floor until they left behind trails of blood.
"I'm sorry he's not in better condition. Would you like me to absorb the damage from his mind too?"
"No!" If this was how Cas ended up after absorbing Sam's madness, who knows what might happen if he took on more. "Just no."
Dean stared at the convulsing figure in the corner. Despite his rather skewed view of the world, had Cas done the right thing? It seemed even when you did the right thing for the right reason it could still feel wrong. Dean had just finished looking after one lost brother, and now apparently he would be caring for another.
If this was someone's idea of a joke, it really wasn't funny.
From the corner of the room, Adam Milligan's sobbing turned into a broken laugh.