A/N: I don't own the characters, most concepts, ect.
Chapter Soundtrack: n/a
Dean's eyes tightened before loosening, opening to nothing but darkness. For a moment he drown in confusion, unsure if he had opened his eyes at all. Carefully he tested the waters, sitting up before seeking the familiar sensation that had pulled him from what he could now be sure was sleep.
In the waking world, everything was inky and cold. He wondered briefly if he couldn't see through the thick black sludge Dick Roman had splattered, just in time for vision to adjust to spindly trees and overgrown brush.
"Good. We need to get out of here."
Dean turned, knowing that voice and instantly placing it as the anchor that had always been there when he was lost. As he stood, Castiel looked around. Dean was distracted by his clothes, bright beacons in the desolate nothingness. Despite every bone in his body screaming something was wrong, out of place, and dangerous, his mind had to take a second to linger on the white hospital clothes adorning the angel.
After all this time, he still expected a suit and tie where there was a small v-neck shirt.
"Where are we?" Dean said in relative seconds, letting his eyes glide away from Cas as he stood. He had to stay focused. Any lapse, even if only a moment long, could be life threatening until he was sure things were safe. And, given the scenery, he doubted that.
Already his mind spiraled, trying to place where they were, where Sam and Kevin were, if Dick was somehow still around, and how (seeing as no one but he and Castiel were present) he was going to get a mentally unstable angel to safety without nakedness, board games, or cat penises.
"You don't know?" Castiel grunted after a small pause.
Dean turned back sharply from inspecting his surroundings to stare. Cas' voice was firm, which he noticed first. It wasn't nearly as distant or whimsical, and as strongly as it struck him the angel's face was even worse.
Or, given the other's pulled together eyebrows, slightly down-turned jaw, and lips that were beginning to purse shut, better.
Dean blinked, trying to stay up to speed. His head was spinning, his heart was slamming into his chest as if intent of breaking through every bone and muscle separating it from the frigid air (and Cas, though he ignored that part of it).
"Last I checked," he said, running over the facts in his mind while making an expression along the lines of a shrug with his lips, "we ganked Dick."
Cas' eyebrows rose higher. His eyes themselves, a blue Dean couldn't pick out of the shadows and dim lighting, were wide. He stared at the whites around them, trying to decide if the expression was alarm, fear, concern, exasperation.. For the first time in a long while he found Cas unreadable again.
And not in the recently common way, like how hippies were impossible to decipher.
But in the Angel of the Lord hopelessly clueless and vastly intelligent Castiel way that made him an open book and a mystery all at once, with simplicities in his face and complexities in his eyes that drove Dean mad.
But above the expression, came the words.
"And where would he go in death?"
If it wasn't an emergency situation, Dean would have commented on it. The"Duh" that Cas' words were soaked in slapped Dean in the face.
He had to let it seep into his mind, to settle slowly.
Dick was dead. Cas was Cas again, or at least more so than normal. And they were both in some inky wasteland that was somehow related to Dick-
"What, are you tellin me-"therewasnopossibleway-
"Every soul here is a monster." Castiel said flatly while glancing away, breaking eye contact for the first time to spot some predator Dean's senses had yet to pick up.
The hunter could only stare. He looked away, following Cas' line of sight into the black wilderness. Sticks rustled and leaves crunched, but for the life of him he couldn't make anything out.
"This is where they come to prey upon each other for all eternity." The angel explained.
Dean looked around, hopelessly afraid of the darkness. It was human nature, after all. Even hunters were afraid of the dark, if not more so. He knew what was out there. He'd put it there.
Still. That was impossible.
He had lost Cas to the leviathans. He had lost Bobby to the leviathans.
Sure, he got them both back, but in broken pieces that were more insults from God than anything substantial. And now, when he had finally finallymade some semblance of peace, put Bobby to rest, and recovered enough bits and pieces of Cas to have his old ally back however briefly, he was in purgatory?
No. No God, or Fate, or Luck was that damn cruel.
"We're in purgatory?"He asked numbly, looking between Cas and the emptiness.
He knew the answer. But desperately he wished Cas would laugh. Say it was a joke, then ramble about bees and take them away. He could take that kind of fucking answer, if it meant they weren't really-
Cas didn't say anything. Dean scrambled.
"How do we get out?" If it was real, they needed a plan. Again his mind raced.
"I'm afraid we're much more likely to be ripped to shreds." The angel said, again looking away. Something about him doing so made Dean want to scream. He needed Cas to look at him.
He needed those focused, alert blue eyes to stare at him and comfort him.
This place was instilling a fear Dean hadn't felt since his days with Hell and its hounds. It was a crippling feeling that he was sure would bring anyone that hadn't been through what he had to their knees. Even given his experience with terror and pain and danger, some small part of him wanted to curl up and scream and cry and grab onto Cas for dear life.
It wasn't like him at all. That only added to the fear.
Whatever Cas had sensed earlier made itself known. It snarled, a curling ripping sort of noise that made Dean turn around, searching for what he hadn't seen before. His senses pierced the darkness, watching red lights bob in the abyss. Already he was thinking. Meg took Cas' angel blade. Dean didn't have any more sharpened bones. There were sticks nearby, but nothing more than flimsy twigs that couldn't even start a fire much less hold off.. Whatever the hell was out there.
"Cas, I think we better-" Dean turned, whispering in his fear and hesitation. Running was the only option, assuming they could. But as soon as the word 'go' left his mouth he saw the nothingness.
No Cas. No comfort. Just his heart thudding in his ears to remind him this was not a dream.
"Cas?" He hissed in a whisper. All hopes of the angel being back to normal were dashed. If he'd decided he didn't fight anymore and poofed out to.. somewhere, somehow, Dean was going to find him and kick his sorry ass into sanity.
Assuming, of course, he wasn't ripped to shreds by an enemy he couldn't fully see.
Flashbacks of hellhounds struck him hard. He looked around, hearing the hungry snarls grow in number. Red lights bobbed and prowled all around him.
Dean swallowed roughly once before the beasts leapt, tearing out of the surrounding darkness and lunging for him on all sides.