Dean was terrified.

Of course, with his lifestyle, that was par for the course. But usually fear could be covered up, effectively hidden with bluster, humor, and preferably a really big gun.

This time, however, Dean didn't have a gun. In fact, he had nothing but the knife he'd used to behead the Leviathan, a pretty useless weapon now considering he had no intention of engaging in close combat with the things surrounding him. And for one of the few times in his life, he was truly and well alone, left quite literally to the wolves by his best_ and only_ friend, in the darkness, and in a new dimension where he didn't know the rules.

His eyes roved over the landscape, trying to adjust to the lighting. All he could make out were the outlines of some trees, and glinting red eyes which flickered occasionally in the darkness, chilling the marrow in his bones. He didn't so much as twitch, fully realizing that any movement, any sound could give his position away, if the monsters didn't already know where he was.

Every soul here is a monster. And he'd helped put them here. Fear didn't even begin to cover it.

He heard a movement to his left, and tensed. He felt paralyzed with dread. Whatifit'snothingwhatifitdidn'…


A dizzying sensation, like being trapped in a Tilt-A-Whirl gone haywire. When Dean could feel his feet firmly on the ground again, he collapsed onto his knees and retched. Panic and angel-transport didn't mix, apparently. Angel transport meaning…

"Cas," he gasped, squeezing his eyes shut and attempting to rise. "What the hell?"

The angel regarded him blankly for a moment, before turning to survey their surroundings. As far as Dean could tell, they were the same as before. Dark and leafy. "I needed to find a safe area," Castiel said simply, taciturn as ever.

Dean understood, really he did. A horse runs faster without a rider, after all. A bad comparison, but… "Mind a little warning next time?" he huffed, not betraying his overwhelming relief to have his friend back at his side.

Castiel turned again to him, his expression as close as it ever came to looking exasperated. "There might not be a next time, Dean. There isn't time for effective communication. There is a cave a little ways from here; I missed it the first time."

The angel advanced towards Dean, fingers brushing against his forehead, and Dean's stomach, for the second time, was left somewhere in the forests of Purgatory.

This time they hit rock. Hit it. While Castiel managed to toss Dean more or less out of harm's way, he himself collided with the stone of the cave wall, and after a sickening thud, sank to the floor.

Dean ran over to check on him. "You okay?"

"I'm fine, Dean," the formerly crazy, now inexplicably lucid angel ground out. The side of his head was bleeding profusely. "I seem to be having difficulty maneuvering."

No shit, Dean thought. Not like Captain Obvious ran into stone walls for fun. "Is your… is your mojo not working here? Is it Eve?" Because if Castiel didn't have his powers, they were well and truly screwed.

"I don't believe so. I would not have been able to do anything if that were the case," Castiel said, fixing Dean with his trademark, intense stare. Dean privately suspected that someone had once told the poor bastard that eye contact was integral to human conversation, with this result.

"What, then? Why're you malfunctioning?"

Castiel flinched imperceptibly at the word. "I am not malfunctioning. Purgatory is just made out of… "stronger stuff," you could say, than either Heaven or Earth. It was not made for the kind of movement that angels have. Or for escape."

So he had looked for a way out. Well, points for trying.

"In any case, I will adjust." Castiel looked so stubbornly determined at that moment that Dean grinned.

"That's you, Cas, adaptable as they get. So what," Dean said, almost laughing in spite of the severity of their situation," Are we gonna do with ourselves now?"

"Finding water and sustenance should be of prime importance right now," Castiel deadpanned.

He was slightly, but not very surprised when Dean blinked and said in a thoughtful tone that he thought finding suitable weapons and making fortifications would be the first order of business. Eventually they came to a compromise. Castiel suspected that any sources of water in Purgatory would operate much like a watering hole in the wild_ a place where all of the monsters would be naturally attracted. He was the stealthiest of the pair, and could gather water for Dean with the least difficulty, considering his teleportation abilities. Meanwhile, Dean would eat the honey stored in the plastic bag Castiel still had on him, and would proceed to build the booby traps which he, as a human hunter, had more intimate knowledge of the mechanics of.

Their teamwork was flawless, efficient. Just like old times, Dean thought with wry amusement.

Back on Earth, Sam was having difficulties of his own.