Part V:

Denial's left you all alone

A/N: I think you guys want me to die. I'm up to, what, 20 follows? And 12 faves? Soon, I will be a ghost, haunting this story, I swear. And fourteen reviews, my GODSTIEL, fourteen. That's a lot for me and I am sooo happpyyyy.

Now, I need to set to work Photoshopping Cass' head onto a dollar bill.

...

Another big big big big huge frigging colossal thanks to my Beta Meg. Without you, I'd be nothing, absolutely nothing.

Dean Winchester notices for the fiftieth fucking time in his life that he can't really have anything that

makes him happy.

Anger clouds his vision and his confusion turns his brain to into a swirling mass of hornet-like thoughts, stinging over and over. Finally, finally, one thing in his life he actually cared about, one thing that he could invest himself into without consequences, without worry that somebody would come and snatch it all away – and that one thing wants nothing to do with him.

Worse, that one thing is completely and utterly bipolar.

Immediately after those Earth-shattering words, Cass had fled the room, fumbling his way down the flight of stairs. Dean caught up with him at the bottom, screaming out a string of "Cass, wait!"s and "What are you talking about?"s, but all Cass did was shove him away with tear-filled eyes and a broken voice. "I'm sorry, I'm so very, very sorry."

He climbed into Dean's Impala, not bothering to even close and lock the door to his dead parents' house (which Dean paused to take the liberty of doing). He met him on the far side of the Impala, crouching down so he could see his face. "What's wrong?"

"I think you should take me home now," was all Castiel said for the rest of the night.

Dean's turning this over in his brain as he storms out of the back of the Roadhouse, trash bags in each of his hands. It's hot out today, and he rubs sweat off his forehead with his upper arm, trash bag banging into his chest in the process.

He tosses the trash into the Dumpster with more force than strictly required, when suddenly a body barrels at him, throwing him backwards with the momentum. He gasps when his back connects with wall of the Roadhouse, but then there's a forearm on his throat cutting of his oxygen supply.

"Hello, Deany," Alistair breathes, face dangerously close to Dean's own.

Dean claws at Alastair's hand to reduce the pressure but Alistair shows no signs of budging; he merely smiles and presses his mouth to Dean's ear. "We miss you, Deany. You think you've made a life for yourself here, but you're wrong. I know you'll come back to us." Alastair lets out a low sinister laugh. "You always do."

"Never," Dean manages to choke out, still trying to escape Alistair's deathly grip.

Alistair chuckles again, and steps away – Dean falls to the ground, inhaling deeply and coughing as the much needed air rushes into his lungs.

Alistair leans against the Dumpster, "How's that boyfriend of yours, hmm?" He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes.

"Don't," Dean coughs out between gritted teeth, "Don't even think about."

Alistair lights his cigarette in one quick flick of the lighter, taking a long drag. "Aww, Deany, but he's so

cute. I thought we've already had this discussion - you need to learn how to share!" As he speaks, the smoke curls out of his mouth in tendrils.

Dean staggers to his feet and contemplates launching himself at Alistair. He can envision himself throwing punch after punch, maybe a kick or two, into Alistair's smirking face, his gut. He can imagine himself taking him down.

And that scares him.

"Go away," Dean coughs again. "Get out of here, or so help me, I swear I'll –"

"You'll what?" Alistair's smile is dangerous and intimidating, and even Dean, who's very, very used to it by that point, flinches. "Try anything and that boyfriend of yours? Well, let's just say he'll take a much needed vacation."

"He's not a part of this," Dean's fists clench and he glares at Alistair with narrowed eyes, "He never was, he never will be."

"We'll see about that." Alistair flicks his cigarette aside and starts walking away, backwards. "I'll be seeing you, Deany. Give Castiel a kiss for me." And with one last parting smirk, he turns and disappears around the corner.

And Dean runs.

He bursts into the back entrance, but he can't really see where he's going, not around the panic burning in his eyes, his throat. He trips on something unidentifiable, falling right into –

A pair of arms.

"Dean?"

No, no, not now. He can't deal with this now, not at this moment, not when everything inside of him is slowly falling apart, not when sobs are pushing at the back of his throat, and oh my God, Alistair could be watching them right now, and Cass. He has to protect Cass.

And so he keeps running.

He still can't see where he's headed to, not really, everything an unrecognizable smear of colors, like a painting a child did with chubby fingers and no sense of shapes or shadows. He's vaguely aware of Ellen's voice, calling out his name, but it doesn't quite reach his brain, as if her words were a butter knife attempting to cut a steak. Cutting, but barely. Certainly not noticeably, not without many repeated tries.

His hands find purchase on the door, and he's pushing on impulse, sprinting towards his Impala on the far side of the parking lot. He won't give himself the satisfaction of looking around, for Alistair, or anybody associated with him, to make sure he's safe. As long as he gets away. Maybe, just maybe, if he got away, he'd leave them alone. All of them.

Castiel.

He throws himself into his Impala, fumbling with the car keys; the shiny surface gives a glimpse of the sun, casting a strip of golden-white light across Dean's cheekbones. He shoves it into the ignition, squinting against the flare, and turns the key as fast as his shaking fingers with allow him too.

Dean forces himself to stop for just a second, to inhale deeply, just once, so he can give his brain a minute to catch up with the pandemonium zooming through his entire body. He doesn't give himself long – in his rear view, he's seeing Ellen run out after him, and oh, there's Cass, stumbling through the doorway, and even in the tiny reflection Dean can see that his too blue eyes are blown wide, his hands clutching at anything they can find.

He pulls the car into reverse.

And then he's pushing the Impala much faster than the speed limit, without a destination on his mind –just away, far, far away.

Cass might not want anything to do with him, but he still cares. He shouldn't, he really honestly shouldn't, he doesn't have that right, it's barely been a few weeks -a month and a half at the most- but he does. He does. He's not even aware of what it is, whatever this big ball of mush is inside of him that's been growing ever since he first laid eyes on Castiel.

Dean Winchester does not believe in fate, or destiny, or even soul mates.

But he could.

~X~

The next thing Castiel realizes with dismay is that he has got to learn how to keep his head on straight, disregarding the almost literalism of those words.

He's certain that Dean deserves much better than him, much better than somebody who is almost tricking a guy to fall in love with him only to . . . Only a few months, they said, and these days he's taking it seriously, even if it's been this way for going on two years. No, Dean deserves somebody that'll be around long-term to take care of him. Dean needs to be taken care of. He's willing to, but he knows he can't, not for long.

But now, he can. So he does.

"Ellen," he's fumbling towards the sound of her voice calling Dean's name, ignoring Balthy whining at his heels. He can hear her breathing and sighing, then her warm hand's in squeezing his. He grips it so tight that he's sure it hurts but Ellen just returns the pressure. "Something's wrong with Dean."

"I know," she says almost solemnly. "He took off in his car, the son of a bitch." Her words may be bitter, but her voice drips with concern. "What happened?"

"I don't know," he leans into her touch. "Where did he go?"

With a quick 'hmm', she tugs at his hand, pulling him someplace he can't figure out. She places both her hands on his shoulders, gently sitting him down. "There's something you're not telling me, Cass," she's barely whispering, and something twinges in his chest. "What happened last night? Neither of you have said a word about it, and you have yet to pick up your violin. That's not like you; you're always turning to that thing."

He doesn't respond. He's too ashamed. He bows his head.

"Come on," she gives him a not-quite gentle shake. "It would help us find him, you know he would."

"Perhaps he went to visit his brother." He purposefully dodges the question, and he fully expects Ellen to ask it again, to keep pressing.

But she doesn't. "You haven't told him, have you?"

He closes his eyes, fighting off the urge to curl up defensively. It's not about him right now, it's about making sure Dean's alright. "That's not of import."

"You haven't," she murmurs, more to herself than him. Cass doesn't like the pitiful tone in her voice even though she means well.

"He doesn't need that burden," he snaps, shrugging off her hands and rising to his feet. "He doesn't . . . he shouldn't get attached to me, it's a bad idea."

"Sweetheart, that boy is already head over heels for you," he can almost feel Ellen shaking her head. "He was a mess, Cass. It's not my story to tell, but things were real bad for him. I was worried about him coming back, thought maybe . . . but no, he's doing so great. And it's 'cause of you, honey. You are good for him." There's a smile in her voice that makes him want to cringe.

"Please, Ellen, please don't tell me that," he struggles to keep his breathing even. "I already feel guilty enough that you, and Joanna and Ash carry this knowledge. I am sorry. It's not fair to you."

"Screw that!" He jumps as her voice jumps a few octaves. "It's our job, we care about you, you're like family now, you know that! Nothing you can say will ever make us stop loving you."

He feels her presence shift to the far left, the sound of keys rattling finding him.

"Now let's cut this crap and go find ourselves a certain Dean Winchester."

~X~

Dean hates himself.

He has for a long time, but right now he really does. He'd like to say that some outside force drew him to this place, but he would be lying. It was him, all him and his screwed up mindset.

He's sitting in a bar across town, one he used to go to way back when things were bad. He never bothered to learn the name – there was never a sign – but the interior is the same blacked out, ramshackle, dust-coated design that he hates. They still have the same bartender, a battered-looking scrawny guy named Garth that has a horrible habit of twitching and stuttering. As far as Dean knows, he's the only one that works there and he recognizes Dean as soon as he walks in.

When Dean all but collapsed into a stool he's settled in more times than he cares to admit, Garth placed a drink in front of him without even asking. Whiskey, straight, just like he used to take it.

There wasn't any hesitation.

That scares him.

Five or six, or maybe even seven shots later, Dean's slumped over the counter, red-rimmed, bloodshot eyes tracing idle patterns on the battered counter. He's singing Foreigner more off-key than usual, which says a lot, considering he's totally tone-deaf, he's sure that his leather jacket just got stolen off the back of his chair, but he can't bring himself to lift his head long enough to check.

He sighs. He likes being drunk, he decides then. He doesn't have to think. He doesn't like to

think.

"Dean?" there's a hand on the small of his back, and a warm voice that's like velvet in contrast to the ringing in his ears. "Dean, are you alright?"

"Mm, nope," he slurs, popping on the "p", and giggling. "I theenk it'd be a good 'dea if I went hommmeeee." He stretches the last word out, laughing again, and repeating it because he rather liked the way it sounded.

"Dean!" that velvet voice repeats, and there's two hands placing themselves clumsily on either side of his face, fingertips disappearing into his hair. "Can you stand up?"

"Ummm," he concentrates really, really hard and eventually finds the energy to lift his head, feeling a twinge of disappointment when those soft hands rooting him to the ground disappear. He attempts to stand, but ends up collapsing sideways out of his chair, knocking into a pair of legs that crumble along with him.

There's a yelp of pain as something hard strikes his head. He rubs his forehead thoughtfully, squinting the ceiling. "Ow."

He forces his drooping eyes open more, rolling over on his stomach and seeing a figure clad in a beige trench coat, sitting up and pressing two fingers of each hand to his temples. It takes Dean a pregnant minute to recognize his face.

"Cass?"

Cass looks up at the sound of his name, and Dean sees that his sunglasses are perched atop his nose, which is bleeding, a trickle of crimson red dripping off his chin. "There's a cab outside," he explains, wiping his nose with the sleeve of his coat in the process. "Perhaps it would be prudent if wegot to it before the driver grows impatient."

There's another stretched moment. "Yeah, yeah." He hefts himself to his feet, using the edge of the counter for support. He stands, swaying, his head light and in some dream land that's all black and white.

Castiel fumbles for his forearm – as soon as he finds it, he uses his free hand to feel along the counter top, half-dragging a drunken Dean behind him.

"Duddeeeee!" Garth smirks from his place behind the counter, where he was watching the scene unfold. "Are you blind?"

Cass stops, turning towards the sound of his voice. "I don't see how that's any of your business, but if you must know, I am. I don't need eyes however, to see that you are a complete and utter ass-butt."

And with those words, he finished his journey through the dark bar, pushing Dean out into a moonlit night.

~X~

It takes another thirty dollars out of Dean's wallet (and Cass is not paying him back, either) to convince the cigar-stinking cab driver to keep driving to Castiel's apartment.

"If he throws up all over my backseat," the guy huffs with a Brooklyn accent as he puts the taxi into drive. "You're paying to have it replaced!"

"Of course," Cass reassures, digging into his pocket for a spare tissue. Though there's still blood all over his face, he uses it to wipe the drool off the corner of Dean's mouth, which he felt when he brushed his hands over his face to make sure there were no injuries (after all, Ellen had told him that Dean was known for getting into bar fights in the old days, and once they concluded that's more than likely where he was, Castiel's been fretting about it) who's already passed out, which he can tell by the fact he's snoring, head lolling onto Cass' shoulder

With a sigh, he wipes off the sweat he felt on his forehead as well, and shoves the tissue back into his pocket. The driver apparently notices this in the rear-view mirror, and snorts. "What is he your boyfriend or something."

The question catches Castiel off guard. He hesitates. "You could say that, I suppose."

The cab driver snorts again. "He's lucky then. My wife would never take care of me like that."

Cass tilts his head towards the general direction of where he feels Dean on his shoulder. "What is your name?"

"Zachariah."

"Lovely name," Castiel nods to himself. "I'm Castiel."

"Well, Castiel. The world needs more people like you."

~X~

Zachariah goes as far as to help Castiel take Dean into his apartment. They each have one of his arms thrown over their respective shoulders, and by the time they reach the door, the drunken man is heaving, displaying signs of throwing up.

"The key's under the mat," he tells the cab driver, who quickly finds it and pushes open the door.

He continues to help Cass settle Dean onto the bathroom floor; the former has high hopes that if he does throw up, it'll be in the toilet, or even the bathtub, and not all over the floor.

"Thank you," he says to Zachariah, whose presence he can feel backing away from the doorway.

"No problem."

When their saying their goodbyes, and Zachariah's settled back in his cab, he rolls the passenger window down, and calls to the retreating Cass, "Hey, uh, Castiel?"

Cass stops and casts a look over his shoulder.

"He didn't . . . he didn't do that to you, did he? Your face I mean."

Castiel puts a hand to his nose – he had forgotten all about the nose bleed. "No, of course not."

Zachariah doesn't seem content with that answer, but says, "Alright. Give me a call, any time," any way.

"Thank you, again," Cass gives a smile he hopes doesn't falter and appears genuine.

~X~

Back inside, Cass pulls Dean to his feet again, whose back asleep, judging by the extremely loud snoring. It takes him a good five minutes or so to get him into his bedroom, and to get at least half of him onto the bed.

He shrugs his trench coat off, tossing it to a corner he can't see, taking a moment to lean against the doorway and just breathe. Ellen has Balthy tonight, and so he feels rather alone, especially with Dean passed out drunk.

Castiel has issues with drunk.

He's fixing to feel his way into his living room so he can curl up onto the sofa to get some much needed sleep, when a soft voice half-whispers, "Cass?"

He stops dead in his tracks. "Dean?" he doesn't face him. He's not sure if he can bring himself to. "Are you alright?"

He hears a yawn. "Could you stay with me tonight?" Castiel wants to cry. Dean's voice sounds so broken, and empty, and God, he can't say no, not to that.

He sighs for about the billionth time in the past hour, treading towards his bed. When he feels his silk comforter under his fingertips, he carefully climbs into it, pressing his body into Dean's, more out of comfort to himself than to the other.

God, he's so warm.

"Thank you," Dean whispers, cautiously encircling Castiel with his arms.

For just a brief moment in time, they can both pretend that everything is okay.

A/N: SO. I'm not commenting on this chapter, because I'm still drowning in feels. I sat down today (Thursday) after school and just wrote and wrote and wrote until I couldn't write anymore, and I've been going at it for about four hours. I'm so proud of myself, I really struggled with this chapter UNTIL...

Music is like a huggeeeee part of my writing. Really, these would be blank if it wasn't for my music. So, Imma start doing my "Soundtracks" per chapter, because I highly recommend ALL of these songs. They really helped me, ESP. WITH THIS CHAPTER.

My playlist for this chapter:

Hurricane Drunk by Florence + the Machine

Muse: Time is Running Out, Starlight, Apocalypse Please, Newborn, Uprising, Hysteria, I Belong to You, Supermassive Black Hole, Undisclosed Desires, Butterflies and Hurricanes, Can't Take My Eyes off You, Escape

Chameleon Circuit: The Sound of Drums, Journey's End, The Doctor is Dying, Extermine Regenerate, An Awful Lot of Running

AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING THIS. I LOVE ALL OF YOU.

Reviews are so much love. 3

Cassbucks, anyone?