Author's note: Welcome to my newest story! Enjoy!
As always, thanks to Ghastly Eternity for beta-reading :-)
Edit: Thanks so much to SARA1988 for the cover art for this story!
"I think you've had enough," the barkeeper stated definitely and took Dean's empty glass away without returning it again.
"My brother just died," the older Winchester – now the only Winchester – mumbled as if he expected that fact to change the other man's mind about the matter. To tell the truth, he would have had pretty good chances, if it wasn't for one simple fact.
"That's what you've been saying every night those past two weeks," the barkeeper replied in a gentler tone than what the one he would have used on nearly everyone else. Dean hadn't given him any real troubles and it was plain as day that he was suffering immensely, so he could cut the guy some slack. He wouldn't help him to get any more intoxicated, however.
"Come on, man, that's not what your brother would have wanted," the barkeeper stated with conviction as he put a glass of water in front of the sad man in front of him.
"Don't I know it," Dean snorted and pushed the glass away from himself, "I know exactly what he'd have wanted. He told me. But the bitch doesn't get to tell me how I'm going to grief and neither do you!"
It was quite impressive that the Winchester was still capable of speech to the extent he obviously was. He might have slurred his words a little, but he should have been by far more impaired in his speech at this point.
The barkeeper wasn't fooled, though. He had seen Dean every night for two weeks and knew that he was pretty close to getting too drunk to stand on his own and he wasn't going to let him sleep in the bar, again. Once had been enough!
The Winchester was getting up from his seat at that point. They had been playing this game for weeks, so they both knew exactly where it was going. Dean would leave and find another way to get drunk enough so he could sleep. He would either buy some booze to consume in his hotel room, or he would go to another barkeeper who didn't have any qualms about knocking him off his feet.
What came next was a departure from their usual routine, however.
"Hello, Dean," Castiel stated in his usual, stoic tone.
The barkeeper could have sworn that the man in the trench coat had appeared out of thin air, but he had paid more attention to the Winchester than he had to the room as a whole, so it was entirely possible that he simply hadn't noticed him walking in.
"Nobody called you," Dean muttered under his breath, "Stupid angel."
"Bobby is worried about you," Castiel said without batting an eye because of his friend's comment.
It was obvious that those two knew each other and it was equally obvious that the newcomer didn't have any malicious intentions, so the barkeeper decided to remove himself from this end of the bar. There were a couple of regulars that required his attention, anyway.
"Tell him to stop worrying, then," the Winchester mumbled, slurring his words more than he had before. Apparently, the alcohol was only now taking full effect. So, maybe the barkeeper had been right about him having had enough, after all.
Castiel looked as annoyed as he would get without actually wanting to slam Dean into walls and punch him in the face repeatedly. He didn't wait for the other man to do or say anything more and just put two fingers against his forehead, sobering him up instantly.
"What did you do that for?" Dean yelled at his friend and gave Castiel a hard push.
"You were in no condition to have a serious discussion," the angel replied calmly and followed the human when he stormed outside without glancing back even once.
Castiel wouldn't say that he had better things to do, but he clearly had other things to do than trying to talk some sense into a notoriously stubborn human. Still, here he was attempting to do exactly that.
"What do you want to discuss, Cas?" Dean asked venomously and finally turned around when they were standing outside the bar.
There was absolutely nothing he was willing to discuss. He had pretty much chosen the path he wanted to be on right now and he wasn't going to let anyone talk him out of that. If Sammy could decide to let the devil ride his ass straight to hell, then Dean had every right to decide that he wanted to drink himself into oblivion over it!
"You made a promise to your brother," the angel stated matter-of-factly, never letting his gaze stray from Dean's eyes, "And I made a promise to Sam, as well."
If the human found the way Castiel was staring people down unnerving usually, he found it thoroughly provocative now.
"Know what, Cas? I don't give a damn!" Dean shot back and went to the driver's side of the Impala. Luckily the barkeeper hadn't gotten around to confiscating his keys this time.
"I don't give a damn about your promise and I don't give a damn about mine, either!" he elaborated, talking himself deeper and deeper into rage, "Sam never had the right to make me promise what he did, anyway! This is my life now. My brother's gone. I'm on my own. No more responsibilities for somebody else!"
It had been a stupid promise in the first place. Why should he go and mess up Lisa and Ben's lives? Why go and put them in danger? Why go and make promises to them that he wouldn't be able to hold, anyway? Wasn't it enough that he had promised – time and time again – that he would protect Sammy, that he'd keep him on the right path and safe in general and that he had completely failed in all those things?
"Systematically destroying your liver is not what we stopped the Apocalypse for," Castiel stated seriously.
If Dean did not want to settle down as he had promised, he could still go on hunting and use the life he had been given for something better than becoming a full-fledged alcoholic.
"We stopped it because your father couldn't be bothered to do it," the Winchester snorted, "And I'm tired of doing His job! Why should I care, if He doesn't?"
The angel clearly wanted to say something to that, but the human stopped him with a gesture.
"He watched Ellen and Jo die and didn't do a thing. He let Lucifer kill Gabriel for trying to help us and He let Sammy damn himself to an eternity in hell after rubbing the fact that he'd go to heaven after death into his face," Dean spat, "So, if He ever expects anything from me again, He first has to show that He gives a fuck about the people that are trying to do His work!"
Not to mention people that had believed in Him long before they had a reason to do so. Yeah, God was clearly Dean's least favorite person at the moment and it was doubtful that He'd ever lose that place to someone else.
"Heaven can kiss my ass, anyway," he added nearly as an afterthought, "It's not like any of them have ever done anything for me."
Dean regretted ever saying that as soon as he saw the even more stony expression than usual on Castiel's face. The angel disappeared before he could have done anything to soften the blow, however.
"Dammit, Cas, that didn't include you," the Winchester sighed deeply before he got into his car and took off towards Bobby's. He already had alienated one of the very few people who still gave a damn about him. There was no need to add Bobby to that list.