This story is a continuation of other fics (Pt 1,The End: Behind the 5 Years. Pt 2 Nothing Can Wake Me Up From You) & won't make sense as a stand alone.

There's some season 6 & 7 canon thrown in, but it's mostly altered & what my brain threw out in response to my last story & what I read for season 8 spoilers.

WARNINGS: Season 6 & 7 spoilers, slash (Dean/Cas), language, & drinking/drugs

It had been over a year since they'd avoided the Apocalypse. Life had pretty much gone back to normal, as normal as a hunter's life got anyway. A couple weeks after the big Lucifer showdown Sam and Dean were back in the Impala and on the road again...with the latest addition to the team, Cas, of course.

Things were a little awkward at first, but that was to be expected. In general Sam was happy for his brother, he really was. And this whole thing really wasn't that much of a surprise, the hunter and angel had been having all kinds of pent up sexual tension between each other for months now. Sam wasn't blind. Hell, he was the one who told Dean to go be with Castiel when he thought he was going to die, but seeing his brother with a guy after all these years was still something he needed to adjust to. What was a surprise was that Dean wasn't with the angel Cas, he'd picked the human Cas.

A little bit after the time traveler showed up it was pretty obvious to Sam that Dean knew this Cas too, so Sam made Dean tell him what the hell the deal was. Dean gave him a small window into his trip to the future. He refused to give too many details, but he made it pretty clear he was happy with what he and the angel became in five years. The way they acted and how Dean looked at him, Sam was sure Dean didn't even like the human version. Obviously that little detail changed somewhere along the line. Sam had already gotten used to Cas hunting with them in the months since he first appeared in the hotel room. It was actually nice having some back up. So, he knew it was just a matter of time before he was fully cool with Cas and Dean's new situation.

Dean, naturally, had a few growing pains during the beginning as well. He was sure he loved Cas and wanted him around, at all times, but as far as actually being in a relationship he was clueless. He was all good with the sex part, that came a lot more easily than he'd of thought actually, but everything else was up in the air. For the first few weeks he tried to act like he thought he should. He mimicked things he'd seen people in supposed 'normal' couple relationships doing. He held Cas's hand, was affectionate, attempted to talk about their feelings. Granted he only did these things when they were in private, of course. He couldn't just turn off his personality completely. He felt totally weird and didn't like any of it, but he really wanted things to work out for them this time so if he had to do all this 'good boyfriend' crap for that to happen then he was gonna suck it up and do it.

Sometime during the third week Cas snapped. The way Dean was acting was completely freaking him out. He wanted to know where the hell his Dean was and how to get rid of this creepy pod person.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Cas asked annoyed, as he looked down at what was in his lap with shock.

"What? It's food," Dean said, a little taken aback by Cas's tone.

"You made me breakfast in bed," Cas said, the words sounding odd to his ears even as he was saying them.

"So?"

"So knock it off!" Cas snapped.

"Why the hell are you pissed?" Dean asked confused.

"I'm not pissed," Cas said, softening his tone. "You're just really freaking me out with all this shit lately."

"What? Being nice to you?"

"Yeah. It's really not your style Dean," Cas chuckled.

"Hey! I can be nice," Dean defended.

"You can, but what's the deal with all this lovey dovey crap? You're driving me nuts."

"Oh thank God," Dean said relieved.

"What's he got to do with it," Cas deadpanned.

"I don't know dude. I was trying to make you happy, show you I cared or whatever. I want things to be better this time," Dean admitted.

"Dean, they're already better, the Apocalypse was avoided. No need to change the other stuff. That always worked for us."

"So, you just want me to act the same?" Dean asked unsure.

"Exactly."

A few weeks ago they came across something new, well new to them anyway. They ran into their first alpha monster. Turned out everything they had ever fought had a creator, they all came from one original, even more powerful beast.

Sam had run across a case involving missing babies. The babies were taken from their homes in the middle of the night and their parents were slaughtered. At first they thought maybe the children were being taken for some sort of satanic sacrifice, but the more they investigated the more it just seemed like humans.

Cas and Sam, while thinking it was awful of course, said this was more of a cop problem then theirs. Dean said if someone taking babies from their beds and killing their parents wasn't a monster, then he didn't know what the hell a monster was, so they stayed.

Finally, they caught a break in the case. They figured out all the houses broken into had the same security system. While they were staking out the couple houses with babies Sam interrupted the would be kidnapper, and scared him off. After they had the baby for a few hours they realized what they were dealing with was certainly not human. During a crying fit the little white baby boy that they'd been looking after suddenly shed its skin and looked exactly like the little black baby that was pictured on the box of diapers they'd bought.

Apparently the alpha had a connection to all of its children and it found them. Dean refused to give the monster its baby, but it almost killed him and took the child anyway. None of the usual things to fight a shapeshifter seemed to do anything to this creature, but piss it off. If all the alphas were like this, they were in trouble.

The latest case involved a cop who had liquefied in front of another officer. One minute the dude was standing in the locker room, and the next he started to bleed, and then splat. All the was left of him could be mopped off of the floor. They were holed up in the motel room in research mode, but they really didn't even know where to start.

"No, I won't just accept it. I want to know why," Dean said with indignation.

"Because I don't, that's why," Cas shrugged.

"That's not good enough. And don't act like this isn't a big deal, it's important," Dean snapped.

"I don't see what the problem it, it's just an opinion."

"The problem is, it's my job to teach you this human stuff and you're messing it up."

"Not liking a certain food is not messing anything up," Cas laughed.

"Don't laugh," Dean whined. "This isn't funny. How can I take anything you say seriously if you hate pie?" Dean asked, saying the last word as if it was difficult to get out.

"I didn't say I hated it," Cas clarified. "I just said I didn't like it, and didn't really wanna eat it."

"You've been eating it all this time. All the sudden you don't like it."

"I never did, I just ate it anyway."

"What for?" Dean asked suspiciously.

"Because you had this little bitch fit the first time I told you I didn't like it too," Cas chuckled.

"I am NOT having a bitch fit," Dean said, sending him a glare, which earned him a snark from Sam in the background. "Shut it, Sammy."

"Can you two have your lover's quarrel later?" Sam smirked from behind his laptop. "We're on a job here, in case you forgot."

"This isn't over," Dean said, pointing at the former angel. "Ok, bitch, what do you have?" Dean asked Sam with a smirk.

"Shut up jerk. I don't know. The dude just kinda disappeared, other than the blood, there aint much to go on."

Later that day they heard about another cop dying over their scanner. This guy's death definitely wasn't normal either. He had become covered from head to toe in boils. Sam stayed at the motel and continued with the nerdy research stuff while Cas and Dean drove to the morgue to check out the body. In the car Dean brought up the earlier argument.

"So, if you don't like pie, what else don't you like that I think you do?"

"Are we still on this?" Cas asked, rolling his eyes. Dean just glared at him so he answered. "There's nothing else I don't like."

"How could you not like pie? It's awesome."

"It's fruit for dessert," Cas said sounding offended. "Do you not see the hypocrisy in that? Dessert should be sugar packed and consist of a bunch of man made materials, not stuff that's good for you."

"Pie does have sugar, genius. It aint good for you."

"I know that," Cas defended. "It's the principle of the thing. If you covered green beans in peanut butter and dipped them in chocolate, they wouldn't be good for you, but they'd still be a disgusting fucking vegetable underneath some tasty coding."

Dean made a face at the vegetable talk. Cas actually had a good point. His dissing pie was still utter blasphemy, but he made a good debate none the less.

"Don't ever use vegetable talk to defend your hatred of pie again or we're gonna have a problem hippie," Dean said sounding serious, but sending Cas a smirk.

"My apologies," Cas deadpanned.

The words rang in Dean's ears. He focused his attention on the road and tried to push his thoughts away. He couldn't help, but think about the first time he'd heard the angel say those words to him. He was always so formal. It was weird at first, but then it became rather endearing, it was one more thing Dean deemed 'Cas like'. This Cas was a lot less formal and pretty much talked like everyone else, but every once in awhile he would sound like his former self. Dean knew he did it subconsciously because nobody out right mentioned Castiel now unless it was really necessary.

After they looked over the cop's body they went to talk to the guy's partner. From the second he opened the door the dude was acting weird. He had scratched the faces off all of the pictures that were hanging on the walls and was doing the same with another one while they tried to talk to him. He kept talking about things being over, because they all got what they deserved. And something about a boy with no face. Then they saw blood streaming down his face from under his hat and the guy dropped to the table. Cas went over to check, and he was dead. There were strange sounds that seemed to come from under the guy's hat. When they took it off there were a bunch of grasshoppers that had eaten through his skull to his brain.

"What more proof do you need Sam?" Dean asked annoyed. "It's right out of the book, the dicks aren't even trying to be creative anymore."

Sam and Cas exchanged a look. They were both thinking the same thing, but neither wanted to be the one to bring the subject up. If the angels were on earth again, wouldn't Castiel have shown up? Or at least give them a warning?

"Look," Sam said trying to keep the peace. "If it is Heaven related, we'll deal with it."

"If?" Dean questioned, getting angry. "Angels are back and they're fucking with the humans again. There is no if."

"If they were," Sam began, biting the bullet. Cas totally owed him one. "Don't you think we would have heard from him?"

"I didn't say he was back. I said some of his asshole siblings were running free."

"You don't think he'd give us a heads up at least?" Sam asked, pushing the subject.

"He's not their frigging babysitter," Dean snapped. "Who says he even knows what's going on down here?"

The 'boy with no face' that the cop had rambled on about turned out to be a young man the three dead officers had planted a gun on after they shot him. For some reason the angels were focused on this event, so they went to talk to the remaining family. Dean could tell the boy, the younger brother to the young man that was killed, was hiding something. Sam stayed in the living room distracting the father while Dean and Cas questioned the boy in the other room.

"Aaron, I happen to know for a fact, you're lying," Dean said to the boy. "Just tell us the truth, nobody's going to hurt you."

"You won't believe me," Aaron said unsure.

"Try me," Dean urged.

"It was an angel."

"What did the angel do?" Dean asked.

"He helped me."

"How?"

"Those liars, they killed my brother, and nothing bad even happened to them. It's not fair. So, I prayed to God every night he would punish them. God didn't answer. But he did."

"Aaron, this is important. What did he do?" Dean asked.

"He gave me something to pay them back," Aaron said, as he pulled a short stick from his jacket pocket.

"It can't be," Cas said in shock.

"What? What is it?" Dean pushed.

"The staff of Moses."

"That?" Dean questioned in surprise. "Shouldn't it be bigger?"

"It's been cut in pieces. We have to get the rest of it, it's very dangerous. His name...did he give you his name?" Cas asked Aaron.

"No. He just said I could have justice, but I was gonna have to take it myself. He... he gave me the stick."

"He just... gave it to you? Ah, come on. He didn't just give it to you, did he, Aaron?" Dean asked suspiciously.

"I bought it," the boy admitted.

"With what? Your allowance?" Dean chuckled.

"What did the angel want for it? What did you give him for it?" Cas asked seriously.

"My soul."

"You sold your soul to an angel? Can that even happen? Dean asked turning to Cas.

"It's never happened before," Cas answered while looking deep in thought. "It could explain why the staff's been cut into pieces though, more pieces, more souls."

"How do we find out who bought it?" Dean wondered.

"When a claim is laid on a living soul, it leaves a mark, a brand."

"How do we read it?"

"A spell. Aaron, we need some of your blood."

They made their way back to the motel and Cas set out to perform the spell to find their angel. He was tossing different ingredients into a big metal bowl like he was baking a cake or something. Dean stood there, just watching.

"One more thing," Cas said.

"Oww, fucker. A little warning would be nice," Dean hissed after Cas grabbed his hand and sliced open his palm, holding his hand over the bowl for a few seconds.

"Needed blood."

"You couldn't use yours?" Dean complained as he wrapped a bandanna around the cut.

"No, I wasn't born human."

Turned out the angel they were after was one that angel Cas had known really well. They'd fought together a lot and Cas seemed to really care about him. The first time Dean met the angel he couldn't understand why the hell, no pun intended, Castiel would like this asshole. He could see Cas, now Cas, liking him, they'd prolly throw an orgy together, but not Castiel.

They found the guy holed up in some old mansion living like he was Hugh Hefner or something. He was surrounded by a group of blonde girls that looked young enough to be his daughter, his vessel's daughter anyway, and had a bottle of whiskey in his hand. Once he realized who Cas was he snapped his fingers and the girls disappeared.

"So, you went mortal," the man said with a british accent.

"Wasn't exactly a choice," Cas said evenly.

"Wait," the man said looking Cas over questioningly. "You're not Castiel, not exactly, not even in the right year, are you?"

"No, I'm not."

"What happened?"

"Look, Balthazar, it's a long story. We'll discuss it over beers or something," Cas offered only half sarcastically. "Why are you buying souls?"

"Just for fun," Balthazar shrugged.

"Fun?" Cas questioned.

"And because I could."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"What? What? I me... you're the one who made it possible. The footsteps I'm following...they're yours. What you did, stopping the big plan, the prize fight? You did more than rebel. You tore up the whole script and burned the pages for all of us," Balthazar laughed. "It's a new era. No rules, no destiny. Just utter and complete freedom."

"How do you figure? God's returned to Heaven."

"Doesn't matter," Balthazar shrugged. "What you did made some of us realize we didn't have to follow the rules anymore, whether daddy was home or not."

"What else did you steal from Heaven?"

"I stole a lot of things brother."

"What for? You don't look too interested in any angel duty," Cas said gesturing to their surroundings.

"Who knows when pop's gonna go on another bender and leave the kiddies unattended. We wouldn't want them throwing a temper tantrum and trying to start another Apocalypse."

"So, you're just trying to save the world?" Cas asked incredulously.

"I quite like the world as it is. Humans are fun, like little toys to play with and I will not have our bratty siblings mess up my good time."

"Fair enough," Cas shrugged. He could tell his brother was being honest. "Stop buying souls though," he said, sending him a solid glare.

"Buzz kill," Balthazar muttered. "As you wish. Most of them are quite tainted anyway. So, how about that drink?"

Cas went outside to fill Sam and Dean in on what was going on. He had to threaten Dean with everything he could think of to make him actually stay in the car and let him go talk to Balthazar alone. Dean was pretty skeptical about the guy, the dick had bought a little kid's soul. After a small argument that ended in Cas pulling out one of his old 'Castiel will smite you' faces Dean just shut up and followed Cas back into the house to get his own perspective on the angel. Cas was vouching for him, maybe he wasn't that bad.

Four months went by and things were even weirder than usual for them, if that was possible. The alphas were being a real pain in the ass. They had run across a skin walker who informed them that he'd been 'recruited' to be a monster. Before that, they'd run into the same thing with a nest of vampires. The alphas were building armies. Why? They had no idea, but they needed to find out and stop it.

They had just come from a rare trip to the hospital. Usually they could patch themselves up, but this time there were broken bones and possible fractured skulls to deal with. After everyone's immediate problems were taken care of they made their escape. The tension in the Impala could be cut with a knife. Dean was white knuckling the steering wheel and biting his lip to keep his mouth shut. Ever fiber of his being wanted to freak out on Cas, like right now, but Sam in the backseat stopped him. His brother had already been through enough crap for one night, Dean didn't want to make it worse on him. He had a bunch of stitches in his arm and side of his stomach, some nasty burns, and his right ankle was pretty messed up.

They'd fought their first dragon, yes dragon. They couldn't even believe they were real when the evidence to their latest case started pointing to their legends. Young girls, who all turned out to be virgins, were going missing. Their only living witness was a girl who was attacked by the creature, but left where it found her. Turns out, she wasn't a virgin. It did steal her gold promise ring though. She described the thing as a big bat that clawed her. If she didn't have the big claw wounds to prove it they might have thought she was crazy. So, their leads involved; virgin victims, gold, fires, and giant bat...yup all research pointed to dragons. Next, they had to find out how to kill dragons.

Sam found a professor that was well informed on dragon and related mythology, so Dean and Cas drove to see her. Luckily, she actually believed dragons had existed once so it didn't take much to convince her that they were back. She even had a sword that could kill them. Problem was, Dean didn't prove worthy enough in the sword's opinion and he couldn't pull it out of the giant rock it was stuck in. Plan B involved explosives...they only walked away with part of the sword. Whatever, it was still sharp. Now he would just have to get closer to the damn thing before he stabbed it.

Fighting this stupid dragon, which turned out to have friends, is what caused the current situation. They were holding their own well enough when there were just the two monsters, but when a third showed up things went down hill. They only managed to kill one of them. Sam got his ass kicked, Dean got smacked around and Cas, the dumb reckless son of a bitch, nearly got himself killed, which is what put Dean in his current mood.

"What in the fuck was that?" Dean exploded as soon as the motel room door was shut.

"You're gonna have to be more specific pumpkin," Cas said facetiously.

"Don't you fucking try to be cute," Dean hissed. "You know what I mean."

"I don't have to try to be cute, I'm adorable. What? I took a shot," Cas shrugged.

"You went in between two of those things without a weapon! I know you're not stupid, so you're either fucking insane or have a death wish."

"Oh, I'd say a combination of the three, for sure," Cas said indifferently.

"Stop being an asshole, I'm serious," Dean demanded.

"What the hell did you expect me to do?" Cas asked dropping his nonchalant attitude. "They were closing in on you, I wasn't about to just stand there and watch."

"I actually HAD a weapon. I could have defended myself."

"Yeah, like Sam did," Cas snorted.

"Well, what made you think you could do any better unarmed?" Dean asked incredulously.

"I didn't think I could do any better, I just didn't give a shit."

"You didn't give a shit," Dean repeated bitterly. "You don't give a shit if you get yourself killed? Cas, you're not a fucking angel anymore!" He shouted. "If you break shit, it takes time to heal. If you're bleeding, the wound has to be closed. If this stuff happens bad enough, you die," Dean said, quieting near the end.

"I give a shit if I die, but I will never NOT risk myself, if it's to save you."

Cas looked him directly in the eye as he said this, emphasizing how much he meant it. He'd already told Dean things like this, but the hunter seemed too stubborn to fully accept it. Sure, he believed Cas when he said this stuff, but he never thought he deserved to be on the receiving end.

As pissed as Dean was over Cas's reckless behavior, he really couldn't fault him for it. Cas didn't do anything Dean hadn't done for Sammy a hundred times and wouldn't do for the former angel without a second thought if the situation were in reverse.

"How's your arm?" Dean asked, his tone soft.

"It'd be a lot better if you'd of let me take those fucking vicodin I was entitled to take," Cas answered, glaring at him.

"I don't think so," Dean said shaking his head. "It took me how long to get you off those fucking drugs? No way I'm letting you take anything stronger than an aspirin. If it hurts, get drunk and pass out like the rest of us do."

"How the fuck is one co-dependency better than another?" Cas whined.

"Because liquor is legal."

"Fucking hypocrite," Cas spat.

"You're an angry wounded patient, aren't you?" Dean smirked. "Now go get in bed and I'll bring you some brown liquor and Advil."

Cas started to remove his clothes, or he tried at least. He'd gotten his jacket off and his T-shirt was half way over his head when he started to groan in pain. Dean was right at his side to help. Then he looked at his chest which was mostly covered in an ace bandage, but he could see bruises creeping out.

"Shit, how bad is it?" Dean asked concerned.

"A couple broken ribs."

"Dammit, Cas. Lay down," Dean ordered, as he guided the man to the bed.

Dean stripped Cas down to his boxers then covered him with blankets. He went to his duffel bag and got out a bottle of aspirin and a bottle of Jack then gave them to Cas. After undressing himself Dean got in bed next to Cas and turned on the TV.

"Easy on that bottle, you have to stay awake for awhile with that head wound."

"Yes mom," Cas said rolling his eyes.

"Hey smart ass, you're lucky it was only a concussion and wasn't fractured."

"I can think of a better way to keep me awake," Cas said giving Dean a suggestive look.

"Don't write checks your body can't cash hippie," Dean smirked.

"Is that a challenge?" Cas asked, eying him.

"Cas, we're not having sex now. You're kinda broken, literally, at the moment."

"C'mon Winchester," Cas griped. "You're not seriously telling me no, are you?"

"You're pretty fucking sexy when you beg. I may have to go take a cold shower or a long hot one," Dean teased.

"You're a horrible person, you know that?"

"You love me," Dean shrugged.

"Not right now."

"I bet I can change your mind," Dean said in a low gruff voice.

Before Cas had a chance to get out his snarky comeback Dean attacked his mouth with his own. Dean moved in close, so their bodies were practically together, but was careful not to touch any of Cas's injuries. He grasped his hand in Cas's thick dark hair and pulled him in tighter so their mouths were impossibly close. Cas ran his hand, the one not in a cast, up and down Dean's muscular smooth back. The makeout session was pretty intense and both men were soon about to need more. After a little while longer, they separated.

"I got you," Dean said after putting a finger to Cas's lips when he looked like he was going to protest the separation.

Dean removed the covers off of them and pushed them to the floor, then he positioned himself over top of Cas and straddled his hips. He leaned down carefully, making sure not to put weight on the other man's chest, and started to kiss him again. Dean moved from his mouth down his jaw line and to his neck, finding that spot the former angel liked so much. Cas moaned underneath of him and Dean continued down. He laid gentle kisses on the skin that was exposed until he got to the hem of Cas's boxers. There he stopped, looked up at Cas, gave him a cheeky smirk, then removed them.

Dean took Cas's hard cock in his hand and began stroking in gently. Cas inhaled sharply and mumbled some incoherent ramblings, that Dean was sure consisted of at least a few swear words. Dean stopped the stroking and leaned down taking him into his mouth. This too, started out slow and gentle. Then as Cas got closer, Dean increased the pace and began sucking harder. After Cas came Dean reached over to the nightstand, grabbed an empty beer bottle and spit the contents of his mouth into it.

Cas swore he was good at it, but Dean had never quite gotten fully comfortable with giving head. He still gave it way less than he got it, but he thought it was only fair to reciprocate once in awhile. The first time was definitely the toughest. It was a few months after they'd gotten together and Dean insisted it was time he returned the favor. Cas had already told him that he didn't give blow jobs when they were together before and he didn't have to this time, but Dean thought that was pretty shitty of his other self. If you're gonna ask for something sexually, you should be willing to give it back as well. Dean was always a fair lover with the women he was with, he wasn't going to stop now that he was actually having sex with someone he really cared about.

Over the next couple of months they learned a few things about monsters. Like God was father to all the angels, something called Eve was mother to all the monsters. They also found out, like angels were loyal to their parent, so were monsters to theirs. They knew that the alphas had a connection to their monster line, from their encounter with the head shapeshifter and vampire, but to add to it, Eve had a psychic connection with all the things they hunted. She could get into any one of their heads any time she pleased. The real pain in the ass of the matter was that it took damn long enough to figure out how to kill her and when they finally did, it was written in Samuel Colt's old journal that they'd found, they didn't know how to find the bitch. They'd caught a few monsters and tried to beat the info out of them, but the stubborn bastards wouldn't spill.

Actually getting what was needed to kill the mother of all evil was no walk in the park. The only known thing that would gank her was Phoenix ash. Sam and Dean always thought they were just a myth, but Cas explained they were very real and were just extinct. This posed a bit of a problem to say the least. Dean was the one to come up with the idea. He'd read in Colt's journal how to kill Eve, the ash, and it also happened to talk about the location of a Phoenix. Dean announced he knew where to find the bird. Sam and Cas asked where in unison and Dean said, not where...when.

Balthazar was reluctant to do it at first because he knew, angel or not, Cas would find a way to smite his ass if he was unable to bring Dean back from the past. He only had the juice to send two people back that far so Sam and Dean went while Cas anxiously waited with Balthazar at Bobby's house. He could only send them back a maximum of twenty-four hours to be sure he could pull them back to their own year in one piece. Luckily, that was exactly enough time. Dean had shot the bird and was just finishing scooping up the ashes when he and Sam were zapped back to the present.

"How about we ask a more friendly monster?" Sam offered.

"I'm sorry Sam, but the teletubbies aren't actually real and they're not technically monsters," Cas quipped.

"We have met a few more human acceptable monsters smart ass," Sam said, sending Cas one of his signature bitch faces.

"Who are you thinking of?" Dean chimed in.

"I don't know, Lenore maybe?"

"It could work. How do we find her though?"

"Balthazar," Cas suggested.

Dean rolled his eyes, that angel was not exactly high on his buddy list. He had to admit though, the dude did help them out a few times and Cas really liked him. Dean thought it was important for Cas to have something good form his former life. Most of his siblings were dicks with wings, but Balthazar seemed to genuienly care about Cas, and for that he was just over the line of Dean's good side.

Cas called his brother and within seconds the cocky son of a bitch made his appearance. All smug and V-neck T-shirt fully intact.

"What can I do for you brother?" Balthazar asked Cas, while specifically ignoring the Winchesters.

"We need to find a vampire, her name is Lenore."

"Give me a few ticks of the clock and I'll have her here," Balthazar promised, before zapping off.

True to his word he was back a few minutes later with the vampire. She looked like she'd been living in a sewer. Apparently, Eve had turned all the members of her family back to drinking human blood. Lenore was doing her best to resist, but she had given into temptation and drained a young girl. The mother's voice was just too strong and overpowering. She agreed to tell them Eve's location if they would kill her after. The brothers really didn't want to do it. They tried to convince her to just let them lock her down until Eve was killed, they knew she didn't want to kill people. But Balthazar stepped in and burned her to death. They both made an angry face at him and he just shrugged.

Now they had their weapon and a location. They took the ash from the Phoenix and packed it into shotgun shells. If it worked with salt and ghosts it should work with ash and mother evil. All they needed was some sleep and they'd be off to kill themselves an evil bitch with way too many children. They even had an angel secret weapon up their sleeve thanks to Cas asking his brother for help. Balthazar didn't seem to be able to deny Cas what he requested. Dean got the distinct feeling Cas had been the little brother in Heaven, he'd have to remember to ask him about that later.

Killing the mother of all monsters was actually easier then they'd of thought. They didn't even have to fight. She was holed up in a diner surrounded by a new breed of monsters, a concoction of a wraith and vampire, that she'd slapped together around the town. Sam and Dean went in the front door while Cas and Balthazar waited outside. Eve had her monster hybrids disarm the Winchesters, then proceeded to bore them with her talk about being a good mother. She had been away from her children too long and just wanted to connect with them again, and make a few new breeds.

A few minutes later a couple of her monster babies came through the front door with Cas and Balthazar. Turned out his angel powers didn't work around Eve, she sent out some sort of shield that blocked his mojo. Plan B, the angel being their ace in a hole to get a shot off, was now out the window. Time for plan C. Dean started his mouthing off and it pissed Eve off. She threatened to turn him into one of the monsters if he didn't shut his mouth, of course he didn't and she bit him. Seconds later she grabbed her throat, coughing, and dark liquid started coming out of her mouth and nose. She looked at Dean in horror. He had a hand over his neck wound and with the other he reached into his pocket and pulled out an empty shotgun shell.

"I like to have a back up plan," he said shaking the shell.

He'd downed the ash with a shot of whiskey just before coming into the diner. Eve dropped to the floor dead and the monsters in the diner looked less than pleased. They began to attack and Sam, Dean and Cas took defensive stands.

"Shut your eyes!" Balthazar shouted.

The three humans in the room all covered their eyes and ducked down. Balthazar's powers were now back and he sent a blast of white light out killing all the monsters in the diner. As soon as the monsters hit the floor Cas was at Dean's side. He'd sat back down at the counter, getting pretty weak from all the blood loss. Eve had taken a nice chunk out of him.

"You're losing a lot of blood pretty quick," Cas said, as he checked the wound.

"I'm pretty sure she turned me into one of those things too," Dean said looking up at him.

"Balthazar, could you?" Cas asked turning to his brother.

"Of course," Balthazar said, then stepped over to Dean, put his hand on his shoulder healing his wound and turning him human again.

Killing Eve made the monsters settle down. Over the next few weeks things went back to their regularly scheduled programming. The monsters did their thing and Sam, Dean and Cas hunted them. Then about five months ago all hell broke loose, sort to speak. Purgatory was opened. Crowley, that little smug bastard, they should have totally killed him when they had the chance. He was trying to be the new king of Hell and apparently some loyal Lucifer followers were giving him a hard time. He needed power and souls held power, Purgatory had a lot of souls just lying around.

Fortunately they confronted Crowley where he was opening the door and stopped him before he was able to take in any souls. Unfortunately they were unable to close Purgatory back up before a nice nasty breed of monster escaped.

The more they learned about the Leviathans the more they disliked them. Not that any monsters were likeable, but these guys were just a pain in the ass on top of it. They were strong as hell, could take on the form of any human they wanted and they didn't seem to be killable. They didn't even know how to hurt them until recently. These things were becoming a real bother and nobody seemed to know what to do. Sending the Leviathans back where they belonged or at least finding a way to kill them all was always at the top of their to-do list, but in between they filled their free time with random monster of the week hunts.

Dean stood motionless under the stream of nearly scalding water as it beat down on his stiff shoulder muscles. He made no immediate effort to clean the blood and dirt that was covering pretty much every inch of skin that hadn't been covered by clothing during the hunt. He was sore. All he wanted was to feel the heat of the water erase the tension from his body. After a few minutes he turned around to face the shower head and began to wash of the day's kills. They'd run into a particularly difficult nest of vampires. What they thought was a group of four turned out to be seven and Dean chalked it up to dumb luck that any of them had even made it out alive.

Turning off the water that had started to turn cold anyway Dean stepped outside of the shower and grabbed a towel. He dried off then wrapped it around his waist and walked out of the bathroom. He smirked when he saw Cas standing across the room not facing him.

"Cas, dude, we went over this. I'm totally over my trench coat fetish. I swear," Dean said with a chuckle. He was only slightly lying. He didn't miss the coat per se but he couldn't deny that seeing it made his stomach flutter a little. Old memories and all.

"Hello Dean," the familiar, slightly deeper than his doppelgänger's, voice that Dean thought he'd never hear again greeted, as he turned around.

Dean just looked at him for a few moments in pure shock. He never expected to see Castiel again. They'd had that totally chick flick goodbye over two years ago and he thought that was pretty final. He found himself staring at the angel unable to speak. During Dean's little detachment from reality Castiel was having a small problem with getting his own brain to function. As soon as he turned around the sight of Dean washed over him like a frigging tidal wave. Of course he'd been watching him from Heaven since the day he left earth, but seeing him in the flesh, and so much bare flesh with little water droplets dripping down at that, was somewhat overwhelming. Luckily Castiel still had the ability to appear completely stoic at all times.

"My God," Dean finally said, leaving his mouth slightly open.

"No. Still an angel Dean," Castiel deadpanned.

"They uh, teach you sarcasm up there all the sudden?" Dean asked, trying to regain his composure.

"I've paid closer attention to the humans since my return to Heaven."

"Kinda slow up there eh?" Dean joked.

"Not anymore," Castiel answered, in a grave tone that slapped Dean with the seriousness of the situation.

Of course Cas had to be here because something was wrong, that was just how Dean's world was. He was just too taken aback by the initial shock of seeing the angel after all this time to think about that right away. Dean tried to seem as even as possible, luckily he'd had years of practice and this wasn't too difficult, but inside he felt like he was drowning. A flood of memories washed over him and old emotions hit him like a ton of bricks.

"What's going on? Another Apocalypse?" Dean half heartedly joked.

"Yes," Cas answered evenly.

"Wait, what? Are you serious?"

"Of course."

Before Dean had a chance to bitch at him for answering rhetorical questions instead of actually explaining what the fuck was going on Cas walked into the room.

"I did not get you extra onions," he called as he closed the door. "I'm the one who has to..." he started and stopped mid sentence when he saw who was in the room.

"This can't be good," Cas said indifferently, as he set the bag of food on the table. "What's the deal?" He asked not directing at anyone, leaving the question open to the room.

"End of the world," Dean said casually, shrugging his shoulders. Then he looked down at himself remembering how unclothed he was. Dean was far from modest, but this was kinda awkward being in a room with his lover, past and present.

"Awesome, I was getting bored. So, did you two shower together or what?" Cas asked with a suggestive smirk, as he sat down and put his feet up on the table.

"I uh, I'm gonna go get dressed," Dean said somewhat awkwardly, as he grabbed some clothes out of his duffel and returned to the bathroom. "Cas, call Sammy."

Cas didn't say anything, but did take out his phone to call Sam. Castiel just glared at him. He'd watched over him in Heaven as well, but that was strictly for Dean's sake, his liking of his double never did increase. A few minutes later Dean reappeared and sat on the edge of the bed. He ran his hand through his still damp hair and took a deep breath. He looked up as Sam entered the room and quickly noticed the Parent Trap situation going on.

"Wow," Sam said softly. "Hey Cas."

"Hello Sam," Angel Cas greeted.

"So uh, not that it's not good to see you," Sam said hesitantly. "But I'm guessing this isn't a social visit."

"No. It isn't," Castiel confirmed.

Sam moved to sit in the chair across from Cas and patiently waited for the scoop.

"So Cas, what's going on? Why are you here?" Dean asked, looking at the angel.

"I have to find Dick," Castiel started to answer when Cas started snickering.

"Lonely in Heaven are we?" Cas asked still chuckling, as he reached for his burger.

"Cas," Dean warned, sending the man a firm look.

"Dick Roman. You peasant," Castiel said, while looking at Cas as if he wanted to smite him. "He needs to be stopped."

"Yeah Cas, we've been trying. We don't know how to kill the fuckers. Only even just found out how to hurt em and it's with some Suzie homemaker cleaning product shit," Dean said.

"It's not just about killing him Dean. We need to stop him and the rest of them from doing what they're planning."

"Which is?" Cas asked, with a mouthful of food.

"They plan to open the gates of Hell," Castiel answered evenly.

"Uh, we kinda dealt with that before. It didn't end the world," Sam said unsure.

"This is different. Dick is searching for a way to open them permanently. It will literally be Hell on earth. Demons and evil will run everything here."

"Son of a bitch," Dean swore. "They can do that? I mean there's a specific way they're looking for?"

"Yes. You've been tracking Dick for some time now and you've found out he's funding archeological digs. You just don't know why," Castiel said, not telling them anything new and the hunters just looked at him getting a little impatient. "He is searching for the word of God," Castiel finished.

"The word of God?" Sam questioned. "I thought the bible was the word of God."

"No," Castiel said frustrated. "The bible is written by self righteous men who got far more wrong than they did right."

"Well why would the word of God say how to open the gates of Hell forever?" Dean asked. "Isn't that kinda like shooting yourself in the foot on purpose?"

"Because it also says how to close them forever," Cas piped in.

"Exactly," Castiel confirmed. "When God brought things into creation he wanted everything to have a balance. That's why there's good and evil. Heaven and Hell. Night and day, and so forth."

"What, you knew?" Dean asked Cas incredulously.

"I knew about the word of God, yeah. Hello, former angel here. I didn't know the Leviathan's knew about it."

"So what do we do?" Sam asked, bringing back the focus of the conversation.

"We need to find the word before they do," Castiel answered.

"Wait, what about God? He's back in Heaven now right?" Dean asked.

"Yes, but God doesn't know where the word is."

"Father never could keep track of his things," Cas said sarcastically.

"Father never knew where these things were," Castiel said through gritted teeth. "Or have you really forgotten that much?"

Cas just rolled his eyes and took a drink of his soda. Sam once again, brought the conversation back on point.

"Well who would know where it is then?" Sam asked.

"Metatron. He was the one who took down the word to begin with."

"Cool," Dean said clapping his hands. "So, we go find this angel dude and all will be fixed."

"You're optimisim is adorable sweetheart," Cas said with a smirk. "But it's not that easy."

"When is it ever?" Dean asked annoyed.

"Nobody knows where the hell Metatron is," Cas explained.

"What?" Sam questioned.

"He hasn't been in Heaven for quite some time I'm aftraid," Castiel confirmed.

"He fell?" Dean asked.

"Yup," Cas affirmed. "He bounced not long after Gabriel ran away from home."

"Awesome," Dean said with an eye roll. "How the hell do we find an angel in hiding? Gabriel fucked with us a bunch of time before we even knew what he really was."

"That was different," Castiel started to distinguish. "Nobody was looking for Gabriel. Plus, Metatron is not nearly as powerful, he should be easier to locate."

"Yeah, cuz shit's always so easy for us," Cas said bitterly.

"So, the Leviathans," Dean said trying to keep the peace. The look Castiel had given Cas frightened Dean a little. The angel clearly hated the guy as much as ever. "How do we kill them?"

"I don't know. Leviathan's were in Purgatory before Angels were even created and God was a little over confident in believing they'd never escape so we were never informed."

"Actually questioning Daddy now, angel boy?" Cas asked sarcastically.

"In case you've forgotten mutant," Castiel said, turning to his future self glaring at him fiercely. "My questioning our father was a big part of the first Apocalypse being avoided."

"Ok, ok. Guys chill," Dean said standing up from the bed and putting his hands up to placate the situation. "Let's just focus. It'd be nice if the world didn't end, right?"

The plan, if you could even call it that, was for Castiel to begin searching for Metatron immediately. Dean, Cas and Sam were pretty much going to just do what they'd been doing...hunt and try to find a way to kill these Leviathan things. Castiel was going to check in on a regular basis and help out whenever needed but his main objective was to find his fallen brother. The others were human and there was no way they could do it themselves. Before he left the angel gave them all a nice new protection sigil to hide them from Leviathans, that he branded on their shoulders. It burnt like hell, Dean had a little moment of silence in his head sending out some respect to all the poor cows he'd eaten over the years that suffered through this too.

Shortly after Castiel left Sam made his way back to his own room. It was getting late and they were all pretty exhausted mentally after all the information they'd just been given. Another Apocalypse, which was ironic considering the definition of the word, they were in for a long hard ride.

Cas and Dean stripped down to their boxers and got into bed. They hadn't said anything to each other since Sam left. The silence was starting to get awkward so Dean had to break it. Cas had on his old stoic face, stubborn bastard, and Dean had no idea what he was thinking or feeling at the moment. Over the last two years they'd gotten extremely good at reading one another. Cas had a head start and could basically tell what Dean was thinking most of the time right from the beginning, but he had to adjust a little because this was the old version of Dean that he hadn't been around in a few years. At this point they were playing on an even ground. They often had whole conversations with just looks and the majority of the time they could tell what the other was thinking and feeling with out asking. That was a real asset considering neither of them liked to talk about either of those things.

"Long day," Dean offered, to break the ice as he shifted under the covers.

"Just say what you mean," Cas said evenly.

"Do we need to talk about this?" Dean asked, looking over at Cas. He took quick notice to the distance between them and didn't like it. Cas was a cuddler and not that Dean would admit it under the worst of torture, but he enjoyed that little aspect of his partner.

"Nothing to talk about," Cas said dismissively. "We do what we do and Castiel goes on his angel hunt. I was awake when all this went down, ya know."

"Fucking smart ass," Dean mumbled. "You know what I mean," he urged.

Cas knew exactly what Dean was actually asking, his former angel self's return, but he wasn't going to give in that easily. Did they need to talk about it? Yeah, probably. Did he want to talk about it? Fuck no. Cas had never gotten over his inferiority complex he felt in comparison to his superior, his words, angel counterpart. He knew Dean loved Castiel and always would. Even though Dean had chosen him it was always in the back of his head that one day Dean would wake up and regret that decision. The angel's reappearance just shoved that fear right to the forefront.

"I'm tired," Cas said then flipped to his side, facing away from Dean, ending the conversation.

"Night Cas," Dean said softly.

"Goodnight Dean," Cas returned.

Dean sighed to himself a little relieved. That was something at least. Cas wasn't completely shutting him out. He knew he was pissed off and they were definitely going to have to talk about this eventually, but for now a bandaid was just going to have to cover up the gaping flesh wound. They'd deal with the inevitable infection when all the pent up emotions boiled over later.

A few days passed and they hadn't heard from Castiel again. Dean wasn't worried because that wasn't anything unusual for the angel but he was getting rather impatient. Part of him wanted to see the guy like right now, but the other part kind of wanted to just think all this had been a figment of his imagination. Cas and his perpetual pissy mood since the return of the trench coat always quickly killed that pipe dream though. He, of course, was still refusing to discuss it. Dean was getting rather frustrated. Sometimes the guy was just way to much like he was. Having two emotionally stunted stubborn bastards in the same relationship made it nearly impossible for some conversations to ever start...unless one or both parties were drunk. That was pretty much always how they worked through their issues since getting together. They'd only had a couple, what would be considered, big fights actually. The 'offended' party would get smashed, the other would question it and the former would spill his guts, then the latter dealt with the emotional confession and it was all topped off with aggressive make up sex.

On the forth day Dean was driving the Impala to nowhere imparticular, he just needed to clear his head. It was kind of ironic, as much time as he spent driving, that he still found being out on the open road a good way to relax. Cas really wasn't speaking to him. He wasn't giving him the silent treatment per se but he only talked when Dean asked him something directly and it was always in as short of an answer as he could manage. Sam was acting awkward, clearly noticing the riff between his brother and former angel, and that was stressing Dean out too. A good half an hour down a deserted highway that he hadn't seen a soul on, Dean suddenly had company.

"Hello Dean," Castiel said, after appearing in the passenger's seat.

"Fucking hell!" Dean swore loudly, as he swerved the car into the other lane. "A little warning would be nice," he said annoyed, the Impala now straight in between the proper road lines.

"My apologies," Castiel said plainly.

"S'ok, I'm just really not used to that anymore. Not that I ever really was before either. So, what's up?"

"I'm afraid I have no new information. I just felt I should check in."

"Uh, thanks," Dean said, suddenly a bit nervous and willing himself not to make it obvious. He had yet to even try to process Castiel's sudden arrival. He pushed all those initial emotions he'd had in the hotel room down as quick as possible and refused to go near them. Him being less than two feet away totally wasn't helping matters.

"Where are you going?" Castiel wondered.

"Nowhere."

"If you have no intended destination isn't the use of this vehicle unnecessary?" Cas asked, tilting his head.

"Hey now, baby is never unnecessary," Dean said, defending his pride and joy. "The destination don't matter, it's the drive I need."

"You're stressed," Cas observed.

"That obvious?" Dean asked, glancing in the angel's direction.

"Yes."

They drove in silence for a few minutes when Dean suddenly pulled the car over and stopped. He turned off the ignition and just took a deep breath. Cas looked at him curiously, but did not say anything. He knew Dean had something on his mind that he wanted to get out and Cas knew the best way to let that happen was to give Dean the space he needed to do it out on his own.

"This is hard," Dean confessed.

"Should I leave?"

"No," Dean blurted out immediately. Cas couldn't help but smile slightly at that, luckily Dean wasn't looking. "Cas, tell me stuff."

"Such as?"

"Anything, everything. Just distract me. What's been going on in Heaven?"

"God returned and he wasn't pleased with the angels that tried to start the Apocalypse. Michael got pulled from the cage and he has been banished to the disciplinary sector of Heaven along with the rest of my brothers and sisters who were involved."

"How are angels disciplined?" Dean asked, looking over to him.

"There are stages. They are physically reprimanded, there's a deduction in their power for a designated amount of time, they are reminded of the rules, and they are kept in solitude until their rehabilitation is complete. I'm told it's quite unpleasant," Castiel said, crunching up his nose. He knew they deserved punishment but he still felt sorry for his family.

"Is that what like what happened to you?" Dean asked, remembering when he'd gotten hauled back to Heaven years ago.

"No," Cas said shaking his head. "My father is just and fair. I was punished by Zacharaiah who is neither, it was a lot worse."

"Son of a bitch," Dean said through gritted teeth. Good thing that dick was already dead because Dean wanted to strangle him at the moment. "I'm sorry Cas," Dean said softly, catching the angel's eyes.

"You did nothing," Cas said evenly.

"I was the reason you got punished in the first place," Dean said with guilt.

"You were not," Cas said, giving him a direct look. "What they were doing shouldn't have ever started and the only thing I regret is not telling you what they were planning sooner, punishment or not. I was a coward. We might have been able to stop the whole thing sooner if I had been more brave."

"You were more brave than anyone I have ever known," Dean said, looking at him intensely. "You went against everything you'd ever known because you knew something was wrong and you did it alone. You saved the world."

"I wasn't alone," Castiel corrected. "And I didn't save the world, I saved you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean asked confused.

"You think higher of me than you should Dean. I'm not a hero, I never was. Since the moment I raised you from Perdition my main purpose of existing has been to protect you, at any cost."

"C'mon Cas, you broke a lot of rules. Yeah, you ended up saving me, I'm part of the world, sticking to your assignment was just a lucky side effect."

"You're not understanding me," Cas said, giving him a direct look. "You were assigned as my charge, yes, but that had nothing to do with it. The world being saved was the lucky side effect. No matter what the consequence, I will always save you."

Dean knew he meant every word. Cas had made this confession trying to knock himself off the pedestal Dean held him on, but it only actually did the opposite. Dean didn't care why Cas saved the world, he'd still been responsible for saving it. If Castiel had never gotten him away from Zachariah he more than likely would have been forced into saying yes to Michael. Now that Dean knew he'd done it just for him, it was an even bigger deal. Never in Dean's life had anyone placed him above everything else. He knew logically that his well being should never be considered over the world, but he had to admit, it felt nice.

They'd spent who knows how many minutes just staring at each other. A thousand thoughts were going through Dean's mind, the main one being how much he had missed the angel. The last two years with Cas had been great, amazing even, but he always had Castiel in the back of his thoughts. The two were so different yet so much alike, it was exhausting sometimes. Dean's brain clearly distinguished the two, but the similarities often lead to his mind wandering back to the angel. Cas was a lot like Castiel, but just not enough like him for Dean to think of the two as anything close to interchangeable. To be fair, Dean did love Cas for who he was too, it wasn't all just his residual angel qualities. The guy had been there for him a hundred percent. They had a lot in common too. Cas drank like a fish, jammed right along to Zeppelin, could eat bacon cheeseburgers like a champ, was an awesome hunter, and was just as damaged as he was. He never once regretted which one he picked, part of him just always wished he never had to chose in the first place.

"I should get back," Dean said, finally bringing his brain back to earth.

"I'll keep you informed," Castiel said before zapping off.

Dean opened the door to the latest hotel room he was calling home for the night and stepped inside. He looked over to see Cas sitting on the bed reading.

"I got burgers," Dean offered, as he sat down at the table.

"Not hungry," Cas answered shortly.

Awesome. I get into a touchy feely girl talk with the angel and the heathen won't talk to me at all. Can't I find a little middle ground? I wonder what Sammy's doing.

After he was done eating Dean got undressed and into bed. He decided it would be better to just leave Cas alone for now, but they were going to talk tomorrow whether the damn hippie liked it or not. Dean was more tired than he thought, he fell asleep watching TV a little less than half an hour after he'd turned it on. Cas looked over at Dean as he slept. He missed being with him and just wanted to shove all his stupid thoughts out of his head and just lay his face on the hunter's chest and listen to him breathe until he fell asleep too, but he was too stubborn. He didn't have any actual reason to be mad, Dean hadn't done anything. In all honesty, he wasn't mad, he was afraid. He kept picturing his biggest fear coming true. The last thing he wanted to do was admit this to Dean, he'd just think he was being an insecure little girl.

Cas got up and turned off all the lights in the room and the TV then got back into bed. It took him awhile to fall asleep and even then it was restless. He woke up often and kept having stupid dreams about his former life as an angel.

The next morning Dean woke up to an empty bed. He looked over at the alarm clock that was on the night stand, 9:13 A.M. He got up to go to the bathroom and saw Cas was nowhere to be found. After relieving himself and washing up he walked down to Sam's room to see if he wandered off to there. They still weren't the best of friends exactly, but Sam had gotten used to Cas and they did seem to like each other for the most part.

Dean knocked on the door and it took a few minutes for Sam to answer. He wasn't too happy, Dean had woken him up. After apologizing to his brother Dean walked back to his room and called Cas, it went straight to voicemail.

"Dammit Cas, where the hell are you? You gotta at least give me a head's up if you're gonna take off. There's too much shit that wants to kill us. I need to know if you're blowing off steam or being tortured some where. Just let me know you're ok, please."

After hanging up the phone Dean went to take a shower. He was getting more pissed every minute, and more worried too. If that fucker was ok Dean was going to beat his ass when he came back. He was acting like such a baby. Dean finished up with his shower and got dressed. He turned on the TV, but wasn't paying the least bit of attention to what was on. Every part of him wanted to go looking for Cas, but he knew better. If Cas wanted to hide, nobody could find him, dude was like a ninja.

A few hours later Dean was laying back on the bed staring up at the ceiling when his cell phone started to ring. He quickly sat up on the edge of the bed and fished it out of his jean's pocket and answered it.

"Cas!" Dean called into the receiver, having checked the caller ID.

"Uh no, this is Casey," came a hesitant female voice on the other end of the line.

"What? Where'd you get this phone?" Dean questioned nervously, before she even had a chance to explain.

"I'm a bartender at the Cherry Lodge. There's a guy here that needs to be picked up and this was the last number that called," Casey explained.

"Is he ok?" Dean asked concerned.

"Physically, yeah. He came in rather upset. I should have cut him off, but I felt bad, he looks heart broken. I could get in a lot of trouble though, can you come get him?"

"Yeah, where are you at?" Dean asked, wishing he were there right now.

Dean told Casey what hotel he was at and she gave him directions. The place was ten miles away. Unless Cas went on a power walk when he woke up, he was hitch hiking again. Dean told him a hundred times to knock that shit off. Sure, in the grand scheme of things it was way less dangerous than things they did on a daily basis, but Dean insisted people could be a lot more fucked up than anything they hunted. Driving to the Cherry Lodge Dean broke about a dozen traffic laws and it still took him way to long to get there.

He looks heart broken. Of course he does. He's just as insecure as you are and he's worried about the angel.

He walked in the front doors and scanned the joint. It was pretty empty, it was only just after noon, not many day drinkers around these parts apparently. Cas was slumped over on a bar stool on the end of the bar farthest from the entrance. A cute brunette with an apron on was hovering around him, Dean guessed this was Casey. He walked over to them and she was the first to acknowledge him.

"Are you Dean?" She asked.

"Yeah, you Casey?"

"Yes."

"Thanks, for uh, looking after him."

"No problem. He's a real sweetheart. Sorry I let him get this bad. I really didn't think he had that much, but then it hit him pretty quick," Casey said guiltily.

"S'ok, I'll get him home," Dean said, giving her a thankful smile. Dean knew it hit him pretty quick because he'd more than likely polished off a fifth before he even got here. It was typical, he knew the bar would stop serving him before he got smashed enough so he would get a head start before he even walked in the door.

Dean sat down in the stool next to Cas and just looked at him for a minute. He had fully intended on ripping him a new one as soon as he found him in one piece, but what Casey had said on the phone changed his mind. He looks heart broken, the words kept repeating in Dean's head the whole drive there.

"C'mon, let's get you out of here," Dean said, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm not a baby," Cas said bitterly, as he shrugged the hand away.

"Obviously the bartender thinks otherwise, she called me. Let's go," Dean said, losing his patients. Cas didn't say anything, but he did get up and start to walk out, rather unsuccessfully.

Dean lifted up Cas's arm and put it around his shoulder to help support him as he walked. Cas protested at first, but Dean insisted and Cas gave in. They made it outside and Dean unloaded him into the front passenger's side then went and got behind the wheel. They drove back to the motel in silence. Dean helped him to the room and sat him on the bed. Dean pulled one of the kitchen chairs close to the bed, put it in front of Cas, and sat down.

"Cas, talk to me," Dean urged softly, after a few minutes.

"I'm tired," Cas said quietly.

"That's cuz you're drunk. Just talk to me and you can sleep."

"That's not what I mean," Cas said, shaking his head.

"What then?" Dean wondered.

"I'm tired of being afraid," Cas admitted.

"Cas, what are you talking about? I've seen you stare down the most pissed off big bads out there and just swear at them and go in swinging," Dean said, clearly not understanding.

"That's not what I'm afraid of," Cas started and Dean didn't say anything because he knew he was trying to explain. "I'm afraid you regret your decision."

Dean didn't need to ask him what he meant, he already knew. During their time together Castiel had always been a topic that was approached with caution. Dean did his best not to talk about the angel that often because he knew Cas was insecure about how Dean would always feel about his counterpart.

"I don't," Dean insisted.

"Not yet," Cas countered.

"Nothing's changed," Dean said frustrated. "All the reasons why I picked you in the first place still apply and all the reasons me and him would never work still do too."

"So I'm just some fucking consolation prize," Cas snapped. "You aren't good enough for angel boy so you'll have to settle for the fucked up human version that shouldn't even exist."

"I didn't say that," Dean said, raising his voice defensively. "Stop fucking putting words in my mouth."

"You don't say a lot of things Dean," Cas said coldly, while giving him a direct look. "It doesn't mean you aren't thinking them."

"Dude, you know what I'm thinking as soon as I do half of the time. Tell me when the hell I thought any of that exactly," Dean challenged sarcastically.

"I know how highly you think of him. I used to be him, remember? Angels hear a lot more than humans do Dean."

"What are you talking about?"

"I heard the way you talked about him, or me rather. After we met. You had this whole hero complex about us. We were so brave for saving the world and rebelling from Heaven. Newsflash Dean, I didn't do any of it to save the world in my time and I know he didn't give a damn about it during his time either."

"What the fuck does that have to do with anything?" Dean asked annoyed. He wasn't saying anything Dean didn't know already and this still didn't explain why he was pissed.

"Don't you get it?" Cas asked rhetorically, because Dean obviously didn't get it. "You always thought we were perfect, you thought he was perfect when you decided to pick me, it's why you picked me. We're far from fucking perfect, angel me the first time or him the second, and as soon as you realize that you're gonna wanna go back to the one of us you wanted in the first place which is him."

Dean took all this in and really thought about it before speaking. It wasn't true in the slightest. He never thought Castiel was perfect, he just really admired him and thought of him as a hero. That was still the case. Dean's hereos were held on high pedestals and it would take a lot more than this information to knock him down a peg. Didn't matter anyway, Dean wouldn't just cut Cas out for Castiel, he needed Cas. This still didn't stop a large part of him from wanting Castiel though. And Dean didn't just pick Cas because he had flaws, he loved him too and he felt the need to protect him, Castiel didn't need that.

"Two years," Dean began softly. "Over two years we've been here, doing this, and that's really what you think," Dean said sounding hurt. "That I would just suddenly wake up, be bored, and call up option B. Do you really think that little of me?"

"I think that little of me," Cas corrected. "It wouldn't just be all the sudden, you never stopped loving him."

"What about loving you, asshole?" Dean asked agitated.

"Let's not confuse love with pity Dean," Cas said somberly.

"Son of a bitch!" Dean snapped. "What the fuck do you want from me? What else can I do, huh? Cuz just tell me and I'll fucking do it."

"Nothing. I want nothing and there's nothing you can do. It was bound to end sooner or later and the good son's return just made it sooner," Cas said then stood up from the bed and started for the door.

Dean looked at him while he was talking in shock. He couldn't believe he was hearing this.

Did he just fucking break up with me? We've never even labeled this thing between us out loud and he's fucking dumping me.

Dean snapped out of his thoughts and stepped into action. He got up from the chair and went to stop Cas. He grabbed him by the arm and spun him back around facing him.

"That's it? You're just gonna fucking walk out? You're leaving me?" Dean asked, with a mix of hurt and anger.

"You're better off," Cas said dejected.

"Fuck I am," Dean said obstinately, then swiftly pulled Cas up against his chest and kissed him roughly.

Cas stood there rigid for a few seconds, but Dean persisted and then Cas responded. He kissed back deeply. He brought his arm around Dean's waist and pulled him in even closer. Dean's hand made its way up to Cas hair and gripped it, holding him in place. Their mouths desperately devoured each other's. It had been days since they'd touched one another and their bodies were reacting like a starving man who'd been given a steak dinner. After a few minutes clothing started to be shed and they made their way to the bed.

Cas pushed Dean down on the bed and climbed on top of him. They were both naked from the waist up and Cas quickly started to work on getting the rest of the job done. Once they were both nude Cas wasted no time and lowered himself onto Dean's hardness. The sex was a little rough and frenzied. They both just need the other. Since it had been so long since they touched they didn't take as long as usual and after they'd both finished they lay next to one another on the bed, their arms touching.

They were both tired and completely satisfied, make up sex was awesome. Too bad they really didn't fight all that much. They were both quiet for awhile, but it was a comfortable silence. Neither thought this little session solved their problems, but it certainly helped.

"You can't leave. You promised," Dean said, finally breaking the silence. "You said you'd never abandon me, no matter what."

"I would never," Cas confirmed.

"Then what was earlier? You tried to walk out," Dean said sadly.

"I would have been back. I'm here till you tell me not to be Dean," Cas said honestly.

"Then you'll never go anywhere," Dean said firmly.

"I really want to believe that."

Dean looked over at Cas and they locked eyes. They were always so good at reading each other. Dean focused all his concentration on telling Cas he meant it. He really did, that wasn't a question. The thing that he was hiding, that he still wanted angel Cas too, wasn't what was asked. Then in an extremely rare show of emotions, Dean let himself be vulnerable. Cas, both of them, was the only one he could put down his guard this much for.

"I love you, I do," Dean said earnestly.

"I believe it goes without saying, but I love you too."

Dean had only out right said those words a handful of times in their relationship. After his declaration to both future Cas and angel Cas back to back a few years ago he figured it would come out more easily, but it didn't. He still only said it under extreme cases. He was a firm believer in being a shower not a sayer anyway. He protected Cas with his life, just like Sam, that was what he did for people he loved. The small amount of people he'd truly cared about in his life he was more than willing to sacrifice himself for and Cas was one of them. The former angel had been witness to this a few occasions and Dean knew Cas was more than willing to do the same for him, and he'd shown it a few times as well.

A few weeks went by and things had settled down some. They were still facing another Apocalypse, but Cas had chilled out about Castiel's return and Dean could actually be in the same room with the angel without feeling like he were going to have a mental breakdown.

Dean, Cas and Sam were working on a case that turned out involve people that had made demon deals and their bill was coming in early. They were dying in a number of weird 'accidents'. The only question was how was the demon doing it? From what experience they had with cross-roads demons, they knew their word couldn't be broken.

The investigation brought them to a hall that was holding a high school reunion. One of the former class members made a deal and sold his soul for a girl. They had found him the day before by fluke. They were eating at a diner and Cas commented on the couple in the booth across from them. They were a total mismatch for each other. Dean and Sam's mind went straight to the time they worked a case involving a working wishing well. Everyone in the town who tossed a coin in and made a wish had it come true. That sounds lovely in theory, but sometimes people just aren't supposed to have exactly what they want. Things got pretty crazy, pretty quick. The guy who had started the whole thing by throwing in the first coin, which was magic, had wished for a girl way out of his league.

Outside Sam distracted the girl while Dean and Cas questioned the man. He told them how a former classmate had offered him a deal. He thought the guy was crazy, but agreed and the next thing he knew, the head cheerleader he'd been in love with during senior year of highschool called him out of the blue. So, the next day the three of them followed him to the reunion so he could point out who he made this deal with. The reunion was coming to an end and almost everyone had left when they were about to give up. Then a guy walked into the ballroom who the cheerleader groupie pointed out as the one they were waiting on.

"Son of a bitch!" Dean swore, as he slid down the wall he'd just been thrown into.

"Dean!" Cas yelled, looking over to check on the other hunter.

It turned out the deal making demon had a partner. He would make the deal and then the other demon would make these 'accidents' happen so the people's souls could be taken sooner. The evil bastard had found a loop-hole, got to give him credit for that. While they were focused on the demon that they knew of, the other half of the team jumped Sam and knocked him unconscious.

"Enough," the first demon, who was clearly the leader, said with a wave of the hand that made Dean and Cas freeze in their spot.

"My, my, my. The Winchesters and their former angel pet," the demon said, with a smirk. "This is a really good day."

"Cocky fuck," Cas spat.

"It's not every day a demon gets to kill three of Hell's most hated."

"Yeah, well, skip the foreplay and let's do this already," Dean demanded, as he struggled against the wall.

"Hope I'm not late to the party," came a familiar voice from the side of the room.

"Oh shit," the demon swore.

"Crowley," Dean growled.

"Sir I, uh I can," the demon stammered out nervously.

"Can it. I know what's been going on here," Crowley said evenly.

"I was just..." the demon started to explain, but was cut off.

"There's only one rule...make a deal, keep it,"Crowley snapped.

"Well technically I didn't..." the demon tried to justify, but was again, cut off.

"There's a reason we don't call our chits in early...consumer confidence. This isn't Wall Street! This is Hell! We have a little something called integrity. This gets out, who'll deal with us? Nobody! Then where are we?" Crowley ranted angrily.

"I don't know," the demon admitted frightened.

"And besides all that, what the Hell do you think you're doing with the Winchesters?!" Crowley roared before snapping his fingers causing the demon and his sidekick to disappear.

Dean and Cas had control over their bodies again and Sam was starting to come to. Dean rushed over to help him up and Cas eyed the king of Hell.

"What are you going to do with him?" Cas asked.

"He'll be dealt with as an example of what not to do. Can't have other demons thinking it's okay to go off doing as they please."

"What about all the deals he made?" Sam asked.

"Erased."

"Well what about that little outburst you had about us?" Dean wondered.

"Years of demons nipping at your heels, haven't seen one for months. Wonder why?" Crowley asked.

"We've been a little busy lately," Dean answered.

"Hunting Leviathan...yes, I know. That's why I told my lads to stay clear of you meatheads," Crowley said.

"So, what do you know about..." Sam started to ask.

"Too much. You met that Dick yet? Smuggest tub of goo since Mussolini. I hate the bastards. Squash 'em all, please. I'll stay clear."

The three hunters looked between one another. Obviously Crowley didn't know about the Leviathan's plan to open the gates of Hell forever.

"Did Dick turn down your offer to take him to prom?" Cas smirked.

"Dick is messing with the well being of my bread and butter," Crowley said. When they all looked at him like they didn't know what he was talking about, because they didn't, he continued. "Dick's trying to open the gates of Hell for good. I don't want that."

"Why wouldn't you want that?" Dean asked incredulously, while trying to hide to worry he now had because the ace up their sleeve had been pulled out.

"You are quite special needs, aren't you boy? Because I need humans. I have a good thing going here. I give them what they want, I get their soul. If there's literal Hell on earth what would people sell their souls for?"

"Your kind would run things, why would you care about souls anymore?" Cas questioned.

"I quite like the way things are. I have adapted a rather human lifestyle over the years. You boys saw my old house," he said nodding to the brothers. "And you two saw Hell," he said nodding to Dean and Cas. "The former is a lot more cozy. I don't want things to change."

"So, we're just to believe you're on our team now?" Dean snorted.

"We have a common interest. The enemy of my enemy yet again. I was straight with you lot about Lucifer, was I not?"

"You also opened Purgatory and started this whole thing in the first place," Cas snapped.

"Yes, well, no need to play the blame game. All of us have done things to bring on an Apocalypse at one point. Let's just agree to put the urge to kill each other aside for the time being and stop this one."

"He's not wrong," Dean shrugged. "Ok, fine. What can you tell us that will help?"

Crowley didn't have anything to tell that would help. He didn't know where Dick was, how to kill Leviathan or where the word was. He was rather useless, but he swore he had the same end game as they did, so for the time being, they were working with a demon again. When Castiel found out he was pretty upset, but Dean, as usual, was able to bring him around.

The next week the boys along with Bobby were on a case involving one of Dick Roman's operations. They didn't know why, but he had his hand in a number of food companies. The case that brought them here in the first place, missing campers, turned out to be related to the Leviathans. Dick's company was putting something in the sandwiches at Biggerson's Restaurants and it was making people act like they were on a docile acid trip.

They found the thing that had killed the missing campers they were there for. After Bobby and Sam did an autopsy on it, 'it' turned out to be human, or at least it used to be. They found the guy's wallet in his pants pocket. Some poor bastard named Gerry. Something turned him into a cannibalistic monster. They found some grey goo inside the body and didn't know what the hell it was.

A big clue turned out to be Dean. They'd all eaten at Biggerson's the day before and Dean was acting funny. Then when they ate there again the next day, Dean having the same food item, Sam and Bobby noticed other people acting the same way. They took Dean's sandwich, he wasn't too pleased. Sam brought the sandwich back to the abandon house they were squatting in to examine it.

"This is stupid. My sandwich didn't do anything. I don't know what you think you're gonna find," Dean said dismissively.

"There's something wrong with you, Dean," Bobby said.

"Are you kidding? I'm fine! I...I actually feel great. The best I've felt in a couple months. Apocalypse? Black goo? I don't even care anymore. And you know what's even better? I don't care that I don't care. I just want my damn slammer back," Dean said slightly slurring his words.

"I don't know, I like him this way," Cas said with a smirk.

"I like you too," Dean said with a big goofy grin.

"Dude, you are completely stoned," Sam said.

"Just like the dinner rush back at Biggerson's. Everybody's loving the Turducken," Bobby chimed in.

Just then grey gooy stuff oozed out of the half eaten sandwich that was sitting on the table. It made a plopping noise and they all turned to look at it.

"I think you pissed off my sandwich," Dean said looking disgusted. "That...that's in me?"

"O-only half of it," Sam offered.

"Does that snot look familiar?" Bobby asked.

"Okay, so whatever turned Gerry Browder into a pumpkin head... and is currently turning Dean into an idiot..." Sam started to say when Dean cut him off.

"I'm right here," Dean defended. "Right here."

"Is in the Turducken Slammer at Biggerson's," Bobby answered Sam, ignoring Dean. "It's in the meat."

"S'ok baby, I know you're here," Cas said teasingly to Dean. He was too high to realize Cas was fucking with him and just smiled like a moron. Cas thought it was adorable.

"If I wasn't so chilled out right now, I would puke," Dean said, looking at the sandwich.

The next day they went to stake out the warehouse where the meat was coming from. Dean was in the back of the van sleeping off his sandwich hangover. Sam looked in the rear view mirror to check on his brother. He'd fallen asleep leaning against the side of Cas and was currently using his shoulder as a pillow. Sam smiled to himself at the sight, it was sweet, but he was so going to have to bust Dean's balls about it later. That was just his brotherly duty. Bobby and Sam kept watch with binoculars while Cas sat still in the back as to not disturb Mr. Comatose. Waking up a hung-over Dean wasn't something anybody wanted to deal with.

Two hours and a gallon of coffee later and Dean was vertical again. Sam and Dean were sitting in the front seat just watching the building. Dick had shown up about an hour ago and Bobby went to get a better listen to what was going on. He was perched on a parallel building with surveillance equipment. They were in contact through walkie talkies.

"I have officially seen it all," they hear Bobby's voice over the walkie talkie.

"Bobby, what is it?" Sam asked.

"Dick's making the doctor eat himself," Bobby answered.

"That's kinky," Cas snickered, from the back seat.

"What?" Dean asked surprised.

"He's..." Bobby started to say, but the connection suddenly went silent.

"Bobby? Bobby!" Sam called into the receiver, but got no response.

"Son of a bitch!" Dean hissed. "We gotta go get him," he declared, then made a move for the door.

"Whoa, dude," Sam said, grabbing his arm to stop him. "There's at least four Leviathans in there, we need to think of a plan before we just go running in there."

"We got a plan," Dean said impatiently. "Go in and save Bobby, now stop being such a pussy and let's go."

"Dean," Cas warned, from the back seat.

"Don't give me your shit too," Dean said, turning to face him. "You're supposed to be on my side," he said, feeling a little betrayed.

"I'm on whatever side keeps your dumb ass alive. Now just think for two seconds before you run in there guns blazing...guns don't do anything to them remember."

Dean turned back around and crossed his arms. He was sporting a solid bitch face, but he made no further attempt to get out of the van. Sam mouthed the words 'thank you' to Cas in the rear view mirror. His brother was such a stubborn bastard. Shoot first, ask questions later, no matter what. On the very rare occasions he did listen to reason, it was usually Cas who reeled him in.

In the end they kinda did just go burst through the front door 'guns blazing', but at least they thought about it first. Dean and Sam had sprayers full of sodium borate, the only thing they found so far that hurt these things and it was by pure dumb luck. Bobby had saved his local sheriff from her surgeon, who doubled as a Leviathan, and she came by his house one day to clean it and cook him dinner. While scrubbing the floor she spilled a bucket of cleaner and some liquid seeped through the floor boards to the basement. Bobby happened to have a Leviathan chained up down there who he was trying to figure out how to torture. Everything he threw at it, the damn thing just laughed at. Until the cleaning product started to drip on him. His skin started sizzling and burning, like it had been doused in acid. Bobby rushed upstairs and saw what sheriff Mills had done. Now they had a weapon at least.

Sam and Dean sprayed the few Leviathans that greeted them while Cas looked for Bobby. He found him coming down a hall after having already escaped the room he was being held captive in. As soon as Dick heard the commotion Sam and Dean created, he'd left to go check it out. They made their way back to the lobby where Sam and Dean had been separated and cornered by Leviathan. Bobby rushed over to help Sam and Cas ran to Dean. They were all making their way to the door when Dick cut off Dean and Cas. Bobby came up from behind and shot him. All this did was piss Dick off. He wheeled around and, before Dean could drown him in sodium borate, shot Bobby in the stomach. Dean poured the rest of the cleaning product over Dick's head and he and Cas grabbed Bobby and started their way out. Sam rushed over to help and they quickly got back to the van.

Sam sat in the back with Bobby applying pressure to the gun shot wound while Cas and Dean jumped into the front. Dean pushed the gas down to the floor and sped out of the parking lot. Cas took out his cell phone and called to find the closest hospital.

"How is he?" Dean questioned panicked.

"I don't know, he's losing consciousness and a lot of blood," Sam answered.

"Well stop it! What are you doing?" Dean asked frantic.

"I'm trying!" Sam snapped. "I'm not an idiot."

"Dean, Sam's doing his best," Cas said calmly. "Just calm down."

"Clam down!" Dean shouted. "Cas, it's Bobby."

"I know, but freaking out isn't going to save him and crashing the van and killing us all isn't going to help either," Cas said, keeping his tone.

Dean regripped the wheel and took a deep breath. He was still extremely freaked out, but Cas was right, driving into a tree or flipping this thing wouldn't help the situation. A good ten minutes later they pulled up in front of the hospital. Sam and Dean carried Bobby to the entrance where they were met by nurses. Cas went to park the van. They'd stopped in the ambulance bay and the last thing they needed was their van, full of weapons and amo, to be towed away.

The next few hours were filled with nothing, but waiting and worrying. The stupid doctors wouldn't tell them anything and it was pissing Dean off. He kept pacing around the waiting room. Sam tried to talk to him a few times, but all he got in return was a sentence or two that would make even a sailor blush. Cas knew better and just left him alone. Finally, sometime during the forth hour a doctor came out and told them Bobby was going to make it. He'd lost a great deal of blood and it was pretty touch and go for awhile, but he was stable now and the blood transfusion seemed to have taken nicely. The bad new was that a gut shot had a long recovery time. Bobby was going to be out of commission for the next few months. The doctor had estimated at least eight weeks, and that was because he thought Bobby was just an owner of a salvage yard. If he knew the guy had such a physically demanding job like monster hunter, he sure would have raised that number.

Over the next few days the boys found out what a difficult patient Bobby could be. Bed rest certainly didn't bring out the best in his personality. He was pretty grumpy before, but now, damn. He was only supposed to have to stay in there a week then they could take him home. The only reason for that was that they lied and said they lived in the area. The doctor said he really shouldn't take any long car rides, but Bobby wasn't about to stay in the hospital any longer than the week. Sam and Dean figured the long car ride would still be safer than telling Bobby to stay and him just escaping on his own.

Three weeks later Bobby was all settled in at his own house. They'd set up a bed for him in the living room so he could get to things more easily. He couldn't make it up and down stairs and they weren't going to be there to bring him stuff during his whole recovery. As reluctant as Dean and Sam were to leave him, they did still have things to hunt and an Apocalypse to try to stop. They were set to leave in the morning.

Dean and Cas were asleep in one of the spare bedrooms. Bobby had gotten used to them being together after awhile and just told them not to be doing any funny business in his house. To be fair, Bobby wasn't being judgmental of the pair, he'd of said the same thing if Dean had hooked up with a female. Dean just shrugged and smirked, remembering the 'funny business' he and Cas had already done in his house.

It was sometime after three and Dean was smack dab in the middle of one of his reoccurring nightmares. He was in Hell and had already started torturing souls. Then Castiel showed up to save him, but unlike what actually happened, this time he saw what Dean had been doing and just left him there. Castiel would tell Dean what a failure he was and how he wasn't the righteous man Heaven had thought he'd be, then he'd turn to leave. Dean would call after him, beg him not to leave him there, but Castiel would just turn around and say how disappointed he was with a heart broken look then disappear. Also, unlike the real time, where all Dean saw was blinding white light, Castiel was always in his human form.

Next thing Dean's subconscious was aware of was him being on a cliff over looking the ocean. He sat down on the plush grass and just took in the scenery.

"Is this a suitable improvement?" Asked the deep gruff voice beside him.

"Definitely," Dean said, gesturing for the other man to sit down.

"I'm glad," Castiel said, sitting beside the hunter.

"That's gotta be the worst one," Dean said quietly, after a few minutes of silence.

"Really, you have a lot more violent and disturbing nightmares than that one Dean?" Cas questioned, looking at him curiously.

"Because it should have been real. I failed, you should have left me there."

"You didn't fail Dean, I did. If I had gotten to you sooner you wouldn't have gone through all that in the first place."

"If I had been stronger and not given in, the first seal never would have been broken. A lot of people are dead because of what I did," Dean said guiltily.

"You held out longer than most would have."

"Not long enough. Righteous man, what a joke," Dean spat bitterly.

"You are the most righteous man I have ever had the privilege of being around," Cas declared firmly.

"I'm going to have to buy you a dictionary," Dean said flippantly.

"I'm quite aware of the definition," Cas said annoyed. "I really wish you could see it, just once even," he said saddening.

"See what?" Dean asked confused.

"How great you are," Cas answered bluntly.

Dean just looked at him. He knew Cas really believed it, shame he didn't agree. Cas had always had such faith in him. He didn't know why he deserved such loyalty, especially from someone who was so much better than he was. Dean found his eyes wandering over the angel and had to snap himself out of the trance.

"This isn't right," Dean said, shaking his head.

"What?" Cas asked confused.

"This," Dean said, gesturing between them. "We shouldn't be doing this."

"We're not doing anything."

"Just being here together is doing something. We gotta stop it. I can't have little secret meetings with you in my dreams when I'm asleep next to him."

"We haven't done anything wrong," Castiel said evenly.

"Oh don't gime that babe in the woods angel shit," Dean said, giving him a look. "I know you're not that naive anymore, I'm the one that took your innocence in the first place, remember?" Dean asked rhetorically.

"We're just talking. Does he not allow you to talk to other people?" Cas asked sarcastically.

"You know damn right well we're not just talking. There is no just talking with us. You know I still love you."

"I'm sorry," Cas apologized. "I know I should stay away from you and I'm only making things more difficult on both of us, but I just missed you too much to stay away."

"I missed you too Cas," Dean said honestly. "I didn't even realize how much until I saw you in that motel room, but we're no different than when you left. I can't give him up, I need him and he actually needs me."

"You are different," Cas corrected.

"How so?" Dean wondered.

"You're not as reserved as you used to be. You don't keep as much bottled up. You're happier and it's all because of him."

"I'm still pretty shut off and he's not much better," Dean laughed.

He's good for you Dean. You're good for him too, you made the right choice."

"Doesn't make it hurt any less," Dean said, looking at him sadly.

"No, it doesn't," Cas said, returning the look.

The rest of the night Dean slept peacefully and without company. It was kind of ironic actually. He used to bitch at Cas for invading his dreams before, but ever since the angel returned he'd been showing up in them on a pretty regular basis and Dean found himself looking forward to sleep for the first time in his life. Technically, they hadn't done anything really wrong. Nothing ever went past conversation and intense eye contact, but it still wasn't right. They had no reason to be alone together and all they were doing was making things harder for when they had to separate again, if it was even possible for it to be any harder. Then there was Cas to consider. He was already worried about the angel's return and if he somehow found out about their little dream dates it would hurt him. The last thing Dean wanted was to hurt Cas, either of them.

The next morning Dean woke up alone. He looked over at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was twenty minutes past eight. He was pretty surprised Cas was even awake this early, without threats of bodily harm, let alone out of bed. Dean just looked up at the ceiling trying to clear his head of any and all thoughts. After a few minutes he heard someone, Cas he was guessing, enter the room. He looked up to see Cas, in just a towel, rummaging through his duffel bag that was sitting on an old lazy boy on the side of the room.

"It must be cold in Hell this morning," Dean smirked.

"Couldn't sleep," Cas said indifferently.

Dean didn't say anything, feeling guilty over his own activities during sleep. He just watched Cas get dressed. He slipped into a pair of light blue distressed jeans and sat on the end of the bed to put his boots on. Then he got up and went back into the duffel in search of a shirt. Dean looked over his bare torso. He smirked to himself when his eyes fell to just above the other man's hip bone.

"Hey, you don't have the tattoo, do you?" Dean said, while putting on his shirt.

"You've seen more of me than I have, you tell me," Cas smirked.

"Very funny," Dean said, sitting on the bed beside him. "Why didn't you ever get it?"

"By the time I became human, getting possessed by a demon was low down on the list of concerns."

"Well, you're still human, and it's near the top of the list now. Let's go," Dean said, as he stood up.

"What? You wanna go right now?" Cas asked.

"No time like the present."

Cas just shrugged and got off the bed. They got into the Impala and drove around till they found a place. They were in a pretty populated area so Dean knew there would be a few places to pick from once they got deeper into the city. Dean stopped at a place called Altered Art. He looked over at Cas who seemed rather indifferent to the idea and got out of the car.

It was the middle of the day during the work week and the place was empty. There was a building sized guy sitting behind the counter reading a motorcycle magazine. The closer Dean got to him the more tattoos he saw, the guy was pretty covered.

"How can I help you?" The big man asked.

"My buddy here," Dean said, nodding his head towards Cas, who was behind him. "Wants a tattoo."

"Your buddy know what he wants?" The guy asked, looking at Cas.

"A pentagram."

"Wouldn't have pegged you two for the devil worship, more Abercrombie and Fitch."

"It's for protection," Cas spoke up.

"Hey, you ask, I ink. Do you even want a tattoo though?"

Cas just nodded and the guy shrugged.

"Ok, come with me," the guy said, then walked through the curtain behind the counter.

Dean was sitting in the waiting area getting impatient. He didn't remember his tattoo taking this long, what the hell was this guy doing? Then finally Cas walked out from behind the curtain. Dean paid the guy and they left.

"So, let's see what it looks like," Dean said once they were back in the hotel room.

"It looks like a pentagram," Cas shrugged.

"Well, I should hope it don't look like My Pretty Pony," Dean said, rolling his eyes.

"Whatever," Cas said, then removed his shirt.

Cas pealed off the bandage that was covering the fresh ink, he had gotten it done right over his heart just like Sam and Dean. It was more simple than theirs though, just a plain pentagram. Dean's eyes wandered farther down and he noticed there was another patch above his right hip bone.

"What's that?" Dean wondered, as he pointed to the covered flesh.

"Decided I'd get another one while I was in there," Cas said, as he removed the tape.

"Cas, you know that won't do anything, right?" Dean asked while looking at the tattoo with confusion.

"I'm not stupid Dean," Cas said, a little offended.

"Then why did you get it?"

"I think it suits me," Cas shrugged and Dean could tell that was all the explanation he was going to get.

An ex-angel with an angel banishing sigil for a tattoo, that had to be a first.

Another month passed and not much had happened. Cas still didn't have a location on Metatron or any info on who would. Dick and his pack of Leviathan assholes were assuming anybody's identity they felt like and hunters still didn't know how to stop them. It was getting to the point where you had to splash every new person you met with a little sodium borate just to make sure they were human. That wasn't exactly the most inconspicuous of acts though, so they decided against it.

The monster's reach was going Hollywood as well. They had taken over Mel Gibson, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Nicolas Cage, and even Justin Bieber. Cas thought the Leviathan's choice of 'A listers' was pretty damn amusing. Dean was of the opinion that as long as the beasts stayed away from the older generation in Hollywood, like Pacino and DeNiero, then he really didn't give a shit.

On one of their rare days off, Sam, Dean, and Cas were holed up in some motel in bumfuck middle of nowhere state that was either Idaho or Iowa, didn't much matter. Dean was sitting on the bed propped against the headboard flicking through channels while Cas was laying with his head on his lap reading a book and fidgeting with his feet that were hanging over the edge.

They heard the familiar fluttering of wings and the pair in the room became a trio. Dean jumped, startled, and swore under his breath. Cas just sat up right and rolled his eyes.

"A little warning before you just pop in would be nice, angel boy. We could have been doing more in that bed, ya know?" Cas smirked and Dean backhanded him on the shoulder.

"I'm well aware of what you're doing before I just pop in," Castiel said, sending him a glare.

"Eww, gross," Cas said, in mock disgust. "I don't need to hear your peeping Tom confessions."

"Cas," Dean warned.

"Buzzkill," Cas pouted.

"So, what's up Cas?" Dean asked the angel, as he got out of bed.

"I believe I may have found someone who may know where Metatron is," Castiel answered.

"You believe?" Cas questioned, with a tone.

"It's a demon, they're not the most reliable source."

"Wait, why would a demon know about a fallen angel?" Dean wondered.

"It appears they're kind of friends."

"Great," Cas said sarcastically. "Not only is he a fallen angel, he's bffs with a frigging demon. I'm sure he's gonna be really willing to help us, if we ever find him that is."

"I said kind of friends you idiot," Castiel said annoyed. "They have a few common interests, but I don't see either of them having loyalty to the other."

"Comon interests?" Dean asked suspiciously. "Do I even want to know what a fallen angel and a demon could both get their jollies off on?"

"Probably not," Castiel said bluntly. "Let's just say they have a similar distaste for humans and on a few occasions they've agreed on how to deal with them."

"Awesome," Dean said, rolling his eyes. "This dude hates people, no way he's gonna tell us where the word is. Hell on earth would be fun for the asshole."

"Not necessarily," Castiel disagreed. "This demon has been living as a human. He may not like them, but he enjoys their lifestyle."

"What the fuck is it with demons being wanna-be people?" Cas asked, sounding offended. "What happened to having a little dignity? Demons should be off eating babies, drinking virgin blood, and corrupting souls."

"Obviously demons these days just don't have your principles," Dean teased.

"Could we focus," Castiel suggested impatiently.

"Sorry Cas," Dean said. "What's the plan?"

"I'm going to get the demon to talk."

"Ya gonna offer him a lolly-pop?" Cas smirked.

"I'm going to do whatever needs to be done," Castiel answered coldly.

Dean felt the bottom of his stomach fall out. His mind instantly went to torture. He didn't want the angel to have to torture anyone, even a demon. It wasn't that he gave a shit what happened to any demon, they deserved whatever they got. It was what torturing did to the torturer. It changes them, and not for the good. Dean was different because of what he'd done in Hell, it hardened him. He didn't want to see this happen to Castiel.

Castiel took off and Dean was left feeling uneasy. He muttered some lame excuse of needing some air and left the room before Cas said anything. He got in the Impala and headed off down an empty dusty road. About ten miles down the road he pulled off the road and got out of the car. It was dark out and there wasn't any light to be found as far as the eye could see, besides the stars.

"Cas!" Dean called out into the night. "Cas, c'mon, I need to talk to you."

"What do you need?" Castiel asked, after appearing beside him.

"I want you to bring the demon to us as soon as you find it."

"Why?"

"I just want you to."

"Dean, I'm perfectly capable of getting information from a demon."

"I don't want you to be," Dean said, looking him in the eye.

"I don't understand," Cas said, tilting his head.

"Torture Cas, I don't want you to do it."

"Dean it's not something..." Cas started to say.

"No," Dean interrupted. "Just please, promise me you'll do it," Dean pleaded.

"As you wish," Cas conceded.

A few days later Sam, Dean and Cas were at Bobby's house. He was doing pretty good, but still wasn't a hundred percent just yet. They were just stopping in for a day or so to check in while on their way to their next hunt. Sam and Dean were sitting on the couch watching a movie and arguing about it. Cas was in the kitchen playing drinking games with Bobby. Which pretty much just consisted of seeing who could out drink who and if you puked, you lost. Then suddenly, they had company.

"Jesus Christ!" Dean swore loudly.

Cas, hearing this, quickly got up and rushed into the living room. Bobby followed behind. He stopped just after entering the room. Castiel was standing next to a young guy, who appeared to be in his twenties, who was tied to a chair in the center of a devil's trap.

"Chill Dean," Cas said indifferently. "It's just an angel."

"What's the deal Cas?" Bobby asked.

"This demon knows Metatron."

"Why'd you bring him here?" Cas asked confused. "You were supposed to bring us information not a possessed Gap model."

"I thought you would want to know as soon as I had any news," Castiel answered, looking over at Dean who gave him an appreciative look for covering for him.

"Whatever," Cas shrugged, then moved to sit on the couch.

An hour later and they'd gotten exactly jack squat. They'd used all their regular tactics to get a demon to talk, but this one was being stubborn. He insisted if he told where Metatron was that he'd kill him. Dean threatened to do the same, but the demon just laughed and said as long as he had information, they couldn't kill him.

"This is getting us nowhere," Castiel said frustrated. "I'll deal with this."

"Cas no," Dean warned darkly.

"We don't have any other choice Dean," Castiel said evenly.

"You're not doing this," Dean said, giving him a firm look.

"I can handle it," Castiel said, returning the look.

The other three in the room exchanged questioning looks. Clearly, they were all clueless to the private conversation that was going on between the angel and the hostile hunter.

"You boys care to share with the class," Bobby wondered.

"Everyone out," Dean demanded.

"Dean we need to..." Sam started to say, but was cut off.

"Now!" Dean shouted.

Bobby and Sam left the living room and went out the front door. They knew from experience it was better to get out of the way and just let the storm pass rather than question where it came from. Cas was well aware of this fact too, but he wasn't going anywhere without some answers. He stood his ground and crossed his arms.

"I'll do it," Dean said to Castiel.

"No," Castiel said firmly.

Cas stood there getting more annoyed. They'd gone back to pretending they were the only two in the room again and he still had no clue what was going on.

"I've done it before, the damage is already done."

"I won't ask you to do it again. I should have never asked the first time," Castiel said with guilt. In his long life one of his biggest, if not the biggest, regrets was asking Dean to torture Alistar for information. Dean had begged not to do it, but he was still following Heaven's orders like a good little soldier at the time and really thought that was their only option.

"You're not asking me to do anything," Dean said, through gritted teeth.

"What the fuck is going on?" Cas demanded.

"I told you to get out," Dean said, glaring at him.

"And I don't fucking listen. Now answer me."

"We need to get information out of this demon and Dean isn't pleased with how I want to get it," Castiel answered.

"Why not?" Cas asked confused.

"Torture," Dean answered. "He wants to torture the fucker."

"And you're offering to step in," Cas said quietly, now piecing the conversation together.

"He can't do it," Dean said adamantly.

"Yes he can. You just don't want him to," Cas corrected.

"Don't make a difference. I'll do it," Dean said indifferently.

"Dean you're not..." Castiel began.

"Enough," Cas interrupted. "I'll get him to talk.

Dean and Castiel looked at him curiously. Dean knew Cas as an angel or human had never tortured anything. How exactly did he think out of the three of them that he'd be the one that could get any information? Castiel may not have any experience either, but at least he had some angel mojo to back up his actions. Cas was just human.

"You can't do it," Dean said.

"Look Dean, you can only be night in shining armor to one Cas and angel boy was already on the receiving end," Cas said sarcastically.

"I mean you can't do it, smart ass," Dean clarified. The other was true too of course. No way he was going to let Cas do it either.

"I watched the man that apprenticed under Hell's most skilled asset in torture utilize his teachings more times than I care to remember. I can handle this."

Dean swallowed the lump that formed in his throat at the mention of his future self. He knew he began torturing again at some point and that Cas, of course, knew about it, but he was still ashamed. It being said out loud just made it that much worse.

"No," Dean said stubbornly.

"Castiel, get him out of here," Cas said, looking at the angel.

Then before Dean even had a chance to open his mouth to protest, Castiel touched his fingers to his forehead and zapped them both out of the room. Cas looked at the already bloodied man before him. He went over to the closet and got out a chest of weapons then got to work. Within twenty minutes he had the information they needed and Cas called the others back in the house.

"He's dead," Sam said, after checking the body.

"Very fucking observant," Cas said flippantly, as he wiped the blood off of his hands with a towel.

"I meant the demon," Sam said with a bitch face. "What, you just believe the first thing a demon tells you now?"

"He wasn't lying," Cas said sure of himself.

"How can you be sure?" Sam asked annoyed.

"He's sure," Dean said firmly.

He learned how to torture from the best. Now he really is just as fucked up as I am. Good job Dean, way to bring everyone down with you.

Cas told Castiel everything the demon had spilled before he killed it and Castiel left to pick up his angel search. Sam went off in the yard to get rid of the body. Bobby went to get some sleep and Dean was in the kitchen. He'd only said those two words since coming back in the house and he hadn't even so much as looked at Cas before leaving the room. Cas wanted to go talk to him, he hated when Dean was angry with him, but he didn't. The best thing to do with a pissed off Dean was to let him cool off, which almost always involved getting smashed, unloading about what he was mad about, then getting over it.

Cas decided to take a walk, something he did a lot when things got a little tense and he wanted to clear his head. Dean drove off in the Impala and he took walks, they were predictable creatures of habit if nothing else. A little over an hour later Cas walked back in the front door. The downstairs was dark, everyone had retired upstairs for the night. Cas considered crashing on the couch to give Dean some more space, but he quickly dismissed the idea. This wasn't exactly a good day for him either and he wanted to be around Dean, so if the hunter wanted to be left alone he was going to have to tell Cas to fuck off. He walked up the stairs to the spare bedroom he and Dean always stayed in. He opened the door and saw Dean sitting on the end of the bed with his elbows propped on his knees and head down, resting on in hands. Cas quietly closed the door behind him.

Dean got up, closed the distance between them, and brought Cas into a tight hug.

"I'm sorry," Dean said. It came out muffled because his face was pressed into Cas's shoulder.

Cas stood where he was in shock, over the action and statement that followed. He was prepared for anger, a lecture, yelling, drunken rambling, stone cold silent treatment, those were the last words he expected to hear.

"Why?" Cas asked confused, as they separated.

"You wouldn't have been able to do that if you didn't learn it from me," Dean said, avoiding eye contact.

"I didn't learn that from you," Cas emphasized.

"You're really good at splitting hairs," Dean said, with a dark laugh.

Cas looked at him with a mix of emotions. First and foremost, annoyance. Fucking Dean Winchester blaming himself for EVERYTHING yet again. Next was sympathy. He knew how much baggage Dean carried from his time in Hell. As an angel and human he could never seem to relieve Dean of that guilt, no matter how much he tried. He wanted to try to comfort Dean, but something stopped him, so he kept their distance.

"You can't carry guilt for something you haven't done Dean," Cas said sadly. "I learned what I did today from watching a man you'll never become."

"Don't you get it?" Dean asked hoarse. "I AM him. You didn't watch him do anything I didn't do countless times in the pit."

"You're NOT him," Cas said, grabbing Dean by the chin and forcing him to look up. "You did things you had to do in Hell for survival. You never did them up here."

"I still can't take them back Cas," Dean said, finally looking him in the eye. "I never wanted you to have to do something like that. I don't want to lose you."

Then it made more sense. Dean wasn't just being protective because he didn't want Cas to have to torture because he thought it was wrong, which he did, he didn't want Cas doing it because he thought it would change him. Torturing something, no matter how deserving the subject was, was a bell you couldn't just un-ring.

"It would have been worse for me if you had done it," Cas said honestly.

"Don't just try to let me off that easily," Dean said annoyed.

"I'm not," Cas denied. "I know how much what you did in Hell weighs on you, Dean. I couldn't let you do it again."

Cas was the one to initiate contact this time. He closed the space between them and brought their lips together. The kissing began soft and hesitant, but picked up pace and urgency after a few minutes. Soon both men were needing more. Dean backed Cas up to the bed and they both fell onto it. Dean pulled at Cas's T-shirt and he got to work on undoing the hunter's jeans.

All clothes removed, Dean was laying pressed against Cas and their legs were entangled. Dean moved his lips from the former angel's mouth down to his neck, lightly biting it. Cas's hands roamed the other man's back. Dean slid into Cas gently and began pumping slowly. Cas urged Dean in deeper and held him tightly. They both caressed each other's bare skin leisurely, as to commit every touch to memory. When they had both finished, Dean moved off of him, onto the bed. Then he reached over and pulled Cas against him. This was a rare show of affection on Dean's part. Not that he didn't enjoy the contact too, but Cas was almost always the one to initiate, what Dean utterly refused to call, cuddling.

A few days later they were on to their next hunt. They had seen a lot of weird shit in their day, but this case had to be pretty high up on the list. The first body, that had brought them there, appeared to have been killed by a part vampire part octopus creature. Then the next victim, if they didn't know better, seemed to have been killed by a unicorn. The only common link they could find in the case was that both victim's kids had just gone to Plucky Pennywhistle's before the deaths occurred. It was some cheesy place for kids with games, a huge ball pen, and awful tasting pizza.

Sam, despite his fear of clowns, went down to Pennywhistle's to investigate. Dean and Cas went to talk to the nanny of the first dead guy's kid. Turned out the owner of Pennywhistle's was implementing this new exercise to help kids with their fears. They were supposed to draw their biggest fear on paper and then it tacked up on a big board. This was supposed to be therapeutic and help the kids face their fear. The interesting part, for the case, was that the daughter of the first victim's biggest fear was a giant octo-vamp and the son of the second victim was afraid of unicorns.

It all ended up being the work of a disgruntled employee. Some dude was pissed off he got passed up for a management position and decided to take his anger out on what he thought were 'bad' parents. He was using hoodoo to make the children's fears come to life and murder their parent. Dean was in the basement of Plucky's confronting the guy and found out he had a fear of his own. The guy's brother had drown when they were kids and he blamed his parents, and was terrified of water ever since. Dean used his hoodoo against him, the guy was killed, and all the other curses he'd set into motion were stopped.

The next night Dean walked into the motel room carrying a bag full of fast food. He'd been gone for a few hours, just driving around, and picked up dinner on the way back. Cas was sitting at the table in the room with a bottle of some brown liquor, half empty, in front of him. Dean walked over and dropped the bag of food down beside the bottle.

"Ya hungry?" Dean asked.

"I'm full," Cas half slurred.

"Yeah, I can see that. The bottle wasn't even opened when I left. What the fuck, Cas?"

"S'ok, I'm drinking for two," Cas laughed.

"Eat this," Dean insisted, while sticking a burger in Cas's face. "You're not funny."

"I'm not joking," Cas snapped, pushing the burger away. "There's two people in here."

"You're being fucking delusional now. Just eat it."

"I'm not delusional," Cas pouted, as he opened the burger. "I'm fully aware."

"Yeah right. You think you're drinking for two, that's not delusional at all. I didn't pay that much attention in health class, but I'm still pretty sure two guys can't get pregnant."

"I'm not talking about being with child," Cas snorted.

"Then what the fuck is 'there's two people in here' supposed to mean?"

"There's good old fucked up Cas and wee little innocent angel boy trapped deep down," Cas said, with a mouth full of food.

"You're really gonna get all philosophical drunk right now?" Dean asked incredulously.

"Maybe if I bought me another trench coat you'd just think I was Castiel and all would be right in the world. I'll even wear the suit if you want," Cas said flippantly.

"Dammit Cas," Dean said, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. "I'm too tired for this shit."

"I'm never gonna be him again," Cas said, sending him a glare.

"I never fucking asked you to be," Dean defended.

"You don't have to. I know it's what you'd want, given the choice."

"You just know everything, don't you?" Dean asked sarcastically. "Who am I talking to right now? Who do I wake up to every morning? Who do I fuck all the time? Let me help you with the answer since you're drunk and stupid right now...YOU asshole, the answer is you."

"Then why the fuck can't you seem to stay away from him?" Cas asked coldly.

"What? We're trying to stop the Apocalypse, remember?"

"That's not what I'm talking about and you know it," Cas challenged.

Shit. He knows. How the fuck does he know?

"How did you know?" Dean asked quietly.

"Answer my question dammit," Cas snapped.

"I don't know," Dean lied.

"You're a shitty liar Dean."

"You really want me to say it?" Dean asked somberly.

"We both know the answer already. Just say it out loud," Cas said evenly.

"Because I can't stay away from him. I love him," Dean confessed softly.

"You haven't woken up with nightmares in months, since he came back. I'm the one who used to take your nightmares away the first time around, of course I'm going to know when he's visiting your dreams," Cas said indifferently, answering Dean's former question.

"You can't be mad at me," Dean said.

"Oh, I can't?" Cas asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You knew this going in. I told you I would always feel this way about him," Dean justified.

"I'm not mad," Cas said honestly.

"Then what?" Dean asked worried.

"I'm phlegmatic," Cas lied.

"Bullshit."

"What the hell do you want from me?" Cas asked annoyed.

"I don't know," Dean admitted. "Just say something. You gotta have something to say."

"I told you before, I'm here until you tell me not to be."

"That's not good enough," Dean snapped. "I don't want you to be obligated to me, I only want you here if you want to be here."

"Obligated," Cas laughed. "That's not it. I'm not even here for you at all, it's completely selfish. I'm here because I can't stay away from you."

"Do you even like me anymore?" Dean asked, afraid of the answer.

"I love you more than anything," Cas said without hesitation.

"But you just said you weren't..." Dean began.

"Lie. At least the first part. I will do anything for you Dean, but it's not obligation, it's dedication. And as long as I'm around I really can't stay away from you."

"It's not one sided," Dean said earnestly. "All that goes for me too. I can't change how I feel about him, but I wouldn't change anything if I had it to do over again."

"I'm tired," Cas said quietly, then got up from the table, a little shaky on his feet.

"Please, tell me you believe me," Dean pleaded, as he got up from the table and grabbed Cas by the arm.

"I know you're not lying, but I'm not sure if it matters."

"Why the hell wouldn't it matter?"

"I'm not even supposed to be here. There's no way this can last."

"What? Are you trying to dump me again? You just said you can't stay away from me," Dean rambled out in a panic.

"No," Cas said simply. "I'm saying I don't think we, I rather, have much time left. I have a bad feeling Dean. I don't think I'm meant to make it through this fight."

"Why would you say that?" Dean asked, visibly upset now.

"Instinct."

"Well, knock it the fuck off!" Dean shouted. "We've been through too much..I've lost too much. This is NOT the last battle we fight," Dean said determined.

"I love your spirit," Cas said, gently touching Dean's cheek. "I just don't have your faith."

"Don't say that, please," Dean begged. "I can't have you give up."

"I'll never give up," Cas said, giving him an intense look. "Not as long as I have you here to fight for."

"Get some sleep Cas," Dean said with a weak smile.

A little over a week later Dean was leaning against the counter in the kitchenette area of the latest crummy motel they were staying at, finishing his cheese burger. The room was quiet other than the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. Then Dean heard the familiar fluttering of wings. He sighed in relief to himself. It had been almost two weeks since Castiel had taken off in search of Metatron after Cas tortured his demon buddy for information. Dean was trying to hide it, but he was getting pretty worried. Usually the angel didn't take off that long when there was something major going on.

"Hello Dean," Castiel greeted, in his usual deep gruff tone.

"Hey Cas," Dean smiled.

"Where are the others? Everyone needs to hear this."

"Cas is in the shower and Sam's in his room," Dean answered, with a mouth full of food.

"Get Cas," Castiel instructed, before zapping off.

Dean went to the bathroom, knocked on the door, and told Cas to hurry up and get out here. Then he turned around to see Castiel standing in the same spot as before with confused and slightly nauseous looking Sam.

"Never get used to that popping around, huh Sammy?" Dean smirked.

A couple minutes later Cas emerged from the bathroom in just his jeans. He was drying off his hair with a towel and generally seemed disinterested with the audience. Without saying anything he made his way to his duffel and looked for more clothing.

"Ok Cas, ya got us all here. What's up?" Dean asked.

"We have a problem. Metatron is dead."

"Awww, the other transformers are going to be so upset," Cas snarked, then pulled the T-shirt he was holding over his head.

"This isn't funny heathen," Castiel said darkly.

"Dead?" Sam questioned. "What do we do now?"

"I have no idea," Castiel said bluntly.

"You were in Heaven, how did you not know he was dead?" Sam asked confused.

"I'm not aware of everything that goes on Sam. Heaven is a big place," Castiel snipped.

"Wait," Cas said, looking to the angel. "God's back in Heaven now. He had to have known Metatron was dead. Fallen or not he'd still have gone back upstairs after he died."

"So, what's your point?" Castiel asked annoyed.

"My point, angel boy, is why the Hell would God send you to find a dead angel?"

Uncharacteristically, Dean had been quiet through all of this. He just stood back and listened to everything that was going on. He'd been watching Castiel throughout most of it and something dawned on him. Castiel was hiding something. He was a terrible liar, and a lie by omission was still a lie. Dean thought back on all their secret dream meetings, which they were still having despite Dean's declaration they needed to stop, and he couldn't remember Cas ever saying he checked in with Heaven. He'd gotten sent down here months ago on this mission, he must have had to report back at least a couple times, right? And why would God send him on a mission that was impossible? He wouldn't. Then it dawned on him, Castiel wasn't supposed to be here.

Castiel was stuck. There was no way to get around that question that would be believable. He looked over to Dean before he started his confession. When he met the hunter's eyes he knew Dean had already realized what he was about to confess to. He was happy that he didn't see any anger from the man, but he felt guilty that he saw worry. Dean had enough on his plate without having to worry about an AWOL angel.

"You'd think of all people you would have figured it out," Castiel laughed humorously, directing the statement to Cas.

"Figured what out?" Cas wondered.

"That I've been lying, you moron," Castiel said bitterly.

Sam and Cas looked at the angel in surprise while Dean just stayed silent.

"About what?" Sam questioned.

"God didn't send me to find a dead angel. He didn't send me at all. I'm still supposed to be in Heaven right now," Castiel admitted.

"I thought you were daddy's good son again. What's with the teenage rebellion part two?" Cas asked, crossing his arms.

"Why do you think?" Castiel asked coldly, while giving Cas a hard look.

"So, what now?" Cas asked, dropping his air of sarcasm. He knew exactly why, Dean. Before he left Castiel vowed to always be there for Dean and this was him doing it.

"I don't know," Castiel said, sounding defeated. "We focus more on how to kill the Leviathans before they find the word."

Basically, they were screwed. They were no better off now then they had been before Castiel showed up. He'd disobeyed Heaven all for nothing. The stupid fallen angel they needed had gotten himself killed and now there was nothing to give them a better shot than the Leviathans at finding the word first.

Cas and Dean were alone in their motel room. Castiel disappeared and Sam had gone back to his own room. Cas was sitting on the bed reading and Dean was sitting on the couch drinking beer...and thinking, too much thinking and almost none of it was focused at the big issue at hand, the impending Apocalypse.

"I need to get some air," Dean announced, as he stood up and set his beer down.

"Say hi to the angel for me," Cas said, without looking up from his book.

"Fucking know it all," Dean muttered under his breath. "I'll be back soon."

Dean slid in behind the steering wheel of the Impala and started her. He smiled to himself as the engine purred to life. It seemed like the car was the only place he really got to relax some days. He put her in reverse and pulled out of the parking space and out of the lot. Once he got to the main road he let her stretch her legs. He was doing about ninety on the deserted road he ended up on when he suddenly had someone riding shotgun.

"Fuck!" Dean swore loudly. He should have swerved, but somehow the steering wheel stayed straight. He looked over at the angel beside him in confusion.

"Can't have you crash. I've grown found of this car," Castiel deadpanned.

"Very funny," Dean said, rolling his eyes. "I wouldn't need the help if people didn't just pop out of nowhere beside me."

"People, can't do that Dean."

"Oh, you're hilarious tonight. You're a regular Henny Youngman."

"I don't understand that reference," Castiel said, tilting his head to the side.

"He was a...nevermind. Cas, why'd you do it?"

"Come here?" Cas asked confused. "You were thinking so much I couldn't ignore you."

"No, that's not what I'm talking...wait, what? Dude, what did I say about that reading my mind crap?"

"I couldn't help it," Cas defended. "You were practically screaming at me."

"I guess I'm just pretty shocked right now," Dean said, misusing his words. He wasn't surprised at all, he knew Cas, any version, would always do anything for him...dumb and reckless and self destructive or not.

"You're shocked about what?"

"That you'd be such a dumb son of a bitch and do this again."

"Do what again," Cas asked, playing dumb.

"You know what I'm talking about," Dean snapped. "Remember what happened first time you ditched Heaven for me? Things got fucked up, that's what happened."

"We saved the world Dean," Cas said plainly.

"That wasn't the first time," Dean said, looking over at the angel. He slowed the Impala and pulled her off the side of the road.

"It went better the second time," Cas dismissed.

"Well, who the fuck says we'll get a second chance every time you throw yourself under the bus for me?" Dean asked, raising his voice.

"Well, who the fuck says I care?" Cas asked coldly.

Dean looked at him for a few seconds, stunned. This Cas didn't talk like that. He'd only cursed a few times and certainly didn't say fuck, of all words.

"Dammit Cas," Dean snapped. "You can't keep fucking doing this shit, I'm not worth it."

"I disagree," Cas said, returning to his usual stoic nature.

"You're a stubborn bastard, you know that?"

"I've been told."

"So, what now? Are you banned from Heaven again, like before?"

"I don't know. I haven't tried to return."

"Where do you go all the time then?" Dean wondered. "When, you weren't looking for Metatron, I mean."

"I find somewhere nice to be by myself," Cas answered.

"What do you do?"

"I think."

"All alone, don't you miss being around people...uh angels?"

"I only miss one person," Cas answered honestly.

"You should be around more," Dean suggested. "If you're not out looking for some all important clue or whatever, you should be with us."

"I don't think he'd like that."

"He'll get over it. I think he'd like it a lot more than us meeting alone like this all the time."

"Is he aware?" Cas asked.

"Yeah, there's not much he doesn't know, fucking know it all."

"If that's what you want."

"It is," Dean confirmed.

A few days later they made their way to Bobby's house. They finished up with their hunt and figured they'd give him the bad news, about having to start over from scratch, in person. It was their third day there and they still had nothing. Everyone was getting pretty frustrated.

Cas walked in the front door and to the living room, just kind of hovering at the edge. Bobby and Sam were sitting on opposite sides of Bobby's desk reading out of big books opened in front of them. Castiel was leaning against the door frame that separated the room from the kitchen looking uninterested with his arms crossed. Dean wasn't there, but Cas could hear rustling in the kitchen and figured he was getting a beer. A few seconds later his guess was confirmed when the hunter stepped in the room taking a drink from a bottle of something domestic before making his way to the couch and picking up the book he'd been looking at.

Cas cleared his throat loudly and everyone looked over at him.

"I know where the word of God is," Cas announced to the group.

A mix of what and how came from the group, but Cas ignored them.

"We better go get it. I don't know how long it's gonna stay there with Dick and his crones looking for it."

"How could you possibly know where it is all of the sudden?" Castiel demanded.

"Who gives a shit? I do. Can we stop wasting time and just go?" Cas asked annoyed.

"I think we can spare a few seconds for you to tell us what the hell's going on," Dean said, standing up and folding his arms as he tried to remain calm.

"Crowley told me," Cas admitted.

"How does he know now?" Bobby asked, before Dean had a chance to say something. "He said he didn't, why should we have believed it though."

"He didn't know. He just found out."

"How do you know then?" Sam asked.

Cas stood there trying to think of a quick lie. Dean was eying him intensely trying to see what he was thinking. Dean could tell he was hiding something and it wasn't something good.

"He just told me, then I came and told you guys. Can we go now?" He asked impatiently.

"You were with Crowley?" Dean asked through gritted teeth.

"Why would Crowley just speak to you? Why didn't he come talk to us all?" Castiel interjected, cutting Dean off.

"Because I called him," Cas sighed. "I knew what he needed and I gave it to him."

"Which was?" Sam wondered.

"Crowley couldn't just conjure up the location out of thin air. He needed to make a deal, demon fucking red tape and all that."

"Yeah, believe me, I know," Bobby huffed.

"So, what? He made a deal with someone? Who? What was the deal?" Sam asked.

"What deal do you think Sam?" Cas snapped. "For the price of one rather tarnished soul he told me where to find the word. I think it was a pretty good deal actually, considering it wasn't even really my soul to sell," Cas confessed indifferently.

"What the fuck did you just say?!" Dean shouted in anger.

"We needed to know where this thing was and now we do. What's the problem?" Cas shrugged, like it was no big deal.

"Selling your soul to the king of Hell is the fucking problem," Dean yelled fiercely.

If Dean wasn't already pissed off enough as it is, Cas's indifferent attitude about it was enraging him even more.

"He said he'd give it back," Cas said evenly, and the response received a sarcastic snort from Bobby in the background.

"Oh, ok, everything is fine then. Let's all go about our day," Dean said with blatant sarcasm, adding dramatic hand gestures for effect.

"Dean," Sam warned.

"Shut it Sam," Dean snapped. "He told Bobby that too and you know what a pain in the ass that was."

"I'm not stupid Dean," Cas said, rolling his eyes. "I mentioned that. I saw where he added it in the contract. We stop Dick and I get my soul back, happy now?"

"Happy now?" Dean repeated bitterly. And if looks could kill, Cas would have dropped dead on the spot. "Well, what the fuck happens if we DON'T stop Dick?"

"He keeps it."

"And you didn't think this was a bad idea, just a little bit?" Dean seethed.

"If we don't stop Dick, the world as we know it, ends. I don't much think it fucking makes a difference," Cas said, getting annoyed with Dean treating him like a child. He could make all the stupid decisions he wanted.

"It makes a lot of fucking difference," Dean yelled. "You'll go to Hell Cas. Do you even realize what you did?" Dean asked desperately.

"I'm aware. I've been to Hell, remember?"

"Yeah, to save me after I threw myself under the self sacrificing bus. Look how that turned out dude. I started the first Apocalypse with my shit."

"And you'd make the same exact choice if given a second chance," Cas challenged, while giving Dean a direct look.

Dean said nothing at first. It was true. If he had to do it all over again he'd still make the same deal to save his little brother, that was his job. He'd totally try to kill Zachariah a lot sooner given a second shot though.

"Doesn't mean it was right," Dean countered. "Look what happened to Sam because of what I did. He went all dark side. What the fuck do you think I will do?"

"I'm right here," Sam said in offense.

"We need to focus," Castiel interrupted. "We'll deal with this later, if the world doesn't end. Where's the word?" Castiel asked, directing his attention to Cas.

"Some cave in Estonia. Here's the kicker though, you can't get it."

"What are you talking about?" Castiel asked.

"Whoever put it there put a protection barrier around if that keeps demons and angels away from it," Cas explained.

"That makes no sense," Castiel said in disbelief. "The keeper of the word was an angel."

"Hey dude, don't shoot the messenger," Cas said putting his hands up.

They gathered some supplies and Castiel zapped them all to just outside the cave where the word was supposedly located. Castiel was annoyed to find out Cas was right, he couldn't cross the threshold of the cave. On paper, this should be a simple snatch and grab mission with no danger, but when did things turn out how they were on paper? The hunters started their hike into the cave. It was supposed to be a few miles in.

A couple hours later they emerged, unscathed, from the cave with the word of God in tow. Castiel brought them all back to Bobby's house and he and Cas got to work translating the text, it was written in some ancient Heaven language that, as far as they knew, had never been seen by people.

Simply put, they needed to stab the Leviathan with a bone from a righteous mortal that was washed in three bloods of the fallen. The three consisted of, blood of a fallen angel, an alpha monster, and the king of Hell. So, nice and easy as usual. From what they could understand of the word, even translated to english it was still confusing, it sounded like if you killed the head Leviathan, which would be Dick, then the others would die. It said, cut off the head and the body will flounder. Everybody's best guess to that was kill head honcho and all his men fall.

They had the blood of a fallen angel, Castiel, and the bone of a righteous mortal should be easy enough so all they needed was the king of Hell's, Crowley's, blood and an alphas. Both turned out to be pretty easy actually, something they weren't used to at all. Crowley stayed true to his word of wanting the leviathan dead and gave them a vile of his blood. The only restriction he laid out was that his blood would be given last. He didn't want any of his blood just out in the world, to be used against him, if they couldn't get all the ingredients needed.

Crowley was at least helpful in getting them a location of an alpha. He'd killed a number of them in his Purgatory mission and still kept close tabs on the few that were left. He gave them the address where the alpha vampire was hiding out. The three made there way to the house fully prepared for a fight, but never even had to raise a fist. They walked through the house, machetes in hand, and found the alpha vampire sitting at the head of a large dining room table. He greeted them pleasantly said he'd be happy to give them what they came for. Dean and Cas made a sarcastic remark or two in disbelief of his helpfulness which earned them a good smack from the vampire cronies standing about. But the alpha assured them that the leviathan being dead was more important to him than some petty beef with a few hunters that weren't even worthy enough to register on his radar.

Dean vowed to still kill the smug dick eventually, but he left, with vile of blood in hand, quietly. On the way back to Bobby's house they made a pit stop at a cemetery that had a tomb full of priests and nuns. They got the bone of a very devout nun who had spent her eighty some years on earth living a pure moral life. When they got back to Bobby's they called on Crowley who willingly gave his own blood sample. Now they had everything they needed. Next it was just putting everything together and making it happen.

The time had finally come, they had the way to kill the Leviathans. Sam did some recon online and found out where Dick was supposed to be over the next few days. It was less than a day's drive away. They planned to leave in the morning, stake out the place a little, then go in for the kill.

It was the night before they were going to confront Dick. Sam and Bobby had just gone back to their rooms after a final group rundown of the plan in Dean and Cas's room. Castiel left for the night. He'd been sticking around during the day like Dean asked, but at night when the humans were asleep he'd go off to be by himself.

"I'm gonna go take a shower," Cas said.

"Want some company?" Dean asked, averting his attention from the TV over to Cas.

"When don't I?" Cas asked with a smirk.

That was all the invitation Dean needed. He quickly got off the bed and took off his shirt as he made his way to the bathroom behind Cas. They stripped off the rest of their clothing and got in under the stream of hot water.

Cas gripped Dean by the arm and pulled him into his chest. Dean leaned in and touched their lips together. Dean's hands started roaming over Cas's tone wet back as Cas gripped him around the waist pulling Dean tighter against his body. The kissing got more intense and they could feel each other's growing need between them.

Cas decided to take control of the situation and move things along. He grabbed Dean by his biceps and pushed him against the tile wall beside them.

"I like it when you get all feisty," Dean said with a smirk.

Cas ignored the comment and reached down, taking Dean's hard cock in his hand. He began to stroke it slowly and Dean hissed out a few choice words.

"I like it when I make you my little bitch," Cas said cockily, in Dean's ear.

Before Dean had a chance to respond Cas crashed their lips together again. He kissed the hunter deeply and it was quickly returned. Cas moved free hand to Dean's chest and pushed him against the wall, holding him there. Then he stopped stroking and Dean whined in protest. Cas pulled away and gave him a firm look to silence him.

Then Cas started to kiss him again. He made his way down Dean's jaw line to his neck, stopping to pay close attention to the spot just below Dean's ear that he liked so much. He continued his kissing assault down the other man's chest, pausing to nip and lick along the way. He dropped to his knees and took hold of the hunter's dick again. He gave it a few light strokes then leaned in and licked the head of it.

"Dammit Cas," Dean hissed in frustration, as he hit his head against the wall behind him. "Stop being a fucking dick tease."

"Patients," Cas demanded. "You know it's well worth the wait," he smirked.

Taking pity on the needy man in front of him Cas took Dean into his mouth and started sucking. He was gentle at first, but the closer to the edge that Dean got the harder Cas went. After he finished Cas moved back and wiped his mouth. Dean reached down and pulled him to his feet and resumed the kissing.

"Your turn," Dean smirked, as he flipped their positions and pushed Cas against the wall.

Dean started moving his hands over Cas's bare chest, touching every exposed piece of flesh his fingers could find. He moved in closer and started sucking on Cas's neck, bringing the blood to the surface and leaving his mark.

"Dean," Cas said, his voice raspy with need.

"Not so much fun on the other end, huh hippie?" Dean asked, raising his eyebrow.

Dean then took Cas's hands and pinned them over his head, holding them in place by his wrists. He brought his face right to the former angel's and grazed their lips together slightly. With his free hand Dean pressed his palm against the other man's chest and ran it down his torso. He took hold of Cas's hard-on, but didn't move his hand.

"Dean please," Cas panted.

"Your begging is a real turn on," Dean growled into Cas's ear.

Cas muttered a few swear words and Dean kissed him hard on the mouth. Then he stopped teasing the former angel and began to stroke him. As the kissing intensified so did Dean's hand movements. When he could feel Cas was getting close he pulled away to look him in the eye. He liked to watch as Cas came. He loved the way it made his already deep blue eyes even darker and he enjoyed seeing him come undone in front of him, because of him.

By the time all their shower activities were over the water was cold and they were waterlogged. They finished up the actual showering and got out of the tub to dry off. They were both shivering like they'd just got stuck out in the rain in November. This wasn't the first time, you'd think they'd learn their lesson and hurry things along, but shower sex was just too much fun to turn into a quickie.

They both put on sweat pants and T-shirts and got into bed, under the blankets. Cas wasted no time in making his way over to Dean's side of the bed. He pressed his body against the other man, wrapped his arm around his waist and rested his head on his chest. Dean put his arm around Cas too and pulled him even tighter. Within a few minutes both men were sleeping quietly and soundly.

The next morning it was time for the big show down with Dick. Bobby and Sam drove in Bobby's van while Cas, Castiel and Dean rode in the Impala. Sam, Bobby and Castiel were on leviathan control duty and Dean and Cas were going to go after the big Kahuna.

"Dean!" Cas shouted, after watching Dean fly into the wall.

"You're next," Dick said, pointing to Cas.

Dick made a move on the former angel, but he dove out of the way and landed on the floor. Dick picked him up like a rag doll and held him up in the air by his neck. Cas struggled to get loose, but Dick just tightened his grasp.

"Cas!" Dean yelled, as he fought to get up. "Let him go you son of a bitch," he demanded, as he made his way toward the monster.

Dean pulled out the bone soaked in the fallen's blood and went for Dick. Just as he got up behind him Dick dropped Cas and whirled around on Dean, knocking the weapon from his hand. He grabbed Dean by the collar roughly and held him in place. Cas was on his hands and knees, gasping for air.

"You're becoming a pain in the ass," Dick said annoyed. "Thinking you can kill me," he laughed. "I was going to have some fun and kill you slowly, but now I think I'll just have myself a snack. Then I'll kill your little boyfriend, your baby brother and your daddy. Any last words?"

"Fuck you," Dean spat, as he fought to escape.

While Dick was making his overly cocky villain speech, Cas had gotten hold of the bone and gotten to his feet, behind Dick. Cas looked over Dick's shoulder and locked eyes with Dean. Dick opened up his mouth wide, revealing all of his razor sharp teeth. Cas smirked and gave Dean a wink then plunged the sharpened bone into Dick's back. A blast came out of Dick as he exploded, sending Dean and Cas flying in opposite directions.

"Oww," Dean said, feeling the back of his head. "That bone had one hell of a kick. Cas, you ok over there dude?"

Cas didn't respond. Dean looked over to see him lying across the room. He got to his feet and walked over to the former angel.

"Shit," Dean swore, as he saw the man was unconscious.

He knelt down beside him and tried to stir him awake. Cas didn't move. Suddenly Dean began to panic. He continued shaking him and started checking for his vitals. He wasn't breathing and Dean couldn't find a pulse.

"Cas!" Dean shouted frantically. "Wake up! You have to wake up! Now dammit!"

"Such a pity," came the sarcastic british voice a few feet away.

"Crowley," Dean growled.

"Don't think you can send the oldest monster in creation back to where it came from without a little repercussion, do you? I was banking on either you or Sam killing Dick though. Losing him," Crowley said nodding to Cas. "Is just a waste of a good opportunity. I quite liked his dry wit actually."

"I'm going to fucking kill you," Dean vowed darkly. Before he could even move, Crowley was gone.

"Cas!" Dean yelled. "Cas, come here now!"

Seconds later the angel appeared in front of the hunter. Dean was clinging onto Cas's lifeless body. He'd pulled him against himself so Cas's head was resting on his lap instead of the floor.

"Oh no," Castiel said.

"Fix him," Dean cried.

"I-I'm sorry Dean, I can't," Castiel said sadly.

"What the fuck do you mean you can't?" Dean bellowed. "Of course you can, you did it before."

"I've technically fallen, my powers are weakened. Even if I hadn't, angels don't have that ability anymore. We all lost some privileges after God returned."

"Then call God! Please, Cas, he can't die," Dean begged.

"God will not bring him back," Cas said honestly. He knew God only brought people back on extremely rare occasions and if he were going to bring someone back, he wouldn't leave them dead for this long.

"How do you know?" Dean asked desperately.

"Because he would have been here already."

"No, it can't end like this. Not after everything we've been through. Not after all he's done. I can't lose him. I need him," Dean rambled in grief.

Dean looked down at Cas, lifeless in his arms, and fully lost it. He began crying uncontrollably. The tears flowed freely and without hesitation. His body began to shake from the sobs. He hugged Cas against his chest and didn't ever want to let go. If he just held on tight enough or waited long enough or wished hard enough, he'd wake up from this nightmare and Cas would be there next to him in bed ready to help him forget the awful dream. Castiel stood there, his own heart breaking for Dean, not sure what to do next. He took a step toward the hunter and knelt down beside him. There was nothing to say that would make anything better, but he had to say something. But then he realized he didn't. This was Dean, words weren't really necessary, they'd even done better without them most of the time. He tentatively put his hand on the other man's shoulder.

Dean turned to look at him. Their eyes met and when Castiel saw how broken Dean was, the torment in his own eyes matched it. They just stayed focused on each other like that for a few minutes. Castiel trying his hardest to will away Dean's pain and Dean just trying not to break down completely.

"Dean!" Sam yelled, close to the room. "Dean, where are you?"

Dean couldn't bring himself to call back so Castiel yelled for Sam and Bobby. Sam was first to enter the room. He was in the middle of saying something, but Dean didn't hear any of it. Everything around him was muffled and seemed to be happening in slow motion. Sam, Castiel and Bobby all started talking and Dean's head continued to spin.

"My God," Sam said sadly. "Dean, I-I'm so sorry."

"I'm sorry son, but we really have to go now. We made a lot of noise here and the cops are bound to show soon," Bobby said sympathetically.

Dean didn't say anything nor did he make any attempt to move. He just stayed where he was staring off at nothing, still holding onto Cas. Then, right on que, they heard the sirens approaching in the distance.

"Dean," Sam urged. "We gotta move it," he said, starting to reach for Dean when Castiel grabbed his arm, stopping him.

"Sam, don't. You and Bobby go, I'll get them."

Sam nodded and he and Bobby left the room. Castiel knelt back down beside Dean and put both his hands on Dean's shoulders and looked him in the eyes.

"We're going to go now Dean," Cas said soothingly. Dean looked at him nervously then down at Cas. "Just keep hold of him, ok?"

Dean moved his head slightly, in what could almost be considered a nod. Castiel touched his fingers to the hunter's forehead and zapped them all back to Bobby's house. He'd go get the Impala later and Sam and Bobby had Bobby's van to drive, so they'd be fine.

When back at the house Dean laid Cas's body down on the couch. He stood over him for a few minutes just looking, then he went to the kitchen. Castiel watched Dean's actions closely, but didn't speak. He wanted to make Dean's pain go away, he was tempted to wipe his memory, but that wouldn't be right and he couldn't betray Dean that way. He stood in the doorway separating the kitchen from the living room as Dean rummaged around in the cabinets above the counter and pulled out an unopened bottle of whiskey. He sat down at the kitchen table, unscrewed the cap, and drank straight from the bottle. He took three large gulps, without pause, like he was drinking iced tea. Castiel went to sit across from him.

"Dean, maybe you should..." Castiel started to say when Dean cut him off.

"Maybe I should what?" Dean asked darkly, sending Castiel a glare.

"I don't know," Castiel sighed. "Doing this isn't going to help," Cas said, nodding over to the bottle.

"It's gonna help a lot," Dean laughed humorlessly. "I finish this and I black out a good long while," he said, before taking another long pull from the bottle.

Cas shook his head, stood up, and transported them both out of the room. They were suddenly in the middle of a wide open grass field. It was dark, other than the stars, and nothing could be seen in any direction. Dean steadied himself on his feet and swore loudly.

"Bring me back now!" Dean demanded.

"No."

"What the fuck are you doing?" Dean asked in anger.

"I won't watch you self destruct. Drinking yourself to death is not going to change anything."

"Nobody fucking asked you to watch!" Dean shouted. "What do I give a fuck if I drink myself to death? I'd be doing the world a favor. Everything I touch turns to shit and I ruin everybody's life, unless I just out right get them killed, of course."

"I know you're hurting, but," Cas began.

"But?" Dean repeated darkly. "But, what? But, it'll get better? But, time heals all wounds? But, life sucks, get over it?"

"But, he wouldn't want you to do this to yourself," Cas said, looking him right in the eye.

"What am I supposed to do?" Dean asked, dropping all signs of anger. Now he just sounded tired...and lost.

"I can't answer that," Cas said sadly.

Dean dropped to his knees and leaned back, sitting on his heels. He was quiet for a few moments. Everything in him wanted to give up, have it all be over, just not feel anything, but none of that was going to happen. He'd lost the one thing in the world that was truly his. Cas loved him unconditionally, irrevocably, and with every fiber of his being. Cas was the one person he could count on 100% all of the time, the one person who would back up his play without question whether he was wrong or not. Sam meant the world to him, he was his baby brother and he'd protect him with his life, but he couldn't say the same things about him. Sam never wanted this life and turned his back on it, and by default Dean, a few times. While Dean could understand and forgave him for it, he couldn't forget. In the back of his mind there was always a small part of him that worried Sam would leave again.

"He knew this was gonna happen," Dean said softly.

"I'm sorry?" Cas asked, while kneeling down beside him.

"He told me he didn't have much time left, said he wouldn't make it through all this and I promised him he would."

"Dean, there's nothing you could have done," Cas said, attempting to console him. Nobody knew the consequence of killing the Leviathan."

"It should have been me," Dean said in despair. "If I didn't mess up I would have killed Dick."

"Then you'd be dead," Cas said gravely.

"Yeah, and he'd be alive. He shouldn't have taken my place. Enough people have died because of me."

"This is NOT your fault," Cas said firmly. "You have got to stop blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong. There was no way of knowing that would have happened today. You were fighting a monster, nothing you and he hadn't done countless times. It could have just as easily been the other way around."

"I always lose people. Why does everyone I love leave me?" Dean asked, as the tears welled up in his eyes.

"I'll never leave you," Cas vowed. "If you want me to stay, I'll always be here."

"I don't want you to."

"I understand," Cas said, sounding hurt. The look in his eye before he turned away made Dean want to kick himself.

"No you don't," Dean started to clarify. "I do want you here, but you can't stay. I won't ask you to do that."

"Dean," Cas started to say, sounding relieved. "You know you don't have to ask, I don't want to leave you, I never did."

"You have to. I can't fuck up your life too, I won't do it. You're better off without me and he would have been too, look what happened because he was with me."

"I won't leave based on that reasoning," Cas said adamantly. "If you don't want me around, I'll go, but you have to tell me that's why."

"I can't say that," Dean said softly. "Cas, nothing around me is safe. I aint gonna bring you down with me."

"You don't need to be alone Dean," Cas said, giving him an intent look and putting his hand on his shoulder.

"I'm really tired Cas," Dean said, sounding it.

Cas offered to make him sleep, but Dean refused. He insisted on getting back to Cas and giving him a proper hunter's funeral. Once back at Bobby's house Dean carried the body out into the junk yard where he'd set everything up. He put the body on the laid out wood and set the fire. Castiel asked if he wanted any help and Dean said no. Then he asked if he wanted to be left alone and Dean just shook his head. They both stood there, silently, side by side watching as the body burned. Tears, that Dean unsuccessfully tried to hold in, streamed down his face. They stayed there until the fire died out. Without a word, Dean turned, went back into the house, up the stairs and to the spare bedroom he and Cas shared. He climbed into bed, fully clothed, curled up and quickly fell asleep.

A couple hours later Sam and Bobby walked through the door. Castiel was waiting for them. He told them that they'd burned the body and that Dean was upstairs, finally having fallen asleep.

"I don't know what to do for him," Sam said sadly.

"Just be there for 'em boy," Bobby said, as he set down a beer in front of him on the kitchen table then opened his own.

"That's easier said than done with Dean," Sam sighed.

"Stubborn son of a bitch, just like your daddy," Bobby laughed half heartedly.

"There's nothing to do for him," Cas offered, leaning against the door frame separating the two rooms with his arms crossed.

"He's my brother, I have to help him."

"I know you want to, but you can't. Dean is going to have to get through this his own way."

"That's what I'm worried about," Sam huffed.

"I won't let him self destruct," Cas promised.

A little while later Bobby and Sam went to sleep for the night. Cas sat on the couch just thinking to himself and waiting for Dean to wake up. He didn't know what he was going to do or say, but he was going to be there for him whether the hard headed bastard wanted him to be or not.

"Cas! Cas!" Dean shouted, as he shot up in bed in a cold sweat.

"Dean," Cas soothed, taking hold of Dean's hand, after having zapped into the room and onto the bed.

"His soul, he needs his soul," Dean said frantically.

"What are you talking about?" Cas asked confused.

"Cas, he sold it to Crowley, remember? He can't stay in Hell, he can't."

"Dean, calm down. His soul is his own. He held up his end of the deal, Crowley had to return it to him."

"Yeah, cuz he's Mr. Trustworthy," Dean said sarcastically. "How do we know for sure? We gotta check, we gotta make sure."

"I already did," Cas admitted quietly.

"What?" Dean asked confused.

"As soon as I knew you were asleep I returned to Heaven, I was not banned. He's there."

"Are you serious?" Dean asked bewildered.

"Yes," Cas confirmed.

"Wow, Cas in Heaven. I can't really picture that."

"He's from Heaven," Cas reminded.

"I know that," Dean snipped. "It's weird. He died human, it's different now right?"

"Yes, he'll be there as a human who died."

Dean laughed to himself and Cas gave him a questioning look.

"I'm just thinking about his Heaven. Prolly a 24/7 orgy with the booze and pills flowing...best part, no hang over."

"I really doubt it," Cas said. "That wasn't what made him happy."

"I know," Dean said quietly.

A year passed. Castiel never returned to Heaven again. Dean tried to convince him to go home a number of times over the first couple of weeks, but Cas outright refused to even consider it. The last time the topic was ever brought up Cas gave Dean a look as if he were going to smite him, and declared that he was never leaving him no matter what.

The first couple months were the hardest for Dean. He missed Cas more than he even thought possible. He'd eat something Cas liked, be watching something on TV, or any of about a thousand other little things, and think about him. He'd never really given any thought to just how much his and the hippie's lives were entangled, although it made logical sense considering they spent 24/7 together.

Not too long after Cas died God talked to Castiel. He told him Cas was doing well in Heaven and that he was at peace. Castiel was worried about him being alone, but God told him not to worry about that, he'd given him company. Castiel was a little surprised at the 'who', but it made perfect sense, he just never knew of God doing something like that. He was hesitant to tell Dean at first, but knew he had to. Dean, to say the least, was pretty surprised. His first reaction, anger, quickly faded. He knew Cas would be happy and that was all that mattered.

God gave his blessing for Castiel to stay on earth, but there were a few conditions. He had to appear to live as a human, the existence of angels still needed to be kept a secret from civilians, and even unknown hunters. He also had his powers decreased. He could no longer instantly heal, but he still healed a lot faster than humans and could withstand a lot more injury. He couldn't heal other humans anymore, he couldn't time travel, and he couldn't return to Heaven at will. Castiel was fine with these conditions, he would have fallen completely for Dean if that were the price.

Cas woke up in a big empty brightly lit room. He got to his feet and looked around, slowly realization hit.

"Fuck, I'm dead again," he swore to himself.

"Language my son," came the powerful voice behind him.

Cas turned to see who was addressing him, about to tell them where they could shove it. When he saw who it was, his mouth snapped shut. He just looked at the presence for a few long moments before speaking.

"Father," Cas greeted.

"Hello Castiel," God greeted. Cas flinched at the use of his old name. "I'm sorry. You don't like to go by that name anymore, do you?"

"No father," Cas confirmed, looking down at his feet.

"Your heart is too heavy child. You should not hold all the guilt that you do."

"Have you seen what I've done since my fall?" Cas asked sarcastically, then quickly mumbled an apology when he saw God's firm look.

"Of course. I'm not thrilled with some of your behavior, orgies Cas? But you are good at heart and that's what matters. You've never done anything with ill intent."

"What about Dean? What happened? Is he ok?" Cas asked getting panicked.

"Relax, Dean is fine," God comforted. "Castiel is taking care of him. He's in a lot of pain at the moment, I'm afraid."

"What? Castiel can't heal him. You gotta help, he can't die.." Cas rambled frantically, when God put up a hand to silence him.

"Dean isn't in any physical pain. You killed the head Leviathan and all the others fell. The price of using the weapon was your life and Dean's in mourning."

"He's better off. Castiel can protect him better than I could," Cas said somberly.

"I think it's fair to say you would both do anything in your power to protect Dean Winchester, and for that, he's lucky."

"What happens now father?" Cas wondered.

"You died a human, you will get your own piece of Heaven like all my children."

"Eternity alone, awesome," Cas said, rolling his eyes.

"Well if that's what you want, but I have a feeling you'll be happier with what you find in your Heaven," God said with a smirk.

"Father?" Cas questioned in confusion.

"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. Go see for yourself," God urged.

The next thing he knew God was gone and he was in a house. He recognized the house. It was one he had dreamed about. In one of his reoccurring 'pussy domestic dreams' as Dean called them, jokingly, he saw this house. Him and Dean would be in the house, watching TV, eating, drinking beer, having sex, and a number of other things. The activities changed all the time, but the house, and premise, were always the same. Cas and Dean living in this house, and happy.

Cas made his way to where he knew the kitchen would be. He stopped dead in his tracks as he took in the sight of who was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a beer.

"Took you long enough," the man drinking the beer said.

"Dean, no," Cas said, in just above a whisper. "He said you were fine, that Castiel was looking after you. What did you do?"

"Whoa, chill out," Dean said, putting up his hands." I'm not Dean, not the one you're freaking about over anyway."

"You're not...you can't be," Cas said in shock, as he realized who he was talking to.

"That dick version of Dean Winchester that got himself killed by Lucifer, yup, I can be and I am."

"What the fuck?"

"I've been here awhile. I was getting pretty bored waiting on you," Dean shrugged.

"How are you even here?" Cas asked.

"Uh, hello, I died, remember? Ya think I was that bad, that'd I'd go to Hell?"

"No, of course not," Cas said, shaking his head at the thought. "I mean, it's just, I didn't think you'd even exist now. Our future never happened."

"And here you are," Dean said, gesturing to him.

"That's a long story."

"I'm aware of everything that's happened. I've been here awhile."

"Why though?"

"The short version, God knew this was going to happen. Well, something like it anyway."

"I need farther explanation," Cas said, sitting at the table with him.

"God figured it was only a matter of time before either you or Dean got themselves killed. He was through with letting you guys come back to life, but he thought he should let you have the prize behind door B," Dean explained.

"Which is what?"

"If Dean died he'd get to be up here with Castiel, first angel human pairing up here from what I'm told. And if you died, you got the pleasure of being reunited with me."

"You're different," Cas observed.

"Yeah well, not having the Apocalypse over your head and Lucifer wearing your brother as a meat suit will take a lot of stress off of a guy."

"So, what what do we do now?" Cas wondered.

"That's a very open question Cas," Dean said, with a suggestive smirk.

Cas sat on a large leather sofa looking down in front of him. He thought about what he wanted to see on earth and the images clearly appeared before him on the floor. The same thing, the only thing, he checked up on down there was currently getting the crap beat out of himself by a pissed off spirit.

"Dean!" Sam yelled, before shooting the ghost with rock salt.

"Great timing Sammy," Dean said, rubbing the back of his head where it had just hit against the wall. "Couldn't have done that before I got knocked across the room?"

"Talk to your boy toy, what's the hold up anyway?" Sam wondered.

Before Dean had a chance to make a snarky remark the spirit reappeared behind Sam and Dean yelled out. Sam whipped around with the shotgun, but before he could pull the trigger, the spirit burned away.

"My apologies," Cas said, appearing beside Dean. "The groundskeeper needed to be dealt with before I could get to the grave," he explained, helping Dean to his feet.

"S'ok Cas, nothing we can't handle," Dean said.

"You're injured," Cas said, reaching out and touching a gash on Dean's forehead.

"I'll live," Dean said, pushing his hand away.

"Aww, you two are too cute, but can we go now?" Sam teased.

"Shut up Sam," Dean mumbled.

Cas looked down on the three of them and watched as all this went down. He smirked to himself at the interaction between the brothers. Dean was so easy to annoy. He'd always rise to Sam's bait.

"Are you watching our double mint twins again?" Asked the deep voice, approaching from behind.

"Yeah," Cas said, turning to face the man.

"We can do whatever we want up here and you spend half your time spying on people."

"I don't spy on people, Dean," Cas corrected. "I spy on us."

"You know I, he, always thought it was annoying when you angel mojo'd our brain," Dean said, sitting on the couch beside Cas.

"S'ok, I'm not an angel anymore," Cas justified.

"You really know how to split hairs, you know that?" Dean laughed.

"It gets me through the day," Cas deadpanned.