AN: Set post 8X17 Goodbye Stranger. Basically emotions are all over the place with this one, Dean isn't really sure how to react to Cas, and Cas isn't really sure about how to act around Dean, and there is some speculation for future episodes/storylines but no spoilers as far as I can tell as I only watched Taxi Driver a few days ago...Also, this isn't Destiel...that's pretty much it. Hope you guys enjoy the story as I haven't written anything in months.


It's the inevitable rustle of wings that alerts Dean to his presence.

For a second, Dean's back tenses, his hand hovering over the macaroni and cheese left over from Sam's untouched dinner. The hunter within him is poised and ready to attack. Good. Castiel thinks, surveying the older Winchester.

"Dean," he begins cautiously. Dean doesn't leave his place in front of the fridge, the door still open. The light begins to flicker off from being opened too long. "Dean," he repeats.

Dean turns around slowly, Sam's plate in hand as he shuts the fridge door, before he places it on the counter beside it. "Cas." His voice is rougher than normal, stubble decorating his face, eyes darkened form lack of sleep. "Where's the tablet?"

Castiel opens his mouth to speak but when he stares properly at Dean he can hear the real questions: "Where the hell have you been?" "Who the hell is Naomi?" "Why haven't you told me anything?"

The door to the kitchen bangs open breaking his stare. A pale looking Sam enters. The neckline of his grey sweater is speckled with blood. More of the red liquid stains his fingertips, a wad of tissues and the corner of his bottom lip.

Crinkles in Dean's forehead appear instantly as he watches Sam hover in the doorway. Not so good, Castiel notes with apprehension. It takes Sam minutes to realise that Dean isn't alone.

"I ran out of tissues and yes I know there's blood on my clothes." He pauses his one-sided conversation long enough to cough into the bloody tissues. "I know this will make laundry a bitch...Cas?" He blinks in surprise.


"Where the hell have you been?" He straightens his posture in an act of defiance over Castiel's dark assessment.

...You are damaged in ways I can't heal…

Entering the kitchen completely, he makes his way over to Dean who casually flicks his gaze over his body. He rolls his eyes at Dean's unsubtle medical check, pouts when Dean takes away the soggy mess of red tissues, and can't help but smile a little when Dean pulls out a tissue box from the cabinet just above his head.

Castiel shifts his feet, the rubber soles squeaking against the floor, interrupting the brotherly moment. "I shouldn't be here now...I can't seem to reach Meg." He watches Sam's mouth drop open silently and Dean's face shutter. Green eyes meet his and he watches curiously as Sam bends his head towards his brother. The low pitched rumble of Sam's voice wafts across the room. Though unintelligible, he can hear the words 'he doesn't know' hidden amidst blood soaked coughing...after all, he is a celestial being.

"I'm a bit tired; I'll leave you guys to talk." Sam's attempts of a fast escape are thwarted when Dean catches him by the scruff his neck.

"Not so fast Sammy." Dean murmurs. "Last time you ate was two days ago, no denial and no bullshit. Mac and cheese or even a salad, I don't care, you are going to pick something and eat it." When Sam vaguely gestures in the direction of mac and cheese Dean grins triumphantly. He microwaves it and makes Sam take three bites before leaving, just in case Sam decides to bin the rest of it somewhere in the Batcave.

When the door swings shut after Sam's departure Dean's shoulder settle once again into a straight line.

"I tried calling her phone. I branded her vessel's ribs in hope she would not be found." Dean stares at him silently. "Dean?"

"Crowley got her." Dean says quietly. He sees the confusion dancing across the angel's face, the frown of his mouth, the nervous playing of his fingers across the material of his coat. "He killed her. Sam came and found me after you dicked off," god help the bitterness in his voice, "Crowley and Meg were facing off, with a bunch of other demons coming after us, we had to leave. She went down swinging when he stabbed her."

Sadness crashes over his body. He's not even sure if he's actually responding, or whether Jimmy's body is just going through the motions. For a few seconds, all he can see is red; all he can feel is something, bubbling and seething in the pit of his stomach.

...Why are you so sweet on me Clarence?...

Meg is gone now. Smart Meg. Nice Meg. Sarcastic Meg. Demon Meg. His mind idly wonders if their demon/angel combination cancelled each other out enough to make them human. It's a stupid idea but then, Meg would have understood him...Meg...Meg thought he was cuter when he shut up...but now Meg's dead. Meg can't think anything. It's a revelation that leaves him oddly breathless. "What? And you just left her?" His voice comes out heavy and thick with anger, his eyes flickering over Dean who looks wounded yet detached. He doesn't wait for an answer, instead, bowing his head slightly and stalking towards Dean.

He intends to speak to Sam who is sitting outside the door, dutifully eating his pasta and cheese powder.

Castiel keeps his head bowed as he walks. His dress shoes barely make a sound. Apart from the humming from the refrigerator, the only other sound in the room is Dean's heavy breathing. They are less than a meter apart when he raises his head, still walking towards the older Winchester. His hand comes up, reaching for the door handle...

"I went back. Took her body. I gave her a hunter's funeral."

It's enough to ice the fire in his heart and gentle the thrumming in his veins. Castiel feels as if he's been struck. He drops his arm limply to his side letting his shoulder barely brush Dean's as he continues to walk. "Naomi trained me to kill you." From the corner of his eye, he sees Dean digest the words.

He shouldn't have come. He has to protect Dean. He's heard about the contents of the angel tablet. If the rumours are true, Dean will be lucky to live past the first trial. He's prolonging the inevitable but god help him, he needs Dean and Sam needs Dean.

Castiel disappears through the door leaving nothing but a black feather spiralling to the ground.

There's a pounding sensation in his head and he pinches the bridge of his nose, scrubbing his eyes. When he turns his head he sees Sam slouched against the wall, a small triumphant smile on his face that reminds him of the same smile he gave Dean when he managed to stand on two feet all those years ago. The empty plate of mac and cheese dangles loosely from his grip. "Atta boy Sammy."

He takes the plate and leads Sam to the kitchen sink before his baby brother's nose starts to bleed.

AN: Hope you found this interesting and would love a review/constructive criticism if you have the time. Also, I am happy to discuss anything with you, be it about the story, a difference of opinion, which member of Team Free Will is the hottest perhaps? ;)