Castiel stood swaying in the clearing he'd found, unable to pull his eyes away from the sight of his brethren burning in the sky, plummeting to Earth. It was beautiful. Horrifyingly, traitorously beautiful.

No. I didn't want this.

He wanted to fly, to rescue, but his wings were gone, and he felt a fierce ache where they used to be. So, so empty. He was empty. He was gone, he was a shell and a walking carcass. He took in a deep, shuddering breath, and choked on it.

No.

Was Dean praying to him? He couldn't know. He'd never be able to fly to him again, to heal his and his brother's wounds. He could never smite his enemies, or hear his prayers.

I didn't want this.

His brothers and sisters would be walking the Earth now, just like Lucifer once had. Would they be as dangerous? Had he just unleashed another worldwide calamity, when he'd been trying to do the exact opposite? And if, if Naomi had been right about this, was she right about the Hell Trials as well? Please let Sam be safe.

His knees buckled from underneath of him. Human for all of one minute, and he was crying, howling like an animal, shaking and burning from the inside out, hot emotion reaching out desperately to his lost grace, his falling brothers-in-arms, and his tiny, makeshift family.

The loss was too much, and his grief lost all words, became just a long, drawn out, hopeless scream. He was going to die here, he was sure of it. His soul, he had a soul, would simply shatter inside of him and he would die. There'd be no story for Metatron to hear.

But his new soul was too stubbornly sturdy, and it didn't break, wouldn't fracture for all the horror it was witnessing. The last of the lights faded out of the sky, and, for all of his trembling and weakness, Castiel was still alive.

He hiccupped, and it was only when he began to freeze in the night air, he could feel the cold, he was dying already, that he managed to pick himself up and begin walking.

There was only one thing that he could do now, and that was to Find Dean. He didn't know what to do with himself, only knew he had to fix it, the harm he'd caused. Dean would point him in the right direction. He was the only one Castiel had ever followed, who didn't lead him astray.