AN: finally going about posting some SPN, Destiel stuff up here. This makes me happy. A small little prenote that you should all take note of is that this is AU after the season five finale, but Dean knows Garth. Don't question it. Just go with it. Everything else should be explained. (And yes, be warned. The characters, in my opinion, are rather OOC.)
Disclaimer: No. I don't own Supernatural.
Main inspiration: The Crow And The Butterfly by Shinedown
Just Like a Crow Chasing the Butterfly
"There's a garden that waits for you, and I, I'll be waiting there so patiently with hopes that you'll remember me. Will you forget about me? Or will you forget about us?" -More To Live For by After Midnight Project
The best memories are the ones we can look back on and not think of a damn thing that was wrong right then.
Sadly, Dean Winchester did not have many memories of this kind. Most of his memories were of what happened after his mother's death, and well, let's just say that those days weren't filled with sunshine, daisies, and everything nice. In fact, they were more or less filled with dark, cruel, monsters-under-the-bed-that-shouldn't-exist-but-so mehow-do. But, he did have a few good memories; 4th of July 1996 being one of those few.
At any rate, he'd be lying if he said that his life was nothing but good. Then, after John going MIA, and Dean going off and finding Sam at Stanford, things had started going a bit better. And then John died. And Sam died. And Dean sold his soul to bring Sam back, earning him a one way ticket straight into Hell.
Forty years later by Helltime (about four months by Earthtime) he was pulled out. By an angel. Named Castiel. Who wore a trenchcoat. And hey, things started looking up a bit, y'know? But, obviously nothing good can ever stay in Dean's god forsaken life, and the apocalypse came rolling along. Lucifer was out of the cage and Michael was in need of a vessel. After all that drama was over - ending with Lucifer and Sam, Michael and Adam all in the cage (sounds like a party, right?) - Dean and Cas were on their own. They couldn't get Sam out of the cage without extremely bad consequences (Lucifer getting back out being one of them), and so it just the two of them. Best friends.
Cas, at this point, was pretty much completely cut off from Heaven. He still had the reflexes and sense that come with being a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent, but for all intents and purposes, he was human.
And he didn't particularly like it, either. He was aging. He couldn't heal anyone anymore. Flying was out of the question. And other, smaller things, that he'd always taken for granted seemed to be disappearing as well. Even his reflexes were being too dull over time. He needed to sleep, and he needed to eat. He didn't like it - any of it.
Yet, even though Castiel could not ever be a great hunter, him and Dean stuck together, moving around from place to place, hunting. The duo left a trail of dead monsters in their wake.
Throughout all of this, Dean and Cas got closer and closer. They both began to fall for each other, though neither would be willing to admit it.
They were building memories - good, happy, sunshine-y memories - and everything was going spectacularly. Until they ran into an angel. It didn't like that Castiel was falling - had fallen - and it wanted to do something about that, even if that meant killing it's brother. A fight ensued, one that left the angel dead and Cas badly injured.
This was one of the worst memories Dean had since him and Cas had started hunting together. Worry for the ex-angel was surrounding him, wreaking havoc on his every thought, his every movement. Essentially, the worry etched itself into his soul until Castiel got better.
After Cas was better and released from the hospital (you honestly don't think that Dean would have nursed him back to health all his own, now did you?), Dean pulled Cas into a hug and didn't let go for a few moments.
Cas, who by now knew more about human etiquette, had hugged him back, pulling away when Dean did. Neither man said a word, merely falling into their old routine with each other.
Of course, Dean was much more careful when it came to making sure Cas was safe. Cas didn't mind the watchfulness - expect for when it caused Dean to get hurt because he was trying to protect him. That upset Cas. Greatly.
The two's relationship began to progress from there, closer than ever before. But they still didn't admit the feelings they had for each other. Cas because he didn't know how to put what he was feeling into words, Dean because he was too stubborn to realize that it really truly was love that he was feeling.
And then the unexpected happened.
Dean had left, gone to a bar. Cas had stayed back at the hotel, doing research for their case. But Dean never came back. That wasn't unusual, seeing as it was Dean, but when he failed to turn up the next morning - or the next day at all - Cas was being to worry. It wasn't like him to just disappear like that, with no warning whatsoever.
Cas stayed in the hotel for that first day, before venturing out to try and locate the Impala. He found it in the parking lot of a small, local bar. Inside the actual bar, Dean was nowhere to be seen. This unsettled Cas, him knowing that Dean wouldn't ever just leave his baby unattended. It went against his every nature.
Cas went searching the surrounding area, hoping to possibly find Dean. When Cas finally did find him, it was in a small back alley, the ground littered with garbage. The hunter's neck was twisted at an impossible angle, and his eyes had glossed over, staring straight ahead but seeing nothing. The stench of sulphur was hanging in the air, but it was beginning to dissipate.
The first thing Cas did upon discovering Dean's body was nothing. He did absolutely nothing except stare at the now deceased Dean Winchester in horror for the first few minutes before he realized that he should probably do something. Castiel quickly went over to him and closed his eyes. Next, he made sure all of Dean's personal belongings - wallet, car keys, etc. - were still there. After pocketing them, Cas removed a crumpled napkin with Castiel written on it (which was made him take it in the first place) from one of Dean's pockets. He didn't read the note. Just simply put it in his pocket to worry about for another day. All of this was done with eerily robotic-like movements, Cas letting nothing betray his feelings. Inside, he wanted to cry out, wail, crumple to the ground and never do anything again. But on the outside, he was stony and unmoved. Cas glanced around, knowing he should probably bury the body. But he couldn't bring himself to do so, and he exited the alley, somehow making it back to the Impala.
The harsh reality was just being to set in. Cas was on his own. Completely and utterly alone. He knew one other person on Earth, and that was Bobby. But as far as he knew, Bobby had died a year ago - a vampire or some other creepy.
Cas returned to the alley in the Impala, carefully parking it at one end. He returned to where Dean's body lay and began the process of carrying him back to the Impala to transport him somewhere that Cas could bury him undisturbed.
Three or so hours later, Cas had found a nice place to bury Dean. He'd managed to acquire a simple wooden coffin on the way, and Castiel set about digging up the ground beneath the lone tree. It was hard work, but by the time he was done, he was sufficiently satisfied with the outcome.
Once the dirt was piled back on, Cas returned to Dean's baby, where he lay down in the back and slept until the next day.
He awoke in the backseat, feeling sore all over; the Impala's backseat may be comfortable for sitting in, but it was by no means a good bed. Exiting the car, Cas glanced up at the sky, as if hoping for some sort of divine message, even though there hadn't been any for a long while.
Castiel ran through past memories of himself and Dean, trying to etch them into his mind, never to be forgotten. The good. The not-so good. The bad. The memories that dredged up past feelings and thoughts that brought physical pain to Castiel. He went through them all, not wanting to forget a single second of any of it.
The next few days were the worst for Castiel. He kept expecting to wake up and see Dean, poking and prodding at him to get up so they could more research or move onto the next town.
But none of these mundane simplicities were there anymore, and Cas was alone. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to hunt with. No friends. No family. Nobody.
But as Cas was sifting through past memories, trying to think of anyone who would need to know of Dean's passing, he remembered him mentioning someone by the name of Garth. Cas figured he should know, and he set about finding him to tell him.
After getting the message through, the two met up. A rather odd young man and a broken hearted fallen angel, meeting for the first time. Seeing as Garth was hunting by himself, and Castiel needed a new partner, the two formed an unlikely partnership. But they never really became close friends, even though a few years passed.
During those years that the two hunted together, Cas insisted on visiting Dean's grave at least every three months. He never said anything, knowing that Dean's soul was up in Heaven, but it gave him some comfort to be there.
The note Dean had written Cas had gone unread, left at the bottom of his duffel bag, forgotten about.
But, after a somewhat easy case, Cas was going through his bag, he found it. Pulling it out, he unfolded it and began reading.
The note - more of letter, really - was about what Dean wished he could have said to Cas, but never had. Regrets he had about their relationship, how he'd never been willing to take that step and put them into that couple category.
As Cas finished reading it, he felt a tear leave his eye and fall down his face before splattering on the paper, slightly smearing the letters. More tears welled up his eyes as the death of Dean hit him all over again. Unable to keep them in, the ex-angel let them fall down without wiping them away. That's how Garth found him a little while later, coming back from a short supply run.
A few weeks later and it was time to visit Dean's grave again. Garth had grown used to these stops by now, and automatically went there, Cas not needing to say anything.
Once they arrived, Garth stopped as near to the grave as he could without driving off the road. Cas exited and walked straight to the grave, hearing the purr of the Impala's engine leaving (Cas had insisted that they use one car to save money, and he also insisted that said car be the Impala as it was Dean's).
Kneeling down in the grass now covering the spot, Cas didn't say anything, like usual. But, about fifteen minutes later, he opened his mouth to say something. He'd planned out this moment, choosing every word to make sure he said exactly what he wanted to say. He knew that Dean wouldn't be able to hear him, but this apparently helped when one was grieving.
Instead of giving the short speech like he'd planned, Cas said four simple words. "I miss you, Dean."
Inside his head, he wanted to say so much more. I love you. I need you down here, keeping me sane. But all these thoughts he kept to himself, hoping he'd get a chance to say them at a later time. When he actually saw Dean again.
He stood up, brushed off his pants and walked in the direction of where he knew the hotel he and Garth would be staying in was.
A few days later, and they were back on the road, following a trail of demonic activity.
Catching up to where the demons appeared to be, they checked into a hotel, and began making a plan. It was simple, really. It appeared to only be one or two demons, so they planned to go in guns blazing.
Armed with Ruby's knife, a few guns, Cas' angel blade, and a recording of an exorcism set to play on repeat, they entered the building the demons were in. But, of course, them having the luck that any hunter ever has, it turned out to be quite a bit more than a couple. It was more like a nest of at least a dozen.
At one point during the fight, Cas was thrown against a wall, dazing and dizzying him. Badly injured, guns lost (but they managed to hold onto both Ruby's knife and the angel blade), they retreated.
Cas' head was spinning as he and Garth raced back to the Impala. He couldn't see straight in front of him, and Garth was limping badly. But the two made their getaway quickly, Garth driving them back to the hotel, Cas falling into a deep unconsciousness.
A few days later, and Garth's limp was gone, but Castiel had headaches and black spots danced across his vision. He couldn't see straight, and there were some memory gaps that he tried to fill in, but for all that is holy, he couldn't.
The next day, while he and Garth were interviewing somebody, he blacked out, falling into sweet unconsciousness.
The next day and a half were blurred. He appeared to be in a hospital, but with his head pounding, the memory loss, and the dizziness, he couldn't quite be sure.
He dimly heard a doctor telling someone - Garth, he assumed - that there was nothing they could do for him, that the brain swelling was too far gone to be able to be fixed. The best they could was give him painkillers and hope to let him pass in peace.
After the painkillers kicked in, he could make sense of the world better - his migraine was gone. But the gaps in his memory were still there, and he seemed to be losing more every day. He still recognized the name Dean Winchester, but Garth was foreign to him.
Apparently, Garth had signed him into the hospital under the name of Castiel Winchester; any doctor or nurse that spoke to him over the course of the next day, they called him Mr Winchester. He didn't like it.
The second night he was in the hospital, he fell asleep, but never woke up. Most of his memories of Dean were still there, but he had lost a good majority of them.
Up in Heaven, Dean was in Ash's heaven. But that was only because that's where everyone he knew was. His mother and father, Bobby, Pamela, Ellen and Jo. They were all there, and each person would occasionally disappear off into their own heaven but they almost always came back, back to the Roadhouse.
Ash occasionally brought a few people that Dean didn't know, but most of those people only showed up a few times.
And then, Ash left and came back with someone Dean definitely knew. He was wearing his trenchcoat and suit again (it's hard to keep clothes in good condition when you're a hunter), and he looked younger now than he had when he'd died.
Castiel glanced around the Roadhouse, but didn't see Dean right away. He looked at Ash, about to question it when he felt two strong arms encircle him, pulling him into a tight hug. Gasping, Cas pulled back, not prepared. He looked into the eyes of the other man, and saw tears beginning to show in his eyes. "God, Cas, I've missed you," Dean whispered.
The bar around them had grown silent, the Heavenly patrons taking interest in someone who was greeted with so much emotion. Cas hugged Dean back - not as emotionally or lovingly as Dean had hugged him, more of a friendly hug.
Dean grabbed Cas' shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. "Hey, man, you did read my note right?"
The other souls, sensing Dean and Castiel needed a moment, returned to their past activities. Except John. He kept a watchful eye on them. Not necessarily eavesdropping. He didn't exactly like the way Dean had greeted this new arrival. It was almost as if Dean was in love with the guy, and John thought he had taught his son better than that.
Cas nodded in response to Dean's question. "I did indeed read your note." Nothing else was said by him.
Dean's face fell. "And nothing. You felt nothing."
Cas shook his head. "You misunderstood me. I remember reading it. I don't remember what you wrote. Some of my memories are gone."
Dean blinked. "Okay. So. You lost your memory? How?"
"Brain swelling is what the doctor's said is my cause of death. Memory loss is a symptom of said brain swelling."
Dean closed his eyes, a million thoughts running rampant in his mind. "Fuck," he muttered under his breath.
Cas, hearing the swear, said nothing, waiting for a bigger reaction.
"What exactly do you remember?" Dean questioned Castiel.
Cas gave him a quick rundown of everything since they'd met; how he'd pulled him out, the two becoming best friends, Sam falling into Hell with three others. And that's where his memories were beginning to fail him. Cas figured that, since they were in Heaven, he should have all these memories back. But they weren't there. His brain was void of them.
Dean listened to every word he said, drinking it all in. When he was done, Dean had a sort of pained expression on his face. Like he couldn't believe that Cas had lost those memories. He glanced over at his parents, who were sitting at a table with Bobby. "Cas, we're gonna deal with all of that later, but for now, there are two people I'd like you to meet."
He grabbed Cas' arm, gently pulling him along to where John and Mary sat. Bobby nodded at Castiel, greeting him a gruff, "Hello," before standing up and walking off to where Ellen and Pamela were.
"Hey, mom. Hey, dad," Dean greeted his parents. "This is Castiel," he said, motioning to the man next to him, "he used to be an angel. He's the one who pulled me out of hell."
Mary smiled warmly at Cas. "Hello," she introduced herself, "I'm Mary Winchester. But you probably already knew that."
"And I'm her husband, John," was all John said, not liking the closeness of his son and this other man.
Castiel gave them both a polite, "Hello," before taking a seat in one of the empty chairs, Dean sitting beside him.
Mary nicely interrogated Cas, asking him about his life and everything he'd done. Throughout it, Dean kept his eyes on Cas. Either Cas didn't notice it, he was used to it, or he simply didn't care. Either way, John didn't particularly like it.
Eventually, John and Mary left for their own heaven. They would be back though, Dean knew, they always came back. This left Dean and Cas alone for the time being.
Cas asked Dean exactly why he'd written the note. He surely couldn't have known some demon was going to come along and kill him (which Castiel was wondering how that had happened in the first place. He wisely chose not to question it).
Dean smirked slightly, glancing down at the table. "I'd actually written that weeks before those demons got the jump on me. I wasn't actually going to give it to you... I was actually planning on burning it. Now I'm glad I didn't."
Cas nodded. After that, their conversation became one of catching up and getting to know each other again. They hadn't, after all, seen each other in several years.
As the conversation progressed, small bits of memory kept returning to Cas. He remembered the small, mundane hunts, the conversations at random bars, nights where it was just the two of them in a motel room doing nothing but talking. The last memories to come back were his final visit to Dean's grave, and reading the letter.
When the two settled themselves back down into his mind, Cas stopped mid-sentence, his mouth hanging open. Dean, immediately taking note of the pause, asked "What?" in a worried tone.
Cas shook his head, not wanting to stop running through the memory, remembering every last word Dean had so carefully placed upon the paper. He never wanted to forget them again. Dean just watched him, his green eyes taking in every emotion betrayed by Castiel's face.
When Cas was done, when he had committed the note to memory, he looked Dean straight in the eyes. "I remember. I remember everything."
Just a last little note, here at the end. I know the ending sucks. I know I left it rather open for more. And about that. I might write more. I might not. Depends how well my ideas cooperate.