The Demon swiftly exited the kitchen, Castiel's sobs fading behind him. He headed towards the door, but froze when the sound of footsteps and a muffled voice made its way to his ears. The younger Winchester's "Okay, thanks, Bobby." followed by the soft 'beep' that signaled the end of the phonecall told the Demon that he needed to leave, and fast. He ran down the hall, peeking discreetly into every door that he passed, and entering the one with flannels and burger wrappers strewn across the floor. The Demon stood at the foot of the bed, and pulled himself out of the vessel with a roar like a hurricane and a cloud of black smoke. He seeped through a crack in the window without bothering to watch as Dean's lifeless body fell onto the mattress. Sam Winchester bolted to his brother's room upon hearing the noise, and ducked his head into the messy room to see Dean passed out on his bed. He looked at the bottle of Jack Daniel's sitting on the bedside table and let out a sound that was a mixture of a scoff and a sigh. Typical, he thought. Sam made his way back to his room to get on with his research, when he stopped after passing the doorway to the kitchen. He took a step back, peering into the decrepit room, and shook his head of shaggy hair. The sound of stifled sobs followed by the soft flapping of wings must have been his imagination, right?

Time slowly crawled on, more interrogations and research for Sam, more gun polishing and Busty Asian Beauties for Dean, with one slight alteration; Castiel. The Angel, despite spending more and more time with the brothers, seemed more distant than ever. Not that Dean minded the Angel's company, but he was curious. Didn't he have important Heaven stuff to deal with? It was as though Cas was avoiding going back by any means necessary. Of course, Dean couldn't ask him about it, the guy barely even looked at Dean anymore, but that didn't stop the hunter's heart from aching.

And then one night, Cas and the boys were sitting in a hotel room after a very successful tangle with a rather unpleasant Rugaru when Dean got up from the bed and clapped his hands together.

"Alright, I dunno about you two, but I'm going and checking out that strip joint down by the brewery. You down? Sammy? Cas?" he said with a grin. Sam got up and reached for his coat.

"Yeah, sure, why not? We've earned it." He said, pulling his arm through the sleeve. "Cas?"

"I think I'll stay here." Said Cas.

"Hey, come on!" Said Dean with a smile. "Enough with that "Den of Inequity" crap, let's go get hammered!" He clapped a hand on Cas' shoulder. The Angel took in a sharp breath and stood up quickly, rolling the shoulder Dean had touched. Cas looked at him with such fear and anger that Dean almost flinched. The Angel unclenched his jaw and looked down.

"I said, I'll stay here." Cas said quietly but firmly, relaxing his shoulders. Dean looked at Sam and then at Cas. He leaned in.

"Cas?" he said, raising a hand towards him. Castiel jerked away and looked at him, his piercing blue eyes burning into Dean's green ones. Dean dropped his hand and sighed, feeling inexplicably overridden with guilt. "Um, we'll see you later then, I guess." he said, biting his lip. He nodded and headed for the door. Sam waved at Cas and followed his brother to the car.

Cas sat down on the edge of the bed and let out a long breath. He silently scolded himself. Why would I do that? he thought. Why would I draw attention to myself? He didn't want them trying to help. This entire mess was his fault. If he had just fought back... Tears started to well up in his eyes, just like they do every night without fail. Castiel knew he was to blame. He knew that if he had just pushed a little harder, struggled a little longer, he could have beat this, and now here he is, sobbing like he's the victim. I could have stopped this, he told himself, waves of guilt crashing over him, weighing him down. His stomach starts to churn, but why shouldn't it? A man who had disgraced everything he's ever stood for because he was too weak hardly deserved to live.

Castiel stood up and stumbled to the bathroom. He dropped to his knees and positioned his face over the toilet. He heaved and choked, and of course nothing came out, but he continued until his throat was hoarse. Castiel fell back against the wall, memories of being pushed up against one until he was beaten and bloody came creeping back into his head, and Castiel cried, just like the night it happened, unable to claw the image of harsh black eyes out of his head, no matter how many times he hit it against the wall. Castiel tucked his knees to his chest and fell asleep in the corner of the dingy hotel bathroom, his dry sobs like a lullaby until everything grew dark.

Dean sat at the bar, his stool rocking against his will due to one slightly shorter leg. He looked to his left, the blonde he had tipped generously as she slid down the pole to "Black Dog" was now giving some scruffy-looking guy in a leather jacket a lapdance, occasionally slapping his hands away as they reached for her massive tits. He looked to his right where Sammy was hitting it off with a cute brunette in a sparkly blue dress. He turned around and raised his drink to Dean, and Dean smiled at him and did the same. That's my boy! he thought as he drained his glass.

He tapped it on the counter and the bartender came over and filled it right back up. What was this, now? His 8th glass? 9th? He didn't know, and he didn't care. All he could think about was the way Cas had looked at him. How angry he looked, like Dean had crossed some invisible boundary with the friendly clap on the shoulder, and how scared. Dean thought back to his youth. Dean shook his head and downed his drink in one gulp when he realized that Cas looked exactly like Dean felt after John had had too much to drink and-. No. Dean ducked his head and rubbed his eyes. I'm not here to bitch about my alcoholic father, I'm here to get hammered, and take some cute blonde bimbo back to the hotel. Right then, speak of the Devil, Sam tapped him on the shoulder.

"Hey, man. Um, listen. Me and Carmen," he motioned to the brunette he had been talking to earlier, "Wanna get out of here, and you're in NO condition to drive, so could I have the keys?" Dean just laughed. You know who drives Baby? Dean. That's it. He looked at Sammy, who looked back at him with those fucking ridiculous puppy-dog eyes, the corners of his mouth twitching down. Dean sighed and reached into his pocket.

"Fine." He said, handing the Impala's keys to his little brother. He was right, anyways, he'd probably total the thing before he made it around the corner. "But no fucking in the car! I find any stains, I'm coming after you." he told him, louder than necessary. Sammy winked at him and clapped him on the back. He watched his little brother make his way through the club, his massive arm wrapped around the girl's tiny waist. She has a nice ass at least, thought Dean. He tapped his glass again. The bartender came over and filled it up once more.

"You need me to call you a cab, sweetie?" she asked him. She wasn't particularly pretty, but she had a motherly vibe to her, her dirty blonde curls that had escaped her Rosie the Riveter-style bandana spilling over her forehead, the sleeves of her pastel plaid shirt rolled up to her elbows, pens and a notepad sat in the pocket of the dirty apron hanging around her waist. He took a sip and stood up.

"Nah, hon. I'm fine." He said, almost collapsing after the first step. The bartender laughed at him as he pulled himself back onto the stool.

"I'll get that taxi, love." She smiled at him as she picked up the phone. Dean winked at her as he finished his drink.
Dean hardly remembered the cab ride back to the hotel. As he heaved himself up the stairs to his 3rd floor room, he wondered how the driver had even known where to drop him off. He whistled to himself as he climbed, but the music was cut short as he missed a step and hit his shin on the rotten wood.

"Mother fucking shit fuck sonuva-!" He clamped a hand over his mouth, the pain in his shin slowly spreading up to his knee and down to his ankle. That sobered him up pretty quick. Dean limped up the rest of the stairs and made his way to the hotel room. Seeing no 'Do Not Disturb' sign hanging off the wall, Dean felt a wave of appreciation wash over him, since, despite his brother's raging hormones, he had been curteous enough to get another room, likely the one a few doors down that didn't do a great job at concealing loud banging and muffled grunts that reminded Dean of a big game animal. A moose, maybe? He snickered, and slid the key into the keyhole.

The door swung open, letting in bright beams of moonlight that danced off the blank TV set. He slipped off his heavy boots and placed them in the closet, next to Cas' brightly shined dress shoes. Cas. Dean froze, suddenly remembering the true reason for his excessive inebriation. He inhaled, and as he breathed out, he softly whispered.

"Cas."

Unbeknownst to Dean, that word, that one simple syllable uttered in the middle of the night in a rundown hotel room, would change the course of his life forever.

"Cas." Dean said, a little louder this time. Silence. But then, broken by a quiet sniff. Dean followed the noise to the bathroom, tearing off his coat on the way. The hunter didn't bother turning on the light, the moonlight seeping through the window was more than enough to reveal Castiel, Dean's guardian angel, a soldier of Heaven, curled into a ball on the cracking tile, sleeping, his face red with tears drying on his cheeks.

Dean's jaw dropped, and an unimagineable pain shot through his entire body; hurt, regret, guilt, like a bolt of lightning had struck him and consumed his entire being. He knelt down and took the Angel's hand in his. Once more, he whispered his name. Castiel awoke with a start, he tore his hand away, and kicked and flailed wildly, trying to back even further into the corner. He was panting, his eyes fixed on Dean's, filling quickly with nothing but pure fear.

"Cas, what are you- Are you hurt? Let me see." Dean reached for Castiel's hand again, which the angel tore back forcefully once more.

"No! I don't need your help!" the Angel screamed at him, his voice cracking as his eyes welled with tears. "I don't need you, Dean!"

Dean would have been hurt, had anger not been the only emotion he felt right then. He understood completely. Sam had been through it, hell, HE'D been through it, and damn it all if he was going to see another person he loves go down like this. Dean leaned forward, in between Castiel's legs, and pinned him to the wall.

"Dammit, Cas! Don't you dare do this to me! I've seen too many people get fucked over because of this, and I'm not going to let you burn out like the rest of us!" He stared intensely into Castiel's eyes, now leaking with tears. Dean sighed and leaned back, pulling Cas with him. Dean wrapped his arms around Castiel, bringing them both to rest against the wall. He held on tightly for what seemed like forever, his Angel sobbing softly, tears leaking and wetting Dean's t-shirt. The whimpers subsided and Cas lay nestled in Dean's arms, his head in the crook of Dean's neck. In complete, beautiful silence they sat until Cas spoke softly.

"You- you hurt me, Dean." Dean coudn't begin to imagine what had caused Castiel to fall apart like this, but that hit him like a freight train. Guilt consumed him. He hadn't the faintest idea what Cas was talking about, but the mere thought of him harming his Angel made his eyes begin to water.

"I did what?" he asked. He could hear his voice cracking, even in the soft whispers they spoke in. Castiel sighed.

"It wasn't you, Dean. I- you were possessed. I was looking for you in the house in Indiana, and I found you, but... You weren't you. You grabbed me and pinned me against the wall. You turned me around and whispered to me. Told me I was a toy, that I was pathetic, and weak while you were..." Castiel broke off, the unfinished sentence replaced with more painful sobbing. No more needed to be said, however. Dean, unfortunately, understood completely, and he joined Cas in sobbing. The two held each other close, fingers and limbs entertwined on the grungy bathroom floor.

"Cas, I'm so sorry. I-I can't even begin to-" Cas cut him off.

"No, Dean. You- It was right. I am weak. I could have fought it off, I could have beaten it, but instead I just sat there and took it, and-" This time it was Dean's turn.

"Cas, don't you fucking dare." Dean said bluntly. "This is everything but your fault. You are the victim, and I am going to fix this, that's what I do. You are the bravest person I've ever met, and that is why I need you to stay strong. I know we can get through this," He took his hand from Cas' and placed it underneath the Angel's chin. He stared into the blue depths of Castiel's eyes. "Together. I need you to let me help you, Cas... I need you." Dean finished, his hand still cupping Castiel's jaw. He looked down at his Angel, smiling reassuringly. Cas looked up at him, his frightened look softening as the realization creeped across his face.

He could be brave. He could be strong, and he knew it, because he knew that he'd have Dean by his side. He knew that his Hunter would get him through this, and be there with him every step of the way. As Cas stared up into Dean's eyes, a small smile slowly spread across his face. He took his hand and placed it on Dean's cheek, running his thumb across his cheekbones.

"Together." He agreed, before leaning up and softly pressing his lips to Dean's. A feather-soft touch of lips, and Dean melted completely. He hardly noticed Cas had pulled away, and was now burrying into Dean's chest. Dean stared blankly in front of him, his whole world turned upside-down. Dean slowly slipped back into reality as the truth sunk in. Castiel truly was his Angel, now. All Dean's. Dean's to hold, and kiss, and touch, and if Dean had never been happy before, he was now. He wrapped his arms around Castiel once more, whose torso was rising and falling slowly as he nodded off. Dean leaned down and placed a soft kiss on Cas' temple, before he too, with tears of joy in his eyes and a smile on his lips, slowly drifted off...