This is set during the episode Abandon All Hope (5x10), and so yeah, alternative spin on things.

"So, this whole 'last night on Earth' thing must be getting pretty repetitive for you by now, huh?" Dean prompted, handing Cas a beer the angel wouldn't drink, and dropping down onto the sofa next to him like a heavy rock falling in despair to the bottom of the ocean. Funnily enough, Dean feels like a heavy rock, burdened by the weight of the world, the weight of the people he loves and their lives, and the fact that this time tomorrow, their little family may well be extinct. The fact he can't do anything to stop it, only propel them forwards.

No, actually, it isn't funny. It's goddamn tragic.

Cas raises an eyebrow at the beer, but manages a tight grimace, carefully controlling his facial muscles not as to let a frown grace his lips. The last thing Dean needs now is an anxious angel; he can feel his hurt, his despair. Instead of bringing it up as the next 'hot topic of conversation', Cas leaves the desperation alone. Dean wouldn't talk about it, not to him.

"Having lived through a millennia watching this planet, I loathe to admit that yes, this habit of humanity of worrying about death is, indeed repetitive," Cas responded, looking down unsteadily at the beer, and cautiously reading the label. He did not enjoy being inebriated. He did not enjoy the lack of control he had been programmed to fear his entire life.

Dean considered his words, lips turning upwards into a smile that Castiel couldn't hope to compute. "I meant with Raphael a few weeks back as well. That was a night and a half," Dean spoke softly, chuckling slightly as memories rushed back in. "What was that chick's name, Chastity? Woah man, you nearly scored there."

Cas didn't understand that phrase, or any references that could possibly be tied to it, so he ignored the comment. His eyes explored the sitting room that he and Dean were lounging in. The walls were dusty – an evident sign of Bobby's disregard for cleanliness – and knackered. The furniture was ancient, and the wooden floor had seen better days, with splinters catching onto the soles of the feet of any foolish man who entered without shoes. The ceiling was cracked and tinged yellow, the books were leather bound and immoveable, and the shutters were decaying pieces of old wood. Yes, the house was a shambles.

But it was also a home. A home Cas liked to think he belonged in.

"As you say it Dean, this is our last night on earth. Why do you not spend it with Bobby, and Ellen, and Jo and Sam? Why me?" Castiel asked patiently, not allowing a slight tone of self-deprecation to become obvious in his speech. He had retired from the kitchen over two hours previously, trying to run away from the insatiable gloom that had settled in the room. Humanity often surprised him, and they had tonight; death was more important than anything else. he had watched billions die in his lifetime, but even the thought of this tiny group of people suffering in torment made his insides burn. Death; it's what they live for.

He could feel Dean's eyes burning into the side of his head, and he reluctantly changed his gaze from the fireplace – small, dusty, poignantly scented – and to Dean's face.

He liked Dean's freckles. Sometimes, when he was tired, or stressed, or even scared, he liked to count them. There was a familiarity with those freckles, one Castiel couldn't really identify, but they were soothing. They were the only part of Dean that was consistently comforting.

Staring deep into Dean's complexion, he waited for an answer. One hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and four…two hundred and seven, two hundred and eight...Dean truly did have lots of freckles.

"I don't know man. I mean we've been so busy recently trying to gank all these demonic sons of bitches that I hardly have time to speak to you anymore. Thought it would be nice to get away from the racket and talk for a while. I've missed hanging around you buddy," Dean expressed honestly, taking an excessively large gulp of alcohol after finishing. Releasing his lips from the bottle, he allowed a small groan of satisfaction to escape his lips, and then looked back at Cas, who was still looking confused.

"But they are your family, and they will probably be dead tomorrow. Surely it would be more prudent to spend time with them before the inevitability of painful demise" he replied bluntly, achieving that level of insecurity that used to plague him when he first pulled Dean Winchester from Hell.

"Wow, don't soften the blow there Napoleon," Dean said, half-reprimanding Cas, and half saddened by the truth. He chose to move on. "And I am spending time with family, Cas. You're family man, you might as well accept it whilst you can," Dean said gently, smiling once more at the angel.

Sometimes, Cas scared the hell out of him. Whether it was intentional or not, he was one scary bloke. Dean often forgot that the dude was actually an angel – he just acted like a kind of socially-awkward tax accountant most of the time, so when the mojo burst out, it only reminded him that Castiel was not human, but a being beyond his understanding. He remembers a time when he tried to simply say yes, and got his ass handed to him harder than Billy Joel at a Metallica concert. He remembers a time when Cas promised to hold them off, I'll hold them all off, and that's what he did. Dean often forgets Castiel isn't human, and it terrifies him.

Castiel simply smiled. He was part of the Winchester family. That gave him a small modicum of courage, and oddly, hope, in this dark time.

"So, for now, we sit, and wait and drink beer," Dean completed quickly, as if he needed to wipe the girl-talk from his lips, and put his man-feelings back on.

They sat in a comfortable silence for five, maybe six minutes, before Castiel began a new conversation. Well, not so much of a conversation, but more of a confession. This was new; normally he would speak to his Father. However, in the last year, he had been unnerved to find that his first source of faith and comfort now came from Dean Winchester, and his freckles.

"You know, I often thought that at the end of the world, I could well bury myself in women and decadence," Cas admitted, crowning his head in slight shame. He missed the horror that leapt onto Dean's face. No, no, no, don't become him. "After all, the end of the world traditionally does call for such; I've seen it a thousand times before in your species."

He felt a firm hand clamp onto his shoulder, and once again, found his gaze piercing the eyes of his friend. However, the hand was shaky and no matter how hard it clutched, Castiel found it to be weak. Looking into Dean's eyes, he saw a chink in his armour – too much knowledge and experience to try and see the positives in life. Without any kind of faith, Castiel knew how Dean struggled. He had hoped to alleviate these worries, not to be the cause of them.

"Look Cas, I know things have been rough for you the last few months… being sent back to Angel Camp and then the whole…rebelling thing, for us, but you don't need women or decadence. You've got me," Dean garbled wildly. If it had been anyone else, maybe he wouldn't have concerned himself with an explanation, but when he had seen the future, Cas had worried him more than anyone else. How could an angel fall so far from Heaven? Sure Hippie Cas was a laugh, but Dean had been distraught over his fate. He wasn't going to let it happen to his Castiel.

Castiel lowered his eyebrows in confusion. "Are you suggesting that I would use you as a substitute for women and decadence, or that I would have no use for them when I have you?"

At the former part of that sentence, Dean accidentally spat a mouthful of amber liquid out of his mouth, spraying it over the floorboards. He coughed loudly, burying out the sounds of Castiel speaking, and his mind raced, realizing the…implication he had made with his earlier phrasing. Castiel continued to look perplexed, and Dean's smart mouth was unable to coagulate a sentence in response.

Goddamn, where was his smart-ass attitude when he needed it?

"The latter, the latter there…" Dean offered up meekly, standing up to put his empty beer bottle on the mantle-place. Cas seemed to be perfectly oblivious to Dean's inner turmoil, and for that he was very glad. The angel choosing now to be intuitive would be bad. Too many feelings. Too much to handle. Too much self-hatred for not being able to save his family.

After a few moments, this time of heavy tension, Dean returned to the sofa and buried himself in musty-smelling cushions. They reminded him of his childhood, being here with Bobby, safe and happy, as opposed to when he was with John, and hunting and being constantly haunted by death and plagued by terror. In his prime, he had looked up to John Winchester – thanks to Bobby, and Sam and Cas, he realized that he was nothing like him. And that was a good thing.

"Dean," Castiel murmured, as the hunter found himself becoming slightly drowsy, "Dean, I have one final thing of importance to tell you."

Dean put his feet onto the sofa, resisting the urge to just throw them over Cas' lap like he used to do with Sam not so long ago. "What is it Cas?" he asked encouragingly, not looking the angel in the face, but allowing his eyes to drop shut.

"I love you Dean."

Okay, he was awake. Awake, awake, swing legs off sofa and smell the coffee awake. He sat upright from the cushions, and plastered on his best what-the-hell-are-you-on expression.

Castiel smiled at him, as if he was a small child, and Dean was the woodlouse scurrying away for fear of being trampled when all he really wanted to do was hold it, and protect it.

"I often hear it said when one's life is coming to an end. My garrison was situated by my Father to watch over this planet, you know. I have been observing the people here for longer than many of them existed, and I picked up on this phrase, and its meaning. You are my family, Dean, and I care for you. If and when we perish tomorrow, I would like you to know that I love you."

Star struck did not even begin to cover it. First of all, Dean thought Cas must have had the wrong word entirely, but as he began to describe it, Dean's insides began to melt and his mouth went dry. He could feel Castiel smiling that small, quaint smile at him, and he rested his hands on his knees. It had been a while since anyone told Dean they loved him. He wasn't used to it, especially from an angel.

The next time Dean thought was when his lips collided with Castiel's, and a pleasant coppery tang spread across his tongue. Whether it was the adrenaline of a last night, or the revelation of love, he couldn't help it. His eyes clamped shut, and his hands roamed up towards Cas' face, curving around the contours of his cheekbones, and resting on the back of his neck, fingers twisted in his deep brown hair. Desperation and senselessness overpowered him, and he attacked like a bird of prey, swooping down and catching Castiel's bottom lip, toying with it, biting it harshly, kissing him in a blaze of fire and death and despair.

Then he realized what he was doing.

Dean wrenched his mouth away from Castiel's soft pink mouth and jumped from the sofa, all but running into a corner of the room. What the hell was that, his brain was screaming at him, dude are you out of your frigging mind? It's Cas!

And a small, devious little voice in the back of his head replied, exactly.

Dean dared a little peek at Castiel's expression, where he remained in the same position on the sofa, a dazed look on his face, his hair rumpled and messy. His eyes were wide, the blue almost startling and yet all consuming, and Dean could feel them eating away at his petrified form. His lips were parted, barely wide enough for him to breathe, and that's really what he needed to be doing right now.

They were in a small, enclosed part of the house. The kitchen was two corridors and a twist away – no one could see what they were doing, or hear them. If there was a time to be making apologies, and pretending like it never happened, it was now.

"Cas," Dean stuttered out, "C-Cas, I'm sorry man. I don't know what came over me. I didn't mean to—". The trail went cold here, as Dean ran out of coal to fuel his explanation. He slumped down against the wall, slowly sliding to the ground and dropping his head into his hands.

He was so sick and tired of screwing things up. If he had listened to Dad, Sammy wouldn't have gotten hooked on demon blood. If he had been a decent human being, and not tortured people in Hell, the goddamn apocalypse wouldn't be on his doorstep. If he hadn't said no to Michael, this could all be over with, and Ellen and Jo and Bobby and Sam wouldn't all have to die. If he hadn't have kissed Cas, then maybe his last night on earth would have been lonely, but he would have been safe. Now he was open, vulnerable, raw. Cas could pick him up and break him like a china doll if he wanted.

The next time he opened his eyes, Castiel was sat right next to him, back against the wall, eyes lazily staring at Dean's face. He wondered why the angel always did that. Did he have something on his face? The guy made him paranoid.

There was so many reasons why falling for Cas was a bad idea. He was an angel, for one, and Dean was not clear on most aspects of their "relationship rules". Two, the guy was always around, so if Dean cocked things up as he always did, then that would make life considerably more awkward. Three, he was wearing another person. Four, the guy had no sense of humour, and no decent taste in music. And finally, Castiel was worth something, he was special. He didn't have to degrade himself to Dean's level, and Dean certainly didn't have the courage to make himself Cas' equal. He's a human, or a pitiful excuse for one, and Castiel was an angel.

A freaking angel.

But then there were always the perks; Cas was the bravest being he knew. He was loyal to the end, he was a good person. He was also very beautiful; not in the conventional sense, and not even with his vessel (although Jimmy was gone now after Raphael wasted him before) – the obliviousness was endearing, the anger and power was very attractive (that alleyway), and there was something about him that always made Dean's hairs stand on end…in a good way. He wasn't pretentious or dramatic or cheap; he was just always willing to help. And that's why Dean loved him too.

"Dean, I might be inexperienced in…affairs of the heart," Castiel began abruptly, and Dean swore in that moment if the guy went all 'Julie Andrews, Sound of Music' on him, he would have to hit him. "But I don't need to be an expert to see your heart right now.

"Your heart is physically aching. I can see it. The premature feeling of loss towards Ellen and Jo, and Bobby; you feel responsible for them and because there's nothing you can do, you are punishing yourself. You love them, you inherited John's guilt for the death of Jo's father, and you want to protect them. And you can't, and it hurts.

"And Sam is killing you too. Every time you look at him, it feels like a reflection on your own failures. You think it's unfair – why do all my sins punish Sam instead of me? You blame God for this, but then you feel like he doesn't care. And that burns. The fact that Sam is an abomination feels like it is your fault – John incensed you to look after him, and he's broken.

"And your heart hurts because of me, I think, as well. When I look at you sometimes, all I can see is shame. Shame that you had to be rescued from Hell, that you couldn't do it yourself, and shame that you could never be as powerful as me.And yet you are more powerful than all the angels put together. You are a true human being. You love with passion, you feel hatred and rage, you can emit the whole spectrum, but put it all behind you for the sake of your family.

"Your heart is broken because your family…is broken. But we can only take responsibilities for ourselves, Dean. Sam chose to drink demon blood, John Winchester chose to sacrifice William Harvelle, Bobby chose to give up his life to help you boys. You are only responsible for your own weaknesses Dean, and from what I see, they are few in comparison to your vices."

Dean felt numb. He could hear Castiel's words washing over him repeatedly, like waves trying to drown him. He is overcome by the rhythm in his voice, and the truth of his own nature is like torture to hear. And he is afraid of how well his angel has come to know him. His angel – that settles it. And suddenly, Dean accepts that his family is damaged and dysfunctional and insane, but that is the way of the world. There's nothing he can do to change it.

Tears have been slowly slipping down his chiselled jaw line for the last three minutes, and Dean does not move to wipe them away, or to prevent more of them from falling. What surprises him is the gentle shock of feather-light, soft hands brushing against his cheeks, slim and delicate fingers drying the salt water from his face. The angel next to him shifts his position, and grips Dean's pale (and sad, oh so sad) face in his hands. The man looks at him, tears moving over the curves of his permissive lips, and the sharp green of his eyes are blurred by a magnitude of water welling up, just waiting to be released. Castiel smiles at him.

"You are not alone Dean. You will always have me. I am forever yours," he whispers, and even though he had not asked a question, Dean nods, agreeing. Castiel dips his head forwards, and Dean moves his hands from his knees to the angel's shoulders, and the hunter catches his lips again. But this time he doesn't let go.

Cas essentially traps him by the wall, one hand on Dean's neck, the other caressing his stubbly cheek. Persistent, Castiel moves his lips in turn with Dean's, pressing as hard as he dares, pushing his tongue into his mouth, breaking through the lock of Dean's full, slightly swollen lips. He pulls the two of them into a standing position in the corner of the room, and breaks apart for a moment. Angels don't have to breathe, but he'd rather Dean didn't accidentally die whilst they were in the middle of this.

Dean's breath is hot and damp, and smells faintly of beer, but they are so close Castiel cannot possibly bring himself to care. The hunter's fists are clutched onto the front of Cas' beige trench coat, holding him close, so he can't escape. Not that Castiel wants to. The distance between them equates to nothing more than a centimetre. The room is suddenly much smaller, the lights dimmer, almost black, and they are cast in the shadows of the bookcase.

Before Cas can make another move, Dean uses his grip on the front of his trench coat to turn Cas and push him up against said bookcase. The gentle, slow kisses are suddenly replaced by a furious unleashing of desire. Dean's hands run, hot and heavy, down Castiel's body, shifting him out of the trench coat, and kicking it away across the floor. He slams him into the bookcase, kissing him ferociously, lips never stopping, always pressing or sucking or pushing against the angel's mouth.

Not that the angel is so innocent in this either. His right hand in placed on Dean's bicep as he pushes in towards him, gripping tightly, and the other is on the small of Dean's neck, pushing and encouraging him to kiss him closer. The pace of their kisses is quick, agility needed to keep up, as Castiel constantly responds to Dean's mouth against his own, hot breath being exchanged between them. Dean keeps him pinned to the wall, wrapping an arm around Cas' slim waist, the other entangled in his hair, running down his smooth palatable cheeks. Cas' skin feels so soft and cool under his fingertips that Dean slides his lips from Cas' mouth to his cheek, and presses heated, urgent kisses along Castiel's rigid jaw, and then dipping below to his neck, tasting the tender skin beneath his mouth, scraping by it with his teeth. He feels Cas shiver as he gently bites down onto his collar bone and Dean's tongue dances along the skin there, leaving marks of possession.

Castiel continues to keep breathing, digging his fingernails into Dean's bicep, alleviating the strain of his own lust. If he lets loose, there is no turning back. Dean seems to understand this, giving him an alert wink as he draws his lips back up Castiel's neck, skimming his hands across his jaw line as he does. When he finally reaches Cas' lips again, he whispers, "Last night on earth; my room?" into his mouth, and Castiel kisses him tightly before etching his answer of "I love you" into Dean's skin.


When Dean's eyes flicker open the next morning, it takes him a few seconds to contemplate the scene before him. Whereas with most people he had previously…been with, who left whilst he was sleeping, Dean's arms were still ensconcing Castiel's lean body. Or rather, he had one arm curled up behind Cas' back, and the other was draped across his front. Dean devoured the sight of the angel; his ebony hair rough and stuck-up so much it matched his personality when they first met. His skin white and flushed at the same time. His lips, perfectly curved, and his nose hooked succinctly to fit with the rest of his features. Castiel had a serene expression across his face, and Dean realized it was the first time he had ever seen him sleep.

And it would also be the last time.

Today was the day.

Carefully extracting his arms from around Castiel, Dean swung his legs around to the side of the bed and stood up unsteadily, his knees wobbling from the effort of holding him upright. Jeez Louise, he ached so bad. Dodging the torrent of creased clothing scattered around the bed, Dean pulled a shirt from the chest of drawers in the room and flung on a pair of underwear and jeans. He stopped by the bathroom to use the loo, ruffled his hair until it looked vaguely less I-had-sex-with-the-angel, and more we-all-die-today. Going back through the bedroom to go down to the kitchen, Dean saw that Cas was still asleep. He looked so…perfect that Dean couldn't wake him. Instead, he dragged the quilt from the floor and tossed it over his bare body, and kissed Castiel gently on the lips. He supposed he was allowed to do that now.

The weight of what he had done walloped him in the gut halfway down the stairs. He had sex with the angel. He slept, with Cas. Cas. He swore he hadn't meant to.

Oh God, he hoped the others hadn't realized.

Entering the kitchen cautiously, Dean first noted that Cas' trench coat was hung up on the back door from a rusting nail. He was pretty sure neither he nor the owner had done that. Jo and Ellen were sat at the table, each with a mug of the blackest coffee and a slice of toast. Dean's heart sank when he saw their expressions; hopeless, pitiful, and worst of all, accepting. Ellen had a hold of Jo's hand, and looked like she was clutching it so tightly that Jo's blood supply might stop circulating. Jo didn't look like she cared. She had tears in her eyes.

Sam was leaning against the counter, mug in hand, mumbling to Bobby. Dean couldn't hear the exact conversation that was going on, but it didn't take a brain of a Ghostfacer to realize that they were discussing the remote possibility of killing the Devil – 'remote' being the operative word. Failure was so obvious that it was kicking Dean in the stomach, and the glorious euphoria he had felt when he had awoken was fading fast.

"Morning," he grunted, pouring himself a cup of coffee and joining Sam and Bobby. He gulped half the mug down whole, realizing how thirsty he was. Eyes shut, enjoying the surge of caffeine into his bloodstream, Dean missed the urgent glances between the four people in the kitchen, but heard a slight snigger from Jo, that was evidently hushed up by a glare from Ellen.

Dumping the mug, and the remains of the coffee, in the sink, Dean turned back to the picture, and before he could ask was the giggling was about, Sam turned to him and asked, very seriously, "Dean, what's that on your neck?"


Searching hurriedly for a reflective surface, Dean clamped a hand over his neck, cursed himself for not checking in the mirror, and stammered, "N-n-nothing. Hey Sammy, you're seeing things. W-why would I have a mark…on my neck, you know what I'm saying?"

A hand suddenly prised his fingers from his neck, and his turned to see Ellen Harvelle standing behind him, resolute in jeans and a leather jacket, looking in amusement at the mark on his neck. She let go of his hand, and looked straight at Bobby. "You know what that is, don't you?" she asked gleefully, a true smile cracking across her lips. She turned to Jo, who had also risen from the table, and was peering at the discoloured patch of skin on Dean's neck.

Sam, obviously as out of the loop as Dean, fixated on Ellen and asked, "Why is it shaped like a pair of wings?"

"A pair of what?" Dean yelled, jumping out of the circle he had been forced into by prying eyes. "Why have I got wings on me, what the hell is it?" He spat into his hand and rubbed it against his neck, like a child trying to remove ink, but to no avail as Ellen laughed behind him.

"Woah boy, that's a mark that only comes from, say, an angel, when they're pretty hyped-up about something," she explained through large, gracious smiles.

Dean's eyes went wide. "What, like some sort of angel hickey?" He turned to Sam who was now watching the events unfold with a jovial look in his eyes. "Dude, how did I get an angel hickey?"

Whilst they may not have been the most academically intelligent people, hunters have very keen sense of being lied to or manipulated, especially when it comes from one of their own. The moment in which that deceptive question had forced its way out of Dean's mouth, he knew that his little family unit knew the truth about what had happened last night, and the game was up. Strangely, he didn't care at all. It had happened, he had, for a lack of a better word, enjoyed it, and he was in no mood to simply put it behind him.

"They're actually called 'Kisses of Immortality', not angel hickeys, although your description is probably more accurate," Bobby acclaimed, reading from a nearby book, bringing the attention back from Dean, who was flushing bright red in the corner. He was telling the small crowd these details in the way he normally explained curses on cases, although his raised eyebrows towards Dean signalled that this was indeed an extenuating circumstance.

"Come on man, you're making this crap up," Dean protested, whining, still trying to catch sight of what the wings on his neck looked like. He could feel slightly raised skin, only measuring about two centimetres in area, but he wanted to see.

Sam took the book from Bobby and glanced over the words written. His face paled and then he looked up at Dean, as if simply to saw ew. "'The Kiss of Immortality' is a name given to the marks that one angel, usually the…dominant one…gives to another angel when they…"

"When they what Sammy?" Dean asked impatiently.

"When they…mate. You know, er…bond?"

For a golden moment, there was silence, before Bobby unleashed a roar of laughter that was soon followed by the cries of sheer mirth that emanated from Ellen and Jo. Even Sam was stood there, open-mouthed and laughing, and Dean didn't know whether to howl with them or try and defend himself. Eventually the huffs of amusement calmed down, tears of joy were wiped from eyes, and a serious, flat note proceeded to encompass the kitchen once more. It was odd, how this little family could go from such joy and love, to such pain and despair. Death hovered over them all, simply waiting for them to jump in their cars and go try the Devil out for size.

Dean self-consciously rubbed his neck again, before Jo bumped his hip as she returned to her seat, and whispered, "Moved on from me pretty fast there hotshot." Before he could argue back, opening and closing his mouth like a deranged goldfish, she smirked at him and joined her mother at the table. Bobby put some more bread on the grill for Dean, and Sam continued reading the passage in the book about 'The Kisses of Immortality'. Dean wanted to shoot the person who had come with that – what kind of a stupid name was that anyway?

Whatever tension there had been evaporated almost instantly, until Sam pulled Dean to the side and hissed to him, "Dean I hope you know what you did with Cas was very…important."

Dean made a face and whispered back, "What do you mean by important? His Dad forbid, I didn't frigging marry the guy did I?"

Sam scoffed, but pointed at a particular passage in the book, and Dean peered down to see it. Latin, great. "So what does it say Mister Smarty-Pants?" Dean asked, annoyed at his lack of language skills.

"These marks are obviously left during…mating, or whatever, I don't want to know what kind of freaky stuff you two were up to last night, but the process during which they are left is like a ritual. It's the process of bonding two angelic souls together, or, in the unlikely case it happens with an angel and a human, the twisting of two souls into such a form that they are kind of stuck together forever," Sam explained disjointedly, trying to put what was written into suitable words, considering that it meant Dean having issues with his soul again – last time, it had not ended well.

"What, so me and Cas are bonded now? So that means the whole death do us part kinda thing?" Dean asked, seemingly calmer than he expected he would be.

"Essentially yes," Sam continued, tracing the words with his finger, "But don't worry, it's not an official thing, more of a sentimental attachment. It's Old Testament Angelology."

The conversation ended before Dean could add in his own piece, as Castiel walked into the kitchen, evidently aware of what had happened and what was happening. Jo and Ellen didn't smirk this time, but carefully observed as Cas stalked over to Dean to speak to him. He was fully dressed, aside from the trench coat, but the guy had obviously never heard of a hairbrush before. If there had been any doubts towards their activities earlier in the morning, they were all gone now.

"Good morning Dean."

"Good morning Cas."


They were leaving in five minutes. Everyone else was downstairs, packing up rock salt and knives and guns into the boot of each car that was being taken. Dean and Sam were taking baby, and Cas would ride with Ellen and Jo. Bobby had been pulled out at the last moment – sure he could stand still, but he needed the wheelchair to move, and that was going to be useful as jack if they got chased by some demons. Still, the argument hadn't been pretty.

Cas had him pressed up roughly against the wall and was furiously pummelling his lips against Dean, his blood rushing around in such a way that Dean could almost see him as human. He wrapped his muscular arms around Cas' waist and showed no restraint in pursuing an exploration of Cas' mouth himself. Souls apparently etched together, huh? Extraordinarily, it didn't bother Dean at all. Who else was there for him to 'bond' with?

Their lips pressed together, their bodies entwined so closely, Dean suddenly felt water dripping onto his cheeks. He immediately thought there might be a leak in Bobby's roof, but when Castiel pulled apart from him suddenly and made his way across the bedroom to the hallway, Dean realized.

He ran across the room, grabbed Cas by the arm, and pulled him back. There were tears in his eyes, rolling down his colourless cheeks and falling from his chin like swimmers on a diving board. "We will all die," he said with finality, his magnificent voice trembling and quaking, "We will all die and the Devil will live on. There is nothing we can do to stop it."

He looked into Dean's eyes, dared him to contradict him. Dean didn't try. An angel was crying for him, and for their family – he had known there wasn't a lot of confidence in this plan, but he had not figured out until now that their deaths were a surety. It was a hideous prospect, one that made him want to grab Castiel, jump back under the covers and hide there and just wait for the world to end together.

But if he did that, he wouldn't be Dean Winchester, and the angel crying for him wouldn't be Castiel.

Dean took Castiel's hands in his own and simply said, "Then we die together. All of us. No one gets left behind." He saw his own fears reflected in Castiel's' eyes, which were screaming out at him. "I'm scared too Cas, believe me, I'm so damned scared I would rather take my chances blindfolded against a Wendigo, but we gotta face up to it, and we gotta try it."

"I am not afraid of Lucifer. I am afraid of losing you." The honesty made his head hurt, and the agony behind it made his heart bleed.

"I'm afraid of losing you too. But it's got to be done. Come on Cas," Dean tried to say encouragingly, leaning in and touching his lips against Castiel's, "Let's save the world one last time."

Just before Dean shut the door of the Impala, Castiel took a glimpse of his face, committed it to memory, and spent the five hour ride counting Dean's freckles; his hands stopped shaking.