This is an Angelface 'verse story, set chronologically after "Ruby's Choice" and before "The End".

They parted with a promise to never be far from one another, if only in the sense that if one was needed, the other would always come. Distance was trivial when you had a little black magic on your side. And while Dean wasn't nearly as proficient (or naturally talented) as his brother, he knew enough to do a basic summoning spell. Especially when he had the blood of who he wanted to summon tucked away in a pouch in the glove box of the car.

They had exchanged vials of blood last night, making a ritual of cutting into each other's arms and collecting the blood that welled there. Dean had Sam's blood in a small silver flask, sealed with wax over the top of the cap. Dean's own blood had gone into a tiny glass vial, one that looked like it had been bought specially for that purpose. It was touching, if a little weird, to think that his baby brother had gone out and bought a fancy little bottle at some new age shop, something special to keep a part of him in.

They would have matching scars now on the left forearm. Horizontal lines clean cut just below the elbow. There was gauze taped over his, but Dean still looked down at it anyway. His fingers twitched with the urge to touch it, but he resisted. He would remain stoic and not act like a mother duck.

They had already checked out of the motel. Bags separated, Dean had tossed his and Castiel's gear into the back of the impala. he leaned against he side of the car now, watching his baby brother try and squish a duffel bag into the back of that stupid cherry red convertible while Ruby bent over to paint her lips bright red in the side view mirror. A hand touched Dean's shoulder and he nearly jumped, hand automatically twitching towards the small handgun in his jeans pocket. He turned his head to look into bright blue eyes, and gave a half-shrug.

"Almost time," Cas remarked, voice flat and toneless.

"I know."

"Are you alright?"

"Shut up." Dean looked away, pointedly ignoring any concern his partner might have for him. He didn't want to see it. He didn't want to talk about it. He was not going to be babied by his angel in the parking lot. The cut on his arm throbbed. Sam was walking over to him, large hands tucked into the pockets of his jacket.

"So..." Sam began when he was close enough, sounding awkward.

"Don't get yourself killed," Dean offered by way of reply. "We're settling down, man. I don't wanna have to go on a spree killing to avenge your dumb ass for at least a year."

Sam gave him a fond smile. "Same goes for you. Don't get yourself killed either."

"And watch out for that bitch," Dean nodded in Ruby's direction. (He knew she could hear him, because she was very obviously 'not listening' and making it plain she didn't care.) "You never know when she might turn on you."

Sam looked over his shoulder at the Ruby-demon, smiled, and turned back again. "I can trust her. Dean, if you're not sure about this..."

"Who's not sure?" Dean demanded, crossing his arms. "We both agreed on this, bitch. Don't back out on me now."

"Well... you know how to find me." Sam looked at Cas, Dean's shadow in deed as well as in name. "Take care of him. Don't let him do anything too stupid."

"I can only try," Castiel said dryly.

There was an awkward pause, as both of the brothers tried to decide if it would be appropriate to hug. In the end stoic machismo won out. The Winchesters had never really been that physically affectionate, not outside of necessity. Sam turned and walked away, head down. Dean stayed leaning against the side of the car, watching him leave.

The red convertible peeled out of the car park with a screech of tires, gone within seconds and heading to the west. Dean and Cas would be going East, and part of him suspected that he'd seen his brother for the last time. Eventually Dean pushed himself away from the impala. He ran a hand through his hair, focusing for a moment on the thought that he'd need to cut it soon rather than on the fact that he'd just said goodbye to his baby brother. Probably forever. They should get coffee, he thought, and donuts. Something for the road. They had a long way ahead of them and no clear destination. They had shotguns and duct tape in the boot and nothing to use them for. The accumulated debris of a life of crime and running and nothing to show for it. Bags of bones, small tufts of fur, everything you might need to perform some hasty backseat voudou and no reason to use it.

Dean sighed.

"You'll miss him."

The soft, gravelly voice made him stop and turn. Castiel had moved to the other side of the car. He stood now by the passenger side door, calm and steady in a sightly rumpled coat and slacks. For a second Dean was irrationally angry at his calm, but then he caught sight of the man's blue eyes and his anger fled. Uncertainty stared back at him, eyes that flicked between worry and attempted reassurance and a mouth that was pressed tight. As much as he might claim otherwise, Castiel's world was just as upside down as Dean's was right now.

"Yeah," Dean replied, voice rough.

"You said we'd settle down."

"... I did."

"House, picket fence... family?"

Dean hesitated. He remembered a conversation, almost a year ago now, at a playground near a beach. He remembered promising that one day they'd find a child who looked like they did. He remembers the conversation and feels a twinge of warmth in his chest, somewhere in the gaping hole that Sam had left. "Lets work on one thing at a time," Dean says finally. He cracks an unsteady grin. "I'm not even sure I can go more than a few months without shooting someone in the face."

"We'll work on it," Cas tells him, and Dean isn't sure if he's seriously contemplating training him out of the need for violence or not. He thinks the answer is probably no. Castiel has never tried to change him, only rolled his eyes whenever there was a 'slip up' that made them pull up stakes and leave a place sooner than intended. He'll probably just keep cleaning up Dean's messes, grabbing the witnesses before they can get away and making sure he remembers to do a proper clean up. Wherever they wind up, they're going to need a dirt floor somewhere. In a basement or shed. Somewhere, just in case.

For some reason that thought cheers him up enough that he feels ready to leave. The creaking of the car doors is familiar, and so is the feel of the leather seat that he settles into. Dean settles himself in for the drive, smiling as Cas does the same. Unlike Ruby, he doesn't rev the engine or speed out of the parking lot, choosing a subtle exit to the road east. The radio is on, volume down low, tuned into some local rock station. There's no bickering coming from the back seat, no tail lights to follow, no streak of bright red in his rear view. It's just peaceful quiet and the soft sounds of a familiar song.

Dean glances at Castiel in the passenger seat. "So, angelface," he starts, "where do you wanna go?"

The other man turns his head a little to look at him and, just for a second, actually smiles a little. Shocked by the actual, real expression, Dean gapes long enough that he almost lets the black beauty drift into the other lane. He corrects it at the last second, gaze flicking between the road and the man in the passenger seat. "Lets just get breakfast," Castiel suggests, sounding amused, "and then we may look at maps."