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Pain. Pain meant one of two things: either Dean is dead and in Hell or he is still alive. The only way to find out which one had happened is to open his eyes.

Dean cracks one eye open, not really wanting to know where he is. It's dark. On the ceiling directly above his head is an old fan, spinning lazily. That's odd. Dean opens the other eye and looks around. He's lying on a bed in what seems to be a motel room. From a glance out the window, Dean guesses it's nighttime.

He tries to sit up, but groans in pain, quickly stopping any motion.

"Don't move." A gravelly voice pierces through the mist of pain.

Dean turns his head to see a familiar figure standing in one corner of the room. Another ache is added to his pain. The angel looks good, better than he had before he'd left.

"Cas." Dean whispers. "I-"

"No." Castiel shakes his head. "Not now, Dean. Rest. We'll talk later."

Dean wants to argue, but he feels the pull of sleep and his eyes close.


When Dean wakes up again, it's light outside and Castiel is nowhere to be seen. Dean is still in pain, but it's more tolerable. He's able to get out of bed to use the bathroom, which makes him feel slightly better. Once he's done, he sits back down on the bed and grabs his phone. There are over 20 messages and 17 missed calls, all from Sam.

So get this, apparently this thing's not a ghost

Dean, get back to the motel, I need to show you something

dude where are you

why aren't you picking up your phone

are you okay



The rest are all the same: variations of Sam freaking out. Dean clicks his speed dial.

"Dean!" Sam picks up on the first ring. "What the hell happened?"

"I'm fine, Sammy." Dean says.

"That's it? You're fine. Where are you?" Sam asks.

"I'm not quite sure." Dean stands up, stifling a wince, and walks over to the window. "Some motel. I got jumped by whatever it is we've been hunting."

"Are you okay?" Sam sounds worried. "What's your address? I'll come get you."

"No, Sammy, I'm okay. I uh, ran into Cas." Dean admits.

"Cas! Is he there?" Sam asks.

"Not at the moment. Look, I'll call you later okay?" Dean says. "I'm just going to sort things out here first."

"Okay. Don't be a ass to him again." Sam warns.

"Shut up." Dean growls and hangs up. It's perfect timing. Right as he's putting his phone down, the door opens and Castiel walks in carrying a paper bag. Wordlessly, he hands it to Dean and goes to stand across the room.

"Thanks." Dean grunts accepting the bag. It's cheap takeout, but Dean's starving. Castiel watches him eat in silence. Once Dean's done, he sits down on the bed. Castiel follows him and sits in a chair facing the bed.

"You should lie down." Castiel says.

"Not for this talk." Dean shakes his head, but then instantly regrets it, the motion sending waves of pain through his body. "Why did you bring me here?"

"I needed a quiet place to heal you. This was the closest I could bring you without damaging your body." Castiel says.

"Thanks, I guess." Dean rubs the back of his neck. "I uh, I didn't think you'd show up or even hear me."

"I almost didn't come. And I was blocking out prayers, but somehow your's made it through." Castiel shrugs.

"So what have you been up to?" Dean asks.

"No." Castiel shakes his head. "Don't pretend to care just because I saved you, because I'm useful to you again."

"Cas, I-" Dean tries to say, but Castiel cuts him off.

"You're recovering well. I brought your car to the parking lot. Wait a day before driving back to the bunker." Castiel gets up with an air of finality and makes to leave again. As he walks to the door, Dean gets a feeling of deja vu. Except this time...

"Wait." Dean says. Castiel pauses, but doesn't turn.

"Please," Dean's voice drops to a whisper. "Don't go."

"You no longer have a say in what I do, Dean." The words are harsh, but Castiel's tone is gentle.

"I know." Dean pleads. "But please."

"Why should I stay?" Castiel finally turns to look at Dean. "I'm dead to you. You only want me for my powers, and those are still not at full capacity. I'm useless to you and you to me."

"Cas, I... shit, I don't, I can't..." Dean trails off, struggling to find the words.

"If you can't name a reason, then I will leave." Castiel says, but his voice is encouraging.

"I'm sorry, okay? I was wrong, I was angry and I lashed out at you." Dean says in a rush. "I, I thought that if I pushed you away, it would make things..."

"That's not enough, Dean." Castiel says softly.

"I know." Dean frowns down at the floor. "I can't... say it."

"And I won't stay until you can." Castiel sighs.

"So that's it? You're just going to leave again?" Dean asks hesitantly, not wanting to know the answer.

"Yes." Castiel replies. "But when you're ready, I'll be listening."

The door opens and closes, and when Dean looks up, Castiel is gone.