The road stretched ahead, as it seemed, indefinitely, and in the darkness of the night, it was infinite as the Impala headlights turned the colors of asphalt into dark orange, coloring only a short distance ahead. The journey towards the bunker was one of silence, the events of the previous days still as raw as an unattended wound to both of them; to Dean, it was a wound underneath a permanent and pernicious scab.
Beside Dean, was his vexing little brother riding his usual spot as shotgun. In all fairness, he attributed his vexation to the fact that Sammy was blasting tracks from his all-time favorite singer: Celine Dion. Truthfully, that fact was only a fraction of the cause of his irritation since he turned the cassette player off about half an hour ago, dispirited and dull, and Sam decided to listen to his own playlist instead of a begrudged indulgence into his brother's flawless taste in music.
And could Dean blame him? The short answer is no, the long answer is yes. He couldn't blame Sam for choosing his own tasteless playlists (aided by those ridiculous earphones) instead of his older brother's superior music: Dean left him to his own devices after all. Additionally, he believed his dumbass of a brother didn't realize he was listening to music so loudly, almost broadcasting it. Dean shivered at that thought: Sam broadcasting his music. In any case, it wasn't so much as Dean hated those sounds coming off of those flimsy earphones but that they stirred emotions he would rather stayed burried.
Which brings to the latter answer. Yes, Dean could blame his stupid and unaware little brother for listening to Canadian pop sensation, Celine Dion, so goddman loudly for the whirlwind of feelings that flip-flopped inside his ribcage. And how they flip-flopped, as a washed-up fish fighting for its life on shore. And as the metaphorical fish, he knew fighting against his impeding state of distress was useless. No amount of biting the inside his cheek and groping viciously at the steering wheel would keep them submerged and he knew that. But still, he fought them.
And as it seemed, his brother had a soft spot for the greatest hits. "The Power Of Love", "It's All Coming Back To Me Now", "All By Myself". He felt his composure start to quake violently at "Because You Loved Me", it hit too close to home. He tried to steer his focus to the road, the familiar pattern of the highways was supposed to b ecomforting, meditative even, and yet nothing was working. His traitorous ears were keen to absorve every word.
Finally, his composure started to crumble, because his life seemed to be a fucking comedy and he, the jester, at the first notes uttered by those dumb flutes in "My Heart Will Go On". The irony was that Dean's modus operandi of grief guaranteed the opposite of the song's theme.
Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
He reminisced then, a type of life-flashing-before-your-eyes experience, all the times he dreamed, *no*, had a nightmare about losing Castiel. Every single scenario his fucked brain orchestrarted and every matter-of-fact nightmarish memory about his best friend dying. Suddenly, the inside of his beloved baby was anything but comforting.
Far across the distance
And spaces between us
In their shared history, Dean was mindful of their fights, their disagreements, their betrayals and with that awareness, despite of his own weary nature, when push comes to shove, they were family. It was the unquestionable, unwavering truth. And Dean knew with mighty certainty that they would remain that way no matter what. He tried to deny Cas his hard-earned trust multiple times and whatever weakness he felt in not being able to do so, dissipated years ago.
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
"No, it doesn't" , Dean thought bitterly. It does not, it hasn't, not once in all of Cas' deaths. He tightened his grip on the wheel, his knuckles white.
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
He attempted to loosen the grasp his jacket had around his neck, belatedly he realized his lack of air flow was anything but physical. It was a physical response, though, to his increasing heart-rate and sweaty palms. And the reason behind it all was the mountainous reality of feelings buzzing under his skin, flittering uncomfortably like a muscle fighting numbness.
Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go 'til we're gone
He smothered back a sob, a pathetic fissure of his stoic demeanor. He could feel the tears gathering under the dam that was his waterline. Wasn't that the irrefutable truth about himself that he battled to reject so vehemently though futilely? He didn't want to think about his motives, it didn't matter, the truth was that it wouldn't hurt this badly if Cas' was just his good ol' pal and not what he truly meant to Dean. And Dean, couldn't, he wouldn't dwell on meaning or significance because he couldn't. Cas was gone, no amount of dwelling would bring him back.
Love was when I loved you
One true time I'd hold to
In my life, we'll always go on
A single tear streamed down his face and, Dean, wished he couldn't remember the last time he felt so helpless, but he did. It was etched to his memory like it was carved in stone. Him, alone, sat, the unforgiving surfaces of the bunker backing his body up and the unforgiving truth that Castiel, Angel Of The Lord, loved a broken man. Above all else, the ruthless reality that was living without Cas. And helplessly the tears continued to spill.
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on (why does the heart go on?)
"No, it doesn't!" , he wanted to scream. Because it doesn't, never did and wouldn't go on. Dean knew that. He wanted to slam his fist onto the steering-wheel, he wanted to break the glass supported by the window frame, he wanted to break every single mirror the Impala possessed. Maybe take a swong at Celine Dion's direction, why the fuck not at this point? He wanted to break something to shreds. Thrust his fist into it until his knuckles bled, so then the buzzing and flittering of his body would give into the warm and stinging static of his hand's wounds.
The tears kept pouring as the verses came one after the other and Dean, couldn't move, not to wipe his tears, not to put on some cassettes, not to yank his brother's phone and throw it out of the window. He kept his body stiff, gathering all his strength to not sob. The last thing he wanted was to alert his brother, thankful that he hadn't uttered a single word about recent events, resigned as he was to address anything and everything Dean was struggling to keep at bay.
You're here, there's nothing I fear
And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way
The tears blurred dangerously Dean's vision, especially as he was the designated driver. The cruelty of those words, harmless as they were, were the twist of the knife inside his chest He would never see Cas again. The tears fell with renewed force, drying streaks meeting news ones at apple of his cheek and the dripping slowly from his chin, a waterfall at the end of its contents. If possible, his heart shattered even further, shy of breaking, at last, into tiny pieces. He would never see Cas ever again. He prayed that from whatever corner of the Earth Jack planted his new haven, he would hear him. Remorseful as he was for how he treated the kid (their kid!), he felt the urgency in his bones to ask, to beg Jack to not leave Cas at the Empty's mercy. To use his brand new almighty powers to save the angel he referred to a father. "Save him", he pleaded.
Dean waited for the familiar rustle of wings, the awkward (but endearing) greeting, the swoopy hair and golden eyes but, unsurprinsingly, he only heard the continuous humm of the empty highway and Baby's motor. Besides, of course, the murmur of Sam disastrous playlist. At least he wasn't playing a loved ballad anymore. If Dean mustered the energy he could probably huff a small sound, a resemblance of laughter. Except he was hollow, with nothing under his skin, nothing in his eyes, nothing, nothing .
And the empty road stretched ahead.