Latin: weariness or loathing of life.
After two and a half days in Purgatory, Dean and Castiel find a copse of trees growing close together, forming a protective circle around a few square feet of forest floor. Castiel says that once he paints wards on the trees it should provide sufficient shelter for them to rest a while. Dean doesn’t question him; he needs to sleep and this is the first chance he’s gotten. He lies down, balls up his coat under his head, and is asleep before Castiel can tell Dean that he’ll keep watch.
Dean wakes to the sound of snarling and yapping. He springs to his feet. Peering between the tree trunks Dean sees a mass of shadowy creatures prowling around the copse, waiting.
Dean’s first thought is, Oh crap, followed by, Why the hell didn’t Cas wake me up earlier? He turns to ask the angel just that, and finds his answer. Cas is sitting on the ground, propped against a tree, fast asleep. Oh crap.
“Hey!” Dean shakes him by the shoulder. “Cas! Wake up!”
Castiel’s eyes snap open. searching and confused.
“What the hell happened?” Dean asks.
“I… I don’t know.” Cas gets to his feet, brow furrowed with concern. “I fell asleep…”
“Yeah, I noticed that.”
Castiel doesn’t offer further explanation, his expression worried and introspective.
“Are you out of juice, or what?” Dean prompts.
“No. Not entirely, anyways.” Castiel lifts his face to meet Dean’s gaze. “It must be Purgatory itself. It effects my powers.”
“Can you zap us out of here?”
“I don’t think I’m strong enough to carry you with me. Not without being useless for hours afterwards.”
Dean takes a moment absorb the information, then sighs. “Great. That’s just… great.” He shakes his head. “Well, here’s something to cheer you up: the welcoming committee finally caught up to us.” He nods towards the monsters beyond the trees.
Castiel turns to look, and Dean sees his shoulders sag defeatedly. A few seconds later, though, the angel draws himself to attention, posture ramrod-straight and soldier-like. Dean allows himself to feel a bit of relief. Seeing his friend’s old behaviours and mannerisms resurface has been Dean’s one source of comfort since they found themselves in Purgatory. Thank God - or whoever - for small miracles.
“So, what’s the plan?”
Castiel doesn’t turn to face him when he answers. “I’ll draw them off. You head towards the settlements.”
“Okay…” Dean considers it. Assuming Cas’ wings hold out, the angel should be able to stay out of reach of the pack. “I guess there’s something to be said for simplicity.” Cas still has his back to Dean, so Dean steps forward to stand next to him. “You’ll be able to find me later?”
Castiel doesn’t answer, just purses his lips casts his gaze downwards.
Dean feels like someone poured ice water down his spine.
“I’m a target, Dean.” Cas finally looks at him, blue eyes wide and imploring. “I’m the one they’re after. As long as you’re with me, you’re in danger.”
When Dean speaks he’s breathless, like the wind’s been knocked out of him. “You’re kidding me.” The corner of his mouth twitches up, some defensive reflex telling him to smile, like it’s all a joke to him anyways.
Castiel’s voice is firm, his mind made up. “The best chance you have of staying alive and getting somewhere remotely safe is if I-“
“No, I’m done with losing you, Cas!” Dean yells, over a year’s worth of anger and frustration in his voice, and it shocks Castiel into silence. ”Losing you to god-hood, and leviathans, and whatever the hell’s going on in your head! And now this?” A snarl curls Dean’s lip. “I swear, if you leave me again, then so help me, I’ll…”
He imagines being alone, knowing that Cas could’ve been with him.
And it makes him feel so tired.
“I’m just done,” Dean says, his voice soft and bitter.
Castiel’s mouth hangs slightly open in surprise, and his gaze is heavy with regret before his eyes flit away from Dean’s face towards the ground. Dean wishes he wasn’t so familiar with that look on Cas’ face.
“I’m not getting out of here without you,” Dean says, and he’s not sure whether it’s a threat or a promise, but it’s the truth. His voice is shaking, but he doesn’t care.
Cas takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. When he opens them again he looks calm and contemplative. He turns his attention back to the creatures on the other side of the trees.
The angel turns to Dean, sharp and resolute. “We need a new plan,” he says matter-of-factly.
Dean huffs out a relieved laugh. He blinks away the wetness in his eyes and nods. “Yeah, we do.”