For a long time after he leaves the bunker, Dean doesn’t think. Couldn’t, even if he tried. He follows instructions, moves on auto pilot, and isn’t even sure of who the voice barking orders belongs to.
He sees the world through the inside of his own eyelids, tinged with red, a film of flesh and blood that separates him from reality. It’s nearly a month before it peels back, as if being torn away with fingernails, and he blinks against the natural view of the world to find himself alive, or something close to it.
He also finds Crowley, waiting. Watching him. A smirking face in the center of his vision, standing with a hand rested casually on the flank of a hellhound whose shoulders reach his own.
Dean can see it, it’s raised hackles, it’s gaping maw, can feel the churning filth of Hell bubbling in his veins, and innately he knows exactly what he is. He looks at the hellhound and he can see beyond what’s there. He can see where it’s been. What it’s been eating.
Not too long ago, the smell of congealed blood, the sight of gristle hanging from the hellhound’s jaw would have had him fighting back memories of Indiana; of the cold, sick feeling of his organs spilling out between his fingers. Now he looks and sees and doesn’t care. Is unmoved by the memory of twitching, slurping, thrashing red that rolls off the hound’s matted fur like vapor. Unshaken by the slick-drip splatter that glints from it’s paws, tinged sickly yellow in the evening lamplight.
“Wondered when you’d check back in,” Crowley says, removing his hand from the hound’s flank and shoving it into the pocket of his overcoat before he turns and walks toward a nearby building. He glances back over his shoulder and whistles. The hound follows him.
So does Dean.
you shouldn’t be. be real. be here.