This story is a bridge from Prohibition to current canon. Thanks so much to everyone who followed, favored or reviewed it. Also, a very large and special thanks to Shalot who reviewed and offered great suggestions. I am indebted to her.
Dean prayed to him every day. He chased down leads and then beheaded them. He became pitiless because he had to be.
Hell taught Dean he could be broken and still survive. It also taught him a very unique skill set that he had tried so very hard to forget but after 40 years in the pit…yeah, not gonna happen. He used what he had been mercilessly taught, what he had reluctantly become good at, to find out what he needed to know.
With the only coping strategy that he had learned from his father, Dean used alcohol to blur the memories and dull the pain after he was raised from Hell and then had to endure his own personal hell on earth. He was stone cold sober in Purgatory. He had no way to minimize his pain, so he used it.
He had to because he had lost the Angel.
Castiel was just gone.
Even if a stiff shot was available, he couldn't risk drinking it, couldn't risk dulling his mind or slowing his reactions. Being at anything other than his best was a sure way to lose the only thing he had left: his life.
If he lost that, he'd never find Cas. He'd never get out of Purgatory, never see Sam again.
It had happened quickly, everything going to hell. Figuratively and not literally, at least that was what Dean hoped.
Castiel had refused to head to a possible gate to Heaven that was past the mountains of madness until he found his siblings. Cas wasn't certain where the angelic Graces were but had a general direction, playing hot and cold with the Glorias and Hallelujahs that he heard faintly in the distance. They were headed away from the mountains and had just gone around a swampy area. Dean had been joking about the Fire Swamp and Cas needing to watch out for ROUS. The angel had been looking at him blankly and intensively scanning the area, totally missing the reference to the Princess Bride.
One second Dean was staring at the horizon and promising to make his friend sit through the movie as soon as they got back and he could arrange a viewing with a big bowl of popcorn and a six pack of beer. The next second he was turning back to tell Cas about the first time he and Sam saw the movie and how afterward a four year old Sam had run around for weeks with a stick as a sword pretending to slash at Dean and warning My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to Die!
Only, Cas wasn't there and the words caught in his throat and threatened to choke him.
At least this time Dean knew Cas wasn't dead. He didn't hunger or thirst so the connection was being maintained.
Dean considered the usual suspects; came up with theories only to quickly discard them. At first he thought that Eve might have swooped in and taken the angel. That didn't make sense though since he knew that the Mother could inhibit Cas' mojo. If the Levis had taken him, they would have made more of a production of it and wouldn't have left Dean standing. He supposed that the other angels could have taken him. They had reason to be upset with Cas, seeing as a good number of them were here either directly or indirectly because of him. But Cas should have been able to feel his brothers coming. Dean toyed briefly with the idea that Castiel had just left him to fend for himself, again. However, his friend wouldn't do that to him. Not for any reason.
Every friend he'd ever had, everyone he had ever cared about, including his dad, Sam, Bobby, and Cas, had let him down. He'd forgiven them; every damn time, he forgave them. That didn't mean he'd forgotten having his trust betrayed and that he didn't look for it, even expect it, to happen again.
Still, Cas was his only ally in Purgatory. He hoped he could find him sooner rather than later.
It wasn't sooner.
Dean looked and looked. He hunted, questioned and killed things that he had no rational hope of being able to kill.
None of them could tell him anything.
Then he met a vampire.
It says something about his time in Purgatory that things started looking up after that.