Purgatory is a place of impossible shadows, where the light that pierces you – well, what’s left of you at least – feels like fire and water and all the conversations you never had. It hurts and it hurts, and it never stops hurting.
But worse than the light is the landscape: Purgatory isn’t made of matter, precisely, but rather the impression of matter – its left-behinds, like eroded canyon walls, or footprints in the mud.
It makes Cas nervous how comfortable he feels here; as if he were just another Purgatory beast all along, shaped by his Father to mimic the face of an angel. It doesn’t help that whenever Dean looks at him now, his eyes simply slide away, unable or unwilling to hold their gaze.
“Do I appear different to you?” he snaps.
Dean shades his eyes. “What?”
“You cannot bear to look at me.” Cas can hear the bitterness in his voice, but he does not care. “My vessel displeases you now.”
“Jesus, Cas.” Dean flushes an ugly shade of red. “Next you’ll ask if your ass looks big in those wings.”
They fall quiet. The sounds of Purgatory surround them like summer crickets.
“It hurts,”” Dean mumbles eventually. “You’re all shadows and light now. It’s—“
“—not natural,” Cas offers.
“No,” he says sharply. “No. It’s more like—looking at a bird flying in front of the sun.”
To Cas’s astonishment, Dean’s face softens.
“I get now why Pamela lost her eyes,” he says quietly. The corner of his mouth creeps upward. “She didn’t want to look away either.”