i_speak_tongue (i_speak_tongue) wrote,

Fic: Our Dean

TITLE: our dean
RATING: pg 13
GENRE: gen, h/c
SPOILERS: 9.23, speculative s10
WORDS: 1055
CHARACTERS: sam, cas, dean
A/N: A little post-season h/c for freakchester's prompt: Sam and Castiel talk about Dean and how worried they are about him. On biketest's s9 dean comment meme. )
SUMMARY: Sam and Cas sit vigil in the aftermath of their rescue.

They don’t talk very much afterwards. The both of them too exhausted, too focused on getting Dean safely back to the bunker, tending to his wounds. They exchange words out of pure necessity. Words like “keep him steady” and “more bandages” and “we need to sterilize this” and “where the hell is that Vicodin?”

Dean remains unconscious, his bruises blooming in time with Cas and Sam’s dwindling ability to communicate in full sentences. Still, Cas manages to stop every so often to press his hand to Dean’s forehead and whisper a word or two of comfort.

"We have you, Dean. We have you."

Sam doesn’t speak to his brother—he can’t find the right words—but when they’re finally finished stitching him back together, he drags some bedding and a couple of old army surplus cots into the dimly lit room. Cas nods in understanding, and within minutes, they’re bedded down on either side of Dean, both close enough to hear his breathing, close enough to reach out and check his pulse.

Cas sleeps like a felled redwood, his body reverting greedily to its human ways. Sam’s worries rouse him over and over. He knows he needs to rest, but if Dean wakes up, he wants to be there for him, to help him if he’s in pain. It’s important Dean knows he isn’t alone.

Dean doesn’t wake up. And eventually Sam drifts off for a longer, more legitimate sleep. When he comes to, Cas is gathering the detritus from the night before off the floor; stray pieces of gauze, an empty bottle of iodine, Dean’s ruined clothes. Sam watches him with a half-opened eye, pretending to be asleep for reasons that only make sense when you’re not quite awake yet.

Cas slips out of the room silently, and Sam pushes himself up on his elbows to see his brother. The reading lamp on Dean’s desk isn’t bright enough to make out many details. Only that Dean hasn’t moved. That his bandaged right arm is still folded over his chest. That his chest still rises and falls, rises and falls.

Sam folds up his cot and pulls the desk chair over. He should check Dean’s bandages and take his temperature. He should try to get him to swallow some of those pain killers again. Instead he just sits there with his arms folded tight across his chest, staring at his brother like he expects him to wake up and tell him what to do next.

"We did the right thing."

Cas is in the doorway holding a couple of mugs of steaming coffee. The smell hits Sam before the words do.

"Dean didn’t seem too thrilled about it."

Cas hands over a mug, and sips at his own. “Sam, Dean was… not himself.”

"I know. I just… is he ever really going to be himself again?"

"We completed the ritual—"

Sam shakes his head and sets his coffee aside. “That’s not what I mean. I know he’s… cured… or whatever. But with everything he’s been through, I’m just worried…”

"I know." Cas leans over Dean’s sleeping form, touches his head like he had been doing the night before. Like he’s trying to heal him, even though he knows he can’t.

Both of them are so damn powerless.

"I’m really worried, Cas," Sam says quietly, pushing himself up off the chair. He slides it back in place under the desk, and he looks at the pile of battered paperbacks, the old typewriter. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.

"I am too," Cas says.

Sam slides his fingers across the typewriter keys. “What if it’s too much? What if he tries to… ? Y’know.”

"That’s what we’re here for, Sam."

"Yeah. Yeah, I guess."

"Sam. Come here," Cas says, and then his hands are on Sam’s shoulders, twisting him, pushing him towards Dean’s bedside. The strength behind it is nothing like it once was, but Sam doesn’t resist it.

"Look at your brother, Sam."

Sam crouches by Dean’s head and he looks. He really looks. He sees the little creases at the corner of his eyes, he sees the freckles on his nose and his raw, cracked lips and Dean is so real. He’s far too real. Sam wants to cry or yell or break something. What’s wrong with him? It shouldn’t be this hard. He doesn’t even know what he’s afraid of.

Cas sits on the edge of Dean’s bed, close to both of them, like a parent about to tell a bed time story. “Those things he said during the ritual? That wasn’t our Dean,” he tells Sam. “You know that. You know how much Dean’s given of himself. How much goodness there is inside him.”

Sam nods. He knows this.

"We just need to remind him of who he really is. Our Dean."

Their Dean feels like he’s just a memory, and Sam misses him so much, more than he ever thought possible. He has to believe he’s still in there. “Our Dean. Our Dean is… is amazing. And I hate that he had to… he deserves so much better.”

"He does."

"Why couldn’t I have told him that a month ago? Why couldn’t I see what was happening?"

"He wanted you to believe he was alright, and you wanted to believe it as well."

"But part of me knew… I knew something was off, Cas. I should have pushed him harder, but I didn’t have the guts."

"I should have too. But Dean needs us here and now. And we can be here for him," Cas says, taking Dean’s un-bandaged hand in his own. "That’s what matters."

"How did he get so lost?"

"I don’t know."

"What if we don’t get him back? I can’t… I can’t fail him here, Cas. Not this time."

Cas sighs deeply and for the first time that morning, Sam sees his face scrunch up with concern— “I… I don’t think I can either”— and it gives Sam a strange kind of resolve. He’s not in this alone.

"So I guess we don’t have much of a choice then." He reaches out to Dean’s face, and cradles his bruised cheek and jaw, and the corner of Dean’s mouth twitches. Suddenly, Sam knows what to say to his brother.

"Dean? You hear that? Failure is not an option."


A/N 2: When I wrote that very last line, I knew it was a famous line from something, but couldn’t remember what. I’m sure Sam would have reminded me if he could, because it’s from the film Apollo 13. It’s what the NASA flight director says to the Ground Control team when they’re trying to get the astronauts on the damaged shuttle through the crisis and home safely. {x} Ouch. Even more fitting than I realized.)

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