Dean slowly came to, waking up from a daze. He remembered having a nightmare, but he also remembered Castiel being there, dispersing all his fears just by being present. So the next time Alistair started advancing towards him in his dream, grinning his madman smile, Dean just imagined Cas standing between them, but not facing Alistair and acting like a shield, rather turned towards Dean and drawing his attention away from the bad. He was afterall the only light in his life, his guardian angel.
But he remembered pulling Cas to lie on the bed next to him and now... He's not there... Oh, no, wait. There he is. In the back of the room, stretching, the shirt coming up, revealing a bit of skin and Dean suddenly felt so overwhelmed. He wanted to touch, he wanted to taste that skin right the fuck now. What was wrong with him? After what he has been through, and not for the first time, he should want to stay clear of any physical contact with anyone.
But Cas isn't anyone, now is he?
His touches never hurt, his kisses were always so pleasant. His hands gentle, he actions... Called for. He never did anything that Dean didn't want him to. And more then that, Dean felt safe. Completely safe. He might not know what he did to deserve it, but he will be damned if he won't cherish it.
Someone came into the room and Cas turned towards them and his perfect ass came into view and all Dean could think about was his hands massaging those perfect round globes. What the fuck was wrong with him?!
Okay, okay. Focus on something else, anything else. How about that person he is talking to? What is that she is giving him?
Something was definitely off when his own brain was being helpful and polite. But Dean still shifted his eyes away from Castiel's hot body to the redhead behind him. Wait, she was familiar, Dean knew her. She was... Meg? Yeah, that was Meg, Sam's nurse. But what was she doing... Oh, shit. Sam!
Dean's head snapped up to his right and to the bed right next to him, to the face he has memorized, every curve and facial hair. Sammy... He was here. With him. Dean was suddenly overwhelmed with a different kind of emotion, happiness mixed with sorrow, joy and sadness, relief and a drowning sensation and he gasped once, twice, trice, his breath hitching, his lungs burning, his heart pumping fast and his thoughts going a hundred a minute.
"Hey, hey, it's okay, Dean... I'm here, everything's alright." He heard Castiel's kind voice and he snapped his head back to look at him, instantly feeling soothed and calm. Cas was here and everything is going to be alright. It has become a sort of a mantra for him. Back when he was held captive by Alistair, all he thought about was getting back to Castiel and that everything will be fine. Somehow he knew that no matter what, Castiel will be there, at the end of the road, waiting for him and that all he had to do is endure and find his way back to him. Alive, or dead.
Castiel was his shining star that led the way. That told him to fight against them and not let them break him. And he fought, tooth and nail and he bit and spit, kicked and punched until Castiel saved him. He didn't come storming in, this isn't a fairytale, but somehow, he managed to find him, to learn who had him and to threaten them into letting Dean go. Despite one of his eyes being swollen shut at that moment and the other filled with his own blood, he could still see the fear in Abraxas' face when he came back and told Alistair that Castiel Novak was on their tail and that he pulled him out of a running car. Dean was wowed by the mental image the bastard's fearful words depicted.
Castiel. His Castiel. His guardian angel.
"Meg brought over some noddle soup for you. Would you like some?" Castiel's voice brought Dean back from his daze and a small smile tugged at his lips as he nodded. Castiel helped Dean turn a bit, pulling out a round inflatable cushion and placing it under Dean's tush to ease the pressure off... Well, we all know how hemorrhoid cushions are used and if not, look it up. Poor Dean was already blushing so hard, embarrassed, and he doesn't need us talking about his... Tush. Without much fuss and without paying much attention to Dean's red face, Castiel sat at the edge of the bed, far enough as not to disturb Dean, he opened the plastic container, dipped the plastic spoon in it and lifted it up, soup and some very small, easy to swallow noddles and fed Dean. He lifted each and every spoon and fed Dean until it was all gone.
There was something about Castiel acting so caring and protective that had Dean's heart warming up and it wasn't because of the soup.
"Cas..." Dean's coarse voice made Castiel snap his head up to meet his gaze, and as he scooped up more of the salty liquid, Castiel fed him the spoonful and shook his head.
"It's ok, Dean. You shouldn't try to speak yet, it will only hurt. Let's finish this and then we'll talk, okay?" Castiel suggested and Dean just nodded, taking his lead. How will he talk without speaking was something he will see in a bit. Only after Castiel scooped the last of the soup and fed it to Dean, did his angel speak up again.
"While you slept I took the liberty of learning about... Your bother, Samuel. I hope you don't mind." There was a flash of shame, embarrassment in Dean's eyes as he pondered how much did Castiel find out and if he knew Dean was the one driving. Considering he was so friendly with Meg, she must have told him a few things. Dean took a deep breath and nodded for Castiel to continue.
"I know he was in a car crash and that... That you have been taking care of him ever since." Castiel said softly and Dean's blush only deepened, because he felt a praise of sorts in those words. "I looked it up and I know you were driving." Castiel said and Dean's wide eyes snapped up at him, his lips parting to say something, but Cas just raised his hand to stop him.
"I know you probably feel responsible, but I also know it was a drunk truck driver that hit you, there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. And dedicating your whole life to him... You have done good, Dean. Really good. And I know that when he wakes up, he will appreciate it." Castiel finished and watched the surprise rise up on Dean's face. Hope and tears filled his eyes and his lower lip trembled.
"-ake up?" He forced himself to say, grimacing at the soreness in his throat.
"Shhh. Don't talk. Wait - here. Use this." Castiel said as he turned and picked up a notepad and a pen and handing it to Dean. But he didn't give him a chance to write anything down, instead opting to explain. He took a deep breath and let it out with a heavy sigh, not sure how Dean would take it all.
"Yes, Dean, wake up. Tony was here to look him over and there is a very good chance of him waking up. We are just not sure how he will react, or behave. Tony can't make that prognosis until Sam wakes up and we see. But Dean... There is something else you should know..." Castiel sighed again as Dean watched him closely, taking in his each and every word. Castiel new there was no use in beating around the bush and that he should just rip that band-aid off.
"Azazel lied to you. Sam... Sam recuperated a long time ago, but he and doctor Helbreder kept him in the comatose state to use you. Every cent you... Brought in, Azazel gave half to the doctor, to keep Sam sedated, and the other half he kept for himself. He... He has been using you this whole time, Dean." The look on Dean's face, the shock and devastation in his eyes was so heartbreaking to see, Castiel choked out those last words, feeling his stomach lurching up.
"I am sorry, Dean. I'm so sorry." Castiel barely managed and let Dean take a moment to process this. He watched Dean's eyes land on his own lap, distant and lost as he took it all in, as he understood what it all meant. His eyes remained sad and distressed for only a few moments before they shifted towards Sam. There was a flash of something in his eyes and then he took the notepad and wrote something down.
"Sam is going to wake up? There is a chance he'll be alright?" the paper said and Castiel repeated that he will wake, but that they don't know what state he will be in and if he will be able to recuperate, much less how long that would take. As he explained, Dean's eyes were glued to Sam, the hope in them returning and if Castiel was a betting man, he would bet that Dean though it was worth it. All his suffering and sacrifice that could have been avoided was worth it. Maybe it was better to let him think that, to stay positive and optimistic and to focus on Sam, rather then to think about the past, about how much he has been hurt by people around him. Better to look on the bright side, right?
Dean let out a reliving sigh and looked back down on the notepad. He scribbled something on and showed Castiel.
"What is going to happen to Azazel?" Oh, right. Dean didn't know.
"Dean, um... Azazel is dead..." he saw Dean's eyes widen again, darting at Castiel as if they were pleading him to tell him he didn't kill him. It was kind of endearing, because Dean knew Castiel would go to that extent to have someone killed just to protect him. "...He had a heart attack. Nick and I found him at his home, still alive, and he died in the hospital." ...alone, and hopefully miserable... Castiel's mind supplied.
"But! For his scheme to work, he had to adopt you both back then. Legally you two were his sons, and so... After he died, you inherited everything. His house and the club. All that money he stole from you... It's yours now Dean. Yours and Sams." Castiel added, following Dean's view of the situation and deciding to point out the good side of things. And besides, he could focus on Sam, knowing that he wouldn't have to worry about money and a place to stay. Not that Castiel wouldn't provide that, but this is better for Dean. For him to have this independence.
"A house? All ours?" the notepad read and Castiel nodded.
"The club too."
Dean took another moment to take it all in, breath and relax. Considering that he just woke up and his whole life was turned up side down, Dean seemed to be taking this well. He seemed so focused on Sam and the fact that he is happy, genially happy to learn that Sam might wake up, and that fact alone left all others in the shadows. Castiel could see just how much this meant to Dean, he could see the tears forming in his eyes, he could see some of that heavy burden disappear and let Dean breathe just a bit more easier.
"Thank you. Really. Thank you."The note said and Castiel smiled back at him. He wanted to tell him that it was nothing, that he deserves this, and that everyone is just happy to help, himself included. But instead he leaned in and Dean eagerly turned to him to meet him half way in one nice, small brush of lips.
"Ok, you rest now. Tony should be here later to talk to us about Sam and his progress, ok?" Castiel said and Dean nodded, but instead of laying down, he picked up the notepad and started writing. Castiel hung around for a moment, thinking Dean will show him what he wants to say, but a few minutes later, it became clear that whatever Dean was doing wasn't a brief note, but something longer and he sat down, picking up his phone and scrolling through Charlie's messages. She sent a few reports during the day about his entire business, but it was irrelevant really. He knew she could handle everything that needed to be taken care off.
"Cas..." Dean called for him and he got up and walked over to him, taking the offered notepad. His first reaction was a surprise, considering how much Dean has written in such a short time, but it was evident it was written from the heart, unedited and sincere.
"Thank you. Really. Thank you. You came in my life and immediately made it better, showed me that it was alright to ask something for myself and showed me what it felt like to be cared for. I figure you understand now why I lived the way I did and did what Azazel told me, even if I was an idiot to believe that Sam needed money for his treatments, to keep him alive. But he was all I had left and I couldn't... Everyone that ever got close to me, they all end up hurt and I thought if I could just keep him alive, if I could save him, that would mean I am not a total failure.
That why I allowed Azazel to persuade me to perform and then later to... Become an escort. And I never complained, I never told them to stop, I never tried to run, because I thought Azazel wouldn't get the money he needed to keep Sam alive. That's why I allowed them all to use me and to do whatever they wanted as long as it meant Sam would have one more day.
But then you came to my life and I learned that... I learned so much. I learned that it was wrong, that it was all wrong and that I shouldn't let them do that. That it is okay to say what I want, and what I didn't want. That it way okay to say NO, because if I let them do whatever they wanted, that they might hurt me so much that I would be useless to help Sam.
But it isn't just about Sam. It's about you too.
While Alistair had me... I want you to know I fought him and his brother. I fought them every step of the way. And not just because you were 'paying' for my company now and not them, but because I didn't want them. I wanted you. I want you. You came into my life and instantly made everything better, made me look forward to the next day and brought some joy in my life I never thought I would have.
So thank you. Really. Thank you for being there and for being my rock. Thank you for fighting for me and for helping me.
By the time Castiel finished his reading and looked up at Dean, there was some embarrassment in his eyes and his cheeks took a rosier shade of red, probably due to the words he didn't write. Probably because of that little heart at the end, one that wasn't really a proclamation of love, but quite close to one. Castiel could help the smile that crept on his face and he reached out and set his hand on Dean's before he spoke.
"I heart you too Dean."
Dean closed his eyes, trying heard not to laugh out-loud at that, because it was funny to hear something like that coming from Castiel, while his throat was still a bit sore, but the words still filled him with happiness and warmth. He took his hand and pulled on it, drawing Castiel closer for another sweet soft kiss. He wanted more, he wanted to kiss him deeply and show him exactly how he felt, but he was pretty sure it has been over a week since he brushed his teeth and no way in hell would he kill the man he loved with his dragon breath.
So instead, he reached and cupped his face and once they broke their kiss, he pulled him into a tight hug.
Just as promised, Tony came back just before 7 pm, right on time for the evening shift. He checked in with them and said he was on his way to talk to the chief Cain Forstefod* and doctor Mick Davies - their chief of neurology along with doctor Gavin McCloud. He wasn't really necessary for this conversation, but since he was a good trauma doctor and Dean's doctor, they wanted his opinion.
An hour later, Meg came by and said they need to take Sam to do some MRI's and other tests, but she still assured Dean that he will be fine and that she will look after him. There was an odd look in her eyes that Cas noticed. It was as if she was happy that Sam will finally be saved, be given the help he needed, but sad at the same time because he will soon be transferred elsewhere and he will be gone from her life. Which is why he knew he made the right choice.
"Meg, hold on a sec. I know this is perhaps a bit sudden, but doctor Wilson and I have been talking and he wanted to offer you a position in his private clinic. As far as I understood him, it would be basically the same job you have here, only better paid and with a chance to maybe advance some day? But there are house-calls, so I am not sure... Would you be interested in something like that? No, no, don't answer right away, think it over, it isn't a decision to be made lightly. And you would need to discuss it further with him anyway, all I know is that as far as I can see it is a good offer, but maybe... I was thinking, and if Dean would agree - Cas said glancing at Dean - that your could consider Sam to be your first patient for house-calls?"
This is actually the first time Castiel wasn't sure about what he was asking. He had mentioned this to Tony and Tony already agreed to this, saying how it is hard to find nurses that aren't too cold and unfriendly and that she really seemed sweet. But to offer her to still look after Sam? He hoped he wasn't stepping on Dean's toes on this, considering it will be happening in their home. Especially considering he hasn't told Dean about Sam being out of the hospital if everything pans out.
Still, the wide smile that spread across her face along with Dean's affirmative hum was enough to assure him he made the right call. They could use more people to look after them, anyway. Once Meg took Sam out Castiel turned to Dean, only to see him scribbling something on his notepad.
"Do you guys really think Meg could work for Tony? I was going to offer her to come and help with Sam and his recovery." was what he wrote, but it felt like he he wasn't finished, like he wanted to write more just had trouble phrasing it. Until...
"If we really inherited money from Azazel and we got the club, I want it all to go to Tony, for Sammy. Whatever he needs."
"Hm... Yeah, sorry Dean, but Tony wouldn't hear it. And before you even think it, no, I am not paying him either. He wants to do this pro bono. Besides, I don't think Nick would allow him in their apartment if he even considered taking money for this." Castiel responded. Dean took a moment to mould it over before writing.
"But then at least let me pay for Meg while she is helping Sam?"
"That would be something to discuss with Tony and Meg, not me." Castiel said, kind of reminding Dean that he won't decide things like this for him. That it was never his place to do that, even before when he was paying for him. He would always ask what Dean wanted and if he was okay with a certain decision.
"What about me?"
"Can I repay you?"
"Yes. Yes you can. But not by money. You can repay me by following your dreams and doing what you want to do. You are free, Dean. Free to live your life the way you want to and... I just want to see you happy."
To that Dean smiled and wrote down. "Only if you stick around." to which Castiel returned the bright smile and kissed Dean, short but sweet.
Waiting on Tony to come, or for Sam's return, Dean thought about all the things that have suddenly changed in such a short time. Castiel was right, he was free. He didn't have to dance to a single beat, nor do private lap dances (it has been a while since he did those anyway). He didn't have to play pretend he liked someone and go with them and suck them off or let them fuck him... But... He didn't have to do any of those things even before. He didn't have to do any of that practically since he met Castiel.
That though brought a smile on his face.
Truth was, with Azazel gone, and some money left and a club to his name, things weren't all that different. Sure he had more freedom to do what he wanted and he could decide how to live his life without feeling obligated to work for someone, he can take care of Sammy all on his own. But he didn't want to do it on his own. In fact, he couldn't picture it doing anything without Castiel by his side. And maybe Meg by Sam's? Having friends like Nick and Tony, that cheery redhead at Castiel's office... Benny. Balthazar even. Heck he would even take Crowley.
What about Adam and Kevin?
He would have to make sure they stayed. No way would he want them out in the streets. They could... They could wait tables. But that wouldn't be enough money for them, would it? He would have to think of something.
One thing is for sure. ZaZ, the strip club - it's finished. No more strip-dancing, no more escort service, no more prostitution. Maybe... Maybe he could turn it into a restaurant? Another smile crept up on his face at that thought. It was true, not much has changed for him. Except now he has a chance to change something for the people around him. Like Castiel did for him.
Door opening brought him out of his thoughts and he looked up to see Sam being brought back into the room, Meg, Tony and Dr. Gavin pushing his bed. With a few exchanged pleasantries and Dr. Gavin checking on Dean, he and Meg left the room. Tony took a deep breath and nodded with a smile before he started talking.
"All was as I have suspected. His brain functions seem normal, and there is a good chance he could recover from this. Unfortunately, despite nurse Masters and her attempts to do some physical therapy with Sam, his muscles are atrophied and the will have limited movements in the begging, which might affect his mental recovery. I would suggest, since we have stopped giving him the sedation as of this morning, that we move to a different, more permanent location as yet as tomorrow, so that when he wakes up, it would be in a controlled environment, one that will in time become his safe space." Tony elaborated.
"Now, I have spoken to doctor Gavin and he feels that he could discharge you tommorow as well, given that you stay in bed for at least another week. So. What do you think? Ready to go home?"
Dean swallowed. This was happening. This was really happening. He froze, those thoughts creating misfiring of his neurons for a moment, but then there Castiel was, standing by his side, squeezing his hand in a comforting manner and telling him that it's all going to be alright.
Author's note: Førstefødte means Firstborn in Norwegian.