The not knowing was making Dean crazy. Why did Zach send him to the future? How long was he going to be stuck here? (He didn't really trust the "three days" line Zach fed him.) How the hell had his future self turned into such a dick? Well, if he thought about that one the answer was fairly obvious; clearly he couldn't deal with the idea of Sam's death in any incarnation of himself and turned his thoughts away.
Being cooped up in this cabin was making his stir crazy, but after the scene he'd already caused he was trying not to draw any more unwanted attention to himself. There was nothing to entertain himself with – no tv, radio or even a freakin' People magazine. The future sucked.
Movement outside the window got Dean's attention. His future self was stalking around the far side of the cabin but hesitated when Castiel called out to get his attention. The older Dean paused and turned; Dean watched from the window as Castiel came into view. The insulation was nonexistent so it was easy to hear their conversation.
"What is it, Cas?"
"Let me see."
Dean glared, but Castiel was either too stoned or too used to the expression to pay it any mind. "I have things to do, Cas…" Dean complained, clearly implying that the conversation was over. Again, Castiel ignored him.
Dean watched from the window as Castiel moved easily into his future self's space. Castiel's hand on Dean's chest propelled him backward until he was pushed up against the cabin's rickety porch. "Let me see." Castiel repeated.
There was grumbling, but Dean submitted to Castiel's attentions. From his vantage point at the window, Dean hadn't noticed his future self's stiff posture aside from the stick up his ass, but now in relative privacy as his older self allowed himself to be tended Dean could see how he held himself to baby his left side. Castiel had to help him get his jacket off.
There was more grumbling when Dean realized that Castiel came armed with a first aid kit, but he let the former angel lift the hem of his t-shirt. Though it had been less than an hour since he'd returned, vivid bruises marked the older Dean's back and torso. Dean winced at the view from the window. Castiel pulled Dean's arm up to rest on his shoulder while he inspected the damage.
"No broken skin? No cuts?"
Dean shook his head wearily. "Nah. Seems like they wanted to get in a good beating before they took a bite. Whatever. I'm not infected."
Unlike the poor bastard he'd shot and killed. The knowledge hung heavy in the air between them.
Castiel lay his hand atop the darkest, purpling bruise. It stood out in stark contrast to the injury Dean had taken. Castiel's face softened unexpectedly; it was still startling to Dean to see the angel so in touch with his emotions. His expression was one of longing and regret as he bent over slightly and touched his head to Dean's. "I'm so sorry I can't help."
The moment was painfully intimate and for a moment, neither of them moved. Dean desperately wanted to back away from the window but was afraid he'd make a noise that would give away his unintentional eavesdropping. His future self broke the moment by pulling away. "Nothing any of us can do. Bust open that kit and wrap me up. Still got a lot to do."
Castiel obediently took out an ace bandage to wrap Dean's ribs. Dean sat in silence while he worked. When the bandage was secure, Dean stood up to test his flexibility. Castiel cleaned up his supplies, and before Dean could walk away, Castiel reached up to lay a hand on his neck. Dean dropped his head, but seemed to lean into the touch that seemed a poor substitute for an embrace.
His future self turned slightly and placed his right hand on Castiel's chest. "Thanks, Cas." Castiel just nodded his head and watched as Dean walked away, once more back to business.
Inside the cabin, Dean moved away from the window. He was confused, but mostly he was sad. There was an ache in his chest that smoldered and grew the more he learned about this future. He didn't know what the hell lesson Zach thought he was supposed to learn here, but it was time to go home.