An: This is something that just popped into my head the other day.
Dean hates subway stations. The places are simply too crowded for Dean's taste. Too many people, to little room. Dean feels helpless every time he enters the subway station. There's no way to defend himself, no way to run, no way to fight. A light sweat breaks out on his forehead as he tries to force his way through the crowd, struggling to keep his brother in sight. Maybe he should have held on to Sam's jacket like he had suggested.
Sam is not claustrophobic. Sam has no problems with the utter lack of personal space, not like Dean. Sam moves effortlessly through the crowd (it has to be something he picked up at Stanford) and Dean can't keep up. He's starting to lose sight of Sam, and that scares him worse than the crowd. If something happens to Sam, Dean won't be able to get to him in time to help.
Turns out, it's not Sam Dean needs to worry about.
"Sammy!" Dean calls out, but his voice is drowned out by the thousands of others. Sam doesn't turn around, doesn't wait. Dean doesn't get the chance to try again.
Someone slams into him from behind, knocking him to the sticky ground. He doesn't get the chance to recover and stand up before a foot catches him in the ribs, sending him crashing to the floor chin-first. The breath leaves him in a whoosh, and then it gets worse.
There's got to be at least five of them, Dean figures, just from the sheer amount of feet and hands that are beating on him. He can barely catch his breath.
This is professional – or at least, experienced. Dean can't get a good look at the people attacking him. They're wearing hoodies with no markings, and no one seems to care that a random man is getting the crap kicked out of him. Apparently this happens frequently.
"Dean!" Sam realizes what's going on, and now he's fighting to get back to his brother. He's not going to make it in time; Dean keeps struggling, and the more Dean struggles, the worse his attackers make it for him. Dean is going to die before Sam can get to him.
A vicious kick to his ribs, and something snaps, and Dean cries out in pain and anger. He's screaming and cursing as much as he can, but the beating just continues, and Sam is stuck where he is, unable to get to his brother through the flood of people just moving away.
Oddly enough, it's Sam's voice that screams out the name.
Dean's already halfway unconscious when it happens, but Sam can see everything. Suddenly, the men are no longer beating on Dean. Something is in between them, something wearing a tan trench coat. Castiel materializes crouched over Dean, sheltering him with his body. Dean instinctively curls closer to his shield, seemingly unaware. His eyes slowly slide open. He tries to speak, but blood bubbles from his mouth and trickles down his chin. He can barely breathe.
Castiel's head snaps over to stare at Sam, and suddenly all three of them are gone. It is all Castiel can do to keep his Grace in check, to not blind the innocent bystanders.
The thugs who attacked Dean don't get the same special treatment.
Sam, Dean, and Castiel materialize in Bobby's living room. Luckily the old hunter isn't in there at the moment, though judging from the cursing he is in the adjoining room and very much aware of his unexpected visitors. Sam doesn't even glance at Bobby – his eyes focus in on Dean, who is now very much unconscious and bloody. He looks like a massive bruise – the only thing untouched his is face, which he managed to protect with his arms.
Bobby's voice rings out. "What the hell happened to him!"
Castiel doesn't respond. He looks up at Sam, who has kneeled at Dean's head. "Hold his arms." he instructs, and Sam does so without question. Castiel adjusts himself so his legs are pinning Dean's and he presses his hands hard against the taller man's torso. Bones slide back into place and blood returns to its original path. Castiel is concerned – he's never had to heal such extensive injuries before. By all rights, Dean Winchester should be in surgery, if not already in the morgue.
Dean arches into Cas's hands, screaming as the healing progresses. Sam's eyes widen, the blood draining from his face, but he keeps a tight grip on Dean's shoulders. The screams continue. Bobby covers his ears with his hands. Sam wishes he could do the same.
Suddenly the cries stop, and Castiel is on the other side of the living room. His fists are clenched, but Sam is too good at reading people to not see the slight trembling. He looks from Dean to Sam, seeking aid Sam doesn't know how to give. He does know one thing, though.
"Can you help me get him to the bedroom?" he asks. "I can't move him on my own."
Dean wakes up and realizes that he is alone. He feels better – he can breathe without pain – but he's still pretty sore. He gets off the bed with some difficulty, grunting a little as he straightens. He can hear Sam and Castiel in the other room, and luckily he doesn't have far to go to get to them. He leans against the doorframe, body aching.
Castiel is sitting on the bed, shirt and coat discarded as Sam examines his bruises. Dean tenses.
"Sam, they'll heal on their own." Castiel protests.
"I know. But they'll feel better if you let me put this on them." Sam points out reasonably. Castiel shakes his head, that familiar confused tilt already there. Dean clears his throat.
"Let me do it."
Sam stands immediately. "Dean, you need to be resting – "
"I know, Sammy. Just let me do it."
Sam nods and hands Dean the jar of medicated cream they always kept on hand for bruises and strained muscles. Dean nods his thanks and moves to sit on the bed behind Castiel. Sam quietly slips from the room. Dean gets some of the medication on his hands and rubs them against Castiel's back. The angel frowns. "I will heal."
"Hush." Dean says roughly. "You aren't supposed to get bruised up because of me."
Understanding flashes across Castiel's face, but Dean can't see it.
"You aren't supposed to be nearly killed by a bunch of humans." Castiel retorts. "My healings aren't supposed to hurt you that badly."
Dean flashes him a tired grin. "Well, when I get done here, you can return the favor. I don't heal nearly as fast as you do. We'll call it even."
Castiel smiles faintly. "All right."
Sam smiles to himself as he stands just outside the doorway. His brothers will be fine.
AN: Yeah, by the way – when I said a few days ago at the beginning of this, this actually came to mind about two months ago. I hate school.
and yes, I did just break Dean's ribs twice in one go. Whoops. I apparently like dealing with Hurt!Dean.