So I'm reading Crash by J G Ballard. Also a movie of the same name, and this, really disturbing and odd thing came out of that. No offense meant to anyone with the descriptions, it makes sense if you've read the book (though that actual novel is a sight more complex and better executed). I know nothing about either car crashes or amputation. Just saying.
I'm not really proud of what this is, or how it's written, but it was an idea, and it exists now.
Dean shudders abruptly into consciousness behind the wheel of the impala.
Ahead of him the windshield is spider webbed, broken on impact with the beige sedan that sits crookedly a couple of meters away on the motorway.
Across the windshield is the body of a red haired woman. The passenger from the sedan.
Her blood has sprayed across the glass, through the cracks in it and across Dean's face, his chest. One lifeless blue eye looks in at him from the raw side of her face, red hair and blood rivered over the silver glass.
Her husband, if the ring on her hand, dangling over the bonnet is any indication, is alive in the other car. Dean looks out at him, across the blank asphalt road and the uninterrupted space between them. He's trapped, his entire side of the car crushed and compacted in the impact. A dark haired man, blood sliding down his face from a wound in his temple, looking out at the body of his wife, plastered across the tortured bonnet of Dean's car. White dress on shiny black metal, red hair and blood like roadside carrion, vibrant as entrails under neon.
Dean's knees, shattered by their collision with the steering column, are numbed with adrenaline and shock. He hand hangs limply on the cross beam of the steering wheel, his head tipped sideways on the seat cushion. He feels tired, dazed and wrung out, as if he's just come. A ring of spectators surround the two cars, silent and still as if waiting for a cue before they jump into action.
The people, like crows, flutter towards the two cars, interrupting the perfect moment between himself and the newly hatched widower in the other car. Paramedics arrive and Dean is cut free of the wreck, stretcher bound and hoisted into an ambulance. He sees the other man being touted towards him, they are to ride together, rakes his eyes over the man's corpse white shirt and skin, his dark suit and the flower of blood at his temple. The left side of his body is covered with a sheet, already soaked with blood. A lazy bulge rises at the front of the man's suit pants, and he lies as if suffering a nightmare, still and quiet save for his erratic breathing.
Soaked in the blood of the man's wife, Dean lies on the stretcher as the ambulance doors are closed, listening to the other man breath. He feels the weight of blood in his own groin, the pulse of adrenaline and perfect, graceful chaos in his blood. In a vivid image flash he imagines the man's pale hand reaching across the space between them, rubbing, massaging him through his jeans, spattered with the blood of his pretty young wife. He'd return the favour, fingers running across the seam of the stranger's suit pants, caressing the troubled outline of his erect penis with his fingers.
The image comes and goes in a fit of blood fresh imagination.
They are driven to the hospital.
Dean spends the next few weeks in and out of surgery, in a drugged trance, in pain, in agony. Three weeks into this cycle of pain meds, anguish and vomiting pathetic green bile into an enamelled basin, the man reappears.
Dean is first conscious of fingers stroking his hair as he retches acidly into the white confines of the bowl. They are soothing and dry on his scalp, caressing and attesting to the person who cares for his plight, more than the vapid, perfunctory nurses.
He looks up afterwards, mouth reeking of stomach juices, and sees blue eyes over a plastic cup of water, offered with a carefully positioned, but shaking, hand.
In the empty ward Dean drags his pinned and metallically enclosed legs back onto the bed, and the man, stuck in his electric wheelchair, leans his head against Dean's thigh softly, like a pet unobtrusively seeking attention. Dean pats him carefully and lets his eyes fall to the man's arm, newly amputated at the elbow and the leg on the same side, now a stump of thigh where his body was crushed in the impact of Dean's car into the side of the sedan. Dean fingers the bandages on the man's shifting half-arm, and he whimpers, nuzzling further into the scratchy sheets and Dean's thigh underneath.
The man's name is Castiel.
Dean reads it from his hospital bracelet.
He comes to see Dean every day, spending hours half lying on the bed with him. The nurses think he's difficult, to be determinedly travelling across the hospital only weeks after his surgery, the loss of two limbs and his wife.
Dean wonders if they know that if they stop Castiel from coming to see Dean, the man will probably go mad. He would subside into insanity in that quiet middle American way, cease to speak or eat or process the world beyond a blur of colours and pleasant or upsetting sensations.
Dean covers the man's working hand with his own and holds onto him as the time ticks past and the steel screws in his legs do their work.
They don't talk. Dean for his part is not much of a talker, and Castiel seems unable to, choked by a misery too terrible to bear.
Sam visits and brings flowers, though why Dean has no idea. He gives Castiel a wide berth, not knowing what to say about the half catatonic, mute cripple who languishes at his brother's bedside like a ghost, touching Dean uneasily from time to time as if to assure himself that he's real.
Castiel has no visitors.
Dean asks a nurse who's meant to be responsible for him, and after while, because clearly she thinks somebody should be, she tells him that Castiel has no family, and that his wife's family live in England and want nothing to do with him.
Dean tells Castiel to give the hospital notice that he will be leaving with Dean to live in his and Sam's apartment.
Castiel is by no means subservient to Dean's will, but rather, depends on him for the strength of will he lacks, has always lacked. He comes to rest at his side, soaking up his strength like a parasite, and trying to heal himself with it, broken as he is.
Three months after the accident they are released and Sam takes them home, Dean in the back seat with Castiel's white knuckle grip on his hand, all the way down the freeway.
Together they are scar tissue, resilient but vulnerable and ugly looking.
They are the negative of two photographs that once showed Castiel's wedding, Dean sitting on the bonnet of the impala after his last football game. Cut out and turned from regular colour to crazy backwards black and white.
They're a man who will never quite walk as he once did, and another who will only begin to speak again a year after the accident, hobbling on a plastic prosthesis around the apartment they share.
They'll make love and feel the cataclysmic force of the car crash again. A force that did not destroy, but that has transformed them, changed them into nests of scars and thumping hearts and quickly circulating blood.
Dean emerged from beneath the broken, bloody limbs of Anna, and Castiel will hold to him as long as he has the strength.
Castiel is broken apart, reset and strange in body now as he has always been in mind. And Dean, as much as he is able to love anyone, loves the strange broken bird of a man, with his odd intellect and strange way of being.
They collided and fused like fast, hot metal.