Good news everyone! 'Me and Mine' is now available in hard copy from – there's a link in my profile. But it is still on Amazon as an ebook, just so you know.
Dean's days break down like this; wake up, breakfast, bathe, nothing..., therapy, lunch, therapy, nothing..., sleep.
He washes in a bathtub whilst being watched by an orderly, he eats under their glare along with the other patients. His room is a square of white walls with a metal framed bed, bolted to the floor. Everything smells like bleach and stale air.
The other patients scare him. Dean doesn't want to admit it, even to himself, but they do. There are practically comatose patients, and manic ones that scream at night, sometimes they approach him at meals and they babble at him, and he hates it and wants to hide away somewhere.
He's not crazy. He knows he's not crazy, not crazy like them, not like this. He knows he needs to get out. But no one listens, no one wants him to leave. Because he's crazy, and this is where crazy people live.
In the weeks since he was transferred, his wrist has healed over, ragged and crusted with scabs and fresh scar tissue. He wears the same white t-shirt and cotton pants every day, new sets of exactly the same thing are given to him when he takes his bath.
In his therapy sessions the psychiatrist asks him about his mother, who he can't remember, and his father, who he doesn't want to talk about. They ask him over and over again if his dad ever hit him, or touched him in a way he didn't like. They expect the answer they want. But it isn't true.
Dean tells them about how his dad fell in love with a pretty girl, and got obsessed. He knows that now. John had kidnapped a woman named Mary from her apartment, and had hurt her, raped her. That alone made Dean feel sick, he could never have done that, not to anyone, let alone Castiel. He tells the therapist that he is aware that keeping Mary locked up as she grew ever more pregnant, was a bad thing to do. He isn't an idiot. He knows that his dad murdered his mother, and that was bad too.
He also knows that his dad was wrong to kill, to coerce in an attempt to find him a partner. Without his father's presence, without his logic and forceful personality, Dean grows more sure of that by the day.
The psychiatrist rarely talks about Castiel.
Dean starts to worry that if he doesn't talk about Castiel, he might forget him. He doesn't want that to happen, doesn't want to forget the only person who really loved him. Because, for his dad he was just a part of his delusion, the child Mary gave him, and Dean doesn't really think his mom ever loved him, he was forced on her after all.
But Castiel had loved him.
Sometimes he sleeps with his arms pressed tight against his chest, and he remembers the feeling of Castiel washing the blood from him, settling him down to sleep.
It feels like forgiveness.
So in the gaps between the psychiatrist's talk of rape and violence, Dean talks about Castiel.
He talks about the first time he saw him, and the second...how he wanted to talk to the other man, but couldn't see how Castiel would ever want him. So he'd learnt about Castiel, about his life and the people in it, trying to find something that connected them, that made them match.
He knew he'd done things that were crazy; he'd stolen Castiel's clothes, touched them and felt them against his skin. He'd hidden in his secret spaces and watched Castiel as he ate and slept and touched himself. Dean had pleasured himself only inches from Castiel's naked body. And all of those things were strange, and bad and wrong – he knew that. But then he hadn't known how to make Castiel like him, how to get inside of his world for real.
It turned out he hadn't had to make him do anything.
He tells the psychiatrist about meeting Castiel in the bar, how it was like a sign or something, that he was allowed to talk to him, to meet him properly. And that, after Castiel moved in, he'd felt so much closer to him, and had started to fall in love, properly.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Rein, doesn't like the sessions in which Dean talks about Castiel, he can tell. Sometimes he tries to tell Dean that it wasn't real, that is was something his mind tricked him into.
But Castiel had welcomed Dean into his life, into his bed, and even after everything, all the horrors of his imprisonment, Castiel had stayed to take care of him.
Castiel had loved him.
Dean knew that more certainly than he knew the time of day.
Now though, he knows that Castiel is not going to come for him. Although the young doctor had promised not to leave him, circumstances were clearly beyond his control. The hospital and the psychiatrists wanted to keep him here, and Castiel was probably afraid of him, now that he'd had time to think about it. It was that hopelessness that had led him to cut himself at the hospital, that, and the knowledge that he'd killed his father.
That he was alone.
He didn't blame the other man, but it made the time he spent at the asylum even more unbearable.
Dean's lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. This is his twenty fifth week in captivity, and he wonders if he should stop counting. He's going to be here for life after all.
The lock on the door opens, and Dean looks up at the window. It's dark outside, maybe it's time for his night meds, or maybe it's really early and they're taking him to breakfast. He doesn't have a clock, and time is very confusing without one.
He doesn't want to go anywhere in either case. He closes his eyes. Maybe if he's asleep they'll leave him be.
A hand touches his arm gently.
He opens his eyes and looks up at Castiel, then scrabbles into a sitting position.
"Cas?" He reaches out and grasps the other man's hand. "You're really..."
"It's me." Castiel's smile is relieved. "It's really me."
"What are you..." Dean looks at him properly, noticing the pale green uniform of the orderlies for the first time.
"I had to wait for them to check my background." Castiel moves quickly, hugging him fiercely. "Had to lay the right paper trail...but I got in." He squeezes him. "Now I can get you out."
He pulls Dean to his feet, leading him towards the partially opened door.
"Where are we going?" Dean can't help but worry they're going to get caught.
"I have a car outside." Castiel turns to him, touching his hand gently. "I've got enough money to set us up, far away. They're never going to find us."
Hope fills Dean like oxygen, running riotously through his cells.
Castiel looks at him, and his worried expression dissolves into a smile so bright and so relieved that it makes Dean's chest ache.
"I missed you so much." The young doctor tells him. "I love you."
Something jerks at the corner of Dean's vision, and his temple throbs like he's been struck there.
"Dean?" Castiel holds out a hand.
Dean blinks, and his chest is tight, his head feels heavy. He knows what's going to happen, because it's happened before.
Castiel wavers once, then disappears.
Dean backs away from the door, still resolutely locked, he climbs back onto his bed, back to the wall, knees up defensively. Tears trickle down his face. Castiel comes to him at night, only sometimes, and he tells him things; that they're escaping, that his dad is fine, that everything is going to be ok.
But Castiel is never real.
The real Castiel is somewhere else, somewhere far away. And he is never coming. Dean tells himself that over and over again, as the sun rises at his small window, blotting out the deceitful shadows and bringing reality once more.
An orderly comes to take him to breakfast, where Dean spoons up oatmeal and resolutely ignores the crazies around him. The other crazies. Then he gets taken to the bathroom, and he washes quickly while another orderly reads a magazine, looking up at him every now and then. Today he also gets shaved, and he wonders what that means, as it isn't his day for shaving.
He finds out, when, instead of taking him to the common room, he gets led to a separate area he has never been to before.
The visitation room.
They sit him down on a blue chair, opposite another blue chair and next to a bolted down table covered in magazines. Then the orderlies leave to stand outside the door. He doesn't like it when they break routine like this, it never ends well.
When the door opens again, Dean looks up, expecting to be taken to therapy.
Instead, Castiel comes in, wearing jeans and a faded T-shirt. He looks nothing like Castiel, not the real one; he has a stubble covered face and too long hair, his clothes are all wrong and he doesn't look as young as he should, he looks tired and sad.
"Hello Dean." He looks like he can't quite believe he's there either, and Dean watches as he takes his seat. "I can't believe it's really you...are you ok?"
"I'm fine." Dean says automatically, because as long as he doesn't do anything the Castiel says, he won't get in trouble. Talking is fine.
"Good." Castiel looks momentarily saddened. "I'm ok too."
Dean doesn't say anything, he's waiting for Castiel to tell him that he has a car waiting, or that they should climb out of the window, or try to break the glass in the door. But Castiel just sits there, watching him.
"Where have you been?" Dean asks eventually.
Castiel seems relieved. "I was working, at the hospital for a while...the police wanted me to stay local...but now I'm here." He reaches out tentatively and touches Dean's hand, where it's lying on his knee. "I live close by, so I can come and see you every day, if you want me to."
Dean knows it's not real, he knows he shouldn't expect anything to come of this, but still he says,
"Yes...yes, please do that."
Castiel squeezes his hand and smiles at him.
"I had to fight it out with the doctors here." He tells Dean. "They don't think it's wise for me to see you...but I got here in the end." He strokes Dean's hand, and Dean likes the feeling, the closeness of the small man. "I'm so sorry it took so long...but I'm here now, I'm not ever going to leave you."
Dean looks at him properly then. At the ragged, tired seeming man who isn't disappearing, isn't trying to make him do anything weird. He looks into his eyes and sees the depth and reality of the emotion there, the way Castiel blinks and breathes and he notices the way his hand feels warm.
It's him, it's really him.
"Castiel?" He wets his dry lips, disbelief coursing through his voice.
Castiel looks at him, and suddenly seems to understand. He gets out of the chair, kneeling on the floor so he can put his arms around him.
"It's me, I'm really real, I promise."
Dean squeezes the smaller man, and he smells real, like deodorant and skin and sweat. He feels a tear drop from his eye, blurring into the cotton of Castiel's shirt.
"I love you." Castiel whispers gently. "Dean...I love you so much...I promise, I'm going to stay here, as long as you want me."
Dean presses as close as possible to the other man, holding onto him and praying that he's telling the truth, that he'll be there for as long as it takes for him to get out of this place.
"Cas...I'm so sorry." He manages after a while.
Castiel pulls away a little, kissing him on the forehead.
"I know." He touches Dean's face. "I forgive you...let's just get you well, ok?"
Dean nods, and Castiel hugs him again, and for the first time, he believes that he can get better.
That perhaps, everything, will be better.