Guess who we meet in this chapter? I'll give you a hint... he has really pretty eyes...
Dean wasn't sure of all the jobs an inmate could do, but today he was doing laundry.
He and his fellow inmates had been forced into baggy light blue uniforms and led into a large room filled with loud machinery and steam. Minimum security prisoners had an outside source do their laundry but here they weren't taking any chance that a prisoner would stow away and get out somehow. It was left to Dean and a handful of other prisoners to work in the unbearable heat moving clothing from washers to dryers, and from there to fold and place for delivery to other prisoners.
None of the people Dean had met so far worked with him, so he allowed himself to get lost in his thoughts. How could he seal off his cell? He'd try, by God, but Henrickson would certainly put a stop to it. After all, it wouldn't be punishment if he was safe. How could he keep the salt lines from breaking when his cell could be searched at any moment, the salt scattered... how...
Dean's head jerked up. He couldn't have been in his own world long, but somehow his fellow prisoners had left without him noticing. He looked to the guards; they smirked and stepped outside. Dean was alone for a few seconds, and then three men entered the room.
The two flanking looked like nothing but muscle, and from the way they walked it was clear the man in the center was the leader. He was tall and rather lanky, though he carried himself in such a way that Dean was sure the body had a strength to it. Dark hair covered his head lightly, dropping down his face to connect to a well groomed beard that made his face seem pointed. It was clearly designed to make the man look as terrifying as possible.
Dean had seen worse.
The man seemed surprised that Dean wasn't cowed, and moved in closer, looking to intimidate. Dean stood his ground as he was boxed in. The man wore a crooked smile. "Hello, Dean. I'm Rostislav, but my friends call me Alistar. Lucifer says hi." From his pocket he drew a crude knife.
Dean attacked before Alistar could, but the two men on either side of him caught his arms and easily lifted him, slamming him against the table he'd been working on. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Winchester." Alistar continued. "Consider this part of your initiation."
Then Dean entered Hell.
Alistar was a genius with a knife, bringing it down down again and again, carving deep curves and gashes all along his chest and legs. He struck where it would bring the most pain, but where it wouldn't cause him to bleed out. Well. At least not right away. Beneath him Dean jerked and twisted, trying not to scream, trying to break free, but he found no leeway in the grip of the men holding him in place. Alistar enjoyed every twitched of Dean's body, every demonstration of his agony. He grinned widely as his face became streaked with Dean's blood.
Dean tried to distance himself mentally and thought of his father, of enduring physical training; beatings, water boarding, everything to make sure he was a good enough warrior to fight along side his dad, but this... this was worse than anything he'd undergone. At least then he knew his dad wouldn't kill him, but Alistar? He had no such guarantee. "Oh, no, no, no." The demon whispered, slapping the flat side of his blade against Dean's cheeks. "You have to stay in the moment, Dean-y. No running away."
"Fuck you." Dean ground out.
Alistar laughed and cut a deep gash from his collar to his hip. Dean bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. Alistar smiled and ran his fingers through the mess, then back through his hair, leaving it standing on end. "You look so good in red."
He brought the knife down again. This time Dean screamed.
Dean wasn't sure when he lost consciousness, but when he opened his eyes they were gone. The florescent lights in the ceiling were too bright; his eyes fluttered closed. He tried to sit up and with a groan fell back. Shit. Dean wrapped an arm around his stomach and tried to turn over. He didn't know when or if they were coming back, but he needed to be far away from here just in case. Numerous cuts pulled, and his body protested. He heard a sound echo across the room – a pained whimper – and wondered who'd made it; distantly he thought it might have come from himself.
A hand gripped his shoulder firmly. Dean jerked and brought his fists up. He couldn't force his eyes open to see who was attacking him, but by God he was going to fight as fiercely as he could, and maybe he'd get lucky.
A hand caught his wrist, the pressure kind compared to the treatment he'd just undergone, and a firm push guided him down until he was lying against the table once more. A folded uniform was placed beneath his head. "You shouldn't move." The voice was deep, unfamiliar and yet oddly comforting. Dean couldn't help but obey.
When he opened his eyes again he was in a sterile white room, lying in a bed with scratchy sheets.
"What?" Dean tried to sit up and suppressed a pained groan. He lifted his arms and saw stark white bandages wrapping around his wrists and extending up his arms, disappearing under the gown he was dressed in. He had to get out of there.
He was preparing to yank the IV out of his arm, when a nurse strode up to his bed, and smacked his hand away. "Don't touch that."
The very presence of the woman was enough for Dean to back away as far as the bed would allow. She smiled to herself and fussed around his bed, straightening the blankets around him and checking the machines that monitored his heart. When she was finished she crossed her arms and stared him down. "So. Dean Winchester. Henrickson warned me about you."
Dean smirked. "That man. You'd think pulling someones pigtails would stop in elementary school." He managed to wink. "I think someone has a crush."
To his surprise the woman laughed. She held out a hand. "Hi, I'm Ellen."
"So, Dean, what happened to you?"
Dean's mouth snapped shut.
Ellen gave him a sympathetic smile and patted his knee, understanding. "I'll check on you later, honey."
Dean immediately put on his most charming smile. "No chance I could leave now?"
"Your innards are barely staying in place as it is. You're staying right here."
Dean watched her walk off with a bemused smile. That woman really was something else. His dad would have loved her.
With nothing else to do, Dean lay back in the bed and thought about the man with the deep voice.
Ellen forced Dean to stay in his bed for two full days before she was convinced he could move around without dropping some organ – she wouldn't specify which.
While confined to his bed, Dean still managed to make quite a spectacle of himself. All the nurses – Dean was surprised they were largely female – had formed some relationship with him. The one who stuck with him the most was a woman – girl really – named Jo.
Jo was Ellen's daughter, and if Dean was honest she looked about 12. She was taken with him and treated him like an older brother; Dean was more than happy to accept her as a sister. Ellen, for her part, shocked Dean by allowing this relationship to progress despite Dean's record. Shyly he'd brought it up. Ellen winked and patted his cheek. "I like you."
Dean left it at that.
"Alright, boy, sit up. Let's take a look at you!" Ellen called Jo over and the two of them went about checking Dean over before he'd be released.
Dean frowned as they worked, wondering how much he could trust the two.
Ellen unwound his bandages, revealing shiny pink skin and rows of stitches. She waited a few moments and when nothing bled she nodded, satisfied.
"If it were up to me you'd stay another week." Jo muttered under her breath.
"Well you ain't. Get him dressed." Ellen bustled off.
"She doesn't think you should leave either." Jo said softly.
Dean nodded. It made sense that Henrickson was the one kicking him out.
Jo held out his orange jumpsuit and helped him into it.
Well, Dean reasoned, it was now or never. "Are you familiar with a lot of the prisoners here?"
Jo laughed. "Just about everyone."
Dean hesitated, unsure of how to continue. Jo waited patiently; it should have scared Dean how familiar she already was with him. "Before I passed out... there was this guy with a... very deep voice."
Jo pursed her lips, her eyes distant as she thought about all the prisoners she knew. "Did you catch a glimpse?"
Dean frowned. "No."
Jo touched her chin thoughtfully. "I'll think about it."
"Dude, you're alive!"
Dean laughed and bumped his shoulder against Sam's companionably. "Alive and kicking."
Sam moved to his bed. "Guess what came for you?" He reached under the covers of his bed and withdrew a large bag of salt, tossing it to Dean.
Dean looked it over, a faint smile on his face. It wasn't the kind of salt someone put in their food, it was the kind road workers spread on streets after snow storms. It was perfect. Dean nodded, fingering the worn bag.
Sam jerked a thumb at Dean's bunk"There's more up there."
Dean stepped up on the first rung of the bunks, and saw half a dozen bags stacked by the head of his bed, pressed up against the wall. Dean hopped down.
"Happy?" Sam asked, laying back against his arms, watching Dean.
Dean grinned. "The man certainly came through."
Dean tore a neat hole in the bag and spread a line tracing the open space that constituted a door. The iron bars were going to help keep spirits out, but this would keep out the demons. Dean stood back, satisfied. "That should do it." He glanced at Sam. "Don't break the line."
Sam sat up, eying the line of salt.
"Sam?" Dean moved to the bunk, towering over his cellmate."Don't. Break. The line."
Sam watched Dean carefully. Dean looked... crazy. Intimidating. Gone was the carefree joker he'd met; here, the Dean Winchester the papers had gone on about stood. Sam nodded quickly, and Dean relaxed.
That night Dean slept deeper than he had since his capture, safe behind his line of salt. Sam didn't sleep a wink, his mind running over Dean's hard eyes as he finally realized the ferocity, and possible insanity, of the man sleeping above him.
Dean was still feeling a bit tender and his stitches itched like mad, but when he was given his new job assignment he went without complaint.
The library. He'd never actually been in one. He was sure his dad had, the man was always bringing books back to their room, but he'd never bothered to bring Dean.
This library was rather small and smelt musty but in a... comfortable way. He'd even tried flipping through a few of the books, but that was less fun. Still, he knew Sam liked books, so he put a few aside for him.
Dean wheeled his cart down a narrow aisle, stopping every now and then to put a book away. After the first hour alphabetical was getting a bit boring. Dean paused and compared two books. One was significantly taller than the other. Dean grinned and wondered what they would do to him if he rearranged all the books by height. With a wide smile he rushed back to the first shelf and emptied it, sorting the books into piles. He started humming Metallica under his breath.
His shift was almost over when the heavy wooden door opened and footsteps signaled someone entering the room.
Dean straightened up. This was by far his least favorite part of the job. Helping people find books. Why couldn't they do it themselves? It wasn't like the organization was hard to understand.
Dean stilled. Alistar.
He could hear the demon slowly moving through the room heading closer. Dean couldn't take his eyes away from the book shelves. His heart raced and he contemplated running. But where could he possibly run to? Alistar hit his aisle, and Dean knew he'd run out of time. "Oh, there you are, Dean."
Dean turned and pasted a fake smile on his face. "You again. And here I thought you'd forgotten me."
Alistar grinned. "Oh, I like you. I think when this is all said and done I'll have to keep you."
Dean suppressed a flinch.
"Well." Alistar pulled a crude knife from the waistband of his uniform. "Let's get started, shall we?"
The two men with Alistar, different from the last time, moved forward, circling around him, probably to pin him again. Dean backed away until a tall book case stood directly behind him; one less angle he'd have to watch.
Before anyone could move the door was kicked in. "Figure it out." Alistar snarled.
The two men shared a look and moved off. Alistar crowed close to Dean. "Just the two of us then."
"Wonderful." Dean grunted. He lashed out, his fist catching Alistar above the eye.
The demon stumbled back a step.
Alistar gave him a disappointed frown, and took advantage of the proximity Dean had just placed himself in to thrust the knife into his side, just below the ribs. He twisted. Dean struggled not to scream.
Alistar withdrew his blade and Dean fell to his knees. His hand scrambled for purchase against the shelves behind him. "Come on, Dean. You're not being any fun."
"Fuck you." Dean grumbled.
"Maybe next time." Alistar looked away from him. "Where have those boys gone off to? Leroy! Malcolm!"
Grunts echoed in the otherwise silent area. Alistar looked back at Dean. "So hard to find good help, isn't it? If those two took any longer I'd have to carve you up without restraint, and where's the fun in that?"
The edges around Dean's eyes were starting to go fuzzy; that had to be why the two men he could see now looked nothing like the men who'd walked off. Then again, Alistar looked confused too. He kicked Dean in the ribs and stalked over to them.
From his spot on the floor Dean couldn't see much; Alistar seemed confident though.
Dean pushed himself up, clamping a hand over his bleeding wound. Everything hurt, all his old wounds and now his new ones. He could feel his stitches pulling, and damp clinging of his uniform let him know blood was slicking his skin. Dean tried to crawl towards the exit; everything would be so much worse in a few minutes if he didn't get out of here. If Alistar won he'd be back in his same spot of hell, if those men won, they'd probably do something worse. He had to get out of there.
Dean made it a few feet before there was a loud crash and someone started to walk towards him. Fuck.
"Still running, mud monkey?"
So the other guys won. Damn it.
Dean froze. The deep voice. He turned. The first thing he noticed were the black tattoos tracing down their arms. Angel's then. One, Uriel, was a large black man who looked like crushing Dean's head would be no hard feet. The second, Castiel, was shorter, with a shock of dark hair against his pale skin, and bright blue eyes.
For the first time in a long time, Dean wanted.
The larger man still looked at him with contempt, but the smaller one knelt beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder. The touch was light, but Dean felt himself move with it, exposing his side, even though he is instincts told him it was best to keep it concealed.
"Dean." Castiel said softly, touching his hand. And his hand moved. What the hell? Castiel touched the wound lightly – Dean expected pain, but none came. It was... odd.
Uriel laughed and Dean jerked back. "I think the monkey loves you, Castiel."
It was a trap. He knew it. Dean moved to cover the wound. He was getting out of there now. Castiel grabbed his wrist tightly. How the hell could he hold him so tightly? Maybe he really was an angel. "You should see the nurse." Castiel said quietly. "Come with me."
Dean tried to twist out of the angel's grasp. "Leave me alone."
"Oh look, he feels threatened." Uriel laughed.
"You're not helping." Castiel grumbled.
Uriel smirked. "Fine, I'll help." He moved forward and grabbed Dean's shoulders, dragging him roughly to his feet.
Dean yelped and tried to pull away. "Let me go!"
"You're going to the nurse, mud monkey. Deal with it. Now walk." He shoved Dean forward. Castiel caught him before he could fall. "I thought you said the demon worked him over last time. He can hardly handle a little scratch!"
"Fuck off." Dean grumbled. He tugged weakly at the arm Castiel held onto.
"Don't mind him." Castiel said softly. "Uriel can be a bit of a..."
"Bastard? Asshole? Goddamned mother fucker?" Uriel supplied helpfully.
"...tough person to deal with... but he's a good guy."
"Deep, deep down." Uriel added with a throaty laugh. He continued to chuckle as they walked the almost empty halls and when they reached the nurses station he pealed off to watch the door. Castiel nodded once, and escorted Dean inside, his stride unwavering until they reached an empty bed.
When Dean was settled the angel broke away to keep a critical eye on the bustling activity of the room. He took another step and Dean lunged forward, catching Castiel's wrist. "Wait!"
Confusion covered Castiel's face for a moment before he smiled shyly. "I'm not going anywhere, Dean." Dean tightened his grip and tugged at the angel's arm until Castiel was forced to settle beside him on the bed. Dean's grip relaxed and he thought he saw disappointment in Castiel's eyes, but it was gone so fast he couldn't be certain.
"Dean?" He couldn't see Ellen, but he could recognize her voice anywhere. She walked into view and groaned. "Damn it, boy, what did you do?"
"Just making friends." Dean slurred. It was getting harder to keep his eyes open.
"James, did you have anything to do with this?" Ellen glared at him and started peeling Dean's shirt off without waiting for an answer.
"James?" Dean asked, amused. The man did not look like a James.
"No." Castiel murmured, touching Dean's wrist lightly. "James is dead."
"You don't look dead. I've seen plenty of dead people...they're all pale and cold. You're too pretty to be dead." Dean blinked. He hadn't meant to say that. The blood loss must really have been getting to him.
Ellen hid a smile and mumbled so low Dean couldn't hear it. She nudged the angel, and Castiel smiled at her and got to his feet, backing out of the way.
"Wait." Dean said again, his voice faint as the world started to slip away. Castiel gave him his full attention. Dean held out a hand. " 'm Dean Winchester."
The angel took his hand. "Castiel."
"Will I see you again, Cas?"
"Cas? My name is Castiel."
"Didn't answer my question."
The angel smiled indulgently. "Yes, Dean. We will meet again."
Sorry writing this is taking so long. This semester is brutal.