AN: Well, this was a lot more work than I was expecting it to be. Partly because it was written entirely in two nights, though those nights were seperated by almost two months because I started this the night before NaNoWriMo started, and I'm a firm believer in the "No writing anything else before NaNo" rule, and then I went to Texas and left my laptop in Texas for a month, and just got it back two days ago, sooooo. And partly because... DO YOU REALIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO KEEP DEAN AND CAS IN CHARACTER WHILE ALSO KEEPING A PLOT LIKE THIS GOING? Either way, I hope you enjoy it. I know I enjoyed writing this!
When I was 23, I, along with 2228 others, boarded the RMS Titanic. However, I was one of the lucky few who made it to the Carpathia that night, and eventually New York.
But it isn't the fact that I survived that astounds me to this day. It's how much I truly lived in my short time aboard the doomed ship.
My family was bound for Boston, my mother and my fiancée, Meg. I made no secret of my distaste for the voyage, but my mother simply scolded me and told me that I would have a good, wealthy life in Boston when I married Meg. She was heiress to some fortune, and when we married, it would legally be mine.
But I didn't want it.
I just wanted to escape.
And then I met him, Dean Winchester. We couldn't have been more different. I was rich, traveling first class with some of the highest members of society; he'd won his third class ticket in a lucky hand of poker and had barely made it aboard the vessel before we set sail. I was dressed in the finest clothing a man of my stature could be expected to wear; his trousers were worn and patched, his shirt dirty and threadbare, with a scarred leather jacket to fight against the cold April air. But he was there, exactly where I needed him, my savior found in the most unlikely of places.
When he found me, I was done. I couldn't bear to be with my family a moment longer. My siblings would be waiting for me in New York, prepared to welcome me home and congratulate me on my engagement and my coming fortune.
I couldn't run, they'd just find me. Gabriel ran away, fed up with the hypocrisy of it all, and they found him, didn't they?
There was only one choice for me, one escape.
I quickly made my way to the stern, almost failing to stop myself before I hit the rail and giving myself bruises across my stomach. Not that it would matter anyways. I wouldn't be around to be inconvenienced by them. I climbed over the rail and balanced there on the outside, holding the bar to keep myself from falling in yet. I took deep breaths, preparing for it.
"You don't really want to do that," came a deep voice from behind me. I turned, and he was there. A poor man in poor man's clothes, a leather file clutched between his hands. And yet, he looked at me as an equal. He didn't approach, and spoke cautiously.
"How would you know?" I asked him, pulling my gaze away and focusing down on the tossing waves, trying to imagine how they would feel engulfing me.
"Because that's the coward's way out," he replied. I looked at him sharply. "You aren't a coward, are you?" He was taking slow, cautious steps towards me.
"You don't understand…" My voice catches. "This is the only way."
"Or you just don't want to find another way," he supplied, standing directly next to me and leaning against the railing. He looked out into the darkness and spoke as if nothing was amiss about the situation, a poor man talking a rich man out of suicide.
"You can find another way," he said, his words a promise, giving me a lifeline. I wanted to grab it. So desperately, I wanted to grab it, but I knew that I couldn't. I couldn't escape from this. I had to jump, have to-
"You don't have to do this."
And so Dean Winchester saved me. The next time I saw him was on the first class deck. I'd invited him there for a stroll along the deck, wanting to speak to him personally, to thank him. Somehow, I didn't think that giving him some money and inviting him to dinner so that he could be scrutinized by everyone in our party was sufficient thanks for keeping me from killing myself, but how could I possibly explain that to my family?
"I want to thank you, Mr. Winchester," I informed him stiffly, "for…what you did for me." I was aware of a need to be vague. None of my family were currently present, but you never knew what gossip could get passed around the dining room.
"Call me Dean," he replied with a grin. "And what are you thanking me for, being human? Anyone here'd've done the same thing, I'm sure."
I replied with a short, bitter laugh. "I wouldn't be so sure, Mr. Winche-Dean." I said the name, testing how it felt on my lips.
"So, can I ask why?"
His question caught me by surprise, stopping me in my place. He regarded me curiously, cautiously. He wasn't demanding anything, or judging. He just wanted to understand.
"There's…no simple answer," I replied generally
"Is there ever?"
I took a breath and guided us over to the railing-not to jump but to give us slightly more privacy. I positioned myself with a large wench behind me, blocking my voice from any potential eavesdroppers. "It was nothing, and everything…" I trailed off, searching. "I'm stuck, forced into a life I don't want, surrounded by people that I loathe, family pressuring me to marry and I can't get out, I can never get away, and I just want it to be over!"
"You're getting married?" he inquired. I guess it speaks a lot about him that after a ramble about why I want to die, he asked about the most unimportant little detail.
"Yes, her name is Meg-er, Megan Masters." He probably didn't really care what her name was, though, or about any of the rest of it. Oh, poor rich guy, forced to marry into millions. My life was probably pretty easy, compared to his. I always had food, shelter, every material possession I could want. He probably had to worry about where his next meal was coming from.
But something about him made me want to talk. I felt like I could tell him, and he'd listen.
"You love her?"
If his question before stopped me, that one completely derailed every thought running through my head.
"That is none of your business!" I replied angrily, appalled that anyone could be so rude, so forward.
Angry, I reached for some amount of control. And that control came in the form of that leather file he always had with him.
"What is this thing, anyways?" I pulled it open triumphantly, but was immediately humbled. The file was full of charcoal drawings, some of the most beautiful artwork I'd ever seen. A nude woman gazed towards me resolutely. A small girl rode on the shoulders of her father, laughing with glee. An amputee leaned on his crutches. A family, comprised of an older man and woman, and two teenage sons. Upon further investigation of this work, I noticed the shorter son's resemblance to the man before me. This must be his family. But it was drawn with such sadness, such yearning. I'm almost afraid to ask. With shaking hands, I moved to the next drawing.
This one caught me more than anything. It was a set of hands, pressed together in prayer with a rosary hanging from them. They were old, wrinkled, swollen with arthritis, and yet, they were beautiful. I felt like I could reach out and feel the thin flesh, take the aching appendages between my own hands and hold them. I let out an involuntary gasp.
"Y-you're an artist," I stated simply.
"Some could call it that…" His voice has fallen, lost the confidence. A glance at his face told me that he was scared, but that's not the right word, really. Worried? He was worried about my reaction to his drawings, though I couldn't imagine why. I'd grown up around fine art in every form, but I'd never seen anything more beautiful than this man's work-simple charcoal on paper!
"They're beautiful." I carefully put the drawings back in the file. "I-I'm sorry I intruded."
"Hey, I did the same, didn't I?" I met his gaze and he gave me a crooked smile.
He looked away, out over the glistening ocean. "You know, I still haven't gotten your name." He looked back to me, eyes glinting now. "Somehow, I've managed to save your life, then pry into it, show you my work-" I snorted. He hadn't really showed it to me, I forcibly looked at it. "-and yet, I still don't know who you are. Hell, I even know your fiancée's name! So, who are you?"
"Castiel Novak," I replied with a smile. I held out my hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Winchester. Properly, I mean." This enticed a proper laugh from him, and I found that I quite enjoyed the sound. I wanted to hear it again. He shook the hand, his grip firm and palms rough from physical labor. "Now that we know each other, tell me about yourself! You know so much about me, but I only know your name and your drawings."
I listened raptly as he told me of his family. His mother, Mary, passed when he was a teenager, as his father wasn't much of one, but he tried. He practically raised his younger brother, Sam, who is currently working as a lawyer in New York, his destination.
"I'm going to live with Sammy and his wife, Jess, for a while, just until I can get back on my feet and get a place of my own," he explained.
"No wife of your own?" I inquired, shoulder brushing against his companionably. "No sweetheart?"
"No, never really been my area…" He trailed off vaguely. I looked at him, wondering if I'm interpreting his words correctly, but I didn't comment.
"You are coming to dinner tonight, I hope?"
"Hey, drop the formal shit, okay? No offense, but it's kind of annoying. Poor dude, remember?" This man, this strange man, surprised me yet again. His language momentarily stopped me, but I managed to reply soon enough.
"Fine, I'll drop the 'formal shit.'" He flashed a grin as I repeat him. "Are you or aren't you going to be at dinner tonight? I'd like to talk with you more, and you might be able to make even that bearable!"
The first class dining hall was bright, colorful, and elegant. It was everything I'd grown up with, everything to which I was accustomed. Dean looked around the room with bright eyes, an almost slack-jawed expression as he took it all in.
Everything was wood ornamented with gold. A grand staircase led to the dining room. People dressed their finest for dinner aboard the Titanic.
I greeted Dean at the stairs, happy that Ellen, a woman who was also traveling aboard the ship, was able to lend Dean a tux. He was the same size and fit as Ellen's late husband.
"Hello, Dean!" I said as he approached. Meg was on my arm and he regarded her uncertainly, but smiled at me. "I'd like you to meet my fiancée, Megan." He turns to her and bows his head slightly, but his expression is still weary. And I know exactly what he sees there.
A tall slender woman in a dress designed to accentuate her figure. She was ivory-skinned with long brown curling brown hair cascading down her back. Her face was round, matching her full figure, and her cheeks were tinted pink. But there was something about, her. Something unsettling that anyone could pick up on. I'd long since grown accustomed to it, but seeing someone experience it for the first time raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
"Pleased to meet you," he said kindly.
"Please, the pleasure is all mine," she insisted, though I knew her well enough to see that the pleasure was not all hers.
We entertained a bit of awkward small talk before finally moving to the table for dinner. Dean was quickly surrounded by unfamiliar people and names, and I knew that he won't remember any of them five minutes from now, but there was really nothing I could do to help him presently. Everyone there tried to hide it, of course, but they all stared at him. He was a curiosity, an oddity. I had to commend Dean, he fit in better than I'd expected, and his manners were impeccable. But it was those little idiosyncrasies that set him apart from the rest. The way he held his champagne glass so awkwardly or had to be corrected on which fork to use. Those small details told so much, and easily revealed to present company that he didn't belong in first class.
I grimaced at him sympathetically from the other side of the table, where I was sitting with Meg. He was, luckily, sitting by Ellen, but my mother was sitting on his other side, alternating between pursing her lips and ignoring his presence altogether.
They, of course, asked Dean about himself in great detail, and he maneuvered the situation with a great amount of finesse. They asked about his family, at which time he told a story about Sam, earning him a roar of laughter. They took great interest in his final destination, but seemed generally appeased with his social status when they learned his brother was a lawyer.
After the meal, most of the men rose and offered Dean courteous invitations to the smoking room for cigars and brandy. Anyone could see, though, that they were praying for Dean to refuse. And he did, turning to me and offering me his hand.
"It was good to see you again, Mr. Novak." I shook his hand, and I felt something pressed into my hand. Then he turned and left.
As discretely, as I could, I checked my hand, unfolding the small piece of paper left there.
"Meet me at the clock."
As soon as I could, I excused myself as well, walking as quickly as I dared to the grand staircase, finding him studying the clock.
"You wished to see me?" I inquired, prompting him to turn around.
"You want to go to a real party now?" he responded, grinning.
Dean led me to the third class deck, to what probably passed as a dining hall there. People were pressed in tightly, talking and laughing in the hot room. It smelled strangely of beer and sweat, and the sound of fiddles filled the room, coming from the passengers raucously playing the instruments.
I was unsure what to do, but he pulled me further into the room, hand fitting easily into my own. A small blond haired girl ran up to him excitedly, wrapping her arms around his leg. He grinned broadly, rustling her hair. We danced, laughed, drank, and basically did everything that the higher members of society frown upon. I'd never had a better night in my life.
We eventually settled down at a crowded table, each with a pint in front of us. I took a long swig, prompting a strange look from Dean. "What, you think a first class guy can't hold his liquor?" I took another long swig to prove my point.
A brawl broke out behind him, spilling over and slamming into his backside. He turned and punched one of the men squarely in the jaw, knocking him out on the spot. He turned back to me, shaking his fist but smirking, obviously pleased with himself.
We eventually wound up back on the main deck, laughing and more than a bit dizzy from the beer. The alcohol loosened my tongue, and I found myself expressing sentiments I'd only dared think up until now. "It's all so pointless," I told him seriously. "They think they're giants, that everyone should treat them like kings and queens, royalty of the highest degree." I hiccupped. "But they're just dust in God's eyes."
"Well, obviously, there's been some mistake, then," Dean replied, giving me his amused half smile.
"Mistake?" I tilted my head to the side, curious and confused.
"Clearly, you were mailed to the wrong address." We both laughed again, then Dean suddenly sobered. "Honestly, Cas, you don't belong with them, with that crowd, getting married to some girl you don't even love." I treed to interject, but he cut me off. "What, you telling me you love Meg? Seemed to me you want nothing to do with her."
I had no argument. Beyond that, I was quite caught up in what he called me. Cas. I'd never had someone call me by a nickname before. Everything in my family was so proper, so perfect. Perfect family, perfect manners, showing up at all the best parties, impeccably dressed and respectful of all. I didn't think calling me anything besides Castiel had ever occurred to my family. It's different, but I find that I enjoy it.
I couldn't match his gaze, so intense, so I looked away, out to the dark horizon, where the stars of the Milky Way met the dark, crashing waves. A streak of light crossed the sky, and I exclaimed, "It's a shooting star!" I was immediately embarrassed. What, am I a small child again? I hadn't pointed out a shooting star since I was eight years old. My mother deemed it to be too frivolous, too superstitious, for a boy of my stature. I quickly learned to stop mentioning them.
Dean didn't reprimand me, though. Instead, he gazed out towards the horizon with me. When he spoke again, it was quiet. "My mother used to say that shooting stars are angels taking a peak down at Earth, keeping an eye on us all the time. She used to say, 'Angels are watching over you.'" We were both quiet, comfortable in the moment.
I noticed how high the moon has risen, and am shocked that I've probably been with Dean for hours. My family will be furious…
"I have to go, I'm afraid." I held out my hand. "I'm glad we could spend this time together, Dean. I sincerely hope we can do this again."
Rather than grasp my hand, he turned and spoke to me, and I could almost hear the eye roll in his tone. "Again with the formal shit." He then pulled me into a tight embrace. It took me a moment to adjust, but I wrapped my arms around him lightly, and then he pulled away. "Night, Cas."
He turned and walked away, and if I watched him for longer than what would be socially acceptable…well, I was alone on the deck here, surrounded by darkness. No one ever had to know.
The next day, Meg and I ate breakfast together on our private deck. Neither of us spoke; I could tell something was amiss, but I'd rather put off dealing with it as long as I can. I didn't ask, I just ate, slowly, trying to avoid making my headache any worse.
"I hoped you'd come to me last night," she said, looking down to her plate as she gingerly cut a sausage.
"I was tired," I replied simply, looking anywhere but at her.
"No doubt, your activities below deck with Mr. Winchester were exhausting," she commented, still not looking at me. She had, however, stopped cutting her food. She was frozen, hands still positioned with the utensils in them. She'd just…stopped. I said nothing.
"I don't want you to act like that again, Castiel." Still, I didn't reply. "Do you know what's at stake here? You could destroy all of your credibility, and mine! We'd have no respect. I'd never be able to show my face again."
I wanted to burst out at her, tell her, screw respect and credibility, screw all of it! I just want out. I just want out of this stupid, controlled life. I want to be able to make my own decisions for once. With a start, I realized that all of this could be found in that man, that strange, exciting man. Everything I wanted could be found in Dean Winchester.
The next day was spent on a tour of the ships. Mr. Singer showed us around, explaining the finer points of the vessel. He was in the middle of explaining the system of airtight compartments that keep us afloat when we heard the wireless operator reporting a message to the captain. It was an ice warning, but Captain Smith didn't seem to be concerned about it. Still, I approached Mr. Singer as we exited the room.
"Sir, about that ice warning…"
He gave me a small chuckle. "My dear Mr. Novak, pay that no mind. They don't call her the unsinkable ship for nothing! Shall we continue the tour?"
"But sir, I've done the sum in my head, and if she does sink," he tried to cut me off, but I pressed on, "if she does sink, there won't be enough space in the lifeboats."
He gave me a long look and a sighed. "You don't miss anything, do you, Castiel? You're right. The lifeboats can take about half the passengers. I actually put in these new type davits to hold more, but the thought was that the deck would look too cluttered, so I was overruled."
Meg approached, then, threading her arm through mine. "Waste of space on an unsinkable ship, isn't it?" She gave off a laugh and Mr. Singer made a small, half-hearted sound of agreement.
He addressed us seriously. "Sleep soundly, Mr. Novak, and you, Miss Masters. I've built you a good ship, I have, strong and true. She's all the lifeboat you'll need." Meg released my arm and rejoined the woman with whom she was speaking before as we reemerged onto the deck. As we continued the tour, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to find Dean, wearing a gentleman's coat and hat, almost making him look like a first class passenger, but anyone with a trained eye, anyone who paid him enough attention, could tell that he didn't belong. I was about to tell him that he couldn't be there, he had to leave, but he motioned for me to be quiet and pulled me into the empty gym and closed the door behind us.
"Dean, you have to go," I told him resolutely, remembering my earlier conversation with Meg. Even if I found the idea distasteful, it's not fair to her for me to destroy our reputations simply to chat with a man I barely knew. "We can't see each other anymore. I've more than thanked you for what you did, now you need to go."
"Cas…" he paused, searching for the right words. "I know that isn't you talking, it's that vulture of a fiancée." He paused once more, probably expecting me to correct him, but I somehow couldn't find the will. "You may be spoiled, but you're the most amazing man I've ever met."
"No, let me get this out!" he exclaimed, voice rising momentarily. He continued, but he dropped his voice. We were alone, but there was no guarantee that someone wouldn't come in at any moment, or be able to hear us from the other side of the door. "Cas…fuck, Cas, you're amazing." I shifted uncomfortably at the vulgarity of his language. "I'm poor and have nothing to offer you, I know that. No one would ever approve, and hey, maybe you aren't even interested in me like that, but I'm here, and I can't let you get off this ship without knowing for sure that you'll be all right. I can't let you get off this ship without knowing that you'll be happy, that you'll live the life you want, fuck what your family thinks."
Tears began to fill my eyes, but I blinked them back. I couldn't break down in front of him now, I couldn't. "Dean…" I said again, but still, he wouldn't let me speak.
"Hey, if you want me to leave you alone from now on, I will." He met my gaze, and it told me everything. It told me how desperately he wanted me to be happy, how desperately he wanted my life to be better, how desperately he wanted me to live. But it also told me how much his words pained him. He was offering to leave me alone from now on, all I had to do was ask, even if he wanted nothing more than to spend all the time between here and New York with me, maybe even all the time after. "But make sure that it's what you want, Cas, not what your family or your fiancée or that whole fucked up society expect of you. This is about you, and me, if you want it to be."
"Dean, if you'll let me speak…" I gave him a hard look, and his desperate gaze broke into the crooked grin I loved so much. "I want this." I stepped closer. "I want you, here with me."
"Cas, do you mean…?"
I told him everything with my eyes as I leaned in, closing the gap between us. The kiss was short and light, barely a touch. Just me brushing my lips quickly across his, and then I stepped back.
"But we can't."
"That's not you talking!" he told me desperately.
"You're right," I admitted quietly, unable to meet his gaze. "I'm saying this because of my family, but that doesn't change the fact that it will never work. My brother tried to get away, and they found him."
"Cas, please, you need to get out!" His voice was increasing in volume, revealing the desperation there.
"It's not up to you to save me, Dean." I knew I needed to leave. I needed to get away and never see him again. He could easily bring everything crashing down, destroy my future. So why was I rooted in place?
"Then at least save yourself!"
I pushed past him and left the gym without looking back.
I found him later that day. The sun was going down over the sea, turning the sky a fiery red. Dean was leaning against the railing, supporting himself on his forearms and staring out at the water. A blind man could practically see the distress there. I walked up besides him and assumed the same position in silence. He shifted his gaze to look at me in surprise.
"Cas…?" He was incredulous.
"I changed my mind, Dean." I finally looked to his face, and there was a smile spread across it. Not the crooked grin I'd seen before, but an expression that lights up every inch of his features, makes his face burn with passion in the setting sun.
"I was told that you might be up here-" I began to babble nervously, but he cut me off.
"Hey, shh, come here." He pulled me towards hid as if he is going to kiss me again, but instead, he tells me, "Close your eyes." I did so and I felt him move behind me, guiding me to the rail. He lifted my arms out beside me so that I could feel the wind beneath my arms. His face was right beside me, his cheeks rough, but his movements were sure. "Okay, open them."
I did as he said and couldn't help but gasp. My arms stretched out beside me like wings, and with Dean's sure touch, I was soaring above the waves, the binds of my family and the Titanic left behind me.
"Dean, I'm flying!" I exclaimed. In my excitement, I leaned a bit too far forward, but Dean quickly steadied me. He murmured a song in my ear, voice low and smooth, but I couldn't make out the words. I closed my eyes once more, soaring above the waves with Dean there beside me. Dropping my arms, I sought his hand with my own and twined our fingers. I brought our lips together in a passionate kiss. It didn't even enter my mind that someone could see us, that my family might hear of it. I just knew that I was with Dean and, for the first time since I could remember, I was completely content.
That was the last time the Titanic ever saw daylight.
We moved back to my suite when night began to fall. The rest of my family would be in the dining hall by now. I could make some excuse of having had a headache earlier and going for a walk to explain my absence. Meg wouldn't like it, she would insist that we should be seen together at all social events, but she would just have to accept it.
"Will this do?" I inquired hesitantly. "Or do artists need more light?"
He replied with a grin and a really bad French accent. "Zat ees true, I am not used to working in such 'orreeble condeetions." His eyes wandered to one of the paintings on the wall, then widen. "Monet!" He hurries over to it, gazing at it reverently.
"You know his work?" I asked as I approached him and looked at the painting over his shoulder.
"He's amazing!" Dean gestured to the work. "See his use of color? Here?" He pointed to a group of flowers floating over the water. "And here?" He swept his hand across the top of the painting, to the blooms in the branches of the trees.
"Should I be expecting Meg to be back anytime soon?"
"No, I suppose not." I gave a shrug. "The men will retreat into a cloud of smoke to bask in their importance while the women will retreat to the parlor for tea and gossip." I looked at him, never having been so nervous as I spoke next. "Will you draw me, Dean? Like your French girl." He looked at me in surprise but, slowly, he nodded.
I stretched out unclothed on the sofa while he laid out his pencils and charcoals carefully.
"Instruct me. Whatever looks right to you."
He gazed at me longingly for a moment before speaking, voice low and husky. "Lift your face a little bit, turn it towards me." He studied me for another moment. "Drape your arm over your side, put your hand near the other one-good. Hold that." And he set to work, hands moving quickly across the page, eyes flicking to me every so often. After a few minutes, he glanced up at me and his eyes met mine. He dropped his pencil and stifled a laugh, obviously flustered.
"Why, Mr. Big Artiste, I believe you're blushing!" I teased him, gaining another laugh from him. "You know, I can't imagine Monsieur Monet blushing."
His hands began to work again, even more sure than before. "He does landscapes," he old me in a matter of fart tone as his eyes traveled the length of me.
I could hear my heart pounding in my ears the entire time. I tried to give off an air of confidence, tried to make it seem natural, but it was the scariest thing I'd ever done. What if Meg walked into the room and found us? What if it was my mother? An endless string of whatifs, all with worse outcomes than the one before. But somehow, as scary as the questions were, they didn't seem to matter, because I was here with Dean, his eyes were on me. Everything was him and me and the quick scratches of pencils on paper.
When he finished, and I pulled my clothes back on, I walked back over to him to look at it. The creature in the picture could have been me, but there was no way I looked anywhere near that beautiful. It was as if Dean had captured my likeness and put it on the body of an angel.
"It's wonderful," I breathed, incredulous. When I regained the ability to speak properly, I said, "Date it. I want to remember this night forever."
He turned to me, raising one eyebrow. "You're saying that as if there's a chance of you ever forgetting."
I didn't speak in reply, just gave him a quick grin as he wrote the date; 4/14/1912. He then added a quick scribble that I barely recognized as his name. We placed it in the safe next to the sapphire diamond I'd given to Meg as an engagement present, along with a quickly scrawled note from myself, folded and addressed to Meg.
"Darling, now you can keep us both locked in your safe, Cas"
Soon after, while we were aimlessly wandering through the suit, I heard Azazel, Meg's manservant, enter through the sitting room. I quickly pulled Dean into the stateroom and out into the hallway before he could catch us. We walked down the hallway slowly, but once we were about halfway down the corridor, we heard a door open and close, then Azazel's voice. "Mr. Novak, wait!"
"Come on!" I exclaimed as I grasped his hand tightly in mine, pulling him down the hall. We broke into a run, receiving more than a few surprised and disdainful looks from those around us, but we passed them quickly enough, and we really didn't care. We dashed into the lift, surprising the operator with our sudden appearance.
"Take us down," I commanded him as I attempted to regain my breath. When he hesitated, I urged him on. "Quickly, quickly!"
He scrambled to comply. Azazel approached just as the thing began to descend. He slammed a hand on the gate in anger. Dean grinned and flashed his middle finger just before Azazel disappeared from sight.
We ended up in a broom closet on F-deck while we waited for Azazel to pass by.
"Pretty tough for a Valet, this guy," Dean observed.
"Yes, I suppose so," I mused. "Meg's father hired him to keep her out of trouble, and to protect her. A young woman in a big city, who knows what trouble could find her. Or what trouble she could find." Even I could hear the eye roll in my voice. We emerged into the hall, having silently decided that we'd waited for long enough that Azazel must be gone.
"Kind of like you right now? Uh oh!"
Azazel had spotted us once more and called out to us angrily, obviously annoyed that we'd managed to avoid him thus far.
We wound our way blindly through hallways until we reached a dead end, accompanied by a door marked "Crew Only." Not seeing any other alternative, we pushed our way into the room, locking the deadbolt behind us. The room was filled with a loud roar and there was a ladder present. Azazel slammed into the door, but the deadbolt kept him at bay. Knowing that the lock could give way any moment, we hurried down the ladder into the boiler room.
We stopped for a moment, gazing at the place in surprise. The furnaces burned hot, fed by large men covered in sweat and soot. Soon, Dean started pulling at my hand again, and we were running the length of the room, dodging among startled workers and men shouting that we weren't allowed down there.
"Carry on, don't mind us!" he shouted in reply to them as we dashed further on. We exited the boiler room and, after some more dashing, spurred on by the high of the chase that no doubt ended as soon as Azazel could no longer follow us, we eventually found ourselves in the cargo hold. It was cool, especially compared to the hellish heat of the boiler room, and we press closer together to fight the temperature.
Among the crates, we found a large touring car, more luxurious than anything else in the room and lashed securely to a pallet. Dean stared at it like it was right out of a fairy tale, and I couldn't blame him. The wealth and exuberance expressed in the object practically leached out of it, tangible in the dim space.
On impulse, I pulled the back door open and climb inside, resting against the plush burgundy seats. Dean pulled himself behind the wheel, tipping an imaginary hat to me and saying in his most important voice, "Where to, sir?"
I leaned forward and whispered through the high, "To the heavens." I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him into the back seat. He landed next to me and we looked at each other, the only sound that of our heavy breathing. This was it, the moment of truth.
"You nervous, Cas?" Dean's voice was deep and soft, but it sounded strained.
"No," I replied, and it was true. Because this was Dean. True, I'd only just met him, and I'd never done anything like this before, much less with another man, but this was Dean. The man who'd saved my life when it hadn't been worth saving. The man who'd talked me off of that railing and brought me back to life when I hadn't realized I was dead in the first place. He saved me, and that's connected us in a way I almost couldn't understand. But it was there, and I couldn't help but trust him. I couldn't help but want him.
He stroked my face reverently, his fingers rough after years of physical labor, but I'd witnessed the divine work of these fingers, these hands, as well. I kissed each of his fingers before moving to kiss him.
The kiss was electric, crackling between us and it wasn't long before we broke apart, gasping for breath. But no sooner had we pulled apart that we brought our lips together once more. One of his hands was on my hip while the other was stroking my face. I let out an involuntary moan at the feeling of his erection against my own through our clothing.
"Need you," I gasped as he moved to my neck, sucking hard on the pulse point, marking me as his own. "Need you now!"
"You sure?" he asked, his lips never leaving my skin.
"Now!" I repeated, rolling my hips up against his.
Without speaking, he straddled my hips, hands moving to my shirt, undoing the buttons with quick, scrambled movements. His eyes were dark, ravenous, as he revealed my chest as quickly as he could.
When he was done unbuttoning my shirt, he moved to my trousers, causing my breath to hitch as I feel the pressure and movement down there. "Fuck, Cas," he says, leaning down to kiss and suck along my jaw. He pulled away, allowing me to pull my shirt completely off as he quickly stripped of his own. He placed his hand against my cheek, staring into my eyes reverently. "You're like an angel laid out for me. I don't know how I deserve this."
I reached up and laced my fingers behind his neck, pulling him down. "Stop talking and fuck me," I growled, the word sending a thrill through me. I'd never said it put loud before, never even considered uttering such a vulgar term. But it didn't really matter, did it? I was breaking every rule already. I was having sex with a person before I was married, a person who wasn't my fiancée, who happened to be a man, at that, in someone else's car in the cargo hold where passengers weren't supposed to be. Why not curse a bit? I was already going to hell anyways.
Dean rolled off me to wiggle out of his trousers, and I did the same, and then he was straddling me once more, stroking the length of me and running his thumb across the head. I let out a shocked yell, my hips jerking unevenly into his hand.
"Dean!" I exclaimed, needing to feel his name on my lips while I felt his hand surrounding me. "Need you. Please!" He grunted and nodded in reply. Dean spit on his hand, rubbing it onto his fingers, and reached around me, testing my opening before cautiously pressing his finger inside. I let out a small gasp and he crooked his finger and hit just the right spot, and then he pulled out, pressing his finger in once more soon after. His finger was then accompanied by a second, stretching me. He scissored his fingers and added a third, spreading me.
"D-do it," I instructed him. "Now."
He didn't say anything. From the sound of his breathing, shaky and irregular, he wouldn't be able to say anything intelligible, anyways. He spit on his hand again, slicked his cock, and then lined it up with my opening. We both took a deep breath or two, and then he pressed in. All of his preparations couldn't have properly prepared me for this. It filled me up entirely, made me feel like I was about to burst. It hurt, but it felt so good. He pressed in until he was completely buried in me, then paused, allowing us both to adjust.
"Fuck, Cas," he panted. "So tight. So fucking tight."
We both took a moment to get used to it, and then he was thrusting, in and out in a steady rhythm.
He brushed against the same bundle of nerves he hit with his finger earlier, and I call out. He brushed it again, and again, and my reactions grew stronger with every pass. His rhythm began to fall apart as my reactions grow stronger.
"Cas," he gasped, "can't hold out… Going to-Aah!" With a cry of my name, he came. I came soon after, surprised that I'd managed to hold out that long. He pulled out and collapsed on top of me, pressing down on me with his head pressed against my shoulder, taking long, deep breaths. I wrapped my arms around him "You're trembling," he murmured after a few minutes.
"It's okay," I assured him. "I'm alright." I felt him shift and press his lips against my cheek, just a pressure there, tender and loving. His hand moved to my chest.
"I can feel your heart beating."
I turned my head and brought our lips together once more. Neither of us were pushing for anything, we just were. We were just happy to be together, happy to have found each other and have taken this step together.
Realizing that it would only be so long before Azazel or someone else came along looking for us, Dean and I grudgingly got dressed and left the cargo bay. Dean made a few comments, not even that funny, really, but the mischievous feeling had returned, and we were both laughing, barely standing when we finally emerged onto the deck. We leaned against the rail, breathing deeply and trying to calm ourselves. I looked into his eyes and smile.
"Dean, when this ship docks…I'm getting off with you." He looked at me in shock. He obviously hadn't been anticipating my words. "I don't care what my family, or anyone else, think. I don't care! I just want to be with you."
"This is crazy, you know that?" he exclaimed, looking at me without the same tender love I'd glimpsed before when he kissed my cheek.
"I know!" I replied in growing excitement and anticipation now that I'd made the decision. "It doesn't make any sense. And that's why I trust it."
Dean kissed me fiercely, and I could taste the happiness and disbelief on his tongue. When he finally pulled away, he gave me a broad grin. I'd never seen him happier, and the fact that I put that expression on his face made me feel lighter than ever before.
Suddenly, there was a great jerk and a scraping noise. We pulled our eyes from each other to stare up in astonishment as an iceberg floated past. We both jumped back as fragments began to break off, falling down onto the deck.
Once the monstrosity passed, we leaned over the side, trying to gauge what exactly had happened.
"It looks okay. I don't see anything, Cas." His words were sure, but his tone revealed the apprehension.
"Could it have damaged the ship?" I inquired in rising panic.
"Didn't seem like much of a bump," he replied, placing his hands on my shoulders reassuringly. "I'm sure we're okay." I looked past him to see three young boys laughing and kicking some of the ice around, already having created some kind of carefree game out of it, obviously not realizing how potentially serious the situation truly was.
I took a deep breath, trying to remind myself of Mr. Singer. This ship was supposed to be unsinkable. No way Mr. Singer would build a ship that could have any chance of going down. Right?
We moved to a different deck, trying to find out more information, and encountered Captain Smith speaking with another shipman. I couldn't make out most of their words, but I heard something about the pumps. Nevertheless, I could hear a tone in their voices that scared me.
"This is bad," Dean said to me in a low voice, staring at them just as raptly as I was.
"We have to tell Meg and my mother," I insisted, suddenly remembering them. They're probably still in our suites, and they have to be warned if anything serious has happened.
"And now it's worse," he groaned, obviously reluctant to speak with them, but at least he wasn't outright refusing.
"Please, come with me, Dean," I pleaded, unwilling and not wanting to face them alone. "You jump, I jump…right?"
He sighed, obviously still reluctant, but he sounded like he was agreeing. "Right."
We hurried to my family's suites, and were greeted by Azazel in the hallway. He looked at me and sneered. "We've been searching for you, sir." I looked back at him in confusion, but we hurried into the suite, expecting to find only Meg and my mother but instead being greeted by me family, along with two stewards and the Master at Arms. My mother glared at Dean and pulled her robe closed tightly at the sight of him.
"Mother, something serious has happened!" I began to tell her, preparing to tell her of the iceberg and the impact, but I was not given the chance, as she cuts me off sharply.
"Indeed, it has." Her gaze was still fixed on Dean. Then, to the Master at Arms, she said, "Search him."
The stewards seized Dean suddenly, and he let out a shout, pulling away from the men, putting up quite a fight as they began to go through his pockets, but within moments, they released him, and one of the stewards handed something to my mother. I took a few steps closer, refusing to believe it, but it was unmistakable.
It was Meg's engagement ring.
She'd taken to leaving it in the safe when she went to dinner since there had been reports of thefts of first class passengers.
I turned to look at Dean, brow furrowing and wondering not how-the how is abundantly clear-but more, why. I mean, I know he doesn't have money. Calling him poor would be an understatement! But I'd gotten to know him, and if I knew anything about Dean, it's that he was kind and honest. He was not a thief.
But…the ring was in his pocket. How could it be in his pocket if he hadn't swiped it earlier in the evening?
"Cas," Dean said, trying to get my attention, but I couldn't meet his gaze. "Cas!" he exclaimed again, this time sharper, demanding it. "You don't believe them, Cas, you can't!"
"Dean…" I said, unsure how to respond.
"And why should he believe you over us, his own family?" Meg sneered. She looked to me. "Castiel, of course he did it. He's nothing but third class scum, tricking and scamming you so that he can steal everything." She turned to Dean. "He was caught, though, as he was bound to be." She made a tsk, tsk noise. "You've got such sticky fingers there, Mr. Winchester." She sneered again. "Take him away."
The stewards locked their grips on Dean again and started pulling him from the suite, but Dean was fighting again, with every ounce of his strength. "Cas, I didn't do it! Don't believe it, Cas, I didn't do it!" We locked gazes. "Cas, you know me, and you know I didn't do this!"
My vision blurred and I looked away, blinking back the moisture before any of it could spill down my cheeks. Dean didn't say anything else, though he did shout a few more times before he was finally removed from the suite, and the Master at Arms closed the door behind him on the way out.
Meg rushed to my side and wrapped her arms around me, molding herself to my side. "I was so worried about you!" she exclaimed, shaking as if she were crying, but no tears marred her perfectly made up face. "That criminal could have done anything, and we couldn't find you anywhere. Where were you, anyways?"
I looked down at her, finally able to see what a repulsive creature she really was. She was a parasite, sucking the life out of me. Dean was right; I had to get out.
I pushed Meg away roughly and stalk towards the door of the suite, grabbing my coat as I go.
"Where are you going?" my mother demanded.
I found myself soon after in the foyer. Meg and my mother, having been roused by a steward soon after I left, were there as well, wearing coats designed more for flash than function and carrying their life vests as if they are repulsive objects. They shot me furtive glances, but neither approached me. They knew I needed some time to calm down. I saw Mr. Singer enter through the stairs, looking to all the world like a man who'd just lost his true love. My stomach sunk and I felt myself go numb, but somehow, I managed to approach him.
"Mr. Singer!" I called him. He made eye contact for a moment, and tried to excuse himself, but I blocked his path with my body. "Sir, I saw the iceberg. I was up on deck when it struck."
"Oh, Castiel, everything is fine!" he assured me quickly, trying to dart around, but I blocked his path again.
"Mr. Singer, please, tell me the truth."
He seemed to deflate and was unable to maintain eye contact. "The ship will sink," he confided, voice low and desolate.
"You're sure?" I pressed. I mean, wasn't this ship supposedly unsinkable?
"Yes, I'm afraid I am." He forced himself to meet my gaze. "We have about an hour, and then she will be no more. But please, don't cause a panic!" He placed a hand firmly on my shoulder. "You remember what I said about the life boats, yes?"
My eyes widened. I thought back to the conversation. Not even half… Meaning that, within the next two hours, at least a thousand people would be submerged in the water, in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. And by morning… I shuddered at the thought.
"You're a good man," he told me firmly. "You mustn't wait for a boat."
And with that, he left me standing there, rushing about through the crowd and eventually disappearing from sight.
Soon, the order was given. Go up to main deck and be loaded into lifeboats Women and children first. The reaction was mixed. Some looked terrified, others murmured that it was a false alarm, that the crew were merely overreacting.
I was fairly certain that I was the only one of them who knew the full truth.
Dean was nowhere in sight, not that I expected him to be. I joined my mother and Meg on the main deck.
We moved closer as I prepared to see them into the boats. Absently, I heard them talking about the size of the boat, the comfort of it. Meg said that she hoped they would be seated according to class, spurred on by the fact that the crewman were asking for first class passengers to step forward, and I couldn't stop the low growl from escaping my throat. Both women turn to me in shock.
"You're so stupid, aren't you?" I exclaimed. "There aren't enough boats, Meg! What does class matter? Either way, people are going to die, and you're here worrying about the class of life boats!" My nose curled in disgust. "By morning, half of the people on this ship will be dead."
My mother was just staring at me with her mouth hanging open, while Meg scoffed. "Not the better half."
Never in my life had I wanted to slap a woman. But as I struggled to get the urge under control, something struck me. Dean…
He was a third class passenger, and imprisoned wherever for thievery, at that.
He didn't have a chance.
Without another word, I turned and sprinted away. I pushed past people, shoving people aside and hearing them shout, seeing them fall in my wake. I didn't care. There were only two realities at the moment. The feeling of my feet beneath me, carrying me forward as quickly as they could manage, and the knowledge that Dean was in trouble, that he would surely die if I didn't find him.
I ran faster.
I encountered Mr. Singer in the dining room, staring at one of the massive fireplaces. His earlier look of desolation was still present, though amplified. He looked truly haunted. "Mr. Singer, I need your help!" I exclaimed, stumbling against the slight yet constantly increasing floor gradient as I struggled to stop. "Where would the Master at Arms take a man who is under arrest?" I begged.
"Castiel?" he said, turning to me as if in a daze. "What are you still doing here? You should be on the deck, like I told you. You'll have the best chance there."
"There isn't time!" I exclaimed. "I need to know where someone under arrest would be taken. I'm doing this with or without your help, but without will take much longer. Please, sir."
He nodded. "Take the lift to the bottom, the go left. At the end of the crewman's passage, take a right."
I repeated the directions to myself very quickly, thanked him, and rushed away, repeating the directions under my breath to the rhythm of my footsteps.
I thought I heard him call something behind me. Something that could have been "Hurry!" just as easily as it could have been a prayer for me, or a sob of desperation. I couldn't tell for sure and I didn't have time to go back and find out.
Without full awareness of where I was going, I found myself rushing down the grand staircase and forcing my way into a lift. The liftman looked afraid, and he started to tell me to exit the lift.
"Take me down," I commanded him. He sputtered out another refusal, and before either of us were aware of it, I had him pinned against the wall with my forearm pressing against his throat. My voice was low and dangerous. "I said, take me down." With the little movement he could manage, he nodded, and I released him to pull the gates closed.
We weren't quite at the bottom when water came rushing in at my feet, shoving the both of us back against the wall with the force and surprise of it, though it was only at our ankles. The liftman stopped, only about two thirds of the doorway open. It was good enough, though. I crouched through the opening and jumped into the water, gasping and sucking in a tight breath as the water surrounded me like a block of ice. It was painful, but I had to do this.
I waded throughout it and called out, "Dean! Dean, can you hear me? Dean!" No response.
I moved further down the hall, but maneuvering was slow and difficult. "Dean, please!"
"Cas?" I heard a voice respond. It was deep with a decided Texan edge to it. Dean.
I called his name again, and he responded in kind. There, that door there. It was close, but luckily, unlocked.
Inside, I found a small room containing a desk, a water pipe, and Dean handcuffed to it, using the desk to keep himself out of the bulk of the freezing water. "Cas, you found me!"
"Dean, I'm sorry!" I exclaimed, a wave of emotion rushing over me. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you, I'm sorry."
"It was Meg's manservant, it had to be," he told me surely. "He was waiting for us to return."
"I know that." I was at his side now. The water still made maneuvering difficult. I got to his side and pulled him to me, pulled his lips to mine.
His lips were cold, and so were mine, probably. I just needed to feel him against me for a moment, to reassure myself. If we didn't get off of this damn ship, so be it. I had him with me.
He broke the kiss, looking me in the eye seriously. "How did you know?" He gulped in a breath, the cold making it difficult for either of us to breath properly and fully. "How did you know I didn't do it?"
"I didn't," I told him honestly, meeting his gaze as meaningfully as I can.
He pulled me to him for one more quick kiss before saying, "Okay, we need to get these cuffs off. But Azazel has the key, he took it with him. Okay, okay… Okay, Cas, in the hallway, somewhere nearby, there should be a fire ax. Can you find it?" I nodded sharply. "Okay, go get the fire ax."
It wasn't far from the door, but the water was making it increasingly difficult to move around. I broke the glass with the fire hose and took the ax with me, returning to the room as soon as I could.
"Got it," I said to him as I walked through the door. "Now what?"
"Okay, have you ever handling one of those before?" I shook my head. "Okay, then. Take some practice swings. See the desk over there? Hit it."
I took a breath and swung the ax, involuntarily squeezing my eyes closed as the object impacted, leaving a large mark in the wood.
"Okay, see that mark? Hit it again."
I nodded and took another deep breath. I tried to line the ax up as best I could and swung again. When I opened my eyes, I could see the ax a foot away from the original mark.
"Okay, that's enough practice," Dean said. "I'll try to get out of the way as much as I can." I moved over to him and lined up the ax, taking a deep breath. "Cas, I believe in you," he said, catching my eye. "You can do this." I nodded, stomach twisting into knots. I swung fast and hard and a clang rung through the place.
Opening my eyes, I see a grin spread across Dean's face. I'd split the cuffs right in the middle of one of the links. He still had the bracelets, but he was free. I dropped the ax, unable to lift in any longer and sucking in a gasp of relief.
He hopped off the desk with a murmured word of congratulations which turned into gasps and cursing as the water wrapped around his mid-section. "Shit, that's cold!" he exclaimed. His words are tight and strained.
"Come on, we need to go!" I insisted, grabbing his hand and pulling him with me. I started going back the way I came, but there was too much water. The pathway wasn't even visible anymore.
"Too much water that way," Dean observed, tugging me in the other direction. "This way, Cas, come on!"
We rushed as best we could through the water, but it slowed us down considerably.
With the incline, we soon came to a passage that wasn't completely full of water, where we could move freely, but a door blocked our way. Dean quickly forced it open, and we found ourselves in a first class passage, no water in there except what was dripping off of us.
A steward approached us. "How dare you!" he exclaimed, gesturing to the door. "You better be willing to pay for that. That's White Star Line property, that-" I punched him in the jaw and he fell on the floor unconscious, automatically shutting him up.
"Nice job!" Dean commented as we hurried onward.
"Thanks, I learned from the best," I grinned in return. Our hands found each other again as we started running again.
We arrived at the stairs between second and third class to find a helpless site. At least fifty people, mostly families by the look of them, crowded the hall. The crew aren't letting the third class passengers up.
Among the crowd, Dean located his friend, Doyle, and grasped him by the forearm, taking a swig from a flask and offering my a drink, as well.
I gasped, the cheap drink going down like some kind of acid, but it undoubtedly warmed me a bit.
I looked around and noticed the wooden bench, bolted to the floor nearby.
"Dean, I have an idea!" I told him, grasping at his arm. "But I need help."
"Doyle, come on," Dean said, following me over to the bench.
"Okay," I said, "if we can pry this up, then we can use it as a battering ram, a way to get out."
They both nodded, and we set to work on the bench. It didn't come immediately, but soon, we had it up, held between the three of us.
"Move aside!" Doyle called out, his Irish voice loud and booming. "Move aside!"
People quickly got the message, and though the steward protested, he couldn't do a thing as we beat down the gate, and soon, people were pouring over the top of the gate, free, though I knew there was still no hope for them. But I couldn't stop now, wouldn't stop now. I had to keep moving.
We arrived on the main deck, but there wasn't a boat in site.
"They're gone," I observed hopelessly. I'd known this was a possibility, but the reality of was just now setting upon me. This could be the end, of me and Dean.
I saw a man I recognize as Lord Crowley hurriedly escorting two women I recognized by face, though not by name. "Crowley!" I shouted, and luckily, he heard me over the din. "Are there any boats left?"
"All the way forward, Castiel, but you better hurry," he called, and then he was too far away for any further communication.
But when we get to where Crowley had indicated, there weren't any boats left.
"You'd better check the other side, Cas," Dean said slowly. I turned to him quickly, unsure what he was insinuating, but I could see it all over his face.
"No," I said firmly. "I'm not going without you."
"Cas, you can get out of this!" he exclaimed. "They're more likely to take you than a third class rat like me."
"Dean, I'm not going without you. Try to make me, and I'll kill you." My gaze was resolute. We just looked at each other, both daring the other to give in first, and he finally nodded.
"Then we better hurry."
Luckily, we do find a boat, probably the very last one, and almost full as it is. I could see Crowley and the two women seated inside, and we joined the crowd, pressing forward to the front, though it was difficult. A crewman grabbed me and shoved me into the boat, and before I realized what's going on, Dean's hand was wrenched from mine and the boat was being lowered, too far away from the railing to leap back with any kind of leverage.
"Dean!" I shouted, and he called my name back, though for a different reason.
"Cas, just go!" he told me. "Live, Cas, and remember me!" I could see tears streaming down his cheeks as he said goodbye, and in the moment, I could see everything we could be. We'd have to hide it, yes, but I was willing to do that. I could say he was my brother or my cousin. I really didn't care. We could travel together, if we wanted to. But that was all being taken from me in that moment. He gazed down at me and I glared up at him.
Well, I wasn't going to lose him.
The boat was moving past the lower deck now, and with everything I had, I lunged towards it. I didn't quite make it, and I grabbed onto the railing, hanging over the side of the ship precariously, and I could feel myself slipping, about to fall.
Multiple sets of hands grabbed onto me firmly and hoisted me to safety, and I could hear Dean on the deck above, screaming my name, but I was already running, as I knew he would be.
I ran for him, as I had before, feet carrying me with remarkable speed, and we collided on the grand staircase. There were very few people left there, just those who weren't even making a bid for their lives, so no one paid much attention to the two hysterical men crying, embracing, and kissing.
Dean told me between kisses that I'm stupid, but I gripped the hand on my cheek and stared into his eyes.
"You jump, I jump, right?"
That silenced him, and he just nodded. "Right."
"We need to get to higher ground," I told him firmly. "Come on." I seized his hand and we were running again.
But we stopped in the dining room. Because there was a familiar man there, standing before the fire.
"Mr. Singer," I called, and he looks over to me. Tears are streaming down his face and behind us, china fell from the table and a candlestick fell over. The incline was getting to be too much, and I wasn't sure how much longer the ship would be able to bear it.
"Won't you even make a try for it?"
"I'm sorry, Castiel," he said. His voice was quiet, barely audible. "I'm sorry I couldn't build you a stronger ship. You're both so young. I-" He bowed his head and Dean pulled me out of the room. We still needed to get to higher ground.
We came out onto the deck once more, but Dean pressed me further. "Keep moving aft," he instructed. "Stay on the ship as long as possible." It was increasingly difficult to move along the deck. It was slick and tilting ever more. I felt the ship shudder beneath me, but all of my focus was on getting higher and staying with Dean.
We made it to the end of the ship, to the railing, and we could run no further. I recognized this spot, of course. It was where I first met Dean, where he saved my life that first night, and where he changed it so completely.
All of a sudden, the ship righted itself. The deck was horizontal once more, and cries rang out from those believing themselves saved, but one look from Dean told me that we were far from it. Suddenly, the stern rose up again, much quicker this time. As quickly as we could, we moved to the outside of the railing.
We got into position just in time. We were lying on the outside of the railing, and the ship was fully vertical now. I could hear the terrible sound of people screaming as they slide down the deck and into the black water below. Dean placed his hand around me, gripping the bar tightly on the other side and squeezing me lovingly, reassuringly, but even he couldn't do much right now. We were in a completely hopeless situation.
I struggled to focus on Dean as he relays some instructions quickly. "Okay, Cas, this is important. The ship is going to suck us down with it. I need you to take a deep breath right before we hit the water, and then keep kicking. Kick for the surface. Don't stop kicking, and don't let go of my hand. We can make it, okay? Trust me."
"I trust you, Dean," I repeated, but my shaking voice gave me away.
The ship was sinking faster and faster, and more of it disappeared beneath the boiling sea. It came closer, and I heard Dean say, "Not yet."
So, I waited, and it got closer and closer. So close, I could almost reach out and touch it.
"Not yet," he said again. "Not yet, not yet… Now!"
I sucked in a breath just in time, clamping tightly on Dean's hand, and then I was surrounded by the water. Colder than ice. "A thousand knives," he'd called it. An accurate description indeed.
I felt Dean's hand slipping from mine and just gripped tighter, kicking with every ounce of my strength, but the cold was sapping that quickly.
We broke the surface, but then we were shoved beneath by people. They crawled over us, rabid, driven insane by the ocean and the water.
"Swim, Cas!" I heard him scream. He punched the person climbing on top of me, and then people left us alone. People were slowing down, now, unable to keep up the frenzy in the water.
I could feel myself sinking, though. My limbs were slowing as well, and I couldn't keep this up for much longer.
Dean, the much stronger swimmer of the two of us, helped me more than he should have had to, and pulled me from the crowd. "Come on, Cas, you have to keep moving," he pleaded. "You can do this, Cas, you can do this."
The screams had quickly been replaced by a terrible moaning from those of us stuck in the water. Such a terrible sound, I thought absently. I started thinking a lot of things absently, really. It was such a pretty night, really, so dark except for the stars, brighter than I've ever seen them in my life. I stopped kicking.
"No, Cas, you can't do that!" Dean shouted. His voice was weaker, but in anchored me, and I started kicking again, stronger than before, but still so terribly weak. "We need to find something to float on," he decided. "Can you see anything? Debris or wood or something."
"Door," I struggled to say. He looked and steered us towards it, and I climbed up onto it, mostly out of the water. He tried to climb up, too, but the door flipped over, leaving us both in the cold again. A man nearby blows a whistle repeatedly, hoping for help, but the arrhythmic sounds quickly grow weaker.
"You go, Cas," he said. I was almost completely unaware of his words at this point. I just followed his instructions and climbed back up onto the door and out of the water. Dean maneuvered himself and the last thing I was fully aware of was his hand clasping mine tightly.
"So cold," I struggled to say. "Want to sleep."
"You can't, Cas!" Dean exclaimed, with more energy than it seemed possible for anyone to muster at the time. "Stay awake, fight for it! For me, Cas, for me."
It was getting more and more difficult to keep my eyes open, and the words refused to come, but I fought to keep my grip on consciousness. If it was the last thing I do, I was saying this!
"I love you, Dean."
"Damnit, Cas, stop saying goodbye." How is it possible that he could still say so much? How did he have enough energy? All I wanted to do is sleep… "You're not dying here. I won't let you. Don't let go, Cas. Never let go."
"I won't let go," I murmured, my words a promise. At least, I think I said them out loud…
We drifted for so long there. It seemed like days, weeks, years, even. I was only half aware of anything, if that. Everything was so warm, now, and so numb.
A light shined over my face. I opened my eyes, just tiny slits, enough for me to see that it was a flashlight, and…a boat!
"Dean!" I said, my voice just a weak croak. "Dean, look, it's a boat!" A man in the boat was calling out, calling for survivors, to be greeted only by grim silence.
But Dean didn't reply.
"Dean, look!" I said again, shaking his hand, but it was stiff against my own, and unmoving. Dean was pale and still, frozen to the side of the door, all the life in him gone. "Dean, no! You can't, you can't leave me!"
But it was too late. I let out the shadow of a sob, all I could muster in my present state, and said, "I love you, Dean. I always will. I won't let go, I promise."
And I released him. I watched as he sank into the darkness, the ocean consuming him. I watched until he was gone, and I knew I would never see his face again.
The voice calling for survivors was getting farther and farther away.
The man with the whistle had long since gone silent, but the whistle was still in his mouth. With the last of my energy, I fought my way through the water to where he rested, cold and stiff. I seized the whistle and blew!
It wasn't that loud, admittedly, but it did the trick. The voice ordered them to come about and all the while, I keep whistling. I didn't stop until I was in the boat and someone pulled the whistle from my mouth, replacing it with a thick blanket over my shoulders.
"I won't let go," I murmured over and over, drifting to sleep again. I still wasn't sure if I'd ever wake. But I couldn't bring myself to care.
The next time I opened my eyes, the Carpathia had arrived. I was awoken and told to climb the ladder to the ship, where I was given a different blanket, warm and dry, and a cup of hot tea, but it was scalding and I couldn't drink it right away.
The Carpathia didn't have enough room for all of us, so many of us simply sat on the deck. It was a warm day, but I still had a blanket gathered around myself. I didn't want to get rid of it, I didn't know what would happen. I sat with the third class passengers in silence. There weren't many of them who survived, that was easy enough to see.
"Ma'am, you won't find anyone you know back here," a crewman said about twenty feet away from me. "Just steerage back here."
I turned to look, and there she was. Meg, still in her evening gown, with a large coat over it to keep her warm. She was scanning the crowd, no doubt looking for me. I turned away slowly, keeping her from seeing my face. I would let her believe my death, mourn me, if she even could.
I never saw her again. I heard about a year later that she married, finally inheriting the millions she'd been after.
I finally arrived in New York, greeted by the sight of the Statue of Liberty and a swarm of reporters and cameras. I exited with the steerage, still holding my blanket close. An immigration officer approached me.
"Castiel," I replied. It was the first time I'd spoken since boarding the Carpathia. "Castiel Winchester." I wasn't sure what made me say it. Maybe it was just the desire to avoid detection by Meg or my mother. Maybe I wanted to carry him with me. Either way, it's my name now.
I saw a vaguely familiar face in the crowd, though it took a moment before I could place it. My eyes widened as I realized. I'd only seen a younger version of him drawn by Dean. But the resemblance was still there.
"Are you Sam?" I asked as I approach him. My voice was rough with disuse. I cleared my throat as he nodded. He clearly hadn't had any news of Dean's fate. "I knew your brother. I-I'm sorry." The man simply nodded, turned, and walked away. I never saw him again, either.
Miraculously, I still had some bills in my pocket. I managed to catch a cab, which took me to the address that was unfamiliar upon my tongue, but I believed to be accurate. The cabby looked a bit apprehensive dropping someone as raggedy as I am at such a nice, upscale home, but I pay him, so he doesn't really seem to care either way.
I took a deep breath and then walked to the door. I sincerely hoped my brother was still home, that he wasn't at the dock with the rest of my family.
I sincerely hoped.
I knocked loudly with the heavy doorknocker and waited, heart pounding in my ears all the while.
The door opened hesitantly, and Gabriel's head poked out. He looked rough, and he'd obviously been crying, but his mournful expression turned awed as he saw me.
"Castiel?" he asked, incredulous. He opened the door fully and reached for me, placing his hand on my shoulder. "How?"
"I lied to the immigration officers." I met his eyes seriously. "Meg and mother think I'm dead. I'd like to keep it that way." He tilted his head to the side in confusion. "Think of what happened to you. You ran, and Lucifer dragged you back bruised and bleeding. I've gotten out, and I'm not going back, but I want you to know that I'm still alive. Please, Gabriel, help me."
He stared at me, the entire event putting him in a state of shock, but he finally nodded. I nodded in return, thanked him, and walked away.
I'm not sure how long I walked for. I followed the streets, wherever they decided to carry me. I only became aware of anything when I realized that it was snowing, and that I was cold again. The snow kicked up quickly, turning into a blizzard.
I imagined I saw him in the snow, you know. I saw a man on the other side of the road, standing and looking at me, but a car drove by, obscuring him for a moment, and when it passed, there was no sign of him.
I bowed my head to hide the tears, but lifted it immediately after, refusing to let the tears fall. This is a new start, a new life. A new free will that has been given to my by Dean Winchester.
Thank you, Dean, I think. It was practically a prayer, sent to Dean, wherever he was.
Never let go.
I'm wasn't sure if the words were just drifting through my head, or maybe it was Dean replying to my prayer, somehow, some way. It doesn't really matter, honestly. But I carry the words with me. I live by them to this day.
I never told Balthazar about Dean, even after we got together. I saw no point. Dean was gone, but his words and memory lived on in me.
I prayed to him every night after that. I never received another reply, but I guess that's just because I don't need him anymore. He helped me, he changed me entirely, and showed me a new way of living. And I do. I live my life to the fullest, all in the name of Dean Winchester.