By-the-by, I have a humorous romance novel coming out tomorrow...details and blurb etc, can be found tomorrow, on amazon, under 'Prior Engagements' by Sarah Goodwin (I'll post links on my twitter JollySnidge).
Last chapter guys.
Dean drags himself up off of the floor and hauls his pants up, hastily getting them zippered while his Dad yells at him so loud that his entire face has gone red, and spittle flies when he ramps up the volume.
"You goddamn little liar, I brought you into my house, let you have everything you wanted, you told me you were better, you act like you're a man, like you belong here, and all the time you were trying to fuck things up for him. For a kid with a shot at being a normal man someday? You sick son of a bitch-"
And Dean can't help but look over at where Castiel is crumpled on the floor like a discarded toy, arms locked across his chest. Castiel is not good with confrontation, he hates crowds even. His Dad notices the direction of his glance and reaches out to jerk Dean's jaw round.
"Don't you even look at him. This is over, you hear me? Over! I want you out of this house, out, right now, get out of my sight. If your mother were here she'd be sick with shame, you understand, she'd die with it, all over again. Get out, of my house."
"So you can send him off to military school?" Dean snaps, pulling away from his dad and shouting him down. "You think she's gonna let you? No mother would do what you did to me, send their kid across the country to get yelled at and beaten into place. Fuck that. He won't live through that."
"She'll do what's best for her son," John thunders, "and that means getting him away from this house, where he can get some decent care for what you've done to him."
"Done with! Asshole." Dean shouts, "Ask him, go on, ask. Ask him if he wanted it, wanted me. Go on ask!"
"Casitel?" It's Cas's mom, sitting on the floor and reaching out to her son from a few feet away, like she's scared to touch him in case he bites her or something. "Castiel, is that true? Did you...did you encourage Dean to-"
Castiel blinks up at her, hair dishevelled, make-up and sweat and tears smudged across his face, and mutely shakes his head.
"Cas," Dean whispers, then, "Cas! You have to tell them, you can't let them put you in that place Cas, don't let them-"
His Dad jerks on his arm, and drags Dean from the room, shoving and hauling him towards his own bedroom, telling him he can get his things and then get out.
Still, Dean doesn't give up. "Tell them you love me, tell them!"
Castiel sits on the floor, feeling his heart die inside of him, the heat of Dean's body rising from his own like a departing spirit. His mother puts her arms around him, and he knows that it's over. Him and Dean, his life, the world...it's all just over.
John throws Dean out onto the front lawn with a duffle of clothes, cash and random crap that he'd managed to scoop up from around his room. For about twenty minutes Dean hammers on the door and shouts through to the rest of his so-called family, then he turns his back on the house, and, trembling with rage and misery, he takes out the keys to the impala, lifted from the hall table, and gets into the car.
The front door flies open as the engine revs up, but John's too late to catch him as he screeches off down the street and on out of the town.
He won't report the car stolen, Dean realises. Because he'd rather lose thousands of dollars than have Dean returned to him.
Dean is not a survivor. Ok, so he sneaks out and smokes on the roof of the house, and he's been fucking his step-brother for months, but he's also the son of a fairly well off guy, and he's lived a pretty nice, normal life. Aside from being sent to military school. So his first few weeks away from home are hard. He gets ripped off on renting a room, and most of his money goes that way. He doesn't know how to go about getting a job, aside from looking in the papers and on the net. He's never had an interview, or had to shop for groceries or do laundry.
Two weeks after leaving home he runs out of money and ends up living in the impala just outside of town, scraping together dimes to buy French fries, and desperately trying to get his one set of nice-ish clothes clean in a truck-stop bathroom.
But, after a month or so of struggling, he gets work cleaning a convenience store after hours. Only two hours a day, but that's sixteen dollars that buys him food, and gets him change for his laundry. At night he sleep fearfully in the back of the car, where every snapping twig wakes him up, confused and disorientated, visions of killer travellers and rapists flashing in his head.
It's not a good month, he loses weight, his hair is dirty and he doesn't speak to anyone more than it takes to order a plate of food and a cup of coffee. He's lonely, and all the time he remembers the way Castiel had disowned him. He hadn't really realised just how much Cas meant to him, more than an accessible, kinky fuck, but he was also around to talk to, and when their parents were away, they got to sleep next to each other. Dean misses him, but, he kinda hates him too. Because Castiel is sitting pretty at home, while he's freezing his nuts off in a car by the side of the road. Castiel has parents, and a future. Dean has sixteen dollars a day and a fake ID.
Only, of course, Castiel isn't at home. Dean knows, because he's called there a bunch of times from payphones, and Castiel never picks up. He even paid some school kid to call and pretend to be from their high school, asking about Cas. And his mom had said that Castiel had moved schools.
So, Dean slept in the car, worked at night, and spent his days at the library, googling military and Christian academies, and paying five dollars a time to kids and bar flies to call up, and ask for Castiel. He could only afford one call a day, saving eleven dollars for food and a little gas. He didn't even know why he was doing it. But he needed to know.
Forty calls and two-hundred dollars later. Almost a year since he'd left home, Dean got lucky. By that time he was doing five hours a day at the store, and then cleaning after closing. A grand total of seven hours and fifty-six dollars a day. It was really good money for such a shitty job, and Dean was hoarding all he could, to get himself a little room somewhere, where he could look after himself and get a job.
But then, one night in a bar, he got someone to make a call for him, still one call a night, stretching out the weird hope he had even longer, and the woman who picked up said that, although all the boarders were in bed, they did have Castiel with them, and he was find, and would he like to call back in the morning to speak to his nephew?
So then he knew, Castiel was at St. John's boy's school for Juveniles at Risk. It was almost funny.
Dean had about three hundred dollars saved, and he spent it all on gas getting down to the place where the school stood, about three miles out of a town with only a gas station and a convenience store to stop it from blowing away.
He didn't know what to do. Try and see Castiel? Or just maybe get a letter to him? What did he even want to say? 'Fuck you for screwing me over?' 'How could you do that to me?' 'I'm sorry I fucked up your life? Forgive me' or maybe just 'I miss you, and I'd rather cut myself open than go through these last months again?"
In the end, he walked around the grounds, outside the perimeter fence. The school was red brick, with a huge steel cross hung up outside. There was a concrete yard and a field for exercise, and a group of boys uniformed in dark blue and grey were running laps. Dean watched from a distance as they slogged past, exhausted. They all had the same haircut, the standard kind of crew-cut that Dean was all too familiar with. They were wearing grey t-shirts and dark blue jogging pants, and were practically identical, still, Dean knew Castiel the minute his eyes fell on him.
Cas was running ahead of the others, legs moving automatically, arms swooshing at his sides. But is hands were clenched, and Dean could tell he was beyond tired, but pushing himself harder and harder with each step. He couldn't see his face, but Dean could see that, like the others, Castiel had a shorn head, the smooth, silky hair that he'd kind of had a thing for, cut right down to a tough stubble.
Dean watched as Castiel ran, stumbled on the rutted track, and fell flat on his face with an airless huff of impact.
The other boys caught up with him, passed him by without looking. Somewhere, a whistle blew, and Dean heard a distant voice scream 'Winchester! Up!'.
Castiel eased himself off of the ground, looking down at where the hard dirt had presumably scraped his palms and knees raw. Dean knew how it felt, to be hurt, to want someone, your mom usually, and instead to get told to get up, walk it off, don't come crying to me. He'd had all that at military school, and all it had done was make him fiercely determined to keep any scrap of affection for himself, wherever it came from.
Castiel wasn't built for that kind of treatment.
Dean watched him stumble on, hobbling a little on a twisted ankle.
He knew then exactly what he wanted to do.
It was actually easier than he'd thought. He'd already had someone pose as Castiel's uncle over the phone, and it was a simple thing to drive out of town, and lay out a bit more of his precious savings on a smart suit, shirt, sweater and tie. He'd grown a bit of a beard to help him pass unnoticed in bars, and he neatened it up, combed his hair, and got the car cleaned.
After that, he drove right up to the school, went though the double doors and up to the receptionist.
"I'm here to collect my nephew, Castiel Winchester? His father's very sick, and he's needed at home for a while."
The receptionist got the principle, and Dean had to talk a little more about how Cas's dear old dad was suffering really badly, and that it was probably going to be 'soon', so Castiel should get to see him one last time.
Moving stuff, Dean really wished that it was true.
She was a little suspicious, the principle, and she had him give out the answers to some 'security' questions that the school had, so they knew who to trust with the kids. Dean obviously knew all the answers, and managed to persuade her that a call home wasn't necessary, he'd call from the road, but it was gonna be a long drive so...
She understood, and sent for Castiel immediately.
Castiel appeared a while later, fresh from morning prayers, and looking more than a little confused, a holdall in his hands. He looks skinnier than Dean remembers, and his cruelly shorn hair just makes his skin look paler, his eyes bigger. He stopped stock still when he saw Dean, and he pretty much realised that this was the moment Cas could really drop him in the crapper, because trying to spring a kid from school under false pretences? Dean was willing to bet the cops would get involved.
"You got a hug for your uncle or what?" Dean said, trying to keep a lid on his nerves.
Castiel crossed the room slowly, dropped his holdall, and wrapped his arms around him.
"Hey Uncle Dean."
Of course, it's possible that Cas just wants out, and that he's willing to play Dean's game until they're out of sight of the St. John's school gates. But Dean feel relieved all the same.
They sign out of the school, and, with the principle wishing Cas's family well, they go out to the car and drive off.
Neither of them speak for about ten miles. Then Dean glances over and realises that Castiel is valiantly trying not to cry.
"Dude I can take you back if you-"
"Don't" Castiel says a once, panic shooting through his voice. "I don't want to go back."
"So what's the problem?"
Castiel looks down, fingers picking at each other. "I didn't think you'd ever come for me."
Dean grips the wheel tighter and tries to ignore how much it hurts him to think of Castile, stuck in that school, thinking that no one care about him, that Dean had never cared.
"Well, you did kind of tell my Dad that I was a rapist, so...I took some time."
"I'm so sorry," Castiel murmurs, "I was scared and, they were right there, just...looking at me, like I was a freak. I couldn't tell them that...that it was me, that they were looking at the real me."
Dean shrugs, "It was horrible, I get it. It's not like it hadn't happened to me before. I guess I have more practice taking the 'you're a fucking sinner and you're gonna die' looks."
Castiel moves across the seat and cautiously puts his arm through Dean's.
"So...can we...I mean, are you going to let me stay with you?"
"I just committed a whole bunch of offences to get you out of there," Dean says, nudging him, "of course you get to stay with me. But, just so you know, I've got like...fifteen dollars, and no idea where we're going."
"Well, right now, I think you should be looking for a place to pull over," Castiel says, "so I can make up for seven months of thinking I lost you."
Dean glances at him, "You're kidding? The whole 'dirty uncle' thing...that's a turn on for you?"
In answer, Castiel pulls his tie loose and starts to unbutton his school shirt. "You know, a firm hand, a masculine influence," he slips his hand into his slacks, "a whole wealth of experience...discipline...uh..."
Dean pulls over so fast that he dents the front of the car on the bank.
And he doesn't give a fuck.