Winter sun
Dean, Castiel. Gen.

Summary: Dean gets seriously ill while stuck in Purgatory. Castiel can't help; all he can do is wait.
Notes: Fic is unbeta'd, english is not my first language.
Disclaimer: I only wish they were mine.

They've been on the run for weeks it seems – of course Dean cannot be sure because there is no way to measure the time. No sunrise, no sunset, no moving stars or moon or anything, really; just never-ending darkness of the deepest night Dean has ever seen.

Castiel is not of much help, either. He sticks by Dean but has no answers for him besides, 'we need to run, Dean,' and he tags Dean behind him, sometimes lets him stumble in front of him, ocassionally grabs at his upper arm and angel-teleports him elsewhere.

It makes Dean nauseous but Castiel just urges him forward, whispering that they have no time for rest yet.

Now that Dean thinks about it rationally, they couldn't have been running for more than a few hours but he's exhausted; weary and scared despite his better judgement (he faces those things everyday, dammit, why should he be scared now?) and he's worried about Sam.

"Is Sam here, Cas?" he asks.

Castiel doesn't even turn to face him when he replies, "I do not think so, no."

"Good," Dean says, "that's good."

Then his eyes close and the last thing he feels is his body slamming against the cold, wet ground that smells like smoke and blood.

Waking up is difficult. Dean's eyelids are heavy and he's cold and miserable; all he wants is to go back to sleep and wake up in a motel room that might smell wrong and musty but is warm at least, and it has Sam in it.

When he finally opens his eyes all he sees is the starless Purgatory sky and Castiel's face hovering above him.

"The hell," he mutters and groans, tries to roll over but his head starts pounding when he moves. "Fuck."

Castiel hushes him. "It's alright, you can rest. We are safe now."

"Where are we?" Dean asks and the taste in his mouth is all wrong, as if he spent hours puking. "And why is my head in your lap, Cas."

"I thought it might be more comfortable than the ground," Castiel replies, looking down at Dean. "In answer to your previous question, we are on the outskirts of Purgatory, where the least powerful souls are in hiding. They are... Repelled by my grace. For now."

Dean closes his eyes and swallows. "Huh," he manages to grit out. His whole body hurts, all his joints ache and his lungs are pierced by sharp pain whenever he takes a breath. His head is the worst, however, the headache now hammering inside his skull with the force of a thunderstorm, making him nauseous.

What the fuck is happening to me, he thinks and Castiel either reads his mind or he said it out loud.

"I believe your deteriorating state is caused by the nature of Purgatory," Cas says and Dean cracks one eye open, glaring at him.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he says.

"No humans are supossed to be here," Castiel explains, "I had no idea how it would affect you at first, but it seems to be making you ill."

"No shit," Dean says and closes his eyes again. "Can't you just snap your fingers and heal me?"

"Apparently not," Castiel replies, "I tried already, but you have not gotten better."

"Well, shit," Dean groans.

"Why is it so cold? Was it always this cold?"

Dean is shivering now. He has no idea how long they have been on the same spot, unmoving – Castiel sitting with his back to a tree with Dean's head in his lap.

"You are feverish, Dean. The temperature of the air has not changed."

"That's just swell," Dean says.

Either it's getting colder and colder or Dean is getting worse – he can't tell. He's been throwing up for the past couple hours and shivering like a leaf and somehow he crawled further into Castiel's lap, searching for warmth.

"Dean, this is not helping," Castiel says and his hand is resting against Dean's forehead.

"I'm cold," Dean mutters, not even bothering to open his eyes anymore, "you're warm. I don't see the problem here."

His voice is raspy, weak; his throat feels as swollen as his eyes do.

"The problem is that you are feverish and me raising your temperature with my own body heat is not making you better."

"I feel better," Dean says and he doesn't care that he's pathetic, that he's almost sitting in Castiel's lap, the Cas is running his hand through Dean's hair – all he cares about is getting warmer.

"I think I might be dying," Dean says.

"You are not dying," Castiel replies without missing a beat. "I actually think you cannot die here."

"Huh." Dean clears his throat. "Like in Hell?" he asks and feels Castiel shift baneath him.

He manages to push Dean down, back to their previous position with only Dean's head resting on Castiel's thigh.

"Yes, that comparison seems accurate," he says and his voice is low, soothing.

Castiel drags Dean somewhere and then drops him in water; it feels more like a bucket of ice or something – it stings like thousands of needles digging into Dean's skin and he cries out, grabbing at Castiel's forearms trying to pull himself up.

"Dammit Cas," he says, whines, shrieks almost, "get me the fuck out!"

"I need to get your temperature down, Dean. Please, don't fight me."

"Yeah, I know, you don't wanna fight," Dean grits through his teeth and then gasps, "dammit. Get me out!"

"I just need to get your temperature down. Just a minute, hold on."

Dean's body goes limp, succumbing to the pain, the illnes, the despair. He doesn't let go of Castiel's forearms but he stops fighting, stops trying to pull himself out. He just shivers.

"Open your eyes, Dean," he hears Castiel say and when he doesn't Castiel shakes him a little. "Don't go to sleep."

"Please, don't do that again," Dean whispers, his teeth chattering, his whole body spasming. They're back by the tree now, Dean soaking wet and cold and miserable, curled against Castiel's side.

"I'm sorry, Dean," Castiel says but makes no promises and Dean swallows painfully.

Dean's pretty sure he's dying – he's too tired to even shiver. He's listening to Castiel talk even though his voice sounds very, very far away – about bees, most of the time; about flowers. He talks about his garrison, too, and about what he used to do before everything crapped out after he rescued Dean from Hell.

"Sorry," Dean mutters, not really sure what he's apologizing for.

"You are not to blame for anything," Castiel says and then continues with his stories as if Dean had not spoken at all.

"You're going to be alright, Dean, go to sleep. Everything will be better when you wake up, I promise."

Castiel tugs Dean closer to him; there is no way to help him now so Castiel tries to offer any comfort he can. He isn't sure Dean is even conscious to appreciate it, however – he just lies curled next to Castiel, eyes heavy-lidded and dull, staring off into space.

"You can rest, Dean," Castiel says, "I will keep watch. You are safe here."

Dean hums and shifts and closes his eyes, letting out a long, heavy breath. Then he stills completely.

Castiel is sure Dean cannot die in Purgatory, much like he couldn't die in Hell. It doesn't make him feel any better, though; he remembers putting Dean back together after raising him from the Pit, basically jump-starting his heart – feeling it stop beating again not being able to do anything to help is not something Castiel wants.

He sits, runs his hand through Dean's hair and over his clammy skin and waits.

Dean should be waking up anytime now. But he isn't.

Castiel can feel his grace twich restlessly with each passing minute, sitting on the ground with Dean's body next to him, eyeing the red-eyed souls in the distance.

Dean will wake up. Any second now.