A/N: Set sometime after season 5 but Swan Song never happened ... hence Sam is alive and kicking avec soul.

And yes, there will be more!

The Crutches

Dean had to admit, as warehouse-sized buildings went, this one was cleaner and brighter than the usual he, Sam and Cas tended to end up chasing monsters into. He saw Cas jump from the walkway above, down to the cheese factory floor, but there was gleaming machinery blocking his view of Cas' landing. He heard Cas give an uncharacteristically loud cry and ran to the scene, shotgun in hand.

The werewolf was sandwiched between Sam, who was on the floor underneath it and Cas who was lying on top of the heap. Cas' hands were still wrapped around the hilt of his silver sword, all that was visible of it from the werewolf's deep rib cage. The wolf was very dead.

Sam let out a loud whoosh of air as he tried to catch his breath. He held his hand out to Dean from under the wolf's heavy carcase and raised his brows pitifully. "A little help here?"

Cas rolled himself off the hairy heap, leaving the sword still embedded between the werewolf's ribs. Dean slapped his free hand into Sam's and gripped his wrist, hauling his brother out from beneath the heavy pile. He let go of Sam to pull Cas' sword from the wolf's back, with a nasty suction noise. He wiped it on the creature's fur and skirted around the smelly creature to hand Cas his sword. He frowned when Cas, seated on the floor with his back to some stainless steel machinery, didn't look up. Dean prodded him gently with the sword. "Hey. You okay?" He laid his shotgun and the sword on the floor and rested a hand on Cas' shoulder. An icy shiver ran down Dean's spine. "It didn't get you did it?" Cas shook his head and allowed Dean to help him up. As he tried to put his weight on his right leg it collapsed beneath him.

"Whoah!" Dean thrust his shoulder under Cas' armpit to help him stay up. Sam hurried to Cas' other side as Dean put a hand to Cas' pallid cheek. "You're sweating."

Sam's face filled with concern fuelled by guilt. "Cas are you injured? Where does it hurt?"

Cas gave a short nod and gasped, "My leg. It's agonizing to put weight on it."

"Right, I'll get him to the car. Sam, you get rid of this … health code violation."


Dean's stomach felt like the inside of a lava lamp. Cas had risked himself saving Sam and for that Dean would be eternally grateful. The impact of the jump had caused what the doctor (after bundling Dean out of the x-ray room) called an incomplete fracture of the tibia, so the odds of it healing properly were good, but it was still painful and inconvenient. A fractured leg meant pain medication and the thought of Cas taking narcotic medications had Dean wound up tighter than a watch spring. He still didn't want Cas to change; not into that. The doctors refused to let him hover like a mother hen while Cas got his cast too. Dean got up from the uncomfortable, plastic, waiting room chair and paced a few steps. Sam who had been slouched in the seat next to him suggested Dean go for a walk and get a coffee.

"No. I want to be here when he comes out." Dean found Sam's sympathetic pause annoying.

"He'll be fine, Dean."

"No, he'll be all bewildered and … and hurt-looking."

Sam snorted. "When I was a kid, you told me to harden the hell up!"

"That was dad. I drew a dick on your cast," Dean responded smiling sentimentally.

"…Oh yeah. That was embarrassing. Jerk."

Dean grinned back "Bitch."

When Cas came hobbling out on crutches, with his newly minted cast, he did look bewildered. He was trying to limp on the crutches and hold onto a slip of paper at the same time, until Sam took the paper from Cas' fingers. "Prescription? I'll go get it." He headed off to the in-hospital pharmacy, leaving Dean and Cas to their "profound bonding" as he liked to call it. Dean's hand lifted for a second and his mouth opened to call after Sam, but he changed his mind. Cas might need the medication for the first few nights.

Dean found himself gazing into distressed blue eyes. "They say I have to wear this for three months."

Dean didn't really want to tell him that after that, there would be months of rehabilitation and a year or two of going easy on high impact activities, like jumping, kicking, fighting - everything involved in hunting.

"You saved Sam's life. We'll look after you." Dean pulled Cas' head closer and planted a kiss on his forehead.

Cas ducked his head, blushed a little and smiled sheepishly. "I will always defend you and Sam, " he mumbled. Dean chuckled and rubbed his back. "Come on let's get you to a motel so you can rest."


Sam came striding back, with brown bags of burgers tucked under his arm. He unlocked the motel door to find Dean sleeping curled against Cas' side on the double bed, both of them still dressed but under the covers, with Dean's cheek resting on Cas' shoulder.

He scrunched his nose up at the stuffiness of the room. He put the paper bags down on the ugly tripod table and pushed aside the lime green curtains to try to open the window. It was painted shut. "Freaking fire traps," he muttered and resorted to leaving the door open for a few minutes.

When he turned back, Dean was sitting up rubbing his face. "Shut the door, dude."

"It stinks in here, man."

Dean smirked. "Shut up. It's manly musk." Sam's face scrunched in disgust.

"Wha's'appening?" Cas slurred. He had lifted his head from the pillow and was frowning with eyes that clearly resented being open.

Dean tried to brush back Cas' mess of hair, but just made it worse. "Nothing, baby. Go back to sleep." He gently pressed Cas' head back to the pillow. He leaned down until their foreheads and noses were touching and whispered two words, then laid a slow kiss on Cas' lips. Sam's eyes widened at Dean's uncharacteristic display of affection. He was pretty sure he must have read Dean's lips wrong. Probably.

"I'll look after you." Dean murmured tucking the covers back around Cas.

"R'lly?" Cas was smiling dopily at Dean. It was probably the pain medication talking, Sam realised. Dean was gazing back a little too intensely for Sam's comfort, so he said something, anything, to fill the awkward void. "Sure. You're family. He loves you."

Cas' eyes were starting to close. "I'm family?"

"Yeah," Dean whispered hoarsely.

Cas let his eyes drop shut and his lips curled with humour. "I hope not, or what we did while Sam was out is very wrong."

Dean huffed a small laugh at that. Sam scrunched his nose up in distaste and snatched up his bag of food. "I'm eating outside."


"Dean…" Dean looked up with his mouth full of burger. They were eating on the stoop outside the motel room so Cas could rest and they could leave the door open, airing the room out.


"Don't get me wrong. I know you guys have a …'thing'" Sam picked at the label on his beer bottle, not meeting Dean's eyes. "And it's nice that you're being all … expressive with Cas, but what's with all the PDA?"

Dean swallowed the huge mouthful. "You're not gonna understand, Sam. It's the pain pills."

"Uh… you're taking the pills?" Sam's brows rose in concern, wrinkling his forehead.

Dean's expression rapidly cycled through surprised, confused and offended. "What? No!" He rolled his eyes. "I mean Cas. Remember that time Zachariah sent me to 2014? He tried to convince me that all that awful crap would happen if I didn't say yes to being Michael's meatsuit?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah."

Dean intently focussed on picking the pickles out of his burger. "Well, Cas was … a burnt-out, jaded wreck. And me, I mean future me, I wasn't helping. Cas was using stuff… to cope."

Dean looked up at Sam with real worry in his eyes. "I want him to know he has me to lean on… I don't want him to feel… alone or hopeless."

Sam tried to smile reassuringly. "Dean, none of that stuff can happen now. We won." Dean's eyes widened hopefully, so Sam continued. "You walk around carrying everyone else's burdens, Dean. This Cas is never going to become that guy. You can't go around doing all this 'pre-emptive' crap to avoid stuff that might never happen. Talk to him. Just tell him to be careful and tell him why."

Dean grinned and bumped his shoulder against Sam's, "Were you studying to be a lawyer or a social worker?"