Dean was looking forward to getting back to his room, collapsing in bed, and dozing off sinking into that memory foam. He felt drained from the hellhound hunt and the drive, and also strained from worrying about Sam, who seemed on edge after invoking the spell but insisted he was fine.
When he finally kicked off his shoes and fell back into his imprint on the bed, though, Dean couldn't shake the feeling of heat, thick and burning, winding up his bones, and he didn't bother with the covers. With rising nausea in his stomach, he snapped his eyes shut only to see the snarling face of that hellhound, a long stretch of acid green, an array of wickedly sharp knives, and then his eyes were open again.
He didn't move, just sucked a breath through his teeth and kept his eyes fixed on the desk in front of him. Home, he told himself, taking another breath. He needed sleep badly and he wasn't going to get it with the hellhound fight dredging up old memories. Dammit, you're home. And he shut his eyes again.
Alistair had started with the fresh wounds from the hellhounds, digging into them and stretching them and ripping and tearing until Dean was more blood than skin-
With an inhalation like he was coming out of the water for air, Dean jerked upward in bed, a distant part of his mind reveling in the silence caused by the lack of bedsprings. Still, though, was the image of Hell and the feel of his skin being stripped off like dry wax, and no matter how many straggled breaths he took that didn't go away.
No sleep for tonight, then. He sighed and rolled off of the bed, gripping the edge of the desk like he needed to confirm that it was real and solid. Hellhounds. He supposed he should've expected this, and really he was relieved that he'd been able to keep his calm earlier, when actually faced with one of the things that had ripped him the shreds. He could've easily frozen up there, been a second too slow- there were worse things than nightmares.
He could've woken Sam if he really wanted to, but with the trials crap going on with him, Dean didn't feel right pulling him into this. At least one of them could get a night's sleep. Instead, he wandered into the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee, rubbing irritably at his eyes while it brewed. He was beginning to get a ringing in his ears, and when the burble of the coffeemaker interrupted it he realized the ringing was actually distant screaming, just more memories snapping forward in his head.
When Dean got back to his room, he put on his new Zeppelin record as fast as he could, trying hard to ignore the subtle shaking in his fingers, and didn't realize he was holding his breath until he let it out with a relieved sigh when the record started to spin and the music sifted out of the old phonograph. He set the coffee down on his desk and settled into the chair.
Already the music was helping, and he started to feel more warm than boiling, more safe than trapped. For the first time since he'd tried to sleep, he relaxed, realizing he hadn't had a Hell-night this bad since before Sam's wall had broken, since before Cas had taken the souls from Purgatory and done all those things on Earth, and in Heaven…
Cas. As if he needed another reason not to sleep tonight. Since speaking to his brother about Castiel's silence, Dean had been trying not to think about him, but worrying about Cas was like picking at a scab, and he couldn't stop it, couldn't stop remembering and wondering and praying.
Of course, all his fears and worries about Cas as he sat there listening to Led Zeppelin and fighting sleep and nightmares only led back to where he'd been when Cas had dropped into his life, only led back to hellfire and hate and hot blood dripping over him.
He needed to distract himself, and when he turned the first thing he saw was the old typewriter, so he pulled it towards him like a lifeline and started typing with a fury. At first he just typed nonsense, just to hear the loud click of the keys as he pounded on, and then the nonsense evolved into random words and names, "Sam" and "baby" and "Robert Plant," and then finally he was tapping out sentences, the clicks and clacks of the typewriter echoing through the room.
Before he knew it he was writing about his mother, glancing up every so often at the picture of her propped up in front of him, about the pies she made and the way she said goodnight and her voice when she sang. He wrote about Bobby, his weird sayings and how he always seemed to know everything and how he'd also liked to cook. Eventually, Dean had to turn and flip the record, and then when it finished, to put on one from the Men of Letters' collection, and still he kept typing. He wrote about Jo and Ellen and Ash, Pam and Rufus and Adam. Eventually, he started writing about John, about hunting and leather jackets and how he used to keep mix tapes of soft rock in the car for when Sammy couldn't sleep. He wrote about dying and coming back, and he wrote about forgiveness.
Finally he got around to the ones that were still alive, Garth and Benny and Kevin, and Sam and Cas. He wrote about how much Garth had stepped into his role, and how he hoped Benny was staying good, and how he regretted not telling Kevin to get some sleep. He wrote about both his worries about Sam and his pride in his little brother.
By the time he got to Cas it was, impossibly, almost morning and Hell was gone from his mind. There was a stack of paper next to him full of confessions and hopes and random ponderings, his coffee cup was empty, and the Zeppelin album was on again.
And what was there to say about Cas? He kept dying and coming back, and he always seemed to end up worse off. At the moment, Dean didn't even know if he was alive or dead, but he wasn't coming back, or he hadn't yet.
Well, he knew what he wanted to say to Cas, so he wrote that. He wrote apologies and encouragements and thanks, the keys sticking as he pounded out the same words he'd been sending into the night sky lately in hopes that Cas would hear them. He typed "I'm sorry" and "I miss you" and started off a new line with "I" before Sam came in, leaning against the door jamb and eyeing Dean sleepily through his bangs.
"What're you doing?" he asked with a yawn.
Dean glanced from Sam to the stack of papers next to him. "Typewriter works."
Sam looked on the verge of questioning why Dean had typed out what appeared to be a small novel, but then he shrugged. "Do you want to make breakfast?" Dean smiled and pushed away the typewriter before getting up and following his brother to the kitchen, leaving the old typewriter sitting on the desk like an unfinished thought.