"Hello. My name's Castiel. I'm 32 years old and I have Agoraphobia," Castiel said blankly, staring at his older brother. Gabriel had come over for the twenty-third time this month (twenty-fourth if you counted the time Castiel refused to open the door and let him in) and was still persistent on enrolling him on one of those dating websites. Seeing as Castiel couldn't leave the house, Gabriel had made it his personal mission to find a companion for his brother.
"Well, I guess it's honest," Gabriel mused, giving an uncertain look. "Maybe your opening line shouldn't be the one that scares them away." Castiel gave a look of hatred. He didn't like this one bit. He could already feel anxiety creep up and settle in his chest. If Gabriel continued to push this he would most certainly have another panic attack.
"I don't need anyone. I'm perfectly fine here. Thank you," he said quickly, rubbing his slightly sweaty palms together out of nervous habit. He swallowed thickly, darting his eyes up from Gabriel then back down to the spot on the floor.
Gabriel knew his limits. When he should stop before he pushed his brother over the edge and into a nervous breakdown. Again. "Okay, kiddo. It's okay. I just thought you'd want some extra company as opposed to seeing my face everyday," he said, voice gentle and calming.
"I don't see your face everyday. I see it 83.2% of the time each month, on average," Castiel chimed off quickly, needing his facts to help relieve the tight clump in his chest.
Gabriel smiled sadly. A face Castiel never saw. One his brother reserved for when he wasn't looking and he was truly concerned. "Bro, I'm almost 35. Soon enough I'll be getting married and that 80%…"
"83.2%," Castiel corrected.
Gabriel nodded. "Right, 83.2% will decreased. I'll have my own life and I don't want to see you be left behind, that's all. You need a buddy you can trust. Like me. Someone whose got your back."
Castiel was silent for a while, considering this. He'd always just assumed his brother would be there for him. The more he thought about it. The more he thought how selfish he'd become to assume this.
"How do I find this buddy?" Castiel asked, playing with his bottom lip between his teeth.
The thought of meeting new people made him uncomfortable but nothing he couldn't deal with. He'd rather be uncomfortable for a short period of time, finding a friend as opposed to be constantly living in fear once Gabriel moved away.
"Don't worry about it too much today, kiddo. I'll help you out with this, don't worry."
Castiel nodded. He trusted his brother. After their parent's deaths, Gabriel was the only one he could rely on. Since the age of five, Castiel had always turned to his brother for guidance. He could trust him with this too. Gabriel nodded, reaching out to give Castiel's hand a light squeeze.
"I'll be back tomorrow. I'll bring in some of those dunkin' donuts you like," Gabriel smiled, standing from the couch and left Castiel's home.
The house was originally their grandmother's, a tiny cottage tucked away on the outskirts of town. Castiel was comfortable there. It had a secluded garden, not that he ever used it. Only Gabriel went out there to mow the grass and plant new flowers for Castiel to admire through the window. It had three bedrooms. One of which Castiel had turned into a study for work and the other a guest bedroom for Gabriel. Not that it looked particularly welcome at the moment with boxes stacked up high in every corner of the room. Every other room, however, was kept clean and orderly. The only way Castiel could function, being confined to his home everyday.
He sat back against the large couch cushion, wrapping his hands around his favourite mug and sipped his camomile tea slowly with a content sigh. Now that the pressure of Gabriel had disappeared for a few days, he could finally relax again and feel comfortable in his own home.
That is of course until a slight tap on the door disrupted his afternoon. His eyes widened and he stiffened visibly, shrivelling in on himself as he wondered who it could be. He placed his mug down silently on the coffee table, tiptoeing towards the front window to peer out from behind the curtain.
Oh. It was only Sam.
He carefully stood behind the door, opening it a crack to gander outside to find a very tall man smiling back at him. "Hey, buddy. You still okay with our appointment today?" Sam asked gently, keeping a generous amount of space between himself and Castiel. With a small nod, Castiel stepped to the side and allowed the man to enter his home and once again invade his privacy.
Sam was a cognitive behavioural therapist. He helped Castiel to take small steps into overcoming his anxieties and how to deal with them if they should arise. Gabriel hadn't seen much of a difference but Castiel could feel it. Sam would give him exercises to do if he felt stressed or upset. He also showed Castiel techniques on how to express himself more fluently. He hadn't improved much but every little bit helped.
Sam stood to the side of the living-room and waited until Castiel had sat down before seating himself in the armchair opposite. Castiel returned his attention to his tea and pretended Sam wasn't there, allowing himself to feel more at home before trying to address Sam. And as always, Sam waited patiently for Castiel to feel comfortable before he began their session.
"Anything new this week?" Sam began, voice smooth and gentle. He crossed his leg over the other so his foot rested against the opposite knee. He leant back and made himself seem casual and as non-threatening as possible.
"My brother is trying to find me a buddy," Castiel said, lips curled around the ceramic of the mug as he took another sip of tea.
Sam looked intrigued. Definitely a bigger step from last week's I've changed my brand of cereal from cornflakes to cornflakes with raisins. "Really? How do you feel about that?"
Castiel began to play with the handle of the mug, looking down at the remaining contents of his drink as he spoke. "Nervous. I-I understand his intentions but I'm more concerned about having to expose myself to find new people."
Sam nodded in understanding. "It will be hard," he said honestly. His smile brightening a little as he said, "But it's okay. Myself and Gabriel are both here to help you. We'll be with you every step of the way."
"I appreciate it," Castiel said, despite feeling like a useless toddler who's still working out how to use it's legs. It was embarrassing. Feeling like this. Having to have professionals help him make friends. Humiliating too but he understood that he did need the help and that with it, he could get better.
There was a long silence before Sam began to speak again. This time his voice was low and slightly uncertain. Something that didn't calm Castiel's nerves at all. "I'm going to let you in on a little secret, Cas. I have an older brother. He's 33 and..well, he's real shy and kinda the reason I went into this profession. He's mute, you see. I wanted to help other's like him. Those that find it hard to communicate and interact with others, you know? And not many people know about him. He's reserved and keeps to himself mostly but I'm very protective over him. Just like Gabriel is with you. I don't wanna see him get hurt but if you want to, I'd think you'd get along nicely with him."
Castiel was quiet for a moment, processing the facts. It would be nice to meet someone who understood him. Someone who could relate and appreciate how hard it is for him to put himself out there. And having Sam, someone besides Gabriel whose judgement he trusted enough offering him a solution to his problem seemed more than real. If Sam said his brother would be someone he could get along nicely with then he trusted him on that. Besides, it would be better than trying to meet someone outside, in social situations.
"I-I don't think I can do that alone," he said quietly, shaking his head.
Sam smiled a little, taking that as a yes. "I'll be here. Gabriel too if he's free. If it's too much we'll go home, I promise."
Castiel mused it over for a moment. It seemed like the only viable option he had at the moment. So with a weak nod, the arrangements were made and Sam left, promising to return within the week with his brother, Dean.
Four days later and Castiel was sitting in his regular spot on the couch, drinking some raspberry tea from his favourite mug. He was waiting for Dean and Sam with his brother Gabriel who sat opposite him on the couch, drinking a tall glass of Sunny D.
"I'm so proud of you, kiddo," Gabriel praised. The gathering had yet to begin but Gabriel was already grinning with pride because his little brother was meeting new people. Castiel gave a small smile in acknowledgement but was too far gone in his own little world to comment. He was trying to collect himself, remaining calm so he could at least make it through an hour before panic set in.
There was a knock on the door and Castiel stood up, checked the curtain, opened the door a crack and then let Sam in, staring curiously at the younger man trailing along behind. Dean was about Castiel's height and age. His hair light brown in contrast with green eyes cast down on the floor. His skin peppered with freckles, something of a blessing to Castiel. If things went wrong he'd count them. Bingo. Safety net. "H-Hello," he said with an awkward smile.
Sam watched as his brother began to sign timidly at Castiel.
Hello, my name is Dean.
"He said his name is Dean," Sam explained to which Castiel nodded in understanding.
"I-I can sign," Castiel said, enjoying the brief look of surprise on Sam's face. After his parents died, he'd refused to speak, for almost three years. He'd learnt to sign to communicate with Gabriel and it'd stuck ever since.
Hello, Dean. My name is Castiel. I'm 32 years old and I have Agoraphobia.
Apparently Dean found Castiel amusing. A small grin stretched across his face. Even in sign Castiel had found a way to sound awkward but Dean didn't seem bothered by it. Far from it, in fact. So Castiel tried to not let it bother him either. He even allowed Dean's infectious smile to effect him, bringing a small to his own lips as he showed the brothers into the living-room.
Things were easier from there. They conversed easily. Both Gabriel and Sam deep in conversation, comfortable enough to leave Dean and Castiel by themselves. Castiel found himself actually enjoying Dean's company. Dean also seemed to be enjoying himself. Both of them coming out their shells a little, completely at ease with one another.
Would you like to come over again, same time next week?
Castiel was afraid to ask but he really liked Dean. He felt with time they could be firm friends. Dean looked hesitant and Castiel was ready to apologise when Dean looked over his shoulder to Sam before looking back at Castiel and nodded timidly.
Can I come alone?
Castiel was hesitant. Going behind Sam and Gabriel's backs but the thought of being with Dean alone didn't scare him as much as it should have. He nodded with a breathless smile. They made arrangements and shortly after Dean tugged on Sam's sleeve and asked to leave.
They said their goodbyes, both Dean and Castiel shared nervous smiles at the exciting thought of meeting alone together next week. That night, Castiel slept peacefully for the first time in a long time.
So this is very different, I'm sorry if it doesn't quite work. I just need to write it down. I don't think I'll continue this, it was more of a tester than anything really...