Dean jolts awake, sweating and shaking. His restless thrashing has tangled the sweat-soaked sheets around his legs. The motel room is dark, and Sam is still asleep, unmoving. Castiel is perched on the edge of Dean's bed, staring at him with eyes bright in the slivers of moonlight that have evaded the blinds. The angel's hand is reached out towards Dean, as if moments ago his fingertips had brushed Dean's shoulder.
"Wha- Cas, what's- " he babbles, disoriented.
"You were having another nightmare, Dean. I thought it prudent to wake you."
There's a flicker in the light, headlights flashing by their window, and Dean can see the shadow of Castiel's wings on the wall.
"T-thanks." Dean props himself up on his elbows, trying to catch his breath. He closes his eyes, inhaling deeply through his nose, attempting to calm his pounding heart.
Hooks digging into his skin…the screams as he tore flesh from bone, violated men and women hard and rough, whispered horrible, cruel words to them like some perverted reassurance…pain as the same is done to him, over and over…
A soft touch on his shoulder wrenches him back, and he retches, stomach heaving as his eyes fly open again.
"Fuck, I-" He sits up to drop his head into his hands, sweat drenching his t-shirt and the sheets.
"Dean, please look at me." Dean ignores Castiel for a moment, trying to calm down. It doesn't work.
"I can't, Cas. I'm not-" He hasn't been back long enough to have mustered up the courage to tell Castiel why every time he wakes up like this, remembering hell, he feels ashamed and unworthy. There probably isn't enough time in the world for him to be able to voice something like that.
But hands drag his face up, forcing him to meet Castiel's eyes, and now they're practically glowing in the dim light. The intensity in Cas's stare traps him.
"Dean Winchester, I know exactly what you've done, every torture you've inflicted, and everything that was done to you. I will say it as often as I need to, until you believe it: you are the Righteous Man, a righteous man, and I rescued you from Hell for a reason."
Dean swallows, hearing the echo of Castiel's voice in his head. I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition.
Sam snuffles, shifting in his bed, and Dean freezes, his attention drawn away from Cas to his sleeping brother. But Sam doesn't wake, and when Dean looks back, the intense gaze has been withdrawn, and Castiel is his usual withdrawn self.
"Are you able to sleep?"
Castiel nods, looking as if he's going to speak. Then there's a rustle of wings, and Castiel is gone. For a few minutes Dean is fine before panic bubbles in his stomach at the thought of sleeping – and dreaming – again. He chokes out the angel's name, and Cas reappears, looking confused.
"What is it?"
Dean mumbles something, looking anywhere but at Castiel.
"Dean, what do you need?"
Castiel's insistent tone makes Dean jerk his eyes back to the angel's.
"Stay with me?" His voice sounds small and unsure in the dark, quiet room, and he hates how weak he sounds.
Castiel watches him for a moment then turns and unties his shoes, lining them neatly by the edge of the bed. His trenchcoat and suit jacket are pulled off, folded neatly and placed on top of the shoes. Dean swallows, unable to do anything but watch, as Cas's blue tie joins the pile. The angel looks smaller without the layers. Dean slides over to make room for Castiel to lay down, and they face each other in the dark.
"Dude, you don't have to stare at me. I can't sleep if you're gonna stare."
Castiel shifts, as if he's not entirely sure what to do with his limbs. "Perhaps you should turn over, then."
Dean sighs, and murmurs his thanks again before rolling to his side. He can see Sam buried under his comforter, fast asleep, and the sight reassures him enough to close his eyes.
A warm body presses to his back, and a hand cautiously reaches around his waist to hold him close.
When Dean tenses, shocked, the body retreats. He looks over his shoulder to see Castiel already a foot away, blinking at him.
"I did not mean to make you uncomfortable. Perhaps I should-"
"No, don't leave. Look, I just didn't- it's fine." He rolls back over, already calm and drowsy, but Cas's arm doesn't wrap around him again.
Dean heaves a sigh, rolls over, and tugs Cas against him as he moves back to lie on his side. "Tha'ss better," he says with a yawn. He's not going to think about having Castiel pressed, warm and practically naked compared to his usual number of layers, firmly to his back, or about the hand that's resting on his stomach, or the slight stir of breath against his neck.
"G'night, Cas. Thanks," he murmurs before the tension eases from his chest and he's fast asleep.
He wakes alone to bright sunlight and Sam rummaging in their bags.