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Who the fuck was he anymore? He always defined himself by what he wasn't, goddamnit, and right now his compass was broken. Where the fuck was north anymore, what the fuck was a home? He'd never had one, not really, not until him, him and those goddamn brown eyes that pulled him in, kicking and screaming, clawing at some invisible hands that he didn't know whether or not they were trying to save him or push him down even further. Do you know how hard it is to look yourself in the fucking eyes, knowing that this is all your fucking fault?

It was his fucking fault. All of it. He knew it, and he hated it. Hated having to fake the smiles with the fans, hated having to pretend that it didn't hurt. But it did, oh man it fucking killed him. He didn't remember how many drinks he had by now, or how he had gotten to this point, but he knew he had ignored a lot of phone calls from Roman. He wasn't stable, he never really had been to be quite honest, but without Seth, his anchor, his fucking glue, all bets were off.

He was a fuck up. He finally accepted it, took it in, the definition he fought against every day of his lie of a life. Posturing as some big tough guy when really he was some fragile shell of a man who just needed a fucking friend, not this goddamn…whatever the hell he had been. A drug? A fix? Stitches on old wounds, a motherfucking addiction. He had an addictive personality; he knew that, he had nature and nurture to thank for that.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. They could be coworkers, they could even be friends but man the minute he had finally given in to that temptation, to capture those lips with his own, gripping tightly onto the back of his neck, moaning in relief and celebration and goddamn completion, the game had changed.

He could remember the sage advice that Regal had given him, that we hurt the ones we love most, that love and hate are entwined, that both inspire passion and bloodlust. That was one truth that had stuck with him. That was a dynamic he hadn't expected to come out of that…relationship, he guessed, but he could see exactly what he meant now. He didn't hate Seth, he hated that Seth had gotten so under his skin, running trails along tendon and bone, sending electric shocks of emotion he couldn't put into words into his stomach, making him dizzy and hungry and riding some goddamn high.

But he let his damage get the best of him and he always hurts the ones he loves; he makes it easy for them to leave. They always do. And now he was sitting in his empty apartment, drunk, crying, with a broken mirror in shards on the floor and bloodied fists, leaving streaks on the walls and stains on the carpet.

He was a goddamn virus. He infected everything with his touch. While Seth was the warmth of the sun, all he was was a fucking poison. And now he had done it again.

He was so stupid. He was so fucking useless. He was filth, he was garbage, he was trash, he was just as bad as he had said in his old promos but he was so much worse. He was falling apart, bleeding down to his elbows, knuckles swollen and probably broken. But fuck it, fuck it all, he'd work through the pain, he always had, it's what kept him breathing. It wasn't enough, he wanted to ache.

Punching himself in the face seemed like the best option at the time.

Nothing could hurt the way he felt, but the pain of punching himself repeatedly in the jaw, hitting his head off the wall, that could distract him long enough. The taste of blood could mask the taste of tears.

"What the fuck."

His eyes were closed, letting the bliss of the alcohol and the pain and loss of blood carry him full on into the lunacy people mistook for gimmick. Oh, if they only knew, if they could only see. The voice got louder.

"Dean. WHAT. THE. FUCK."

Yes, good, tell him what trash he was, how fucked in the head he was. How no one could ever love him, how could they?

A cracking sound hit the air right at the same time he felt it across his face. He opened his eyes…and why the fuck was Seth here? Hadn't he done enough?

Seth saw those grey eyes go wide momentarily, and then settle into back into that icy glare that got him in this mess in the first place. He hadn't signed up for this, he never had any intentions on trying to fix or save anyone. Nor did he ever really try, it just seemed to happen naturally. He also hadn't signed up to fall in love with this asshole, but, well.

"What the fuck do you want." Dean was slumped against the wall, knees drawn in on himself, leaning his head back, his hair leaving bloodied marks across the paint. His words were slurred, half from the entire bottle of whiskey or two that he had downed, half from the pain and blood loss. Seth could see the muscle in his jaw twitching. He knew he wanted to say so much more.

"What, did you forget some of your shit? Are you here to fucking laugh at me? What the fuck do you want, Seth. Because I am so not in the fucking mood."

He hated seeing him like this. He knew the type of personality he had, he knew how damaged he was, but he also knew what it was like to wake up next to him in the middle of the night, watching him while he slept. Seeing the hair that was currently matted with blood and sweat instead be soft strands of golden brown, curling at random on the pillow. He remembered the feel of his now split lip against his neck, those bloodied hands having once trailed down his chest and stomach, to find home along his hips.

He wasn't as damaged as he made himself out, but he was also more dangerous that he even knew. His kiss was like fire, burning and branding itself upon you, marking you as his, indefinitely. He'd never let you go, he held you closely even miles apart, and that cage was too confining for someone like Seth who needed the freedom of open skies. He needed to leave, he needed to rip himself away, and he couldn't be what kept Dean together, that was something he needed to do that on his own.

But he couldn't sit by and watch him like this either.

He wanted so desperately to be cold, to feel that ice water in his veins, but the warmth of Dean's presence always melted him, flooding him, making him feel heavy with emotion and fear and wanting.

He extended a hand, helping him this one last time. It had to be the last time. He couldn't play this game with him anymore.

Dean looked up at him, seeing Seth extending his hand slowly to him, as if it would be bitten off. In his younger, more rabid days, maybe he would have, depending on how many drugs he had taken. Instead, he just sits there, watching Seth start to bring his hand away. He quickly grabs, not wanting to lose the opportunity to touch him one last time.

And suddenly it was as if the room caught flame.

Oh god, this was a mistake.

Seth pulls Dean up to his feet, but Dean pulls Seth into his arms. All he can smell is whiskey and blood and sweat, and why did he do this, why did he offer his hand, he was falling fast, his resolve was shaking, fuck fuck fuck fuck. He knew it was all over when he was spun around, his back hard against the wall, Dean's face streaked with tears and blood, staring at him. This was the exact predicament he found himself in before, so many months, no, years ago, and in some sick twisted way, instead of escaping the cycle, he had simply rebooted it.

The feel of Dean's fist flying past his head to hit the wall knocked him out of his thoughts.

"Why…fucking why…"

Seth knew the question was more than one. Why was he there, why did he leave. He couldn't answer either, really. Not out loud. He couldn't do that, he could never say. He couldn't justify the answers, not in a way that Dean would understand, sober or not. The decisions had been made, explaining them would do nothing to change what happened, not like how Dean wanted. It was never about wanting to abandon him, of not loving him.

In fact, he still fucking loved him, so much, so goddamn much. Roman had called him, telling him how he was scared for Dean, that he hadn't answered his phone in hours, that he figured he should know. Roman was going to be the one to come check to make sure Dean still had a pulse, but Seth wanted to make sure for himself. He couldn't have that guilt on his hands.

And here he was, pressed against a wall by Dean, who just kept hitting the same part of the wall over and over again, whispering now. "Why won't you answer me…why won't you ever tell me…you never tell me…"

"Stop. Dean, just stop."

The fist kept coming, not as hard this time, but still landing in the same spot on the wall. Seth could see how swollen and bloodied his hand was getting, and finally broke. He couldn't see him fall apart like this anymore over him. He caught the fist with his hand, moving his hand to quickly wrap around his wrist and force it down.

"Just fucking stop, Dean."

Dean looked at him, and god it was like he was going to kiss him, and if Seth gave in, if he gave in now, then it would all be for naught, this would have been nothing but a way to torture Dean and he couldn't have that on his conscious either.

"Let's…let's get you cleaned up, alright?"

Dean nodded, suddenly very exhausted. Any fight left him the minute he felt Seth's skin against his, his hand clasping around his pulse. It was as if the warmth of his touch reignited every emotion and quieted him in a way he had searched for all night, and it hurt even worse.

Seth managed to get both Dean's face and the cuts on his fist washed, wrapping his hand. He was gentle, quietly tending to him, both in their own thoughts. Seth at the irony of him literally fixing him this time around, Dean at the shock of Seth being the one to fix the wounds he made. When Seth started to gently look at the back of Dean's head, seeing if he'd need stitches, Dean took advantage of leaning forward to wrap his arms around Seth's waist, holding him in place.


"Shhhh. Fucking stop, Dean. Just keep quiet." If he started to talk, this would only snowball into a larger problem. Seth was already questioning his motives, feeling so goddamn guilty for driving the man he loved to this state. How goddamn stupid was he? Leaving because he was afraid of how much he loved him. What the fuck type of reason was that.

Dean hummed to himself, the feel of Seth in his arms, even for this moment, being the anchor for him once more, it was everything he needed. The feel of his fingers in his hair, being able to touch him again…it lulled him into a happy numbness. He murmured into Seth's stomach.

"I'm sorry."

Seth paused, hands freezing momentarily, before sighing to himself and rubbing a hand lightly on Dean's back.

"It's…it's not your fault. Ok? It's not your fault…it was never your fault… None of this was ever your fault."

He has to bite his lip from saying any more, as he feels the dry sobs coming from Dean. He knew he had struck a nerve, he knew Dean blamed himself for everything in his life, telling him that might have been the worst thing he could do right now, but it was the only truth he could tell him without falling apart at the seams himself.

He had to peel Dean's arms from around his waist, crouching down and holding Dean's head up to look him in the eyes. They were red and swollen, irritated from crying and drinking.

"Come on…let's get you to bed, alright?"

He manages to help Dean into their… his room, and asks Dean if he's ok to get changed, not wanting to recall the memories they had left in there of stripping each other slowly when there was time, or desperately when they just couldn't wait. Dean nodded slowly, while Seth went to the kitchen to get a bottle of water for Dean, taking the time to clean up the mess left in the living room.

Why was he doing this? Why didn't he just let Roman clean this up?

Because you can't control whom you love, you were supposed to help him, not hurt him.

Seth groaned to himself, feeling the last shreds of his resolve fall apart. He had to make sure Dean was ok, but he couldn't do anything else, he'd already started to regret his actions.

He made his way back into the room, to see Dean softly snoring in the bed. Seth smiled in spite of himself, and placed the water on the nightstand. He walked over to the dresser, leaning against it, grabbing his phone.

-Well? Is he alive?-

-Yeah, snoring in bed now. Wrapped up his wounds, cleaned up the mess.-


-And I'm leaving in a few, I just want to make sure he's ok.-

A half hour had passed of Seth just watching Dean sleep. He was fitful, grabbing at the other pillow on the side he used to call his. He saw him wrap his arms around it, and closed his eyes tightly, realizing he was only hurting himself more the longer he stayed. He went to leave, but he felt his legs stop. He turned around, realizing that with the way things went, he could end this as peacefully as possible. He softly made his way over, and leaned over, placing a soft kiss on Dean's forehead, a goodbye he didn't have the guts to say aloud again.

"Don't go."

Seth's eyes shot open, moving away to look down at Dean, whose eyes were half-lidded, groggy and confused.

"Don't leave me again. I can't watch you leave again."


Dean's good hand shot out to catch Seth's, and it was as if a fuse had been ignited up Seth's spine. He closed his eyes, not wanting to let any tears risk their way out.

"I can't."

Dean's face fell, and he went to let go of Seth's hand, when Seth continued.

"I can't ever leave you. No matter how much I try. I can't ever leave you."

He quickly glanced at Dean's lips, shooting his eyes back to Dean's.

Dean whispered a single word. "Please."

Giving in to temptation is what first got him in this mess, and by god it's what got him back into it. He leaned over and softly kissed Dean, just a gentle press of lips, but it was all that Dean needed. He was too tired for anything else, too drained. He wrapped an arm around Seth, pulling him onto the bed fully, nuzzling his head into Seth's neck. His anchor.

Seth could already feel those stitches reforming between their hearts, forcing its way through the scar tissue of the last time they were severed. Seth absent-mindedly rested a hand against his chest, as if he could feel them making their way through. Dean's hand rested over his, having moved from his waist.

Seth closed his eyes, wondering to himself why he ever felt he was caged. He let the feel of Dean's deep, even breathing lull him to sleep, Dean's hand still holding his over his heart.