Thank You for Being a Friend
“Now lay down, and I’ll tuck you in.”
“I am familiar with this process,” Castiel protests even as he complies, lying back in the bed that’s only a little too small for him. Fluttershy drapes the blanket over him.
“Of course you are. I’m just reminding you. Now, close your eyes, Castiel!”
He lets out a soft sigh and closes his eyes. For all that she treats him rather irritatingly like a child, it is nice to have someone dote on him for a change. These selfish thoughts have chased him all day and overtake him now as Fluttershy hums some of her pets off to sleep. Dean hardly seemed to bat an eye when Fluttershy offered to give him a place to sleep this evening, and Castiel had been stung by that.
In the days since Castiel first met Dean, he’s become increasingly difficult for him to read; he wonders if it’s because they rebelled, the two of them, and Dean proved that he’s slightly out of step with Celestia’s intent. Perhaps that’s what started blocking Dean’s inner workings to him—it’s a better, more comforting thought than the probably more true reason: that Castiel is falling from grace. Regardless of the reason, Dean’s mind, his motivations, his feelings are cut off from Castiel, and all he saw this afternoon was the cold shoulder of a man he’d formerly counted as his friend, turning on Castiel in his hour of need.
He’s certainly in need tonight. His wings have been… damaged. It’s difficult to apply that term to them as, technically speaking, they’re healthy and sound. They’re just… tiny, no bigger than Rainbow Dash’s or Fluttershy’s, and so, entirely unusable. Sam and Twilight Sparkle, after a heated debate, came to agree that it must be the result of a spell, and tomorrow they will seek Zecora’s help in the woods, but for now Castiel is earthbound.
That he has been shut out from his closest friend’s affections—even though Dean is staying with Bobby at Applejack’s farm, and perhaps didn’t want to appeal more to her (ample, unending) hospitality—only makes everything worse.
Castiel’s eyes pop open and he sighs, staring at the ceiling.
“You’re never going to get to sleep if you don’t close your eyes,” Fluttershy chides in her gentle way, and she approaches him.
“I am not tired,” he argues, and she shakes her head.
“But you need your rest; otherwise how are you going to get better?”
“Hush,” she interrupts in a soft whisper, and Castiel obeys, because that is his nature, and because it’s difficult to disobey someone with such soft, gentle intentions. “Close your eyes and relax.” With another impatient exhalation, Castiel closes his eyes, but he isn’t sure how exactly to make himself relax. “That’s it—let your shoulders go loose.”
After a moment’s consideration, he realizes there’s been a tense weight drawing his shoulders up to his neck; he releases it and exhales again, more slowly.
“Good. Now, let go of all those dark, unhappy thoughts you were having.”
Castiel’s eyes open again and he looks sharply at her, frowning. “How did you know?”
“You looked so angry,” Fluttershy returns in a serious, hushed tone. “And so hurt. Is it because of Dean?” When Castiel doesn’t reply, only closes his mouth and stares at the ceiling again, Fluttershy shakes her head. “You two are very close.”
“I’m not so sure,” Castiel says darkly, and he shuts his eyes again, tightly.
“Don’t say that.” He feels Fluttershy at his shoulder, comforting. “Dean just doesn’t know how to show it, but he cares for you very much.”
Castiel is quiet a moment, letting the sincerity of Fluttershy’s words sink in.
“I hope you are right,” he says finally, lowly, and Fluttershy pats his shoulder.
“Of course I am. You’ll see. Now, let your mind go blank. Why don’t I sing for you like I do my animals? Do you have a favorite song?”
Castiel considers that, long and hard, before he turns to frown at Fluttershy. “Do you know ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’?”
Fluttershy’s disappointment is severe. “No, I don’t... Why don’t I sing one of my favorites?” she offers instead, and Castiel nods imperceptibly. “Good. Close your eyes.”
He complies, again, and tries to follow Fluttershy’s advice, tries to find a relaxed state; he tries to blank his mind, but his thoughts keep returning to Fluttershy’s earnest reassurance that Dean just doesn’t know how to be a good friend yet. He recognizes that this is contrary to the apparent appropriate steps for falling asleep, but he somehow manages to drift off anyway. His last fuzzy thought before he succumbs to his slumber is that at least Dean has found a place that can teach him about the value of friendship.