"I'm sorry but you may want to prepare for the worst."
Dean stared at the doctor, his green eyes trying to burn a hole into the doctor's face. His jaws were clenched together so tight, it was starting to hurt. With a sharp inhale, "What?"
The doctor looked at him with sympathy. "I'm sorry, Mr. Winchester. But like I've told you before, the brain damage is too great. Too many areas in his brain were damaged, brain cells destroyed. It is highly unlikely that he'll wake up from this, or recover." The doctor shifted his eyes over to the sleeping Castiel. "He's slowly progressing to a persistent vegetative state…he may never wake up."
Six years ago, if Dean was still his rash short-temper self, he would've grabbed the doctor by his collar and demanded the doctor to fix Castiel up, because wasn't that what doctors do? Why was this doctor so pessimistic? How come Castiel didn't get an optimistic and hopeful one? Why didn't Castiel get someone competent?
Dean was different now though. His eyes searched the doctor for any hope, any doubt in his assessment in Castiel, anything to refute the doctor's advice. The doctor only stared back with obvious pity.
"Leave…please." Dean requested silently and moved to stand next to Castiel's bed. He listened to the doctor's footsteps receded out of the room before he fell to his knees, his hands reaching for Castiel's lifeless ones.
Dean gasped out, his emotionless mask cracking fast. His face crumbled and tears streamed down endlessly. He pressed Castiel's hands tightly to his face and kissed them, as if he could pass over his warmth into those cold hands. "Cas—!"
His heart was in pain. His mind, his body, his very soul—everything was in pain. He tried to stop his tears to look at Castiel's peaceful face, but they continue to blur his vision.
He tried to speak but choked on another sob. He closed his eyes, holding the hands tighter to his chest. "Cas, don't leave me. Don't--please. I need you." He repeated those words over and over like a prayer.
There were so much that couldn't be put into words. All the things they've been through, the ups and downs, their fights and their makeups. How Castiel's very existence had changed Dean for the better, how Castiel had saved Dean from the darkness he previously lived in. Castiel was his lover, his best friend, his family—his everything. Castiel was who he lived for.
"Cas, Cas," Dean muttered over and over. The tears continued. "If you go, I will follow. I have no reason to live in this world without you. I can't--not without you, Cas. I can't," his voice broke and he swallowed hard, and his face trembled.
He blinked, his vision clearing for a moment, and he stared at Castiel's face. Other than the bandage wrapped around his head, he seemed to be just sleeping. Dean engraved every little detail of his face into his mind, not wanting to ever forget anything. What Dean would give to see those very blue eyes.
Dean looked at the bandage and he recalled the events that had caused Castiel to be in the hospital.
With a shuddering inhale, "It's my entire fault," Dean whispered hollowly, then, his voice rose unsteadily, "Because I called him…because he knew me--it's all my fault. I've driven him into this state!"
He loosened his grip on Castiel's hands and lowered his head in regret. "Because you knew a bastard like me, Castiel, you ended up like this."
Sam watched from outside the door window. He watched his best friend fall apart, crying and crying helplessly, looking so pained and lost. He could only imagined what the doctor had told him to cause him that much grief.
He knew how much Castiel meant to Dean. Castiel was Dean's other half, no doubt. Knowing Dean practically all his life, Sam never saw Dean happier and more content than when Castiel was by his side. Dean had confided to Sam about how much Castiel meant to him. God only knows how much it pained his best friend to see his dearly beloved on the hospital bed. Sam knew, without a doubt, that if Castiel died, Dean would follow. No one, not even himself, would be able to stop Dean.
Sam watched his best friend lower his head. Unbearable to watch anymore, he was about to turn away. But then, he caught Dean's head whipped up with a very determined and stony expression, his eyes like steel. Sam knew what that expression meant. He had only seen it once before, but he knew exactly what his best friend was thinking in this situation.
Sam quickly entered the room just as Dean quickly stood up and rested Castiel's hands together. "No, Dean."
Dean wiped his tears and growled, "Don't tell me what to do, Sam."
Sam growled back, "I know what you're thinking. Don't do it."
Dean lifted his eyes to look at Sam, almost glaring. "I don't care what you say." He attempted to bypass Sam, but Sam grabbed his shirt and butted heads with him.
"You listen, you jerk," Sam hissed fiercely, "You think Castiel would want you to do this, huh? You think this would make Castiel happy? Think a little!"
Dean seemed angry at first, but then, his eyes downcast. With little energy, he whispered, "Sammy, please." He gently shoved the taller man away and stared at the ground.
Dean exhaled slowly, trembling, "I have to know." He looked into Sam's eyes. "I—I have to know, if there was some way I could've prevented Cas from getting hurt, some way if Cas could've been all right than where he is right now. I have—no, I need to know. Please Sammy, don't stand in my way."
Sam hated it Dean used that affectionate name. Sam looked up to Dean like an older brother and would do almost anything for him. But this. "What can you achieve by attempting this?" Sam asked, with barely contained anger. "More weight to crush your guilty conscience?" He's on the edge, about to beat his best friend up for idiocy; Dean would've done the same for him.
Dean stared at Sam blankly before answering, "I will do it, even without your consent. I just…I just need to confirm that Cas's alive, somehow. I just…I'm selfish, all right Sam? I need to see him alive and moving. I need to, or I feel like I'll suffocate." He turned his head to gaze at Castiel's sleeping form, and tears dropped down his face easily like droplets of rain, as he whispered, "If I have to continue to look at this sorry state that he's in, I'll really start to think that he won't live…I have to do this."
The gravity of the situation—Sam grasped it suddenly. His best friend was going to break apart even more if he doesn't do this. How does something already broken get even more worse? Sam didn't want to find out. He quelled his anger and said quietly, "I'll watch over your body."
"Thanks," Dean whispered, and walks over to Castiel. "I'll be right back, okay?" He kissed Castiel on the forehead. "I'll be right back, Cas…I love you."
With one last look, he turned around and walked out of the room, with Sam following behind.
Sam had only seen it happened once—what they were about to attempt. Sam was there when Dean had done it for the first time, and afterwards, they had sworn not to do it ever again. It was a freaky thing, something that Sam would be glad not to see again. He didn't want to believe in greater powers out there, but it existed. He had seen it done by his best friend.
When they were younger, around 12 years old, Dean's father left the family. It tore his mother apart, and Dean couldn't understand why. As his mother had continued to fall apart, he had needed to see what could've been if his father had stayed, if his father could've changed everything, if they could've been a happy family.
Sam had listened to Dean's unreasonable demand, and what he witnessed, as he watched over Dean's body…it was something that was etched forever in his mind.
When Dean had become conscious again, Sam exchanged what he saw and vice versa. That day, they made an agreement never to use the dangerous power again.
Dean never spoke explicitly of what he saw, but probably wasn't as good as their reality, Sam had concluded, because why else would Dean be so quiet about it? They never discussed that one event again, letting it fall to the deep back of their minds, until now.
Now, they will attempt it again. And as much as Sam wanted to run away and not watch the phenomenon happen, he wouldn't abandon his best friend in his time of crisis. He owned that much to Dean, at least.
"Don't go too long," Sam warned.
Dean grunted in reply, noncommittally.
They sneaked into an empty patient's room, and Sam had a feeling Dean wasn't going to leave the hospital premises in case something happened to Castiel.
Dean lied down on the empty bed and settled comfortably. He glanced over to Sam for confirmation. Sam nodded. "Don't go too long," he repeated with a grunt.
Dean stared at him for a moment and then nodded slowly. Sam wondered if he was lying. But he doesn't ask.
He watched Dean closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then fell into a deep slumber.
Within 30 minutes, he saw an obvious change. Sam shuddered involuntarily, as he witnessed Dean's dark hair grew longer, as he saw Dean lose weight, and as Dean gained little wrinkles around his eyes and forehead.
"Don't stay too long, Dean," Sam said quietly. "you know what happens."
That one time when Dean had used the power for the first time, Dean had aged. In just an hour, Dean had aged a few years. Sam watched the transformation before his very eyes that day. The power was dangerous. Luckily, at the time, Dean's mother was too disoriented to actually notice his change. The other people just had to deal with the fact that he seemed to have hit his growth spurt fast and quick. That was the only logical explanation. As time ticked by, Sam got more and more nervous. They hadn't deal with it enough to know its risks and consequences. What if something went wrong? What if Dean never woke up again?
Sam gritted his teeth hard. "Hurry up Dean, or I'm gonna force you to wake up."
Dean had learned about his power from his grandfather, the eccentric old man from his father side. His father and his grandfather didn't get along well though. And so, the one and only time that Dean ever saw his grandfather, they had talked only briefly, and only of the power.
His grandfather had showed up one day, when his father wasn't home, and his mother welcome the old man in. His grandfather recognized it in Dean immediately. The moment their eyes met, his grandfather showed surprised and then masked it with indifference. But he pulled Dean outside to take a walk with him and they had a talk.
His grandfather explained that the power ran in their family for generations, though it had the pattern to skip a generation now and then.
"You can jump into another world," his grandfather whispered ghostly, even though they were alone. "Another reality of your life, a parallel world—whichever world you want to see. This power has many levels to it. But you have to start from the beginning. You start from the ground and gradually rise up. Your soul can travel to parallel worlds. But, there's the first step: you have to set it so that it would end like that."
"What do you mean?"
The man continued, uninterrupted in his speech. "You have to go back to a specific time in the past and change that one event. Then, the chips will fall where they should." The more the old man talk, the faster and more urgent his words came out, as if time was running out. "At this level of the power, you can see the options, the opportunities, the other pasts that you could've had. But you have to journey to that moment that you want to change, change it yourself to set the path, and watch what happens."
"What are you talking about? What power?"
"Concentration, willpower, but most importantly, visualization. Call in the power and think back to a specific event you want to go. When your soul gets there, you can take body possession to change the event—"
There was more that his grandfather was going to say; something important as the old man's eyes got bigger and his whole body shook with intensity. But before he could, his father had showed up, argued with his grandfather, and forced the man to leave. Dean never saw the old man again. Dean used to get angry that his father chased his grandfather away. He would never learn fully of how the power works or what it was. He had to just get by with what he knew.
Though at first, Dean never had any intention of using the power. 'Seeing options and opportunities? What I could've had? Who needs a depressing power like that,' he had scoffed. He barely understood what his grandfather had talked about and so he had forgotten about the power for 2 years until his father left.
It was suck a shock and horror, especially for his mom. His mom actually fainted when she found out he had left. Dean felt such rage toward his father, after the initial shock was over. Then he started to be frightened by his mom's strange behavior and ghostly appearance. Then he was angry that his father hadn't taken him along. But then he'd bit back that thought guiltily, because how could he leave his mom? But most of all, he just couldn't fathom over the reason why his father left.
But he couldn't do a thing about it. He was so young, just 12 years old with an unstable mom. Confusion, anger, sadness, and so many other feelings and thoughts consumed his mind every day, until he came to the only solution: he needed to get out of the 'what ifs' hell by using the power. He was consumed with thoughts such as 'What if dad came back? Would mom get better? What if dad never left?' He needed to know or his mind would never rest.
And so, Dean had used the relatively unknown power with the supervision of Sam.
Like his grandfather had told him, he concentrated and called out the power. Dean definitely felt something stirring within him, gripping onto his insides tightly. Hoping that was the power, he thought back to the time he last saw his father. Dean held his breath and a feeling of being pulled off something sticky. He opened his eyes and the world was spinning, faster and faster, colors blurring, like a canvas of all kinds of wet paint dripping down. His head seemed to spin with it, making him dizzy.
Then it slowed and stopped. Colors blended back to solid things. He could let out a breath. He was standing in their parent's bedroom. His father was sitting on the bed, staring blankly at the white wall. Quiet footsteps made Dean turned around and his eyes widen. There was himself staring right at him.
"Can you see me?" He asked, with rising panic. But that Dean didn't answer him and only stared straight, as if through him. He then remembered. He was looking at his father that day. He came home and saw his father acting strangely. He had hid himself and watched his father. But soul Dean hovered around his father and noticed some things he didn't before—packed bags on the side of the bed, medication bottles on the bed.
Before soul Dean could read the labels, his father started weeping. He remembered that part. His younger self had freaked out, and after watching for a few seconds, he had left to his room.
Right on cue, little Dean stepped back and turned.
But soul Dean saw his father grabbing for his bags.
'No!' Dean thought, afraid this was the moment his father had decided to leave. Dean remembered what his grandfather had said: 'you can take body possession to change the event.'
Without thinking, he threw himself at little Dean. There was a feeling like hitting a force field and it made Dean's mind swam. He opened his eyes. He had entered the body somehow. But he didn't dwell long on the 'how.' Quickly, he turned back around. "Dad!"
"Dean," the man said, surprised to see him.
"Dad, please don't leave!" Dean ran and hugged him tightly. "Dad, please, stay. We need you. Mom needs you. I need you too."
"Son," his father said breathily, as if he was about to start to break into tears again.
"Dad, don't' leave." Dean started crying.
His father's hand patted his head gently. "All right son, all right. I'll stay."
Smiling, Dean somehow oozed his soul out of the body. The body faltered for a moment and the pupils shrunk momentarily, before retaining its regular size as the original Dean tuned in. Dean could almost see what just occurred registering in the boy's mind and then the boy resumed his crying and hugging. Dean watched the sweet father and son unfold. 'Now then, let's see where the chips fall. Let's see if mom is healthy again.'
Dean then concentrated, pulling the scene away and putting a new one, a future of that reality for him to check.
It was set a couple years later, as Dean had grown obviously taller. The scene before him was normal enough. Dean was doing homework on the kitchen table, his father reading the newspaper on the couch, his mother making dinner.
The homey feeling of it all—it made Dean's heart ache a lot. He wanted this scene so badly to be his—to live in a comfortable home with his parents still together and stable. To feel like a regular kid.
He wanted it so bad. He wished it so bad to be his.
Something strange happened. Suddenly, the world that he was watching started to shake, yet, the people in it didn't feel it. Deep in Dean's guts, he knew he was the one causing it. He just knew, and the burning sensation he was starting to feel could vouch for him. He was making their reality his. He just knew it. Dean wished and willed it so bad for it to be his reality. He wished so bad. He wanted it so bad. The burning was quickly spreading, filling all his senses.
But before that could complete, he witnessed something awful.
His father, out of nowhere, strikes his mom hard across the face. He was shouting, shouting something, but Dean couldn't hear. The Dean in that reality could, though. He was yelling, trying to stop his father. But his father shoved him away and started to beat his mom. When Dean tried again to stop him, his father turned to him, beating him.
The horror of what he saw filled him quickly and he wished with all his might and willpower that this reality would never be his. It took a long moment to suddenly change the steering wheel and get it on the right path; it felt like he had doused himself in ice water. But, he would never let his mom or himself be hit. Even if his mom was unstable in his real world, at least his mom wasn't abused. Dean would take care of his mom. Dean didn't need an abusive and unpredictable father.
While he slowly slipped away from the world, he pondered of which event to change. He recalled his actions a couple of nights ago. The actions that had led Castiel to where he was now.
While going to the designated meet up place, Dean had called and informed Castiel of what he was about to do.
'That must be it,' Dean thought. 'Because I made that phone call to him, he came.' He knew what he has to do then. He has to go back to that time and not tell Castiel.
There was the familiar tight tug in his guts. Dean focused and willed his essence to go back to that time.
Dean appeared next to the other Dean, sitting beside him. The other Dean was driving late at night. There was no other car in sight. As he came to a red light, he pulled out his phone and called a familiar number.
Dean knew that was his clue. He had only possessed his body once, but he has a feeling he is doing it right, when he melded right into the other Dean. It was like taping himself onto the other Dean.
His eyesight cleared and he's in control of the car. The light turned green. He didn't move.
"Dean? Are you there?"
Hearing his voice, so clear and sweet, Dean wanted to break down in tears and tell Castiel of the horrible nightmare that Castiel was dying. But it wasn't a nightmare. It was real, in his world.
"Y-yeah, I'm here," he coughed and cleared his throat.
"What's wrong? Didn't you say you were going over to Sam's?"
Dean wanted to make a U-turn and go back to their home, where Castiel was, to see him alive and moving. But he can't.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going there right now." Dean confirmed brightly. "So I called Sam earlier to let him know I was coming and he sounded drunk off his ass. So I don't think I should come home tonight, Cas. I can't leave him by himself or he might do something crazy. You know him."
Castiel laughed in agreement. Dean almost felt guilty.
"So I'll see you in the morning, okay?" He asked quietly but as normally as he could. "After I watch Sam for the night and make sure he doesn't jump off the roof or something, I'll be back."
Castiel laughed some more, the sound ringing in Dean's head over and over as he tried to record it and keep it in his brain. "All right, Dean. Take care of him well. Don't draw on him."
"Aw, that's no fun," Dean whined playfully. "Just some cat whiskers? Please?"
Castiel stifled a laugh. "All right, just a few. Got it?"
"See you in the morning, Dean. I love you."
That's the trigger. He was choking up, his throat closed. But he realized Castiel was waiting for his reply, and he swallowed down his pain. "I love you too Cas. I love you so much. Goodbye."
That was that then. Dean peeled himself off the body and his soul sat next to the other Dean again.
"Thanks for letting me hear his voice again," Dean murmured.
The other Dean continued on his path on the road, the recent moments registering in his head, accepting it.
'Now Cas won't be in danger,' Dean thought comfortingly. 'He's safe.' But one more thing nagged on his mind. The person who had hurt Castiel. Dean wanted to see that person's face more clearly now, so that he could exact his revenge back in his own world.
Dean fast-forwarded to the meeting place, the world momentarily swirling in a pool of colors and finally settling down back to normal. Everything seemed to be running smoothly. No one suspected a thing from the expressionless Dean standing next to Ash and some of his men off to the side. Ash was negotiating with the other side's leader, who had less men than they did. But no one knew a thing about the betrayal that Dean and Ash were going to do. Yet…
Dean watched it unfold, from a better perspective this time. He was on some stairs leading up to the roof as he saw the truth. The other side had betrayed them first. Men Dean did not recognize gathered around them quietly, far enough out of sight and sound, but he saw them moving in the little lighted dark warehouse.
It would be too late when the other Dean and Ash would realize they were surrounded but Dean accepted the imminent fighting and beating. 'As long as Castiel's out of harm's way…'
"Dean, look out! You're surrounded!"
Dean and the other Dean's eyes widen at the sound of that voice.
The other Dean turned and, though there was barely any light, he saw the shadows dancing. But at that moment, he didn't care about those threats. His eyes searched for one thing only: "Cas!?"
Dean started to breathe irregularly. "No, no, no…no!" He's shaking uncontrollably. "Not again."
It was exactly how it originally happened. Castiel had shown up and warned them with that one yell. When fighting broke out, Dean had searched for him. They reached each other, both alive, but then, Castiel—
Everything exploded into movement. Bodies rushed and pinned against each other, punching, kicking, and cursing, weapons coming out of pockets and secret places and used effectively. It was utter chaos; they became a black mass under what little light there was flickering above.
Dean searched for the safety of Castiel only. He jumped down the stairs 3 at a time. His eyes searched frantically, and so did the other Dean. They both had the same mission. The other Dean beat his way through the fight, shouting for Castiel.
Then, Castiel appeared out of nowhere, with messy brown hair and wearing his tan trench coat. He was breathing hard but alive. The other Dean was visibly relieved. They reached each other, hugging and eying each other, soaking up the other's breathing and presence. That Dean didn't see that black mass forming behind his back. Castiel did though.
Dean saw it too, as he was standing next to Castiel. He saw a man with a weapon behind the other Dean, and he saw Castiel's expression. "No!" Dean knew what Castiel was thinking. It had happened before. But he would stop it this time, no matter what. He would prevent Castiel from taking the hit.
Without thinking, he flew right at Castiel.
And he bounced off. "No!" He shouted as everything seemed to move in slow motion. Dean tried again to enter Castiel's body, but to no avail. "What—" It hit him fast as he thought of what his grandfather had said: "You can take body possession," but Dean realized now that his grandfather had only meant about taking over his own body. He couldn't enter someone else's body. It was too late.
Dean screamed in frustrated rage and emotional pain, helplessly, as the wretched hooded person did its evil deed. He watched Castiel stiffen at impact, his eyes glazed, and then he fell. All Dean could see was blood everywhere.
"NOOOOOOOO!" Dean screamed at the realization that Castiel still got hurt after all. Furiously, he tried to think back if he made any mistakes when he was talking to Castiel earlier on the phone. He tried to go back to that moment, to try to change something. But he couldn't concentrate. All he could see was blood, red blood, so much blood, pooling all around Castiel. He couldn't see anyone other than Castiel bleeding and the other Dean fighting to get to him as black masses surrounded him, separating him from his bleeding beloved.
Dean tried harder but as the world spun a bit and colors drained a little, it didn't completely change. Dean witnessed the horrible scene changing into minutes ago, when chaos hadn't ensued yet.
The other Dean was standing expressionless again, next to Ash. Dean cursed and wanted to go farther back, but he couldn't concentrate. His mind was too disturbed and hyperactive, he knew this was as good as he can get. He took his chance.
He slammed himself into the other Dean's body and his essence meld onto it slowly. A couple seconds later, Dean was in control. He tensed, alert. Ash immediately noticed his wariness, eyeing him for a moment before resuming the talks.
Dean tuned out and his eyes searched desperately for Castiel. He didn't give a damn about anyone else in the room and Ash wouldn't be in this type of shady business if he couldn't take care of himself.
'Where are you, Cas?' Dean thought anxiously, as seconds ticked away and his skin crawled.
"Dean, look out! You're surrounded!"
Dean was ready this time. He turned toward the sound of the voice. "Cas!" He ran before anybody moved. A second later, everyone jumped into action.
Dean ran with only one intention: to get Castiel out of harm's way. 'I won't let him get hurt again. I won't,' he thought determinedly, his senses heightening as adrenaline rushed in his veins.
He noticed Castiel immediately and ran towards the man. "Cas!"
Even in that midst of danger surrounding them, Dean couldn't help but take in the fact that Castiel was alive. 'He's alive,' Dean thought, bewildered, 'and I can touch him.'
"Dean," Castiel wrapped his arms tightly over Dean, concern clearly in his shaky voice. "Dean, you idiot."
Dean couldn't help it. He took this chance to immerse into Castiel, taking in his scent, taking in his warmth, taking in his voice—taking in the face that he was alive. It was such a relief to see Castiel alive and not lying lifeless in a hospital. Dean's vision blurred a little and he swallowed down his tears of joy.
"Cas, Cas," Dean murmured into his ear, "I love you, I love you."
Castiel pulled their hug apart to look at him. Dean marveled over those bright blue eyes. "I love you too, you assbutt. Why did you lie to me?"
Before Dean could reply, he saw it. A black figure moving fast toward Castiel. 'No!' He thought angrily, 'I will protect him!'
Dean grabbed Castiel's shoulders and attempted to move Castiel away.
But suddenly, he couldn't move. He felt something inside of him, another presence, squirming and moving, growing momentum, until he felt like there was a storm inside, trying to remove him from the body. It was hurting him as Dean tried to take back control.
And just as quickly, Dean is spitted out of the body, pulled off like waxing, as the body retook control over itself. And that momentary distraction ruined it all.
'NOOOOOOO!' Dean screamed and dropped to the ground as Castiel did too. He watched it happen again, Castiel getting hurt. He watched the cruelly familiar scene again and vainly tried to grab Castiel, to hold him and shield him from everyone. But he couldn't. Dean beat the ground with his fists as he cried to nobody, anybody, God, or higher power, whatever, "Why!? Why does it end up like this!? Why can't I save him!?"
Dean attempted to enter the other Dean's body again, but couldn't. He was shut out. Desperately, he crashed himself against the body over and over, wanting to touch Castiel and making sure he was still alive. But it's pointless. He couldn't enter the body.
'Damn it, goddamn it!' He screamed with all is strength, his voice lost with all the other noises around him. No one heard his voice. No one responded.
He opened his eyes and bright light attacked immediately. He automatically tried to bring his hand to cover his eyes, but his hands felt heavy. He felt extremely heavy like some 10,000 pound stone, stuck to this particular area.
As his eyes adjusted, he saw a familiar face.
"S-Sam," Dean croaked huskily. His voice sounded somewhat strange.
"Finally," Sam sighed in relief. "I was afraid you wouldn't wake up soon. Hurry, let's get out of here." He moved to put one arm underneath Dean and lifted him up.
Dean groaned, feeling major aches from everywhere.
"I heard some nurses talk about using this room," Sam explained. "We need to get out of here before they see you like this."
"By 'this'…how bad is it?" Dean asked tiredly.
Sam hesitated and didn't reply, but continued to help Dean walk out of the room.
"Sammy, answer me," Dean demanded. "I'll recover my muscles soon. Tell me, what's the damage?"
"I don't know what you were doing on the other side," Sam said quietly, "but it really took a toll on you…you've aged a lot, Dean. Like ten years a lot."
Dean would've fallen to his knees if it wasn't for Sam holding him up. He spluttered, "Ten years!?"
Sam nodded grimly. "You were aging only a few years, slowly, but then," he paused, "It was strange. It was as if your aging speeded up, then slowed back to normal pace." He looked at Dean questioningly. "What did you do? It sped up a couple times before returning to a normal pace."
Dean understood instantly. He had tried to change the scene again and then entered his body again. The power was draining him more quickly for doing things longer and redoing them again. He needed to be more careful. But after that experience, at least he knew some limits and consequences to his power and not only that, he had some questions…
Sam paused and looked at him with careful curiosity. "What?"
"…That night, I called Cas and told him what I was doing," Dean said slowly and quietly. "I told him what I was going do and he couldn't stop me."
Sam faltered in his step and he tensed.
Dean grunted and forced Sam to sit down with him on the empty chairs in the hallway.
"I told him what I was going to do, but I never told him where I was going." Dean stated flatly and raised his eyes to look at Sam, who avoided his eyes. "Only a couple people knew where it was and Ash's men don't know Cas. The only one who knows Cas and knew where the place was…is you."
Sam sighed and didn't deny.
In a flash, Dean grabbed Sam's shirt and thumped Sam against the wall hard. "WHY!? WHY DID YOU TELL HIM!?"
Sam doesn't say anything while Dean continued to rage. "WHY DID YOU DO THAT!? WHY DID YOU PUT HIM IN DANGER, YOU SON OF A BITCH!"
Sam closed his eyes and took the yelling.
Dean's angry tears were on the verge of spilling. His voice suddenly became hushed and his broken voice whispered, "Why Sammy? You're my best friend…how could you sent him out to danger like that?"
Sam breathed deeply and banged his head against the wall couple of times. "Because I'm an idiot. I was a dumbass for thinking that Castiel could stop you in time and save you from getting killed." He tried to explain himself, as his words came out fast and clumsy, "What you and Ash were gonna do—it was dangerous and risky, and you could've died. I didn't want to take that chance but I wasn't in town and I couldn't be there in time and I—I just thought…" He stopped when he looked at Dean's face.
Noble intentions, but it had resulted in terrible consequences, and Dean couldn't forgive Sam. He couldn't.
Trembling, Dean unclenched his hold on Sam's shirt and they avoided each other's eyes carefully. Dean stepped away slowly, his head swimming and hurting from so much pain and revelations.
"Don't—stay away from me. Or I'll kill you," Dean warned coldly when Sam stepped forward. Dean walked, limping as his muscles tried to get a grip on himself. He steadied himself more and more as he found his way back to Castiel's room.
He pushed down the betrayal he felt and swallowed the pain and anger down deep. To distract him from the shock, he concentrated on what he had learned instead.
He knew that going back to that event wouldn't work anymore. When he tried to think to the memory, it's unstable and has fewer colors, like it was slowly becoming an old black and white film. Dean found that as a risk that he doesn't want to take. He also couldn't enter his body during the second time; he doesn't think he could enter during a third time.
'I have to go further back,' Dean decided. But something bothered him and nagged on his mind incessantly. He had tried to save Castiel twice yet he still ended up getting hurt. Was it inevitable?
Dean shook his head. He refused to believe that. 'I just have to go further back.' He has to cut ties with Castiel. That was the only way to cut the problem at its root—he needed Castiel to be far from harm's way before the event with Ash and those assholes.
A memory came to his mind suddenly, one that would end it fast if changed. A memory that would make him loses Castiel but put Castiel safe from harm.
Hope this chapter clears some questions. :)
Three years ago, Dean almost lost Castiel.
Dean was deep in his gang's activities more than ever.
Castiel hated Dean's involvement. He wanted Dean to quit.
Hell, Dean wanted to quit sometimes too. But they were his family, as cheesy as it sounded. They were the ones that were there as he grew up without a father and a half-crazed mother. They were there when he buried his mother. They taught him many things, about the real world, about life. But most of all, there was a sense of brotherhood, protecting each other's back when they went on missions. Dean's loyalty was strong to them and he didn't have it in him to betray them.
But there was also Castiel, the man he love and care deeply for. He was as precious as the gang. He saved Dean. Dean couldn't choose.
They had a fight one night because the tension was finally too high and they burst like flames at each other. Harsh words were shouted and spitted and cursed at each other. It was one of the worst moments in their relationship. It was also one of Dean's worst behaviors.
"Damn it, Dean, if you continue on this path, we won't have a future!"
"So that's how it is! Threatening me with our 'future'? Fuck that! If you want to fucking leave, then just leave, Cas! You knew what you were getting into when you decided to be with me! Don't make me choose for what you can do easily for yourself!"
God, he was an idiot. The things he spouted in a rage. The hurt on Castiel's face after those words left his mouth—he remembered still. And he did what he always have done when having to deal with emotions and feelings: he left.
He called it 'cooling down' but he was really just running away. He left their apartment and went to Sam, who wordlessly accepted his inconvenient visiting at such hour. Dean explained, and told Sam to not tell Castiel that he was here. Sam rolled his eyes but agreed, not wanting to get into the 'love drama.'
God, he was such an idiot. Pride and stubbornness held him in place at Sam's. He wouldn't cave in and make up. He wanted to make Castiel think about it for a couple of days and make Castiel miss him. Then, he wanted Castiel to be the first one to take the first step of apologizing, forgiving, and making up.
There were many calls the first day, but he didn't see it until later at night; he had deliberately left his phone on silent. Dean checked the many missed calls but didn't bother to listen to the voicemails. He knew he would cave in immediately if he heard the sound of Castiel's pleading voice. So he ignored those. Two days later, and not a single call from Castiel during, Sam finally kicked him out and advised him to find Castiel before he went crazy.
When he entered back to the apartment, it was empty of Castiel's things. There were messy papers and files scattered throughout the place. Dean's things remained where they were but everything with importance of Castiel's was gone. Dean was afraid to confirm the sinking nasty feeling in his guts, but he forced himself to look into every room and confirmed the truth.
Castiel was gone. Clothes were gone. His books and studies.
Someone had to be stealing his breath, because he couldn't exhale, and he was choking, drowning. He couldn't stop trembling. He sank onto their bedroom, feeling the oncoming of a panic attack.
His eyes caught something on the night desk. It was a picture frame faced down. Dean slowly lifted it up, because he knew what the picture was. It was a picture of them, smiling, at some date somewhere, looking blissfully happy.
His throat clogged and he whimpered pathetically. He couldn't—wouldn't comprehend what was going on. But then he recalled the calls, the voicemails. He quickly looked at his phone and clicked to listen.
He squeezed the phone near his ear as close as possible, straining to hear Castiel's voice. There were six voicemails in total, all from Castiel from that first day. He started from the oldest to the newest.
Dean, when you get this voicemail, call me back.
Dean, this isn't funny. This isn't the best time for you to go running out on me. Call me back, or come home.
Dean, please. We still need to talk. Come home.
Come home please. I have some important things I need to discuss with you…I miss you.
Dean banged his head on the bedpost hard with eyes closed tightly.
Dean, please, come home. I'm worried about you. I miss you a lot.
Dean dug his nails deep into his palm, trying to keep his emotions still.
Dean, I'm sorry…all I wanted—I just—I wanted a life with you, for as long as we lived. With you in the gang…you'll always be in danger. Every day, I become more scared of losing you. Every day when you leave…I'd be afraid today would be the day you would never come back, or tomorrow, or one of these days—sooner rather than never. Because I'm not good luck. Remember? Haha…I'm terrified that you will—and I just—that's why I wanted you to leave the gang. I want to keep you safe and be with you, for now and always.
"If you continue on this path, we won't have a future." How did Dean get Castiel's desperate, pleading words so twisted up and negative?
And what I wanted to tell you earlier…my family, as you remember, is in England. My father has a friend who owns a hospital, who is offering to give me an internship there…my family wants me to go live with them. I had refused before because of you. You were here and I was happy. But without you, I have no reason to stay here anymore.
I am going to the England in four days, the 5:30 PM plane.
If you—I don't—if you still want me in your life, please, come get me. I love you, Dean. I love you. But if you, if you don't…then there is no reason for me to come back to the U.S., is there?
As soon as he finished listening, he knew what he had to do. Losing Castiel—
Leaving his gang would be one of the hardest things he did, but Castiel was right. If he stayed, he would either die young, or be running the shadows for the rest of his life, without Castiel. The brotherhood, the sense of family, was great. But how many brothers and sisters would he bury as he tries to live and survive every day? How many times will he be misled to think that his brothers would live long, only to have it crush? How long would he last, before he was replaced by someone else? The constant change, the false security of his current life—he thought he could pretend, in return for being part of a family. But when he allowed himself to really think about it, he was afraid. Too much of it reminded him of his broken family. He was tired. He was tired of watching over his shoulder, of dodging bullets, of laying his brothers to rest every week. He yearned for a quiet and normal life. He yearned for Castiel, who could give him just that. He wanted to sleep with Castiel and wake up in the morning with Castiel. He wanted to lie in bed with Castiel all morning until the early afternoon. He wanted to be able to just relax for a whole day and just talk about anything and nothing with Castiel. Castiel completed him in many ways. Castiel was his family, stable and constant.
Dean checked the date of Castiel's last call. He still had one more day. He set his plans in motions. He visited Sam again and told him. Sam flipped out and was angry, but he agreed to help.
The next morning, Dean called for a meeting and when they were all gathered, he announced his declaration of leaving. After useless talks of trying to change his mind, they had beaten him up, mercifully. They avoided his head mostly and many didn't use their full strength. Dean was grateful.
Sam picked him up afterwards and tried to make him go the hospital first. But Dean wouldn't. He was desperate to reach for Castiel. He was afraid that if he didn't try now, Castiel would never come back. Irrational fear, because he could just follow Castiel after healing up. He could just trace Castiel's tracks afterwards; it wasn't hard. But he felt it in his guts—something would be lost, if he didn't go to Castiel immediately.
Sam cleaned him up to make him look somewhat decent. But judging by the panicked looks from people as Sam help dragged him around the airport, Dean was sure he didn't look any better. He ignored the looks and tried to locate Castiel before security deemed him someone dangerous. They were already giving him wary glares.
Every part of his body ached and hurt. He was pretty sure he acquired some broken and cracked ribs. His right knee wasn't broken but felt extremely painful when there was pressure. His other leg wasn't doing so well either, but at least he could walk on that side more. His arms were okay but he didn't move them much if he could help it. His back was sore, probably with bad bruises forming all over. Dean kept searching.
A flash of a tan trench coat. Castiel was sitting down, back to them.
They approached silently, yet Castiel somehow knew. He turned around.
And Dean swore he never truly knew how much Castiel loved him until that very moment. In that split second that their eyes met, Castiel's expression changed from blank to worry, and then he was already running over to Dean, exploding with angry panicky questions, and looking Dean all over, with tears, and trembling hands. He fawned over Dean with so much concern that Dean was a bit taken back. His entire focus was on Dean alone, and no one else mattered. Dean could only watched Castiel silently, marveling in silent surprise that he could become so important to someone like so.
Sam passed Dean over to Castiel without a word and walked off. Dean was grateful for the help and privacy. Castiel held Dean up with one arm wrapped around his waist while the other hand searched Dean's injuries.
"Dean, what the hell happened to you?" Castiel whispered, eyes soaking in all of Dean. His fingers touched Dean's face lightly, tracing probably bruises and cuts. "Oh my god, how are you still standing up?"
Dean shook his head slowly and tried for a smile. "I'm here to get you."
He watched Castiel's hand cover his mouth as he trembled and tears ran down his face again. Castiel's eyes searched his, asking, wondering, hesitant.
Dean really tried to smile for him, to reassure him. "Let's go back home, Cas."
Castiel cried a lot that day. Dean remembered still. Happy tears, relieved tears, frustrated and mad tears for his physical injuries. But there were also a lot of hushed whispers of sweet words and apologies that day also. It made up for everything else.
Dean would think back fondly of that time now. It was their darkest time but afterwards, things were so much lighter and more beautiful.
So it pained Dean to use that memory.
But he will. If Castiel goes to England, then he would be safe from Dean's past that would later infiltrate their lives.
He will use that memory, because then Castiel could leave without any lingering worries or hopes about Dean. Then he wouldn't be filled with too much pain and sadness. Because it would be Dean's fault for not showing up at the airport. For not coming back. For leaving. None of it would be Castiel's fault.
Dean doesn't get Sam's supervision this time. The betrayal was still too raw. And though he wasn't what he used to be in high school, he's stubborn still.
He's sitting in a chair, watching Castiel's breathing absentmindedly. Determined with his plan, he got up and kissed Castiel's cheek. "I'll be back, Cas. I'll be back."
He headed toward the door, but stopped at the door to the bathroom. For a moment, he wondered what he looked like. But then he walked on, because it wasn't important how bad it gets.
He ignored the cautious and wary stares and goes to his car. It's the only place that he could use his power undisturbed and not be too far from Castiel. He tried not to feel nervous about doing it alone. With fumbling hands, he finally entered his car. He shifted the seat horizontally and closed his eyes, steadying his breath.
Maybe he was getting the hang of it. He thought of the moment when he entered the apartment and slipped into the memory much faster than before. The colors still spun like a whirlwind, but didn't make his head ache as bad as before.
He's looking at himself, as the other Dean entered the place. He immediately walked into the other Dean to take over. There's a feeling of entering water that gradually became solid. When he opened his eyes, he's looking at the empty living room and kitchen.
Right there, he checked the phone for the voicemails. He deletes them.
Then, he called Castiel—half hoping the man wouldn't pick up. But he does after one ring. Dean swallowed the stone in his throat and steeled his mind.
"Dean! Thank god—"
"I don't think it's gonna work out."
"Leave, Cas. It's not gonna work out between us and I'd rather not see your face around."
"Listen to me, Castiel." The rarely used full name sounded strange, formal and distant. Dean sucked in a breath and closed his eyes. The grip on his phone tightened. "I'm fucking tired of you. I'm tired of this shit. I'm tired of us. I don't want to do this anymore. So leave to wherever god's place, I don't give a shit about you anymore. I'm tired and I'm done."
There was a long silence and when Dean heard sounds of suppressed sobs, he bit his lips to stop his mouth from making any noises. He swallowed again and continued, "Goodbye, Castiel. Don't call me or bother me again."
"Dean, I love—"
He hung up fast. Tears finally dropped down his face. He dropped the phone and covered his face as his whole body became wrecked, shuddering and twitching, crying. He sunk to the floor and lay down on the cold floor. His body felt heavy.
Right on time, there was the familiar squirming feeling, trying to rip him away from the body. He allowed it and peeled easily away from the body.
Dean watched that Dean momentarily stop in his tears, eyes unblinking, as he registered what just happened. Then, that Dean's eyes widen and that face seemed to feel shock at his actions. His eyes and mouth moved restlessly, as if he wanted to say something, to change something. But it's already done. That Dean stared at the phone and his hand horrifically, as if those two had become evil creatures.
He couldn't watch himself break down. It would hit too close to home.
So he fast forwarded the reality, to double check Castiel's safety. Colors blurred and settled.
He's surprised to find him looking pretty well off. It is early evening. That future Dean came out of a tall building, looking crispy clean and sharp, fine looking suit and all, carrying a briefcase in one hand. Dean wondered for a brief moment if he had left the gang. But then he sees Sam and Ash and other familiar faces, all wearing suits too. He understood. 'Looks like the boys upgraded.'
Dean thought his future self didn't look that bad, though there were obvious wrinkles and age to his face. He must be at least 40 years old. 'Many years without Cas,' he thought sadly. 'But Cas is safe.'
Suddenly, the future Dean fell before he reached the car waiting for him. That Dean clutched to his chest, eyes wide and breaths short. Security nearby grabbed for him. Sam and Ash rushed towards him, Sam with a phone calling an ambulance.
'Well, I lasted longer than I thought.' Dean watched the scene unfold with a sense of detachment, like he was watching sad reality TV show that he just couldn't really give a crap about. 'As long as Cas is safe—"
Suddenly, it's like he had hit a trip wire, and the reality fast forwarded, the rainbow of colors dripping and swimming. Dean tried to get a grip on it but it moved on its own for a moment before settling down.
He's in a big hospital room, white and empty, and the future Dean was on the bed, groggily awake. There's a white wrapping around his chest. That Dean moved his body and tried to sit up.
Dean heard a click, and turned around toward the sound. "No," he whispered, horrified. "Cas."
The future Dean looked up and eyes widened, his expression changing into complete shock. He stopped fumbling over his limbs and stilled.
He'd recognized Castiel anywhere, anytime. Castiel looked older, too. But he still had the intense stare, with those crazy blue eyes. His face, his hair—nothing has really changed.
Castiel looked conflicted for a moment, like he couldn't decide something. But his face smoothed, and he walked over to the future Dean, who was still staring wide-eyed.
"Mr. Winchester, how are you feeling?" Castiel asked, checking the papers in his hand, and the machine by the bed. He didn't look at the future Dean directly. "You've been sleeping for some days now," his voice quieted, "after the heart surgery."
That Dean didn't seem to register any words that Castiel said. He whispered hoarsely, "Cas?"
Castiel finally looked at him and he held his breath, captivated.
Dean could see it, could almost feel it. "No, no, no." He walked over to them, looking at them both with disbelief and fear. He could see the spark between them, the way their eyes looked at each other—the fire between them was still there, longing, missing. "No."
Castiel would be in danger again. Dean was still in the dangerous life, after all. Dean tried to stop it, to stop the inevitable fire growing. He tried slamming back into the future Dean's body, but he doesn't stick.
The future Dean hesitantly reached out for Castiel's fingers. Castiel flinched and tensed. Dean stopped, his hand in mid-air, as he looked at Castiel with an impossibly vulnerable and longing look. Castiel bit his bottom lip, and after a few seconds, he reached out to Dean's fingers and touched them lightly. That Dean held onto those fingers like a lifeline. Castiel doesn't move his fingers away. They don't exchange a word.
"No, don't." Dean said helplessly but it was too late. He couldn't stop it.
Dean forced him to come back. It was hard, as he could barely contained his emotions. When he suddenly became aware of his own real body, he opened his eyes slowly. He was back in his car. He couldn't move yet. It felt like such a thing would take a lot of effort, so he doesn't move. His mind was racing though, thinking over what he just saw.
'I can't cut it off there,' he concluded. 'Cas is still in danger. I have to—' he struggled to think of a solution, 'I have to go back further.'
It dawned on him. 'I have to cut it from the very beginning.' Reluctantly, he decided, 'Our first meeting.'
Uhhh, cussing in this chapter. The F word is used. Anyways, other than this chapter, I think everything else is pretty PGish~ Let me know if I have to change my rating.
Dean saw Castiel for the first time during their junior year of high school.
Dean rarely noticed anything at school back then, but he had noticed Castiel.
They didn’t meet in a class. They didn’t have any classes together. Their meeting was accidental.
Castiel was the new kid to school. Most of the times, no one cared about such things. But there were rumors that he was hot, he was cute, he was smart, he was a cousin or something to the popular jock Michael—whatever crap Dean could care less about.
Dean hung out with Ash and a few others on the rooftop of the school during lunch. They weren’t allowed to, but it wasn’t like teachers saw them come up here. It was their little private hangout.
The kids of the school knew not to step into their area. It was an unspoken rule. Dean and Ash had a reputation and no one wanted to get on their bad side by ruining their peaceful lunch.
But Castiel broke that rule on his first day.
Dean was lying down on his back, one hand underneath his head, staring at the cloudless blue sky. Ash and the others were eating and talking loudly about how stupid it was that Sam got suspended when the other guy hit him first. They were starting to plot how to hurt the other guy.
Then there was a loud bang, the entrance door to the roof slamming wide open.
From the corner of his eyes, Dean saw Ash and the others spun their heads to look warily. Dean didn’t join; if it was a dumb student, Ash’s glare was more than enough. If it was a teacher, Ash would’ve warned him by now.
But it seemed like the invaders—Dean heard two voices now—didn’t notice them.
“Thank you, but really—“
“C’mon Cassie, I can you show you the places around here. Some good places, private places around the school that no one knows.”
An annoying British-accent voice. Dean could almost place who it is.
“I appreciate your help, but I’ll be okay. I’ve got a map and everything. I can do a little exploring.” Dean thought it was strange that ‘Cassy’ had a deep voice like a man. But he wasn’t curious enough to actually look.
“You might get lost on your exploration. I can help, with many things.”
Dean shuddered at the familiar disgusting voice, obviously trying to seduce the other one. If the person was trying to be subtle, it really wasn’t working.
“Hey!” Ash shouted angrily, probably startling the pair. Dean smirked at that thought and closed his eyes. “What you fuckers think you’re doing up here? Take your stupid spat somewhere else.”
“Who do you think you are? You don’t own the roof.” The annoyingly familiar voice said.
The guy was obviously new or stupid to not know Ash. With an irritated huff, Dean sat up and turned to glare.
Dean’s momentarily taken back.
When he got up his back to glare, he didn’t expect to glare into curious wide blue eyes. He didn’t recognize that person, with messily styled black hair, wearing a white dress shirt, black blazer, and dark khaki pants. Dean really didn’t know such a person who would dress like so to school.
Dean shifted eyes to look at the person next to the strange one. He lowered his eyes. “Balthazar.”
Balthazar recognized him. “D-Dean.” He looked beyond Dean to Ash and the others, and only then realized what mistake he did.
Balthazar had an unfortunate meeting with Dean once, and hadn’t been a pain since. But this. “Should we take a trip down memory lane?” Dean threatened, with a raised eyebrow. He stared the man down, who took steps back, and looked completely frightened. When Dean was pretty sure the man was going to piss himself any moment, he finally allowed the man to leave, saying coldly, “Leave.”
Balthazar ran out of there, abandoning the new person. Strangely, the new person didn’t seem scared. His eyes were impossibly blue, reminding Dean of the sky. He stared, almost in awe, with lips parted slightly and unblinking eyes.
It unnerved Dean, the way the stranger stared. Dean glared, “Who the hell are you?”
The stranger blinked a couple times, like he was coming out of a daze. But then he tilted his head slightly and gazed at Dean curiously. “Castiel.”
The more the guy stared, the more uncomfortable Dean got. Most people usually avoided looking straight at Dean. Dean slowly stood up on his legs, slapping away dirt and dust from his pants as he continued in a cold tone, “You new, huh?” He added a scary effect by glaring with lowered eyes.
Castiel seemed unfazed and he nodded.
Dean was getting really uncomfortable now. He didn’t seem concerned that he was receiving a death glare from Dean or scary looks from Ash and the others. Ash and them were giving the weirdo scary glares right? Dean had to double check over his shoulder. They were.
So it wasn’t Dean’s imagination that the stranger wasn’t afraid of them by now.
Dean walked up to Castiel to make the guy feel the strength of his glare, but it was getting a little hard when the guy was staring at Dean so innocently.
Dean squared his shoulders more and continued to look threatening as he walked closer and closer to the guy…who didn’t move at all.
This was really throwing Dean off his momentum.
Usually, they all get scared and move backwards or something. Dean would then corner them by a wall or something and make some threats and then they’d leave, all scared, and never bothered Dean or the group again.
Dean’s stride was thrown off and now he’s just really close—really way too close for comfort—to the guy, whose eyes had widen a bit, pupils drawn in, but he hasn’t moved at all. Dean’s so close to the guy, he can feel the body heat. Dean can feel something, as he kept his eyes on those blue ones, staring so innocently yet so captivating.
He grunted and took a few steps back, eyeing the guy suspiciously. “I’ll let you slide. But this is the first and last time you’ll get to leave scratch free.” With another death glare, hopefully more lethal than the last one, “So you better hope you never come across me again.”
He’s about to turn his back on the guy, when he heard, “What is your name?”
Dean’s never felt so frustrated with someone he’s just met in under a minute. The guy just didn’t get it or something. Dean turned around to face the guy angrily, but it dissipated as all he saw was pure curiosity. It wasn’t a challenge or sarcasm or anything negative. The guy was really staring at him, seriously asking for his name.
Dean felt stupid for not thinking of a sarcastic response, and instead, answered honestly, “Dean.” He instantly regretted it as the guy’s face light up a bit, smiling, like he just received a present. The guy was really making him uncomfortable, with his strange staring, his intense focus on just Dean, and his easy happy smile. Does he not see Ash and the group in the background or something? “Now leave. You’re not welcome here.”
Dean turned his back on the guy, walked back to Ash and the group and squatted back down on his area, ignoring the stares from his friends and the weirdo.
“Oh. Okay.” The weirdo—what was his name again? Castiel?—said, sounding a bit disappointed. For what, Dean didn’t have a clue. “Goodbye, Dean. I’ll…see you around.”
‘Don’t count on it,’ Dean thought and laid down. He stared straight at the sky and nowhere else. There was silence and a door click closed before Ash said, “Strange fellow.”
“You can say that again,” Dean grumbled. He closed his eyes. He was seeing blue everywhere, eyes open or not. Damn that guy’s eyes. Dean opened his eyes and glared at the sky for being the same blue as the weirdo’s eyes.
Ash knocked his hand against Dean’s leg to get his attention. “You seem to have an interest in the boy.” Not accusing, not taunting—just a simple conclusion from Ash after an observation. Ash was clever like that.
If Ash deduced that he had an interest in this guy—Castiel…then he really did, didn’t he?
Dean called it bad luck for always somehow seeing Castiel in the hallways or in the cafeteria. Like his brain was wired to instantly sense him if he was near. It was worse when he secretly sneaked looks at Castiel, and Castiel was also looking. So then they’d be having an awkward stare-down because his pride refused to let him look away first. Even so, he lost all the time. Castiel seemed to have no awkward limit at all.
Dean couldn’t deny that there was something about Castiel that intrigued him. The way he stared at Dean so unafraid and openly—like he was staring at Dean to simply look at Dean, no hate or dislike visible. It was refreshing.
Dean should’ve expected that Castiel would eventually approach him.
When he saw Castiel’s gaze and path toward him, he panicked internally. He honestly wasn’t ready for a confrontation. That was on a whole different level than a staring contest.
But he kept his cool. When Castiel smiled at him, he couldn’t help but smile back, one side of his lip curling up—until people came up from behind Castiel. Two on the side put their arms around Castiel’s neck, practically hugging him and the a few others flocked around him, talking animatedly and loudly. Castiel seemed surprise, his smile disappearing momentarily before coming right back. He was still making his way over to Dean.
Dean felt a punch in his guts. His half-smile became a full out angry frown. The people around Castiel were the preppy kids, the popular kids—the people Dean never associated himself with, and they didn’t bother knowing him either. He didn’t know Castiel was one of the popular kids until now. A huge stone grew in his stomach as disappointment followed the realization.
Dean was pretty much glaring by the time Castiel reached him, who looked surprised by his expression, but didn’t ask about it. “Hey Dean.”
Before Dean could even say anything, the other people around Castiel started whining and giving Dean dirty looks.
“C’mon Castiel, let’s goooo.”
“Why you talking to this person anyways?”
“He’s one of those people. Delinquents and losers. Let’s go before he does something.”
Dean swiftly punched the guy in the face. Dean never took crap from anybody, and just because Castiel was standing 3 feet from him wasn’t going to stop him from defending himself.
The whole group, excluding Castiel, started shrieking and screeching. They reached for their fallen friend. Castiel looked shocked and horrified. “Dean!” He said disapprovingly.
And that made Dean red with anger and embarrassment. Castiel was taking their side when they clearly insulted him. Clenching his fists, Dean gave Castiel the deadliest glare he could muster and growled, “Fuck you.”
With that, he made his leave, ignoring the calls for him to compensate for the stupid guy’s bruised face, ignoring Castiel calling his name. He walked quickly, because soon enough, a grownup would come to their aid, and they would try to find him.
‘Fuck this,’ he thought and instead of going to where Ash was at, he walked further away from the school.
He wished badly that he had a music player to blast away his thoughts, but Sam was his only source and he didn’t feel like going back and asking. He needed to get away from the snobby idiots and Castiel.
That made him pause in his walk before he resumed his angry stalk. He really didn’t want to think of Castiel. Castiel had disappointed him in all ways and he refused to let Castiel invade his thoughts any longer.
Naturally, with his bad luck, someone grabbed his shoulder and turned him around. It was Castiel. Of course. So he turned around again and walk faster while trying to look as normal as someone who is angrily walking away could look. But Castiel wasn’t having any of that.
“Dean!” He said and ran in front to block Dean’s path. “Wait, where are you going?”
Dean wished he could stop admiring those damn blue eyes, shining brilliantly in the sun. He tried to sidestep Castiel, but Castiel’s smart. He easily blocked the path with outreach hands. Dean wondered for a moment if he should punch Castiel.
“Dean, you’re walking away from school,” Castiel pointed out.
“Duh, captain obvious.”
“So you’re ditching?”
“Finally caught up, Sherlock?” Dean said sarcastically and shoved Castiel’s arm away, continuing down the sidewalk.
Castiel jogged up next to him. “Dean, wait.” He put a hand on Dean’s shoulder. Dean automatically smacked it away, glaring.
“Don’t touch me, Castiel,” Dean said in a low tone. “Why don’t you just go back to your rude, snobby friends?” And just to hurt Castiel like he had hurt Dean, “I bet you’re just like them, you two-face bitch.”
Dean relish in Castiel’s hurt face for a few gleeful seconds before guilt seeped in his guts. Because sure, he felt betrayed. He had stupidly allowed himself to think that Castiel shared a connection with him. A weak, new connection, but still. But Castiel obviously didn’t feel the same. It was all in Dean’s head.
“Dean, listen to me first please.” Castiel said and he looked hurt, but determined to get his words across.
“Aren’t you going to be late for class, hmm?” Dean asked, looking toward the school. “Aren’t your asshole friends waiting for you? There’s no reason for you to be talking to me right now. Go ahead, go back.” He crossed his arms and promptly ignored Castiel.
“Dean, I know my friends insulted you,” Castiel said impatiently with a huff. “I’m not deaf. But you didn’t have to hit him.”
Dean shrugged. “I don’t take any crap.” And Dean was most definitely not feeling hurt that Castiel wasn’t apologizing about betraying Dean. Seriously, what was up with him? He needed to cut this stupid attachment to Castiel. It was stupid and a dead-end street. “Should’ve hit the other ones too, to make it fair.”
“Dean, you’d only get in more trouble,” Castiel insisted, shaking his head in disapproval. “You shouldn’t have hit him. Now the teachers are looking for you.”
None of that mattered to Dean, so he shrugged again.
Castiel sighed sharply. “And Dean?”
“What?” He snapped.
“I was going to tell them to shut up.”
“What?” Dean said, more breathy and incredulous now. Dean stared at him with wide eyes.
“They were being completely out of line and rude to you, Dean.” Castiel said calmly. “I wouldn’t have allowed it a second longer, but you were a bit faster than I was.”
Dean snorted and tried to keep a straight face. He wiped his face and exhaled. “Right. I’m supposed to believe that.”
“Dean, I mean it,” Castiel took a step closer to him and kept a steady gaze at him.
It was too much. It was what Dean wanted, but this declaration was suddenly suffocating. The implications could be big, and Dean didn’t want to think about it.
He nodded slowly, saying sarcastically, “Yeah, you’d do that for me. Because we are just awesome friends, aren’t we? Talked to you once and hey look—best friends already.” He took steps back.
“Dean,” Castiel said with a sigh. He looked frustrated. “I know we haven’t really talked—“
“Not once since I saved your ass on the roof.”
“I know we haven’t, but still—“ His mouth clamped closed and he looked at Dean as if hoping Dean would understand something. After a few moments passed without Dean saying anything, he looked extremely disappointed. “I had hoped we—these past couple of weeks, I thought—“
“You thought what exactly?” Dean said dangerously. “That we could be chummy? Just because a few glare contests we’ve had? That we could actually be friends?” Dean laughed and shook his head. “You’re a fool, Castiel. You are you, and I am me.” They were worlds apart. It’s incredibly cruel how it turned out like that. “You don’t know me. You don’t know the things I’ve done. The things I will do and things I would do, if given the chance.” Dean half-smiled sadly as parting and turned. He paused and took a quiet, sharp inhale of breath. He started walking.
“I don’t care, Dean.”
Dean kept walking.
“It doesn’t matter to me. I want to know you better. I want to be your friend. I want to know you, Dean.”
He kept walking.
Castiel was persistent. He got ahead of Dean, blocking the way again. “Dean.”
“God damn it, Castiel,” Dean said in frustration, breathing heavily. He was feeling very close to punching him. He glared for a few seconds, settling his breathing, before saying, “You wouldn’t want to know me.”
“Let me be the judge of that. Don’t put words in my mouth.”
Dean sighed, defeated. He should really punch Castiel and get it over with. Strangely, he didn’t want to hurt Castiel. And he didn’t realize how stubborn Castiel was. Reluctantly, he murmured, “Whatever.”
Castiel lightened up remarkably, asking, “Is that a yes, Dean?”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Yes, Castiel. You don’t need to keep saying my name to every sentence you say, Castiel.” He made a face. “God, your name is a mouthful. Castiel, Castiel, Cassie—“ He remember Balthazar and quickly scratched that out of his mind, “Casty, cast, cas, CAS! There you go.”
He smiled at Castiel proudly. “Cas. If you’re gonna stick around, I’m gonna have to call you by something easier.” He stopped talking.
Castiel was staring at him with mild surprise,.
Dean frowned. “What?”
Castiel slowly smiled. “Nothing.” After a pause, he added, shyly, “You smiled.”
Dean looked at him strangely. “What about it?”
Castiel looked straight at him, twinkling blue eyes steady and warm, “You should smile more often, Dean.”
Tears slowly drop down his face. With a shuddering inhale, he wiped them away. He could move now, though every movement was creaking with effort. Dean wondered how much he aged now. But it really didn’t matter. He needed to save Castiel.
Changing their first meeting, making it so that they never met—
Dean doesn’t think about his feelings. All that mattered was Castiel.
Feeling well enough to venture into his power again, he thought of that moment on the roof.
The power was flowing so much easier now. There wasn’t much of the tugging in his guts anymore. Just a slow stirring feeling, as colors swirl beautifully and then settled into place.
Dean looked at his younger self, a pity smile on his face. “I’m sorry, but we need to do this. For Castiel.”
The entrance door slammed open. Dean watched as Balthazar slowly cornered Castiel to the edge. Anger bubbled in him, but he couldn’t do anything anyways. He calmed down, reminding himself that this was just the past.
He knelt down to his younger self, staring with nostalgic, before lying on top of him.
He settled in easily, and when he opened his eyes, he saw clear blue sky. He tuned in.
“You might get lost on your exploration. I can help, with many things.”
“Hey! What you fuckers think you’re doing up here? Take your stupid spat somewhere else.”
“Who do you think you are? You don’t own the roof.”
Dean doesn’t get up. He continued looking at the sky and said, “Balthazar, who the hell do you think you’re talking to?”
A second passed and Balthazar said in ghostly surprised, “Dean. I—I didn’t know—“
“How about you get the fuck out of here and take your fuck buddy with you?” Dean didn’t take his eyes off the blue sky. “You both are not welcome here.”
He heard scrabbling noises, muttering cusses, and then the door slammed closed.
It was just silent for a moment before he asked Ash, “They both gone?” He looked at Ash, who was staring at him peculiarly. Ash nodded.
Dean slipped out of his younger self, taking a step to the side, and watch as his younger self’s eyes glazed, before returning to normal. “I’m sorry…but we gotta save Castiel.”
The world stopped. Dean looked around him, confused. The world moved, the colors spilling over each other and racing towards an unknown goal. It hurt his eyes to look at any area for too long and he closed his eyes.
When he opened his eyes again, he saw himself collapsed in a dark alley during a quiet cold evening. In a café next to the alley, Dean could see people sipping on their coffees and talking, completely oblivious. There were barely any people walking in the street and barely any cars that came by. It made Dean wondered what his self was doing out, getting hurt. That Dean looked older, mid-twenties at least. He was bloodied and bruised.
Dean winced, looking at his pathetic self. That Dean tried to get up, using the wall as support, but he stumbled back to the ground with a groan. Judging by the difficulty, Dean assumed a few things were broken.
‘So I’m dying in a place like this,’ Dean thought, slightly horrified. ‘How awesome.’
Eventually, that Dean just stopped moving and settled in his uncomfortable position. His face had a pained expression, but he didn’t make any noise. He could almost blend in into the alley, becoming nothing.
Dean had enough. ‘As long as Castiel is safe,’ he thought determinedly. He took a step backward out of the alley into the sidewalk—
Someone goes right through him and stopped in front of the alley. Dean stumbled backward some more before looking at that someone strangely.
That person stood there for a couple seconds. The Dean in the alley didn’t notice or didn’t care, his eyes fixated on the ground in front of him.
Surprisingly, the person walked toward that Dean and stopped right next to him.
That Dean finally looked up tiredly and glared. He mumbled, “What the hell are you looking at?”
Dean was about to leave, not caring what happened next.
Dean froze. He recognized that voice anywhere. He whipped around and run to get a closer look. He breathed out as he stopped in front of the person and his self: “Cas.”
The Dean on the ground stared at him suspiciously. “What about it?”
Castiel lowered to one knee and pulled out a handkerchief. His hand moved near that Dean’s face, in which he moved his head slightly.
“What the hell are you doing?” That Dean sneered.
“You’re bleeding.” Castiel stated and stared at Dean, slightly confused.
That Dean scoffed. “I can do it myself.” He struggled to move his arm and reach for it.
Castiel shook his head. “Rest, Dean. I’ll do it.” He stunned that Dean long enough that he got a chance to start wiping at his face. Dean was also confused. “I’m a doctor. Rest assured.”
“You—how do you know my name?” Dean asked hollowly. He was staring wide eyes. He seemed to have forgotten about the wiping.
Castiel pulled out a phone from his pocket while wiping gently. He started dialing 9-1-1. “You don’t remember me, but we went to high school together.”
Dean kneeled across from Castiel, staring horrifically. He whispered, “No…how?” He looked at Castiel’s face and at the bleeding Dean and at Castiel’s again. “How?” Dean never saw Castiel’s face on the roof that day. Dean shouldn’t have noticed him at all.
That Dean also had the same question. He waited until Castiel finished calling for an ambulance. “Who are you? I don’t remember your face.”
Castiel stopped wiping his face. His face looked slightly better. The bruises and cuts on his face were more obvious though. “The ambulance will be here in a few minutes.” He looked that Dean over. “Is there anything I should be taking care of right now, to keep you alive?”
“Answer my question.” That Dean demanded impatiently.
Castiel sighed. He gave a small wistful smile. “Yeah, we never really met.”
“On my first day of school, I saw you on the roof with your friends.” Castiel explained. “I was actually on the roof with this one guy and he was, well, anyways, I saw you. You never saw me though.”
That Dean still looked confused; so was Dean.
“And well, it sounds strange, saying it out loud and to you now, but after that, I just always saw you at school.” Castiel shrugged and once again, there was a sad smile. “There was something about you…anyways, you never saw me, and I never got the courage to talk to you.”
That Dean looked really surprised. “O-oh.” There was a moment of awkward silence, and then he glanced at Castiel warily. “You still recognized me even after all these years?”
Castiel smiled, a brighter one this time. “I don’t think anyone ever really forgets your face, Dean.” He paused and added, “Especially your eyes. They’re really beautiful.”
That Dean was surprised all over again, looking at Castiel, with as much shock as he would allowed shown on his face. He coughed and looked away, embarrassed.
Castiel seemed to smile at that and didn’t say anything. There was only silence.
Dean, on the other hand, was screaming. “No, no, no!” He tensed, his fists tight, his whole body going rigid. He could see it, like an inevitable car crash.
That Dean cast secret glances at Castiel, but Castiel was also looking too. So they both kept glancing at each other and looking away and looking at each other again.
That Dean coughed again. “You too.” He mumbled quietly and looked away. “Your eyes.” He pointedly kept his eyes away from Castiel.
“Thank you.” Castiel said, his lips undeniably smiling.
There was that silence again and Dean was shouting and going out of his mind. He tried to change the scene, to make the colors blend and fly, but they wouldn’t.
That Dean blinked as if he remembered something and looked at Castiel curiously before asking, “What is your name?”
“Hmm.” Dean shifted and settled again. “Too long and mouthful. Cas sounds good though. You mind?”
Castiel shook his head and there was that shy smile, like he was trying not to smile but failing. “No, sounds good.”
That Dean smiled genuinely. Dean was trying to enter that Dean’s body but in vain. He slammed himself over and over but he couldn’t get in. Dean let out a frustrated cry and tried again and again.
Castiel stared, slightly surprised, before saying, “You smiled.” His smile grew bigger. “You should do that more often, Dean.”
Dean shouted again and again.
The ambulance arrived.
Dean was losing it. He couldn’t believe it. It was happening all over again. Castiel wasn’t going to be safe. Castiel was going to get hurt, Castiel was going to get hit because he knew Dean, because he was in Dean’s life, Castiel was always going to be in danger, it’s all Dean’s fault, Dean couldn’t stop it no matter how many times he tried, because of him, Castiel was going to die—
The world around him exploded.
Dean doesn’t know what happened.
The colors of the world went haywire and also went through him and were everywhere. His eyes couldn’t look at the colors directly for long so he shut them, but the colors seemed to bleed through and engraved indescribable images in his mind. Then there came the slow tightening feeling inside, like something was squeezing his organs. It was pain like he never felt before. He wanted to scream, but there was no oxygen.
Suddenly, he gulped in air and coughed violently. He was breathing raggedly, as the pain ebbed away. He couldn’t see the light through his eyelids anymore. For a panicked second, he thought he was blind.
He opened his eyes.
He blinked a couple of times, adjusting his blurry eyesight to the bedroom before him. It looked normal, with calm blue wallpaper, a Queen sized bed, a desk next to it with a lamp. There was a door slightly opened, with light coming through. Someone was on the bed. He was sleeping on his stomach, his naked back shown to Dean, his face turned the other way. The bed looked messy, the sheets wrinkly, the blanket lazily wrapped around the man’s one leg but revealing the other one with black boxers.
Dean stepped closer and looked at the outline of the body. “…Me?”
As if heard, that Dean twitched and turned his head to face Dean, eyes still closed. His eyebrows were closed near each other in concentration. There was a frown on his sleeping face.
Dean stepped closer until he was hovering over that Dean. “What is this?” He looked around him once more and finding the normalcy of it extremely strange. “I don’t have a memory like this.”
He heard a sizzling noise, the noises bacon made when on a pan. His face was stricken. “Who’s here?” He moved away from the strange Dean and headed toward the open door. He stopped when he heard a groan. He turned around. That Dean was moving fitfully and waking up. Dean doesn’t know why but he froze and stared. He should probably move away, just in case that Dean could see him. It’s highly unlikely, but Dean’s paranoid now. He doesn’t recognize this surrounding. He doesn’t know this place. He doesn’t know how he got here. If Dean actually thought about it, it was a terrifying thought. ‘How do I get back?’
Before he could delve further into that thought, the Dean on the bed woke up, eyes staring at the ceiling. He didn’t move for a long second, and Dean doesn’t know whether it was safe to move or not.
Then that Dean finally sat up, using his arm to push him up and sluggishly turned his body to sit with his legs dangling on the edge of the bed. He looked toward the door longingly. Dean froze like ice.
But there was no recognition or confusion written on that Dean’s face.
Dean sighed in relief. That Dean got up and walked toward him. Dean moved out of the way quickly and followed him out the door.
“I smell bacon,” that Dean announced gravely.
Dean was behind him, so he didn’t see that Dean approached someone from behind and put his arms around that person in a hug.
“Mornin’ Cas,” that Dean mumbled in his neck.
“Good morning, Dean.”
Dean’s heart pace picked up and his breaths shortened. He whispered, “No.”
Castiel was half-naked also, like that Dean, wearing white boxers. His black hair was a beautiful mess and he looked incredibly bright and content. He turned his head up and they kissed lightly, gently, like they had all the time in the world.
Dean tried to enter that Dean’s body, but failed. He couldn’t understand why.
When they stopped kissing, Castiel rested his head comfortably on that Dean’s shoulder, while he slowly rocked them back and forth, as if swaying to an unheard music.
Dean didn’t understand. He never had a memory like this. He looked at his surroundings. He’s in a small kitchen, one side with the stove, oven and sink, while on the other side was the cupboards, countertop and refrigerator. The kitchen was connected to the living room, where one sofa, glass table, and a flat screen TV were. There was the entrance door and another door, perhaps a storage room.
The bacons in the pan sizzled and brought Castiel’s attention back to the job. That Dean and Castiel didn’t pull away from their position though. Dean looked at that Dean’s expression—contemplative with a hint of worried and confusion.
“I had the weirdest dream,” that Dean said slowly.
“Of what?” Castiel glanced up before looking at the bacons again. He started taking some out onto a plate.
That Dean had a serious thoughtful look. He did not answer for a few moments. Instead, he groped Castiel’s chest, arms, and legs.
Castiel chuckled, squirming a bit, and looked at him with a silly half-smile. “What are you doing?”
Dean shrugged and sank his head further into Castiel’s neck. He murmured quietly, “Just making sure you’re all right.”
Castiel took out the rest of the bacons onto the plate. He held onto that Dean’s hands, removed them, so that he could turn around and face him. He looked up to that Dean’s face, eyes wide and questioning innocently. He tilted his head adorably. That Dean grinned and stole a kiss on Castiel’s cheek. Dean felt longing, wishing he could touch Castiel as well. He tried anyways and was still filled with disappointment when he couldn’t.
Castiel grinned at that Dean’s affection, and lifted his hand near that Dean’s temple and eye, his fingers softly tracing the wrinkle lines. “Hmmm,” he hummed thoughtfully, looking the man up and down. With a knowing smile, he hugged him and said, “Well, I’m perfectly fine, Dean. Thought I showed you that last night.”
That Dean started laughing, and he pulled Castiel’s head in for a long deep kiss. As they slowly pull apart, Dean smiled contentedly, “What would I do if we never met? Things wouldn’t be this good. We wouldn’t be together now.”
Dean couldn’t agree more. The many times he had changed their reality, it never became like this. Castiel wasn’t alive, moving around; his Castiel was—
Castiel smiled and shook his head. “Nope. We would still be together.”
That Dean looked at him thoughtfully. “How so?”
Dean stopped pacing back and forth. “What?” He whispered, looking at Castiel. He took slow deep breaths, staring at Castiel hard, wishing for answers.
Castiel looked up at the ceiling with a contemplative expression. He pulled their hug apart and grabbed the plate of bacon, setting it the small round table. He sat down, and that Dean followed, sitting across, eyes still questioning Castiel’s statement. Dean stood between them, next to the table.
“Pretend,” Castiel said, eating a piece of bacon, “that you are a CEO of a company.”
That Dean snorted.
“Shh, just listen,” Castiel said, slapping him gently on the hand. “If you were a CEO of a company, rich as hell, wore expensive suit and accessories—“
“I’m not a girl, Cas.”
Castiel ignored him and continued without missing a beat,“—and you lived in a huge city, like New York, and you passed by tons of people every day, you deal with a lot of work, important people, and you have to meet deadlines and sign papers and meet with other important people…guess who I’d be?”
“Who?” That Dean said playfully, a mischievous smile tugging at his lips. He rested his chin on his hands, staring big eyes at Castiel.
Castiel copied his actions and stared innocently. He licked the residue left from the bacon. “I’d be your doctor.”
That Dean burst out laughing. “My doctor? Why my doctor?”
“Without my assistance, you’d be getting a heart attack every week,” Castiel said in a mock serious tone. “You deal with a lot of stress, after all.”
That Dean laughed heartily and reached for Castiel’s hand. He grabbed it closer and kissed it. “Well, thank you, doctor.”
“You’re welcome.” Castiel said, looking at that Dean with endearment. “Pretend,” he paused, waited until that Dean looked up at him, and continued in a soft tone, “Pretend that you’re a mob boss and every day you deal in the dark, do underground dealings, might even hurt some people. Guess who I’d be?”
That Dean looked at him questioningly.
“I’d be your right hand man,” Castiel said grinning.
That Dean grinned. “I’d want you to be.” He started playing with Castiel’s fingers.
“Pretend,” Castiel said slowly, pulling up that Dean’s hands closer to him, “that you are a student going to college.”
That Dean hummed in disagreement with the idea.
Castiel grinned. “Pretend you are a student in college studying mechanics and cars.”
That Dean nodded and kissed Castiel’s fingers lightly. “Who’d you be in this fantasy?”
Castiel chuckled. “I’d be your roommate, obviously.”
Dean laughed. “Of course.”
Castiel stared at that Dean with a fond serene smile, a smile Dean recognized on his Castiel many times before. Dean can hear his heart starting to pound louder against his chest. His whole body was pulsing with the heartbeats. Dean inhaled slowly, wondering why, but also transfixed on the Castiel in front of him.
“There’s a lot of scenarios that could’ve happened to both of us and make us take different paths from today,” Castiel said quietly, and suddenly, filled with awed revelation, “But our paths will always cross.”
Castiel looked at that Dean with firm belief. That Dean tilted his head to the side, confusion on his face. Dean was also confused.
Castiel explained, with rising determination, “Five, ten, a hundred different worlds of us taking different paths, with different backgrounds and circumstances, wouldn’t matter, Dean. I would eventually meet you in all these worlds and wish to be with you.” Then, with utter complete faith, he declared strongly, “My soul is tied to yours. I will never stop looking for you, because you are my soul mate—in this lifetime, in all lifetimes, always.”
He’s been an idiot. Dean was truly an idiot.
Tears dripped down his face, as he watched that Dean looked completely taken back, and unsure what to say. Castiel held his gaze, waiting for that Dean to answer. Then that Dean smiled like the happiest man in the world. He got up and grabbed Castiel into a tight hug, kissing him all over.
Dean watched Castiel smiled gratefully and showered that Dean with kisses as well.
Dean couldn’t stop his own tears even if he wanted to. What he just realized—he couldn’t believe how blind he had been all these times. “This…this is why it never worked, right Cas?”
He gasped involuntarily, his body starting to obviously physically pulse to his heartbeats, which were sounding louder and louder. It was overwhelming, and the world he was seeing start to shake and pound constantly. “No matter what, we always meet eventually—because you were always seeking me.”
Dean fell to the ground, unable to stand the pounding and noise. He couldn’t speak anymore, he couldn’t control anything, and he finally understood what was happening, as he felt the familiar pulling of his whole essence. ‘Because your soul was always searching mine, even when I tried to not look for you, but look at you—your strong and beautiful soul always found me.’
Right before the beautiful scene of that Dean and Castiel disappeared, Dean thought with final acceptance, ‘I will not deny you anymore.’
The pounding doesn’t stop. He still heard it, he still felt it. But he was hearing something else too.
“Dean! Dean! Wake up, Dean!”
It was really hard to open his eyes and it took him everything to do so. He was breathing hard and his muscles felt set in stone. Every limb felt disconnected.
“God damn it, Dean, open this door! Wake up! It’s Castiel!”
Dean sparked into more life. He willed his shaking hand to unlock his door. He tried to open it also, but Sam opened it as soon as he unlocked it.
“Dean—oh my god, what have you done?” Sam whispered horrifically, immediately both hands on his shoulders, as he looked Dean over. “Dean, what the hell did you do?”
Dean waved off his question, trying to get up but he couldn’t lift his own weight. He croaked, “C-Cas. What?”
Sam lighted up like he just remembered. He immediately looked scared. “Dean, there’s trouble. I saw a bunch of doctors go into Castiel’s room and I heard a lot of noises and talking and—“
“How long?” Dean whispered. “When did you--?”
“A couple minutes ago, five tops.” Sam answered. “I saw that you weren’t in there with Cas already, so I knew you must be here.”
“Take me now,” Dean demanded, voice still dried up like a desert. But it didn’t mattered. He needed to be by Castiel’s side.
With a heave from Sam and a groan from Dean, Sam somehow got Dean out of the car, Dean’s arm around Sam’s shoulder. He practically dragged Dean quickly toward the entrance of the hospital. Dean tried to walk on his own, but had very little success. Every pressure he put on any of his feet plummeted him to the ground. It was only thanks to Sam’s strength that he hasn’t already fallen over and splattered himself on the floor.
“Dean, what did you do?” Sam asked in an angry hushed tone as he quickly took them to the elevator and pushed the up button. “I was outside your car, pounding and yelling for you for a long moment. And the way you look right now…”
“It’s nothing Sam,” Dean said immediately, staring at the floor numbers impatiently. He’s remembering what Sam had done now. He’s still mad. He still felt betrayed. He’s also trying to get a better grip on Sam. It’s taking him a tremendous effort to just hold on to Sam’s shirt.
“Dean, it’s not nothing,” Sam gave him a worried look and pull Dean up from slipping. “You look like you’re fifty years old, Dean.”
Dean stopped breathing.
The elevator dinged. Sam waited a moment before dragging Dean out and quickly making their way to Castiel’s room.
“Dean, what were you doing?” Sam asked again, softly this time. “What did you do to…age this much? What happened?”
“No time to explain, Sammy,” Dean replied, just as soft and quiet. “Cas first. I need to be with him.”
A moment passed between them, and Sam agreed with a silent nod. He moved even quicker. As they moved closer to Castiel’s room, Dean could hear a lot of frantic noises from the room. His heart pounded hard in his chest and his pulse vibrated throughout him. He was so very scared.
Sam opened the door, and they saw two doctors and two nurses talking quickly and worriedly.
The doctor from before, the one who gave Dean the bad news, saw them first. “…Mr. Winchester?” He had a disbelief look. “Are you…? Who are you, sir?” He turned to Sam and recognized him. “Sir, is this…?”
Dean was a little steady now, and he shoved himself off Sam’s support, pushed passed the incredulous doctor, and stumbled toward Castiel. He pushed away one of the nurses. Well, he tried. He actually fell and leaned on that nurse, who had to hold him up, looking very surprised.
“Sir, you cannot be here.” The nurse started to say, but after stabling himself, he shoved the nurse away. He leaned near and grabbed Castiel’s hand and held it to his lips. “Cas, Cas,” he whispered, inhaling a sob, blinking back huge tears.
Castiel’s eyes were closed still, his face peaceful, but his body was twitching and moving involuntarily.
“Sir.” The nurse tried to pull him away, and with all the strength he could muster, Dean held on tightly. “Sir, you are in our way!” The other nurse was next to him and tried to pry his hands away. “Let us do our job.”
Dean’s not really listening. He asked hollowly and desperately, “What is going on?”
“He’s having a stroke,” the nurse answered impatiently. “Sir, please let go!”
“What?” Dean looked across to the doctor. Dean looked at the heart monitor behind him with wide eyes. It was beeping really fast. Dean looked back at Castiel. The doctor didn’t answer him, fierce concentration on his face.
He looked dazedly at the doctor in front of him, joined by the other one, the nurse calling security, Sam looking so anxious at Castiel and him. Then he looked at Castiel—his poor Castiel, unable to control his body, jerking and twitching. His Castiel in a coma for an infinite amount of time. His Castiel in pain yet unable to voice it. His Castiel taking on the pain by himself.
Dean squeezed Castiel’s hand tightly, and he couldn’t stop the tears this time. He moved close to Castiel’s sleeping pale face and trembling whispered in his ear, “Cas, I won’t give up looking for your soul, because your soul has always been looking for mine. I won’t deny you it anymore.”
Then, with the hardest shuddering breath, a most violent shuddering of his whole body, with an incredibly torn voice,
“So, so, if it hurts, and you can’t hold on, it’s okay to let go for now. I’ll find you soon. Don’t worry. I promise I’ll find you again—I love you Cas. I love you so much…see you later, Cas.”
I've tried to make it as realistic as possible, about the coma and stroke. I researched and gosh, I hope I got my information correct. But yes, you can still get a stroke while in a coma or not. You can get a stroke by a blood clot (in brain or general circulation) or burst blood vessel (in brain and between brain and skull). Since Castiel did get hit in the head, there's a good chance he could get a stroke.
I hope this wasn't too confusing. Since he was watching himself and he is Dean, I had to call the other Dean 'that Dean' so that it wouldn't be too confusing.
It’s early spring morning, with an slightly chilly breeze. Shops are just starting to open up, and the road doesn’t yet have many cars. Birds could be heard chirping.
He’s walking down the street, two set of small bouquets in his hand.
As he got closer to the cemetery, the sunrise came up, everything looking brighter.
The air smelled fresh and crispy from the previous night’s rain.
He paused at the gate of the cemetery, and slowly exhaled the breath he held. Slowly, he entered and walked toward an area that was particularly shaded by a tree.
In front of him, two headstones stood. He pushed his long brown hair back and cleared his throat.
“It’s been 5 years, huh?” He said to the headstone on the left. He set one bouquet down and closed his eyes, breathing deeply.
Then he opened his eyes and gave a small smile. He went down on one knee and gently set the other bouquet on the second grave. He looked at the name. “Take care of him, Castiel.”
He looked at the first grave again. “You too, Dean. Take care of Castiel.” He blinked a couple times, sucked in a deep breath, and got up.
He lingered for a few minutes. Then with a stable exhale, he walked toward the gate again. Right before he exited completely, he turned over his shoulder and looked at the graves: Dean Winchester and Castiel Novak.
“Goodbye, friends,” Sam said quietly and turned.
He stirred restlessly and decided to just stare at the ceiling instead. He’s had a fitful dream that he couldn’t recall and now he just couldn’t go back to sleep.
With a silent sigh, he sat up in bed and stared at the open door, hearing a welcome sizzling sound. He sniffed the air and got up.
“I smell bacon,” he declared and wrapped his arms around the love of his life. He snuggled on the man’s neck, “Mornin’ Cas.”
“Good morning, Dean,” Castiel said warmly and turned his head upward toward his face. Smiling, Dean leaned in and took advantage of that position, kissing Castiel softly and gently, because he knew how much Castiel secretly loved that kind of kisses, the ones where they could kiss all day and never be out of breath.
They kissed for a long moment and then Castiel rested his head on Dean’s shoulder. Dean reveled in his warmth, and rocked back and forth in uncontainable happiness. He was definitely not purring. He was just making happy noises, waking up to this beautiful morning with his Castiel gloriously half-naked. He smiled at last night’s memories.
He stopped rocking back and forth just as Castiel turned his focus back on the bacon. Thinking of last night reminded him of his dream. He frowned, as an unhappy feeling overcame him.
He thought about it. He tried to remember what the dream was about. But it was one of those fleeting dreams that he couldn’t grasp and only left him wisps. All he can remember was the terrible feeling of losing something, losing someone, someone was hurt, and he couldn’t do a damn thing about it, someone, Castiel—
Dean couldn’t reimagine the scene. He was grabbing air. “I had the weirdest dream,” he said out loud.
“Of what?” Castiel asked, looking up to him with those brilliant blue eyes.
Dean couldn’t explain it. He really couldn’t. The dream ran further away the more he tried to remember. All he knew was that the dream bothered him endlessly and woke him up. And even when conscious, the dream lingered on to him annoyingly and nagged at him. It gave him a sense of loss, it gave him a huge feeling of sadness, and overall, it just didn’t feel good. Whatever he dreamed of, it couldn’t have been good.
What’s worse is that when Dean looked at Castiel, he felt like the dream had something to do with Castiel. That terrified him the most.
Without any warning, he groped Castiel’s whole body, reassuring himself that Castiel was wholly here, Castiel’s body warmth seeping into his frightened hands.
Castiel laughed quietly at him, wriggling and looking at him with a questioning half-smile. “What are you doing?”
A bit satisfied, Dean shrugged nonchalantly and sank his head into Castiel’s neck again, gently kissing there. He said quietly, “Just making sure you’re all right.”
He watched Castiel take out the bacon from the pan onto a plate. Then, Castiel moved away, taking away his heat and Dean almost whined. Almost. It was chilly in the mornings, that’s all. Castiel turned around to look at him, soft eyes wondering and asking him silently. He tilted his head adorably and Dean couldn’t help but smiled big, smacking a kiss on his cheek.
Castiel grinned and lifted his hand to Dean’s face, gently tracing whatever he was looking at. “Hmmm,” he hummed thoughtfully, looking him up and down. Then, as if he knew what Dean was worried about, he hugged Dean and said, “Well, I’m perfectly fine, Dean. Thought I showed you that last night.”
Dean burst out laughing and pulled the man closer for another deep kiss, because Castiel deserved many long kisses for as many times as he wants. Dean didn’t mind at all.
He pulled the kiss away though and smiled contentedly, “What would I do if we never met? Things wouldn’t be this good. We wouldn’t be together now.”
Castiel looked surprised at the thought, but then smiled and shook his head. “Nope. We would still be together.”
Dean was surprised. “How so?” He didn’t believe that was possible if they never met.
Castiel looked up adorably as if looking for answers on the ceiling. He pulled their hug apart, grabbed the plate of bacon and set it on the table. He sat down and Dean followed, waiting for his answer.
“Pretend,” Castiel started, grabbing a piece of bacon and chewing, “that you are a CEO of a company.”
Dean snorted because that could never happen. Even if he did, he’d hate the job. Being a CEO sounded like a pain and he just didn’t care for that type of thing. It wasn’t his kind of job.
“Shh, just listen,” Castiel slapped his hand and gave him a pretend disapproval look. A smile was tugging at his lips already. “If you were a CEO of a company, rich as hell, wore expensive suits and accessories—“
Just to bug Castiel, “I’m not a girl, Cas.”
Castiel ignored him and continued, “—and you lived in a huge city, like New York, and you passed by tons of people every day, you deal with a lot of work, important people, and you have to meet deadlines and sign papers and meet with other important people…guess who I’d be?”
“Who?” Dean asked, grinning at him. He put his elbows on the table and clasped his hands together, and put his chin on top, and then made a mock serious expression.
Castiel copied his movements but with an innocent face instead. He licked his fingers and Dean twitched, wondering whether to just drag Castiel to bed again or to retain composure.
“I’d be your doctor.”
Dean didn’t expect that answer and he laughed. “My doctor? Why my doctor?”
“Without my assistance, you’d be getting a heart attack every week,” Castiel said in a mock serious tone, but his eyes were smiling. “You deal with a lot of stress, after all.”
Dean shook his head in disbelief and chuckled, reaching for Castiel’s hand. He pulled it close and kissed it. “Well, thank you, doctor.” He winked suggestively at Castiel, who shook his head but smiled.
“You’re welcome,” Castiel said, and he had the expression—the one that always leave Dean breathless. His eyes stared at him in such a way, the soft smile that looked like it was always there, the overall face that said, I adore you, I love you, I love everything about you, good and bad, you are the miracle in my life.
He continued, and Dean breathed again. “Pretend,” he said softly, catching Dean’s attention first before going on, “Pretend that you’re a mob boss and every day you deal in the dark, do underground dealings, you hurt people. Guess who I’d be?”
That was a drastic change from the previous scenario, and Dean looked at him questioningly, unsure how to answer.
“I’d be your right hand man,” Castiel said, suddenly grinning, and Dean relaxed, grinning as well.
“I’d want you to be,” Dean nodded and then distractedly played with Castiel’s fingers.
“Pretend,” Castiel said slowly, pulling Dean’s hands closer to him, “that you are a student attending college.”
Dean started to vocalize his disagreement, but Castiel cut him off. “You are a student in college studying mechanics and cars, things like that.”
Dean thought about it and it wouldn’t be bad. He loved cars, the inner workings of it, the whole thing. He nodded and kissed the fingers lightly. “Who’d you be in this fantasy?” He teased.
Castiel answered with a suggestive smile, “I’d be your roommate, obviously.”
Dean laughed. “Of course.” If they were roommates, anything and everything would happen in their dorm. Dean grinned at the thought.
Castiel stared at him with that loving expression—serene and fond. Involuntarily, Dean’s stomach did cartwheels. Those dear expressions—Castiel felt them because of him. Dean invoked those feelings in Castiel.
It used to feel strange, to be the main focus, the center of someone’s attention.
His younger brother Sam had most of the attention. Dean didn’t mind that much, because he wanted the best for Sam. Sam didn’t screw up in school like he did. Sam had a brighter future and more paths to walk. His father concentrated more on Sam’s needs and that was okay with Dean too. He himself spent his life looking after Sam and making sure no one picked on Sam. He made sure to hurt anyone who did.
So Dean lived his life in the shadows, taking care of Sam from behind the scenes.
Then Sam grew up and went to law school. Dean and their father were very proud. Their mother would’ve been proud too, if she was alive.
Where Sam went though, Dean couldn’t. Dean was lost, truthfully. He didn’t know what to do next.
Castiel showed up and gave Dean a new purpose in life.
Dean had been working in their father’s auto shop. He was under a car when Castiel showed up, speaking with such a gravelly deep voice that sent shivers down Dean’s spine. Castiel told him that his car had broken down a couple blocks away and he needed help.
When Dean pulled out from the car, and looked up to Castiel for the first time, he was captivated. He didn’t know why or what happened. It just did. The hole Dean felt inside was suddenly gone, like it was filled with something else.
Castiel had a stony gaze on Dean, and for a moment, Dean thought that whatever he felt was all in his head. But, when Castiel spoke, his expression changed, and he sounded unsure of himself, stuttering in his speech, as he tried to explain more of his car situation. His incredible blue eyes were fixated on Dean, and even though he looked away many times, his eyes always came back on Dean, like he couldn’t stop looking.
Somehow, they just clicked together. They were awkward during that first meeting, flustered and shy, yet surprisingly, their conversation flowed easily and Dean found everything fascinating about Castiel.
Dean was disappointed when Castiel’s brother came to get him from the shop. He was sure he’d never meet Castiel again. But Castiel handed him his number and said he wanted to know Dean more. Dean could’ve exploded from sheer happiness.
The rest of their history settled in wonderfully and beautifully, as if it was fate, as if they were always meant to be.
‘What a strange thought,’ Dean chuckled to himself, as he reminisced about their meeting. But he was pulled out of his memories as Castiel continued.
“There’s a lot of scenarios that could’ve happened to both of us and make us take different paths from today,” Castiel said quietly, slowly. Suddenly, filled with awed revelation, “But our paths will always cross.” Castiel looked at him with firm belief.
Something in Dean tingled and he looked at Castiel with confusion.
Castiel explained, with rising determination, “Five, ten, a hundred different worlds of us taking different paths, with different backgrounds and circumstances, wouldn’t matter, Dean. I would eventually meet you in all these worlds and wish to be with you.” Then, with utter complete faith, he declared strongly, “My soul is tied to yours, my love. I will never stop looking for you, because you are my soul mate—in this lifetime, in all lifetimes, always.”
Those words—it hit him so profoundly. His skin tingled and his chest was so full with warmth, he might burst. From his toes through his spine to his head, everything suddenly felt so right, so correct, like the energy all around them was in their perfect place, and so were they. Nothing could be even more perfect.
Castiel looked at him thoughtfully and raised his eyebrows in question.
Dean smiled and pulled Castiel into an affectionate hug, gently kissing every surface of skin he could. Castiel accepted it with a delightful smile. He sighed contently into Dean’s ear and whispered, “I love you so much, Dean.”
This was meant to be. It was always meant to be. “I love you, Cas. I love you more than you could imagine, and beyond.”
That's it! :) Sorry it took so long to get out. I started school and work, and just didn't have the time to write it out.
I hope you guys liked it. Leave a comment if you feel like it, or kudos is fine.
Any mistakes found is mine! I wanted to get this out when I got the chance, or I'd never get it out. So here it is. :)
This chapter is up to any interpretation that you come up with, pretty much. I have a couple of ideas in mind of what actually happened, but it's really up to how you see it. :)
Thanks for reading! Hopefully, see you around!