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Kicking in the door, Ron “Gibby” Gibson shone his flashlight around the smoke filled room. He’d started to leave when the beam hit the large cage in the corner. “What the…” His voice trailed off as he made his way deeper into the large bedroom. The closer he got to the cage, the higher his eyebrows became. At first, he thought there was a large dog laying at the bottom. That was until he crouched next to it and saw the unkempt mop of dark blonde hair and bare back. “Holy shit!” Tilting his head to the side, he reached for the mic of his radio. “This is Gibson. I have one in the upstairs bedroom.”

Standing to his feet, he used the blunt end of his breaching axe to break the lock. Dropping the axe, Gibby reached his gloved hands into the cage putting them under the man's armpits and slowly backing until he had him out of the cage and laid out on the floor.

“Gibson....what’s your status.”

“Damn it.” Reaching for his mic, he pushed the talk button. “Chief...yer not gonna believe this. Get the medics. On my way out with one.” Moving to the man's hip, Gibby put one arm under his shoulders and the other behind his knees and turned toward the door. “Hang on buddy, I’m gonna get you outta here. I gotcha.” Making his way down the hall, he walked sideways so he wouldn’t bump the man’s head on the wall. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, Gibby speed walked to the door, his knees slightly bent against the man’s weight. Ducking his head as he heard the house starting to fall apart around him.

“MEDICS!” Panting from the strain, Gibby didn’t slow down until he was next to the gurney the paramedics pushed toward him. “Cover him with a blanket.” Ripping his helmet and mask from his head and letting them fall to the ground, Gibby took the blanket from the paramedic who wasn’t moving fast enough for his liking. Not only was the man naked as the day he was born but he was wearing thick leather cuffs on his wrists and ankles as well as a leather collar. Stepping back to give the paramedics room, he followed them to the ambulance. “He breathing?”

“Barely but, yeah. We’ll get him to the hospital.” Looking over his shoulder as he pushed the gurney into the back of the ambulance, the paramedic nodded to Gibby. “You saved his life. From the looks of him...in more ways than one.”

He watched the ambulance pull away shaking his head. Turning, he walked over to where he’d left his helmet and mask. Dusting it off, he made his way to the truck. He slowed when he saw the Chief walking toward him. “Hey, Chief.”

“Was he alive?”

Looking toward the road, Gibby nodded. “Yeah. Barely but...yeah. I uhh...I found him in a cage, Chief. Someone had locked him in this...dog cage. He had a collar on and these...thick leather cuffs on his wrists and ankles.”

The Chief shrugged. “Probably some kind of bondage thing gone wrong. Don’t worry about it. Good job.” Clapping Gibby on the shoulder, Chief walked back to the front of truck.

Dean was beside himself, he’d cried every last tear he had in his body each night that had went by while they’d been unable to find Naythin. He and Tag had looked everywhere. Followed leads to dead ends, state to state and road to road. Hell, they’d nearly crossed the continent four times over. There was no way he was ever going to give up, no way in hell, a human being just didn’t disappear. Not even in the world he lived in. If something supernatural had Naythin, he’d find it, figure it out. He wasn’t just gone. In his desperation, he noticed a name in his Dad’s journal that he hadn’t before, which was surprising, he’d thought he’d memorized the thing forward and back. “Ives, Bobby. All it says is Ives… “Going to see Ives today.” And there’s a phone number.” That had been the conversation that he and Bobby’d had a month ago, before he’d sent for this Ives woman. She was apparently a strong psychic, different from all the others. Dean wasn’t sure what that meant, but Bobby had nodded his agreement that if anyone knew where to find Naythin, on this plain of existence or the other it was indeed Vanessa Ives.

The knock on Bobby’s front door had him and Tag reaching for their guns even as Bobby went to the door to answer it, waving both he and Tag back. Maybe he’d become trigger happy or paranoid, but who could blame him? A man entered Bobby’s house first, young, early thirties maybe, with dark hair and eyes that were slightly slanted. Slanted the way Sam’s had been as a kid when he hadn’t yet lost all of his baby fat. The woman who he drew in next to him, hugging her to his side like a frightened kitten had dark hair and deep blue eyes that sparkled, even from across the room. She barely glanced up at him as she made her way over, leaning heavily into the man with her.

“Dean, this is Vanessa Ives and the gentleman with her is her beau Ethan Chandler,” Bobby introduced.

Dean gave a curt nod and offered his hand first to Ethan to shake, gripping his hand firmly before releasing it. He reached that same had out to Vanessa only to see her cower back against Ethan as she stared at his hand like it was something to fear.

“Maybe it’d be best not to do that,” Ethan offered gently, giving Dean a curt nod and a slight smile.

Dean looked from Vanessa, the frail and frightened woman, to Ethan and nodded as he let his hand fall to his side. “Sorry. I uh, I need to find my husband,” he began as he turned and lead the way back into Bobby’s study.

“We know why we’re here,” Ethan supplied with another soft smile and curt nod of his head.

Bobby stayed next to the door as Ethan and Vanessa walked in. The hair on the back of his neck stood up straight as the woman walked past him. Every Hunter instinct in him was screaming to get her out of the house NOW. Closing the door, he eased past the pair, his hand going to Dean’s shoulder, squeezing gently as he made his way into his office. “Let ‘em in, son.” He knew Dean was desperate. If this Ives woman couldn’t help, Bobby was worried he’d lose Dean too.

Turning to Ethan, Bobby nodded as he pointed to the small table he had set up with five chairs surrounding it. “Either of you want anything to drink? I know it was a long drive so…” He had no idea where this Ives woman lived, only that Ethan had told him it would take them a while to get there.

Tag stepped forward from the side to shake Ethan’s hand and quietly introduce himself before stepping back out of Ethan and Vanessa’s way as they headed for the table. His eyes went to Dean and not for the first time he wondered how sane a discussion this was, bringing this strange woman here in the hopes that she would know what all the other psychics Bobby had tried had not known.

Ethan dipped his head a little and peered around Vanessa’s profile in an attempt to see her face as he lifted his brows in question, silently asking her if she wanted anything to drink despite the fact that down deep he knew she would decline.

Vanessa gave a barely there shake of her head as she lifted a hand and laid the back of it against Ethan’s shoulder, her arm against his. Her eyes were focused on Dean and Dean alone as a smile slowly curved her lips upward at the corners.

Ethan looked up at Bobby and gave his head a curt shake. “But I’d take a brandy if you have it, or a whisky I’m not much picky about it.” He smiled outright, the corners of his eyes crinkling softly.

Nodding, Bobby headed for the kitchen. “Whisky I’ve got.” He didn’t have to ask Dean or Tag if they wanted any. Opening the cabinet, Bobby pulled out a new bottle of whisky along with four glasses. Taking them back to the table, he poured a good amount in each glass. Setting the bottle on his desk, Bobby waved the group over. Picking up one of the glasses, he handed it to Ethan, his eyes darting to Vanessa as she stared at Dean. The alarm bells and whistles going off all over again. There was something...odd about that woman. Bobby just couldn’t put his finger on it. “Okay. How does this work...exactly.” Picking up his glass, he downed half of the amber liquid in one quick motion before lowering the glass back to the table.

Ethan pulled out one of the chairs for Vanessa and pushed it closer to the table once she was seated. Looking up, his smile widened a bit more as he took the offered glass from Bobby. He dipped his head as he raised the glass in a gesture of thanks before tipping the glass to his lips and knocking back most of its contents. Lowering the glass, he then took a seat next to Vanessa and set the glass on the table top, lifting one hand and laying it dutifully on her shoulder.

Vanessa smiled a bit more widely as she reached up and removed her black bonnet, setting the hat on the table to her side. “Why don’t we all have a seat?” She suggested, her voice thick with an English accent. Her eyes returned to Dean and she watched him, watched every movement that he made and her eyes lowered with him as he took a seat in one of the chairs across from her.

Knocking back the remaining whisky in his glass, Bobby pulled a chair out putting himself between Dean and Tag. His knee bumping lightly against the pistol holster he had rigged to the underside of the table. All he had to do was reach under the table and wrap his fingers around the grip. He didn’t even need to take it out of the holster to shoot the person sitting across from him. The clip of the handgun contained consecrated iron rounds as well as silver. Can’t be too careful nowadays.

Vanessa’s wide eyes moved to each individual around the table, except for Ethan, one of her hands reaching for his at her shoulder instead. “There is no exact way to do this, Mister Singer,” Vanessa responded to Bobby’s earlier question as her eyes went to Dean, staring at him intently.

“So Dean, tell me about your husband. Tell me about the man with the blue eyes,” Vanessa invited with a smile curving her lips as she narrowed her eyes slightly.

Dean hadn’t taken his eyes off the woman since after shaking Ethan’s hand. There was something strange about her, but then in his opinion most psychics were freaks, this Vanessa woman just seemed like a bigger freak than most. The second she spoke of Naythin, his eyes widened marginally before he was able to hide his surprise that she knew the color of his eyes when nothing had been said regarding such.

“What do you want to know? I love him...he’s been gone for...for three years,” Dean responded, swallowing hard with the last of his words.

Vanessa’s free hand reached across the table for Dean’s and she laid her palm against the back of Dean’s hand as she gazed at him for a long moment before speaking. “Yes, I know. Three years, two months, three days and four hours…” An almost crazed smile flashed across her features before disappearing just as fast as it had appeared. In its place was a very kind, friendly, and perhaps even sympathetic smile, “To be exact.”

Dean’s hand pulled immediately from beneath Vanessa’s out of reflex and every muscle in his body tensed as he sat up straighter in his chair. His eyes darted briefly from Vanessa to Ethan and back. “Yeah...yeah…” he agreed. What the hell do you say to something like that? Sonofabitch!

Bobby tensed, his hand going under the table stopping just short of the pistol as he looked over at Tag. No one had said anything to Ethan that day on the phone. Tag and Dean had been standing in the kitchen with Bobby when he’d made the call. Hell, he didn’t even give him Naythin’s name much less what color his eyes were.

“Vanessa’s very powerful,” Ethan murmured softly, almost too softly to be heard, “If anyone can find your husband, she can,” he assured with a nod to Dean. He reached for his whisky with his free hand and knocked what remained in the glass back, grimacing slightly at the burn as he set the glass back down on the table top.

Vanessa’s smile flashed back to the almost crazed one and her head rolled on her shoulders as a low groan sounded from deep in her throat. When her head stopped rolling on her shoulders her eyes, eyes that had darkened in color from blue to nearly midnight blue, locked on Dean. “Tell me, tell me about your sweet, sweet boy. Little boy blue come blow your horn? Oh, it seems he's been blowing a lot of horns lately. Such a tight ass, such a lovely little tight ass. Tell me, Dean, do you like it in his ass? Do you like his tight ass?” She chuckled, the sound knowing and dirty as she stared unflinchingly at Dean. “The others did, oh how they liked that tight little ass.”

Dean was up out of his chair and halfway across the table, reaching for the bitch’s neck before he knew what was happening. “You fuckin’ little bitch!” he growled.

Ethan was up from his chair so fast it tipped over backward and he placed himself between Dean and Vanessa, pushing against Dean’s chest as he blocked Vanessa from arm. “Easy! Easy! Sit down! She...she doesn’t mean it. She doesn’t know what she’s saying. Please.”

Vanessa cackled maniacally with glee, her head tipping back on her shoulders before those wide midnight blue eyes found Dean’s again, her smile as wide and as crazed as a Jack O'Lanterns. “Oh yes, yes, yes! Such a bad little boy, little boy in the corner with the tears in his eyes. His big blue eyes. Your boy in the corner. Your boy with tears in his eyes…”

Bobby jumped out of his chair when Dean did. Wrapping his arms around his waist, he pulled Dean off the table. Dragging him a few feet away from it, he locked his hand around his other wrist to keep a solid hold on him. “Easy, Dean. Easy, son.” Looking over Dean’s shoulder, he glared at Ethan. “Sounds like she knows exactly what she’s sayin’ to me.” He didn’t need the mental image that went along with what the woman was saying.

Ethan shook his head. “No. She doesn’t.” He looked from Bobby to Vanessa and back. “It...when it takes hold of her,” he shook his head again, “She never remembers.”

Tag had jumped up from the table at the same time as Dean and Bobby and was now standing with his rifle in his hands, just waiting for Dean or Bobby to say the word and he’d blow this crazy bitch back to whatever mental ward she’d crawled out of.

“Home,” Vanessa mused, “Go home, Dean. Home is where you will find your boy. The boy in the corner with tears in his eyes and fire on his skin.”

Dean didn’t even try to hide the tears that sprang to his eyes at the things Vanessa was saying. “Shut up! Just shut up! Yer wrong! He…” Dean’s words trailed off as he shook his head and nearly collapsed against Bobby. “Yer wrong,” he whispered hoarsely. “He can’t...no...please, God, no…”

Vanessa’s head snapped up, her face tipped up toward the ceiling looking up at the devil’s trap above them. Lowering her head, she smiled a crazed smile and began to climb up and over the table toward Dean and Bobby, stomping her feet as she reached the table top. “The devil doesn’t live here. Here, with the mark to keep demons at bay. Do you think I’m a demon? Do you think you can trap me here? Legion can not be trapped, not by the likes of you. Run, Dean, run to your boy, run home to Kansas!” Each word grew in volume until she was yelling the last of it.

Ethan reached for Vanessa, pulling her back and into his arms. He fought her struggles, holding her fast as he whispered words of love in her ear. “Easy, Vanessa. Easy, baby. I know you’re in there. I know you’re in there, Vanessa. Easy,” he whispered so only she could hear.

Legion quieted, soothed somewhat by Ethan’s words. But Vanessa’s eyes remained locked on Dean, even as Ethan wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her in against his side. “You have your answers, I think we should go...I’m...I’m sorry for the...frankness of her words,” Ethan murmured, “Like I said, she doesn’t know what she says. Later, I’m sure she’ll be scandalized by her behavior here tonight.”

Bobby’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Legion. Holy Mary Mother of God. Listen to your gut, Singer. Listen to your gut. Tightening his arms around Dean as he nearly collapsed, Bobby looked over at Tag. The only thing the rifle would do is piss it off. “Tag...stand down, boy.” Powerful psychic, my ass. Vanessa Ives was possessed by Legion. Lucifer himself was afraid of him...them. Shit. “I uh...yeah...I think you should…” He was cut off when the house phone, the real house phone started to ring.

Tag’s eyes darted between the two strangers, one stranger than the other, and Bobby. After a moment he gave a curt nod and did as Bobby said and lowered his rifle. If anyone knew what the crazy ass woman was going on about, whatever this Legion was it was Bobby.

Ethan nodded and quickly directed Vanessa toward the door where they’d entered. He turned his head and was about to apologize again when the ringing of a telephone cut him off. His mouth snapped closed and he returned his attention to getting Vanessa out the door, closing it softly behind them.

Detective Damon Rice was hammering away at his keyboard trying to get the last of his paperwork done so he could start his weekend early. He was planning on spending the weekend at his cabin fishing and forgetting about the rest of the world. That is, until his partner walked up and dropped a missing persons poster on top of his keyboard. Picking it up, Damon knew his weekend had just been ruined. “What’s this?” He asked as he scanned the photos and the information printed under them.

Detective Brian Lowe sat on the edge of Damon’s desk and poked at the poster. “He’s been found...alive, barely but still.”

Damon’s eyebrows rose as he looked at the date the guy...Naythin Darrell Winchester...went missing. “Three years? Damn.” Shrugging, he tossed the poster on his desk next to his monitor and resumed typing. “So…?”

“So? He was found in an abandoned burning house by the fire department.” Leaning to the side, Brian pinned his partner with a hard look. “He was in a dog cage, naked with ankle and wrist cuffs AND wearing a dog collar. Doc said he’s at least thirty pounds underweight, dehydrated and been through hell. They had to sedate him when he came to keep him from hurting himself when he tried to get away. He kept saying…I’m sorry...I’ll be good.

Leaning back in his chair, Damon looked up at his partner. “I hate you right now. Ya know that, right?” Lifting his hand, Damon ran it down his face with a heavy sigh. “Has anyone contacted this…” Picking up the poster, he found the contact phone number. “Bobby Singer?”

“Nope. Prints just came back verifying his identity.” Brian stood to his full height and walked around to sit at his desk. “You want me to make the call?”

Damon stared at the photo of the smiling man leaning against the side of a black car. “No. No, I got it.” This was one part of his job he liked. Contacting the family and telling them their loved one has been found. Sighing again, he plucked the receiver from the cradle and started punching in the phone number. Leaning back in his seat, he kicked his feet up onto the corner of his desk.

Glancing at Tag, Bobby slowly walked Dean to the nearest chair. “Keep an eye on him.” After Dean was sitting, Bobby hurried into the kitchen. Picking up the receiver, he tucked it between his ear and shoulder as he walked back to the counter. “Singer Salvage.”

“Yeah, Hi. I’m looking for a...Bobby Singer.” Damon sat up in his chair reaching for the piece of paper Brian was handing him. Scanning it quickly, he saw it had the name of the hospital along with the doctor’s name that was assigned to Mr. Winchester.

“Who’s askin’?” Always cautious, Bobby turned and leaned against the counter.

“Right. My name is Detective Damon Rice. I’m with the Salina Kansas Police Department.”

Swallowing hard, Bobby stood to his full height. His heart dropped into his gut and his palms were sweaty. “Uh huh...this is Bobby Singer. What can I do for ya, Detective.”

“Mr. Singer. I’m calling about Naythin Darrell Winchester. Your name is on the missing persons poster?” Leaning forward, Damon pushed the keyboard out of his way as he leaned his forearm on his desk. “We found Naythin, Mr. Singer. He’s alive.”

“Come again?” Bobby wasn’t sure he heard the man right the first time. There had been many close calls over the past three years. It was surprising how many men out there looked like their Naythin.

“I said, we found Naythin, Mr. Singer. He’s alive. Right now, he’s at Salinas Regional Health Center.” Frowning slightly, Damon sat up in his chair. “I can give you the information if you want it.”

Bobby started to shake, he could feel the sting of tears in the corners of his eyes. Don’t get your hopes up, Singer. It’s not the first time you’ve had a call like this. “Detective, I’m gonna need some kind of...proof it’s really my son-in-law.” Turning, Bobby walked toward the back door, stretching the cord as far as it would go.

Lifting his free hand, Damon rubbed at the back of his neck. “We ran his prints. They came back to him along with a couple mug shots so, yeah. It’s him.”

Dean was shaking so bad he nearly shook himself right off the chair Bobby had put him in. Tag’s hand on his shoulder had been the other thing that kept him seated. When Bobby answered the phone, Dean hadn’t thought that much about it, his eyes and his mind still on the woman who had just walked out the door. When he heard Bobby say the words son-in-law, his shaking got three times as bad and tears pooled in his eyes, one slipping from his tight grasp to roll down the center of his cheek.

Tag’s hand tightened on Dean’s shoulder as he listened to the one sided phone conversation. If this was some kind of sick joke he was going to find the fuckers responsible and shoot them right between the eyes. His thumb brushed up and down along the back of Dean’s neck in an effort to calm him, even a little.

Slowly pulling to his feet, Dean crossed the distance between himself and Bobby like a zombie, he couldn’t even remember the walk across the room. In his mind he was just suddenly there. “Is...is it really him?” he choked out softly, his voice husky with unshed tears.

After writing down the name of the hospital as well as the Detective’s name. Bobby thanked him before turning and starting back across the kitchen to hang up the phone. He stopped mid stride when he saw Dean standing in the doorway. Glaring at Tag, Bobby crossed the remaining few feet and carefully hung up the phone. “It’s him. They found Naythin. He’s alive. He’s uh...he’s in a hospital in Salinas, Kansas.” Looking from Dean to Tag and back again, Bobby handed the paper to Tag. “He’s two hours from Lawrence.” ”Go home, Dean. Home is where you will find your boy.” She...it...they hadn’t been wrong.

Dean couldn’t hold back the tears as Bobby’s words slammed into his chest hard enough to have him stagger stepping backward into Tag. “He...he’s in...Kansas…” He swallowed hard. “Such a tight ass, such a lovely little tight ass. Tell me, Dean, do you like it in his ass? Do you like his tight ass? The others did, oh how they liked that tight little ass.” Oh God. Oh God, no. “Did...was he…?” He couldn’t even say the word. He couldn’t even force his lips to pucker into the shape of the first letter, R. If she was right about Kansas...Tears slipped unchecked from Dean’s eyes, rolling down his cheeks. The one thing he managed to hang onto, the one small bit of self control he managed to maintain was the fact that he wept silently.

Reaching out, Bobby gripped Dean’s shoulder. “I don’ know, son. The detective said he was alive. It’s all I really cared about at the moment.” Naythin was alive. After three years of non stop searching. Calling in every favor, turning over every rock, threatening and using every trick they knew to find him. Sonofabitch. There were more than a few times, Bobby was ready to give up, throw in the towel that they weren’t ever going to find Naythin. It was as if he’d fell off the face of the planet. They’d put up a reward which brought out every money hungry lunatic in the country and even a few outside of the country. The Hunter APB had gone out within the first couple of hours of Naythin’s disappearance.

Lifting his free hand, Bobby dragged it down his face, wiping away any evidence of the tears that had slipped from his eyes to roll down his cheeks. Stepping into Dean, Bobby wrapped his arms around him. “He’s alive. He’s alive.”

Dean wrapped his arms around Bobby in turn as tears streaked down his face. There’d been many nights that he’d yelled to the heaven’s for some help, to give him a sign that they should keep looking, and he’d received nothing at all. It was a little amazing that after all that, a skittish and timid woman possessed by Legion comes in and she’s the break they’d been searching for all this time. Everything she’d said had been coming true...which meant that his baby had been raped. He just hoped like hell that Legion was a bit of a drama queen and it hadn’t been happening to Naythin all this time. He closed his eyes and gave himself a mental shake, if he thought about that too hard, too much, it would likely drive him insane and he needed to be there for Naythin. That thought had him stepping back from Bobby’s embrace. “We have to leave, I need to see him...go to him,” Dean exclaimed, his eyes wide as if the thought had just occurred to him that he could, in fact, go see his husband. Before anyone had the chance to say anything, Dean was rushing toward the door at a near full out run. He yanked the door open and ran across the yard to the Impala. Salinas, Kansas. It was just outside Lawrence, home. Just like the woman, Vanessa had said. Possessed or not, had the woman still been around he could have kissed her full on the lips. Thank God. Thank God! Naythin was alive. His baby was alive! After fumbling with the keys, from how hard he was shaking, he managed to get the Impala’s door unlocked. “Tag! Bobby! Are you guys comin’ with me or takin’ yer own vehicles?” he yelled loud enough for Tag and Bobby to hear wherever they were, Dean really wasn’t concerned at the moment with where the two men had gotten off to, if they’d moved at all from where they’d been standing inside the house when he made a run for it. All he could think about, all he cared about, was going to see Naythin.

It had been on the tip of his tongue to try and tell Dean to wait until the next morning. To get a fresh start before driving down to Kansas. Bobby knew Dean had been awake for 24 hours. Trying to get the kid to wait would be useless. Turning to Tag, Bobby ran a hand over his face, wiping away the tears that had rolled down his cheeks. Sniffling softly, “Go tell that idjit to give us ten minutes to pack. I gotta make a couple calls. I have a feeling we’re gonna be down there for a while.” All the detective had said was that Naythin was alive. Nothing more. That had Bobby worrying. Alive could mean a lot of different things.

Tag nodded to Bobby and clapped a hand on his shoulder as he passed him, headed for the front door. He paused halfway to the door but didn’t turn around. “You know Dean’s gonna want revenge on whoever...or whatever took him,” he mused.

Walking to his desk, Bobby stopped when he heard Tag. “I know. We just gotta make sure he doesn’t take off before we get Naythin home.”

Tag gave a curt nod and continued to and out the door. “Dean, Bobby said to give him a few minutes so he can pack a bag,” he called as he walked down the front steps toward Dean and the Impala. “Not all of us live out of our vehicles these days.” He was referring of course to Bobby. He and Dean however had most everything they owned in their vehicles.

Dean huffed softly and blew out a breath as he hung his head forward, his chin nearly to his chest as he squeezed his eyes closed. He waited there a couple of minutes like that before picking up his head and opening his eyes, his head turning slightly to meet Tag’s gaze. “I don’t have time to wait. Naythin’s waited long enough for us to find him, I’m not gonna make him wait any longer than he has to.” He pulled open the driver’s side door open and looked back at Tag. “Tell Bobby we’ll meet up at the hospital. Tell him I had to go. And when he gets pissed, ask him what he’d do if it was Karen.” Dean slid in behind the wheel and reached for the door handle as he inserted the key into the ignition.

Shit. Tag looked from Dean to the house and back again. The last thing Dean needed to do was head to that hospital alone. The first person who looked cross eyed at him was liable to wind up in the hospital him or herself. No. No way. He had to go with him. He looked back toward the house and yelled loud enough for Bobby to hear. “Dean’s takin’ off, I’m gonna follow him!” He looked back at Dean and nodded. “Try an’ keep it under a hundred?”

Dean’s lips twitched slightly at the corners before he pulled the car door closed and revved the engine. “When Naythin’s home I’ll worry about what speed I’m goin’,” he responded. He shifted the car into gear and pulled past Tag who was quickly running across the yard to his truck. Dean chuckled and gave his head a shake. “Yer never gonna keep up with me in that thing.” Reaching the long driveway that lead out to the road, Dean floored it, the back tires kicking up dirt and gravel as the Impala took off like a bat out of hell.

The first call Bobby made was to Ellen telling her Naythin had been found and he was alive. Her first question…”Define alive, Bobby?” He couldn’t answer her. He didn’t know. Bobby gave her what little information he had, telling her Dean, Tag and himself were going to Kansas. The sound of the Impala roaring out of the yard had Bobby swearing under his breath.

“Lemme guess, Dean just took off.”

“Damn idjit. Can’t say I blame him.” Huffing, Bobby ended the call with Ellen promising to fill her in as soon as they knew anything else.

The second and final call he made was to the Salina Police Department to get a feel for the Detective that called. Not that Bobby didn’t trust him, okay, he didn’t. The supervisor wasn’t in so Bobby left a message asking him to call Special Agent in charge, Randall Rhodes of the FBI. It was a kidnapping case. The FBI got involved in those types so it sounded legit. Hanging up the phone, he hurried up the stairs to throw a bag together before running out of the house, keys at the ready for his Charger. Tossing the bag in the back seat, he slammed the car door, shoved the key in the ignition and started the engine. Without giving the car time to warm up, he slammed the gear stick in drive and smashed the gas peddle down to the floorboard leaving a rooster tail of dirt and dust in his wake as he flew down the driveway.

Chapter Text

Dean didn’t know if anyone else stopped or not along the way to the Hospital in Salina, he didn’t bother to look behind him to see if Tag was still on his ass and he didn’t answer his cell the couple of times it rang. He had a one track mind and drove with a purpose, his eyes slightly narrowed, jaw tense, a muscle in it twitching under the strain as he ground his teeth to dust. His lips were pressed into a firm thin line and his eyes laser focused on the blacktop that stretched out before him. The only time he bothered to even glance down was to make sure he had gas in the car as he started passing turn offs for gas, food and lodging. Nearly a full tank, he was good to go. The next time he slowed the car from near supersonic speeds, or at least that’s what Bobby would likely say when they all finally met back up, was when he pulled into the hospital parking lot. He pulled up to the front door of the hospital and parked the Impala crookedly in one of the front parking places, nearly taking up nearly two whole spots. He was out of the car practically before the engine had turned off. He took off for the entrance at a full out run. His momentum was stopped when he nearly ran smack dab into the information desk as he entered the hospital. “Uh...Naythin. Naythin Winchester. He was brought in a few hours ago. He’s my husband, where is he? I wanna...I need to see him.” He was ready to climb over the desk and strangle one of the women if they didn’t start moving faster. Did they not understand that his husband had just been brought into the hospital? Sonofabitch! “Look, could you hurry up? He’s...he’s been missin’ for the last three years and…” He heaved a heavy sigh when neither woman looked as frantic as he thought they should, “And he was finally found and was brought here. I need to see him, right. now.!”

Getting to her feet, Donna walked around the desk. Nodding to the other nurse as she picked up the phone, Donna smiled as she stopped in front of Dean. “Mr. Winchester. I understand how badly you want to see your husband. If you’ll just give us a couple minutes to contact Dr. Norris, he’ll gladly fill you in on his condition and take you to him.” The man looked like he hadn’t slept in days. He was practically vibrating as he shifted his weight back and forth on his feet, his fingers flexing repeatedly at his sides. She was about to suggest he sit down in the family waiting room around the corner but knew it would fall on deaf ears. Everyone in the hospital had heard about the man that had been found locked in a cage in a burning house just outside of town. Looking past Dean as another man ran through the doors, she nodded to him as he stopped next to Dean putting a hand on his shoulder.

Taking his glasses off, Dr. Norris dropped them on top of the file. Raising his hand, he pinched the bridge of his nose letting out an exasperated sigh. “Detective Rice. As I told you on the phone AND when Mr. Winchester was brought in, it could be sometime before you’re able to speak with him. He is heavily sedated.”

“I understand your desire to protect your patient, doctor.”

“Do you? Do you, really understand, Detective?” Dr. Norris was rapidly losing his patience.

“Yes. I do. I need to speak with Mr. Winchester while the events of his kidnapping are fresh in his mind so we can find the people that did this to him.” Damon leaned forward in his chair, his elbows resting on his knees as he looked across the desk at Dr. Norris.

“Fresh in his mind?” Huffing and shaking his head, Dr. Norris sat back in his chair. “Detective. I doubt a day will go by that the events of his kidnapping will be anything but fresh in his mind for the rest of his life.” The soft ringing of his phone drew the doctor’s attention away from the detective. “Excuse me.” Picking up the receiver, Dr. Norris nodded. “Thank you. I’ll be right down.” Hanging up the phone, Dr. Norris stood to his feet. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Detective. Mr. Winchester’s family is here.” Without waiting for a response, Dr. Norris walked around his desk to his office door. Pulling it open, he looked back over his shoulder. “I’ll call you when my patient is stable, Detective.” Turning, Dr. Norris walked out of the door leaving it open behind him.

Dean nearly jumped out of his skin when Tag laid a hand on his shoulder. He’d been ready to strangle the nurse because as much as she said she understood, she did not understand. He had to keep grinding his molars so he didn’t wind up losing it like some girl on prom night. He blew out a breath as the nurse walked around the desk to the phone. Okay. She’s calling the doctor. It’s okay. Calm down. You’ll be in with Naythin soon. He hoped something cruel and horrible ate each and every one of the people that kept him away from Naythin even a moment longer.

“Dean, buddy, you need to calm down a little,” Tag murmured softly, keeping his voice low and even so as to not excite Dean any more than he already was. “I know you wanna see him. Hell, we all do. But there’s a procedure to all this. It’s gonna be okay. We’re on the last stretch to the finish line.”

Dean was about to tell Tag what he could do with his finish line when a doctor headed their way and Dean’s heart nearly jumped into his throat. “Doctor Norris!?” he inquired hopefully, his eyes almost comically wide, not that there was anything even remotely funny.

Smiling, Dr. Norris held his hand out. “Mr. Winchester. Nice to meet you.” Looking at Tag, he gave him a quick once over before turning his attention back to Dean. “Why don’t we go in here and talk.” Raising his arm, he indicated to a small enclosed waiting room.

Dean shook the doctor’s hand and released it. “Where’s Naythin? Can I see him? I need to see him? Please.” When the doctor wanted to go into a waiting room and talk, Dean got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, that woman, Vanessa’s words coming back to the forefront of his mind. He swallowed hard and walked forward, glancing back to make sure Tag was following him as he walked into the room. It wasn’t until then that he noticed the way the doctor kept looking at Tag. “Oh uh, this...this is my b-bra-brother, Tag.” Yep, he was shaking so hard he’d been reduced to full on stuttering.

Closing the door behind them, Dr. Norris turned and walked over to the two rows of chairs. “Have a seat. This...this will take a while.” This was one part of his job he hated the most. Next to informing family members that their mother, brother, father, sister had passed away in his care or before he ever had the chance to try and save them.

Dean swallowed hard and stood next to the chair the doctor had indicated. “I...can I just see Naythin now?”

“Dean, let the doctor tell you what’s goin’ on first,” Tag murmured softly as he laid a hand on Dean’s shoulder. “C’mon, take a seat. I’m sure the doctor’ll take you to him as soon as he finishes.” Tag shot the doctor a hard look that brooked no argument on the matter.

Dean fidgeted for a moment before taking a seat. Nope, this was not like him at all. He never fidgeted. Never. He was never this scared, panicked, anxious, nervous...you name it, as he was in that very moment. He couldn’t figure out what to do with his hands so he gripped the arms of the chair he sat in as he faced the doctor and gave a curt nod for the man to begin.

Taking a seat in the chair directly across from Dean, Dr. Norris shrugged out of his coat. Folding it in half, he laid it on the chair next to him. Looking up at Tag, he nodded slowly. “I will take you both to see Naythin as soon as we’re through here. You have my word.” Looking back at Dean, the doctor leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees. “What did the detective tell you about your husband’s condition?” He didn’t want to repeat anything they may already know regarding his patient's condition. He could tell the man sitting in front of him was barely hanging on by a thread as it was.

Dean’s lips parted and Vanessa’s words ran through his mind again. He cleared his throat as if by doing so he could erase what she’d said. “Uh, not...not much. Just that they’d found Naythin, that he was alive and that he was here. After that,” he shook his head, “I just got in the car and headed here.” He looked over at Tag wondering if there might be more to the story that Bobby had shared with Tag but not with him.

Tag nodded to Dean’s words. “Bobby, uh, or Dad, he uh, he was the one that took the call. That was what he told us after hanging up the phone,” he clarified.

Dean looked back at the doctor expectantly when Tag finished speaking. Tell me she’s wrong. Please tell me that she’s wrong. Say that he bumped his head and had amnesia...or hell if it has to be then fine; say Naythin was kidnapped, but that’s it, nothing else. Just. that. If he were honest with himself he already knew better. He knew better because if it was that easy the doctor wouldn’t be in here having this conversation with him.

“He’s stable, for now. We had to heavily sedate him to keep him from hurting himself. When he was found, he was unconscious. Naythin woke up in the ambulance and the paramedics sedated him for his safety as well as theirs. Once he got to the hospital, we were in the midst of evaluating his injuries when he woke up and starting fighting again. It took several orderlies to get him under control enough to put him under.” Leaning back in the chair, Dr. Norris reached into the pocket of his coat for a small notebook. Taking it out, he flipped it open until he found the page he was looking for. “He’s severely dehydrated and malnourished. There’s some smoke inhalation but nothing that will cause any problems in the future.” Setting the notebook on his leg, he looked first to Tag then to Dean. “Those are the least of his injuries.”

Dean leaned forward, his elbows bent on his knees as the doctor began to speak. One leg bounced while he cradled one hand in the other and chewed nervously at his fingernails. He actually managed to stay calm the entire time the doctor spoke. Okay, so far it’s bad but not like what Vanessa had said. Okay...okay… When the doctor said that those were the least of his energies he wasn’t as surprised as maybe he should have been. Hell, there were times he’d come back from a Hunt in that bad a shape, or close to it.

Dr. Norris waited a couple of minutes to see if Dean or Tag had any questions. When neither man spoke up, he sighed and flipped the page on the notebook. “Mr. Winchester, can you tell me what, if any, broken bones Naythin had before he went missing?”

Dean’s eyes widened marginally and he looked from the doctor to Tag and back as he shifted forward a little more in his seat. “Broken bones?” he echoed and swallowed hard, his brow creasing briefly as he looked down at the floor. “Uh, yeah, sure. Um, broken arm...the ulna bone. Broken ankle, couple of broken toes. Uh, the pinky and middle toe I think. He’s had a couple of broken ribs before too,” he shrugged a shoulder. “That’s all I can think of off hand.”

Nodding slowly, Dr. Norris sighed as he looked down at the notebook. “It seems Naythin has had multiple broken ribs since then. Both wrists have been fractured. His lower right leg was broken just below the knee and reset. From the looks of it, not by a medical professional. We’ll have to see how well he gets around on it before we determine if it has to be re-broken and set again. Both of his shoulders show signs of being dislocated. His right cheek bone and lower orbital bone have been broken. There is some muscle damage because of it. His nose has been broken.” Flipping a couple pages on the notebook, he sighed before leaning forward. “There’s more.”

Dean drew back, sitting more upright as he looked at Tag and then back at the doctor, tilting his head as if he possibly hadn’t heard him correctly. “More?”

Running a hand over his face, Dr. Norris nodded slowly. “Yes, I’m afraid so. He has numerous...what can only be described as bite wounds. One on his neck, one over each nipple, one in the middle of his chest, one on the inside of each thigh and…” Looking up at Tag, Dr. Norris pinned him with a hard look before turning his attention back at Dean. “One on the underside of his penis. He has scars and open wounds on his back, buttocks, as well as the backs of his thighs that look like whip marks. The same marks are across his penis as well as his testicles. He has urine burns on his testicles, the inside as well as the backs of his thighs and lower part of his buttocks.” Closing the notebook, Dr. Norris set it aside. “There is also significant amounts of anal tearing both exterior and interior. It is extensive. There is scarring along the anal walls. We have him on high doses of antibiotics. He received two pints of blood when he was first brought in due to how anemic he was. He’ll be receiving a third pint today. We have him on a saline drip to get him re-hydrated as quickly as possible without overloading his system.”

The more the doctor said the more Dean ground his molars to the point that he’d be lucky to still have them once this was over. His hands lowered to the chair arms somewhere between all the bites and whip marks. His fingers tightened around the wood, turning his knuckles white. He was going to kill them. Every last one of them. Every vampire on this planet, he was going to annihilate them and turn them into the myth he and Sam had thought they were so long ago. He was back to shaking again, not that he noticed it until Tag gripped an arm and suddenly caused it to hold still. Huh. Okay then. His head turned and he met Tag’s gaze head on. He knew that the Hunter and ex-Army sniper knew exactly what he was thinking. By the time the doctor got to anal scarring, Dean was up on his feet, his entire body shaking like a leaf in a stiff breeze. “Please, I-I need to see him.” He had a one track mind but it did derail for half a second as he looked the doctor in the eye. “Do you know who did this to my Naythin? Have the police caught anyone?”

“Your husband was found in an abandoned farm house outside of town by the fire department. From what I was understand, he was...he was found in a cage in one of the back bedrooms. He was naked except for thick leather cuffs on his wrists and ankles as well as a large leather collar around his neck. No one else was found in the house. You’d have to talk to the detectives in charge of the case for any other information.”

“Sonofabitch!” Dean growled through clenched teeth. His eyes swung to Tag and he knew that the other Hunter knew exactly what he was thinking because Tag quickly and adamantly started to shake his head.

“No, Dean. I’ll go. I’ll help the detectives find who did this. You...you go with Naythin. He’s gonna need you once he wakes up, man,” he murmured. Glancing up at the doctor he was impressed that the guy actually had sense enough to look away and pretend to be occupied with his cell phone. Looking back at Dean, he lifted his brows pointedly. “I mean it, Dean. Naythin needs you.”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, okay. I know. I know...just...keep me informed. I want these sonsabitches to pay for what they did to him.”

“I’ll update you as soon as I know anything,” Tag vowed.

Dean nod of acceptance. “Thanks, man,” he murmured softly, almost too low to hear unless you knew Dean.

Tag gave Dean’s shoulder a firm yet gentle squeeze. “Don’t mention it. You’d do the same for me.”

Dean nodded and swallowed hard as he turned his attention back to the doctor. “Can...can I go see him now?”

Getting to his feet, Dr. Norris picked up his coat and slipped his arms in the sleeves. Straightening the coat over his shoulders, he dropped the small notepad in one of the pockets. “I’ll take you to him now but, you have to understand. He looks nothing like he did when you last saw him. I saw the missing person’s flyer and…” Shrugging, he sighed as he headed for the door.

Dean reached a hand out and caught the doctor’s shoulder before he could open the door and walk out. “Wait, what do you mean he looks nothing like he did? You mean the broken bones and bruises...the injuries?” Dean’s mind slowly caught up with what the doctor was saying, knowing that it was a nest of vamps that had Naythin, or one vamp in particular, that would explain the anemia. So...he’s pale. Okay. He swallowed hard and was almost afraid to hear what else the doctor might tell him.

“He’s lost a considerable amount of weight. There has been extensive muscle atrophy. His face is very gaunt. We had to shave his beard to check for any wounds and for hygienic reasons.” Turning around, Dr. Norris sighed softly. “We had to restrain him once we were able to get him cleaned up. He has cuffs on his wrists.”

Dean pulled his head back as his eyes widened before his brow furrowed. “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Yer tellin’ me that you went snoopin’ up a rape victim’s back door AND you tied him to the bed!? Man, remind me not to ask you to head up group counselin’,” he spat sarcastically. “Aren’t those like the two big things you shouldn’t be doing!?”

“Dean,” Tag murmured, laying a hand on his shoulder. He glanced at the doctor before looking back at Dean despite the fact that Dean was still too busy giving the doctor his best I hope something eats you look. “It was probably for Naythin’s own good. He might have hurt himself.” He looked over at the doctor. “Am I right?” His eyes tightened as he met the doctor gaze. Please tell me that I’m right. He wasn’t looking forward to tackling Dean in order to save this guy’s bacon.

“When Naythin woke up the second time, he was ripping the IV’s out of his arms and trying to climb off the bed. We had no choice. It is in his best interests. Now that you’re here, I’m hoping we can take them off once he wakes up and see’s a familiar face.”

Dean’s muscles slowly started to relax a little and he finally gave a curt not to the doctor’s words. “Alright. Did...did he hurt himself?” he inquired. “I jus’...I’ve seen on some of those doctor shows how a person can hurt themselves like that,” he explained with a slight shrug. And I know what a fighter Naythin is, it’s prob’ly the only reason he’s still alive.

Tag let out an audible breath of relief and pulled his hand from Dean’s shoulder. He looked over at the doc and gave a nod before returning his attention to Dean. “Jus’ try an’ remember that everything they’ve done here is to help Naythin. Even the stuff that seems bad right now.”

“Your brother is correct. We’d never do anything to hurt Naythin. All of the x-rays, his bath, the exams, were done after he was sedated. He didn’t know they were happening.” Reaching for the door handle, Dr. Norris paused before pulling it open. “I’m not a cold hearted person, Mr. Winchester. I do care about my patients.” Turning back to the door, he pulled it open. Stepping to the side, he waited for Dean and Tag to walk out first.

Dean gave a curt nod to the doctor’s words and even managed to feel a little bad about just assuming that the guy had traumatized his husband needlessly. “Sorry,” he mumbled as he lowered his gaze to the floor momentarily before looking back up and following the doctor down the hall.

Stopping at the bank of elevators, Dr. Norris pressed the UP arrow. Tucking both of his hands in the pockets of his coat, he looked over at Dean. “What did you and your husband do before. You ran off quite the list of injuries.”

“Oh uh, Hunting,” Dean responded automatically.

Tag nearly swallowed his tongue and spent the next several minutes hacking and coughing to try and breathe.

“You know, deer, elk, bear, big game.” Dean looked back at Tag and quirked an eyebrow at him, scoffing at the wide eyed What the Fuck? look Tag shot him.

“That makes sense.” Dr. Norris looked over at Tag, his eyebrows bunched tightly together. When the elevator doors opened, he stepped out onto the ICU floor. “Now that you’re here, we can take Naythin off the sedation meds and let him wake up on his own. I know I don’t even have to ask if you plan on staying in his room. I’ll have your name added to his visitors log. Will there be any other relatives coming to see him? Parents or other siblings?”

“Uh, jus’ me an’ Tag an’ our Mom an’ Dad, Ellen and Bobby Winchester,” Dean responded automatically. It was surprising how easily that lie slid right off his tongue without a second thought. He doubted very highly that Sam would be anywhere around. Not that he likely new anything about what was going on anyway, but even if he did, it just wasn’t a Sam thing to do.

Nodding, Dr. Norris stopped at the nurses desk and asked for Naythin’s file. Writing their names on the visitors log, he closed the file and handed it back to the nurse. “How’s he doing?”

“No change. Breathing is normal. His pulse was a little elevated for a few minutes but it went back to normal quickly.” The nurse turned and smiled politely to Dean and Tag.

“Good. That’s good. This is Naythin’s husband, Dean. The other gentleman is Tag, Dean’s brother. I need a cot brought up to Naythin’s room. Dean will be staying with him and also take Naythin off the sedative.” Signing his name to the med change order, Dr. Norris didn’t miss the way the nurses eyes widened briefly. “He’ll be fine once he sees a familiar face when he wakes up.”

Dean’s hands were shaking again and he barely even acknowledged the nurse. Hell, right then he was pretty sure a wendigo could walk past him and he wouldn’t even notice. He clenched his hands into fists at his sides while they stood at the nurses desk to try and hide the way they trembled but he couldn’t stay like that forever. When the doctor started to walk again, Dean followed dutifully behind him even though he wanted to push the doctor down the hallway at a much faster pace. He slid his fingers into his front jeans pockets so he’d have something to do with them while he walked.

Stopping in front of Naythin’s room, Dr. Norris turned to face Dean and Tag. “Remember what I told you about how he looks. Don’t let the restraints scare you. We’ll take them off after he wakes up.” Nodding slowly, he turned and pushed the door open. Stepping just inside the room, he looked back at Dean. “If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to call me. I’ll be here all night tonight and I’ll check on him before I leave in the morning.” Raising his free hand to Dean’s shoulder, he squeezed gently before lowering it and moving out of the way so Dean and Tag could enter the room.

Dean nodded to everything the doctor said and was glad as hell that Tag was standing right there because he couldn’t hear much of anything past the pounding of blood in his ears. He knew his breathing had quickened and despite trying to hide it the doctor probably knew it too. He swallowed hard and nodded again as he mumbled a soft thank you before turning his head toward the inside of the room. He hadn’t even gotten a full look at Naythin, just a glimpse of long dark hair, hair that was sorely missing the sunshine with how dark it had looked, and he was already getting teary eyed. He swallowed past the lump in his throat and managed somehow to make his feet move, walking into Naythin’s hospital room with Tag’s hand lightly lying against his shoulder for support. His breath caught in his throat at how gaunt Naythin was, the doctor had said it, but seeing it was something altogether different. His face was so drawn and his arms above the blanket looked like they belonged on some spindly teenager not the man that lay before him. His lips were chapped and bleeding, and that was putting it nicely. He could see the marks on Naythin’s neck from the damn collar the doctor had talked about. His eye was partially blackened, where the doctor said the orbital bone had been busted. Even with his eyes closed, you could almost still see the bright blood red rings around them. He wasn’t sure how he’d made it across the room to the side of the bed, especially since all he’d wanted to do was turn around and march out of that hospital and go on a vampire killing spree. He looked down at Naythin’s hand and had to choke back a sob. Somehow, through everything, his wedding ring was still on his finger. Reaching for Naythin’s hand with his own trembling one, he took hold of Naythin’s hand, threading their fingers together. It was then that he noticed that Naythin no longer had any fingernails at all, they had all been broken off back into the quick which was now caked in black dirt or mud or worse and likely blood as well. “Hi, baby,” he rasped softly as he lifted his free hand to comb his fingers back through Naythin’s hair. “I’ve missed you so much,” he murmured and choked back a sob as he leaned over the side of the bed and pressed a delicate, barely there kiss to Naythin’s lips. “I love you,” he whispered as he slowly pulled his head back. Tears fell down his cheeks and he didn’t bother to withdraw a hand from Naythin to wipe them away. He slowly started to sit down, never taking his eyes off Naythin’s face.

Tag stood to one side and as far back as he possibly could to give the two men as much privacy as possible without him actually leaving Dean alone. There was no way that Dean could be left alone, at least not while his sense for revenge was so strong. And perhaps not after when the real torture began, but he made it a point not to mention any of it. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and his eyes widened as he quickly turned at the waist and grabbed a chair and literally slid it beneath Dean a millisecond before the man would have missed it and hit the floor. Sonofabitch!

Knocking softly on the door before opening it. Debbie poked her head in. “Hi. Sorry to disturb you.” Walking fully inside the room, she smiled brightly to Tag before walking over to the side of Naythin’s bed where the IV pole was. “Dr. Norris wants Naythin taken off the sedative. I’ll be out of here in two shakes.” Making her way over to the IV pole, she reached into the front pocket of her smock top and pulled out two alcohol swabs and laid them down on the bedside rolling table. Stepping over to the cabinets where the rubber gloves were kept she pulled on a pair and returned her attention to the IV pole. After clamping off the IV tubing from the sedative that had been piggybacked into Naythin’s main IV tubing, she withdrew the needle from the port and capped it off before reaching for an alcohol pad, ripping it open and using it to wipe off the port. Gathering everything up she walked it over to red Biohazard trash bag and tossed it all in. Pulling the gloves off, she tossed them into the trash. Turning to face Dean, her smile softened. “My name’s Debbie. I’ll be Naythin’s night nurse. If you need anything, just push the call button and I’ll be right in. Do either of you have any questions?”

Tag shook his head and looked from Debbie to Dean who didn’t seem to have even registered that anyone was talking to him. “Dean?”

“How long does it take?” Dean inquired softly, still gazing into Naythin’s face the same as he had been since he’d gotten close enough to the bed to see him, his one hand combing back through Naythin’s hair repeatedly. He finally tore his gaze away from Naythin and looked over at Debbie as he turned his head a little further to wipe his eyes on the sleeve of his over shirt. “For the sedative to wear off,” he clarified, “How long does it usually take?”

Walking to the small nightstand, Debbie picked up the box of tissues. Turning, she made her way around the foot of Naythin’s bed to Dean’s side. Setting the box on the edge of the bed, she glanced up at the monitor to check Naythin’s vitals. “He fought the sedative pretty hard when they gave it to him. Normally, it takes four to six hours. I’d have to say two to three hours and he’ll start to come around.”

Dean nodded in silence as his gaze returned to Naythin and he tightened his hold on Naythin’s hand just a little. “Okay,” he finally murmured at long last, “Thank you.”

Lifting her hand, she placed it on Dean’s shoulder. Squeezing gently, she looked from Dean to Naythin and back again. “He’s a fighter. If you need anything, I’ll be right outside at the nurse’s desk. They’re bringing a cot up for you. These chairs aren’t the most comfortable.” Taking her hand from Dean’s shoulder, Debbie looked over at Tag as she left the room and smiled.

“Dean, you want me to get you somethin’ to drink, buddy?” Tag inquired as he walked over to where Dean was sitting and laid a hand on his shoulder.

Dean slowly shook his head. “No. I’m fine....thanks.”

Tag thought the jury was still out on that one, but he remained silent on the matter. “Alright, I saw a vending machine at the other end of the hall, I’ll be right back.”

Dean gave a barely there nod of his head, his gaze never wavering and his fingers continuing their slow methodical movement, combing his things through Naythin’s hair.

Tag walked to the door of Naythin’s room and looked back over his shoulder at Dean. He heaved a sigh and gave his head a shake as he walked out and down the hallway, fishing out his cell phone as he walked. He scrolled down his list of contacts to Bobby’s number and hit send.

Pulling into the parking lot of the hospital, Bobby swore under his breath as his cell phone vibrated in his pocket. Digging it out as he steered his Charger around a corner, he answered it without looking at the caller ID. “Singer. Someone better be dead or dyin’. I ain’ got time for anyone’s bullshit today.” He’d been forwarding calls to other Hunters as he drove to the hospital. Stopping only long enough for gas, take a leak and grab some coffee.

“Bobby, it’s me, Tag. Dean’s in with Naythin. He uh, it’s pretty bad. What that woman said, that psychic or whatever she was…she was right. About everything.”

Turning into a parking spot, Bobby threw the car in park. Sagging back against the seat, he pulled his cap from his head and threw it down on the seat next to him. “Damn it. I was hoping she...it...they were wrong.” Sighing, he ran a hand down over his face. He didn’t have to ask Tag how Dean was doing. “Okay. Well, I’m at the hospital. What’s his room number.”

“418,” Tag responded. “Is Ellen on her way? Dean got you an’ her cleared for visitation too on our way up to the room. The doc’s nice. Seems like a good guy so that’s a plus anyway.”

“418. Got it. I talked to her on the way down. She said she’ll head down in the morning once she’s got the bar covered.” Turning off the engine, Bobby pocketed the keys. Grabbing his cap, he jammed it on his head as he shouldered the car door open and slid out from behind the wheel. Not bothering to lock it because, honestly? Who was gonna steal the piece of shit? He walked quickly toward the main door. “Okay. I’ll be up in a few minutes. Tell Dean I’m on m’way.” Ending the call, he tucked the phone in the front pocket of his jeans.

Tag nodded despite the fact that Bobby couldn’t see the gesture, not that he was still on the phone anyway. He ended the call on his end and turned his attention to the vending machines. He got himself a Coke and one for Dean too whether he wanted to admit to being thirsty or not, he had to be. He’d been with him nearly day in and day out and the guy barely ate and drank, never slept. It was a miracle they weren’t having to roll in a twin bed next to Naythin’s for Dean.

Chapter Text

Now that they were alone, Dean moved from the chair to sit on the side of the bed. He pulled Naythin’s hand as far in as he could due to the damn restraints. He wanted to take the damn things off and throw them but...deep down he understood their need. Still didn’t mean he had to like it. “I looked for you,” he whispered through his tears, “I never stopped. Tag, me, Bobby an’ even Ellen, we looked everywhere for you but...every time we thought we were gettin’ close, it was a dead end...or the blood suckers had flown the coop.” A muscle pulsed and rolled in his jaw as he ground his teeth hard enough to have nothing but nubs left if he wasn’t careful. “I’m sorry, baby, I’m so sorry. I tried. I did, I swear it. I love you...I’m so sorry.” He leaned in and wrapped an arm under Naythin’s shoulders and pulled him into his arms, burying his face against the side of Naythin’s neck. He’d missed this so damn much. Just holding Naythin again had tears rolling down his cheeks and his heart aching in his chest. He’d missed it so much he didn’t even mind the sterile smell of original Dial antibacterial soap.

Walking into the room, Tag had to do a double take having not seen Dean at first. “Hey, weirdest thing, I put in money for one Coke an’ a second one came down with it. Looks like you got a Coke anyway.” He set the can on the rolling tray table on his way past the side of the bed and took a seat at the foot of the bed, popping the tab on his Coke and taking a long pull from the can before coming up for air.

Walking out of the elevator, Bobby looked around until he found the room numbers. Turning to the left, he read each number until he found Naythin’s room. Clearing his throat, he raised his hand and knocked on the door. Reaching for the door handle, he pushed the door open and quietly stepped inside. “Tag? Dean?” Letting the door close behind him, he stepped away from it.

“Yeah, in here, Bobby,” Tag responded as he leaned forward to see the doorway before leaning back again.

Dean didn’t even bother to pick up his head, just continued to hold onto Naythin as tightly as he could. “I’m right here,” he whispered. “Yer safe now. I’m not gonna let anythin’ happen to you ever again.”

When Bobby saw the way Dean was holding Naythin, he thought the kid was awake. That is until he saw the restraints on his wrists. “What the hell are those for!” He demanded a little too loudly before he was able to catch himself. Glaring at Tag, he pointed at his chest. “I thought you said the doc was a good guy.”

Tag frowned up at Bobby and motioned for him to take a seat. “When Naythin was found he was unconscious but he woke up in the ambulance an’ gave those boys a run for their money before they could knock him out. When he got in here he woke up and started pulling out his IVs and trying to get out, fighting the doctors and the nurses, they finally had to put him out again an’ add the restraints as a safety precaution for Naythin, so he doesn’t hurt himself when he wakes up which should be…” Tag lifted a hand and looked down at his watch, “Within about an hour.”

Bobby didn’t sit until Tag was halfway through with his little speech. He still wasn’t happy but, he could understand the need for the restraints. “They uh...they gonna take ‘em off before he wakes up?” Bobby couldn’t see much of Naythin with the way Dean was holding him against his chest. His hair was darker and a hell of a lot longer than he remembered. His arms looked thinner and from what he could see of the outline of his legs under the thin blanket, he was thinner all around. Shaking his head, he had to look down at the floor. People were going to die for what they’d done to Naythin.

Tag shook his head and lifted a finger to his lips. “You uh, you want a soda, Bobby? I can show ya where the machines are.”

Dean sniffled and wiped his eyes on the pillow behind Naythin’s head before he turned his own toward Bobby, or at least as far as he could without pulling a Linda Blair. “No, they’re not, Bobby. They’re afraid he’ll panic again. Until we know that I can calm him down they have to stay on so he doesn’t hurt himself.”

Tag ducked his head sheepishly. So much for trying to handle the situation delicately. “Uh, yeah, what he said.”

Dean sniffed again and eased his arm out from behind Naythin and shifted back onto the chair, next to the side of the bed, though his grip on Naythin’s hand never wavered. “It was vampires, Bobby. A fuckin’ nest of vampires. It all fits, the anemia, the malnourishment, the bite marks in the same places I was bitten.” His eyes swung to Tag.

“I’m goin’, I’m goin’! But you heard the doc, their house burned down, that nest is long gone by now but yes, I will get the sonsabitches, I promise you, Dean. But you gotta stay with Naythin. You can’t just get a wild hair up yer ass an’ up an’ leave him to go Hunt down these bastards yerself.”

“You think I don’t know that, Tag! I’m not gonna leave him! Not ever again. Hell, we’ll be like chicks and go take a piss together if I know that by doing it this never happens again so yeah, believe me, I know what I need to do.”

Shaking his head, Bobby looked up at Dean. “How many times we gotta tell ya, son? What happened wasn’t yer fault. You had no way of knowin’ anyone was there watchin’ you two.” They’d been over this at least a million times. Dean blaming himself for Naythin going missing that night at the bar they’d stopped at for a few drinks after a hunt.

“Yeah well, the bar’d been my idea. If I’d paid better attention or...Hell, if I’d of gotten up sooner and went to check on him maybe they wouldn’t have been gone yet. I dunno...I jus’ know that this happened on my watch, I’m responsible for that. My watch.”

Throwing his hands up in the air, Bobby looked over at Tag. Neither one of them had any luck trying to convince Dean it wasn’t his fault. He’d hoped that after they’d found Naythin it would change. Now, he knew it was only going to get worse. Sighing, Bobby pushed to his feet. Walking over to Dean’s side, he reached up placing a hand on his shoulder. Squeezing gently, he pulled his hand away and turned to Tag. “You uh...you wanna show me where those vending machines are?”

Tag looked up at Bobby and over to Dean before looking back to Bobby again. “Uh yeah, sure. Yeah, I can do that.” Pulling to his feet, he carried his empty can to the regular trash in the room and tossed it inside. Continuing past the trash and to the door, he walked out of the room and pulled over to one side to wait for Bobby to catch up. “This is gonna be bad,” he mused, “You know that, right? It’s why I’m stickin’ around for the time bein’.”

“What happened to him?” Bobby kept his voice low so no passer by’s would hear them. Or Dean for that matter.

“Everything that that Vanessa woman said. He was beaten an’ sodomised...repeatedly for three years. He was obviously tied up somewhere because he has urine burns on him from...y’know...an’ there’s a lot of anal tearing...he was whipped. All over. I’ll uh, I’ll let you color in that beautiful picture yerself.” Tag huffed softly and shook his head. “Honestly, I dunno how Naythin lived through it all.”

“Dean said something about vampires?” Nodding his head, Bobby glanced toward Naythin’s door. Taking in a slow deep breath, he held it for a few seconds before letting it out. “As soon as you can, I want yer ass out there. I’ll put the word out there’s a bounty on every vampire’s head. Do you know which vampire nest did this? It can’t be yer run’a the mill group. Not to keep someone like Naythin hidden for three damn years.”

Tag’s expression grew gravely serious. “Dean thinks it’s Violet, but...she’s gone to ground. She went down when her husband, that hunter guy...what the hell was his name? Somethin’ weird. Uh, Dayan! Yeah, Dayan.” He nodded to his own words. “When he went to Hell, Violet went to ground too. My guess is that it’s one of her offspring, an’ I don’t mean birthed offspring, I mean made. The uh, the bites Naythin has all over him match the ones that Violet gave Dean.”

“Okay. Okay, that’s a start. Now all we gotta do is find all of the psycho bitch’s...offspring and take off their heads. How hard could it be?” Scoffing quietly, Bobby ran a hand over his face. “I’m gonna need somethin a helluva lot stronger than a Coke to get through this.”

Tag nodded in agreement. “Yeah...so’s Dean.”

With no one in the room that he needed to face to talk to, Dean moved back to the bed and reclaimed his former position, pulling his hand from Naythin’s so he could wrap one arm around the back of Naythin’s shoulders while he continued to comb his fingers through Naythin’s hair with the hand of his other arm. His head leaned to the side against Naythin’s as he slowly closed his eyes and exhaled slowly. “It’s okay. Everythin’s okay now, yer home, baby. Yer home,” he whispered soothingly.

Dean

Naythin’s nostrils flared slightly as the scent of Dean’s cologne filled his lungs. No. Dean was dead. It wasn’t...couldn’t be him. Pushing against the darkness, he struggled to make his way to the surface. That voice? He knew that voice. The low, gravely timber. Naythin could pick it out of a crowd at a Stones concert. That was Dean. It had to be a dream, another hallucination after being drained damn near dry so many times.

He could feel someone running their fingers through his hair the same way Dean used to, to help Naythin fall asleep or calm down from a close call on a Hunt. No, no, no, no. Dean was dead. He had showed him Dean’s shirt covered in blood. Naythin had smelled Dean’s cologne on it, he knew it had been Dean’s.

Bunching his eyebrows, Naythin tried to raise his hands to push away from whoever was near him. When he couldn’t raise them more than a couple inches from the bed, his heart started to race, his breathing came in short shallow gasps. Snapping his eyes open, Naythin’s head jerked up. No! No, no, no, no. Please, no! He was on a bed laying on his back, his hands restrained. A barely audible whimper broke past Naythin’s cracked lips as his struggles against the restraints became more desperate. He wasn’t in the cage. He had told him to stay in the cage or a punishment would be doled out. Oh, God no! “No. No, please.”

When Dean felt Naythin move he had to use every skill his Dad had beaten into him his whole life to not jump back and look at Naythin. If he stayed calm, Naythin would stay calm. He felt his struggles get more insistent and knew that he had to pull his head back to look into Naythin’s face, he just couldn’t force himself to wait any longer. Dean slowly pulled his head back until he could look into Naythin’s face. Not looking the same was the understatement of the year. If he didn’t know with every fiber of his being that this was his Naythin he wouldn’t have believed it. Holy. Shit. Some vampire heads were gonna roll...after he had a little fun. That bitch and her flunkies aren’t the only ones who know how to torture. “Baby, it’s okay, yer safe. I gotcha. Yer okay,” Dean murmured softly as he continued to comb his fingers back through Naythin’s hair.

Naythin pulled his head away from the touch, his eyes squeezing closed as tight as he could get them. “No...no.” Pulling hard on the restraints, he pulled a leg back until his foot was flat against the mattress. He knew if he fought back, whatever was going to be done to him would end up being ten times worse. “I’m sorry. I didn’ leave. I didn’ do it.”

Dean reached for Naythin again as he shifted so that he had one leg, bent at the knee, on the mattress laying beside Naythin. He gripped each side of Naythin’s face gently but firmly and got Naythin to turn his head toward him. It wasn’t easy, he had a helluva fight on his hands but he refused to force Naythin to do anything, he’d been forced enough in the last...three...years. Dean nearly choked on the sob that lodged in his throat that he quickly swallowed back. “Look at me. Naythin, look at me. Open yer eyes and look at me, baby. Naythin! Look at me.”

Commands were not to be ignored, no matter what. Swallowing hard, Naythin slowly turned his head and opened his eyes. His right eye hurt to open fully. It felt swollen and puffy. His cheek stinging when he winced from the pain. Blinking against the overhead light, Naythin gasped when he was able to focus on the face that was hovering just inches from his own. It couldn’t be. Dean was dead. He wasn’t coming for him. No one was. “No. No...yer...yer dead. Yer not...yer not Dean.” His voice was wrecked from the smoke and all the screaming he’d done everyday for the past three years.

Dean slowly shook his head. Those sonsabitches. “Baby, it’s me, it’s Dean. I’m not dead. I’ve been looking for you, every single day that you’ve been gone. I never once stopped looking for you. Not ever. Me an’ Tag an’ Bobby have been searching everywhere for you. Ellen’s even pounced on every Hunter that walked through her door and put them on the mission too. Baby, it’s me. It’s yer Dean. Yer safe now. Yer home.”

Naythin’s heart was pounding in his chest, his breaths were coming in short pants as he stared up wide eyed at...Dean. “Dean?” The single word. One he’d only said to himself as he cried himself to sleep every day since He told him he had Dean killed. Naythin tried to lift his arm to touch Dean only to have it stopped. Pushing against the mattress with his feet, he started pulling against them all over again. “No, no, no. He’s coming. He’ll find me.”

Dean crawled further onto the bed until he was practically straddling Naythin. He still held his face in his hands but he moved one to smooth down the side of Naythin’s face his thumb brushing lightly across Naythin’s cheek bone. “Naythin, there is no he, not any more. He’s gone. There was a fire. For all they know yer dead, alright? But trust me, Tag’s the best damn vampire Hunter there is...he’s gonna find that sonofabitch and kill him. Yer safe now. I love you. It’s okay. I know yer scared. The restraints are because you ripped out yer IV last time. If you calm down, they’ll take them off, alright? Baby?”

Baby Naythin stopped moving as he stared up at Dean. No one had called him that the entire time they’d had him. Not once. “Dean. Dean…” Naythin closed his eyes as tears poured from the corners. His body sagged back against the mattress as he tucked his chin to his chest to try and rest his head against Dean’s chest. He was alive. Dean was alive.

Dean blew out a breath of mingled relief and befuddlement. He’d been trying to make Naythin feel safe, not make him cry. He wrapped his arms around Naythin’s shoulders as he shifted himself on the bed and pulled Naythin’s upper body, his head up against him where he lay stretched out on his side next to Naythin. He cradled Naythin’s head against his chest, it use to be the way they fell asleep with Naythin’s head against his chest, listening to his heart beating in his ear. “It’s okay, angel, it’s okay. It’s over. Yer safe now. I gotcha. I gotcha.”

A hard sob wracked Naythin’s body. “No. No, I’m not. Not anymore. M’no one’s angel.” After everything that had been done to him over the years, he’d never be anyone’s angel again.

“You’ll always be my angel,” Dean murmured and dipped his head, chin to his chest so he could press a kiss to Naythin’s head. “It’s okay. I’m here an’ m’not goin’ anywhere. Not ever again.”

Naythin didn’t argue. It was Dean. Dean wouldn’t hurt him. The press of lips to his head had Naythin cringing and pulling away, his eyes squeezing closed waiting for the blows to rain down on whatever part of his body was the target for that session. Once Dean found out what had happened to him, what they’d done to him, he wouldn’t call Naythin his angel anymore.

Dean pulled his head back in an attempt to see Naythin’s face. He hadn’t missed the way Naythin had cringed and tried to pull away. “Baby? Do you not want me to kiss you?” It would be hard as hell to get use to but he’d try his damnedest if that was what Naythin needed.

Debbie had been staring at the small monitor at the desk watching Naythin’s heart monitor. His heart rate was all over the place. It was fine and steady one minute then nearly off the charts the next only to slow down and speed up again. Looking at the large clock hanging on the wall, she did the math in her head. It was far too early for Naythin to be waking up. He shouldn’t even begin to come out of the sedation for another hour at least. Sighing heavily, her fingers flew across the keyboard making a few notes before pushing the chair back. “I’ll be right back.” Walking around the desk, she made a beeline for Naythin’s room. Knocking softly, she pushed the door open. “Everything okay in here?” Closing the door behind her, she crossed the room to the side of Naythin’s bed.

The knock at the door had Naythin’s head snapping to the side. His eyes widening as he tried to move as far to the side of the bed as he could. The restraints keeping him from getting too far. Whimpering softly as he watched the woman walk towards him, he turned his head, burying his face against Dean’s chest. Both hands were balled into white knuckled fists as he tried to pull his hands free. His body started to shake as he pulled his legs back, knees bent to try and protect his groin.

“Debbie, it’s okay. I got ‘im but...I think yer scarin’ him. He woke up a few minutes ago. He’s been havin’ a hard time since he woke up but...he calms down for me for a little while before…” he heaved a sigh as he met her gaze. “Before it all comes back to him.” He hoped and prayed she’d taken a good look at his chart and he wasn’t going to have to get flash cards and sock puppets out to show her exactly what he was referring to. He stared at her giving her a pointed look as he tightened an arm around Naythin, shielding him from her as best as he could, enough, he hoped, to help Naythin calm a little.

Debbie had seen the fear in Naythin’s eyes before he turned his face away. It was enough to make her stop a few feet from the side of the bed. “I’m going to call Dr. Norris and let him know Naythin woke up. If he stays calm and doesn’t try to rip out the IV’s I don’t see why the restraints can’t be removed.” She kept her voice low and even directing everything she said at Dean. “Just gimme a couple minutes to call him.” Backing away from the bed, she turned and quietly left the room.

Naythin didn’t move until he heard the door close. The soft click seemed ten times louder than it should have. Slowly turning his head to the side, he let out a small shaky breath when he didn’t see the nurse anymore. Lifting the fingers of the hand that was between his leg and Dean, Naythin wrapped his fingers around the material of Dean’s over shirt. “Don’t leave. Please.”

Dean slowly shook his head. “I’m not leavin’. I’m not ever gonna leave you again, alright?” he murmured and dipped his head pressing another kiss to Naythin’s head. “It’s okay. No one’s gonna hurt you anymore, baby.”

Squeezing his eyes closed tight, Naythin tried not to move away from Dean when he kissed him. He was shaking so hard, he wasn’t sure if he was moving because of that or the touch to his head. No one had touched him that way, with any amount of affection since he’d been taken. Every touch had been about pain. Inflicting as much as possible for any length of time. Swallowing hard, he tried to force himself to relax. To at least stop shaking. “He...he told me you were dead. Showed me one of yer shirts. It had blood all over it.” Swallowing several times, Naythin had to fight to not throw up. His stomach was churning and tied up in knots. “I...I could smell yer cologne on it.”

“Well, he’s a liar and soon, he’s gonna be a dead liar. I don’t think I’ve lost a single shirt an’ I know I haven’t lost that much blood. Baby, he probably grabbed a bottle of my cologne at a local drug store and just a plain old white or black t-shirt and just told you that to hurt you. I’m right here, I’m alive. An’ yer safe. I’m not ever gonna let anything happen to you ever again. I promise you that.”

Knocking on the door, Debbie pushed it open just enough to stick her head inside the room. “Dean? I talked to Dr. Norris. He said if you can get Naythin to promise not to take the IV’s out, you can take the restraints off. He’s on his way up to see both of you. He should be here in about ten minutes.”

Dean’s head lifted and turned in the direction of Debbie’s voice. He nodded to her words a soft smile curving the corners of his lips upward. “Thanks, Debbie. We appreciate it.” When the door closed again, he turned his attention back to Naythin. “If I lay here with you, do you promise that when I take that cuff off your arm that you won’t pull yer IV out or the leads off yer chest? I’ll be right here. It’ll be just like now, only you’ll have a free hand.” He figured he better do this hand by hand rather than all at once. As cruel as that might sound Naythin was taking baby steps and so he had to think and offer things in baby steps.

Nodding against Dean’s chest, Naythin licked his lips. Cringing when he felt the sting of pain and the all too familiar taste of blood on his tongue. “I can’...I promise. I...can’t stay here. I can’ be here” It wasn’t so much the cuffs that had him panicking, he was used to wearing them. He was on a bed. That meant only one thing. Naythin had to get off the bed. Sleeping on the floor was fine. He’d been doing it for so long it didn’t matter anymore.

“Baby, look at me,” Dean murmured. He waited for Naythin to look at him, really look at him. “No, meet my eyes. Look at me.” When Naythin finally did as he asked, he gave his head a slow shake. “He has no control over you any more. He’s gone. And soon, he’ll be dead. Have I ever lied to you before? Do you think I’d start now? You can be here. You canbe anywhere you wanna be. It doesn’t matter what that sonofabitch said to you. I know that when you were with him it was the truth, but it’s not anymore. Now, you’re back with me. Do you remember what that’s like?”

He wished it were that easy. He wished he didn’t expect the group to come in the door, roll him over and…No. No. Dean was right. He’d never hurt him. He wouldn’t let anyone get close to him again. Fuck, he was so scared. He couldn’t stop thinking about what they’d do to him if they found him. When Dean asked him if he remembered what it was like to be with him. Naythin had to stop and think. He had to honest to God stop and think what his life had been like before he’d been taken. It seemed like so long ago. For a while, Naythin believed it had all been a dream...a fantasy and his reality was being held prisoner by the vampires, by Him. Slowly, the memories came back. Nothing major. Small flashes mostly. Dean smiling at him. The sun shining in his eyes, the skin at the corners of his eyes crinkling, the way his dimples seemed to stand out more when he laughed. Their wedding. God, he remembered their wedding. Nodding slowly, he blinked back the sting of tears as he stared up at Dean. “I remember the day we got married.”

Naythin took so long to respond, Dean had to blink back the sting of tears. Did he really not remember anything besides what those sonsabitches did to him? He drew in a deep almost a gasping shaky breath when Naythin finally said that he remembered when they got married. “Yeah?” he inquired, his voice a little more hoarse than normal with unshed tears that made his green eyes glitter like jewels. “What about it do you remember?”

Taking in a slow shaky breath, Naythin glanced toward the door before quickly looking back at Dean. “You uh...you woke up that Justice of the Peace in the middle of the night. Paid him a hundred bucks to marry us in his living room. We...we wore our FBI suits.”

Dean chuckled softly despite the tears that shone in his eyes. “Yeah, yeah we did. Hey, you said yes I didn’t want you to have the time to rethink that decision.” His smile was wide enough to have the skin at the corners of his eyes crinkling.

The tears started to roll down Naythin’s cheek as he watched Dean smile. God, how he missed that smile. Naythin never thought he’d get to see it again. Lifting his free hand from the bed, the restraint snapping it back. Naythin’s heart started to race all over again as the fear and panic took hold. His eyes widened as they darted around the parts of the room he could see. His lips slightly parted as he let out a small whimper.

“Baby,” Dean reached for the side of Naythin’s face, cupping it gently as he used it to urge Naythin to look back at him. “Baby, no. No.” He slowly shook his head. “Trust me, believe in me. I won’t let him have you. Not now, not ever. He’d have to go through me to get to you. Do you understand that? I would die before I let anyone hurt you. I don’t care who or what they are. Alright? Do you trust me? Please? At least, just a little bit.” He turned his hand and ran the back of it gently, tenderly along the side of Naythin’s face. “It’s okay now. Yer safe. I love you.”

Bobby has just walked out of the small alcove the vending machines were in when he watched a nurse come out of Naythin’s room. Shit. He hurried down the hall, dropping the half full can of Coke into the nearest trash can. As he neared the room, the nurse looked up at him and nodded as she pointed to the door. “He’s awake. Take it slow. Knock before you go in. He’s a little rattled.” A little rattled? Huffing, Bobby shook his head as he walked to the door and knocked. Pushing the door open, he stuck his head inside. “Dean? It’s us...Bobby an’ Tag. We’re uh...we’re comin’ in.”

Dean felt Naythin tense. “Uh, gimme a second with him,” he called out, “Just stay right there.” Looking into Naythin’s wide eyes he slowly shook his head. “You know Bobby and Tag, they would die before they let anyone hurt you too. You know that. Remember? Think back, baby. It’s okay. Yer safe.”

Naythin stared at the light shining in from the hall. He’d heard the voice, Bobby’s voice. He knew Bobby. Gripping the handful of Dean’s shirt, he slowly shook his head. He hadn’t heard Tag’s voice. How did Dean know for sure Tag was really there? That it wasn’t a trick? “T-Tag…” Clearing his throat, Naythin winced as he swallowed. His throat was killing him. “Tag. You sure it’s him?” His voice was a little stronger though it still sounded raspy.

Dean nodded and leaned in, pressing a feather soft kiss to Naythin’s horribly chapped lips. “Yeah,” he responded as he pulled his head back. “I know it’s him.” He gazed down at Naythin even as he called out to Tag. “Hey Tag?”

“Yeah?” Tag responded loud enough for Dean to hear him.

“Who’s the love of yer life?” Dean called back.

You could hear the smile in his voice as Tag answered, “Becky Lynn my M16.”

Dean quirked a brow at Naythin and snorted softly as he gave his head a slow shake. “Would anyone else say somethin’ like that?” he murmured softly for only Naythin to hear. “It’s okay. An’ listen to me, relax, but listen...even if it wasn’t they’d have to go through me to get to you. I promise, baby, I will never ever let anything happen to you.”

Naythin couldn’t have stopped himself from jumping when he heard Tag’s voice if he tried. It was unexpected and echoed in the quiet room. He pulled against Dean’s shirt as best he could, moving as close to his side as possible. When he heard what Tag said about his rifle, Naythin slowly relaxed. That was Tag. It was okay. It was Tag and Bobby. “Okay.” Nodding, he looked up at Dean. “Okay. I...I trust you.”

Dean nodded to Naythin and lifted his head, turning it toward the door. “Okay, you guys can come in now.” He waited until Tag was nearly past the bed when he called him back. “Tag, will you do me a favor? I’m uh, I’m kinda stuck can you pull the buckle on that wrist cuff? Debbie, the nurse said it was okay.”

Naythin watched as Bobby and Tag walked in the room. He didn’t look them in the eye, concentrating more on the middle of their chests. When Dean asked Tag to take off the cuff, Naythin shook his head adamantly as he tried to get under Dean. “No! No.” Pulling against the cuff, Naythin broke out into a sweat. “No. Just you. Only you. No one else.” He repeated it over and over.

Tag froze in place and looked at Dean with a whole lot of uncertainty.

“Okay, okay, it’s okay. I’m sorry. Okay. He won’t. It’s okay,” Dean soothed and looked up at Tag, giving his head decisive shake. “No, never mind. Thanks anyway.” He looked back at Naythin and used one hand to comb his fingers back through his hair. “Easy. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s over. No one’s gonna do anythin’ you don’t wan’ them to do. It’s okay.” He turned his attention instead to the arm that lay between him and Naythin and pulled the buckle on it instead, letting the cuff fall away against the bed before pushing it off onto the floor. Okay, he still got one cuff off, not the one he’d planned, but it’s still a cuff. Progress. Okay.

Bobby’s hands were balled into tight fists at his sides as he watched as Naythin tried to burrow under Dean when Tag started to go over to take the cuff off. This was not the Naythin he knew. The Naythin he watched grow up and become a phenomenal Hunter. The man he later would call his son-in-law. Those sonsabitches. Looking over at Tag, he pried open one hand, raising it, he pointed to him nearly jabbing Tag in the chest. “You will get whoever did this.”

Tag nodded. “I will. I won’t stop until I do.” He looked over at Dean and then to Naythin and back. “I’ll leave now. I didn’t know how this was gonna go so I wanted to be around in case you needed me but…” he nodded. He started to pat Naythin on the ankle and thought better of it. “You take care of yerself, y’hear me, Naythin? Relax an’ get better. I got this.” He winked and turned his attention to Dean. “I’ll keep in touch. The minute it happens, you’ll be the second person to know.” He turned and looked at Bobby and gave a nod. “If you get any Intel, gimme a yell. Worst case scenario I’ll go find that Vanessa woman. One way or another, it’ll happen.” The Vanessa idea wasn’t one he was looking too much forward to but he also didn’t really have the stomach for what he was witnessing either. Naythin deserved to know that bastard was dead and he was going to make damn good and sure it happened.

Bobby hated to put that kind of pressure on Tag but, he was the best when it came to vampires. He knew Violet and if it was one of her offspring, Tag would be the one to follow their routines and know where they’d likely be hiding. Looking over at Naythin, Bobby clenched his jaw until the muscle started to ache. “I’m jus’ gonna sit over here. It’s okay, Naythin. You jus’ relax there with Dean. No one’s gonna come in here that doesn’t belong.”

The second the cuff was off Naythin’s wrist, he wrapped his arm around Dean’s waist and pulled him closer. His heart started to race when Dean’s chest pressed against his but, Naythin was able to push the fear away, for now. He had Dean again and he wasn’t going to let him go. If this was a dream, he was going to hang onto it as long as he could.

When Naythin only wrapped his arm around him, Dean released a breath of relief. Thank God, and any other deity up there, out there, that might be listening. He found himself almost slumping against Naythin, that is until the second he felt a change come over Naythin, it was quick and then it was gone, like he’d buried it, but it had been there all the same so he tried to make sure that he didn’t put any pressure against Naythin’s body with his own. Vanessa Ives words rang in his head and he had to close his eyes and take slow deep breaths to get the Technicolor images to stop flashing across his mind’s eye. “The uh,” he began and opened his eyes so he could look toward Bobby. “The doctor’s comin’ in soon to check on Naythin. I might need a mobile body to cut the man off at the pass so he doesn’t upset Naythin if yer up to it.”

“I got it.” Getting to his feet, Bobby walked straight to the door. He opened the door carefully, glancing back toward the bed to make sure he didn’t spook Naythin. Sighing, he stepped out of the room nearly colliding with a doctor. Closing the door quickly, Bobby held his hand up in front of him. “I take it you’re Naythin’s doc?”

Dr. Norris’s eyebrows shot up into his forehead as he took several steps back from the door. “Yes, I am. I take it you must be Mr. Winchester. Naythin’s father-in-law?” Holding his hand out, he glanced past Bobby to the closed door.

“I am. Pleasure to meet ya.” Shaking the doc’s hand, Bobby followed his gaze back over his shoulder. “Naythin’s awake as I’m sure you know. He’s...he’s more than a little skittish with anyone comin’ in the room an’ gettin’ anywhere near him. Dean’s layin’ in the bed with him and managed to get one of the cuffs off. You will take it slow. You will not do anything that is going to upset that boy. We clear?”

Crossing his arms over his chest, Dr. Norris waited for Bobby to finish. “Okay. I think I can work under those conditions. As I told your son, I’m not a cold hearted person, Mr. Winchester. I care about my patients. I want Naythin to go home as soon as he’s physically and mentally able. I won’t lie, he’s got a long road ahead of him. It’s not going to be easy for anyone.”

Nodding slowly, the elder Hunter gave the doc a slow once over before he turned without saying a word and knocked on the door. Pushing it open, he stuck his head inside the room, “Dean? Naythin? The doc’s here. I’m gonna come in first and he’s gonna follow me. That sound alright?”

Dean wrapped an arm around Naythin’s waist as a protective barrier, or at least that was what he was hoping Naythin was going to see it as but if the sudden tension in Naythin’s body meant anything he had been sadly mistaken. He quickly pulled his arm back like he’d been burned and made sure that he wasn’t touching Naythin anywhere that Naythin wasn’t touching him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, baby. I just thought you’d feel safer. I didn’t mean to…” Totally fuck that up “Upset you. I’m sorry.”

Nodding his head quickly, Naythin carefully licked his lips, his eyes squeezing closed quickly from the sharp sting of pain. “S’okay. M’okay.” He was far from okay. Okay wasn’t even in the same state. Naythin wanted to crawl up under Dean’s shirt and hide. The only problem was any kind of contact against his chest or back had Naythin’s fear ramping up. “Tell...tell Bobby it’s okay.”

Dean slowly nodded his head before looking toward the door. “Okay, Bobby, Naythin says it’s okay,” he called out. He moved his hand back to combing his fingers back through Naythin’s hair, it had always calmed him before and even now it seemed to help a little, and if all he could get was a little, he’d take it. It was better than not at all.

Looking over his shoulder, Bobby nodded. “You heard the man, doc. I mean it. Naythin says enough...you best stop in yer tracks an’ back off.” His eyebrows rose as he stared hard at the man. He knew he was pushing it.

“Naythin’s the boss, Mr. Winchester. I won’t push him. You have my word.”

Chapter Text

After a few seconds, Bobby finally pushed the door open and walked into the room. “Comin’ in, Naythin.” Walking over to his chair, he sat down crossing one leg over the other at the ankle.

Staying near the door, Dr. Norris smiled. “Naythin, I’m Dr. Norris. I’m going to be taking care of you and seeing to it you get to go home as soon as possible. Yer the boss here. If you want me to stop, just say the word and we’re done. Okay?”

Naythin kept his head pressed against Dean’s chest as he listened to the doctor. He gave a barely there nod without looking at the man. His arm tightening around Dean’s waist.

Dean continued to comb his fingers through Naythin’s hair and he couldn’t seem to help the way he eyed the man suspiciously. Oh good, now he was worrying about people when Naythin wasn’t. Oh yeah, weren’t they a pair? He mentally shook his head and rolled his eyes at himself. Cool it, dipshit. He turned his attention instead to Naythin. “It’s okay. Yer okay. If it’s too crowded in here we can make anyone go that you wanna have go, alright?” He knew from the times he’d been in the hospital that having a room full of people was almost as bad as having those damn gowns that opened in the back.

“Naythin? Do you think you can lay on yer back for me so I can get a look at you? Not gonna touch you, just wanna get a look at yer eye and the shiner you got goin’ on. I’ll keep my hands in my pockets, Okay?” Naythin wasn’t the first patient he’d had that had been traumatized. Giving them control of the situation helped get their confidence back. “Whadda say?”

Swallowing back his fear, Naythin nodded. “I...okay.” Pulling his head back, he slowly rolled onto his back, his arm staying around Dean’s waist. When it started to slide off, he latched onto a handful of Dean’s over shirt. Looking up at Dean, his eyes a little wider than they should be, he shook his head. “Don’t go.”

Dean shook his head in return. “I’m not goin’ anywhere, angel. I promise. I’m gonna be right here. I’m always gonna be right here. If you want me closer, you pull me closer.” He’d already fucked that one up once, he wasn’t going to do it again.

Slowly making his way to the side of Naythin’s bed, Dr. Norris kept an eye on the heart monitor. It was elevated but nothing he was going to worry about. “Okay Naythin. What I need you to do is look over at Dean but don’t turn your head, okay?” He waited for Naythin to do as he asked. “There ya go. Stay right there.” Leaning forward just a little, Dr. Norris narrowed his eyes as he watched the muscle on Naythin’s cheek quiver. The area around the eye was still swollen. The bruise still an ugly shade of dark green and black. “Okay, you can relax. You did great.” Taking a step back, he glanced over his shoulder at Bobby. When the man nodded his approval, Dr. Norris continued. “Hold real still for me, Naythin. I want to get a look at your neck. I’m not going to touch you. I promise.” Taking a step closer, the doctor leaned to the side and nodded. “Good. It’s looking much better. The redness isn’t as bad and the swelling has gone down considerably in the past couple of days.” Looking over at Dean, Dr. Norris nodded toward Naythin. “You have any questions?”

Dean looked at Naythin and then back at the doctor and gave his head a slow shake. “I’ll prob’ly think of a million after you walk out the door but right now? No.” He looked back at Naythin. “Do you have any questions for him, baby?”

Without looking over at the doctor, Naythin tugged once against the cuff that was still around his left wrist. He knew better than to verbally ask for it to be taken off. He’d learned that lesson real fast. Ducking his head, he turned his face into Dean’s chest. His hand pulling against Dean’s over shirt as he tried to not start shaking again.

“Will you let the doctor unfasten it?” Dean inquired. He hadn’t let Tag so he didn’t think he’d let anyone else. He just couldn’t reach it from where he was without leaning across Naythin and if his arm alone freaked Naythin out, his entire body would send him to the ceiling like a cat with its nails stuck in the rafters. He looked back at the doctor and gave a curt nod for him to unfasten it if Naythin was up to letting him. “Oh uh, he’s really hoarse,” even that was a piss poor description of it, but it was the best he could come up with at the moment. “Is somethin’ wrong with his throat too...like from the…” He couldn’t even say that word, instead he jutted his chin toward Naythin’s neck. “An’ when can he eat an’ drink whatever he wants?”

“Part of the soreness is from the smoke inhalation. We have no way of knowing how long he was in the burning house before the fire department found him. I’ll order some medicine for it. There are some...other underlying issues for the cause of it but, I’ll go over it with you some other time.” He met Dean’s gaze across the bed, his eyebrows raising slightly. The doctor would wait until Naythin was asleep to go into greater detail. No sense in dredging everything up. “As far as his diet is concerned. We’ll take it easy for a few days. He can drink anything he wants as long as he can tolerate it. If he gets sick, we’ll have to dial it back. We don’t want to overtax his system after not having a proper diet for so long.”

For so long, every time Dean heard something like that said what he actually heard in his mind was, Since you screwed up and let him down and allowed this to happen to him...for so long. And every. single. time. it was like a knife to Dean’s chest. He clenched his jaw and gave a curt nod to the doctor, the corners of his lips twitching ever so slightly as he gave a valiant attempt at smiling for the man. Valiant attempt or not it crashed and burned rather fast now didn’t it?

Smiling softly, Dr. Norris turned his attention to Naythin and the remaining restraint. “Okay, Naythin. Whadda you say we get this other cuff off? I won’t touch you, I swear. Just the buckle. We have a deal?”

Swallowing hard, Naythin nodded quickly against Dean’s chest. Squeezing his eyes closed as tight as he could, he tried to not hyperventilate. He felt a small amount of pressure on his wrist as the doctor pulled the end of the strap through the buckle. Biting his bottom lip until he tasted blood, it did nothing to stop the whimper from escaping. The sudden loss of the weight of the cuff from his wrist had Naythin snatching his hand back and curling his arm over his chest. His fingers curled into a tight fist as he pressed them against his shoulder so no one could pry his hand open again.

“Excellent. You did just fine, Naythin. Just fine. I’ll have Debbie bring a pitcher of ice water and we’ll start on that tonight. If everything stays down, we’ll look at some juice and broth in the morning. Any other questions?” Turning he looked at Bobby who only stared back and blinked. Okay, that was a big no. Turning to face Dean, he waited to see if he had any other questions.

Dean looked at Naythin and then over at the doctor. “Yeah, I have one um...what about tonight? Sleeping?” He hoped he didn’t have to spell it out for the man, at least not in front of Naythin. A) He was likely going to have some pretty horrific nightmares unless they gave him something to help him sleep. cool.gif He wasn’t going any damn where if Naythin kept the tight grip he had on him and most of the time, that was perfectly fine with him but, he wouldn’t need the cot and, here is the problem, he was going to have to take a leak at some point.

“Well…” Lifting a hand, the doc rubbed at the underside of his chin. “Naythin? It’s up to you. I can give you something to help you sleep, if you want.”

Pulling his head back just enough to be able to see Dean’s face, Naythin tugged lightly on his shirt. “You won’t leave? If...if the doctor gives me something...you won’t leave?” If he went to sleep, Naythin’s biggest fear was waking up and all this would have been a dream. He’d be back in the cage at the farmhouse and Dean would be gone, again. Shaking his head, Naythin changed his mind. “No. No, I don’ want anything. No.”

Dean had started to see a ray of hope, he could get up while Naythin was asleep, take a leak, shower, eat and get back in bed and he would have never knew he’d been out of bed. But that ray was quickly blotted out. Shit. His tongue darted out, licking across his lips as he nodded and looked from Naythin to the doctor. “Okay. I guess that’s it then.” Looking back at Naythin he let his thumb brush across Naythin’s temple. “Baby,” he began very softly, “You do realize that at some point I’m gonna have to get up, just long enough to go into that bathroom right there, right?” He wasn’t going more than ten steps away into the small bathroom inside Naythin’s hospital room, but with the way Naythin was right now, he wasn’t so sure Naythin would even be alright with that. He smiled softly at Naythin. “It’s not like I’ve got a handy bag to go into like you do.”

Frowning, Naythin pulled his head back as he looked up at Dean. Handy bag? What? He’d been so laser focused on Dean and getting the cuffs off, Naythin hadn’t given much thought to anything else. What handy bag...Oh shit! Naythin’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he started to slowly shake his head. His hand gripping Dean’s shirt as he glanced quickly down toward his crotch and back up to Dean. He started breathing heavily, his heart rate shot through the ceiling as he clutched at Dean.

The second Naythin’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates Dean realized he’d screwed up. How could he not have known? Shit. Shit. Shit. “It’s okay. It’s okay. Baby, relax it’s just a catheter. It’s no big deal. They’ll prob’ly take it out as soon as you’re moving a little better. Hell, we could get you a bedpan if you want one, but when you were out, they had to do somethin’. It’s okay. It’s medical, it’s not....it’s okay.” A little help here from the peanut gallery maybe?

With Naythin focused on Dean, Dr. Norris stepped forward to the side of Naythin’s bed. Pulling his hand from his pocket, he palmed a small syringe. Turning his hand, he cleared his throat to get Dean’s attention. “Naythin...Naythin, calm down. You have to calm down. I can have the catheter taken out right now but, you have to calm down. If not, I’m gonna have to sedate you again. I don’t want you to hurt yerself.” He didn’t want to have to put Naythin under again without giving him a chance. If he had to, if it meant keeping Naythin from hurting himself, then yes, he’d do it.

“Naythin, baby, look at me, please.” He waited for Naythin’s gaze to actually meet his. “I would never let anyone hurt you. You know that, don’t you? I would kill anyone who tried to hurt you.” Yep, he said that out loud in public. Oh boy. “The doctor doesn’t even have to really touch you, just the Foley. It’ll be out in a matter of minutes. I’m sorry, angel, I thought you knew.” He searched Naythin’s eyes to try and gage whether or not he was getting in past the horrified panic that had seemed to overtake Naythin. “Baby, hold my hand. If you want him to take it out, hold onto my hand and look me in face and before you know it it’ll be over.”

Naythin’s nostrils flared wide as he tried to get as much air in his lungs as possible. Reaching for Dean’s hand, he squeezed hard as he turned his head away from the doctor. Nodding as fast as he could, he started holding his breath until his lungs were burning. Exhaling raggedly, he gulped in a few lungfuls of air only to hold his breath again.

“Okay Naythin. Okay. Hang in there. Gimme two minutes and we’ll be all set.” Slipping the syringe back in his pocket, the doc went to the cabinet to get what he needed to remove the catheter from Naythin. Opening one cabinet, he took out the removal pack and grabbed a pair of gloves. He sat the removal pack down on the small table and pulled on the gloves. Ripping open the pack, he grabbed the syringe and quickly fastened it to the port, withdrawing the water from the balloon that held the catheter in place. “Deep breath in and blow it out, Naythin.”

It took Naythin a bit to realize the doctor was talking to him. Exhaling in a rush, he sucked in a quick breath and held it. That was the best he could do. Tightening the hold he had on Dean’s shirt and his hand, Naythin let out a small whimper as he turned his head as far to the side as he could. His body tensed in anticipation of the pain that had become a huge part of his life.

“Naythin, don’t tense up. You need to relax. Relax and exhale slowly and I can pull it out, if I do it now with as tense as you are you are not going to be happy with me,” Doctor Norris directed.

“Come on, baby, breath with me, do what I do, okay?” Dean drew in a deep breath, as he gazed down at Naythin, and slowly exhaled. He waited for Naythin to at least notice what he was doing before he did it a second time, inhaling to capacity and then exhaling slowly.

Naythin tried to do as Dean asked. He tried to calm down, to relax. His body was not cooperating. It had been programmed to expect pain so, it tensed. Every muscle locked up. Exhaling slowly, it came out more like quick puffs instead of one long breath. Gripping Dean tighter, Naythin squeezed his eyes as tight as he could. Tears started to roll down the side of his face. No. No, no, no. Please. No more. Please.

Doctor Norris took his own advise and drew in a breath and blew it out before as carefully as he could pulling the Foley from Naythin’s body. He knew it hurt, he knew it wasn’t pleasant, but he couldn’t get Naythin to relax and he knew that his patient was on the verge of a breakdown. Finishing what he’d begun was the lesser of all the evil’s. He took the Foley, bag and all to the Biohazard bag and threw it away before taking off the gloves and throwing them in along with it.

As soon as the doctor had the damn thing out, Dean turned his head and looked at Bobby and nodded toward the blanket. Thank God Bobby spoke silent nudgings because he did exactly what he’d hoped he would and tossed the blanket back over Naythin’s legs and pulled it up to his waist. Well, at least he wasn’t feeling quite so exposed any more not that he knew if at this point it mattered. “Baby? Baby are you okay? Talk to me baby, yer scarin’ me?” He had the weirdest feeling that Naythin wasn’t breathing. “Naythin?”

Naythin’s eyes snapped open as he gasped loudly taking in large gulping breaths. All he wanted to do was curl up and make himself as small as possible. There were too many people in the room, he was afraid to move his legs, to move much of anything. The pain wasn’t the worst he’d ever experienced in a very long time. It was done and over with quickly which surprised him. He’d been expecting it to last a lot longer than it had. Swallowing, he nodded quickly. “M’okay. S’okay.”

Dean didn’t know if it was a stupid move or not but it was instinctual. He released his hold on Naythin’s hand and slipped his free of Naythin’s and instead wrapped that arm around his shoulders, pulling Naythin up against him even as he shifted as close to Naythin as he could get. “I gotcha, baby. I gotcha. I’m so sorry, angel. I thought you knew and…” He growled at himself under his breath. “I’m sorry.” He tightened his grip around Naythin’s shoulders marginally, just enough so that Naythin would feel it. “I love you,” he whispered and leaned his head down until it was touching Naythin’s.

Bobby had to get out of the room before he hurt someone. Clearing his throat, he headed for the door. “I uh...I’ll be back.” Pulling it open, he walked out of the room and down the hall.

Naythin started to tense all over again when Dean let go of his hand. Don’t leave. Don’t leave. When Dean wrapped his arm around Naythin’s shoulders, it didn’t do much to relax him. He tried to tell himself it was Dean. Dean wouldn’t hurt him. He wouldn’t do what the vampires, what He had done to him. Taking his free hand, Naythin reached up and tentatively slid his hand under Dean’s over shirt. The heat radiating off Dean’s body slowly made its way down Naythin’s arm to the rest of his body. He was finally able to take a full breath. His eyes slipped closed as he tipped his head back against Dean’s. When Dean told Naythin he loved him, Naythin’s breath caught in his chest. He never thought he’d ever hear those words again. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew Dean had said it to him since he woke up but, it hadn’t sunk it. Hadn’t made its way past the fear and pain. Pressing the palm of his hand against Dean’s side, Naythin blinked back the tears. “I love you too, baby.”

Stepping back from the bed, Dr. Norris watched as Naythin’s heart rate slowly went back to normal. Blowing out a quiet breath, he smiled at the two men lying in the bed. “I’ll leave you two alone for a while. Naythin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s the last thing I would ever want to do, cause you more pain.” Turning to Dean, Dr. Norris shoved his hands in his pockets. “Let the nurse know if he changes his mind about the sleep aid. I’ll leave it at the desk and she can administer it. Try and get some rest.” Turning, he quietly walked out of the room.

Dean sighed heavily with relief as his eyes slipped shut and felt his body almost instinctually melt against Naythin’s. He barely heard the doctor speak but knew that he had and pried his eyes open to mere slits. “It’s okay. No one was ready for any of it, I get it.” He gave his head a curt nod and closed his eyes again. He knew that the doctor hadn’t meant to hurt Naythin and more than he’d meant to scare him. It was obvious that Naythin had been through even more horrific things than Vanessa Ives had shared and it made Dean both angry, to the point of wanting to go on a mad vampire killing spree, and not let any of the blood suckers die peacefully. It also made him want to hold Naythin as close as he could and cry right along with him for the horrors he’d faced. It was all his fault, he should have looked after Naythin better. It should have been him that the blood suckers had taken, not Naythin, not his sweet Naythin. He nodded to the rest of what the doctor said and but didn’t open his eyes. “Thank you, doctor.” His arm encircling Naythin’s shoulders tightened its hold and his other arm shifted against the bed so that he could lay it up and around Naythin’s head, his fingers lazily combing through Naythin’s hair at the crown of his head. “It’s okay now, baby. Everything’s gonna be okay. I gotcha, I gotcha.” I’m so sorry I let you down.

For the first time in a very long time, Naythin was able to relax. His muscles lost the rock hard tenseness that had been ingrained in Naythin’s system for so long. His arm around Dean’s waist slowly started to slide down as the near death grip Naythin had on Dean’s shirt lessoned. His eyes stayed closed as he turned his face into Dean more and slowly fell asleep. His breaths becoming deep and even as exhaustion and the remnants of the sedative he’d been given took their toll.

Dean hadn’t slept for days, and even when he had slept it had only been for an hour at a time. When he felt Naythin relax more, he couldn’t help but do the same. His arm tightened a little more around Naythin, just enough to not only appease himself but to let Naythin knew that he was there, that he wasn’t going anywhere. And as Naythin’s breathing evened out his own matched it breath for breath as he too slipped off to sleep.

After watched the doc leave Naythin’s room, Bobby walked back over and carefully opened the door. Going in just far enough to see Naythin’s bed, his head dropped to his shoulders when he saw both boys were sleeping. Shaking his head, he slowly backed out closing the door as quietly as he had opened it. It was good to see Dean sleeping. The kid hadn’t slept in two days that he knew of. The last time he’d actually caught Dean with his eyes closed was four days ago when he’d fallen asleep at his desk going over obituaries for men fitting Naythin’s description. It floored Bobby how many John Doe’s were laying the morgues around the country.

He walked back down to the small alcove of vending machines to stare at the contents. Nothing sounded good. He hadn’t eaten since the night before. None of them had really eaten much of anything in the past three years. Bobby wanted to punch something or someone. Shaking his head, he turned and walked away from the machines. His heart skipped a beat when he saw an orderly pushing a folded cot, the kind you see in motels toward Naythin’s room. “Shit.” Speed walking down the hall, Bobby stepped in front of the man, both hands braced against the frame of the cot. “Hold on there. I’ll get it in the room. They...he’s sleepin’ now anyway so no sense in wakin’ anyone up.”

The orderly narrowed his eyes at Bobby, giving him a slow once over. “Look man. I got my orders. This cot goes to room 418 and not out in the hall. So, get outta my way so I can get it in the room and get it set up.”

“Look...man.” Bobby growled, his eyes narrowing as one hand slowly made its way to the small of his back. “What part of he’s sleeping did you not get? I’ll cover yer ass with yer boss. Leave the cot here.”

Huffing loudly, the orderly pushed the cot at Bobby and turned to walk away. Grumbling under his breath as he walked down the hall toward the elevators.

Dropping his head to his chest, Bobby let out a long breath. He could just see poor Naythin having to be peeled off the ceiling if the idiot orderly barged in there with the cot. “Idjit.”

Taking hold of the frame, he moved the cot to the side. Leaving it as close to the wall as he could so it wasn’t in anyone’s way. Walking over to the nurses desk, Bobby turned a the waist as he pointed back toward Naythin’s room. “He’s sleeping. Both of them are. Put up a Do Not Disturb sign if you have to but do NOT under any circumstances, short of this place catchin’ on fire, let anyone go in that room. Got me?”

Looking from Bobby to the room he indicated, the nurse nodded slowly. “Sure. I’ll make a note of it. When Debbie gets back from rounds, I’ll make sure she knows.”

“Good. I’m gonna head down to the cafeteria an’ get somethin’ to eat.” Without waiting for a response, Bobby pushed away from the desk and headed for the elevators. The food hospitals gave their patients was five star. The crap the visitors got wasn’t fit for hogs. At this rate, he didn’t care. Cardboard slathered with BBQ sauce sounded great.

Tristan smiled down at the Hunter that was stretched out spread eagle on the bed before him. He’d placed the three ring cockring on him earlier, right after the rest of the nest had beaten the Hunter senseless. He’d ended it for them all however, sometimes the others were such children. Climbing up on the bed, he didn’t say a word or give the Hunter time to struggle, just thrust his hips, pushing his dry cock balls deep inside the Hunter. Grabbing a handful of the man’s hair he pulled back hard as he began to hammer his hips, thrusting in hard and deep, riding him mercilessly and smiling each time his dick hit the man’s prostate. “It’s a real bitch when you can’t even get hard isn’t it?” he sneered, his mouth next to Naythin’s ear.

Naythin groaned loudly at the sudden sharp, searing pain that pulled him from unconsciousness. He tried to move his arms and legs. When he couldn’t, Naythin started to panic. The steady forward movement of his body against the mattress combined with the hard pull on his hair, wrenching his head back had him crying out. “Get off me!” The pain in his ass had him trying to turn his head and roll to the side to throw off whoever was on him. “Get. Off!” His eyes strained to see who it was but the fingers wrapped around his hair kept him from doing much.

Tristan pushed Naythin’s head down against the pillow hard enough that he wouldn’t be able to draw in a breath let alone bother him with insistent demands to give off of him. “You need to know that this is your life from now on. Your precious Dean is never going to find you. As a matter of fact, I have the rest of the nest out searching for him so that they can end. him.” He thrust his cock deeper, without bothering to pull back, merely pushing in harder and harder.

Trying to turn his head to the side to breathe was impossible with the strength of the vampire that was fucking him. The pain was blinding. He knew the vampire had tore him open when he’d fucked into him. Naythin could feel the blood running down his skin, the blood acting as lube. Naythin had been hyperventilating so his lungs were already started for oxygen before his face had been shoved into the pillow. He struggled against the restraints on his wrists and ankles. Ignoring the way the leather bit into his skin or the pain from pulling so hard against his joints. When the vampire brought up Dean, Naythin lost it. He screamed into the pillow, his fingers curling into tight fists as his struggles double in intensity. I’ll kill you! Don’t touch him! You get near him and I’ll kill you! His lungs were screaming at him. The burn was getting almost unbearable as he tried to take in the smallest of breaths. This wasn’t his life. He had a life, with Dean, Hunting. This would never be his life. Dean would find him. He’d find him. He’d find him.

Tristan released Naythin’s hair at the same time that he dipped his head and bit into the back of Naythin’s shoulder. He drew large mouthfuls of Naythin’s blood into his mouth, moaning softly as he swallowed the rich taste. He finally withdrew from Naythin’s ass now that he’d finished with him. He didn’t even bother to lick the blood from Naythin’s ass though the smell and the memory of his flavor had the vampire’s nostrils flaring and a low groan sounding at the back of his throat. He walked, naked, to the far side of the room and took down one of his mother’s favorite whips. Walking back to the foot of the bed, Tristan pull the hand back in which he held the whip, letting it come crashing down across Naythin’s back, his buttocks and the backs of his thighs, over and over, each of Naythin’s screams exciting him; possibly more so than fucking him had done.

Naythin sat bolt upright on the bed. His hands pushing against the weight that was pressing down on him. He screamed at the top of his lungs non stop, one after another. The tug on his chest had him reaching for the leads to the heart monitor and ripping them off not even feeling the pain from the adhesive pulling against his skin. The IV came out as he swung his legs off the bed, dropping to the floor when they refused to hold his weight. His eyes were wide, darting around the room, not seeing what was actually there. The nightmare too fresh and taking up any rational part of his brain as he crawled along the floor to the corner. Crouching against the wall, his feet pulled up as close to his body as he could get them. His arms covering his head as he turned his face into the wall. The screams didn’t stop even as tears flowed down his cheeks unchecked.

Dean jerked awake, his eyes wide as he looked at Naythin. His body hadn’t kicked in along with his visual abilities and it took another couple of seconds for him to be able to actually react to what he was seeing. “Naythin, no!” he lunged at him and nearly fell off the bed in the process. He stumbled backward, nearly knocking over the IV pole if he hadn’t had such quick reflexes from years as a Hunter it definitely would have hit the floor. Immediately turning back to Naythin, he hurried over to him and wound up on the floor next to him, reaching for him. “Naythin, Naythin, baby, it’s me, it’s Dean,” he soothed even as Naythin fought against his touch.

Chapter Text

Debbie ran out of her patient's room at the end of the hall full tilt when the CODE BLUE alarm started to go off. Running past the nurse’s desk, the other night nurse, Ann, was on her way to Naythin’s room with the crash cart. The screams that came from the room when they slammed into the door had the hair on the back of her neck standing on end. Seeing Naythin’s empty bed, she hurried to the heart monitor to shut off the screeching alarm. Turning toward the sound of the screams, she saw Naythin huddled in the corner. His arms covering his head and face as he hid in the corner. “What the hell is going on in here?” She demanded as she tried to push past Dean to get to her patient. Blood was running in a steady stream down the side of Naythin’s hand where the IV should be. “Naythin! Naythin, you need to calm down!” When it was clear, Naythin wasn’t listening or even knew she was there, Debbie turned to Ann. “Get me a sedative! NOW!”

He could feel each and every one of the lashes from the whip across his back, ass and thighs. Over and over until he’d passed out from the pain. It only seemed to spur Him on. Each hit becoming stronger and more vicious until the pain pulled Naythin from unconsciousness, screaming. Beatings had been a popular punishment. Sometimes, it was all He would do. The vampire getting a perverse joy out of hearing Naythin scream and beg. “Please, no! No more! Please, stop. Please, stop. Oh, God, no more!” He was shaking, his fingers fluttering over the top of his head as he tried to make himself as small as possible.

When Debbie tried to push Dean out of the way he had to fight with everything he had not to go for her throat. He knew she was just doing her job, that she was likely worried about Naythin. “Don’t!” he barked. When she looked at him with wide eyes he gave his head a slowly shake, his eyes blazing as they met hers. “Don’t. Touch. Him. He’s afraid. Let...let me handle it. If I can’t then, fine. Do whatever you have to but...give me a chance. Give him a chance.” His eyes searched Debbie’s brown ones. “I don’t know how much you know but...he’s been through Hell. He had a nightmare about it. It’s natural that he’s...like this. Trust me. I’ve been to Hell too.” He turned his attention back to Naythin, practically dismissing Debbie all together. Carefully, he slid his hands into Naythin’s, let him have the power to hold him rather than the other way around. “Naythin, baby, it’s me, it’s Dean. No one will ever hurt you again. Baby, please, look at me. See me. You’re not back there. It’s a dream, a nightmare. He doesn’t have you anymore. He never will again. I promise you that.”

Naythin pulled away from the touch to his hands. His screaming fading to soft shuddering whimpers. His eyes were still squeezed closed as tight as he could make them, tears streamed down his cheeks despite the tight seal on his eyelids. Slowly, his brain started taking over and he could hear voices around him that had no place in his nightmare. A woman’s voice that sounded vaguely familiar. In all the time he’d been held, he never saw a single woman, human or vampire. A familiar, deep voice slowly pushed past everything else, soothing his nerves and had his fingers curling around the hands under them. Turning his face away from the wall, Naythin hesitantly opened his eyes, blinking rapidly to clear his vision. “De-Dean?” His head snapped to the side, looking around the room. He saw two nurses standing just behind Dean. He knew one but couldn’t remember her name, the other, he couldn’t place. Looking back at Dean, Naythin pushed away from the wall, tucking his chin and pressing the side of his face against Dean’s chest.

Debbie backed away, giving Dean the chance he’d asked for. Crossing her arms over her chest, her eyes ping ponging from one man to the other. When Naythin finally seemed to come around, she exhaled loudly, her head dropping to her chest. Taking the syringe from Ann, she tucked in the pocket of his scrubs. Keeping her voice low to not startle Naythin, she stepped close to the door so Dean could see her. “I have the sleeping aid Dr. Norris suggested at the desk. I think it would be a good idea, at least for the time being. He could hurt himself as well as you if he reacts this violently from a nightmare.” Nodding toward Naythin’s bleeding hand, she sighed heavily.

Dean nodded but he didn’t look away from Naythin. “Yeah, alright.” He could agree to that without his conscious bothering him. Naythin needed some sleep, some real sleep without nightmares. He had a feeling, if his time in hell was anything to go by, that Naythin would be using a sleep aid for a good long time before the nightmares started to become less frequent. Slowly, ever so slowly, lifted one of their joined hands, wrapping it around the side of Naythin’s head, holding Naythin’s head against his chest. “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. I’m here. Yer safe.” He slumped a little and breathed an easier breath, thankful as hell that he’d managed to get Naythin to calm down without the nurse giving him the damn sedative. He couldn’t live on sedatives. Like himself, Naythin had to learn how to find sleep without nightmares. For Naythin, a sleep aid would do the trick, it wasn’t like he’d been able to walk into a hospital and ask for any after his time in Hell. So instead, he’d turned to Jack, Jim and Jose. Either way, the result was the same, less nightmares. He barely turned his head toward Debbie and his eyes swung toward the bed briefly before returning to her face. “I think…” he heaved a sigh, if the woman agreed to this he’d be willing to kiss her flat on the mouth, “If you’d bandage his hand down here...slowly...gently...I think it would help. He might start to trust you a little bit...and then I can get him get back in bed an’ you can start another IV.”

Nodding slowly, Debbie turned to Ann. “I got this. You can go. Call Dr. Norris and let him know what happened.” Turning her attention back to Dean and Naythin, Debbie slowly crouched on the floor. “I’ll give him the sleep aid first. That way, he’ll be a little calmer to get his hand bandaged and start another IV. He won’t be out, just really relaxed so you can get him back in bed.”

Dean nodded and smiled at Debbie. “Thank you,” he murmured. Turning his attention back to Naythin he dipped his head a little and pressed a kiss to the top of his head. “It’s okay, baby. I gotcha. I gotcha. M’not gonna let anyone hurt you. Not ever again.”

Naythin had been watching both women through his bangs. When they finally left the room, he sagged against Dean’s chest. His fingers squeezing Dean’s hands. “M’sorry.” Sniffling quietly, he looked down at Dean’s hands pressed against his chest. “I didn’t...I didn’t hurt you?” He wasn’t even sure how he’d ended up on the floor in the corner to begin with. The last thing he knew, he’d fallen asleep next to Dean. The nightmare hit and he woke up on the floor.

“No,” Dean murmured with a slight, slow shake of his head before turning his head and resting it against Naythin’s. “You didn’t hurt me.” He was silent a long while as he struggled with himself, telling himself to man up and not be such a pussy. His stomach was tied in knots over the idea of what he was about to do, but he’d deal with anything for Naythin. “Do...do you wanna tell me about it?” He swallowed hard and squeezed his eyes closed as he waited for Naythin’s response.

Naythin dropped to his knees as he leaned against Dean, getting as close as he could. The solid feel of Dean’s chest and abdomen against him helped to ground him and push away the nightmare. When Dean asked him if he wanted to talk about it, Naythin gave his head a quick shake. He started to say no only to remember how many times he’d asked Dean to talk about his nightmares from his time in Hell. Sighing heavily, Naythin nodded slowly. “Okay.”

Taking one hand from Dean’s, Naythin wiped the back of his hand across his eyes clearing the tears. Taking in a long deep breath, he exhaled just as slowly. “It uh...It was right after they grabbed me. The vampires. I fought ‘em off for a while until one of ‘em came up and knocked me out. He uh...I came to on a bed.” Squeezing his eyes closed, Naythin swallowed a few times. Not that he had anything in his stomach to throw up but the action seemed to calm it just the same. “I was tied on my stomach, spread eagle, naked. There was...some kind of uh...they’d put a cock ring on. Except it had a bunch of rings. He uh…” Naythin started to shake as the memories came flooding back. It was tame in comparison to how creative He would get but, it still made Naythin sick to his stomach just thinking about it. “He fucked me dry until he came. Pushed my face into the pillow ‘til I almost passed out. When I thought he’d left the room, he started whipping me on my back, the backs of my legs an’ ass until I passed out again.”

Dean had to swallow several times while Naythin spoke and he had to fight himself to not tense. A muscle in his jaw twitched and rolled as he ground his teeth practically to dust, that was the only outward appearance to the turmoil going on inside him. Tears sprang to his eyes and he blinked away the sting. He exhaled a little more shakily than he’d wanted to and cleared his throat as quietly as possible. “It’s over now. No one will EVER hurt you like that again. I’ll die to keep that promise if I have to.”

“He said I had to understand my place. That that was my life now. He said the rest of the nest was out looking for you, to end you.” Tears rolled down Naythin’s cheeks as he shook his head. “I fought. I tried to get away, I did. I jus’...I couldn’t do it.” Naythin had berated himself for a long time. He should have fought harder, tried harder to get away. He never should have gave up, even when He told him that Dean was dead but, that’s exactly what he did; he gave up.

Dean’s jaw ached from how hard he was clenching his teeth. Sniffling softly, he forced his teeth apart so he could speak. “Yeah well, I’m here now. That asshole is never gonna step foot near you, not EVER again. Yer safe now. Yer home, with me.” He smoothed their joined hands down over the side of Naythin’s head and along his cheek. “I wish I could tell you not to cry an’ not to be scared but...I know what Hell’s like. Just...just try to remember that I’m never gonna let anything happen to you ever again. I swear it.”

Knocking quietly on the door, Debbie pushed it open enough to stick her head inside. “Dean? Naythin? It’s Debbie. Just me.” Slowly making her way in the room carrying a tray with gauze bandages and the syringe with the sleep aid, she let the door close behind her. Walking across the room keeping as close to the wall as she could so Naythin wouldn’t get spooked, Debbie set the tray on the counter. “I need to get his hand bandaged and give him the shot. You think he’ll be okay with that?”

Dean looked up when he heard Debbie’s voice. He didn’t want to call out to her right then, Naythin was in a very vulnerable place having talked about what happened to him and he knew that the slightest thing could spook the hell out of him. “It’s okay,” he whispered to Naythin. He flashed Debbie as much of a shot as he could muster before turning his attention back to Naythin. “Yer not there anymore. Yer here, in the hospital where everyone just wants you to get better. Get yer strength back...it’s okay now. Yer safe.” He paused for a long moment for Naythin to have a chance to let that soak in for a moment and answer if he wanted to.

He heard the nurse talk about bandaging his hand. Naythin frowned, his brows bunching heavily. Bandage his hand? It was only then that he actually looked down and saw the blood on the back of his hand and running down the sides. Pain and blood had been such a part of his life over the past...however long he’d been kept, he didn’t even feel it. Not really anyway. Nodding against Dean’s chest, Naythin shifted so he was sitting back on his heels keeping his shoulder, head and side pressed against Dean. “O-okay. You have to stay.” Naythin couldn’t bring himself to look up at Dean. He knew how pathetic and childish he sounded.

Dean slowly shook his head. “Never gonna leave you,” he murmured and tightened his arm around Naythin, giving his uninjured hand a gentle squeeze. Not ever again. “It’s okay. Debbie just wants to help you. She’s not gonna hurt you. I wouldn’t let her if she tried.” He looked up at Debbie and nodded. He hoped that she’d had enough training to know that it would help a lot of she agreed with him so that Naythin could hear it from her.

“Dean’s right, Naythin. I’d never do anything to hurt you. I just want to bandage your hand and give you something to help you sleep so you don’ have any bad dreams.” She left the part out about starting a new IV. Baby steps. She had to take things a lot slower with Naythin than any of her other patients. Picking up the tray, she walked over to where Dean and Naythin sat on the floor. Crouching in front of them, she set the tray on the floor so Naythin could see everything on it. “No tricks. I promise.” She opened the packet of gauze pads in front of Naythin so he could see not only them but the pack she was going to get them out of. She had grabbed rubber gloves already and put them on the tray. She let Naythin see her pick each one up and pull them on her hands. Now that she was ready, she picked up a gauze pad and wet it first with the bottle of saline solution and used it to clean up the back and sides of Naythin’s hand where the blood had dried. She glanced up at Naythin every so often to make sure he was okay and that he wasn’t starting to withdraw from her. She’d seen a rape patient in the ER once and Naythin was acting a lot like that poor girl had. She tried to remember everything the ER nurses did, every exaggerated movement so that the girl could see them and see that there were no surprises. Once his hand was clean to the eye, she pulled that pad away and set it aside on the tray. She pulled out another gauze pad and held it up a little for Naythin to see while she pulled the top of the Betadine solution open. Lowering the pad in her hand slowly, she pressed it to the bottle as she tipped the bottle to wet the pad. After she had it good and coated, she used it to clean the wound itself. When Naythin jerked a little she froze and looked from Naythin’s hand to Naythin and then Dean before looking back to Naythin. “Are you okay, Naythin?”

“Stings.” He hadn’t expected that. Naythin had watched every move the nurse made. His eyes following her like a hawk. The cool liquid on his hand as she cleaned the blood off felt good. He’d started to relax a bit, leaning more against Dean. He forced his arm to relax as he held his hand out for the nurse to finish.

Debbie nodded. “Okay. I’m sorry about that, Naythin. Sometimes it can and I forgot to mention that. I’m sorry, I should have said something.” She looked from Naythin to Dean before lowering her attention to Naythin’s hand again. “I’ll try to go slower. Maybe that till help it not hurt so badly.” It was rare for Betadine to hurt, but there was no way in hell that she was going to say that to Naythin. If he’d been raped like his chart sounded, he was probably hypersensitive right now. The poor dear. She cleaned everything up as carefully as she could and yet as swiftly as she could. Once his hand was cleaned she took out a couple of butterfly bandages just to make sure his hand didn’t start bleeding again and taped the sides of the wound together. Afterward, she dressed it in a clean bandage, taping it to his skin on each side of his hand. “How’s that? That feel okay?”

Nodding, Naythin flexed his fingers. The pull of the tape on his hand felt odd. The wound itself didn’t hurt, at least to him it didn’t. He’d been hurt a lot worse. Shrugging one shoulder, he looked up at the nurse through his thick bangs. “S’okay. Thanks.” Ducking his head, he pressed his cheek against Dean’s chest.

Debbie smiled and nodded. “You’re welcome, Naythin.” Her eyes darted to Dean briefly before returning to Naythin.

“Uh, I have a question,” Dean murmured. He hadn’t noticed how blood crusted the bandages on Naythin’s wrists were until he saw the brand new fresh bandage on his hand. “Shouldn’t his other bandages be changed? Or do you think that maybe that should be done while he’s asleep?” He hated to say it aloud in front of Naythin but the longer he thought about it the more he hated the idea of not. Hiding things from Naythin was the last thing he needed. He turned his attention to Naythin himself. “What do you think, angel? Do you wanna be awake when the bandages are changed?”

Naythin didn’t have an opinion on the subject. Whatever Dean and the nurse thought was best, he’d take. When Dean called him angel, Naythin’s breath hitched in his chest. He wasn’t anyone’s angel, not anymore. He hadn’t been for a very long time. Squeezing his eyes closed, he fought back the tears that pooled in the corners of his eyes. Shaking his head, he swallowed several times to try to get his voice working better. “Whatever you want’s fine.”

Debbie looked at Dean and back at Naythin. “Nope. You are my patient so you are gonna make that decision. Whatever you want me to do, that’s what I’ll do.” She’d taken a class after she’d seen that poor woman in the ER and they said that someone who was violated felt powerless and that things just happened to them. She wasn’t going to add to those feelings. She’d meant what she said, whatever Naythin wanted, she’d do. That was one bit of power she could give back to Naythin. She gave a curt nod to her own words and felt a little bit satisfied by what she’d said.

Dean smiled at Debbie, he was starting to really like this woman, and it was a genuine smile too. Looking back at Naythin he shrugged one shoulder. “You heard the lady, baby. I guess you have somethin’ to think about.” Something that doesn’t involve vampires, humiliation and pain.

Naythin started to get a little panicky. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing to make Dean or the nurse mad at him. He didn’t want to get punished. Pulling back, he curled his arm against his chest as he eyed the nurse through his bangs. She wasn’t moving toward him, trying to grab for his arms or legs. Hell, she wasn’t even looking at him as she fiddled with the items on the tray. Licking his lips, he sucked his bottom lip into his mouth. Chewing on the corner, he slowly let it slip free finally. “Sleep.” His voice barely above a whisper. “When I’m sleeping.” He immediately pulled back, ducking his chin nearly to his chest. His muscles tensed as he braced for the oncoming beating.

Dean’s smile was immediate and he couldn’t have stopped himself from pressing a kiss to Naythin’s head if he’d tried. There was a glimpse of the man he knew. Tears immediately filled his eyes but he breathed through the emotion that clenched at his heart. He swallowed hard and gave a curt nod to Naythin’s decision.

Debbie looked up at Naythin and smiled. “Sleep it is,” she murmured, her words whisper soft. She glanced at Dean and tapped the syringe with the sleeping medication in it with one finger so Dean had time to get Naythin ready for it.

“Baby, Debbie has to give you a shot. It’s the medicine to help you sleep without any more nightmares, okay?” Dean murmured softly, leaning his head against Naythin’s again.

“One poke and it’s over,” Debbie added.

Naythin waited for the blows to rain down on him. The kicks, punches, lashes from the whip, the cane, riding crop, hell anything they could get their hands on had been used on him. After a couple of minutes, he slowly raised his head. Tilting it to one side, his bangs shifted so he could see the syringe on the tray. It was small, the needle was thin and probably wouldn’t hurt much. It was only one. He could handle one shot. Flexing his fingers, Naythin slowly pulled his arm away from his chest. Extending his hand out, palm up. He didn’t know if it the shot had to go in a vein or muscle.

Debbie smiled and nodded at Naythin going so far as to actually offer up his arm. “That’s good. That’s very good, Naythin.” She reached for the syringe, rubber tie and an alcohol pad. “I have to tie this around your arm first so I can find a vein, okay, Naythin?”

Dean pulled his head up when Naythin offered the nurse an arm and he smiled wide before leaning into Naythin and pressing a kiss to his head. “I love you,” he whispered and pressed another kiss to his head. Turning his attention to Debbie he looked from her to Naythin and back and he had to admit that his breath caught in his throat. Shit. Shit. Shit. The frickin’ rubber arm band looked like a damn restraint. Or it could look that way to someone that had been through what Naythin had. He shifted his hold on Naythin and wrapped his arms tightly around him. “It’s okay. I gotcha. I gotcha,” he whispered against Naythin’s head.

Swallowing several times, Naythin eyed the long stretchy band in the nurse’s hand. It wasn’t the first time he’d ever seen one or had one on his arm. This time was different. That had all been before. Now, everything was different. Curling his fingers into a loose fist, he looked up at the nurse. “I-I don’ know. Um...o-okay.” He had to fight to not pull his arm away.

“I’ll do it as fast as I can, Naythin. I’m sorry that I have to use it at all,” Debbie responded. So much for progress. She leaned forward and reached for Naythin’s arm. Slowly. Exaggeratedly. Making sure Naythin could see everything she was doing. Once she had the band tied around his arm, she reached for the alcohol pad and wiped it across the vein that immediately puffed up. “You have beautiful veins,” she murmured, knowing it was better if she said something. Reaching for the syringe as she released the alcohol pad she pulled the cap off the needle with her teeth. She glanced up at Naythin as she placed the needle near his puffed up vein. “One poke, that’s it. Are you ready, Naythin?”

“It’s gonna be okay, baby. I wouldn’t let her hurt you, you know that. I love you, angel. I love you so much,” Dean whispered so only Naythin could hear him, or at least make out his words.

You have beautiful veins. Naythin started to shake. His fingers curling into a white knuckle fist. His heart was pounding against his ribs, chest heaving with each quick, shallow breath. “No...No.” Pulling back, he leaned back until his heels bit into his ass. How many times had he heard those exact words as He bit into Naythin repeatedly or allowed others to feed on him.

When Naythin pulled away from her, Debbie’s eyes swung to Dean, her eyes a little wider than they had been a moment before.

Dean glanced at Debbie before turning his full attention to Naythin. “Baby, what is it? What happened, what’s wrong?” He’d been doing so good. Dean tightened his arms around him, even as he turned more toward Naythin so he could see his face rather than the top of his head or his profile. “Talk to me, baby. She won’t touch you unless you say it’s okay.” He looked to the side and up as if by doing so he could actually see Debbie. “Right, Debbie?”

Naythin shook his head repeatedly. Swallowing hard, he glanced up at Dean. “What...what she said.” His fingers opened and closed as he glanced from Dean to his arm and back again. No one had ever fed from his arms so there weren’t any marks and his long hair hid the bite mark on the side of his neck. He hoped Dean would know what he was talking about and not make him say it out loud.

“What she said?” Dean repeated. His mind raced to try and put two and two together. Turning his head he looked back at Debbie. “You said he had nice veins,” he shook his head, “They hurt him. Blood...things. You can’t say things like that to him.”

Debbie felt like shit. Her eyes widened as she looked from Dean to Naythin and back. “Oh my God!” She closed her eyes briefly and shook her head before opening them. She looked at Naythin and frowned softly. “Naythin, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean anything by what I said. I was just...I was trying to make you feel more at ease and instead… Oh Naythin, I am so sorry.” She didn’t know what else to do. “Would it be better if I got another nurse to do this?”

“No. No one else.” As little as Naythin knew about the nurse, she’d never hurt him and she listened to Dean. “M’okay. Sorry.” Extending his arm, he turned his palm up opening his fist so the shot wouldn’t hurt. He knew enough that if you tensed when getting a shot, the fuckers hurt. He’d been hurt enough and wasn’t looking to cause it himself.

Debbie nodded and quickly inserted the needle in Naythin’s arm before she screwed anything else up or Naythin had the chance to change his mind about letting her do it at all. Once the medication was in, she withdrew the needle and wiped at the area with a clean piece of gauze before reaching for a Band-Aid and taping it across the tiny pinprick hole. She’d thought of using the wrap they had now that stuck to itself but she had no way of knowing what kind of sick things had been done to Naythin and the last thing she wanted to do was cause him to panic when he saw the brightly colored wrap. “Okay, all done, Naythin. We’re done. When that medicine takes effect you’re gonna feel really relaxed and at ease, alright?” Please, God, don’t let it scare him.

Dean nodded to the nurse’s words before he turned himself more into Naythin. Lifting one hand, he ran his fingers through Naythin’s hair. “Kinda like this use to do for ya, only better.” He offered Naythin a soft smile. “Do you remember?”

Naythin hadn’t even felt the prick from the needle. Even watching intently, he didn’t feel anything. The nurse was good. Once she was done and the band aid was on. He pulled his arm back as she loosened the stretchy band from around his bicep. Nodding, he looked down as Dean started to run his fingers through his hair. Naythin’s eyes slipped closed as he let out a long sigh. Licking his lips, he leaned against Dean’s chest. “I do. I remember.” There were times Naythin would dream about Dean. His fingers running through his hair. The way he laughed. Naythin would wake up crying each and every time. Now, this was real. Dean was here. He wasn’t dead and Naythin wasn’t chained to the floor or locked in the cage for days on end. “Don’ stop.”

Dean smiled at Naythin even as tears gathered at the corners of his eyes. He shook his head even though Naythin wouldn’t see the gesture. “Never,” he replied, his voice a little hoarser than it had been a moment before.

Debbie smiled at the two men and gathered up everything onto the tray before pulling to her feet. “I’ll leave you two alone. Let me know when he’s in bed and asleep, we’ll changed those bandages.” She didn’t even bother to throw the items she’d used in the trash in Naythin’s room, instead she made a silent beeline for the door and out, she could throw everything out and wash up in the hall or nurse’s lounge. Tears pricked her eyes as she headed up the hall toward the nurses station.

Chapter Text

Naythin wasn’t sure how long he sat on the floor with Dean running his fingers through his hair. His muscles seemed to slowly turn to Jell-O to the point he could barely keep his head up or his hands tucked in close to his chest. “M’tired.” he mumbled against Dean’s chest as he shifted his legs out from under him.

“I know you are, angel,” Dean murmured softly, “I know.” He swallowed hard as he searched Naythin’s bruised and abused features. His chest grew tight and it was hard to breathe as the full force of Naythin’s injuries, or at least the facial ones, hit him square in the chest. The first tear fell from the center of his eyes and down his cheek. He didn’t even want to think about the entirety of Naythin’s injuries. He doubted he’d be able to keep any kind of composure when that happened. Turning his head, he noticed for the first time, the bandages around Naythin’s ankles and his breath hitched in his throat. Swallowing against it and the lump that had formed there he slowly blew out a shaky breath. His hand never creased combing his fingers through Naythin’s hair, not even when he started to cry or when he felt his stomach flip flop sickly. He squeezed his eyes closed as he struggled to shut out those words that the woman...witch...whatever she was...that Vanessa...had said.

Naythin startled awake. Gasping in a lungful of air, his eyes snapped open as he sat up in the bed. His wrists had clean bandages as well as a new IV needle in the back of his other hand. Breathing heavily, he looked around the room as he moved closer to Dean. His hand with the IV gripping a handful of Dean’s shirt. The last thing he remembered was sitting on the floor with Dean after his nightmare. There were no dreams, no nightmares. Just a whole lot of nothing.

Dean’s eyes flew open the second Naythin jerked awake. He laid there silently watching Naythin as he looked around the room and down at himself; his legs, his hand and the IV in it, and seemed to be trying to fill in the blanks. He tightened his arm around Naythin’s chest and began to come the fingers of his other hand through Naythin’s hair again. “It’s okay. Yer safe, baby. I gotcha.” He looked down the length of Naythin’s body and back up. “I didn’t cover you because you seemed a little warm. If yer cold I can cover you up.”

Looking over at Dean, Naythin shook his head. Being too warm seemed absurd. “No. I’m not too warm.” Clearing his throat, he winced a little at the pain. Taking a deep breath, he sniffed before slowly laying back down. “I almost forgot what warm felt like.” Reaching up with his hand, he tugged at the collar of the hospital gown, pulling it away from his neck. Having any type of clothing on felt strange, made his skin itch. One thing Naythin would never complain about again was being too warm.

Dean nodded slowly and just as slowly, sat up enough so he could pull his arm from around Naythin and reach for the blankets.

Naythin was staring up at the ceiling as Dean sat up next to him. He barely registered what Dean was doing until he felt the tips of Dean’s fingers brush against the inside of his leg. “NO!” Kicking out with his foot, Naythin’s hands dropped to his side as he pushed himself back on the bed knocking the pillow to the floor. He didn’t stop until the back of his head hit the edge of the light fixture that stuck out from the wall over the head of the bed. “Don’t touch me!” Pulling his feet back, Naythin wrapped his arms around his shins, his eyes wide as he ducked his head resting his cheek against the side of his knee. He was shaking, his fingertips pressing hard into the sides of his legs. If he had any fingernails left there would be crescent shaped indentations in his skin.

Dean jumped back as far as he could without falling off the side of the bed when Naythin kicked out, kicking the hell out of him, it was a good thing Naythin was barefoot or Dean would have been really feeling the hard kick to his shin. Sonofabitch. The no that followed told Dean all that he needed to know, somehow, that simple touch had triggered a memory. Son.of.a.bitch! What the hell all did they do to him? Shit. He had a strong feeling that he didn’t want to know. Dean’s hands went up into a surrender position as he shifted a little further to the side of the bed, so much so that half of his body was hanging off the bed. “Okay. Okay. I’m not gonna touch you. I’m sorry. I was just gonna cover you up, that’s all.” He slowly shifted his body so he could get a leg on the floor before he wound up landing flat on his back on the hard tiled floor. He slowly put his other foot on the floor and pulled to his feet as he turned his body to face Naythin and then sat back down on the edge of the bed, facing Naythin. He kept his hands up the entire time so that he didn’t make Naythin feel any more threatened than he already did. “It’s okay, baby. I’m not gonna hurt you. I’d never hurt you. I swear to God, I wouldn’t.”

Shaking his head quickly, Naythin dipped his chin, rubbing his eyes against the material of the hospital gown. Sniffling quietly, he tightened his grip around his legs. “M’sorry. I didn’...I didn’ mean to kick you. You...you touched m’leg an’...” Shaking his head again, Naythin bit down hard on his bottom lip.

Dean reached out without thought and cupped the side of Naythin’s face in his hand, using his thumb to tug gently at his bottom lip. “Easy, yer gonna make it bleed,” he murmured gently, calmly. He waited until Naythin slowly released his lip. “I touched your leg an’ what, baby? What happened?” His chest grew tight even before Naythin spoke a single word. It took everything in him not to stop Naythin from telling him. ”Don’t be a pussy, boy! It’s a good way to get yerself killed! Man up! Deal with the pain and move on, Dean,” his Dad’s voice sounded in his head.

Shaking his head, Naythin blinked back the tears. He couldn’t tell Dean what they’d done to him. He’d leave him. He’d never want to touch him again. “I can’t. I can’t. Please don’ make me.” Everything was too fresh. It was too soon.

Dean let his hand fall away from the side of Naythin’s face as he nodded his understanding. “Okay. Okay. I’m sorry. If...if you ever wanna talk about it...I’m here.” He started to lean in and wrap his arms around Naythin but he stopped himself in the nick of time. “I…” Want to hold you. “Can I wrap my arms around you? Would that be okay?”

Picking his head up, Naythin wiped his eyes with the heel of his hand. Nodding quickly, he slowly straightened his legs keeping his feet well away from Dean’s side of the bed. Taking a deep breath, he reached his hand out for Dean’s. Dean had never hurt him. He trusted Dean with his life. He’d always looked out for him. Even when they fought, Dean never walked out on him.

Dean reached for Naythin and wrapped his arms around him, he shifted closer to Naythin rather than pulling Naythin to him. Turning his head, he closed his eyes and tucked his face in against Naythin’s neck, sighing softly, his warm breath fanning against the tender flesh.

Naythin slowly wrapped his arms around Dean making sure to not snag the IV tube on anything. He’d ripped one out and didn’t want to repeat the process again. When Dean leaned into him, Naythin’s muscles locked up, his head tilted to the side leaning against Dean’s. Dean’s breath against the side of his neck brought back every memory of being bitten Naythin had. Hunching his shoulder and tilting his head as far to the side as he could, Naythin pushed Dean’s head away. “No, no. Don’t...I can’t. I just...I can’t. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Pulling his arms from around Dean’s back, Naythin moved away from him until his side hit the metal railing. His shoulders were almost up to his ears as he tried to protect his neck. Lifting his left hand, he pressed the palm of his hand to the bandage on the left side of his neck.

Dean got the hint as Naythin pressed his head and shoulder down against him almost painfully. He pulled his head back slowly due to the cramped space he had to do it in. His lips parted, confusion clearly written on his face. What had he done? Naythin couldn’t...what? Be held? Hold him? All of these questions hovered on the tip of his tongue. His chest ached, each beat of his heart seemed to hurt. He forced himself to ignore it. This wasn’t about him, it was about Naythin and whatever he needed. If he hadn’t let Naythin get grabbed, this wouldn’t be happening. If he’d found him sooner, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. This, all of it, was his fault. When Naythin drew back from him, pulling his arms from around him it became harder to breathe. He had to swallow a few hundred times before he was able to speak without sounding so wrecked as he watched Naythin pull so far away from him. He turned his head and found the chair that was still next to the side of Naythin’s bed. “It’s okay. You don’t have to move so far away. I’ll move.” He slowly pulled to his feet and turned so he could sit down in the chair. “See? Yer safe.”

Dr. Norris knocked softly before walking inside the room. “Good morning!” He smiled brightly as he looked from Dean to Naythin and back again. “Or...not.” Walking along the wall, he set the file he’d been carrying on the counter before turning and leaning against it. “Debbie tells me there was some excitement last night.” Looking at Naythin, the doctors eyes skimmed over him, glancing at the bandage on Naythin’s hand as well as the IV now in the opposite hand. The absence of the heart monitor leads was glaringly obvious. “Did the sleep medication help at all?” Looking over at Dean, he raised both eyebrows knowing he’d get a better answer from him than Naythin.

Dean slowly looked away from Naythin and over to the doctor. “Yeah, he slept a lot better with it,” he responded. “He woke a little confused but,” he nodded, “It was a lot better than having him waking up from a nightmare.”

Naythin’s head snapped up when he heard the knock on the door. He’d been watching Dean through his bangs when he started to get off the bed. Naythin’s heart nearly jumped out of his throat. He was convinced Dean was going to leave him, that he was going to leave. When he sat in the chair next to the bed, Naythin was about to slowly make his way over to him when the doctor walked in. He watched as the doctor walked across the room and stopped near the counter where the small in room sink was. When he brought up the excitement Naythin knew he was referring to his nightmare and what happened after it. Not exactly a proud moment in Naythin’s life. Hell, he was pretty well disgusted with himself about everything.

When Dean spoke up, Naythin turned his attention to him. Dean didn’t look at him and that hurt. Naythin knew he deserved it for how he’d kicked Dean and pushed him away before the doctor came in. Glancing from Dean to the doctor, he waited for Dean to say more, when he didn’t, Naythin turned his head away, hiding the tears that pooled in his eyes.

“Okay. That’s good. I think we’ll make the sleeping medication a regular thing for a while. At least as long as you’re in the hospital. That sound good to you, Naythin?” He waited for a response. When he didn’t get any, Dr. Norris nodded slowly. “I need a yes or a no, Naythin.”

Swallowing hard, Naythin nodded quickly.

“Good. I’ll make a note in your chart. I brought the bland diet menu with me. As I said before, we’ll start out easy. Nothing too heavy for a while. I’ll leave it with Dean so you can go over it. I brought the regular menu for you, Dean. No sneakin’ banana splits, okay?” Chuckling lightly, he pulled a pair of gloves from his pocket. “Naythin I need to take a look at you to see how everything’s going. Check the wounds on yer back, wrists etc. You okay with that?”

When the doctor said he had to come over and check him out, Naythin looked over at Dean. His eyes widened as he reached out for him not caring how badly his hand shook. “Dean…”

Dean started to reach for Naythin’s hand a couple of times while the doctor had been talking but he didn’t want to distract Naythin from what was being said. When he saw Naythin look away out of the corner of his eye he couldn’t stop the way his brow furrowed with confusion briefly before he shook it off for the time being. He’d ask Naythin about it after the doctor left. He assumed that the doctor was going to leave and started to reach for Naythin again only to have him instead announce that he was going to, “see how everything’s going.” Ah shit dude, seriously!? His attention snapped to Naythin when he said his name and he was up and out of the chair before he even realize he was moving. He sat down on the side of the bed facing Naythin and reached for him, pulling Naythin into his arms. “I won’t breathe on you. I won’t lay my head on yer shoulder. It’s okay. We’ll do whatever you want...whatever you need. For now just...hold me,” he whispered against Naythin’s ear. “I love you. I’ll never leave you. I’m not mad or whatever yer thinkin’. I’m worried about you. I don’t mean to scare you, I hate myself for it. Just hold onto me...look at me while the doc checks you out.” He pulled his head back and looked into Naythin’s face. “Baby?” he murmured softly. “Does that...is that okay?”

Naythin wrapped his arms around Dean’s waist as he turned his face away from the doctor to stare at the wall. Sliding his hands under Dean’s over shirt, he closed his eyes. Listening to Dean, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed tight to keep the tears from falling. He wanted all those things back. He wanted Dean to...breathe on his neck, to rest his head on his shoulder. Naythin wanted to be how he was, before. Not...this. “Love you, too. M’sorry. M’sorry I’m not...me anymore.” When Dean pulled his head back, Naythin did the same. Looking up at him, Naythin nodded slowly. “Uh huh...it’s okay. It’s okay.”

Dr. Norris waited on the far side of the room for Naythin and Dean. He didn’t want to interrupt. Everything had to be done on Naythin’s timetable. If he felt out of control for even a moment, they’d lose any headway they’d gained in the short amount of time he’d been awake. When the two men seemed to come to some sort of agreement, Dr. Norris cleared his throat. “Okay. Naythin, since you’re sitting up the way you are, I’m going to check your back first. I’m going to try and not have to touch you but, if I do, I’ll let you know ahead of time. Okay?”

Not taking his eyes off Dean, Naythin nodded. It took him a few seconds to remember to actually speak. “Okay.”

Dean hadn’t seen Naythin’s back and part of him was glad while another part, some sick masochistic part of himself wanted to see the damage that had been done to his Naythin. He tightened his arms around Naythin briefly before he shifted his arms lower, down around Naythin’s waist so that his arms wouldn’t be in the way of the doctor checking Naythin out. His tongue darted out, licking across his lips he tried to meet Naythin’s gaze, not that it was very easy to do. “Baby, do...do you want me to look?” he inquired.

Naythin’s eyes widened when Dean asked to see his back. He’d never seen it. He didn’t have to look to know it was covered in scars from being whipped and clawed up by Him. He didn’t want Dean to look, to see how weak he’d been to not fight off the vampires. To not get away. Shaking his head, Naythin looked down at Dean’s chest for a moment before raising his eyes back to Dean’s face. “No...no. Please don’ be mad.”

Dean swallowed hard and gave his head a quick shake as the corners of his lips twitched and he could feel his chin quiver a little as he tried not to cry. “M’not mad,” he whispered huskily, “It’s okay.” He leaned in and lightly rested his forehead against Naythin’s. “It’s okay.”

Closing his eyes as Dean leaned his forehead against his own, Naythin bit his bottom lip to keep the tears from rolling down his face.

“Naythin? We left the ties open on the back of your gown. I’m going to pull it open as carefully as I can. If anything hurts, I need you to say something, okay? We need to know if there’s anything we need to change as far as medications go. Okay?”

Tightening his arms around Dean, Naythin nodded. “Okay.”

“Good man. Dean? You’ll be able to hear him better than I can. If he tenses even a little, you tell me. Okay?” Looking past Naythin, he waited for Dean to lift his head and answer.

Dean slowly lifted his head and pressed his lips to Naythin’s forehead as he nodded and looked up at the doctor. “Okay,” he murmured as he pulled his lips away. “It’s okay, angel. It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered and leaned in, pressing his lips to Naythin’s eyes, first the uninjured one then ever so softly against the injured one. He tasted Naythin’s tears that he was stubbornly holding at bay.

“Okay...here we go.” After having put gloves on, Dr. Norris carefully peeled back the two halves of Naythin’s gown. His eyebrows bunching as he looked at the long lines along the lower half of the man’s back. Several were old and still red while the most recent were scabbing over and still swollen even after the scrubbing the ER staff had given them when Naythin had been first brought in. Leaning back, he checked the rest of Naythin’s back and shoulders. He couldn’t help shaking his head at all the scars that criss crossed his back. The kind of animal that could inflict this type of pain on another human being was mind boggling. “All things considered, it looks really good. Nothing seems to be infected and they’re healing nicely. As long as they continue to do so, I don’t see any reason to have to a bandage them. If they start hurting at all, Naythin, you need to tell Dean. We’ve got you on some pretty hefty antibiotics but, sometimes these things sneak up on us.”

Naythin didn’t move while the doctor looked at his back. His eyes closed knowing someone else was seeing how weak he’d been. The light brush of material against his skin had him tensing, his hands gripping Dean’s shirt tightly as he tried to force himself to not pull away. He kept expecting something to happen. The pain from a whip or a cane to slice into his back. When nothing happened, only the doctor saying he was healing good and to tell Dean if anything started to hurt, Naythin started to relax a bit. He didn’t take his arms from around Dean. Not until the doctor closed the back of his gown and walked to the foot of Naythin’s bed.

Dean pulled his head back from kissing Naythin’s face when the doctor spoke to him, or rather about him. He nodded to both the doctor and Naythin. “I know yer proud an’ you wanna be a tough guy but the doc’s right. Please say somethin’ if you start hurting, okay?” he murmured gently.

Looking back at Dean, Naythin nodded. He’d do it for Dean. “ Okay. I promise.” Turning his attention back to the doctor, he tensed as he leaned both hands on the footboard.

“Since the bandages on your wrists and ankles were changed a few hours ago and there weren’t any notes about infection or anything else, I won’t go pokin’ around. We’ll keep the bandage changes to when yer asleep, Naythin. Seems to be more comfortable and easier on you that way. We’re not here to hurt you, scare you or make you uncomfortable. You’re in charge. Understand?”

Naythin had slowly started to pull his legs back only to stop when the doctor said he wasn’t going to check the bandages on his ankles. He relaxed a bit more at the rest of what the man said. “Okay.” Nodding he leaned into Dean a bit more.

Dean turned his head to the side and turned his body a little at the waist in an attempt to see the doctor. It didn’t really help much, but it was an attempt. “Um, when Naythin got out of bed...when he had the nightmare, he crumpled like a house of cards. Is there gonna be physical therapy later on?” He knew it was too soon but seeing Naythin fall like that had put his heart in his throat.

“There has been extensive muscle atrophy from lack of use. Some of the weakness could be from his poor general condition. Once we get the infections under control and he’s eating, we’ll see how he gets around.” Turning his attention to Naythin, the doctor glanced to the side toward the bathroom. “I know this may sound indelicate but, have you gone to the bathroom at all since the catheter has been removed, Naythin?”

Shaking his head, Naythin glanced toward the bathroom. “No.” He’d had to learn to not go to the bathroom until he was told he could. Sometimes it was a couple days before he was allowed to. More times than not, he’d be tied to the mattress and forced to lay in his own filth.

“No?” Dr. Norris’ eyes widened as he looked at Dean. “You need to make sure you go...soon or we’ll have to put the catheter back in and I really don’t want to do that. Not with the infection you have going on.”

Dean hadn’t even thought about it. Hell, he hadn’t actually gone either for fear of leaving Naythin alone. The only thing he could think of to remedy that was if they went together. Nothing like togetherness, to bring a couple closer, right? Uh huh, sure. “I uh, I’ll make sure he goes…” And then it hit him. “Uh, how exactly is he supposed to get into the bathroom since he can’t walk?” He wasn’t trying to be a smart ass, he actually needed to know since he hadn’t even thought about it.

“We can get an orderly to help him though I’m pretty sure he’d much rather have you do it.” The way Naythin’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head was enough to convince the doctor he was right. “It’s not far. Just help him as best you can to walk to the bathroom and get him on the toilet. I can get him a walker to use if you think that would help. The more he’s up and around the better he’ll be, honestly. Once we get a handle on the infections and get him off the IV, we’ll get him to physical therapy.”

Dean nodded. “Okay. Maybe...could we get the walker in case it’s needed? I’ll try to get him there myself but...I really don’t want him to...um...y’know...by accident because we can’t get him up fast enough.” Oh yeah, this wasn’t awkward. No, not at all. He wanted to hide on Naythin’s behalf. He pulled him in closer in an attempt to hide him from the conversation. It had to be weird and frustrating as hell to hear people planning out what you were going to do while you sat right there in the room. He looked back at Naythin. “Does that sound good to you? Whatever you wanna do, we’ll do. It’s fine. Anything.”

Naythin tried to tune everything out. Whatever Dean decided was fine with him. The walker being brought up had Naythin shaking his head. “No. No...walker. I can...I can get to the bathroom without it.” He could walk. He wasn’t steady on his feet but he could do it. The last time he’d walked was...he had no idea how long he’d been in the hospital. It was before the fire. Before the shooting and the house was burned. They’d walked him up from the van to where his cage was set up and left him there. He’d ask Dean about it later.

Dean nodded slowly. “Okay. No walker.” He looked back at the doctor and nodded in agreement. “Whatever he wants to do.”

“No walker it is, than.” Nodding, Dr. Norris walked over to the counter to retrieve the file he’d brought in with him. “If either of you don’t have any other questions, I’ll see you gentlemen later on tonight. There is a standing order for the sleep medication. Anytime you need it, just have the nurse bring it in.” Nodding again, he smiled as he tapped the foot board with the file. “Hang in there Naythin. Yer doing just fine. Oh and Dean...before I forget. You need to make sure you sleep when he does and eat etc. I don’t want to have to wheel another bed in here for you. Understand?”

Dean smiled and nodded. “I slept some when he did last night.” It was a lot easier said than done when he kept opening his eyes to see if Naythin was okay. To make sure he wasn’t having any nightmares. To make sure he wasn’t in pain. As for eating, he hadn’t even thought about food. Not in a long time really. He was still heavily muscled like he’d always been they just showed more now that he nearly had zero fat on his body to cover them.

“Good. That’s good. Look over those menu’s I left on the counter and have the nurse put in the orders. I’ll see you guys tonight.” Turning the doctor walked to the door, pulled it open and stepped out into the hall.

Naythin waited until the door was closed. Even then he was almost afraid to ask, almost. “How...I mean, how long have I been here? In the hospital?” He kept his eyes down, not making eye contact with Dean.

Dean’s eyes moved over Naythin for a long moment before answering. “I...I’m not sure. I came as soon as the police called us...maybe a couple days I guess. They uh, they matched your fingerprints and face with the Missing posters I’d put up all over. It’s how they knew to call Bobby’s number. Tag and I just happened to be there that night because we had a psychic come in to try an’ see if she could tell us anything.” He swallowed hard and felt like a class A heel for not knowing more. He hated himself for not having been here from the second Naythin was found. For not being the one to find him. For so many things… He wouldn’t blame Naythin if he got pissed at him over it. It was the least of what he deserved. “I’m sorry,” he whispered hoarsely as tears pricked his eyes. “We looked...I swear we did. Every time we thought we were getting close…” He gave his head a shake. “It was like we kept just missing you.”

Looking up at Dean, Naythin pulled one hand from behind his back. Lifting his hand, he hesitated for a moment before using the side of the thumb to brush away the tear that rolled down Dean’s cheek. “I know you were looking for me. Every day I told them you were looking for me. That you’d find me.” Lowering his hand, Naythin took in a slow deep breath. “I got moved around a lot in the beginning. Every day...sometimes every other day.” Nodding, he looked down at the sheet. “The psychic. Did she know anything?” Naythin never really believed in psychics. Most of them were full of crap. Preying on people’s emotions and stealing them blind.

Dean drew in a shaky breath as he heard Vanessa’s words in his head again. “Tell me, tell me about your sweet, sweet boy. Little boy blue come blow your horn? Oh, it seems he's been blowing a lot of horns lately. Such a tight ass, such a lovely little tight ass. Tell me, Dean, do you like it in his ass? Do you like his tight, tight ass? The others did, oh how they liked that tight little ass. Oh yes, yes, yes! Such a bad little boy, little boy in the corner with the tears in his eyes. His big blue eyes. Your boy in the corner. Your boy with tears in his eyes…” He cleared his throat as he sniffled softly and nodded his head. “Yeah,” he croaked out softly. “She uh, she knew...she knew everything.”

Naythin’s eyes widened as he looked up at Dean. She knew everything. Shit. Shit. Shit. “Oh. I see.” Licking his lips, Naythin dropped his eyes to his lap, his shoulders hunched forward, back bowed as he tried to make himself smaller. His arm around Dean’s waist tightened. If the psychic knew everything, she had to have told Dean. He had to know what was done to him.

Dean would have had to of been blind not to see the reaction Naythin had with that revelation. “Her...handler...fiancé...whatever he was, he stopped her before she said too much,” he continued. “She uh, she got a little emotional so he uh, he stopped her before she got too far. It was far enough though, I finally knew where to find you but...Bobby got the call before I ever had the chance to leave. Hell, she’d left when the phone rang.” He gave his head a slow shake and swallowed hard before blowing out a shaky breath.

Nodding, Naythin continued to stare down at his lap. The tip of his tongue gliding slowly back and forth over his chapped lips. “Was...did you...did you use other psychics? To find me?”

Dean gave his head a quick shake. “No. None. Tag and I were determined to find you. I didn’t think it would have taken so long.” He blew out a breath. “There were times that...that some people believed it was hopeless but,” He shook his head, “I wouldn’t, couldn’t believe that. I knew you were out there, somewhere.”

So long? How long had he been gone. “How long have...was I gone? I know it’s been a while but…” Naythin had stopped keeping track after he’d been told Dean was dead. By then it had to have been at least a year. Maybe less? He wasn’t sure anymore.

It was Dean’s turn to start shaking as he looked down at the sheet between them. He drew in a breath and released it shakily. He felt his tears on his face but he couldn’t manage to care. One dripped off his chin to fall onto the bedding. “Three years,” he whispered hoarsely, unable to speak the words any louder than that. He swallowed back a sob as he silently wept. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he murmured through his tears as he slowly shook his head.

Chapter Text

Three years. No. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t have been that long. Naythin could feel Dean shaking under his arm. He pulled lightly not sure if Dean would move closer or not. He knew what had been done to him so Naythin wasn’t sure. “Three years? Are...are you sure? I mean...that’s...three years?” When Dean started to apologize, Naythin looked over at him, his eyebrows bunching tightly. “Sorry for what? I...Dean, I don’ understand?”

When Naythin pulled at him to move closer, Dean went willingly, wrapping his arms around Naythin’s neck. He leaned his forehead against Naythin’s shoulder and let himself cry though he tried to be as silent about it as possible. When Naythin asked if Dean was sure it had been three years a soft whimper left him as he nodded against Naythin’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, baby. I looked. I did. I swear I did.” He had to stop speaking before his words were too garbled to understand. He gulped in air over and over in an attempt to compose himself. “Yeah, three years.” He swallowed hard as he picked up his head to look at Naythin. “It’s all my fault...I’m so sorry. If I’d been watching you closer it never would have happened. I should have went with you. Looked in the bathrooms sooner. Went outside before I did. If I had...maybe I could have seen you. I dunno…” He sniffled and drew in a shaky breath. “I should have found you sooner. I’m sorry, baby. I’m sorry I let you down. I wish it would have been me, not you.”

Naythin was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he’d been with the vampires for three. years. Three years of beatings, torture, moved around in the back of some van in a cage like an animal. Getting brutalized multiple times a day, starved, nearly burned alive. Three. Years. He wasn’t really tracking what Dean was saying until he heard him say he wished it had been him and not Naythin. “No! Don’ say that. Don’ ever say that!” Naythin wouldn’t wish what he’d been through on his worst enemy and especially not on Dean. “You...you said you looked for me. I, I believe you. It’s jus’...three years.” Three years of their lives together were stolen from them. Three years they’d never get back.

Dean didn’t respond to Naythin telling him to never say that he wished it had been him and not Naythin. Nothing would change how he felt about that, but he wasn’t going to upset Naythin by arguing the fact. “Bobby had every Hunter out there looking for you too...this sonofabitch...this bastard that had you,” Dean shook his head. “He knew how to hide from Hunters. I...I know you said it was a him but...did you ever see a woman? A vampire woman, one with violet eyes?” He knew she had to be involved somehow. The bites were exactly the same.

“No. I never saw any women. Vampire or human. It was always just Him and other men.” Closing his eyes, Naythin swallowed a few times as the fear and panic started to rise again. His chest started to ache from how fast his heart was beating. He took in several slow deep breaths to try and calm himself down. They couldn’t get to him here. Not in the hospital. “The day of the fire. I heard shouting. People were running around, packing. They uh...they locked me in the cage. Told me to stay quiet or…” Shaking his head, he couldn’t get himself to say the words. “I heard shooting. A lot of it. I don’ know. I think maybe Hunters found the nest and set the house on fire.” He could still smell the smoke, the way it burned his lungs and throat.

Dean nodded to everything Naythin said. “I...I know there were other...men. Vanessa, the psychic, wasn’t exactly delicate about...what she said.” That was putting it nicely. He blew out a breath hard enough to puff out his cheeks. “I still think Violet was involved somehow. If she wasn’t there then…he was her son. The bites the doctor told me about are the same as what she’d done to me.” He swallowed hard and nodded to what Naythin said about the fire. “I’m just glad the firemen got you outta there.”

Looking around the room, Naythin tried to pick out something that would tell him where he was. What state or city. “Where are we? What...what state?”

“Kansas,” Dean answered softly. “Go home, Dean. Home is where you will find your boy. The boy in the corner with tears in his eyes and fire on his skin.” He huffed softly. Fire on his skin. She even knew about the fire. “The psychic said you’d be here.”

Kansas? Holy shit! Licking his lips nervously, Naythin looked around the room again. Kansas wasn’t that far from Bobby’s. Not really. It was a few hours away at least but, damn. “Why did you wait? I know you never liked psychics...didn’t trust ‘em but...three years? I’m in Kansas. I know it’s not close to Bobby’s…” Shaking his head, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed. “Ferget it. I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter.”

Dean’s heart fell into his feet. Every question Naythin asked was like a slap in the face. He deserved it, deserved worse and he knew it. He nodded and bowed his head, his chin nearly to his chest as he slowly pulled his arms from around Naythin. “I know. I’m sorry. Tag and me, we’d just driven in the night before Vanessa arrived she...she’s the most powerful psychic there is. It was our last hope, I was getting desperate. She uh, she’s powerful because she’s possessed...possessed by Legion.” He pulled his hands into his lap and curled his fingers into loose fists. He wasn’t sure what else to do with them, he didn’t deserve the comfort of holding Naythin. “I didn’t wait...I did everything I could think of. I worked as hard as I could...I’m sorry.” There was nothing he could say to justify what he’d done. Like Naythin said, he’d waited. He should have called Vanessa sooner. The fact that Bobby had only just learned about her was immaterial.

When Dean pulled his arms away, Naythin gasped as he reached for Dean with his free hand. Grabbing onto his shirt to keep him from getting too far away, Naythin shook his head slowly. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter how long he’d been gone. It wasn’t Dean’s fault. Naythin knew that. “I’m sorry. I know you did everything. I’m sorry. Don’ leave. Please. Don’t go. I didn’ mean anything by what I said. I know you looked. I know you did. Please, please don’t go.” Naythin didn’t care who the psychic was or if she was possessed by Lucifer or Legion or whatever. She’d told Dean where he was, where to find him and Dean came. Dean came to get him. To take him home. That’s all that mattered.

Dean shook his head. “I’m not leaving you. I said I wouldn’t.” He should be out there, looking for the bastard who hurt Naythin. Not Tag. He should be doing whatever he had to in order to make sure the sonofabitch paid for what he’d done to Naythin. He didn’t feel worthy to hold onto Naythin anymore. Bobby and Tag had argued with him that none of this was his fault but Naythin knew better. He blamed him...he blamed him and he should. “I can never make this up to you. And there’s nothing I can say to justify how long you were gone. I’m sorry. I...I tried to find you...I did everything I knew to do.” He barely slept, barely ate. He worked himself half to death but it wasn’t enough. All of this, everything was his fault. He clenched his teeth together and blinked back the sting of tears. “I...I was gonna go with Tag to find him but…” But I stupidly listened to what he and Bobby said and stayed here. I should be out there, making sure that you’ll always be safe.

“No. No, Dean. No. It’s okay. I know you looked for me. I knew you’d find me. I jus’...after He said you were dead. Showed me the shirt, I gave up. I stopped fighting. I stopped keeping track of how long they had me.” Taking one hand from Dean’s shirt, Naythin raised it to Dean’s face using the side of his thumb, he wiped the tears from Dean’s cheeks. “Yer here. I have you back. I have my Dean back. That’s all I care about.” Lowering his hand, Naythin wrapped his arm around Dean’s waist. Resting the side of his face against Dean’s chest just over his heart, Naythin closed his eyes. “I need you. Please don’ go.” Naythin knew Dean. He knew Dean wanted to find the vampires that had taken him and hurt him.

I never gave up. I never gave up searching. I never stopped believing that I would find you...somewhere. I never stopped fighting. I killed so many things out there. Demons, vampires...whatever Tag and I found that knew anything. I tortured information out of many of those same things. I kept track of every minute you were gone. Vanessa’s exact counting of how long Naythin had been gone hadn’t impressed him. He knew the length of time down to the minute. He huffed softly when Naythin called him my Dean. “I always thought you could do better than me, I just never said it for fear that you might.” He swallowed hard. “Now...now I wish you had.”

Pulling his head back, Naythin frowned as he looked up at Dean. “What? Do better? Wh-why would you say that?” He tightened his arms around Dean until he said he’d wished Naythin had found someone else...someone better. His heart dropped into his stomach. Naythin’s chest tightened until he couldn’t take a full breath. “You…” Swallowing hard, he slowly pulled his arms from around Dean’s waist. “You don’ want...you don’ want me...anymore?” Oh, God no. No, please no.

Dean slowly lifted his head to look at Naythin, his normally sparkling eyes were dull and flat. “I never said that. I just… Someone else might have been able to keep you safe...taken better care of you.”

“You’ve been takin’ care’a me as far back as I can remember. No one would’ve stuck by me as long as you have. There is no one better. I love you. I-I need you. You never gave up.” Like I did. Looking down, Naythin raised his left hand, placing it on top of Dean’s left hand. Interlacing their fingers, he squeezed gently. “Yer still wearin’ yer ring.” Looking back up at Dean, Naythin slowly shook his head. “No one else would have done that. They’d have written me off.”

Dean’s eyes lowered to his hand when Naythin took hold of it. He huffed softly at what Naythin said. “When I first got into yer room I walked up to you an’ I reached for yer hand. I thought it was kind of amazing that after...everything you’d been through you still had yer ring on.” He gave his head a slow shake. “I love you so much...I never would have taken my ring off. Not even if…” He swallowed hard. “Even if we’d found that you’d...d-died. You’d still be my husband.” He ran his thumb back and forth against the side of Naythin’s hand. “No one who loved you would have ever written you off.” He didn’t mention that Bobby and Tag had both at one time or another tried to tell him that Naythin was just gone. “I’m sorry.” He lifted his head and his eyes to Naythin’s face. “I’m sorry it took so long to find you. I don’t blame you if...if deep down you hate me for it.”

“No one else would’ve kept looking for me. I’m sorry. I didn’ mean for it to sound like I was doubting you or that you lied about it. I jus’...three years is a long time. I..I didn’ realize it’d been that long.” Squeezing Dean’s hand, Naythin shook his head. “No. I could never hate you. Not you. I thought you were dead. He told me they were looking for you. They were going to kill you. When I saw your shirt with the blood on it an’ I smelled yer cologne. I…” Bowing his head, Naythin sighed heavily. “I gave up. I wanted to die. I had nothing to live for, nothing to fight for.”

“I wouldn’t have ever stopped lookin’ for you, not even if I was dead,” Dean responded with a soft huff. They’d salt and burned enough bodies to know that what he said wasn’t impossible. Unfinished business would have kept him here. “I dunno, maybe it would’ve been better that way. A ghost wouldn’t have taken so long to find you.” It was true. Ghosts didn’t have to play by the same rules as the living, they could cheat. Walking through walls and appearing wherever you wanted with the power of a mere thought had its advantages.

Raising his head, Naythin locked eyes with Dean. “No. If, if you were dead, who’d be with me now? Yer the only one here. Bobby left, Tag left. Yer all I have. Who would stay with me? Wake me up when the nightmares hit? Keep me from hurting myself? No one else would do that. Not for me. So, no. It wouldn’t have been better.”

“Tag left because I stayed. Same with Bobby. If I wasn’t here, one of them would have stayed with you. Yer family, Naythin. There’s no way they would have walked away from you. And it wouldn’t have been three years...you might not have needed anyone.” Dean gave his head a slow shake as he lowered his eyes to their hands again. “We could go on and on about this...but it doesn’t change anything. You were gone for three years an’ I’ll never forgive myself for a single minute of it. I’m sorry...I know that doesn’t change anything, but I am. I’m damn sorry.” If Tag couldn’t find Him, once Naythin was out of the hospital and doing better he’d go find him. Now that he knew that Vanessa was legit...more or less, he’d ask her where the bastard was, go and chop the fuckers head off...after he’d given the bastard a taste of his own medicine that is.

“They’re not you. You think Tag would sit here like this? You think Bobby would? You an’ I both know they wouldn’t. Sure, they’d be in the room but that’s it. So, no. They wouldn’t be with me.” Taking in a deep breath, Naythin held it as he shoved down the fear that started to build. Taking his hand from Dean’s, Naythin wrapped his arm around Dean’s waist and pulled gently. Laying his head against Dean’s chest, he closed his eyes. He was a mess. He knew it. Just holding Dean like he was scared the shit out him. Regardless of how many times he told himself it was Dean, his brain went on self protection mode and wanted to push him away. To find the nearest corner, curl up and go fetal.

Dean shifted closer to Naythin and eased himself down on his side so that Naythin would relax back as well. Reaching up with one hand, he began combing his fingers through Naythin’s hair over and over again. “Relax, angel. M’not goin’ anywhere. I’ll be right here as long as you need me.”

Naythin’s whole body tensed when Dean started to make him lay down. He fought it for a few seconds before he was able to unlock his muscles to follow Dean’s lead. By the time he was on his side next to Dean, a thin layer of sweat covered Naythin’s skin. His pulse was racing as he repeated over and over in his head, It’s Dean. It’s Dean. The arm he pulled from around Dean’s waist as he lay down was tucked between their bodies. Even though his eyes were closed, they darted back and forth under his eyelids. Naythin’s breathing had increased, his nostrils flared as he breathed through his nose. The sudden, unexpected touch to the top of his head had Naythin’s body jerking. Hearing Dean’s voice telling him to relax helped. It took a few seconds for Naythin’s body to comply but, once it did, his body became less rigid, his breathing evened out and even his pulse slowed. Tucking his chin in toward his chest, Naythin sighed. “I’ll always need you.”

Pushing past the elevator doors, Ellen jogged down the hall to the nurse’s desk. “Naythin Winchester. Where is he?”

Looking up from her paperwork, Gail pulled her head back as the woman asked about the newest patient. “And you are?” Without breaking eye contact, she reached for Naythin’s file. Flipping it open, she glanced down to find the visitors list.

“Yer worst nightmare come true if you don’t tell me where m’boy is?” Ellen smiled sweetly as she leaned forward. Her eyes held not one shred of humor. Now was not the time to screw around with her.

“Are you Naythin’s mother?” Looking down, the nurse flipped a couple pages until she found the patient history. “I don’t have anything listed for his parents.” Closing the file, she interlaced her fingers, steepling her thumbs as she rested her hands on top of the folder. “If you’re not immediate family, you can’t see him. Doctors orders.”

Pulling her head back slowly, Ellen’s eyebrows rose in unison. “Let me tell you somethin’, sweetie. I’m the closest person Naythin has to a mother. His family was killed by some psycho when he was just a boy. I’ve damn near raised him. He’s married to my son, Dean. Is that immediate enough for you?” Tilting her head to the side, Ellen crossed her arms over her chest as she cocked a hip.

Gail slowly swallowed as she pulled her hands away from where they were resting. “I’m sorry, ma’am. Do to the...delicate nature of Mr. Winchester's condition, Dr. Norris is being very strict on who sees him.” Opening the file again, she found the visitors page. Picking up a pen, she made a note next to Ellen’s name. “He’s in room 418. Please knock before you walk in and let them know who you are so it doesn’t startle him.”

Startle him? Knock before walking in? What the hell? “Um, yeah. Sure. Thank you. I’m...I’m sorry for snapping at you. It’s been a hell of a time since he’s gone missing.”

“I understand.” Reaching to the side, Gail picked up the morning paper. “Seems he’s a bit of a celebrity now.”

Taking the paper, Ellen read the headline. Man Missing Three Years Found Alive In Abandoned Burning House. Under the headline was a photo of Naythin leaning against the passenger side door of the Impala with a wide grin on his face. Ellen recognized the photo from the missing person’s poster. “Can I keep this?”

“Of course. I was going to take it in to them when I did my morning rounds. I’ll give you some time to visit before coming in to check on him.” Smiling, Gail went back to the paperwork she’d been working on.

“Thanks.” Folding the paper in half, Ellen turned and headed for Naythin’s room. Bobby hadn’t told her much about Naythin’s condition. Just that he was in bad shape but alive.

Stopping in front of the door to his room, she raised her hand and knocked softly. Pushing it open, Ellen stopped before walking in. “Dean? Naythin? It’s me, Ellen.”

Dean shifted as close as he could get to Naythin without crowding him and making him feel boxed in. It still wasn’t close enough for him, but it wasn’t about him. It was about Naythin, the person he loved the most that he’d let down the hardest. He’d never forgive himself for it, those weren’t just words, he wouldn’t and anyone who knew him, really knew him would know it to be the fact that it was. He held onto Naythin anywhere he’d let him, curling his fingers into the material of his hospital gown as he draped an arm over Naythin’s waist. That had taken some doing; Naythin letting him lay his arm across him like that, but after a few minutes he relaxed again. The fingers of his other hand continued to comb through Naythin’s hair in slow methodical strokes. He wasn’t even sure anymore who it was really comforting, Naythin or himself. When there was a knock at the door, he felt Naythin tense a little as he lifted his head up off the pillow and looked toward the door. Ellen’s voice had him breathing a sigh of relief and laying his head back down. “It’s okay, it’s jus’ Ellen, baby.”

Hunching his shoulders, Naythin stared across the room toward the door. Hearing Ellen’s voice didn’t do much to calm him down. Looking up at Dean, he shook his head. “No. I can’t…” Licking his lips, Naythin glanced down at his still uncovered legs. The white bandages standing out even against his pale skin. After three years of not seeing the sun, even his natural tan had faded. “I don’ want her to see me...like this.”

“Hold on a minute, Ellen,” Dean called out before returning his attention to Naythin and lowering his voice. “Do you want me to cover you up?...Or do you mean at all?” He didn’t want to push Naythin by any means but he wanted to make sure he was clear on what Naythin was talking about because he had a feeling that not letting someone in to see him would be just as bad, especially if he really had wanted to see them and it was just poor communication between them.

Nodding his head quickly, Naythin looked at the blanket that was at the foot of the bed. “Jus’ um...cover me, please?” Looking up at Dean, his eyes wide as he swallowed hard. He didn’t need to look in the mirror to know how bad he looked. Having everything on display didn’t make it any easier.

Dean nodded immediately and sat up as best as he could being on his side and in the edge of the bed. He reached for the blanket and pulled it up Naythin’s body then straightened it out to make sure that nothing was showing that shouldn’t be, tucking it around behind him so Ellen wouldn’t see the whip marks, or at least not as easily since they were kinda hard to miss with him laying on his side. He laid back down now that the blanket was up to their waists and lifted his brows as he met Naythin’s gaze. “Is that better, angel?”

Naythin held his breath and closed his eyes as Dean covered him with the blanket. He tried hard to not flinch when Dean’s fingers brushed against his bare lower back as he tucked the blanket around him. When Dean was finished, Naythin exhaled slowly. Nodding quickly, he slid closer to Dean. “Yeah. Yeah, it is. Th-thanks. I’m...I’m okay now.”

Naythin was far from okay, but Dean knew that he meant. He nodded to Naythin and leaned in, brushing a light kiss across his lips. Taking hold of one of Naythin’s hands, he gave it a light squeeze. “I love you.” Looking from Naythin to the doorway he called for Ellen, “Okay, Ellen, you can come in now.”

After knocking and announcing herself, Ellen waited. She was about to knock again until she heard Dean’s muffled voice asking her to wait. Nodding to herself, she did just that...waited. When she heard Dean’s voice again telling her it was okay for her to come in, her head fell forward with a loud sigh. Okay...you can do this. It’s Naythin. Go in there, keep your game face on. The pep talk wasn’t working. “Here I come.”

Pushing the door open just enough to slip inside the room, Ellen smile when she saw Dean. Her eyes shifted to the right and nearly fell out of her head. The...man, or what was left of a man, was laying on the bed next to Dean, hiding. Holy. Shit. Her steps faltered before she was able to keep them long and confident. The bruises on his arms, neck and face were in various stages of healing. Bandages on the one wrist she could see. Not to mention the gaunt look to his face, the sunken eyes. Jesus Christ, what the hell happened to him? “Hey...hey guys.” Walking over to a chair, Ellen shrugged out of her jacket dropping it and her bag on the seat.

Dean offered a small smile to Ellen’s greeting and tightened his hold on Naythin’s hand, feeling Naythin tense and shift as close to him as he could get without crawling under his skin. “Hi, Ellen.” Dipping his head next to Naythin’s, Dean brushed a kiss against his temple. “It’s okay. Relax. It’s jus’ Ellen,” he whispered before pulling his lips away and turning his attention back to Ellen. “Have you talked to Bobby at all?”

It was killing her to not be able to run over to Naythin and wrap her arms around him and hug the hell out of him. To keep herself from doing it, she crossed her arms over her chest, her fingers curled into tight fists at her sides. She could clearly see Naythin’s shoulders through the thin hospital gown and even with the blanket covering him, his legs and hips were clearly defined. “What? Oh, no. Uh...he just called before he left yesterday telling me Naythin had been found and where he was. I would have been here last night but I had to get someone to cover the bar.” Her eyes ping ponged between Dean and Naythin. Naythin, hell, both boys were like sons to her. She’d known Naythin’s parents. They were good people.

Naythin had his head turned into Dean’s chest, his eyes closed as he tracked Ellen’s movements through the room. He’d gotten really good at playing possum and knowing where people or vampires were without opening his eyes. When she stopped at the foot of the bed and started talking, he relaxed; a little. He wasn’t afraid of Ellen. She was a good person. Naythin just couldn’t look her in the eye. He wasn’t the same man she knew. Far from it. He’d let everyone down and the second he looked her in the eye, he’d see it on her face.

Dean nodded to what Ellen said. He’d tell her what happened, explain why Naythin is the way he is, but telling her in front of Naythin would be a huge blow to what little confidence he’d managed to nurse out of Naythin. Nothing like having your family talk about how you’d been raped, beaten, tortured and nearly burned alive while you laid in bed unable to get away from them and hide. Oh yeah, poor Naythin would be playing the part of an ostrich for years if he did that. He hoped she caught the way his eyes widened and the quick glance toward Naythin he’d given her. It wasn’t much but at least she’d get the hint that he couldn’t talk about things in front of Naythin. “Bobby an’ Tag were here earlier. Hell, Bobby might still be around for all I know. He disappeared when Naythin an’ I fell asleep.” He shrugged a shoulder.

“Yeah, I saw the Charger in the parking lot. Can’t believe it made it down here in one piece.” Smiling, she nodding slowly. Dropping her arms to her side, Ellen slowly made her way to the side of the bed Dean was on. Lifting her hand, she placed it on Dean’s shoulder. “When did you eat last? Or Hell….sleep? I mean really.” Her eyes moved over Naythin’s body shaking her head. The more she looked the more pissed off she became. Whoever did this was going to die.

Naythin heard Ellen walk over to the bed, he tensed just a little when she stopped behind Dean. Swallowing hard, he blinked his eyes open still staring at Dean’s chest. Dipping his chin, he blew out a long shaky breath. It was Ellen. She’d wouldn’t hurt him. “H-Hi...Ellen.”

Ellen’s hand flew up from Dean’s shoulder, covering her mouth. She had to squeeze her eyes closed to keep the tears from running down her cheeks. His voice wasn’t even the same. It was hoarse and gravelly. Not to mention it sounded like he was scared to death. Naythin, the Naythin she knew never stuttered. Taking in a long deep breath, she was able to keep her emotions in check. Clearing her throat, Ellen slowly lowered her hand back to Dean’s shoulder and squeezing gently. “Hey, sweetie. We never stopped looking for you. Not for a second. Every Hunter in the country has a copy of the missing persons poster we made.” Annnnnd there came the tears, dammit.

Dean nodded and had to swallow past the lump in his throat. Oh this wasn’t good, if Ellen cried then Naythin was going to cry and he was going to cry and...aw, shit. He ran his thumb back and forth over the top of Naythin’s hand that he held. “See, I told ya,” he murmured somewhat hoarsely. He cleared his throat as he blinked away the sting of tears in his eyes and gave a shake of his head. “I uh...Naythin an’ I slept some last night,” he responded to her earlier question. As for eating, he’d eat when Naythin ate. Dean turned his head and looked up at Ellen. “Did uh...did Bobby tell you about the fire?” he inquired. He could talk about that, the fire. It was just a fire. It didn’t tell Ellen all of the horrible things that had been done to Naythin. He lowered his eyes to the blanket covering him and Naythin. She was going to kill him for this one. “Did uh...did Bobby tell you that I sent for Vanessa Ives?”

Using her free hand, Ellen quickly wiped the tears from her cheeks. Enough of that. Clearing her throat a few times, she finally had everything under control, for now. When Dean brought up a fire, Ellen shook her head. “No. He didn’t tell me anything. Just that Naythin had been found alive and he was here.” She purposely left out the He’s in real bad shape. part because, hello! Obvious! “Like I said, Bobby didn’t...you did what?” Ellen’s voice dropped to whisper quiet. She could feel the color draining from her face at the mention of that woman’s name. Dean Winchester, what did you do? She was pretty sure the look on her face more than reflected what she was thinking.

Dean hazard a glance up at Ellen and yep, that was pretty much the look he was expecting. “She uh, she told me…” Everything “Where to find him but the fire beat us to it.” He huffed softly. “After thinkin’ about it, I realized that she knew about that too I just didn’t figure it out until later.”

Narrowing her eyes into thin deadly slits, Ellen stared at Dean for a long moment before turning and pulling a chair to the side of the bed. Sitting down heavily, she leaned back in it, her hands going to the armrests and squeezing hard. “Oh, I’m sure she knew about it.” That and a Hell of a lot more. Pun intended! Leaning forward, she ran her fingers through her hair before resting her forearms on her knees. There was no way she was going to talk about Vanessa Ives and her...affliction in front of Naythin. Leaning back in the chair, she shook her head. “Was...Ethan there with her?”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, he was there. He uh, he kept her in line...sort of. And apologized about a hundred times for the things she said. Of course, that was after she came up and over the table at me.”

Nodding, Ellen sighed. “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Shaking her head, she glared hard at him. “Why didn’ you tell me what you were up to?”

Naythin was listening to the back and forth conversation. He knew Ellen well enough to know that she was not happy with Dean for contacting the psychic. When Dean said she had come over the top of the table at him, Naythin tensed. What the hell kind of psychic does that? Pulling his head back, he glanced quickly to the side to make sure Ellen was still sitting in the chair. Looking up at Dean, Naythin cleared his throat. “Why...why’d she do that? Why’d she try an’ hurt you?”

Dean glanced at Ellen before turning his full attention to Naythin. “We uh...Bobby had only heard of her a few months before we sent for her. All they told us was that she’d need a few days before she was up for the visit. I thought it meant that she was sick but…” He slowly shook his head. “She wasn’t sick. At least not the way that I thought she was. When she started to tell me...about you...the way she talked…” He glanced again at Ellen before looking back at Naythin. “We found out the reason why she’s such a powerful psychic, she’s possessed. Possessed by Legion. It was them that launched her at me.”

Naythin’s mouth opened and closed several times but nothing came out. He looked from Dean to Ellen and back again. She knew. He could tell by the look on her face she knew this...Vanessa Ives...Legion...whatever. “What did you do?” Naythin knew enough about Legion to be really, really scared. Lucifer didn’t screw with Legion. “Dean, what did you do?” It would have been the mother of all demon deals. Holy shit. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t do that.

Dean’s eyes widened as he pulled his head back. “Nothing!” He looked from Naythin to Ellen. Nope, they weren’t convinced. Shit. “Look, I’ve been to Hell before, it wasn’t like I enjoyed the trip or bought a condo down there. I’m not gonna go back if I can help it. Ethan dealt with Bobby and they set it up. That’s it. She came in and she was this...tiny slip of a woman. She was almost too shy to even greet anyone and then...she sat down across from me and put her hand on mine and it just took off from there. She knew…” He shook his head and blew out a slow breath. “Everything.”

Chapter Text

Ellen could see Naythin peeking over Dean’s arm at her. His eyes, what she could see of them through his long bangs, were saucer wide. The blue standing out starkly against the pale skin on his face. “She uh…they would have been very cryptic in the clues they give.” She knew what Naythin was thinking without having to ask him.

“Yeah well, it painted an all too clear picture for me,” Dean responded, “Even if she did speak in limericks. I got up an’...Bobby had to grab me ta keep me on m’feet. An’ Tag was ready to shoot her if she didn’t shut up an’ get out.” He gave his head a shake as he tried to wipe the memory and those damnable words from his mind. “That was about the time that Ethan was apologizin’ like hell an’ got her up an’ outta Bobby’s house.” He looked back at Ellen. “And uh, if we would have told you, would you have let us do it?” He shrugged a shoulder and shook his head slowly. “I was desperate an’ Tag and Bobby knew it. I’d already called in every favor any thing ever owed me but,” he shook his head, “No one seemed to know anything...until her.”

Huffing loudly, Ellen jumped to her feet. “Of course I wouldn’t have let you do it! She’s dangerous! Why do you think she stays hidden? No one knows where she lives because she’s…” Stopping, Ellen clamps her mouth closed looking toward the door. She’d started yelling without realizing it. Looking back at Dean, Ellen closed her eyes and shook her head. “Because she’s possessed by Legion. It’s not something you casually do. She’s…they’re dangerous.”

“Yeah, we kinda figured that part out as we went along,” Dean responded drolly. “Still, she was able to do what no other demon before her had. She knew where Naythin was and she knew what had happened to him. She didn’t even do anything. No weird ass séances, no holdin’ hands around a circle, nothin’. She just touched me and it was all there.”

“Don’ sass me, boy. Now is not the time.” Ellen shot Dean a hard look before lowering her eyes to the floor. “I know all about Vanessa Ives and how she...they do things.” Sighing heavily, she raised a hand to the back of her neck. “You lucked out. That’s all I’m sayin’. Swear to me, you won’t contact them again. I mean it Dean.”

Dean frowned thoughtfully and nodded. “I don’ have any reason to now so, yeah, okay.” He tightened his hold on Naythin’s hand marginally. “Like I said, I only wanted one thing from her. I didn’t even know if it would work but...I was beyond desperate. Bobby...Tag, me, none of us knew she was possessed. Ethan just said that she was very powerful when Bobby talked to him.”

“It’s not something that’s broadcast. Every Hunter in the States would have been after them to take her...them out. Of course, they’d all end up dead but, that’s beside the point.” Shaking her head, Ellen sat back down in the chair she’d been occupying earlier. Looking over Dean’s shoulder, she smiled at Naythin. “Sweetie, do you need anything? Are you hungry? Thirsty?”

Naythin hadn’t moved while Dean and Ellen talked about the psychic, Vanessa Ives. Possessed by Legion? Holy shit! Squeezing Dean’s hand when Ellen spoke to him directly, Naythin shook his head. “No. M’fine.” If he’d been in the hospital for three days than it had been at least another two before that, that he’d eaten last. If you wanted to call the cold oatmeal looking shit he’d been force fed for the past...how long? Oh...right, three years, food. Water...or anything to drink came about as frequently.

“Ellen, he’s got a menu on the counter to fill out. I haven’t really been up since the doc brought it up, could you go over it with him, fill it out so he can get somethin’ for dinner tonight at least?” Dean knew Naythin had to be starving. He hadn’t touched the pitcher and glass of ice water the nurse had brought in a few hours ago. Shit! No pun intended. He looked back at Naythin and tried to meet his gaze. “Do you…” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “Do you wanna go to the bathroom? I’ll go with you if you do.” He would have had to go with Naythin anyway but he made sure to add that last bit in case Naythin was too scared to say yes.

Tilting his head to the side, Naythin glanced over at Dean through his bangs, not fully meeting Dean’s gaze. Nodding quickly, he swallowed a few times. “Yeah. I...I could try.”

Looking over her shoulder, Ellen pushed to her feet. “Sure...not a problem.” Walking to the counter, she found two menus. “Looks like there’s one here with yer name on it, Dean. You need to eat too. No sense in you gettin’ sick.”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, I will, I just haven’t had the chance to look at it either. You uh, you wanna fill mine out while Naythin an’ I use the bathroom?” Sitting up in the bed, Dean swung his legs off the side and pulled to his feet, stretching as he walked around to Naythin’s side of the bed. There was no way he was going to make Naythin try and get out of the bed around the damn metal guard rail so he lowered the one on Naythin’s side before he ever reached for Naythin to help him to his feet.

Naythin sat up so fast when Dean got off the bed so suddenly, he got a hell of a head rush. “Shit.” Dropping his head to his chest, he raised both hands and pressed against his temples. Squeezing his eyes closed, he swallowed hard a few times until the dizziness passed. He was used to it. Happened all the time when he hadn’t eaten in a few days.

“Baby?” Dean murmured, his brow furrowed with concern. He crouched down next to the bed in an attempt to look into Naythin’s face. “Angel, what is it? What’s wrong? Are you gonna be sick?” He didn’t know what Naythin would throw up since he hadn’t had anything, not even water.

Shaking his head, Naythin pressed his fingertips against his skull. “Stop...Jus’....jus’ stop.” Don’t call me that. I’m not anyone’s angel. Not anymore. Blinking his eyes open, Naythin slowly lowered his hands, using one to brush the hair out of his face just enough to be able to see Dean better. “Dizzy. Sat up too fast. M’fine.” He could feel Ellen’s eyes on him. Knew she was looking at him as if she expected him to explode or something.

Dean’s brow knitted further when Naythin said to stop. Stop what? He dismissed it for the moment as he pulled to his full height and reached for Naythin’s hand to help steady him as he got ready to stand up. “We’ll move at yer speed, baby,” he murmured gently as he waited while Naythin got situated so he could throw his legs off the side of the bed. Okay, so maybe not throw....shift?

Naythin started to turn, moving his leg to the edge of the bed when he remembered that Ellen was behind him. If he got up, she’d see his back...the scars from the beatings. She’d see them and know. Pulling back from Dean, he shook his head as he moved to lay back down again. “I don’...I’m okay. I don’ need to.” No way this side of Hell was he getting up and letting anyone else see what had been done to him. He didn’t even want Dean seeing it.

Dean glanced over Naythin’s shoulder at Ellen and gave his head a barely there shake when their eyes met before he crouched again. “Baby, are you sure? Is it because Ellen’s here? I can get her to wait in the hall for a second. It’s okay,” he whispered so no one but Naythin would hear him. He motioned to the bathroom no more than ten feet from the side of the bed. “It’s not that far, wouldn’t take us long at all.”

When Dean asked about Ellen, Naythin gave a barely there nod of his head. It was so small, his bangs didn’t even move. “Make her go. I can’...I don’ wan’ her to see. M’sorry.” Ducking his head, he turned his face away from Dean so he wouldn’t see the shame and embarrassment in his eyes.

Dean nodded. “Okay. Okay. I will.” When Naythin apologized again, Dean reached for his face and leaned to the side toward where Naythin had turned his head. “Hey, hey, there’s nothin’ to be sorry for, angel. It’s okay. No one wants to make you do anythin’ you don’t want to. An’ if you need Ellen to step out, she’s not gonna be upset about it. Trust me. It’s okay, angel.” He let his hand slide down and turn so he lightly gripped Naythin’s shoulder as he pulled upright again and looked past Naythin’s side toward Ellen. “Hey, uh, Ellen...could you maybe give Bobby a call in the hallway, see if he’s still hangin’ around? Let ‘im know yer here.”

Turning to the side, Naythin knocked Dean’s hand from his shoulder. “Don’ call me that.” Shaking his head, he clenched his jaw hard. The muscle jumping under the skin in quick jerks. “M’not. Not anymore. Jus’...don’t.” His body tensed, waiting for the beating that always came when he talked back or talked in general.

Dean’s mouth fell open and his eyes widened when Naythin knocked his hand away. He wasn’t even sure what he’d done wrong. When Naythin told him not to call him that and he could see the actual anger on Naythin’s face, Dean steeled his own expression and gave a curt nod. “Okay.” He wouldn’t say what sprang to mind and heart, that he had always called Naythin his angel. Maybe he deserved that for not taking better care of Naythin. For not going to look for him in that bar bathroom sooner. For not finding him sooner after he’d disappeared. For not being the one that’d gotten taken instead of Naythin. Maybe even for not making the demon deal that would have freed Naythin wherever he was. If he had made that deal, he never would have gotten to see Naythin again, the demon would have taken him to Hell right then. There wouldn’t have been any ten year deal, or a year, or even a day. It would have been immediate. He knew it and probably, if they were to be truthful about it, everyone else did too.

Ellen watched the almost silent exchange between Dean and Naythin across the room. From how tense Dean’s shoulders became, it wasn’t going well. Picking up her jacket and bag, Ellen set the two menus on the foot of Naythin’s bed. “I’m going to make that call. I’ll be right outside if either of you need anything.” Looking over at Dean, Ellen smiled softly before going to the door and leaving the room.

With Ellen gone, Naythin raised his head and looked toward the bathroom. “I need to get up.”

Dean gave a barely there nod and pulled up to his full height. Reaching for Naythin, he wasn’t sure just how much help he would need since the last time he’d gotten up he’d been in the middle of a nightmare that would have likely had him crashing to the floor anyway. “You jus’ tell me how much help you need, alright?”

Blowing out a breath hard enough to puff out his cheeks, Naythin stared at the floor as he raised a shaky hand, his fingers gripping Dean’s hand tight. Squeezing harder, he braced his other hand on the edge of the bed as he pushed to his feet. His legs started to shake before he even stood to his full height. “Shit.” Gritting his teeth, Naythin groaned as his joints started to ache from lack of use let alone holding his weight up for any length of time. Looking up, Naythin glared at the partially open bathroom door. Ten feet. He could fucking walk ten damn feet. Taking his hand from the bed, Naythin held it out away from his side to try and use it to help his balance. Licking his lips nervously, he took a short barely half step.

Dean tensed as Naythin moved. He was fairly sure he was going to have to wind up catching Naythin in his arms so he didn’t hit the floor. New injuries were the last things Naythin needed. He held Naythin’s hand with one hand while wrapped his other arm around Naythin’s waist. Okay, at least now he had a hold of him in case he fell. Of course, with the back of his hospital gown flapping in the breeze, so to speak, his arm also came in contact with a few of the raised lines from the whip where it had come down across his lower back and buttocks. He had to clench his jaw and force himself not to react. Forced himself not to tear up or to take a good look at his back, no matter how much he wanted to. Uh-uh, no way. He wouldn’t ever upset Naythin like that. He just pushed that shit down deep behind one of the many walls he’d erected over the years.

Naythin’s knees buckled as he tried to pull away from Dean at the light touch to the small of his back. “Don’t.” Reaching out for the side of the bed, he managed to not land on his ass as he gripped Dean’s hand as hard as he could. “Please...don’t.” He couldn't bring himself to look up at Dean. Naythin didn’t want to see the pity he knew would be in Dean’s eyes. As hard as Dean would try to hide it, Naythin would still see it.

“I’m just helpin’ you steady,” Dean responded, biting back the slight growl of pain that wanted to push its way out. “‘Course, you could not kill my hand.” He smiled at Naythin. His smile quickly fell just as fast as he’d flashed it. “Okay. Fine. Hold up a second,” he muttered as he grabbed one side of the back of his gown and then the other, pulling it closed before replacing his arm around Naythin’s waist. “There. All I feel is the gown, not you. Okay?”

“Okay. M’sorry.” Loosening the death grip he had on Dean’s hand. Naythin slowly pulled his other hand from the edge of the bed. Looking up at the bathroom door, Naythin started to take small, halting steps towards it. He tried not to bend his knees or ankles as much as possible. By the time he reached the doorway, he was sweating and every muscle and joint from his toes to his neck hurt from how tense he was. Reaching out for the door jamb, Naythin stopped. His body swaying forward and back as he tried to catch his breath.

Dean caught his own bottom lip between his teeth and chewed at it as he waited for Naythin to regain his balance so he could walk into the bathroom. His eyes ping ponged from Naythin to the toilet and back several times before he couldn’t take it anymore and had to at least offer some help. “Naythin, baby, I can carry you the last few feet. It’s not a big deal that you can't finish the walk, baby. You did really good.”

“No!” Naythin shook his head adamantly. Strands of his hair sticking to the sides of his face and forehead. “I can do it.” Blowing out a shaky breath, Naythin eyed the toilet as if it were his mortal enemy. It was only a couple of feet...four tops. Loosening his fingers from the door jamb, Naythin forced his legs to move. It took more steps than he cared to count before he was able to cross the short distance, turn without losing his balance and sit on the cold plastic toilet seat with a loud groan. “M’okay. I’m...I’m okay.” Fuck! His legs hurt. He’d lived with pain for so long you’d think he’d be used to it by now but, no way. Pain was pain, it always hurt.

When Naythin snapped at him, Dean pulled his head back, his eyes widened. “Okay. Okay.” He’d just been trying to help, he wasn’t saying that Naythin couldn’t do it. It was just obvious that what he’d done, just that far, had worn him out. Dean nodded but eyed Naythin there on the toilet for a minute before turning and headed for the door so the man could have some privacy. “Just yell when yer done an’ I’ll come back in an’ help you back to bed.”

Naythin’s head snapped up so fast, he felt and heard his neck pop. “Dean! Wait…” He was reaching out for Dean’s hand before he even realized he’d raised it. “Um…” Shit! How pathetic could he be? Can’t even use the bathroom without Dean being there. “Don’ go. Just...I…” Fuck, how did he say it without sounding like a complete...child. “Stay where I can see you. I have to be able to see you.”

Dean looked down at his hand and up at Naythin’s face. He slowly nodded as he searched Naythin’s eyes. “Sure, okay. Do…?” Do you just want me to stay in here? He pressed his lips together, sucking both lips into his mouth briefly before releasing them. Nope, not gonna say it. Last time he’d suggested something Naythin got mad at him. “I’ll just...I’ll push the door almost closed but stand where you can see me through the sliver that’s open.”

Naythin looked from Dean to the door and back again. Slowly nodding, he lowered his hand to his lap. “Okay. Okay, that’s...that’s good. Just don’ leave.”

Dean shook his head. “I won’t leave you. M’not ever gonna leave you again, remember?” He offered a slight smile, just the corners of his lips quirking upward slightly. “Just yell when yer finished.”

The bathroom had those handicap bars on the wall next to the toilet. Along with the goofy string with the small red plastic knob on the end with a small sign over it that read, “Pull in case of emergency.” Right, because that little string was going to do so much good. Rolling his eyes, Naythin tried to concentrate. It was going to hurt. It always did. Stressing over it always made taking a leak that much harder. No matter if he was chained to the mattress or not. It always hurt. Fuck. Taking in a deep breath, he let it out slowly. After a couple of minutes, he started to go and holy shit! Yep...never failed. Groaning, he latched onto the bar on the wall, his knuckles turning white. “Damn it.” Dropping his head to his chest, he tried to breathe through the worst of it. The pain and the constant burning not lasting as long as it usually did was a blessing. Once he was done, Naythin raised his free hand to his forehead to wipe the sweat away.

Standing outside the bathroom door, Dean crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the corner of the wall next to the open part of the door. When he heard Naythin groan in pain he turned his head and started to look inside the bathroom, it was his husband for fuck’s sake, but he decided he probably shouldn’t. Instead he looked at a higher part of the door itself though his head was turned toward the crack he’d left when he’s pulled the door closed. “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” He wasn’t sure exactly what Naythin was going to need. The friggin’ newspaper? He mentally rolled his eyes at himself. Talk about a dumb question.

It took a second for Naythin to catch his breath. It was a damn luxury actually. When he heard Dean on the other side of the door, Naythin shook his head. “No...I mean...I’m fine.” Bracing against the bar, Naythin grit his teeth as he pulled himself up. Weaving a little, he reached out for the far wall to catch himself. Turning at the waist, he let go of the wall and grabbed onto the edge of the sink before the rest of his body followed and he was facing the sink. Two small steps later, he was standing in front of the sink reaching for the faucet. His hand hovered over the two handles. Shit...which one was...right...red for hot, blue for cold. Fuck, he knew that. What the hell? Turning the cold water on, Naythin let it run for a few seconds before he raised one hand at a time. Once both hands were wet, he looked around for the soap. Frowning slightly, he looked over his shoulder. “Dean...can...can you come in here, please?”

When Naythin said he was fine Dean gave a curt nod and turned his attention back to looking around the very average and boring hospital room. The door to the room opened without anyone announcing themselves and he leaned forward to see who it was. A nurse he hadn’t seen before, who had apparently flew in from the 1970’s if he white dress and cap were anything to go by, walked up to the bed and stopped. Turning her head toward him she pointed to the bed. “Where is Mister Winchester?”

He’s usin’ the bathroom,” Dean responded as he eyed the woman.

Oh okay. Well, this ointment if for the yeast infection, could you see that he puts it on?”

Dean blinked owlishly at her. “Yeast infection?” he echoed with a lift of his brows.

“Are you the husband?” the nurse, whose name tag read Veronica Lindsey R.N. inquired.

“Who wants to know?” Dean responded with a quirk of one brow.

“I...uh Debbie sent me in because she had a patient emergency,” Veronica stammered.

Dean breathed a sigh of relief. Okay, she new Debbie. That was at least promising. “Yeah, I’m his husband.”

“And you don’t know?” Veronica inquired with a nod to her own question. “I’ll let the doctor explain it. In the meantime I’ll just set this down here on the nightstand.” With that Veronica turned and walked back out of the room.

Dean was still wondering, what the hell? When he heard Naythin call for him. “Yeah,” he responded and let his arms fall to his sides as he turned and pulled open the bathroom door, stepping inside. His eyes moved over the room then to Naythin and the toilet, and then back to Naythin again. “What’s up?”

He felt like an idiot for asking. “I uh...I can’ find the soap.” Keeping his head bowed so he wouldn’t have to look at himself in the mirror, Naythin looked over at Dean through his long bangs.

“Oh.” Dean looked around himself for where they might have put the soap and had to turn back toward the door, letting his fingertips trail over Naythin’s back out of habit as he walked out of the room. “It’s probably in that tub of stuff out here, lemme grab it,” he called over his shoulder.

Naythin shivered at the light touch of Dean’s fingers along his back. It wasn’t the good kind of shiver either. This had his stomach rolling, his chest constricting making it hard to breath. He knew Dean didn’t mean anything by it. Naythin couldn’t help it. It was ingrained in his system. Touch was not a good thing. Not anymore. When Dean walked out of the bathroom, Naythin turned and took the few steps needed to get to the door so he could keep his eye on Dean. To make sure he didn’t leave. “Who...who were you talkin’ to? I heard someone...before. It wasn’t Ellen.” His eyes darted around the room, checking each corner he could see half expecting someone to jump out at him.

Dean looked back at Naythin as he picked up the small tub off the counter and headed back toward the bathroom with it. “Oh. Some nurse brought some uh, medicine by for you to use.” He couldn’t help but notice the way Naythin looked around like a skittish whipped puppy. “It’s okay, baby, she left.” He’d almost said angel and had to stop himself. One day, in the far off future he’d ask why he couldn’t call Naythin that anymore, but for now he’d just do as Naythin wanted and not call him that.

“Oh, okay.” Nodding, Naythin turned carefully and made his way back to the sink. He moved more like a 90 year old man than a 37 year old. Leaning against the edge of the sink, he watched Dean rifle through the small plastic tub looking for the soap. “What uh...what medicine?” He remembered the doctor saying he was on some pretty strong antibiotics. Other than those, he had no idea what he’d need more medicine.

Dean paused in rifling through the contents of the small blue tub and looked up at Naythin. “Uh, some cream.” Looking back down, he grabbed up the soap and broke it out of the plastic seal, handing it to Naythin. “She said something about a yeast infection.”

Naythin wasn’t sure if it was possible for a person to lose all color in their face and blush at the same time. If so, that is exactly what happened when Dean said the medicine was for a yeast infection. Lifting a very shaky hand, he took the soap from Dean and turned toward the sink again. “Oh.” It was about as articulate as he was going to get as he turned the cold water back on to wash his hands. Lowering his eyes to his hands, he stared down at them as he rolled the bar of soap between the palms of his hands watching as the lather became thicker and thicker.

Dean eyed Naythin in silence for a while before saying anything. “You know you don’ have to hide anything from me, right? I mean, I love you no matter what...we’ll get through this. Yer back, that’s the only thing I care about.”

Moving his hands under the running water, Naythin watched as the lather was rinsed away. Pulling his hands back out, he started all over again. “I’m not.” Shaking his head, he continued to stare down at his hands. “I’m not...back.” Shaking his head, he sniffed quietly.

Dean’s forehead creased with confusion as his brows knitted nearly touching in the center of his forehead. “Whadda you mean? Of course yer back, yer standin’ right here. I’ve been holdin’ you, kissin’ you…”

“This isn’t me. This isn’t who I am. I’m not…” Dropping the bar of soap in the sink, Naythin rinsed his hands one at a time. Watching as the lather slowly ran off his skin and down the drain. Huffing, he gave his head a quick shake. “I couldn’t remember which one turned the cold water on.” Shaking his head harder, he turned the water off and wiped his hands on the front of the hospital gown. “First bar of soap I’ve seen since...fuck, I…”

Dean sighed heavily and reached out toward Naythin only to let his hand fall before it reached him. “I know that how you are now isn’t who you are but...you’ll get better. Yer a fighter. You’ll get through this, an’ I’ll help you anyway I can. It’s gonna be okay.” When Naythin spoke of the bar of soap, Dean nodded and tried not to stare at the skin he could see from the way the gown was wide open in the back. “I know, the doctor said they bathed you when you got here. And that and they shaved you…” With Naythin’s longer hair and the clean shaven face, he reminded Dean of when they were teenagers.

Putting both hands on the edge of the sink, Naythin leaned his weight against it. His head fell forward loose in his shoulders the weight of his head stretching the muscles on his neck and upper back. “They uh…” Sighing, Naythin leaned to one side, raising one hand, he ran the backs of his fingers along his jaw. Flinching a little when he felt bare skin. Huffing, he lowered his hand back to the edge of the sink. “They let my beard get pretty long. Long enough so they could grab a handful on the side of my face an’ pull if I...if I...got out of hand.” Dipping his chin, Naythin glanced to the side, trying to judge how long his hair was. “It’s been longer, I think. They cut it if it got too long so it wouldn’t get tangled in the chains.” Bowing his head, Naythin shrugged his shoulders.

Dean knew, thanks to Vanessa, that getting out of hand wasn’t the only reason they likely grabbed handfuls of Naythin’s beard, but he didn’t say anything. “I know, baby. You’ve been through Hell, literally. But yer home now, an’ yer safe. I’m not gonna let anything happen to you...not ever again, I promise.” He meant it too, he would do whatever he had to in order to insure Naythin’s safety.

Nodding slowly, Naythin still refused to look up at Dean. He stared down at the small patch of soap lather that hadn’t been washed down the drain. Licking his lips, he slowly turned, keeping one hand on the sink to catch himself if his legs decided to go out on him. When he was facing Dean, Naythin stepped into him. His arms hanging at his sides as he leaned against Dean’s chest. His face turned to the side.

Dean’s arms immediately lifted and wrapped around Naythin. Belatedly, he tensed waiting for Naythin to panic. He slowly released his tight hold and held his breath. “M’sorry, it’s habit,” he murmured the words barely a whisper. It really was habit for him to wrap his arms around Naythin and hold him tight, hold him close. God, he missed that so damn much. He started to run a hand up Naythin’s back but caught himself in the nick of time. “I uh, if you want me to I can tie the gown closed in the back,” he offered. Maybe if it was closed he’d stop nearly touching Naythin there all the time. Probably not, but it was a good theory.

Shaking his head, Naythin pulled back. “No. No, it’s…” If Dean tied the gown closed, he’d have to see his back. Naythin couldn’t handle that. Not yet, maybe not ever. “I should um...I need to lay down. I hurt.”

Dean didn’t think of it at first as he nodded to Naythin saying he should get back into bed, but then it hit him as to why exactly Naythin didn’t want him to tie the gown closed. He wouldn’t tell Naythin that he’d already seen some of it. No, that was better kept to himself, at least for now. “Yeah, sure, of course,” he agreed and offered Naythin an arm to hold onto as they made their way to the bathroom door. “I can put my arm around you again...if you want.”

Taking hold of Dean’s arm, Naythin turned toward the door. He stopped with what Dean said. Looking sideways, he ground his molars for a few seconds before nodding. “Okay.” He tried to stand up as straight as he could, only to wince and turn his hip to the side as his back muscles complained loudly to the sudden change of position. He wasn’t used to standing up straight or even laying down without having to curl into a ball just to fit in the cage.

When Naythin stopped moving and seemed to be grinding his teeth, Dean figured he’d said something wrong and was about to take it back when Naythin said okay. He carefully shifted his hold on Naythin, letting him place a hand on his shoulder while his arm encircled Naythin’s waist. The back of the gown was open again and his arm was against Naythin’s bare flesh. When Naythin started to...hell, Dean wasn’t even sure. He’d say panic but Naythin had gone from that to just being pissed off at him for the most part. “It’s okay, baby. Don’t worry, it’s me.”

Naythin inhaled sharply at the feel of Dean’s arm against his back. He tried to arch away from the contact only to have to bite back a groan of pain. His muscles started to lock up, his shoulders squared as he fought the urge to pull away and drop to the floor and wrap his arms over his head to protect himself. Dean’s voice pulled him back and he actually leaned toward Dean instead of away from him. “M’sorry.” Shaking his head, Naythin sniffed quietly. “I know, I know.” He was shaking so hard his teeth started to chatter. He was stuck. He couldn’t take a step forward or back. Naythin didn’ know if it was fear or if his body finally had given out after all the abuse it had endured for the past three years.

For someone who knew, Naythin was doing a helluva lot of shaking. He stopped walking and reached for Naythin, pulling him in close with the arm around his waist while his other hand moved up and down one arm. “It’s okay. Yer okay. It’s jus’ me. Yer safe. I love you.” He said the same thing over and over again for a few minutes. He glanced at the IV pole he’d been pushing with his free hand and back to Naythin and then over to the bed. If Naythin kept shaking like a leaf he was going to have to pick him up and take him to the bed.

Naythin leaned into Dean’s side. His head was bowed, his eyes glued to the floor. He kept nodding to what Dean told him. He was far from okay. Naythin hadn’t been okay in a very long time. “Love you.” Taking in a very shaky breath, he clenched his jaw to try and stop his teeth from chattering so bad. Taking a small step, he held onto Dean. One slow step at a time, Naythin walked to the bed on his own. No way was he going to be carried like a child. He was a grown ass man for fuck's sake.

When they reached the bed, Naythin carefully turned and lowered himself down on the edge. “Fuck...Goddamnit!” The white hot shooting pain shot straight up his spine into the back of his head. White dots danced in front of his eyes The pain was so bad, Naythin couldn’t breathe. He sounded like someone having an asthma attack as he struggled to take a breath.

Dean immediately bent over and gently took hold of both of Naythin’s arms to get his attention. “Baby, what is it? What’s wrong? Is it the pain?” Naythin had said that he hurt and he’d planned on going to get the nurse as soon as Naythin was back in bed, by the looks of things he shouldn’t have waited even that long. Shit! He glanced behind him toward the door briefly before returning his attention to Naythin. “Hold on, baby, I’m gonna get the nurse.”

“No! No, I’m fine. I’ll be fine.” Naythin closed his eyes, pushing the pain down. Each exhale came in a quick blast out his nostrils. Each inhale was shaky and quick. “It’ll go away. Don’...don’ leave.”

Dean sighed heavily. Naythin was not fine. “Then lemme push the nurse call button or have Ellen go get Debbie. I won’t leave, I’ll just stick my head out the door and tell her.” He wound up crouching in an attempt to look Naythin in the face, his hands still on Naythin’s arms.

Lifting his hand from the side of the bed, Naythin reached for Dean’s arm. “Jus’...” Lifting his head, he glanced toward the door. He could see part of it from where he was sitting. Not the handle or anything, more like the hinge and the wall behind it. “O-okay. Don’...don’ leave the room….please.”

Chapter Text

Dean pulled up a little so he could press his lips to Naythin’s. “I won’t. I promise,” he murmured gently, “Yer gonna be okay.”

Nodding, Naythin slowly pulled his hand from Dean’s arm. If Dean left the room, got out of his sight for even a moment, Naythin was afraid...terrified he’d never see him again. That He would get Dean. Dropping his head, his chin nearly to his chest, Naythin tried to sit up as straight as he could. Groaning softly, the muscles on his back screamed and tensed.

“Okay, I’ll be right back,” Dean murmured and pulled to his full height. He hurried to the door and pulled it open enough to stick his head out and found Ellen sitting in a chair just outside the door. “Can you get Naythin’s nurse, Debbie? He’s in a lotta pain.”

Ellen looked up from the book she’d been reading when Naythin’s door opened. Dropping the book on the chair next to her, she jumped to her feet. “Of course.” Shouldering her bag, Ellen turned and speed walked down the hall looking into each open door for Naythin’s nurse. Turning the corner at the end of the hall, Ellen hit the brakes when she nearly collided with a nurse. Looking down at her name badge, Ellen reached for her arm giving it a light tug. “It’s Naythin. Dean said he’s in a lot of pain.”

Debbie took several steps back after her near miss with the woman. She had no idea who she was until she said Naythin was in pain. Looking down at her arm and back up at Ellen, Debbie slowly pulled it out of her grasp. “Okay. Let’s go.” Tucking the patient file under her arm, Debbie followed Ellen down the hall to Naythin’s room, dropping the file on the nurse’s desk as she passed it.

Dean stepped back inside the room and quietly closed the door. He walked back into the main part of the room and over to the bed, laying a hand, slowly and gently, on Naythin’s shoulder. “Ellen went to get Debbie, baby.”

Naythin held his breath from the moment Dean turned and walked away until he saw him come back from the doorway. Leaning into his hand, Naythin nodded slowly. “Okay.” Lifting his hand from the bed, he covered Dean’s hand where it lay on his shoulder. Squeezing lightly, he tilted his head to the side trying to rest it on Dean’s hand.

Leaving Ellen outside the room, Debbie knocked softly on the door. “Guys? It’s me, Debbie. Okay if I come in?” Looking over her shoulder at Ellen, the nurse smiled softly. “I’ll let you know when you can come back in. Naythin get’s nervous when they’re too many people in the room.” Turning her attention to the door, she waited to be told it was okay to enter.

Dean lifted his other hand and smoothed it over Naythin’s hair and combed his fingers through the long strands. “It’s okay, ang...uh baby.” Shit! “Ellen went to get Debbie.” And if he knew Ellen the woman was coming even if she came kickin’ and screamin’. The knock on the door had Dean looking back over his shoulder. He smiled a little at the sound of Debbie’s voice. “Yeah, Debbie, come on in,” he called back. Returning his attention to Naythin he stepped into him, so close that Naythin could, if he wanted to, lay his head against his abdomen. He continued to comb his fingers through Naythin’s hair as the nurse made her way into the room.

Walking into the room, Debbie let the door close on its own behind her. “Hi, Naythin. Dean says yer hurtin’?” Going to the wall, she pulled a pair of gloves from the box and pulled them on. “I’m just going to come over and stand next to the foot of the bed. Can you tell me where yer hurtin’? Where the pain is the worst?” Looking up at Dean, she smiled warmly.

Leaning into Dean, Naythin lowered his hand from his shoulder and reached for Dean’s side. His fingers curling around a handful of his t-shirt. “M’fine. It doesn’ hurt anymore.” His lower back was killing him where he’d been beaten last. His ass wasn’t much better. He’d been so tense for so long, the muscles were always tight so they never had a chance to relax. To hurt the way they did now.

Frowning, Debbie leaned her hip against the end of the bed. “Naythin, if you don’t tell us where the pain is, we can’t help you. We can’t give you the right medication to make it stop.”

Dean leaned over and pressed a kiss to the top of Naythin’s head. “I know yer still hurtin’, baby. Tell her where. She’s not gonna touch you unless you say it’s okay. No one, for that matter, is ever gonna touch you again unless you say it’s okay.” He looked up at Debbie for a second before looking back down at Naythin. “If you wan’ you can tell me an’ I can tell Debbie.”

Swallowing hard, Naythin leaned closer to Dean pressing the top of his head against his chest. “M’back. Wh-where...where I...where they hit me with the whip.” There. He’d said it. Squeezing his eyes closed, he bit back the tears.

Nodding, Debbie pushed away from the end of the bed. “Okay. Naythin, I’m going to go around to the other side of the bed and just look at yer back. I won’t touch you.” Looking up at Dean, Debbie glanced down at the two halves of the gown at Naythin’s back. Walking around the foot of the bed, she stopped across from Naythin. “Dean, I need you to open the gown so I can get a better look.” She knew what she was asking would be hard for Naythin but, it was necessary.

Dean nodded and bent his knees a little so he could look Naythin in the eye. “I’m just gonna open the back of the gown so she can see. No one else’ll see it. I won’t even look if you don’t want me to, but Debbie has to so she can know what to tell the doc, alright?” He knew he sounded like he was talking to a scared child or wounded animal and he hated himself for it, but there was no other way to do this. At least not that he knew of. And in a sense; that was more or less what Naythin was, granted it wasn’t exact but it was close. Dean pulled his hand from Naythin’s hair and the other hand he moved off Naythin’s shoulder. He reached over Naythin’s shoulders, so that Naythin could wrap his arms around him if he wanted to, and pulled the two sides of the gown open, exposing all of Naythin’s back to Debbie’s eyes.

Debbie had seen some horrific things in her career as a nurse but, nothing had prepared her for the amount of scarring and all the bruises on Naythin’s back. The scars and bruises in various stages of healing criss crossed his back from the back of his neck down past what she could see of his buttocks. If he was laying on his stomach she had no doubt the scarring would continue. Taking in a slow deep breath, one hand raised to cover her mouth, Debbie’s eyes moved over each scar. Shaking her head, she glanced up at Dean. “Okay. That’s fine. From what I can see, it looks like there’s a lot of bruising. I’ll talk to the doctor about getting Naythin some muscle relaxers.” How someone could do that to another human being was beyond her.

The longer Naythin sat with his back exposed, the more nervous he became. He could feel Debbie’s eyes on him. The second he felt Dean open the back of his gown, Naythin wrapped both arms around Dean’s waist. His fingers curling around large handfuls of Dean’s over shirt. He couldn’t help the way he flinched when Debbie started talking. His arms tightening, knuckles turning white as he clung to Dean.

Dean nodded to what Debbie said and closed the two sides of Naythin’s hospital gown. Dipping his head, he pressed a kiss to the top of Naythin’s head. “It’s done. It’s all done,” he soothed. He slid his hands up the material to the tie at the back of Naythin’s neck and tied it loosely so the gown wasn’t half falling off Naythin every time he moved. “There, that’ll cover it up a little more, okay?” he murmured and dropped another kiss to Naythin’s head. Looking up as he lifted his head he nodded again to Debbie. “Thanks. Um, is there anything he can have now that might help with the pain he’s in? I dunno, to jump start things along or somethin’? He’s just...the last thing he needs is more pain.” He tightened his arms around Naythin’s shoulders in a silent apology for bringing up what had happened, what he’d been through. It was a little hard to not mention.

“I’ll ask Dr. Norris for some pain meds as well. I’ll have to check Naythin’s chart to see exactly what he’s getting through the IV. What he was given when they first brought him as well.” Pulling the gloves off, Debbie threw them in the trash as she walked past it. “You did great, Naythin. If it helps with the pain, you can raise the bed so you’re not laying down. That might take some of the pressure off your back. Do you want me to have Ellen come back in?”

Pressing the side of his face against Dean’s chest, Naythin shook his head. “Not...not yet. Wait.” It was bad enough having the nurse staring at him, he didn’t need Ellen doing it as well.

“Okay. When yer ready. No rush.” Smiling, Debbie turned and walked out of the room. Stopping where Ellen sat next to the door. She looked back and sighed. “Dean’ll let ya know when you can go back in.”

Looking toward the door, Ellen frowned as she set the book she’d been holding in her hands on her lap. “Is he alright? I know he’s not alright but…” Shaking her head, Ellen looked up at the nurse.

“I don’ think he’s going to be alright for a very long time.”

Dean waited until the door closed to move at all. He lifted one hand to comb his fingers back through Naythin’s hair. “I love you,” he murmured. What else was he going to say? To ask him if he was alright all the time was a little ridiculous, everyone knew that Naythin was not alright. Hell, to be completely honest he might not ever be alright again. That thought had Dean’s arm tightening around Naythin as he blinked back the sting of tears. He didn’t know what tomorrow would bring for either of them, they were literally living one day at a time now.

Taking in a slow careful breath, Naythin turned his head pressing his forehead into Dean’s chest. “I love you, too. Can...can you make the bed go up so I can sit up?” The longer Naythin sat where he was, the more his back hurt. He couldn’t keep the muscles tense enough to stop the pain, not completely. He hated being in the bed but, Dean was with him. Naythin knew deep down that Dean wouldn’t let anything happen to him.

“Yeah, sure, baby,” Dean responded as he reached for the bed control remote and pressed the up button for the head of the bed. The controller wasn’t in the bed rails like some of the ones in other hospitals he’d been in but were actually a wired remote control. Once the head of the bed was at a 90 degree angle, he stopped the bed. “How’s that? If you need it back from that we can fiddle with it more.”

Naythin waited for the bed to stop moving before slowly pulling his arms from around Dean’s waist. Using his left hand, he braced against the mattress, the muscles on his back locking as he dragged his legs back up on the bed. “Shit…” Hissing out a quick breath, he kept moving to get it done and over with. Biting the inside of his cheek, Naythin pushed against the mattress with his right hand until his back was against the upright part of the bed. Licking his lips, he slowly eased himself back. “Make it go down a little.” Sitting upright was not going to work. He couldn’t keep his ass up off the mattress the whole time. If he laid back more, he would be able to slouch to take the pressure off it.

“Okay. Just tell me when to stop,” Dean responded and pressed the down button for the bed. He hated seeing Naythin in pain. Hadn’t he been through enough? He wanted to get a look at what Naythin was hiding on his back and buttocks. He knew there would be whip marks. Violet was practically attached to her whip, but he wanted to see just how bad and the bruises that Debbie spoke of had him curious as well. He wouldn’t look though, as much as it nearly killed him not to know. He’d wait until Naythin was ready to show him. Yeah. He could wait. No problem.

Naythin waited until he was leaning back the same amount you would if someone was sitting in a recliner. “Stop. There.” He eased himself back, pushing his hips forward just enough to take the pressure off his ass and more on his tail bone. Yeah, it wasn’t exactly comfortable. It wouldn’t matter how he sat or laid down. He’d always hurt.

Dean flinched a little with surprise when Naythin told him to stop. His eyes lifted from the remote to Naythin. “You good like that?” Okay, so that was a stupid question since Naythin said that was good right there, but it just seemed to tumble out of his mouth anyway like word vomit. He tucked the remote close to Naythin so he could grab it if he wanted to change his position, clipping it to some of the fitted sheet as he pinched the fabric up between his thumb and forefinger. Once he’d finished he turned his attention to covering Naythin back up, up to his waist. “How’s that?” he inquired as he took a seat on the edge of the bed facing Naythin.

Nodding, Naythin reached for Dean’s hand as soon as he sat down. “It’s okay.” Lifting his free hand, he tugged at the collar of the gown. Sliding his hand down his arm, he pulled the sleeve away trying to get the least amount of fabric touching his arm. Lowering his hand to his lap, Naythin lowered his eyes to Dean’s chest. “What um...is it...is it cold outside?” He knew he was in Kansas but, Naythin had lost all sense of time or even what month it was.

Dean shrugged a shoulder. “Um...breezy. Cool in the days and cold at night. Normal October weather for Kansas, I guess.” He gave a slight shake of his head. “I really don’t remember.” He had only come home once and it was on a case involving his old house, the one his Mother had been burned alive in...pinned to the ceiling...bleeding from her stomach.

Nodding slowly, Naythin chewed on the corner of his lip. October. Shit. Tucking his chin, Naythin stared at the weave on the blanket that covered his legs. He slowly started to run the tips of his fingers over a small section. He’d missed three years of Christmas’s, Dean’s birthday, Thanksgiving. There was so much of their lives he’d never get back. So much neither one of them would get back. Lifting his hand from the blanket, he ran his fingers through his hair pulling it over his shoulder and letting it go. “Can you cut my hair? I...I don’ want it long like this anymore.”

Dean watched Naythin intently as he let that knowledge settle in his mind. October. Autumn. When Naythin asked about his hair, Dean had to quickly steel his features from the surprise of the sudden subject change. “Yeah, sure, baby. How short were you thinkin’? The way you use to have it? Or…?” He eyed Naythin for another minute. “I know how much you love Christmas an’ I’m sorry that you missed ‘em but...we never had a Christmas after you went missing. It was just another day on the road searching. Hell, if it hadn’t been for the Christmas lights along some of the back roads I wouldn’t have even known it was Christmas. Tag an’ I...we never stopped. Not for anything. There were no holidays. No birthdays. There was just lookin’ for you.”

Lifting his head and tucking the long strands of hair behind his ear, Naythin looked over at Dean. “I want it short like yours.” Naythin remembered running his fingers through Dean’s hair. He could get a grip on it but not much of one. He didn’t want his hair long enough for anyone to ever be able to control him with it again. The same went for his beard.

Dean was a little surprised, but not much. Not if Vanessa could be believed anyway and so far, she’d been right on the money. He slowly nodded his head. He always liked Naythin’s slightly longish hair but he completely understood why he didn’t want that anymore. “I uh…” Oh boy, this was going to be awkward as hell. “I know...I know why you...you don’t want it long...Vanessa, like I said, she um...she painted a pretty graphic picture so...just...just know that...I...I get it.” He cleared his throat awkwardly. How did you tell your husband that you knew that he wanted short hair due to the way a nest of vampires grabbed his hair and jammed their dicks down his throat and fucked his mouth? Yeah, exactly, you don’t. What he said was probably as close to actually saying it as they’d ever get.

Looking down at the blanket, Naythin nodded his head slowly. “Oh. Well…” Sighing, he swallowed a few times to stop his stomach from rolling. He didn’t want Dean to know what had been done to him. He didn’t want anyone to know. “What um...She’s not gonna tell anyone else? Does...does Bobby know? Tag?” Please don’t let anyone else know. Please, if it has to be one person just let it be Dean. He could tell Ellen didn’t know anything, thank God. It would be nice if it stayed that way but, knowing Ellen, she’d want to know every last detail.

Dean shook his head. “No. No way. She’s not gonna tell anyone else.” She at least had the discretion to know that much. “Ethan said she didn’t ever remember anything after uh...after Legion took over.” He looked down at the blanket and nodded his head. He didn’t want to see the crushed look on Naythin’s face, see the tears in his eyes. Maybe that made him a coward, he didn’t know. “Yeah...yeah, baby...they uh...they were there when she told me.”

Ducking his head until his bangs fell forward creating a dark blonde curtain he could hide behind, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed. Tears already slowly falling from his eyes onto the blanket. There was no way he’d ever be able to look Tag and Bobby in the eye ever again. Not after this, not after they knew what had been done to him. What’d he’d gone through. Sniffling quietly, Naythin slowed his breathing. He tried to throw up the walls he’d created. The ones that allowed him to almost leave his body when shit got real bad. The best way he could describe it was an out of body experience. He would stand off to the side, watching as he was beat within an inch of his life or gang raped by the vampires after He had had his fun. Leaving Naythin bleeding, unconscious, broken, and, in a few instances, almost dead.

Dean could feel the tears sliding down his cheeks but he didn’t realized exactly that they were his tears, as odd as that might sound. Lifting his head, he looked at Naythin and swallowed against the lump in his throat. “None of what happened is yer fault, we all know that,” he murmured hoarsely before sniffling. He shifted forward on the bed, toward Naythin, and slowly reached for him. If Naythin didn’t want the affection, he wouldn’t force him into the hug, but God he needed to hold him right about then. His chest hurt, it was hard to breathe and the sight of Naythin crying was killing him. “I love you,” he whispered past his tears, his voice husky with them.

Blinking his eyes open, Naythin hunched his shoulders, pulling into himself. It was his fault. He should have fought harder. In the beginning, he had fought. He’d almost got away once. They caught him right before he reached the door of the warehouse they’d brought him too. That’s how his leg ended up getting broke. After they caught him, they beat him with pipes, bats, their fists. He got more than his fair share of hits in before they took him down.

As well as the beatings and being raped daily as well as multiple times a day, the vampires fed on him on a regular basis. The feedings kept him weak so he couldn’t fight back anymore. It wasn’t an excuse. He should have kept fighting. Dean never would have given up. He would have never given up. He was ashamed of how weak he was.

Lifting a hand, Naythin wiped the tears from his eyes. Fear spiked when he saw a denim clad knee come into his line of sight. He had to remind himself it was Dean. Just Dean. No one else. Blowing out a shaky breath, Naythin reached out his hand, his fingers grazing over the top of Dean’s leg. Leaning to the side, he didn’t stop until he was against Dean’s body. Ignoring the pain in his back and everywhere else. Closing his eyes, his hand slid along Dean’s thigh to his hip and up his side. His arm wrapping around Dean’s waist. “Love you, too.”

Damon’s contact at the hospital had called while he was on his way into the station. Naythin Winchester was awake. Tossing his coffee out the window of his car, Damon hit his lights and cut a hard U-turn in the middle of morning traffic. “Get over yerself, people.”

Shaking his head at the blaring horns and middle fingers tossed his way. That is until they finally noticed he was a cop. Rolling his eyes, he flashed a toothy smile as he smashed the gas pedal to the floor. He knew Dr. Norris wouldn’t be in for a few more hours so that gave him a window of opportunity to talk to Mr. Winchester without the good doctor stopping him. He’d managed to talk to a few of the ER staff about the man’s injuries after he’d been taken to a room. Three years of beatings, starvation, torture and being sexually assaulted. Damon had no idea how the man had survived that long.

Turning into the hospital parking lot, he parked his car under the overhang at the main entrance. Exiting the vehicle, he walked around the back and jogged through the sliding glass doors. Hurrying to the elevators, he punched the up arrow a few times before it opened. Once inside, he hit the button for the ICU. His contact had given him the room number. It paid to know people.

Stepping out of the elevator, Damon walked down the hall toward room 418. His strides long and confident. His head held high, his eyes narrowed slightly. To say he was a man on a mission was an understatement. Nearing the room, he slowed his pace when he saw a woman sitting outside Mr. Winchester’s room reading a book.

Ellen watched the man in the suit walk up without turning her head. She had damn good peripheral vision. When he slowed and eventually stopped a few feet from her, she closed the book and set it on the chair next to her. Looking up, she narrowed her eyes as she studied the man. Cop. Shit. “Yer not goin’ in there.” Her tone was even and firm.

Smiling politely, Damon nodded slowly. Pushing his hands in the front pockets of his slacks, he tried to make himself look less intimidating. “Ma’am. I really don’t think that’s yer call.”

Oh, really now? Nodding, she rubbed the palms of her hands along the tops of her thighs before pushing to her feet. The...detective had a good six inches on her but, she’d faced off with bigger and tougher Hunters at the Roadhouse. “Oh, I think it is. Ya see...that’s m’boy in there. No one goes in there that will upset him and you...detective…will upset him.” She met the detective's gaze head on.

“Your boy? I was under the impression that Mr. Winchester’s parents were dead.” Chuckling softly, he dropped his eyes to the floor before looking back at Ellen. “I’ve done my homework. I also know he’s married to your son. So, that makes you his mother-in-law and since you’re not immediate family, you have no say as to whether or not I go in there and speak to him.”

Wrong thing to say, asshole. There was a reason detectives were called dicks. “You listen to me and you listen good.” Ellen took a long stride toward the detective invading his personal space. A slow smirk crossed her lips as she watched him stiffen, his back straightening as he pulled his head back. “I have plenty of say where Naythin is concerned. You are NOT going in there. Period! I don’t give a good God damn who you are...detective!” Ellen made a point of accentuating the last word. Saying it louder and drawing the word out hoping Dean would hear it inside Naythin’s room.

“I could have you arrested for impeding an ongoing investigation, Mrs. Winchester.”

“The hell you will!” Bobby stormed over, face set in hard lines as he slid an arm between Ellen and the detective, pushing her gently back a few steps. He was well aware of Ellen’s temper especially where Naythin and Dean were concerned. Do not get between a Momma bear and her cubs. Keeping his arm in front of Ellen, Bobby glared up at the detective. “What’s going on?”

“Mr. Winchester, I take it?” he gave the man a slow once over before looking him in the eye. “I’m Detective Damon Rice. I’ve been assigned your son-in-law’s case. I spoke to you on the phone yesterday when we confirmed Naythin’s identity.” Pulling one hand from his pocket, he held it out in front of him. When Bobby didn’t take it, Damon nodded and withdrew his hand. “Not a very trusting bunch, are you?”

“You have no idea.” Ellen bit back as she continued to glare at the man. Asshole.

“Right. I understand being protective of your family. I do but, if I’m going to catch who did this to Naythin, I need to speak with him. I would think you’d want to assist in that. Or am I wrong?”

“You’re wrong,” Dean responded from the doorway. He’d heard Ellen’s voice and had strained to listen the word detective was plainly spoken and heard, he was after all, a Hunter. He’d had to assure Naythin a good dozen times and he only stuck his head out the door so Naythin could still see him. “You are not talking to my husband. And I am immediate family. You upset him and you’ll have me to deal with. So, go back to your cubicle office and leave. us. alone. I happen to have a lawyer who is a piranha, and he will eat you for breakfast. Trust me when I say he’s taken down bigger monsters than you.” Okay, so Sam wasn’t an official lawyer yet but he was close enough, and he could direct his big brother to the right real lawyer if he needed to.

Both eyebrows shot up into his forehead as Damon turned his attention toward the doorway. “Mr. Winchester...Dean. I need to speak to Naythin. The people that did this to him...would you want someone else’s family to go through what you all have in the past three years? I would think you’d want to cooperate to prevent that and to get justice for your husband.”

“Yeah well, you’d think wrong. I don’t give a rats ass about anyone or anything but my husband. Get. lost. Asshole, I’m calling my lawyer and I’ll have you thrown out if I have to. And yeah, if Naythin isn’t under arrest, you have no right to hassle him.” Dean’s eyes narrowed as he smiled, a very unfriendly smile. “Good bye, Dick.” Dean pulled his head back and slammed the door closed after him. That outta bring a few nurses running. He walked back into Naythin’s room and grabbed a chair, taking it to the door, he slid the back of the chair, up and under the doorknob to keep Detective dick from coming in. Instant locked door. He was a regular MacGyver when he had to be.

Staring at the door, Damon shook his head. Reaching into the inside pocket of his suit coat, he pulled out one of his business cards. Looking over at Ellen and Bobby, he held the card out. “When he calms down, let me know. This is an active investigation. Please speak with him. I can’t see you wanting the people that did this to go unpunished.”

Bobby stared hard at the man. He knew Dean’s...dislike...for law enforcement and wasn’t surprised by what he said. Lowering his eyes to the card, he reached for it and handed it to Ellen. “Can’t make any promises but, like he said. We have a family lawyer, Detective so I suggest you tread lightly where Naythin is concerned.”

“Duly noted.” Looking back to the door, Damon turned to leave. Pulling out his cell phone, he texted his partner to pull up everything he could find on Dean Winchester.

Looking down at the card, Ellen tore into four pieces. “Asshole.”

Sighing heavily, Bobby turned to face her. “Yer not helping the situation any.”

Huffing, Ellen walked over to a garbage can and tossed in the small pieces of paper. “Yeah, well...sue me, Singer. That man’s an ass. Plain and simple. Thinking he can come in here an’ try an’ bully his way into Naythin’s room. Tellin’ me…me of all people, I’m not immediate family.” Shaking her head, Ellen walked back over to where she’d left her book and shoved it back into her bag.

“I know. I know.” Narrowing his eyes, Bobby watched as the detective turned the corner at the end of the hall. He had a bad feeling it wasn’t the last time they’d have to deal with him.

Naythin about jumped out of his skin when Dean slammed the door to his room. He pulled his legs up close to his chest, his arms wrapped around his shins as he watched Dean stalk across the room, pick up one of the chairs and take it back to the door. “Dean...Wh-what’s wrong?” His eyes widened as he pushed back against the bed. Shit...they’d found him. He’d found him.

Walking back from making the makeshift lock, he shook his head as he went back to his spot on the bed and reached for Naythin, wrapping his arms slowly around him. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” he soothed softly. “Just some Dick investigator who thought he was gonna get in here to talk to you. Tried usin’ the whole don’t you want yer husband to have justice? bullshit. You will have justice...as soon as Tag blows the asshole’s fuckin’ head off.”

Keeping his arms wrapped around his legs, Naythin leaned against Dean’s chest. Why would a detective want to talk to him? “He...he knows about Tag. ‘Bout Ellen an’ Bobby, too. You gotta tell Tag t’be careful.” Naythin was well aware that Tag was the best when it came to Hunting vampires. The only problem was that the vampire that had taken Naythin wasn’t you’re run of the mill vampire. He was Violet Aconite’s son...well, offspring. She’d made him. Turned him. Shaking his head, Naythin shifted, biting back the sting of pain in his back as he leaned heavily into Dean. “Kinda hard t’tell the cops a nest’a vampires kidnapped you. They’d lock me up.”

“Exactly,” Dean agreed as he nodded. “Ellen an’ Bobby are here, I can tell them after I know the Dick has moved on. As for Tag, he’s the best, I’m sure he knows that the nest will come after him, just like he’s goin’ after them...well, after him actually but…” He shrugged a shoulder. “You know how fast word travels in the Hunter community, I’m willing to bet he already knows...likely knows more than you or I do at this point.”

Naythin wasn’t convinced. Not completely anyway. Lifting one hand, Naythin wrapped his fingers around the back of Dean’s bicep and pulled his arm closer. He could feel Dean’s heart beating against the side of his upper arm. The warmth radiating off Dean’s body helped relax Naythin’s muscles and sooth his ragged nerves. Not too mention the heat felt good.

Pulling his cap from his head, Bobby slapped it against the outside of his thigh. Shaking his head, he stared at the end of the hall where the detective had disappeared down. Looking at Ellen, he jutted his chin toward the newspaper sticking out from her bag. “Since when do you read the paper?”

Pulling the paper from her bag, Ellen held it out to Bobby.

Reading the glaring headline, Bobby’s eyes widened as he looked from the paper to Naythin’s door and back again. “Have the boys seen this?”

Shaking her head slowly, Ellen crossed her arms over her chest. “Not yet. They need to know.” Looking around, she stepped in close to Bobby. “Vampires or not, they’ll see this.” Jabbing her finger at the paper. “If they thought Naythin died in the fire and see this? They may try to get him back. Or kill him.”

Chapter Text

Folding the paper in half, Bobby tucked it under his arm as he returned the worn baseball cap to his head. “C’mon. We better tell ‘em together.” Turning, he walked over to the door and knocked. “Dean? S’Bobby an’ Ellen. Let us in.”

Dean pulled his head back so he could see Naythin’s face better. “Are you up to havin’ ‘em come in?” he inquired. It was all up to Naythin, if he said no, then the answer was no.

Tipping his head back, Naythin nodded as he raised his hand from the back of Dean’s arm to brush the hair out of his face. “Yeah. It’s okay.” It was Bobby and Ellen. They were okay. As long as no one crowded him...he’d be alright.

Dean nodded before turning his head toward the door. “Yeah, come on in,” he called out. It was only after he spoke up that he remembered that he’d set the chair in front of the door. “Shit. Hold on a minute, baby.” He quickly jumped up and headed for the door, pulling the chair out of the way so that Bobby and Ellen could come in. Returning to the bed, he sat back down facing Naythin and pulled him into his arms, pressing a kiss to the corner of Naythin’s mouth. “Yer okay,” he whispered against them before pulling his head back and looking up as Bobby and Ellen walked into the room.

Walking over to the small rolling table, Bobby dropped the newspaper on it. “Read that.” Jabbing his finger at it, he walked to one of the chairs and sat down heavily.

Ellen smiled softly as she followed Bobby into the room. Stopping in front of the elder Hunter, she was tempted to smack him on the side of his head as he dropped the paper on the table. “Bobby!” Glaring at him, she shook her head as she walked around to the opposite side of the bed to sit in the large recliner so she could see Dean and Naythin.

“What?” Bobby raised both hands from his lap. “It’s not like ya can ease ‘em into somethin’ like that.” Shaking his head, his hands fell back to his lap.

Dean looked at Bobby as he flopped the paper down on the bed table. When he said to read it, Dean’s brows knitted as he reached for the table and pulled it closer so he could grab the paper. The second his eyes fell on the page, the picture of Naythin was glaringly apparent. Sonofabitch! He looked back up at Bobby as he folded the paper quickly in half, hopefully before Naythin had the chance to see it. “You gotta be frickin’ kiddin’ me! What the hell’s wrong with you?” You don’t just drop a newspaper, a newspaper that told the entire world that he’d been found, down in front of the guy who’d been held for three years by vampires, vampires that had written him off as dead, at least until now.

“Uh huh...because keepin’ shit from either of you has always ended so well in the past.” Bobby leaned forward, his forearms resting on his knees. “He has the right to know, Dean. You’d want to know if you were sittin’ where he is.”

“What is it?” Naythin had been pressed as far back into the bed as he could get when Bobby and Ellen walked in. He’d seen the newspaper Bobby had dropped on the table but wasn’t able to read it even when Dean pulled the table closer. Sitting a little straighter, Naythin raised one hand, tucking his long hair behind his ear. “Dean?” His eyes darted from Dean to the newspaper and back again.

Dean could have choked Bobby right about then and not felt bad about it. He glared daggers at the elder Hunter and a muscle in his jaw twitched and rolled as he ground his teeth, giving Bobby the same look that had struck fear into the hearts of so many monsters. He huffed softly and turned his attention to Naythin. God, he didn’t want to do this. “It uh...the paper says you were found. I dunno how they got the information, but it’s there. Listen to me,” he reached out and cupped both sides of Naythin’s face in his hands, “Nothing is going to happen. Not now, not ever. I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you ever again, I promise, alright?”

Naythin’s eyes widened, his heart started to race, his breathing going from normal to hyperventilating in seconds. They’d find him. He would find him. They’d take him back or kill Dean this time. Several times, Naythin tried to turn his head to look toward the door. His fingers curled around the blanket covering his legs. “He...he’ll find me. Dean, he’ll...no. No. He’ll know where to find me. I can’...I can’ stay here.”

Dean continued to cradle Naythin’s head in his hands. “Naythin, baby, he’s not gonna hurt you. I promise you that. I would die before I let that happen again. No one,” he glanced at Bobby, shooting him a, if looks could kill, dirty look. “Is ever going to hurt you again. This sonofabitch vampire is not gonna find you. And even if he does, he’s not gonna get his hands on you. He’d have to go through me first...and Ellen...and Tag…” he glanced again at Bobby, glaring, “and Bobby. No one is going to let that happen.”

Scooting the chair closer to the bed, Ellen leaned forward, “Naythin...sweetie. Dean’s right. No one is going to hurt you ever again. You know we’d never let that happen. You’re safe. I swear to you. Have I ever lied to you?”

Giving his head a quick shake, Naythin swallowed hard. “N-no. No, you haven’t.” Wrapping his arms around Dean’s waist, Naythin pulled him as close as he could. “I don’ want him to hurt you.”

“It’s okay,” Dean responded. “Nothin’ bad’s gonna happen, baby, I promise. I won’t let it.” He gave his head a barely there, curt, shake. “Nobody’s gonna hurt anyone.” It was as good as Dean could give on whether or not the bastard that had kidnapped Naythin would hurt him or not. He wasn’t afraid to go up against a vampire, he’d actually done so many times. And he’d meant what he said before, if he had to die to keep Naythin safe, he would.

Sighing heavily, Bobby pushed to his feet. “I’m not tryin’ to upset you on purpose, son. This affects you as much as the rest of us. We’re not gonna let that bastard get his hands on you. Trust me on that.” Running a hand over his face, Bobby shook his head. “I dunno how long yer gonna be in here. Frankly, the quicker we can get you outta here, the happier I’ll be. I’ll do some checkin’ on a few cabin’s I got. See which one’d be better suited.” Smiling softly, Bobby fought to keep from walking around the bed and pulling Naythin in for a tight hug. Glancing at Ellen, he gave a slight shrug of his shoulders before looking at Dean. “I’ll let ya know what I find out. Don’ argue with me on this. You two’ll need a place to go for a while.” Nodding curtly, he turned and started for the door. Stopping at the door, he turned to look back at Naythin. Clearing his throat, Bobby turned back to the door to keep anyone from seeing the tears that had welled up in his eyes. “Lemme know how he’s doin’.” Pulling the door open, he hurried out of the room and into the hall letting the door close on its own behind him.

“Can I shoot him?” Dean inquired of no one in particular.

Chuckling lightly, Ellen leaned back in the chair. “Get in line. Get in line.” Shrugging out of her jacket, Ellen tossed it over the back of her chair. “Ya know he means well.”

Dean huffed softly as his hands slid down Naythin’s shoulders and he pulled him in closer. “I know Naythin has a right to know but, couldn’t he of been a little more tactful about it?” Sonofabitch! And people said he was crass.

“Yer talkin’ about Bobby Singer. Tact isn’t in his vocabulary. He cares about you boys. You know that. You weren’t the only one hurtin’, Dean.”

Leaning against Dean, Naythin turned his head pressing his cheek against his chest. “How long do I have to stay here?” Looking at the folded newspaper on the table, Naythin’s stomach started to churn.

Dean turned his head and looked at Ellen for a long moment before answering Naythin. “You don’t. They can’t keep you here if you don’t want to stay.” He finally looked back at Naythin, smoothing one hand down Naythin’s hair before wrapping it around his shoulders again. Hell, he’d checked himself out of the hospital when he was supposed to be dying, so he knew first hand that no one had to stay in a hospital if they didn’t want to, it wasn’t prison.

Ellen met and held Dean’s gaze. One eyebrow arching before he looked away. Shaking her head, Ellen pushed to her feet. Digging the keys to her Jeep from the front pocket of her jeans, she stepped to the side of the bed making sure Naythin could see her clearly. “Naythin? I brought you guys some clothes. They’re in m’Jeep. How ‘bout I sit here with you while Dean goes an’ gets the bag? He’ll only be gone a few minutes. That sound okay?” Ellen knew Dean well enough to know he was wearing the same clothes he had on when he found out Naythin was alive. Shifting her eyes to Dean without moving her head, she gave her head a quick shake. “Don’ argue. Ya need to shower. I turned in the menus and I know you haven’t eaten anything.”

Naythin watched as Ellen stood up and moved to the side of the bed. He wasn’t afraid of her. Not really. She’d never hurt him. Same as Dean. When she brought up Dean leaving the room, he tightened his arms around Dean shaking his head adamantly. “I...no. Don’ make him leave. Please, Ellen. I can’ lose him. Not again. Please, please.” He could feel the tears pooling in his eyes. Squeezing them closed, the tears flowed unchecked.

Dean’s arms tightened around Naythin in return and he looked at Ellen and gave his head a curt shake. “I’m not goin’. Sorry, Ellen, I know you mean well but...No way, I’m not leavin’ him.” He turned back to Naythin and pressed a kiss to each of Naythin’s eyes. “Shhh, it’s okay, baby,” he whispered comfortingly. “M’not goin’ anywhere.” He knew that Ellen was just worried, worried about both of them. But Naythin had been through too much for him to leave his sight if he didn’t want him to. He’d even stand against Ellen if he had to in order to make sure that Naythin felt safe. He wouldn’t like it, but he’d do it.

“Okay. It’s okay, Naythin. Dean can stay. I’ll go down an’ bring the bag up here.” Leaning to the side, she tried to see Naythin’s face better. “You know no one can make Dean do anything he doesn't want to?” Standing to her full height, she started to walk around the bed to the door. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Opening the door just enough for her to slip through, Ellen closed it quietly behind her before walking toward the elevators.

Naythin waited for the door to close before he blinked his eyes open. “M’sorry. I jus’...he’ll see the paper or someone from the nest an’ he’ll know I’m alive. I don’ wan’ ‘em to get you.”

Dean shook his head slowly. “It’s okay. I know, I know. No one’s gonna get me. I’m gonna stay here with you.” Leaning in, he brushed a kiss across Naythin’s lips. “It’s okay. I love you.” He pulled an arm from around Naythin and used that hand to comb his fingers through Naythin’s hair soothingly, his other arm tightening his hold. “It’s gonna be okay. Yer back home, back with me an’ m’gonna keep you safe. I promise.”

Clearing his throat, Naythin pulled one hand from around Dean. Using the back of his hand, he brushed the tears from his eyes, wincing as he pressed too hard on his right eye. “I’m okay.” Nodding, he cleared his throat one more time. “I’m...I’m okay.” Sitting up, he slowly pulled away from Dean keeping one arm around his waist. Blowing out a long breath, Naythin nodded as he blinked to clear his vision.

Dean watched Naythin closely. He knew that Naythin was far from okay but he didn’t argue the matter. If he said he was fine, he’d take Naythin at his word, at least for the moment. “Are you gonna stick around the hospital at least a couple days more? I was kinda hopin’ that the doc would get those pain meds for ya and the muscle relaxers before we go but, if you wanna leave now, we can. You just lemme know what you wanna do.”

Licking his lips, Naythin looked at Dean through his bangs. “I can’ stay here. It...it’s not safe. Not fer you, Bobby, Ellen...me.” Looking down at the IV in the back of his hand, Naythin slowly curled his fingers into a loose fist. “I’ll stay until tonight then we gotta go. We have to go.”

Dean nodded slowly. “Okay, whatever you wanna do. But um, I gotta get scripts for the meds you need so...we need to tell the doc we’re leavin’...once we do that, we can get scripts from him for antibiotics and anything else yer gonna need. Pain meds, muscle relaxers, whatever. I can take care of you somewhere else.”

“Okay. Okay. That’s...that’s good. I uh…” Looking down at his lap, Naythin tugged lightly at the blanket. “Not like I can leave like this. Ellen’s bringin’ clothes so, that’s, that’s good.” If he could, Naythin would have left right then and there. The fact he had no clothes to wear was the only thing that kept him in the bed.

“Baby,” Dean began gently, “Do you trust me?”

Lifting his head, Naythin frowned. “Yeah. Yes, of course. You know I do. I’ve always trusted you.”

“Then believe me when I tell you that m’not gonna let anythin’ happen to you, alright? Yer safe.” Dean wrapped his other arm, the one that had been combing his fingers through Naythin’s hair, securely around Naythin and held him tightly in his arms. “I gotcha. S’gonna be okay now.”

Naythin let Dean pull him in. Not that he’d fight it. Leaning his head against Dean’s shoulder, Naythin closed his eyes. Dean had always made him feel safe. Now, wasn’t any different. As scared of everything as Naythin was, as long as Dean was with him, the fear didn’t eat at him as bad. It was still there because, honestly, nothing was going to make it go away fully. Maybe not until the entire nest was dead including Him. Maybe, just maybe Naythin would be able to relax and let go of his fear.

A man walked into an old deserted looking house out in the sticks with a newspaper tucked under his arm. He headed for the living room where Tristan sat brooding over losing his pet. It was a shame really, he’d quite enjoyed Winchester’s...what was it again?...oh yes, husband. The very thought had a smirk pulling at Tristan’s lips as he looked out from under his brows at the blonde haired vampire who had just entered. “What is it, Derek?”

Derek tossed the newspaper he’d been carrying down onto the coffee table in front of Tristan. “Your pet didn’t die. Instead, he went home to Dean Winchester. Your screwing around with Winchester’s bitch has put us all in danger.”

“Have I?” Tristan purred as his lips pulled into a smirk.

“Yes! Dean Winchester knows what we did! He’s going to kill us all!” Derek shouted.

Pulling to his feet, Tristan looked at Derek from under his brows despite the fact that the other vampire was a good foot shorter. He sniffled, his lips curving down into a frown as he let his eyes roam the interior of the house and all those watching and listening to the argument between himself and Derek. “Dean Winchester is a definite threat, I’ll give you that but…” Tristan huffed softly one corner of his lips curving upward into a lopsided and slightly deranged smirk. The span of a heartbeat later his arm snaked out, grabbing a hold of Derek by the throat and slamming him into the wall across the room, his movements too swift to be seen by the human eye. His fangs elongated and he hissed at Derek a second before he snapped the other man’s neck with a simple flick of his wrist, a trick Mommy Dearest taught him before she was murdered by Tag Hadley. “Fuck,” he muttered under his breath. Revenge was one thing, but he didn’t want to die. Heaving a heavy sigh he looked up at the others “We’d all better lay low for a while,” he murmured. “When the Winchester has all but forgotten about me, that’s when we’ll all crawl out of our crypts and I will reclaim what is rightfully mine.”

Knocking softly on the door, Ellen walked back into Naythin’s room carrying a large overnight bag. “Okay...here we go.” Setting the bag on the foot of the bed making sure to not bump Naythin’s feet, she unzipped the bag. Moving the flap out of the way, she started taking clothes out. “I brought two sets of clothes for both of you. Naythin, I’ve got yer sweats and a couple hoodies. Dean, yer usual denim and plaid is in here too.” Looking up, she smiled at winked at Dean. “I grabbed shampoo...tooth brush...deodorant, the whole nine yards.”

Dean smiled at Ellen as he nodded. “Thanks, Ellen, that’s great. Um, Naythin wants to leave...tonight. They really aren’t doin’ anythin’ for him I can’t do other than gettin’ the meds so when the doc comes in we’re gonna talk to him. Do you know of someplace we could stay?” Bobby had said that he’d look for a cabin for them but Dean had a feeling Bobby hadn’t planned on tonight as being when they’d be needing it.

“Tonight?” Ellen looked from Dean to Naythin and back again. “Are you sure? Naythin, sweetie. I know you don’ want to be here but…” Sighing, she knew it was useless to argue the point. Naythin was just as stubborn as Dean and hated hospitals as much if not more than Dean did. Lifting one hand, she ran her fingers through her hair. “Okay. Okay. Yeah, I know of a place. It’s a Hunter cabin about three hours north of the bar. It’s small. Three rooms. Kitchen, bedroom and a bathroom. It’s...rustic, but locked down like Fort Knox. Warded and sigiled up the ass.”

Naythin looked at the clothes Ellen laid out on the foot of the bed. He recognized one of the sweatshirts as one Dean had given him for Christmas one year. When Ellen started to try and talk him out of leaving, Naythin shook his head, he opened his mouth to argue only to stop when she gave in. Leaning against Dean, he listened to her describe the cabin. He didn’t care if it was a cave somewhere, anything was better than the hospital. Too many people coming and going. Anyone or anything could get in his room. Sure, Ellen and Bobby managed to keep the detective from getting in but, they wouldn’t always be sitting outside the door.

Dean nodded to Ellen’s description of the cabin. “Whatever you got, we’ll take it.” Looking back at Naythin he smiled softly and leaned in to brush a kiss across his lips. “Now we jus’ have to wait for the doctor, baby an’ we’ll get you outta here.”

“Okay. I’ll call Ash an’ have him get a set of new ID’s for Naythin and make a run to the cabin to get it stocked so you guys don’ have to worry about it. You leave here an’ can go straight to the cabin.” Reaching into her back pocket, Ellen pulled out her cell phone. “I’ll go see when the doctor’s coming in. Maybe we can get a jump start on the discharge paperwork.” Looking over at Dean, Ellen sighed. “You know he’s going to fight you on this, right?”

Dean nodded as he looked back at Ellen. “Yeah, I know. It’s not the first doctor I’ve disappointed by taken off early on, prob’ly won’t be the last.” Oh yeah, he knew alright. They’d be lucky to get out the door with anything for pain and the antibiotics they’ll get will be merely because the guy actually cares about his patients. He actually kinda liked the doc, he really seemed to be an alright guy...for a doctor.

This was more than a broken arm or concussion. Ellen knew she didn’t need to remind Dean of that fact. Looking over at Naythin, she nodded before turning and walking out of the room to find a nurse and see when Naythin’s doctor would be doing rounds and what they had to do to get Naythin discharged that day.

After the door closed with a soft click, Naythin looked up at Dean. “She doesn’t want me to leave the hospital. I can see it in her eyes.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dean agreed. “She’s worried about you. We all are...an’ we prob’ly will be for a long time yet. It’s almost become...I dunno…habit.” His eyes slipped momentarily closed as he gave his head a slow shake before opening them. Three long damn years. Three years of Tag’s pep talks whenever he’d break down. Three years of turning over every leaf and looking under every crumb. Three years of having his heart in his throat. Three years of screaming into the night until he went hoarse. Three years of drinking himself unconscious so he could sleep.

When Dean closed his eyes, Naythin pulled his arm out from around Dean’s waist. Lifting his hand, he brushed the side of his thumb along the wrinkles at the corner of Dean’s eye. “You didn’ have so many before. You always worried about me.”

Dean met Naythin’s gaze and gave a slight nod. “Yeah,” he confirmed softly, “Every single minute you were gone, I worried. I cried. I screamed…”

Me too. “I’m sorry.” Opening his hand more, Naythin gently cupped the side of Dean’s face, his thumb gliding slowly back and forth over Dean’s cheekbone. “I should’ve...I should’ve fought harder. I…” Shaking his head, Naythin closed his eyes as he leaned forward resting his forehead against Dean’s.

Dean slowly shook his head, even as he leaned into Naythin’s touch, “Nothin’ to apologize for. I’m the one who’s sorry. I should have went in that bathroom sooner to look for you. I should have found you faster. I should have…” He heaved a heavy sigh and leaned into Naythin as he let his eyes slip briefly closed before blinking them open again. “Like I’ve said all along, I wish it’d been me, not you.”

“No. Don’ say that. You have no idea what…” Pulling his hand away from the side of Dean’s face, Naythin leaned back shaking his head. “Don’ ever say that. We had no way of knowin’ anyone was watchin’ or followin’ us. Just...please don’ say you wish they’d taken you.” What had been done to him, Naythin wouldn’t wish on his worse enemy. He couldn’t remember how many times he begged, prayed and hoped he’d die.

“Over you? Yeah, sorry, but yeah,” Dean retorted, “It was my job to watch over you an’ this...this happened on my watch. It’s my fault, all of it… So yeah,” he nodded, “it should’ve been me.”

“You’ll never be able to convince me that you should have taken my place.”

“Yeah well, I guess it doesn’t matter now anyway,” Dean mumbled and sighed heavily. He shifted closer to Naythin and lifted a hand, cupping the side of his neck as he searched Naythin’s eyes. “I’m just glad I got you back,” he whispered. Leaning in, his eyes slipped closed as he pressed his lips to Naythin’s the tip of his tongue darted out to trail along the contour of Naythin’s bottom lip.

Naythin leaned in slowly. His eyes closing as he returned Dean’s kiss. Wincing, he pulled back, breaking the kiss. His chapped, dry lips cracking open. “Sorry.” Lifting a hand, he pressed the back of it against his lips. Pulling it back, he shook his head when he saw a small amount of blood.

Dean’s hand fell away from the side of Naythin’s neck as he pulled his head back when Naythin did, and his eyes opened, his lips parting to ask what was wrong when it hit him. He knew Naythin’s lips were chapped, and the bloody crack though his bottom lip made him feel even worse than he already did about everything. “No, m’sorry. I shouldn’t have…” He allowed his sentence to trail off. “We’ll pick you up some of that medicated lip balm stuff on the way to the cabin or somethin’.”

Licking carefully over his bottom lip, Naythin shook his head. “Chapstick isn’t gonna help this.” It wouldn’t help that particular wound anyway. Lifting his hand, Naythin gently ran the tip of his finger over the split near the corner of his mouth. “It uh…” Swallowing hard, he pointed to the bruise on his right eye and cheek. Shrugging, Naythin lowered his hand to his lap. Pulling his other arm from around Dean, he bowed his head, staring down at the small section of blanket between his fingers. Every time he blinked, he could feel the muscle pull on his cheek. His eye was still a little puffy even though it had been...four days since his last beating.

Dean’s brow creased as he looked at Naythin. Okay, call him slow but why wasn’t something like Chapstick going to help Naythin’s dry and cracked lips? “I get that there’s been damage,” that was putting it nicely, “done to the side of yer face...prob’ly all of one side...so okay, the pain goes into yer lip but why’s Chapstick not gonna help how dry and cracked the rest of yer lip is?” “Little boy blue come blow your horn? Oh, it seems he's been blowing a lot of horns lately.” Unless of course Naythin had herpes...could vampires even give a guy herpes?

Sighing, Naythin gave his head a quick shake. “It...it will. Yer right.” Don’t argue. Arguing never ends well.

Dean shook his head and reached for Naythin’s hand. “No. Baby, talk to me. If you don’t tell me then I won’t know. Please.” He wasn’t trying to be an ass, he truly had no idea. Yeah, Vanessa was a little too detailed for his liking but beyond that, it wasn’t like she gave a laundry list of things that had happened to Naythin. It was all sing-song limerick, demonic bullshit.

Naythin stared down at Dean’s hand for a long moment before lifting his head, turning it to the side so he could see Dean through his bangs. “It’s not...I mean, it’ll help some of it but not this.” Lifting his free hand, he ran the tip of his finger over the corner of his lip again. “Not when it’s all the way through my lip. Not just the outside.”

“Yer split lip?” Dean inquired. He’d known about that, it wasn’t hard to see, but he’d thought that it was the chapped places that were hurting Naythin, not just the split lip. “Did the doctor say anything about what they were gonna do about it?” He knew Naythin had been sedated but he would have thought that at some point they’d at least told him what they were going to do/had done to Naythin.

Shaking his head, Naythin looked back down at Dean’s hand. “No. Nobody told me anything. When I woke up in the emergency room, I uh...I was too scared to do much of anything except try an’ get away. So, they knocked me out again.” Not once in Naythin’s life had he ever admitted to being scared of anything or anyone.

Dean gripped Naythin’s hand a little more firmly. “Yeah,” he murmured softly, his voice barely a whisper, “I was scared too.” He knew how hard it was for Naythin to admit being scared of anything. Hell, their Dad’s had been best friends so it wasn’t any wonder that they had both instilled a lack of fear in their sons.

“He wants to what!?” Dr. Norris looked at Ellen Winchester as if she’d just grown a set of horns and a second head right in front of him.

“He want’s to leave. Naythin doesn’t feel safe here since he found out about the newspaper article.” Ellen stood in the small waiting area, arms crossed over her chest, shoulders squared as she looked up at the doctor.

“Do you realize the extent of his injuries? I’m not talking just physical either, Mrs. Winchester. Those are bad enough. He’s on three different antibiotics not to mention the saline drip, plus the pain meds I had ordered after his nurse paged me. He’s going to be on those for some time. He may very well need to have his leg looked at by an orthopedic surgeon. Not to mention it may need to be rebroken and set. We’re not talking a broken leg or...cracked ribs. You understand what I’m saying? Naythin needs to stay in the hospital.” Lifting a hand, the doctor ran his fingers through his hair. Lowering his hand, he huffed when he saw the smeared paint over the palm of his hand. Shaking his head, he walked over to one of the chairs and dropped into it. “You’ll have to excuse my appearance. I was painting my dining room when I got the call about Naythin wanting to leave.”

Waving a dismissive hand, Ellen took a seat in a chair opposite the doctor. “I know Naythin. I’ve known him since he was a little kid. He won’t stay. If you don’t let him leave, he will find a way to leave on his own. He’s terrified the people that did this to him will find him again. A hospital isn’t exactly safe. There’s too many people coming and going. Hell, some detective tried to get into Naythin’s room. None of the nurses even tried to stop him. If I hadn’t have been sitting outside the door, he would waltzed right in.” Ellen was pleased to see the shocked look on the doctor's face. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.

“I told Detective Rice not to bother Naythin. That he wasn’t in any condition to talk about what happened.” Sighing heavily, he looked across the room at Ellen. “I apologize for that. I do.” Leaning forward, he started to pick at a small section of dried paint on his jeans. “If I agree to this and we’re talking a huge if. I want to see Naythin at least once a week.”

Shaking her head, Ellen leaned back in the chair. “No. Uh-uh...that’ll put him in danger just as much if not more than if he were staying here. It’ll set up a pattern they’ll be able to track. I can’t make any promises. You’ll have to talk to Dean and Naythin. I can tell you right now. They will not agree to that. I may not have the education or the diploma on the wall but I’m damn near a doctor. I’ve patched up enough people that would rival even you, doc. You name it, stitches, broken bones the whole nine yards.”

“Shit.”

“That pretty much covers it.” Ellen didn’t even try to stop the slow smirk that crossed her lips. “So, what do we have to do to get Naythin outta here...tonight.”

“Let’s go talk to ‘em. Make sure they both understand, especially Dean. This is not going to be easy on either of them.” Pushing to his feet, Dr. Norris headed for the door.

Chapter Text

Naythin sat very still and quiet as he stared down at their joined hands. His eyes following every line, scar and freckle on Dean’s fingers and the back of his hand. There were new scars, a few still pink and healing. Several across his knuckles and one near Dean’s wrist Naythin couldn’t remember him having before. As hard as he tried, over time, Naythin had started to forget what Dean looked like. He had trouble picturing him in his mind’s eye. Dean’s voice was never forgotten. Naythin would hear Dean talking to him. Telling him to not give up. That everything was going to be okay. There were times he’d carry on a full conversation with Dean when he was alone. Those were the days Naythin was convinced he was losing his mind. Dean was dead. Well, he’d been told Dean was dead, anyway. Naythin should have known better. No body, no crime, right?

Dean watched Naythin for a long while, just silently observed him, watched the slow movement of his eyes, his eyelashes as he kept his head bowed and his actual eyes mostly obscured by his bangs. “What is it?” he finally inquired softly.

Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand when he heard his voice. That had to be an improvement, right? He didn’t jump out of his skin, at least. “Nothing. I uh...I was just looking at yer hand. There’s scars I don’ remember you having.” Nodding his head, Naythin shrugged one shoulder. “It’s stupid.”

Dean had to look down at his hand and think about where they’d come from. He gave his head a shake as moments of the last three years flashed across his mind’s eye. “It’s not stupid,” he murmured gently. Nothing you do is stupid. He wasn’t sure if Naythin was ready to hear that yet. He’d probably get the same reception as he had when he’d called Naythin angel, so he skipped it, for now. He cleared his throat as his brows knitted briefly. “Yeah, um, some of ‘em are new. From Tag an’ I searching for you. The ones on my knuckles are from beatin’ the hell outta demons an’ stuff tryin’ to get ‘em to tell me where you were.”

“I use to talk to you. When they’d leave me alone.” Locked in the cage. “You’d tell me to hang on, to not give up.” Huffing softly, Naythin started to slowly glide the pad of his thumb over the side of Dean’s hand. “I’d have full on conversations with you as if you were sitting there next to me. I thought you were dead, so I had to be losing my mind. Going crazy."

Dean hummed as he nodded. What was he supposed to say to that? He would have done the same thing...and he’d likely go insane so...again, what was he supposed to say to that? “I’m sure I would have done the same thing. I dunno that I would have been as strong as you.” He’d given in when he’d been in Hell after all.

Shaking his head, Naythin sniffed softly. “No. No, you would have. You wouldn’t have given up, not like I did. I stopped fighting. Stopped trying to get away. Let...let ‘em do whatever they wanted. I didn’t care anymore. You...I thought you were dead. I didn’ have anything left to fight for; to live for.” Naythin licked his lips, the tip of his tongue hesitating over the split in his lip. Okay, so there were a few times he’d fought back but, not to get free. It was just to get away from whatever they were doing to him or were going to do to him.

Dean had always lived by the motto, if ya gotta go down ya go down fightin’ and he supposed that he’d just expected that everyone, especially Naythin, felt the same way. “I uh, I meant how you held together. Even now. You could still be curled up in the corner but yer not.” He gave a slight head tilt-type shrug before nodding to his own words.

“Only because yer here. If you weren’t…” Naythin pulled his head back far enough to be able to see Dean’s face better. Lifting his free hand, he held it out over the blanket. His hand was shaking like a leaf in a strong breeze. “I’d be in the corner like I was after I woke up from the dream.” Lowering his hand, he curled his fingers into a tight fist as he pressed his hand to his lower abdomen. “Only reason I’m still up here, is because of you. I’m scared to death to be up here; on...on the bed.”

Dean slowly nodded his head as he listened to Naythin, he could understand that. His brows knitted a second later, with the last of Naythin’s words, and he eyed Naythin for a long moment before speaking. “Why?” He wasn’t sure what the bed had to do with anything? Vanessa hadn’t mentioned a bed or the bed.

Bowing his head, Naythin tucked his chin until it was almost touching his chest. “Only time I was on a bed or even a mattress was when they…” Blowing out a shaky breath, he shook his head. “S’why I...I panicked when I woke up in the ambulance an’ the emergency room. S’why I fought after the nightmare an’ when I woke up with the...the cuffs on.”

Oh. Dean’s tongue darted out, licking slowly across his lips as he eyed Naythin and tried to think of something to say to that. Wow. Okay. Uh.... “You don’ have to worry about that ever again,” he murmured, “I’m not gonna let anythin’ happen to you, baby, I promise.” Now that he knew what he was looking for, that helped. The fact that he’d so leisurely sat back while Naythin had went to the bathroom would always haunt him. This, all of this, was his fault.

Knocking softly on the door, Ellen opened it just enough for her head to fit. “Boys? It’s me. I’ve got the doc here. He uh...he wants to talk to you.”

Dean turned his head toward the door and huffed softly. Damn it. Ellen. He couldn’t help rolling his eyes. He looked back at Naythin and both brows rose in unison. “You ready to do this?”

Nodding, Naythin sat up leaning back against the bed. His grip on Dean’s hand tightening. “I can’ stay here so...yeah.” It didn’t really matter what the doctor said. Naythin was leaving with or without his okay. He’d walked out of hospitals AMA before.

Dean nodded to Naythin’s words and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “I know, baby. I know,” he murmured softly, his voice nearly a whisper. Turning his head toward the door he called out to Ellen, “Okay, Ellen, come on in.”

Nodding, Ellen looked over her shoulder at the doc. “You upset him in any way an’ you’ll me to deal with.” Both her eyebrows raised as she dipped her chin giving him her best do not screw with my family look.

“Yes, ma’am.” He’d seen plenty of protective families in his years of being a doctor but, the Winchester blew them all out of the water.

Pushing the door open, Ellen walked in, smiled to the boys and headed for the nearest corner. This was the docs show, she was just there to make sure he didn’t screw shit up.

Closing the door behind him, Dr. Norris walked into the room. His usual wide, warm smile on his face. “I hear you want to leave our fine establishment, Naythin.” Stopping at the foot of the bed, he kept his hands fully visible.

Nodding vigorously, Naythin had to swallow a few times, his mouth going suddenly dry. “Y-yeah...yes. I-I can’...can’ stay here.” As soon as the doc came into view, Naythin dropped his eyes to his legs just above his knees.

“Ellen told me you saw the newspaper article and that yer afraid the people that did this to you will come here. Is that correct?”

“Y-yes. Th-there’s too many of ‘em. Y-you can’...won’ know who they are.” Naythin had no idea how big the nest was. All he knew is that it took two days to “pack” everything up and move.

Nodding, the doctor crossed his arms loosely over his chest. “I could see if the police would put a guard on yer door. Would that make you feel more comfortable?” It wasn’t unusual for rape and kidnap victims to feel the way Naythin did. More than once he’d had to do just that; have a police officer stand guard outside a victim’s room especially if the rapist or kidnapper had not been caught.

“I wan’...I wan’ to l-leave.”

“The ones who did this,” Dean spoke up, shaking his head, “A police officer isn’t going to stop. He’d be safer with Ellen standing guard at the door,” he mused with a glance at Ellen before returning his attention to the doctor. He couldn’t help but feel the way Naythin squeezed his hand. “Not that we’d want to put Ellen in that kind of danger. Trust me on this one, doc. I uh, I had a run in with…” Violet “...someone like this a few years ago, they’re not gonna stop just because a cop says, Freeze.

“We could transfer you to the secured ward. Not exactly my first choice, but it’s a possibility.” Looking over at Ellen, he tried to judge her stance on the subject. The cold hard glare was answer enough. Not happening. Gotcha. Turning his attention back to Naythin, he slowly nodded. “Okay. If I said no, you’d just up and leave anyway at least if I agree, though very, very reluctantly, I’ll at least know you have all the medications with you. I’ll start on the discharge paperwork and call down to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions filled with a few refills.” Lowering both arms, he looked over at Dean. “Any questions?”

Dean shook his head. “I can do anything he needs. As long as we have the meds, we’ll be fine.” He paused for a moment, not really use to doctors being this nice and allowing them to leave AMA. “Uh, thanks. I mean it, most doctors wouldn’t be this…nice about it.”

“The circumstances are far from normal. Personally, I would prefer it if Naythin stayed for at least a week to make sure we have the infections beat but…” Shrugging his shoulders, Dr. Norris took a step away from the bed. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out his wallet. Flipping it open, he took out a business card and set it on the small table. “If you have any questions or if Naythin starts feeling sick...call me. Day or night. My cell is the last number on the card. Oh and uh...don’t tell me where you’re going. I have a feeling Detective Rice will be paying me a visit as soon as he finds out Naythin’s been discharged. Culpable deniability.” Sighing heavily, he turned and headed for the door. “Gimme a couple hours to get everything done.” Pulling the door open, he walked out letting it close behind him.

Pushing away from the wall, Ellen walked over to the bed taking a seat in the chair she’d been using earlier. “Okay. Okay. Lemme send Ash a text letting him know when you’ll be outta here. He’s on his way up to the cabin to get it ready.”

When the doctor said it would only take a couple hours before he could leave, Naythin sagged against Dean’s chest. His head resting just below his collarbone. Squeezing Dean’s hand, Naythin raised their joined hands and pressed them against his chest.

Dean nodded to Ellen and reached for the doctor’s card. If, God forbid, something happened and Naythin began feeling worse, he’d give the guy a call and they could meet him somewhere. Hell, the Impala was big enough that they could almost do a complete physical in the backseat. Yeah, yeah, shut up. I know what I just said...thought, whatever. Perverts. “Okay, yeah, thanks, Ellen. Tell Ash I said thanks too.” He turned his attention back to Naythin. “Hey,” he whispered, “You okay?” Relatively speaking.

Leaning more of his weight against Dean, Naythin sighed. “Not really. I...I jus’ wanna go.”

Ellen kept her head down, concentrating on the text she was sending to Ash.

“What’s wrong?” Dean murmured. Other than the obvious....obviously.

Turning his face into Dean’s chest, Naythin shifted his shoulders so his back was to Ellen. “M’scared.” It was bad enough having to admit it to Dean, he didn’t need Ellen hearing it either.

Dean wrapped an arm around Naythin’s shoulders and pulled him in a tightly as he could. “I know, you are, baby. I know. But m’gonna take care’a you. M’not gonna let anythin’ happen to you. Whatever it takes, m’gonna keep you safe. I promise.”

Annnnd that was Ellen’s cue to leave the room. Clearing her throat, she pushed to her feet heading for the door without looking over at Dean or Naythin. “I’m uh...I’m gonna see if I can light a fire under the doc’s ass.” Nodding, she pulled the door open and left the room. Hearing Naythin sound so broken was breaking her heart.

True to his word, two hours later, Dr. Norris had Naythin’s discharge paperwork as well as three bags from the pharmacy in hand as he knocked on the door. “Dean? Naythin? It’s Dr. Norris. I’ve got the discharge paperwork.” Handing one bag off to the nurse, his hand hovered over the door handle waiting for Dean to either open the door or say it was okay to come in.

Dean had finally managed to get Naythin to let him go to the bathroom. He’d had to leave the door open but at least he’d been able to relieve his bladder finally. He was just walking out of the bathroom when the doctor knocked on the door. His eyes went to Naythin before he turned his attention to the hospital room door, even as he climbed back onto the side of Naythin’s bed. “You can come in, doc.”

Pushing the door open, the doctor walked in followed closely by the nurse. Setting the bags on the counter, he turned and walked to the foot of Naythin’s bed. “Okay. Yer all set. All the meds you’ve been getting through the IV are in those bags. I’ve added pain meds as well as muscle relaxers. I want you to start taking them before you leave. There’s also a sleep aid. I want you to take it every night, Naythin. At least for the next couple of weeks. Then you can try weaning yerself off of ‘em. There isn’t a magic cure for nightmares but, you need to sleep.”

Naythin sat next to Dean, his fingers interlaced with Dean’s as he listened to the doctor. He watched the nurse out of the corner of his eye as she pulled papers out of one of the bags and set them on the counter. Had to be his discharge papers. Damn, there was a lot of them. When the nurse turned and headed for the IV pole, Naythin tensed as he leaned away from her.

Dean’s attention immediately swung to the nurse when he felt Naythin stiffen. He watched as she shut off the IV and then reached for Naythin. “Whoa! No, uh-uh, you have to go slow, you don’t just touch him like that.” He turned his head and looked back at the doctor. “Where’s Debbie. She’s his nurse, why can’t she take out the IV?”

“Debbie’s shift ended just over an hour ago. Kelly’s filling in until the next shift starts.” Holding his hands up, he looked over at the nurse. “Take yer time. Go slow. Naythin says stop, you stop immediately, understand?” He waited for her to nod before turning his attention back to Dean. “That’s my fault. I assumed they would have told her about Naythin.”

Dean relaxed marginally as he gave the doc a nod and turned his attention back to the nurse, watching her from narrowed eyes. He didn’t care, if she so much as twitched wrong he’d have her by the throat, witnesses be damned. That thought had him saying an apology to Hendrickson's ghost since he’d been the one to expunge his record. Not even so much as a parking ticket, he’d said. After everything, to find out that Hendrickson was a decent guy only to have him get killed because of him and Sam...that stung to this day.

Kelly looked from Dean to Naythin. “May I have your hand while I take out the IV, please?” She waited until Naythin slowly laid his hand down where she could get at it. She already had everything laid out on a small silver tray beside her on the bed stand and gloves on her small hands. She slowly, carefully pulled the tape from Naythin’s skin, glancing up at him every so often as she worked to make certain that he wasn’t in any pain. Feeling Dean’s eyes glued to her was unnerving. Especially with the expression that was on his face. The handsome man had turned downright frightening. Once the tape was completely unstuck from Naythin’s hand she reached across herself for a gauze pad from the tray. She looked up at Naythin as she turned her attention back to his hand. “Okay, Naythin. I’m gonna pull the needle out.” It really wasn’t a needle but saying catheter, especially to male patients wasn’t always the best thing to say. Slipping the needle free from his hand, she looped that end of the IV around one of the hooks on the pole as with her other hand, she pressed the gauze pad to Naythin’s hand firmly to stop any bleeding that there may be.

The muscles on Naythin’s arm were rock hard as the nurse peeled the tape off and removed the needle. He hadn’t even felt it as the long needle was removed and she pressed a piece of gauze over the area. The pressure was unnerving. His pulse ramped up, his breathing started to quicken as well. Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand in rhythmic pulses as he stared down at the gauze pad. He knew the less he fought the faster it would be over with. If he told her to stop, she’d just have to come back later and he wouldn’t be able to leave. The pressure was starting to make his skin crawl. The muscles on his arm started to shake.

Dr. Norris watched Naythin with a trained eye. He could see how tense the man was getting, his breathing had increased as well as the trembling in his arm. “Kelly...wrap it up. We don’ want to keep Naythin here any longer than necessary. “

“Yes, doctor,” Kelly responded with a glance in his direction. She quickly peered beneath the gauze pad on Naythin’s hand and nodded to herself before reaching for the wrap, pulling out a long strip of the blue colored self adhesive bandage to wrap around Naythin’s hand to get the gauze in place.

Naythin’s eyes flicked to the doctor when he told the nurse to get the lead out and hurry up. Swallowing hard, he squeezed Dean’s hand a little harder. He was slowly starting to fall apart. Squeezing his eyes closed, he didn’t see the nurse get the long strip of tape nor did he hear it. The blood rushing in his ears was blocking out pretty much everything. The sudden pressure around the palm of his hand had Naythin jerking his arm back. “NO!” Balling up his fist, he pulled it back ready to lash out. His eyes snapped open not seeing the hospital room anymore. Pulling his legs back Naythin tried to crawl over the back of the bed as he pulled his hand from Dean’s turning at the waist to grip the top of the bed. He had to get away, he had to get off the bed. Naythin knew the punishment would be severe, they always were. He had to get away.

Dean’s eyes widened and he nearly decked the dumbass nurse for Naythin. Shit! When Naythin nearly crawled up and over the head of the bed, Dean jumped up off the bed and went after him. “Naythin,” he called, his voice gentle and soothing. “Naythin, it’s okay. I’m here. C’mere. Come to me. I’m not gonna let anyone hurt you, baby.” Yep, it was official he was gonna punch the damn nurse in the face.

Swearing under his breath, Dr. Norris grabbed the nurse by her upper arm and shoved her as gently as he could toward the door. “Get out! Now!” He waited until she was gone before going to the opposite side of the bed. “Naythin.” He waited to see if Dean could get him to calm down. When it wasn’t working, Dr. Norris stepped things up a bit. He knew Dean was not going to like it one bit. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Dr. Norris leaned the palms of his hand on the edge of the mattress. “Naythin! STOP!” His voice was loud and commanding giving no room for argument that he had to be obeyed.

Naythin froze. His fingers digging into the top of the mattress, knuckles white from the strain. His chest and sides heaved with each rapid breath. His eyes squeezed closed as tight as he could get them.

Leaning away from the bed, his eyes fixed on the back of Naythin’s head, Dr. Norris spoke quietly. “Dean, talk to him.”

Annnnd he was going to slit the doctors throat. Yep, it was official Dean Winchester was going to need a lawyer and soon. He glared daggers at the doctor, a muscle in his jaw twitching and rolling, pulsing hard as he nearly ground his teeth to dust. He turned his full attention back to Naythin and reached a hand out. “Naythin? Baby? Open yer eyes. C’mon, open yer eyes an’ see me.”

Naythin was shaking. No matter how hard he gripped the top of the mattress, he couldn’t get it to stop. It took a couple of minutes before he even heard Dean talking. Let alone realizing Dean was talking to him. Licking his lips, Naythin tilted his head to the side, his face directed toward the sound of Dean’s voice before he slowly opened one eye at a time. When all he saw was Dean through his bangs, Naythin glanced at his hand as he slowly pried his fingers from the mattress. Sliding his hand along the sheet, he quickly grabbed hold of Dean’s hand squeezing it hard.

Dr. Norris stayed quiet as he watched Naythin closely. If Dean wasn’t able to get through to him, he’d have to step in again and he really didn’t want to have to do that. Especially after the look he got from Dean. When Naythin reached for and took Dean’s hand, Dr. Norris exhaled in a rush puffing out his cheeks. His head dropping to his chest as he took another step back from the side of the bed. “That’s good, Naythin. That’s really good. I’m gonna leave you two alone for a while. See if you can get Naythin dressed, Dean and when yer ready I’ll have a wheelchair brought in. I’ll tell your mother to wait outside the room, Dean.”

Dean’s attention wasn’t on the doctor it was 100% on Naythin, watching him. Every move he made, every twitch and shudder that rolled through him. He tightened his own hand firmly around Naythin’s hand, enough that Naythin would know he was there, not hard enough to hurt him however. Naythin had experienced enough pain for three or four lifetimes, he didn’t need any more added to it. “C’mon, baby. Come to me. It’s okay. I gotcha. No one’s gonna hurt you, angel, I swear.” He hadn’t even realized what he said until it was out of his mouth. Shit! Too late to change angel to baby now. He just hoped Naythin hadn’t really heard it, a fight was the last thing either one of them needed.

Naythin slowly sank back down on the mattress, keeping his legs tucked up under him in case he had to try and get away again. Listening to Dean’s voice, he reached out with his free hand gripping a handful of Dean’s t-shirt as he leaned forward, the top of his head resting against Dean’s chest next to his hand. He was still shaking. Nothing he did seemed to make it stop. “S-sorry. I’m sorry. I...when I felt it around m’hand…”

Dean shook his head. “No, baby. It’s not yer fault. You have nothin’ to apologize for. That nurse should have known better.” Debbie did, so what the hell was wrong with this one? Oh right. She was the “fill in”. Well, they had lousy fill ins. He slowly wrapped his free arm around Naythin’s shoulders. “I gotcha. I gotcha, baby. It’s okay. Yer safe with me now.”

Moving as close to Dean as he could, Naythin turned facing the foot of the bed still keeping as much contact with Dean’s body as he could. Letting go of Dean’s shirt, Naythin wrapped his arm around his back. The tips of his fingers pressing into Dean’s back. He hated how pathetic and weak he was. He hated being scared of everything, of not having any control over his emotions. This was not how he was. Naythin was afraid he’d never be that person again. What if Dean didn’t want to stay with him anymore?

Dean pressed a kiss to Naythin’s head and held onto him as tightly as he could without causing Naythin pain. “Doc says he wants you to take a muscle relaxer and a pain pill now before we leave. You wan’ me to get you some water an’ those two pills?” He swore at himself under his breath. Stupid, stupid, stupid. “I mean in a minute. Not...not right now.”

Forcing his legs to straighten, Naythin was able to finally relax enough to actually sit on the bed instead of crouching on it. Taking in a slow shaky breath, he let it out just as slowly. “Okay.” Taking the pills meant he’d have to either let go of Dean’s hand or take his arm from around Dean’s back. Neither option sounded very appealing. Swallowing hard, Naythin forced his eyes open. Blinking rapidly, he slowly raised his head from Dean’s chest. His eyes darting around the room making sure they were the only ones in it, hitting every corner he could see without actually turning his head. “I...I need to get dressed. I can’ leave like this.”

Dean nodded. “I know, baby. I just didn’t wanna rush you. You wanna get dressed now?”

The doctor had said he could leave. Naythin wanted out. Now. “Yeah. Yeah, we need to leave.” He couldn’t get the newspaper article out of his head. The longer he stayed the closer the nest would get to finding him. He didn’t need to read the article to know the name if the hospital would be in the story. It would just be a matter of time before He found them.

Dean nodded. “Okay.” He slowly pulled his hand from Naythin’s and his arm from around him. He walked around to the foot of the bed and grabbed a pair of sweats and boxers to start off with. Walking back around to the side of the bed. “Um…” He wasn’t sure just how much help Naythin wanted with getting dressed. “Do you want me to help or...can you get dressed yerself?”

When Dean pulled away, Naythin had to fight to keep from going after him. He wasn’t leaving. He wasn’t leaving. It was repeated over and over again as he watched Dean get Naythin’s sweats and a pair of boxers from the foot of the bed. Reaching for the blanket that had become entangled in his leg, Naythin threw it to the side and carefully swung his legs over the side of the bed. His joints aching just from the small movement. Looking up at Dean, Naythin reached for the boxers. “I can do it. Jus’...gimme a minute.” The least he could do was dress himself. Even if it felt like he was falling apart at the seams. Pushing off the bed, he tentatively put weight first on one leg then the other keeping a firm grip on the bed railing. When he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to fall over, Naythin pulled his hand from the railing, took hold of the waistband of the boxers and slowly bent over at the waist. It wasn’t exactly graceful and he was pretty sure he looked more like a toddler getting his boxers on then the 37 year old grown man he was. Leaning back against the bed, he pulled the boxers up over his thighs. Standing up, he tugged them up over his ass.

Dean watched Naythin pull on his boxers to make sure he didn’t start to do a header onto the floor. It was painful to watch just how broken Naythin was. He use to smile and laugh all the time. He hadn’t seen a smile since he arrived. Not even the barest hint of one. He was normally nearly as stubborn as Dean was himself but...that bit of the old Naythin only showed itself in times like these where he was going to at least do the little things, even if it killed him. Once he had his boxers on, Dean paused before handing Naythin the sweats. “You wanna take a break for a minute?” The poor guy looked like he was ready to fall flat on his face; or his ass, whichever.

Taking his sweats from Dean, Naythin shook his head. “No. Nu uh. I wanna leave.” Stopping just delayed getting out of there. Blowing out a long breath, Naythin tried to ignore how badly his hands were shaking as he leaned against the bed to brace against it so he wouldn’t fall over. Lifting one leg at a time, he bit back the groan of pain as he put each foot in the legs of his sweats. It took a couple minutes to get his feet past the elastic cuff at his ankles but eventually, he managed and pulled the fleece material up his legs and over his ass. By the time he was finished, Naythin was sweating and breathing heavily. His head felt fuzzy and he had to grab onto the bed railing to steady himself. “Shit.”

Dean stepped closer to Naythin and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay. This isn’t a race. I know yer scared but I’m here, Ellen’s here. We’re not gonna let anything happen to you. Not to mention Tag is out hunting this fucker down. If anything, the bastard’s on the run an’ yer the last thing on his mind.”

Naythin gave his head a hard shake to try and clear it. Yeah, bad idea. “No.” Licking his lips, he raised his head to look Dean in the eye. “He won’t stop. I was his pet. His…favorite.” Just saying the words made Naythin sick to his stomach. “We need to go. Now.” Looking to the foot of the bed, Naythin pointed to the open bag. “I need a shirt.” When Dean didn’t move, Naythin looked back at him. “Please, Dean.”

His pet? Tag had better hurry his ass up and find the sonofabitch or else Dean would. As it was he had to fight every instinct in him just to stay put rather than actually DOING something about it. About that sonofabitch. About what happened to Naythin. HIS Naythin. That fucking bastard! Dean was vibrating. He didn’t realize it at first until Naythin said his name again. His eyes snapped up to Naythin’s face again and it took him a minute to get past the red haze of rage in his brain to understand what Naythin had said. “Yeah,” he growled before he could stop it. He cleared his throat a couple of times. “Um, yeah, yeah, of course.” He stiffly moved to the end of the bed and grabbed a sweatshirt for Naythin. “Sorry,” he offered a little belatedly as he walked back around to the side of the bed and handed the shirt off to Naythin. Shoes and socks were next. Before Naythin had to ask him for them, and to keep himself busy, he walked to the end of the bed and rummaged around in the bag for socks and shoes.

As Dean went to get him a shirt, Naythin watched him closely. He was only a few feet away but even that short distance seemed as wide as the Grand Canyon. Lifting a hand, he rubbed the palm over the top of his thigh. It felt...odd wearing clothes again. The sweatpants he had on hung loosely on his legs. He could feel the waistband sliding down even just turning at the waist. Taking the shirt Dean handed him, Naythin stared at it for a minute. His fingertips slowly gliding over the soft worn cotton fabric.

Glancing up when the lack of movement caught Dean’s attention he watched Naythin in silence for a moment. He crushed the balled up socks in his hand, his short nails digging right through the material and into the skin of his palm. “What is it?” he wasn’t sure if that had come out as roughly as it sounded in his own ears or not. He cleared his throat and had to plant his feet so he didn’t march out the door, down the hall and to his car. “Naythin needs you now. I got this.” He could hear Tag’s voice in his head. “I mean, are you okay?”

“I uh…” Naythin shrugged as he continued to stare down at the shirt. “I forgot how soft it was.” If that didn’t scream pathetic loser, nothing would. Setting the t-shirt on the bed next to him, Naythin reached up with one hand and pulled the hospital gown off, letting it fall to the floor. Shaking out the shirt, Naythin slowly pushed his arms into the sleeves, groaning and biting back the pain as he bowed his head to pull the shirt on. Letting go of the material, Naythin let gravity do the rest. Lifting a hand, he tugged the hem down the rest of the way.

Dean grunted in response as he nodded and lowered his attention to grabbing out Naythin’s running shoes. “When I got back from Hell, I’d forgotten how good food tasted,” he murmured as he walked around the end of the bed to the side. He handed over the crushed ball of socks and set the shoes down on the bed. “I...I need you to know that...that I wanna be out there, finding this sonofabitch and killing him. I don’t want you to think that I’m just...I dunno...not doin’ anything. It’s not that at all. I’m here because...because you need me...an’ because I wanna do whatever you need me to do. I love you. I just...like I said, I don’t wan’ you to think that I’m not Huntin’ this bastard down myself because I don’t care, I do. I do care...more than you’ll ever know.”

Looking down at the socks in his hands, Naythin nodded slowly. Licking his bottom lip, he started to unroll the socks, his shaky hands making it harder than it should have been. He was keeping Dean from doing his job. As much as Naythin wanted Him dead, losing Dean kept him from telling him to just go. To find Him and kill Him. “I know. I do need you. I can’ lose you, not again. I love you, too.” Lifting his head, Naythin sniffed softly. “I love you so much. I know I’m keepin’ ya from bein’ out there with Tag an’ I’m sorry. I can’ do this on my own. I can’ be alone.”

Sonofabitch. Dean knew Naythin was going to take that wrong. Sometimes, he really needed to keep his mouth shut. He quickly shook his head as he reached for Naythin’s hand, taking it within his own, and took a seat on the bed beside him, facing him. “No, no, no, no, no. I didn’t mean it like that. I want to be here with you, helping you. I guess I wish I was two people.” He huffed softly. “I just don’t ever want you to think that I’m just sittin’ around because I don’t care...that’s all. That’s all I was tryin’ to say.” And screwed it all to hell.

Naythin watched as Dean sat on the bed and reached for his hand. He couldn’t help the way his body stiffened. His eyes tracked every move Dean made. Nodding, Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand. “Okay. I know you care. I know you love me.” He also knew Dean not going after the nest was tearing him up inside. Dean wasn’t the sit around type. Not when something needed to be killed.

Dean’s nod echoed Naythin’s own. His tongue darted out, licking across his lips as he watched Naythin. He wasn’t too sure that Naythin really understood what he was trying to say, but he wouldn’t push. He just kept screwing things up the more he continued talking anyway. “Okay. So uh, if you wanna put yer shoes on I’ll go grab those pills over there an’ get you some water so you can take ‘em.”

Nodding again, Naythin waited for Dean to get to his feet before he swung his legs up on the bed one at a time. The groan of pain and hissed breath not easily hid in the quiet room. Bending at the waist, he could feel the scars, both old and new, pulling on his back. Gritting his teeth, he pulled his leg back just enough to be able to get his sock on. The white bandage peeking out from the cuff of his sweats had Naythin hesitating. His eyes widening, pulse racing as his hands hovered over his foot.

The pained sounds from the bed made Dean want any sound to drown them out or else he was going to be over there faster than Naythin could say his name. He knew Naythin wasn’t an invalid but the pain he was in nearly did Dean in. Once he had the pills in his hand and the pill bottles put back into the bag he turned his head to check on Naythin. And nearly dropped the pills in the process. Curling his fingers into a fist at the same time as he headed for the bed, his eyes a little wider than normal. “It’s okay. It’s okay, baby,” he soothed as he pulled Naythin’s hand away from his foot and eased him back against the raised head of the bed so he was sitting with his head reclined against the head of the bed. He tried to sit as far onto the bed as to block Naythin’s view of the white bandages at his ankles. “Baby, look at me. Look me in the eye, Naythin.”

Naythin startled when Dean blocked his view of his legs. Jerking back, he looked over at Dean. His mouth opening and closing, looking more like a fish out of water than anything else. Pushing the back of his head against the mattress, Naythin forced himself to look Dean in the eye. His breathing was rapid and his pulse wasn’t much better. “I...I…” Oh, yeah. That was coherent.

“It’s okay. Yer safe, baby. God, yer safe now,” Dean couldn’t help it, he reached for Naythin, wrapping him up in his arms, every time this happened with Naythin he was fairly certain a piece of himself died. “Yer okay. Yer safe,” he continued to whisper as he practically rocked Naythin back and forth.

It took several seconds before Naythin was able to lift his arms and wrap them around Dean. Lowering his head until his forehead was pressed against the top of Dean’s shoulder, Naythin closed his eyes. He couldn’t even put on a pair of socks without breaking down….freezing up, whatever the fuck you wanted to call it. He didn’t have the cuffs or the collar on anymore. Naythin couldn’t help the way his stomach rolled. He wasn’t supposed to take them off, ever. Not even try to or he’d get beat, starved, abused or all three.

Dean started to run a hand up and down Naythin’s back, that is until he remembered the whip marks and he caught himself in the nick of time. Instead, he tightened his arms around Naythin’s shoulders. “It’s okay. I’m here. No one’s ever gonna hurt you again. Not ever again,” he whispered. Lifting one of his hands he used those fingers to comb through Naythin’s hair at the back of his head. This seemed to be the only way he could give comfort since nearly every inch of skin on Naythin’s body was covered in scars, some old, some new, some still fresh and only beginning to heal.

Naythin knew it was only time before He found them. It wasn’t if. It was when. It scared Naythin to death. He didn’t want Dean to get hurt. Naythin didn’t want Him to get his hands on Dean and hurt him like he’d hurt Naythin. “I...don’ need m’shoes. Can we go? Please, Dean?”

Chapter Text

Dean slowly pulled back from Naythin and eyed him for a moment. “Here.” He pulled his arm from around Naythin and waited for him to hold out his hand, giving Naythin the pills he’d been holding. “Lemme get you some water.” Releasing Naythin completely, Dean pulled to his feet and went to the pitcher of ice water that sat on the counter and one of the plastic cups. Pouring half a glass, he walked back to Naythin and handed it to him. “Drink it. Please.” Naythin still hadn’t eaten or drank anything. He turned his attention to Naythin’s feet and started putting his socks on for Naythin. Looking up when he saw Naythin lower the cup he gave his head a shake. “Yer puttin’ socks on at least. Drink up.” He jutted his chin toward the glass Naythin held that he’d only taken a sip out of. Lowering his attention back to Naythin’s socks, he made sure that they covered the bandages on Naythin’s ankles. There was a method to his madness. Not to mention it was Autumn in Kansas. Not exactly balmy outside.

Naythin was grateful the glass was only half full. As Dean started to put his socks on, Naythin’s hand started shaking all over again. Not dainty Southern Belle getting the vapors. Oh, no. This was full on T-Rex is thundering down the road Jurassic Park kind of shaking. He’d tried to take the pills like Dean told him too. Naythin couldn’t get his hands and arms to work. The pressure around his ankles where the bandages were pulled a sharp gasp from his lungs. “I can’...I can’...” Shaking his head, Naythin dropped the glass of water onto his lap, the pills followed suit as he pulled his legs in, his knees tight to his chest as he rolled onto his side. Raising his arms, he covered his head and started rocking slowly back and forth.

“Shit,” Dean growled from between his teeth. “God damn it.” He hurried to Naythin’s side and reached for him, climbing up onto the bed in the process. He wrapped his arms around Naythin, practically spooning up against Naythin in his attempt to comfort him. “Shh, it’s okay. I’m sorry. I won’t put them on. I’m so sorry. I thought if I covered the bandages… Oh baby, I’m so sorry.”

“Am I interrupting?” A woman’s voice called from the door as she walked into the room, a man following behind her though he remained standing at the door once it had closed.

Dean nearly jumped out of his skin, he knew that voice. Turning his head to look back over his shoulder, he held onto Naythin a little tighter as his gaze fell on none other than Vanessa Ives. “What the hell do you want?” he demanded, practically growling the words.

Vanessa looked from Dean to Naythin, ignoring Dean’s inquiry completely. “I understand your fear, Sir Naythin. But you needn't worry, those that had you run in fear of your strapping young man,” she mused, a smirk teasing at the corners of her lips as her blue eyes fell again on Dean. “I’m quite intrigued.”

Naythin tried to move away from the pressure on his back until he heard Dean’s voice. Instead, he pushed back against him. His arms remained covering his head though the rocking didn’t stop. A woman’s voice had his whole body jerking. A low almost inaudible whimper slipped up his throat as he felt Dean turn away from him. It wasn’t Ellen or his nurse, Debbie. Understand his fear? Was she out of her mind? Shaking his head, Naythin swallowed hard, trying not to get sick. “No. No, they’re not.” Lowering his arms, Naythin rolled until he was facing Dean’s chest. One arm snaking around his back pulling Dean as close as he could get him.

Vanessa’s eyes swung away from Dean, returning to Naythin. “Trust me, I’m kept very well informed,” she assured. “My name is Vanessa Ives, Naythin. As I understand it from my fiancé, I aided your husband in finding you, of which I am very glad. I simply tend to not always remember those instances.” She looked back at Dean and her smile widened. “Honestly, Dean, I’m not going to bite you. I just wanted to come by, on our way out of town, to see for myself that Naythin had indeed been found. When Ethan told me of his situation, I had to see for myself, that I had indeed helped you find him before...well, before the fire made that impossible.”

Naythin didn’t move while the woman spoke. He remembered her name from when Dean told him how he’d found him. She was the woman possessed by Legion. Blinking his eyes, Naythin turned his head just enough so he could see Vanessa’s face. She wasn’t anything like he expected. Not that he had even thought about what she looked like but, someone who had that many demons inside them shouldn’t look so...alive. The fact that she looked like she was from the 1800’s was more than a little...weird.

Tightening his arm around Dean’s back, Naythin’s eyes darted to the man standing near the door. He didn’t look familiar and he was too well dressed to have been anyone in the nest. Looking back at Vanessa, Naythin tensed when she brought up the fire. Okay, so maybe she was the real thing. “I-I uh…” Swallowing hard, Naythin looked back at the man standing near the door. There was something not right about him. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. Naythin gave his head a quick shake as he looked back at Vanessa. “Th-thank you.”

Vanessa smiled. “You are most welcome, Naythin. I do hope that you continue to heal.” She looked back over her shoulder at Ethan and then back at Dean and Naythin. “It seems that I must go. Do keep in touch,” she murmured, her blue eyes darting between Naythin and Dean. “Well, good day then.” She gave a curt nod of her head and turned, heading for the door and the man standing in front of it.

Ethan wrapped his arm immediately around Vanessa’s waist when she reached him. Looking back at the pair on the bed, he gave a nod in greeting as well as departure. “Gentlemen,” he murmured and turned, pulling the door open and allowing Vanessa to walk through it first before following suit. He closed the door softly behind them and reclaimed his former position at Vanessa’s side. “So? Did you see it?”

Vanessa nodded. “We should stay nearby for when it happens.”

Ethan sighed heavily and nodded. “If that is what you wish.” He really hated the idea of staying in the area and he hated even more the idea of Vanessa using her powers again so soon. He feared the day when she couldn’t regain control over herself. But he knew that there was no way Vanessa was going to desert someone in need, and if her visions were right, the two gentlemen, Dean and Naythin, were going to be most desperately in need.

Dean stared at the door for a long while after Vanessa and Ethan had walked out. He didn’t like that she was here, that she had apparently slipped right past the nurses desk and just waltzed in like she owned the place. Naythin was right, they needed to get the hell outta there, NOW. “Come on,” Dean murmured as he slowly sat up and swung his feet off the side of the bed, he kept one hand on Naythin at all times and when he was on his feet, reached back with his other hand as well. “You can take the pills in the car, we’ll go through a drive-thru to get you something to take them with. You’re right, we need to get outta here.”

Dean’s momentum pulled Naythin to a sitting position simply because Naythin refused to let go of his shirt. Every instinct in him was screaming to kill both of the...people that had just left his room. The woman, because she was possessed and the man...he couldn’t put his finger on it. Looking down at his shirt and sweats, Naythin sighed at the large damp area from the water glass he’d dropped. The pills that had been in his hand were somewhere on the bed. There was no way he was going to find them. Looking up at Dean, Naythin nodded when he said they had to leave. “We need to go.” That Vanessa woman could have easily been someone from the nest sent to get him. Looking to the side, Naythin reached with his free hand for the nurse’s call button. Pushing the small red button, he waited for someone to answer.

“Can I help you?”

Dean looked back at Naythin and up toward the speaker on the wall, quirking a brow as he looked back at Naythin. He wasn’t sure what Naythin was doing but what he did know is that they needed to pack shit up and get the hell outta dodge. He grabbed the socks that had come off Naythin’s feet and put them back in the bag along with his shoes. He went to the counter and grabbed up the three bags of pills, stuffing them, as he reached the foot of the bed, inside the bag.

When Dean didn’t say anything, Naythin had to swallow down the fear and panic that welled up. His chest got tight making it very hard to breathe. “Uh...Yeah, I...I mean we…” Shit “wheelchair. I-I need a wheelchair to leave.”

“Alright, Naythin, we’ll have one there in just a few minutes.”

Once they were all packed up, Dean walked back around the side of the bed. “Can you stand?” he inquired. Fuck the wheelchair. If Naythin could do it, they were going to walk the hell out right. the. fuck. now.

Naythin glanced down at his legs before looking back up at Dean. “Yeah. I can stand.” Stand? Naythin would sprint out of the hospital, pain be damned.

“Okay, let’s get outta here. Now, not later. Fuck the wheelchair. You know what happens with the wheelchair? They make you stay with whoever pushes it while I go get the car. No. Not happenin’. You were right, if Vanessa can walk in here that easy so can anyone else.” He reached for the overnight bag and shouldered the strap as he reached for Naythin with his free hand. “C’mon, baby.” He didn’t think that anyone from the nest would be that ballsy as to just walk into the hospital but then he’d thought the same thing about Vanessa. Who let’s a woman like that just walking around loose rather than hold up in some room somewhere, possibly one with padded walls. She’s possessed by Legion for fuck’s sake!

With being barefoot, Naythin was a good two to three inches shorter than Dean since he was wearing his boots. It made it easier for Naythin to get as close to Dean’s side as he could as he wrapped his arm around Dean’s back. Bracing against the bed, he used it to steady himself, wincing as his joints complained loudly. Keeping his head down, Naythin watched the floor as they started toward the door. He didn’t look up as Dean pulled it open, reaching over Naythin’s shoulder to give the door a hard shove so it wouldn’t close in him. Once they were out in the hall, Naythin froze. The hall was packed with people; patients, visitors, nurses. Leaning back, Naythin tried to step back toward the door to his room.

Dean tightened his arm around Naythin. “It’s okay. I’m here. No one will touch you, I won’t let ’em,” he murmured as he dipped his head, his chin toward his chest so only Naythin would hear. He had to half push Naythin down the hall, but as soon as they came to a door where an alarm wouldn’t go off if they went out it, they did. It was to one side of the parking lot so they’d have to cross nearly the whole damn thing, but at least it was less crowded out here, believe it or not. The breeze was chilly and he tightened his arm around Naythin in an attempt to help keep him warm. He wished like hell he had something on Naythin’s feet, at this rate the guy was gonna freeze his feet right off. “It’s okay. Yer okay,” he continued to murmur every few feet they walked. He would have ran with Naythin, or at least walked a lot faster but it was obvious that Naythin’s body wasn’t up for anything like that, not yet anyway.

Naythin clung to Dean, his fingers digging into Dean’s side as made their way across the parking lot. He was shivering hard by the time they were only halfway to where Dean had parked the Impala. His eyes were glued to the ground ignoring the sharp pains when he stepped on gravel or the uneven asphalt. He could feel people staring at them. Naythin was pretty sure it didn’t look good. He was a mess despite the bath the ER staff had given him after they’d sedated him. He didn’t care. All he wanted to do was leave. To get as far away from Kansas as they could.

Ellen followed the nurse with the wheelchair into Naythin’s room. The loud gasp had her pushing past the woman into the room. “Sonofa…” Shaking her head, Ellen dug her cell phone out of the pocket of her jeans. When the nurse rushed to the phone, Ellen knew exactly what she was going to do. “Don’t! It’s fine. They left. It’s fine.” Huffing, she found Dean’s name on her contact’s and jabbed the call button. Putting the phone to her ear, Ellen started to pace the room.

When Dean’s cell started ringing he ignored it. “Guess they found out we left,” he mused aloud. “Just keep movin’, baby, we’ll call Ellen when we get in the car an’ ask her where the cabin is.” He wasn’t sure who was calling him but since the hospital had Bobby’s number he figured that it was Ellen. Then again, maybe Bobby had given them his number too. He didn’t know and frankly he didn’t care.

When the call went to voicemail, Ellen swore as she kicked at the chair next to the bed. Running her fingers through her hair, she tried Dean’s cell one more time. “Answer yer phone, Dean! Come on.” Pushing past the nurse, Ellen jogged down the hall ignoring the complaints from several people she’d bumped into, okay, damn near knocked on their ass. Same difference.

Naythin was trying to go as fast as he could. Despite the death grip he had on Dean’s side, it wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped. His knees kept going out on him. Twice, they both nearly collapsed onto the pavement. He could hear Dean’s phone ringing in his pocket. Glancing back toward the hospital, Naythin expected to see security running out of the doors after them. Not that they’d done anything wrong. If someone didn’t talk to Ellen, they’d think that Naythin and Dean had been taken.

“It’s okay. We’re almost there. Just a little further, baby,” Dean soothed somewhat breathlessly. He was half dragging Naythin along beside him. When they’d nearly fallen, he wrapped his arm a little lower on Naythin’s waist and in the process got a better grip to keep Naythin on his feet and at times, picking him right up off his feet. He knew Naythin didn’t want him to carry him, it was a matter of pride and Dean understood that, but at this rate he was very close to insisting. And WHO THE HELL extended the parking lot!?!?! He could have sworn they would have been there by now. The only reason he didn’t think his car had been stolen was because he hadn’t seen the front of the hospital yet.

“Damn it, Dean!” Ellen growled as she shoved the phone back in her pocket. Hitting the glass doors at a run, she bolted past a few people getting out of a cab. She’d seen the Impala when she’d parked her truck earlier that day. Getting a good grip on the strap of her bag, Ellen made her way through the parking lot. When she reached the row the Impala was parked in, she slowed down and started scanning the neighboring rows. She knew they wouldn’t be moving very fast. Naythin could barely walk as it was. Slowing to a fast walk, Ellen narrowed her eyes. Three rows over she spotted them. “Thank God.” Jogging through the cars, she waited until she was one row over before calling out so she wouldn’t scare Naythin. “Dean Winchester!”

Dean wasn’t expecting to have anyone yelling his name so he startled a little when he heard Ellen. Seeing her standing one row over, Dean slowed their stride to one that Naythin could keep up with. “Ellen, I don’t need to hear it. We got a visitor while you were out, I had to get Naythin outta there an’ I sure as hell wasn’t gonna leave him with some Candy Striper who may or may not be some kind of supernatural whatever.” To say Dean was on the defensive was an understatement.

“You couldn’t give me a heads up that you were leavin’?” Shaking her head, she looked over at Naythin. The poor guy looked like he was about to fall over. He was pale, sweating and breathing like he’d just ran a marathon. “I know you love that car Dean, but I would driven it around so you didn’t have to leave Naythin alone. You are NOT alone in this.”

Dean stared at Ellen for a long moment before speaking. “Vanessa Ives walked into the room like she owned the place, Ellen. I didn’t really think past getting Naythin the hell out of there!”

“Shit.” Spinning around, Ellen scanned the parking lot. “I’d ask if you needed help but…” Letting the sentence drop off, Ellen waved Dean along. “Come on.” Turning around, she walked between two cars looking over his shoulder to make sure Dean and Naythin were close behind. When they reached the Impala, Ellen held her hand out. “Keys. Come on...hand ‘em over. I’ll get the doors open so ya don’ drop Naythin.” She knew Dean would never drop Naythin. She used it as incentive for him to prove her wrong and give her the keys.

Dean looked over at Naythin when Ellen started to lead them the remaining distance to the Impala. “Not much further, baby.” He wasn’t sure that Naythin could handle much further even if it was. When they reached the Impala and Ellen asked for the keys, he narrowed his eyes at her. Huffing, he shoved his free hand into his front pocket and pulled out the Impala’s keys. He started to hand them to Ellen only to pull his hand back. “Yer not a Shifter are ya?” he inquired as he eyed her distractingly. He waited for her to give him the annoyed mother look he knew would be coming before handing her the keys.

Taking the keys, Ellen shook her head as she made her way to the passenger side of the car. “Shifter. He’ll wish for a shifter when I get done with him.” Unlocking the door, she pulled it open as wide as the parking space would allow making sure to not hit the car next to them. “Do you have that blanket in the trunk still?” She could see Naythin shivering as Dean helped into the car.

Dean nodded. “Yeah, it’s layin’ on top.” Last thing they needed was for the fake bottom of the Impala to be popped for the entire world to see. He helped Naythin to the passenger side of the car, the door of which Ellen had already opened. “Hold on, Ellen’s gettin’ the blanket.” The seat was going to be cold as hell and Dean knew it. Luckily the Impala’s heater was good and would warm the car up in no time flat.

Hurrying around to the trunk, Ellen looked around to make sure no one was walking by as she popped the lid just enough to grab the old quilt and slamming the blanket closed. Pulling the key from the lock, she hurried back to Dean’s side. “Okay. I got it. Almost there, Naythin. Hang in there, sweetie.” God, she hated seeing him like this.

Dean took the Impala’s keys from Ellen and helped her wrap the blanket around Naythin’s shoulders, covering the front of him with each side. “Okay, baby, go ahead and get in. Watch yer head.” He helped Naythin get into the car like he was a 90 year old man or a toddler, he wasn’t sure which. Once Naythin was all inside the car, Dean closed the car door and ran around the front of the car so Naythin would see him. “Okay, where are we goin’ Ellen?” He looked around them then waved her over. On the off chance there was a member of the nest or hell, any supernatural thing lurking around they sure didn’t need the directions called out across the hood of the car.

Pulling out her phone, Ellen texted Dean the coordinates for the cabin. She wasn’t going to take a chance of anyone overhearing the address of the cabin. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a key and pressed it into the palm of his hand. “It’s stocked and safe. Nothing’s getting in. Ash got the furnace going and there’s plenty of firewood in the shed if it goes out. It’s old, ya never know.”

Dean nodded and wrapped his fingers around the key in his hand. “Thanks, Ellen. I’ll give you a call once we get in for the night.” He offered a slight smile as he slid the key into his front jeans pocket. Pulling open the driver’s side door, he slid in behind the wheel and reached for the door handle, pulling the car door closed. Inserting the key into the ignition, he started the car and turned on the heater full blast, directing the vents toward Naythin. “You okay?” he inquired as he lowered a hand to Naythin’s thigh, giving it a gentle squeeze.

Naythin cringed when Dean closed the car door. His heart skipped a beat as his chest constricted. It’s okay. It’s not the van. It’s not the van. Naythin repeated it over and over as he tried to get his heart to stop hammering in his chest. The sound of the Impala’s engine turning over had his eyes opening. Inhaling slowly, Naythin licked his lips as the familiar smell washed over him. It was a combination of leather, motor oil and Dean’s cologne. Turning his head, Naythin started to nod when Dean asked him if he was okay. The hand on his thigh combined with the squeeze had Naythin jumping to the side until he was pressed against the door. His eyes closed, nostrils flared wide. His hands balled into tight fists around large handfuls of the quilt.

Shit! Dean pulled his hand away from Naythin like he’d burned him, his eyes wide in a mix of shock, his own fear and concern. “What’s the matter? What’d I do? Are you okay?” he automatically asked in rapid fire succession. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. “Baby, talk to me, please.”

Naythin could hear Dean’s voice breaking through the blood that was rushing in his ears. No matter how hard he squeezed the quilt, his hands still shook. Damn it. It was Dean. He knew it was Dean. Just Dean. Only Dean. Naythin couldn’t stop the knee jerk reaction to Dean’s hand on his thigh. He didn’t mean to pull away. “I’m sorry. I can’...” Swallowing hard, he licked his lips. The tip of his tongue moving slowly over the split in the corner of his mouth. Forcing his eyes open, Naythin turned his head to look at Dean. He could feel the sting of tears building.

Dean nodded to Naythin’s words. “Okay. It’s okay.” When Naythin opened his eyes and looked at him, and he saw the tears in Naythin’s eyes, Dean’s heart broke. He reached for Naythin very slowly, so that Naythin could track his movements, so that none of it was a surprise or startling in any way. “C’mere, baby,” he coaxed gently. When Naythin moved even slightly toward him, Dean slid toward Naythin and wrapped his arms around him. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.”

Leaning his head against Dean’s shoulder, Naythin tucked his chin nearly to his chest to hide the tears that rolled down his cheeks. “I didn’ mean to pull away. I know it’s you. I do. I jus’...” Swallowing down a quiet sob, Naythin slowly pulled one hand from the quilt. Reaching for Dean’s arm, he wrapped his fingers around his upper arm. He tried to get himself to relax. Even now, with Dean’s arms around him, Naythin had to fight against his body's instinct to pull away. To get as far away as possible.

“It’s okay,” Dean shushed, “It’s okay. I know. I shouldn’t have grabbed you like that. It’s my fault. M’ so sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He squeezed his eyes closed as he ground his teeth, his nostrils flaring slightly. Tag, you fucker, you better hurry yer ass up and kill that sonofabitch. Turning his head, he buried his face against Naythin’s neck...and quickly jerked it away the second he felt Naythin tense. Son. of. a. bitch!

Pulling his head back, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed. His head tilting to the side, ear almost to his shoulder as he backed to the door. “No.” The single word was whisper quiet, his voice shaking as his whole body followed suit.

“I’m sorry,” Dean murmured, “I’m so sorry.” It didn’t seem as though he could do anything right. Shit. “I just…” I always do that, I always snuggle up to yer neck. Not anymore. “I wasn’t thinkin’. I should have known better, I’m sorry.”

Shaking his head, Naythin pulled the quilt up to his chin as he huddled next to the door. “S’not yer fault.” It wasn’t Dean’s fault. Any of it. Naythin would carry the guilt for the rest of his life.

It was Dean’s fault. Every bit of it. If he’d been doing a better job of protecting Naythin, he never would have been taken, and then none of this would be happening now. It was true, what he’d said before, he wished it had been him and not Naythin. Naythin had said that he’d prayed for death but, Dean would have made sure his happened. No matter what it took for him to accomplish it. “Yeah,” he murmured, the word barely a whisper, “Yeah, it is. An’ m’sorry, baby. You have no idea just how sorry I am.”

Nodding, Naythin bowed his head. Using an edge of the quilt, he wiped the tears from his face and eyes making sure to not press too hard on his still very bruised and swollen right eye and cheek. Pressing gingerly under his eye, Naythin winced. Yep. It was broke; again. “C-can we go?” Lowering his hands back to his upper chest, Naythin glanced quickly at Dean before dropping his eyes to the seat between them.

Annnnd Dean felt his heart drop into his shoes. Despite that, his chest hurt and it was hard to draw in full breaths. Naythin had learned that little trick from him. Change the subject and close it for good. As much as Naythin was back physically, he was still gone in every other sense of the word. That was a hard pill to swallow. He cleared his throat to hide any emotion in his voice as he spoke. “Yeah, sure.” He shifted back on the seat so he wasn’t half out from behind the wheel anymore and instead was sitting up straight behind it. He shifted the Impala into gear and backed her out of the parking place before straightening her out and shifted her into drive. Dean pressed down on the gas enough to pull out onto the road out in front of the highway, the tail end of the car fishtailing somewhat as he straightened her out.

Naythin leaned the side of his head against the cold glass of the window. It felt good against his flushed face despite the way he continued to shiver. Pulling the quilt up as high as he could, he hunched his shoulders and stared out at the traffic. His eyes squinting each time the sun came out. Too much time in the dark had made his eyes sensitive to the light. He was too scared of the nightmares to close his eyes and sleep. Normally, the rumble of the Impala’s engine combined with the movement of the car as Dean drove put Naythin to sleep in a matter of minutes. Now? Just the opposite. Falling asleep in the car was not an option. He was too scared of waking up and finding himself in the van locked in the cage being moved to another abandoned house or warehouse. At least this time he was warm. Poking his fingers out from under the blanket, Naythin tugged on the collar of his shirt, pulling it away from his neck. He was going to have to find shirts with bigger collars. He couldn’t handle anything touching his neck anymore. Not after wearing a dog collar for three years.

After stopping at a McDonald’s drive-thru to get Naythin a soda to take his pills with, Dean pulled onto the highway. As he drove, he glanced off and on over at Naythin, checking on him to make sure he was alright. He’d thought about laying a hand on him or pulling him in close to his side but he didn’t want a repeat of what happened the last time he’d touched Naythin. He didn’t want to scare him. Instead, he tightened his grip on the wheel and pressed down a little harder on the accelerator. He’d glanced at his cell a couple times on his way out of Salina so he would know which way to turn the car toward. Her cabin was on the shores of Big Lake, just west of the Valentine National Forest. What would have been a six hour drive for most people Dean made in a little over four hours. Pulling the Impala up to the cabin, Dean peered at the structure through the windshield. “Well, Ellen did say it was old.” Old wasn’t quite the word he would have used for it, but it also wasn’t the worst place he’d ever squatted in either.

It didn’t take long for the pain meds or the muscle relaxers to kick in. Naythin didn’t have any food in his stomach to slow it down. He drank the Coke Dean got him in a couple of minutes. So fast in fact, the cold pop nearly made him sick. He had to remind himself to take it slow no matter how thirsty he was. It hadn’t really hit him just how thirsty he had been until that first sip of the cold sweet beverage. Holy shit, he’d forgotten how good Coke was. The burn on his throat making him cough a few times didn’t even slow him down, much.

The further out of town they got, the more Naythin relaxed. He didn’t pull away from the door or lower the quilt even though he’d started sweating under it. Dean had told him it was October, fall. The leaves were changing, grass going from the deep green to different shades of brown. Over the past three years, Naythin caught glimpses of grass and snow here and there as he was moved around. There was so much he’d forgotten. When Dean pulled the Impala in front of the cabin Ellen was letting them use, he frowned slightly. The place looked like it would fall over in a strong wind. Looks were always deceiving though. Especially where Hunters were concerned.

Turning off the engine, Dean turned his attention to Naythin. “Do you want me to come around and walk with you up to the cabin? I still need to get our bags out of the trunk too.” He wasn’t taking anything for granted. Doing that seemed to just upset Naythin or scare the hell out of him, two things he never wanted to do. So, as annoying as it might come to be for Naythin, he was going to ask before he just assumed and did. As for their bags, in the three long years that Naythin had been missing he’d never taken his duffel bag out of the trunk. He’d kept it there, telling himself that when they finally found Naythin he was going to need it. And now, he did.

Naythin warred with himself trying to decide what to do. Making decisions was not something he did or...hadn’t done in a very long time. The wrong answer always ended badly for him. “I-I can um…” Swallowing hard, he looked from the door of the cabin to Dean. “I can carry m’bag...inside.”

Dean slowly nodded. “Okay, so I’ll go back an’ get our bags before we go in then,” he responded, hoping he understood what Naythin wanted to do. “Is that right? That’s what you wanna do?”

Nodding, Naythin started to push the quilt down off his upper body and unwrap it from around his legs. “Yeah.” It wasn’t that far from the car to the door. He could walk that far, at least. Blowing out a long shaky breath, he scanned what he could see of the area around the cabin. No trees or anything for a good fifty yards on all sides. That was good. Nothing could hide and grab him. Wadding up the quilt, he set it on the bench seat next to him. “M’okay.” He could feel Dean’s eyes on him expecting him to explode or...something.

Dean nodded. “I know you are,” he responded, despite looking at him for a moment longer before finally turning his attention to popping the door and shouldering it open. He grabbed the keys from the ignition before sliding out from behind the wheel and standing to his feet. Locking and closing the car door after himself he headed for the back of the car. Unlocking the trunk, he pocketed the keys and pushed the trunk as high as it would go before reaching in to grab out his bag, Naythin’s and the weapons duffel.

Naythin jumped when Dean closed the car door. His eyes squeezed closed tight as he held his breath for a moment. “Shit.” Blowing the breath hard and fast, he quickly followed Dean as he walked around to the back of the car and opened the trunk. Leaning to the side, he could see Dean taking out the weapons duffel as well as their two bags. He watched as Dean reached up and start to close the trunk lid. Knowing full well what was coming and seeing it happen didn’t keep Naythin from flinching when Dean closed the trunk lid with a hard slam. Squeezing his eyes closed briefly, Naythin breathed slowly in and out through his mouth trying to calm himself down.

Dean barely registered that Naythin was doing anything different than the hundred and one other times, before, that he’d unpacked their things while Naythin waited to the side before grabbing his duffel and walking into one motel room or another. It wasn’t until after he slammed the trunk lid and he got a good look at Naythin’s face that he realized something was wrong. He left the duffels lie on the ground behind the Impala as he crossed the distance to Naythin’s side in two long strides. “Baby,” he murmured softly as he reached for Naythin. “It’s me. It’s just me,” he warned before stepping into Naythin and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. Naythin was still shaking. “Are you cold?” He had a feeling that even if Naythin was cold, it wasn’t what was causing him to shake like a leaf. “It’s okay, baby. Yer safe. M’here an’ m’not gonna let anything happen to you. I promise you that.”

Turning in the seat, Naythin reached out for Dean, fisting a handful of his over shirt in a white knuckled grip. “I know.” Shaking his head quickly when Dean asked if he was cold, Naythin started to swing his legs out of the car one at a time. “M’okay.” Opening his eyes, Naythin looked down the road they’d come in on. “Jus’...I wanna go inside.” He didn’t feel safe outside even with Dean right in front of him. He was too exposed. Too many…things were out there that could get him.

Chapter Text

Dean nodded. “Okay. Okay. We can do that. C’mon,” he coaxed as he slowly released Naythin and took a step back to give Naythin room to move, but not so much room that Naythin had to release his hold on Dean’s shirt. Once Naythin was ready to move, Dean walked along at his side toward the cabin. He reached into his front jeans pocket with his free hand, the other wrapped around Naythin’s waist just in case he started to fall, and withdrew the key to the cabin.

Naythin didn’t realize they were at the front door of the cabin until Dean stopped and started digging in his pocket for the key. Lifting his head, he looked around, his grip on Dean’s shirt tightening. Looking over his shoulder, he could just make out the end of a duffel bag sitting on the ground near the rear tire of the Impala. “We gotta get the bags.” Looking back at Dean, Naythin tried to turn without letting go of Dean’s shirt.

Dean nodded as he inserted the key into the lock on the door. First the handle and then the deadbolt. “Yeah, it’s okay, I’ll come back out an’ get ‘em after we get you settled inside,” he responded with a casual shrug of one shoulder.

Shit. “I can...I can carry m’bag. Al-always have before.” That was one thing Naythin always insisted on; carrying his own duffel bag and the weapons duffel if he could get his hands on it before Dean had a chance to. Dean would have to leave him to go back to the car. He’d be alone and He could grab Dean before Naythin could do anything.

“Yeah, I know but...I thought you wanted to get inside,” Dean responded as he searched Naythin’s face and his eyes when he could see them. “If you wanna go in, jus’ lock the door behind me when I go out to get the bags, you’ll be okay. If I know Ellen, she probably stashed a few weapons around the cabin in fact.”

Shaking his head, Naythin turned his back to the door. “No. No, I’ll...I’ll wait here. Jus’...” Swallowing hard, he raised his free hand, pressing his palm against his stomach. “I’ll be okay s’long as I can see you.” Oh hell, he was gonna be sick. He could feel it. His stomach was rolling and churning as if someone turned a blender on puree.

Dean searched Naythin’s face and he couldn’t help but notice the way he pressed his hand to his stomach. “No, uh-uh,” he responded with a shake of his head as his eyes darted from Naythin’s face to his hand on his stomach and back a few times. “Tell me what’s wrong. Are you gonna hurl? Talk to me, baby.”

Naythin didn’t have time to answer Dean as he dropped hard to his knees, his head hanging over the small step at the edge of the cabin’s porch and heaved the contents of his stomach onto the gravel and dirt. Coke the second time around was so gross. That seemed to add fuel to his already over worked system as Naythin continued to dry heave for several minutes.

When Naythin dropped, Dean nearly dropped with him only to pause mid-motion when he saw Naythin hurl. Ohhhh great. He stood back to his full height and looked back at the car while Naythin worked through throwing up what little there had been in his stomach. When he stopped hearing liquid and Naythin just seemed to be dry heaving, he turned back around, and tried really, really hard not to smell the vomit. Crouching down next to Naythin he ran a hand back and forth across Naythin’s shoulders. “It’s okay. It’s okay, baby.” He wasn’t sure at all why Naythin had thrown up. Maybe the Coke was too much too soon. He wasn’t sure and it didn’t look like Naythin was going to explain anything. Shit. “C’mon. Let’s get you inside, alright?”

Breathing heavily, Naythin raised his hand to wipe the back of it across his mouth. Closing his eyes, his head hung loose between his shoulders. “I’m...no. M’okay now.” Nodding, he raised his other hand reaching out for Dean. “M’okay. Not...not goin’ inside til you do.”

Dean heaved a heavy sigh and looked back at the Impala then at Naythin again. “Okay. Gimme a second an’ I’ll be right back.” He leaned toward Naythin and pressed a kiss to the side of his head before pulling to his full height. He hurried down the step and to the rear of the Impala. He shouldered the straps to his and Naythin’s duffels and grabbed the short handles on the weapons duffels and headed back to Naythin as quickly as he could.

Before Dean was off the porch, Naythin started to sit back on his heels. Wincing, he ground his teeth as the muscles on his thighs pulled tight. He watched Dean go to the back of the car and pick up the three bags. He should be helping him. He should be carrying his own damn bag. Reaching for one of the support beams, Naythin pulled himself to his feet with a loud groan. The pills he’d taken when they left the hospital were wearing off already. Leaning heavily on the beam, Naythin waited for Dean to make his way back. His eyes scanned the area, the road beyond the Impala as well as each end of the porch.

Carrying three bags from the car to the motel and inside use to be hard on Dean, but not anymore. Not after three years of going nonstop. Not after three years of pushing himself physically, mentally, emotionally...in every way possible. There wasn’t much that could wear him out anymore and he’d gotten stronger and his muscles were more defined thanks to not eating much of anything anymore, at least not more than he absolutely had to in order to survive. Eating was a luxury he couldn’t afford back then. Reaching Naythin’s side he leaned into him and brushed a quick kiss to Naythin’s cheekbone. “Can you grab the door?”

Naythin watched Dean walk up to him and lean against him. His stomach did that nervous flutter thing, his chest constricted keeping him from taking in a breath for a few seconds when Dean kissed him. He hated the way he was reacting. It was Dean. He shouldn’t be scared of him. When Dean asked him to open the door, Naythin nodded as he slowly turned walking the couple of strides it took to get to the door. Leaning against the door jamb, he grabbed the doorknob and gave it a hard twist. Pushing the door open, Naythin quickly moved to the side to allow Dean to walk in first and check it out.

Dean waited while Naythin opened the door, then walked inside. He moved into the living room area of the cabin and plopped their duffels down on the couch before heading into each room to make sure there was nothing there that was going to jump out at them when they were least expecting it. “Naythin? Hey, do me a favor and step inside the door, alright?” It was making him nervous, leaving Naythin outside the door the way he was. It never use to, no, and he would be the first to admit it. But now? Oh hell yeah, it was making him itch like hell.

Naythin hovered just inside the door as Dean walked through the living room and into the bedroom. Shit. Shit. Shit. He was in the cabin closing the door before Dean finished asking him to come inside. Leaning back against the door, Naythin reached behind him to lock the door. There were not enough locks on the damn door. Not that a lock would keep a vampire out if it really wanted in but, it would make Naythin feel a little safer.

Wrapping his arms around his chest, Naythin carefully walked to the middle of the living room. Ellen had said the place was small. She wasn’t kidding. The kitchen and living room were connected. One door led to the bathroom and the other to the bedroom. There was a large wood burning stove in one corner with a stack of wood next to it. Naythin could hear the furnace kick in with a loud thunk. That was encouraging. No wonder there was a wood stove.

Walking out of the bathroom and back into the living room/kitchen combo, Dean looked over at Naythin. “It all looks clear,” he murmured with a nod. He had doubted that there would be anything in the place what with Ash and Ellen both having been up here, even that very morning, but it made both himself and Naythin feel better having him look to be on the safe side. He crossed the distance between himself and Naythin and reached for him and paused with his hand out. “Are you okay with me holdin’ you?” He kept seeing the last time he’d done something without asking, the fear in Naythin’s eyes.

Naythin’s eyes dropped to Dean’s hand before looking back up at him. Nodding, he swallowed hard as he slowly stepped into Dean. Lowering his arms, he hesitated before slowly wrapping them around Dean’s waist and resting his chin on Dean’s shoulder. Naythin was shaking and it wasn’t from the cold. Every muscle was primed and ready to get Naythin away from the blows, the torture and the assaults he received daily.

Feeling Naythin shaking in his arm, Dean squeezed his eyes closed. “God damn it,” he whispered half under his breath. He started to hold onto Naythin tighter in an attempt to make him feel more secure but stopped thinking that maybe he’d feel trapped. “Baby...I wanna...I...how can I make you feel safe?” He was at a loss as to what to do for Naythin. Nothing seemed to be helping. Not really anyway.

Closing his eyes, Naythin pressed his chin into Dean’s shoulder. “Don’ leave me.” Tightening his arms around Dean’s waist, Naythin lightly leaned his head against Dean’s.

Dean gave his head a slight shake. “I won’t. Not ever. I love you, baby. I love you so much.”

“I love you, too.” Taking in a slow shaky breath, Naythin pulled his head away from Dean’s for a second before turning it and gently pressing his lips to the side of Dean’s head just behind his ear at the hairline. “I missed you so damn much.”

Dean’s eyes slipped closed and he tried to breathe through it when he felt the sting of tears in his eyes. “God, I missed you so much, baby. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat…” He snapped his mouth closed. He felt like an ass saying that after what Naythin had been through. “I just meant...I couldn’t stop thinking about you...tryin’ to find you.”

“I know. I know.” Naythin slowly loosened his arms from around Dean’s waist. He didn’t want to. He wanted to stay in Dean’s arms. His heart felt like it was going to explode in his chest. His lungs weren’t cooperating making it hard for him to breath. It was too much, too soon. “I uh...I-I need to sit down.”

Dean loosened his arms around Naythin and slowly pulled them away. “Oh. Yeah. Sure.” He stepped out of the way and made sure that the two recliners were empty so Naythin could sit down without having to wait as he went to the couch to grab the duffel bags and take them into the bedroom.

Naythin turned to look at the couch and the two recliners on either end of it. Rubbing the palms of his hands over the tops of his thighs, he looked down at the large braided area rug sticking out from under the couch. He was tempted to walk over and sit on the floor with his back against the couch when Dean picked up the bags and started to walk to the bedroom. Dean wasn’t three steps away and Naythin was following him to the bedroom. His steps were slow and halting but he managed to not lose sight of Dean even in the small cabin. Stopping in the doorway of the bedroom, Naythin looked at the bed. His eyes nearly bugging out of his head at the sight of the pipe headboard and footboard.

When Dean turned around, he smiled at Naythin and was about to ask him if everything was okay when he noticed the look on Naythin’s face and what he was staring at. Looking back at Naythin he swallowed hard and tried to figure out what it was that Naythin would want him to say. “We...we don’t have to sleep there if you don’t want to. Or...or I could sleep out on the couch if you’d rather…”

“N-no. No.” Shit. Closing his eyes, Naythin leaned heavily against the door jamb. “I-I I’ll be okay. The...the headboard looks…” Fuck, he couldn’t say it. His stomach started churning even though there wasn’t anything left in it. The cramps hit hard nearly doubling Naythin over. “Shit.” Wrapping his arm across his stomach, he bowed his head as he tried to not fall on his ass.

Dean’s eyes widened and he rushed forward, wrapping his arm around Naythin’s shoulders pulling him in tight against him. “What is it? What can I do?” He hated this. Hated to see Naythin in pain. He had no idea how to help Naythin, and maybe he hated that even more.

Shaking his head, Naythin leaned against Dean. “My stomach. S’okay. C-cramps fr-from throwin’ up. Hap-happens all the time.” He tried to control his breathing as much as possible. Naythin knew if he tried to fight the cramps, they’d only get worse.

Dean’s brow knitted. Happens all the time? “Whadda you mean, it happens all the time? You mean…?” Yeah, he was pretty sure he knew what Naythin meant now that he thought about it. Sonofabitch! He wanted to hit something. No, he wanted to destroy something. He had to breathe through the rage almost as much as Naythin needed to breathe through the pain. He didn’t wait for an invitation, he scooped Naythin up in his arms and carried him from the bedroom door over to the couch and lowered him gently onto it. He lowered himself down onto one knee next to him. “Yer okay. It’s okay, it was jus’ me. Sit an’ relax. I’m gonna get you some pills. Jus’ relax, baby. It’s okay. I’m the only one here with you an’ I’d never hurt you. Yer okay.”

Naythin didn’t have time to panic. He’d been concentrating so hard on trying not to fall and push past the stomach cramps, he didn’t realize Dean had picked him up until he was lowering him onto the couch. Scrambling back into the corner, Naythin’s eyes were wide as he pulled his knees to his chest. The cramps momentarily forgotten as his eyes darted around the room. Dean’s voice breaking through the buzzing in his ears had him looking down at him. His chest and sides heaved, nostrils flared wide as he tried to concentrate on what Dean was saying. I’d never hurt you. Dean wouldn’t hurt him. He never had in the past so why would he start now? Nodding his head way too fast, Naythin wrapped his arms around his legs, resting his chin on one knee as he pressed his back into the corner of the couch.

“Relax, baby,” Dean encouraged. “Yer safe. It’s okay.” He hated to see Naythin like this, curled into a ball in the corner like some beaten and cowering animal. “Naythin look at me,” he ordered and paused for a moment until Naythin did as he’d told him. “I am not going to let anyone hurt you. Not ever again. Do you understand that? I don’t care what I have to do in order to make sure that it never happens but I’ll do it. No one is ever going to hurt you again. I promise.”

Nodding his head slowly, Naythin swallowed several times. “I-I know. I know.” Tightening his arms around his legs, Naythin tried to ignore the rolling cramps in his abdomen. It wasn’t anything new. They’d go away after a while. They always did. It took longer sometimes depending on how bad of a beating he’d get or how long or how many of the nest would work him over. “M’sorry. I-I know you’d n-never hurt m-me.”

Dean sighed softly as he searched Naythin’s face. “Would it help if I went somewhere else?” The second Naythin’s eyes got to be the size of dinner plates he knew that Naythin misunderstood him. “No, not leave, just...maybe if I went outside or somethin’ so you could relax?”

“No.” Naythin’s hand shot out, latching onto Dean’s arm and squeezing hard. “Don’ go. Don’ leave. Please, Dean. M’ tryin’. I am. I’m s-sorry.”

Dean’s other hand went to Naythin’s on his arm, laying against his hand. “I know you are, baby. I’m not sayin’ yer not, I jus’...I don’t know what to do to help you.” God, he hated not being able to fix something. He slowly shook his head. “There’s nothin’ for you to be sorry about.” Not ever.

“Jus’...It’s...I don’ know either. I jus’...” Shaking his head, Naythin looked down at Dean’s hand.

“You jus’ what, baby? You can tell me anythin’. Nothin’ you tell me is gonna make me think bad of you or make me love you less…” Dean implored as he gazed into Naythin’s face, or what he could see if it.

That was so not true. If Dean found out the things that were done to him, Naythin knew he’d leave him in a hot minute. Dean had said the bat shit crazy psychic knew everything but, Naythin was willing to bet that wasn’t the case. “Nothin’.” Shaking his head, Naythin pulled his hand from Dean’s arm and wrapped it back around his legs lowering his chin back to his knee. Closing his eyes, he hid behind his bangs.

Dean heaved a heavy sigh and tucked his chin in toward his chest as he closed his eyes. So much for progress. It felt like every time they made a step forward they took two steps backward. Drawing in a deep breath he opened his eyes and nodded. “I’ll go get you those pills.” Pulling up to his full height, he walked away from the couch and into the kitchen area and pulled open the fridge. He took out a couple of Cokes and set them on the counter before closing the fridge door and heading into the bedroom to retrieve the bags with his meds in it.

Naythin tracked Dean as he got up and walked into the kitchen. He listened to the fridge door opening and closing. His pulse sped up as he followed Dean’s footsteps into the bedroom. Lifting his head, Naythin twisted at the waist, ignoring the sharp stab of pain in his abdomen. He could just see Dean’s back as he bent over the overnight bag pulling out the three bags Dr. Norris had given them. He watched Dean until he started to turn before turning himself back around and laying his head back on his knee. He knew Dean was upset, Naythin had heard it in his voice.

Carrying the bags of medications to the counter, Dean pulled out the muscle relaxer and the pain meds and read the labels. Shaking out one of each, he carried them and one of the cans of Coke over to Naythin. “Here, baby,” he murmured as he held out his loosely fisted hand containing the pills. After Naythin took them from him he turned his attention to the can of Coke and popped the tab before handing it to him. “Take those an’ maybe you’ll feel a little bit better. Are you hungry at all? I could make you some chicken broth or somethin’,” he offered.

Naythin took the pills and slowly put them in his mouth one at a time. Taking the can of Coke, he stared down at it as if it were going to jump up and bite him. Sighing, he raised the can to his lips, drinking just enough to swallow the pills and handing it back to Dean. When he brought up chicken broth, Naythin’s mouth started to water. Nodding slowly, he glanced up at Dean. “Okay. Yeah. That sounds good. Thanks.” After Dean took the can, Naythin wrapped his arm back around his legs and started to rock back and forth as he tucked his chin nearly to his chest resting his forehead on his knees.

Dean didn’t go far with the can, he just set it on the coffee table in front of Naythin in case he wanted more later. Walking back into the kitchen he popped the tab on his own Coke and drank down a good amount before lowering it to the counter again as he tried to silence the belch that the soda brought up. He searched the cabinets knowing Ellen would have left them broth for Naythin, he just had to find the damn stuff. After a couple of minutes, he managed to find a Tupperware container in the fridge with broth inside. Holy shit. Ellen made Naythin broth from scratch. Wow. Okay. He chuckled lightly. “Looks like Ellen really loves you, she made you chicken broth from scratch,” he mused with a grin curving his lips as he pulled out the pan and got the broth warming.

Tilting his head to the side, Naythin gave his head a quick shake to shift his long hair so he could see better. Lifting his hand, he reached for a blanket that was laying over the back of the couch. Draping it over himself, he pulled it up to his chin. He tucked the blanket under his feet making sure the blanket wasn’t hanging on the floor. Fisting the blanket, Naythin pulled it under his chin. He wasn’t cold, not really anyway but after being cold for three years straight, he didn’t want to get cold again.

Dean walked over to the counter and picked up his Coke, taking a swig before his eyes landed on Naythin sitting there staring at a blackened TV and huddling under the thin blanket from the back of the couch. Setting the can back down on the counter, he headed into the living room area. “Hey, you uh, you wanna watch TV or somethin’? Are you cold? I can get a heavier blanket.”

Turning his head to the side, Naythin looked up at Dean. “M’not cold. Don’ wanna get cold.” It sounded stupid saying it out loud. Looking at the TV. Naythin shrugged. “Don’ know what’s on.” Huddling under the blanket, Naythin pushed his back against the couch.

“Do...do you wan’ to turn the TV on an’ see what’s on?” Dean inquired. He felt like the most useless person on the face of the planet. He wound up turning on the television and handing Naythin the remote. “Here, you can see what’s on.” He continued past Naythin and back into the kitchen to finish up his broth. At least that was one thing he could do right, he hoped.

Naythin stared down at the remote for a couple minutes before looking up at the TV and started changing channels. He found the Cowboys and Bengals football game. Dropping the remote on the couch, Naythin rested his chin on his knees as he watched the game. How much could sports have changed in three years?

Once the broth was done, Dean poured a good amount into a bowl and opened a pack of crackers, setting half a dozen around the plate he’d set the bowl on so it wouldn’t burn Naythin’s legs or the tabletop if he used the coffee table to eat on. He wasn’t even sure if Naythin’s stomach could handle crackers, but he figured that if Naythin wanted to try, they were there. Placing a soup spoon in the soup, he carried the platter over. “Lap or table?” he inquired as he walked up to Naythin with the tray in his hands.

Naythin looked up at Dean, his eyebrows bunched creasing his forehead. He had a choice? Swallowing hard, Naythin licked his lips as he looked from Dean to the coffee table. “T-table.” His body tensed as he pulled back.

Dean nodded. “Okay. Table it is.” He sat the tray down on the table and, as he straightened and turned toward Naythin ran a hand up Naythin’s arm to his shoulder. “Do you want anything else?”

Shaking his head, Naythin looked down at Dean’s hand like he was going to reach back and punch him. He knew Dean wouldn’t hurt him. Naythin couldn’t help it. “No. Thanks.” Looking at the tray on the coffee table, Naythin carefully unfolded his legs and slid down to the floor wrapping the blanket around him. Picking up one of the crackers, he looked at it for a minute before breaking a small piece off, pushing it between his lips and chewed slowly. Who would have thought plain crackers would taste so damn good?

When Naythin said he didn’t want anything else, and he looked at his hand like it was going to bite him, Dean decided that maybe he should just hang out in the kitchen for a while and leave Naythin alone while he ate. He might actually eat more if he wasn’t so busy worrying about what he was doing or wasn’t doing or God only knew what. Walking into the kitchen, he turned his back to the countertop and placed his palms against the marble, pushing himself up until he could slide back, sitting on the countertop out of the way. He reached for his Coke and drank more of it while he kept an eye on Naythin to make sure he was okay. The broth had smelled damn good but, he actually didn’t even feel much like eating. He needed to take care of Naythin and there wasn’t enough time in a day for him to eat and do that.

Naythin slowly ate the crackers one small piece at a time. It wasn’t that he wasn’t hungry, he was. Starving in fact, but after not eating for so long he didn’t feel hungry. After eating three of the crackers, he scooted closer to the table and reached for the spoon. His hand shook so hard, he dropped it twice before he managed to get a grip on the damn thing. Leaning forward, he dipped the spoon in the broth and raised it to his lips. Right before it reached his mouth, he stopped and looked around. No one was behind him or next to him. No one was going to laugh and tell him it was a joke and he hadn’t earned the right to eat that day. That he hadn’t performed well enough to eat. Looking back down at the spoon, Naythin carefully raised it the rest of the way to his lips. Tipping the handle up, he poured the broth into his mouth. Closing his eyes, he didn’t swallow right away. He held the broth in his mouth letting it sit on his tongue. Holy shit, it was good. Swallowing slowly, he repeated the process with each spoonful until the bowl was empty.

“There’s more if you want it,” Dean murmured. He tried to keep his voice as low and unthreatening as possible but still have Naythin hear him. A part of him broke, just shattered into a million pieces as he sat there on the counter and watched Naythin eat every crumb of three of the crackers and every last spoonful of broth.

Naythin quickly set the spoon down on the plate the bowl was sitting on. Shaking his head, he backed up, his hands bracing on the edge of the couch as he lifted himself up onto the cushion. Sliding back into the corner, he tucked the blanket around himself. “No. I’m...I-I don’ wanna get sick again.” If he ate too fast or too much, Naythin knew he’d just throw up and the cramps would hit all over again. Right now, he was warm and for the first time in a long time, he actually felt full.

“Okay.” Dean jumped down off the counter and tried like hell not to make a lot of noise doing it. He walked around the counter and over to the coffee table. He bent at the waist and picked up the tray from the coffee table. Straightening he paused and jerked his head toward the Coke can. “That Coke’s yers. Help yerself whenever you get thirsty. If it gets hot, tell me an’ I’ll give you a new one, alright?” He hated that he sounded like he was speaking to a child and he hoped like hell that Naythin would forgive him for it some day. He just didn’t know what to do or how to speak to Naythin without scaring the hell out of him. Continuing into the kitchen, he put the three remaining crackers in the trash and the bowl and spoon in the sink. He poured the remaining broth into the same Tupperware container as it had been in before and put it in the refrigerator for later.

Naythin stared at the can of Coke until cheering from the TV made him flinch. Damn it. When he heard the fridge open, Naythin looked over his shoulder. “Y-you didn’ eat. Why?”

Dean paused with the fridge door still open when Naythin spoke to him. He looked over at Naythin and gave his head a shake. “Not really a broth kinda guy,” he responded with a slight smile playing at his lips.

“You need t-to eat, Dean.” Shaking his head, Naythin turned at the waist so he could see Dean better. “Wh-when did you eat last?”

Dean closed the fridge door and shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. I had a drive-thru burger on the way to Bobby’s the night Vanessa came. Other than that,” he shook his head, “I don’t remember.”

Sighing, Naythin shook his head again. “You need t-to eat. Please. For me.” Yep, he’d gone there. Even as fucked in the head as Naythin was, he still knew what buttons to push.

Dean stood stock still and stared at Naythin for all of a minute before he finally sighed heavily and turned back toward the fridge. Pulling the door open he found a Ziplock bag filled with fried chicken. “Okay, I’ll have some chicken.” He pulled the bag out of the refrigerator and closed the door. Setting the chicken on the counter, Dean shrugged out of his over shirt and tossed it over the counter out of the way. He hadn’t thought to ask Ellen if there was a washer and dryer around here somewhere, maybe out back in a wash house? He wasn’t sure. Shaking those thoughts out of his head he turned his attention to the bag of chicken setting a couple of pieces on a paper plate to put in the microwave to warm up.

Naythin turned his attention back to the TV when Dean walked back to the fridge and pulled out a bag of leftover fried chicken. Sighing softly, he leaned back against the couch. Naythin knew Dean would do anything for him but, he needed to take care of himself, too. He always put everyone else first. That was one thing that bugged Naythin to no end.

“Did you want somethin’ else to drink? Ellen’s got bottled water in here,” Dean offered as he jammed a thumb toward the refrigerator.

“W-water’s good.” Nodding slowly, Naythin looked over his shoulder into the kitchen. He liked Coke. Hell, Naythin used to live on the stuff but now he was just happy with water. As long as it was clean. Turning his attention back to the football game. The one he wasn’t paying much attention to, Naythin tilted his head to the side. He could hear the microwave whirring on the counter in the kitchen. Naythin wondered why Dean didn’t use it to warm up the chicken broth earlier. He could hear the fridge door open, Dean moved a few things to the side before closing it again.

After three years, Naythin damn near had dog ears. It didn’t take him long to figure out who was who just by their footsteps. He knew how close someone was to him by how the floor vibrated under him. As long as it was a wood floor. The concrete floors of the warehouses he’d been in were useless for that sort of thing. The echoes made it damn near impossible to judge distance or now many were coming to get him. The high pitched BING! of the microwave had Naythin jumping. His pulse ramped up as his snapped his head to the side. He watched Dean open the door, the smell of the chicken made his mouth water and his stomach churn at the same time. It was Ellen’s fried chicken. He’d loved that woman’s fried chicken at one time.

Dean went to the fridge to grab Naythin a bottle of water and had to move the Coke cans around to be able to grab one without Coke cans going everywhere. Once he had it and had closed the fridge door, he started to take the water to Naythin only to have the microwave ding, sending him back into the kitchen before he’d ever really gotten out of it. He took the plate of chicken from the microwave and set it on the counter before turning away and walking into the living room area, where Naythin sat, with the water. He broke the seal as he walked and pulled up on the opener so Naythin could drink from it right away. He offered it to him as he stood just behind and to one side of the couch. “Here, baby,” he murmured. He’d offered Naythin water even though he had a can of Coke because he thought that maybe the reason Naythin wasn’t drinking much of the Coke was due to it upsetting his stomach. Going from nothing for years to a can of Coke was likely a little too harsh on Naythin’s stomach. Hell, for all he knew it was the reason Naythin had thrown up outside.

Looking up at Dean, Naythin nodded as he reached for the bottle of water. His hand was shaking though not as bad as when he’d had trouble with the spoon. Staring at the bottle, it took him a few seconds to figure out it was one of those sports bottle ones with the pull up stopper. Gripping the bottle tightly, he raised it to his lips and squeezed gently. The cold water past his lips, filling his mouth. Naythin nearly moaned from the sensation. He swallowed slowly before taking another drink and another and another until the bottle was empty. When the empty plastic bottle crinkled in his hand, Naythin held it out to Dean. “Can I have another one?” His stomach was hurting from being too full but Naythin didn’t care. He was thirsty and for once he knew he’d be able to have as much water as he wanted without it being taken away or poured out onto the floor just out of his reach.

Dean’s eyes widened more and more as Naythin drank. Holy shit. The idea that those sonsabitches doing the things they had to Naythin made his blood boil and he knew it would show on his face if he wasn’t careful. By the time Naythin turned with the empty bottle, Dean had his emotions in check, at least on the surface. He smiled at Naythin and nodded. “Of course, you can have all you want,” he murmured as he turned with the now empty bottle, tossing it into the trash on his way past it to the refrigerator. Pulling open the door, he wrangled another bottle out from behind the Cokes. At this rate he was going to have to rearrange the fridge so he could get at the water easier. With the water bottle in hand, Dean closed the refrigerator door and headed back to Naythin, opening the bottle as he walked. “Here ya go, baby.” He would have warned Naythin to be careful that he didn’t make himself sick but he wasn’t about to make him feel like there were restrictions on how much he could drink. If he got sick, he got sick, they’d deal with it and move on.

Chapter Text

Naythin didn’t hesitate with the second bottle. Lifting it to his lips, he drank half the bottle before coming up for air. Pushing the top closed, he leaned back on the couch pulling the bottle under the blanket and setting it next to his side. He’d overdone it; drank way too much too fast. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head against the back of the couch, his hand going to his stomach covering it gingerly. Please don’t get sick. Not again. Not again.

Dean watched Naythin in silence for a long while before going to the bags of medication. He rummaged around, reading bottle after bottle until he came to Phenergan. Reading that bottle he gave a soft, whispered shout of triumph. Opening the bottle he shook out one of the pills. Closing the bottle, he set it on the countertop and walked over to Naythin. He crouched down next to the side of the couch so he was at Naythin’s level. “Here, baby,” he murmured, “Bottle says it’s for nausea.”

Opening his eyes slowly, Naythin raised his head to look down at the small pill in Dean’s hand. His eyes narrowed as he stared at it for a long moment. Looking up at Dean, Naythin pulled his hand out from under the blanket, holding it out palm up. When Dean put the pill in his hand, Naythin raised his hand to his mouth pushing the pill between his lips. Reaching under the blanket, Naythin took the water bottle out, pulled the top open and raised it shakily to his lips. Sipping just enough to swallow the pill, he closed the cap and quickly hid the bottle under the quilt again. “Thank you.”

Dean watched Naythin take the pill and nodded to his thanks. “Yer welcome,” he murmured. He stood there for a couple more minutes before crouching down in front of Naythin, or as close to in front as he could get with the coffee table in the way. “You know, no one is gonna take that bottle of water from ya, right? There’s plenty more where it came from too. You can have anything you want, baby."

“I...Um, I know.” Looking down at the quilt as if he could see the bottle through the material, Naythin slowly pulled it out and held it out to Dean. “I jus’...” Shaking his head, Naythin squeezed the bottle harder to keep his hand from shaking. Sighing, he raised his eyes to meet Dean’s. “C-can you put it on the table, please?”

Dean nodded and reached for the bottle and placed it, as he turned slightly at the waist, on the coffee table behind him. Turning back to face Naythin, he laid a hand gently against Naythin’s ankle. “You uh...you wanna talk about it?” Vanessa hadn’t said anything about the food or the lack thereof.

Frowning, Naythin looked from Dean to the water bottle and back. “Talk about what?”

Dean shrugged a shoulder. “Anything. You don’t have to, but if you want to, I’m here...that’s all.”

Licking his lips, Naythin pulled the quilt up to his chin. “Wh-what do you wanna know?” He wasn’t sure how much he could tell Dean, if anything at all. It would be wrong to not tell him anything. When Dean came back from Hell, it took him time but eventually, he did tell Naythin what happened to him.

Dean shook his head. “Whatever you wanna tell me…whenever yer ready. No pushing, just...know that I’m here an’ I’ll listen an’ nothin’ you say is gonna make me think less of you. If I can tell you about Hell...about what I did there...Like I said, no judgments.”

“Okay.” It was the best he could do. Naythin couldn’t make any promises about when or what he’d be able to tell Dean. At some point, it was all going to come out. That fact scared Naythin. He was scared Dean would leave him because of what had been done to him. That he wouldn’t want him anymore.

Dean searched Naythin’s face for a long moment before giving a curt nod and pulling to his full height. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to the center of Naythin’s forehead before walking past him and into the kitchen. After polishing off the Coke can he had, he grabbed a new one out of the fridge before walking over and grabbing the plate of chicken. He carried both to the small two chair table and sat down. He could still see Naythin clearly as well as the television if he chose to watch it. No, his attention seemed riveted to Naythin. He was a powder keg ready to burst. Dean knew that he was because he’d been there. Well, maybe not there, but he’d had his fair share of shame and pain and he’d been about to blow, between the Night Terrors and the horrific memories that would hit him out of the blue during the day, before he finally told Naythin the things he’d done.

By the middle of the halftime show, Naythin had started to slowly lay down on the couch. He was still curled into the smallest ball he could get himself into under the quilt. Protecting as much of his body as he could. Using his arm as a pillow, he leaned against the arm of the couch, his eyelids fluttering as he fought to stay awake. He was exhausted. It had been a constant state the past few years so it wasn’t anything new. This, however, being in the cabin with Dean and not laying on the hardwood floor or cement floor of a warehouse or even in his cage was different. It wasn’t normal, what he was use to. His nerves were still on edge expecting the beatings to begin at any moment. Expecting to be dragged to a bed or mattress, chained to it and having Him come in and rape him with anything he could get his hands on until Naythin passed out from the pain, loss of blood and many times, both. Exhaustion finally won out as Naythin’s eyes closed and he fell asleep. His fingers curled around the quilt in a white knuckle grip so no one would take it from him while he slept.

After he finished his meal of chicken and Coke, Dean carried the plate of bones and his empty can to the trash and continued into the kitchen to wash his hands off. Grabbing a kitchen towel he dried his hands before tossing it back onto the countertop. He walked out of the kitchen and into the bedroom and grabbed the spare quilt from the closet and one of the four pillows off the bed and carried them to the couch. setting the pillow on the back of the couch, he shook out the quilt and used it to cover Naythin with, tucking the edges in so Naythin wouldn’t get cold. He reached for the pillow as he made his way toward Naythin’s head and gently slipped a hand beneath Naythin’s skull, lifting his head marginally so he could slip the pillow under his head. “It’s okay, baby. It’s just me. It’s just me,” he whispered and eased Naythin’s head down onto the pillow. He turned away from Naythin and reached for the remote that he had set on the coffee table at one point or another and turned off the television. With that taken care of, he started turning off lights so Naythin could sleep. Making his way into the bedroom, he flicked on the light and pushed the door partway closed. He reached back and grabbed a handful of cotton, pulling his t-shirt up and over his head. Tossing it carelessly to the floor, his hands lowered to the button and fly of his jeans, unfastening them before he took a seat on the edge of the bed to untie his boots and toe them off. His socks followed, and he tucked them into his boots. Standing up, Dean pushed his jeans down his hips and over his ass and down his thighs. He let gravity take over after that, letting the denim pool at his feet before stepping out of them. Walking around to the side of the bed, he pulled back the blanket and sheet before clicking on the small lamp next to the bed. Crossing the room to the light switch on the wall, he flicked off the overhead light.

Naythin’s eyes darted back and forth behind his eyelids. His eyebrows bunching to the point of nearly touching as he tried to curl into a tighter ball. Barely audible whimpers and moans slipped past his partially open lips. “No...please. No more.” Flinching in his sleep, Naythin kicked out with one leg, the quilt Dean had covered him with getting tangled around his ankle. “Stop...oh God, Dean...no.” Gasping loudly, Naythin’s eyes opened wide, Jackknifing off the couch, his feet hit the floor as he tried to kick free from whoever was holding his ankles. The room was dark and he couldn’t see where he was going or what was in front of him. Lurching to his feet, Naythin tripped as his shins hit the edge of the coffee table. Falling forward, he let out a loud yell as his side slammed into the table and he rolled off it hitting the floor hard. Scrambling to his hands and knees, his eyes wide with fear, Naythin made for the closest corner. Throwing himself against the wall, his arms covering his head, knees pulled up tight to his chest, tears streamed down his face as he rocked back and forth. “It’s not true. It’s not. Dean’s not dead. He’s not. Oh, God, no. Please, no. Not Dean.”

Dean had just dozed off to sleep, having had to rummage around in the weapons duffel for his knife before he’d been able to do so, when he heard noise coming from the living room. He wasn’t too sure what it was at first so he lay there, playing possum for a couple of minutes before he remembered that he wasn’t there alone, that Naythin was in the living room on the couch. Shit! He jackknifed up and quickly threw back the covers and climbed to his feet. He wasn’t familiar with the cabin yet so he had to feel for the bedroom door which wound up closing it rather than opening it. That was about the time he heard Naythin cry out. Sonofabitch! Wrapping his hand around the doorknob, he nearly ripped it off its hinges as he whipped it open. The cabin was dark as hell and he fumbled a little as he tried to find a light. He managed to locate a light switch and flipped it on, not caring what it went to. The kitchen was suddenly awash with light and it had Dean blinking in an attempt to get his eyes to adjust to the sudden brightness. His gaze immediately fell to the empty couch. “Naythin?” Looking past the couch to every corner and shadow he finally found him huddled there in the far corner of the room. Sonofabitch! He hurried forward and crouched down in front of Naythin. “Baby? Lemme see, where’d you hurt yerself?” Reaching for him, he touched Naythin’s hand first so that Naythin wouldn’t think that he was going to hurt him.

Pushing his body against the wall, Naythin whimpered softly at the touch to his hand. It took him several minutes before Dean’s voice broke through the fear. Blinking his eyes open, Naythin peek out through his bangs, his fingers curled into tight fists above his head. “Dean?” Lifting his chin, Naythin looked around the room, frantically searching for the vampires he knew were hiding just out of his sight in the shadows. When none came forward, Naythin slowly opened his fingers as he reached his hand out for Dean’s arm.

“Yeah, baby, it’s okay. It’s me.” God, he hated this. Hated how scared Naythin was now. Dean let Naythin take the lead, his eyes following the movement of Naythin’s hand as he grabbed onto his arm. Turning his attention back to Naythin’s face he jutted his chin toward Naythin. “Can I see if you hurt yerself?”

“Wh-what? Um…” Nodding, Naythin lowered his other arm to the hem of his shirt. He was about to pull it up so Dean could look at his side where he’d fallen on the coffee table when he remembered the scars and bruises. There weren’t as many on his sides but there were enough. He knew he couldn’t hide them forever. Turning his face into the wall, Naythin pulled the shirt up to his armpit exposing his side from his hip up as well as part of his back and abdomen.

“Sonofabitch,” Dean whispered as his eyes moved over Naythin’s scarred skin. He lifted a hand and slowly slid the tips of his fingers very lightly across the whip scars. He swallowed hard and had to blink back the sting of tears. This was all his fault. He might as well have been the one holding the whip. His vision blurred and he blinked a few times to clear it. He felt the wetness on his cheeks but he didn’t care. His hand was shaking as his fingertips traced the marks and pulled away from bruises. He blew out a shaky breath and sniffled as he swallowed hard. “I uh...I don’t think you broke anything. Um…” It was hard to tell if a bruise was from falling now or one of the many from...before. “I uh…” His tongue darted out, licking across his lips. “Does it hurt?” Stupid question. “I mean, does it hurt where you fell?”

Naythin let the shirt drop when he didn’t feel Dean’s fingers against his skin. Sniffing quietly, he shook his head when Dean asked if he’d hurt himself falling. “No. I didn’...I couldn’t see the table.” Lifting his hand, he brushed the hair out of his face as he turned his head to look at Dean. “I’m sorry. I didn’ mean to wake you up.”

Dean huffed softly and gave his head a slight shake. “Don’t worry about it.” He reached up and combed his fingers back through Naythin’s hair. “I don’t mind. You know how I sleep, I would have heard a flea fart so…” He shrugged a shoulder as he smiled at Naythin. “You uh...do you wanna come in there with me? I can...I can put my clothes back on if that’d make you feel better.” He wasn’t sure if the bastard slept with Naythin or not.

Naythin looked past Dean to the darkened bedroom door. Swallowing hard, he stared for a couple minutes before looking back at Dean. “I don’ know if I can. I don’ know if I can sleep on a bed. I haven’t for…” Sighing, Naythin chewed on the corner of his bottom lip for a moment. “The bed wasn’ fer sleepin’ on.”

Dean wanted to rip a vampire’s head off his shoulders with his bare hands. Thank God for all the training his Dad had given him on hiding his emotions. He looked back at the couch and then at Naythin. “Would you prefer the couch again? Or...I could make us a pallet on the floor.” He shrugged a shoulder. “It’s up to you. Whatever you want...whatever would make you feel safer.”

Looking down at the wood floor, Naythin stared at it for a few seconds before lifting his head to look back at Dean. “I can sleep on the floor. I’m used to it.”

“Okay, we’ll camp out on the floor,” Dean agreed. “Out here or in the bedroom?”

“What? No. No, you…” Shaking his head, Naythin’s eyes widened. Dean shouldn’t be sleeping on the floor. “You sleep on the bed.”

Dean pulled his head back. “Wh...why?” He thought about it for a couple of minutes. “Does the idea of sleepin’ with me scare you?”

Shaking his head, Naythin raised a hand to brush the hair out of his face. “N-no.” Dropping his eyes to the floor, Naythin gave a barely there nod of his head. “It’s not you. I’m not scared of you. I’m...m’scared of sleepin’ on a bed.”

Dean’s brows knitted with confusion. Okay, half talking was confusing them both. He gave his head a shake and slid his hand down to cup the side of Naythin’s neck. “No, baby, I said I’d sleep on the floor with you an’ you said that you wanted me to sleep on the bed...I thought maybe it was because you were afraid to have me sleeping next to you. Like, maybe you thought I’d try something.” He gave his head a shake. “I won’t. I promise.”

Lifting both hands, Naythin raked his fingers hard over his scalp. He was screwing this all up. “You shouldn’ sleep on the floor.” Lowering his arms, he shook his head slowly. “I’m not scared of you. I don’ mean to...to pull away from you. It’s not you.”

Dean heaved a sigh and hung his head for a minute, his chin nearly to his chest. Naythin wasn’t understanding what he was asking and he didn’t want to upset him any more than he already had. Shit. Lifting his head he exhaled softly and nodded slowly. “Okay. Okay. I’ll make a pallet on the floor for you if that’s what you want.”

Naythin knew Dean. Despite being apart for three years, he could still read Dean. It didn’t take a genius to know Dean was upset at Naythin. Shit. He didn’t want to make Dean mad. Naythin was trying. He really was. “I…” Swallowing hard, Naythin licked his lips nervously. “Would you...um, would you sl-sleep with me? P-Please?”

Dean’s brow creased and he pulled his head back as he searched Naythin’s eyes with his own. It hit him then that it might have been the first time he’d actually seen Naythin’s eyes, really seen them, since he’d been found. Huh. Progress? He hoped so. “Baby, I don’t want you to do anything you don’t wanna do...I just...I hate the idea of you sleepin’ on the floor alone. That’s all. I offered to sleep with you there before and you didn’t want me to...like I said, if yer scared it’s fine. I don’t wanna push you into anything. I just...I don’t want to hurt you…”

“M’used to the floor. I’m tryin’. S’hard. I don’ know what to do.”

Dean shifted forward and cradled Naythin’s face in his hands as he slowly shook his head. “I know you are, baby,” he leaned in and pressed soft kisses to Naythin’s eyes, his lips, his cheeks and even his chin before pulling his head back. “I know. It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. I’ll make you a pallet on the floor. If you decide you want me there with you, I will be. If yer not ready for that, it’s fine. Honest. Just...whatever you want. You call the shots here, alright?”

Nodding against Dean’s hands, Naythin swallowed several times. “Okay.” Slowly lifting his hand, he wrapped his fingers around Dean’s wrists. He didn’t squeeze, just let his fingers rest lightly against Dean’s skin.

Dean’s eyes lowered to Naythin’s hands and he quickly pulled his away from Naythin’s face. “I’m sorry,” he murmured softly. He didn’t even know how or where or when to touch Naythin for fuck’s sake. Sonofabitch! “I...I need you to do somethin’ for me...I need you to tell me when and what and where I can touch you...as time goes by an’ you feel safer, okay? I just...the last thing I wanna do is scare you.”

Naythin ducked his head to hide the disappointment on his face. He didn’t mean for Dean to pull away the way he had. Nodding, he pulled his hands back, crossing his arms over his chest. Giving his head a quick shake, Naythin hid behind his bangs. “Okay. I know ya don’.” Licking his bottom lip, Naythin tasted blood. Somehow, the split on his lip had opened again. “Can...can I have one of the sleepin’ pills, please? I don’...I don’ wanna dream.”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, yeah, of course. You know, you don’t have to ask my permission.” He gave Naythin a pointed look. “Baby, you can do whatever you want. Yer free now...and forever. I told you, I won’t let anything happen to you...not ever again.” He slowly pulled to his full height, standing in front of Naythin. “Do you wanna come with me into the bedroom while I make the pallet on the floor? If you do, we can stop by the kitchen an’ you can take the pill...or I can bring it to you here, either way.”

Shaking his head, Naythin pulled back pressing his spine into the corner. “I’ll stay here.” He kept his head down, face turned into the wall. He could feel Dean hovering over him, his body shaking as he shifted onto the balls of his feet, toes pressed into the floor. The muscles on his legs coiled tight ready to push Naythin away from the impending attack.

Dean heaved a sigh and nodded. “Yeah...okay…” Turning, he walked into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge door, grabbing a bottle of water before turning his attention to the pills on the counter. He looked through them until he found the sleeping pill. Shaking one out into his palm, he curled his fingers around it and twisted the cap back on. Picking up the bottle of water, he carried them both over to Naythin. He reached a hand out and down for Naythin to take the pill from him first. Once the pill was gone from his hand, and he had two hands to work with, he broke the seal on the water bottle and opened it for Naythin before handing it to him as well.

Naythin had to turn away from the wall when he heard Dean walk back from the kitchen. He waited until Dean stopped next to him before brushing the hair from his face and taking the pill from Dean’s hand. Putting the pill in his mouth, he reached for the water bottle. Drinking just enough to swallow the pill, he handed the bottle back to Dean. Licking the water from his lips, Naythin sat up a little straighter. “I-I wan’ to sl-sleep with you in the bedroom.”

Dean paused as he looked at Naythin. Shit. Okay, speak clearly so there’s no confusion. Don’t censor yerself, Winchester. He slowly nodded his head as he gazed down at Naythin. “Okay...on the floor or...on the bed?”

“On...on the floor.” The bed was off limits.

Dean nodded and smiled softly at Naythin. “Okay, the floor sounds great. Are you gonna wait here while I set up the pallet then? Or are you gonna come into the bedroom with me?” He wasn’t totally sure if Naythin still wanted to stay there while he made the pallet on the floor or if he’d changed his mind. He didn’t want to assume anything.

If Naythin stayed where he was, he wouldn’t be able to see Dean. Shaking his head, he slowly lowered his arms from his chest. “I’ll come with.”

“Yeah?” Dean inquired with a lift of both of his eyebrows. A smile curved his lips and he held a hand out for Naythin to take if he wanted it. He jerked his head toward the bedroom. “C’mon, let’s go.” Now that the kitchen light was on he’d be able to find the light switch in the bedroom and turn it on so they wouldn’t be feeling around in the dark trying to find the bedside lamp.

Naythin looked up at Dean’s hand for a moment before lifting his own hand and wrapping his fingers around Dean’s palm. Bracing his free hand against the wall, Naythin hissed in a quick breath as he stood to his full height. Squeezing Dean’s hand, Naythin’s head hung loose between his shoulders as he tried to control his breathing and not look like he was hurting. After a minute, he raised his head, eased the tight grip he had on Dean’s hand and stepped away from the wall. His head held high as he tried to walk as straight as he could and not limp.

Naythin might have been gone for three years but Dean knew every scar and injury and ailment he’d ever had...before. So seeing him act even the slightest bit different made even the smallest things seem like they had a flashing EAT AT JOE’S arrow pointed at them. He didn’t mention any of it though, he just tried to let Naythin lead, going at his pace rather than at his own. He continued to glance over at Naythin to try and make sure he was okay as they made their way across the short distance from the living room area of the cabin into the bedroom. He paused them at the refrigerator and pulled open the door, placing the water bottle inside. Once he finished there, he closed the door and nodded to Naythin to continue into the bedroom. He managed to find the light switch easily and turn it on. “Do you wanna sit on the side of the bed or…?”

Shaking his head, Naythin stared wide eyed at the bed. “No. No, I’m...I’ll wait here.” He leaned back a little, his hand squeezed Dean’s tight. He didn’t want to go near the bed but he didn’t want to not be near Dean either.

“Okay. Just gimme a second to get the bed made on the floor, okay?” Dean responded gently. He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Naythin’s lips. “It’s okay. Yer okay, baby. Jus’ remember that. What you went through...it’s over. I know it’s not easy…” He slowly released his grip on Naythin’s hand and slipped it free of Naythin’s grasp. Turning his attention to the bed, he quickly stripped it laying the quilt on the floor first, then the pillows and sheet. “Lemme grab the quilt I had you covered with on the couch, I’ll be right back.”

Naythin wrapped his arm over his chest as Dean moved away and stripped the quilt and sheet from the bed and laid them out on the floor. When he said he was going to leave the bedroom, Naythin had to fight the instant panic down. His eyes widened as he reached out for Dean, his fingers wrapping around his wrist. “I’ll go with. I can...I can carry one.” He was going to help even if it was just an excuse so he didn’t have to be alone and to keep Dean in his sight.

Dean eyed Naythin for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, sure, okay,” he agreed and flashed another soft smile at Naythin. He was hoping that the smiles would help Naythin relax but he wasn’t so sure that they were doing any good. Walking back into the living room area Dean picked up one of the blankets and handed it to Naythin while grabbing the other to carry himself. As they made it back into the bedroom, he spread the one he held out over the top of the sheet while using the one that Naythin had carried in as a spare in case they needed more padding. He wasn’t completely sure how soft the bottom blanket was going to be. Looking over at Naythin’s completely dressed body he then looked down at himself wearing only his boxers before lifting his eyes to Naythin’s. “Um, do I need to get more clothes on or do you need to take some off?”

Looking down at himself, Naythin reached for the hem of his t-shirt giving it a small tug. “N-no. It’s okay.” Lifting his head, Naythin looked over at Dean, his eyes slowly moving over his body from his eyes down to his waist and back up again. Shaking his head, Naythin shrugged as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Yer...yer fine. It’s fine.”

Dean’s brows rose and fell before he nodded slowly. Okay, so Naythin was going to sleep in his sweats. No biggie. He’d done the same thing before. He looked down at himself again and back up at Naythin. “Are you sure? I can grab a pair of sweats if you’d be more comfortable.” Naythin would probably be more comfortable if he wore a suit of armor, at least in the crotch region.

“It’s fine. Ya don’ have to.” Yawning wide enough for his jaw to pop, Naythin shook his head trying to fight the sleeping pill. Lifting a hand from his chest, Naythin gingerly ran the back of his fingers over the bruise on his cheek. Yawning had irritated the sore muscles.

Dean nodded. “Okay. Well, I think that’s as good as its gonna get, at least for now,” he mused as he gestured toward the pallet on the floor. “Maybe I can get Ellen to bring us a couple more blankets whenever she comes by next.” He waited for Naythin to lay down on the pallet before stepping over to it and lowering himself down onto his knees first before stretching out beside him.

When Dean started to lay behind Naythin, he flipped around so he was facing Dean. Shaking his head, he pulled back a little. “No. I can’...you...um...not behind me.” Blowing out a shaky breath, Naythin slowly lowered himself down on the blanket. He started to pull his knees up only to stop when his legs bumped into Dean’s.

“Okay. Okay,” Dean murmured slowly and held his hands up in surrender, making sure Naythin could see both of his hands. He slowly lowered them and shifted himself as far away from Naythin as he could get without laying on the cold hard wood of the floor or having the blanket slip right off of him. Reaching over he shifted the blanket around Naythin. “I’m just makin’ sure yer covered. That’s all.” Satisfied, he pulled his arm back and tucked his hand under the pillow, gripping the hilt. “Goodnight, baby. I love you,” he murmured as he closed his eyes and did his best to keep every part of his body to himself.

Naythin waited for Dean to stop moving before he shifted his hips back and pulled his knees tight to his chest and tucking his chin nearly to his chest. Reaching under the quilt, he pulled the sheet up and covered his legs with it. Pulling the quilt up to his chin, Naythin gave his head a quick shake to settle his bangs over his eyes so he could look through them and not be seen. After he was settled, he looked over at Dean from under his brows. “Night. Love you, too.” His voice cracked, the last word barely recognizable.

Dean opened his eyes and stared at Naythin in the darkened room. “Naythin? Are you okay?” He started to reach for him but decided that it might not be the best idea and curled his fingers into a fist as he pulled it back and tucked it back against his chest. “Do you need to sleep with the light on?” He didn’t know what else to offer, the only thing he could think of was that in the dark he couldn’t see him to know he wasn’t going to touch him.

Wiping his eyes with the edge of the quilt, Naythin nodded. “M’okay.” Blowing out a shaky breath, Naythin pulled the quilt tighter to him chin. “I uh...I’d tell you I loved you every night.” Nodding, Naythin felt the tears roll down the side of his face. “I...I mean...I’d wait to hear you say it back but…”

Dean’s heart clenched in his chest and he moved on autopilot, what he would just naturally do, shifting close to Naythin he wrapped an arm around him and drew him in. “Oh God, baby,” he murmured. “I did, I did say it back. Every single night, I told you that I love you.”

Naythin tensed, ducking his head closer to his chest to keep the amount of distance between them the same or as close to it as he could get. He knew it was Dean that was holding him, he told himself it over and over. It was his body that had to be convinced to not react.

Dean got the hint when Naythin used his head as a wall between them and withdrew his arms from holding Naythin. “Okay. I’m sorry. I...I didn’t know if it would help or not.” Lifting a hand, he ran it down his face. This was definitely not going the way he’d hoped. He thought that maybe his presence would make Naythin feel safer so he’d sleep better, now he was wondering if he should volunteer to sleep out on the couch. “I uh...I can move to the bed.” He could gather up his pillows and the one blanket and he’d be fine. “I’ll let you have the bed on the floor an’ I’ll go get on the mattress, alright? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.” Again.

Taking in a slow deep breath, Naythin nodded slowly. “Okay. M’sorry.” Lifting his head, he pulled it back, squinting in the dark to see Dean’s face. “M-Maybe...if you roll over, face the other way. I don’ wan’ you to leave. I’m trying.”

“I know you are,” Dean responded. Hell, after everything Naythin had been through he was doing a lot better than most people would be. “I know, baby.” He nodded to Naythin’s suggestion. “Okay, if that’ll help, then okay, I will.” He slowly pulled his hand out from under his pillow and turned over, first onto his back, then over onto his other side, his opposite hand sliding under the pillow to grab the hilt of the knife. He still tried to stay on the edge of the blankets and as far away from Naythin as he possibly could.

Naythin watched as Dean rolled over. The urge to pull away, to find the nearest corner and make himself as small as possible was hard to push back. His fingers curled around large handfuls of the quilt as he forced himself to stay put. Once Dean was on his side with his back to Naythin, he thought it would help. It didn’t. It only made things worse because now he couldn’t see Dean’s face. It was ridiculous. Naythin knew that. There wasn’t anything he could do about it, not yet at least. Sighing heavily, he forced his legs to straighten as he kept his eyes glued to the back of Dean’s head. His eyelids were getting exceedingly heavy and Naythin knew the sleeping pill Dean had given him earlier was really starting to kick in. Yawning wide for a second time, Naythin made sure his feet weren’t sticking out from under the sheet. “G’night, Dean. I love you.” Nightly ritual...check. Closing his eyes, Naythin exhaled slowly as he stopped fighting the sleep medicine.

“G’night, baby. I love you too,” Dean responded. He lay there for a long while just staring at the far wall in the dark. It wasn’t until a few hours before sunrise that he finally dozed off for a few minutes here and there. Every time Naythin turned or moaned or whimpered, Dean was wide awake. Rather than chancing waking Naythin up all those times however, he simply pushed up with one hand and turned his head to look back at Naythin. Once he was satisfied that Naythin was still asleep, he’d turn his head back the other way and ease himself back down onto the floor.

Once Naythin stopped fighting the meds, he slept; hard. Everything shut down. He didn’t even feel the vibrations on the floor as Dean walked around. When his body finally decided he’d slept long enough, Naythin’s eyes opened and he was instantly wide awake. No easing into it. Naythin didn’t move at first. It had been dark when he’d fallen asleep on the bedroom floor and it was dark now. Looking toward the door, Naythin saw it was slightly ajar. He was facing the opposite wall, laying on his side with his knees pulled up tight to his chest. His arms bent with his hands tucked under his chin; his usual sleeping position. It protected his abdomen and, for the most part, his cock and balls. Without moving, Naythin listened carefully for Dean’s even breathing next to him. Lifting his head, Naythin brushed the hair from his face and looked over his shoulder. No Dean. “Dean!” Naythin’s heart jumped into his throat. Pushing the blanket and sheet off him, he scrambled to his feet, using the bed to brace against as he made his way to the door. “Dean!” They’d found him. He’d found them and took Dean. No, no, no, no.

Dean hadn’t slept much, an hour here and an hour there but nothing substantial, and nothing Ellen nor Bobby would be impressed with. He’d watched over Naythin as he’d slept, thankfully the pill seemed to knock Naythin on his ass and he was getting some real honest to God sleep. He had whimpered here and there in the night but nothing more than that. Finally, unable to play possum anymore, Dean got up off the floor and stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee before taking a long hot shower. He made sure not to use all the hot water so that Naythin could get a nice hot one when he woke up. He had no idea that Naythin wouldn’t be waking up the entire day. He continued to check on Naythin like a mother hen, never letting Naythin out of his sight for too long. The longest time had been in the shower. He thought about getting one of those baby monitors so that he could hear Naythin no matter where he was. He knew Naythin would balk at the idea but it seemed like a good one, he’d mention it to Ellen the next time he saw her. And yes, he knew there would be a next time, likely a very soon next time. There was no way she wasn’t going to keep checking on them. You’d have to put her six feet under to stop her from them, and even then, as stubborn as Ellen was she’d likely still come check on them from time to time as a ghost. He puttered around the cabin, fixing this thing and that while waiting for Naythin to wake up. He’d even made some dinner for them both, nothing too harsh just chicken noodle soup and some grilled cheese sandwiches. He looked at the clock and grew even more worried about Naythin when he saw that Naythin had slept the entire day away. No wonder he’d been hungry when he’d gotten the idea for the chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese, it was already six o’clock at night. Sonofabitch. He’d been just about to go do the thing he’d been trying to avoid all day, waking Naythin up, when he heard Naythin frantically yell his name. Dean was throwing the bedroom door wide not two seconds later. “Naythin!?” His eyes, wider than they had been a moment ago, skimmed over Naythin worriedly. “What is it? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” he inquired in rapid fire succession, not giving Naythin time to answer one question before tossing out another.

When the bedroom door flew open, Naythin threw an arm up to protect his face from whoever it was. When he not only heard Dean but saw his face, Naythin lunged at him, throwing his arms around his neck and hugging him as tight as he could. Burying his face against the side of Dean’s neck. “You w-weren’t here. I-I thought...I thought He found me an’...” Squeezing his eyes closed as tight as he could, Naythin gave his head a quick shake as he clung to Dean.

Dean stumble stepped back a little from the force of Naythin lunging at him. His arms belatedly wrapped around Naythin in return, once the immediate shock had worn off. He ran a hand lightly up and down Naythin’s back as he hung securely onto Naythin. “Hey, hey,” he whispered, “Shh, it’s okay, baby. It’s okay. No one found us. Yer safe. Yer safe.” Turning his head he pressed a kiss against the side of Naythin’s.

Naythin stood there hanging onto Dean as if his very life depended on it and in many ways, it did. He breathed in Dean’s scent. The shampoo he’d used in the shower, the soap and the underlying scent that was all Dean. The one that helped Naythin get through the past three years without trying to kill himself. “I thought I lost you. You weren’ here. “

Dean tightened his grasp around Naythin and buried his face against the side of Naythin’s neck, pressing a tender kiss there. “No way,” he murmured softly, “You didn’ lose me. I’m right here. I didn’t leave the cabin, baby. It’s okay.” He pressed another kiss to the side of Naythin’s neck. “I love you. It’s okay. It’s okay. Yer safe, baby. Yer safe.”

After another couple of minutes, Naythin finally raised his head, pulling it back so he could see Dean’s face. Sniffling softly, he looked down as he licked his lips. Slowing pulling his arms from around Dean’s neck, he slid one hand down Dean’s arm taking hold of his hand. Sighing softly, he looked back up at Dean. “Can I get some water?” His voice was quiet, rough and a little hoarse from how long he’d been sleeping.

Dean slowly loosened his grip around Naythin as Naythin did the same with him. He didn’t move, so much so that he wasn’t even sure if he was holding his breath or not. When Naythin took hold of his hand, the want to look down at it was strong but Dean fought against it and simply gripped Naythin’s hand in return. He nodded to Naythin’s question and, like every time Naythin asked for anything, anything so simple, it broke a little piece of himself. “Yeah, of course. Jus’...C’mere,” he jerked his head slightly to the side toward the kitchen and the refrigerator, “I’ll show you where they are an’ you can just get a bottle out anytime you want one, okay?”

Looking past Dean’s shoulder out the bedroom door, Naythin could see the light on in the kitchen. The rest of the cabin was dark, even the TV was off. Nodding, he followed Dean out of the bedroom into the kitchen and over to the ancient fridge. Stepping back, he watched as Dean opened the door as wide as it would go and pointed toward the bottles of water on the top shelf. Naythin scanned the other contents of the fridge. The cans of Coke, gallon jug of orange juice as well as apple juice, milk, beer, a couple dozen eggs, different condiments. Not too mention whatever was in the two drawers at the bottom of the fridge.

Lifting his free hand, Naythin rubbed at the back of his neck. Lowering his arm, he glanced at Dean out of the corner of his eye unsure if he could just take the bottle of water. Dean said he was showing him so he could get one whenever he wanted. The fingers of his free hand opened and closed in a loose fist; the tips rubbing against his palm. Bending slightly at the waist, Naythin reached for the closest bottle and pulled it out quickly. His muscles tensed, eyes squinting expecting to get hit or kicked. When nothing happened, he relaxed and stood to his full height.

Dean stood and waited for Naythin to make up his mind, gather enough courage, or hell maybe both, before he finally reached into the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. The way he coward afterward made Dean’s chest ache and his heart felt like it was being squished in his chest. It was even hard to breathe for a couple of minutes until he able to push past it. Closing the fridge door, he looked at Naythin head on. “Anything you want in there, all you gotta do is come get it. It’s as much for you as it is for me. Ellen got those things for both of us. You don’t have to ask permission and you never have to worry that I’d ever hit you or hurt you for it. Alright?” he urged with a nod of his own head, his brows raised in unison waiting for Naythin’s response.

Holding the bottle of water close to his chest, Naythin nodded. “Okay. Okay.” Looking down at the bottle in his hand, Naythin twisted the cap, breaking the seal before pulling the cap up and lifting the bottle to his lips. He didn’t stop until the bottle was almost empty. Lowering it from his lips with a soft gasp, he closed the cap and lowered the bottle to his side, his fingers wrapped around it holding it firmly. “I’m uh...what time is it? How long was I sleepin’?”

“It’s a little after six,” Dean responded. “You uh, you slept the day away.”

Naythin’s eyes widened, his eyebrows jumping into his forehead. “I did?” Squeezing Dean’s hand, Naythin turned to look out the window over the kitchen sink. “I didn’...” Holy shit! He hadn’t slept that long in, well...three years. Raising his arm, he set the bottle of water on the counter. Lifting his hand, he ran his fingers through his hair pulling it over his shoulder. “Guess I got some sleep to make up for, huh?”

Dean nodded and smiled a little. “Yeah, I guess so,” he agreed. “I uh, I made us somethin’ to eat. It’s not much but…” He shrugged a shoulder. “Chicken noodle soup an’ grilled cheese. I figured yer stomach ought to be able to handle those.”

“That’s...that’s fine.” Not like Naythin was going to say no to food. Real food. Reaching for the bottle of water, he looked toward the living room. “I’ll jus’ um...wait out there.” It took him a second to let go of Dean’s hand but, once he was able to, Naythin didn’t look back as he walked from the kitchen to the couch.

Chapter Text

Dean’s smile widened as he watched Naythin walk out of the kitchen and over to the couch. That was definite progress. Turning his attention back to the soup he’d left on the burner to keep it warm and the toasted sandwiches he’d put in the oven, he made them both up a plate and carried them over to the small dinner table. “Come ‘n get it,” he murmured, loud enough for Naythin to hear him. He walked back into the kitchen and grabbed a couple napkins and returned to the table. He’d already placed their spoons in their bowls so that took care of silverware. He went back and opened the refrigerator and pulled out a beer. Closing the fridge door, he walked back to the table, screwing the cap off the beer as he walked. As he passed the garbage can, he tossed the cap inside.

Naythin had been staring down at the couch trying to decide if he should sit on it or on the rug in front of it. He’d been chewing on the inside of his lip as if it were a steak when he heard Dean’s voice behind him. Turning quickly, he lost his balance grabbing onto the back of the couch to catch himself. Blowing out a quick breath, he gripped the water bottle tightly as he walked the short distance to the small table. Inhaling slowly, his stomach growled loudly at the smell of the soup and grilled cheese. Setting the bottle on the table, he looked at the chair across from Dean. Flexing his fingers, he rubbed them against the palm of his hand as he glanced over at Dean a few times.

After taking a seat at the table and spreading the napkin out on his lap, he looked up at Naythin...and nearly knocked his chair over when he stood up fast, like it was going to help anything, when Naythin started to fall over backward. He breathed out a sigh of relief when Naythin caught himself and he slowly sat back down. He gave himself a mental shake as he turned his attention to the meal in front of him. He glanced up when he saw Naythin out of the corner of his eye but he wasn’t sitting down. He waited and watched Naythin, with one brow quirked upward, to see if Naythin was going to make a decision or not. “You know that’s yer chair, right?”

Naythin’s eyes shifted over to Dean without turning his head. “Oh, right.” Nodding quickly, he reached for the back of the chair and pulled it away from the table. Cringing when it scraped loudly against the floor. When it was out far enough, Naythin stepped in front of it and slowly lowered himself down onto the seat. His weight balanced on the balls of his feet. Leaning forward, he rested one arm on the table as he shifted on the seat turning slightly to one side so the majority of his weight was on one side of his ass and not both cheeks. His jaw clenched tight as he reached for the spoon, his fingers gripping it firmly so he wouldn’t drop it like he’d done earlier...yesterday...whatever.

Dean watched Naythin as he sat down and damn if he wasn’t trying to do it for him from across the table, nearly grinding his tailbone into the seat to try and get Naythin to swing his legs under the table more and relax back against the back of the chair. Oh yeah, this was proving to be conductive. Sure. NOT! He lowered his eyes to the bowl of soup in front of him though he still watched Naythin from the corner of his eye. “Baby, you don’t have to be so tense. No one is gonna hurt you. I swear.” He looked up at Naythin from under his brows. “I will kill anyone or any thing that even thinks about it.”

Blowing on the spoonful of soup, Naythin looked across the table at Dean. “S’not that.” Looking down at the spoon again, he raised it to his lips being careful to not open his mouth too far so as to not aggravate the split on his bottom lip. Okay, to be fair, he was still scared out of his mind. He was constantly checking the shadows, the hair on the back of his neck stood up when the furnace kicked in, his heart dropped to his stomach as he fought not to spin around to make sure no one was sneaking up on him. It wasn’t exactly something a person got over in a few days.

Lowering the spoon, he reached for one half of his sandwich. Tearing a small piece off, he pushed it past his lips. His eyes closed as he held it on his tongue. Dean always made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Chewing slowly, he tore off another piece. A little larger than the first.

Dean’s brows rose but he let Naythin eat in peace until his curiosity got the best of him and he lifted his eyes from his soup to look across the table at Naythin. “Then what is it?” he inquired, his hand pausing, his spoon filled with soup and half of his grilled cheese held in his opposite hand.

Naythin stopped mid chew. His mouth going dry. Forcing himself to swallow the half chewed piece of sandwich, he set the other piece back down on the plate, his now free hand going to his lap as he looked down into the bowl of soup. How do you tell your husband, you can’ sit right because of all the times you’ve been gang raped? Not only by men but other...things to the point that your own blood was used as lube. That was definitely not a conversation you had over dinner. Shifting his hips a little further to the side, Naythin sighed heavily. Raising his head, he looked across the table meeting Dean’s gaze. “I-I...It h-hurts t-to sit.”

Dean hoped like hell that the color didn’t just drain from his face like it felt like it had. Sure, Vanessa had said that Naythin had been used...raped...he knew that...but hearing it from your husband was a lot different from hearing it from some psycho possessed woman or the doctor or your own worst nightmares. He swallowed hard and nodded, lowering his eyes to his soup. “Oh.” What the hell do you say to that? “I’m sorry. I...I wasn’t thinkin’...” He gave his head a shake and turned his full attention to ripping the hell out of the poor toast and cheese with his teeth, like those helpless items of food were the cause of all their woes.

Naythin looked back down at his plate, his appetite not what it had been a few moments ago. He was hungry, his stomach demanding at least the grilled cheese sandwich. Leaning forward, Naythin slid his plate toward the middle of the table making it easier to use both hands to tear the sandwich into small pieces. When he’d polished off one half, he reached for the bottle of water, draining it in one long pull. Setting it down on the table, he stared at the other half of his sandwich. His fingers drummed nervously on the table top. Picking up the sandwich, Naythin wrapped it in his napkin and started to slowly get to his feet. “I’m...I’m gonna go to the couch.” Not waiting for Dean to respond, Naythin walked away from the table and over to the couch. Going to the far corner, he climbed onto the cushion, turning so his back was to the corner. Pulling his legs back, he crouched on the cushion. From where he sat, he could see the living room, the front door as well as the kitchen. Setting the napkin wrapped sandwich next to his foot, Naythin wrapped his arms around his legs resting his chin lightly on his knee.

The minute Naythin pushed his bowl back, Dean wanted to beat the shit out of himself for having such a big dumbass mouth. His lips parted to speak but he had a feeling that I’m sorry wasn’t going to bring Naythin’s appetite back. Shit. “Baby, I...I’ll put yer soup away in case you want it later.” He heaved a heavy sigh and, if Naythin hadn’t been sitting where he could see him, would have bashed his forehead again and again against the table top. His appetite was now completely gone as well so he figured he could clean up their plates and put away the leftovers. Pulling to his feet, he glanced at Naythin and his lips again parted to speak but he snapped his mouth shut before he said something to push Naythin further away. He busied himself with cleaning up and washing dishes. He did as he’d said and put Naythin’s soup away for later, along with the small amount that had been left in the pan.

Naythin watched Dean get up from the table clearing away their plates and going into the kitchen. His chest tightened when Dean was out of his sight even for the length of time it took him to open the fridge and close it again. Naythin was about to get up to go to him when he saw Dean walk back out and over to the table to wipe it off. Settling back against the couch, he watched Dean carefully. “Y-yer different.” Swallowing hard, he cleared his throat and tried again. Shaking his head, his eyes narrowed as he watched Dean stand to his full height and look over at him. “Yer...different.” His voice was stronger with no hint of the nervous stutter.

Dean quirked a single brow as he met Naythin’s gaze. “How so?”

Tightening his arms around his legs, Naythin shrugged. “Yer not…” Licking his lips, he frowned as he tried to find the right words. “Yer harder. It’s...I don’ know, I can’...ya don’ move as easily as before.”

Dean gazed at Naythin as he thought about that for a minute before lowering his eyes as he gave his head a shake and his attention to finishing up the kitchen. “I dunno wha’ you mean exactly,” he murmured. Three years of searching for the man you loved, who had been taken because you fucked up took a toll on a person. A big toll. Not as big as what Naythin had been through those three years but he’d lived through his own kind of hell.

Sighing, Naythin raised his head from his knees. Lifting one arm from around his legs, he ran his fingers through his hair to get it out of his face. “B-before, when you walked, ya didn’ make any noise. Now, I can feel yer steps on the floor.” They could walk through the woods on a hunt and if Naythin hadn’t seen Dean next to him, he never would have known the man was there. He never made a wrong step or so much as snapped a twig.

“Not really tryin’ to hide,” Dean responded as he looked up and met Naythin’s eyes with his own.

“I know.” Lowering his head again, Naythin sighed. “Neither one of us is the same anymore.”

“I spent three years tryin’ to find the man I love. Three years of blaming myself. Three years of dead ends and near misses. It’s not near the hell you went through but...it was hard.” He lowered his gaze and turned to toss the dishrag into the sink.

“Dean.” Sitting up, Naythin held his hand out. “C’mere. Please?”

Dean looked over at Naythin and wiped his hands on his jeans as he crossed the room over to the couch. He took Naythin’s proffered hand within his own and laced their fingers together the way they always use to. “What’s wrong, baby? Do you need more water?”

Squeezing Dean’s hand, Naythin made a point to not look at the bandages around his wrists. Which wasn’t exactly an easy thing to do considering how much area they covered. “It wasn’ yer fault. What h-happened that night at the bar.” Shaking his head, Naythin pulled his hand from Dean’s and wrapped his arm back around his legs. “I-I’m the one that screwed up.”

Dean shook his head. “No. It was my job to take care’a you an’ I messed up. I messed up big. I shouldn’t have let my guard down like that. I should have went lookin’ for you sooner. I should’a found you faster…” He sighed heavily and his head tipped forward on his shoulders, his chin nearly to his chest. “I fucked up. An’ the sad part is, yer the one who paid for it.” Lifting his head he looked Naythin square in the eyes. “It should’a been me.”

Lifting his head, Naythin gave it a hard shake. “No! I told you not to say that. The things He…” Biting his lip, Naythin lowered his eyes to the coffee table. “Jus’...d-don’t say that.” Sniffing softly, Naythin looked back up at Dean. “I never even made it into the bathroom that night.”

Dean huffed softly and his eyes squeezed closed before he let his head hang forward again, his chin pretty well against his chest as he stared unseeingly down at the floor. “I uh…” He huffed again. “Lotta good it did but...when we couldn’t find you...God, somewhere around the second or third day I jus’...I lost it an’ I just started killin’ stuff.” He gave his head a shake. “I didn’t care what it was. If it couldn’t help me, I killed it. Young, old…” He shook his head again and flexed his fingers, curling them into a tight fist, one that made the scars on his hands show up more prominently before relaxing his hands again. “There was an abandoned house...we heard you might be there...when we got there…” He huffed and gave his head a shake. “When I got there, it was fulla squatin’ Hunters. They said they chased out a nest of vamps.” He slowly lifted his head. “I killed ‘em all. Every last one of ‘em. Tag...when he got there and saw what I’d done…” He shook his head.

Naythin chewed on the inside of his cheek as he listened to Dean. He couldn’t blame Dean. If the situation had been reversed, Naythin would have done the same thing. When Dean told him about the Hunters and the abandoned house, Naythin’s eyes widened. His heart started hammering in his chest as he slowly lowered his arms down to his sides. He remembered that move. He remembered every single time they moved him. He wasn’t sure if telling Dean how close he’d been to finding him was such a good idea. It wasn’t like he could go back and kill the Hunters all over again. “I uh…” Nodding, took in a slow deep breath. “I was there. I remember that house. I’d been there.” Naythin had a feeling there’d been a lot more close calls than just that one.

Dean’s nostrils flared and his hands curled into tight, white knuckled fists at his sides while a muscle pulsed and twitched in his jaw as he ground his teeth practically to dust. A cry of rage and heartbreak pushed past Dean’s lips as he turned at the waist and, with that momentum behind him, punched the support beam with everything he had. He fell to the floor afterward, landing on his ass as he squeezed his eyes closed and lifted his hands, one of them bleeding, to his face, burying his face in his hands as he sobbed softly, his shoulders shaking.

Naythin jumped when Dean yelled. Scrambling backwards until he hit the wall, he didn’t move until Dean punched the beam in the middle of the living room. “Dean!” Everything that had happened over the past three years was forgotten in that one instance. Jumping to his feet, Naythin rushed to Dean’s side. Kneeling next to him, he slid one arm under Dean’s shoulders and pulled him tight to his chest. Lowering his head, he pressed his lips to the top of Dean’s head. “I’m here. I’m here.” Naythin had been moved everyday in the beginning. Sometimes twice a day. Even after he’d been told Dean was dead, they continued to move around. Never staying in the same place for more than a few days to a week.

Dean pulled his hands from his eyes so he could wrap his arms around Naythin and hold onto him as tightly as he possibly could. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Oh God, I’m so sorry,” he cried, the words almost unintelligible. He’d been so close and yet so far. It was one thing to think it, to believe it. But to know it was an altogether different thing, and it shattered whatever was left of the old Dean.

Naythin wrapped his arms as tight as he could around Dean’s shoulders. “It’s not yer fault. It’s not yer fault.” He’d never blame Dean for what happened. There was no way that would ever happen. Staying bent over with his lips peppering kisses on the top of Dean’s head, Naythin sat back on his heels pulling Dean onto his lap. It was a good thing the Hunters Dean had found in the house were dead. Naythin would have made it his personal mission to find and kill each and every one of them. How could they not know he was there? The house had been small. There weren’t too many places to hide him.

Dean let Naythin do whatever he wanted with him. Hell, he wouldn’t blame the guy if he told him to pound sand and that he never wanted to see him again. He half laid across Naythin’s lap with his arms wrapped around Naythin’s waist. He drew in a couple very shaky breaths and sniffled as he tried to reign in his out of control emotions. That had been a week into looking for Naythin, one week, God damnit! He ground his teeth so hard his jaw popped. The only satisfaction he could hold on to with that knowledge was that those stupid bastards were all dead. Take that, assholes, that’s from my husband. He’d thought it then but he felt it 100% now. He blew out another breath and drew in his next breath before clearing his throat so he could try and speak without sounded like the mess he was. “I uh...I had a machete in my hand already, thinkin’ I was gonna find a vampire nest. When I found those stupid sonsabitches instead I just...I did to them what I wanted to do to those fuckin’ blood suckers that had you. I was on my knees splattered with their blood, the walls sprayed with the stuff, when Tag found me. He thought that me an’ those sonsabitches had went up against the vamps but…” He swallowed hard. “When I told Tag what really happened he just...I dunno...stared at me for a few minutes. Whatever it was, whatever he was tryin’ to come to terms with or...I dunno...but when it passed or he’d made peace with it or whatever, he helped me burn the bodies an’ we promised we’d never tell anyone what’d really happened. Instead, when we checked in with Bobby we blamed it on the vamps.”

Naythin’s arms tightened around Dean as he listened. Blinking back the tears, a few managed to fall. Nodding, he pressed his lips to Dean’s head. It wasn’t like he was going to tell anyone what Dean had done. He understood why he’d done it. Why he’d...snapped. “How did you know it was vampire’s that had me?” It had taken Naythin a few days to figure it out himself. No one spoke to him except for Him and even then, Naythin didn’t see his face. The first time he bit him on the shoulder, it was so hard and...savage the fangs didn’t even register. He thought it was just some psycho that got off on biting people.

Dean shook his head. “How do we ever know anything?” He sniffled again. “There were a couple bars in the area that looked like someplace a vamp might hang out at so Tag and I went and asked around. Found out that there was a nest in the area...not that them idiots at the bar knew what they were tellin’ us, but we put two and two together. One of the waitresses happened to have a big mouth after sex, yeah Tag took one for the team, an’ we found out that one of the vamps had a mouth on ‘im an’ that they had a…” He huffed disgustedly. “A pet.”

Nodding, Naythin turned his head to the side resting his cheek against Dean’s hair. “It’s what he called me. His pet.” Shifting to one side, Naythin sighed softly. “I never should’a went outside. I should’ve came an’ got you.” Shaking his head, Naythin leaned forward as far as he could. “This is all m’fault.”

“No,” Dean retorted as he sat up and reached for Naythin, cupping one side of his neck while the other combed his fingers back through Naythin’s hair. “It’s not yer fault. You did nothing wrong. This...it’s my fuck up. Like I said, I screwed up. I should have kept a closer eye on you. I shouldn’t have relaxed. It’s my job to take care of you and I blew it. I...I blew it bad.” His tongue darted out, licking across his lips as he lowered his gaze briefly before lifting his eyes to Naythin’s again. “If...I dunno if yer even thinkin’ about anything like this right now but...if you decide at some point that you want a divorce,” he nodded, “I get it. It’s okay.”

Naythin’s heart stopped and he was pretty sure his blood stopped flowing in his veins as well. “D-Divorce? No! No...never. I’d never...God, Dean, I jus’ got you back. Why would I…? I don’ blame you. I never did. Not for a s-second.”

“You should,” Dean mumbled softly and tightened his arms around Naythin. “I love you so much...an’ m’so sorry this happened to you.” He hugged Naythin to him as tightly as he could as he squeezed his eyes tightly closed.

“I love you, too. I’d never blame you. There’s nothin’ you could say that would have me blame you fer what happened.” Naythin started to slowly run his hand along Dean’s side from his shoulder to his hip and back up again.

Dean heaved a heavy sigh and pulled his hand from the side of Naythin’s neck and used it to wipe the tear streaks from his cheeks and eyes. He cleared his throat again and blew out a breath. Naythin didn’t have to blame him, he blamed himself enough for both of them. “Did um...I know you said you never saw any women but...did Violet’s name come up? The doctor told me where some of the uh...bite marks are and...and they match mine, exactly.”

Naythin’s eyes widened at the mention of the female vampire’s name. Psychotic bitch was more fitting. “No.” Shaking his head, Naythin kept up the slow glide of his hand along Dean’s side. “Jus’ uh...Mommy Dearest. I don’ remember ever hearin’ her name.”

Dean froze, his back going ramrod straight. “Wait, what? He...this sonofabitch that did all this...he called Violet, Mommy Dearest? Or okay fine, someone Mommy Dearest?”

Naythin’s hand stopped just above Dean’s hip when he felt him tense under his hand. Slowly pulling it back, Naythin swallowed hard. “Y-yeah, yes.” Oh, shit. “H-he said Mommy D-Dearest had taught him well. I-I never knew what it meant. N-not like I was gonna ask Him.” Leaning back, Naythin pulled both arms from around Dean, his hands coming to rest on his thighs.

“Sonofabitch,” Dean growled. “Tag’s fuckin’ foster vamp…” He reached for Naythin’s hand and gave it a squeeze to let him know that he wasn’t angry with him and that he wanted him to stay next to him, even as he pulled his cell phone out of his jeans pocket. He pushed Tag’s number with his thumb before holding the phone up to his ear while it rang.

Tag reached over and grabbed his cell off the bench seat next to him. “This is Tag,” he responded, not having looked at the caller ID since he was driving.

“Tag, yer fuckin’ foster vamp kidnapped an’ raped my husband,” Dean roared into the phone.

Tag had to pull the cell away from his ear, and even with doing that his ear still rang some. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. Who said Dayton was involved? Did Naythin say that? He saw him?”

“No, he didn’t see him, you dumbass,” Dean spat disgustedly, “But, who else calls that violet eyed bitch, Mommy Dearest?”

Tag swore under his breath and his grip tightened on the phone in his hand, he was going to kill Dayton, literally.

“Yeah, exactly. You better go kill that sonofabitch or I will!” Dean didn’t wait for Tag’s response, ending the call and tossing the phone up onto the couch before wrapping that arm around Naythin’s shoulders and pulling him in close.

Each time Dean yelled, Naythin flinched; his muscles locking up. He hadn’t meant to make Dean mad. He’d asked about Violet. Naythin told him what he knew, that’s all. When Dean ended the call and threw the phone on the couch, Naythin ducked, his eyes squeezing closed tight as he turned his head to the side. His free hand shooting up, his arm covering his face on instinct to block the punch that always followed.

When Dean finally realized what Naythin was doing, he shook his head, his eyes widening. “No, no, no, no. Baby, I’m not mad at you.” He cupped the side of Naythin’s neck, cradling the base of Naythin’s skull against his palm. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to the corner of Naythin’s mouth. “No, please, don’t be scared. Don’t be scared, baby.” He leaned in for another kiss, this time to Naythin’s lips. “It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m just ticked the hell off that this sonofabitch is actually the vamp kid that Tag raised because Violet was too busy being off her crazy ass rocker.”

Naythin slowly relaxed as Dean apologized. Lowering his arm, he blinked open his eyes. The muscles on his thighs trembled as he fought to not scramble away to the nearest corner to hide. He wasn’t scared of Dean. It was what Dean had done; throwing the phone on the couch. The movement of Dean’s arm had scared the hell out of Naythin. Nodding slowly, he leaned toward Dean. One hand reaching up wrapping his fingers lightly around Dean’s wrist. “Y-you really think he’d d-do that?”

Dean slid his hand back along Naythin’s skull until his arm was effectively wrapped around Naythin like his other arm was at his shoulder. He stopped for a second and really thought about what Naythin asked. “Honestly? I dunno. Tag uh…” He huffed disgustedly. “I can’t believe I’m actually gonna say this outloud.” He heaved a sigh. “Tag tried to teach Dayton how to use the fact that he was a vampire for good. To help people rather than being a monster. I guess that no matter what you try and teach ‘em, a monster’s a monster.”

Swallowing hard, Naythin turned to the side and leaned against Dean’s chest. His arms bent with the palms of his hands pressing against his shirt. “D-don’ be m-mad at T-Tag.” Shaking his head, Naythin tried to place the voices he’d heard on a daily basis. None of them had sounded familiar in any way. The few faces he saw were all strangers to him.

“I’m not,” Dean murmured, “Not really. I’m mad at Dayton...and at the fact that I actually let that little bastard live. I was gonna kill him back when he was just a kid but Tag begged me not to…” He heaved a sigh and gave his head a slight shake. He could kick himself for it now. If he would have gotten rid of that little bastard years ago, then none of this would have happened. Son. of. a. Bitch!

Naythin moved closer to Dean. Tucking his head under Dean’s chin. Closing his eyes, he could feel Dean’s heart pounding in his chest. He was trying to figure out why Dayton would do something like this, to him? With his hands pressed to Dean’s chest, Naythin could feel how tense Dean was. He was trying to keep his fear under control. To not pull away because Dean needed him. Dean came first. It had always been that way between them. Dean put Naythin first and Naythin put Dean first. It started really nasty fights a few times. They’d give their lives for the other without a moment's hesitation. “Wh-why would he d-do it? Wh-why would D-Dayton...hurt me like that? ”

Dean gave his head a slow shake. “I dunno, baby, I dunno.” Maybe Dayton went nuts like his mother had. Who knew being a psychotic vampire was hereditary? He had no idea if Desiree was crazy or not since she had been in a coma for the last ten or so years. He tightened his arms around Naythin and lifted a hand to comb his fingers through Naythin’s hair, over and over again. “Tag’ll find out what’s goin’ on. If it is Dayton, I’ll give him the chance to kill him himself, if not, I’ll do what I should have done years ago.”

If it was Dayton and Tag couldn’t take care of it, Naythin knew nothing would stop Dean from putting a bullet between Dayton’s eyes and taking his head. Naythin was quiet for a long while. He sat next to Dean, leaning against him. One arm wrapped around Dean’s middle, the other tucked up against Naythin’s chest. After some time, Dean’s heart stopping trying to pound its way out of his chest. The warmth from Dean’s body had relaxed Naythin. He was leaning heavily into Dean, his eyelids at half mast. It would have been easy for him to fall asleep right there. It didn’t matter he’d just slept for over twenty hours.

Dean sat there brooding silently and plotting a certain vampire’s slow and painful death. Slowly, he started to relax. At least they knew who it was now, killing Dayton wouldn’t be very hard. Tag knew exactly where he lived, where his home was located. Granted, Dayton didn’t run with a nest, which made what Naythin had endured, with a nest, seem at odds with how Dayton normally lived but, who else would refer to Violet as Mommy anything? Hell, Desiree didn’t even speak to Violet. Or at least she hadn’t been speaking to her before Desiree went into a coma. Dez had always been her Daddy’s girl, not her mother’s. It didn’t matter what had happened to change Dayton, all that mattered was the fact of what he’d done and the fact that Dean was going to kill the sonofabitch. He’d be lucky if Tag managed to do it before Dean ever had the chance to. God knows it would be more humane. Not that a vamp deserved such generosity, especially one who had raped and tortured Naythin for three fucking years. The thought had his arms tightening around Naythin as if they had a mind of their own. “I love you,” he murmured as he glanced down at Naythin.

Naythin startled when he heard Dean’s voice. It had been quiet for so long, he’d almost fallen asleep. Tightening his arm around Dean’s waist, he nodded against his chest. “Love you, too.” Taking in a slow deep breath, Naythin pulled his head back so he could look up at Dean. “I uh…” God, he hated this. “I need to get up. I need help.”

Dean’s brows rose and fell as he contemplated what exactly Naythin meant when he said he needed help. “Oh, sure, okay,” he agreed with a nod. Releasing his tight grip around Naythin, he shifted back a little so he wouldn’t knock into Naythin as he climbed to his feet. Once he was standing, he bent somewhat at the waist and offered Naythin a hand up.

Naythin had to move back as Dean stood to his feet. Okay, he’d hoped Dean would have waited but, he could do this. His legs were stiff, not exactly the first time but, they hurt a lot more than they had in a long time. Reaching up for Dean’s hand, Naythin gripped it firmly as he pulled his feet up under him. Groaning, he slowly stood, his knees and ankles aching, his left hip popping loudly. He swayed slightly before the dizziness faded and he was able to let go of Dean’s hand. “Thanks.” Nodding, he licked his bottom lip as he turned to look toward the bathroom. “I gotta go so…” Staring at the closed door, it took Naythin a full minute to work up the courage to look back at Dean. Even then, he couldn’t look him in the eye. “C-could you um...would you wait by the door?”

Dean started to reach for Naythin about a hundred times as he slowly pulled to his feet, but he kept telling himself to let Naythin do it, to not be so overprotective and to stop trying to baby him. He knew that if it were him, he wouldn’t want Naythin to baby him. Granted, he probably wouldn’t mind the over protectiveness. When Naythin’s hip popped loud enough that it nearly echoed inside the cabin, he couldn’t help the way he gripped Naythin just above the hip. He hoped like hell it didn’t scare him, but he could just see Naythin crashing and burning right there on the hardwood floor. When Naythin seemed to get his bearings and control of his equilibrium he slowly released Naythin’s hand as Naythin did the same. He still didn’t pull fully back until Naythin seemed to be stable enough that he wasn’t afraid that the guy was going to fall in the next second. When Naythin looked toward the bathroom and then said that he had to go, he stepped out of the way, thinking that maybe he was blocking Naythin’s path. The request to wait by the door had Dean eyeing Naythin for a minute to see if he was joking or not. When he was fairly certain that Naythin was serious he nodded. “Yeah, sure,” he responded with another nod.

Nodding, Naythin turned without saying anything and headed for the bathroom. As he reached the far wall, he raised his hand to brace against it. He was a little steadier on his legs than he’d been when they’d made a run for it the day before from the hospital. Once inside the bathroom, he closed the door, leaving it open just enough so he could see Dean as he leaned against the wall. It wasn’t like Naythin wanted Dean to hear him taking a leak or anything. He still needed to see Dean. To know he was there and that Dean would be there when Naythin was finished.

Standing in front of the toilet with the seat raised, Naythin shoved the waistband of his sweats down just enough to free his dick. Without looking down at it, Naythin took hold of the base. Leaning forward, bracing his free hand on the wall, he closed his eyes bracing for the pain. Four days of drugs didn’t do shit. It still felt like he was pissing fire. Biting the inside of his cheek to silence the groan, he dropped his head to his chest. When he was finally done, he blew out a long shaky breath and pulled his sweats back up. Shuffling sideways to the sink, he washed his hands. When he was done, he stared down at the running water as it splashed over the backs of his hands. He’d never take hot water for granted again. Ever. Finally turning the water off, he dried his hands on the towel hanging next to the sink. Pulling the door open, Naythin lowered his eyes to the floor, his head bowed slightly as he walked past Dean and over to the couch.

Dean pulled away from the wall when he heard the water running in the sink, though he remained outside the bathroom door, just like he’d said he would do. When Naythin came out, he’d expected anything but what happened. He followed after Naythin and in two long strides managed to grab his hand and pull him to a stop. “Hey,” he murmured softly. He didn’t say more until Naythin looked back at him. He slowly shook his head as his eyes searched Naythin’s. “You don’t have to be embarrassed about anything around me. I love you. This...we’ll get through it. I’ll do whatever I need to.” He nodded to his own words. “So uh…” he glanced down at Naythin’s crotch and looked back up at him. How the hell did you ask a guy if his dick was healing okay? “The uh...bite...is it...y’know...um...is it getting better?”

Naythin looked down at Dean’s hand, his heart started pounding. He had to fight to not pull his hand away and back away. Looking up at Dean, Naythin listened. He couldn’t look Dean in the eye. It was embarrassing having to ask your husband to stand outside the bathroom while he took a leak. When he asked about the bite on his dick, Naythin wanted to crawl under the nearest rock. His head dropped, chin nearly to his chest, eyes locked on the section of floor between his bare feet. “Don’ know. I guess.” It wasn’t as if he’d looked or anything. He had a bandage on the bite on his neck and the three on his chest. Other than that, he had no idea about the other ones. He knew there were bite marks on his shoulder but they were old and scarred.

Dean gave a slow nod of his head. He had to admit to not really wanting to look down at his own junk when it’d been healing after Violet. But, Tag had forced him to keep it medicated so it was kind of hard not to see it when he put the medication on it...of course he did try and tell himself that it wasn’t really his dick. “If um…” Okay, this was almost worse than asking about whether he was healing or not. “I dunno what the doc gave you but...I know how it needs to be put on...how thick or whatever...I mean, if he gave you a cream...I dunno, I haven’t checked.”

Shrugging his shoulder, Naythin kept his head down. “I don’ know what the doctor gave me.” The last thing he wanted was for Dean to see the scars on his dick and balls. Naythin didn’t even want to see them.

“You uh...the nurse never…? Oh, the sedative...yeah…” Dean mumbled and looked at the floor too. “Tag uh...after he found me an’ cleaned me up he uh...there was a salve that went on the bite…” He cleared his throat and kept his gaze on the floor. He laced his fingers with Naythin’s tight enough that their palms touched as he gave Naythin’s hand a gentle squeeze and lifted his eyes to Naythin’s face, or what he could see if it. “Jus’...if you need anythin’…any help...I’m here...”

Nodding, Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand in return. Licking his lips, he shifted his weight back and forth on his feet. “I...I think I’m gonna go lay down.” Pulling his hand from Dean’s, Naythin walked over to the couch. He found the water bottle he’d been drinking out of before and quickly picked it up. Walking around the couch, he picked up the wrapped grilled cheese sandwich and hid it in the pocket of his sweats. Turning, he walked toward the bedroom pushing the door open all the way as he entered. Stopping next to the pile of blankets on the floor, he turned around. Lifting his head just enough to see out into the living room, Naythin made sure he could see the couch, front door, TV, as well as part of the kitchen table. Nodding to himself, he bent at the waist, picked up one of the blankets as well as the sheet and tossed them on the bed. Lowering himself onto the one blanket that was left, he pulled the sandwich out of his pocket and tucked it under one corner of the blanket. Laying on his side, Naythin set the water bottle as close to his chest as he could and pulled his knees up to his chest.

Dean watched Naythin as he pulled away and went to the couch and gathered up the bottle of water and the sandwich he’d seen Naythin wrap up earlier. He’d been about to ask Naythin if he wanted him to take those and put them in the fridge, as he walked back toward him, only to have Naythin walk on past him and into the bedroom. Uh...okay… He’d told Naythin he could have anything he wanted, both to drink and to eat. He watched Naythin get himself situated before slowly pulling his gaze away and heading for the couch. He could probably pass out now himself after not having slept more than a total of three to four hours after three years of cat napping here and there, but he didn’t think Naythin would welcome the company. When his eyes swept to the side, they widened as he remembered Naythin’s pills. He quickly went to the counter and took out all the pill bottles and tossed the bags in the trash. Reading the labels, he shook out an antibiotic, a muscle relaxer and a pain pill and carried them into the bedroom. “Baby,” he called softly, tentatively, “You need to take yer pills before you go back to sleep.”

Naythin tracked Dean’s movements as he walked over to the couch then into the kitchen. He’d started to get up only to hesitate when he heard the rustling of the pharmacy bags and the sound of pill bottles being opened and closed. Pushing up on one hand, Naythin held his free hand out for the pills. Opening his mouth carefully, he picked up the water bottle. Using his teeth, he opened the top and only drank enough water to swallow the pills without choking. Lowering the bottle, he closed it and laid it on the blanket next to him. “Are you gonna sleep in here?”

Dean wasn’t sure what the answer should be to Naythin’s question. He’d ask him if it was a trick question, but he had a feeling Naythin wouldn’t find it very funny, at least not anymore. “If you still want me to I will...but if you don’t want me to, it’s okay. Jus’ say the word an’ I’ll camp out on the couch.” He didn’t want Naythin to think he was mad or anything. Either way, he could make due. He doubted he’d sleep much anyway. “Do uh, do you want another sleeping pill?”

If Dean slept on the couch, Naythin would sleep next to him on the floor. He needed to be in the same room with him; to know Dean was there. Nodding slowly, Naythin raised his hand to brush the hair out of his eyes. “Yeah. The doctor said I should take ‘em.” No nightmares was the only upside to taking the sleeping pills. The down side, and there were a boat load of them, Naythin didn’t hear anything.

Dean nodded. “I’ll go get you one an’ come to bed. I uh…” He turned slightly on the heel of one foot to look at the bed and back to Naythin. “I guess I’m sleepin’ in the bed.” It really wasn’t a question. Not when it was so obvious. “I’ll go get that pill,” he murmured before turning and walking back out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.

When Dean left the room, Naythin pushed to his feet and walked to the door. Leaning against the door jamb, he could hear Dean opening the bottle of sleeping pills, shake one out and close the bottle again. The sudden darkness from Dean turning the kitchen light off had Naythin scrambling to find the light switch for the bedroom. Once he had the light on, he closed his eyes as he tried to get his breathing under control.

Turning, Dean headed for the bedroom and nearly ran right into Naythin. “Whoa, baby.” He chuckled lightly. “Didn’ know you were there. Here’s yer pill,” he murmured as he handed over the pill. He looked past Naythin into the bedroom and back at Naythin again. “Everything okay?” He didn’t bother to mention the bedroom light now being on.

Nodding quickly, Naythin took the pill and put it in his mouth. Turning back to the blanket on the floor, he lowered himself down onto it. Picking up the water bottle, he opened the top and raised it to his lips. Swallowing the pill and a small sip of water, he closed it and lowered the bottle to the blanket. “You turned the kitchen light off. I couldn’t see you.” He hated how pathetic he sounded. Had to have a light on, had to be able to see Dean all the time. He hated it.

Chapter Text

Dean gave a slight nod to Naythin’s explanation. Stepping to the side, he sat down on the edge of the bed. “Did you keep a blanket to cover up with?” He hated the fact that Naythin was sleeping on the floor rather than in the bed. With a heavy sigh of resignation he nodded and pulled to his feet. He walked over and picked up his two pillows and the knife beneath them and turned, tossing them both on the bed. He walked the short distance to the bed and righted the pillows, slipping the knife beneath them. Naythin still had two pillows down on the floor, but that didn’t mean that Dean didn’t feel guilty as hell taking his from Naythin’s pallet on the floor. Turning, he sat back down on the side of the bed. “Are you sure you won’t change yer mind an’ sleep up here with me?”

Naythin watched as Dean picked up two of the pillows and tossed them on the bed. The flash of the knife blade has his hands balling into tight fists as he took a step back before catching himself and forcing himself to stay where he was. His nostrils flared as he exhaled a long shaky breath. It’s Dean. He’s not going to hurt you. You know he sleeps with that knife under his pillow. When Dean sat on the bed, Naythin started walking from the door to the blanket. He stopped at the edge, his fingers relaxing, opening to loose fists. “I can’t. I can’. N-not yet.” Lifting his arms, he crossed them over his chest.

Dean nodded and hung his head a moment. It was probably better that he sleep in the bed rather than with Naythin on the floor, this way he wouldn’t accidentally try and hold Naythin in the night. If he slept anyway. “Yeah,” he murmured softly, “Okay.” Lifting his head, he pulled to his feet and headed for the bathroom so he could make his bladder happy before getting into bed.

Naythin blinked rapidly, the sting of tears had him ducking his head and turning it to the side as Dean walked past him. Counting Dean’s steps, Naythin turned as he walked into the bathroom. Going to the bedroom door, he leaned against the door jamb and waited. He’d heard the disappointment in Dean’s voice and it cut deeper than any knife blade could. Naythin wanted to lay next to Dean, he wanted to wrap his arms around him and hold him as close as he could. He just couldn’t do it. It was too soon. He was trying. God, he was trying so hard. Crossing his arms over his chest, Naythin hugged himself as he waited for Dean to finish in the bathroom.

Dean quickly took care of business and flushed the toilet. Walking over to the sink he turned on the water and washed his hands. Turning off the faucet, he reached for the towel to dry them on only to pause as he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror. Had he really gone three years avoiding mirrors, not wanting to look at himself? He was a lot thinner than he’d been three years ago. But with that came the fact that his muscles were more well defined. At least there was that, so he didn’t look sickly anyway. His t-shirt was actually a little tight through the shoulders now, though he ignored it. Turning his eyes away he tossed the towel back onto the counter now that his hands were dry and headed for the bathroom door. Pulling the door open he walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom; or at least he had been heading into the bedroom only to stop short when he nearly plowed into Naythin again. He instinctively reached out for Naythin, grabbing him in his arms before Naythin had the chance to fall over backward. “Whoa.”

Naythin had been looking down at the floor when he heard the bathroom door open. He barely had time to lift his head and push away from the bedroom door when he felt hands grab his arms. Twisting away, he raised both his arms as he ducked his head to the side. His back slamming against the bedroom door. “S-sorry. I’m sorry.”

Naythin twisted out of his grasp and before he had the chance to grab for Naythin again his back hit hard against the bedroom door. “Baby, shit,” he murmured as he stepped over to Naythin and grabbed him again, this time more gently since there was no danger of him falling what with his back up against the bedroom door. “Are you alright? It’s okay. There’s nothin’ to be sorry for. I didn’t mean to scare you, I jus’ didn’t want you to fall.”

He tried to pull his arms away again. His elbows hitting the door hard when Naythin ran out of room. His arms started to shake as Naythin forced them down to his sides. His head still turned to the side not meeting Dean’s eyes. When Dean asked him if he was okay, Naythin’s knees gave out as he sank down to floor. Raising his arms to cover the top of his head, Fingers curling around fistfuls of his hair as silent sobs wracked his body, his shoulders shaking with each one.

When Naythin slid down the door, Dean’s whole body tensed and he quickly lowered himself down with Naythin, crouching down in front of him. “Baby,” He reached a hand toward him tentatively and laid it on one shoulder. “Baby? Baby, c’mere,” he coaxed, his fingertips pressing lightly against Naythin’s shoulder in an attempt to get Naythin to come to him. He’d pushed too hard. Damn it to hell, he’d pushed too hard. Good job, Winchester. Sonofabitch!

Flinching at the light touch to his shoulder, Naythin cried harder. He wasn’t okay. Naythin doubted he’d ever be okay again. “M’sorry.” he managed to get out between sobs. “M’not...m’not okay. Never gonna be okay. Not after…” Shaking his head, he turned his face away from Dean, pressing his head against the hard wood door.

Dean slowly lowered himself down onto his ass and urged Naythin to join him instead of being in the tight ball he was in against the door. “Tell me what happened,” he urged softly. He wasn’t sure if either one of them were truly ready for this but it was obvious that Naythin needed to unburden himself at least somewhat, and it wasn’t like there was a survivors of vampire sex torture support group out there. God, he should have brought the whisky in from the trunk. Shit.

It took a couple minutes for Naythin to be able to pull himself together enough to push himself away from the door and move next to Dean. He kept his head down, eyes to the floor as he tucked his legs underneath himself. Leaning against Dean’s shoulder, Naythin raised a hand, running it down his face to wipe away the tears. Blowing out a long shaky breath, he lowered his hand back to his lap. Moving his left hand to the top of his thigh, Naythin stared down at his wedding ring. It was covered with scratches and deep gouges. If he got a good look at himself, Naythin wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t in the same shape. Flexing his fingers, he sniffed quietly. “I fought in the beginning. After I came to, I fought hard. Took a few down at first until...until He stepped in and knocked me out with one hit. He’s strong. Scary strong. When I woke up again, I was tied to a bed. The...the nightmare I had in the hospital?” Nodding, Naythin sniffed again. “Th-that was the first time. He...he bit the back of my shoulder.” Lifting his right hand, Naythin reached over his shoulder, his fingers pressing on the scar. Even with his shirt covering it, he knew exactly where it was.

“Violet was strong...just like that. She took me out with one hit. I saw her crush a guy’s skull once, with jus’ one hand. I still don’t get how Dayan could have fallen for a creature like that,” Dean scoffed softly as he gave his head a shake. His hand lifted to the area where Naythin had touched, the area that sonofabitch had bitten him, and he laid his hand against it. He would have kissed the spot if he didn’t think Naythin would come unglued.

To his credit, Naythin didn’t pull away. He did, however, tense and bow his back, pulling his shoulders away from Dean’s hand. As soon as he did it, he hated himself for it. He knew it was Dean’s hand. He knew Dean wouldn’t hurt him. “Sorry. I know it’s you.” Shaking his hand, he bit his top lip, chewing on the corner before letting it slip free. “They moved around a lot. It took ‘em a couple days to figure out I wasn’t going to stop fighting before they started to uh...before they started feeding off me. At first, He was the only one but later, He’d let others do it to keep me weak so it’d be easier to move me around in the van.” If Naythin never rode in another van for the rest of his life, he could die happy.

Dean pulled his hand off Naythin’s shoulder, his fingers curling into a fist in the air before he dropped his hand to his side. “It’s okay,” he murmured. “What uh...what did he look like?” He knew what Dayton looked like so if the descriptions matched it was a safe bet, along with the Mommy Dearest bit, that they’d found their vamp.

Naythin leaned against Dean’s side when he asked what He looked like. Closing his eyes, Naythin took in a slow deep breath and let it out immediately. He didn’t have to try too hard to picture the vampire that held him. The second his face appeared, Naythin started to shake. His whole body trembling with fear. “He uh…” Swallowing hard, he gave his head a quick shake. You can do this. Just tell Dean. You can do this. “Black hair but, he had um…” Lifting his hand, Naythin slid a section of his bangs through his fingers. “It was dyed.” Bunching his eyebrows, he tried to find the word for what color it had been. “Purple but not.” Shaking his head, he sighed heavily. “Young. He looked like he was in his twenties. I don’ know. Hard to tell with vampires.”

The black hair Dean could go along with but a purple patch in his hair? No. Not that he knew of, Dayton didn’t go for the punk vamp look. Shit, did Violet pop out another kid that they didn’t know about? How the hell long had Dayan gone to ground before Violet was finally...supposedly...was killed? Lifting a hand, he ran it down his face. Shit. Shit. Shit. “That doesn’t sound like Dayton, not unless he has really gone off the rails. Dayton was more...the vampire next door type...for lack of a better word, or term. He wasn’t flashy. Hell, if you didn’t know that he was a vamp you’d never think he was. He just...I dunno, I guess maybe some of Dayan was in there after all.” He reached for Naythin’s hand and barely touched it with his fingertips. “Can I hold yer hand?”

Opening his eyes, Naythin glanced quickly to the side when Dean asked to hold his hand, Nodding, Naythin slid his hand across his thigh, his fingers grazing over the back of Dean’s hand before he wrapped his fingers around it. “He uh...He had these necklaces he wore all the time. One was um...really long. He’d wrap it around my throat and pull back when…” Closing his eyes, Naythin gave his head a hard shake.

Dean couldn’t help the fact that his brain wanted to know when what? thankfully however, he kept it to only his brain and didn’t actually speak the words, it was obviously not something Naythin was ready to share. He tightened his grip on Naythin’s hand briefly. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” he soothed softly. He paused a few minutes to let Naythin gather himself a little. “Did um,” God, this was going to sound so horrible, “Did he ever talk about me, or Tag?” If it was Dayton, he couldn’t imagine him not mentioning at least Tag. Hell, Dayton knew that if he ever crossed the line that Dean Winchester would be there to send him straight to Hell with his Mother and Father.

“He knew ‘bout you. He knew about...everyone. Tag, Bobby, Ellen...you. It’s why he took me. Said it was revenge. So you’d know what it was like to lose someone you loved.” As long as Naythin lived, he’d never forget hearing those words whispered into his ear. “He said he did it so you’d hurt like he did.” Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand tight, pulling it close so the back of Dean’s hand was pressed hard to the middle of Naythin’s chest.

Dean heaved a sigh of frustration, the minute he thought that maybe it wasn’t like Dayton it suddenly switches to sounding just like Dayton. He’d been his Mommy Dearest’s pride and joy. He’d worshipped the ground his Mother walked on. Even after what she’d done to him, Dayton had still stuck up for his Mother saying that with Dayan gone she was lonely and wanted companionship. Companionship!? She raped him! “What um...what else?” He didn’t know the correct way to get someone to talk about something like this. Hell, he couldn’t even remember how Tag got him to tell him everything that Violet had done to him, but he had. He figured that if you wanted to shrink him about it, he’d probably blocked it from his mind so he could pretend that it didn’t happen. That he hadn’t confessed to his best friend that some vampire bitch had raped him. Yeah, that wasn’t really one of those Miller Time conversations.

What else? Oh, shit. Clearing his throat, Naythin sat up as straight as he could, his chest was constricting making it almost impossible to breathe. “He uh...at first, He wouldn’t let anyone else…” Fuck, he was going to be sick. Swallowing numerous times, he stopped his stomach from trying to lose what little it had in it. “He wouldn’t let anyone else...touch me. Said he wanted to have all the fun and didn’ wan’ to share.” Huffing, Naythin gave his head a slow shake. “Yeah, it didn’t last long. He’d have others come in and hold me down at first. Then he started lettin’ the others feed off me. One at time then two...three...I lost count after a while. After that…” Naythin dropped his head, his chin nearly touching his chest. “After that, he let ‘em all take turns. One at a time, two...three. They’d keep going until I passed out. The more I screamed an’ begged, the more they did.”

Dean was getting confused. He thought that Naythin meant that they’d raped him. He was pretty sure that was what he was saying, but the last thing he’d actually said was about feeding off of him. He debated on whether he should just nod along and pretend he understood or actually ask. Shit. Where was Dr. Phil when you needed him? “Uh...feeding on you? You mean two or three...feeding on you?” He swallowed hard and tensed. He gave Naythin’s hand a gentle squeeze. “If...if you don’t wanna talk about it…”

Lifting his right hand, Naythin reached up and pulled the bandage off the side of his neck exposing the bite marks over his vein. “Feeding on me until I almost passed out. I did a few times. I wasn’t sure if it was from pain or lack of blood.” Dropping the bandage on the floor, he raised his hand to his chest gliding his fingertips over the three other bandages. “They uh...they didn’t feed off m’chest much. He did it himself. The other places, my neck, my thighs and...um...my dick. That’s...that’s where they fed mostly.”

If Dean had tensed before he just became a statue. “Yer…” He lifted a hand and ran it down his face, cupping it ever his mouth briefly before finally allowing it to fall to his lap. “The doc only mentioned one set of bites.” Yep, he was going to kill himself some vampires.

Nodding, Naythin lowered his hand from his chest, his fingers resting lightly on the top of his thigh. “I guess there’s only one. It happened more than once.” He was shaking all over again. A thin layer of sweat broke out over his skin as the memories came flooding back. Pulling his hand from Dean’s, Naythin lurched to his feet and started pacing the room from the blanket he’d been sleeping on to the closet and back. His arms crossed over his chest as he hugged himself as tight as he could.

Dean quickly bounded to his feet when Naythin stood and he stepped in front of him stopping his pacing. He wrapped his arms around Naythin as he stepped into him and pulled Naythin in against his chest. “It’s okay. Yer okay. I’m sorry,” he murmured gently, his voice barely a whisper.

Shaking his head, Naythin let it fall forward, his forehead resting heavily on Dean’s shoulder. “The shit He did to me. What they all did.” Shaking his head harder, Naythin slowly lowered his arms and wrapped them around Dean’s waist. “I couldn’t stop it. I tried. God, I tried so hard. They’d...every time I fought, it would get worse. Even if I just looked away or moved wrong I’d get whipped bloody until I passed out or He’d let ‘em all take turns fucking me. They didn’t care if I was conscious or not.”

“Sonofabitch,” Dean whispered half under his breath. His eyes squeezed tightly closed and he let his head hang loosely on his shoulders, his chin toward his chest and his forehead lightly resting against Naythin’s shoulder. Yeah, he’d known Naythin had been raped and he’d known it was more than once. But all of them...he hadn’t been ready for that revelation. He’d asked for it though. Sonofabitch. It was the only thing he could say or think at the moment.

Sliding his hands up Dean’s back, Naythin fisted the material, his knuckles and the tips of his fingers turning white. Tightening his arms around Dean, he squeezed his eyes closed tight. “I came to after He’d beat the hell outta me an’ I had the cuffs an’ collar on. They’d chained me to the floor. I couldn’t stand. I could barely sit up. They used the chains to lead me around when the nest moved. The first time I saw the cage in the back of the van, I stopped. I wouldn’t go in it. I knew if I did, I wouldn’t have any chance of getting away. I still planned to get away. Even when I could barely move after they’d fed on me. I didn’t stop looking for openings. That cage...fuck. It just…” Shaking his head, Naythin bit his lip until he tasted blood.

“It’s okay,” Dean shushed gently as he ran a hand lightly up and down Naythin’s back, “It’s okay, angel, s’okay.” Everything that Naythin said had him seeing red, and he had to force himself to stay with Naythin and not take off to find the nest.

Lowering his arms from Dean’s back, Naythin pulled away. Shaking his head, he raised on hand running his fingers through his hair repeatedly. Stepping back, he started pacing again. He had to move. He couldn’t stand still anymore. Grabbing a fistful of his hair, Naythin held it out away from the side of his head for a second before letting it fall. “They only cut m’hair a few times. Said they liked it long. Gave ‘em something to hang on to. They’d uh...they’d pull on my beard. S’why it’s so long. Or...why it was long. If I turned away or didn’t move fast enough.” Stopping in the middle of the room, Naythin crouched down, his fingertips resting lightly against the wood floor. “I can’ get his voice outta m’head. I can still hear him.” Lifting one hand, he tapped his finger against his temple. Lifting his head, he didn’t try to stop the tears that slowly rolled down his cheeks. “Make it stop. Please, Dean. Ya gotta make it stop.”

Dean stood where Naythin left him and watched as he paced the room. He stayed quiet, mostly because if he said anything it would come out far too close to an animalistic growl, and he was pretty sure it would only wind up scaring Naythin more than he already was. He knew he couldn’t move because if he did he’d likely trash the place and then march out the door determined to hunt this sonofabitch down and kill him so slowly the fucker would beg him to finish him off...and then he’d deny the request and continue to torture him until his body finally, slowly, just gave out. He’d done it before, in Hell, sure they were human souls but how much different could they be from vampire ones? It was only when Naythin crouched down and looked up at him with tears rolling down his cheeks that Dean moved. He crossed the distance between them in two long strides and he crouched in front of Naythin and reached for him, pulling him into his arms as his knee lowered to the wood floor. “I will make it stop, I will,” he soothed. “But...I gotta leave in order to do it.”

Naythin came close to crawling onto Dean’s lap when he crouched in front of him. Wrapping his arms around Dean’s back, he shook his head hard. “No. Please, don’ go. Don’ leave me. Please, Dean I...I can’ do this without you. I can’. M’not strong enough.”

Dean’s hands moved up to cup each side of Naythin’s face so he could search Naythin’s eyes with his own. “Do what? Baby, yer safe. Yer home now, an’ yer safe. It’s okay. No one is gonna let anything happen to you. Not ever again. I am not gonna let anything happen to you. I’ll die before I let anyone or any thing hurt you again.” He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Naythin’s lips as he leaned his forehead against Naythin’s. “Yer a lot stronger than you think you are.”

“M’safe because yer here. If you leave…” Moving his head to the side, Naythin lowered it onto Dean’s shoulder. “If you leave, I could lose you again. I can’ lose you again. I won’ make it if I lose you again.” Naythin came close to drinking himself to death when Dean went to Hell. If he’d been given the chance, he’d have let the vampires kill him after He told him that Dean was dead.

Dean allowed his hands to slip from Naythin’s face when he moved his head to the side. He wrapped his arms around Naythin and held him tightly against him. “Okay,” he whispered, “Okay. I won’t leave.” For now. If Tag didn’t take care of this sonofabitch soon, he might have to go back on his word, which was something he hated to do. “It’s okay, baby, s’okay.”

When Dean said he wouldn’t leave, Naythin leaned heavily against him. The side of his head resting against Dean’s. “I can’ lose you. Not again. I won’ survive it. I love you so much.” Naythin’s words started to lengthen and become slurred as he stopped fighting the sleeping pill he’d taken earlier. He was exhausted; emotionally. He felt like a wet towel that had all the water wrung out of it.

“S’okay. I’m here. M’right here. I love you too, m’angel. I love you so much,” Dean responded softly, “God, I love you too.” He fisted handfuls of Naythin’s t-shirt as he hugged him close, his eyes squeezed tightly closed and his forehead resting against the top of Naythin’s shoulder.

The tears started again when Naythin heard Dean call him my angel. He wasn’t anyone’s angel after what had happened to him. He knew Dean was just saying it to try and make him feel better. It wasn’t working. If anything, it tore Naythin apart. At one time, sure, he loved it when Dean called him his angel. Hell, it made him blush. BLUSH! A grown ass man as big as he was, who killed shit that gave people nightmares blushed like a twelve year old girl. It was damn embarrassing. Naythin gave a weak shake of his head, “M’not. M’sorry. M’sorry I’m not me. M’sorry.”

Dean picked his head up and pulled it back as he frowned confusedly, his brow creasing. He had no idea what Naythin kept apologizing for and what he said next was even more confusing. “What do you mean, yer not you?” He gave his head a shake. “I don’t follow.”

Groaning softly, Naythin pulled his head back. Taking one arm from Dean’s back, he raised his hand and slowly dragged it down over his face. It felt odd not having a beard. Sniffing softly, he looked down at the floor between them. “I’m…” Sighing, he swallowed hard, “I’m not me. I’m not like how I was before. Nothin’ use to bother me. Nothin’...scared me. Except losin’ you. Now, I...I can’ do anything. I can’ even be in a room alone without feelin’ like I’m gonna have a heart attack.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s normal, baby,” Dean responded gently. He lifted a hand and used it to cup the side of Naythin’s neck, letting his thumb brush along the line of Naythin’s jaw. “You’ve been through hell. Give it some time.” He huffed softly. “Don’t you remember how fucked up I was when I came back from Hell? I didn’t sleep, unless I drank myself unconscious. Different things scared the hell outta me. Weird ass things that shouldn’t of. I barely ate, unless you count the near liquid diet I was on. I was prob’ly puttin’ Jack, Jim and Jose’s kids through college all by myself.”

“I remember.” Naythin barely slept for a while after Dean got back. He felt like shit for acting the way he was. It wasn’t like he’d gone through what Dean had in Hell. It was Hell, for fuck’s sake. “I’m not sayin’ what...what happened to me is anythin’ like what you wen’ through. M’not tryin’ to compare it.”

Dean huffed softly. “No. I didn’t say you were,” he sighed in frustration. “I was comparing it. Like I said, you went through hell too, not actual Hell, hell but it was still hell. Point I’m tryin’ to make is that, yer still in there. You just gotta give yerself time.”

The nightmares were never going to go away. Naythin would be kidding himself if he even thought that for a second. Every once in awhile, Dean would still have night terrors about Hell. Usually, it was after a close call on a Hunt. “What...what if…” Shaking his head, Naythin started chewing on the inside of his lip. There was no what if. He as either a Hunter or he was dead. There was no getting out or retiring. There was no Hunters retirement home out there somewhere. This was all he had. He’d been born into it. It’s all he knew. If for whatever reason he couldn't get his shit together, death by monster was the only way out.

Dean shifted closer, if that were even possible and slid his hand from the side of Naythin’s neck to the back, cradling his skull in his palm. “What if what, baby?” he inquired softly. He leaned in and brushed a kiss across Naythin’s lips. “What’re you thinkin’?”

“Nothin’. It’s nothin’.” Shaking his head, Naythin let it drop to Dean’s shoulder again. “It’s not important.” Wrapping both arms around Dean’s waist, Naythin tried to force himself to relax as much as he could.

“Yeah well, if you wanna talk about it later, I’m always gonna be here,” Dean murmured. He wasn’t the slightest bit convinced, but he wouldn’t push, he’d already pushed enough. He just held onto Naythin, holding him as close as he could get him. Hell, if this was how Naythin wanted to sleep, he’d do it. “I gotcha. Everythin’s gonna be okay. Jus’ give it time. M’not gonna lie an’ say it’ll go away, Hell sure hasn’t but...in time it’ll get to be less an’ less. An’ I’ll do anythin’ to help you, you know that.”

“I know.” It hadn’t been any different with Dean. Naythin had been there even when Dean tried to push him away, Naythin didn’t budge. Sniffing quietly, Naythin shifted more of his weight onto his hip as he tried to get comfortable. It wasn’t working out too well. Sighing, he slowly pulled his head back. His hands sliding along Dean’s back stopping on his sides. “I need to lay down. M’tired an’ I’m hurtin’. I jus’ need to lay down.”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, okay. M’sorry I kept you up,” he murmured. “If...when you wanna come to bed...whenever it is...all you gotta do is say the word...or hell don’t,” he huffed softly and smiled just as softly, “You can just crawl in an’ surprise me.” He nodded again and slowly shifted to the balls of his feet so he could stand to his full height. “The pain pill I gave you a bit ago should help soon. If you need another one, yer allowed two you just hadn’t been takin’ more than one before.”

Naythin followed Dean as he stood to his feet. Reaching out for Dean’s hand as he swayed a little before the was steady again. He seriously needed to stop standing up so fast. The last thing he needed to do was fall and end up back in the hospital. No, thank you. Nodding slowly, Naythin made his way over to the blanket he’d slept on earlier. He thought about asking for another pain pill but didn’t want Dean to have to leave the bedroom again. Naythin was used to hurting. Not hurting felt...odd. When he was standing just at the edge of the blanket, he turned to face Dean. Squeezing his hand, Naythin looked around the room before slowly leaning in and kissing Dean lightly on the lips. “I love you. G’night, baby.”

“I love you too,” Dean murmured and leaned in to steal one more quick kiss. “G’night, angel...an’ yeah, yer still my angel. You’ll always be no matter what.” He made sure to add that to the end as fast as he could before Naythin had the chance to argue. He smiled gently and winked at him before he slowly started to back away as Naythin laid down. “If you need me, I’m right here.” He lifted a hand and jammed a thumb back over his shoulder toward the bed.

Naythin waited until Dean was laying down to check to make sure the half a sandwich he’d hidden earlier was still there. Nodding to himself, he slowly pulled it from under the blanket and moved it next to one of the pillows. Laying on his side, with his back to the bed, Naythin carefully unwrapped the sandwich and started to tear small pieces off. He chewed each piece carefully until there were only crumbs left on the napkin. Folding the napkin into a small square, he tucked it under the blanket under his pillow. Pulling his knees tight to his chest, Naythin wrapped his arms around his shins, tucking his chin and resting it on his knee. He stared out into the living room, his eyes locked on the front door. After several minutes, his eyes slowly closed, his breathing deepened and evened out as Naythin fell asleep.

Dean stayed in the bedroom from that moment on. He was glad he’d already checked all the doors and windows to be sure the salt lines hadn’t been broken and made sure that the locks were in place. He undressed quickly, stripping down to his boxers and a t-shirt before turning off the light and climbing into bed. He could see Naythin moving in the darkness but he could tell exactly what he was doing. As long as he seemed reasonably content he wouldn’t bother him. He stared at Naythin for a long time, it wasn’t until Naythin’s breathing had evened out and he was moaning and whimpering softly that Dean knew he had finally fallen asleep. Pulling the blanket up a little more, he hugged one pillow in his arms while his head lay on the other pillow and let his eyes slip closed. Within minutes, Dean’s breathing evened out, the lines around his eyes and across his forehead smoothing out as he relaxed, and he drifted off to sleep.

For the next week, Naythin did nothing more than sleep and eat. The sleeping pills kept the nightmares away. If he did dream, he didn’t remember them. A few times, he’d wake up and find Dean watching him from the bedroom door. Arms crossed over his chest looking like he wanted to kill something or...someone. When he’d see Naythin looking at him, Dean would slowly walk over and sit next to him and gently pull him in his arms.

Dean would change the bandages on his wrists and ankles while he slept. The wounds had healed enough so the bandages weren’t needed. Naythin couldn’t look at the marks the cuffs left. The couple of times he did, he’d started shaking as memories slammed into him. Showering was...heavenly. Everyday, Naythin would stay in the shower standing under the spray until he ran out of hot water. He didn’t look at himself when he washed. There was no need to. He knew he was covered in scars all along his back, ass, the underside of his ball sack and thighs. The front of his thighs had a few whips marks but those were mainly on either side of his dick. Naythin still refused to let Dean see him without clothes on. He’d dry off in the bathroom and get dressed before coming out. As much as he loved the long hot showers, Naythin still had to have Dean stand outside the bathroom door. By the time he pulled the shower curtain back and stepped out, he was a shaking mess because he hadn’t been able to see Dean.

He’d check each day to make sure he couldn’t get a firm grip on his beard at his cheeks or chin. He’d found his beard trimmer in his duffel bag one morning when he was getting clean clothes. Taking it into the bathroom, he trimmed his beard and mustache back until it was tight to his face. No one was ever going to lead him around by it again. His hair was still long. He’d been reluctant to cut it until the bite mark on his neck had healed. Now, it was only two pink dots on his neck. He was pretty sure the other bite marks looked the same. The ones on the inside of his thighs and along the vein on the underside of his dick had been used more often. It was His preferred place to feed. If Naythin thought about it too hard, he could still feel His lips against his skin and the steady pull as He fed. He’d end up running to the bathroom and throwing up the contents of his stomach into the toilet.

On the seventh day being at the cabin, Naythin slowly opened the bathroom door. Dean was leaning against the wall next to it, arms crossed over his chest staring at the floor. Clearing his throat, Naythin raised his hand, running his fingers through his still wet hair, he held the towel he’d used out to Dean. “Would you cut my hair?”

Lifting his head, Dean turned it toward Naythin, his eyes going from Naythin’s face to the towel and back. He loved Naythin’s hair, not quite this long, but long enough that he could comb his fingers through the soft locks. It was just another thing that bastard had taken away from them. After staring at Naythin, and not completely seeing him, as he thought about that, his vision slowly cleared from memories to seeing Naythin’s face. He gave a curt nod but didn’t trust himself to speak...again. He’d been having a lot of those moments since Naythin got out of the hospital, moments where he didn’t trust himself to speak, or in some cases to move an inch. Not that he would have yelled at or hurt Naythin, but he knew that yelling and punching anything around them still scared the hell out of Naythin and that was the last thing he wanted to do. While Naythin slept he would often sneak outside and scream and yell to the Heavens, kick at the stacked wood to the side of the cabin or throw whatever he could find as far as he could throw it and then come back inside feeling a little more relaxed, not much more...but a little. He reached for the towel Naythin was offering him and turned bodily toward Naythin. “You wanna do it in the bathroom?” His hair clippers were in there so it would be the easiest place.

Shrugging, Naythin glanced over his shoulder. “That’s fine. Whatever’s easier for you.” The longer Dean stared at him, the more anxious Naythin had become. He’d been about to tell Dean to forget about cutting his hair when he finally spoke up.

Dean nodded and jutted his chin toward the inside of the bathroom. “Let’s go on here,” he murmured. “Put the lid down an’ take a seat backward on the toilet so I can get to the back of yer head.”

Naythin stared at the toilet for a few seconds chewing on the inside of his lip. Dean would be between himself and the door. It would be okay. Nodding, Naythin turned and walked the few steps to get to the toilet. Lowering the lid, he slowly sat down facing the wall. Running the palms of his hands over his thighs, he blew out a long breath as he sat as tall and straight as he could.

Unplugging the hair clipper from its charging cable, Dean carried it over to Naythin. He placed a hand on Naythin’s shoulder and felt him tense. “It’s okay,” he murmured, “It’s jus’ me.” He knew he was going to hate himself later for this, but curiosity got the better of him. “Why...what happened like this that has you so jumpy, baby?” Curiosity killed the cat. Yep. Hopefully he had nine lives.

Shaking his head, Naythin sighed heavily. “Not like this. Jus’...anyone comin’ up behind me that I can’ see. I know yer there an’ I know it’s you. Touching me when I can’t see it coming, it uh...makes me nervous.” Scares the shit out of me.

Dean nodded but remained silent as Naythin explained the reason that he’d nearly went through the ceiling when he’d touched his shoulder. “Sorry,” he murmured gently, “I didn’t mean to scare ya.” He looked down at Naythin’s hair and shook his head. “I’m gonna need scissors first. Hold on, lemme run and grab the kit outta my bag for this thing, its got a pair of hair cuttin’ scissors in it.”

Lifting his hand, Naythin crossed his chest placing his hand on top of Dean’s and squeezing. “S’okay. I know you didn’t mean anything.” When Dean said he had to leave to get the scissors, Naythin’s grip on his hand tightened. “Um, okay.” Slowly pulling his hand away, he waited for Dean to do the same and turn to leave the bathroom. Naythin stood to his feet following Dean to the doorway and stopped just outside the bathroom. He could see into the bedroom and heard Dean unzipping his duffel bag.

Pulling his hand from Naythin’s shoulder, Dean turned and hurried out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. Walking over to his duffel bag, he crouched next to it and unzipped the bag. He had to rummage around a little because he hadn’t used the actual kit that the trimmers came in, in a while. Usually he just put the trimmer into his toiletry bag so it was there whenever he got ready in the mornings. Pulling the black bag out of the duffel he unzipped it and rummaged around inside it, pushing the attachments to the side as he dug for the scissors which were, of course, at the bottom. Pulling out the scissors, he zipped the kit and dropped it onto his duffel bag before pulling to his full height and heading back to the bathroom. He nearly collided with Naythin again as he reached the bathroom door and found him standing there. Sonofabitch! You’d think he’d of gotten use to Naythin standing there watching him, but nope, he hadn’t. “Whoa, sorry,” he murmured and flashed Naythin a slight smile. It was hard to smile around someone who was anything but happy. “You uh, you ready? I got the scissors.” He held up his hand that held the black and silver pair of shears.

Naythin didn’t jump back or flinch away when Dean stopped suddenly in front of him. That had to mean something, right? Nodding slowly, he ducked his head and walked back into the bathroom. Sitting back on the closed toilet lid facing the wall. Clearing his throat, Naythin sat as straight as he could with his shoulders back, his chin level with the floor.

Dean wasn’t sure how to do this as he stepped up behind Naythin. Naythin had told him that they had cut his hair every so often and a flashback to any memory of that hell was the last thing he wanted to do to Naythin. “If uh, if I do somethin’ wrong jus’ say so an’ I’ll stop.” He wasn’t sure if that really got the meaning across or not but, what was he supposed to say? If I make you think of the vampires that gang raped you let me know? Yeah, not so much.

Naythin gave a barely there nod of his head. His hands slowly gliding over the tops of his thighs. “Just...don’t pull. I’ll be fine ‘slong as ya don’ pull.” He was beginning to think this wasn’t such a great idea. Closing his eyes, Naythin took in several slow deep breaths filling his lungs as much as he could before exhaling. It was Dean. Just Dean. No one was going to grab onto his hair, wrench his head back and cut it with a knife. It was just Dean with scissors. Just. Dean.

Dean nodded to Naythin’s words. “No problem.” He hadn’t really planned on pulling Naythin’s hair anyway, contrary to Sam’s belief, he wasn’t seven. Lifting a chunk of hair he started sawing the scissors through it. Naythin’s hair was thick as hell so it took some doing just to cut off the handful of hair he’d held. He did it again and again until Naythin’s hair was finally all, more or less, the same length and instead of hitting his shoulders was up to his neck. The pile of hair on the bathroom floor looked like they’d been skinning a few thousand cats. “You still hangin’ in there?”

There were a few tugs that had Naythin’s heart jumping into his throat. He’d been able to keep from pulling away or twisting around so there was that. When Dean asked if he was okay, Naythin nodded slowly. “Yeah, I’m good. I’m...I’m good.” He could already feel a difference with the amount of hair Dean had cut off. The back of his neck felt cool for the first time in years. “Keep going. It’s okay. I want it short.”

Dean nodded and stopped himself from complaining. It was only hair and Naythin had been through way too much to expect him to keep it, even if he liked to play with it. Blowing out a breath, Dean nodded again. “Yeah, okay.” He continued cutting the long locks of hair until it was tight to Naythin’s head. Once he couldn’t cut it any more, he took a step back and reached for the clippers he had put aside on the counter. Trading the scissors out for them, he turned on the motor; in doing so the clippers made a loud sound like a clap before they began buzzing. “Okay, don’t move, alright? Otherwise yer gonna wind up lookin’ like Buddha without the fat belly.”

For the first time in three years, Naythin smiled. Huffing softly, he shook his head. “Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”

Dean scoffed. “You keep shakin’ yer head an’ yer gonna find out,” he teased, the smile...the SMILE...in Naythin’s voice unmistakable.

Chapter Text

Slowly, Dean pushed the clippers through what was left of Naythin’s hair. It had gotten dark without exposure to the sun, so the fact that the tightly buzzed hair was darker than he’d ever seen Naythin’s hair before wasn’t quite so surprising. “Never really noticed how dark yer hair was before,” he mused softly, and somewhat distractedly as he paid close attention to what and how short he was cutting.

Shrugging one shoulder, Naythin had to remind himself to not lift his hand and run it over the top of his head. Not yet, anyway. “Lightens up when I’m outside.” Any trace of the small smile that he’d had just moments before was gone. His shoulders tensed, back muscles rock hard as he balled his fingers into tight fists on his thighs.

Shit. “Yeah, I know,” Dean murmured. “Sorry, I just...I dunno...I guess I was tryin’ to make conversation. I wasn’t tryin’ to make you think of...there. M’sorry.” Dean was nearly finished, he just had to make a few more passes along the edges to make sure Naythin had an even cut without any long stragglers left behind.

Naythin waited for Dean to finish with the clippers. After he’d turned them off, Naythin raised his hand to run over the top of his head and down the back of his neck. Any shorter and he’d be bald...like Buddha. It was what he wanted…needed right now. Maybe someday he’d let it grow out again. He waited for Dean to step aside before standing and backing away from the toilet. Walking over to the mirror, he gasped softly. Lifting his hand again, Naythin raked his fingers through the short spikes on the top of his head. Holy hell, he still looked like shit. The bruise over his eye and cheek was barely visible. Now just a sickly faint yellow. The swelling was gone but his cheek didn’t look...right. His right eye lid dropped more than the left side and the apple of his cheek wasn’t as pronounced as the other. How many times had it been broken?

Swallowing hard, Naythin lowered his arm to his side. His eyes flicked to the side meeting Dean’s reflection in the mirror. “I know you like it long.” Shaking his head, Naythin licked his bottom lip, sucking it in between his teeth before letting it slowly slip free. The split in his lip had finally healed to the point where it stopped bleeding every time he opened his mouth. “I just can’t right now. Maybe in a little while I’ll let it grow out again.”

Dean nodded as he gazed at Naythin’s eyes in the reflection in the mirror. “I know, it’s okay. Whatever you gotta do. It’s just hair.” He turned and headed out of the bathroom and into the kitchen pantry so he could grab the dustpan and broom and sweep up the hair from around the toilet. If they glued all that hair together they could probably make a couple of Afghan hounds.

Running his hand over his head a few more times, Naythin sighed heavily as he turned to walk out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. The cabin was one room with only two door for the bedroom and bathroom which made keeping an eye on Dean a lot easier. Walking over to the fridge, Naythin hesitated. His fingertips drumming along the side of his thighs as he stared at the fridge door. He watched Dean out of the corner of his eye as he pulled the broom and dust pan from the pantry and walked back to the bathroom. Chewing on the inside of his lip, he checked on Dean one more time before pulling the fridge open and taking out a can of Coke and setting it on the counter. “You wan’ somethin’ to drink?” He held the door open as he looked back over his shoulder. The hand at his side was shaking. He wasn’t exactly comfortable doing something so mundane as getting himself something to drink.

“Yeah, sure,” Dean called back as he swept up all the hair in the bathroom. “Whatever yer havin’.”

Nodding, Naythin turned back to the fridge to pull out another can of Coke. Slamming the door a little harder than necessary, he picked up his can from the counter and walked over to the bathroom. Leaning against the wall, he held the can out to Dean. “Can we name it fluffy?” His eyes lowered to the large pile of hair Dean was sweeping into the dustpan. It was the size of a small dog.

Dean glanced up at Naythin and his lips slowly curved into a wide smile that was immediately followed by a soft chuckle. It shouldn’t amaze him the way it did that Naythin had just made a joke. He had to quickly look down at the floor before Naythin saw the wonder and...something akin to awe in his eyes. He gave a softly huffed chuckle again as he leaned the broom against the dustpan as he lifted it from the floor, to make sure none of the hair tried to jump out of the pan and make a run for it. “It’d definitely be a either a collie or an afghan hound with all that hair,” he mused with a slow nod of his head.

Ducking his head, one corner of Naythin’s lips curved into the smallest of smiles. It felt almost foreign. He hadn’t done it in so long. Turning to the side, he took a step back as Dean walked past him toward the trash can in the corner of the kitchen. Looking down at his hands, he wanted to kick himself for trying to give Dean the Coke when he obviously had his hands full. Clearing his throat, Naythin walked over to the couch setting both cans on the coffee table. Lifting one foot, he braced against the cushion as he turned and crouched in the corner so he could see the whole room. It still hurt to sit. Not as much on the couch but if he stayed in one position for too long, the pain started again. It was just easier and more familiar to crouch with his weight supported on the balls of his feet.

Once Dean had thrown the hair away and had returned the broom and dustpan to the pantry, he turned his attention to the Coke Naythin had tried to offer him before as well as Naythin himself. He hated seeing Naythin crouched the way he was rather than relaxed back on the couch. He couldn’t help it, didn’t even really think about it anymore, but every time he saw it he ground his molars so hard he was sure they had spider web cracks in them. He tried to hide his feelings beneath that mask he always wore on a Hunt but he had a feeling that, just like on a Hunt, Naythin would see right through it. After all, Naythin had been the only one to see, to know, just how scared he’d been about going to Hell.

Naythin could feel Dean’s eyes on him. He didn’t need to look up to see the look on Dean’s face. Closing his eyes, Naythin tried several times to straighten his legs and actually sit on the couch or at least keep one leg under him to act as a cushion. Each time he tried, he started shaking and had to stop. Too many raw, open memories. “I know that look.” It had been easier to hide behind the curtain of long hair. Now, with it gone, Naythin looked over at Dean from under his brows. There was no more hiding.

“What look?” Dean inquired. Yeah, he didn’t do innocent very well. He walked over and took a seat on the edge of one of the recliners, facing Naythin rather than the television. “Would a pillow help?” He wasn’t trying to be stupid or an ass, he honestly wasn’t sure if it would or not, it wasn’t as though he’d actually seen Naythin naked since he got back. Naythin had made it a point that he didn’t see him naked. That, and the fact that he wasn’t going to push Naythin into showing him what had happened and then stand there gawking like some kind of asshole, made it hard for Dean to know just how bad things were...physically.

Naythin huffed. It came out a quick puff of air from his nostrils against the fleece material of his sweats that covered his knees. “What look? The same look I used to have when you came back from Hell. The one where you want to fix it but you don’ know what to do.”

“Yeah well…” Dean muttered and looked at the floor and the coffee table, anywhere but at Naythin for a couple of minutes before finally lifting his eyes to Naythin’s. “You never answered about the pillow.”

Sighing, Naythin tucked his chin closer to his chest and rubbed his eyes against his knees. Lifting his head, he slowly unfolded his legs and stood to his feet. Two short strides closed the distance between himself and Dean. Lowering himself slowly down to his knees in front of him, Naythin rested his hands on the top of Dean’s thighs just above his knees. “Pillow’s not gonna help. Thanks though. I’m sorry. I know this is hard for you. I’m...I’m tryin’ like hell to get past it all. I jus’...” Shaking his head, he lowered his eyes, bowing his head, as he leaned forward until the top of his head rested lightly against Dean’s chest.

Dean shook his head as he wrapped his arms around Naythin and ran his hands lightly against Naythin’s back. He could feel some of the corded skin from the many beatings Naythin had received over the years and every single time, it tore Dean up inside. “I know you are, it’s not yer fault. M’sorry, it jus’...” He gave his head a slight shake as he squeezed his eyes closed briefly before reopening them. “You dunno what I wanna do to the sonofabitch. There’s no way you could know,” he mused softly, his voice raw and gutted. He cleared his throat a couple of times and lifted his attention to the counter. “Have you been takin’ yer meds?” Naythin had, over the past week, gotten more used to taking them, so much so in fact that he usually told Dean when it was time for one. It was a new topic and it wasn’t. If Naythin was taking his meds like he should and the pain…inside him wasn’t getting any better than he was going to have to call Doctor Norris.

Sliding his hands along Dean’s thighs, Naythin wrapped his arms around his waist and leaned into Dean a bit more. He had a pretty good idea what Dean wanted to do to the vampire. It was right along the same lines of what Naythin wanted to do to the sonofabitch. Once he got over the mind numbing and paralyzing fear of seeing him again. When Dean asked about his meds, Naythin knew the conversation was over. Sighing softly, he raised his head, pulling back just enough to see Dean’s face. “Yeah, I’ve been takin’ ‘em. You know that. Not gonna skip any of ‘em.” He hated taking pills, always had. The antibiotics had finally started to work a few days ago. At least he wasn't pissing fire anymore.

Dean nodded slowly. “You know if the pain...you know...doesn’t start gettin’ better there might be...complications.” He cleared his throat and looked down for a minute before lifting his eyes again. “The doc said there was a lot of internal...uh...tearing an’ that he had to sew up a lot of it.” Even he knew that the rectum wasn’t exactly the perfect place to be sewing up anything. Infection was more than likely going to set in no matter what a person did. Unless they were constipated for the duration of healing. Yeah, not really a good idea either.

That was one way to make a conversation get really awkward. “Yeah, it uh...s’only been a week or so.” Pulling his arms away, Naythin pushed to his feet and walked over to the counter where the small pharmacy of pill bottles were lined up. Opening each bottle, he shook out the pills he needed capping the bottles as he went. He hesitated when he came to the sleeping pills. His fingers drumming lightly on the counter top as he stared down at the bottle. Looking to the side, he checked the time. It was only a little after four in the afternoon. He’d been up for just over three hours. Leaving the bottle alone, Naythin gathered up the handful of pills and walked back to the coffee table. Tipping his head back, he popped all the pills in his mouth at once. They tasted like shit. Why some geek in a lab coat couldn’t make pills taste better was beyond him. Picking up his can of Coke, Naythin popped the tab and took a long pull to swallow the pills.

Dean lowered his gaze as he nodded to Naythin’s words. It was hard to believe sometimes that it had only been a week. Sometimes it felt like forever while other times it felt like Naythin had only been back for a second. One thing was for sure, and he was a little glad that Naythin never noticed it, likely because of his own panic and need to always see him but, he was never relaxed if he didn’t know Naythin was right. there. beside him. Or at least in the next room. Maybe he would always be that way because of what had happened, he didn’t know. Lifting his gaze to Naythin as he came back over, he watched as he popped a handful of pills into his mouth and then chased them with half the can of Coke. “It uh...what sounds good for dinner? I could make hamburgers on the grill outside.”

Lowering the can, Naythin turned to stare at the door. He swirled the can in his hand a few times before slowly nodding. “Yeah. Yeah, okay.” Turning back to Dean, he set the can on the coffee table. “I could...I could help, if ya want.”

Dean’s brows rose before he could stop them but he had at least kept the look of surprise from his face. “You sure yer okay with that? Bein’ outside, I mean.” Oh yeah, that sounded good. “I don’t mean…” He heaved a heavy sigh and lowered his eyes for a moment as he tried to get his thoughts straight before he made an even bigger mess of things. Lifting his head, his eyes met Naythin’s. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. I just...it’d be the first time you were outside since we left the hospital, I didn’t know how you’d feel about that...that’s all.”

Sighing heavily, Naythin raised a hand to the back of his neck. Squeezing hard, he sniffed as he looked back to the door. It wasn’t that he was afraid of being outside. He was terrified of the nest finding him and seeing him. If that happened, Naythin knew they’d try to take him back. Maybe they would. They’d left him in that abandoned house to die after the fire was set by the Hunters. Maybe they didn’t want him anymore? Maybe He didn’t want him anymore. Swallowing hard, Naythin lowered his arm back down to his side. “I uh...I-I can s-stay on the porch...by the d-door.” Shrugging, he turned his attention back to Dean.

Dean slowly shook his head as he pulled to his feet and walked over to Naythin, wrapping his arms around him and pulling him in close against him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Way to go, Winchester. Naythin had gotten better at not stuttering. Now, he only did it when he was really afraid. And he’d just started it up again. Awesome. One of these days, Winchester, maybe you’ll learn to keep your mouth shut. “I’m not ever gonna let anything happen to you again, I promise you that. I don’t care what it takes.” Even if he had to go back to Hell to insure Naythin’s continued freedom and safety. “If you wanna come out an’ help me, you can...I’d love the help.”

Naythin wrapped his arms around Dean’s waist. Lowering his head, he rested his forehead against the top of his shoulder. “Okay. I’ll help.” He wasn’t sure exactly how much help he’d be. It would be nice to go outside. Even if he didn’t get past the door.

Dean turned his head and pressed a kiss to the side of Naythin’s. “I love you,” he murmured so softly his words were nearly a whisper. “C’mon,” he urged with a slight nod of his head toward the kitchen. “I need to take the beef patties out of the freezer and get the grill started.”

“I love you, too.” Naythin tightened his arms around Dean for a few seconds before slowly pulling them back and following him into the kitchen, eyeballing the front door as if he expected it to open on its own letting the whole nest walk in.

Dean’s arms slowly pulled from around Naythin and he jerked his head toward the kitchen as he turned and walked into it. He pulled open the freezer and took out a package of four beef patties and carried them to the sink. Turning the faucet on he let the sink fill up a good amount before placing the patties face down into the water to help get them to thaw faster. Turning away, once he turned off the water, he nearly collided with Naythin. He wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him in close to his side. “You wanna cut up the tomatoes and onion for the burgers? Grab some cheese out of the fridge too.”

Without saying anything, Naythin walked over to the fridge to get the tomatoes and cheese. Setting them on the counter, he went over to the pantry to get an onion. Walking back to the counter, he grabbed the cutting board that was leaning against the back of the counter. Reaching for the butcher block of knives, he pulled out the larger butcher knife and started slicing the tomatoes. After he’d made a few slices, Naythin stared down at the cut tomato on the board. It was such an ordinary thing to do. Not that either he or Dean were chefs or anything but they’d made their fair share of sandwiches at Bobby and Ellen’s. They’d sliced their weight in tomatoes over the years. It was something he never really thought about. It was automatic.

Dean stepped up behind Naythin and, without even thinking about it, wrapped his arms around Naythin from behind, pressing his body flush with Naythin’s as he leaned his chin lightly against Naythin’s shoulder.

Naythin tensed. Every muscle locking up when he felt someone come up behind him. He let out a startled yell, his Hunter instincts kicked in as he dropped the knife and drove his right elbow backwards as hard and as fast as he could. Lifting his left arm, he swung his arm back hard, his elbow connecting with a loud crack. The loud grunt of pain had Naythin spinning around. His eyes were wide, his heart pounding in his chest as he assumed a fighter's stance.

Dean hadn’t been expecting the elbow to the ribs or the next blow that followed. He grunted softly in pain as he found himself knocked back against the wall. If he hadn’t reached out with one hand to grab hold of the fridge, he likely would have landed on his ass. A fight was the last thing on his mind. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” He held up his hands in front of him, palms out in surrender fashion. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you,” he quickly explained. I was just holding my husband. “Don’t do it again. I got it. I got it.”

Slowly lowering his arms, Naythin’s mouth fell open when he saw Dean leaning against the wall with his hands up. “Oh, God! Dean, I-I didn’...Baby, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Naythin took a couple hesitant steps toward Dean. He’d hit Dean. He’d attacked Dean. Shaking his head, Naythin slowly backed away until his back hit the counter. His knees gave out as he slowly slid to the floor. Bowing his head, he covered his face with his forearms. “I’m s-sorry. I-I’m so s-sorry.” Tears ran down his face, dripping off the end of his nose as he pulled his knees up tight to his chest and started to slowly rock back and forth. He could have killed Dean. He had the knife in his hand when Dean hugged him from behind.

Dean lowered his hands the second Naythin seemed to realize that it was him and that he wasn’t going to hurt Naythin. He slowly shook his head as Naythin backed up, moving away from him even as he stepped forward. “Baby, it’s okay. It’s okay,” he comforted as he stepped over to Naythin and crouched down beside him. He hesitantly laid a hand on Naythin’s shoulder, uncertain if he was going to scare Naythin again by touching him without Naythin seeing the movement. When he had his hand on Naythin’s shoulder, he gave it a very gentle squeeze. “It’s okay, baby. I shouldn’t have come up behind you like that.” It was habit. “It’s not yer fault, I should have warned you.”

Feeling Dean’s hand on his shoulder, Naythin tensed for a moment before he slowly lowered his arms and reached out for him. Gripping a handful of Dean’s shirt, Naythin leaned to the side, pulling Dean close to him. “I’m s-sorry. I’m so s-sorry. I-I didn’...oh, God. I could’ve killed you.” Wrapping his arms around Dean’s waist, Naythin pressed the side of his head against Dean’s chest. “I c-could’ve k-killed you.”

Dean gave his head a slow shake. “No you couldn’t have,” he argued gently. “I’m fine, baby. It’s okay.”

“I had the knife. I...I c-could’ve stabbed y-you.” Tightening his arms around Dean, Naythin turned his head hiding his face so Dean couldn’t see him. If he hadn’t have dropped the knife, Naythin could have easily turned it on Dean. “I-I’m so sorry.”

“Baby, it’s okay. And no, you wouldn’t have hurt me. I know you. There’s no way you would have hurt me,” Dean responded softly. He knew what Naythin meant, and technically he was right, but he also knew Naythin, like he said, and he knew that Naythin would never hurt him. Not intentionally anyway.

Naythin hadn’t even hesitated. Being slow got you killed real quick. Sniffing softly, he swallowed hard as he pulled his head back. “Are you o-okay? Don’...don’ lie. D-did I hurt you?” Taking one hand from around Dean, Naythin ran his hand down over his face wiping as many tears away as he could.

Dean shook his head. “I’m good. My pride’s a little wounded but otherwise m’good,” he assured. “An’ no, m’not lyin’. You wanna see for yerself?”

Naythin’s eyes narrowed as he tilted his head to the side checking the side of Dean’s face and head. He knew he’d hit Dean in the ribs. The second hit he wasn’t so clear on. Shaking his head, Naythin looked down at the floor. “No. I-I believe you.”

It hadn’t gone unnoticed that Naythin tended to not look at Dean, at all if he could help it, when he was undressed. He’d noticed it the first night they’d spent at the cabin and dismissed it as nothing. A week later, things still hadn’t changed, he was starting to think that he was going to wind up in one of those marriages where they each had their own bedroom. Or in the case of Hunters, their own separate motel room.

After a few more minutes, Naythin pulled away from Dean. Leaning against the cabinet, he glanced quickly at Dean a few times before slowly getting to his feet. Wrapping his arms across his chest, Naythin hugged himself hard. “I-I’m...I’m gonna um...I’m gonna g-go on the couch.” Ducking his head, he hurried across the room, grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch. Going to the far corner, he crouched on the cushion, covered himself with the blanket as he pulled his legs up tight to his chest. Fisting large handfuls of the blanket, Naythin tucked his hands up under his chin. His eyes were lowered to the section of the couch just in front of his feet.

Dean slowly pulled to his full height and watched Naythin nearly run to the couch where he crouched, again, with the blanket from the back of it covering him. Sonofabitch. Two steps forward and four steps back. He leaned the heels of his hands against the counter top and let his head fall loose on his shoulders, his chin nearly to his chest as he closed his eyes. Damn it. After a good couple of minutes he slowly lifted his head and opened his eyes. Reaching for the knife Naythin had abandoned, he finished cutting up the tomatoes and the one onion before putting them both on a paper plate and placing them to the side. Taking the cutting board and knife to the sink he set them to one side before wiping his hands off and heading for the bedroom so he could grab his jacket out of the closet.

Naythin watched Dean finish cutting the tomato and onion for the burgers. He felt like shit for what he’d done. He’d come so close to killing Dean, just thinking about it had him trembling. Without moving his head, Naythin watched as Dean cleaned up the cutting board and walked to the bedroom. His heart jumped into his throat when he couldn’t see Dean. It didn’t matter that Naythin could hear the closet door open or the soft bang of the hanger as Dean pulled his jacket off it. Naythin had just thrown the blanket off his legs, when Dean walked back into the living room settling his jacket on his shoulders and fixing the collar. For a split second, Naythin thought Dean was going to leave him for what he’d done. His hands lowered. One landing on the armrest, the other reaching for the back of the couch, his fingers digging into the padding. When Dean didn’t pick up his keys, Naythin closed his eyes as he leaned back onto the couch. He’s not leaving. It’s okay. He’s not leaving. Licking his lips, Naythin sat up a little straighter. “D-Dean...w-wait.”

Dean stopped in mid-step when Naythin called out to him. He turned around to face Naythin and lifted his brows questioningly. “What’s wrong, baby?” he inquired. He had a feeling he knew what was wrong but it wasn’t like he was actually going anywhere. He was only going to the grill, which sat just outside and to the right of the driveway. Naythin would be able to see him easily out the window. “I’m jus’ goin’ to the grill.”

Nodding, Naythin pushed off the couch. Crossing the short distance that separated them, he stepped into Dean and wrapped his arms around his waist. Turning his head, he rested his cheek on the top of Dean’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. I didn’ mean to hit you. You know I’d never hurt you like that.”

Dean wrapped his arms around Naythin and hugged him close. “I know, baby. I said that you’d never hurt me. I know you wouldn’t. It’s okay. I should have warned you. I jus’...habit, y’know?”

Biting his bottom lip, Naythin stepped back, pulling his arms from around Dean and crossing them tightly over his own chest. “I know.” Naythin had always loved it when Dean would come up behind him and hug him. Now, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be okay with it again. “I’m...I’m gonna stay in.” Glancing toward the window, he looked back at Dean. “I can um...I can see the grill from inside.”

Dean’s arms slowly slid from around Naythin but remained at his hips as he nodded slowly. “Okay,” he murmured softly. He had to admit that he was somewhat disappointed. He and Naythin use to do everything together. Even something that trivial. Maybe that was why their relationship never really surprised anyone. He let his hands fall away from Naythin’s hips, his arms hanging loose at his sides. He forced a slight smile as he gave a curt nod. “I’ll be back after I get it goin’.” He turned then and headed for the door. Unlocking the deadbolts, yes plural, Hunter’s cabin, they were lucky there wasn’t a shit ton more of them instead of just two, he unlocked the doorknob and pulled the door open. Stepping outside, he paused for a moment as he thought about telling Naythin to lock the door behind him. He was relatively sure that saying it would only cause Naythin to worry more, but it wasn’t a bad idea. Shit. He should have brought the keys out with him so he could lock at least the knob without Naythin even having to worry about it. He turned his head toward the crack in the door due to where he held it. “Lock the door behind me, I’ll knock when I need back in.” He cringed internally, even as he pulled the door closed behind him. He walked across the small porch, down the step and over to the grill.

Naythin’s hands as well as the rest of his body started shaking the second Dean crossed the threshold. He had to swallow hard several times to keep him mouth from drying out. When he told him to lock the door, Naythin nodded quickly. His hand reaching for the first deadbolt before the door was fully closed. As soon as he had both dead bolts thrown as well as the door knob locked, he turned and walked to the window. He could hear the heavy thuds of Dean’s boots on the front porch followed by the crunch of gravel from the driveway. Keeping his arms crossed over his chest, Naythin leaned against the wall next to the window. The black t-shirt and dark grey sweats he wore blending in with the darkened interior of the cabin. He knew Dean would see him. They could always pick each other out in a crowd. Anyone else looking in the window wouldn’t even know Naythin was there.

Dean glanced toward the cabin as he walked and his heart constricted at the sight of Naythin looking so horribly sad as he stood just to one side of one of the front windows. He had to pull his gaze away before he wound up running back inside like a damn fool and grabbing Naythin in his arms and never letting go. Oh yeah, he belonged in one of one of those Harlequin romance novels. Man up, asshole. He’s fine. Blowing out a breath, he turned his attention to the grill and was thankful for something else to focus on.

Naythin didn’t move from the window. His eyes darted around as Dean worked on getting the grill started. The thing looked like it was as old as dirt and ready to fall apart if enough rust fell off it. Naythin watched as Dean walked around the grill over to the covered porch for the bag of charcoal. Carrying it back, Naythin sighed as he tightened his arms around his chest. You’d think someone who’d spent the last few years locked inside would want to be anywhere but inside. There were too many places for someone or something to hide outside. Too many places and not enough eyes. He wanted to be outside with Dean. He wanted to shove Dean to the side, gripping at him for not putting the charcoal in right. You had to stack it in a pile in the middle of the grill and not spread out all over. Shaking his head, Naythin huffed. He couldn’t count how many times he’d told Dean that. Lifting one hand, Naythin ran his palm over the top of his head. It was going to take some getting used to having his hair so short. He’d always kept it on the long side, much to his father’s utter disapproval. It was one of the main reason’s Naythin kept it long. Teenage rebellion at its finest.

Dean continued to glance at the cabin, every chance he got when it wouldn’t look, to the casual observer, like he was looking at the cabin. Actually, to one window in particular. Taking out his lighter, he lowered his hand to the coals and got the fire started, nearly burning his fingers off in the process. Yeah, any other time, back before…. Anyway, he could almost hear Naythin, his Naythin, yelling at him to stack the coals and to use a damn match instead of burning his fingers with the damn lighter. The thought brought a wistful smile to his face and had his heart clenching painfully in his chest. God, he missed him so much. Even with Naythin back, it wasn’t the Naythin he remembered, it wasn’t his Naythin. He squeezed his eyes closed as he stood in front of the grill and said a silent prayer that Naythin would heal, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

The longer Dean stood staring into the flames of the grill, the more anxious and nervous Naythin became. He wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings. He wasn’t even moving his damn head to look around. “Dean, come on. Come inside.” Shifting his weight on his feet, Naythin’s eyes darted around the small area he could see. “Dean, please...come inside.” He knew Dean didn’t have his Colt with him. Naythin wasn’t sure about a knife. Dean had a habit of hiding one in his boot. So at least maybe he had that. Drumming his fingers on his ribs, Naythin nervously licked his lips and chewing on his bottom lip. “Dude...c’mon!” Naythin was about to turn and open the door to tell Dean enough was enough when Dean finally turned and headed back to the door. Naythin’s knees nearly gave out in gratitude at the sight. Turning, he quickly made his way to the door, his fingers hovering over the deadbolts.

Dean blinked his eyes open and stared at the flames for a good full minute before finally turning and heading back to the door. His chest still hurt, but he was able to hide it well enough. Climbing the step onto the porch he went to the door and knocked twice, paused and knocked once more so that Naythin would know to open the door, that it was him.

Naythin had the first deadbolt open before the third knock had time to echo through the cabin. The other deadbolt and lock on the doorknob were opened in record time as Naythin yanked the door open, stepping to the side giving Dean just enough room to squeeze through. “What the hell?! You fall asleep out there?” Closing the door louder than necessary, Naythin quickly locked it. Turning to face Dean, he raised one hand pointing toward the door. “Careless much? You know better than that!”

Dean shrugged out of his jacket as he tipped his head slightly to one side in what could only be called a head shrug. “I was fine,” he murmured, “You don’t have to worry about me.” What was he going to say, I was remembering the old you? Not on your life.

Naythin’s eyebrows shot up into his forehead as he stared at Dean. “Don’t…” Nodding, he shrugged as he walked back to the couch. “Yeah, right. Okay.” Pulling the blanket off the back of the couch, Naythin climbed into the corner and covered himself. Leaning his back against the cushion and the edge of the armrest, he pulled his legs in tight to his chest and lowered his chin to his knees.

Dean heaved a sigh as he watched Naythin storm off back to the couch. Lovely. He walked over to the couch and tossed his jacket onto the back of one of the recliners. “Baby,” he sighed, “I just meant that I was okay, like I said. I didn’t mean…I didn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about me or whatever…it’s just that you have a lot on yer plate, worryin’ about me’s kinda the last thing you need right now.”

Telling Naythin to not worry about Dean did about as much good as saying the same thing Dean. Eye rolls and a whole lot of huffing. They’d worried about each since the day they met. They’d always been together except for the time Dean was in Hell and the scattering of years they Hunted separately after Naythin’s family was killed. Now, things were a lot different. If something was stupid enough to go after Dean, Naythin was stuck in the cabin. Fear paralyzing him in place. Hell, he was as much of a danger to Dean than any thing he’d ever gone against. He didn’t think, he reacted and that was not good. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Sighing heavily, Naythin nodded against his knee. “I always worry ‘bout you. You know that. S’not gonna change. M’sorry. I didn’ mean to yell at you.” Tucking his chin nearly to his chest, Naythin pressed his eyes to his knee.

Dean heaved a heavy sigh. Shit. He walked around the couch and took a seat next to Naythin holding an arm out for Naythin to move closer if he wanted to, he wasn’t going to push. Not after the major goof up he’d already done in the kitchen. He was still kicking himself for that one as it was. When Naythin didn’t move, he sighed softly. Maybe he couldn’t see him. “Baby,” he urged softly.

Naythin didn’t raise his head for couple minutes. When he finally did, he wouldn’t look Dean in the eye. He glanced at his outstretched arm and leaned against Dean’s side resting his head against Dean’s chest. Naythin kept his arms wrapped tightly around his legs, his fingertips pressing small dents into the material of his sweats.

Dean stifled a groan as he squeezed his eyes tightly shut for a brief moment before opening them. Damn it to hell. Upsetting Naythin was the last thing he’d meant to do. Sonofabitch. He wrapped his arm around Naythin’s shoulders and leaned his head to the side toward Naythin. “I love you. I’m sorry. I guess I was daydreamin’, an’ yer right, I need to be more careful. I didn’t mean to hurt you, upset you…” Whatever I did. “Please don’t hide from me. I hate it when you do that. I’m not ever gonna think less of you. An’ I dunno why you think you can’t look at me but...there is nothing that would ever make that true.”

Leaning slightly to one side, Naythin slowly pulled his arm from around his legs and wrapped it around Dean’s back. Shifting closer, he reached across Dean with his other arm. Fisting a handful of Dean’s t-shirt, Naythin sighed. “It’s not…” Oh hell. Come right out and say it. What’s the worst that can happen? “Lookin’ someone in the eye didn’t end well...for me.”

Dean heaved a sigh and had to force himself not to tense or grind his teeth down to bare nubs. “That…” He swallowed hard and pushed the rage down behind a wall where he could keep it hidden until the day that sonofabitch was found. “That’s never gonna happen again. You know you can look me in the eye. I love to look into yer eyes, you know that. What they did...what that sonofabitch did...I know it’s hard to believe or get use to but...that’s gone, and it’s never coming back. I promise you that.” No matter what it takes. No matter what I have to do, you will always be safe from him...from them.

“I know. I know you wouldn’t...do what they did, what He did. It’s not like I’m not looking on purpose. When you get it beat into you for three years, it’s a hard habit it break. I’m sorry. I’m trying. I am. It’s not easy.”

Dean tightened his arm around Naythin as he felt the knot form in his gut to the point that he thought he might be sick. He swallowed hard several times before finally trusting himself to speak without hurling all over them both. “I know you are, baby. I know. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded. I know yer doin’ the best you can...I jus’...I want you to know that yer okay now. Yer safe. You don’t ever have to worry about that sonofabitch again.” He didn’t think that Naythin was ever going to forgive him for what he’d done, for not finding him. As often as he mentioned it, how often he said just how long he’d been held by that sadistic bastard, he was sure that there was no way Naythin could...or would...ever forgive him. A fact of which ate at Dean every. single. minute. of every. single. day.

Chapter Text

Ellen packed up her Jeep with what would be for two normal people, two weeks worth of groceries. For Dean and Naythin, they’d be lucky if it lasted a week with the way those two ate. Slamming the back door closed, she pulled out her keys and climbed behind the wheel. Starting the engine, she quickly put the Jeep in gear and pulled out of the parking lot of the Roadhouse and headed North.

Three hours later, Ellen pulled onto the long two track that led back to the cabin. The Jeep bouncing in the shallow ruts and potholes. Her eye scanning the area for fresh tire tracks or anything else that seemed out of place. As she rounded the last bend, she smiled when she spotted the Impala parked in front of the cabin. The smoke rising from the grill made her smile so wide her cheeks hurt. That had to be a good sign.

Parking next to the Impala, Ellen honked the horn once as she cut the engine and shoved open the driver’s side door. Opening the back door, she reached in and started grabbing bags. Leaving the door to the Jeep open, she turned and started for the cabin. Once she was on the porch, she stopped in front of the door and gave it a solid kick. “Open up in there! I have food!”

Hearing the horn from outside, Dean pulled his arm from around Naythin and turned in the seat to look over the back of the couch toward the door. He pulled to his feet and was on his way to one of the front windows to see just who it was outside when he heard the kick at the front door and the sound of Ellen’s voice following after it. He smiled wide as he hurried to the door and unlocked it, opening it up wide for Ellen to come in. When he stepped around the door he saw that Ellen was loaded down with far too many groceries for one woman to carry. He quickly reached for them, at least the heaviest ones and carried them over to the counter with her. He knew without being told that there was more and as soon as he put what he had in his hands down, he headed out the door and to the still opened door of the jeep to get the rest.

Blowing out a loud breath, Ellen set the bags on the kitchen table. She could feel Naythin’s eyes watching everything she did. The soft rustle of the blanket followed by the creak of the floorboards told her Naythin was off the couch and headed for the open door. No doubt to make sure he could still see Dean. Sighing heavily, she started to unload the bags without saying anything. She’d hoped for some sort of progress. It had only been a little over a week so it wasn’t as if she were expecting a miracle.

Placing a loaf of bread on the table, Ellen reached in for a carton of eggs. “How ya doin’, Naythin?”

Shrugging one shoulder, Naythin didn’t take his eyes off Dean as he loaded up on grocery bags from the back of Ellen’s Jeep. “M’okay.” He glanced over at Ellen grateful that she wasn’t staring at him.

Nodding, Ellen started unloading the next bag, her eyes down so she wouldn’t make Naythin uncomfortable. It killed her to not be able to walk over to him and hug him. “That’s good. That’s real good. I saw the grill goin’ when I drove up. You boy’s have room for one more?”

“Um...I don’...you uh...you’d have to ask Dean.” Getting himself his own drink and yeah, even making his own sandwich was one thing. His decision making skills were seriously lacking. The threat of saying the wrong thing was still way too fresh.

Dean hit the jeep door with his hip, rather than his foot, he didn’t have a death wish, and headed for the front door, thankful that it was still wide open. He had enough bags of food in his arms to feed a small village for a week. He stepped up onto the porch and into the cabin, carrying the bags into the kitchen and just standing there. Some of the bags were too low to place on the counter and others were too high to drop onto the floor, not to mention he could barely see over the top of some of the bags he carried. “Uh...help?”

Ellen hurried to Dean’s side, prying a few bags from his fingers and taking the top most ones so he could see where he was going. “Just set those on the counter.” She instructed as she set the bags she’d taken from Dean back to the small table. Turning to close the door, Ellen stopped in her tracks, a small smile curving her lips when she saw Naythin closing and locking the door. “Thank you, Naythin. You wanna give me a hand puttin’ this stuff away?” She wasn’t going to push.

Lifting one hand, Naythin ran his palm over the top of his head to the nape of his neck. Squeezing hard one time, he nodded and walked over to where Dean was unloading bags and putting stuff in the fridge and freezer.

“What’ve you got planned for the grill, Dean? Or are you turning into a fire bug?” Emptying a bag, Ellen balled it up and shoved it into another bag to keep the mess down to a minimum.

“Uh, just some burgers,” Dean responded and tossed a crumpled bag in Ellen’s direction, making sure not to actually hit her. What? Again, he didn’t have a death wish. A smile curved his lips as his eyes met hers. “Since when have I ever been a fire bug? I think yer confusing me with Sam.”

Smiling, Ellen picked up the bag from the floor. “You got room for one more?” She glanced at Naythin as he carried two cartons of eggs to the fridge. She wasn’t about to put Naythin on the spot by telling Dean she’d asked him already.

Dean shrugged a shoulder as he frowned thoughtfully and nodded. “Yeah, sure,” he turned toward Naythin. “That okay with you if Ellen joins us for dinner?” He wasn’t sure how Naythin would react to having someone else with them. Sure he’d had a hospital full of people around him before but he’d pretty much remained glued to Dean’s chest then too.

Naythin was pulling water bottles out of the plastic rings and setting them on the shelf in the fridge. He hesitated for a moment before pulling the last bottle out and closing the fridge door. Walking over to the trash, he dropped the rings into it. “Yeah. It’s fine.” Clearing his throat, Naythin walked over the table and started to collect the plastic bags. Ducking his head, he glanced over at Ellen. “Hi, Ellen.” He wasn’t trying to be rude. Her sudden appearance threw him.

Ellen smiled wide as she turned to face Naythin. Lifting her hand so he could see the movement, she raised his hand to his upper arm and squeezed gently. “Hi, sweetie.”

Nodding curtly, Naythin picked up the bags and walked them over to the trash. Pushing them down into the can so they wouldn’t come back out and fall on the floor. When he was done, he walked out of the kitchen and back to the couch. Picking the blanket up from the floor, he carefully folded it and lay it over the back.

Dean didn’t say a word but he couldn’t help the way he stared at Naythin, one brow slowly lifting curiously. He turned his head and looked over at Ellen for a moment until she noticed him looking at her and he gave a barely there jerk of his head toward Naythin. He hadn’t left the couch since the incident with the vegetables. Maybe they needed Ellen to come by more often.

While the others had gone to ground Tristan had remained awake, alert, searching for his pet. He’d managed to find the Roadhouse easily enough and so he’d sat a few miles away and watched through those cumbersome binoculars, waiting for Ellen to leave. He followed her home a few times, but that wasn’t what he wanted. He could care a less how the woman lived or where. No, following this woman, he knew that if he were to bide his time, would lead him to the big pay out, that he would find his precious pet. Sitting in his car a few miles back from where Ellen had turned her jeep, he smiled as he sat leaning out the driver’s side window, his eyes squinting against the slowly setting sun. “I’m closer than you think, pet.” A slow smile curved Tristan’s blood stained lips as he gazed into the distance from under his brows.

Ellen glanced over at Naythin as he folded the blanket and lay it over the back of the couch. Looking at Dean, she shrugged her shoulder. She had no idea what had been going on with them in the past week. Picking up two loaves of bread, she walked them over to the fridge setting them on the top. “How’s he doin? I asked and he said okay.” If it was the Winchester version of okay, Ellen knew Naythin was anything but okay.

Dean looked over at Naythin from under his brows before looking back at Ellen and giving a curt shake of his head. “He has good…moments but...somethin’ always happens...an’ it feels like we take two steps back to every one step forward,” he whispered in an attempt to make sure that Naythin didn’t hear them talking about him.

Reaching out her hand, Ellen gripped Dean’s upper arm and squeezed gently. “Give ‘im time.” She wasn’t going to ask about nightmares. After what Naythin had been through, she knew they were going to be a constant in his life for a long time. Much like Dean’s nightmares about Hell. “Is he eating better? Maybe you should call that Dr. Norris an’ talk to him. He seemed to know a lot about what Naythin was going through.”

Dean nodded and shrugged a shoulder. “He’s eatin’ okay. The uh, the other night I made grilled cheese an’ soup...he hid half his sandwich under the bed he made himself on the floor of the bedroom.” He gave his head a slow shake. “Nearly killed me when I found the crumbs.”

Both of Ellen’s eyebrows jumped into her hairline. “He’s...he’s sleeping on the floor? What? Wh-why?” Carefully glancing back at Naythin, she watched as he crouched in the corner of the couch, leaning back against the corner with his knees pulled tight to his chest. “Does he always sit like that?” From where Naythin was sitting, Ellen knew he’d be able to see the whole cabin without having to get up. Dean’s revelation about the sandwich, had her heart breaking all over again. “Considering how thin he is, I doubt he ate regularly.” Sighing heavily, she ran her fingers through her hair before lowering her arm to her side.

“I tried to get him to sleep in the bed with me, or hell I even offered to sleep on the couch and I’d give him the bed alone but,” Dean shook his head. “He won’t do it. He says he’s use to the floor and that the bed was only for…” He cleared his throat and looked down at the floor. Telling Ellen that the bed was only for sex was about like telling your own Mother the same thing. He looked over at Naythin and nodded as he looked back at Ellen. “Yeah, he does. I asked him why he doesn’t sit down an’ he says it hurts. That’s actually what I’m more worried about. I mean...the stitches are...y’know...up there, that can’t be very clean.” Yep, he officially wanted to crawl under a rock and hide and it wasn’t even his body.

Ellen didn’t need Dean to paint her any clearer of a picture. Shaking her head, she took in a deep breath before letting it slowly. “Have you heard from Tag at all?” When Dean mentioned why Naythin sat the way he did on the couch, she frowned as she looked back over at him. “It’s been a week...a little over a week. I’m no doctor but don’ you think that wouldn’t bother him anymore? Could they have missed something?” Naythin had been through enough. The thought of him having to go back to the hospital for more tests made her sick to her stomach.

Naythin didn’t need to hear what was being said between Ellen and Dean to know they were talking about him. The hushed tones and occasional glances over at him were enough. Tightening his arms around his legs, he glanced toward the windows. He could just make out the red glow from the coals in the grill in the quickly darkening sky. Moving as far back on the couch as he could, he tucked his chin in closer and rested his eyes on his knees. He hated the dark. Some Hunter he was.

“I dunno, that’s what I thought too. I mean, how long does it take…that area to heal?” Dean shrugged to his own question. His entire body tensed at the subject of talking to Tag. “Yeah, I talked to him. I called him to tell him what vampire to kill,” he ground out a little louder than he’d meant to. “I asked Naythin to tell me about the vampire that held him. He uh, he said that the bastard talked about learning from Mommy Dearest. What vampire do we know who’s this sadistic?” He nodded to the look on Ellen’s face the widening of her eyes. “Yeah, exactly. So I called Tag an’ told him to cut Dayton’s head off his shoulders. I haven’t heard back from him since. I knew I should have killed that bastard the second I saw him.” He gave a disgusted shake of his head. “Later on, I asked Naythin to describe the sonofabitch, the description Naythin gave me didn’t sound like Dayton but if he’s went off the rails there’s no tellin’ what he might have done to camouflage who he really is.”

“Are you sure…she wasn’t involved? Did Naythin see her?”

Dean shook his head. “He said he didn’t see any women while he was with ‘em,” Dean responded. “I’ve gotta wonder if she isn’t dead. I mean, I know I hit her pretty hard when I escaped but I didn’t think I’d actually killed her but, this sonofabitch said that by takin’ Naythin I was gonna hurt the way he was hurtin’ from losin’ someone he loved.”

“Shit.” Ellen hissed as she walked toward the fridge and turned to face Dean again. “Taking Naythin was for revenge? To get back at you for...for Violet?”

“It was revenge,” Dean confirmed, “And who else could it be for besides Vi?” He shrugged his shoulders. “Someone the bastard called Mommy Dearest. Sounds like Violet to me.”

“Okay. Before you go condemning Tag’s foster son or whatever you wanna call him. Are you sure that...psycho didn’t have any other kids? Did she…turn anyone who would call her that?” Violet was a vampire. A really sick sadistic bitch of one. If anything she’d turn anyone who would stroke her over inflated ego.

Dean slowly shook his head as he leaned a hip against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest. “I dunno, I guess that’s possible. Didn’t really think of any vamps she made actually calling her that to be honest. I just know that Dayton was a Momma’s boy. If her crazy ass said jump Dayton asked how high, y’know? Naythin mentioned a uh…” He gave his head a quick shake and a slight shrug of his shoulders as he lifted a hand and used the side of it to slid down the front of his forehead like if he had bangs. “A patch of purplish color here.”

Pulling her head back, Ellen smirked. “The vampire dyed his hair? Wow. That’s new.” Shaking her head, Ellen exhaled loudly. “Do you think they’ll come lookin’ for ‘im? I mean, they did leave him to die in that fire but…”

Dean shrugged a shoulder. “Meh, Violet’s hair wasn’t really black...at least the carpet didn’t match the drapes anyway. Try brown, not black. As for the nest. I dunno, an’ frankly I don’t care. If they come they’ll be walkin’ right into a slaughter, because I’ll kill every last one of the fuckers before I let ‘em anywhere near Naythin.”

That was a little more than Ellen wanted or would ever need to know about Violet. Sighing, Ellen raised her hand to Dean’s shoulder. “I know you will. Yer not alone on that line of thinkin’. We all want to keep Naythin safe.”

Getting up slowly from the couch, Naythin walked past Ellen and Dean and went to the fridge. Pulling it open, he took out a bottle of water and opened it. Holding the cap in his hand, he looked from Ellen to Dean and back again. “I’m not gonna explode or anything. I know I’m a mess. You two whisperin’ in here doesn’t make it any better.” Closing the fridge door, he walked back to the couch. “Coals are dyin’ on the grill.” Grabbing the blanket, he set the water bottle down on the coffee table. Instead of crouching in the corner, Naythin lay down in the same spot. His knees pulled up tight to his chest and covered himself with the blanket.

Dean’s brows rose as he watched Naythin walk back over to the couch. He turned his head and looked over at Ellen, the same look on his face. “Guess he told us,” he mused as he walked past Ellen to the sink. Picking the packages of meat out of the water, he grabbed a plate and a pair of tongs and headed for the door. He’d get the cheese and his jacket once he had the burgers on and the fire stoked in the grill.

That went well. Sighing, Ellen watched Dean go to the sink to get the burgers ready. As he walked to the door, she went ahead of him and unlocked it. Holding it open, she stood next to the door watching Naythin. He was still on the couch. Ellen expected him to get up and follow Dean.

“I can see ‘im from here, Ellen. Close an’ lock the door. He’ll knock when he’s comin’ back in.” Pulling the blanket up to his chin, Naythin stared out the window watching Dean spread the coals around and put the burgers on the grill.

It had gotten cold fast since he’d last been out, even just to get the groceries. Autumn had definitely settled itself in Nebraska. Looking up from the grill, Dean slowly turned his head, searching the nearby tree line and what of the driveway off the main road that he could see. He squinted into the coming darkness. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end and he wasn’t sure exactly what had his Hunter spidey senses going haywire. Hell, maybe it was all the talk of vampires. He shook it off as being nothing more than that, but he stayed outside longer than he needed to, his eyes surveying the area as best he could with as fast night was moving in. He could lie to himself all he wanted, but the instincts that had been ingrained in him since he was a boy wouldn’t leave him alone. He turned away from the grill when he got too cold to stand there any longer and hurried onto the porch giving the same knock he had the last time he’d had Naythin open the door for him.

Ellen watched Dean from the other window. It didn’t give her the best view but, she wasn’t about to block Naythin from seeing Dean. When Dean turned and headed back to the door, she waited for him to knock before quickly unlocking the door and holding it open for him. Closing it behind Dean, Ellen made sure to lock the two deadbolts as well as the door handle. Rubbing her hands over her arms, she walked over to the kitchen counter to start a pot of coffee. “How long on those burgers, Dean?” She gave him a quick look before glancing to the window and over to Naythin who hadn’t moved from the couch.

Dean went straight to his jacket and slid it on before heading back into the bedroom so he could grab one of the large Hunting knives out of the weapons duffel. He shook his head to Ellen’s question as he walked into the bedroom and quickly grabbed a knife and his Colt from the duffel bag. Slipping the Colt into the back waistband of his jeans, he hid it with his jacket and slid the knife into one of the inside pockets of his leather. Heading back out of the bedroom, he looked over at Ellen and shook his head. “Not sure. I’m gonna go out an’ keep an eye on ‘em so they don’t burn.” He stepped into the kitchen and grabbed the slices of cheese before heading for the door again. “You wanna lock it behind me, Ellen?”

Ellen frowned as Dean hurried into the bedroom. She glanced at Naythin before turning her attention back to Dean, her eyebrows rose when she caught sight of the Hunting knife in his hand. Turning quickly, she checked the windows again, peering into the quickly darkening night. If Dean was arming himself, something had was going on above and beyond reassuring Naythin that no one was going to hurt him. When Dean asked her to lock the door, Ellen nodded as she followed him to the door. Unlocking it, she pulled it open just enough for Dean to slip outside, closing and locking the door as soon as she could. Going to the far window, Ellen watched Dean for a moment before pulling the drapes closed.

Lifting his head from the couch, Naythin narrowed his eyes as he looked from Ellen to the now closed drapes and back again. “What’s wrong?” The drapes on the windows had been open since they got there. Even Dean didn’t seem bothered by them enough to close them.

Shaking her head, Ellen walked back over to the coffee pot. “Oh, nothing. Nothin’s wrong.” She wasn’t lying, not really anyway. Ellen had no idea if something was actually wrong or not. Dean’s instincts were seldom wrong. Hell, she could count on one hand the number of times his gut instincts had failed him.

Dean stepped outside and let his eyes move over the land, as much as he could see of it before stepping off the porch. He reached back and withdrew his pistol, checking to be sure the clip was full. Slamming it back home, he tucked it back into his waistband as he closed the distance between himself and the burgers. He went about putting cheese on them while they finished cooking, his eyes never staying still on any one thing for long as he continued to search for whatever it was that had his spidey senses at full alert. Once the burgers were in no imminent danger of burning he walked over to the Impala and popped the trunk. Luckily, he’d installed a trick latch that let him unlock the trunk without having to have his keys on him. He popped the fake bottom and reached in for his sawed off and a couple of salt pellets. Depending on what it was it might not do any real damage but, as he learned from having his pain in the ass little brother shoot him with the damn things, they hurt like hell. Closing the fake bottom, he reached up and slammed the trunk lid closed.

Naythin wasn’t buying it for a second. Throwing the blanket off his legs, he pushed to his feet and walked around the coffee table stopping next to the window he’d been watching Dean out of. Leaning against the wall, he watched as Dean left the grill and walked over to the Impala. Popping the trunk, Naythin pulled his head back and frowned. How the hell did he do that? Looking over his shoulder, he saw Dean’s keys on the kitchen table. Huffing softly, he made a mental note to ask Dean about that little modification to the Impala later.

From the window, Naythin could just make out Dean reaching into the fake bottom and pulling out his sawed off shotgun. Naythin tensed, his jaw clenching as his eyes darted around the area. Nothing’s wrong, huh? He watched as Dean loaded the shotgun with rock salt reloads and closed the trunk. Nodding slowly, Naythin turned away from the window. It took him three tries before he could get himself to the bedroom and pull open the closet. Taking out one of Dean’s flannel over shirts, Naythin shrugged it on as he walked over to where his duffel bag lay. Digging inside it, he pulled out a thick pair of boot socks and quickly pulled them on. Walking out of the bedroom, Naythin made a beeline for the front door, ignoring Ellen as she called out to him. Unlocking the door, he pulled it open just enough for him to slide through sideways and closed it behind him. His heart was hammering in his chest. His breaths coming out in quick pants sending puffs of steam into the air. Wrapping his arms around his chest, Naythin took two steps away from the door. “What’s g-goin’ on an’ don’ tell me nothin’ like Ellen tried to do.”

“Stop!” Dean called out to Naythin as he spun around, his back to the car and his front toward the cabin and Naythin. He turned his head slowly and surveyed the area around them. He glanced at the burgers to make sure he wasn’t going to burn them, especially if he was just being overly sensitive about nothing, before heading for the porch and Naythin on it. “Go back inside, it’s okay. I don’t think it’s anything. I mean...I thought it was but...I don’t see anything so...I’m prob’ly jus’ overreacting.”

Naythin had his back plastered against the door before he even realized he’d moved when Dean yelled for him to stop. Ducking his head, his shoulders hunched, his hands balled into fists at his side, Naythin’s heart was pounding in his chest, the blood was rushing so loud in his ears he barely heard anything Dean said. Reaching for the doorknob, his fingers fumbled for a minute before he was able to get a grip on it. Giving the door knob a quick turn, Naythin pushed it open and stepped back inside, closing and locking the door behind him. Taking Dean’s shirt off, he tossed it on one of the recliners.

Ellen had been watching out the window. Swearing under her breath, she stepped away as Naythin came inside. “Naythin…” Crossing the room, she picked up Dean’s shirt from the floor where it had fallen and laid it across the arm of the recliner.

Stopping next to the couch, Naythin slowly raised his head when Ellen said his name. Crossing his arms over his chest, he looked over at her. “What.”

“He’s just being careful. That’s all. It’s Dean. It’s what he does.” Smiling, Ellen shook her head. “You know that.”

“I know. I shouldn’t have gone outside.” Shaking his head, Naythin looked over his shoulder toward the front door. “Won’ happen again.”

Dean swore under his breath at the response he got from Naythin. “Sonofabitch,” he growled under his breath as he stormed up the single step and to the cabin door. He tried the knob and had to count to ten, a few times, to not just break the door down. He knocked after a minute and waited for the door to be unlocked. When Ellen opened it, he walked past her and over to Naythin. “Baby, I wasn’t yelling at you. I mean, I was but not like that. If you wanna come out, any other time, it’s fine. I’m not mad. I’m worried, that’s all.” Yeah, he’d majorly fucked up where Naythin was concerned. Shit! Shit! Shit!

Tristan chuckled from where he sat on the hood of the car, staring off toward the dirt road that Ellen had turned off down. “I know you’re there, Mon Coeur, I can smell you from here.” He threw his head back in amusement, his smile wide, showing off his fangs to anyone who happened to see him. Not that Tristan was worried, he never worried. Not really. A trait he like to think he inherited from Dear Mommy.

Shaking his head, Naythin turned toward Dean. “It’s okay. I-I shouldn’t have gone outside.” It was a bad idea. He just didn’t want anyone lying to him or placating him like a child.

Dean hung his head as he sighed heavily. Lifting his head, he turned his attention to Ellen and drew in a deep breath through his nose as he closed his eyes briefly before reopening them and heading back out the door. He paused there, before going out. “I’m sorry, Naythin. I didn’t mean to upset you.” Again. He was going to get that shit tattooed across his forehead so he wouldn’t have to keep saying it every time he fucked up, which anymore seemed to be a lot. Pulling open the door, he shouldered the sawed off and walked outside. Closing the door behind himself he lowered the rifle to the porch, standing it up on end before heading off the porch and over to the burgers. Thankfully they weren’t burnt but they were, without a doubt, done. He placed them on the plate he’d taken out with him and headed back toward the door. Maybe he really was overly paranoid. He didn’t get that same prickly feeling on the back of his neck now. Maybe he’d just overreacted. Yeah, that had to be it. No one knew where this place was. Hell, it wasn’t like it was one of Bobby’s cabins that every Hunter across America had used at one point or another. This place was Ellen’s and he knew just because he knew her, only the people she trusted had ever set foot on the property.

Sighing heavily, Ellen locked the door behind Dean and walked back to the kitchen. She took down paper plates, napkins and a bag of chips. Going back to the table, she set everything out. “Naythin? You hungry still? What do you want to drink?”

Staring at the floor after Dean walked back outside, Naythin tried to talk himself into going into the bedroom and laying down. That would mean he wouldn’t be able to see Dean. Closing his eyes, he swallowed hard when he heard Ellen talking to him. “I uh...I’ve got a bottle of water still. There’s uh...there’s beer an Coke in the fridge. I can’ drink it yet. Makes me sick.” Shaking his head, he leaned over to pick up the water bottle and walk over to the table.

Walking back into the cabin, Dean carried the plate of burgers to the counter and then turned and walked back to the door and opened it, reached out and grabbed the sawed off and closed the door again. Locking all the locks, he walked the gun back to the bedroom and, without bothering to turn the light on, walked over to the bed and, leaning far over, sat the gun on the floor part way under the bed so it was in easy reach in case he needed it. Shrugging out of his jacket as he pulled to his full height, he tossed it onto the bed and then tossed the knife down on top of it. Heading out of the bedroom, he walked back out into the kitchen area of the small cabin. He ignored the food for the moment as he went to Naythin and reached for him, slowly, gently, he sure as hell didn’t want to make matters worse. “I’m sorry, baby,” he murmured as he cupped the side of Naythin’s neck. “I didn’t mean to yell at you or scare you. I was jus’...like I said, I was worried. About a whole lotta nothin’ I guess but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? It’s what you use to always tell me.”

Naythin stood next to the table. The bottle of water dangling from his finger tips. He tracked Dean as he moved through the cabin. The smell of the burgers had his stomach growling loudly. When Dean came over to him and reached out with his hand, Naythin raised his head to look Dean in the eye. His heart started to pound and he had to fight to not look away. It was Dean. He wouldn’t hurt him. Nodding slowly, Naythin blinked back the sting of tears. “I know you were worried. It’s what you do.” He glanced quickly at Ellen and saw her smiling and nodding at him. Looking back at Dean, Naythin locked onto his eyes again. God, he missed those gorgeous green eyes. He could get lost in them. Huffing softly, he raised a hand to cover Dean’s at his neck. “‘Bout time ya started listenin’ to me.”

Turning her back on the boys, Ellen busied herself by setting the plate of burgers on the table and getting beers for her and Dean. Pulling the hamburger buns from on top of the fridge, she walked over to the table keeping her head down and tried really hard to not overhear anything that was being said between the two men. Waving a hand in front of her face, Ellen let out a small chuckle when she heard Naythin poke at Dean. It was small and hesitant but it was the most beautiful thing she’d heard in three years.

Dean chuckled lightly at Naythin’s dig. “Yeah well, don’t get use to it,” he teased right back, a smirk teasing at the corners of his lips as he winked at Naythin. It was times like these, when he saw hints of the man he’d fallen in love with that made those other times, when he would revert back to being scared and curled in on himself, hurt the most. “Yer gonna get through this. Yer gonna get through it an’ soon even the nightmares’ll wear off to just being every once in awhile. I know you will. Yer strong. Hell, stronger than anyone else I know.”

Tilting his head to the side, Naythin squeezed Dean’s hand. “Yeah, I guess.” He didn’t feel strong. After the way he’d given up when He’d told Naythin Dean was dead, strong was far from how Naythin felt. “At least you think so.”

“He’s not the only one.” Ellen cleared her throat as she pulled out a chair at the table. “Yer gonna be jus’ fine Naythin. Yer not alone in this. You jus’ remember that. C’mon an’ sit. Food’s gettin’ cold.”

Dean glanced Ellen’s way and looked back at Naythin with a lift of one brow and a pointed look. “She’s right. Not only do you have me but you have this family. Our family. We all believe in you, baby.” He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Naythin’s lips before pulling back and letting his hand slip from the side of Naythin’s neck. “You heard the woman, let’s eat.”

Naythin nodded as he let his arm fall to his side. He wished he had the same positive attitude Ellen and Dean had. Pulling a chair out, Naythin hesitated for a moment before raising one leg and folding it under himself as he slowly sat down. Balancing his weight on his lower leg and leaning forward bracing one arm on the table, Naythin was able to get himself comfortable; more or less. He waited for Ellen and Dean to take their burgers from the plate before reaching for his own and setting it on the bun Ellen had put on all the plates.

Dean shot Ellen a look that all but screamed, You see what he’s doing? He wasn’t trying to talk about things that shouldn’t be talked about with someone for the sheer joy of it, he was honestly worried that something wasn’t healing right, or possibly not at all. He had no idea about how that kind of thing went. Well, not that Ellen did either, per say, but she was a Mother, weren’t they supposed to inherently know shit like that? Probably not. He had a feeling if he asked that aloud that Ellen would pop him up side the head. He looked up at the tomatoes and onion slices on the counter and excused himself as he stood to his feet to go get them and set them on the table. “There’s lettuce in the fridge too,” he offered, not that he needed to tell Ellen that, she’d bought it, but he wasn’t sure if Naythin would want some or not.

Ellen looked over at Dean, her eyes widening for a moment when he glared at her. She hadn’t missed the slow descent Naythin made onto the chair or the way he leaned his weight onto the table. Usually, she had to break out the wooden spoon to keep everyone from grabbing at the food but, now, to watch Naythin wait until Dean and her had helped themselves to the burgers broke her heart all over again. Opening the bag of chips, she poured a good amount on her plate. Setting the bag down with the opening pointed at Naythin she opened her napkin deliberately not making eye contact with Naythin to see what he’d do. To see if he’d take the initiative and help himself before Dean came back to the table. Looking over at Dean when he set the plate of tomatoes and onion slices on the table, Ellen chuckled. “Eating your vegetables now?”

Dean smirked. “Onions aren’t vegetables. An’ I figured Naythin could use the vitamins,” he explained with a glance Naythin’s way, his smile widening. He reached for the bag of chips and grabbed a handful that would have rivaled Sam’s Sasquatch hands and put the chips on his plate, shoving a couple FIVE into his mouth before offering it to Naythin with a lift of his brows and a very cave man like grunt.

Naythin shot Ellen a look before raising his hand and taking a small handful of chips from the bag. “Onions are vegetables, Dean. We’ve had this discussion before. Many times.” Setting the chips on his plate, Naythin covered the plain burger with the other half of the bun before picking it up and taking a small bite. Setting it back on the plate, he chewed carefully and slowly trying to gauge if his stomach was going to behave or not. The burger was the heaviest thing he’d eaten since getting to the cabin.

“Naythin’s right. Onions are vegetables, Dean. Wouldn’t kill ya to eat a salad now and again either.” Adding a slice of tomato to her burger, Ellen reached for a thin sliver of onion as well. Picking up a couple chips, she watched Naythin as she took a bite.

“It might kill me, so why take the chance?” Dean argued regarding salads and whether or not they’d be detrimental to his lifespan. He wasn’t stupid, he knew onions were technically a vegetable, but it was definitely the coolest vegetable out there so it almost didn’t count. He looked over at Naythin and wanted so badly to help him actually sit it tore him up inside so he had to quickly look away in order to hide it. He wound up grinding his teeth together so hard they squeaked. Whoops. He looked up from his plate, his eyes going from Ellen to Naythin, hoping they hadn’t just heard the very unmistakable sound of bone grinding, and squeaking, on bone.

Naythin picked at his burger and chips. He got about halfway through when he started running out of steam and room in his stomach. Finishing off the bottle of water, he leaned back and wished like hell he hadn’t. His head dropped between his shoulders as he bit back a groan of pain. Curling his fingers into a tight fist, Naythin leaned forward bracing his weight on the table as he slowly stood to his feet. Without having to look, he knew Ellen and Dean were right there. “I’m fine. Jus’...jus’ gimme a minute.” He raised his hand to fend them off as he started to slowly walk the length of the cabin. The pain had dissipated quickly on the return trip.

Ellen was on her feet watching Naythin closely. She stayed back when he raised his hand and said he’d be okay. He sure as hell didn’t look okay. Sighing, she shook her head as she watched him walk it off. Running her fingers through her hair, she slowly sat back down on her chair.

Dean was up and out of his chair so fast it nearly toppled over backward onto the floor. He didn’t care about any held out hand. Hell, if he had to he’d push it out of his way to grab onto Naythin, but he did at least slow his movements and give Naythin room to breathe. When he started to walk away from the table, he turned his head and looked at Ellen. Looking back at Naythin he met him halfway across the cabin and reached for his shoulders. “Naythin, it’s okay,” he warned him before his hands ever found their mark. “Look at me,” he directed gently and waited for Naythin to do just that. “What was that, baby? What hurts? And like you told me outside, don’t tell me it was nothin’, that was somethin’.”

Naythin looked past Dean to Ellen who was studying the pile of chips on her plate as if they were going to give her all of life’s answers. Great. Looking back at Dean, Naythin knew he wasn’t going to be able to brush it off. “My back. My lower back where uh…” Nodding, he licked his bottom lip slowly. “If I sit a certain way, the scars pull. The muscles are still a little sore.”

Dean swallowed hard as he looked from Naythin’s eyes to the area of Naythin’s lower back, if he were turned around, and back up at Naythin, his eyes searching Naythin’s worriedly. “Can I...if we went in the other room...would you let me look to make sure it’s okay?”

Closing his eyes, Naythin sighed. He knew he couldn’t hide the scars forever. As long as possible had seemed like a really good idea but now, there was no hiding anymore. Stepping back, he crossed his arms over his chest and nodding slowly. “Okay.” Drumming his fingertips against his ribs, Naythin turned and walked to the bedroom knowing Dean would be hot on his heels.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen part of the damage that had been done to Naythin’s back as it was. When Naythin had shown him his side, Naythin had given him a good view of part of his back as well. He glanced at Ellen as they walked past her. “We’ll be right back,” he murmured and gave her shoulder a quick gentle squeeze. Once they were in the bedroom, he flicked on the light and closed the bedroom door. He wasn’t sure where Naythin wanted to do this, or how for that matter, so he kept his mouth closed and waited for Naythin to take the lead.

This was one of those rip the Band-Aid off kind of things. As soon as Naythin heard the door close, he reached over his shoulder and pulled his t-shirt off and dropped it on the bed before he lost his nerve. Dropping his hands to his sides, his fingers flexed rubbing against the palms of his hands. His stomach was rolling, his heart was racing and he was having a hard time taking in a full breath.

Dean slowly walked up behind Naythin, his eyes were wide and his heart ached bad enough that he could have been having a heart attack for all he knew. His vision blurred and he had to blink repeatedly to clear it. One hand rose of it’s own accord and his fingertips slowly moved, ever so lightly, over Naythin’s scarred flesh. “Oh my God,” he whispered so softly it was nearly inaudible. It was harder to find a patch of smooth skin than it was a whip mark. They zig zagged all across Naythin’s back, some of them disappearing beneath the waistband of the sweats Naythin wore. His fingertips moved downward, pausing there at the waistband. Lifting his eyes to the back of Naythin’s head, his mouth moved like a fish out of water a couple of times before his brain managed to tell his vocal cords to move. “C-can I?” he pushed lightly against the waistband of Naythin’s sweats.

Naythin stared straight ahead. He could feel Dean’s eyes as well as the tips of his fingers as they slowly moved along his back. His muscles tensed and quivered. The further down he got, the harder Naythin squeezed his hands. His knuckles turning white. When Naythin felt Dean push against the waistband of his sweats, he stood as tall as he could, his back bowing slightly away from the touch. The bridge had been crossed and there was no turning back, literally. Swallowing hard, Naythin gave a curt nod of his head. Naythin’s back was bad, he didn’t need a mirror to tell him. He’d lived through each and every lash of the whip, cane, riding crop, rope, chain...you name it, he was hit with it. The marks and scars on his ass and the backs of his thighs weren’t any better.

Dean swallowed hard as his own curt nod echoed Naythin’s despite the fact that Naythin couldn’t see it. “It’s jus’ me,” he whispered against Naythin’s ear as he slipped his thumbs past the elastic waistband of Naythin’s sweats and pushed them down his hips and over his ass. Dean slowly lowered himself down onto first one knee and then the other as he continued to push Naythin’s sweats down until they pooled around his ankles. The sight wasn’t any less heartbreaking as Naythin’s back. There were so many marks, Dean couldn’t count them all. He only knew he was crying because he saw a tear drip off the end of his nose to fall onto the floor between them. Lifting both hands, he ran the tips of his fingers from as high up as he could reach on Naythin’s back, downward, over the material of his boxers and down the backs of his thighs, leaning in and as far up as he could stretch, Dean pressed feather light kisses along the abused flesh from the lower middle part of Naythin’s back, down to the waistband of his boxers. He skipped over them and pressed his lips to the backs of Naythin’s thighs, along the whip marks and the bruises that were still in the process of healing in shades of sickly yellow and green. He moved from one thigh to its twin replaying the gesture exactly. Pulling his head back, he looked up at the back of Naythin’s head as he lifted his hands to the waistband of Naythin’s boxers. He had to clear his throat a couple of times so he didn’t sound so much like he’d been crying like a fool though the wetness against Naythin’s skin likely gave him away anyway. “These too?” he inquired softly.

Naythin’s body stiffened when Dean whispered in his ear. He didn’t pull away or flinch; progress. Even if it was small, it was something. Closing his eyes, Naythin was taking in slow deep breaths in through his nose and exhaling past his lips to try and keep himself calm as Dean pushed his sweats down over his hips and the swell of his ass. He had to lock his knees to keep them from giving out when the fleece material pooled at his feet.

Squeezing his eyes closed as tight as he could, Naythin raised his arms crossing them over his chest, his fists tucked under his biceps. The tears didn’t start until Naythin felt Dean’s lips on his back. He didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve that kind of attention. He was damaged...broken. Sometimes, he felt as if he were beyond repair. The tears flowed unchecked as Dean continued to lay the barely there kisses along his back and thighs. When he felt Dean’s fingers at the waistband of his boxers, Naythin started to visibly shake. Nodding his head, Naythin sniffed quietly. “Y-yeah. Yeah, o-okay.”

Dean hesitated when he heard the tears in Naythin’s voice, the pain in each word. He hesitated for a full minute as he tried to think past his curiosity and concern to whether or not this was a good thing to be doing as far as Naythin’s well being went. It wasn’t as though he could hide it forever. That’s at least what he told himself as he slowly eased Naythin’s boxers past his ass and down his thighs to pool at his ankles along with his pants. He couldn’t have stopped the surprised, horrified, and a hundred other emotions he couldn’t even name at the moment, gasp that pushed past his lips if he’d wanted to. “Holy mother of God,” he mumbled half to himself as his eyes moved over the damage that had been done to Naythin’s buttocks. An ass he use to love to hold in his hands.

Dean's hands were shaking as he lifted them and he knew he was crying because he couldn’t even see Naythin anymore, just splotches of blurred color. He did what he always use to do, just as he’d said, he cupped Naythin’s ass cheeks in his hands.

Naythin’s head dropped to his chest. The silent sob making his shoulders shake when he heard Dean’s exclamation after he’d lowered Naythin’s boxers and exposed his ass and the top half of his thighs. He couldn’t have been more exposed if he wanted to be. As much as he tried to hide the scars from Dean, he knew, eventually, he’d have to show Dean. Naythin just hadn’t anticipated it happening so soon. Dean’s reaction wasn’t exactly what he thought would happen either. The barely there, feather light touches of his fingertips and lips tore Naythin apart. He wanted to pull away, to reach down and pull his boxers and sweats back up, put his t-shirt back on and crawl under the nearest blanket and hide. If he had trouble looking Dean in the eye before, now...no way. He’d never be able to face Dean after what he’d seen. Naythin knew it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. He was ashamed, embarrassed and beyond humiliated. When he felt Dean’s hands on each of his ass cheeks, Naythin couldn’t hold back anymore. His legs were shaking, his shoulders rocked with each hard sob.

Chapter Text

“Shh, shh, shh,” Dean shushed gently as he slid his hands up Naythin’s body while pulling to his feet. He gently turned Naythin toward him as he stepped to the side, sort of meeting him halfway, and wrapped his arms around Naythin, holding him tightly against him. “It’s okay, angel. I know...I know...but it’s okay. I told you, I’d never think less of you. I love you.” He pressed his lips to Naythin’s shoulders and his cheeks, when he could manage to coax Naythin’s head up for a brief moment before he hid his face again. “It’s okay. It’s all gonna be okay. I love you. I love you so much.”

It took Naythin a couple minutes before he could lower his arms and wrap them around Dean. Lowering his head to Dean’s shoulder, he turned it burying his face in the side of Dean’s neck. His fingers curling around Dean’s over shirt, Naythin didn’t even try to stop the tears. He held onto Dean with everything he had. The only good thing, if you could call it that, was that Naythin had very few scars on the front of his body. There were a few across the tops of his thighs but nothing like his back. The way he’d been standing, Naythin knew Dean hadn’t been able to see the marks that ran across his dick and balls. Naythin was humiliated enough. He didn’t need that tossed on the pile as well. At some point in time, Dean was going to see them. Naythin knew it. He wasn’t dumb enough to think otherwise.

Dean couldn’t help the tears he cried right along with Naythin. He didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that he was crying, he just knew that he couldn’t stand the thought of what Naythin had went through, the pain and torture he had endured for three fucking years. He hated himself. He hated that he hadn’t found Naythin faster. He hated himself for not taking good enough care of Naythin. If he had, none of this would have happened. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so sorry you went through all that. Oh God, I’m so sorry.” He clung to Naythin. There wasn’t any room for air to get between them he held onto Naythin so tightly. He tipped his head briefly to the side against Naythin’s before lifting it again and sniffling. “My beautiful angel,” he murmured between one sniffle and the next as the tears just kept running down his face.

It took Naythin several minutes before he’d cried himself out. Sniffling loudly, he shook his head. “No...no, you didn’t do this.” Lifting his head, he pried his fingers from Dean’s shirt long enough to quickly use the back of his hand to wipe the tears from his eyes. It was a piss poor mop job but it would have to do for now. Wrapping his arm around Dean, Naythin pulled him in as close as he could get. “It’s not yer fault. You didn’ do this.”

Dean slowly nodded his head. He’d never believe that it wasn’t his fault. He should have been better. Looked harder. Done something, anything that would have ended Naythin’s suffering sooner or made it so that the sonsabitches never got their hands on him in the first place. He wasn’t going to argue the point however, he’d argued that same point over and over again over the last three years with Bobby, Tag, even Ellen. And none of them had been able to convince him that this wasn’t all his fault. It was. No matter what anyone said, or excuse they handed him, the bottom line was that it was his fault. Period. “I love you. An’ nobody, is ever gonna touch you again. I promise you that, angel. No one. I don’t care what I have to do to make sure yer safe, I’ll do it.”

Naythin had started to calm down a little. His arms around Dean’s shoulder didn’t loosen at all. “I love you, too.” Lifting his head, Naythin started to pull it back when Dean called him angel again. Every muscle tensed as Naythin shook his head. He wasn’t Dean’s or anyone else’s angel. Not anymore. Not with the scars and how screwed in the head he was. Angel didn’t...fit anymore. Gritting his teeth, Naythin pulled his head back enough to see Dean’s face. “No. I know you, Dean. Remember? I know what goes on in that head of yours. Do not say shit like that.” Swallowing hard, Naythin pulled his arms from Dean’s back. “I can’ lose you again. Please…please promise me you won’t do anything stupid.”

Dean met Naythin’s gaze and gave a slight shake of his head. “As long as yer safe, I won’t have to,” he responded. “And there’s no reason to worry that yer not safe, right? The nest thinks yer dead, unless of course one of them can actually read. And even then, they know yer back with me and that I’m not gonna let you outta my sight so...There’s nothin’ to worry about.”

The fact Dean didn’t promise wasn’t lost on Naythin, he eyed Dean closely, listening to every word he said. There was a loophole. A huge one. Sighing, Naythin wrapped his arms around Dean’s back. “I love you. I love you so much. I can’ lose you again.” Dipping his chin, he pressed his lips to the top of Dean’s shoulder. Closing his eyes. He knew what Dean was doing. He knew as long as you're safe was the loophole. “Don’ leave me. I can’ do this without you.”

Dean hugged Naythin tightly against him. “I’m not goin’ anywhere, baby. An’ I love you too. I love you so damn much.” His fingertips pressed against Naythin’s skin as he held onto him. After a minute he realized just how tightly he was holding onto Naythin and forced himself to let up a bit. “Sorry,” he murmured softly, the word barely a whisper. Turning his head, he pressed a kiss to the side of Naythin’s. “So uh, I’ve seen everythin’ now,” he mused softly. “An’ I still love you. An’ I still think yer beautiful.” He pulled his head back in an attempt to see Naythin’s face. “I told ya there wasn’t anythin’ that would make me change the way I feel about you.”

Dean hadn’t seen everything,. Naythin wasn’t about to remind him, either. When Dean pulled his head back, Naythin did the same. Giving his head a quick shake, he lowered his eyes to the collar of Dean’s t-shirt. “I’m not. Not anymore.” Naythin either rolled his eyes, huffed, blushed or changed the subject every time Dean called him beautiful. He wasn’t. Naythin never thought of himself that way. Yeah, sure he was good looking. Not that he had ever been conceited about it but, beautiful? No. Nuh uh. With the multitude of scars and his scrambled head, Naythin was damaged goods. He wasn’t beautiful, or anyone’s angel no matter how many times Dean said it.

“You’ll always be beautiful to me,” Dean responded, “Don’t you understand that? If I got hurt, if someone did that to me, would you feel less for me? Would you stop thinkin’ that I was good lookin’?”

“No. Of course not.”

Dean frowned at Naythin. “You really think I’m that much of an asshole?”

“What? No. I never said that.” Pulling his head back, Naythin gave it a quick shake. His own frown mirroring Dean’s as he looked at him. “I don’...I don’ see myself that way...anymore. So…so it’s hard for me to think anyone else would, even you. It’s not like I ever walked around with my shirt off before but now...every time you see ‘em. You’ll be reminded. I don’ need to see ‘em to know they’re there.”

“Yeah, I’ll know what they’re from...the night that I didn’t take good enough care’a you. But...that doesn’t have anything to do with how beautiful I think you are, or how much I love you,” Dean responded as he slowly shook his head.

Naythin would never blame Dean for what happened that night. He didn’t have to, Dean blamed himself enough for both of them and then some. Leaning forward, Naythin lowered his head onto Dean’s shoulder. Closing his eyes, he sighed heavily. “I love you. I’m...all I can say is I’ll try. I’ll...I’ll try to see me the way you do.” It was as good as it was going to get. Especially so soon after everything had happened.

“I know,” Dean murmured as he ran a hand down from Naythin’s short hair, down his neck and along his back. “I don’t think I’m ever gonna get use to that,” he mused more to himself than anything else. “I’m not expectin’ you to be fine, baby. I’d wonder what was wrong with you if you were but...this...none of this is your fault. How can I hold that against you? Besides...you didn’t even hold what I did do in Hell against me. An’ before you say it...I know there’s more. I know that...that...there was a reason they held yer face still an’...um...the whole…” He cleared his throat as he squeezed his eyes tightly closed. “Several....at a time...thing,” He growled the words softly from between clenched teeth. Blowing out a breath, he slowly reopened his eyes. “Like I said, Vanessa painted a very ugly picture.”

Naythin’s eyes widened briefly before he was able to get them back to normal. Dropping his arms from around Dean, Naythin slid one foot back far enough to allow him to bend at the waist. Grabbing the waistband of his boxers, he quickly pulled them up, stepped out of his sweats that had pooled around his ankles and started pacing the room. Lifting both hands to his head, he raked his fingers hard through his short hair before crossing his arms over chest. Lowering his eyes, Naythin stared at the floor as he paced the room from the closet to the window and back again. Ugly picture didn’t even begin to describe it. “What did she tell you?” Dean had been vague enough for Naythin to have a good idea that Dean knew some of what had been done to him.

When Naythin dropped his arms from around him, Dean was sure he’d just lost Naythin. His heart started to beat faster, like it was trying to hammer its way out of his chest. He reached for Naythin only to see him bend over and quickly pull up his boxers. Shit. He was leaving. Fuck! He thought about running for the door to stop him but Naythin had been a prisoner too long to now be imprisoned by him. His chest ached and his heart constricted, making it hard to breathe. He watched Naythin almost helplessly. When he didn’t pull his sweats back on or grab his shirt, Dean was tentatively relieved. But he wasn’t stupid enough to think he was out of the proverbial woods yet. Apologizing for what he’d said, what he’d admitted to knowing seemed too little too late so he remained silent and simply watched Naythin pace. When he asked what Vanessa had said he shrugged his shoulders and gave his head a shake. “I told you. She...she spoke in lewd nursery rhymes...and she asked questions that were none of her damn business. Not hers or…theirs.”

Lewd nursery rhymes. That made it so much better. Nodding his head, Naythin turned at the closet and started across the room again. Each time he paced past the bed, Dean got a clear view of Naythin’s back. He knew there was no way to talk about what had happened without making Dean feel worse than he already did. Turning at the window, Naythin stopped. His feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. It was harder to knock him off his feet that way. “I uh...I can’ talk about this. I mean...I can but…” Shaking his head, he lowered his arms to his side, his fingertips pressed hard against the palms of his hands. “Every time I do, it hurts you. Doesn’t matter how many times I tell you it’s not yer fault, I know yer gonna blame yerself no matter what. I don’ want to hurt you.”

“No, it’s...it’s okay. If you wanna talk about it, we can. Please. Talk. Get it out, if it’ll help you. Whatever you want...whatever you need, you know that.” Dean had to fight against himself to go to Naythin and pull him into his arms, his hands curling into loose fists at his sides.

Nodding, Naythin started pacing again. His fingers opening and closing into loose fists at his sides. “You said you knew why they held my face still.” Lowering his eyes to the floor, Naythin licked his lips nervously. “They’d force my mouth open. One would grab a handful of my hair and others would grab my beard. I fought. Um...wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t open my mouth. One time, they ripped some of my beard outta my chin.” Lifting one hand, Naythin rubbed at the underside of his chin. He could feel a small rough area even through the stubble. He could still feel the pain. He’d screamed from it. Sniffing, he gave his head a quick shake. “When they did that, ripped out my beard, they would um...they’d do...things to make me scream. Said it was easier and...and more fun. He uh…” Huffing, Naythin shook his head. “He...liked it when I screamed.” Nodding again, he raised a hand and slowly ran it down his face. “They’d uh...they’d...try an’ see how long I could hold my breath when they’d uh... when they’d…” He couldn’t say it. Naythin’s stomach started to churn, his throat getting tight trying to keep from throwing up. Clearing his throat, he turned his back to Dean, his head bowed as he stared at the floor. “I can’ remember how many times I passed out. One...one time, they um...they put this...um...this thing in my mouth to keep it open so they wouldn’t have to hold my jaw open anymore. They’d leave it on for a few days so they could uh...so anyone um…”

“Little boy blue come blow your horn, he’s been blowing a lot of horns lately.” Vanessa’s words rang in Dean’s ears as he listened to Naythin. He felt his stomach churn and had to swallow several times so he wouldn’t lose his dinner. His hands flexed at his sides, curling into tight white knuckled fists at his sides and then relaxing somewhat only to start the process over again. He wanted to go to Naythin to hold him and tell him he didn’t have to do this, that he didn’t have to relive all that, but maybe it was better that he did, that he got it all out. He wasn’t sure, all he knew was that he ached. He physically ached for Naythin. His chest was tight and it was hard to breathe past the pain. His heart felt like it was barely beating. He knew his face was flushed, he could feel the heat, and it wasn’t from blushing, he was that angry, that pissed off. If he could leave, he would, right then in that moment, he’d hunt down the sonsabitches and give them a taste of what Hell is really like. Finally, after Naythin’s words died off, Dean nodded his head, swallowing hard again so he could speak without the fear of throwing up. “I...Vanessa...yeah, that’s pretty much...I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be willingly so...yeah…”

Nodding his head, Naythin sucked in his bottom lip. Biting down on it for a few seconds before letting it slowly slip free. “After He told me you were dead...showed me yer shirt. I uh…” Shaking his head, Naythin turned to face Dean. “I stopped fighting it. They told me to do something and I did it. I don’ know if ya wanna call that willingly or not.” Naythin had never lied to Dean and he wasn’t going to start now.

Dean wasn’t sure what to say to that. He’d always lived by the motto that if you have to go down, go down fightin’. So he could go into the whole bit about how wrong that was and that he should have kept fighting but then, what had he done in Hell? He given up too. He finally just couldn’t take it anymore and he gave in. He got up off that rack and he did whatever Alistair told him to do. He hadn’t done it because he’d thought someone he loved had died, he did it simply because he couldn’t take one more cut, one more second of the pain. His head bowed, his chin nearly to his chest as he squeezed his eyes closed and

Walking over to the bed, Naythin picked up his t-shirt and put it back on. He stood at the side of the bed for a minute before turning and stepping in front of Dean. His hands were shaking as they hung by his sides. Curling his fingers into loose fists, he raised his arms and wrapped them around Dean’s waist. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.” He should have kept his mouth shut is what he should have done.

Lifting his head, Dean’s eyes were red rimmed and the muscle in his jaw twitched before he had the chance to stop himself. He gave it a shake to Naythin’s words. “No. No, you should. You need to talk about this...an’ I already told ya, I’m here for you.”

Nodding, Naythin dropped his arms and stepped back. Turning his back to Dean, he walked over to the window making sure to not stand directly in front of it. He wanted to tell Dean what happened. He’d be a hypocrite if he didn’t. Dean had talked to him about Hell. It wasn’t something that he talked about on his own. Naythin had to push a little. Get him to open up about his night terrors or when he’d zone out and stare off into the distance. Dean would get this glazed look in his eye like he was a million miles away. Telling your husband you were gang raped repeatedly wasn’t something that came out in casual conversation.

“Van…” Dean had to clear his throat and try to get himself to not stand so stiffly. He felt like shit for not holding Naythin when he’d come over and wrapped his arms around him he just...his body wouldn’t move. “Vanessa said that...uh… Shit!” He squeezed his eyes closed and lifted a hand, running it slowly down his face before allowing it to fall to his side again. “She said that you were uh...that...um…” He lifted a hand and waved it around in the air for a minute while he tried to get the words to fall out of his mouth or like he was waiting for them to appear in their air so he wouldn’t have to say them. “That He wasn’t the only one that...that...raped you. Actually what she said nearly got her killed. I jumped up, Tag pulled his rifle and Bobby was ready to lunge himself at her,” he huffed out an almost chuckle though there was no amusement in it. Ethan had to get in front of her. “She uh...she said that...well, that you were everyone’s...um...y’know…” Oh yeah, that was clear as mud.

Nodding, Naythin turned away from the window. He leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. “Yeah. Yeah, she uh…” Shaking his head, he lowered his eyes to the floor. “She wasn’t wrong. In the beginning, He uh...He wouldn’t let anyone else touch me. I mean, yeah, they’d have to move me or whatever but He...he was the only one that...that raped me, fed off me, beat me. He liked it when I screamed.” He’d already said that. Nodding to himself, Naythin raised both hands, scrubbing his palms over his face before lowering them and crossing his arms back over his chest. “He uh...the more he hurt me the better. The louder I screamed, the more I begged, the more I bled. He’d whip me harder and longer until I passed out. He had this block like thing they’d lay me on to keep my ass in the air. Easier access, I guess. After a while, He started letting others feed on me. The...higher ranking vampires of the nest or whatever. He started letting them fuck me after he was done whether I was conscious or not. It started to be more and more until...I don’ know how many it was. They started to get creative after a while. I guess fucking me with jus’ their dicks got boring. They’d use these big dildos and…” Shaking his head, Naythin licked his lips. Taking in a slow deep breath, he held it for a second before letting it out. “One guy used beer cans and bottles.” Shrugging his shoulders, Naythin gave himself a hard shake. “Whatever they could find laying around. A couple even used their fists.”

Dean knew he was going to lose his dinner any minute now. He kept swallowing hard even as his throat burned from stomach acid. He bowed his head and lowered his eyes to the floor and then to his hand when Naythin said they used their fists and he curled his own fingers into a fist and scoffed disgustedly as he closed his eyes and turned his head away, letting his fingers uncurl. Drawing in a hitched breath he blinked open his eyes and lifted his head as he cleared his throat and tried swallowing half a dozen times to get his throat to stop burning. “She um, she said you cried...a lot. She…They saw you. She said she saw you crying in-in a corner.” He gave his head a shake.

Nodding, Naythin sighed heavily. “Yeah...yeah, I did. Um...when they were done with me. If the nest was staying in the house or wherever we were, they’d chain me to the floor usually in the corner of the room so I couldn’t get away. When I was alone, I did.” Lifting his head, Naythin looked out the window. “I know yer not supposed to. Hell, both our dad’s told us crying was for sissy’s. Hunters don’t cry. It showed weakness. You couldn’t be a Hunter if you were weak. But um….” Nodding, Naythin cleared his throat. Blinking rapidly, he tried to fight off the sting of tears.

“I don’t think that rule applies to being gang raped by vampires or Hell, so I think we’re both safe on that one.” Dean cleared his throat and turned his head away from Naythin before he started crying right there on the spot. He blinked rapidly for a few minutes and exhaled a shaky breath. He sniffed softly as he turned his attention back to Naythin, his eyes moved over him for a long while in silence. What was he supposed to say now? It wasn’t like he could make a joke that would break the tension and he was pretty sure that whether they were done before or not neither of them would be eating anything else tonight. So what was there that he could do or say? Nothing.

Ellen sat at the table for a few minutes after the bedroom door closed. Her fingers nervously tapping against the edge of the table. She could hear muffled voices but wasn’t able to pick out which one belonged to who. After a good ten minutes, she couldn’t stand it any longer. Getting to her feet, she cleaned up the table. Putting the leftover tomato and onions in the fridge. Closing the potato chip bag and setting it on top of the counter. After turning the coffee pot off, rinsing the carafe and tossing out the filter and used coffee grounds, she gave the counters and table a good wipe down. She scrubbed the sink within an inch of its life and even swept the kitchen and living room...twice. When there wasn’t anything left to clean, Ellen walked over to the couch and sat down. She turned the TV on keeping the volume low so she could hear if anyone started yelling in the bedroom. It wasn’t that she expected the boys to fight or anything. Naythin was walking a thin line between keeping his shit together and completely losing it. When Dean came back from Hell, he’d spent most of his time at Bobby’s and on the road with Naythin. She hadn’t even known he’d come back until almost a month later. Even then, he looked...haunted.

Glancing down at her watch, Ellen sighed. Tossing the remote on the coffee table, she stood to her feet and walked to the closed bedroom door. Hanging her head, she raised her hand. Her knuckles hovering just above the door. She couldn’t hear anyone talking so now seemed like a good time to interrupt, hopefully. Knocking softly, she dropped her hand to her side. “Guys? I uh...I hate to do this but, I gotta hit the road.”

Dean’s head snapped to the door so fast it was a wonder he didn’t break his neck. His eyes were wide and his heart had jumped into his throat. He glanced at Naythin but couldn’t help him right now with what he was about to say and do. “No!” He barked loud enough that anyone in a ten mile radius probably heard him. He crossed the bedroom in two long strides and pulled open the door. “Yer not goin’ out there alone. Lemme grab the shotgun an’ a knife an’ I’ll walk you to yer jeep.” Yep, he’d just officially freaked the hell out of Naythin. He’d worry about that patch job later, right now he was more worried about Ellen going out there, alone, in the dark when he was as sure as he was standing there that there had been something out there earlier.

Ellen wasn’t sure who Dean was yelling at until the door was yanked open and he was in her face. Pulling her head back, Ellen’s eyebrows shot up into her hairline. “You uh...you wanna turn the volume down a notch there, Dean?” Looking past Dean’s shoulder, Ellen saw Naythin backed into the corner, his eyes wide, hands balled into white knuckle fists. Raising her hand, she pointed at Naythin. “You take care’a him. Right now. I’m a big girl, Dean. Been takin’ care’a m’self for a lotta years.” Lowering her hand onto Dean’s shoulder, she squeezed gently. “I appreciate yer concern but, Naythin needs you a hell of a lot more than I do.”

Dean didn’t back down, at least not right away and his muscles sure as hell weren’t getting with the program of backing down, his back was ramrod straight and every muscle was rock hard under Ellen’s hand. “I know, but…” He turned his head and looked back at Naythin and then turned his head and looked back at Ellen. Leaning in a little he whispered so only she could hear him. “Something was out there, I know it.” Pulling his head back he quirked a brow and let that knowledge sink in for a second. “Do you have yer gun with you?” If she had that then at least he’d feel a little better. Not much, but a little.

Ellen slowly pulled her hand away, her eyes darting to Naythin. Whatever he was seeing it wasn’t Dean or herself standing at the door. Reaching behind her back, Ellen pulled out her handgun just enough for Dean to see before quickly returning it to the holster at the small of her back. “I’ll be careful. No one knows ‘bout this place ‘cept me, Ash, an’ Bobby. No one stays here. When I said it was a Hunting cabin….that’s what it is. Bill used to come up here an’ deer hunt.”

Dean gave a slow nod of his head. “Okay. I’m sorry, I jus’...” He gave another curt nod. He knew that Ellen would know why he was so jumpy, he didn’t have to explain himself, not to her. “Do me a favor? Shoot me a text when you get back. There’s a lotta road between here an’ the Roadhouse, even more between that an’ yer home. There’s no tellin’ what kind of bastards are out there on the roads.” Yeah, like the supernatural kind of bastards. He nodded as he took a step back. She was right, he needed to clean up the mess he’d just made, but at the same time, Ellen didn’t need to have anything happen to her simply because she was with them, helping them, because she was family.

Smiling, Ellen nodded as she wrapped her arms around Dean pulling him in a tight hug. “Don’ be sorry. It’s okay.” Pulling back, she nodded again. “I’ll text ya the minute I get back. It’ll be late, so I’m gonna go straight to the Roadhouse an’ sleep in the back room.” Stepping back away from the door, her smiled widened. “I’ll be fine. Go take care’a Naythin.” Turning, Ellen walked to the kitchen table. Picking up her bag and jacket, she quickly slipped her jacket on and shouldered the strap for her messenger bag. Going to the front door, she unlocked it. Before opening the door, she reached around to her back pulling her handgun out and taking the safety off. Holding it close to her thigh, she pulled the door open and slipped out into the night. Not stopping until she was next to her Jeep. Opening the door, she quickly slid behind the wheel. Setting the handgun on the passenger side seat she quickly started the engine and hit the high beams. Putting the Jeep in gear, she pressed down on the accelerator and headed down the long two track to the main road.

Hearing the jeep’s engine, Tristan started up the old Chevy he’d picked up off the side of the road, abandoned. Or at least it was once he was done. He smirked at that. The way the woman had screamed and begged him for her life had gotten him excited, so he’d taken care of that business too before her body had the chance to grow cold. Still grinning, he turned the car around and headed down the road away from the tiny cabin that housed his newest pet.

Dean followed Ellen as she walked out the door. He watched from the window until she was safely in her jeep with the engine running. He watched as her tail lights slowly disappeared down the long drive leading to the main road before pulling away from the window and locking the door. Making sure both deadbolts were secure and that the salt line hadn’t been disturbed. With that done, he walked back into the bedroom and over to Naythin where he was hugged up against the corner like a scared animal. Sonofa... Smooth move, dumbass. Shit!

When Dean yelled, Naythin flew into the corner, his head smacking into the wall with a loud bang. He didn’t even feel the pain as he slowly slid down to the floor, his knees pulled up tight to his chest. His fingers curled into tight fists. His body shook so hard, he had to clench his jaw tight to keep his teeth from knocking together. He didn’t hear anything that was said between Dean and Ellen. The cabin had disappeared to be replaced by an empty room in a warehouse. He could see the chain that was attached to the cuffs on his wrists, ankles and the collar around his neck. It was one of the heavier chains they’d used to lead him around with. It was only used when they had to move fast.

Dean crouched down in front of Naythin first, before he moved forward onto one knee as he reached for Naythin, cupping the side of his neck gently. “Naythin,” he called gently. He knew that look, that glazed over fearful look, he’d seen it on his own face in the mirror enough times to recognize it in another. “Naythin, come back to me, baby. Please. It’s okay. I won’t let them get to you. I swear it. Baby, c’mon. It’s okay. Yer safe.”

Naythin flinched, his head tilting to the side as he raised his shoulder to push away from whoever was touching him. It wasn’t what he’d been accustomed too. This wasn’t someone grabbing his hair and dragging him across the floor until he got his feet under him and was able to walk on his own. Swallowing hard, he turned his head to the side trying to shield his face from the blows that always fell if he didn’t move fast enough.

“Baby? Naythin.” Dean searched Naythin’s features until he couldn’t anymore as Naythin turned away from him. “C’mon, Naythin, it’s me, it’s Dean. Yer home. Yer safe. Snap out of it, baby. Yer safe.” He heaved a heavy sigh. God, he didn’t want to do this. Moving his hand from the side of Naythin’s neck he grabbed Naythin’s chin and turned his head toward him, whether Naythin wanted to look or not. “Naythin! Look at me. Look at me, Naythin. See me. Don’t look at them. Look at me!”

Naythin’s body jerked hard when he heard his name barked at him. Blinking rapidly, he tried to pull his head away from the firm hold on his chin. The back of his head hitting the wall with a loud thud. He tried to turn his head, to lower it but nothing worked. The second time he heard his name, Naythin frowned. They never said his name, ever. Swallowing hard, he blinked a few more times before Dean’s face came into focus. Naythin inhaled sharply, his lips parting slightly as he slowly leaned forward, his fingers uncurling as he raised both arms and reached out for Dean. “Dean…”

Dean immediately released Naythin’s chin and wrapped his arms around him when Naythin reached for him. “Yeah, baby, it’s me. It’s me,” he soothed. After a few moments he ran one hand down and back up Naythin’s back before gripping him tighter and practically, as he sat back on his heels, pulled Naythin into his lap.

Wrapping his arms around Dean’s waist, Naythin let him pull him in close. Laying his head on Dean's shoulder, he tightened his arms around him. Closing his eyes, Naythin inhaled against Dean’s shirt. Filling his lungs with the scent of Dean’s shampoo and the soap he’d used in the shower. “Wh-what happened?” Each word muffled by Dean’s shoulder.

Dean huffed softly. “Ellen went home,” he murmured, “An’ you kinda left me for a couple minutes.” How else was he supposed to explain that?

Pulling his head back, Naythin looked at Dean, his eyebrows bunched tightly. “I left? I didn’...Oh. Oh, okay.” Sighing, Naythin gave Dean a quick once over making sure he didn’t hit him again. “Yer okay? I didn’t...I didn’t hit you or anything?”

Dean shook his head. “No, you didn’t hit me. I yelled because I didn’t want Ellen goin’ out there by herself an’ you kinda left an’ went someplace...awful.”

Sighing, Naythin sat back on his heels. Lowering his eyes to the middle of Dean’s chest, he nodded slowly. “Yeah, it uh...there was this warehouse. I could see it, ya know? I wasn’t…here anymore. I could see the cuffs on my wrists and ankles. The chain...it was the real heavy one they used when they moved around a lot. Twice a day in the beginning. Or if people got too close to wherever they were staying. I could feel the weight of it pulling on the collar.” Shaking his head, Naythin shrugged one shoulder. “They used to yell really loud right as I’d fall asleep. It echoed everywhere. Didn’ matter how many times they did it, it always scared the shit outta me.”

Dean only loosened his hold on Naythin when Naythin moved back from him. He let his hands slid off Naythin’s back to fall loosely on his lap. He nodded to Naythin’s words and had to fight against the growing rage he always felt when he heard about anything those bastards did to Naythin. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. It shocked me that she was leavin’ an’ all I could think of was that I didn’t want her out there alone, unprotected. Y’know? That’s all.” He shook his head. “I never meant to scare you or make you go back...there.”

“I know you didn’t.” Lifting his eyes, Naythin looked up at Dean from under his brows. “Ya don’ have to apologize.” Naythin quickly glanced from Dean to the open bedroom door and back again. “Did...did something happen outside? I know you said it was nothing but...what aren’t you telling me?”

Dean shook his head. “Nothin’. Nothin’ happened. I told you, I just had the feelin’ that somethin’ was out there...it was prob’ly just me bein’ paranoid. I’m sure it was nothin’...I jus’ wanted to make sure Ellen was safe on the off chance that it was somethin’, that’s all.” More or less. It wasn’t a total lie.

Naythin stared up at Dean for a moment before slowly nodding. “Okay. Okay.” Sniffing softly, he raised his hands and stopped. His fingers curled into loose fists as he looked down at the bandages on his wrists. “Can you take ‘em off? The bandages. Take ‘em off.” The marks from the cuffs had already healed. They were more red and aggravated than anything else. Naythin didn’t need to bandages anymore. Not for their intended purpose anyway. He was using them to hide what he already knew was under them.

Dean’s brows knitted as he looked from Naythin to his wrists and back again. “What? Why?” He looked between the two again. “If this is about what you saw… Baby, yer safe now. I’m never gonna let anyone or anything hurt you. I promise.” He wasn’t sure why out of the blue Naythin suddenly wanted the bandage off. Before he’d wanted them on right after a shower. Quickly, before he had the chance to really stare at the marks on his wrists.

It had only been a little over a week and maybe he was rushing into things but right now, in that moment, the last thing he wanted was for the bandages to be on. “I know.” Sighing, Naythin gave his head a quick shake. “If...I can’ keep hiding what...what happened to me. The bandages, they’re...they’re no different than the cuffs.” Damn it, he wasn’t sure if he was explaining this right. “They used the cuffs to control me.” Naythin raised both of his arms, the palms of his hands facing up. “That’s what the bandages are doing. I’m not gonna get...past all this or get better if I let what happened keep controlling me.”

Dean heaved a heavy sigh and his uncertainty was clearly written on his face, even as he shifted so he was sitting on his ass so he could bring his feet around and grab the knife he kept in a sheath on his ankle. Withdrawing the knife, he reached for Naythin’s hand and held it gently within his own while his opposite hand rose, knife in hand. He carefully slid the blade between Naythin’s skin and the gauze bandages and with one small tug of the knife, cut the bandage in half effectively removing it and sending it falling to the floor.

Naythin had to look away when he saw the blade in Dean’s hand. He knew it was Dean’s knife, Dean’s hand holding it. It didn’t matter, he had to close his eyes and look away. Maybe he was rushing this. He knew he rushing it the second he felt the cold metal of the blade slide against his skin. The quick tug had him gasping softly, his fingers curling into a fist. He didn’t pull away. Bonus points. Licking his lips, Naythin moved his other hand closer before he lost his nerve. “S’okay. I’m okay.”

Dean’s eyes swung up to Naythin’s and he paused with his knife in hand. “You want me to stop?” This was not one of those things to accidentally misunderstand.

“No.” Shaking his head, Naythin looked up at Dean. “Keep going.” He wanted Dean to stop in the worst way. If he did though, Naythin was afraid he’d never be able to take the bandages off and leave them off.

Dean looked down at Naythin’s bandaged wrist and back up to Naythin’s face. Naythin looked as much like he wanted Dean to finish as Dean looked like he wanted to have his foot crushed under the Impala’s wheel. “Uh huh,” he grunted in disbelief. He released Naythin now free wrist and went for the other one. He held this one a little more firmly than its twin because he was afraid that Naythin might change his mind at the last second and wind up bleeding out all over the bedroom floor. After all, Dean kept every knife he owned sharp enough to split a hair. “Don’t move, baby,” he murmured gently. “It’s jus’ me. Don’t move,” he continued as he slid the blade between Naythin’s skin and the bandage. “Don’t. move.,” he murmured distractedly as he gave the blade one good yank toward himself and right through the bandage.

As soon as Dean’s knife sliced through the bandage, Naythin yanked his hand back. Wrapping his fingers around his wrist, he started twisting his wrist back and forth. Sighing heavily, he nodded as he looked over at Dean. “Okay...I’m, I’m okay.” Pulling his hand away, Naythin looked down at his wrists. There were two very faint white lines along the underside of both wrists that wrapped around the side before disappearing entirely. The rest of the marks were red from the leather rubbing but that was all. If that was all the cuffs left on his skin, Naythin would not complain. It felt...odd, not having something touching his wrists. He was going to have to get another watch and...something for his other wrist. He still had the bandages on his ankles to deal with.

“You sure yer okay?” Dean inquired as he watched Naythin closely. Lowering his eyes to Naythin’s wrists, he couldn’t help but notice the pale white lines that went around one side of them. “The doc did a good job on those. He said he tried to sew ‘em up as best as he could without letting them scar too bad. Guess he managed pretty good.” He looked from Naythin’s wrists back to Naythin’s face again. “I know I sound like a stuck record but, you sure yer okay?”

Naythin frowned as he looked down at his wrists. “Stitches?” Turning his wrists over, Naythin’s frown deepened. How bad were they? He couldn’t remember them bleeding before he was put in the cage."

“Yeah, just a couple I guess. He said that when the paramedic...or fireman...or whatever took ‘em off that they were bleeding. I guess you wanted to live a little more than you wanted to do what you said they told you.” Dean had to look away and think of something, anything else or else he was going to explode.

“I passed out from the smoke. I...I don’ remember anyone takin’ me outta the c-cage. I woke up in the ambulance.” Shaking his head, Naythin looked up Dean. “I uh…ferget it. S’nothin’.”

Dean looked back at Naythin as he shook his head. “No, what is it? Tell me. You need to tell me these things and get it off yer chest. An’ before you say it, just ignore me, I’m fine. Say what you were gonna say.”

Naythin huffed. “Yer not fine. No more than I am.” He knew Dean wouldn’t let this go. “When they left me in the cage. He told me to stay there, to not say anything or call out to anyone or I’d be punished. I could hear yelling and people shooting. A little while later, smoke started to get in the room from under the door and it got quiet. Like...scary quiet. I stared at the door waiting for one of ‘em to come get me. No one came. The smoke got thicker and after a while I could hear the fire. I could hear the house fall apart. I tried to stay as close to the floor as I could. The smoke kept getting thicker and I was coughing and it got harder and harder to breath. I jus’ wanted to die. I figured if I did, I’d get to see you again...in Heaven. When I passed out, I thought that was it.”

Dean lowered his gaze the longer Naythin spoke, staring down at the wood floor beneath him. He wanted to scream. He wanted to find the sonsabitches that did this and kill them, kill them the way Alistair taught him to in Hell. He wanted to hit something. To kill something. He wanted to watch the light go out in some piece of shit’s eyes. Talk about someone not being completely over something. If that wasn’t a Hell trademark he didn’t know what was. Lifting his eyes, he met Naythin’s gaze. “Well, it wasn’t it. You were rescued.” Not by him, that alone killed Dean a little every time he thought about it. “You made it outta there. You lived. I don’t care what you had to do to survive all that. I get it, I know what it’s like to go against everything you believe in, everything you want to be because if you don’t it means more pain. At least you don’t crave...sometimes...to do to someone else the things that were done to you. Right now,” he gave his head a slow shake and looked back down at the floor again. “The things I want to do to them…” He huffed softly. “If I told you what I want to do,” he lifted his head and looked up at Naythin. “You’d be scared of me.”

Reaching for Dean’s hands, Naythin squeezed them both gently. “No. I couldn’t be afraid of you. You...you tried to convince me you were some kind of monster when you got back. Didn’t work then an’ it’s not gonna work now. You could do whatever you wanted to ‘em. I’d help. After everything they did to me. A little payback wouldn’t bother me.”

“Payback?” Dean inquired with a lift of his brows. “I dunno if I’d actually call it payback, more like payback times a thousand. You said he liked to hear you scream?” He nodded. “I’d make him scream...make him beg me to kill him…” He shook his head as he looked at the floor, a down right malicious look marring his features. “I’d draw it out as long as I could. And since he’s a vampire that could be a very, very long time.”

“I wouldn’t stop you.” Naythin knew if Dean ever got his hands on the vampire and did to him what he’d done to souls in Hell, he’d have to put Dean back together again. “Dean, I’m...I’m a mess. I know it. I can’ even go outside. I know I’ve said it before but, I’m tryin’. I don’ wan’ to be...like this forever. I want to be back out there. I want to Hunt again, with you. It’s what we do.”

Dean looked up at Naythin and reached for him with one hand, wrapping it and part of his arm around Naythin’s shoulders, pulling him gently to him. “It’s jus’ a job. I wan’ you back together for you. I don’t care about the job. Not right now, not until yer better...an’ I know it’s not gonna be an overnight thing. Trust me, I know.” He’d been stubborn and worked during his recovery from what had happened to him, what he’d done while in Hell. He huffed softly to himself at that memory. Hell, he hadn’t even admitted that anything was wrong for a long while after he’d gotten back. He’d just avoided sleep like the plague an’ scary masks literally scared the hell out of him for a while. No pun intended. It wasn’t until he’d started drinking until he passed out that Naythin had said anything to him. His own stupid brother hadn’t even noticed anything. But Naythin had. He’d noticed it all.

Definitely wasn’t going to be an overnight thing. It seemed like he’d just start doing a little better and end up worse than before. Something...didn’t matter what it was, would set him back on his heels. Shifting closer to Dean, Naythin rested his head on his shoulder. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Dean murmured. He wrapped his arm a little tighter around Naythin with his words and shifted his arm so it was around Naythin’s waist, his hand lightly gripping Naythin’s hip.

Tristan had pulled down a side street and shut the car’s lights off, waiting for Ellen Harvelle to drive past. Once she did, he waited, just a few minutes so it wouldn’t look like he was following her before turning on the lights and pulling the car up and onto the main road. He followed her, at a safe distance, back to the Roadhouse and parked the car a few yards away. He turned off the engine and the lights and just sat there, waiting and watching. “I see yooouuu,” he called softly into the emptiness of the car, quietly enough that no one would be able to hear him, but it tickled him just the same and had him chuckling to himself.

Ellen parked her Jeep next to the bunkhouse. Turning off the engine and killing the lights, she picked up the handgun from where it had been sitting during the drive back from the cabin. Taking the keys from the ignition, she tucked them into the front pocket of her jeans as she shoved the drivers side door open. Switching the handgun to her left hand, she reached into the Jeep for her bag. Shouldering the strap, she switched the handgun back to her right hand, locked the Jeep and slammed the door closed. Turning with her back to the Jeep, her eyes narrowed as she listened to the night. Her eyes scanning the immediate area for any sound that was out of place. Nodding to herself, Ellen turned and made her way across the back lot of the bar to the rear delivery entrance. Shaking the key out from her key ring, Ellen unlocked the door. Before she opened the door, her finger slowly moved to take the safety off the handgun. Her grip tightened on the handle as she looked around again. Her eyes narrowed to thin slits as the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. “Huh…” Nodding slowly, Ellen opened the door just enough to slip inside before quickly closing and locking it. Before turning any lights on, she checked each salt line at the windows and front door. The other sigils and wards were all in place. Blowing out a long breath, Ellen headed through the bar and through the kitchen to the small efficiency apartment she had added on a few years back. Locking the door, she made sure the salt line was good before sitting at the small table. Pulling out her cell phone she texted Dean.

Chapter Text

She knew if she told Dean she sensed something was off, he’d worry. He needed to take care of Naythin. Hitting the send button, she set the phone on the table and walked to the small fridge to get a beer.

Dean’s phone going off in his back pocket was the only thing that had him moving before Naythin had finally given up their position on the floor. He shifted forward slightly as he reached back with his free hand and withdrew the cell from his pocket. Reading the text, he heaved a sigh of relief and quickly sent a one handed text, so it wasn’t as quick as it would have been with two hands, but it was still quick. Glad to hear it. Take care, Ellen. Call if you need anything. Love ya. He sat the phone on the floor after sending the text and turned his attention to Naythin, lifting the hand he’d held the phone with and, reached across his own body, ran his hand down the side of Naythin’s face that wasn’t leaning against his shoulder.

Leaning against Dean, Naythin started to relax, really relax. He’d bend his wrists every few minutes checking to make sure the cuffs were really gone. He still had the bandages on his ankles. Baby steps. If anythin', he’d take them off himself. Naythin wasn’t sure he could sit still long enough for Dean to take them off. Let alone touch his ankles. Sighing softly when Dean started to gently run his hand down the side of his face, Naythin’s eyes stayed closed longer and longer. “M’tired.” His voice slurred slightly. The word...okay two words, drawn out and barely recognizable.

Dean smiled softly. “Go ahead an’ go to bed, baby,” he murmured. “I’ll go turn all the lights off an’ come to bed with you.” His eyes that had slipped closed now flew open. “I uh, I mean in the same room...with you.” Shit. Shit. Shit.

“It’s okay. I know what you meant.” Lifting his head from Dean’s shoulder, Naythin nodded. Pushing himself to his feet, he refused to look at Dean. He wasn’t mad or anything, Naythin just didn’t want to see the pain and disappointment in Dean’s eyes. Naythin still couldn’t sleep on the bed. He could barely sit on the couch. Sleeping on the couch...that was something he hadn’t tried yet.

Dean sighed softly and nodded. Pulling to his feet with a groan that he’d deny till the day he died, he headed out into the kitchen and living room, turning lights out as he went. He peeked out one of the windows for a bit, just stood there in the darkened cabin and listened and watched. When nothing happened, he pulled away from the window and headed for the bedroom. He knew, without having to even look, that Ellen had cleaned up while she’d been waiting for them to come out of the bedroom so he didn’t even worry about that. Walking into the bedroom, the light was already on from earlier but he walked over and turned the small lamp on next to the bed, then walked back over to turn the bright ceiling light off with the switch. Stepping away from the wall switch he walked over and sat on the end of the bed. Leaning over, he untied his boots and toed them off before pulling his socks off too. Tucking those into his boots, he shrugged out of his over shirt and tossed it down onto the floor. From there, he reached back with one hand and grabbed a handful of cotton and pulled his t-shirt up and over his head, tossing it down on the floor along with his over shirt. Standing up, his hands lowered to the button and zipper of his pants, unfastening them and pushing them down his hips and over his ass, letting them pool at his feet before stepping out of them.

After Dean left the room, Naythin walked around the bed and put his sweat pants back on. His legs had started to get cold and after being cold for three years, he swore to never knowingly or willingly allow himself to feel that way again. He waited in the doorway as Dean turned the lights out and stare out the window. Shaking his head, Naythin chewed on his bottom lip as he watched Dean. Something was bothering him and it wasn’t just Dean being paranoid. Naythin didn’t move until Dean started to walk toward the bedroom. Pushing away from the door, he walked over to the blanket he slept on next to the bed and sat down on it. Crossing his legs, he watched Dean walk in and start to undress at the foot of the bed. Taking a deep breath, Naythin let it out slowly. Looking down at his wrists, he ran the tips of his fingers over the thin white lines. “Dean?” Looking up, he pushed up onto his knees resting his forearms against the edge of the bed. “Would you...would you lay with me until I fall asleep? Please?”

Dean had pulled to his feet to walk around the side of the bed to crawl in when Naythin’s question had him freezing in his tracks. He blinked at Naythin for a minute, trying to make sure that he’d actually said what Dean had thought he’d heard him say. “Are...are you sure?” The first night they’d slept together hadn’t gone so well, for either of them. He hadn’t slept at all and Naythin had slept curled into such a tight ball that cats around the globe were jealous. “I mean, yeah, sure, of course.” Oh yeah, real smooth there. Shut up. “Um...how do you want me? Do you want me to put my shirt back on?” He had no real idea whether this vampire sonofabitch had actually slept with Naythin or not, not that vampire’s sleep really but still. And if he did, he couldn’t imagine the bastard getting pajamas on for the occasion, or even a t-shirt for that matter. So he just...he didn’t want to do anything to make Naythin think of that bastard.

Shaking his head, Naythin glanced up at Dean. “No. You don’ have to put a shirt on. Jus’ um...lay down like we...like we used to.” It had been a long damn time since Naythin had fallen asleep with his head on Dean’s chest. He missed it. It was almost a physical ache and had nothing to do with how much Naythin’s body still hurt from the abuse it had endured.

Dean nodded. “Okay,” he agreed and stepped closer to the pallet Naythin had on the floor. “Are you sure you don’t want a blanket over you? I can take the one off the bed,” he offered as he moved his pillows from the bed to the floor, along with the knife he kept beneath his bottom pillow. Kneeling down on the pallet, he stashed the knife in it’s usual spot and reached for the blanket as he looked back at Naythin, awaiting his answer.

“Okay. Yeah, okay.” Pushing away from the bed, Naythin moved over so Dean would be closest to the door. Some habits died really, really hard. Dean always slept closest to the door, no matter what. Reaching for his pillow, Naythin lay on his side, one arm tucked under the pillow propping his head up slightly. He could feel the butterflies already starting in his stomach. He had to do this. Just like with the bandages on his wrist. This, having Dean lay with him, needed to be done now. It was a step in the right direction. Naythin was tired of taking more steps back than forward. It didn’t matter how much he was flipping out inside. He had to do this.

Dean nodded in response to Naythin’s words. “Okay,” he murmured and tugged the blanket off the bed. Getting into his spot on the floor, he covered them both up with the blanket before laying back on the pillow. He had to fight his body’s instinct to turn toward Naythin and hook one of Naythin’s legs with one of his own as he pulled Naythin against him and they slept wrapped up in each other’s arms. The loss of that, of possibly never having that again hurt. It hurt a lot, but Dean saw it as punishment for not finding Naythin sooner. It was an extremely light punishment when you looked at everything that Naythin had lost, the huge piece of himself that was now gone. But Dean knew that his punishment didn’t stop there. He was relatively certain that they’d never make love again either. He understood it. He accepted it. He didn’t deserve to be that close to Naythin anymore, not after how badly he’d let him down. After how he had caused all of this to happen to Naythin. If he could, there were times he’d walk back into Hell himself. He’d get Sammy out of the deal he made so he wouldn’t have to turn over his first born kid, and just stay there. Blowing out a breath he turned his head toward Naythin. “Do uh, do you need me to turn away from you, like last time?”

Pulling the blanket up to his shoulders, Naythin slowly raised his head from the pillow. “No. You don’ have to.” Swallowing hard, Naythin pulled his arm from under his pillow and slid down a few inches, his eyes glued to Dean’s chest. He could do this. It was Dean. Shifting closer to Dean’s side, Naythin slowly lowered himself back down on his side, the side of his face resting against Dean’s chest. He held himself there for a few seconds as his heart started hammering in his chest. Closing his eyes, Naythin let out a long shaky breath before his body started to relax. The muscles on his arm slowly lost their tension so he wasn’t as stiff as board. His body molding itself into Dean’s side. Muscle memory slowly kicking in. Lifting one arm, Naythin carefully draped it across Dean’s stomach. Tucking his fingers between Dean’s side and the blanket, Naythin let out a long sigh. His lungs deflating, allowing the rest of his muscles from his shoulders to his feet to relax.

Dean held himself as tensely rigid as a plank of wood while he waited for Naythin to get himself settled. He didn’t move a muscle. He wasn’t even sure that he was breathing. He just waited. His arms tracking every movement that Naythin made. When Naythin slowly began to relax, Dean didn’t relax himself, not yet. But he did move an arm, draping it across Naythin’s arm that was draped over his chest. From that point, he didn’t move, he just waited to see what would happen. He knew he was breathing shallowly because of the deep breath his body suddenly forced him to take. So much for being nonchalant. “Are uh, are you...comfortable?”

Nodding against Dean’s chest, Naythin had to fight back the tears. “M’okay.” He knew it wasn’t what Dean asked. Naythin didn’t trust his voice for more than that. Tightening his arm around Dean, Naythin blinked rapidly. Damn tears. Sniffing quietly, Naythin cleared his throat. “I missed this. I missed this so much.”

Dean huffed softly and nodded his head ever so slightly. “Yeah, me too, baby,” he murmured softly, “Me too.” He wasn’t so sure of how much of how they use to sleep Naythin was ready for so he kept his legs to himself. He did however move his other arm, wrapping it around Naythin’s back, holding him in his arms. “I love you.”

Naythin blinked as a tear rolled down the side of his face and onto Dean’s chest. Turning his head, he pressed his lips to Dean’s bare skin. Closing his eyes, it took Naythin a few seconds to pull away. Once he had, he immediately lay his head back down. He could hear Dean’s heart. The steady beat against his ear, the heat radiated from Dean’s body helped to ease the remaining tension in Naythin’s body. “I love you, too.”

Dean turned his head and looked toward the lamp. Fuck it, the damn thing could stay on. It wasn’t like it was all that bright in the room anyway. “G’night, baby,” he murmured as he turned his attention back toward Naythin and lifted his head, pressing a kiss to Naythin’s head before lowering his own back down to the pillow.

Tristan walked into the darkened room, not bothering with a light since he didn’t need one, his vampiric eyes able to see clearly in the darkness. He reached for Naythin and turned him onto his back like he weighed nothing at all, the tether holding his arms stretched tight above his head twisting painfully tight with the movement. He kept Naythin’s legs spread with a spreader bar between his feet, spreading Naythin’s legs as wide as his hips would allow. “Ready to play, pet?” he purred, the words accentuated with a deep, husky and demented chuckle.

Naythin flinched, his whole body jerking despite the way his arms were tied to the wall and the bar that his ankles had been cuffed to. The sudden movement flipping him onto his back did nothing to alleviate his fear and anxiety. It was seldom he was on his back but, it didn’t mean He was going to go easy on him. Turning his head, Naythin followed the voice as He moved around the foot of the bed. His fingers curled into tight fists around the rope that was tied from his cuffs to the wall. Naythin’s nostrils flared wide as he tried to get as much air into his lungs as possible. His chest and sides heaved with each panted breath. “Don’t.” Shaking his head, Naythin clenched his jaw tight. “Don’ touch me!”

Tristan smirked. “Oh, I’m going to do more than just touch you, mon coeur. I’m going to make you scream.” He chuckled softly as he gathered up the things he would need to do just that, make Naythin scream. He walked back to the end of the bed and placed the items down on the mattress between Naythin’s legs before climbing onto the bed himself, careful to avoid the spreader bar. He wrapped his fingers around Naythin’s cock and began to stroke his fist purposefully up and down Naythin’s length. “I wonder if you ever screamed for Dean,” he mused aloud, a wickedly malicious smile playing at his lips.

Naythin’s breathing increased when he felt the mattress dip as He climbed on it between Naythin’s legs. The soft clinking of metal against metal had his chest tightening. Sweat already breaking out over his body. “Don’ you say his name! Don’ EVER say his name!” Pulling hard against the cuffs on his wrists, Naythin hissed as the leather dug into his wrists.

Tristan chuckled. “Already the smitten kitten, are we? Oh, my pet, how you flatter me.” He could almost hear Her say the same things; those very words spoken in with a light French accent to Dayan. Not that he ever understood what someone so perfect, so beautiful and so regal ever found in the likes of Dayan Cross. The mere thought of his name twisting Tristan’s lips into a sneer. “Don’t worry, I’m sure that Dean will find someone else to warm his bed.” He reached with his free hand for Naythin’s balls, squeezing them none-too-gently but not hard enough to cause enough pain to making Naythin’s slowly growing arousal wilt.

Squeezing his eyes closed tight, Naythin groaned in pain. His hips twisting to the side as he tried to get away from His hand on his balls. Dean wouldn’t find someone else. He knew that. Naythin knew it. Shaking his head, Naythin pushed the back of his head against the mattress. “No.” Shaking his head hard, Naythin growled. “He’d never...he’d never do that.” He tried to think of every big and ugly thing they’d ever hunted to keep his dick from reacting to the way He was steadily stroking his cock.

Tristan snorted softly. “You really think that he’s pining away for you while you’ve already found another to warm your bed? Well, then again, maybe I don’t actually warm it but…” He shrugged a shoulder as he looked down at the items on the mattress before glancing up at Naythin from beneath his brows. “You get the idea.” He huffed a soft barely there chuckle.

“He’s lookin’...Dean’s lookin’ fer me.” Groaning loudly, Naythin bit his bottom lip hard enough to taste blood. “He’s gonna kill you.” Growling through gritted teeth, Naythin gave his head a hard shake. “I didn’ find you, you bastard!”

Satisfied with the hardness of Naythin’s dick, Tristan reached for the ring that, as he pulled his hand from Naythin’s cock, wrapped around the base of his cock and balls, fastening it tight enough to elicit a pain filled sound to come from Naythin. That alone had Tristan smiling and his own dick twitching with anticipation. “I’m feeling generous tonight...if you’re a good boy, I might even use lube.”

The cold metal did nothing to lessen his hard on. Nor did the pain from how tight it was around the base of his cock and balls. It wasn’t as if he enjoyed what was being done to him. Friction was friction. The body reacted no matter how hard the brain tried to get it not to. “I’m not yer boy.”

“If you’re not my boy, then you’re no one’s. No one is going to want you once I’m through with you. Trust me, no one wants a whore, and you, mon coeur, are nothing but my whore.” With those final words he pushed the four inch anal plug into Naythin’s ass, not caring if the corkscrew like center ripped flesh or not. He picked up a small remote that the ring and the plug were both attached to and turned it on, mid level, a wicked smirk pulling at the corners of his lips as he watched Naythin squirm and writhe on the bed.

Before Naythin had a chance to say anything, his back arched off the mattress as he screamed. The pain from whatever was being pushed inside his ass was overwhelming. He couldn’t catch his breath fast enough to fill his lungs. He pulled against the cuffs until the leather moved smoothly along his skin as it was coated with Naythin’s blood. His ankles screamed in pain as he pulled and fought against the cuffs as well as the bar that held his legs spread as far as they could go without dislocating his hips.

Tristan turned up the voltage to seven, watching Naythin’s reactions for a long while until he finally grew bored and turned the voltage off. Picking up the sleek cylinder that was no fatter than a Q-tip but was about 4.75 inches long. “Like I said, damaged goods,” he mused, “That’s all you are. Dean would never touch you again.” He turned his attention to slowly inserting the bulbed Urethral plug into the hole at the head of Naythin’s cock. “And if you were honest with yourself, you know that I’m right.”

Naythin’s back hit the mattress hard when the stinging pain around the base of his cock and balls as well as in his ass finally stopped. There were tears running down the sides of his face, he was covered in sweat, his chest and sides heaved with each rapid breath. Licking his lips, Naythin gave his head a quick shake. “No.” It came out sounding more like a gasp than an actual word. Hissing loudly, Naythin froze when he felt something cold being inserted into the slit on his dick. Groaning loudly, he bit his lip as the metal rod was pushed into his dick. Each small raised area had him gasping as they passed the slit.

Once the plug was in as far as it could go, Tristan attached the last electrode to the tip. “Really?” He inquired as he lifted his head and his attention to Naythin’s face. “Do you think he will honestly want you back after he finds out everything I’ve done to you?” He grinned as he slowly shook his head. “Or when he finds out how much of a slut you are for me? Admit it, you’re mine now.” He lowered his attention to the control panel he held in his hand and turned it on and back up to seven. No going easy or slowly easing Naythin into it. Just immediately turned it back up to where it had been when it had been just his balls and ass being electrocuted.

Naythin tried to ignore what He was saying. Dean wouldn’t turn his back on him. He wouldn’t. Would he? Dean loved him. He’d always said, he’d stay with Naythin no matter what. He’d never stop loving him or wanting him. He didn’t want what was being done to him. How could anyone want this? “No. M’not...m’not yers. Never yers.” Naythin barely got the words out when his back was arching off the mattress once again. Pulling as hard as he could against the wrist and ankle cuffs, he screamed as loud as he could as the electricity coursed through his dick, balls and ass. He clenched his jaw so tight, Naythin was afraid his teeth were going to shatter from the pressure. His screams were non stop. One after the other. Tears streamed from the corners of Naythin’s eyes, his muscles locked up tight, shaking from the strain.

Tristan crawled off the end of the bed before shutting the control panel off. He gave Naythin a minute to catch his breath. Walking up to the side of the bed and getting as close as he could to Naythin as he leaned over, his face in Naythin’s face. “Would you want you after this?” His smile was slow and wicked. “I thought not, putain.” Straightening, he turned the panel on and up to ten as he headed to and out the door, leaving Naythin there to scream and flail until he finally passed out.

Naythin screamed at the top of his lungs. His fingers curled into tight fists as he pulled them in against his chest. His body was covered in sweat, tears streamed from his eyes as he tried to get away from the pain. His back arching steeply, muscles locked up as tight as they could go without pulling away from the bones.

Dean’s eyes snapped open and he jackknifed up in bed. His attention going to Naythin where he lay next to him, rather than using his chest as a pillow the way he had been then they’d fallen asleep. His eyes widened at what he saw, the way Naythin’s body arched so much that he looked like something out of one of those corny possession movies where the demon breaks the victim's back. “Naythin! Naythin, baby!” He immediately reached for Naythin, wrapping one arm around Naythin’s steepled back while the other wrapped around his waist as he pulled Naythin nearly into his lap. The wetness against his leg didn’t even register, at least not at the moment, as his attention was fully engrossed in Naythin himself. “Naythin, baby, wake up! Naythin!” He yelled the last bit at Naythin in an attempt to startle him awake, at this point he’d take that over the way Naythin seemed to be locked in whatever horrific dream he was having.

Naythin startled awake. Gasping in a huge lungful of air, he pushed against whoever was holding him. “No! No!” Pushing hard, Naythin scrambled backwards, not stopping until his back hit the wall. Pulling his legs up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs, he buried his face against his knees as he started to rock back and forth in the corner. He was shaking so hard he looked as if he’d jumped into a frozen lake. The images running over and over in his mind’s eye.

Dean released his hold on Naythin when he began struggling against him in earnest. He watched Naythin crab crawl away from him, scurrying back like he’d been the one to hurt him in whatever nightmare Naythin had been reliving. “Baby?” he murmured gently as he crawled slowly toward Naythin. “Naythin, it’s okay, baby. It’s okay, yer safe,” he continued once he was sitting up only a few inches away from Naythin. He reached a hand out toward Naythin only to draw it back. He had to let Naythin make that decision, not him. “I...I was only holdin’ you, baby. I would never hurt you.”

Shaking his head, Naythin pressed his body against the wall. He knew Dean wouldn’t hurt him. It was what He’d said to Naythin that had him moving away from Dean. “Don’...m’not…” Squeezing his eyes closed, Naythin hugged his legs tighter. After everything that had been done to him. There was no way Dean would want him anymore. He may still love him but, he wouldn’t want to touch Naythin...make love to him, not anymore.

Dean leaned in a little closer. He had to ball his hands into fists against his legs to keep himself from reaching for Naythin. “Don’t what, baby? What is it? Talk to me,” he urged. “You know there’s nothin’ you can’t tell me.”

Taking in a slow shaky breath, Naythin rubbed his eyes against his knees trying to wipe away the tears. “Wh-what He did. Everything He d-did to me.” Shaking his head, Naythin turned his face toward the wall. “Y-you...yer never...never gonna w-want me again. Not...not like that.”

Dean pulled his head back as his brow furrowed. He honestly wasn’t sure what Naythin was talking about. “I’m never gonna want you again? Wha’...?” He blinked a couple of times as it slowly hit him what Naythin was talking about. “Sex? You think I won’t want to have sex with you anymore?”

Flinching, Naythin had to force himself to nod. It was a barely there movement that if you weren’t paying close attention, you’d never catch it. “Wh-what He did.” Shaking his head, Naythin lowered his head back onto his knees. Hiding his face from Dean. “Do you think he will honestly want you back after he finds out everything I’ve done to you? Trust me, no one wants a whore, and you, mon coeur, are nothing but my whore.” Lifting his hands to the side of his head, Naythin covered his ears trying to silence the voice in his head, HIS voice.

Dean’s brow knitted further, if that were even possible, as he shook his head confusedly. “Naythin, why would…?” In all honesty he hadn’t even thought about having sex with Naythin again. Hell, he’d just gotten back from three years of being gang raped, he’d figured that fucking would be the last thought in Naythin’s mind. At least for a while. If not forever. He understood that, he got it. He’d wanted his Naythin back. Naythin was back. All the rest of it was filler. “What he said? What who…” He let his words trail off as it hit him just WHO Naythin was talking about. “Oh. Him.” He slowly shook his head as he scooted closer to Naythin. The sight of Naythin putting his hands to his ears to obviously block out what that rat bastard said to him broke Dean’s heart. He reached for Naythin, going slow be damned, and pulled Naythin’s arms down as he pulled Naythin to him. “I don’t care what he said. He’s a bastard an’ he has no idea about us,” he murmured. He figured out what had been wet against his leg as he dipped his head and pressed it against Naythin’s and got an eyeful of wet fleece. Shit. How was he supposed to tell his husband, who already doesn’t think he wants him anymore, that he peed the bed? Sonofabitch.

Naythin tried to pull away as Dean reached for him. There wasn’t anywhere for him to go with the way he was pressed against the corner. Shaking his head, a hard sob wracked his body as he fell against Dean’s chest. “Wh-what he did. The th-things he did to me. H-he...he called me a whore…his whore.”

Dean’s heart broke for Naythin as he pulled him in close. “Shh,” he comforted as he held Naythin tight in his arms. “It’s okay. Everything’s gonna be okay. I gotcha, baby, I gotcha,” he murmured gently. He shifted a hand up, while leaving most of his arm against Naythin’s back, and ran his fingertips through Naythin’s super-short locks. God, he was going to have to really fight to get use to this. Every time he closed his eyes, the Naythin he saw there had sun-kissed moppish hair, not shorter than his, shaved tight to his head hair. “I love you, baby. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

“How?” Sniffing quietly, Naythin tried to catch his breath. Taking in several deep shaky breaths, he swallowed numerous times. Licking his lips, Naythin pressed the side of his face against Dean’s chest. “You don’ know. You won’ wh-when you f-find out everythin’ He did.”

Dean heaved a heavy sigh. “C’mon, let’s go get in the shower an’ you can tell me,” he murmured gently as he nudged Naythin to do as he’d suggested, he never released Naythin, not even a little, but he gave his body a nudge toward the bedroom door.

Naythin didn’t fight as Dean got him to stand up and walked him to the bathroom. He was covered in sweat. His body still shaking from the nightmare. It didn’t hit Naythin as to the real reason Dean wanted him to shower until he stopped next to the shower. Turning at the waist, he felt the cold, wet material of his boxers hit the inside of his thigh. Frowning, Naythin tucked his chin as he looked down. There was a large wet area covering his crotch and spreading up to the waistband. Naythin’s eyes widened, his heart dropped into his gut as he realized that he’d wet himself during the nightmare. Pushing away from Dean, Naythin quickly reached for the waistband of his boxers and sweats, shoving them down as fast as he could. High stepping out of the soiled pants, he reached into the shower turning the water on without looking. Pushing the shower curtain to the side, Naythin stepped into the shower. The water was scalding hot but, Naythin didn’t feel it as he stood under it.

When Naythin pushed him away, Dean’s eyes widened not knowing what was going on. He reached for Naythin but before he could do more than swipe at him in an attempt to grab onto his wrist, hand, whatever. When Naythin quickly climbed into the shower without taking the time to adjust the temperature, Dean’s heart was in his throat. “Naythin!” he cried out, his eyes wide as dinner plates. He quickly pushed his boxers down and stepped out of them as he reached for the shower curtain and hurriedly pulled it back, quickly added a good dose of cold to the steaming hot water. Sonofabitch! “What the hell’s wrong with you? What, are you tryin’ to hurt yerself?” he admonished as he climbed into the shower. Thankfully the water was a good warm, comfortable temperature now but that didn’t mean that damage hadn’t already been done to Naythin’s skin. He crossed the short distance separating them, not even a full two steps, and reached for Naythin’s arms to check them over, then turned his attention to both of Naythin’s sides. “Don’t ever do that again, alright? You scared the hell outta me,” he chastised as he lifted his eyes to Naythin’s face.

Naythin didn’t even notice the change in water temperature or the fact that Dean was standing in front of him. It wasn't until Dean took hold of his wrists that Naythin blinked rapidly. Looking at Dean, Naythin stared at him for a minute. Shaking his head, Naythin sniffed quietly. “Doesn’ matter. M’already damaged goods.”

Dean’s brow creased as he slowly shook his head. “What the hell are you talkin’ about? Why would you say somethin’ like that? Because some jackass vampire said it? C’mon, Naythin, you know better than to listen to that shit.”

Shaking his head, Naythin raised a hand dragging it slowly over his face. Cupping it over his mouth for a few seconds before he slowly lowered his hand to his side. “Why would I say it? Because it’s true. You may’ve seen the scars on my back but there’s more than just those, okay!” Lowering his eyes, Naythin bowed his head. Squeezing his eyes closed, Naythin let the tears fall again.

Dean heaved a heavy sigh and wrapped his arms around Naythin, holding him close. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” he repeated over and over softly. There was a vampire out there that was going to pay for all this, Dean was going to make damn sure of it. He didn’t release his hold on Naythin the entire time he cried. He knew that if he did, if he even moved an inch, he might lose Naythin forever.

It wasn’t okay. Naythin was too exhausted to argue anymore. He let Dean hold him as he rested the top of his head against Dean’s chest. His tears falling onto the shower floor and washing down the drain. Once Dean saw the scars on his dick and balls as well as the scars on the inside of his thighs, he’d never want to touch him again. He’d be reminded of what had happened to Naythin every single time. Hell, Naythin couldn’t even touch his own dick when he took a leak.

Blowing out a breath hard enough to make his cheeks puff out, Dean looked around the shower, not really looking for anything specific, before lowering his attention back to Naythin. “The last thing I’d of thought you’d be worryin’ about was whether I was gonna make love to you again or not,” he confessed gently. Yep, he’d just said make love. It was the truth. It’s what it was; hard and fast or slow and easy, that was what they did, they made love. Yeah, there was a part of him that rolled its eyes at that truth, but there it was all the same.

Squeezing his eyes closed, Naythin slowly raised his arms and wrapped them loosely around Dean’s waist. He thought back to the nightmare he’d had. After Tristan had walked out, leaving him screaming until his voice was gone. Tristan had come back a while later, picked up his favorite whip and started to whip Naythin’s dick and balls. Naythin had passed out after the second lash from the whip. The thin leather end wrapping around his dick and digging into the inside of his thighs. Giving himself a hard shake, Naythin tightened his arms around Dean as he raised his head and buried his face against the side of Dean’s neck. He could still hear the loud crack of the whip. The pain was indescribable.

Dean tightened his arms around Naythin and turned his head, pressing a kiss to the side of Naythin’s. At least there wasn’t a huge...whatever...about Naythin peeing the bed. Then again, he wasn’t too sure that what did happen was any better. More likely, it was the lesser of the two issues. He held Naythin until the water started to turn cold then reached for the soap and lathered up his hands. “Baby, lemme wash you before all the hot water’s gone,” he nudged. When Naythin loosened his hold around him, Dean lowered to one knee so he could wash Naythin. Nope, he didn’t say who he was going to wash. Taking Naythin’s cock in his hands, he gently washed Naythin up there and then his balls, the insides of his thighs. His hands running slowly across the delicate flesh. When he’d heard the first gasp and felt Naythin tense, he thought he’d hurt him, but then he remembered what Naythin always said, that if he ever knew what had happened down...there...that Dean wouldn’t want him anymore. “Shh, it’s okay. I’m not gonna hurt you.” Okay, so maybe he was playing dumb. Shut up.

“No!” Moving his hands, Naythin covered his dick and balls. Cupping himself with both hands as he stepped away from Dean; his back hitting the far wall. Shaking his head, Naythin stared down at Dean. His eyes saucer wide. He couldn’t let Dean see what had been done to him. The scars were more than obvious. Dean had to have felt them. If not the ones on his dick then the ones on the inside of his thighs.

Dean’s eyes were almost as wide as Naythin’s when he refused to let Dean wash him. He watched Naythin back up until his back hit the wall. He wasn’t totally convinced that Naythin wasn’t going to try to continue backing into the wall. He slowly pulled to his feet, his eyes on Naythin’s as he crossed the short distance between them. He braced a hand against the tile wall and used the other to cup the side of Naythin’s neck. “If you won’t let me see, how am I supposed to make love to you again...one day?” He decided he’d better add the last two words so that Naythin didn’t think that he was trying to rush him into anything. He knew it would be a long time before Naythin was ready for anything like that. He’d already waited three years, he could wait however much longer Naythin needed. Besides, that’s what rosy palm and her five daughters were for, right?

Naythin tracked every move Dean made as he got to his feet and closed the small distance that separated them. Moving his head back until it thudded against the back wall of the shower stall, Naythin forced himself to not move away from Dean’s hand as he raised it to the side of his neck. Staring hard into Dean’s eyes, Naythin couldn’t get himself to stop shaking. The nightmare was still very fresh. What He had said to Naythin years before still ringing in his ears. Not to mention that fact that he’d wet the bed. That wasn’t mortifying at all. It took Naythin several minutes before he was able to move his one hand away from his groin. Balling his hand up into a tight fist at his side, Naythin pulled his other hand away in several jerky movements until it was at his side and his cock and balls were exposed. Closing his eyes, Naythin didn’t move.

Leaning in, Dean pressed feather light kisses to each of Naythin’s eyes in turn, kissing away the tears that remained. He pulled his head back for a moment so he could look into Naythin’s face. He leaned back in so that his mouth was near Naythin’s ear. “It’s okay,” he whispered, “I’m not gonna hurt you. I love you. Try an’ relax, baby.” Yeah, he knew relaxing was going to be impossible for Naythin, but he had to at least try. He pulled his head back and gazed again into Naythin’s face. It wasn’t hard to notice how tense Naythin was, and he was fairly sure that there was no way on Earth Naythin could get his eyes any tighter closed than they already were. He gave up on the idea of Naythin relaxing, at all, and slowly lowered onto his knees in front of Naythin. He reached for the soap again and lathered up his hands. Once he’d finished, he put the soap back and gently took Naythin’s balls in hand, washing them gently before doing the same with Naythin’s dick. Yes, he could see and feel the slash marks criss crossing almost as badly as they did on Naythin’s back. He nearly swore under his breath but managed to clench his jaw and push down any reaction at all. A reaction, of any kind like that was the last thing Naythin needed to hear. Instead, he concentrated on just washing Naythin. The fact that every line and every still semi-fresh welt was memorized forever wasn’t on purpose, it was just part of being a Hunter; being able to know and memorize something by touch, taste, feel or hearing alone. He reached for the soap again so he could wash Naythin’s inner thighs and had to bite down on his cheek so hard he tasted blood so he couldn’t respond in any way to the destruction of Naythin’s flesh there. Son. of. a. fucking. bitch! Yep, he was going to kill that sonofabitch vampire with his own two hands. After everything was soapy clean, he leaned in and pressed a kiss to the skin at the juncture where Naythin’s groin and thigh met, first on one side and then the other before pulling to his feet. He held his hands out to the water to rinse them off and did the same with his mouth since he had an almost Santa beard of suds from his kisses. Turning his head and his attention back to Naythin, he leaned in and brushed a kiss across Naythin’s lips. “It’s okay, baby, s’okay.”

It took every ounce of strength Naythin had to stay on his feet when Dean gently and almost reverently kissed each side of Naythin’s groin. Moving his hands back, he pressed his palms flat against the wall, his fingertips turning white. When Dean stood to his feet and kissed him, this time on the lips, Naythin lost what little control he had on his emotions. Leaning forward, his head falling onto Dean’s shoulder, the tears fell. His shoulders shook with each hard sob. Naythin couldn’t bring himself to hold onto Dean, he didn’t feel he had the right to anymore. He was beyond damaged. Naythin was broken. His spirit, confidence, self worth, his body. Everything that made him...him. Was gone. Naythin didn’t think he’d ever get it back again.

Dean held Naythin as he wept. Even when Naythin didn’t return the gesture, he held onto him. He tried running his fingers through the nearly nonexistent hair on Naythin’s head but that didn’t seem to be working, not this time anyway. He ran his hand up and down Naythin’s scarred back, but all that did was make Dean tense with the desire, the need to kill the bastard vamp who had done this to Naythin. He settled on just holding Naythin as closely as he could and letting him cry it out. “It’s okay, I gotcha, baby. I gotcha. Everythin’s gonna be okay,” he murmured over and over as he held him, trying to shush Naythin’s tears.

The only thing that forced Naythin to get his shit together was the near freezing water that was coming from the shower head. Picking his head up from Dean’s shoulder, Naythin ducked his head as he raised a hand to run it quickly over his face wiping the tears from it. Without saying anything to Dean, Naythin reached for the shower curtain and pulled it open. Stepping out of the shower, he grabbed a towel. Wiping his face, he wrapped the towel around his waist and walked out of the bathroom. Turning toward the living room, he walked over to the couch, picked up the blanket and climbed onto the corner he used. Wrapping the blanket around himself, towel included, Naythin crouched in the corner of the couch, his knees pulled tight to his chest. Hunching his shoulders, he rested his chin on his knees, his arms wrapped tightly around his legs under the blanket.

When Naythin walked out of the shower and left him there, Dean stared almost dumbly after him. Okay. He blinked a couple times before he managed to get himself into gear and do a quick wash up, in freezing ass cold water, and then reach for the faucet to shut off the nearly painfully cold water. He pulled the shower curtain back and reached for a towel, drying off briskly in an attempt to warm up. Jesus, he was freezing! Still freezing. He wrapped the towel around his hips and walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. There he picked through the blankets they’d used for the pallet on the floor and carried them over to the laundry hamper. Gathering up the hamper, and its contents, Dean walked out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. He opened the small closet just off the kitchen where the stacked washer and dryer were. He quickly separated a load. One blanket and some of their clothes. He’d do the blankets separate so he could also get some of their things done at the same time, not to mention there wasn’t actually enough room in the washer to get two full sized blankets in them. He looked toward the couch and Naythin, staring in his direction for a couple of minutes before he forced himself to turn away and walk back into the bedroom.

Naythin stayed on the couch even when he heard the shower turn off and Dean walk out with the blankets from the bedroom. Squeezing his eyes closed, Naythin tried to force the memory of his soiled clothes as well as the nightmare. Both instances were still way too fresh to forget about. He couldn’t look at Dean. Not after everything that happened. Naythin was mortified. He was 37 years old! A grown man! How could he ever look Dean in the eye after what happened. It didn’t matter how understandable a person said they were. At some point, even Dean would reach a breaking point and he’d leave Naythin.

Chapter Text

Inside the bedroom, he cleaned up the floor, going back and forth between the bathroom and the kitchen and the bedroom to do it. The last thing Naythin needed was to be reminded by what had happened by a stain in the wood or even worse, the smell of urine. Once he had that cleaned up he went back into the bathroom to wash his hands and get himself cleaned up for the day. He brushed his teeth, fixed his hair, such as it was, and put on deodorant before walking out of the bathroom and into the bedroom so he could pull on some clothes. He tried not to stare too much at Naythin. He stopped at one point and started to speak, but what was he supposed to say? So far every effort he’d made to show Naythin that it was okay had failed and Naythin had shut him out. Which was why, he tried to put everything out of his head and just do what he normally did every day. Get up, get dressed, start the day. Never mind that it was six o’clock in the morning and he never got up at six, not even on a hunt unless he absolutely had to, and then it was done with a lot of complaining.

Huddling under the blanket, Naythin tracked Dean’s movement as he cleaned up the bedroom and got dressed. Naythin wasn’t sure if he could go into the bedroom again. Yes, it was ridiculous and he shouldn’t let it bother him as much as it was. He couldn’t help it. It wasn’t as if it were the first time he’d ever pissed himself. Hell, it was almost a daily occurrence while he was held by the vampires. At least in the beginning anyway. After they’d had him for a while and he wasn’t getting as much food and water, Naythin was lucky to have to go every few days. The fact that he’d done it because he’d been that scared from the nightmare added to Naythin’s embarrassment. Sniffing quietly, Naythin raised his hands up under his chin, pulling the blanket tighter around him.

Walking out of the bedroom, Dean was completely dressed, head to foot like he would be any other day. Jeans, hunting boots, t-shirt and over shirt. Walking into the kitchen he started the coffee pot and glanced behind him over at Naythin. “You uh, you wanna get dressed or…?” He cleared his throat and looked back at the coffee maker, listening to it groan. “I’m makin’ coffee, you want a cup?”

Nodding against his knees, Naythin cleared his throat. “C-coffee’d be g-good, please.”

Dean nodded. “Coffee it is,” he responded with another glance over his shoulder. “Naythin,” he murmured gently. “If I’m not bothered by it, why are you?”

“I just am.” Tucking his chin closer to his chest, he lowered his eyes to a point just in front of his feet on the couch. Sighing, Naythin knew it was a shitty half assed answer. “M’sorry. I jus’...I can hear an’ feel everything they did to me. Everything they said to me.”

Dean turned around toward Naythin and was silent a moment as he let his eyes move over Naythin. “What about what I’ve said to you? The things I’ve done to you? Can you remember those?”

Shifting on the couch, Naythin glanced up at Dean and quickly looked away. Nodding quickly, he licked his lips. “Yeah. I-I can.” Taking in a slow shaky breath, Naythin let it out just as slow. “I know you wouldn’ hurt me. It’s jus’...I don’ mean to pull away or flinch, it’s...it happens before I realize it. Before I-I can stop it. No one’s...no one’s touched me like you used to in so long.”

Dean stepped around the small counter in front of him so he was standing in front of it and only a few steps away from Naythin. “What exactly are you sayin’?” He stuffed his fingers into the front pockets of his jeans. “Whatever it is, it’s okay. I jus’...I just wanna make sure I understand, that’s all.”

Pulling his feet closer, Naythin tightened his arms around his legs. “I can remember what you used to...we’ve done before. It’s jus…” Closing his eyes, Naythin counted to ten. Opening his eyes again, he looked up at Dean. “What happened is...it’s closer. It’s like what happened before the vampires took me was a dream.” He knew telling Dean was going to hurt him and it tore Naythin apart. The bad outweighed the good right now.

Dean’s brows knitted and he turned his head to the side and leaned a little toward Naythin like maybe he didn’t hear him very well. “We’ve done what before?” he inquired. He gave his head a shake. He didn’t remember having this conversation before. He pulled his head back a second later, his eyes slightly widened for a moment before returning to their normal size as he blinked. “A dream?” He gave a nod to his own words. Wow. He wasn’t sure how to take that one. Turning back around when the coffee pot seemed to stop running, he walked back around the counter. “Yeah well, it’s not like I can do anythin’ to change that right now so...I dunno…” He gave his head a slight shake before reaching up and grabbed two cups out of the cabinet.

“Dean, I’m sorry. I’d do anything to change things. I don’ wan’ to hurt you. Hiding what’s goin’ on with me isn’t gonna help. I don’ know anymore. Maybe I shouldn’ have said anything.”

Dean turned around to face Naythin as he narrowed his eyes. “You don’t know anymore about what?”

“I don’ know what to do. I don’ know...I don’ know how to be. Jus’ when I think I’m doin’ better…” Shaking his head, Naythin lowered his eyes to the couch cushion at the end of the couch.

“And that’s my fault?” Dean inquired incredulously. “I have never told you to hide what’s goin’ on with you. If you remember right, I’m the one that usually has to pry shit out of you! So don’t make this out to be my fault! I’ll take the blame for everything else. Sure. Fine. It’s nothin’ I haven’t already put on myself anyway, but this? Here? Now?” He shook his head. “No, uh-uh, I’m tryin’ my best here to help you through this!”

“What? No! I never said it was yer fault. None of this is yer fault.” Lifting his head, Naythin looked across the room at Dean, his eyes widening as he shook his head. “I know yer tryin’ to help me. I don’ know how to help myself! I’m scared of my own shadow. I don’ wanna be this way for the rest’a m’life. I wanna be the person I was b’fore. I wanna be able to walk out that door an’ not be scared outta my mind. I don’ wanna be terrified if I can’ see you.”

Dean nodded as he walked out from behind the counter. He pressed his lips as tightly together as he could because of what hovered there on the tip of his tongue. He’d almost said it the minute Naythin had told him that he’d given up but he’d talked himself out of it, told himself that he’d given up too. Given up in hell and become the very thing he hated, the kind of thing he use to hunt. “I uh...I don’t know what to tell ya, Naythin. But um, I think I should prob’ly go outside, take a walk. Work on the car...or who knows, maybe build a new one.” He flashed a smirk that was as fake as they come.

Sitting up, Naythin’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he looked from Dean to the door and back again. What part of Naythin being terrified if he couldn’t see Dean did he not understand? “Why? You…” Shit. Naythin’s pulse shot up, his breathing increased despite how tight his chest was making it almost impossible to take a full breath. He was going to leave. He’d been right, Dean was going to leave.

“Why? Why not? I’ve done my best in here with you an’ I’ve obviously fucked that up or you wouldn’t be back to bein’ curled in a ball on the couch. And before this, I spent every minute of every day lookin’ for you and…” Dean huffed and gave a disgusted shake of his head. “Nothin’. So who winds up savin’ you? Some shitty ass fireman or paramedic or whatever. Yeah, great husband aren’t I?” He shook his head and turned and leaned back against the counter. “At least I know I’m good with cars. I don’t let them down. I don’t fuck them up an’...when I’m gentle with ‘em an’ I move my hands on ‘em jus’ right…” He gave a slow sage nod that was followed by what could only be called a facial shrug.

“You didn’ do this. I'm fucked in the head. I know this. This is all on me.” Lifting one hand, Naythin ran it down over his face. “How do you think I felt when I saw what I did? When I looked down an’ saw...when I looked down an’ saw that I’d pissed myself because of the nightmare I had. Jesus...you were layin’ right next to me when it happened. I’m not some five year old kid who fergets to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The rest...the...the s-scars. It’s...it’s humiliating. What He did to me in that nightmare wasn’ made up. It actually happened. You looked fer me. I knew you would. I told Him you were lookin’ fer me. Even after He said you weren’t, I didn’ believe him. I never believed him.” Frowning, Naythin shook his head. “What? There’s no nothin’, remember? We don’ do that.” Sighing, Naythin lowered his eyes to the edge of the blanket. “You didn’ let me down an’ you didn’ fuck anythin’ up.”

“I wouldn’t know what he did to you in the nightmare you had,” Dean murmured, “You never told me. You uh, you were too busy tryin’ to boil yerself, remember?”

Pulling both arms from under the blanket, Naythin rested his elbows on his knees. His forehead braced against the palms of his hands. Closing his eyes, Naythin sat there for a few minutes before he dragged his palms slowly down his face and into his lap. “No, I don’ remember. I jus’ remember you yellin’ at me.” Shaking his head, Naythin sighed heavily. “He uh... he tied my wrists to the wall above my head. There was a bar on my ankles that kept my legs spread as far apart as they’d go. A few times, I thought one of my hips were going to pop out. He turned me over onto my back.” Clearing his throat, Naythin looked across the room at Dean. “He grabbed my dick an’ started strokin’ it. I tried to think of every nasty thing we ever hunted to keep from gettin’ hard but uh…didn’t work. He put this metal cock ring around the base of my dick an’ balls.” Swallowing hard, Naythin blew out a long shaky breath. The images started flashing in his mind’s eye all over again. Telling your husband some psycho vampire got you hard wasn’t exactly high on Naythin’s to do list. “He had this um, I don’ know exactly what it was but um, it was metal an’ he...he pushed it inside me. I could feel skin tearing and the blood running over my skin. He had ‘em hooked up somehow an’ the next thing I knew, my back’s off the mattress an’ I’m...I’m screamin’ because I was gettin’ electrocuted.”

Dean listened silently, his face devoid of any emotion other than that of someone that was listening to what you were saying. Interested? Not really, it wasn’t like it was a story about the Grand Canyon. But...something like that. That is until Naythin started talking about getting hard for this vampire bastard. He knew that stimulation was stimulation, he’d had his own run in with Violet, not to mention all the Youtube videos he could find on the subject when he and Tag and Bobby had started to believe that Naythin was being held by vampires. So he had all that knowledge but it didn’t really do much good when you hear from your husband, your husband that you can barely touch or even talk to without him cowering like a whipped puppy in the corner, that the sonofabitch that was holding him prisoner got him hard. He tried to hide his reaction from Naythin, tried to look at the floor and not grind his teeth to dust. Tried not to glare or have his hands start to shake. He just hoped that Naythin had been out of the game long enough not to notice the subtle changes in the way he held himself or the fact that he was probably pretty obvious in his struggle not to be obvious.

Naythin tensed when Dean looked down at the floor. He watched as his shoulders stiffened, the way his hands curled into tight fists at his sides. Naythin wasn’t a genius but he didn’t have to be one to know Dean was fighting to not lose it. He’d asked Naythin about the nightmare, about what happened. Naythin wasn’t going to hold back any of the details no matter how much it hurt. “He uh, after I don’ how long, He turned ‘em off and um, He put this...rod that had these...raised areas on it. He put it...he put it inside my dick as far as it would go an’ he turned ‘em all on. It was higher than the last time. I thought I was gonna break my back. I screamed an’ I screamed until my voice was wrecked an’ nothing was comin’ out anymore. I must’a blacked out at some point cuz the next thing I know, He’s back an’ he’s usin’ this whip on my dick at the same time. I could only stand a couple’a hits and I passed out. I don’ know if he kept hittin’ me. Nothin’ was gonna wake me up after that.”

Dean kept his head down, his chin nearly tucked up against his chest. He squeezed his eyes shut tight when Naythin described the things that the vampire did to him. The way he’d hurt him. He could almost see it in his mind’s eyes just as if he was standing right there when it happened, which made it hurt even more. He nodded to the last of what Naythin said and sniffed quietly as he blinked his eyes open. He blew out a breath between his lips and drew in another the same way. What the hell do you say to something like that? It was one thing to be in bed when you hear something like that, you hold the person. But across the room? What was he supposed to do now? Lifting a hand he rubbed at the back of his neck and looked up at Naythin from under his brows. “I’m uh, I’m sorry.” Oh yeah, good one. “I mean…” He huffed softly and let his hand fall to his side as he lifted his head. He headed across the room, closing the distance between himself and Naythin.

Naythin wasn’t sure what Dean was apologizing for but, he wasn’t about to ask either. When Dean started to walk over, Naythin watched him for a moment before slowly getting to his feet. Keeping the blanket wrapped around his shoulders, he met Dean halfway. Stopping in front of him, Naythin raised his arms letting the blanket fall from his shoulders as he wrapped both arms around Dean’s waist. Stepping in as close to Dean as he could, Naythin turned his head to the side burying his face against the side of Dean’s neck. He didn’t say anything as he held Dean as tight as he could.

When Naythin started getting to his feet, Dean stumble stepped for a moment. He didn’t know if Naythin was suddenly afraid of him or not. He tried to gauge the look in Naythin’s eyes only Naythin barely ever looked at him in the eye anymore. When Naythin came around the couch and met him halfway, his arms wrapped around Naythin when Naythin’s wrapped around him. He slid a hand up and cradled the base of Naythin’s skull against his palm while the other arm remained wrapped tightly against Naythin’s waist. “I’m sorry that happened, baby,” he murmured, elaborating a little on what he’d been trying to say from across the room. He tightened his arm around Naythin’s waist and shifted his hand from the base of Naythin’s head to wrapping that arm tight around Naythin’s shoulders. “I’m so sorry.”

Nodding against Dean’s shoulder, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed tight. His fingers curling into tight fists against the small of Dean’s back. Lifting his head, he pressed it against the side of Dean’s. The look on Dean’s face when Naythin told him he’d gotten hard when He had his hand on him was the exact reason he didn’t want to tell Dean about what happened. At least, not those details. Not telling Dean, not being completely honest with him about anything, never ended well. He’d find out eventually and when he did...let’s just say you didn’t want to be around when it happened. “It’s not yer fault.” Giving his head a small shake, Naythin continued. “I don’ blame you...fer any of it.” When he felt Dean tense and try to back away, Naythin tightened his arms as he pulled his head back to be able to look into Dean’s eyes. “Don’t. Don’ walk away. I know you blame yerself for what happened and I know you’ll never believe me when I tell you I don’ blame you. I never did and I never will. I love you, Dean. You never gave up lookin’ fer me. You’ve always been the stronger of the two of us.”

“It’s not yer fault.” But it was. Dean knew that it was. He should have done a better job of looking for Naythin. Hell, he should have been watching him better before hand then Naythin never would have been kidnapped to start with. It was his fault. It was his fault and he knew it and he would never forgive himself for it. When Naythin said he didn’t blame him, Dean tried to back away so he could hide his face, hide the tears that sprang to his eyes. He didn’t blame him. He should. He should blame him. Hell, he should want to kill him for what he’d done, what he’d failed to do. When Naythin pulled his head back, he drew in a quiet yet shaky breath and met Naythin’s gaze. He swallowed hard and tried not to become a sniveling mess in front of Naythin. “It is my fault,” he retorted softly. “An’ I’m damn sorry I fucked up like that, baby. I’m so,” he squeezed his eyes closed with the word so before reopening them and shaking his head slowly as he finished the sentence, “Sorry.” He lowered his gaze for a moment before lifting it again to Naythin’s eyes. “I wish it had been me an’ not you. You...you’re so...so innocent…” He knew that sounded stupid, or weird maybe, to refer to a Hunter as innocent but it was the truth. “Pure…” He gave his head a quick shake. “I dunno what to call it but...it never should have been you.” He knew, without Naythin having to tell him, that Naythin was never going to be the same man he had been before all this had happened. He knew that, and it only added to his heartbreak and anger. He didn’t really know if he was stronger than Naythin, but he did know that he was a killer. It came almost natural to him.

“Pure an’...innocent. Me?” Huffing, Naythin shook his head. “I think you have me confused with someone else because I’ve never been pure an’ innocent.” Sighing softly, Naythin pulled his hands from Dean’s back to his sides. “I’d never think...or say it should have been you an’ not me. Not after…” Shaking his head again, Naythin tightened his grip on Dean’s side. “No. Uh-uh.”

Dean huffed softly. “Yeah, you were. You an’ Sam both. You two were never really cut out for this life. I mean, sure you liked it more than Sam but...you two were never...I dunno. Savage...enough...for it.” It was the best way he could describe it. He clearly saw it in himself while he was in Hell. The way he’d just picked up that blade and started cutting. Without a second thought or hesitation. He’d just began slashing into souls, and he liked it. That was the difference between him and Naythin...and Sam. He actually liked the killing. His brow creased with what Naythin started to say and then stopped himself. “Not after what, baby?”

“Sam never wanted to be a Hunter. He always had his nose in a book. I’m...I’m not like yer brother. Hunting is all I know. All I’ve wanted to do. I never once thought of leaving it. Not like Sam did. He walked away an’ I’m still here killin’ things.”

Dean pulled his head back and slowly shook it. “That’s not what you were gonna say.”

Naythin stared into Dean’s eyes for a long moment hoping he’d change his mind but, nope, the stubborn ass. “I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone. I’d never for one second want you to have been in my place.”

“Yeah well, I’d do it...I’d do it if it meant that you were safe,” Dean responded. He meant every word of that too. If he could go back and redo things, if he could tell those sonsabitches to take him and leave Naythin alone, he would. He’d do it in a second.

The really sad thing was, Naythin knew Dean would do it. “I know, but I could never look you in the eye and say it should have been you an’ not me. Because, it’s not true.”

No, in all honesty it shouldn’t have been anyone. But that wasn’t in the cards for them, so out of the two of them, yeah, it should have been Dean. Maybe because Naythin was right and he was stronger or maybe because of the sheer fact that Dean was a killer. That he was, in some ways, every bit as horrible as the things they Hunted. He tightened his arms around Naythin and turned his head toward the side of Naythin’s neck. He was about to nuzzle his face against it when he remembered the last time he’d tried and how badly Naythin had reacted. “I love you,” he murmured instead. He leaned in toward Naythin’s neck and pressed a quick kiss to the tender flesh before pulling his mouth quickly away. “S’okay, s’jus’ me,” he comforted softly.

Naythin couldn’t help the way his lungs seized when he felt Dean’s warm breath on his neck. His eyes widened as he started to pull away. The quick, barely there press of Dean’s lips had Naythin’s pulse skyrocketing. He wasn’t sure how he managed to do it, but Naythin stayed where he was. He didn’t push Dean away or drop his arms and hide his neck. Every instinct told him to run. To protect himself. It was what he’d had to do for so long. The sound of Dean’s voice pulled Naythin out of panic mode. Nodding his head rapidly, he had to swallow numerous times to get his voice to work again. “I-I know. I know.”

Dean pulled his head back and searched Naythin’s features, his eyes, his face, the slight parting of his lips from his heavier breaths, the vein in his neck that pushed against his skin as his heart beat out of control. He hated that this was the reaction Naythin gave every time he touched him. That in Naythin’s mind every touch meant something bad. That every time he kissed Naythin or touched him, that Naythin got scared. He hated it so much, but he hated himself more. This was his doing. He might as well have been the vamp sonofabitch that had tortured Naythin for three years. Dropping his eyes, Dean stared at the floor just past Naythin’s right hip. “I’m sorry,” the words so whisper soft and so mumbled they were nearly inaudible and unintelligible. There was no fixing this one. He’d fucked up and there was no way in this world that he could fix it. Lifting his eyes to Naythin his tongue darted out, licking across his lips. No way in this world. “What if I could take all these memories away from you? Make it like they never happened?”

Naythin’s eyebrows bunched to the point of nearly touching between his eyes as he pulled his head back. “What? How?” As soon as the words past Naythin’s lips, he shook his head. “No. I...ferget I asked.” That kind of statement never ended well for anyone. Swallowing hard enough to make his Adam’s apple bob in his throat, Naythin shook his head hard. “Even...even if it was possible, it’s not like anythin’ could be done about the scars.”

Dean nodded and tightened his grip around Naythin’s waist. “Yeah, yeah there can be. It’s jus’ like crippled people suddenly walking. The scars could go away too...Sam’s did.” He gave a slight tilt of his head to one side as he gave what could only be termed as a head shrug. “Mostly.” He knew he wouldn’t get ten years. Hell, this time he probably wouldn’t even get a year, he’d probably be dead on the spot, but it was worth it.

“Sam’s…” Naythin’s eyes narrowed briefly before snapping open to the size of dinner plates. “No! Don’ you dare!” Pulling his arms from Dean’s side, Naythin backed away shaking his head.

“Naythin, I...I could make things right again,” Dean argued as he stepped forward toward Naythin.

“No. How would that make anything right?” Crossing his arms over his chest, Naythin nearly tripped over the blanket as it pooled at his feet. High stepping out of it, he didn’t even bother to look to see if the towel was still around his waist. “I’d lose you, Dean. You know as well as I do they’d never give you ten years! You only got one last time. You honestly think you’ll get anymore than that?”

Dean’s brows rose as he shrugged a shoulder and shook his head. “No. I’d prob’ly have to do what m’Dad did an’ go right then, but...it’d be worth it, knowin’ that you were okay.”

“Are you listening to yerself? This is...no! No way! How is you going to...going back to Hell making anything better? I wouldn’t be okay, Dean. Not by a long shot.”

“You wouldn’t be the way you are now. You wouldn’t have nightmares anymore. You’d be able to be happy; to smile once in awhile.”

“How could I be happy knowing yer in Hell? Knowing yer there because of me? I’d still have nightmares. I wouldn’t smile.” Naythin stepped back until his calves hit the coffee table. “How did you feel when you found out what yer Dad did?”

Dean huffed softly. “This is different. I’d jus’...I’d be fixin’ what I’d fucked up to begin with. My Dad...I wasn’t his screw up to fix.”

“No. It’s not different. He went to Hell for you an’ now you want to do the same thing fer me. You didn’ fuck anythin’ up. I know you don’ believe it but, it’s true. There is nothin’ fer you to fix.” Just the thought of Dean going back to Hell had Naythin shaking.

Dean scoffed softly as he let his eyes move over Naythin’s body, he hadn’t even realized that he’d lost the towel from around his waist until that moment, and back up to his eyes. “Yeah, there’s stuff for me to fix. Jus’ think about it for a minute. If I can make it go back to…” he gave his head a shake. “To before that night at the bar, before you were taken. Wouldn’t you want that? Wouldn’t you want to not be afraid anymore? To be yerself again?”

“I could never be myself without you.”

Dean walked across the space separating them and reached for Naythin’s hands, holding them within his own. He pulled their joined hands up to his mouth and brushed a kiss across the backs of Naythin’s knuckles, first one hand and then the other. “Yeah, you could. You’d go on without me. Jus’ make sure you take care’a m’car.” He flashed slight smile. “An’ one day, you’d find someone else.”

“Someone else?” Huffing softly, Naythin lowered his eyes to Dean’s hands and squeezed gently. “There could never be anyone else.” Looking back up into Dean’s eyes, he shook his head. “It’s always been you. You know that.”

“Yeah well,” Dean huffed softly as he gave Naythin’s hands a gentle squeeze. “Never said you had good taste,” he teased. “I uh, I’ll go tonight after yer asleep.” He smiled wistfully. “When you wake up tomorrow you’ll...you’ll be the old you again.”

“Go? What...what part of no didn’t you get? I don’ want you to do this.” Pulling his hands from Dean’s, Naythin stepped to the side and around Dean. Stopping next to the blanket, he picked it up and wrapped it around his shoulders pulling it tight to his chest. “Does what I want not matter anymore?” He asked as he looked up from the blanket to Dean.

Dean heaved a heavy sigh. It was the best way he knew to make Naythin into Naythin again. Pluck out the pain that shouldn’t have ever been there to begin with. “Yeah...it matters,” he murmured. “I just…” He shook his head. “I don’t know how else to fix this. To fix…you.”

“Losing you isn’t gonna fix anything. Can’ you see that? I need you.” Tightening his grip on the blanket, Naythin sighed. “You bein’ here with me is what I need. You can...fix me by bein’ here. I don’ want you to go to Hell.”

Dean sighed heavily. “If I made the deal, you wouldn’t need me anymore. You’d be back to who you were before…this happened.” He crossed the distance between himself and Naythin and reached for him before letting his hand fall away before actually taking Naythin’s hand in his own. Seems to me like yer always runnin’ from me now anyway. “It’s not like I wanna go to Hell, but…if it’ll work, if it’ll bring back the old you...the one who always smiled and laughed. Yeah, I’d go for that...for him.”

“You want me to be like I was before all this happened? You want me to smile an’ laugh like I did before, then you have to stay here. You can’ leave me. If you do, none of that is gonna happen. You walk out that door an’ I’m done. I can’ do this without you. Screwed up in the head or not.” Stepping into Dean, Naythin wrapped his arms around Dean’s shoulders; blanket and all. Lowering his head to Dean’s shoulder, Naythin closed his eyes. “Please, please don’ do this.”

Dean slowly lifted his arms and wrapped them around Naythin, pulling him in as close as he could get him. “I love you so much,” he whispered as he closed his own eyes and leaned his head against Naythin’s. In his mind, he saw the images of what he wanted to do, the way he wanted to slant his mouth over Naythin’s hungrily and kiss him stupid, their tongues tangling and dueling. He saw himself pushing the blanket away and Naythin pushing his over shirt off his shoulders and down his arms. He saw Naythin tugging up his t-shirt until he finally got the hint and broke the kiss long enough to pull the shirt up and over his head, dropping it carelessly on the floor before reclaiming Naythin’s mouth with his own. That’s it. Even his fantasies were PG-13 these days. He hadn’t so much as thought about sex since the day Naythin went missing. He wasn’t sure that they’d ever be able to reclaim that part of their relationship.

“I love you, too.” Pressing his forehead against the side of Dean’s neck, Naythin tightened his arms around the backs of Dean’s shoulders. “Promise me. Give me yer word you won’ make the deal.” Pulling his head back, Naythin locked eyes with Dean. “Promise me, Dean.”

Dean met Naythin’s gaze but remained silent as he searched the depths of Naythin’s eyes. Releasing his hold on Naythin, he took a step back and lifted a hand, running it down over his face and using it to cup over his mouth for a moment, as he continued to stare into Naythin’s eyes, before allowing it to fall away to his side. He lowered his eyes and gave a barely there nod. “Yeah, okay, fine,” he mumbled as he lifted his eyes back to Naythin’s.

The longer Dean took to answer, the farther Naythin’s mouth fell open. He had to think about it? He was honestly standing there and thinking about it? Crossing his arms over his chest, Naythin pulled the blanket tight around him as he stared back at Dean. When Dean finally answered, Naythin couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Yeah, okay fine? That’s it? You had to think about it? Are you serious? You…” Shaking his head, Naythin turned and walked over to the kitchen table. Pulling out one of the chairs, he dropped onto it. “You think I’m stupid or something? You think that half assed answer is gonna mean anything? I know you, Dean!” Yeah, Naythin was pissed. It was the first emotion other than fear he’d felt in the last week.

Dean didn’t move from where he’d been standing when Naythin went to the kitchen table, he only turned toward him so he was looking at him while Naythin spoke...or rather yelled at him. He couldn’t help the small smirk that tugged at one corner of his lips. “Yer sexy when yer angry,” he drawled. He knew Naythin was serious, but it was the first thing he’d seen and heard from Naythin since he’d gotten back that wasn’t fearful or pain laced and he couldn’t help enjoying the sound of it, even if he was the one Naythin was mad at.

Naythin narrowed his eyes as he stared across the room at Dean. “Stop changin’ the subject.” Sighing, Naythin licked his bottom lip. The tip of his tongue hesitating over the small scar where his lip had been split. “You won’ give me yer word, will you?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“I’ve never forced you to do anything you didn’t want to do. I can’t force you to give me yer word on this. I...I didn’ think you actually had to think about it. The choice is yers but, I want you to stay. I need you to stay. I know I sound like a broken record but, I don’ know what else to say.”

Dean thought it best not to point out that Naythin was also rhyming. But he couldn’t help the smile, the first one in three years and three months, that curved the corners of his lips as he walked across the distance separating them. He slowly lowered onto his knees in front of Naythin at the table and wrapped his arms around Naythin’s waist, laying his head on Naythin’s thighs. “I promise. No demon deals.” He lifted his head just enough so he could look up at Naythin. “You have my word.” He lowered his head again as he turned it and laid it back down on Naythin’s thighs.

Naythin watched Dean as he walked over to him. He pulled his head back slightly, his muscles starting to tense without his knowledge or consent. The heels of both feet hit the legs of the chair Naythin was sitting on as both feet slid back as Dean lowered himself down on his knees. Keeping his arms wrapped in the blanket, Naythin watched as Dean wrapped his arms around his waist and lowered his head to Naythin’s lap. Shit. His thigh muscles locked up the second the weight of Dean’s head touched them. When Dean promised; no demon deals, Naythin exhaled the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. Looking down at Dean, he nodded. Swallowing hard, Naythin didn’t take his eyes off Dean as he lowered his head back down onto his thighs. Taking in slow even deep breaths, Naythin’s muscles slowly started to relax. They weren’t completely pliant but, it was a start. He hadn’t pushed Dean away or tried to scramble away from him like he’d done in the past. Taking one arm out from under the blanket, Naythin slowly lowered it to the back of Dean’s head. His fingers gently pressing against Dean’s scalp as he ran his fingers through his hair. “I love you. Thank you. Thank you fer givin’ me yer word.”

Dean nodded against Naythin’s thighs. He’d been holding his breath ever since Naythin’s thighs had locked up tight and he’d been waiting for the panic and fear to roll off Naythin in waves. He was ready to pull away from Naythin if he had to but slowly, he’d felt the muscles slowly relax. Not go to sleep relax but they at least were no longer like laying your head on logs. “I love you too, baby. It’s the only reason…” He stopped himself and exhaled slowly. Naythin knew why he had suggested it. He didn’t need to rehash it all again. He nodded his head again. “I know, yer welcome. It’s okay.”

Taking his other arm out from under the blanket, Naythin bent at the waist, his arm sliding down Dean’s back as he leaned forward. He wasn’t in any kind of condition to be bending himself in half but he managed to rest his forehead against Dean’s back for a few seconds before his muscles as well as the tight scar tissue running across his back started to protest loudly. Sitting up just enough to stop the muscle spasms, Naythin kept his arm on Dean’s back.

Lifting his head enough so he could press his lips to Naythin’s thigh, he kissed him softly, and then kissed his thigh again a little further away from the first, and another and another. It wasn’t until he felt Naythin tense in his arms that he realized what he was doing, what part of Naythin he was getting closer to. He hadn’t really even been thinking about it at the time. He pulled his head up and reached for the sides of the blanket, pulling them together on Naythin’s lap. “Sorry.”

Naythin sighed softly when Dean pulled back and covered his legs with the blanket. He wanted to be the one to apologize. Naythin felt like he had to. “No. You didn’ do anything wrong.” Leaning over, he pressed his lips to the top of Dean’s head. Ducking his chin, he rested his forehead on the same place.

“You uh, you dropped the towel,” Dean mumbled. Smooth. Real smooth. Like he didn’t know that. Naythin was a rape victim not numb. He mentally rolled his eyes at himself. “I should um...I think the washer stopped.” He slowly pulled his head back, making sure that Naythin wasn’t going to fall forward because he moved and leaned his hands on sides of the chair as he pulled to his feet. He walked to the small closet where the washer and dryer were located and pulled open the door. At least he’d been right, the washer had stopped. He flipped the clothes over and started a new load in the washer.

Pulling his head back, Naythin didn’t say anything as he watched Dean get up and walk over the where the washer and dryer were kept. Pulling the blanket tight to his chest, he stared at the back of Dean’s head as he moved the wet blanket and some of their clothes to the dryer. Ducking his chin, he had to force himself to not lift his feet to the edge of the chair and wrap his arms around his legs. There was no hiding from what had happened in the bedroom. Clearing his throat, Naythin gave himself a hard mental shake.

Hearing Naythin clear his throat, Dean looked back over his shoulder toward him. “You okay?” he inquired with a lift of his brows, his hands held out in front of him over the washer, the clothes he’d been about to toss in still in his hands.

“Huh? Oh, um...yeah. Jus’ um...my uh...my throat's a little sore.” From all the screaming I did in the nightmare. Yeah, like he was going to say that out loud. No. “I’ll be fine.” Nodding, he stood to his feet and started walking toward the bedroom. He forced himself to keep walking even after Dean was out of his sight.

Dean’s head turned, watching Naythin walk out of the kitchen and into the bedroom before turning his attention to dropping the last of the clothes into the washer and turning it on. He added the detergent and such before closing the lid and walked out of the small closet, closing the door behind him.

Naythin pulled a pair of boxers, running pants and a t-shirt from his duffel bag. Tossing the clothes on the bed, he zipped his duffel bag closed. Leaning both hands on the edge of the dresser, his head hanging loose between his shoulders, Naythin blew out a long slow shaky breath. He couldn’t shake the images from his nightmare. Even being out in the living room and kitchen with Dean, they’d run through his head on a constant repeat. It wasn’t the first nightmare he’d had and he knew damn well it wasn’t going to be his last. This one just seemed to be...sticking more than the others.

Pushing away from the dresser, he dropped the blanket to the floor as he reached for his boxers and carefully stepped into them. It was hard not to notice the water logged bandages around his ankles. After pulling his boxers up to his hips, Naythin crouched down and pulled the bandages off each ankle before he could talk himself out of it. Wading up the gauze, he tossed them into the trash can near the side of the bed. Taking the bandages off and actually looking down at the marks he knew were still there were two completely different issues. One thing at a time. Turning to the clothes on the bed, Naythin quickly finished getting dressed. It only took a week before wearing clothes again felt normal, sort of. They still made his skin itch and he had to remind himself to not pull at the collar of his shirt.

Chapter Text

Walking out into the main part of the cabin, where Naythin had dropped the towel, Dean picked it up and carried it back to the laundry room and hung it on the door to take care of later. Walking back into the kitchen he reached for one of the mugs and the carafe of coffee and poured a cup. At least the coffee was still hot. Leaning back against one corner of the counter top, he took a long sip before lowering the mug and looking toward the bedroom. His brow knitted softly at the fact that Naythin hadn’t come back out yet. Pulling away from the counter, he set his mug down and headed for the bedroom. “Baby, you okay?” he called gently as he neared the bedroom door.

Turning toward the sound of Dean’s voice, Naythin quickly nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m...I’m okay.” Not even a little bit. Bending at the waist, he picked up the blanket. Rolling it in his hands in haphazard folds, Naythin waited for Dean. When he didn’t walk in the room, Naythin first glanced down at his feet then to the trash can next to the bed before turning his attention back to Dean. “I uh…” Nodding, he let out a soft sigh. “I took the bandages off my ankles. They were falling off anyway from the shower so…” Shrugging one shoulder, he glanced down at his feet once more before lifting his eyes to Dean’s.

Dean paused at the bedroom door without going in when Naythin called back that he was okay. Uh huh, sure you are. When Naythin started talking about the bandages on his ankles, Dean walked just inside the door of the bedroom. The same bandages that he’d had to change every night, since Naythin had gotten back, while Naythin slept. “You uh...you sure yer okay?” he inquired as he looked between Naythin’s eyes and his ankles and back again, a clear don’t shit me look on his face.

“No. I’m not but…” Pulling the blanket tight to his chest, Naythin sighed. “I can’...I can’ keep ‘em on all the time.” The sensation of the material of his running pants brushing against his now bare ankles was...odd and more than a little disconcerting. He’d grown so used to having the cuffs on his ankles, the weight and feel of the leather, not having something there just didn’t feel right. It had Naythin’s pulse elevated, his breathing picked up as well. He was nervous and his anxiety had his chest feeling tight.

Dean pulled away from the doorway and crossed the distance separating himself from Naythin and pulled Naythin into his arms as he reached him, wrapping his arms securely around Naythin’s waist. “S’okay,” he murmured softly, “M’here. Yer safe.”

Naythin dropped the blanket to the floor as Dean crossed the room. Wrapping his arms around his waist, he laid his head on top of Dean’s shoulder. Tightening his arms, he stepped in as close to Dean as he could get. Letting out a quick breath, he nodded against Dean’s shirt. “I know. I’m tryin’.”

“I know, baby, I know,” Dean assured gently. He was trying too. It wasn’t exactly easy to hear about the things that happened to Naythin, but as hard as it was there was a part of Dean, maybe a masochistic part, that wanted to know. Wanted Naythin to feel free to be able to tell him anything.

“M’sorry…’bout before. Walkin’ outta the bathroom like that. I jus’...” Shaking his head, Naythin bit his bottom lip hard.

Dean wasn’t really sure what he’d done wrong before, in the shower, so he wasn’t sure what to say to Naythin’s apology. It had both confused and hurt him for Naythin to do what he did. But he didn’t voice any of that, he just pushed it down and gave a slight, barely there nod of his head.

Tilting his head down, Naythin pressed his forehead against the side of Dean’s neck. Sighing, he hunched his shoulders. “What happened in the bedroom. I...I’m sorry. I was…” Mortified. “embarrassed.”

Dean’s brow creased. “The bedr… Oh.” He shook his head. “No. It’s okay, I get it. The hell you’ve been through...I get it. Believe me. We’re lucky I didn’t wet the bed a few times after comin’ back from Hell.”

It wasn’t okay. Nothing about this was okay. Naythin wasn’t going to compare it to what Dean went through in Hell. Dean’s thirty years on the rack was nothing compared to Naythin’s three years. That was the difference between them. Dean had been and would always be the stronger one. “You didn’t an’ I did.”

“Yeah well, that’s only because I’m up half the night anyway,” Dean retorted, giving Naythin’s waist a light squeeze. He pulled his head back a second later in an attempt to see Naythin’s face, at least somewhat, not that it really helped. “Hey, look at me, baby,” he murmured gently. He waited until Naythin did as he asked. “I love you. It’s okay. Stop worryin’ about stuff like that, alright? I got us an’ the blankets cleaned up.”

It was hard for Naythin to look Dean in the eye. He was beyond embarrassed. It bothered him, a lot. “I love you, too.” Ducking his head to the side, Naythin slid his hands from Dean’s back to his hips. His fingers fisting large handfuls of Dean’s shirt. “It’s not the first time it happened.”

Dean’s brow creased. “It’s not the first time what’s happened?”

No sense in holding anything back. “It’s not the first time...I-I wet the bed. It’s uh…” Shaking his head, Naythin took in a slow deep breath to try and steady himself. “It’s not so easy to not worry ‘bout it.”

Dean’s brow furrowed as he stared at Naythin in puzzlement for a long moment before it hit him. Or at least he thought he knew what Naythin meant. “Oh. You mean…before,” he nodded. “I know. The uh, the doctor told me...well, me an’ Tag...that you had uh,” he had to try to remember the term the doctor used. “Urine burns on yer ass an’ balls.” Yeah, somehow he wasn’t so sure that had been the way the doctor had put it. Shit. “Or uh...he prob’ly said it better than I jus’ did but...yeah…”

“Oh.” He already knew and here Naythin was practically having a heart attack stressing over it. “I uh...I didn’ know.” It made sense the doctor would have told Dean. He wouldn’t have been able to go into details because he didn’t know. The doctor would have told Dean what injuries Naythin had and that’s it. Not how he got them. Fuck! “How uh...how much does Tag know?”

Dean heaved a sigh. “Um…” Shit. “He uh, he was there with me when the doctor told me...everything. He kinda kept me from goin’ for the bastard’s throat...or killing a few nurses and orderlies so I could get to you.” He gave a slight shrug of one shoulder.

“Shit.” Pulling his arms from Dean, Naythin stepped over the blanket as he turned and walked across the room. His arms crossed over his chest when he stopped next to the window. Tag was practically family but, it didn’t keep Naythin’s anxiety from ramping up all over again. He knew. He’d been there when the doc laid all of his injuries and more than likely how they’d happened.

Dean didn’t move from where he was standing when Naythin pulled away from him, his own arms falling to his sides as Naythin walked away from him. Again. “Tag was the one who kept me from leaving. After I found out the things that sonofabitch had done to you…” He slowly shook his head. “I wanted to go Hunt the fucker down. I wanted to make him suffer the way you’d suffered but…” He shook his head. “Tag wouldn’t let me leave. He told me that you needed me an’ that he’d go take care of the bastard.”

“Who else knows? I mean, besides Ellen, Bobby an’ Tag.” He owed Tag for making sure Dean stayed. If he’d woken up and Dean hadn’t been there... “I did...if I’d have woken up an’ you weren’t in the room with me.” Naythin knew it would have been bad, real bad. They’d have had to keep him sedated. He would have fought hard. He knew they would have tried to tell him Dean was alive. Naythin wouldn’t have believed them. He wouldn’t have believed anything they said until he saw Dean with his own eyes.

Dean shook his head. “No one else. And...Ellen and Bobby, they don’t know the gritty details. Not like me an’ Tag. They weren’t in there with the doc...and I didn’t get too graphic. Not that I really needed to after they saw you. Jus’ that was enough. Bobby…” He shook his head. “He...I thought he was gonna break down right there.” He looked down at the floor as he thought back to the moment he’d first laid eyes on Naythin. “I...I remember going to you. An’ I remember I took yer hand an’...” He gave his head a shake and swallowed hard, blinking back the sting of tears. “I was shaking. I remember that. An’ when I started to sit down...there was suddenly a chair there...I dunno how...I guess Tag moved it.”

Turning away from the window, Naythin walked back to Dean. Without saying anything, he wrapped his arms around him and buried his face against the side of Dean’s neck. “I didn’ think you were real.”

Dean wrapped his arms tightly around Naythin and held him close, without a bit space between them. “I know,” he whispered, “I know. I had to make you look at me...really look at me.”

Naythin didn’t remember much about waking up in the room. It was all a blur. The fear and panic clouding everything. Lifting his head, Naythin pressed it against the side of Dean’s. “A few times...before the fire...I’d...I would see you. I mean, I talked to you but...I saw you in the house or the warehouse sometimes.”

Dean swallowed hard and squeezed his eyes closed against the sting of tears. “Yeah?” he responded, his voice rough with emotion.

“I know it sounds crazy. I know you weren’t really there. I wanted to die. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I begged Him to kill me. Any of ‘em, I begged ‘em all at some point. They’d just laugh at me. That’s...that’s when I’d see you. I thought you were an angel comin’ to take me away from it all.”

Dean huffed softly as he opened his eyes and pulled his head back so he could see Naythin. He was about as far away from being an angel as a person could ever be. He gave his head a slow shake. “It doesn’t sound crazy,” he retorted gently, “I use to see you in Hell all the time.” I’d cry out to you to help me. Beg you. “It was you who got me through it all.”

Pulling his head back, Naythin frowned. “You...you never told me that before.” Naythin knew his head was screwed up six ways to Sunday but something like that he’d never forgot.

“Yeah well,” Dean sighed. “I guess it got lost somewhere between the torture an’ me doin’...what I did.” It wasn’t that he’d forgotten it, but after telling the man you love that you gleefully tortured souls in Hell, everything else just kinda took a back seat. He gave his head a slow shake. “M’sorry. I should have told you.”

Maybe, but what was Naythin going to do? Get mad at Dean? He’d be a bastard if he did. “It’s okay.” Leaning in, Naythin pressed his lips to Dean’s. Pulling his head back, he sighed. “When I’d see you um...sometimes you’d just stand there and look at me. Other times, when it...after a really bad...you’d tell me I was gonna be okay. I didn’ believe it. I should have. I’m sorry I didn’t.”

Dean reached a hand up and cupped the side of Naythin’s neck, cradling the side of his jaw along with his neck and the base of his skull. “It’s okay. I…” He shook his head. “I dunno if I’d of believed it either.”

Naythin didn’t pull away or try to duck out from under Dean’s hand. Lifting his own, he covered Dean’s hand and squeezed gently. It was hard to admit to Dean that he’d given up, that he wanted to die; had begged for it. It was even harder to admit that he didn’t believe what Dean had said, even if it had been a hallucination.

Dean had always been a fighter, he didn’t know any other way to be. Even in Hell, when he’d given up...given in...and done what that demon bastard, Alistair, had asked him every day for thirty fucking years, he’d fought. He fought to do the best damn job he could so that he didn’t wind up back on that damn rack. It probably wasn’t what most people would consider fighting, but it was the best he’d been able to do. He just hadn’t been able to handle any more of the pain. It had been unbearable. Indescribably unbearable.

Taking his hand away from Dean’s, Naythin leaned in lowering his head to the top of Dean’s shoulder and hugged him tight for a moment. Sniffing quietly, he pulled his head back. “There any coffee left?” End of conversation.

As Naythin leaned in, Dean let his hand fall away from Naythin’s neck and he wrapped his arms, instead, around Naythin’s waist. He leaned his head against Naythin’s as he sighed softly. Lifting his head and pulling it back a little so he could see Naythin clearly, he had to blink a couple times and think about what Naythin said to be sure he heard him right. “Uh, yeah, I uh...yeah, there’s some left,” he stammered, taken aback by the abrupt change of topic.

“Okay.” Pulling his arms from around Dean, Naythin walked past him and into the kitchen. Taking a mug from the cabinet, he filled it with coffee. He could feel Dean’s eyes on him as he raised the mug to his lips. Blowing across the surface of the hot, black brew, Naythin shook his head before taking a sip. Lowering the mug to the counter, he placed the palms of his hands on the edge. Locking his elbows, Naythin leaned back, his head hanging loose between his shoulders. Closing his eyes, he took in several slow, deep breaths to try and steady himself. “I’m sorry. I can’ keep talkin’ about it all the time like that.”

Dean’s arms fell away from Naythin as he pulled away and moved around him. He couldn’t help the way he turned and watched as Naythin headed to and out the bedroom door without another word. He wasn’t sure if he’d said or done something wrong or what had just happened there. Walking out of the bedroom himself, he paused near the table and watched Naythin as he poured himself a mug full of coffee. He wasn’t meaning to stare but he couldn’t seem to wrap his head around what had just happened. He watched Naythin sit the mug down and lean against the counter. He wasn’t sure of whether he needed to go to Naythin or not so his weight changed so if he wound up needing to hurry to Naythin’s side, he was already poised to do so. He relaxed his stance some with Naythin’s words. He understood that. He didn’t like talking about Hell either. “Okay,” he agreed with a nod. “We don’t have to talk about anythin’ you don’t want to.”

Sighing heavily, Naythin gave his head a quick shake. “Is it wrong that I don’ wan’ to leave here?”

Dean’s brow creased confusedly. “Leave? I wasn’t plannin’ on leavin’ here until you were up to it.” He shrugged a shoulder. “Why, what do you mean?”

“Ever?” Turning his head to the side, Naythin slowly opened his eyes as he looked at Dean.

Dean’s mouth opened and closed like a fish. They couldn’t just live here in Ellen’s hunting cabin. “Well, I…” Oh yeah, good answer. “Not here but...I mean...if you want to...I dunno...stop Huntin’ for a while, we can do that. Maybe get Bobby to loan us one of his nicer cabins for a while.” He nodded to his own words and shrugged a shoulder.

Nodding, Naythin turned his head to stare at the floor between his feet. Sighing, he stood to his full height and picked up his coffee mug. Walking over to the table, he lowered himself down onto the chair, folding one leg under him and leaning one arm on the table top. “Yeah.” Lifting the mug to his lips, Naythin took a careful sip. Before, he’d been able to chug scalding hot coffee like it was ice water. Now? He was barely able to take small sips without burning his mouth.

Dean’s brow knitted as he watched and listened to Naythin. He moved to the chair across from Naythin and sat down. “Yeah, what?” he inquired as he leaned forward, he reached for Naythin’s hand like he always would and had to remind himself to slow down and make sure Naythin saw him moving. Shit. “Baby, talk to me. What’s goin’ on?”

Sliding his hand across the table, Naythin took hold of Dean’s and squeezed his fingers. Sighing, he stared into his cup of coffee as if the answers could be found in it depths. “What if I can’ Hunt again? What if I’m like this fer...what if I can’ get past…this?”

That wasn’t even close to anything Dean had thought Naythin was going to say. A break, sure. Ever? No. Naythin was a good Hunter. A great one. He was more like Dean, it was who he was, beyond being just what he did. “I...I guess we’ll retire...or whatever.” Oh good job. Yeah, he’ll buy that one. “I’ll do whatever you need to do, baby.” Okay, that was better.

“Retire?” Naythin huffed as he pulled his hand away from Dean’s and sat back in his chair. “Hunters don’ retire, Dean. You know that as well as I do.”

“Well, Bobby kinda did,” Dean retorted with a huff. “Whadda ya want me to say, huh? You want me to tell ya too bad an’ that you have to get past it?” He shook his head. “Because no, uh-uh, no way.” He pushed his chair back and stood to his feet. Moving behind the chair he’d just been sitting in, he leaned his hands on the top of the back rest. “I’m not gonna be the one to say that to you.”

“Bobby’s not you.” Naythin watched as Dean stood to his feet and moved around to the back of his chair. “You can’ retire.”

Dean stared at Naythin for a long moment as he gripped the chair tightly, his fingertips turning white from the strain. “What part of I’ll do whatever you need to do did you not get?”

Sighing, Naythin reached for his coffee. Lifting it to his lips, he took a long sip before lowering it back down to the table. Wrapping the fingers of both hands around the ceramic mug, Naythin stared down at the tabletop. “I get it. I do an’ I heard you.” Shaking his head, he tilted it to the side as he looked across the table at Dean. “You’d be miserable an’ you’d end up hating me.”

Dean released his hold on the chair as he came around it to take a seat again and reached across the table for Naythin’s hand. “No way,” he murmured as he shook his head. “I could never hate you. You know that. I love you. It’s always been you fer me.”

“You could never retire.” Taking Dean’s hand, Naythin gave it a gentle squeeze. “You’re Dean Winchester. Yer what the monsters tell all the baby monsters is gonna get ‘em if they don’t go to bed. They look under their beds fer you. You would hate me eventually.”

Dean sighed and slowly shook his head. “No. I couldn’t...I could never hate you. I did this to us...to you. It’s not yer fault.”

“Dean…” Sighing heavily, Naythin shook his head. “No. Okay? You didn’ do this. You gotta stop blamin’ yerself. I know it’s how yer wired but, come on, man. This isn’t yer fault. Hell, we practically bite each other’s heads off when we get cooped up too long in the Impala or a motel room. You can’ quit. It’s not in you to quit.”

A muscle twitched in Dean’s jaw as he ground his teeth so he didn’t do what he wanted to do, which was to go to Naythin and kiss the hell out of him. He could only imagine the look of fear in Naythin’s eyes if he did that. He closed his eyes as he hung his head with a heavy sigh. He stayed like that for a few minutes before slowly pulling his head up and opening his eyes. “What am I supposed to do then? Leave you at home like the little woman an’ see you...what? Maybe once or twice a year?” He shook his head. “No. No way.”

“If I can’ shake this. If I’m...if I’m too broken, I’d be a liability to you. I’d end up gettin’ you killed if I tried to keep Huntin’. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened.”

Dean released Naythin’s hand as he stared hard at him. “I’m not leavin’ you so jus’ forget it.” He pulled to his feet and headed into the bedroom, slamming the bedroom door closed after himself. He had no idea what the hell he was doing in the bedroom, but it wasn’t like there was a helluva lot of options as to where he could go. Leaning back against the door he heaved a heavy sigh and lifted a hand, running it down his face and cupping it over his mouth for a moment before finally allowing it to fall to his side.

Naythin watched Dean get up and walk into the bedroom. The door slamming nearly gave him a heart attack. He jumped up knocking the chair over backwards. His heart started hammering in his chest, his breaths came out in shallow gasps. It didn’t matter that he sat there and watched Dean slam the door. Swallowing hard, Naythin stared at the door for a couple minutes before he was able to bend over and pick the chair up and slide it back under the table. Waiting a few more minutes, Naythin was sure Dean wasn’t going to come out of the bedroom. Picking up his coffee mug, he walked over to the sink, poured the now cold coffee down the drain and rinsed out the mug. Pushing away from the sink, Naythin walked over to the wall next to the bedroom door. Turning his back to it, he lowered himself down to the floor with his legs stretched out in front of him, feet crossed at the ankles. It was as close as he could get to Dean without knocking on the door and pissing him off even more.

How could Naythin even suggest that he leave him behind? Why would he even want that? Because he blames you and he’s just too nice to actually say the words. Turning around, Dean grabbed the door handle and wrenched it open, throwing the door wide with every intention of going back to the table to have it out with Naythin only to stop short when Naythin wasn’t there. “Naythin!?” Sonofabitch. He looked toward the door and his heart skipped a couple beats. No way. He wouldn’t go outside alone. Not after… Not when he’d thought something had been out there...No. Oh shit. Oh God, no! His eyes widened as his thoughts started to run wild, his breaths coming out heavier as his heart rate sped up.

Naythin looked up when the bedroom door opened. When Dean called his name, he started to stand up. “I’m right here.” Using the wall to brace against, Naythin stood to his feet.

Dean’s head turned first toward the sound of Naythin’s voice and then his body to match it. He turned on a dime and crossed the distance between himself and Naythin in just a couple long purposeful strides. He wrapped an arm around Naythin, his arm sliding around him under Naythin’s arm, his fingers splaying high on Naythin’s back as he leaned in. His body plastered Naythin’s back to the wall behind him as Dean slanted his mouth over Naythin’s. He pushed his tongue past Naythin’s lips and teeth without preamble, and teased at the roof of Naythin’s mouth and along the backs of his teeth before sliding his tongue alongside Naythin’s. A low moan slid up Dean’s throat at the familiar taste and feel, of finally kissing his husband again, really kissing him, after so long. His body responded immediately, his cock growing hard and pressing painfully against his zipper.

Naythin watched Dean come at him. His eyes widened at the look on Dean’s face. Oh, shit. He’s gonna kick my ass. he tried to back away, to give himself room to fight back. Not that he would. Not against Dean. When Dean wrapped an arm around his back, Naythin tensed. He backed up until he hit the wall, his eyes widened to the size of dinner plates when Dean kissed him. Not the barely there chaste kisses. Nope. This was full on, tongue, bodies pressed against each other with no room for air to pass between them kind of kiss. Naythin’s brain hadn’t caught up with exactly what was going on before he raised his hands to the waistband of Dean’s jeans, his fingers digging into the denim material. Muscle memory kicked in and Naythin started to return Dean’s kiss, giving as good as he got until he shifted his hips and felt the large bulge in Dean’s crotch pressing against his thigh. Every alarm and red flashing light went off in Naythin’s head at the same time. Breaking the kiss, he pulled his hands back pushing against Dean’s chest as Naythin tried to climb the wall to get away from him. “No...No!” Shaking his head, he pushed past Dean going as far as the wall next to the bathroom door.

When Naythin broke the kiss, Dean blinked his eyes open, his brow creased with confusion. He would have leaned back in but with the way Naythin was pushing at him, that wouldn’t have been an easy feat. When Naythin said no, Dean backed off. Never let it be said that Dean Winchester ever bought or forced sex from anyone. He held his hands up as he stumble stepped backward. His arms fell to his sides and when he looked at Naythin pressed up against the wall next to the bathroom door, and saw the panic and fear in his eyes, Dean felt like a colossal ass. “I’m...sorry,” he muttered softly. “I...I didn’t think. I was just...I thought you went outside an’...” He gave his head a shake and turned away, wishing like hell the cabin was bigger or that he could go outside without Naythin panicking even more. He lifted a hand and ran it down his face, glancing down at the bulge in his jeans as he pulled his hand away from his mouth. Awesome. No wonder Naythin was scared. Shit. Down boy. Yer not gettin’ any of that for a long damn time.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Naythin ducked his head to the side. His chest and sides heaved, nostrils flared wide as he tried to get as much air into his lungs as possible. Shaking his head, he tightened his arms around himself. “S’okay. I know ya didn’ mean it.” Licking his lips, Naythin slid along the wall until he reached the corner. When his back came into contact with it, he let out a long sigh. Corners meant safety, sort of. No one was sneaking up behind him if he had his back wedged into a corner. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’ mean to push you.”

Dean turned back around to face Naythin and couldn’t help but notice that he was standing with his back pressed into the corner. Sonofabitch! Well, any progress Naythin had made he just killed in an instant. Good job, asshole. Maybe he should leave. If he did Naythin wouldn’t have to worry about him doing something stupid like that again. Dean shook his head to Naythin’s words. “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have kissed you like that. I’m uh…” How do you tell your husband that you’re sorry he turned you on? Was that even something that was said? “I uh...I didn’t mean to get...y’know...it’s just...been...a uh...a long time...and it was you so…” He cleared his throat and wished in that moment that the floor would open up and swallow him whole.

Lowering his eyes to the floor, Naythin nodded slowly. What could he say? That the very thought of his husband’s dick touching him scared the hell out of him? Full blown panic attack? He could just see the divorce papers in his future with that little revelation. Any other time, a kiss like that from Dean would have had them both naked and on the floor in a matter of seconds. Naythin wasn’t sure if they’d ever have that again. If he’d ever be okay enough again.

“Yeah,” Dean mumbled and lowered his own eyes to the floor. Which made him notice the fact that he was still standing there with Mister Happy. Shit. He stepped toward the couch and grabbed one of the throw pillows and pressed the damn thing to his crotch in an attempt to hide the damning evidence of his arousal. “I’m jus’ gonna… Um…” He pointed toward the bathroom with his free hand and nodded his head to his words before very awkwardly bee-lining it to and into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Leaning back against the door he heaved a heavy sigh and pulled the pillow away from his hard-on, using the pillow instead to punch at the wall next to him.

When the bathroom door closed, Naythin slowly moved away from the corner and started walking to the couch. The muffled thud against the wall had him throwing an arm up and taking several steps back. By the time he got himself stopped, he was covered in sweat and breathing as if he’d just run a marathon. “Damn it.” Lifting a hand, he slowly ran it down his face before letting it fall back to his side. Staring at the door for a full minute, Naythin walked over to the kitchen counter where the pill bottles were lined up. Checking each one, he tapped out the pills he needed. Going to the fridge, he took out the gallon jug of orange juice. Taking his coffee mug from the sink, he filled it with enough juice to be able to take the handful of pills.

Rinsing the mug, he left it in the sink and walked over to the couch. Turning the TV on, Naythin climbed onto the couch taking his usual place in the corner. Pulling his knees tight to his chest, he stared at the TV not really focusing on what was happening on the screen. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to kiss Dean. He did. Hell, he missed making out with his husband. He’d tried to explain it to Dean. That the sudden reactions weren’t anything he could control. He knew he’d hurt Dean. Naythin hadn’t meant to. He’d never do anything to intentionally hurt Dean.

Dean knew that at this rate Mister Happy wasn’t going anywhere soon, but he was about as out of the mood as a person could get. He wound up stripping and getting into the shower, with the water on ice cold. After a few minutes of that, his mission was finally a success. That and making his teeth chatter. He turned off the water and grabbed a towel and stood there like a seven year old with it wrapped around his shoulders as he dripped dry with his teeth chattering. When he was finally warm enough to uncross his arms from his chest, he finished drying off and stepped out of the shower. He dressed as quickly as he could and was thankful for every layer of clothing he put on. He wasn’t sure that he was going to stop shaking even completely dry and dressed there was a slight tremor in his limbs. The things he did for Naythin. He walked over to the bathroom door and opened it, grabbing the pillow off the floor as he walked out. He sat the pillow on the couch as far away from Naythin as he could get it without it falling onto the floor as he continued past to deal with the last of the laundry. Hell, he’d paint the walls or build an addition onto the place, anything to keep busy.

Naythin didn’t pick his head up when he heard the bathroom door open. He watched Dean out of the corner of his eye as he walked over to the couch and put the throw pillow back on it. When Dean turned and headed into the kitchen, Naythin waited for a minute before sitting up. “I took my pills.” He’d screwed up enough in the short time since his nightmare had woken them both. He didn’t want Dean to think he was slacking off on taking his meds. He did want to get better.

Dean nodded in response to Naythin only to belatedly realize that he probably should say something, that Naythin probably wasn’t looking at him. “That’s good,” he responded as he pulled the clothes out of the dryer and started to put them to the side so he could carry them into the bedroom once he had the next load started in the dryer and the few things that were left draped over the side of the washer for the next time he did wash.

When Dean didn’t look back at him, Naythin knew he was in the doghouse. Wrapping his arms around his legs, he lowered his chin to his knee. Sighing heavily, he debated on going into the bedroom to give Dean some time alone. It wasn’t as if the cabin was that big. There weren’t too many places to go except outside. Chewing on the inside of his lip, Naythin finally sat up. Pushing off the couch, he walked back into the kitchen. Reaching the counter, he picked up the bottle of sleeping pills. Opening the cap, he tapped out one of the pills onto the palm of his hand. Staring at the white pill, he considering taking two to make sure he didn’t dream; good or bad.

Walking away from the laundry room, his arms loaded down with clothes and towels and blankets, Dean headed for the bedroom only to stopped short as he started past Naythin, his eyes on the pill in Naythin’s hand. “You goin’ to bed already?” Yes, he knew what each of Naythin’s pills looked like. He’d memorized them soon after they’d gotten to the cabin. “It’s not even dinner time yet.” Nice. His husband was so upset by his actions he’d rather go into a medicated sleep than be around him. Awesome. Yeah, maybe he should just go whenever a new job came up. He turned his attention back to the clothes in his hands and continued into the bedroom without another word.

Looking over at the clock on the wall, Naythin shook his head. Dinner time? Hell, it was barely ten in the morning. Sighing, Naythin put the pill back in the bottle, capped it and set it back in line with the others. Going back to the couch, he took up his usual position and stared blankly at the TV screen.

Dean hung up their clothes and put the boxers and socks into the small dresser. He remade the pallet on the floor, but he also made up the bed. There was no way Naythin was going to want him sleeping anywhere near him after his near molestation. He huffed and rolled his eyes at himself. Smooth jackass. Real smooth. Walking back out of the bedroom he paused behind the couch and glanced at the TV to see what Naythin was watching. “I uh...I made up yer pallet on the floor.” Annnnnnnd there it was, awkwardness. He walked over to the chair farthest away from the couch and sat down. He’d just try to steer clear of being too close to Naythin, for a while at least.

Naythin could hear the dresser drawers opening and closing as Dean put the laundry away. He felt like shit for not even unloading his own duffel bag into the dresser or even helping with the laundry. It wasn’t like his arms and legs were broke. They worked fine. It was his head that was screwed up. When Dean came out, Naythin nodded against his knee. After what happened earlier, he knew Dean wasn’t going to want to sleep next to him again. Nothing like having your husband piss the bed with you in it. That was romantic. Glancing from the TV, Naythin watched Dean walk over to the furthest recliner and sit down. Tightening his arms around his legs, he fought hard to keep his emotions in check.

Dean put the foot stool up on the recliner and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest as he tried to get interested in the television program. He started to look over at Naythin a few times but forced himself not to. If he kept looking over he was going to wind up creeping Naythin out. “What do you want for dinner?” Okay, so he gave in. The silence was killing him.

Glancing over at Dean, Naythin shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.” There wasn’t a whole lot Naythin could eat at this point. His stomach was still too sensitive. He was surprised he’d managed to keep the half a burger he’d eaten the night before down. “I’m sorry. I didn’ mean to react like that.”

Dean turned his attention back to the television for a long moment before shaking his head. “It’s not yer fault. I should have known better...an’ I sure as hell should’a kept my damn dick in check. I’m sorry. Last thing you need is me...doing that.” He was silent for a full minute. “I could make stew.” Stew was easy. Beef broth, beef and potatoes, add the vegetables you want and then cook the hell out of it.

Nodding against his knee, Naythin looked over at Dean. He wanted to kiss him. He wanted to kiss Dean stupid but there was no way he could do it. Naythin knew damn good and well it would...it always lead to them getting naked. Okay, maybe not every time but now, it most definitely would. He just couldn’t handle that. Not right now. It wasn’t Dean’s fault. Naythin knew no matter how many times he said it, Dean wouldn’t believe him. “Stew sounds good.” The potatoes would be fine, he could pick out the smaller pieces of meat. “You were worried about me. Yer brain kinda stops workin’ when you get like that.”

Dean huffed softly. “It doesn’t give me the right to nearly molest you...not after…” He let his words trail off as he shook his head and stared a little too hard at the television, like it was the most riveting program out there, when in fact he had no idea what the hell he was watching. He could remember a time when Naythin liked being “molested” by him. But that was a lifetime ago.

“It’s not what you did. You couldn’t do that to me.” Sniffing quietly, Naythin looked back at the TV. “I kissed you back.”

“Yeah, and I got hard. You didn’t.”

Naythin flinched as if he’d been slapped. Dean wasn’t wrong. He didn’t get hard. His dick didn’t even twitch. He’d been too damn scared to get that far. Turning his head to the side, Naythin rested his cheek on his knee. “Yeah.”

Chapter Text

“When you were gone…” Dean shook his head. “I never...not even once…” He sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and chewed on it a moment before releasing it. “Jerkin’ off in the shower was more of a stress relief, I wasn’t horny or excited or anything. It was just...cleanin’ the pipes, y’know? Tag and me, we were too busy lookin’ for you for either of us to slow down...for me to slow down long enough to...I dunno...day dream or whatever. Hell, Tag screwed that chick with me outside the door pacing, waitin’ for him to get done so we’d know whatever she knew.” He shook his head again. “An’ now yer back an’ I want…” He let his words trail off on a huffed breath. “Nothin’. It doesn’t matter.”

“It’s not nothin’ an’ yeah, it does matter. I know what you want...I jus’...I can’ an’...an’ it’s not fair to you.” Gritting his teeth, Naythin counted to ten before he continued. “I don’ know if I’ll ever be able to again.”

Dean’s lips parted to argue with Naythin, to tell him that no, he didn’t know what he wanted only to snap his mouth shut a moment later when Naythin confessed that he might not ever be able to have sex again. Dean’s eyes slid closed and he swallowed hard. He knew it shouldn’t matter, he knew that somewhere deep down in his heart but that didn’t mean that the rest of him had to like it. His chest hurt, and yet at the same time felt strangely hollow. He didn’t bother to argue the point of what it was he wanted, what he really wanted, as he opened his eyes and stared unseeingly at the television screen.

When Dean didn’t say anything, Naythin slowly unfolded himself from the couch. Getting to his feet, he kept his eyes diverted as he past Dean and headed for the kitchen. Stopping at the counter, he reached for and opened the bottle of sleeping pills. Taking one out, he closed the bottle and put it back where it belonged. Popping the pill in his mouth, Naythin swallowed it dry. Shuddering when the bitter taste hit his taste buds, Naythin walked toward the bedroom. “I’m gonna go lay down for a while.” Not waiting for or expecting a response, Naythin turned and walked into the bedroom leaving the door open. Laying down on the clean blanket, Naythin reached for one corner and covered his legs after he pulled his knees close to his chest, his back against the frame of the bed. From where he was lying, he could see Dean’s head over the top of the recliner. Wrapping his arms over his chest, Naythin stared across the room at Dean, or what he could see of him.

Sighing, Naythin licked his lips nervously. Dean had always had a very healthy sexual appetite. His idiot brother called him a horn dog on several occasions. It pissed Naythin off and he knew it bothered Dean. It wasn’t as if Naythin even thought of Dean cheating on him when he’d been missing. It didn’t matter what He said or how many times He said it. Naythin knew Dean was not a cheat. He wasn’t so sure Dean could give up sex completely. If Naythin couldn’t give Dean what he needed, he wouldn’t blame him for looking elsewhere for it. It would kill him. A part of Naythin would die if that ever happened.

Dean didn’t move from the chair, or even reach for the remote to try to actually find something to watch. Naythin’s words just kept ringing in his ears. He wound up with his eyes closed again, this time remembering their first time together. A muscle rolled and twitched in his jaw as he clenched his teeth. He wasn’t going to be stupid and cry over this. He refused to. He slowly opened his eyes and sat forward, stretching one arm out to grab the light blanket from the couch. Leaning back in the chair again, he pulled the blanket up to his chest, covering his arms, that he recrossed over his chest, and closed his eyes. Nope. Hunters didn’t cry. No way. He kept telling himself that even when he felt a tear slip down his cheek.

Naythin wasn’t sure how long he’d slept. When he laid down, it was lights out. The sun had been obscured by dark grey clouds. Knowing Nebraska, it was probably going to snow soon. Naythin didn’t slowly wake up anymore. No, it was more like a full body spasm that yanked him from the blissful blackness that sleep afforded him. He didn’t open his eyes or even change his breathing pattern. He’d learned how to play possum that rivaled even Dean.

Listening to the sounds around him, Naythin heard the furnace kick on with a loud thunk. The warm air hissing as it came out of the ductwork a few feet from his bed. The only indication Naythin was awake came from the minute flaring of his nostrils. The smell of beef stew filling his lungs had his stomach growling. He hadn’t eaten that morning. A half a cup of coffee wasn’t going to do it anymore. Though he wasn’t eating much, his stomach was getting used to having food in it on a constant basis now and it wasn’t happy that it was empty, again. It had been easy to peek out from under his long hair as he checked the area. Now with it being no more than a quarter inch in length, there was no hiding behind it. Cracking open one eye, he saw the bedroom door had been closed partially. He could hear heavy booted footfalls going from the kitchen to the living room. The sound of the footrest being raised on one of the recliners eased Naythin’s rapid pulse. It was Dean. Just Dean.

Lifting his head, Naythin slowly stretched his legs, wincing slightly as his muscles and joints protested. Blinking his vision clear, Naythin slowly rose to his feet and walked to the bedroom door. Pulling the door open fully, he stepped out making a beeline for the bathroom. Once upright, his bladder started screaming at him. After taking care of his overloaded bladder and washing his hands, Naythin walked out into the living room. His bare feet making no noise on the worn wood floors. Crossing his arms over his chest, he stopped between the recliner Dean was sitting on and the end of the couch. Bowing his head, he stared down at the floor for a moment before looking over at Dean. “Smells good.”

“Mornin’, sunshine,” Dean drawled as he looked over at Naythin from the way he’d been staring at the television trying to pretend he hadn’t noticed that Naythin was up. He glanced toward the kitchen and looked back at Naythin. “Are you hungry? There’s lunch meat in the fridge if you want a sandwich. Dinner won’t be ready for a few hours yet.”

Nodding slowly, Naythin dropped his arms to his sides. “What time is it?” Looking toward the window, he frowned, his forehead deeply creased. It was still light out but with the clouds and lack of sun it was hard to judge the time.

Lifting an arm, Dean looked down at his watch. “A little after two,” he responded before lowering his arm to his side and turning his attention back to the TV. The program wasn’t as interesting however as it had been a few minutes ago and he had a hard time concentrating on what was going on. He watched Naythin from the corner of his eye as he continued to pretend to watch the television.

Barely four hours? Looking over at the kitchen counter where the row of pill bottles was, Naythin stared at the bottle containing his sleeping pills. The damn things weren’t working like they were supposed to. “I’m uh...I’m gonna make a sandwich. You want one?” Turning toward the kitchen, Naythin took two steps before stopping directly behind Dean’s recliner.

Dean gave his head a quick shake. “I had one earlier while I was gettin’ dinner started.” He squeezed his eyes closed for a brief moment before reopening them. “But thanks. Uh, if...if you want me to I can make yer sandwich. I mean…” Shit. He knew Naythin wasn’t an invalid but the guy had been through hell. He got that. He’d been there, in Hell proper, so he knew that it was like. Maybe not the raping, but the rest of it and being fucked in the head from it, yeah, he’d been right where Naythin was. He definitely wouldn’t have passed up having someone else make his sandwich back then...to say the least.

Looking down at Dean, Naythin nodded. “Okay. Yeah, thanks. That’d be great.” Before walking away, Naythin quickly leaned over and pressed his lips to the top of Dean’s head. “I love you.” Pulling back, he walked around to his end of the couch and climbed up on the cushion. Reaching for the blanket, he covered himself quickly and leaned against the corner of the couch.

Dean nodded and a soft smile curved his lips. Leaning forward, he pushed the footrest in as he sat up and then pulled to his feet. Walking past the couch, he paused behind Naythin and reached for him. “It’s just me,” he warned softly as he laid a hand in the center of Naythin’s chest from behind him and then leaned over and pressed a kiss to the top of his head mimicking what Naythin had done to him. “I love you too,” he murmured gently as he picked his head up and slowly pulled his arm and his hand away from Naythin. “That blanket’s nicer than it looks,” he mused as he walked into the kitchen and pulled open the refrigerator to grab the lunch meat. “I uh, I took a nap too and used the blanket there,” he explained. The thing looked as old as Moses, or at least Noah. And just about as threadbare, but it had been the perfect weight to cover up with for a nap. He wasn’t going to now, or ever, mention the fact that it smelled like Naythin and that had been the main reason he’d used it.

The brief contact of Dean’s hand and arm against his chest, had Naythin taking in a slow deep breath. He’d missed the simple almost casual touches they’d exchanged. Even in public, they’d figured out how to let the other know what they were feeling without making it glaringly obvious they were together. When Dean pulled his hand away, Naythin wanted to reach for it, to pull him back and not let go. His fear and anxiety kept him from doing it and for that, Naythin hated himself.

Pulling the blanket up to his nose, Naythin closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. He could smell the soap Dean used as well as his aftershave. Naythin’s chest tightened as he pressed the worn material against his face. He never thought he’d ever smell Dean’s aftershave or cologne again. The last time had been on the shirt He’d shown him that was covered in blood. Shaking the image from his mind, Naythin shifted just enough so he could cover his legs and shoulders with the blanket. “Yeah. It’s pretty comfortable.”

Dean nodded as he worked at making Naythin’s sandwich. If he paid too much attention to Naythin he’d want to go to him and pull him into his arms and never let go. He knew that Naythin didn’t want that, that it was probably the last thing in the world Naythin wanted. He cleared his throat and pushed those thoughts, those desires, back. He buried them deep down behind one of the many walls he’d erected inside himself just the way his Dad had taught him. “Mayo or mustard?” he inquired as he turned back to the fridge to put away the meat. He paused with the door open and peered around it at Naythin as he waited for his response.

Lifting his head from the blanket, Naythin frowned for a moment. “Mayo...mayo’s fine.” The fact that he had to think about which one he wanted shocked him a little. He’d never really been a fan of mustard before.

Dean nodded, it was what he’d figured but he wanted to be sure. Pulling his head back he reached into the fridge and grabbed the jar of mayo and closed the refrigerator door. Turning back to Naythin’s sandwich he put the mayo on it and closed the jar. “Ellen left us Provolone and Colby Jack cheese, which do you want? Or both?” He assumed that Naythin knew he could have both of whatever he asked him, or everything that was there for that matter, but again, he’d assumed. He was learned quickly that he couldn’t do that with Naythin. Not anymore.

“P-provolone’s good.” Naythin’s mouth had started to water when Dean listed off the two kinds of cheese they had. He liked both, he remembered that much. The idea of having a say in what he ate was still taking a bit of getting used to.

Dean’s brows rose in unison and he gave a nod to Naythin’s decision. “Yeah?” he inquired as he looked over at Naythin and smiled softly as he gave a curt nod. “Provolone it is.” Turning back to the sandwich, he put the cheese on it and closed the package before turning again to open the fridge door and put the cheese, lunch meat and mayo away. Closing the fridge door he started to close the sides of the sub roll so he could cut it and stopped. He looked up at Naythin and quirked a single brow. He started to say Naythin didn’t want vegetables on it, did he? Only to stop himself and rethink the question. If he said it that way he knew without even having to think about it that Naythin wouldn’t say he wanted them even if he did. “Do you want anything else on it? Tomato, lettuce...onion?” His lips curved into a slow wide smile at the mention of onion.

“No. That’s fine.” Sitting up a little, Naythin pulled his arms out from under the blanket resting them on his knees. Licking his lips, Naythin blew out a quick breath. “Can uh...I’m, I think I’m gonna try a Coke instead of water.”

Dean nodded to Naythin’s decision and turned his attention back to cutting the sandwich in half and placing it on a paper plate. His brows rose in unison as he looked over at Naythin. “Yeah?” He nodded to his own question. “Okay.” He turned and opened the fridge and grabbed one of the million and a half cans of Coke in the fridge. Seriously, he was starting to think that Ellen had bought stock in the stuff. “You want some chips?” He inquired as he closed the refrigerator door.

Shaking his head, Naythin smoothed the blanket out with the tips of his fingers. He’d learned the hard way that eating too much too fast ended with him puking his guts out a few minutes later. No thank you. He did not want to repeat that again. “No, thanks. Sandwich is fine. I don’ wanna push it an’ end up gettin’ sick.”

Dean nodded as he picked up the plate and carried it and the Coke over to the couch. He handed Naythin the plate and popped the tab on the Coke before setting it down on the coffee table in front of Naythin. Once that was finished, he walked back over to the recliner, this time the one closer to the couch, and sat down, putting the footrest up and leaning back in the chair. He grabbed the remote out of the other chair on his way back and now surfed through the channels for something decent to watch.

Setting the plate on the back of the couch, Naythin looked over at Dean. “You wan’ the blanket back? I can’ get the one from the bedroom.”

Dean shook his head and paused in channel surfing to look over at Naythin. “Naw, I’m good.” He winked at Naythin before turning his attention back to the television. Holy shit. Ellen got porn. His finger stopped moving when he heard the sounds of a guy moaning and low and behold. He blinked at the screen a couple of times before he managed to get his thumb to listen to his brain and continue past the channel. Finally, it happened and he clicked on past it. Wow. Okay then.

Reaching for his plate, Naythin set it on the couch in front of his feet. As he turned to pick up the can of Coke, he stopped dead when he heard moaning coming from the TV. There was no mistaking sex moans from any other type. Blinking rapidly, Naythin convinced his hand to pick up the can of Coke and raise it to his lips. His hand as shaking slightly as he pressed the edge of the can against his mouth. Taking a careful sip, he set the can back down on the table making sure to not look up at the TV or over at Dean. Picking up the sandwich, Naythin started to tear small pieces off.

“Guess Cinemax is havin’ a free weekend,” Dean mused in an attempt to break the awkward and tense silence.

Naythin chewed the small piece of sandwich slowly. “Guess so.” He wanted to avoid the subject of sex as much as humanly possible. Swallowing hard, he reached for his can of Coke to wash down the sandwich. Holding the cold can in his hand, he leaned forward and pressed the side of it to his forehead. He’d actually forgotten how good that felt. Lowering the can back to the table, he continued to tear the sandwich into small bite sized pieces as he ate.

Dean tried to ignore the elephant in the room. Sex was just going to have to be off the table for them. It sucked, and it was going to take some getting use to. But if Misses Reeves could do it, so could he. Granted Naythin wasn’t paralyzed in a wheelchair but he’d been through something just as traumatic. Possibly more so. He wondered if he should tell Naythin that, that he was going to be here with him sex or no sex. But then again, he didn’t want to upset him again either. If Naythin got too upset he’d stop eating and that was the last thing Dean wanted to have happen. He decided to keep it to himself, at least for now.

After plowing through just over half the sandwich and the entire can of Coke, Naythin was done. Setting the plate on the coffee table, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Glancing over at Dean, Naythin sucked in his bottom lip. Chewing on the corner, he watched Dean for a minute before speaking up. “Would you sit by me?” He’d gone so long without Dean being near him, he wanted to be as close to him as his screwed up head would allow. If it was sitting next to each other on the couch then so be it.

Dean froze at Naythin’s question and he felt his heart skip a beat as a slow ache filled his chest. He swallowed hard enough to have his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. “Are you sure?” he inquired without looking at Naythin, at least not right then. He waited the span of a heartbeat before turning his head and meeting his gaze.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Naythin met Dean’s gaze and nodded. “Please?”

Dean couldn’t have stopped the smile if he’d tried as he nodded to Naythin. “Yeah,” he pushed the footrest down and sat up, “Okay.” Pulling to his feet, he walked over to the couch and took a seat beside Naythin, not too close to crowd him but close enough that he could, or rather Naythin could hold his hand or put his arm around him if he wanted to.

Naythin waited until Dean was seated on the couch next to him. Lifting the blanket, he turned to the side so he was facing the TV. Leaning against Dean’s side, Naythin tossed the blanket over Dean’s legs and wrapped his arm loosely across his stomach. Laying his head on Dean’s chest, Naythin let out a long sigh. His muscles relaxed, the stiffness easing from his legs as he tucked them up and to the side.

Dean wrapped his arm around Naythin as they sat similar to the way they had in the hospital from the moment that Naythin had finally realized that Dean was there and that he was safe now. “I love you,” he murmured softly and dipped his head, his chin against his chest as he pressed a kiss to Naythin’s head. Pulling his head up, he turned his attention to the television, or at least tried to as much as possible.

“I love you, too.” Tightening his arm around Dean, Naythin closed his eyes. He wasn’t tired. He was just trying to take everything in. To ground himself somehow. Nuzzling his cheek against Dean’s shirt, Naythin sighed softly. “M’sorry I’m so screwed up. Not exactly what you were expecting, huh?”

Dean slowly shook his head and lowered his attention from the TV and to Naythin. “No. Don’t apologize. Yer not screwed up...not really. Like I’ve said before, you’ve been through hell. Yer no more screwed up than I was. As far as what I expected,” he shook his head again, “I didn’t know what to expect.” It was the truth. Granted, he’d dreamt of finding Naythin, making sure he was okay, whatever that entailed, and then making slow love to him. Showing him how much he was missed. How much he’s loved. He shook himself and buried those thoughts, those wishes, down deep where they’d never be found and would soon, hopefully, be forgotten.

“You weren’ like this.” Sighing again, Naythin moved closer until his thigh was pressed against Dean’s. If he thought it wouldn’t cause him to panic, Naythin would have crawled up onto Dean’s lap. All six feet of him and God only knows how many pounds now. He knew he wasn’t anywhere near the almost 200 pounds he’d been when the vampires took him.

“No,” Dean agreed, “Yer right, I wasn’t. My...my screwed up was different.” It’d been a lot different. He hadn’t been raped and tortured and beaten repeatedly for three years. The very thought of that had Dean’s muscles tensing and a muscle in his jaw pulsing and rolling as he grit his teeth. He had to force himself to relax so he wouldn’t scare Naythin. “I’m sorry,” he apologized before Naythin could comment on the way he’d tensed. “Just...thinking about it...about what you went through…” I want to kill that sonofabitch so bad. Not Tag. Me. Just me. I want to introduce the bastard to Hell. To what it’s like to be tortured over and over again.

Giving his head a barely there shake, Naythin rolled his shoulders. “Don’. I do enough of that for the both of us.”

“Somehow I don’t think it’s the same feeling,” Dean responded softly, tightening his arm around Naythin just slightly, not wanting to scare him. Forcing himself not to pull Naythin nearly into his lap and wrap his arms around him and never let go.

“I try not to think about it. It’s not something I want to remember or...rehash on a daily or hourly basis.” Sighing heavily, Naythin tightened his hold on Dean. Once his stomach got on board, Naythin thought about drowning himself in whisky. The pills weren’t doing any good anymore. He had to do something to keep the nightmares away. It was bad enough everything made him jump when he was awake.

“It doesn’t matter how much you try to not think about it, it’s always there. Lurking around every corner, in every dark place in yer mind. An’ it makes itself known when you least expect it...when yer at yer most vulnerable,” Dean responded almost woodenly. Yeah, he knew. He knew exactly what Naythin was going through.

When Dean had come back, he’d jumped right back into Hunting. Naythin couldn’t do that. Not that he didn’t want to, he just could not do it. Mentally or physically, he wasn’t anywhere near ready. He couldn’t even walk outside the cabin without having a panic attack. So, Dean’s way of dealing wasn’t going to work for him. If he could just forget what happened and not Dean’s idea of forgetting. If he could get past the mind numbing fear, he’d be alright.

“It’s just gonna take time, baby,” Dean murmured. Hell, he still had nightmares sometimes. And sometimes, they were bad, really bad. One of the first times he and Naythin had slept together he’d punched Naythin when he’d tried to wake him. “But after a while, you’ll be able to push past it enough to function without losin’ yer shit when you see or hear somethin’ that reminds you of it. I’m not sayin’ it won’t be there, it will, jus’...jus’ not as bad.”

Huffing, Naythin shifted so his cheek was resting against Dean’s pec. “What did ya do? Record everythin’ I said to you?” They may not have been the exact same words but, Naythin had said similar things to Dean after his stint in Hell. He didn’t know what he was talking about back then. All he knew was that he had to say whatever would help Dean get past what had happened to him.

Dean huffed softly, the corner of his lips quirking upward ever-so-slightly. “Did I remember everything?” he inquired playfully. “You were right though, you should listen to yer own advice, baby. And uh...if...if you can’t ever...it’s okay. I just wanted you to know that.”

Annnnnd right back to the awkwardness of the conversation. Hunching his shoulders, Naythin tucked his chin nearly to his chest. Squeezing his eyes closed, he took in a slow deep breath and let it out just as slowly. “Yeah, I uh...I mean…” Sex wasn’t one thing they had to worry about back then. It wasn’t as if they jumped right into the sack the minute they’d laid eyes on each other but, not ever having sex again wasn’t a concern. Now, it was the proverbial elephant in the room.

Dean tightened his arm around Naythin briefly and relaxed his hold. “It’s okay,” he murmured. “Don’t worry about it.” It was the last thing that Naythin needed to worry about right then.

“It’s not okay. I...I do worry about it.” Lifting his head, Naythin pushed his legs out from under the blanket. Reaching for it, he threw it onto the couch as he pushed to his feet. Walking around the coffee table, he started to pace the room from the kitchen table to the recliner and back again. Wrapping his arms around his chest, he hugged himself hard as he stared at the floor.

Shit. Dean let his head fall back against the back of the couch as he squeezed his eyes closed. Sonofabitch! He’d hoped to soothe Naythin’s worries not start new ones. Damn it to hell. Opening his eyes, he pulled to his feet and walked the opposite direction around the couch so he stayed as far away from Naythin as possible on his way to the kitchen. Yep, he knew when it was time to get outta dodge and now was one of them. He needed to shut his mouth and just steer clear of Naythin. He’d had a bad feeling about sitting with Naythin to start with, and he should have known to keep his mouth shut. He could have bashed his head against the counter. Instead he turned his attention to the stew, making sure it was cooking well and that the potatoes weren’t getting too mushy. He added a little more garlic pepper and stirred the stew probably more than a stew should ever be stirred.

Naythin couldn’t shut his brain off. He kept hearing Him repeating over and over that no one would want him, that Dean wouldn’t want him after everything that had been done to him. That he was nothing more than a pet, a plaything to be thrown away when it was too broken to play with anymore. Shaking his head, Naythin squeezed his eyes closed as tight as he could. Gritting his teeth, his fingers curled into tight fists. Each time he passed the support beam that separated the kitchen from the living room, Naythin would glance at it. When Dean walked over to the stove, Naythin watched him out of the corner of his eye as he continued to pace. His chest constricted until it was hard to breath. It felt like someone was squeezing his heart as hard as they could. He was going to lose Dean. He knew it. He was right. Dean didn’t want him anymore. Naythin knew he kept saying it was okay, that he was okay with it because Dean didn’t want him. Turning on his heel, Naythin paced toward the kitchen table, he stopped next to it, his jaw clenched tight, tears stinging his eyes. Shaking his head, he spun around, arms falling to his sides. Stopping in front of the beam, he reached back with his right hand and hit the post as hard as he could letting out a yell that he was sure dogs in the next county would hear.

Dean jumped, dropped the spoon he’d been stirring the stew with, his eyes wide and his muscles tense. He turned immediately, almost before the spoon had a chance to fall to the floor, and ran to Naythin’s side, not that he had far to go. He wrapped his arms around Naythin and nearly picked him up off his feet as he moved them both to the couch and reached for Naythin’s hand. “What happened? What’d you do? Are you alright?” The last one was a stupid question, the blood running from the splits in Naythin’s knuckles and the immediate bruising and swelling told Dean that Naythin was anything but alright.

Naythin sat on the couch staring down at his hand. He was surprisingly calm all things considered. His chest rose steadily, the pounding in his knuckles in perfect sync with the pounding of his heart. The sharp stinging pain had acted as a kill switch to his runaway thoughts. He could focus now.

When Dean started firing question at him, Naythin shook his head as he slowly wiggled his fingers. Wincing a little as the broken skin pulled causing the bleeding to start all over again with a vengeance. You’re gonna leave me. He was right. Naythin watched as the back of his hand started to swell, the knuckle of his middle finger was already bruising. Huffing, he let out a humorless chuckle. “I had to make it stop. The pain...it made it stop. I’m fine.”

Dean’s brow creased with confusion and he found himself shaking Naythin a little before he could stop himself. “What are you talking about!? Yer not makin’ any sense!” His heart was pounding almost painfully in his chest and if he paid closer attention to himself, he’d see that he was shaking.

Rolling his shoulders, Naythin pushed away from Dean. He ducked his head as he backed up until his calves hit the recliner. Reaching out with his injured hand, Naythin hissed and pulled it back, cradling it against his chest. Keeping his head bowed, his eyes locked onto the floor, he stood next to the recliner leaning some of his weight against it. “Yer gonna leave. Yer gonna leave me. He was right. He said no one would want me after everything that was done to me. Not even you. Only reason yer okay with the fact I might not be able to have sex again is because yer gonna leave.”

Dean pulled away from the couch and took a step toward Naythin only to stop in his tracks as Naythin spoke. “What!?” he asked incredulously. “You can’t honestly believe that. Naythin, you know me!” Sonofabitch! “Why the hell would I spend the last three years searchin’ for you if I was just gonna leave you, huh? He’s a fuckin’ liar! He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know us. Damn it, Naythin!” He reached out and shoved the couch hard enough that it tipped over. “I love you! Why the HELL would I do that to you!? To us!?” His sides and chest heaved with his heavy, angry breaths.

Naythin’s head snapped up when Dean started yelling. He backed away from the recliner into the kitchen, his eyes glued to Dean the entire time. Naythin did know Dean, that’s how he knew Dean would leave him. He wasn’t going to hang around and baby-sit someone who was scared of their own shadow. Least of all someone he couldn’t have sex with. When the couch flipped, Naythin scrambled back until he slammed into the wall next to the table. The fingers on his injured hand flexed repeatedly sending jolts of pain up Naythin’s arm. He could feel the blood running down his fingers and dripping onto the floor. Sweat broke out over his body plastering his t-shirt against his back and chest. “I know you. That’s how I know. You said you didn’ know what to expect when you found me. This isn’t anything close to what you thought I’d be. Don’ try an’ tell me sex isn’t important to you.”

Dean lifted a hand and ran it down his face. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His eyes darted to Naythin’s bleeding hand and he heaved a heavy sigh, a muscle rolling and twitching in his jaw. “I guess you don’t know me as well as you think you do. If you think I’m that much of a horn dog maybe you shouldn’t have married me.” He shook his head as he stepped around the couch and headed for the bedroom. He grabbed his cell phone off the dresser and dialed Ellen’s number. “Since I’m leaving you, I might as well get it over with, right?” He shook his head as he pressed Ellen’s number and lifted the cell to his ear.

Ellen was walking out of the kitchen after making sure there was enough food for the dinner rush. Tossing a towel on the bar top, she stopped when her cell phone started vibrating in her pocket. Pulling it out, she smiled when she saw Dean’s name on the caller ID. “Hey sweetie. How’s it going?”

“I need you to come out here and take care of Naythin,” Dean responded immediately.

“What? What’s wrong?” Turning around, Ellen hurried back into the kitchen. She had a feeling this was a conversation no one else needed to hear. Keeping her head down, she kicked her office door closed and sat behind her desk. “Dean...what’s going on?”

“Naythin thinks I’m going to leave him. I tried to tell him that I wasn’t but he says that he knows me so it’s why he knows I will. Well, if I’m leaving then I might as well get started now.”

“Leave him? Where did he get an idea like that?” Ellen frowned as she pulled her head back.

“Apparently from someone he believes in a helluva lot more than me,” Dean responded, “That sonofabitch vampire, that’s who.” He was shaking with the rage and the hurt that warred inside him for dominance. His chest hurt and he was having a hard time taking in breaths.

“Shit.” Leaning back in her chair, Ellen raised her free hand. Raking her fingers through her hair, she gripped a handful near the back of her head. “Dean, it’s only been a little over a week. Where are you? Can he hear you?”

“Yeah, he can hear me he’s standing right in front of me. Apparently he and Sam both think I’m nothin’ but a horn dog so I’m gonna leave Naythin so I can get laid.”

“Don’ compare Naythin to yer brother, Dean. You know better than that. Naythin was there for you when Sam should have been.” Lowering her hand from the back of her head, Ellen sighed heavily. “I know yer upset and angry but do you honestly think takin’ it out on Naythin is the right thing to do? He loves you an’ I know damn good an’ well that you love him. Stop an’ think about this.”

“I wasn’t the one who did this, he did. I told him I love him. I told him that the bastard vamp was a liar. I told him I’d never leave him. But I guess that just wasn’t good enough. Look, do what you want, Ellen, but I’m packin’ up. I got a vamp to kill.” Dean ended the call and narrowed his eyes at Naythin. “You did this. Not what happened to you. Not me. Not even him. You did this.” Turning, Dean walked into the bedroom and slammed the door closed. He went to the closet where he’d stashed his duffel bag and pulled it out. Opening the bag, he pulled open one of the dresser drawers and started packing up his things.

“Damn it!” Pulling the phone from her ear, Ellen ended the call on her end. Scrolling through her contacts, she found Tag’s number and punched the call button. Lifting the phone to her ear, Ellen grabbed her keys and bag. Pulling open her office door, she jogged through the kitchen. “I gotta go! Lock the place up! We’re closed!” Hitting the back door at a run, she yanked the truck door open and jumped inside.

Tag grabbed the cell phone off his dashboard and answered it without looking at the caller ID. “Dean, buddy, it’s not Dayton. I swear, it’s not him.”

Dean yanked the weapons duffel out of the closet and went through it, taking out only what he really needed, leaving Naythin enough to fight whatever might show up. Grabbing the Impala’s keys, he headed for the bedroom door and yanked it open, weapons in hand, and walked to and out the cabin door.

“Tag? Where the hell are you!? We have a problem.” Ellen put the truck in gear as she stomped on the gas sending rocks, dirt and gravel flying out from under her tires as she flew out of the parking lot and onto the main road.

“I’m headin’ outta Missouri, jus’ outside Kansas City,” Tag responded, “Why? Ellen, what’s wrong?” He pulled his truck to the side of the road and stopped as he waited to find out just what was happening.

Dean let the door slam closed behind him as he walked out of the cabin and marched across the yard to the Impala. Popping the trunk, he popped the false bottom and braced it open, tossing the weapons he’d been carrying inside. He only realized that he was crying when a cold breeze blew and brought the wet tracks to his attention. Lifting one hand, he ran it down his face, wiping away all traces of his tears before slamming the Impala’s trunk lid closed and turning, heading back into the cabin to get his things.

Slamming her hand on the steering wheel, Ellen jammed the accelerator to the floor. “That damn vampire that had Naythin got in his head. He convinced him that Dean’s gonna leave him. Naythin told Dean and guess what Dean’s doin’ right now. I’m on my way up to the cabin. You gotta call him...do something. I don’ care if you have to lie your ass off to keep him from leaving. If he does, we may never get Naythin back.”

“Damn it, Dean,” Tag huffed. “He’s just up an’ leavin’? What the hell? That doesn’t even sound like Dean.” Tag gave his head a shake. He leaves and the whole damn world crumbles apart. “I’m on it, Ellen. I’ll at least keep ‘im busy enough so you can get there before he can leave. If he leaves, Dean won’t ever come back. I know what he wants to do to that vamp. Trust me, what walks away from that won’t be our Dean.”

“Tag, I can’t handle losin’ ‘em both again. I’ll be at the cabin in a couple hours. Make sure he doesn’t leave.” Ending the call, Ellen tossed the phone onto the seat next to her as she weaved around a semi.

Tag nodded despite knowing Ellen wouldn’t see the gesture. He pulled the cell from his ear and pushed Dean’s number. “C’mon ya stubborn ass,” Tag drawled as he lifted the cell to his ear, “Answer the damn phone.”

Dean paused on his way to the bedroom to look at Naythin through narrowed eyes. “Happy now? You made yer damn vampire right.”

Naythin stood rooted to the floor. Each time a door slammed, a little piece of himself died. His vision blurred as the tears fell unchecked. He didn’t even try to wipe them away. Several times, he’d tried to interrupt Dean as he talked to Ellen. His mouth opened but nothing came out. He wanted to tell Dean to not leave. To stay with him. He belonged here. When Dean walked out of the cabin with the weapons duffle, Naythin started shaking. His fingertips fluttered on his hands as he stared at the door. He didn’t even feel the pain from his busted hand anymore. He was numb. As Dean walked back in the cabin and stopped in front of him, Naythin stared at him. He wasn’t happy. How could he ask him that? Naythin was never happy when they were separated. Even when they were kids, he’d mope around his parents house for weeks after he left with Sam and his father. Shaking his head, Naythin swallowed hard several times before his voice would work. “H-he’s not m-my vampire. He’s not a-anything to me.”

A muscle rolled and pulsed in Dean’s jaw as he ground his molars practically to dust. “An’ yet you believe him over me.” He gave a nod and a disgusted huff. “Nice. Thanks. I mean it. At least now I know how you really feel about me.” Shaking his head he continued into the bedroom and went to his duffel bag, zipping it closed. He started to shoulder the strap only for his phone to go off. Pulling his cell from his pocket, he answered it without looking at the caller ID. “What?”

Tag pulled his head back and the cell phone from his ear as he turned his head to look at the cell before putting the cell back to his ear. “Dean? Hey, you okay, man?”

“No, Tag, I’m not okay. I doubt I’ll ever be okay again.”

“Talk to me, buddy, what happened?” Tag urged.

Dean’s eyes slipped closed and it took him a couple of minutes to stop grinding his teeth to nubs. “Naythin said I was going to leave him. That the sonofabitch vampire told him I wouldn’t want him. I tried to tell him that I wouldn’t leave. That I loved him. That I didn’t care that he didn’t think he’d be able to have sex again. I told Naythin that he knew me.” He huffed disgustedly. “Apparently that only sealed the deal that the vamp was right. I guess knowin’ me means knowin’ that I only think with my dick.”

Tag sighed heavily and closed his eyes. Shit! He slowly opened them and tried to think of what to do. “Where is Naythin now?”

“Living room, I guess. I have no idea. It’s where I last saw him anyway,” Dean responded. “Why?”

“Take the phone to Naythin.”

Dean ground his molars for a long moment. “Fine,” he ground out from between clenched teeth. Turning on a heel, Dean walked out of the bedroom and tossed his cell down on the couch. “It’s for you.”

It took Naythin a minute before he was able to get his legs to move. Pushing away from the kitchen wall, he carefully walked across the room to where Dean had tossed his phone on the couch. Leaning over, he picked up the phone and raised it to his ear. “Y-yeah?” He had no idea who it was on the other end and at this point, it didn’t really matter. Lifting his free hand, Naythin swiped it quickly down over his face.

“Naythin, it’s Tag. Tell me what happened,” he urged gently.

Bowing his head, Naythin gripped the phone as tight as he could. The plastic case digging into the palm of his hand. Taking two steps to the side, he climbed up on the couch in the corner he normally occupied. Picking up the blanket, he covered himself and pulled it up to his chin. “Um...earlier...um...we uh, we were talkin’ and um, sex came up an’ I told Dean I didn’ know if I ever could again because of what He...the v-vampire did to me. I laid down for a while hopin’ I could, I don’ know...ferget about it but…” Shaking his head even though he knew Tag couldn’t see it, Naythin pulled his knees as close to his chest as he could get them. “After I woke up, we were sittin’ on the couch an’ Dean said it was okay if I couldn’ an’ not to worry about it. Tag, I swear, I don’ know what happened. I...I could hear ‘im in my head tellin’ me that no one would want me, that Dean wouldn’t want me after... I punched the beam in the living room. I think I broke my hand but, it stopped...the voices an’ everything stopped. I told Dean I knew he would leave. I knew he wouldn’t stay with me because…” Closing his eyes, Naythin tucked his chin nearly to his chest as he tried to make himself as small as possible. “I told him I knew he’d leave because sex is important to him.” Naythin bit down on his bottom lip to try to muffle the sound of the sob that hit him hard.

Tag heaved a heavy sigh and ran his free hand back through his tightly cropped curls. “Shit. Naythin, you know better than that. Hell, I know better than that. Dean’s as loyal as a damn Saint Bernard.”

“His vampire taught him how to lie too,” Dean added loudly enough so that maybe Tag could hear.

Tag’s brow knitted with confusion. “Naythin? Was that Dean? What’d he just say?”

“Tell him the truth, Naythin. Tell him how I told you that you know me, that you know I’d never do that. An’ then tell him how you threw that in my face. How you said that the reason you know I’d leave is because you know me. Tell him that.”

Tag shook his head. “I can’t make everything out, Naythin. What did he say?”

Naythin raised his head when he heard Dean’s voice. “He’s not my v-vampire. S-stop sayin’ that.” He hated how broken and weak his voice sounded. Licking the blood from his lip, he tossed the phone to the far side of the couch close to Dean. Naythin was shaking so hard, he was surprised he managed to keep the phone on the couch and not have it hit the floor.

Dean glared at Naythin and grabbed his phone and lifted it to his ear. “He left out the part that made me decide to leave. I’m not an asshole, Tag. I told him that I wasn’t going to leave him, that he knew me. He said that it was because he knows me that he knows I’m gonna leave him. Nice, huh?”

Talk about things being FUBAR. “Fuck, man,” Tag sighed. He knew that Dean was hurting, just knowing what Naythin said to him told him that without even having to think about it. It was pretty obvious to him that over those three years Naythin was gone he’d forgotten just who he was married to. “Dean, I know it hurts, man. Try an’ remember how long he was gone…”

“You don’t think I know that, Tag!? I don’t have to TRY to remember!”

“Okay, okay. Easy, Dean. Easy. Just think about it...I don’t think he remembers you...not everything. He had three years of an asshole vamp telling him lies. It’s why he doesn’t remember you. The real you.”

Dean looked at Naythin as he spoke. “I would never leave him. Saying that he knows I’ll leave him because he knows me is a low blow. So is sayin’ that I’ll leave because I want someone I can fuck. I jerked off for three fuckin’ years, I think I can take care’a myself just fine.”

Tag didn’t respond because he wasn’t really sure Dean was talking to him, especially since some of that was beyond TMI.

“I know he’s scared and hurting...but I’m hurting too. I know he thinks he’s the only one that feels anything about this but...I was cryin’ too.”

When Dean picked up the phone and started talking to Tag, Naythin wrapping one arm around his legs. Using his free hand, he worked the blanket up to his chin as he rested his forehead on his knees. The section of material that was right under his nose smelled of Dean’s after shave and just Dean. Slowly rocking back and forth, he started to shut down. When the beatings were really bad or the pain from being gang raped was just too much, Naythin would shut down. His mind would wander taking over and letting whatever was being done to him not fully register. Dean leaving was a similar pain, if not worse.

When Naythin didn’t even bother to look up at him, Dean tossed the phone down on the couch and turned back to the bedroom. Walking inside, he shouldered the strap of the duffel bag and, after making sure he had everything, headed for the door.

“Dean? Dean?! Dean!” Tag yelled into the phone. When no one answered him, Tag swore softly and ended the call. Sonofabitch! He quickly called Ellen’s number as he pulled the truck back onto the road and headed in the opposite direction. He knew exactly where Dean was headed. He was headed into Chicago to drop in on Dayton. Shit!

Dean paused at the cabin door and looked back at Naythin. “I never would have left you. So no, you don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me at all.” He gave his head a disgusted shake before turning his attention to yanking open the cabin door. “You might wanna lock this,” he muttered as he pulled the door closed behind him without a backward glance. He knew if he looked back at Naythin he’d never be able to leave. He’d never be able to walk out the door and do what needed to be done. The Naythin he knew was gone. This person, what was left, this Naythin didn’t even know him. If he did, he never would have said something like that to him. He never would have doubted his loyalty or his love.

Chapter Text

Ellen didn’t bother with a turn signal as she took the exit ramp at 50 MPH instead of the suggested 35. She didn’t have time for speed limits. When her phone started going off, she reached on the seat for it, swearing under her breath when seemed to want to keep moving away from her. Finally snagging it, she answered it without looking at the caller ID. “Yeah?”

“Dean’s gone. He just stopped talking to me. I dunno what’s happening or what’s going on. I’m headed back to Chicago. If Dean’s left, that’s where he’s headed.”

Reaching the Impala, Dean unlocked the driver’s side door and tossed his duffel inside. He stood there in the open door and leaned against the frame and the roof of the car. His head slowly hung forward as he let allowed himself to let go, to feel every bit of hurt that what Naythin had said to him caused. He nearly choked on the sob that broke from his throat, his shoulders shaking with his tears as he wept openly.

“Are you boys tryin’ to put me in an early grave?!” Shaking her head, Ellen sighed heavily. “Alright. If I don’ get pulled over, I should be at the cabin in an hour, tops.”

Lifting his head, Naythin stared at the front door. Blinking rapidly, he tried to clear his blurry vision. Dean was gone. He’d left. Oh, God. His eyes darted around the living room and kitchen as he slowly unfolded his legs and pushed to his feet. The blanket falling to the floor as he stepped over it. His steps were short and halting as he made his way to the counter where his pills were kept. With Dean gone, he had nothing to live for. It had been the same when the vampires had him, only they refused to kill him, to end his pain and suffering. Now, he didn’t have to beg anyone to kill him. He could do it himself. Turning, he walked over to the fridge and opened the door. Reaching in, he took out a bottle of beer. The alcohol would speed things up. Going back to the counter, he set the bottle down on the counter. Reaching for the bottle of sleeping pills, he had trouble opening the cap due to how bad his hands were shaking. Setting the bottle down, Naythin braced both hands on the edge of the counter and leaned back as he tried to steady himself. He couldn’t do this. Not without Dean. He wasn’t strong enough. Dean had always been the strong one. He could remember his father shaking his head and glaring down at him asking why he couldn’t be more like Dean. Why he couldn’t shoot like Dean, fight like Dean, Hunt like Dean. After a few minutes, Naythin reached for the bottle. This time he managed to get the cap off. Tossing the cap on the counter, Naythin lowered the bottle to the counter and shook all the pills onto the smooth surface. Dropping the now empty bottle, he reached for the beer bottle. Twisting the cap off, he raised the bottle to his lips and took a long pull. Lowering the bottle to the counter, he stared down at the small pile of white pills.

Lifting one arm off the rim of the door, Dean wiped at his eyes. Blowing out a long shaky breath, he looked back at the cabin door. Sniffling softly, he huffed as he shook his head and lowered his eyes to the car seat. Didn’t even care enough to say a word as he walked out. So much for all the theatrics of worrying that he would leave him. “Easy, Dean. Easy. Just think about it...I don’t think he remembers you...not everything. He had three years of an asshole vamp telling him lies. It’s why he doesn’t remember you. The real you.” Wiping his eyes again and his nose, he pulled away from the car and closed the door. Walking back across the yard, he had no idea what he was going to say or do when he stepped inside the cabin, but what Tag had said wouldn’t leave him alone. He opened the cabin door and looked across it into the kitchen at Naythin standing there at the counter.

Naythin didn’t hear the cabin door open. If he did, it didn’t register. Lifting one hand, he pushed the pills onto the palm of his other hand. Raising his hand, he tilted his head back making sure all the pills landed in his mouth. This had to take. Reaching for the bottle of beer, he raised it to his lips and drained the bottle on one long pull. Squeezing his eyes closed, he shook his head at the bitter taste of the pills combined with the beer. Tossing the empty bottle in the sink, Naythin braced his hands on the edge of the counter, his head hanging loose between his shoulders. So much for the honorable Hunter’s death.

Dean stood rooted to the floor, unable to believe what he was seeing. His eyes widened as panic and fear slammed into him hard enough to propel him forward. “What the hell…?” he muttered half under his breath as he hurried over to Naythin and wrapped an arm around his middle from behind. He didn’t care in that moment if he was scaring Naythin or not, he’d already scared the hell out of him as it was. He reached around to Naythin’s mouth, prying his jaws apart and pushed his fingers down Naythin’s throat. “Throw ‘em up! Throw ‘em up, damn it!” He wrapped a leg around Naythin’s so he couldn’t get away as he continued to try and gag Naythin enough to get him to throw up the pills. He didn’t care that they were standing in the middle of the damn kitchen.

Naythin stood to his full height when he felt an arm wrap around his stomach. Reaching for it with his right hand, he hissed at the pain from his ruined hand. As he reached for the person’s hand with his left, his jaw was forced open and fingers were shoved down his throat making him gag. Dean’s voice rang in his ears as he tried to pry his arm from around his waist. Naythin tried to turn his head to the side to dislodge Dean’s hand from his mouth. As Naythin fought, Dean pushed his fingers deeper into Naythin’s throat. His gag reflex kicked in as Naythin turned to the side and tried to aim for the sink as he started to throw up the beer and pills.

Dean didn’t move his hand, not even when vomit gushed over his fingers and the back of his hand, oozing along his palm. He kept gagging Naythin until there was nothing more coming out. Only then did he withdraw his hand from Naythin’s mouth. He used both hands to turn Naythin around to face him, fisting handfuls of his t-shirt and pushing him up against the counter, pinning him there with his body. “What the HELL is wrong with you!?!”

Naythin’s stomach was still churning as he was spun around and slammed against the counter. His eyes were red rimmed and glazed over as he stared into Dean’s eyes. Coughing a few times, he reached up with his left hand to wipe the back of it across his mouth. Lowering it to his side, he sniffed quietly. “You were leaving.” Shaking his head, he swallowed hard. “I don’ have anythin’ to live for if I don’ have you.” His voice was wrecked from the abuse of Dean’s fingers as well as from throwing up.

“You pushed me out!” Dean yelled. “I didn’t want to leave you! I tried to PROMISE you that an’ you threw it back in m’face!”

“I wasn’ tryin’ to push you away.”

“What the hell do you call that? You know I’ll leave you because you DO know me? How the hell do you think that makes me feel!? Oh, right, I’m not supposed to feel anything,” Dean huffed disgustedly and slowly shook his head. “I’m not the horn dog Sam...and now you, seem to think I am.”

Naythin started to speak only to turn around doubled over the sink and dry heaved into it. After a couple minutes, he reached for and turned on the cold water. Using his good hand, he splashed some water on his face and rinsed his mouth. Turning the water off, he ran his hand over his face as he stood and faced Dean. “I wasn’ tryin’ to hurt you. I never called you a horn dog. I never once thought of you that way.” Bowing his head, Naythin shook it slowly. “I’m sorry. I know it doesn’ mean much but, I am.” Sighing, Naythin slowly raised his head. “You get told yer nothing. That no one wants you, is lookin’ fer you. That no one loves you enough to want to find you. You get told all that an’ more long enough, it starts to stick.”

Dean never let go of Naythin’s shirt, not even when he turned and retched into the sink. He scoffed at Naythin saying he never called him a horn dog or thought of him that way. “Sayin’ that I’d leave you because sex is important to me is the same thing. And like I said before, you obviously don’t know me anymore.” He needed to wash his hand and he knew it but he was too busy holding onto Naythin to worry about it. He was afraid that if he let go of Naythin he might just curl into a ball and he’d never be able to bring him out again. “But I do want you. I frantically looked for you the entire time you were gone, you can ask Tag if you don’t believe me. I never stopped, not even to eat or sleep. I love you. I never stopped loving you. I’ll never stop loving you. Even if you keep pushin’ me away, I’ll still love you. I will always love you.” He didn’t know how Naythin wasn’t noticing how wrecked he was too. His eyes were red rimmed and swollen, his nose was still a little stuffy and red and his voice was messed up, all from crying as hard as he had.

“I love you, too.” Lifting his left hand, Naythin used the side of his thumb to wipe the tear streaks from each of Dean’s cheeks. “I’m sorry.” Lowering his hand, Naythin bowed his head, staring at the floor between Dean’s boots. “After...after He showed me yer shirt an’ said they’d killed you. He kept sayin’ that Tag had stopped lookin’ for me. That Ellen an’ Bobby weren’ lookin’ either. Everyday, they’d say it. It was...it was beat into me, literally.” Leaning forward until his forehead was resting against Dean’s shoulder, he wrapped his left arm around his waist.

Dean released Naythin’s t-shirt and wrapped his arms around him, holding him tightly in his arms. “I love you, I love you so much.” He gripped handfuls of Naythin’s t-shirt, but now it was for a different reason. He couldn’t get closer to Naythin so he hung onto him as tightly as he could. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to go. I never wanted to leave you. You...what you said to me…” He let his words trail off as he gave his head a shake before turning it and pressing a kiss to the side of Naythin’s head. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so sorry. What that sonofabitch said, all of it, they were lies. Just lies.”

Lifting his head, Naythin stepped in as close to Dean as he could get. Loosely wrapping his right arm around Dean’s waist, Naythin pressed the side of his head against Dean’s. “I don’ wan’ you to leave. M’sorry fer what I said, I am so sorry fer hurtin’ you.” Gripping a handful of Dean’s shirt, Naythin tightened his arm around him.

“It’s okay,” Dean soothed, “It’s okay. I’m sorry for scaring you. I’m sorry for walkin’ out. I’m so sorry, baby. I am so sorry.” He tightened his arms around Naythin as much as he could without hurting him. He knew they needed to lock the door, he needed to lock up the car, they both smelled of vomit and needed to wash up, but right then he could have cared less. He clung to Naythin the way he’d wanted to from the start, holding onto him so tightly that there was no way anyone could ever take him away again.

Naythin clung to Dean one handed as tight as he could without hurting him. Dipping his chin, he buried his face against the side of Dean’s neck, his nose pressed between the collar of Dean’s shirt and his skin. Closing his eyes, Naythin inhaled as deep as he could filling his lungs with the scent of Dean’s soap, aftershave and the overlapping scent that was all Dean. The scent that meant home to Naythin.

Ellen’s truck bounced along the two track at forty miles an hour. Dirt and rocks flew out from under the tires of her truck as she rounded the last bend. The bed of the truck swinging out to one side as she over corrected when she saw the Impala was still parked in front of the cabin. “Thank God!” Slamming on the brakes, she threw the truck in park, opened the driver’s side door and jumped out. Slamming the door as she jogged toward the front of the cabin. Gripping the doorknob, she knocked hard twice before throwing the door open. “Dean! Naythin?” Closing the door, Ellen looked around the living room as she closed the door. Turning toward the kitchen, she slumped against the door when she saw Dean and Naythin holding each other. “Thank God.” Again. Tossing her bag onto the kitchen table, Ellen wrinkled her nose as she raised a hand to cover her mouth. “What is that smell?” She knew vomit when she smelled it owning a bar as long as she had so the question was more rhetorical than anything else.

Dean rested his head against Naythin’s and closed his eyes tight against the tears that burned the corners of his eyes. Yer becoming a real softly there, Winchester. He didn’t even open his eyes when he heard Ellen’s truck roaring to a stop outside. The door was unlocked so he didn’t have to worry about that. “Naythin...Naythin had an accident,” he responded to her inquiry, unwilling to release Naythin or move from their spot in the middle of the kitchen. He didn’t want to embarrass Naythin with the complete truth, it was Naythin’s story to tell if he chose to.

Nodding slowly as she walked closer to the two men. “An accident.” She eyed Dean for a minute before raising her hand. “Naythin, sweetie. It’s jus’ me.” Resting her hand on his forehead, she shook her head slowly. “Why don’ you two get cleaned up in the bathroom while I tackle the kitchen. See if you can get some aspirin in ‘im, Dean. He’s a little warm.”

Naythin tensed when he heard Ellen pull up and rush into the cabin. He knew Dean had told her what had happened. An abbreviated version anyway. He’d had a front row seat to both conversations. When she put her hand on his forehead, Naythin forced himself to not pull away. Her hand felt cool against his skin. When she’d basically dismissed them to go to the bathroom, Naythin was grateful. He didn’ feel up to telling the woman he’d tried to kill himself.

Dean slowly, reluctantly, eased his hold on Naythin, but refused to release him completely. He kept his arms around him, but moved to the side so he and Naythin could walk. “C’mon, baby,” he coaxed. He turned his head and looked at Ellen, a look that told her that it was all a long story, a very long story, but now wasn’t the time. He’d explain later. It would still be Naythin’s story to tell if he chose to when it came to his attempted suicide, but the rest he could tell her.

Ellen watched Dean take Naythin into the bathroom. She didn’t move until the door closed with a soft click. Turning with a loud sigh, she pulled her cell phone from her pocket. Instead of calling Tag, she sent him a text:

Dean’s still at the cabin. Not leaving from the looks of it. Find. That. Damn. Vampire.

Hitting send, she tossed the phone onto the counter. Frowning when it hit the empty pill bottle. Picking up the bottle, Ellen read the label. Her heart jumped into her throat as she turned to look at the closed bathroom door. Naythin had an accident “Sweet Jesus.” Finding the cap, she set the bottle back on the counter. Bending at the waist, she pulled the cabinet door open under the sink and started digging for the cleaning supplies she needed to give the sink a good scrubbing.

Naythin followed alongside Dean as he led him into the bathroom. When the door was closed, and Dean loosened the hold he had on him, Naythin sank down onto the toilet seat lid. His hands clasped together between his knees as he stared down at the floor. He knew Ellen was smart and wouldn’t fall for the accident excuse for long. “I can’ tell her.” Shaking his head, Naythin chewed on the corner of his lip. “She’ll hate me if I tell her.”

Dean hated to do it, but he had to let go of Naythin so he could strip them both down and get them into the shower so they didn’t smell like the vomit from a school lunchroom anymore. He was busy removing his boots as soon as Naythin sat down on the toilet seat lid. He finished just in time to walk over to Naythin and crouch down in front of him, laying a hand on Naythin’s knee as he shook his head in response to what he said about Ellen hating him. “She won’t hate you. I don’t hate you. No one does and no one will. We all hate that fuckin’ vampire,” he allowed with a nod. “But not you.” He reached for the hem of Naythin’s t-shirt. “C’mon, let’s get these clothes off you so we can wash up.”

Sighing, Naythin nodded as he sat up and raised his arms over his head so Dean could pull his shirt off. He was careful to keep his injured hand turned to the side so the shirt wouldn’t rub against it. Once his shirt was off, Naythin stood and pushed his running pants and boxers down as much as he could one handed. He’d tried to move the fingers on his right hand a few times. His ring finger and middle finger refused to move without hurting. The grinding of bone against bone letting Naythin know he’d definitely broken his fingers as well as the knuckle. Great. Just what he needed.

Dean pulled to his full height as he pulled Naythin’s shirt off. He didn’t miss the way Naythin’s hand was swollen even more so than it had been before, or the lovely purple hue that it had turned. “We’re gonna have to get that hand looked at,” he mused as he crouched again to help Naythin remove his pants and boxers. He didn’t even think about where that put him until he had to quickly move back in order to not be face to penis with Naythin. Standing to his full height, he shrugged out of his over shirt and reached back with one hand, pulling his t-shirt up and over his head. He tossed his shirt down with his over shirt and went to work on unfastening the button and zipper at the fly of his jeans. Pushing them and his boxers down his hips and over his ass, he let them pool at his ankles before stepping out of them and walking over to the shower. Pushing the curtain out of the way, he turned on the water and waited for it to warm up. Once it had, he added some cold to it so until it was the right temperature.

Looking down at his hand, Naythin shrugged. “Doesn’t really hurt. Not the first time I broke m’hand.” Sighing, Naythin stepped to the side as Dean walked over to the shower to turn the water on. Lifting his head, Naythin frowned as he looked at Dean’s back. It wasn’t the first time he’d seen it but, it was the first time Naythin really looked at it since coming to the cabin. “What happened to your back? Where’d that scar come from?” Naythin stepped forward, the tips of his fingers trailing over a long jagged scar that ran from Dean’s left shoulder blade down along his ribs.

Turning away from the shower and to Naythin he reached for him, wrapping an arm around his waist. He couldn’t help it, he had to touch Naythin somewhere, anywhere. Maybe now they’d switched places. He’d come closer than he ever wanted to, to losing Naythin all over again. “I know it’s not the first time, but it’s more pain. You’ve had enough of that for three people in three lifetimes. I can look at it if you want. Or Ellen can. We don’t have to go back to the hospital.” He nudged Naythin toward the shower. “My back…? Oh, that. Yeah, I uh, I got thrown through a plate glass window.”

“Jesus.” Naythin couldn’t take his eyes off the scar. His fingertips traced over it once more before he was able to pull his hand away. “Sorry.” Looking down at his busted hand, Naythin wiggled his fingers experimentally. “You can do it.” It was common practice for them to patch each other up after a Hunt. They only went to Ellen for the bigger stuff they couldn’t handle on their own.

Dean shook his head. “Don’t. Don’t apologize. It’s okay.” He smiled softly at Naythin. “It happened while Tag and I were lookin’ for you.” He rolled his eyes at himself. That was rather obvious. “He uh, he had to stitch it up for me.”

Stepping into the shower, Naythin moved to the back to give Dean room. His eyes going right back to the long scar when Dean turned his back to adjust the water again. His stomach churned at the thought of Tag stitching Dean’s wound. That was Naythin’s job. He should have been there to take care of Dean.

After Ellen heard the shower turn on, she closed the cabinet door setting the cleaning supplies on the counter. Walking over to the stove, she raised the lid on the pot and smiled. Shaking her head, she pulled a wooden spoon from the large canister on the counter and gave it a stir. Turning the burner off, she moved the pot to the back of the stove. As she started back to the sink, her foot kicked something across the room. Looking down, she saw a large spoon covered in the sauce from the stew. Shaking her head, she picked it up and put it in the sink. Going to the small laundry closet, she found a mop and went to work cleaning the kitchen. As she filled the clean half of the sink, she saw several small white pills in the drain. “Damn it, Naythin.” Sighing heavily, she moved the faucet over to rinse the pills down the drain.

Tag grabbed his cell off the seat beside him when the chime went off telling him that he had a text message. His eyes darted between the message and the road before he heaved a sigh of relief and pulled the truck over onto the shoulder where he could reply to Ellen’s message. Thank God. Turning back around, heading into Kansas to the last place Tristan was seen. And yeah, that’s the bastard vamp’s name. Tell Dean it’s Tristan, Violet’s MADE son, not her biological son. He tossed the cell into the seat beside him and pulled back out onto the road, turning the car around as he did so, making a U-turn, and heading back the way he’d come.

Dean turned around, once he had the water pointed down more at their bodies than at their heads so that neither of them got water in the face. He reached for Naythin and frowned when he noticed the look on Naythin’s face. “What is it, what’s wrong?” he murmured gently as he pulled Naythin in and wrapped his arms securely around him.

Shaking his head, Naythin wrapped his arms around Dean pulling him tight against his chest. “It’s…” Sighing, he dipped his chin as he rested his head against the side of Dean’s. “I know you said you got hurt lookin’ fer me but...that shoulda been me takin’ care’a you. Not Tag.”

Dean knew exactly how Naythin was feeling, he’d felt the same way not being the one to have found Naythin. Not being the one to gather him into his arms and get him to safety. He gave a slight nod of his head as he leaned his head against the side of Naythin’s in return. “I know, baby. I know,” he murmured softly. “Trust me, I understand that more than you think.”

Naythin held onto Dean for several minutes before slowly lifting his head and taking a step back. “We uh...we should get goin’ so Ellen doesn’t come in here lookin’ for us.”

Dean closed his eyes as he just held onto Naythin, holding him as closely as he could, his fingertips pressing into Naythin’s skin. When Naythin lifted his head, Dean did the same, but he was reluctant to release his hold on Naythin when he took a step back. Finally, after a moment or two of arguing with himself, he released his hold around Naythin as he nodded. “Yeah, okay,” he allowed and reached for the soap, lathering up his hands before handing the bar to Naythin.

Taking the soap from Dean, Naythin ran it over his body. It wasn’t as if he needed a full on shower. Once he was soaped up, he set the bar of soap back on the shelf and waited for Dean to finish before rinsing off himself. While Naythin waited, he couldn’t help but inspect as much of Dean’s body as he could. Looking for new scars that he’d gotten while looking for him. There were more than a few. Sighing, he shook himself as Dean stepped around him so he could rinse off.

Dean watched Naythin soap up as he did the same, washing himself completely but not as thoroughly as if he hadn’t taken a shower already this morning. He rinsed quickly so that Naythin could get up under the water and do the same. He carefully made his way around Naythin and stood behind him. He had to force himself not to look at Naythin’s back or he’d just wind up getting pissed and wanting to leave so he could go hunt down a certain piece of shit vampire. He had to breathe through the rage that quickly bubbled to the surface, even from just a glance. He stepped forward, and ran his hands down the sides of Naythin’s arms once he’d rinsed off and dipped his head, pressing a kiss to Naythin’s shoulder. “It’s jus’ me, baby. It’s okay,” he murmured gently. “I love you.”

Naythin stiffened when he felt Dean’s hands on his arms. It took a couple deep breaths to get his muscles to relax. Just long enough for him to come close to dropping to his knees when Dean kissed his shoulder. There were scars along the backs of his shoulders and it bothered the hell out of him for Dean to see them let alone to kiss them. Closing his eyes, Naythin nodded slowly. “I love you, too.” Bowing his head, he let the quickly cooling water run over the back of his head and neck. Clearing his throat, he reached for the faucet and turned the water off. Turning in Dean’s arms, Naythin wrapped his arms loosely around Dean’s waist and buried his face against the side of his neck. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Dean wrapped his arms around Naythin in return and turned his head, pressing a kiss to the side of Naythin’s as he held him tightly in his arms. He wasn’t exactly sure what Naythin was apologizing for but he assumed it was for their fight, the one that had almost sent him out the door and back out on the road. “Shh, it’s okay. I’m sorry too, baby. I shouldn’t have walked out. I’m so sorry.”

Leave it to Dean to blame himself for Naythin’s fuck up. Tightening his arms around Dean, Naythin pressed his forehead against Dean’s neck. He stood that way for several more minutes until the heat from the fast shower dissipated. Goosebumps broke out over Naythin’s skin as he slowly pulled back. “It...it’s gettin’ cold.” Taking his arms from around Dean, Naythin reached for the shower curtain. Giving it a hard yank, he pulled it out of the way as he stepped out of the shower and grabbed two towels from the counter. Handing one to Dean without looking, he quickly started to dry off.

When goosebumps broke out along Naythin’s flesh, Dean’s must have decided it was a good idea because his skin soon followed suit breaking out into a full fledged case of goosebumps. He slowly, almost regretfully, released Naythin and nodded to his observation. It had gotten cold, damn cold. He had to wonder a little if the damn heater had finally taken a shit like Ellen had feared when they’d first come out. It only got colder when Naythin pulled back the shower curtain causing Dean to quickly exit the tub, his arms straight and hugged up against his sides, his hands curled into tight fists. He graciously took the towel from Naythin and quickly dried off as much as possible. Of course, this hadn’t been thought out very well since neither of them had clean clothes in the bathroom. Laying a hand on Naythin’s shoulder, Dean waited for him to look at him. “I’ll go grab you some clothes, what do you want?” he inquired as he tied the towel around his hips. He was going to have to ask Ellen to go out to the Impala and grab his duffel bag of clothes.

Tying the towel around his hips, Naythin shrugged. “Shirt an’ sweats are fine.” It was what he lived in nowadays. Not like he was leaving the cabin so there was no need to him to wear jeans or even shoes for that matter. Lifting his good hand, Naythin ran the palm over the top of his head a couple times before lowering it back down to his side.

Dean nodded. Movement of Naythin’s uninjured hand reminded Dean that he needed to look at Naythin’s other hand. “I’ll grab that an’ after I get Ellen to get me some clothes I’ll take a look at yer hand.” He reached for the bathroom door knob and glanced back at Naythin, smiling softly before he turned his attention away and pulled the door open. Walking out of the bathroom, he pulled the door partway closed behind him. He paused a moment outside the bathroom door and waited for Ellen to look his way. “Can uh, can I get you to do me a favor an’ go out to the Impala an’ grab my duffel bag from the front seat? Lock ‘er up when yer done too?” he inquired with a lift of both brows.

Ellen was sitting at the kitchen table nursing a cup of coffee as she waited for Dean and Naythin to finish in the bathroom. When she heard the bathroom door open and only Dean walked out, Ellen arched an eyebrow at him. Nodding slowly, she took one more sip of her coffee before setting it on the table. Getting to her feet, she walked toward the front door. Stopping in front of it, she looked back over her shoulder at the bathroom door before quickly turning her attention to Dean. “He okay?”

Dean nodded. He wasn’t stupid, he knew Ellen was smart as hell and had more than likely figured out what had happened. He wasn’t sure how many half dissolved pills Naythin had thrown up in the sink for her to find, but if there were any there you could bet your sweet ass she sure as shit found them. “Yeah, he uh,” he continued to nod, “He is now.”

Turning away from the door, she crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you sure? Really sure?”

Dean nodded. “He uh, he busted his hand up pretty good so m’gonna look at it for him but, other than that, yeah...I uh...I got to him right away and uh…” he glanced back at the bathroom door behind him before looking back at Ellen. Read my mind lady. Please, for fuck’s sake, read my mind.

Lowering her arms, Ellen nodded. “Okay.” Turning back to the door, Ellen reached for the door knob. Pulling the door open, she raised her free hand and pointed to Dean. “This isn’t over. You an’ me? We’re gonna talk.” Pulling the door the rest of the way open, Ellen walked out closing it loudly behind her. She was worried about both of the boys. Naythin had tried to take his own life because Dean was leaving him. They needed more than each other to get through this. Hunters didn’t talk to shrinks. The shrink would need psychological help if that happened. Not to mention, said Hunter would get locked up in the nearest psych ward.

Dean cringed a little with Ellen’s words and the near slamming of the door. He quickly dashed back into the bathroom so that Naythin wouldn’t think that had been him. “Hey,” he murmured gently from the doorway, “Ellen went to get my stuff outta the car.”

After Dean walked out of the bathroom, Naythin pulled out his beard trimmer and did a little manscaping on his face. Once he was satisfied, he took out his toothbrush and toothpaste. After brushing his teeth and putting on deodorant, he turned to sit back down on the toilet lid. The hard, almost slamming of the front door sent his pulse through the roof. Turning to the bathroom door, Naythin reached for the handle only to stop when he heard Dean’s voice at the door. Exhaling loudly, he let his head fall forward, his hands going to his hips. Nodding, he raised his head and opened the door. “Okay. I’m gonna go in the bedroom.” Yep, he was avoiding Ellen at all costs. He knew the woman would figure out what had happened. It wasn’t as if they’d tried to hide the empty pill bottle or what was left of the pills he’d thrown up in the sink.

Dean huffed softly and frowned at Naythin as he headed for the bedroom. “Chicken,” he called after him though the word lacked any real venom. He turned around in time to hear Ellen coming back inside. He hurried over to the door to help and take the duffel bag from her, not that she wasn’t perfectly able on her own, and he was halfway expecting to be told as much as he reached for the strap.

Closing and locking the door, Ellen pulled her head back giving Dean the once over as he rushed over to her reaching for the duffel bag. Sniffing, she nodded as the strap slid from her shoulder to her hand. “Suckin’ up?” Shaking her head, Ellen walked back over to the table and sat down. “I locked up the car. Oh, I got a text from Tag. Yer both gonna want to know what it says so…” Lifting her hand, she waved him off toward the bedroom.

Dean paused in his steps when Ellen said she had gotten a text from Tag. When she waved him off, he opened his mouth to protest only to snap it closed again. He was apparently in hot water, he wasn’t about to make it worse. He frowned, but that was it before heading into the bedroom so he could get dressed. He rapped lightly on the door with his knuckles. “It’s me,” he murmured as he reached for the door handle and slowly pushed the door open just enough so he and the duffel bag could slip inside. Closing the door behind him, he felt like an ass for not bringing Naythin clothes to the bathroom or at least laying some out for him like he’d said he would do. But then, he hadn’t expected Ellen to nearly slam the door either. He made his way over to the bed and sat the bag on the end of the bed. “Ellen got a text from Tag that she said we’d both wanna hear,” he unzipped his bag and started digging his clothes out, putting some away and others just in piles on the end of the bed in between pulling on clothes as well.

Naythin didn’t wait for Dean to come back into the room. Pulling out a pair of sweatpants, socks and one of his heavy winter hoodies, he dressed as quickly as he could without falling over. He was just pulling the sweatshirt down over his chest when he heard the knock on the door and Dean opened the bedroom door. Pulling the sweatshirt the rest of the way over his chest and abdomen, he stood near the foot of the bed as Dean emptied his duffel bag and started to get dressed. Shoving his hands in the front pocket of his hoodie, Naythin stared down at the floor. “Did she say what it was about?”

Dean shook his head. “No. She uh, she’s not real thrilled with me right now so…” He shrugged a shoulder as he sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled on a pair of socks, one foot at a time, after having already pulled on a pair of boxers and jeans.

Nodding, Naythin rolled his shoulders. “Yer not the only one she’s not happy with.”

Dean turned his head and looked at Naythin before shaking it and pulling to his feet. “Naw, she’s not mad at you.”

Lifting his head, Naythin followed Dean as he moved around the room. “She jus’ hasn’t said anything yet. You know how Ellen is. She knows what I did...or...tried to do. I jus’...” Sighing, he pulled his hands from the pocket and raked his fingers over the top and down the back of his head. “I don’ need the lecture.”

Dean pulled out a light blue t-shirt and pulled it on over his head, pushing his hands through the arm holes before pulling it down his chest and abdomen. “Yer not the only one that’s gonna be lectured. I’m gonna get the one on not scaring you or leaving you and how I should know better.” He pressed his lips into a thin line and gave a slight tip of his head to the side in what could only be termed as a head shrug, before reaching a hand out for Naythin to take. “C’mon, let’s get this over with an’ see what Tag said.”

Setting two cups of coffee on the table, Ellen stood to her full height when she heard the bedroom door open. Her eyes narrowed briefly as she watched Dean and Naythin walk out. Even after almost two weeks, Naythin’s clothes still hung off him. Shaking her head, she glanced over at Dean. He had the opposite problem. Dean wasn’t overweight. Not by a long shot. He could stand to gain a few pounds. His problem was the muscle he’d acquired over the past couple of years. The shirt he had fit him like a second skin. The hem on the short sleeves was tight around his biceps. If he flexed hard enough, Ellen was sure they’d split. The material hugging his shoulders was so tight she could see each individual muscle group. Sighing, Ellen sat down in her chair. Pulling her cell phone from her pocket, she opened her text messages. After Dean and Naythin had taken their seats, she slid the phone over to Dean. “Read it.”

Dean waited for Naythin to get to his seat and start to sit down before he did. He kept a hand close to Naythin’s on the table, a couple of his fingers overlapping Naythin’s, it was one of the things they use to do to let the other know they were there and they loved them without actually saying the words or being overly dramatic about it out in public. When Ellen slid her cell phone over to him, Dean glanced down at it then back up at Ellen before lowering his eyes and his attention to reading the text message. His hand pulled away from Naythin’s as he cradled the cell between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. His brow slowly knitted as he read what Tag had to say. “Her made son? Who the hell is Tristan?” The question of who Tristan was wasn’t rhetorical since Tag had already said that he was Violet’s “made” son. He looked over at Naythin to see if the name rang any bells or got any kind of reaction out of Naythin.

Naythin frowned as he tried to remember the name. Shaking his head, he looked from Dean to Ellen and back again. “I never heard His name. No one ever said it around me.” Shrugging, he slid his right leg closer to Dean until their knees were touching. “Maybe they did it on purpose. I don’ know.”

Leaning back in her chair, Ellen picked up her coffee. Taking a sip, she looked at Dean over the lip of the cup. “Well at least we know it’s not Dayton now. For sure, anyway. Knowing the little fucker’s name will make it easier to find ‘im. Especially, if he’s one of Violet’s offspring.”

“Sad part is, Violet wasn’t just fruit loops she was smart, scary smart. It’s how she survived as long as she did,” Dean mused. “Let’s just hope this Tristan isn’t that smart.” Dean suddenly sat up straight in his chair and opened a text window on Ellen’s phone, texting Tag. Tag, it’s Dean. Go back to Chicago and get Dayton to help you find Tristan. If he’s one of her’s, no one knows Violet better than her son, her real son. He spun the phone around and slid it across the table to Ellen, drumming his fingers against the tabletop as she read the message he’d sent Tag.

Looking down at her phone, Ellen nodded as she picked it up. “Well, if Dayton can...I don’ know…sense this...Tristan, it’ll help.” Leaving the phone on the table incase Tag texted back, Ellen took another drink of her coffee. Her eyes darting between Naythin and Dean. “So…” Setting the coffee cup down, Ellen leaned forward resting her arms on the table with her fingers clasped together. “Before either of you jump down my throat, I want you to think before you answer. Hell...think about it for a few days if ya have to but, after what happened today, I think you both need to seriously consider talking to a professional.”

Dean quirked an eyebrow and huffed softly. “A professional what?” he drawled sarcastically. Everyone knew that Hunters didn’t talk to therapists, hell Hunters didn’t talk to anybody except maybe Ellen...or Jim, Jack and Jose, sometimes all four of them.

Tilting her head to the side, Ellen looked over at Dean from under her brows. “Don’ be an ass, Dean. You know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. Before ya say it, I know what yer thinkin’ an’ no, Hunters don’ talk to psychiatrists or...therapists but, what Naythin’s been through happens to regular folks too. Sad to say but, it does. The whole vampire thing doesn’t even need to be a factor.”

Leaning back in his chair, Naythin crossed his arms over his chest. He didn’t like the idea of talking to anyone about what happened. It was hard enough telling Dean let alone a complete stranger. He’d have to relive it all over again in glaring detail.

Dean shrugged a shoulder as he looked over at Naythin, who, in his opinion, didn’t look too thrilled by the idea. “Tag,” he mused as he looked back at Ellen. “If Naythin needs to talk to someone other than me, he could talk to Tag. He’s the closest thing we Hunters have to a real medical professional.” Tag was a helluva sniper too, but that went without saying.

“Tag? He’s practically yer brother, Dean. Do you really want to talk to Tag about what happened? I mean, he was with you 99% of the time but, he can’t be objective. I don’ think Naythin would feel comfortable talking to Tag. Not about this, anyway.”

“I don’ wanna talk to anyone about anything.” Shaking his head, Naythin stared down at his untouched cup of coffee. “Least of all Tag.” Rolling his shoulders, Naythin cleared his throat. “I jus’ um...I can’.”

“It was somethin’ Tag said that turned me around from gettin’ in the car and drivin’ away,” Dean responded frankly. He looked from Ellen to Naythin and back without turning his head. “When he called earlier, after he talked to Naythin, I talked to ‘im an’ it was somethin’ he said that wouldn’t stop replayin’ in my head, an’ it was what had me walkin’ back inside the cabin…” To find Naythin chokin’ down all of his sleeping pills. He turned his head and looked over at Naythin. “I owe Tag a lot for that.”

Picking up her cup of coffee, Ellen took a slow drink before lowering it back to the table. She waited for Dean to finish before leaning back in her chair. “What did he say?”

Dean continued to look at Naythin, his eyes never leaving him as he reached over and placed a hand on Naythin’s shoulder, the side of his thumb slowly brushing back and forth across it. “He uh…” He paused and looked down at the space that separated him from Naythin before lifting his eyes to Naythin’s face again. “He said that Naythin spent three years away from me, bein’ told nothin’ but lies. That Naythin doesn’t remember me. Not the real me.”

To his credit, Naythin didn’t tense or try to move away when Dean put his hand on his shoulder. When Dean said he didn’t remember him, the real him, Naythin raised his head and looked over at him. “That’s crap. ‘Course I remember you. We were apart longer than three years an’ I didn’ ferget who you were.”

“You didn’t have someone repeatedly rapin’ and beatin’ you then either,” Dean responded, “Someone lyin’ to you an’ tellin’ you that I didn’t really love you. That no one loved you enough to look for you. You told me he said that, remember?” Dean responded gently. He glanced at Ellen from the corner of his eye before returning his full attention to Naythin. “An’ you don’t remember that I will always love you. I will always be with you...even if we never have sex again.”

“Wait,” The whole sex thing was way more than Ellen needed to know but, if they were going to help Naythin, she needed to know everything. “He...this, Tristan, told you we didn’ love you enough to look fer you? We never stopped lookin’ for you, Naythin. Not for a second.”

Naythin wanted the floor to open up and swallow him whole. He could have easily handled the first part of what Dean said to Ellen but the last bit, the sex part was just too much. It was too personal even if it was Ellen sitting across the table from him. Looking away from Dean, Naythin licked his lips. “Yeah, it’s what he said. He...Tristan...I tol’ Dean earlier. He said it an’...beat it into me.” Taking a deep breath, Naythin looked down at the table top.

“Jesus...I wanna kill this sonofabitch with my bare hands.” Pushing her chair away from the table, Ellen picked up her coffee cup and walked over to the sink. Pouring the coffee out, she rinsed the cup and walked over to the fridge. Pulling the door open, she reached in and took out a bottle of beer. Twisting the cap off, she threw it in the trash before raising the bottle to her lips and taking a long pull.

Dean watched Ellen as he slid his hand along Naythin’s shoulder, back and forth in a soothing motion. “You’ll have to get in line, though after I’m done with ‘im there’s not gonna be a whole lot left,” he mused with a cruel smirk tugging at one corner of his lips and a far away almost even look in his eyes.

Glancing over at Ellen, Naythin leaned into Dean’s hand. “Y-you didn’ tell Bobby did ya? I mean...about t-today?”

Lowering the bottle, Ellen leaned one hip against the counter. “Bobby? No.” Shaking her head, she pushed away from the counter and walked back to the table to reclaim the seat she’d been sitting in. “He’s down in Louisiana on some...Hoodoo case. He doesn’t know an’...he won’ know if that’s what you want.”

Bobby had become Naythin’s surrogate father after his had been killed when he was a teenager. The last thing he wanted to do was disappoint the man. “No. That’s okay. Don’ tell ‘im. I don’...I don’ want him to know.”