Dean loved Cas more than anything in the world. It went far beyond their bond as mates. Cas was his best friend in the world, and he would do anything to help him and make him happy. He’d eliminated many people from his life because they’d had issues with his Omega. Some thought he was too good for Cas, or they thought his beautiful mate was too neurotic. His own mother in the beginning of their relationship had accused Cas (not to his face or Dean might have gone so far as to disown her) of being a leech, and that he was overplaying the “horrors” that had occurred to him in his youth. It had caused a raging fight between them, and two years of not speaking to her, before she finally realized she was wrong. Cas had been through hell and survived, and Dean admired his strength, even if no one else could see how truly strong he was.
They’d known each other for 15 years now, been together for 12, mated for 10 of them and Dean had never been happier in his life. He knew Cas was happy too. Before they’d met, Cas had been scared of everything. Crowded places, dogs, loud noises, Alphas, the list just went on. Dean had met him by chance one afternoon at the public library, and he’d been immediately smitten by the stunningly beautiful Omega with the deep voice and penetrating blue eyes. But just opening his mouth to say hi had caused the man to flinch and scurry away. Dean was patient though. Cas worked at the library, so he went back every day for two full years, slowly earning the Omega’s trust and proving that he wasn’t one of the bad guys. That he would never, ever hurt him. A friendship began to form, though the people in Cas’ life were defensive and highly protective of the Omega. He’d been on the receiving end of death threats from Cas’ friend Meg, been punched by one of the Omega’s brothers, and had Cas’ sister put a knife to his junk after Dean had accidentally triggered something that sent Cas home crying. He had to promise them all, over and over and over, that his intentions were not to hurt Cas, and he cared about the Omega.
Cas finally began to open up to him, and it ended up with Dean being the one crying the most as his future mate began telling him the most horrible stories, things that left the Alpha with nightmares and tears cooling on his pillow every morning. It started with an abusive father, disappointed and angered by his youngest son presenting as an Omega, and ended with Cas in the hospital in critical care, fighting for his life after his father sold him into sex trafficking, and his handler let men use Cas for all of their sick and sadistic fantasies. It was therapeutic for the Omega to take the job at the library. He was considered disabled, and the job was only part time, a way for him to start slowly interacting with the world again and be around Alphas again in a safe, protected setting. Dean was the first Alpha to show an interest in him, and to a frightened Omega recovering from years of abuse, it was terrifying, but somehow, Dean managed to earn the man’s trust. He kept his hands to himself, which he quickly learned was crucial to preventing an anxiety attack (and Cas’ sister from putting a knife to his crotch), and they talked. Dean loved talking to Cas about anything and everything, and he soon learned that Cas was exceptionally smart as well as kind, and before Cas would even agree to a date with him, he was already hopelessly in love.
Their first few dates were supervised, and he completely understood why. It was a trust issue, and Dean knew not to take it personally that Cas didn’t trust him not to just force him down on all fours and take him. It had been done to him hundreds of times before, and the fear that it would happen again was difficult to ignore, even with a cocktail of meds and years of therapy. Instead, Dean made sure every date was something fun, in a place Cas could be comfortable in, which meant not too crowded, but not secluded either. They went to poetry readings (Cas’ brother Gabe hated that, thought it was dull as nails, but Cas loved it), visited quiet, out of the way coffee shops (Cas’ sister Anna, as it turned out, was a coffee addict, but he learned just how much the Omega adored tea), and had quite a few movie nights, where every movie was carefully selected by either Meg or Anna first, to make sure nothing would trigger Cas’ anxiety. That meant a hell of a lot of documentaries, romance movies, and romcoms. Action and horror were out, as was anything that even hinted at kidnapping, rape, overly aggressive Alphas, abuse, or murder.
Their first date alone was six months into dating. Cas was nervous but not as nervous as Dean had expected. Without his overly protective family and best friend breathing down their throats, he had questions. He wanted to know Dean’s intentions.
“I might never be capable of having sex again, Dean. Is that something you’re ok with?” he had asked.
“I love you, Cas. Sex has nothing to do with it. I’m in love with you. I just want to be with you, in whatever capacity you have me.” Had been Dean’s honest reply.
“But why? How could you love someone as broken as me?” Cas had stared at him, seemingly unable to comprehend how Dean could possibly have feelings for him. He’d seemed so certain that the Alpha couldn’t possibly want him, but Dean did everything in his power to prove that he did.
He knew how hard Cas had tried not to fall in love with him, and he knew the moment the Omega realized that not only had he fallen, so deeply, irrevocably in love with Dean, but that there was no coming back from that. That was the night, Cas had kissed him for the first time. He hadn’t asked for it, and he’d seen the conflict on the Omega’s face before he’d finally leaned in to touch his lips to Dean’s. It had been brief but clearly a huge step for him.
“I love you, Dean. I want to experience real affection, Dean. I-I’ve never had an Alpha touch me with kindness, unless they wanted something sexual from me.” He’d explained after their kiss, even as his blue eyes kept flickering to the Alpha’s lips. Dean hadn’t pushed for another kiss though. He had never and would never force himself onto Cas.
“I will never ask for anything more than what you are willing to give.” He’d told the man, and that was the moment the final piece had clicked into place for Cas. Dean had his full trust, and he would do his damnedest to never break it.
From there their relationship had grown. They had movie nights, spent cuddling on the couch, picnics in the park on warm summer days, and day road trips that took them all over their state and into the surrounding ones, but always brought them home to their own beds by that night. Motels scared Cas as they reminded him of the brothels he was in, and he was wary of hotels. Dean didn’t mind though. It was time spent with the man he loved, and they had fun together. They hiked, they tracked bees back to their hives (Cas adored bees), brought along books to identify flowers they found, waded around under waterfalls, and fell deeper in love with every passing day. Dean knew Cas was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. It just took a little more convincing for the Omega.
Dean wanted Cas to move in with him, but expectedly, the Omega was scared. So the Alpha went out of his way to prove that it could be a good thing. He took Cas on house tours, selecting only ones in quiet, peaceful neighborhoods, away from traffic, industry, and schools. They’d toured some 30 houses before one caught Cas’ attention. It was a little out in the country, with five acres of land. Wildflowers grew in abundance and a butterfly landed on his hand as he stood in the backyard, and a fat bumblebee buzzed lazily past his nose.
“Dean, I want to keep bees.” he’d announced. Right then, Dean had known this was the house they would buy. And they had. Dean’s two automotive shops were thriving and he was able to put a down payment on the house. To his surprise Meg and Anna both had approved of the house, and once they were moved in, Meg gifted them with all of the supplies they would need in order to begin keeping bees. Cas continued his part-time job at the library, but all of his free time was spent nurturing and taking care of his bees. Dean just loved to see him so happy.
Their relationship was one that many people didn’t understand, mostly those that didn’t know what Cas had been through. Like the fact that Cas had his own bedroom, across the hall from Dean’s, rather than sharing the Alpha’s bed, or that after all this time they still had not mated. Hell, he hadn’t even seen Cas naked, but that was ok, as far as he was concerned. He loved the Omega with everything he had, and as far as he was concerned, in his heart, they were mated.
Cas’ therapy and a change in his meds helped him a lot. His anxiety was better controlled, and when Meg showed up on their doorstep with CBD oil that first time for him to try, it was like seeing a completely different person. For the first time since Dean had met the man, Cas completely relaxed. They hosted a bonfire in their backyard, inviting a few close friends as well as the siblings Cas was actually close with, like Mike, Gabe, and Anna, and had a nice evening just talking, laughing, eating s’mores and having a good time. It was truly the happiest Dean had ever seen his boyfriend, and he wanted to always see him like that.
It was a few weeks later that Cas initiated something more than just kissing. He surprised Dean when his hands began to wander, and they made their way under the Alpha’s shirt. Dean had learned though, to let Cas initiate everything, and having his boyfriend kissing him deeply as his nails scraped over his nipples was more than he had hoped for. As much he wished for more, he would never push for it. If the need became too much to bear, he would close himself up in his room and bring himself to completion, away from where he could upset his mate. He was pretty sure Cas knew what he did behind closed doors, especially when he was in a rut, but thankfully, he never treated Dean differently, and never pushed him away.
Slowly, over the next few months, Cas began initiating more things. A brush of his fingertips over the bulge in Dean’s pants no longer sent him running in fear to lock himself in his room, but instead had him moving closer. He trusted his Alpha not to take advantage of him or push himself on the Omega. If Dean got too horny, he would politely excuse himself and go to his room.
One day, during a rather hot makeout session that had Dean painfully hard in his pants, he tried to excuse himself to go relieve the pressure, and get off in the shower where he could chase away the pheromones that were making him stink of arousal. Cas surprised him by holding him back.
“Can we talk for a minute?”
He’d sat back down, deciding that whatever Cas had to say was more important than his own sexual needs.
“Are you happy with me?” Cas had asked.
“Happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” he’d replied honestly.
“But you leave when you’re aroused. I can smell it, and…feel it.” He’d placed a shaky hand against Dean’s erection, and the Alpha had breathed in sharply. Such a light touch, but it felt amazing after years of not having sex.
“I refuse to scare you, Cas. I don’t mind leaving when things become too intense, as long you always feel safe.”
He’d loved the happy smile he’d received, and he’d been downright shocked when the belt on his pants was unbuckled and the zipper opened.
“That’s just it, Dean. You make me feel so incredibly safe, and you might think that I don’t have needs, but I do. Outside of my heats. I appreciate that you go to stay with your brother during that time. Your thoughtfulness and your love and respect for me are the reason why I want more. I feel safe with you. I know you won’t hurt me, but I worry that if I showed you what was done to my body by other, cruel Alphas, you’ll not want me as your mate.”
Dean had kissed him in that moment, taking his breath away. There was nothing on Earth that would make him push Cas away, and he needed the man to know that.
“Nothing will ever make me not want you, Cas. You’re my mate, even if you’re not wearing my bite. I’m yours, forever. I will always want you and love you, sweetheart. Don’t you ever doubt that, or how much I love you.”
“But, do you really want me? If I said I wanted to have sex with you, that’s something you would want?”
The conversation went back and forth, with Dean assuring his boyfriend that he would gladly accept anything Cas offered, and that if the man wanted sex with him, he would love the chance to prove that not all Alphas were dominating, aggressive or abusive bastards. He impressed upon his boyfriend that he wanted to make love to him, not mount him and fuck him like some animal.
That night was the first time he got to see Cas naked, and it had both angered and saddened him to see the scars that riddled his beautiful mate’s body. Cas was gorgeous, inside and out, and knowing there were cruel bastards out there that wanted to break him, try to destroy him and kill the light inside him, it had him sobbing, clinging to Cas as he tried to explain that Cas’ scars did not disgust him, like the Omega had been so worried about, but that his heart physically hurt knowing that people had thought it was ok to do this to him. He wished more than anything that he could kiss the pain away, and knowing he couldn’t made him loathe the Alphas that had tortured his mate with a murderous sort of hate. For once it was Cas that had to calm him down, to ease his pain and assure him that he was ok, and as long as Dean still loved him and wanted him, he would continue to be ok. They spent that night in Dean’s bed, kissing and touching, their hands and lips wandering over bare skin and he brought Cas to climax that night with his mouth, showing the love of his life that he was indeed precious and deeply desired.
Cas was hesitant to do more than touch Dean’s penis the first few times they went to bed together, but the night he finally used his mouth, Dean ended up blowing his load shamefully fast. Thankfully Cas was more amused than anything, and he wasn’t anxious at all. If anything, he was pleased that he’d been able to bring his Alpha pleasure. He hadn’t thought that to be something he’d ever willingly want to do, but he loved Dean so much that he was willing to step outside of his own comfort zone in order to make his mate happy.
It didn’t take him long to figure out that intimacy with Dean wasn’t uncomfortable at all. It was enjoyable, and he instigated romantic moments more and more. Dean would come home to find roses waiting for him, or a gift basket of massage oils, and Cas having watched videos online to learn how to give a good massage. His boyfriend made pies, cooked his favorite foods, and more than ever, Dean knew he was loved. Their life together just got better and better.
It was a few weeks before Cas’ 31st birthday when he decided he was ready for penetrative sex. He brought it up over dinner one night, completely catching Dean off guard. Sometimes he had no idea what his boyfriend was thinking until the words were leaving the man’s lips, and this was one of the more jaw-dropping moments. They were enjoying a delicious homemade lasagna, discussing all of the things they usually talked about, like work, the bees, plans for the weekend, when Cas randomly brought up sex.
“I want to have sex tonight, Dean.”
Dean had put his fork down and swallowed the mouthful of meat, cheese, and noodles he’d been chewing before he choked on it.
“Ok, I’m always up for whatever you want to do, babe.”
“No, you misunderstand me. I-I want sex. Not oral sex, or hands on dicks, though that woud be nice as well. I’m ready, for you to be inside me.”
Dean had stared hard for a long moment before he trusted himself to speak.
“You’re absolutely certain.”
“Yes. I’m sorry it took me this long to realize that I want this, but I trust you in a way I’ve never trusted anyone else. Sex was…I was put on medicine that triggered these horrible heats, and they were ten times worse than a normal heat. The johns, they were required to wear condoms, and there would be guards that stayed in the room during their time with us, to make sure they adhered to the rule. It was really the only rule they were required to follow. They didn’t want us getting pregnant. My uterus is practically shot from the meds now, but you know that. The point is, I was terrified because I knew pain always came with mating. I’ve been cut, punched, burned, even stabbed, all while an Alpha had their knot locked inside of me, and my instinct was always to anticipate the pain. Once, an Alpha wanted to truly hurt me, so he didn’t wait until his knot went down before he pulled out. I…was out of commission for several months after that, and he was banned from returning. He’d ‘damaged the merchandise.’ Thankfully, the raid happened not long after I’d been forced back into work. But the Alpha that had me when the raid was happening tried to kill me so I wouldn’t open my mouth. The Feds pulled him off before he could do it, and I was rushed to the nearest hospital. I spent a year in and out of hospitals, first recovering from my physical injuries, and then trying to recover from my mental ones. I was transferred to a hospital that specialized in the victims of sex crimes. It was something I desperately needed. It has taken me a very long time to recover, and sometimes I get so angry at myself because I feel like I should be better already, and I’m not. You make me feel so safe though, and I know that even if my brain instinctively expects pain, you will not hurt me. You are the only Alpha I’ve ever willingly given permission to touch me, and you’re the only one I ever want to touch me again. If I can do this, then I know that we can eventually mate. I’ll wear your bite mark with pride, Dean. It’s the only scar I willingly want on my body.”
Dean had been moved to tears yet again by his mate’s admission, and he’d taken Cas’ hand to kiss it gently.
“I would never hurt you, my love. If you’re certain you’re ready for this step, then I will do everything in my power to make it pleasurable for you, and to make sure you’re not in any pain. But know this, if you get scared or want me to stop, I absolutely will, without question. I do not want you to feel any guilt over that. We can always try again later, or just keep things the way they are. Whatever makes you happy, sweetheart.”
Cas had taken Dean’s hand to place it against his cheek. Now that he wasn’t afraid of the Alpha’s touch, he craved it almost desperately.
“You make me happy, Dean. Your love and patience make me happier than anything in the world, and I want to be a good mate in return. I want to bring you as much happiness as you give me, and to please you. I was sent away before I got to experience what real love could be. I’ve only known abuse, hatred, and torture, but you’ve shown me real love. I feel truly blessed that I decided to take a chance on you, and that you had as much patience as you do. I want you to show me what it’s like to take a knot and not be terrified for my life.”
And Dean did his best. He was a gentle lover, pouring all of his love and affection to his every touch, his every caress, making sure the entire time that Cas was comfortable, and that his trust was never, ever broken. Unfortunately, the moment he’d nudged at his mate’s hole, Cas had panicked, and Dean had put a stop to everything. He’d held his boyfriend close, reassuring him that everything was ok, and that this was not his fault and that he didn’t blame him at all. Two nights later they tried again, and this time they decided on using traffic light call signals. As long as Cas replied with green, Dean kept going. He paused if his Omega called out yellow and switched whatever he was doing to something more calming until Cas was comfortable again, and if he called out red, the Alpha put a hard stop to their activities. They would then cuddle and talk things out.
Their second attempt went a little better but it wasn’t until the third time that Cas was still calling out green when Dean tried gently to push into him. After a few strokes he’d checked again, and still receiving a green light, he kept going. Cas was so beautiful like this, his head thrown back in ecstasy, his eyes squeezed shut, and one hand wrapping around his own cock to stroke it as Dean picked up speed. His orgasm was close, but he wanted Cas to come first, and he was glad when his Omega did. It didn’t take long for his own orgasm to hit, and he had his own mini panic when his knot swelled and locked them together. But Cas had looked up at him with so much love in his eyes it had his Alpha falling in love with him all over again.
After that, they started having sex much more frequently. Cas preferred to face him, as getting up on all fours (like they’d tried that first time) brought back too many painful memories, and as his next heat approached, he asked if Dean wouldn’t mind staying to help him through it. To Dean, that was an honor, and he took the request very seriously. Time was taken off work, he stocked up on bottled water and snacks for Cas, and bought new mattress pads for their bed, now that they shared a bed together full time. When Cas’ heat arrived, he’d been prepared for it, and it was a beautiful, loving experience for them both. Near the end of it, Cas had asked for the one thing Dean had dreamed for years about, and it had made him the happiest Alpha in the world.
Cas had asked him to claim him.
The last night of Cas’ heat, Dean had placed his bite permanently on his mate’s shoulder, and Cas had placed his own on Dean. Not because an Omega needed to mark their Alpha, but because Dean wanted absolute equality in their relationship. Plus he knew his Alpha wanted to show his bite off to anyone and everyone. It had been a beautiful night for them both, and something Dean still remembered as one of the best nights of his life, even all these years later.
Cas’ uterus had been too severely damaged from the heat meds, and he’d miscarried twice before they decided they were ok not having pups. Dean came to terms with it, and he was happy just having Cas in his life. The Omega, on the other hand, was devastated. He blamed his father, the cruel “master,” Alistair, that had run the brothels, and the johns who had slipped him drugs, and he needed more therapy. His doctor recommended a procedure that was meant to help a bit, and to both his and Dean’s absolute surprise, after it was performed, Cas got pregnant on his next heat. He carried to term and gave birth to a beautiful, perfect little boy they named Elian. It was a name Cas chose carefully for its meaning. His faith having been restored after his rescue, and deepened further when Dean had come into his life. He was their miracle, and his name meant “The Lord is my God; God is family.” Dean thought the name was the most perfect thing he’d ever heard.
That was four years ago. Dean loved his son, and the pup kept them both very busy. Cas was protective, wary of any strangers that came near his pup, but not so much so that Elian wasn’t able to make friends or have the social life his father was unable to enjoy. Playdates were arranged, and Cas hosted one on one meetings at their house when Dean was home to act as host. Socializing with strangers was still difficult for him, but Dean was happy to do whatever it took to make things easier for his mate. Elian was happy too, growing big and making more friends all the time.
The first time Dean ever saw his mate get angry at another person was when Cas had set up a playdate through the school’s website, like he usually did, with a pup named Ben Braeden. His mother was a single Omega named Lisa, and the Saturday she brought her son over to play with Elian, Cas was feeling particularly antisocial. Dean had led Lisa and the boys out to the patio to enjoy the warm autumn afternoon, and so the pups could burn off all their excess energy. Lisa had been flirty, despite Dean pointedly making it obvious that he wasn’t interested, and as the afternoon wore on, she had gotten worse instead of taking the hints he was giving her. Cas, finally making his presence known, had come to bring them a fresh pitcher of tea after Dean had come in to get drinks a half hour earlier and mentioned how uncomfortable she was making him.
Dean had made it clear that he was happily mated, but Lisa seemed unable to take no for an answer, and it ticked his mate off. Cas had been cool towards the other Omega as he took a seat at the table, focusing on their son as he played with his friend on the swing set Dean had built two years earlier for their son, but keeping one eye and one ear tuned in to Lisa. She’d seemed irritated that Cas had interrupted her flirting, and it was as Dean was seeing her and Ben out later that Cas finally flipped. She had leaned in, daring to mark him with her scent before he’d caught on to what she was doing, because her words stunned him so completely.
“Everyone at the school talks about how strange Cas is. We don’t know what you’re doing with someone like him. You can’t possibly be happy with someone so paranoid and…strange. You need an Omega that can care about you, spoil you, and isn’t afraid to be seen in public with you.”
Cas had been lingering around the corner and had seen his mate’s jaw drop in horror. He’d smell the shock on Dean, and the arousal on Lisa, and…he’d just lost it. Storming around the corner, teeth bared and snarling at the woman, he’d laid into her, stunning Dean even further, but also making him fiercely proud.
“Do NOT try to seduce MY mate! What kind of person does that?! It’s an insult to me, and to MY MATE! You don’t know me, you don’t know what I’ve been through, or why I am the way I am, but you think it’s ok to pass judgement, and assume that MY MATE is not happy? Get out of my house! You are NEVER welcome here again, do you understand me?! If I so much as see you drive past my house after today, I will not hesitate to challenge you and I WILL DESTROY YOU!”
Lisa had been stunned, to say the least, and properly scared. Dean had been so freaking proud of his mate in that moment. Cas was fierce, brave, and protective, things Dean had always known, but in that moment, his Omega knew it too.
“You need to leave, and do me a favor? If you see me out and about, don’t ever speak to me again. I would never leave my mate, especially not for someone that thinks it’s ok to pass judgement on someone they don’t even know, or would encourage an Alpha to abandon their family. You’re the worst kind of Omega, and person in general. Your son will be missing out because of your lack of respect for my mate and for me, because he is no longer invited over for playdates. I’d get out before my mate sinks his teeth into your throat.”
He’d watched the disgust and fear on her face as she pulled her son away from where he’d been playing with Elian for a few extra minutes and fled their home. Cas had let out an angry howl before grabbing Dean by the arm and dragging him to their bathroom.
“She scent marked you, that bitch. Take off your clothes and get in the shower. Scrub yourself completely. I will go and start laundry. Before you’re done I will bring you clean clothes. Wash your arms twice.” His mate had ordered. Dean had dutifully stripped down and handed his clothes over. Once his mate was gone, he laughed softly to himself as he got into the shower. Cas was a badass, and he sort of liked that side of the man.
Life went on and now totally upset with that preschool, Cas moved Elian to a different one. He was happier knowing Dean would have no contact with Lisa. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Dean, because he knew just how deep his Alpha’s love for him truly was, but he didn’t trust Omegas like Lisa. Any playdates from then on, Cas hosted himself, or he was at Dean’s side when the Alpha hosted them, even if he remained quiet. Elian thrived, and they were happy. Until last year.
Though the brothel Cas had been rescued from was cleared out, Alistair and all but one of his top men had not been caught. Cas lived with the constant fear that he might come across one of them again, and though his therapist, his family, and even Dean constantly assured him of his safety, he feared them grabbing him and forcing him back into the sex slave trade. Then, in March, Alistair’s right hand man, Azazel, was arrested. He sung like a canary, turning over on everyone in their sex ring, and in other related sex and drug rings. In October of that year, Alistair was arrested finally. It was the first time in 20 years that Cas was actually able to breathe.
Then the district attorney had shown up at their house. Dean had called his brother to come to the house, to act as their own lawyer, and to help keep Cas calm as the DA explained that they needed something very important from the Omega. They needed him to testify. He needed to get on the stand to tell his story in its entirety. From the sale for which his own father went to prison, to Cas’ captivity, his abuse, the rape, and his recovery after. They wanted him to talk about his life since regaining his freedom, and what it was like being free of a man like Alistair Damon. For 20 years Cas had been building himself up, healing, making a life for himself, and learning to overcome the terror that Alistair and his men had instilled so deeply in him that he’d wanted to kill himself after he’d been rescued, and one little visit sent the Omega spiraling.
Dean maintained his calm after the DA had left, even as he watched his mate sink into what was probably the worst panic attack he’d ever witnessed. He stayed calm as he asked his brother if he could take Elian for the night, and possibly a little longer. He continued to keep calm as he’d held his mate, listening to his Omega scream and flinch away from imaginary monsters that had suddenly risen up from the depth of his mind to torture him with their memories. After exhausting himself, Dean had carried his beautiful mate to their bedroom, and laid him out in their bed. Cas had curled in on himself, silent tears still falling as he stared off into the distance at nightmarish images the Alpha couldn’t see, but he could definitely imagine.
“I can’t, Dean, I can’t do it. They have evidence. They can see what he did, what he let other people do to me. Every scar was documented, and a kind Omega that worked for the FBI had come to my hospital room while I was recovering, and she was a survivor too. She asked me to tell her everything, so I did. After I talked to her, I-I couldn’t tell anyone what happened. Not even Meg or Anna know it all. I didn’t open up to anyone again until you. Only you know everything that happened. I can’t get up in front of a courtroom and hash it all out again, I just can’t! Please don’t let them make me!”
It wasn’t until the following morning, after lying awake the entire night, that Cas had told him that, and Dean had promised to speak with Sam and the DA to let them know that it would be physically impossible to testify. He didn’t care what the state wanted, they had plenty of evidence to convict without his testimony. No one was going to force his mate to do anything he wasn’t willing to do, and there was no way he wanted Cas in the same courtroom as Alistair.
Cas was still lying there in the bed, curled up in a ball on his side, staring blankly at the wall when Dean got an idea. The last couple of years, when his mate would have an anxiety attack, the Alpha would look for ways to help ease them without having to pump Cas full of the meds he hated to take. They made him so sleepy that he’d be too much of a zombie to do anything, and that wasn’t how he wanted their son to see him, so the Alpha had begun looking for alternatives. They’d tried meditation, marijuana, music, even a sensory deprivation tank, and while they all worked to some extent, nothing worked as well as binding.
They’d stumbled across it almost by accident. Meg had passed some books on to Cas, a common habit she had of purging herself of extra stuff by passing it on to others, usually to Cas. In the stack of books were several on Japan, and one on Japanese rope binding. There were several forms, and as Cas took an interest in the Japanese language and customs, he took a special interest in the idea of Shibari. It was a word Dean was utterly unfamiliar with, and when his mate brought it up all he could do was stare blankly at him.
“I think I would like to try this Shibari, as a method of helping with my anxiety attacks. I feel safe when I’m confined, and…we’ve experimented a bit in the bedroom with ties and the escapable handcuffs, so I think perhaps this might help.”
After his blank stare, Dean had pulled his phone out and Googled what it even was. Shock was his first reaction. It was linked to BDSM, something neither of them were interested in, and his mate was asking for this? But Cas had pointed him to articles that clearly stated how Shibari and other forms of bondage could help with anxiety, and from there Dean had read everything on the subject. If Cas thought it could help, he owed it to him to try his best to accommodate the man. He studied pictures, practiced knots, and eventually, when a panic attack struck, Dean put his new skills to use.
Cas had decided to remain clothed the first time they did it, though he’d put on his spandex running pants and a tank top. He’d kissed Dean, even as his entire body was wracked with tremors, and offered up his wrists. Silently, Dean had bound his mate. Tying his hands behind his back before binding his legs, and the end result was Cas lying peacefully, purring as his breathing returned to normal and the tremors faded away. Dean hadn’t expected it to work. In fact, he’d expected the exact opposite. After suffering the abuse he’d spent years enduring, he’d thought Cas would be terrified of being confined or held tightly in any way, but his mate had assured him that despite all of the abuse he’d gone through, being tied up, handcuffed, or bound in any manner was never a part of it. Locked rooms with no windows, that was his life, but never had he been tied down.
Instead, the size of the rooms he would be locked up in, sometimes for weeks at a time would feel too big, and he needed to pull a blanket tight around himself in order to feel a sense of security. The ropes, carefully applied for Cas’ comfort and safety, gave him a sense of security, and the anxiety was quickly replaced with a sense of calm. He could think clearly, and he needed that more than he’d realized.
This day though, after practically going into shock, Dean had suggested the ropes.
“Maybe it will feel better. While you’re bound, I will call Sam, check on Elian and let him represent you. He can call the DA and let them know that you will not be taking the stand.”
Cas had nodded weakly, forcing himself to sit up so he could strip. The last few times they’d done this, he’d stripped completely down. He felt safest when the ropes were tight against his bare skin, and as he undressed, Dean had taken the ropes out of the box in their closet. They kept them on the top shelf, where their son could not reach them, and he laid them out as he waited for Cas to finish.
“Please, I need this.” Cas had pleaded, his eyes welling up with tears.
“Color?” Dean had asked, just as he always did before they started this.
So Dean got started. He bound Cas’ legs first this time before he created the beautifully braided knots that would secure his mate’s arms and chest. Cas’ eyes slid shut as Dean worked, and he remained quiet until the last knot was in place.
“Green. Thank you, my love.” Cas had sighed with relief before falling silent again. Dean had found his cell phone and called his brother.
“He can’t do it, Sam. He is physically unable to get up in front of a courtroom full of people, where Alistair himself will be sitting staring at him, and rehash the worst years of his life. His scars are more than just on his skin, Sammy, they pierce his very soul, and I won’t let them push him over the edge. He didn’t sleep at all last night; he’s in shock. They should have enough evidence to convict without his testimony. How many people were rescued? Like, 14, right? That means there are 13 other people they could be asking. Cas doesn’t need to be one of them. Please, Sammy, I’m asking this as your brother and as a worried mate to my Omega, arrange it so Cas does not have to testify.”
Cas had sat quietly, his eyes closed but his ears perked, the rope binding doing its job of sedating him and chasing the fears away. Sam, wonderful brother that he was, had come to feel very protective of Cas, and he promised to do everything in his power to arrange it so the frightened, traumatized Omega never saw the inside of a courtroom. Dean felt relief at his brother’s words. This was good. Their lives would go on, just as they had been, and Cas would begin again on his path to healing. Dean would move heaven and earth to make sure that happened.
The rope binding lasted an hour, and when Cas called out “red,” Dean undid them, setting his mate free again. Cas felt much better, more like himself as he re-dressed and laid down to take a nap. He needed it after not sleeping at all the night before. Dean fielded calls from the DA, referring the man to his brother and asking him not to call or show up at the house again because of how badly it triggered his mate’s anxiety. She wasn’t a mean person though, and she agreed to speak only with Sam from then on.
Court started six months later. There was live coverage and Cas sat with Dean, curled into his mate’s side as they watched it all go down. There were character witnesses, though a few were barely more functional than Cas had been when Dean first met him. Still, they wanted their story told. They wanted the world to know that monsters really did exist. The day Alistair took the stand and Cas saw his face for the first time since he’d been saved, he had the worst panic attack yet. Dean had immediately pulled out the ropes and after getting a weak “green,” he bound his mate up tight. It helped. From then on, it became a regular thing. They’d watch the trial, usually with Cas bound tight while it went on, and he’d feel so much better later. Sam was in communication with the DA, and getting regular updates. The entire thing lasted for six excruciating months. After a month and a half the stress was getting to be too much even for Dean, and they decided just to watch highlights of it now and then instead of following the entire trial. When the jury was sequestered so they could pass their verdict, Dean had pulled the ropes out.
“I don’t need them, darling. I’m alright,” Cas had said, surprising him. Dean had tucked them back in the closet, and for the next three hours, they had sat on the couch, checking messages from Sam, from Meg, and from everyone else concerned over how this was affecting the Omega. A verdict of guilty, on every single charge the DA had thrown at Alistair, brought Cas a sense of relief unlike anything he’d ever felt before. A huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. The man who had at one time kept him locked away from the world would now be the one locked away. He was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
After that trial, Alistair’s henchmen went to trial, one at a time, but Cas didn’t care as much about them. He was happy to get the “guilty” verdicts Sam would call to tell him about. Shibari was still a very effective method of easing Cas’ anxiety, but his attacks were less frequent as time went on. He had a loving mate that kept him safe, an amazing little boy that brought more joy into his life than he’d thought possible, a wonderful house, a fantastic hobby, and the same part-time job at the library he’d held for more than 20 years. Best of all, the people responsible for all the nightmares, the torture, and the abuse he’d endured, they could never hurt him or anyone else again. He’d never be fully healed, Dean was aware of that, and Cas knew it too, but his life was better than he could have ever hoped for.