You were tired, but not exhausted. Done with people, but not angry. Pretty much the mood everyone would be in, on the way home from a work-retreat. Why did they insist on calling them retreats? There was no escaping anything. Maybe that’s why someone had decided that it should be on an island this time.
The line to board was moving slow. The plane was going to be completely stuffed. You’ve never understood the people who line up first and hurry to go onboard first. All seats are numbered, and it’s not like the plane is taking off before everyone’s got their belt on.
In the back of the queue you could mind your own business and just listen to your music. The two men in front of you must have had the same idea. There was quite the gap between them and the line moving in front of them. Your headphones blocked their words, but one was talking a lot and the other didn’t seem to be speaking at all. You couldn’t help but notice how much the talkative guy’s hand were shaking when scanned both their boarding passes. The quiet one took his hand laced their fingers, and they walked on while you scanned your pass. Good thing that guy had his boyfriend with him. He was clearly and uneasy flyer.
Walking back to your seat after finding a space for your carryon in the packed plane, you noticed the couple from before sitting in your row. The taller of them, the one who couldn’t stop talking before was in the aisle seat and had clearly used up every word.
You took off your headphones and smiled at both of them.
“Excuse me? I have the window seat.”
The man looked at you like he was surprised that anyone had words to spare. How could such smoky green eyes appear so dark? Then, even though his ash white face didn’t seem to get the memo, he came to live and loosened the grip he still had on the other’s hand.
“Of cause.” He stood up and slapped the other guy’s shoulder with the back of his hand, making him move too.
When seated you decided to not put your headphones on. There was something about these guys that made you stay aware of what was happening. The guy next to you sat straight up, rigid, with both hands on the armrests, and it didn’t seem like he pain much attention to the other man, sweating and shaking right next to him.
During the safety announcements they didn’t move, the guy on the aisle seat seemed like he tried to pay attention but only getting more nervous from it. When the flight started to taxi to the airstrip a small whimper left the man’s throat, only just loud enough that you could hear it over the engine. The sound tore into your stomach and you threw away all the thoughts about meddling in other’s business and laid a light hand on the shoulder of the man next to you. He turned his head slowly, letting you see the frozen look of panic in his eyes.
“Hey.” You spoke quietly but loud enough that the other guy hear you too. He looked at you, trying to control his breathing. “Are you two okay?”
It was the most ridiculous question you could have chosen. Of cause they weren’t okay, but what else were you to say.
The quiet one tried to conjure up a smile, not quite succeeding. “Yes. We’re okay.”
You looked from one guy to the other and tried speaking to the other one. “How are you holding up over there?”
The man looked at his hands, wringing them in his lap. “J-just fi-ine.”
You were not backing out now. That one was going to have a heart-attack if no one did something, and it didn’t seem like his boyfriend was capable of helping.
“My name is Y/N, what’s yours?”
He seemed to be happy to have someone to talk to, even though it clearly took a lot of effort to do so. “I’m Dean. This is Cas.”
The quiet one between you came to live just for a moment. “Hello.”
“Not used to flying I see?”
Both of them shook their heads and Cas seemed a little embarrassed when he looked down.
“Well, I fly all the time, so if you have any questions feel free to ask.” You smiled at them and Dean nodded and when the plane stopped he leaned back and tightening his belt to a point that couldn’t possibly be comfortable or even healthy.
You watched Dean grab Cas’s frozen hand with both of his as the plane started down the strip. When the wheels were in the air they both had their eyes closed.
It was a pretty easy takeoff but the small bumps going through the clouds made Dean grab the armrest with one hand and squeeze Cas’s hand till it turned a shade between red and purple. You leaned in and put your hand over their grip in each other.
“Hey guys. It’s normal. Everything is as it’s supposed to be.”
Cas opened his eyes and looked at you.
“You sure?” He looked at Dean, studying the shaking man who still had his eyes closed trying in vain to get his breathing under control, then he looked back at you. “I haven’t been on a plane before.”
A lot made sense now. If Dean had been the only influence on Cas, of cause he’d be scared of flying. But had he really lived his whole life in Hawaii and not ever been on a plane?
“You live in Hawaii?”
He looked confused. “No… we are going home now.” It took him a second to catch up with you. “We… ehm… our transport here was not available to bring us back.”
“You missed the cruise home huh?”
The plane shook a little, not enough to call it turbulence and Dean folded over tugging his head between his arms and lap.
“Hey, Dean.” You reached over and took a firm hold on his shoulder. “Listen. It’s all good. Breathe okay?”
The man drew in a shaky breath and let it out even more unsteady. You looked at Cas and realized that he too had been scared from it, sitting straight up with that blank look again. The six hour flight was going to kill the both of them.
You sat back up and with a light hand on his chin, you turned Cas’s face towards you.
“Listen. You’re getting more nervous sitting next to him and he clearly need someone who’s calm…” The man nodded, but didn’t seem to have drawn the same conclusion as you, just yet. “… how would you feel about changing seat with me when we are allowed to take the belt off?”
Cas looked at you for what seemed like forever and then at Dean’s hand squeezing the blood out of his. You smiled and looked at Dean who had heard it all and now seemed sad on top of scared out of his mind.
“It’s okay for you to hold hands still. I just want to help.”
The men looked at each other and then nodded at you.
“Thank you.” Cas unfolded the red and white fingers from the armrest and placed his hand on yours, while squeezing Dean’s back for the first time.
The lights in the sign turned off and the sound made both men tense even further. You called the flight attendant and asked if it was alright to change seat. You knew it would be, but it made you feel better that someone else on the plane was aware of the situation. She actually looked sorry for you to have ended up sitting next to these two.
You managed to get up and let Cas move behind you and avoiding that Dean had to stand. You weren’t sure it was possible for him to do so. Dean was radiating heat as you sat down next to him and you wondered if it was a result of shaking or desperately trying to control his breathing. You took the hand closest to you.
“Hey sweetheart. What do you need?”
He shook his head, still looking at his knees. You’d figured that he would be strong but the power of the grip on your hand still surprised you. You couldn’t help your instincts taking over, the need to protect this man, if only from his own mind, was too strong to stop trying. With your other hand you lightly turned his face against you and when he finally raised his gaze you looked him in the eyes. You felt your heart break for this man. He was clearly not one to freak normally, he seemed embarrassed. He came a little closer and you nodded, and his head followed your hand as you pulled him down to rest on your shoulder.
“Dean. I know that no matter what I say it probably won’t help, but I can answer all the questions you might have, and I’ll do my best to help you stay calm.”
He just squeezed your hand quickly as an answer. You looked at the man now in the window seat. He’d observed everything without a word. Still rigid and slightly pale he looked at you.
“Is he okay?”
The concern in his voice was strong enough to touch. You smiled and rested your free hand on his shoulder.
“He’s just scared. He’ll be fine. How are you holding up?”
Cas studied Dean’s shaking hand on the armrest between you and him.
“You know he’s overreacting right?”
Cas bit the inside of his lower lip, deep in thought. Then he shook his head slowly. “Dean is never scared. Not to this extent.”
A small shake moved through the plane and Dean’s hand moved from the armrest to a firm grip on your knee. Cas was stiff looking straight forward again.
This didn’t work. What were you thinking anyway? You didn’t know these guys. You had no experience dealing with something like this. What were you thinking that you could do anything to help?
The plane was back to steady after less than two seconds, but Dean still had a firm grip on your hand and knee.
“It’s all good Dean. Just like gravel on a road.”
Dean was gasping for air and Cas seemed to have noticed. He leaned in trying to reach hand on your knee. Letting go of Dean’s strong hand in yours wasn’t easy.
“It’s okay. Don’t worry.”
You were able to fold up the armrest between your seats and as you wrapped your arm around Dean’s back he grabbed on to the back of your shoulder with the arm closest to you. He moved closer and his head rested on your collarbone. You weren’t sure he even knew what he was doing or if he’d forgotten that you were a complete stranger to him. You moved Dean’s hand from one knee to the one closer to Cas. Cas loosened up as he saw Dean closer to him and took his hand in both of his. You didn’t even think about it when you placed you calm palm on top of the shaking bundle of red and white fingers.
For the next few hours, you stayed like that in silence, except when you had to tell Dean that everything was normal. Cas was doing better. You’d asked him to look at everyone else on the packed plane and it seemed as if he’d realized that no one but Dean was scared to that degree.
The sound from the belt-light startled all three of you. Dean sat up, ready to flee but with nowhere to go. You pulled him back in and Cas held on tighter to his hand in your lap. The pilot said something about turbulence, but you only heard half of it through Dean’s fast breathing.
“Dean. It’s just turbulence. It’s normal. The belts are just so we don’t stumble in the aisle.”
You felt Dean nod, but as soon as the plane started to move, you wondered if the grip on your shoulder was going to leave you with bruises.
“Dean.” Cas was leaning in, lifting Dean’s hand. You removed yours and held on to the shaking and now whimpering man’s shoulder.
“Dean?! Can you hear me?”
“Y-yes.” It was only a whisper maybe because he couldn’t get more sound passed his lips or because he was trying to hide that he was crying.
Cas kissed Dean’s hand. You felt horrible sitting between them. Separating them. But the hold the larger man had on you was enough to make you think that you were doing something right.
The turbulence was rough but thankfully didn’t last long. The sign turned off and without warning Dean let go of you and Cas and bend down, putting his head between his knees. You quickly grabbed the bag from the seat pocket and offered it to him. He threw up for a with your hand on his back and Cas’s on his shoulder. When he’d seemed to stop you asked him to sit up again. He wasn’t going with it.
“Give me the bag.”
This flight had turned out quite different from what you’d planned it to be. Dean didn’t look up as he closed and handed you the bag and you gave him a new one, just in case.
You stood up determined and made Dean move to the middle seat, so you could get out. Cas folded the armrest away and hugged his shaking boyfriend as he came to sit next to him.
The flight attendant stopped you on the way back from the bathroom and handed you some whet wipes. “How are you three holding up?”
You sighed, but couldn’t help but smile at the whole situation. “One of them is not doing so hot, but for now he’s holding it together.”
The attendant looked at the extra bags you’ve brought back with you.
“Well, I’m trying to help him hold it together.”
“He’s lucky to have you.” She smiled and stepped aside. “They both are.”
You would hope that anyone would help like you did, but thinking it over, it was probably lucky that they were on your row.
You sat down and placed the bags in the pocket in front of Dean, who had cuddled up against Cas’s chest and had swung his leg over one of Cas’s too. Cas looked at you, both arms wrapped around his boyfriend.
You smiled. “Sure.”
Dean was quiet, you started rubbing his back with a firm palm. It didn’t even occur to you that it might have been perceived as crossing a line. Actually, you were certain that it was expected.
“How’re you holding up, Sweetheart?”
“Okay.” There was sound in his voice again. “Thanks… and sorry.”
“Hey, no worries okay?”
“No problem at all. You just try to relax it’s not that long now.”
That was a lie, but you couldn’t bear to tell his that you were only half way there. It seemed like things had calmed down a bit though. With Cas not being nervous, Dean was able to relax a little in his arms. Your hand on Dean’s back were still, only rubbing him slowly with your thumb. You put on your headphones on one ear and leaned back, wondering how you ended up in the aisle seat.
The rest of the flight was calm; just small shakes, which Dean reacted on by crawling closer to Cas, but quickly calming down again. The landing was another story. Dean’s breathing sped up, he was clinging to you and Cas with every strength he had left. Moving down the armrests and tightening the belt proved to be the hardest task. Not able to find some kind of calm in Cas’s arms or even yours he had to settle with only your hands in his.
Cas kept talking to him all the was down, it seemed to help him a little still that Cas wasn’t nervous but the grayish white tint on Dean’s face made you get one of the bags ready for when you were down. The wheels hit the ground and Dean quickly turned his head to you. You barely had time to smile to reassure him, before the breaks hit and you were pushed forward. The plane was still. Only taxiing now. Dean and Cas both looked at you and you put a hand on both men’s shoulders.
“That was it. Just driving now. We’ll be able to get out of here soon.”
Dean collapsed in his seat. Cas steadied his head and you removed his belt and the armrests, letting Cas guide him to lie on his lap. You pulled his legs up to lie over yours.
The tone in the flight attendant’s voice sounded like she was going to say something about not taking the belt off yet, but then she saw Dean, limp across the two of them.
“Is he okay? Do you need a doctor?”
You looked at Cas, he didn’t seemed that worried. He was slowly caressing the side of Dean’s face with the tip of his thumb.
“Thank you, but he’ll come to. Can we get a little time for now?”
The woman nodded and stayed next to them. She guided everyone in front of their row to the front and the same in the back. No one had to pass their seats, so Dean’s legs could get room to lie limp over you.
“Dean?” Cas took Dean’s hand as the larger man slowly opened his eyes. “Are you back with me?”
The small hum revealed that he wasn’t quit there yet and that he was confused.
You rubbed his lower leg. “Hey Dean. Good of you to come back. Are you ready to get off this thing?” You sent him a smile that you would give child who needed more than words to know that everything was okay.
He sat up slowly with Cas’s and your help. When everyone else were of the plane the three of you walked over the boarding bridge with two of the flight crew who had offered to bring you carry-ons for you.
You thanked the crew while Cas and a Dean, who was slowly getting to a normal skin tone, got seated on a bench in luggage claim.
“You did good back there.” The flight attendant who you had been talking to during the flight put a hand on your shoulder. “Not many people would have gone to that extent for strangers.”
“She’s not a stranger. Not anymore.” Dean’s voice was deep and powerful for the first time since you laid eyes on him. You turned and looked as he stood up on slightly wobbly legs. “She’s my sister.”
Cas took Dean’s hand an laced their fingers. “Mine too.”
The woman squeezed your shoulder a little before letting go and then she was gone. You looked form one man to the other.
“I was… I’m just happy that I could help a little.”
“You helped a lot.” Dean came over and gave you his phone. “Can I have your number? Just if I decide to fly again.”
You let out a small chuckle and took the phone. “I would probably stick to driving if I were you.” You handed him the phone back, now containing your number, and Dean sent a quick text, so you had his too. “And next time, don’t be late for the ship.”
Dean looked confused from you to Cas, but shook it off when Cas put his hand on your shoulder. “Thank you for everything.”
Dean took your other shoulder and on the same time both men kissed you on your cheeks. Judging from the heat burning on your neck and cheekbones you were definitely blushing as they walked away.