So far it had been entirely too busy of a week for Castiel and it was still only Wednesday… He had just finished moving into his new apartment and started his first fall semester at Culinary School. He was beginning to become overwhelmed with the sheer number of syllabi, textbooks and expectations for all of his new classes. Walking to his car, Castiel’s phone buzzed in his pocket; He stopped, fished it out and glanced at the screen.
“Six missed calls from Sam?” Castiel bit his lip and worried to himself before dialing.
“Castiel?” Sam spoke in a hushed tone.
“Sam, whats going on… Is everything ‘ok’ over there?”
“Not exactly. Its Dean, he uh, he won’t get outta bed… Its been a couple of days and he won’t even talk to me” Sam trailed off.
“Sam, Is your Dad home?”
“Nope, probably won’t be back until the weekend either,” Sam assured.
“Ok! I’m on my way over. I should be there in the next 30 minutes or so”
Sam answered the door to Castiel and was greeted by three casseroles, he looked up with amusement.
“Its uh, cooking homework!” Castiel mumbled.
“This looks great Cas!” A smile flickered across Sam’s face and he reached out to receive the casseroles before remembering the reason for Castiel’s visit.
“Dean’s uh, he’s upstairs…” Sam replied quietly.
“Why don’t you dig in Sam, I’m gonna go check in with him” Castiel reassured heading upstairs.
Cas stalled outside of Dean’s room, thinking back to the last time he had seen his boyfriend. It had only been a week or so ago before Cas had moved, and Dean had seemed in good enough spirits then. Cas knocked gently on the door before entering.
“Dean…?” Castiel called. The room was dark, blinds drawn. As he approached Dean’s bedside, he noted about a week's worth of empty takeout containers & dishes, and junk food wrappers were strewn around.
“Dean?” Cas whispered while crouching next to Dean’s blank expressionless face. Cas rose and sat on the bed causing Dean to startle.
“ Hey, hey…” Cas reached behind Dean, slowly rubbing circles on his back.
“It's ok, it is just me.” Castiel soothed.
“Cas?” Dean croaked from beneath a shroud of blankets.
“What are you doing here?” Yawning dramatically, Dean repositioned himself to curl his body around Castiel's.
“Sam called me…” Cas answered while he wrapped his arms tightly around Dean’s rounded midsection before bringing his head gently to rest against his shoulder.
“He’s starting to get worried about you...”
“Oh,” Dean mumbled under his breath.
They lay together in the bed silently for a little while longer. Finally Castiel ventured a hand down over Dean’s body, seeking out his wrists. Cas’s heart clenched up and a lump began to form in his throat as his fingers brushed against horizontal scabs of healing skin that he found there.
“I’m sorry Cas, I fucked up again!” Dean murmured shifting his body away before Cas could check his thighs or hips. Castiel ignored Dean's reaction however, and instead pulled his boyfriend into a fierce hug.
“It sounds like you’ve been having a tough time lately. Did something happen?” Castiel was trying to be as patient as possible, he knew that any trace of negative emotion in his voice could trigger Dean to shut down entirely once again. This was not the first depressive episode Castiel had witnessed in their short time together.
“Nothing really… It's stupid, I’m stupid…” Dean trailed off.
“Please tell me? No judgments, none at all!”
Dean paused briefly getting lost in Castiel’s oh so blue eyes before answering.
“ I went to the Doctor last week, and my hip is healing up from the surgery just fine… But, but… They weighed me and, I've gained 40lbs since the accident… FORTY POUNDS Cas! I’m a friggin WHALE!” Dean rolled over and away from Castiel, throwing the covers over his head wrapping himself in darkness and shutting his eyes tightly. Embarrassment coursed throughout his entire body, threatening to overpower him completely. Castiel tried to reassure his boyfriend, but Dean refused to engage.
Sam looked up optimistically from his homework at the sound of Castiel on the stairs.
“So I talked to Bobby… He is gonna come over and get you.”
“That bad huh?” Sam asked apprehensively and Castiel nodded.
“I’m gonna try bringing him over to my place Sam. And maybe the change in scenery… ? But, he’s just so depressed this time.”
“Yeah Cas, I know”
Dean awoke to the unexpected brightness of sunlight streaming through a window. He stretched comfortably, arching his back before acknowledging his full bladder and stumbling out of bed to go relieve himself. Dean was careful not to graze the healing cuts on both his hips and thighs as he pulled his pajamas bottoms back up. Despite these actions, the fabric pulled taught and dug into his waist, yet another reminder of just how much fatter he had become. Dean glanced in the mirror as he washed his hands. He eyed the loss of definition in his jawbone, his rounded out cheeks and thickening neck. How could someone like Castiel find anything about him even remotely attractive? As he wondered this to himself hot tears traced down his cheeks. Dean’s breath caught in his throat and he could feel the beginnings of a panic attack unraveling inside of his chest.
A knock at the door pulled Dean from his quickly darkening thoughts. He wiped his eyes and spun around to see Castiel.
“I brought you your meds,” Cas spoke gently handing his boyfriend three blue pills and a glass of water. Dean swallowed the small pills before becoming entangled into Castiel’s arms, pulled so close that he could feel the other man’s heartbeat.
“And I made you breakfast…” Castiel pulled away eying Dean hopefully. Dean nodded back and allowed himself to be lead into the kitchen where he was greeted by the wonderful smells of eggs, garlic, and cheese. Once seated, Dean began to ravenously devour his breakfast, shoveling food into his mouth so fast it was a struggle to stop and taste it. Castiel had been blossoming into a fantastic chef as of late, now entering his second semester of culinary training and Dean loved pretty much everything he cooked.
“Dean,” Castiel's hand squeezed Dean’s shoulder.
“You have to slow down when you eat, remember…?”
Dean looked up at his boyfriend as an intense blush spread throughout his cheeks. He then tried to conscientiously chew slower and swallow his food without choking.
“I’m glad you are enjoying it, there’s plenty more and its fairly healthy! I got the recipe from your Nutritionist.”
Dean stopped eating and took a deep breath biting down hard into his lower lip and looking away.
“Hey, hey your good. Today is a new day, you’re out of bed, and its a beautiful outside …” Castiel took Dean’s face in his hand’s looking down at him for a moment before kissing his boyfriend sensually.
“I Just, I just don’t know why you even put up with me Cas...”
Castiel thought to himself, the last year of their relationship had indeed been full of trials for both of them. Cas had sincerely hoped that moving Dean farther away from his abusive alcoholic father and mitigating his responsibilities of solely caring for Sam would improve his quality of life. At first it seemed like their life together was beginning to improve, eventually, Dean’s depression seemed to ebb away. Castiel busied himself with culinary school, always bringing home his class projects for himself and Dean to enjoy. Dean had enrolled in some online college classes and even seemed to be able to get out of the house at least a little bit every day. Cas had allowed himself to relax his concerns for his boyfriend and be lulled into a false sense of security until that one horrible night only a couple of months ago…
Cas had startled himself awake and realized that the room was all too quiet, absent were Dean’s loud and continuous heavy snoring sounds. He blinked his eyes several times trying to adjust them to the dimness of the room, realizing that there was light seeping in under the doorframe. Castiel got out of bed and made his way to the kitchen, it had become a fairly regular occurrence that Dean would get up in the night and help himself to a midnight snack. While Castiel had always found Dean’s curves both attractive as well as endearing; Lately he had noticed a more significant increase in his boyfriends' weight and had been considering buying them a bathroom scale.
The first thing Cas noticed was that the refrigerator door was ajar and the sink was full of dishes despite having been emptied and cleaned up entirely before bedtime the night before. As he wondered to himself what the heck was going on, his eyes fell on Dean’s motionless form slumped over on the floor of the opposite side of the kitchen. While Castiel’s hands quickly found Dean’s body, an empty pill bottle rolled across the floor. While checking for Dean’s pulse, Castiel recoiled in horror at the sheer number of “x” shaped cuts adorning his boyfriend’s forearms.
Dean had subsequently been hospitalized for three months. Cas had pooled his resources and found an out of state facility specializing in Eating Disorders and Self Harm. It had been hard at first on both of them, but Dean had committed to the program and with the help of therapy, antidepressants and a fairly rigid meal plan things had really begun to improve. Dean had been home with Cas two weeks so far, and life seemed to be stabilizing at last.
“You could have just left my fat ass in that hospital and moved on to better things…?” Dean's voice sounded small and cracked a little bit on the last few words before looking back at Cas.
“I’m always gonna put up with you,” Cas said, at last, catching Dean’s gaze and looking deeply into his emerald green eyes.
“And I’m always gonna love you, Dean. No matter what!”
Dean returned Castiel’s stare lovingly despite hints of embarrassment and insecurity flitting across his features. He trusted Castiel and deep down somewhere he also knew that his boyfriend was right; Dean was ‘good’, and with Cas by his side he would only keep getting better every day.