Genre: AU - canon, drama, pre-slash.
Characters, Pairing(s): Sam/Cas, Dean.
Word Count: 1400
Warnings: probable spoilers (for s7 and rest).
A/N: I'd like to thank my betas - rock_chick_333, nicole_sill, verucasalt123 & kimberlelly.
Summary: It took five hours for Castiel to open his eyes after escaping Purgatory (and using his powers to drag Dean out with him.
Sam is so glad to see Dean mostly in one piece. He takes him from Castiel, leading him to the bathroom, and Dean lets him. Castiel stays in the living room.
Dean is so drained, so empty of his usual fire, that Sam manages to clean up most of Dean’s wounds without the habitual difficulties. There’s no dirty looks, no fidgeting or saying he’s fine. There’s not even Dean’s usual ‘I can do it myself’ that makes Sam murderous at times. Dean just sits on the toilet bowl, eyes half-lidded – from exhaustion, Sam guesses – grunting once in a while when Sam touches an especially sensitive bruise or cut.
Sam disinfects everything, covers the more serious injuries in bandages, and smiles at Dean when his brother finally looks up. They’re both so busy being relieved – Sam for Dean returning alive, and Dean for being alive – that they don’t think about the care that Castiel in the other room may need as well.
Dean pushes Sam playfully when he stands to look at himself in the mirror. Sam just stands behind him, almost unable to move, afraid that if he tears his eyes away Dean will disappear again just as quickly as he arrived. Surprisingly, Dean lets him, dabbing at a cut under his eye.
“A picture would last longer, Sammy.” That’s the only reproach Sam gets, and he’s grateful for that familiarity. He’s been feeling so lost lately.
Sam remembers Castiel after a moment and leaves Dean to his bathroom ritual.
There wasn’t any flutter of wings earlier, announcing Castiel’s departure, which means he’s still in the motel room. But wouldn’t Castiel have followed Dean to make sure he’s okay, or said something by now? Not that he needs to do those things, really, it’s just that something feels off to Sam when he leaves the bathroom.
Dean asks for some privacy to use the toilet, so Sam goes to see, and Castiel is lying motionless on the motel couch.
At first, Sam thinks it was a conscious act – like that time when he passed out on their motel bed – but his shoes and coat are still on while he lies face-down against the couch. It just doesn’t seem right. An unwanted, bone-deep cold passes through Sam’s body, and he knows that this is more serious than he’d like it to be.
Sam takes a few breaths – to avoid startling Dean with a panicked voice – and then calls out. He almost manages to sound calm. But even if Dean notices, he’s probably too tired to come rushing out of the bathroom.
Dean does appear after a few moments (of Sam internally freaking out), and then drops down on the sofa next to the couch. He looks Castiel up and down, estimating the damage maybe, and Sam waits. The severity of the situation would have been more evident if Sam hadn’t removed Castiel’s shoes and coat, and placed him properly on the couch, but it’s too late now.
After what feels like an eternity, Dean sighs and leans back in the sofa. He doesn’t look bothered in the least.
“Cas is probably tired from having used up his mojo to get us out. He wasn’t sure he’d even be able to.”
Sam thinks about that; it’s true.
Castiel had never been to Purgatory, probably spent most of the time fighting while he was there, and then had to try and bring back not one but two bodies. Dean’s making sense. It settles Sam’s pulse a bit.
It’s only been three hours since Dean and Castiel returned from Purgatory, but he’s already grouchy again.
Dean is antsy and only getting worse the longer they wait. He’s still seated on the sofa, but he’s bouncing his leg, squeezing the armrest compulsively. And, unfortunately, Sam isn’t much more relaxed than Dean, so he can’t calm Dean down.
The internal worries have started to surface, and Sam is pacing behind the couch where Castiel is still sleeping. They’re not even sure if he’s sleeping or not, actually, because there’s no difference between a resting angel and a dead one. And it’s all supremely frustrating because there’s nothing they can do except pretend he’s sleeping. Hoping they’re right.
Dean is snapping. He complains about Sam’s pacing – which, fine, Sam may be overdoing it – but then he also complains about Sam’s too-long hair, the dark circles under his eyes, the way his clothes seem looser, and everything else he can think of.
Dean’s worried, but he doesn’t want to voice his fears, give them life, just in case that makes them so. Sam is sure that’s what’s going on in Dean’s mind because he knows how Dean thinks. And, also happens to be thinking the same thing.
The solution for most of Dean’s problems is alcohol. He looks around the motel for some, and when that doesn’t work, he paces, too.
One less thing for Dean to bitch at Sam about.
When all else fails, booze prevails. At least, that’s how Dean explains it.
That’s the last thing he says before he’s limping – he must have hurt his leg worse than Sam thought – over to his coat, throwing it on, and taking the keys to the Impala from the night stand. Dean also starts mentioning something about hustling pool, but he gets distracted, and Sam is too busy focusing on Castiel turning over on the couch.
So at least they’ve established Castiel isn’t dead.
Dean pretends he’s unfazed, but Sam knows him better than that.
The truth is, Dean can’t take watching Castiel so lifeless, not moving. It would totally be their luck. They being the Winchesters – which Castiel is now a part of until the day he dies.
Right after they escape – right after Castiel has helped save the world (again), done the right thing - he would die. That would be Winchester luck at its finest.
God is a sick bastard like that sometimes, Dean knows.
So Dean has to leave to avoid taking it out on Sam any more than he already is. Castiel isn’t going to get better that way, and Sam won’t calm down either if Dean can’t hold back his emotions.
Sam is left alone, worrying worse now that he sees how affected Dean is by this. He just wishes he could find some solace in knowing how bad Castiel’s situation is.
What did they face in Purgatory?
It’s going on five hours since Castiel and Dean returned, and Sam is exhausted just from this second round of the waiting game.
There isn’t anything he can do that will make things better for Castiel, so he concentrates on what will put his mind at rest.
A fallen angel is still an angel, regardless of his mistakes. Sam finds himself praying.
Sam sits on the sofa where Dean was, clutching Castiel’s hand since Dean isn’t around to tease him about it. With every word he utters, he strokes along Castiel’s knuckles, looking from their joined hands to Castiel’s face for signs of it working. Nothing yet, but Castiel’s gotten through worse.
Sam prays in every language he can speak, to every god he’s met – which, being a hunter, is a lot – begging them to give Castiel a tiny bit of strength, a slight push. Just enough for Castiel to pull through once more. It still doesn’t seem to be working.
Sam whispers a final prayer to Castiel, telling him that he is grateful for all the things he’s been through – always, always unnecessarily and life-threatening - and that he needs to survive this so Sam can thank him properly.
Dean comes through the door, loud and drunk, clumsy and sad, and nothing like his usual inebriated self. Sam doesn’t let go of Castiel’s hand, though, even with Dean watching him. It seems like Dean is about to comment, but then Castiel’s fingers twitch in Sam’s grip, and Sam’s mouth falls open. Dean mutters a few colourful things, having noticed, too. Castiel squeezes Sam’s hand, and then Castiel’s eyes slide open slowly.
Castiel’s done it. Or maybe Sam’s done it. Sam doesn’t care either way.
Dean just slurs, “You stupid son of a bitch”. But he’s grinning like a madman.
Sam smiles, too, bringing Castiel’s hand up to his lips, breathing out a silent prayer just for Castiel to hear.It must be Winchester luck after all.
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