Lost Tides (Remix - Written for the Dean-focused h/c remix challenge)Author: annonwriteCharacters:
Dean, Castiel Genre/pairing:
Gen (could be considered some slash right at the end) Rating:
Through 5.03 Original story: Lost Saints
by ariadnes_string Summary:
Dean is sick, Castiel is worried, and slightly out of his element. Disclaimer:
The original story and most of the dialogue belong to ariadnes_string
The rest most definitely does not belong to me.
Castiel had never been a huge fan of phones. If it hadn’t been for the Winchesters, he probably never would have used one. But when he needed to reach Dean, they were a necessary evil.
He pressed the receiver to his hear, listening as ring after ring went unanswered. Eventually a woman’s robotic voice came on the line, saying that the person at Dean’s number was not available, and to please leave a message, followed by an annoyingly high-pitched beep.
Castiel pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it. Why was a woman on Dean’s cell phone line, and why did she want him to leave a message? All he wanted was to talk to Dean. To tell him about the latest clues he’d received.
Maybe he’d dialed the wrong number in his urgency. He hung up and dialed Dean’s number again, this time pressing each button carefully. Again, he held the phone to his ear and waited.
It wasn’t Dean’s usual greeting, but it wasn’t the robotic woman’s voice either. “Dean,” he said before launching into the latest information. When he got to the end of his spiel, he stopped, waiting for Dean to ask a question or say something sarcastic in response. But neither one happened.
Surprised by the silence, Castiel pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it again. It showed that the line was still connected, but it obviously wasn’t working correctly. He put the phone back up to his ear. When he listened very carefully, he could hear heavy breathing. “Dean?” he said, wondering why none of those breaths were being used to answer him. “Dean?” he called again, more insistent this time.
“Yeah, Cas, I’m here. Look – “
Castiel noted Dean’s deep, raspy voice and stopped him before he could get any further. “You don’t sound well. Has something happened?”
“Nah. Just picked up some bug. I’m gonna help you, Cas, I am, but if we could put it off for a day, coupla hours even – “
Castiel knew Dean well enough to know that if he was asking for a break, things were not good. Not good at all. “Where are you?” he interrupted.
“Virginia. Somewhere between Fredericksburg and Richmond. Motel 6. But look, I’m just…”
He didn’t wait for Dean to finish. He hung up and pocketed the ridiculous technology before going to find Dean.
Inside the motel room, Castiel took stock of the situation. The lights were off and the blinds were closed even though it was the middle of the day. Dean was tucked so deep into the blankets that he was barely visible, even though it was warm in the room. The heater on the wall clicked and whirred with effort.
For some reason, Castiel felt compelled to sit on the edge of the bed and press his hand to the eldest Winchester’s forehead.
Dean’s eyes fluttered open. “Cas,” he said, sounding even more vulnerable and weak than he had on the phone.
“You have a fever,” Castiel said, dropping his fingers down to Dean’s flushed cheeks. The heat there was remarkable.
Something sparked in Dean’s eyes. “No shit,” he said as he pulled his head away, and Castiel wondered if he’d done something wrong. “That’s what I was trying to tell you. So, look, I’m not gonna be much use to you tonight. I really just need to get some rest. Lemme call you in the morning, and we can pick it from there, yeah?”
Maybe it was the hoarseness that took all of the bite from his tone. Maybe it was the labored breathing that made Dean pause every few words. Maybe it was the pinched expression that showed he was clearly in pain. Whatever it was, Castiel knew that Dean shouldn’t be alone right now. “I’ll wait.”
“Really, I’ll be fine,” Dean said as he closed his eyes, perhaps to hide a grimace. “Just gonna sleep, you know?”
Dean blinked his eyes open for a split second before shutting them tightly again. “Whatever, man, knock yourself out.”
When Dean rolled onto his side and shivered, Castiel thought he detected a slight moan, and knew he was doing the right thing.
It didn’t seem natural to stay seated on Dean’s bed once he was asleep, so Cas got up. He walked around the room, studying the framed artwork on the wall, wondering why the swipes of color were significant. He looked at the pen and small pad of paper that both read “Motel 6.” He checked out the coffee pot on the counter and the placard that listed the television channels near the remote control. Eventually, he ended up back at Dean’s side, where he appeared to be sleeping soundly for the moment.
Castiel walked over to the desk and pulled out the chair that had some kind of small burn or tear in the upper right-hand corner. He positioned the chair at the foot of Dean’s bed and sat, watching him, waiting for him to wake up and need something.
As day shifted into night, Castiel got up just long enough to turn on the light in the bathroom, leaving the door open just enough to illuminate the room in case Dean woke and needed to see.
At one point, Dean did wake. He rolled onto his side and his eyes fluttered open, eventually settling on Castiel. Dean squinted and blinked, but didn’t say anything. Castiel leaned forward, ready to help if need be, but it appeared that what Dean needed most of all was more rest. Castiel indicated his head in Dean’s direction, and he went back to sleep.
The later it became, the more restless Dean’s sleep became. He writhed and moaned on the bed, muttering things that Castiel couldn’t understand. He thought he heard Sam’s name once or twice, and realized that Dean must be dreaming.
As Dean’s cries for Sam became more pronounced, Castiel abandoned his chair and stood at Dean’s bedside. He kept one hand instinctively stretched in Dean’s direction, which he was grateful for when the eldest Winchester suddenly lunged forward off the bed.
“Dean,” Castiel said firmly, pushing him back towards the mattress, “wake up. You’re dreaming, Dean. Wake up.”
The arm that wasn’t pinned down swung up in the general direction of Castiel’s face. Castiel pulled back to avoid the contact before pinning that arm down as well, holding Dean still as he tried to wriggle away.
After a few long seconds of fighting, Dean’s struggles slowed and came to a stop. His bloodshot eyes opened. He was breathing hard, which led to a dry cough.
“You were dreaming,” Castiel said again, voice softer now. He put one hand under Dean’s arm, helping him to sit up against the headboard and hoping to ease the cough. “It was only a dream,” he said, and for some reason made a shushing that he supposed was intended to comfort.
Dean’s coughing stopped, but his chin dropped to his chest with a moan.
Thinking that he must still feel quite poorly, Castiel pressed his fingers to Dean’s forehead and cheeks. “Your fever’s gotten higher,” he said, voice soft. “Do you have anything you can take for it?”
“Mmm,” Dean managed, “Tylenol. Bathroom, next to the sink.”
Castiel located the pills and remembered to bring a cup of water with them. Dean dug out from under the covers just long enough to swallow three of the pills with several sips of water. He lay back down and pulled the blankets tight around him, but it wasn’t enough to stop the shivering. Castiel walked over to the heater on the wall. It was still clicking and whirring. When he held his hand out, he could feel heat trickling from the vents.
“Heat’s working fine,” Dean said in his raspy tone. “It’s just chills. From the fever.”
Castiel turned and dipped his head, wondering what he could do to ease Dean’s suffering. He shuffled through the hotel dresser drawers, pleased when he found another blanket. But as he spread it over Dean’s frame, he realized how thin and threadbare it was. It wouldn’t do.
Castiel looked around as Dean shivered. It came to his realization that with the human body temperature of 98.6 degrees, the warmest thing in the room was him.
Without asking for Dean’s permission, Castiel removed his coat and lifted the covers on the bed. Dean moaned slightly, but Castiel just shushed him again as he sat against the headboard on the mattress next to Dean. He pulled the blankets tight around both of them.
It took only a few seconds before Dean rolled over, nuzzling his forehead into Castiel’s hip. Instinctively, Castiel draped his arm around Dean’s back, adjusting ever so slightly until Dean seemed to relax.
Eventually, the shivers stopped and Dean’s breathing evened back out into sleep. Castiel stayed with Dean as he slept and the fever melted out of him the rest of the night. It was quiet. Warm. Nice.
Castiel just had to remember to ask Dean about the robotic woman’s voice on his phone line when he woke up…