Title: Sterilize (Sequel to Overdose) T
‘After some guidance from the stationed nurses, general ‘who are you?’ ‘In what relation are you to the patient?’ ‘How do you not know the patient’s last name?’ and him telling the nurses to go kindly screw themselves in the nicest way possible to prevent himself from being kicked out before he even got to SEE Cas, he was pointed in the right direction.’
Room 137. Room 137…
Where the fuck was room 137?
After some guidance from the stationed nurses, general ‘who are you?’ ‘In what relation are you to the patient?’ ‘How do you not know the patient’s last name?’ and him telling the nurses to go kindly screw themselves in the nicest way possible to prevent himself from being kicked out before he even got to SEE Cas, he was pointed in the right direction.
After the paramedics had stabilized Cas enough to move him from their apartment, they’d shipped him out to the nearest hospital without allowing Dean to tag along. They’d fed him some utter bullshit about non-family relations not riding with the ambulance, and while that had pissed Dean off to no end—this was Cas’ life at stake. Screw what was left of his pride. So Dean had let the vehicle pull away and had followed in the crappy orange mustang with so many problems that he wondered if it was even worth fixing beyond keeping it running. He’d invested in it ever since The Accident had happened.
Dean missed his Baby.
Once he’d arrived at the hospital, the staff had the balls to tell him he had to wait. His neck flushed in silent anger as he brooded in the corner of the waiting room, green eyes snapping like jade spears at anyone who walked through those doors. He knew he was being over-protective, but this was Cas. Cas, who struck up conversation about the similarities between bees and angels at an In-n-Out Burger when they first met. The same guy who had an unhealthy obsession with board games; who remembered how he took his coffee when he was too stiff and hung-over to get it himself and who clung to him in his sleep when a storm raged outside, on some unconscious level still bracing himself for exposure to elements he didn’t have to feel again.
Dean’s head snapped up. “Yeah?”
The small blonde gave him a gentle, reassuring smile. “Mr. Collins is stable and recovering if you’d like to see him.”
Collins? Cas…? “What—” His voice rasped slightly, making him cringe and clear his throat. “What room?”
“Thanks.” And he’d taken off from there.
But seeing Castiel laying against the hospital cot, dark hair and pale skin a sharp contrast against bleach white sheets made his heart stutter painfully. An IV drip was attached to his elbow and a heart monitor clip attached to his finger. His friend was asleep, looking more peaceful as the IV worked to rid his blood of the high. Dean dragged over the visitor’s chair to his bedside, carefully looking over his wrist band and – yep, Castiel Collins.
Ironic that it had to take something this drastic for him to finally learn his last name.
Cas, when they agreed to move in together, had been adamant about not signing papers. Dean had never questioned it, just shrugged off the weird behavior and had gone to ask someone else to cosign his lease agreement. He’d never questioned it, never thought that Castiel had a darker past than what he babbled incoherently while on a trip. Turning his hand palm-up, Dean studied the different lines and creases of his hand. He studied the yellowing between his pale fingers from cradling cigarettes carefully. How calloused yet soft his fingers were, how there wasn’t much size difference yet when he slid his hand into Cas’, it seemed to fit into place almost like two pieces if the same puzzle.
He stayed like this, oblivious to the world around them—of the thrum of the hallway outside, the slow, steady beat of Cas’ heartbeat on the moniter, of the small sound of dry skin rubbing over dry skin as he rubbed small circles into the bend of skin between the thumb and forefinger of Cas’ hand with his own thumb—not even aware that he had fallen asleep until he woke up some time later, his head pillowed on Cas’ thigh, hand clenched in his grip and fingers threading through his hair as a pair of drowsy blue eyes watched over him.
“Hey.” Dean spoke first, not quite moving from his position despite the aching crick in his neck.
“Hello Dean.” Cas smiled, slow and somber. His fingernails scritched gently against his scalp, making the man shiver. “About time you woke up.”
“Fuck you very much.” He muttered, pulling away from the warm body. Cas’ hand slipped from his hair and remained draped over his lap. “The thanks I get for saving your ass.”
The smile dropped from Cas’ face, and Dean could have hit himself. “I had it under control.”
Gesturing around with his free hand a bit wildly, Dean snapped back, “Clearly.”
Azure hardened into sapphire. “I knew you were due home.”
“What if I wasn’t? What if I was stuck in traffic, or asked to work overtime, or—fuck, Cas! You could’ve died!”
“You’re always there!”
Dean opened his mouth to retort, paused, and then snapped his mouth shut. It was a loaded statement; one that edged more toward talking about what they were, about dependency on each other, reliance of having the other in their life. Squeezing his hand, Dean let Cas squirm his hand around and laced pale fingers between his own tan ones. Anger melted away, curbed in the face of a conversation both knew had to be done but neither wanted to have.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like I was pulled out of Hell.” Castiel murmured back, leaning back against his propped up bed. “Sore. Tired. Sick. Pick any of the above.”
They sat in thick silence after that, connected together by a set of tangled hands. Yet the small space between their bodies was like a chasm, arms like a thin bridge between. Dean wanted nothing more than to crawl into the hospital cot with him and hold him like he had any other trip. If but to reassure himself that Cas was alive.
But after this?
He didn’t know anymore. He didn’t even know what they were, technically. Lovers? Fuck-buddies? Were they even friends? Cas knew so much about him, but he knew so little about the raven-haired man. And that thought, that someone had so much leverage over him? Ice water ran through his veins.
“Why did you do it?”
Cas’ head snapped up from where he’d been studying the thin sheets. His eyebrows furrowed as his head tilted slightly. “I don’t understand.”
Dean’s features grew dark. “Don’t give me that. You know.”
The hand in his tightened before it grew slack. “You know, you look pretty hot when you’re pissed.” With a sigh and roll of stiff shoulders, Cas went back to studying the thread count. “I received a call from my brother today.” Another momentary pause. “He… I don’t know how he found it, but he did. The things he said…” Shivering, Cas tried to pull his hand away but Dean wouldn’t let him.
“How bad was it?” He surprised himself with how soft his tone was.
“Nothing I haven’t heard before.” Blue met green, and a smile that didn’t even echo in his eyes spread shyly. “Or told myself.”
Dean bumped their joined hands against Cas’ knee, but the man didn’t say anything. He knew how much it bothered Dean when he spoke lowly of himself. Why he still did it, he didn’t know. The fingers interlaced in his tightened slightly before going lax once more.
“You need to get some sleep.” Cas’ quiet admission came after a while, curling into the silent moment but not quite shattering the atmosphere between them.
“I slept already, waiting for Aurora to wake her sorry ass up.” Dean snipped back, irritated as he bit back a yawn. How did he know? How did he always know?
A slow, easy grin spread over his face, knowing and teasing with a bit of a gleam in his eyes Dean hadn’t seen in days. “Knew you liked my Disney Princess movies.”
“In your dreams, Cas.”
“We don’t watch Disney movies in my dreams, Dean.” The drop in his husky voice made him shiver.
“Dude, not in the hospital.”
“Prude.” With that easy grin, Cas gently rocked their hands back and forth. “You do need rest, Dean.”
“I’m fine, Cas. Quit worrying about me and focus on yourself.” He grumbled back, mostly serious. If he would just focus on himself… He wanted to ask Cas to quit, to slow down. But it would be pot calling kettle.
Suddenly, the hand in his was tugging at his arm insistently towards the crappy hospital cot. Dean glanced back to Castiel, whose face was a stone mask. How he could shift so quickly from emotions…
“I told you, not in the hospital—”
“Dean Winchester, get your perky ass in this bed and get some sleep. Now. You’re too tired to drive home.” That whiskey over gravel tone practically growled at him, and something in Dean jumped to obey. But not before –
“You’re pretty hot when you’re pissed.” Dean cheekily quipped, but moved to lie down next to Cas in the small bed. He allowed himself to be poked and prodded into a more comfortable position – he must be more tired than he thought – with his head resting against Cas’ sternum and pale, nicotine-stained fingers combing through his hair. Between the heartbeat under his ear and the gentle thrum of his chest as Castiel hummed softly, as well as the fingers trying their best to reset his part, Dean was well on his way to dreamland when the gentle humming stopped, replaced by the soft vibrations as he spoke.
“I— I’m going to try to quit.”
Dean pulled back off of the warm chest, eyeing his best friend with a sleepy emerald gaze which was returned with no hesitation. He leaned forward, lips brushing against Cas’ in a soft, near-non-existant movement that had the hospitalized man utterly speechless. Dean had never been one for public displays of affection in.. whatever they had going for them. He was surprised he got away with hand holding, getting Dean to nap in his bed was a rare, delightful treat.
” ‘m glad, Cas. Really am. ‘m tired. Almost lost you, remember?” Dean tucked his head back to his chest, searching for a moment until he found that steady heartbeat and closing his eyes. “Shut the fuck up and let me sleep.”
Cas chuckled softly, resuming his ministrations with Dean’s hair and picking back up on his humming. He got through a few bars, before he eventually picked up the lyrics.
“… Remember, to let her into your heart, and then you can start to make it better…”