Things worsen between Dean and Castiel,and Balthazar is determined to get Dean as far away from his old friend as possible. Only, Dean has to learn this the hard way.
“I won’t be long.” I mumble as I watch the water trickling slowly out of the tap from where I am sitting on the floor, with my back against the cold tiled wall.
“Do you need any help?”
I pause for a long moment before replying: “No! I’m not fucking handicapped.”
“I was only asking, baby.” Dean says in defeat.
“Well stop asking, okay? I’m fine, can’t you see that?”
“You’re not fine, Cas. You’re far from fine.” He sighs.
“Yeah…well maybe you should’ve thought about that before you hurt me; and don’t you dare say you’re sorry again.”
“You know I didn’t mean it. Come on, just open the door.” he says desperately, shaking the door handle.
“Don’t you dare come in.” I say quickly.
“You’re not hurting yourself, are you?” he asks slowly, warily.
“Don’t you trust me?” I snarl.
“No…actually, I don’t trust you at all. Not with all this self-destructive shit you’ve got going on at the moment.”
I screw my face up in disgust, half wanting to open the door and punch him hard across his jaw. I decide against that because, well, knowing me, I’ll probably just get locked in a padded room with a straightjacket if I get into another fight.
“If you think it’s a load of shit, why don’t you just leave?!”
“You know what, Cas? I’d be glad to.”
I listen as his footsteps disappear down the hall way, heavy feet on the wooden laminate, until the door slams shut and the apartment falls eerily silent.
Slowly, I open the door, stepping into the gloomily lit hallway of Dean’s one-bedroom apartment. I stand there in my boxers and Dean’s oversized shirt, feeling a draft from an open window somewhere in the house wash over my skin, causing goosebumps to spread like some sort of merciless epidemic.
“Dean? Come on…I didn’t mean it.” I whisper quietly, stepping further into the hallway towards the door. The whole apartment is so quiet I can hear the blood rushing in my ears and my heart thudding loudly. “Dean? Please come back. I don’t like being alone.”
The darkness of the hallway begins to overwhelm me, and I can feel the anxiety of being all alone in an unfamiliar place brewing in my blood. As I quickly make my way towards the living room, I stumble and trip over my nervous feet that just don’t seem to carry me as fast as I want them to.
“I don’t like being alone.” I whisper to myself as I steady myself on the kitchen table. My whole body has begun to sweat and my limbs have become shaky and unstable. “I don’t like being alone.”
When I look up, I see Dean’s phone lying on the sofa a few meters away. I stumble towards it and grab it in my sweaty hands, turning it on as quickly as I can. The first thing I click on is the address book. Obviously, I can’t call Dean if he left his phone behind…and I can’t call Doctor Hartman because she’d be mad if she knew Dean had left me all alone. The first name I recognise at the top of the contact list is Balthazar, and I don’t hesitate to dial his number.
“Dean? Why on earth are you calling me? Aren’t you busy fucking your-”
“Balthazar, it’s me.” I say quickly.
“Cassy? Are you okay? You sound worried.”
“I need you to help me.”
“Help you? Why? What’s wrong?”
“I’m all alone. I don’t like being alone.”
“You’re on your own? But I thought you went home with Dean.”
“Dean’s not here right now. He left me all alone.”
“Did he say where he was going?”
“Why did he leave you? There must be a reason…perhaps he just went to get the groceries.”
“He got mad at me and left.” I mumble. My eyes begin to grow hot with tears but I blink madly to hold them back (not that it does much good). “Please don’t tell Doctor Hartman. I’m begging...don’t say a word or she’ll never let me marry him.”
“It’s fine, Cassy, I won’t tell anyone. Can you tell me the address you’re at?”
“I don’t know.” I cry. “I don’t know the address, Balthazar. I’m scared.”
“Don’t worry, Cassy. I’ll get the address from your doctor. Just hold on, okay? That asshole will pay for this.”
“Don’t hurt Dean.” I beg.
“I won’t hurt him, Castiel, but he needs to learn that doing this to you is not right.”
“Because I’m fucked up?”
“You’re not fucked up, Cassy. You’re just different.”
“When has different ever been good?”
He sighs deeply. “Just hold on, okay? Turn the TV on; listen to some music; grab a pen and paper…just do something to distract yourself until I arrive.”
“I love you, Cassy. I won’t be long.”
“I love you too, Balthazar.” I breathe heavily as I hang up.
* * *
About half an hour after my conversation with Balthazar on the phone, I am startled from the book I am reading, Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim, by a sudden entrance into the flat with raised voices shortly following. I jump to my feet and peak round the corner of the living room into the hallway with the book tightly clenched in my hand. Dean has Balthazar by the fabric of his shirt and is pulling him down the corridor towards me.
“You don’t deserve him, Dean! How many times do I have to say that before you understand?” Balthazar growls under his breath, struggling to be freed from Dean’s grip.
“I swear to god, if you don’t shut your mouth I’ll call the cops.”
“And tell them what? That I was trying to rescue the mentally unstable teenager you have locked in your house? Yeah…go ahead, Dean. Somebody ought to know what a sick, sick, asshole you are.”
Dean shoves Balthazar hard against the coffee table, causing him to fall to the floor along with all the books I’d taken off the bookshelf to examine earlier.
“Cas,” Dean says breathlessly, turning to me with a somewhat more composed expression on his face, “are you okay?”
I turn away from him, keeping my eyes on the floor by my feet.
“See? The kid can’t even look at you anymore. Look what you’ve done to him!” Balthazar yells, climbing to his feet.
“I haven’t done anything to him.” Dean mutters, placing a hand on my shoulder (which I waste no time in shrugging off).
“YOU’RE A LIAR!” I scream. His stares at me, somewhat taken aback by my sudden outburst. “You’re a liar, Dean.” I cough.
“Cas?” Dean breathes in disbelief. He stares at me with pained, betrayed eyes. He takes a small step away from me and the distance makes my head pound in sudden, erratic outbursts. “What…what’s happening, Cas? Talk to me, baby. I’m begging.”
“Castiel, come with me,” Balthazar says, reaching a hand out towards me, “we can go back to the hospital and everything will be okay.”
“No.” I say quickly. I take a step back from both of them and I keep my eyes glued to the floor before me.
“Talk to me, Cas.” Dean says desperately.
“Can’t you see?” Balthazar hisses. “He doesn’t want you, Dean. He doesn’t love you like you love him.”
“That’s not true,” Dean says quickly. “That’s not true, is it, Cas? You love me, don’t you? Tell him the truth, Cas. Tell him how much you love me.”
“I love you.” I mutter to Dean. “I love you with all my heart, I swear.”
“Then what’s happening to us, baby? Why are we becoming this way?”
“It’s because I’m crazy, Dean.”
“This has nothing to do with what’s happening inside your head, Cas. And even if it is, we can work around it. Listen to me, baby, we can fix this. We can-”
“If you’d just let me die,” I say quickly, cutting him off midsentence, “we wouldn’t be in this mess. You should’ve just let Doctor Hartman turn the machine off.”
“And live a life without you? No thanks, dude. I’ve lost enough important things in my life, Castiel. I lost my mom because she came out looking for me one night after I ran away because of something my dad said, and the driver of the lorry that hit her didn’t see her pull out at that crossroad; my brother, Sammy, is locked in a high-control room at night because he lost his damned mind; I dropped out of university after you got put yourself in that coma and I dropped out so I could look after you and care for you…and be there for you whenever you needed me; I lost my dad – he doesn’t want to associate with me anymore because I like guys over girls and I sacrificed my last remaining member of family for YOU. So don’t you dare tell me again that I should’ve let you die, Castiel, because hearing your heart beating and seeming you smile is damn-near the closest thing I have to heaven. I can’t lose that, Cas. I can’t lose that because, if I do, what else do I have to live for?”
“I’m sorry, Dean.” I cry, running my hand through my sweaty hair. “I just wish I could find the words to explain how confused I am right now.”
“It’s okay to be confused Cas. It may seem that taking yourself this planet is the easiest way to sort all of this shit out – trust me, I’ve been there before, not as bad as this, but I’ve been there – but suicide is never the solution to any problem – no matter how big. Not now, not ever.” Dean says, wiping his cheek quickly with his hand. “Please…just let me help you.”
“I just want everything to be okay.” I cry.
“And it will be, Cassy.” Balthazar sighs.
“Let us help you.” Dean says, reaching out towards me.
Without looking up at his face, I take his hand and he pulls me into him as I let the book in my hands fall to the floor. I clutch the fabric of his shirt as I hold onto him, willing him to never let go of me. The feeling of his arms around me is enough to calm my nervous heart and convince me that maybe, just maybe, things will be okay if I try hard enough. Dean strokes the back of my head with one hand and holds me close with the other as I silently cry into the crook of his neck.
“You need to leave.” Dean says coldly, turning to Balthazar.
“But, Dean, my friend needs me.”
“Not now, Balthazar. He doesn’t need you anymore. Cas and I are going to make some lunch and then we will head back to the hospital. You can wait for him there if you really want to see him.”
“Don’t argue with me, Balthazar.” Dean says sternly. “You’re going to do what I say.”
Balthazar lets out a sigh of defeat and reaches out to place a hand on my shoulder. I don’t react to his touch; I just keep my eyes closed and my body pressed against Dean.
“I guess I’ll see you later, then.” Balthazar says.
“I guess.” I mumble as he walks out of the room. I listen to his footsteps on the hard ground as they disappear down the hallway and I only relax when the door slams shut.
I stay there, in Dean’s arms, for a few more minutes, not daring to break the silence growing ever-stronger between us. Dean lets out a strange whining noise that takes me a few seconds to process. When I finally work out what it was, I pull away from him just far enough to see his face clearly. He’s crying.
“Don’t cry.” I whisper, reaching up to stroke the tears away from his cheeks with my thumb. He smiles a weak, crooked smile and lets another tear escape, rolling effortlessly down his face until it drips of the end of his chin. The ghost-like words of things that had just been said are hanging in the air, and I search for something to say to take our minds off the whole ordeal without going through another round of ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I’m sorry, too’ or ‘I love you’, ‘I love you too’.
“I’m hungry” I announce, making my way into the kitchen.
Dean follows after me with a genuine smile this time – a smile of relief. He sits on the kitchen counter and follows me with his eyes as I prepare two plates with two slices of bread laid neatly on the top. Carefully, I begin to butter the bread, trying to force myself to think of something other than the events that had occurred this morning. I don’t want to think about those bad things that just happened. When I think about bad things, I do bad things to myself and that just makes everything worse. Besides, I feel really bad for shouting at Dean the way I did, and I just want to forget I ever opened my mouth.
“What do you want in your sandwich?” I ask over my shoulder as I open the fridge door, admiring its contents.
“Uh…cheese would be good.” He says. I grab the block of cheese from the second shelf of the fridge and place it besides the plates on the counter top, before hopping over to Dean and placing a shy kiss on his cheek. He smiles at me and I find myself blushing as I grab the cheese knife from the draw. “Need any help with that?” he asks.
“I’ll manage.” I mumble as I place the knife against the block of cheese. I press the blade hard onto the cheese, but it just won’t seem to budge. So I try again, but this time the blade slips and slices into one of the fingers on the hand I had holding the cheese block steady.
“Shit.” I hiss, pulling my hand away quickly as a sharp sensation spreads within the wound.
Dean jumps down from the counter quickly and takes my hand, examining the cut closely. “Hold on a second.” He says, sitting me down at the dining room table. I watch as he rushes around, searching through the cupboards until he finds a small first aid kit and a clean cloth. He wets the cloth and holds the first aid kit under his arm as he rushes to my side. He kneels down in front of me and takes my hand again, cleaning the wound gently with the cloth, holding my finger wrapped inside his own hand with enough pressure to stop the bleeding. Then he quickly applies a band aid to the cut and kisses my finger tip. “All better.”
I smile shyly, “thanks.”
“I’ll finish making the sandwiches. You can carry on reading that creepy-ass book you were reading when I came home.” He smirks as he heads into the kitchen.
“It’s actually quite I good book, from what I’ve read so far.” I call back.
He sticks his head round the kitchen archway and simply says, “I cried at the ending” before disappearing again.
* * *
“Why aren’t you with the light-of-your-pathetic-little-life?” Balthazar smirks as he approaches Dean who is sitting alone in the empty waiting room of the Intensive Care ward reading a car magazine.
“Castiel is with his friends, Meg and Lucifer, up in his room. I decided to give them some space for a while.”
“I’m surprised you can bear to be apart from him after he confessed his love for you earlier this morning. Oh, wait; wasn’t he just saying it to please you? Well that’s what it seemed like to me, anyway.”
“Shut your mouth, asshole.” Dean hisses, jumping to his feet. He throws the magazine back onto the chair he was sitting on and steps up to confront Balthazar face-to-face.
“Oh, Dean,” Balthazar smiles, “I do love it when you’ve got a temper on.”
“You’re sick.” Dean mutters as Balthazar takes another step closer. They were so close, their noses were almost touching and they could almost hear each other’s heartbeats when the room fell silent between them.
“Oh, please, don’t stop with your insults, Dean. I find it…flustering.” Balthazar whispers, reaching out to place a hand on Dean’s waist, pulling him an inch closer.
“Get your filthy hands off me.”
“You love it really, Dean. There’s no point lying to me because it’s evident to everybody right now that you’re extremely turned on. All it takes is a glance in the right direction.” Balthazar smirks. “Oh, and may I add: what a great performance you displayed earlier. I really started to believe that you really cared for Cassy. The whole desperate lovers thing…I love it. You should really use those acting skills more often.”
Dean leans in towards Balthazar, so close he could feel the younger one’s hot breath tickling his bottom lip. Balthazar looks into Dean’s eyes with an element of surprise and moves in to seal the distance between them. “Perhaps you know me too well,” Dean whispers in a deep, desperate tone. Just as their lips meet, Dean grabs Balthazar by the shoulders and knees him hard in the crotch- so hard he keels over in pain and collapses in a heap on the floor, doubled over in pain, “or maybe you don’t know me at all.”
“You asshole!” Balthazar spits as Dean reaches for the door handle.
“It’s called acting.” Dean says, winking sarcastically at the boy lying in pain on the floor before marching down the corridor, shaking the thought of kissing Balthazar from his mind (the thought of which, in all honestly, disgusted Dean so much that his stomach felt sick just considering it).
“You’re just going to walk away? Dean, you’ve never been one to disregard your problems like this. How about you put up a fight? Little Cassy would love to see you fighting for him.” Balthazar growls from behind me. When I turn around I see him standing in the doorway of the waiting room, holding onto the wooden doorframe to support himself.
“I don’t get you, Balthazar. Why are you doing this? Just drop it.” Dean says, turning back around. Balthazar stumbles down the corridor towards Dean, still in obvious pain from the blow to the crotch he’d suffered a minute or two ago.
“I’m trying to rescue Castiel, Dean.”
“From what? He’s fine with me. He loves me and I love him – that was how it’s always supposed to be.” Dean frowns.
“No, Dean. That’s not how it’s supposed to be at all. Want to know the reason I came all the way to Kansas from San Diego? Little over three months ago, I saw my best friend on the news, threatening to jump from the top of a twelve story apartment block in Chicago. First of all, I feared for my friend’s life. I had no idea he was still breathing until I saw him on that television at my grandmother’s house. I was distraught, Dean, like you’d never imagine. I was screaming, crying for someone to turn the TV off, so I didn’t have to witness the possible suicide of my best friend.” Balthazar says angrily, as if he was trying to force the words out with enough force to get his point across without having to relive the events inside his head.
“Carry on…” Dean prompts.
“He jumped, Dean. He jumped from that ledge but he was too late in doing so – a man had rushed to his aid just in time to save him. I’ve never been so thankful for anything in my life. If Castiel had died that day, I would’ve hated myself for not being there for him while he was going through hell. Next thing I know, there’s some hot-shot male-model type guy crying over the fact his friend, Castiel, had run away from home. That guy was you, Dean, and it sickened me to see that you were in love with him.”
“You were jealous?” Dean asks in confusion.
“No, Dean. I was righteous.”
Dean blinks at the boy a few times and shakes his head slowly in utter disbelief. “You’re just a homophobic asshole.”
“I’m here to save my little Castiel from becoming an abomination just like you. He isn’t gay, Dean. Castiel has never been gay and he never will be. What he feels for you is just a phase, and I’m afraid he’s going to marry you and then realise what a complete mistake he’s made. I’m saving you the inevitably brutal heartbreak from sinful love, Dean. Can’t you see that?”
“I can’t believe you, Balthazar. Who are you to decide who’s allowed to love who? You don’t know what me and Cas have. You’ll never understand it as long as you live.”
“Oh, Dean, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to love men; by all means, shove your dick in whomever you desire…just not my Cassy. My Cassy doesn’t need to have a sin like that thrust upon him…literally.”
“Well it’s too late to repent his sins now, Balthazar. He’s marrying me and there’s nothing you can do about it. Taking him away from me will just cause him to despise you even more than I do.” Dean says quickly, anger starting to swell within his veins.
“No, no, no,” Balthazar laughs, shaking his head slowly, “he’s not marrying you, Dean. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m late for a meeting with a lovely Doctor Hartman. We’re about to discuss the arrangements involving an old friend of mine’s transfer to an institute in Boston. Don’t worry, Dean, I won’t forget to mention the bruising I noticed around Castiel’s wrist or the fact you left a mentally unstable seventeen-year-old locked in your apartment while you went out to drink whiskey in the park – all the more evidence supporting reasons for his transfer, I guess.” He smiles, pushing past Dean as he makes his way down the corridor.
“You sonuvabitch.” Dean mutters under his breath, stranded, helpless, paralysed with fear for losing his Cas, in the middle of the corridor.