Big thanks to denaworkshop for this fic's amazing artwork. She really has gone above and beyond, so be sure to go and give her lots of love, and don't miss the bonus art at the end of the story!
Original Prompt: Dean gets worked over pretty badly by a demon/windigo/etc. and has to let Cas drive the car. Cas wrecks Baby.
Warnings/Spoilers (if applicable): possible vague spoilers for season 9 because of Cas' condition. Otherwise, no partiular resemblance to canon
Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Castiel
Summary: The day started badly and went downhill from there ...
More fabulous art under the cut:
FROM BAD TO WORSE
In hindsight, it hadn’t been one of Dean’s best ideas.
He sort of felt bad leaving Sam back at the bunker. I mean the guy had been ill, really, really, horribly, gut-wrenchingly, firing-on-all-cylinders (literally) ill. He must have picked up some kind of stomach flu, or happened across a rogue prawn or something; but that was also kind of why Dean wanted to get out of the bunker. No correct that, Dean HAD to get out of the bunker, because … well, air freshener can only do so much.
It was a wendigo hunt, only fifty miles away; piece of cake. Quick, close, easy. Compared to Sam’s innards right now, even getting up close and personal with wendigo seemed a refreshingly fragrant diversion.
Of course, Sam hadn’t been happy. He’d bitched and whined relentlessly to Dean, and then he’d moved on to whining and bitching because Dean clearly hadn’t got the message.
Then he threw up all over Dean’s feet.
That was when Castiel had offered to join Dean. In an effort to keep the peace between the Winchesters, he’d offered himself up as security and back-up on Dean’s little excursion. He would be an extra pair of hands to help Dean in a fight and an extra pair of eyes to watch his back. He may be human now, but he had been a warrior of God after all; that had to count for something, right?
So why was it then, that six hours later, Dean found himself sitting here on top of a heap of charred wendigo remains with four deep gashes carved across his chest, a split lip and a very swollen and very broken wrist.
Warrior of God? My peachy-sweet ass! God needs to find himself some better freakin’ warriors.
For his part, Castiel was busy clucking and fussing around Dean, watching him intently with those soulful blue eyes and that constipated frown that he always wore when he thought he’d made a mistake.
And if he said ‘sorry’ one more time … broken wrist or not, Dean was going to start swinging.
Once they had assessed the damage and cleared up as best they could, they set about getting Dean back to the bunker, to comfort, safety and security - notwithstanding Sam’s fractious guts.
Together the two men limped back toward the Impala. Dutifully supporting the grumbling hunter, with an arm wrapped tightly around his waist, Castiel held Dean steady while taking care not to jostle the stiffening and darkening arm that Dean cradled gingerly against his wounded chest using his bloodstained button down as a makeshift sling.
“Freakin’ Sam’s going to throw a bitch fit,” Dean growled breathlessly; “He’ll take great delight in telling me he told me so. Over and over again.”
“I am so sorry,” Castiel sighed; “it was too fast. I have not become accustomed to how slow my human body is. When you are used to moving as an elemental particle of quantum energy, running seems surprisingly laborious.”
Dean sighed, grimacing as the gashes across his chest protested at the motion. “I get that Cas’, I do,” he nodded; “but what did you have to wear the goddamn trenchcoat for?”
Castiel shrugged miserably; “I feel naked without it.”
“Okay,” snorted Dean; “there’s a mental image I could do without.”
“I’m sorry you tripped over it Dean,” Castiel added meekly; “I did not intend for that to happen. The wendigo pulled it off me so rapidly, I had no time to pick it up before you tripped over it.
It was a long, slow trek back to the Impala, not helped by the fact that darkness was closing in. Their struggle against the Wendigo had taken them a good two miles further on than where their hunt had started, and exhaustion together with the chill that had begun to settle along with the darkness, made their progress uncomfortable and arduous.
With one arm trussed up in his makeshift sling, and the other holding the wadded mass of Castiel’s stupid trenchcoat pressed against his wound in an attempt to slow down the bleeding, Dean was reliant on the erstwhile angel’s over-enthusiastic, desperate-to-help, touchy-feely support to maintain his shaky balance through the gloom. Hell, the guy had no concept of personal space; getting down with the wendigo was no big deal compared to this.
When the clean, beautiful lines of the Impala eventually appeared in the distance through the deepening murk, Dean felt dizzy with relief.
That was until a dawning realisation fell upon him; how the hell does a man with a broken wrist drive?
The simple answer is: he doesn’t.
Eyes swivelling forlornly between the Impala and Castiel’s benign face which gazed back at him with that freakin’ dewy ‘how can I be of assistance, Dean’ look on it, Dean let out a miserable sigh.
He turned back to the Impala, his shoulders slumping with resignation; he could have sworn that if she’d had a head, she would have been shaking it at him.
“Don’t you dare,” she muttered wordlessly.
“I’m so sorry baby,” Dean groaned under his breath; “I’ll make it up to you soon, I promise!”
He took a deep breath. “Cas,” he mumbled, clumsily fumbling the Impala’s keys out of his jacket pocket with his one good arm and handing them to Castiel; “you’re gonna have to drive,” he stated economically.
Castiel nodded; “yes, of course Dean. I have practiced my driving since being human; I think I am quite good at it now.”
Dean nodded, looking distinctly unconvinced.
“Dean, I’m so…”
“Don’t freakin’ say it!”
Slumped into the Impala’s passenger seat, Dean cringed; his heart sinking rapidly as Castiel hesitantly stabbed the keys into the Impala’s ignition, stalling her twice before finally managing to settle her protesting engine into a softly grumbling cadence that seemed to reflect Dean’s thoughts on the matter.
With a pained crunch, he wrestled her into reverse, trying three times to pull back before Dean yelled a colourful reminder to him that he’d left the parking brake on.
If Dean had had the angel blade on him right at that moment …
After the initial dramas, Castiel had managed to get himself, the Impala and his bruised and bleeding passenger to within a mile of the bunker; and largely without incident, Dean was pleased to note. Castiel seemed to have an inexplicable talent for finding pot-holes to drive over, leaving Dean making a mental note to check the Impala’s suspension if they actually managed to complete this journey without further incident.
So of course, that’s when it happened; a further incident.
Dean felt the Impala swerve violently before he saw the flash of brown as the deer ran across the road in front of them. Lurching sideways, he cannoned into Castiel’s side as the desperate angel yanked the steering wheel round, first one way, then the other, blue eyes wide with panic as he mouthed his shocked exclamations.
Whoever would have thought that an angel knew such language?
The Impala careened sideways, skidding at a queasy angle across the highway before she mounted the grass verge alongside them, crunching gruesomely into the trunk of a nearby tree.
Dean groaned. Intense pain shot through his damaged arm which had been at various times during the brief episode been embedded in Castiel’s ribs, face and somewhere else Dean wasn’t even going to think about, and he felt the warmth of fresh blood seeping sluggishly through the barely healing welts across his chest, sharply reopened by the snatch of the seatbelt.
For a moment, the only sound apart from the creak of settling metal was the heavy breaths of the Impala’s two shocked occupants.
“What the hell d’you do that for?” Dean yelled, glaring furiously at his mortified driver.
Castiel’s blue eyes radiated shame; he looked like a naughty puppy who’d had his face rubbed in it.
“It was one of God’s creatures Dean,” he murmured sheepishly; “I could not see it harmed.”
“I’m one of God’s creatures,” Dean hissed, cradling his throbbing arm; you don’t seem to mind seeing me get my freakin’ ass kicked six ways to Sunday!”
Castiel shrunk down into the Impala’s leather upholstery under the weight of Dean’s glare.
“Dean, I’m so …”
“DON’T freakin’ say it,” Dean snapped. “I swear, if you’ve damaged my baby; angel or not, I will find your grace and shove it where even heaven won’t be able to find it.”
The pained creaking of fractured metal didn’t bode well for Castiel’s future wellbeing.
After an hour’s painful manoeuvring, scraping, pulling, pushing and a protracted exercise in trying to find reverse gear, Castiel had managed to start the Impala and reverse her back onto the highway. With Dean’s unique brand of encouragement (which mainly involved a threat to pluck Castiel’s wings and stuff the feathers up his ass), they managed to limp the final few hundred yards back to the bunker.
Coughing and spluttering, she chugged agriculturally along the road at a walking pace, listing on a flat tyre, with the steam spewing from her fractured radiator obscuring their vision.
Behind them, they could hear the intermittent tinkle of random components falling off her and littering the road behind them like a trail of breadcrumbs.
“I am really so sorry De…”
The bunker door swung open and the two men stumbled through into its shadowy depths. Desperate to redeem himself, Castiel fussed and fretted over his friend and was largely ignored for his trouble.
Placing a supporting hand in the small of Dean’s back, he gestured down the staircase.
“I know the frickin’ way,” growled Dean, easing his way down the stairs slowly and carefully.
Castiel sighed; “I’m really …”
Dean’s returning glare was enough to wither his vocal cords and consign him to silence.
Gingerly pulling out a chair, Dean slumped into it, leaning on the great wooden table, and dropping his head into his good hand.
Castiel stood beside him helplessly. It’s not every day a man breaks both their friend and their friend's car; Castiel really wasn’t entirely sure of the required etiquette in such a situation, so he resorted to fussing over Dean again.
“You need to splint that arm,” He mumbled; “and cleanse that wound.”
“Whatever,” Dean grumbled without looking Castiel in the eye; his voice muffled into the palm of his hand; “I’ve had worse - I’ll live.”
“Are you hungry?” Castiel tried another tack.
Dean grunted non-committally in response.
It wasn’t a denial, so Castiel took that as his cue to escape from the suffocating atmosphere of Dean’s fury with him and prepare some food.
Dean let out a sigh as Castiel went. What on earth was Dean thinking? Taking Castiel out on a hunt with him? The dude’s feathery ass was as much use as a fart in a tornado. He should have waited until Sam was better. Now Baby was broken, Dean was a goddamned useless one-armed bandit so couldn’t fix her and Sam would be revelling in sanctimonious ‘I-knew-best’ heaven for the foreseeable future.
Right at that moment, Dean knew that his life totally sucked.
On the subject of Sam … Dean chanced to look up. No sign of him; he must still be resting up. The atmosphere within the bunker didn’t seem quite as toxic as it did before, but this stomach flu, food poisoning, whatever the hell it was – must have really taken it out of him.
Dean was just easing himself out of his seat with the intention of going looking for Sam, when he heard the clink of a plate being set down in front of him, and turned to see a stack of sandwiches, stuffed full with thickly-carved ham. Castiel cautiously pushed the plate toward him. “Eat Dean,” he encouraged with a nervous smile; “you need to keep up your strength to heal.”
Dean grimaced as Castiel’s words brought him back to the here and now and his broken wrist and slashed chest gave him a synchronised reminder that they were there in all their glory, and totally determined to make his sucky life even suckier for the next few weeks.
His concern for Sam warred with his fatigue and hunger and, well … damnit … those sandwiches did look good. How was a guy supposed to stay angry with the nerdy dork who craps up his life when he goes and does a decent thing like this?
Reminding himself that he was still supposed to be pissed with Castiel, he grunted an ingacious thanks and picked up the top sandwich on the pile with his one good hand. Just the first one, he told himself, then he’d go and find Sam before going and cleaning himself up; and no, the angel wasn’t helping him with that; no way, no how!
Dean was midway through the fourth sandwich, lost in the midst of a blissful foodgasm – damnit, the little nerd had even remembered to put mustard in them - chewing and mumbling with hamster-cheeked bliss when Sam appeared in the doorway. Still dressed in a sweat-stained tee and sagging sweatpants, his greasy, unwashed bed-hair hung limply around and over his pallid face, partially hiding the dark circles under his eyes.
The sheen of sweat across his cheeks together with the weary sag of his broad shoulders showed that although the worst of the illness appeared to be over, he was clearly debilitated by its lingering effects.
“Hey Dean,” he croaked; “How’d it go?”
“Mmm-fff” Dean mumbled through the wad of chewed sandwich in his mouth; “how’re you?” he managed to add.
“Better,” Sam sighed, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck; “worst is over I reckon, just exhausted now.”
Dean nodded, pulling his injured arm in toward his chest to avoid Sam’s attention; no need to worry him with the details of today’s catalogue of disasters just yet. He shot a warning look to Castiel who shrunk timidly back into the wall, seemingly understanding its meaning. “Okay, that’s good,” he replied; “go back to bed Sammy, sleep it off. Me an’ Cas are back now, everything’s good.”
Sam nodded, giving Dean a weary smile which melded into a jaw-cracking yawn as he turned and trudged back out of the doorway toward his room.
Dean took another bite of his sandwich. At least Sammy was better, he mused as he chewed; that was the one good thing to come out of this craptastic day.
Once he’d cleaned up, he’d have to get Cas to splint his wrist – God help him. Then perhaps he could think about how the heck he was going to fix the impala. Awesome sandwich or not, he was sorely tempted to use Castiel’s head as a jack.
Polishing off the last of the snack, he was wiping his greasy fingers on the leg of his jeans, when he was suddenly disturbed by Sam’s voice behind him.
“Oh Dean,” Sam croaked, standing once again in the doorway; “by the way, I figured out what it was - the only thing I ate before I was ill – don’t eat the ham in the refrigerator. Better toss it in the trash … “
Dean looked down in horror at his empty, crumb-strewn plate, and then up at Castiel’s saucer wide blue eyes.
The horrified ex-angel’s mouth moved goldfish-like as he tried to find the appropriate words for the occasion.
“I’m so, so sorry De…”
“DON’T SAY IT!”