Title: Battles Lost
Author: vaderina
Rating: PG
Genre and/or Pairing: Dean/Castiel, very minor Sam/Gabriel
Spoilers: None
Warnings: None
Word Count: 663
Summary: Dean needs silent comfort after a hunt gone wrong.


The silence in Bobby's house was deafening. Sam and Dean had turned up the night before, exhausted by their latest case which hadn't gone according to plan. Without a word, Dean crashed on the couch and stared at the blank TV. A few hours later, when Sam had spoken to Bobby, showered and eaten, he sat with Dean in silence for a little while. Dean didn't speak, nor did he move. He just ran his thumb over a tattered piece of ribbon clutched in his fist and stared. As the sun set, Sam draped a blanket over his brother's unresponsive form and headed out to the kitchen. He was mildly surprise to see Castiel standing there, almost as if waiting for him.


"What's wrong with Dean?" he asked. Always, Dean came first for him. No "hello Sam" or "are you okay?" or anything like that. Castiel was all about Dean these days. Come to think of it, he'd always been just about Dean.


"Bad case." Sam said gruffly. He too had the bitter after taste from a case gone wrong. But Dean always took cases with kids involved worse than Sam. Then again Sam wasn't the one to end up with just a fistful of bloodied ribbon to show for his efforts. Castiel didn't say anything, just walked softly past Sam, his shoulder gently bumping into the younger Winchester's. Sam watched, leaning against the door frame as Castiel stood next to the couch. Dean didn't look up at him. Sam felt smaller arms wrap around his waist, warm fingers brushing against his stomach. He reached to fist cover then entwine his fingers with Gabriel's while a forehead rested against his back and arms tightened in a protective circle.


The silence prevailed in the house as Castiel looked down at Dean. Then, without any preamble, he removed first his trench coat, then suit jacket. Shoes followed, all forgotten in a messy heap as the angel lifted to the covers and slid in next to Dean. Nobody said anything, Dean didn't move, just let Cas rearrange him to make more room for them. One arm snaked under his body while Dean just carried on staring. The angel let the heat soak through him as he just lay there next to Dean, waiting for him. Half an hour passed, only Dean's even breathing and convulsive grip of his fist showing signs of life. His eyes were blank and devoid of all seeming emotion. Eventually though, Cas' patience paid off. Dean slowly thawed, beginning with his eyes which crinkled in sorrow while his mouth took up residence between his teeth. His arms curled round the angel's body, pulling him possessively close, face buried against his chest, feeling the thump thump of steady, reassuring heart beat. Cas let his hands slowly run up and down Dean's back, soothing bitten back emotions, while hands clutched desperately at his shirt, balling it up, crinkling the crisp smooth material into scrunched up handholds of anguish. And if his shirt soaked up a few errant tear, nobody need know it.


When Bobby rolled past the couch for a drink of water later on during the night, he paused to take in the scene his living room offered. And angel with arms curled loosely around Dean, protecting the boy while he slept. Dean, for his part was still burrowed against Castiel, hands loosely fisted in a the scrunched up shirt. Before Bobby continued on his way past, he picked up the piece of ribbon that had fallen to the floor. After a minute of consideration and a scrutinising look from the angel, Bobby took the ribbon with him. Dean didn't need yet more reminders of people he had failed to save. Looking back over his shoulder, Bobby watched with amused tenderness as the angel kissed the top of Dean's head before settling back with his cheek against hair, eyes closing with a soft sigh and arms pulling his hunter closer.