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Counting Stars Chapter Two

He went in and out of consciousness, never able to achieve a deep sleep, rather patches of restless sleep that eventually brought him to morning.

He was awoken by the sound of Deans voice.
Deans voice faced once more he laid still contemplating his situation. He had wanted to be free of his father, and now he was. It might not be the way he had been expecting, but here he was, far from the man who had controlled every aspect of his life. He closed his eyes, moving into a more comfortable position. He listened listening to the sounds of the forest, so different from the constant thrum of noise of the city. Under other circumstances it would have been peaceful, ideal.
He couldn’t quite make out the words but he could hear his voice was heated, and he was pacing again. There was the sound of another voice, higher than his, and he knew this must be the mysterious associate his kidnapper had been talking about. The pacing stopped, then started again. Eventually they moved further into the cabin and he wasn’t able to hear anything else. He listened to the silence for a while, and this time when he fell asleep he didn’t awake until it was light out.
He moved his stiff muscles protesting the awkward sleeping position. He sat up, trying to fix his clothes that had bunched and twisted in uncomfortable ways while he slept. He wasn’t awake long before he heard the sound of footsteps coming towards him. He unconsciously sat up ramrod straight, something his father had drilled into him, to always maintain good posture. It was the only reason he always wore a suit. His father firmly believed that, Castiel was a reflection on the company and maintaining a proper appearance was paramount. No need for anyone to know what went on behind closed doors as long as the outward appearance was a favorable one.
Dean, 'Smith', as Castiel needed to remember to call him, walked into his room and leaned against the door frame, “Sleep well?” He asked. Castiel didn’t know what to say, so stayed silent, looking down rather than at the other man.
“Fine, have it your way.” He walked towards the bed and Castiel couldn’t stop pushing back, away from him, towards the wall. But Dean was undeterred and didn’t comment as he unlocked the cuffs from Castiel’s wrist, and put a hand on his arm to pull him up. "Come on,” was all he gave in way of explanation as he led Castiel into the cabin. He walked along obediently, and felt no small amount of relief when he was led the bathroom, opening the door and gesturing for him to enter. “Go on, you can clean up and take a shower. I can’t guarantee the water will be hot, the plumbing system in this place is a bit iffy at best.” There was a fond affection in the man’s voice when he talked about the cabin and Castiel wondered what this place meant to him. But he knew better than to ask, instead walking into the bathroom, grateful for the time alone, the closing behind him.
He felt a good deal of relief as he shed his layers of clothes and studied himself in the mirror. Bruises and scars, old and new, covered his body. Nothing he wasn’t used to. But his wrist was sore and raw from the cuffs, he must have been having nightmares and had thrashed hard against the metal. He rarely remembered his dreams, and they came back to him as an impression of pain and a pervasive, consuming darkness.
There was nothing in the bathroom, not even a toothbrush. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap were the only commodities left him. He supposed this was a precaution done to ensure he didn’t try to arm himself. The idea was almost amusing. Dean had a gun, and he was afraid that what, Castiel would try to stab him with a toothbrush? It didn’t matter anyway, Castiel wasn’t going to try to escape. He had no idea where he was, and his survival instinct was too strong to take any chances. That was one thing Castiel was good at it, he might not be selfless or brave, but he was a survivor.

He climbed into the shower and was pleased to find that Dean’s prediction about the water was incorrect, it was actually quite warm. He showered, enjoying the water thoroughly and stayed in as long as he felt like he could justify. When he stepped out, he found a towel and clothes waiting for him. His clothes were still present in a pile on the floor, but on the counter there was a folded t-shirt, hoodie and jeans. He hesitated, looking between the two. Giving him clothes to change into was a kindness he hadn’t expected from the man who had taken him. And as much as he wanted to make a point by putting his own clothes back on, he loathed the thought of getting back into the suit.

When he emerged from the bathroom, as he expected, Dean was waiting outside the door for him. “Good, I was hoping the clothes would fit, they are a little big, but not too bad.” He paused before adding, “You look shorter somehow, out of the suit.”

Castiel tried to keep his expression blank, but must have given something away because the other man smirked before adding, “It’s a good look on you. You look less stuffy and uptight out of the suit.”

He did feel better like this. Physically at least, he was still fighting against the growing panic of his situation.

“Look, things have become a bit more…complicated. This might take a bit longer than I anticipated. I know the accommodations aren’t exactly the ritz, probably a pretty far cry from what you're used to, but I think we can make it work for a little longer. Anything I should I know about, any allergies? I don’t want to accidentally poison you.”

Castiel fixated on the word complicated. He was going to be here longer than Dean had expected. There weren’t many things that could cause ‘complications’…except. “My father wouldn’t pay the ransom, would he?” He blurted it out without thinking. As soon as he said it he wished he could take the words back. He already knew the answer, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear confirmation.

Dean shifted, looking uncomfortable. “No. My associate thinks your father thinks we’re bluffing, she thinks if we give it a day or two he’ll come around. Or maybe he’s already contacted the police or something.” He said it as if he was trying to reassure Castiel as much as he was trying to convince himself. Castiel nodded, as if he believed that was true. He didn’t ask, and didn’t want to know, what they had told his father, what threat he believed they were ‘bluffing’ over. He wanted to believe his father was biding his time that he truly cared about getting Castiel back. But a part of him had always expected this. Perhaps his father was relieved to be done with Castiel once and for all.

Dean let out a soft curse and Castiel looked up, uncertain what he was doing. “Your hand looks terrible, come on, I can get that patched up.” He led Castiel into the living room and sat down on a beaten up old flannel sofa, indicating for Castiel to sit by him. Dean pulled out a duffle bag and got out gauze and antiseptic and set to work cleaning the cuts and scrapes where the metal had cut into him.

Something had changed. Dean’s demeanor was different now, his actions seemed softer, less severe. Even the smiling skull of the bandana covering his face looked less intimidating. He wondered what had caused the change of heart. He had thought that being denied ransom would have made him angrier, he had expected to feel the full weight of the man’s wrath. Dean fixed up how wrist in silence, working with a practiced precision that made Castiel wonder if Dean had experience mending wounds.
Dean looked up when he was done, “there, that should feel better. Look, as long as you promise not to go anywhere, we can do away with the cuffs. I mean, honestly, I don’t see you getting very far, anyway. We are pretty far from civilization.”
“Why are you doing?” Cas’s voice was soft and he didn’t look up from the bandage on his hand. He could feel Dean’s eyes assessing him, and he doubted the other man missed the bruises and marks he tried to hide.
“It’s not about the money, if that’s what you’re thinking. I mean, it is about the money, but mostly it’s about making things right. Dick Roman isn’t a good man. But I suspect you already know that.” Dean was silent, as if waiting for an answer. When he didn’t get one, he continued, “I’m guessing you know first hand exactly what kind of a monster he is. But why stay silent? Why not tell the world what he’s really like?”
Castiel shifted, uncertain of how to make Dean understand. “He’s controlled my life. He made sure I was never in a position to talk to anyone that mattered, not without supervision. He rarely lets me leave the house. He has been trying to groom me into his successor since I was a child. For a long time I went along, because it was easier that way. But as I got older and his expectations of me became….darker, I began to resist his control. He didn’t take it well.”
“So that’s why you have the fake IDs? Trying to get away?”
“Yes. It took me a long time to find a way out, to find someone who, I couldn’t trust exactly, but I was reasonably sure wouldn’t turn me in. You can’t send me back to him. Even if he does pay the ransom, I can’t go back. Tell him I’m dead, tell him you killed me or I ran away, anything. Please.” He hated the desperation in his voice, and when he was met with silence he looked up. He didn’t expect to see Dean looking sad and for a moment Castiel thought he might give in.
“I can’t do that. Not yet. There’s still a chance Dick might pay if he thinks you’re alive. If he does…we’ll figure something out.”
It wasn’t exactly the answer he was hoping for, but it was more than he had been expecting.
The next few days passed in a sort of haze for Castiel. He was allowed more freedom, Dean even let him go outside. Castiel wanted to believe it was because Dean was beginning to see Castiel was not like his father, and was a good person. But he knew it was most likely because Castiel had no way of finding his way to civilization, even if he wasn’t locked up. He was supervised, Dean would stay close wherever he went. He found his presence felt less ominous, and he began to become accustomed to the man’s presence.
Dean’s “associate” started streaming movies on her laptop and introduced Castiel to a show called “Dr. Sexy M.D.” Dean would sigh and roll his eyes every time he saw them watching it.
As the days passed and Castiel remained unsurprised that his father had no interest in helping him. It would be easier this way, if Castiel just went away. Perhaps it should have, but it didn’t bother Castiel overly much. What did bother him was Dean’s continued refusal to give a definite answer as to what was going to happen.