Dean hadn’t had to take care of anyone for a long time. For serious injuries and curses and whatever they could get themselves into, sure, they would take care of each other. But the flu… Dean hadn’t dealt with that since Sam was a kid. Adult-Sam didn’t want help. Angel-Cas didn’t get sick. Dean himself dealt with those things alone.
Human-Cas was another story. He’d never been sick before and he’d woken up radiating heat next to Dean this morning. After sending Sam to the pharmacy to stuck up on everything, Dean grabbed a couple of water bottles and went straight back to check on Cas.
“Are you sleeping?”
Cas had kicked off the blanket and was chest down on the mattress, facing away from the door. He hummed in response. Dean put the bottles on the night stand and hunched down in front of the former angel.
“How’re you feeling?”
Cas blinked and looked Dean in the eyes. “Cold… my head hurts.”
Dean brushed his hand though Cas’s damp hair, removing pearls of sweat from his forehead in the process. He was warmer than before that’s for sure. He picked up the blanket from the floor and covered the shivering body and took his cold hand in his.
“Babe. You need to drink some.”
“I don’t want to move. Can’t it wait?”
The low voice, had always rumbled Dean’s guts, mostly with pleasure, but the growl was completely gone. Cas sounded pitiful. Dean had never thought that he would see Cas like that, angel or not.
“C’mon. Let me help you up.”
Dean rolled Cas back and pulled him up to sit against the pillows stacked at the headboard. He waited patiently for Cas’s breathing to get back under control and then handed him the bottle.
The panic in Cas’s eyes had Dean reacting quick and on instinct. Between Cas being confused and his wobbly legs, Dean had almost carried his boyfriend to the bathroom. Dean wanted to wrap him in the blanket, but he was sure the convulsing man would fall the rest of the way to the floor if he were to let go.
“Shh. Catch your breath for a second.”
Dean didn’t let go of the shaking shoulders and when Cas pushed himself away from the toilet, Dean eased him back to lean against his chest. He thought it was only kids who threw up from the flu, but maybe he had something else too, or maybe he was just reacting like worse because it was the first time. His skin was burning. Dean felt his forehead. It was too warm, and Cas was getting too heavy in his arms.
“Hey. Wow, he looks like crap.”
Sam was at the door and Dean breathed a little easier.
“Help me get him back to bed.”
Sam nodded and grabbed Cas’s arm, but the movement had Cas, reaching for the toilet again. He held back. White-knuckling the seat, fighting not eject more of last night’s dinner.
“Cas. Get it out. I’ll be better after.”
Dean placed his hand on one of Cas’s and rubbed his back. Cas shook his head.
“I…” He gagged, but stopped and took a short shallow breath. “I don’t like it.”
“No one likes it.” He looked up at Sam, who had taken a step back, letting Dean handle it, but clearly ready to help if they needed it. He turned his attention back to Cas. “Sweetheart. Let go. You need to get back in bed.”
Cas shook his head again, maybe losing a little concentration, because his body won the fight and he heaved into the bowl. Cas’s hand turned under Dean’s and held tight to the hunter’s fingers.
“It’s okay. I’ve got you angel.”
When Dean was confident that Cas had nothing left to get rid of, he nodded at Sam, who helped him basically drag Cas back in bed.
“Dean.” Sam stood back while Dean covered the pale and shivering body with a sheath and then the blanket. “He’s extremely dehydrated. What’s his temperature?”
“There was no time. High.” He poured the content of the bag, Sam had brought back on the bed. “Go get an IV ready.”
“Sure. But Dean. You’re freaking out here. It’s just the flu.”
Dean stopped for a second to look at his shaking hands. He needed to calm himself down. Sam was right.
“I know, but he’s going downhill faster than I’ve seen before.” He took the thermometer Sam handed him. “I just don’t like it, Sam.”
Sam nodded and left the room, and Dean took a deep breath to slow things down a little before sitting on the edge of the mattress, holding Cas’s hand.
“You worry.” Cas’s voice was still too light, too timid. “Dean. I’ll be fine.”
“That’s right. But you might need a little help this time.” Dean gestured for Cas to open his mouth and placed the thermometer under his tongue, closing his mouth with the tip of his finger on his chin.
Dean reached over grabbing the stethoscope Sam had brought too, and reached under the blanket, not wanting to remove the warmth from Cas. His heartrate was a little too fast but strong and for what he could hear without turning to listen to his back, the lungs were clear. So far, there was no sign that this could turn into a case of pneumonia.
Sam walked back in as Dena checked the temperature.
“So, what is it?”
Dean read the number again. And again.
“Oral?!” Sam sounded as surprised as Dean was.
He walked over handing Dean everything he’d brought. Dean looked up, only to see his brother looking investigative at the almost sleeping man. He had that frown, that spread to his entire forehead, when he worried.
Dean spread everything out on the nightstand. “Cas, Babe, are you with me?”
Cas opened his eyes and sent Dean a week smile.
“Good. Listen, we’re setting up some fluids for you, so you don’t have to drink anything for a while.”
Cas nodded and closed his eyes slowly. Dean gave Sam the go-ahead to get everything ready. He was happy to have Sam’s help, he didn’t like this blob of a worried mess Cas could turn him into, but everything that involved touching Cas, with… anything, he’d do himself.
He unwrapped Cas’s arm from the blanket and held his hand tight. Cas hummed and looked up at Dean with small eyes.
“I’m gonna place it right here, okay?” Dean cleaned the backside of Cas’s hand with an alcohol swab.
“Okay.” There was only a whisper left when Cas spoke, and Dean found himself longing for that pitiful sound he’d used earlier.
There was a heavy hand on his shoulder. He looked up. Seeing Sam looking worried at him now, made him realize that he’d hesitated. He lifted Cas’s hand and skillfully found a vein with the needle. Cas moaned a little and pulled his arm, weakly, not enough to interfere with Dean doing his job.
“Shh, Cas. All done.”
Sam set up the rest and Dean grabbed the vial with B12, pulled the vitamin into a syringe and took of the needle.
“Got a new needle?”
Sam handed him a sterile one.
“Are you hitting him with everything?”
Dean planned on it. He needed to do what ever was in his power to get Cas better, for Dean’s own sake too.
“Do you see him? Sam if I ever look like that, you shoot me up with everything.”
Dean felt Sam’s smile radiating behind him but didn’t give it another thought. He covered Cas’s arm carefully with the blanket before he brushed the back of his hand over the grayish skin on Cas’s cheek and chin.
“Cas. I need you to roll to your side.”
Cas looked like someone had just taken the last peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Dean’s heart shattered as he saw Cas’s lower lip quivering.
“It doesn’t hurt when I don’t move.”
If Sam hadn’t hunched down next to Cas and taken charge, Dean could very well have given in to his angel.
“Cas. Dean and I will help. You don’t have to move after that.”
Dean squeezed Cas’s hand and nodded in agreement whet the exhausted man looked up at him.
Cas moaned in obvious discomfort as the brothers turned him to his side. He grabbed Dean’s arm and looked him straight in the eyes as he gagged. Nothing came.
“Take it easy. Relax now.”
Sam handed them another pillow and helped get Cas situated so he wouldn’t accidently roll of the bed. Dean took Cas’s hand and placed it in Sam’s. He folded the blanket to the side and his boyfriend’s boxers down just enough, so he could clean the skin on the upper part of his cheek.
“Sorry about this babe. This one will burn.”
He took the syringe and looked at Sam. His little brother squeezed Cas’s hand and brushed a hand though his hair while looking the angel in the eyes. He sent a confirming nod that Cas was as relaxed as he was going to be.
The muscle tensed as the needle went in but quickly relaxed. The liquid was the worst, Dean and Sam both knew it would be. Cas hissed sharply and tensed so Dean had to stop.
“Angel. You have to relax, or this will get so much worse.”
Dean felt him relax almost immediately and he was able to push in the rest of the vitamin, with only the quiet moans as protest.
Covering Cas up quickly and almost pushing Sam away, he took Cas’s hands.
“All done. You sleep a bit now, okay?”
Cas nodded and squeezed Dean’s hand before closing his eyes and relaxing his muscles. Dean hated this. He could do nothing but to wait for this to blow over, and Cas was still not out of the woods with the fever. It scared him that it was that high and didn’t seem to break soon.
“Can I talk to you for a second?”
Sam had retracted to the other side of the room and Dean really didn’t want to go that far from Cas, but Sam seemed like he wasn’t leaving them alone until he’d talked to Dean.
“I’ll be right back.” Dean picked up and kissed Cas’s hand and after standing he bent down to kiss his forehead. Still extremely hot.
Cas hummed and let go of Dean.
“Dean. He’s burning up.”
The voice coming out of his mouth sounded way more helpless than it did Dean’s head.
“You need to knock it down. You can’t just let him sleep. I don’t think it’s safe.”
“You saw him. He can’t hold down water. I don’t think pills will do him any good and I’m not giving him an ice bath before I have to. I’m just not.”
Sam shook his head and grabbed Dean’s wrist, forcing his palm up. He slapped a small packet into his hand.
“We still have these…” Sam folded Dean’s fingers around the box and let go. “…you refused to take them, remember?”
“Yeah well, I lived.”
“You didn’t have a fever of 105…! And if you did, I would have drowned you in ice!”
Dean looked at the suppositories in his hand. “I don’t think…”
“Dean! He’s your boyfriend. I’m sure it’s not a big deal.”
It wasn’t. Not for Dean. He looked at Cas, sweating, panting, and half awake starting to pull of the covers again. He didn’t have a problem with doing this for Cas, but he knew that he would most definitely have a problem, had it been the other way around.
“Hey. Dean.” Sam pulled Dean back towards him with a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll leave you to it.”
Dean tightened his jaw and nodded, before walking back to the bad.
“Holler if you need anything.” Sam closed the door behind him.
Dean climbed into the bed as if he was going to be the big spoon. He would love to do nothing more than hold his boyfriend but not just yet. He rubbed his hand on Cas’s back, damp with sweat but hot enough that the skin felt dried out. Cas took a deep breath in, pushing his back closer to Dean’s touch.
“Sorry. I know I said we were done, but we need to knock your fever down.”
Cas took another deep breath and the exhale formed a single word; “Okay.”
Even just being a whisper, the word still sounded like Cas had given up on… well, everything.
“I promise, we’ll sleep after this.”
Dean moved Cas’s boxers down under his butt and pushed himself up to sit, so he had both hands free. He opened the package and hated that his hands were shaking again as he tore open the little package with lube and covered the pill.
“Bend your leg sweetheart.” Dean pushed at Cas’s knee to let him know what he meant.
Cas seemed to have caught up with what was happening. He lifted his head and tried to turn and look at Dean, but the hunter held him in place and eventually Cas let him move his leg up.
“You can’t hold down anything and you need this inside you.”
It took a second for the message to register with Cas and for him to relax his head on the pillow again. Dean laid down and kissed Cas’s neck. He moved his hand through the former angel’s hair and let it fall to his shoulder, while letting the other hand guide the pill to Cas’s ring.
“Okay, Angel?” Dean heard Cas calm his breathing and felt him relax his entire body.
Dean pushed the pill in and Cas’s hand found Dean’s on his shoulder. All done, Dean quickly pulled Cas’s boxers up, trying to save just a little dignity for the poor guy, and then wrapped his arm tight around the shivering man’s middle.
“Now, we sleep.”
Dean was happy to be able to keep the promise, half of it anyway; Cas would sleep but Dean wouldn’t, not until the fever was going down. It was 11 am anyway. He moved his hand from under Cas’s, only to grab the cold hand and hold it in a firm grip, feeling it go limp as Cas fell asleep shaking in his arms.