The pungent smell of weed practically hit Dean in the face with a two-by-four the moment he walked in, but he tried his best to ignore it as he continued his way towards Cas' bed. The fallen angel wasn't sleeping, but he was doing a good job at pretending. Despite it being reasonably warm outside and even warmer in the cabin, Cas was shivering. Dean felt it had more to do with the chemicals in his system than the temperature of the room. "Cas."
"What?" The response was muffled as Cas--the shapeless pile of limbs and blankets he was--turned his head into the pillow, maybe to hide his eyes from the light, maybe to keep his sweat-drenched face hidden. To say that he was ashamed of what he made himself to be was an understatement.
Dean sighed. "C'mon, buddy. Sit up. I got you some water and those cheesy puffs you like."
"Just leave it at the door."
"No, I don't think I will," Dean replied. "C'mon, Cas, sit up." Cas groaned loudly, the hoarseness of his voice growing more evident the louder he got. "You're probably dehydrated, man, come on."
"Just let me be, Dean. Let me be or give me something stronger than weed."
"You know I can't do that."
"Why not, O Fearless Leader? Have the townspeople finally sharpened their pitchforks? Am I using too much too fast?" Cas might not have known it, or maybe he did, but either way, he was right. The drugs Cas was addicted to sometimes came in handy, sometimes they were vital. They needed to keep them on hand, but with Cas around, they couldn't. People were getting angry at the misuse of such important resources, and Dean was starting to struggle at keeping their harsh words from Cas' ears. The moment of hesitation from Dean only confirmed Cas' suspicion. He turned over on the mattress to face Dean. "They're finally tired of holding me up, huh? They want to cast me out? Why not let them? It would be a quicker death, more merciful than sobriety." Dean shook his head.
"I'm not letting them throw you out, Cas. You deserve better than that. You aren't beyond help."
"I don't want help, Dean. I'm old, I'm tired, and I'm alone. I want to die."
A lump formed in Dean's throat and his eyes burned with unshed tears. "Don't say that, Cas. Sit up, take a drink of water, eat some food. I'll get out of your hair after you at least take a drink." At this, Castiel sighed heavily and moved to sit up. He reached out for the glass, and without a beat, Dean handed to him, momentarily relieved that Cas actually took it from him. That relief shattered as he felt the room-temperature water splash over his face and down his shirt. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to hold his tears of frustration and anger at bay, his knuckles turning white with the amount of effort it took not to strangle his best friend. When he opened his eyes, blood-shot blue eyes were staring at him, the expression on his face nothing short of remorseless and apathetic.
"I said, leave me alone."
"Alright," Dean said. He walked back out through the beaded curtain to be met with a few faces, some offering pity, some offering nothing but the smug 'I-told-you-so' look. "What are you looking at? Fuck off!" He didn't bother toning down his anger. With that, the people seemed to scramble off to whatever it was they were doing before, all of them, including Dean, unaware of the silent, heart-wrenching sobs coming from the fallen angel in the cabin.
The next time Dean returned, the first thing he noticed was the half eaten bag of cheesy puffs in bed with the not-angel, who was completely covered, head-to-toe, in thick blankets, not even his nose peaking out. Dean made sure his footsteps were silent, trying not to disturb the possibly-sleeping form. He was carrying yet another glass of water, obviously unable to learn from his previous mistakes. He froze in his tracks as he saw a shaking hand reach out from the covers and into the bag of puffs only to pull one out and under the blanket, hearing a soft crunch soon after. He tried his best to hold back his victory grin. It was the first time Cas had eaten in days and he was happy to witness it for himself, to see that Cas hadn't just opened the bag and dumped some out somewhere to get Dean to shut up about it. In his excitement, he apparently made a noise loud enough to disturb Cas, because the soft crunching noise stopped and his head poked out from under the covers. Dean didn't want to push his luck, he really didn't, but it was so hard not to smile at the sight of cheese dust on and around Cas' lips, even in his hair.
He immediately sobered up and spoke. "I brought you some more water. Don't throw it at me this time." Cas silently reached his cheesy dust-covered fingers out to Dean, trying to get the glass from him, but instead Dean wisely placed the glass on the floor in Cas' reach and took a couple of large steps back. Cas averted his gaze, obviously feeling guilty for fostering petty mistrust in Dean like that, and grabbed the glass himself and took a sip.
"Thank you," he said. Dean only nodded his response and turned toward the beaded curtain. Cas' heart jumped in his throat and he spoke to quickly, the words stumbling out of his mouth. "Hey, Dean?" He really didn't want Dean to leave yet. Dean turned towards him expectantly but did nothing else, waiting on him to continue. Cas' shoulders dropped. "I'm sorry," he said, "for throwing water on you the other day, and I'm sorry for--"
"It's fine, Cas. Don't worry about it. I'll be back soon. Supply run." With that, Dean left. Cas started to cry again, maybe from the dull, throbbing headache, or the heaviness of his limbs, or how exhausted he was, or maybe it was the loneliness. It didn't matter. He comforted himself with more cheesy puffs.
Dean returned again that evening, this time with a duffel bag, some clean rags, and two deep pots, one filled with freshly-boiled water. He sat everything down on the floor next to the bed with a loud thud, causing Cas to startle awake, then kneeled next to the bag and startled to shuffle through it. By the time he found what he was looking for, Castiel was sitting up in bed, watching him in silence. Dean pulled out a high protein granola bar and handed it to him. "Eat it. I know you prefer cheesy puffs, but you need something your body can actually work with." Cas wordlessly dropped his gaze and started shakily working on the packaging, trying to get it open, but his hands just wouldn't cooperate. Dean sighed and held his hand out, offering to open it for him. Cas let him, then took it back and took a bite.
"Thank you," Cas said, not bothering to hide the fact that he was shamelessly speaking while chewing. Dean offered a lopsided smile and pulled out a small plastic sandwich bag that had some thick, blue liquid in it. Cas eyed it questioningly.
"It's soap. You're starting to smell, Buddy. I know it's kind of hard not to, for all of us, given the situation, but I figured this might help you feel better at least."
Cas' lips parted in a small 'o' with the realization and nodded. "Sorry," he said, again, with a mouthful of granola. It didn't take him long to scarf down the rest of the bar, then he downed the rest of the water Dean had brought him earlier. His body was starting to ache even more with the effort of keeping himself upright, his limbs and head growing heavier by the second. He had to lay back down, but continued watching as Dean pulled more out of the duffel bag. There was now a fitted sheet, a top sheet (it didn't match, but seemed roughly the same size as the fitted), and a couple of throw blankets folded neatly next to everything else Dean had.
"It wouldn't make sense to let you crawl back in bed in the same dirty sheets after we get you cleaned up," he explained needlessly. Cas understood, and even if he didn't, he trusted Dean to know what was best for him right now, especially since his mind was cloudy with withdrawal. Still kneeling, Dean sat back on his heels to look at everything, trying to figure out what to do first. He looked at Cas. "How long can you stand up?" Cas' lips tightened, his eyes sad. Truth be told, he doubted he could stand very long at all, not without someone holding him up. He didn't need to say it out loud for Dean to understand. "Alright, bed bath it is." Dean dropped the rags in the boiled water and pulled two out immediately, hanging them over the edge of the other pot to cool off a bit before using them on Cas. Cas closed his eyes, but opened them back up as he felt Dean tugging at his current pile of blankets. He held onto them.
"I'm cold," he protested.
"You're burning up, Cas, and these are dirty. Let go." After about a five-second stand off, Cas finally let go, knowing full well that Dean could easily pull them from his grip, but wasn't out of kindness. Dean didn't hesitate to yank them all off at once, and Cas immediately began shivering more violently, glaring at Dean as if it was all his fault. The threadbare white cotton sheets had cheese dust and mystery stains littering the entire length, and Dean didn't dare question it. He moved to the foot of the bed and began untucking the fitted sheet, then moved his way the rest of the way around the bed to untuck the rest, then took a step back to decide what to do next. Cas laid there in silence, eyes closed, shivering in his boxer briefs, which were also littered in cheese dust but surprisingly--thankfully--completely void of mystery stains.
He took the fresh fitted sheet and tucked the top and bottom corner in on the side closest to him and left it tightly rolled on the very edge of the bed, then he folded the flat sheet and laid it over Cas' boxers, leaving everything but those exposed. He hesitated, then said, "We're going to have to take those off, buddy." He reached under the sheet and started tugging them down, not moving the flat sheet to preserve as much of Cas' modesty as possible, but Cas batted him away.
"I can do it myself." Dean sat back and let him, watching as his friend shook with the effort of lifting his hips from the mattress, even just long enough to pull his underwear down and toss them aside. When he was done, he looked at Dean, as if either waiting for him to continue or waiting for his next instruction. Dean simply told him to roll over onto his left side, facing away from Dean, and he did. Dean held the flat sheet in place so it wouldn't fall from its intended place as Cas moved. Dean took one of the wet rags he left in the empty pot and put a sparse amount of the no-rinse soap on the rag and started at Cas' right foot, working his way up the leg, occasionally using Cas' empty water glass from earlier to scoop the clean water up and rinse out the rag over the once-empty pot that was now slowly filling with warm, murky water. He stopped at the flat sheet, not daring to go under it. He'd save that for last, unless Cas could do it himself. When he was done, he ran a dry hand towel over his leg, tucked the old fitted sheet tightly under his left leg, and pulled the clean fitted sheet over for Cas to rest his clean leg on. He grabbed a new rag and repeated the same steps with Cas' right arm, starting at his hands and moving up to his shoulder, then washing his back. After a bit of hesitation, he went ahead and washed Cas' bottom, knowing it would be difficult for the ex-angel to manage. Cas huffed, but didn't say anything to protest. He tucked rest of the old fitted sheet tightly under his left side, then pulled the clean sheet over for him to roll over onto so Dean could repeat everything on his left side.
After Dean was done helping Cas with his arms, legs, and back, he handed Cas a soapy rag so he could wash his face, neck, chest, abdomen, and groin, then he threw the old fitted sheet aside and tucked the new one in all the way around as Cas continued washing himself thoroughly. Next step was hair. This part would be tricky.
In the end, Dean ended up putting a ripped trash bag under Cas' head, making a makeshift drainage system with it so it would leak into the murky water of the second pot. He used the extra, unused rags to ring water into Cas' hair, used the no-rinse soap to scrub at his scalp, with Cas' help, then did his best to rinse it and towel dry it. He had to be very careful when removing the bag because it was nearly impossible to get the water to drain like he wanted it to and he really didn't want Cas' fresh sheets soaked. By the time it was all said and done and Cas was in fresh boxers, in a freshly made bed, with his clean throw blankets tucked under his chin. Dean left with the dirty bedding, rags, and equipment only to come back with a small bowl of soup and another fresh glass of water. "You can rest for a little while, but when I come back, I expect these both to be empty." With that, Dean left, and this time, Cas didn't cry, probably because he knew he'd be back.